Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Wes Moore only Democratic candidate for Maryland governor surging in new poll, 42% still undecided

A new poll in the Maryland Democratic primary race for governor conducted for Wes Moore for Maryland by Garin Hart Yang Research Group could be seen as a positive for many candidates ahead of the July 19 vote. With 42% of Maryland Democratic primary voters still "undecided," there are a lot of votes out there for the taking in the next eight weeks. And despite a very quiet spring, Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot finished first in the poll with 19%. But Moore's campaign, which has been gaining momentum in endorsements and straw polls in recent weeks, is energized by the finding that Moore is the only candidate to surge in the results since GHYRG's November 2021 poll; Moore increased his support from 7% to 13%, giving him a second place finish.

"Wes Moore is the ONLY candidate who has increased his support and as a result he has moved into second place, within striking distance of the lead," the polling firm wrote in a memo to the Moore campaign. The memo declares Franchot's campaign "stagnant, with literally NO movement since last September." Poll results show former Prince George's County Executive Rushern Baker holding steady at 11% in third place, and former U.S. Labor Secretary Tom Perez, former Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler, and former U.S. Education Secretary John King essentially tied for fourth, within the +/-4.1% margin of error.

The firm surveyed 601 likely Democratic primary voters between May 5 and May 9, 2022, with the exception of Mother's Day. Results also showed that Moore's voters are more committed (54%) than Franchot's (45%) to supporting their candidate "strongly" in the primary. And among voters who have heard of Moore, he is beating Franchot 27% to 19%. 

“Wes Moore for Maryland is the only campaign moving forward in the polls and we are the only campaign with the momentum, the resources, the path, the vision, and the leaders to win this primary in July and the general election in November,” Moore's campaign manager Ned Miller said in a statement. “We have the momentum and a unique opportunity to win and build a more inclusive, safer, and prosperous Maryland, and we are going to continue connecting with voters across the state in the next two months," Moore said after his campaign released the poll results. 

Poll graph courtesy Garin Hart Yang Research Group

Sexual assault reported at Rockville hotel

Rockville City police officers were called to a hotel after a sexual assault was reported there Sunday morning. The victim reported having been groped at a hotel in the 14900 block of Shady Grove Road at 9:13 AM, according to crime data. There is a Hilton Garden Inn/Homewood Suites hotel on that block.

Monday, May 16, 2022

Marc Elrich endorsed by transit union in Montgomery County Executive race

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich (D) has been endorsed by the Amalgamated Transit Union  Local 689 in his run for reelection in the July 19, 2022 Democratic primary. It is the latest labor endorsement for the incumbent, who is already backed by the Montgomery County Education Association, the Service Employees International Union 32BJ and Local 500, and the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local 868. 

"I am very grateful for their support and trust in my leadership," Elrich said in a statement. "ATU Local 689 is comprised of over 13,000 members and retirees performing occupations within the many skilled transportation crafts for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), and MetroAccess, among others. I have been committed to supporting our workers and expanding and improving transit opportunities is part of that commitment." Elrich is running against Democrats David Blair, Peter James and Hans Riemer in the primary. Shelly Skolnick and Reardon Sullivan are running for the Republican nomination in the race.

Rockville HDC to review demolitions at Montgomery County jail

Rockville's Historic District Commission will review the proposed demolition of seven unutilized structures at the Montgomery County Detention Center campus at 1307 Seven Locks Road at its meeting this Thursday, May 19, 2022 at 7:00 PM. The Montgomery County Department of General Services is seeking the demolitions, to clear the way for a potential Montgomery County Public Schools school bus depot. 

No formal proposal for the bus depot has been submitted to the City as of yet. The HDC will consider the potential historic significance of the seven buildings. But under the mandatory referral process for government projects, the City can only advise changes; it cannot stop a County project from moving forward.

Rockville LensCrafters store opening soon

The sign is up at the future LensCrafters location at 901 Rose Avenue at the Pike & Rose development in Rockville. Last night, it was already lit. The eyewear retailer had planned an April 4 opening for this store, but that date came and went. LensCrafters will soon square off against competitor Warby Parker, which is also opening a store at Pike & Rose this year. 

