Thursday, September 29, 2022

Hurricane Ian remnants to impact Maryland sooner than expected, after stops in Georgia, the Carolinas, Virginia


The worst of Hurricane Ian may have already passed in Florida, but the now-Tropical Storm is expected to make a speedy trip up the East Coast, including a jaunt out to sea and another landfall somewhere in the South. Yesterday, Ian's timetable for arrival in the Washington, D.C., Maryland and North Virginia area began to look like it was slipping from early next week to this weekend. Now, Accuweather is forecasting the first rains of Ian to arrive in the Mid-Atlantic as early as tomorrow. 

Tropical rain showers are now expected all weekend, and showers may continue from Monday into Wednesday. This does not look good for events like Taste of Bethesda this Saturday. Rain associated with Ian will arrive well ahead of the actual storm center, which is expected to pass through Maryland sometime Sunday night or early Monday morning.

Ian has further business south of here first, however. After crawling across mainland Florida, the storm will go back over the Atlantic, and make another landfall tomorrow evening. Accuweather currently predicts Ian's landfall will be somewhere near the border of Georgia and South Carolina Friday night; the National Hurricane Center's prediction is for a landfall in South Carolina. 

The full impact of Ian's second landfall, and the strength of the storm's remnants when it arrives here in the D.C. area, will be determined by how long it drifts over the waters of the Atlantic prior to Friday night's landfall. The National Hurricane Center says the storm could again near hurricane strength as it approaches land.

Ian already has shown plenty of destructive power after making landfall as a Category 4 hurricane. Over 2 million utility customers in Florida are currently without electricity. Accuweather reports that every customer in Hardee County, Florida is in the dark. Part of the Sanibel Causeway collapsed, the only bridge between Sanibel Island and mainland Florida. 

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said earlier this morning that helicopter rescues are being performed on barrier islands by the Coast Guard and Florida National Guard. He said 100 portable cell towers are being set up to restore some level of phone service, and that power line infrastructure in the hardest hit areas would in some cases have to be entirely rebuilt. Pine Island Bridge, like the Sanibel Causeway, is damaged and impassable, he added.

Fox Weather reports that there are believed to be hundreds of fatalities in Lee County, Florida, according to the sheriff there. Accuweather reports one confirmed death in Florida from Hurricane Ian, a 72-year-old man in Deltona. He slipped down a hill behind his home into a flooding drainage ditch while trying to drain his pool as the storm approached his area at 1:00 AM this morning. Fox Weather also reports Ian has caused a 200-year flood event in Orlando. More than a foot of rain has fallen on the city.

DeSantis said his state has all of the supplies it needs for storm victims. "It's much better to donate financially, rather than sending items. We've got a lot of items," he said at a news conference this morning. Those seeking to help storm victims displaced in Florida can have the greatest impact by donating funds at FloridaDisasterFund.org, or text DISASTER to 20222, he said. Florida First Lady Casey DeSantis said the fund has already raised $1.6 million in the last 24 hours.

Tropical Storm Ian's current location is 40 miles east of Orlando, the National Hurricane Center reports. Its current maximum sustained winds are at 65 MPH, and it is moving NE at 8 MPH.

Graphic courtesy Accuweather.com

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Strong-arm robbery at Rockville grocery store


Rockville City police responded to a report of a strong-arm robbery at a grocery store Monday night, September 26, 2022. The robbery was reported at a supermarket in the 1800 block of Rockville Pike at 9:15 PM Monday. There is a Safeway store on that block.

McCormick Paints to open store at White Flint Plaza


McCormick Paints
will open a new store at 5268 Nicholson Lane at White Flint Plaza. McCormick has an existing location on Lewis Avenue in Rockville. The new store is expected to open in early 2023. It will face competition from a nearby and also-new Sherwin-Williams store.

