Monday, November 30, 2020

Rockville car dealership construction wrapping up

Construction of the new dealership facility at Ourisman Mazda/VW at 801 Rockville Pike is wrapping up, as the auto retailer becomes the latest on Rockville Pike to replace its showroom. In fact, just since these photos were taken, the first cars have been moved into the showroom. Like some of the competitors, the new building has higher ceilings, and a more modern design.

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Strong-arm rape reported at Rockville nursing home

City of Rockville police responded to a report of a strong-arm rape at a nursing home yesterday morning. The sexual assault was reported at a nursing home in the 1200 block of Potomac Valley Road around 8:57 AM, according to crime data.

Friday, November 27, 2020

Strong-arm robbery in Rockville

City of Rockville police responded to a report of a strong-arm robbery Sunday morning. The robbery was reported at an office building in the 15200 block of Shady Grove Road around 9:23 AM, according to crime data.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Call Your Mother Deli coming to Rockville

Call Your Mother
 will open its first bricks-and-mortar location in Montgomery County in the spring of 2021. The deli will be located at 11807 Grand Park Avenue at Pike & Rose. That space was previously home to Lucky Brand.

“We were drawn to Pike & Rose’s unassuming charm,” Call Your Mother co-owner and founder Andrew Dana said Tuesday. The small deli chain that launched in 2018 has previously ventured into Montgomery County via farm markets and their trolley parked at 8804 Old Georgetown Road near Suburban Hospital.

Photo courtesy Call Your Mother 

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Brookie Girl Bath + Body Care opens at Montgomery Mall

Brookie Girl Bath + Body Care
 has opened at Westfield Montgomery Mall. Products carried include soaps, bath bombs, scrubs and body butters. They're launching with a buy-one-get-one-50%-off sale. Find Brookie Girl on Level 1 next to Sunglass Hut.

Monday, November 23, 2020

Rockville man killed in Silver Spring crash

A Rockville man was killed in an auto accident in the Layhill area of Silver Spring early Sunday morning, Montgomery County police announced. Stefano Jorge Fernandes, 23, was traveling west on Norbeck Road in his 2006 Mazda6 around 1:08 AM, when it left the roadway for unknown reasons. The vehicle collided with several trees in the vicinity of Whitehaven Road, police said, and Fernandes was pronounced deceased at the scene.

The Collision Reconstruction Unit (CRU) continues to investigate this collision. Anyone with information regarding this collision is asked to contact CRU detectives at 240-773-6620.

TKK Fried Chicken coming to Rockville

TKK Fried Chicken
is coming to Rockville. Two years ago, the Taiwanese fried chicken chain teamed up with Kung Fu Tea to open a joint restaurant in New York City. Now they will do the same at some Kung Fu Tea locations in our region, including the Kung Fu Tea at 11802 Rockville Pike at Pike & Rose. TKK has been around since 1974 in Taiwan, but will be a new flavor to many in our area as they now expand their presence in the United States.

TKK's signature flavor is a single layer of breading fried in soybean oil, with your choice of Original, Crispy Mild or Crispy Spicy coating. All of their chicken at their American restaurants is hormone-free, and raised on American farms. It is delivered fresh, not frozen, and marinated for 24 hours before being fried. 

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Pickpocket strikes at Rockville grocery store

City of Rockville police responded to a pickpocket incident at a grocery store in King Farm Wednesday evening. The pickpocket struck at a store in the 400 block of Redland Boulevard around 5:30 PM. There is a Safeway store on that block.

Friday, November 20, 2020

Christmas trees being installed at Rockville Town Square (Photos)

Christmas trees are being installed for 2020 at Rockville Town Square. One was erected last night by Peter Chang on Maryland Avenue, although it may be in for further trimming. It was not yet lit up. Another tree was in the earliest stages of construction at the town square itself.

Armed robbery, strong-arm robbery in Rockville

Rockville police responded to the reports of two robberies in the city on Sunday, November 15, 2020. An armed robbery was reported in the 2200 block of Stanley Avenue in the Twinbrook area around 8:45 that evening. Crime data indicates a gun was the weapon used in the robbery. Later that night, a strong-arm robbery was reported in the 1800 block of E. Jefferson Street around 10:45 PM. 

