Blizzard 2016 Report from Twinbrook

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The Blizzard of 2016 has left the Mid-Atlantic and for the next few days we’ll be digging ourselves out of nearly two feet of snow (although with the winds, there are drifts that are much higher).  The Twinbrook neighborhood has crews of shovelers and blowers working to clear homes and cars and City of Rockville crews are plowing streets.  The major streets in Twinbrook, such as Twinbrook Parkway and Viers Mill Road, are open to one or two lanes but they’re not back to normal and I wouldn’t venture outfor another day unless it’s an emergency.  Minor streets vary significantly–some have a passable lane, others were plowed yesterday and now have a layer of snow. But even if you could get out, there isn’t any place to go.  Most stores and restaurants remain closed because their parking lots need to be cleared and they’ll soon be faced with the problem of figuring out where to put all that snow. After 2010’s blizzard, I remember a mountain of snow at Trader Joes that didn’t disappear until late March–becoming ever dirtier over time that by the end, it looked like coal.

It’s difficult to get local information and the best source I’ve found is Twitter.  To see what’s happening, use hashtags #blizzard2016, #Rockville, or #RKV or follow @Rockville411, @MontgomeryCoMD, @MDSHA, @WMATA, or @DrGridlock.

If you want to take your kids sledding, you’ll probably want to walk to your nearest park if it has a hill (Rockville Central produced a Google Map with suggestions ages ago).  The best one is at the Rockville Civic Center, which has a famous sledding hill near Glenview Mansion.  Montgomery County Parks has a list of approved sledding sites in their parks.

A couple reminders from the City of Rockville: Continue reading →

Snowstorm News from Twinbrook

About 17 inches of snow has fallen so far in the Twinbrook neighborhood of Rockville. During a break from the winds, I carved out a path to Twinbrook Parkway and shot this short video from Meadow Hall Road.  City crews have maintained a one-lane road on Twinbrook Parkway, enough for emergency vehicles but not for anyone else.  Side roads are unplowed.  I’d plan on staying inside for another day.

Report from Maryland Legislature

Cheryl KaganState Senator Cheryl Kagan just provided her report about what’s happening in Annapolis just as the 2016 legislative session started (the Maryland Senate and Assembly meet nearly non-stop for a couple months in winter, then recover the rest of the year).  Here’s an excerpt from her report:

The First Bills of the Session
Because I wrote and submitted two of my bills so far in advance, they are already starting their way through the legislative process.
Closing a Loophole for Married Couples
The first bill to be heard is appropriately numbered SB 1.  It will be  in the Senate Finance Committee tomorrow, January 20th at 1:00pm.  SB 1 would  fix a loophole in current law by guaranteeing that heterosexual married couples with both an infertile husband and wife will receive insurance coverage for In Vitro Fertilization treatments.  This gap was created after enactment of  my “Fertility Parity” bill for married lesbian couples last year.
Providing Language Access to State Government
The following day, Thursday, January 21st, my second bill will have its hearing in the Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee.  SB 28 insures that Maryland State agency websites offer translation options for languages that are spoken by at least 3 percent of the State’s population.  Providing translation options can now be done at little to no cost given the accuracy and efficiency of online translators.  Material on state websites is so often critically important.  Those who do not speak or read English as a first language, if at all, deserve access to these sites too. As you may recall, this bill easily passed the Senate (39-8) and got held up in the House.  By starting earlier and working with various agencies and departments, we hope to finish the job this session!

Continue reading →

Sandy Spring Museum to host Cokie Roberts

Roberts Capital DamesThe Sandy Spring Museum will host Cokie Roberts, nationally recognized political commentator and prolific author, on Tuesday, February 23 at 7:30 p.m.  Roberts will be discussing her recently published book, Capital Dames: The Civil War and the Women of Washington, 1848-1868, and will be available to sign copies.  In this engrossing and informative companion to her New York Times bestsellers Founding Mothers and Ladies of Liberty, Cokie Roberts marks the sesquicentennial of the Civil War by offering a riveting look at Washington, D.C. and the experiences, influence, and contributions of its women during this momentous period of American history.

