Category Archives: Uncategorized

Blizzard 2016 Report from Twinbrook

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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 →

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 →

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!).

Where the Golden Colors of Fall Really Shine

Pumpkins at Comus Market.Rockville is at peak fall color right now so it’s a great time to get out and fill your day with orange, yellow, and red.  My two favorite places are:

Comus Market in northern Montgomery County, about a 20-30 minute drive north of Rockville.  At the corner of Old Hundred Road (109) and Comus Road across from the Comus Inn is a small shed surrounded by tables and bins filled all sorts of strange and wonderful pumpkins and winter squashes, like Blue Hubbard, Sweet Dumpling, or Long Island Cheese.  Although these unusual varieties are now appearing in grocery stores like Trader Joes, what you don’t experience is the drive out in the country and a chance to meet David Heisler, the farmer that grows them. A bit further up Comus Road is Sugarloaf Mountain (a short hike for a family) and Sugarloaf Winery (bring a picnic).

Lake Bernard Frank on Avery Road on the east side of Rockville. It’s actually a water reservoir that feeds into Rock Creek but it’s also a park for walkers and hikers. One side of the lake is a paved trail and on the other an unpaved one. Even on Sunday afternoons it’s so quiet that you might only encounter a dozen people.  No playgrounds, playing fields, boating, or restrooms but there are picnic tables near the parking lot.

Many of my friends love visiting Butler’s Orchard in Germantown because they have children who like the pick-you-own experience. Apples, tomatoes, raspberries, cherries, peas, potatoes, and flowers have passed but you can still pick you own pumpkins and enjoy a dozen different pies from their bakery (including such unusual flavors as apple caramel walnut, blueberry lemon bucket, and strawberry mango).  Weekends gets far too busy for me but your kids will love it.

If you have a favorite place where you enjoy fall in or around Rockville, please share it in the comments below.

Follow the Money: Election Campaigns in Rockville

Rockville-Election-UpdateOctober 1 was the deadline for the first financial reports in this campaign season with the second one due October 26, just a few days before the November 3 election.  Financial reports are a result of unfair election tactics and political corruption, and indeed, while most voters feel that money has a bad influence on politics, fundraising is a crucial aspect of campaigning, even here in our hometown of Rockville.  As I mentioned in a previous post, the cost of a campaign is high, especially in mayoral races.

Rockville’s election code has a lengthy section on campaign financing that outlines the requirements for a treasurer and record-keeping; acceptable expenses, contributions, and loans; and restrictions on campaigning by people who are not candidates.  At times, these requirements and limitations seem onerous or archaic, such as prohibiting “payment for walk-around services.” Aren’t the days when thugs were paid to hustle people at the polls to gain a vote or to intimidate opponents long gone? Yet in 2003, the Maryland Court of Appeals reviewed a case that accused the Ehrlich/Steele gubernatorial campaign of hiring high school and college students along with 200 residents of a homeless shelter to “accost voters” outside the polls and urge a “voting preference.” The 2013 election campaign in Rockville involved several questionable tactics and since then the Board of Supervisors of Elections has clarified the Election Code to close some of these loop holes (e.g., no statements and materials may be distributed anonymously, even by individuals).

Campaign financial reports also reveal the name, address, and amount contributed to every candidate, which can suggest the shape and nature of a campaign (and the city).  For example, an analysis of the contributors Continue reading →

Stanford Grill Opens Tomorrow in Rockville

Stanford Grill RestaurantThe Stanford Grill restaurant opens Monday, September 28 at 2000 Tower Oaks Boulevard (south of Wooton Parkway near I-270 in one of DC’s “healthiest buildings“) in Rockville.  This will be the second Stanford Grill for the Blue Ridge Restaurant Group, which also has four Copper Canyon Grill restaurants.  Lunch and dinner are served Monday through Thursday from 11 am to 10 pm, Friday through Saturday from 11 am to 11 pm with Sunday brunch served from 10 am to 2 pm and dinner until 10 pm. For more information or for reservations, call 240-582-1000.

The concept is “upscale casual” with a menu that emphasizes familiar comfort dishes including New York strip steak, pork chops, crabcakes, salmon, and chicken pot pie, along with a variety of sandwiches (burger, French dip, sauteed chicken) and salads (club, chicken, tuna, and steak).  It looks like they have a full bar but the wine list needs a rethinking. “Other interesting whites” includes Berginer’s white zinfandel and Dom Perignon is listed among the champagnes.  White zinfandel is not an interesting white and Dom Perignon is now such a cliche that it suggests they really didn’t think about their wine selections.  Looks like this restaurant might satisfy the executives whose offices line the 270 corridor but it won’t appeal to foodies.

Meet the Candidates at a Community Forum near You

In preparation for Election Day on November 3, the candidates for Rockville Mayor and Council will be participating in the following community forums (aka debates):

Wednesday, October  7 at 7:00 pm
Thomas Farm Community Center, 700 Fallsgrove Drive
Hosted by the Rockville Chamber of Commerce (they typically focus on business issues)
(Will air live on Channel 11)

Wednesday, October 14 at 1:00 pm
Rockville Senior Center, 1150 Carnation Drive (Woodley Gardens neighborhood)
Hosted by the Rockville Senior Commission (they typically focus on senior issues)

Tuesday, October 20 at 7:30 pm
Rockville Senior Center, 1150 Carnation Drive
Hosted by the Woodley Gardens and College Gardens Civic Associations (they typically tackle a wide range of issues)

Thursday, October 22 at 7:00 pm
F. Scott Fitzgerald Theatre, Rockville Civic Center, 603 Edmonston Drive (Burgundy/Silver Rock/Twinbrook neighborhoods)
Hosted by the League of Women Voters (they typically tackle a wide range of issues)
(Will air live on Channel 11)

Tuesday, October 27 at 7:00 pm
King Farm Community Center, 300 Saddle Ridge Circle
Hosted by the King Farm Citizens’ Assembly (they typically focus on King Farm issues)
(Will air on Channel 11 on October 29)

The forums are free and open to the public; anyone is welcome to attend any or all of the forums.  You not only can hear candidates discuss various issues but also talk with them before and after to learn more.  If you support one of the candidates, they often have campaign literature or yard signs that you can take home or share with friends and neighbors.

Rockville View Launches Community Water Cooler

RKView-logoCindy Cotte Griffiths, local resident and co-owner of the much-beloved (but long-gone) Rockville Central, has launched a new blog to cover local news called “Rockville View.””When The Gazette closed up shop, we lost balanced and professional coverage of our news and elected officials in Montgomery County,” says Cindy.  “Without a local paper, we need watchdogs in our community who can bring issues to light. I’m hoping members of the community will join me to provide this coverage and keep us all informed of the facts. Think about it as sharing around the Rockville ‘water cooler’.”  Some of you may know her from her years of service on the city’s Traffic and Transportation Commission and Human Service Advisory Commission or the PTSA at Richard Montgomery High School.  You can visit Rockville View to keep up on the news but you can also follow @Rockville on Twitter or subscribe to the Weekly View newsletter delivered to your inbox on Friday afternoons ($2/month, $10/six months, $20/year). Subscribers can also submit events to the calendar.

I’m delighted to have her join me again on the Internet Super Highway and expect her coding and writing skills will leave me in the dust.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 219 other followers