Category Archives: Uncategorized

Local Gazette Newspaper Publishes Final Edition

Gazette newspaper closes.The Montgomery County Gazette newspaper will close and the final edition has been published. Post Community Media, the parent company of the Gazette, cited declining advertising revenue and inability to find a buyer to purchase the Prince George’s and Montgomery County editions. Earle Hightower established The Gazette in 1959 in the basement of his Rockville home, making it truly a hometown newspaper. Ironically, the newspaper folded the same week as Hightower, 92, passed away at his home in North Carolina.

In a letter to readers, the editor reflected on the past 56 years: “As journalists, it has been our duty, indeed our imperative, to expose both the good works and the machinations of government and industry, and to encourage debate as to which was which. As a community newspaper, it has also been our mission, indeed our passion, to expose the ordinary as extraordinary — a fundraiser for an ill child, a centenarian’s surprise birthday party.”

The newspaper business has increasingly become financially unsustainable, both in terms of attracting advertising dollars (which has moved from print to other media) and in gaining a foothold on the Internet.  There was hope that local newspapers would be able to weather the storm because they offered something that others media could not:  local content to local residents.  Now the Gazette joins Patch and Rockville Central, leaving local coverage to the Washington PostRockville Living and the Sentinel.  The Sentinel is already struggling to capture an audience and is now facing additional problems of its own making.  Turns out that it published a series of cartoons over the years that that were lifted from newspapers across the country, including the Palm Beach Daily, Columbia Daily Tribune, New Yorker, and the Guardian, without attribution or payment. Now facing accusations of plagiarism and copyright violation from dozens of artists and newspapers, it’s pulled those cartoons from its website but could also be subject to lawsuits and payments that could jeopardize its future and its credibility.

Cartoon Plagiarism by Sentinel

Rockville Solar Co-Op Closing Soon

Maryland SunThe Rockville solar energy cooperative is growing, sufficiently to the point that it looks like it’ll be able to solicit bids from installers in June.  Maryland Solar United Neighborhoods (Maryland SUN), a nonprofit organization, is working with the Environment Commission of the City of Rockville to make solar energy more affordable and accessible.  By using the collective buying power of a group of Rockville residents, we’ll save on the cost of installation (yup, my family has joined).  If you’re interested in going solar but not sure where to start, this co-op is a great place to learn.  At this point, there’s no obligation to purchase a system or have it installed, they’re just collecting names of homeowners who are interested so that we can obtain the best bids possible. Based on the same principle as buying in bulk, the group will go through the process of going solar together by working with a Maryland SUN to select a single installer. Each participant signs an individual contract with the chosen installer, but all participants get the group discount. After the installer has been chosen in August, it may not be possible to participate in this round.

They’ve held two info sessions so far and the last is coming up on Tuesday, June 9 at 7 pm at Glenview Mansion.  For more information and to sign up, visit MDSun.org or contact solarteam@mdsun.org.

Pedestrians and Cyclists will be Safer in MoCo, how about Rockville?

The Montgomery County Council unanimously passed an ordinance that amends the county’s urban road code to make sure new or reconstructed streets in urban areas are safe and attractive for all users.  Co-sponsored by Councilmembers Riemer and Berliner, it requires:

  • Narrower lane widths of 10’ to slow traffic and reduce accidents (it may sound contradictory, but wider lanes for cars result in more frequent and more serious collisions with pedestrians and cyclists–it’s all about the speed of a 2,000 pound car).
  • A 25 mph maximum speed for urban areas
  • Pedestrian bumpouts and smaller intersections, which will mean safer turns by drivers and a shorter distance for walkers to cross.
  • Stronger requirements to build sidewalks during road construction.

Perhaps something like this needs to be adopted in Rockville.  We often promote cycling and walking, and yet overlook the needs of pedestrians and cyclists in the strangest ways.  For example, at the Twinbrook Recreation Center, it was years before a sidewalk was laid for pedestrians connecting it to the street.  During construction around Twinbook Metro, sidewalks are often blocked and people have to walk in the street.

Want to learn more about what makes safe, complete urban streets? Check out this great infographic from our friends at the Active Transportation Alliance.