Elite Jewelers, See's Candies open at Montgomery Mall

See's Candies
and Elite Jewelers have opened just in time for Black Friday and holiday shopping at Westfield Montgomery Mall. Yes - the mall will be open on Black Friday, from 7:00 AM to 10:00 PM.

Elite Jewelers will be hosting a Grand Opening with special guest Miss America 2020 Camille Schrier this Saturday, November 21, 2020 at 2:00 PM. You can pose for a photo with her, and get her autograph, as well as have a chance to win part of a total giveaway of more than 10 carats of diamond jewelry, tour the store and spin the prize wheel. Reserve your autographed photo on their website.

See's is on Level 1 next to Forever 21, and Elite Jewelers can be found next to Pandora on Level 2. 

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Chase Bank plans new Rockville branch

Chase Bank
, which is rapidly expanding in the Washington, D.C. region, is planning another Montgomery County branch at 460 Hungerford Drive in Rockville. The branch will feature a drive-thru. If approved by the City of Rockville, it will replace the existing Maxim Supermarket building.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Holidays lighting up at Pike & Rose in Rockville

Holiday lights and decorations are popping up around Pike & Rose in Rockville. The most prominent so far is the giant Christmas tree in Rose Park. A menorah is on display, as well.

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Hogan orders all Maryland restaurants, bars to close at 10 PM, new restrictions on retail, hospital visits, sporting events, places of worship

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) announced additional restrictions on businesses and activities this afternoon, as the coronavirus pandemic worsens in the state and around the world. Effective Friday at 5:00 PM, Hogan has ordered all restaurants and bars statewide to close at 10:00 PM nightly. None will be allowed to open between 10:00 PM and 6:00 AM. 

Hogan also ordered most hospital visits to be suspended with some exceptions, and nursing home visitors will be limited to compassionate care visitors, who have to be tested 72 hours before visiting. The governor also banned all attendance at professional and collegiate sporting events, just weeks after fans were allowed to return to stadiums in the state.

Under the new restrictions, all retail stores and places of worship must reduce capacity to 50%. Hogan urged any students returning from college, or who plan to be around elderly relatives for Thanksgiving, to get tested for Covid-19 first. 

The governor asked hospitals to postpone any elective procedures or treatments where possible. He said hospitalizations are up 100% since November 1. The number of patients in ICU beds is the highest since June 2020. Maryland's Health Department is issuing an order to allow hospitals that are full, or nearing capacity, to transfer patients to other hospitals.

"We are in a war right now, and the virus is winning," Hogan said. "Now more than ever, I am pleading with the people of our state to stand together a while longer to help us battle this surging virus.”

Rockville deer hunt to close parts of Civic Center Park

A managed deer hunt will temporarily close parts of Rockville's Civic Center Park at times over the next three months. The City of Rockville is launching a pilot archery deer-culling program in response to increased vehicular collisions with deer, and concerns about Lyme disease.

Parts of Civic Center Park and Croydon Creek Nature Center will be closed November 21-29, December 19-27, and January 9-16. The City says a survey showed Rockville parks currently host an average of 130-160 deer per square mile, while a healthy deer population is around 20 deer per square mile. 

Monday, November 16, 2020

Indecent exposure in Rockville

City of Rockville police responded to an incident of indecent exposure in the Twinbrook area of Rockville last Thursday morning, November 12, 2020. The incident was reported to have taken place on the street in the 2100 block of Veirs Mill Road, a commercial area, around 8:30 AM.

Rockville Town Square ice skating rink returning for 2020

The winter season ice skating rink is coming back for 2020 at Rockville Town Square. It is under construction now. This is an interesting development, as not everywhere in the country will it be possible to use an outdoor rink this winter. Operators of similar rinks in places like San Francisco have chosen not to set up due to the pandemic this year. 

"Operators of all the seasonal ice skating rinks that typically kick off in time for Thanksgiving have announced that they will not be opening this year," ABC7 News in San Francisco reports. "None of the usual outdoor ice skating rinks in the Bay Area are opening this year. That includes the rinks at Embarcadero and Union Square in San Francisco, the rink in downtown San Jose, or the rinks in Santa Clara, San Mateo, Napa, Marin and Walnut Creek."