With the outbreak of the Civil War, the small, social Southern town of Washington, D.C. found itself caught between warring sides in a four-year battle that would determine the future of the United States. After the declaration of secession, many fascinating Southern women left the city, leaving their friends—such as Adele Cutts Douglas and Elizabeth Blair Lee—to grapple with questions of safety and sanitation as the capital was transformed into an immense Union army camp and later a hospital. With their husbands, brothers, and fathers marching off to war, either on the battlefield or in the halls of Congress, the women of Washington joined the cause as well. And more women went to the Capital City to enlist as nurses, supply organizers, relief workers, and journalists. Many risked their lives making munitions in a highly flammable arsenal, toiled at the Treasury Department printing greenbacks to finance the war, and plied their needlework skills at The Navy Yard—once the sole province of men—to sew canvas gunpowder bags for the troops.

Cokie Roberts chronicles these women’s increasing Continue reading →

New 24-hour Safeway Opens in Twinbrook

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A new Safeway grocery store opened this past week at 1800 Rockville Pike across the street from the Twinbrook Metro and part of the Galvan at Twinbrook Apartments. It will soon be joined by Smashburger, Shobha (hair salon), Floyd’s 99 Barbershop, Dunkin Donuts, Pie 360 (pizza), Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop, and Ethan Allen.  The new Safeway enriches a corridor of grocery stores within a half-mile of each other, including Fresh Market, Trader Joe’s, Target, Giant, and My Organic Market (MOM).

On-street parking is limited and metered (free on weekends) so most people will prefer parking in the underground garage via Bouic Avenue, where the first two hours are free (this location is adjacent to Metro, so nearby parking is always restrictive).  There’s another entrance for underground parking on Chapman, but that’s for the apartment residents.

There’s usually not much to say about the opening of a new Safeway store because they’re so common across America with the usual produce, meat, seafood, bakery, deli, pharmacy, florist, salad bar, sushi, and Starbucks but this one has a few differences that might interest you:

  • open 24-hours every day. Security guards were posted at the entrance and in the garage this morning; not sure if this is temporary or permanent.
  • a new layout with fresh produce along the entire front of the store. I understand they want to have the fresh stuff up front but it’s not an efficient circulation pattern for customers.
  • special sections for Kosher, gluten-free, and organic foods. A Kosher Chocolate Factory will be at the store on Sunday, December 13 at 3:30 p.m., suggesting they may be offering special events throughout the year.
  • bulk sale of nuts, seeds, grains, and more. Available loose so you can buy as much or little as you need.
  • some aisles, particularly those with small items like medicines, have lighting on individual shelves to increase visibility.
  • a room with tables and chairs near the entrance for customers to talk over coffee or use wifi. Not sure why it’s called the Hungerford Room–it’s no where near Hungerford. Halpine, Montrose, or Twinbrook would have been more appropriate.
  • a Team Room selling shirts, mugs, and souvenirs from local professional sport teams.
  • no beer or wine sales, due to the crazy restrictions of Montgomery County.  You’ll have to go to Olney if you want to buy beer and wine in a Safeway.

It seems that the half of the employees have been re-assigned from other Safeway stores and the rest are new.  And while this Safeway store has just opened, the store on Randolph Road and Parklawn recently closed and the one on Veirs Mill in Twinbrook will close soon.

For other related news, see:

 

Best Places to Work in Rockville

Washingtonian-2015_NovThe November 2015 issue of Washingtonian features the 50 best places to work in the DC region, which means the “generous pay and benefits, flexible schedules, interesting work, and happy colleagues.”  According to the employees surveyed, they not only value good pay and benefits, but also a sane work/life balance, trust and automony, flexible hours, and opportunities to learn and grow.  And four of the companies that meet these values are based in Rockville:

  • American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, a nonprofit organization that supports audiologists and speech-language pathologists headquartered at 2200 Research Boulevard with 200 employees.
  • EASC (Enterprise Science and Computing), a 14-year old scientific and technical research and management firm at 11 North Washington Street with 45 employees.
  • Raffa Financial Services, a 15-year old consulting firm that focuses on finances and management at 1201 Seven Locks Road with 26 employees.
  • Redfin, a national real estate company based in Seattle with a local office at 1375 Piccard Drive in Rockville.