Sunday, May 15, 2022

Wes Moore wins, Doug Gansler a surprise second in Western Maryland Democratic Summit straw poll

Wes Moore (right) and running mate
Aruna Miller after winning 2022
Western Maryland Democratic Summit
straw poll in MD governor race

Democrat Wes Moore continues to gain momentum as he attempts to break away from a crowded field in the July 19 Maryland gubernatorial primary, taking first place with 153 votes in what many consider the first major contest in a statewide race, the 2022 Western Maryland Democratic Summit straw poll. That might not have been too shocking, but the real surprise was the second-place finish by former Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler, who beat once-assumed-to-be-frontrunner Peter Franchot 7 to 1 in the poll with 71 votes.

Former Montgomery County Councilmember and U.S. Labor Secretary Tom Perez took a distant third place with 48 votes, John King with 45 votes, Peter Franchot in a big dropoff at only 10 votes, Ashwani Jain at 5 votes, Rushern Baker and Jon Baron tied at 2 votes apiece, and Jerome Segal bringing up the rear with a single vote.

"Today's straw poll results from the #WesternMaryland #DemSummit2022 speak for themselves," Moore tweeted after the vote. "Our movement is strong statewide, and Marylanders are excited about the opportunity our vision presents. Together, we will build a state where we leave no one behind."

Doug Gansler

The Gansler campaign was thrilled with the result, which it did not find as surprising, because their candidate has been gaining notice locally for having a presence west of Hagerstown in this campaign. “Candidates like former Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler, a Democrat, and Kelly M. Schulz, a Republican, former state delegate and labor secretary under Gov. Larry Hogan, have come through the region during the course of the campaign” the Cumberland Times-News editorial board opined. “[M]ost [of the other candidates] have been ghosts, relegated to the eastern half of the state, more a series of pictures and words than person.” 

Gansler and running mate Candace Hollingsworth, a former mayor of Hyattsville, thanked voters for the strong show of support at the Rocky Gap Casino Resort in Flintstone, Maryland. “I’m grateful to all the Western Maryland Democrats who cast their vote for Candace and me in today’s straw poll, and as governor I will make sure the rural parts of Maryland help lead the way as we build a better, safer and greener future for our state,” Gansler said in a statement. “This is a two-person race, and crime is the number one issue voters care about. As a former prosecutor and attorney general, I am the candidate best-equipped — in fact, I am the only candidate at all equipped — to address the massive rise in crime across our state and make Maryland safe.”

“Peter Franchot’s entire rationale for his candidacy just completely fell apart; he is not the candidate who runs strongest statewide. Doug beat Franchot 7 to 1 in a region of the state where Franchot himself claims to be strong,” Gansler campaign manager Shaun Daniels said after the vote. “This is the first public poll where Democrats put pen to paper to publicly declare their choices. Doug Gansler placed second, far outpacing the next place finishers. It is obvious the field is narrowing. We have more than a million dollars on hand and every Democrat in Maryland is going to know that Doug and Candace are the best candidates, not just to take on Kelly Schulz in November, but to keep us safe.”

Gansler has been endorsed by Western Maryland’s only Democratic Senator, Sen. Ron Young.

Gas prices top $5.00 in Bethesda, as low as $4.25 in Rockville as drivers get pounded at the pumps in Maryland

Montgomery County gas prices are now higher than they were at the worst inflationary period in March 2022. Prices had dropped after Maryland instituted a temporary gas tax holiday, but have come roaring back since it expired on April 17, picking up steam in recent weeks.

The Exxon at 7975 Old Georgetown Road in downtown Bethesda, where there are few gas stations left, was at $4.99 and 9/10 cents Saturday in Bethesda. As of noon today, Google is giving the station's price for regular as $5.00 even. Liberty stations at the edge of downtown Bethesda were also at $4.99 as Sunday began. According to Gas Buddy, regular is $4.69 at Sunoco at 5201 River Road in Bethesda, where prices are usually significantly cheaper than downtown.