Friday, November 13, 2020

CM Chicken opens in Rockville

Choong Man Chicken
, a.k.a. CM Chicken, is now open at 765 Rockville Pike at the Ritchie Center. You can order online through the Rockville location's website.

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Twinbrook Laundromat opens in Rockville

Twinbrook Laundromat
is now open at 2131 Veirs Mill Road in Rockville. Services available include pick up and delivery, drop off wash-and-fold service, and self-service laundry.

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Rockville restaurants hit hard by new Montgomery County Covid-19 restrictions as cases, hospitalizations spike

Rockville restaurants already struggling through the coronavirus pandemic are facing another financial blow, as Covid-19 cases spike in Montgomery County ahead of what is expected to be a difficult winter. Many mom-and-pop restaurants, and even operators of chain businesses, have said they are struggling to turn a profit while surviving month-to-month with various government assistance programs. On Tuesday, the Montgomery County Council unanimously approved tougher Covid-19 restrictions, including the reduction of restaurant capacity to 25% effective yesterday at 5:00 PM.

The new restrictions limit gatherings to 25 people or less. 25% capacity restrictions will also apply to houses of worship, retail stores, museums and galleries, and gyms. Restaurants will now be required to maintain a record of all indoor and outdoor patrons, for at least 30 days, to assist with contact tracing. Information collected must include date, time, name of each patron and contact information.

Loss of indoor dining capacity comes just as plummeting temperatures make outdoor dining much less practical. Whether heaters and tents will in any way reduce that impact will be determined for the first time this winter. We are in uncharted waters in an industry that already has razor-thin profit margins in high-rent, high-tax, high-operating-cost, liquor-monopoly-controlled Montgomery County.

At the same time, there is no doubt the pandemic is taking a turn for the worse as winter approaches, as many had predicted. Maryland hospital beds are currently filled at a higher rate than during the summer coronavirus spike. All County hospitals were under Blue Alert Monday night, and at least one went to a full Red Alert Tuesday, forcing rerouting of emergency patients who require electrocardiogram-monitored beds. Yesterday, Covid-related hospitalizations in America reached a record high.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Simply Nutrition store sets grand opening date in Rockville

Simply Nutrition
is set to celebrate the opening of its first bricks and mortar store in Rockville at 1098 Taft Street. A grand opening has now been scheduled for Thursday, November 12, 2020 at 9:00 AM, until 5:00 PM. An outdoor tent will be used, and social distancing protocols will be observed. The number of customers allowed into the store at one time will be limited due to Montgomery County Covid-19 regulations, and masks must be worn at all times on the premises.

A ribbon-cutting will be held at 12:00 PM that day. Participating will be representatives of the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce and Rockville Economic Development, Inc. (REDI). Food trucks will be on-site between 11:00 AM and 4:30 PM. There will also be giveaways and raffles.

Simply Nutrition was founded by brothers Ryan Terko and Brandon Owens as Vitamins2You. After expanding beyond vitamins and supplements to other natural product categories like beauty and personal care, they rebranded as Simply Nutrition. A portion of their sales goes to help victims of opioid addiction.

You can RSVP for the grand opening online.

Monday, November 9, 2020

Gyuzo Japanese BBQ opens in Rockville

Gyuzo Japanese BBQ
held a soft opening that completely sold out this past weekend at 33-B Maryland Avenue at Rockville Town Square. They are closed Mondays, but their initial operating hours will be Tuesday-Sunday 5:00-10:00 PM. Due to the high demand, the restaurant says reservations are highly recommended, and can be made online.

Friday, November 6, 2020

Montgomery Mall Apple Store to get facelift

The Apple Store at Westfield Montgomery Mall is getting some work done. A new illuminated logo sign will be added to the storefront, as well as new quartz exterior wall panels. It's not confirmed yet if the changes will be in place by Black Friday, or after the holiday shopping season.

Thursday, November 5, 2020

MD Furniture to open Rockville store

Montrose Crossing is solidifying itself as an interior design and home furnishings destination on Rockville Pike. Recent tenant additions Home Depot Design Center and Value City Furniture will now be joined by MD Furniture

MD Furniture, which recently opened a store in Laurel, will take over the other half of the former Barnes & Noble building that Home Depot Design Center is in. The chain carries home furnishings, mattresses, bedroom furniture, chandeliers and accessories. 

