Monday, May 31, 2021

Armed carjacking in Rockville

City of Rockville police are searching for a vehicle stolen at gunpoint this morning. At 3:38 AM in the 200 block of Congressional Lane, three black males allegedly put a gun to the victim's head, and drove away with the victim's wallet and white 2017 Mitsubishi Outlander. The Outlander's license plate is Maryland tag number 6CP4813. Police ask you to call 911 immediately if you see this car.

Friday, May 28, 2021

Montgomery County Council approves FY-2022 budget with property tax increase

Property taxes will increase for almost all Montgomery County residents in the fiscal year starting July 1, 2021, under the $6 billion FY-2022 budget approved by the County Council yesterday. The tax hike comes at a time when many residents and businesses have been struggling during the pandemic's economic downturn. 

Also hitting residents' wallets in the budget: parking fee increases in Bethesda and Wheaton, and the expansion of parking enforcement hours in Silver Spring and Wheaton, which will begin in January 2022. All nine councilmembers voted unanimously to approve the budget and tax increase.

Thursday, May 27, 2021

McDonald's BTS Meal arrives in Rockville (Video+Photos)

The McDonald's BTS Meal officially arrived nationwide yesterday. In partnership with the K-pop boy band, the meal includes a 10-piece Chicken McNuggets, medium fries, a medium Coca-Cola, and two sauce packets: Cajun and Sweet Chili. 

While most media outlets have lauded the sauces as both being new to the United States, McDonald's actually offered Sweet Chili sauce some years back. The Cajun sauce is brand new, however. Watch my in-depth review on YouTube.

BTS fans have reacted enthusiastically to the promotion on social media, but there has been significant dissatisfaction among them that McDonald's did not provide BTS-branded packaging for the meal nor any BTS-themed prize, cards or toys in the United States. Some overseas countries have received special packaging for their BTS meals, which led some fans to ask why an American restaurant chain did not provide this BTS packaging for its American customers.

Taco Bamba sets opening date in Rockville

Opening day for Taco Bamba at Congressional Plaza on Rockville Pike is finally in sight. Chef Victor Albisu announced yesterday that the tacqueria's first Maryland location will open next Friday, June 4, 2021. Like the other Taco Bamba locations, this one will have menu items exclusive to, and inspired by, its location. 

Among the exclusive menu items you will find at this Taco Bamba are the MoCo CRAB (griddled crab melt, spicy mayonnaise, vinegar coleslaw, and mini fries), the First Lady of Maryland-inspired "Mrs. Hogan" (kalbi pork, gochujang, kimchi bacon fried rice, cucumber, and radish), and the Fredneck (BBQ pork carnitas with morita slaw).

At the bar, the focus will be on agave spirits, including a margarita-style drink made with kiwi, Fresno pepper, lemon and mezcal. Taco Bamba will be open 10:00 AM - 9:00 PM Sunday through Thursday, and 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM on Fridays and Saturdays.

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Car stolen from Rockville apartment building

City of Rockville police responded to a report of a stolen vehicle outside an apartment building Monday afternoon. The vehicle was reported stolen from an apartment complex in the 400 block of Blandford Street around 4:06 PM, according to crime data.

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Rockville Swim Center loosening pandemic restrictions

Pandemic restrictions continue to loosen in Rockville and across the country. Among these are several changes in protocols at the Rockville Swim Center, located at 355 Martins Lane. 

Effective now, no face coverings are required in outdoor areas at the center, except for when checking in for an outdoor reservation. Masks are still required indoors, including in the gym, except while in the water.

Beginning this Saturday, May 29, 2021, reservations will no longer be needed for the outdoor Fitness and Recreation Pools, indoor North Pool, or Fitness Room. Users may return to sharing a lap lane with others in these areas, without limitations on the number of swimmers per lane. 

Use of the center will also no longer be restricted to City of Rockville residents and facility members, also effective May 29. The whirlpool and sauna remain closed for the time being.

Monday, May 24, 2021

Regal Cinemas Rockville reopens (Video+Photos)

The projectors and popcorn makers are running again at Regal Cinemas Rockville Center at 199 E. Montgomery Avenue in Rockville. A fresh set of movie posters is on display promoting the latest, and future, films. 