Hurricane Ian still on track to eventually hit Maryland; now nearing landfall in Florida as a Category 4 storm


Hurricane Ian is still on a track that will eventually take it to Maryland, Washington, D.C. and Northern Virginia, according to a model posted by Accuweather.com. The newest update shows the storm making its turn toward the Atlantic Ocean at a slightly later point than predicted earlier, with the center of the storm now passing north of Washington and more directly over Baltimore, before heading out to sea over Atlantic City. This track is subject to change from many variables.


Accuweather forecasts the storm arriving in the Mid-Atlantic on Sunday or Monday. It predicts Ian will drop about an inch of rain on our area by the time it moves off to the Atlantic.


Earlier this hour, the National Hurricane Center reported that Hurricane Ian's current location is 75 miles WSW of Naples, Florida, and has strengthened into a Category 4 hurricane. It is moving north-northeast at 10 MPH. Maximum sustained winds are near 140 MPH, with gusts over 140 MPH. Landall on the Gulf Coast of Florida is expected this afternoon, according to ABC News.

Graphics courtesy Accuweather.com

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Amazon Fresh Shady Grove Road store still has empty shelves (Photos)


There's still no official opening date for the Amazon Fresh store at the 270 Center on Shady Grove Road, on the border of Rockville and Gaithersburg. On my latest trip by, the shelves inside the store remained bare. An Amazon Fresh store opened recently at Chevy Chase Lake, so they may just be staggering the openings so they can focus on ensuring a smooth launch at each store, especially with all of the technology involved with the Just Walk Out checkout system.








Monday, September 26, 2022

Will Hurricane Ian hit the Washington D.C. area? This newest track shows it's very likely.


Hurricane Ian's current location is 325 miles south-southwest of Key West, Florida, according to the National Hurricane center. But after Ian hits the Gulf Coast of Florida - currently anticipated to occur Thursday - as a potential Category 4 storm upon landfall, will its path ultimately affect the Washington, D.C. area, including Rockville and Montgomery County in Maryland? Accuweather's latest track shows a very good chance that it will.


The last position forecast on the map at this time predicts Ian will pass east of Atlanta, west of Charlotte, and be aimed directly at the Washington, D.C. area as it arcs back toward the Atlantic Ocean. At that position on October 3, 2022, Accuweather shows Ian directly north of Lynchburg, Virginia. Extending the path from that point on the same curvature would show the remnants of Ian making a direct hit on the Washington, D.C. area. Accuweather predicts Ian will have maximum sustained wind gusts of 35 MPH as of that time, and maximum wind gusts of up to 46 MPH - certainly well below hurricane-force winds, but still a risk for downed trees and power lines.


Of course, forecasters can't even guarantee the exact point where Ian will make landfall in Florida yet, so much of this model's track could easily change. But what it does show is that there are strong odds the storm will greatly impact our area for at least one day next week, with the potential for high winds, heavy rain, flooding and tornadic activity. Now is the time to think ahead, and ensure you have batteries, a half-tank of gas in your car, some extra non-perishable food on hand if power goes out, and a battery-powered radio.

Images courtesy of Accuweather.com

Maryland GOP Lt. Governor candidate to appear in Montgomery County September 27


The Republican nominee for Maryland lieutenant governor, Gordana Schifanelli, will appear at a free event in Potomac tomorrow evening, September 27, 2022 from 6:00 to 9:00 PM. It will be held at the Old Anglers Inn at 10801 MacArthur Boulevard. While admission is free, RSVP online to attend. 

Schifanelli is running on the GOP ticket with gubernatorial nominee Dan Cox, who has been endorsed by President Donald Trump. Cox and Schifanelli will face Democratic gubernatorial nominee Wes Moore and lieutenant governor candidate Aruna Miller in the November general election.

Photo via Gordana Schifanelli for Lt. Governor of Maryland Facebook

Assault at Rockville spa


Montgomery County police were called to investigate a report of a simple assault at a spa in the Upper Rock area of Rockville Friday evening, September 23, 2022. The assault was reported at a business in the unit block of Upper Rock Circle at 8:45 PM Friday.