Rockville funeral home converted into mini-mall signs another tenant

After a slow start, there's lease-up momentum at the Rockville funeral home-turned-mini-mall at 1170 Rockville Pike. Ironically, while it sat vacant for 19 months, tenants began signing on in the midst of the pandemic-related economic downturn this year. Architectural Ceramics is the latest to come onboard. It will join a GEICO agent office and Salon Lofts at the new retail center.

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

2020 Montgomery County election results show local political machine in full control

Montgomery County Election Results 2020

100% of Election Day-cast voting results were released by the Montgomery County Board of Elections as of 1:53 AM this morning, as well as some early voting tabulations. Analysis of the results follows below. No election-related unrest has impacted Montgomery County so far, as both Joe Biden and Donald Trump retained pathways to victory in the presidential race overnight, with Biden winning Maryland and holding the lead in electoral votes nationally as of this hour. 

Amazon Books boarded up
at Bethesda Row on election night

Amazon Books boarded up its windows at Bethesda Row Tuesday, and additional Friendship Heights businesses did the same. The 24-hour CVS Pharmacy at 7809 Wisconsin Avenue simply closed without explanation or boards. While police maintained a heavy presence around those key retail hubs, no additional businesses have followed in boarding up their windows.

CVS Pharmacy unexpectedly closes
election night in downtown Bethesda

Election results analysis

Montgomery County 2020 election results so far show the county's political machine in full control, with a majority of voters rejecting citizen-petitioned ballot questions, and endorsing a County Council ballot question that would allow their taxes to be raised higher than ever. It's unclear if voters knew approving Question A would end up giving them more and larger tax hikes, as the text of the question falsely made it appear to be a limit on taxation. But voters rejected Question B that would have actually placed a new limit on tax increases, despite having supported Robin Ficker's other tax cap ballot questions in the past.

Boarded-up businesses in
Friendship Heights

Also failing so far on the ballot is Question D, which would have eliminated the At-Large seats on the County Council, and realigned the body's structure into nine more-compact districts. Voters approved a competing measure by the County Council, Question C, which will keep the Council as-is, while adding two new district seats. 

Friendship Heights

It's unclear how Question C's approval will actually change the dynamics of leadership and representation for three reasons: First, by only adding two new districts instead of four, all seven districts will be larger than nine smaller ones. Second, the At-Large seats remain to counterbalance parochial interests, while likely remaining in the same geographical area downcounty, retaining a solid control over policy by downcounty politicians and their financial backers. Finally, the Council could choose to ignore the vote, and keep the status quo as it did when it overturned the will of the voters on the Ambulance Fee a decade ago.

Police cruiser parked inside the
Maryland-D.C. border in Chevy Chase

What is clear is that the Washington Post editorial board continues to hold increasingly-outsize sway over regional voting decisions. The Post has scored win after win in recent years, after a period when Montgomery County voters for a time exercised more independence in their decisions. Results so far show a majority of voters precisely following the advice of the Post and the County Democratic Party sample ballot in 2020.

Jeff Bezos taking no chances

The lone resistance to the Post's marching orders came in the District 2 Board of Education race, where results so far show voters returning Rebecca Smondrowski to her seat by a twenty-point margin. Smondrowski is the only candidate to survive the primary and general election this year while not wholeheartedly endorsing a controversial push to redistrict school boundaries. Post endorsees Lynne Harris (BOE At-Large) and Shebra Evans (BOE District 4) are coasting to victory at the moment.

With the Post's increasingly-heavy thumb on the voting scales in Montgomery County, change in a declining and stagnant county remains unlikely. There is a clear partnership between the paper and the Montgomery County cartel on dystopian talking points and objectives: dismantling existing single-family-home neighborhoods, reducing the quality of all schools rather than fixing the failing ones, squashing any effort to elect independent community-focused officials (even if they are Democrats), maintaining developer dominance of County politics and land-use decisions, and an Ahab-like quest to boot Marc Elrich from office in 2022.

The Post dedicated several pages to high-quality coverage of the D.C. City Council races this year. It glaringly did not in the 2018 Montgomery County Council races, a clear indication of its role in stifling any voices of dissent or change in Montgomery County.