Gas is already over $5.00 at some stations. Exxon in Brookmont, a "last gas" stop before you hit the D.C. line out of Montgomery County, is charging $5.39, according to Gas Buddy. 

Drivers are faring much better than that elsewhere in Montgomery County. Regular is "only" $4.25 at Carroll Motor Fuels at 12600 Twinbrook Parkway in Rockville as of two hours ago. It's $4.28 at Fast Fuels on the main drag in Damascus, at 9871 Main Street. In Kensington, Econoway is charging $4.29, as is the Sunoco at 18001 Mateny Road in Germantown. Yet it is 10 cents more at the other Germantown Sunoco at 19738 Germantown Road, according to Gas Buddy.

Aggravated assault reported in Regents Square neighborhood of Rockville

Montgomery County police responded to a report of an aggravated assault outside of a residence in the Regents Square community of Rockville early Friday morning, May 13, 2022. The assault, which involved a weapon that was not identified as a firearm, was reported in the 700 block of Azalea Drive, according to crime data. That is right next to I-270.

Saturday, May 14, 2022

Assault at Rockville shopping center

Rockville City police were called to a shopping center to investigate a report of an assault Wednesday afternoon, May 11, 2022. An individual told officers they had been the victim of a 2nd-degree assault in the parking lot of the Fallsgrove Village Center at 1:28 PM, according to crime data.

Friday, May 13, 2022

Several injured in Rockville collision on Maryland Avenue

A traffic accident in Rockville sent several people to local hospitals this afternoon. The collision occurred on Maryland Avenue near the intersection with W. Argyle Street at 5:45 PM, according to Rockville City police. None of the injuries were considered life-threatening, RCPD said. Maryland Avenue was temporarily closed for rescue operations and accident investigation.

Photo courtesy RCPD

Hello Betty boat bar opens for summer in Rockville

The boat bar has opened for summer at Hello Betty, the new seafood restaurant at Pike & Rose. It is located inside the Canopy by Hilton hotel at 940 Rose Avenue. But you can take a short cut right to the bar through the blue and yellow door on the Grand Park Avenue side of the hotel. A christening ceremony will be held for the boat bar - and, yes, it is a real boat - on May 26, 2022 at 7:00 PM, and will include a complimentary champagne toast.

Photos by Alison Tremblay

Rockville bank-to-Dunkin' Donuts conversion advancing (Photos)

A vacant drive-thru bank branch at 16268 Frederick Road in Rockville is rapidly becoming a new Dunkin' Donuts store. As you can see in these photos, the drive-thru's canopy and parts of the bank building itself are now sporting Dunkin' colors. The current Dunkin' Donuts shop at 16220 Frederick will relocate into this building when the conversion is complete. Almost "time to make the donuts" at this new store, on the border of Rockville and Gaithersburg.

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Lazzaro's Authentic Italian Deli, A Beautiful Closet, De Clichy open at Montgomery Mall in Bethesda

Three new businesses have opened at Westfield Montgomery Mall in Bethesda. Lazzaro's Authentic Italian Deli has replaced the recently-closed Big Al's Subs and Soups in the Dining Terrace food court. This was an overnight conversion of the Big Al's stall without any additonal construction. Lazzaro's has no website, no Facebook page, or any other social media presence that I can find.

On the fashion front, two new boutiques have opened. A Beautiful Closet is on Level 2 next to California Pizza Kitchen. De Clichy menswear is also on Level 2, next to LensCrafters.

A Beautiful Closet

A Beautiful Closet

De Clichy menswear

Trammell Crow to develop The Labs at Belward life sciences center in Rockville

Developer Trammell Crow announced it plans to build a 757,000 square foot life sciences center on the former Belward Farm property in Rockville. The Labs at Belward will be on the Belward Campus of Johns Hopkins University, and initially include three buildings of trophy laboratory and research space. Future additions will expand that to 1.6 million square feet across seven buildings.

Trammell Crow said it expects to break ground on the project in June of 2023. An early 2025 delivery is anticipated. 

