Monday, March 27, 2017

Target trucks continue to deliver inventory ahead of opening day (Photos)

There's only one way to stock the shelves and racks inside the new downtown Bethesda Target store before the grand opening on April 9, and Target 18-wheelers are quickly giving Teslas a run for their money as the most attention-getting vehicles in town. Here's one spotted arriving downtown along Wisconsin Avenue.

Left turn signal
activated as it approaches
the store

Climbing the hill
as it passes the future
Target storefront

Bethesda demolition update - 4733 Bethesda Avenue (Photos)

Demolition of an office building continues at 4733 Bethesda Avenue, to make way for a new JBG office building with retail, known as 4747 Bethesda Avenue. You can see that most of the glass is gone now.

Residents rally to demand change, accountability after Rockville HS gang rape (Video+photos)

Hundreds of residents gathered in front of the Montgomery County Council Building in Rockville yesterday to demand elected officials and MCPS be held accountable for their roles in the alleged gang rape of a 14-year-old girl at Rockville High School. Protesters held signs demanding MCPS Superintendent Jack Smith resign, and against Montgomery County sanctuary policies that allowed the girl's alleged attackers to live here and enroll in 9th grade despite being much older. The rape allegedly took place in a bathroom at the school on March 16.

Speakers and notable attendees included Montgomery County Executive candidate Robin Ficker, Montgomery County Council District 2 candidate Edward Amatetti, and Brigitta Mullican, a Rockville resident who has been one of the leading critics of the effort to officially declare Rockville a sanctuary city.

A small group of counter-protesters
were kept separate across the street
by Montgomery County police
A small group of less than 20 counter-protesters set up across Maryland Avenue from the protest, and attempted to shout down speakers throughout the event, despite lacking the numbers to do so. The poor showing was likely due to the fact that very few in the county believe the accused rapists should have been in the 9th grade. And to the mass outrage over the security lapses that facilitated the alleged suspects' brutal bathroom attack, during which they allegedly repeatedly raped and sodomized the victim, as she screamed for help that never came.
Robin Ficker is mobbed by
fans after lowering the boom
on the County Council and MCPS
in his speech
In a speech to the crowd, Ficker ripped County elected officials and MCPS for their mishandling of the Rockville H.S. rape, and of crime in their schools in general. Ficker cited recent reports of violent crimes that occurred at the school just weeks before the gang rape, and were covered up by administrators. In one, a girl was beaten and kicked in the head three times, he said - yet parents were never informed this happened. These were warning signs that should have resulted in tighter security weeks ago, Ficker said.

Ficker suggested the county move 9th grade back to junior high, and leave grades 10, 11 and 12 at the high school level, arguing that kids are being forced to grow up too fast. He noted that, while Rockville H.S. had more than 100 security cameras, no one was monitoring them.

Amatetti paused during his speech to ask the crowd to "pray real, real hard for the young, brave girl" who was the victim in this case. He said the school system and the county have "real problems" that need to be addressed.
Ficker poses with a large
contingent of legal Asian
The crowd was diverse, including Asians, African-Americans and Latinos. One attendee was overheard noting that the counter-protesters across the street were whiter than the crowd they were counter-protesting against.

Several immigrants who had legally achieved citizenship through great effort and cost, or were seeking to do so legally, decried the county's effort to give those who haven't followed the rules special status. Lucas, a resident of Kensington who did not wish to give his last name, said he has been in the U.S. for 3 years on a student visa. Now he has applied for citizenship, and has been told the process will take 3 to 5 years. It's "unfair," he said, for those who broke the rules to gain the rewards of citizenship in Montgomery County before those who play by the rules.

Mullican called it "unfair for the legal immigrants who waited their turn and came here through the system." She emigrated legally to America from Germany with her family in 1956, and had to wait until 1968 to become a citizen. "I understand the immigration process, and the privilege of being a U.S. citizen," she said.

Several attendees carried signs demanding the resignation of MCPS Superintendent Jack Smith, Smith has so far declined to comply with the growing calls locally and nationally for him to step down. He has gained national notoriety for seeming more concerned about immigration politics than about the rape victim. Smith "speaks far more harshly about xenophobia than he does about sexual assault of a child," said Fox News anchor Tucker Carlson.
Bethesda resident Jerry Cave
was master of
ceremonies for the rally

Montgomery County
Young Republicans VP
Dan McHugh

Parents want
Smith out

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Vehicle burglarized in Green Acres, assault on Crossfield Ct. + more - Bethesda crime update

Here's a roundup of crimes reported across Bethesda on March 23, according to crime data:

Theft from vehicle. 7700 block Woodmont Avenue.

Theft. 7500 block Old Georgetown Road.

Collision/property damage. 4800 block Cordell Avenue.

Theft. 5100 block Acacia Avenue.

Vehicle burglary. 5300 block Yorktown Road (Green Acres).

Theft. 5300 block Western Avenue.

Vehicle burglary. 00 block Pooks Hill Road.

Drug arrest. 8600 block Woodbrook Road.

Vehicle burglary. 8500 block Meadowlark Lane.

Theft from vehicle. 10400 block Old Georgetown Road.

Assault. 11300 block Woodglen Drive.

Assault. 5100 block Crossfield Court.

Bethesda demolition update: Steamers (Photos)

Demolition continues at the site of the vacant Steamers, located at the corner of Norfolk and Auburn Avenues in downtown Bethesda. The property will be redeveloped with The Claiborne, a 10-story luxury condo building. At least one tree was cut down, as the tree trunk chunks in these photos attest.

These property owners declined
to sell to the developer of
The Claiborne, which will
be built on the Steamers site

Marbles closes at Westfield Montgomery Mall, Voorthuis coming soon, Yum Crepes is....? (Photos)

Marbles: The Brain Store, as expected, has closed at Westfield Montgomery Mall in Bethesda, perhaps reflecting the lower academic standards adopted by Montgomery County Public Schools in 2015. Apparently, we're just not smart enough anymore for a brain store, nor for Smart Toys, which also closed a few months ago.

In other mall news, Yum Crepes is closed again in the Dining Terrace. What that means is unclear. The kiosk has been closed every day I have been to the mall this past week, including Saturday. However, it is not cleared out, and Yum has done this before, only to open a few days later. Stay tuned.

Finally, Voorthuis Opticians has put up some "coming soon" signage at their new mall space.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Burglary on Bayard Blvd., assault on Democracy Blvd. + more - Bethesda crime update

Here's a roundup of crimes reported across Bethesda on March 22, according to crime data:

Theft. 7800 block Woodmont Avenue.

Theft. 4800 block Battery Lane.

Liquor arrest. Leland Street at Connecticut Avenue.

Burglary. 4700 block Bayard Boulevard.

Theft from vehicle. 10600 block Weymouth Street.

Assault. 7100 block Democracy Boulevard.

Assault. 12000 block Parklawn Drive.