Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Rockville biotech receives patent for tech that can identify patients at-risk of opioid addiction

HSR.health CEO Ajay Gupta

Rockville-based HSR.health announced this morning that the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has issued a patent for the firm's novel use of geospatial tech, advanced AI models, and sets of social determinants of health data to identify patients at risk of opioid addiction. The technology also can identify patients at risk of having an overdose in the next 12 months. Overall, the purpose is to mitigate these negative outcomes before they happen, the company said.

HSR.health CEO Ajay Gupta said this morning that the issuing of the patent "is an acknowledgement of the uniqueness of our health-focused spatial data infrastructure." The now-patented tech can also be applied to pre-diabetic patients. Other areas of focus for the firm are reducing hospital readmissions, and assisting countries with pandemic response efforts.

Six additional HSR.health patent applications are now before the USPTO, related to geospatial tech, data and AI models. Montgomery County's biotech sector continues to be the bright spot amid an otherwise-moribund county economy.

Monday, November 29, 2021

PetWellClinic opening in Rockville

When your dog goes to Pike & Rose next year, it may not just be for fun and treats at Bark Social. That's because PetWellClinic is opening a location on the Rockville Pike/Old Georgetown Road corner of the Federal Realty property. The preventative-care veterinary clinic will be between Visionworks and Chipotle.

Franchisees Dave Ballow and Liz Overmann plan to open this and 24 other locations in our region. The Knoxville-based clinic chain was founded in 2009 by Dr. Sam Meisler, who sought to catch pet illnesses early through preventative care, while lowering vet bills for pet owners by stopping disease before it requires more expensive treatment.

Friday, November 26, 2021

Armed carjacking in Rockville

Rockville police responded to an armed carjacking at an apartment complex off Rockville Pike on Tuesday afternoon, November 23, 2021. The carjacking was reported in the parking lot of the complex in the 100 block of Talbott Street at 5:30 PM, according to crime data.

Beer and wine store to open in Derwood

A new tenant has signed on at the small strip mall just south of the 7-Eleven at MD 355 and Redland Road in Derwood. The store will sell beer and wine, as well as Maryland Lottery tickets. It fills the end space at 15809 Frederick Road, across from the Rockville neighborhood of King Farm.

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Black Friday at Westfield Montgomery Mall 2021

Westfield Montgomery Mall
will be closed today, Thanksgiving Day 2021. The mall will open for Black Friday tomorrow morning at 7:00 AM, and close at 10:00 PM. Stores that have their own outside access may have different hours, so call ahead. Have a hearty Thanksgiving dinner tonight, to fortify yourself for shopping Friday.

Black Friday deals will include 20% off regularly-priced items at Windsor, 60-70% off women's coats at Macy's, 30% off entire purchase at Soma Intimates, 25% off everything at White House | Black Market, 40-50% off everything at Express, 50% off everything at Fabletics, 40% off everything at Gap, 40% off your purchase at Banana Republic, and 30% off your purchase at Pandora.

Santa Claus
will be in the house from 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM on Black Friday. Make your reservations for photos with Santa online, and to learn more details about pet photos, and the Sensitive Santa's special appearances for those with sensory concerns or who need extra time for photos on December 5 and 12, from 9:30-10:30 AM both days.

Give yourself a boost while shopping with the limited-edition holiday treats at Auntie Anne's on Level 2. Snowball Nuggets are pretzel nuggets tossed in powdered sugar. The Peppermint Chocolate Frost is an iced beverage topped with whipped cream and peppermint sprinkles. A must-try!

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

BioTec USA opening Montgomery Mall location

BioTec USA,
a skin care clinic offering a range of products and spa services, is expanding to Montgomery County. A new location will be in Westfield Montgomery Mall in Bethesda. Founded by Science Director Tanya Gospodinova, BioTec has an existing location in the Foxhall area of Northwest Washington, D.C. Look for BioTec soon on Level 2 next to Avalon, right outside of Nordstrom.