On the professional scientific side, the project facilities will support BSL Category-2 laboratory functions, and have 18-foot deck-to-deck ceiling heights on both the basement and ground floors, with 16-foot heights on all other floors. There will be outdoor terraces and balconies on each building, and a variety of amenities and "supporting retail" for tenants, Trammell Crow said in a press release.

For the public at large, there will be a six-acre public park with an amphitheater, recreational fields, two retail pavilions totaling approximately 6,000 square feet, large wooded buffer areas, several miles of bike and walking trails, and an effort to preserve the site’s natural elements. Preservation of as much of the farmland as possible was the stated goal of the family who sold it to JHU, a decision that led to much controversy in the years after the sale over whether Elizabeth Beall Banks' wishes were being honored by the university.

“We eagerly await the realization of The Labs at Belward as an integral component of the overall vision for the Belward Camus of The Johns Hopkins University,” Mitch Bonanno, Chief Real Estate Officer for The Johns Hopkins University and Medicine Mitch Bonnano said in a statement. 

Trammell Crow officials are optimistic they can finally deliver a major piece of what had long been expected to be the core of the 2010 Great Seneca Science Corridor master plan. “The Labs at Belward is a first-of-its-kind innovation ecosystem within a campus environment akin to a collegiate setting,” Eric Fischer, Managing Director TCC’s MidAtlantic offices said in a statement. "Most importantly, we appreciate the opportunity to work in close alignment with both The Johns Hopkins University and with Montgomery County to activate this critically important site in a manner that advances the University’s and the County’s shared life sciences vision.”

Clark Construction will be the construction contractor for the project. Gensler is the architectural firm, and OJB will design the landscape architecture.

Rendering courtesy Gensler

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Google I/O 2022 keynote shows Maryland digital driver's license joining Google Wallet this year

The most useful NFT on your Android phone may soon be your Maryland driver's license. During today's Google I/O 2022 keynote address, Maryland was shown as one of the first states whose digital driver's license will be accepted by Google Wallet later this year. Our state was already one of the first to qualify for Apple's Wallet app, allowing residents to store their Maryland driver's license digitally on their iPhone or Apple Watch. Aside from the practical benefit for drivers, being one of the earliest adopters gave Maryland some bonus international publicity today, as being one of the more tech-advanced states in digital IDs.

Car reported stolen from Rockville auto dealership

Rockville City police responded to a report of a vehicle being stolen from an auto dealership. The car was reported stolen from a dealership in the 800 block of Rockville Pike on Monday afternoon at 1:07 PM, according to crime data. There is a DARCARS Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram dealership on that block.

Rockville makes list of Top 20 American cities with most speeding tickets

You've seen your share of reckless drivers in Rockville, but now a national study has seen them, too. The city ranks 17th on a list of the top 20 American cities with the most speeding tickets. Insurify, an auto insurance rate comparison website, crunched the data to determine which cities have the most speeding tickets in proportion to their total population.

Insurify found that 14.42% of Rockville's total population of 68,401 (2019) have at least one speeding ticket. 15.01% of insured Rockville drivers have had a prior auto accident, the study showed. Rockville punched above its weight, making the list alongside major cities like Des Moines, Indianapolis, and Kansas City, Missouri. This could be due to the ticket-issuing cameras prevalent in Montgomery County.

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Assault at Rockville Town Square restaurant

Rockville City police were called to a restaurant at Rockville Town Square early Sunday morning, to investigate an assault reported there. The assault was reported at a restaurant in the unit block of Maryland Avenue at 12:43 AM, according to crime data.

Monday, May 9, 2022

Doug Gansler, Wes Moore tout latest endorsements in Maryland governor race

Wes Moore speaks after receiving
the endorsement of Maryland House
Speaker Adrienne Jones in
Catonsville Saturday morning

Two Democratic candidates for Maryland governor have announced prominent endorsements in the crowded primary field. Perhaps the most powerful Democrat in the state, Maryland House Speaker Adrienne Jones, has endorsed Wes Moore in the race. "Wes Moore has the fortitude, lived experience, and motivation to lead us into a new era of equity, opportunity, and achievement for all Marylanders,” Jones said at the Benjamin Banneker Museum in Catonsville on Saturday. “He is the governor Maryland needs to put us on the best path forward.”

