Friday, October 09, 2015

Assault in Pike District, theft on Swansea St. + more - Bethesda crime update

Here's a roundup of crimes reported across Bethesda on October 6, according to crime data:

Theft. 7200 block Wisconsin Avenue.

Theft. 6100 block Swansea Street.

Death. Wisconsin Avenue at West Virginia Avenue at 8:33 PM.

Kidnapping. 7700 block Norfolk Avenue at 3:11 PM.

Disorderly conduct. Willard Avenue at Friendship Boulevard at 7:37 PM.

Disorderly conduct. 10200 block Westlake Drive at 6:05 PM.

Drug arrest. 9900 block Derbyshire Lane at 2:45 AM.

Death. 10400 block Grosvenor Place at 5:21 PM.

Assault. 12200 Chase Crossing Circle at 12:24 AM (Pike District).

Marmi boutique coming to Bethesda

Marmi, a specialty boutique offering European-influenced shoes and accessories, is coming to Westfield Montgomery Mall in Bethesda. The St. Louis based-chain was launched in 1986.

One aspect of Marmi's inventory touted by the company is the range of sizes it carries, from 4 to 13, and from slim to wide.

You can check out their website to get an idea of the products they carry.

Williams-Sonoma opening this morning at Bethesda Row (Photos)

We're T-minus two hours away from the Grand Opening of Williams-Sonoma at Bethesda Row this morning. The high-end kitchen, cookware and home decorating store is teaming up with Bethesda Avenue neighbor Georgetown Cupcake all weekend to celebrate.
This is one of the first Williams-Sonoma stores in their chain to sport this particular interior design and layout, which the chain will eventually roll out in other select locations. The first thing you'll notice upon entering is the table setting for pumpkin season straight ahead. That's just one of many fall, pumpkin, and Halloween-themed items you'll find around the store.

But if you stop by this weekend, you'll probably notice the pumpkin aromas wafting out onto Bethesda Avenue before you even go inside. General Manager Travis Montgomery says they'll be baking and preparing pumpkin treats all weekend at the store. On Thursday, a coffee display was set up ready for demonstration as well. The other reason you'll notice the aromas at a distance? Williams-Sonomas' storefront can open like the front of Redwood during nice weather.
You can custom order one of
these French stoves, entirely
hand-made, for around
Also up front is a hand-made stove from France. Like everything but the walls, floor and cash registers, it is for sale. That's right - if you see a table, a chair, or anything else you like in the store, it's for sale.
At the same time, there
are many affordable items
available, like these
$6 plates in their
Open Kitchen line
 The new store at 4824 Bethesda Avenue will replace the one at Mazza Gallerie, and also features many new proprietary products, such as.... Montgomery said Williams-Sonoma is expanding its proprietary product offerings, which are being sold alongside the top brands you're used to finding at their stores.
One of many new
Williams-Sonoma brand
products for sale

In fact, there's one display dedicated to a brand Williams-Sonoma has been associated with from its earliest days, Vitamix.
The stove in the center of the store is gas, and is brand new. Employees were testing out the burners Thursday when I stopped by.
Employees fire up the
gas burners
Demonstration kitchen

The stove is the

If you stop by today, Saturday or Sunday, you'll be in for a treat - literally.

They'll be giving away Georgetown Cupcakes. Get a Williams-Sonoma Open Kitchen tote bag with any $25 purchase.

On Saturday at 12:00 PM, there will be a Georgetown Cupcake technique class for all of you cupcake fanatics. These types of classes will be a regular weekend event at the store.
Gifts for the ghoul
in your life

Lots of Halloween food
products and decorations
Stick around, because from 1-4 PM, the store will participate in the Bethesda Row Perfect Pairings event. Enjoy Williams-Sonoma treats specially paired with appropriate wine selections. Make a purchase, and you'll get a free set of wine glasses (while supplies last).

Come back Sunday for a bake sale with Georgetown Cupcake, with all proceeds going to the worthy charity No Kid Hungry.