2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 8,400 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 14 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

Rockville’s Last Farmers’ Market today

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It’s a frosty morning but the farmers’ market in downtown Rockville is busy.  Available are apples, sweet potatoes, squash, carrots, kales, radishes, apple cider, peppers, green beans, potatoes, tomatoes (yup!), broccoli, fennel, leeks, cauliflower, dill, escarole, turnips, and onions.  Breads and pastries, cheese, sausages, chicken, beef as well and a long line at Otterbein Acres. 

What’s In a Name? A Lot for Rockville’s Lutheran Church

Today Rockville’s first Lutheran congregation will officially unveil to the community its new name— “Living Faith Lutheran Church” during a Renaming Celebration. The event will also mark the retirement with dignity of “Crusader Lutheran Church,” the congregation’s name since its foundation in 1952. The celebration begins with a 10:30 a.m. worship service, followed by a noon luncheon reception.

In addition to church members, dozens of guests are expected to join in this joyous event, including representatives of Community Ministries of Rockville; members of the Rockville City Council; and other public officials, faith-community representatives & ministry partners.

The Rev. Philip C. Hirsch will preach a special sermon placing this milestone in both a scriptural and historical context, with an emphasis on the road ahead for Living Faith. Pastor Hirsch serves as Assistant to the Bishop and Director for Evangelical Mission for the Washington, D.C. Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).

“We are looking forward to this joyous opportunity to celebrate our new name, honor our 59 years of history as Crusader Lutheran and humbly dedicate ourselves to the mission God has in store for us as Living Faith Lutheran,” said the Rev. Sandra Cox Shaw, the church‟s pastor since 2005.

“We believe “Living Faith” better captures who we are today — a congregation committed to putting our faith into action by serving our community, our nation and our world,” Pastor Shaw added. “And we believe that this is the name God has guided us to choose, through a process of prayer, discernment and faithful deliberation.”

Immediately after worship on June 26, Pastors Hirsch and Shaw will Continue reading →

What Are You Doing Out Here?

Twinbrook Parkway near Meadow Hall Road, Rockville

There’s five inches of heavy snow on the ground, the power has gone out, the roads haven’t been plowed, trees branches are falling, so why are people out driving?  Here’s a pic from tonight on Twinbrook Parkway near Meadow Hall Road.  It’s actually much brighter outside, despite the power outage, due to the reflection on the snow (but still, everyone get off the road and into someplace safe–your home, a restaurant, whatever).

Just Crazy About My New Concrete Walkway

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I may sound crazy, but I’m sooooooo happy about my new concrete walkway at my house.  For years we’ve been dragging our trashcans from the back door to the curb over an increasingly worn gravel walkway, which became a struggle in rain and snow with the new big city trashcans.  It took several years for me to decide what I wanted because of existing fences and trees as well as other more pressing projects around the house, but now that it’s done, it’s a beauty.  The slideshow includes lots of shots before, during, and after so you can see the work in progress as well as the quality of the work.  Look at those control joints!  They’re clean, neat, and straight from end to end, especially where they meet another joint (for comparison, look at the ones in a typical sidewalk and you’ll see right away how much more masterful these are).

From excavation to forming to finishing to clean up (yes, clean up!), the work was entirely performed by Jose Guzman of Strictly Concrete who is right in my neighborhood of Twinbrook.  The business end of things was handled professionally as well, with a clearly written contract in advance, payment receipts, and maintenance and care instructions.  I’m so happy to give work to someone in my town, but when it’s such outstanding quality, it’s a home run.

Truck crashes into bridge at Rockville Metro

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A freight truck hit the underside of the pedestrian bridge that connects Rockville Metro station with downtown. Bridge currently closed and police and fire are on the scene. Injuries unknown.

Max van Balgooy joins Rockville Living

Rockville Living, the online magazine that celebrates the good life in Rockville, has asked me to join them as an editor.  I happily agreed because it’s a great team with a worthy mission.  You’ll find me regularly posting stories about things to see and do, and of course I love food, so dining as well.  I won’t be talking about style and fashion, technology, fitness and health, or house and garden–those will be covered by other editors, some of whom you may recognize.

My first story comes out this month and features St. Michel Bakery, an authentic French bakery hidden in the fringes of Rockville.  I’ll show you where it is and explain why the quality is so high.

Don’t worry, you’ll still find my personal perspective and examinations of other issues surrounding Rockville here in this blog.

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