“It is an honor to receive the support of Speaker Jones, a stalwart champion for equity and opportunity in Maryland,” Moore said in a statement. “I’ve been proud to work with her on her groundbreaking Black agenda, on the blueprint for Maryland’s future – and I will be so proud to be her partner as we usher in a new era of opportunities.” In a race that many thought Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot would lead through a hefty campaign treasure chest and political influence, Moore has appeared to have the momentum in the final months, racking up endorsements from power players across the state including longtime Congressman Steny Hoyer and Prince George's County Executive Angela Alsobrooks. Franchot, in contrast, has made very little news at all.

(L-R in Baltimore): Rev. Dr. Alvin J. Gwynn,
Maryland Governor candidate Doug Gansler, 
Lt. Governor candidate Candace Hollingsworth

Former Maryland Attorney General and current Montgomery County resident Doug Gansler meanwhile received an endorsement that could boost his turnout in the City of Baltimore, where he has placed much of his effort during his campaign. The Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance of Baltimore has endorsed Gansler and his running mate, former Hyattsville Mayor Candace Hollingsworth, for Governor and Lieutenant Governor of Maryland.  “The IMA believes that former Attorney General Doug Gansler and former Mayor Candace Hollingsworth are the best-suited ticket to meet the needs of Black Marylanders across the state,” IMA President Rev. Dr. Alvin J. Gwynn, Sr. said in a statement. “Doug has spent much of his career serving communities of color in Maryland and working to keep the state safe but never at the expense of justice. Candace led revitalization efforts when she served as mayor of Hyattsville. The IMA believes that Doug and Candace are the right team to create not only a safer Baltimore, but a safer Maryland, and we look forward to helping them win this primary in July.”  

“It’s a deep and profound honor for us to receive the IMA’s endorsement,” Gansler said. “Not only because of what IMA represents historically for Baltimore, but also because of the pastors that represent the citizens of Baltimore. We’re excited to work with the pastors of IMA and the communities on the ground to help Baltimore realize its promise as a safe and vibrant city.” The significance and weight of the IMA endorsement is seen in two other politicians who have received it in the past, the late Congressman Elijah Cummings (D), and current Congressman Kweisi Mfume (D).

Donald Trump meets with Maryland governor hopeful Dan Cox at Mar-a-Lago in Florida

Fresh off a major victory in the Ohio U.S. Senate primary, former President Donald Trump is redoubling his efforts to play a similar kingmaker role in the Maryland Republican primary this July. Trump held a private meeting at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida last week with his endorsed candidate in the Maryland gubernatorial race, Dan Cox. A Republican state representative in the Maryland House of Delegates, Cox was heartily endorsed by Trump last year. In a statement, Trump urged Maryland Republican voters to turn out for Cox. "I want you to help him," Trump said. "He's going to win big."

The impact of Trump's endorsement in a state like Maryland won't be known until after those voters head to the polls on July 19. While Trump was almost single-handedly responsible for the win of J.D. Vance in the Ohio U.S. Senate primary, the Buckeye state is a solid Republican redoubt in 2022. Trump remains popular among large numbers of Republicans in Maryland, but victory there requires a larger percentage of independent and moderate Democratic votes than in Ohio. Current Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) has sailed to victory twice, the second time - in part - due to his trashing of Trump loudly and repeatedly in the national media.

Hogan's attacks have the candidate he has endorsed to succeed him, Kelly Schulz, on the receiving end of Trump's own attacks.  The popular Republican governor is exploring a possible presidential run in 2024, and that no doubt has played a role in Trump's engagement in the Maryland race. As Maryland's commerce secretary, Schulz scored major wins in attracting a Hitachi railcar factory, and two new manufacturing facilities for United Safety Technology and Niagara Bottling, to a state that has seen those industrial jobs evaporate in recent decades.  

Schulz did not wage a similar public campaign against Trump while serving in Hogan's administration, but has earned Trump's ire simply for being Hogan's choice, and for carrying out Hogan's policies during the coronavirus pandemic lockdowns. Cox rose to prominence as a critic of those policies, going so far as to sue Hogan in court.