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Trump endorses Dan Cox in Maryland governor race

Republican candidate Delegate Dan Cox has received President Donald Trump's "Complete and Total Endorsement" in the 2022 race for governor of Maryland. Trump declared Cox "MAGA all the way," after speaking with him by phone while Cox was visiting the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis on Monday. He called Cox a "tough lawyer and smart businessman."

The Trump endorsement was another opportunity for the 45th president to roast current Gov. Larry Hogan (R) almost as much as touting Cox's MAGA bona fides. Trump's statement blasted Hogan as a "RINO," or Republican-in-name-only, who "has been terrible for our Country." Hogan has been highly critical of Trump, and briefly entertained the idea of running against him in 2020.

Trump praised Cox as an advocate for low taxes, election security, veterans, school choice, and 2nd Amendment rights, and for opposing further pandemic lockdowns of schools and businesses. Last year, Cox sued Hogan over coronavirus restrictions in a case that was ultimately dismissed, but which raised Cox's statewide name recognition.

Cox expressed his "sincere gratitude" to Trump for the endorsement in a livestream on Facebook Monday evening. He is competing against Maryland Labor Secretary Kelly Schulz, Montgomery County attorney Robin Ficker, Nottingham resident Minh Thanh Luong, and Baltimore County attorney Joe Werner in the Republican primary.

Monday, November 22, 2021

Rockville City Hall to reopen in January 2022

Rockville City Hall will reopen to the public on January 3, 2022, City Manager Rob DiSpirito announced. The building has been closed since March 14, 2020, due to the coronavirus pandemic. “I strongly believe that employee collaboration and level of service to customers will benefit by reopening all city offices, including bringing employees back on site at City Hall,” DiSpirito said in an email that informed city employees of the planned reopening.

Photo courtesy City of Rockville

Friday, November 19, 2021

Melina sets opening date, menu in Rockville (Photos)

Just one day after I gave you an exclusive first look at the stunning interior of Melina at 905 Rose Avenue at Pike & Rose, the owners announced the official opening date of the modern-casual Greek restaurant. Melina will open this coming Monday, November 22, 2021. Menus have now also been posted on the website; here are three sample dishes:

Beef Tartare

Roasted Heirloom Carrots

Slow-roasted Lamb Neck Kleftiko

Top photo: Robert Dyer; menu photos courtesy Melina

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Rockville Taco Bamba giving away 50 coffee tumblers Friday to celebrate breakfast launch

Taco Bamba
is now open at 9:00 AM for breakfast at 1627 Rockville Pike at Congressional Plaza. To celebrate the launch of a new, all-day breakfast menu, the restaurant will be giving away free coffee with any purchase until noon every day. This Friday, tomorrow, November 19, 2021, Taco Bamba's Rockville location will also be giving away 50 free coffee tumblers, to the first 50 customers who purchase any breakfast item.

Photos courtesy Taco Bamba

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

First look: Melina Greek restaurant at Pike & Rose (Photos)

Wow. The window coverings have been removed at Melina, the new modern Greek restaurant from the founders of CAVA at 905 Rose Avenue at Pike & Rose, and it's one of the more impressive dining rooms seen in recent years. A plant-forward menu is reflected in abundant greenery throughout the space, and classical statues recall the staggering cultural legacy of ancient Greece. Light sconces share space with a more recent cultural icon on the walls, a Zorba the Greek poster - not from the movie, but of the 1946 book cover.

Melina will certainly be a fine lunch or dinner spot to impress clients if you are working in the offices upstairs at 909 Rose Avenue, as well as for date nights. Stay tuned for an opening date, which is going to be soon, judging from the ready-to-go appearance of the dining room and bar.

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Transit, office use still haven't recovered in Montgomery County, mobility data show

Use of parks continues to surge

New mobility data released by Google indicates Montgomery County residents still aren't riding transit or going to the office in pre-pandemic numbers, despite having one of the highest vaccination rates in the country. Google compared data acquired from devices between September 29 and November 10, 2021 with pre-covid-outbreak data collected between January 3 and February 6, 2020. 