Store hours will be 10 AM to 8 PM Monday to Saturday, and 12 PM to 6 PM. However, they will take appointments for wedding registries and other personalized services in advance for 11:00 AM Sundays. Montgomery said you can even have store employees come to your home as a free service, to advise you on kitchen makeovers and interior decorating.

This store will feature some Bethesda-based companies' products, including Gordy's Pickle Jar and Dear Cocoa Chocolate.

Finally, make sure to pick up some of the seasonal catalogs. You'll find interesting ideas for Halloween, like this impressive ghost cake - and the molded pan you need to bake it.

These aren't just
standard display
...look closer and find
they are vintage French
baking pans

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Sex offense on East-West Hwy., burglary on Battery La. + more - Bethesda crime update

Here's a roundup of crimes reported across Bethesda on October 5, according to crime data:

Theft. 7600 block Old Georgetown Road.

Theft. 7100 block Bethesda Lane (Bethesda Row).

Burglary. 4800 block Battery Lane at 4:19 PM.

Other sexual offense. 4300 block East-West Highway at 4:05 PM.

Vehicle burglary. 7000 block Exfair Road (Edgemoor).

Theft. 5600 block Oak Place.

Theft from vehicle. Giant (Westwood Shopping Center) at 6:03 PM.

Theft. Panera Bread (Friendship Heights).

Vehicle burglary. 3100 block Leland Street.

Death. 8100 block Connecticut Avenue at 11:43 PM (Chevy Chase Lake).

Montgomery County's low unemployment rate doesn't mean jobs were created in the county

Montgomery County is again touting its low unemployment rate, reported by the Maryland DLLR as 3.8% in August, according to an official County press release. While it's always good news that residents are employed, and it would be fine if the press release stopped there, unfortunately it goes further.

The release proceeds to give credit for the increase to the County's "Six-Point Economic Plan designed to make the County even more competitive in business attraction and job growth."

Whoops. Unemployment rate has absolutely nothing to do with the county's job creation rate, which was far behind Northern Virginia counties and the District of Columbia during the same period. Add the qualifier of high-wage jobs, and MoCo's share plunges even further. And speaking of "business attraction," the County hasn't "attracted" a single major corporate headquarters to relocate here in over a decade.

Montgomery County's low unemployment is due to the many jobs being created outside of its borders in Fairfax, Loudoun, and Arlington counties and the District, which its residents travel to each morning on the congested roads of our unfinished highway system.

In fact, Montgomery County's 3.8% unemployment rate itself isn't special in the region at all. Arlington County (2.7%), the City of Alexandria (3.2%) and Loudoun County (3.4%) all beat MoCo in August, while cleaning our clocks in job creation. Those numbers come from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics as of September 30, 2015.

Another "Four Pinocchios"/"Pants on Fire" fact check rating for Montgomery County's political machine. We may have low unemployment, but our County's economic development remains moribund.

Maki Bar to open in downtown Bethesda (Photos)

Another sushi option is on the way in downtown Bethesda, particularly for those who reside in the Bradley Boulevard/Crescent Plaza/Seasons area. Douglas Development has just filled one of the vacant spaces at the under-renovation Shops of Wisconsin mall at 6831 Wisconsin Avenue. No, it's not Shake Shack.

Maki Bar, a sushi restaurant, has leased #300 at the retail center. The 1551 SF space also adjoins an outdoor terrace that will allow patio dining. Owner Xiong Li is a Montgomery County resident.
Build-out of Maki Bar's
interior is underway

Other recent additions at the Shops of Wisconsin include very cool LED lighting that was just installed on parts of the facade, including the space-age elevator.
Watch the colors

Purple LED strip looking
toward the future Maki Bar
On the less-positive side, one of downtown Bethesda's most notorious parking situations has gotten worse. Quite a few spaces are currently taken up by the construction work going on in the parking structure. You may want to sit down before I finish this paragraph, however. A source tells me the parking construction will be done in sections, and will be ongoing over the next year.

It may be time to stash some of those stress-relief balls in your glove compartment, Trader Joe's fans.