The cineplex has been closed for the last year due to the pandemic, but is reopening with a set of protocols it calls CinemaSafe. Regal is also promoting Regal Unlimited, a program that allows to see unlimited movies for a monthly fee, at a sizable display in the lobby. Members also save 10% on concessions.

Saturday, May 22, 2021

Signage being removed at closed Rockville Arby's

The Arby's at 11710 Rockville Pike permanently closed earlier this week. Yesterday, a worker began detaching signage from the building facade. He had gotten as far a the "A," which was dangling over the ladder, at the moment this photo was taken.

Demolition begins to clear way for Rockville Wegmans


Demolition to make way for the future Rockville Wegmans grocery store is now officially underway. Fencing has been up for several weeks, while the contractor awaited approval of the demolition permits. Wegmans will be the retail anchor of a large B.F. Saul development to be called Twinbrook Quarter, here at the corner of Rockville Pike and Halpine Road, across from Congressional Plaza.

Friday, May 21, 2021

Rockville apartment building at future Lidl grocery site to be named after Josiah Henson

New details have come to light about the Lidl grocery store and residential apartment project proposed for the old CarMax property at 15931 Frederick Road in Rockville. The apartment building will be called The Henson at Shady Grove. It is being named for Josiah Henson, whose story inspired the famous novel, Uncle Tom's Cabin. 

Lidl has brought in Rockville-based Foundation Housing as a partner to handle development of the apartments. The eight-story Henson will house 200 units, with all units being termed affordable housing. 1, 2 and 3-bedroom units are anticipated to be provided in the building. City leaders have advocated for developers to include such larger units in new multifamily housing. An above-ground, two-level parking deck will also be part of the building.

The Lidl store will include an outdoor, cafe seating area. That seating will be shaded by a canopy. Extensive landscaping is proposed for the grocery store and The Henson.

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Strong-arm carjacking at Rockville restaurant

City of Rockville police responded to a report of a strong-arm carjacking outside a restaurant Tuesday night. The carjacking was reported at a restaurant in the 1400 block of Rockville Pike around 10:00 that evening, according to crime data.

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Arby's closes on Rockville Pike (Photos)

Here's a shocker: Arby's has closed at 11710 Rockville Pike in the White Flint area. While restaurants were devastated by indoor dining bans over the last year, fast food restaurants with drive-thrus like this Arby's often enjoyed booming business during the same period. 

Fast food restaurants usually serve the largest percentage of customers via the drive-thru to begin with. But as of Tuesday night, this Arby's has been cleared out; even the menu boards are gone at the drive-thru and inside.

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Seoulspice opens at Montgomery Mall

is now open in the Dining Terrace food court at Westfield Montgomery Mall in Bethesda. The local chain, owned by Eric Shin, describes its cuisine as Korean comfort food. 

To celebrate the opening, all six of Seoulspice's signature combination bowls will be only $7 through this Friday, May 21, 2021. Recipes for the bowls, Korritos and salads have been passed down through the Shin family over generations. Dishes at the new location range from $6 to $11.49.

Bethesda Bagels coming soon to Fallsgrove in Rockville

Bethesda Bagels
is "coming soon" to the Fallsgrove Village Center, according to signage posted on the future storefront. It will be located between Moby Dick and Bellevue. Bethesda Bagels currently has five other area locations.

Monday, May 17, 2021

Rockville Mayor & Council to hold public hearing tonight on proposed annexation of King Buick-GMC dealership into city

Rockville's Mayor and Council will receive public testimony on the proposed annexation of the King Buick-GMC auto dealership property at 16200 Frederick Road into the city at their virtual meeting tonight, May 17, 2021 at 7:05 PM. A residential development has been proposed for the site by developer EYA. City zoning would permit the density EYA seeks for the development, whereas the current Montgomery County zoning would not.

Friday, May 14, 2021

Rockville time capsule opened (Photos)

The City of Rockville opened a time capsule buried at the Rockville Senior Center in 1995 at a sometimes-emotional ceremony yesterday. Items included a copy of the venerable Rockville Reports city newsletter, a City recreation guide, a 1994 lottery ticket and photographs.

Opening of the capsule was delayed by a year due to the coronavirus pandemic. One online attendee of the virtual opening ceremony became emotional as she noted that, were it not for the pandemic, her deceased relative would have alive for the ceremony's original date last year. City Councilmember Mark Pierzchala represented the Council for the ceremony.

Councilmember Mark Pierzchala