Transit use is still down 43% from early 2020 ridership numbers, the new data show. Employees are traveling to office workplaces 31% less this fall than in early 2020. 

Montgomery residents are still spending
more time in pharmacies than before the
pandemic, but less than they did this summer

County residents are still shopping in grocery stores and pharmacies more than they did before the pandemic, but only 2% more often, down from 7% more at the time of my last report. Shoppers are still not going into other types of retail stores or recreation facilities as often as they did pre-covid; those numbers are still 11% below the early 2020 baseline.

Use of Montgomery County parks during the
pandemic continues to surge

Montgomery County still has a new appreciation for the great outdoors, though. Fall use of parks countywide shot up to 42% higher than that of early 2020; that number was up only 28% more in warmer July and August 2021, by comparison. 

Monday, November 15, 2021

Stacey Webster named CFO for City of Rockville

Stacey Webster
, a longtime member of the City of Rockville's Department of Finance who has worked on many city budgets, has been named Chief Financial Officer for the city. City Manager Rob DiSpirito announced the decision promoting Webster, who is currently the Deputy CFO. “I look forward to the opportunity to lead Rockville’s outstanding Department of Finance, and to continue to provide sound and strategic financial advice to the executive team and to our Mayor and Council,” Webster said in a statement.

Photo courtesy City of Rockville

Amazon Fresh Rockville store update (Photos)

Here's a look at the latest progress on the future Amazon Fresh grocery store in the 270 Center on Shady Grove Road. I'm still the only media outlet that has been able to authoritatively confirm this will be an Amazon Fresh store, way back in September 2020. Amazon has publicly remained silent on this location so far, and rebuffed all media requests. The exterior is nearing completion, but the Chevy Chase store proved that installation of all the wiring for the electronics in the store is a lengthier process than for your typical supermarket.

Friday, November 12, 2021

JK Beer & Wine opens in Rockville

There's a new option for beer and wine purchases in Rockville. JK Beer & Wine has opened at 800 Rockville Pike, in the Golden Arcade shopping center. It is in the space formerly home to Enterprise Rent-A-Car.

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Eko House, Kumbia post "coming soon" signage at Rockville Town Square

Two of the new restaurants coming soon to Rockville Town Square have posted window screens announcing just that. Kumbia, a pan-Latin American restaurant, is moving into the Spice X-ing space on Gibbs Street. Up the road from there, Nigerian restaurant Eko House is taking over the old Bar Louie spot. Kumbia has a liquor license hearing scheduled for December 2, 2021.

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

City of Rockville names new Assistant City Manager, Director of Communications

The City of Rockville announced the promotions of two employees to higher positions in city government on Tuesday. City Manager Rob DiSpirito assigned Director of Communications Marylou Berg to the position of Assistant City Manager. Rockville 11 channel manager Kathy Kirk-Dantzler will take Berg's place as Director of Communications. Both changes will become effective next month.

“Marylou possesses strong skills that she has developed in the 16 years that she has served the city,” DiSpirito said in a statement. “As a career professional, Marylou endeavors to play a larger role in the city’s overall success, while also being an advocate for employees through engagement and servant leadership.” Kirk-Dantzler has led Channel 11 since 2015, and was nominated for an Emmy award as a senior news producer. “We are incredibly fortunate to have Kathy as part of our team,” DiSpirito said. “Her vision, energy and passion for improving communications with our residents, and within this city organization, will serve us all well.”

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Rockville Burger King construction update (Photos)

The construction, or reconstruction, of the Burger King at 16004 Shady Grove Road continues at a glacial pace. Since my last update on October 15, 2021, the tower at the front right corner of the building is the only significant progress visible. Also of note, as the project nears completion, it no longer resembles the new BK restaurant design the chain touted last year. Let's hope the grand reopening is sooner, rather than later, so we don't miss out on anymore limited-time menu items.