Sunday, September 25, 2022

Montgomery County to host public meeting on jail project opposed by Rockville officials


Montgomery County will host a public meeting on the proposed construction on the County detention center property at 1307 Seven Locks Road in Rockville on Thursday, October 6, 2022 at 7:00 PM. The meeting will be held in the "first floor lecture hall" at the County Council building at 100 Maryland Avenue in Rockville, and is scheduled to conclude by 9:00 PM. There will be a virtual option to join the meeting online for those who can't attend in person; log-on instructions will be posted prior to the meeting at www.rockvillemd.gov/SevenLocksProject, once determined. 

The project as currently proposed is opposed by the Mayor and City Council of Rockville. It includes a school bus depot, and a future Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Criminal Justice Complex and restoration center. Rockville elected officials have argued the proposal is inappropriate for a site that abuts eight residential neighborhoods. The existing Detention Center has been there since 1978; a police station there was built in 1963.

Saturday, September 24, 2022

Car stolen from Richard Montgomery HS in Rockville


Rockville City police are investigating the theft of a vehicle from the parking lot of Richard Montgomery High School, located at 250 Richard Montgomery Drive, late Thursday afternoon, September 22, 2022. The vehicle was reported stolen at 5:00 PM Thursday.

Taiwan Bubble Tea Festival today in Rockville


The Taiwan Bubble Tea Festival will be held today, Saturday, September 24, 2022 from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM at Rockville Town Square. Hosted by Taiwan Sister Cities, the event will feature food, live music, cultural performances, games, and - of course - bubble tea. Maryland Avenue between E. Middle Lane and Beall Avenue will be closed off for the event from 7:30 AM to 6:00 PM for the event. 

Friday, September 23, 2022

2nd bus stop crime in as many days in Rockville


Bus stops have been crime stops in Rockville over the last 48 hours. On Wednesday, someone was robbed at a bus stop in Twinbrook. Early yesterday afternoon at 12:38 PM, an individual reported having been the victim of a 2nd degree assault at a bus stop on N. Washington Street in the Rockville Town Center area. Rockville City police responded to the call.

What's inside this abandoned Sears store, nearly 4 years after it closed? (Photos)


The Sears store at Westfield Montgomery Mall in Bethesda closed almost four years ago. A redevelopment project that would include the footprint of the shuttered department store appears to have been put on hold, while the mall's owner attempts to find a buyer for the property. So what's going on in there? Surprisingly, a sneak peek around the entrance barricades reveals a space that still looks very much like a Sears store, and not filled with dust and cobwebs. 








Thursday, September 22, 2022

Ebisu Life Store Japanese supermarket expanding in Rockville (Photos)


Ebisu Life Store
, the Japanese supermarket at 836 Rockville Pike, has been so successful that the store is now expanding in size. A banner on the front of the vacant Mattress Frame space, located right next door at 832 Rockville Pike, says Ebisu Life is "coming soon." Inside, it looks like they are getting ready to punch through the wall separating the spaces.




Strong-arm robbery at Rockville bus stop


Rockville City police responded to a report of a strong-arm robbery at a bus stop early yesterday morning, September 21, 2022. The robbery was reported at a bus stop in the 2300 block of Veirs Mill Road at 2:19 AM Wednesday. That is in the Twinbrook area.

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Wes Moore refuses debate invitation from Fox 5 in Maryland governor race


Democratic Maryland governor candidate Wes Moore has declined another invitation to debate his Republican opponnent, Dan Cox. Fox 5 announced last evening that Cox had accepted, but that the deadline to respond to the invitation passed without any response by the Moore campaign. Shortly after the deadline passed, a Moore spokesperson told the Bethesda-based TV station that their candidate's answer was, "no."

In dodging several debates, including one at a prominent HBCU in the state, Moore has said he does not want to give Cox a platform to more widely broadcast his views across the state. That hasn't stopped Cox from doing that on his own this week. The Donald Trump-endorsed Republican has stepped up attacks on Moore for not removing a false claim of being a Baltimore native from his book The Other Wes Moore, and exaggerating details in that biography, and has taken legal action to stop early counting of mail-in ballots ahead of the November election. Cox has received a significant amount of media coverage in recent days as a result.

