Sunday, September 24, 2023

Rockville purse snatcher uses key inside to steal car

A purse snatcher in Rockville managed to grab two handbags, and used the car key found inside one to add grand theft auto to their rapidly-growing rap sheet on September 15, 2023. Rockville City police say the suspect entered the rear door of a business in the 5700 block of Fishers Lane, and found purses belonging to two employees of the business on a table. Rifling through one, the suspect found a car key. The suspect used that key to steal that employee's car at 7:52 PM that evening. If you have any information about this incident or suspect, call Rockville City police at 240-314-8900.

Melashops to relocate next month at Montgomery Mall in Bethesda

just can't settle down. The store made a big move downcounty from Lakeforest Mall in April to this space across from Urban Outfitters on Level 1 at Westfield Montgomery Mall in Bethesda. Now Melashops will make another move October 1, but one measured in yards rather than miles this time. It will fill the space vacated by Mulier across from Forever 21, also on Level 1. Melashops fills a unique niche in Montgomery County fashion retail, carrying apparel, jewelry, and accessories from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Turkiye, Afghanistan, and more.

Lining up for iPhone 15 at Montgomery Mall Apple Store (Photos)

There was still a short line of people lined up to be among the first to receive their iPhone 15 at the Apple Store at Westfield Montgomery Mall in Bethesda Saturday evening. We haven't seen the kind of camping-out-all-night spectacles that once greeted each new generation of iPhone in the last decade this time around. But a velvet rope seen nearby hinted that the line must have been significantly longer earlier in the day Saturday. The phones, and several other new Apple products, arrived in stores Friday. USB-C or bust!

Mulier opens at Montgomery Mall in Bethesda

is now open in a new spot at Westfield Montgomery Mall in Bethesda. Named for the Latin word for "woman," the apparel boutique with several area locations has long touted its concept of everything in the store being $8.99 or less. Alas, America's high inflation has hit Mulier, and a sign outside the new store promises everything is now $9.99 or less. It helps if you ignore the smaller sign that notes "some products excluded." Look for Mulier on Level 1 of the mall, next to Luggage Plus.

Saturday, September 23, 2023

Rockville garage assailant sought by police

Rockville City police are seeking the public's help in identifying and locating the alleged assailant in a September 14, 2023 assault in a parking garage in the Town Center area. Police say the male suspect suddenly approached the male victim, and assaulted him. The victim does not know the suspect.

Police describe the suspect as a White male with a "very heavy build," 5'8" in height, and around 35-40 years old. The suspect was wearing a beard, black baseball cap and glasses at the time of the assault. If you have any information about this incident or suspect, call Rockville City police at 240-314-8900.

Maryland Supreme Court to hear appeal in Bethesda African Cemetery Coalition case

Maryland's Supreme Court yesterday agreed to hear the appeal of the Bethesda African Cemetery Coalition to overturn a state appellate court ruling regarding the sale of property that includes a major portion of Moses African Cemetery in Bethesda. The June ruling itself overturned an injunction by Montgomery County Circuit Court Judge Karla Smith, that froze the impending sale of Westwood Tower at 5401 Westbard Avenue to Charger Ventures. Charger Ventures withdrew its purchase offer following Smith's ruling, but Westwood Tower owner Housing Opportunities Commission of Montgomery County appealed to the higher court and won. 

The Supreme Court's ultimate ruling in this case will have local and national implications for Black cemeteries, many of which are today in states of desecration and disrepair, hidden, or under threat from development. Moses African Cemetery is in all three categories. 

Smith ruled that HOC had entered a sale agreement without notifying the descendants of those buried in the cemetery, and without giving them a chance to weigh in on the sale, as required under Maryland law. Inexplicably, the appellate court found that following the law was not necessary.

This is a common occurrance when citizens challenge developers and powerful real estate interests in any Montgomery County or Maryland court. BACC noted yesterday that the Maryland Supreme Court only accepts about 15% of the certiorari petitions filed. But residents win over developers in our courts at an even lower rate than that, with judges blatantly ignoring statutory requirements on developers and planning authorities, as in the Westbard case. Smith, a relatively recent appointee to the Circuit Court in 2015, was a rare exception in ruling that the laws actually do apply to developers in Montgomery County.

Photo courtesy Bethesda African Cemetery Coalition

Tropical Storm Ophelia makes landfall, already impacting Maryland/Washington, D.C. area

Tropical Storm Ophelia has made landfall near Emerald Isle, North Carolina, but the outer rain bands of the storm had already entered the Washington, D.C. area overnight. What will the impacts of Ophelia on the Rockville area be? The National Weather Service predicts rainfall amounts from 2-4" in the Montgomery County/Washington, D.C. area. High winds with gusts up to 45-55 MPH are also anticipated.

Montgomery County and Washington D.C. are under a National Weather Service-issued Wind Advisory from 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM today. The NWS forecasts northeast winds of 20 to 30 MPH, with gusts up to 55 MPH expected. Gusts up to 50 mph are possible along the immediate shore of the Chesapeake Bay and Tidal Potomac. Ocean City, Maryland is experiencing street flooding and wind gusts up to 50 MPH.Secure any outdoor furniture or objects light enough to blow away, or bring them indoors.

Maryland Governor Wes Moore has
declared a State of Emergency

Maryland Gov. Wes Moore has declared a State of Emergency. "If you can avoid driving or being out during the storm, please do so," Moore said. "We are expecting an extended period of strong winds, heavy rainfall, and elevated tides." Flooding, falling limbs, downed trees and power outages are expected.

Ophelia is currently located 25 miles WNW of Cape Lookout, North Carolina. Its sustained winds measured at Cape Lookout are currently 61 MPH, with gusts up to 73 MPH. The storm is moving NNW at 9 MPH, and will affect the D.C. region through Sunday.

Heavy rainfall and sustained wind gusts will combine for conditions that favor trees falling, causing damage and power outages. Charge cellphones and make sure you have batteries for flashlights and radios.

WMATA reports Metrobus routes D33 Westbound and E4 Westbound are temporarily detouring at Military Road and 14th Street NW, and resuming their routes at Military Road and 16th Street NW, due to weather conditions. Pepco is reporting a few, small power outages in Gaithersburg at this hour.

Tracking map courtesy National Hurricane Center