Think your office is a great place to work?  You can nominate it by emailing sdalphonse@washingtonian.com with the subject line”great place to work.”

This issue also includes a lengthy feature on Sophia Parker, a Rockville woman who has turned DSFederal at 11900 Parklawn Drive, her “young IT company into a contracting powerhouse–all while running it like a charity.”  They call her “one of Washington’s most altruistic CEOs.”

Wow! So happy to have people and companies like this in our community.

 

2015 Election Results will be Familiar

Rockville-Election-UpdateThe 2015 Rockville election will return Bridget Newton as Mayor and Beryl Feinberg, Julie Palakovich Carr, Mark Pierzchala, and Virginia Onley to Council for the next four years, beginning on November 16.  Of the 40,749 registered voters in Rockville, there was a total of 6,343 ballots cast (15.57 percent) including votes cast on early voting days, same-day registration at City Hall on Election Day and by absentee. That’s slightly lower that 2013, which had a participation rate of nearly 17 percent.

Rockville Election Results 2015

Although the results are preliminary until certified, which is expected by November 10, and the final expenses of the campaigns aren’t reported until January 2016, there are some patterns we can already discern.  In campaign tactics, Brigitta Mullican’s Continue reading →

Voting Today in Rockville with Pics!

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It’s a beautiful day to vote! Some polling places such as the Swim Center are buzzing with a steady stream of voters and supporters, while others are incredibly quiet (City Hall).  In visiting a couple polling places today, I was really impressed by the yard signs around King Farm that encouraged residents to vote–a great idea for other neighborhoods.

I’ve heard we’ll know the election results tonight by 9:30-10 pm on the City’s web site but in a way, I’m more interested to see the turnout.  In the last election (2013), 6,685 people (17%) voted out of 40,226 registered voters and I’m hoping it’s the same or better this year.  We had an outstanding turnout for Early Voting a couple weeks ago, so perhaps that bodes well for today.

While I care about who you vote for, I care more that you have voted. Please find the polling place near you to vote, or if you’re not registered, you can register and vote at the same time at Rockville City Hall, 111 Maryland Avenue (downtown).  Polls close at 8:00 pm.

Max’s Endorsements for Rockville Mayor and Council

IMG_4999_DxOPspWithout an independent newspaper with an investigative reporter, this year has been a particularly challenging one for both candidates and voters.  In the last election, we had the Gazette and Rockville Patch who were willing to investigate claims and counterclaims, serving as an informal arbiter of disputes.  With them gone, candidates have had to rely heavily on mail to reach voters and I’m guessing about 30 mailers have reached voters this season.  Of course, these mailers are biased towards the candidate who sent them and voters are unsure what to believe.  Blogs like this one are helping to fill the void.

It’s probably no surprise to readers of this blog that I’m endorsing Sima Osdoby for Mayor and Virginia Onley, Julie Palakovich Carr, Mark Pierzchala, and Clark Reed for City Council.  Please vote for them today to usher in a much-needed change in City Hall.  I’m supporting their campaigns because if I’m not going to run for office, I’ll help good people who will.  I choose candidates in the same way I select employees:  hire the best ones I can with the right qualifications and experience (ideally smarter than me), be sure they can work together to produce something better than any one of them could do individually, and then get out of their way.  They stand out from the other candidates because of their resumes and willingness to work together.

Sima Osdoby has lived in Rockville for 35 years and has extensive experience working around the globe helping Continue reading →

Rockville Solar Co-op Installs First House

Norman_Braveman-8.58kW-RockvilleNorman Braverman installed a solar array on his split-level house in Rockville last week, making him the first of fifty in Rockville’s Solar Cooperative.  Looks great on his house! (doesn’t he look like a proud homeowner?).  Before he’ll be able to collect solar energy, though, he’ll need to complete inspection by the County and permission to operate from Pepco.  More than 200 people are part of the co-op with 171 members seriously considering a proposal–it’s a major shift in attitude about energy and sustainability in Rockville.  Thanks again to the Rockville’s Environment Commission for making this happen! (disclosure: we’re going solar, too!).

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