With a new Goucher poll showing Moore ahead of Cox by 22 points, Moore understandably would like to run out the clock. One cannot make a campaign-damaging gaffe if one does not participate in debates. Critics question how a candidate might perform under the much greater pressure of serving in the office itself, if he or she is unable to debate their opponent. Moore has so far accepted one debate invite, to a forum being broadcast live October 12 by Maryland Public Television.

Car stolen from parking lot in Rockville


Rockville City police are investigating the theft of a vehicle from a commercial parking lot on Rockville Pike Monday evening, September 19, 2022. The vehicle was parked in a lot in the 1700 block of Rockville Pike when it was stolen. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Rockville Wegmans construction update (Photos)


The skeletal frame of the future Wegmans grocery store at Rockville Pike and Halpine Road is now in place. It will be on the ground floor of this Phase 1 building at the Twinbrook Quarter development. Wegmans will likely have its own construction contractor to complete the interior fit-out of its store. Based upon the current progress, an early 2024 opening for the Wegmans appears likely at this point.











Monday, September 19, 2022

Break-in at Rockville convenience store


Rockville City police responded to a break-in at a convenience store early yesterday morning, September 18, 2022. The burglary took place at a store in the 1600 block of E. Gude Drive at 3:06 AM. Responding officers found evidence of forced entry at the scene.

Sunday, September 18, 2022

Car stolen in Town Center area of Rockville


Rockville City police responded to a report of a stolen vehicle in a parking lot in the Town Center area yesterday morning, September 16, 2022. The lot was on E. Middle Lane. Police were called at 8:11 AM Saturday morning to investigate.

Saturday, September 17, 2022

Rockville apartment burglarized


Rockville City police responded to a report of a burglary inside an apartment building Thursday afternoon, September 15, 2022. The burglary was reported at an apartment in the 100 block of 1st Street at 1:10 PM. Upon arriving, officers found evidence of forced entry at the apartment.

Sheepskin Gifts & Alpaca Too returning for the holidays at Montgomery Mall in Bethesda


It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas at Westfield Montgomery Mall. That's because seasonal retailer Sheepskin Gifts & Alpaca Too is once again going to open at the mall for the holiday shopping and winter clothing season. It's one of those annual signs that Black Friday isn't far around the corner. Look for Sheepskin Gifts & Alpaca Too when it opens on Level 1, next to Intimissimi.

Friday, September 16, 2022

Maryland Gov. Hogan announces Korean firm UNDBIO to establish R&D lab in Rockville

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan meeting with
South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol in Seoul 

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) announced more positive economic developments for his state from his economic development trip to Asia today. Rockville is one of the winners in Hogan's outreach, as the governor reported that South Korean biotech firm UNDBIO has agreed to establish a 25,000 square foot research and development facility here. Twinlabs, a Rockville real estate firm that specializes in life sciences, reached a lease agreement with UNDBIO, who have committed $100,000,000 to the project.

UNDBIO anticipates the new facility will develop and manufacture insulin samples for FDA approval. These approved products will then enter the pharmaceutical market. The company possesses unique proprietary insulin production technology, which will be employed in the Rockville venture.

"Maryland is proud to be home to hundreds of life sciences companies that set the bar for biotechnology innovation and fuel our region’s innovative economy, and we are excited to welcome the life-saving work of UNDBIO to Rockville,” Hogan said in a statement this afternoon. “This is yet another shining example that Maryland is open for business and further evidence of our state’s special bond with the Republic of Korea.”

“I am happy to establish our relationship with the State of Maryland to undertake the research and development required to produce affordable insulin and insulin analogues for the diabetic population around the globe,” UNDBIO’s Chairman Jun Yong-soo said. “We look forward to developing high paying biotech jobs for Maryland, and would welcome other partners into our global insulin project.”