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Car stolen in Pike District, theft from vehicle on Wisconsin Ave. + more - Bethesda crime update

Here's a roundup of crimes reported across Bethesda on October 4, according to crime data:

Theft from vehicle. 8200 block Wisconsin Avenue at 3:12 PM.

Vehicle burglary. 4700 block Merivale Road.

Stolen car. Metro Pike Center at 6:13 PM (Pike District).

Assault. Montrose Road at Evelyn Drive at 5:26 PM.

Drug arrest. 10300 block Strathmore Hall Street at 1:17 AM.

Theft from vehicle. 12300 block Carroll Avenue (Pike District).

MoCo Council passes weak food truck bill; Riemer admits trucks were "driven out"

The Montgomery County Council passed a weak food truck bill Tuesday, which "expands" the hours during which trucks can operate from today's 9:00 AM to "sunset" hours, to 5:00 AM to 10:00 PM. This was hyped to you as a major step, but in reality, it doesn't even restore the hours to what they were just a few years ago.

Such trucks had been known to serve breakfast to day laborers at dawn in some parts of the county, or Jamaican fare to Bethesda bar patrons in the middle of the night. So 10:00 PM is still hours short of when trucks were operating in the county just a few years ago.

One interesting moment in yesterday's discussion was Councilmember Hans Riemer's acknowledgement that the County has actually driven food trucks out. Usually, the Council PR suggests that they are going to bring us this new thing called "food trucks", which we don't have now because we taxpayers are stodgy and not as forward-thinking as our hip and enlightened councilmembers. And they're going to give 'em to us.

In referring to perceived problems caused by food trucks, Riemer said, “You don’t see a lot of problems with food trucks in the county right now, because we really don’t have many, because the way that the rules have been enforced has driven them out.”

So true. But those supposed rules weren't being enforced prior to Mr. Riemer's election to the council. What Riemer didn't acknowledge was that his own political operative, Dan Hoffman, was part of the County effort that was marketed to the public as "improving food truck locations". In reality, by the end of that effort, food trucks had vanished from the streets of downtown Bethesda. Workers seeking their favorite food trucks in lunchtime hot spots like the Veterans Park area of the Woodmont Triangle, or Bethesda Avenue at Woodmont Avenue, or 7700 Wisconsin Avenue, were coming up empty.

In fact, whereas my @BethesdaRow Twitter account was usually being tagged by dozens of food truck operators eager for me to share their locations that day, I instead began to get panicked messages from truck owners saying they were in the process of being booted from the spot where they had parked. 96% of food trucks either went out of business, or fled back to friendlier places like the District.

For a County political machine that rips off almost every one of its initiatives from places like Berkeley, CA and New York City and Portland, OR, it's remarkable that it doesn't subscribe to the overwhelming consensus among new urbanists that food trucks help make urban areas vibrant.

Of course, this same political cartel supports Barwood Cab over more recent transportation innovations, so it maybe isn't that surprising. But I digress.

When Council President George Leventhal says food trucks are one way to "make Montgomery County friendlier for young people, more interesting and dynamic," I couldn't agree more.

So why did they drive out those very food trucks, which can be found steps over the County line in DC on Wisconsin Avenue every day at lunch?

No trucks are coming back to the public streets of MoCo just because they have longer hours to operate - they can't park in profitable hotspots, so what's the point?

Carluccio's future Pike & Rose location identified (Photo)

You'll soon be able to dine out like Sherlock Holmes himself, and here's where you're going to do it at Federal Realty's Pike & Rose development in North Bethesda. Back when I broke the story about Carluccio's leasing at Pike & Rose, where it physically fit into the development hadn't been identified.

Here in this photo you can see, at the top of the stairs to the right, the first storefront where Benedict Cumberbatch's favorite Italian restaurant will be. This area is beyond the outdoor patio at Summer House Santa Monica on Grand Park Avenue.

Other British fans of Carluccio's, an Italian restaurant and market, include actor Tom Hiddleston and Pippa Middleton.