Schulz' primary political message has been that she is the only candidate who can maintain that Hogan coalition at the polls this November. “If you approve of how we have led Maryland, then Kelly Schulz is your choice for governor,” Hogan declared in his endorsement speech. With two impressive wins in a blue state under Hogan's belt, and high marks from even many Democratic voters, that's a compelling case for sure.

In contrast, Cox has wider goals than the continuation of the Hogan status quo. He has promised to audit the 2020 election, "stop the indoctrination of our kids in schools," end taxpayer funding of abortions, block the federal release of immigrants apprehended at the border into Maryland communities, and double police salaries. That's an agenda diehard Trump supporters in Maryland would strongly support. Establishment Republican operatives looking at a Democratic field that hasn't produced the clear, strong frontrunner many had expected...not so much. Which side of that GOP coin will have the numbers July 19 is anybody's guess at this point.

Cox, for his part, is confident of the positive impact of a Trump endorsement in Maryland. "The most powerful endorsement in America is the one I am blessed to have - President Trump's endorsement," he said in a statement after the Mar-a-Lago meeting. Cox said that Trump called several unnamed Republican leaders on the telephone during their meeting, exhorting them to support the Cox campaign.

Photo released by Dan Cox for Governor campaign

Purse snatching on Rockville Pike

Montgomery County police responded to a report of a purse snatching and aggravated assault on Rockville Pike Saturday night. The incident was reported in the 1000 block of Rockville Pike at 10:00 PM Saturday, according to crime data.

Sunday, May 8, 2022

Armed robbery in Rockville

Montgomery County police were called to the scene of an armed robbery in Rockville on Friday afternoon. The robbery was reported in the 4500 block of Glasgow Drive at 3:00 PM, according to crime data. An individual reported having been robbed in a vehicle along the street there. A firearm was the weapon employed in the robbery.

Saturday, May 7, 2022

Assault in Rockville parking lot

Rockville City police responded to a report of an assault in a parking lot on Wednesday night. The victim reported having been assaulted in a commercial parking lot in the 600 block of Hungerford Drive (MD 355) at 10:25 PM, according to crime data.

Friday, May 6, 2022

Rockville Economic Development, Inc. launches survey of business community needs

Rockville Economic Development, Inc.
(REDI) yesterday announced the launch of its 2022 survey of business community needs. The feedback gathered from city businesses will be used to improve REDI's and the City's efforts to promote economic development, and create a thriving business environment. Over $1200 value in prizes will be given away via random drawing to a few of the businesses that fill out the online survey, which takes about 10 minutes to complete. The survey can be accessed online.

“The responses from the survey will be crucial in helping REDI, the City and key stakeholders prioritize what will best serve our local business community,” REDI CEO Cynthia Rivarde said in a statement Thursday. REDI is a public-private partnership that helps businesses launch, locate, expand in the City of Rockville.

Under Armour's move is temporary at Montgomery Mall in Bethesda

Under Armour
giving up a custom-designed space for a non-descript storefront at Westfield Montgomery Mall in Bethesda made no sense. Until now. It turns out that the store is in the more generic location on Level 2 temporarily, so that its original space can be renovated. The Baltimore-based company says the revamped store will be "bigger and better" than ever before.

Thursday, May 5, 2022

Rockville's Soulfull Cafe to celebrate grand reopening Saturday, May 14

The Soulfull Cafe at 50 Monroe Place in Rockville will be hosting a grand reopening event on Saturday, May 14, 2022, from 11:00 AM - 1:00 PM. All in the community are invited to the event, which is being held in partnership with Main Street Connect. From its beginning, Soulfull Cafe has been committed to providing employee opportunities for people of all abilities.

At the reopening party, see the art of Rachel Perlman on display, and enjoy music from DJ Aaron. Tour the Main Street development that houses the cafe. And stay around at 1:00 PM for a free Main Street Zumba class. Parking is available in the garage at 51 Monroe Place, or along the street. To attend, register online here.

Dominique Dawes Gymnastics & Ninja Academy opening Rockville location

Dominique Dawes Gymnastics & Ninja Academy
is expanding to a second location in Rockville. It will be in the Montrose Shopping Center at 5622 Randolph Road. Olympic gold medalist Dawes says she founded the original Clarksburg gym not just for kids who might have Olympic dreams of their own, but for the self-esteem and personal growth of every child who enrolls, and the supportive environment and coaches necessary for that. 

Membership requires an annual fee, and the financial commitment for class enrollment is by the month. The gym will also offer summer programs, preschool and homeschool classes, and party and event hosting. It is expected to open by late 2022.

Butter Me Up opening today at Montgomery Mall in Bethesda (Photos)

Butter Me Up,
a breakfast-themed restaurant from the founders of Half Smoke, will open today at Westfield Montgomery Mall in Bethesda. The fast-casual menu includes breakfast sandwiches, tater tots, French toast sticks, breakfast bowls, fresh juices and smoothies, hot and cold coffee drinks, lemonade and brunch-style cocktails. Look for Butter Me Up on Level 1 in the former Aroma space. Here's a first look at the interior and full menu:

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Maryland in a "state of lawlessness," gubernatorial candidate Doug Gansler says in crime-focused campaign

Democrat Doug Gansler is the former Attorney General of Maryland and a past State's Attorney in his native Montgomery County. Given that resume, it's not surprising that crime has been a major focus of his campaign as the July 19, 2022 Democratic primary approaches. In a statement released this morning after a police detective was carjacked in Baltimore Tuesday night, Gansler says, "Maryland is in a state of lawlessness when people feel at liberty to carjack, shoot, or assassinate doctors, police officers, and people who are just minding their own business trying to get through their day."

Carjackings, often by armed robbers, have become a frequent occurrence in Montgomery County as well in the pandemic era. Drivers from Bethesda to Silver Spring and Gaithersburg have found themselves in the crosshairs of carjackers over the last two years. Even Potomac hasn't escaped the trend.

Gansler is tacking against the "defund the police" sentiment of some in his party. He sees a police shortage, and is promising to instead put "more and better-paid police officers on our streets." Gansler says he would balance a tougher stance on crime with funding for programs that address the root causes of lawbreaking. "We will...invest in the necessary resources to solve every murder and every carjacking while also fast-tracking funding for community infrastructure projects like youth recreation centers in high-crime areas," Gansler says in today's statement, which also accuses the state of having neglected the City of Baltimore "for too long."

In a crowded Democratic race, Gansler carries the advantage of having been elected to a statewide office before. He has been endorsed by more than 40 current and past attorneys general from across the country, and was named a 2022 Moms Demand Action Gun Sense Candidate. Gansler's path to victory would likely have to include a strong turnout in his home base of Montgomery County, Baltimore residents fed up with crime, and a sizable chunk of moderate Democrats in Southern Maryland and on the Eastern Shore. He could benefit from being the only candidate in his lane, which is relatively moderate and tough-on-crime, while the other candidates are vigorously competing to be seen as the most-progressive. The question remains, is that a winning lane in the Maryland Democratic Party circa 2022?

Also running for governor are Democrats Rushern Baker, Jon Baron, Peter Franchot, Ralph Jaffe, Ashwani Jain, John King, Wes Moore, Tom Perez, and Jerome M. Segal. Republicans Dan Cox, Robin Ficker, Kelly Schulz and Joe Werner will face off in their own July 19 primary. Libertarian David Lashar and Unaffiliated candidate Kyle Sefcik will take on the winners of the two major party primaries in the November general election.

Photo via Friends of Doug Gansler

J.Crew Factory "coming soon" to Rockville (Photos)

Classic American apparel brand J.Crew will soon have a bricks-and-mortar presence on Rockville Pike. J.Crew Factory is "coming soon" to Congressional Plaza, according to signage posted in its future storefront. Like many apparel and department store outlet sub-brands, J.Crew Factory is offering the styles the primary brand is known for at discount prices. The store is currently hiring for all positions.