Maria’s Bakery Cafe, a small “hole in the wall” diner exclusively serving home-style Chinese food in the Congressional Village shopping center at Rockville Pike and Halpine, will close on September 4 with the owners’ retirement. They’ll be returning to Hong Kong to join family and friends, but they certainly made lots of friends in the region through their pastries, bao, soups, and entrees served from a busy open kitchen at reasonable prices. On Friday, the lunch line stretched to the door and I enjoyed my last cha sui bao and bought a jar of their special hot pepper oil as a souvenir (and a customer in front of me bought 3 jars!). I suspect more of their customers will be stopping by for their last meal over the Labor Day weekend.
Each day, another archive is digitized and made available online and today I fell into a couple surprising stories while researching the history of our fair town of Rockville. The first story was the 1850 trial of W. L. Chaplin, who was indicted for helping two enslaved men to escape and for assaulting the men who attempted to stop him. Because the court believed he could not receive a fair and impartial trial in Rockville, the case was moved to Ellicott City. I’ll have to follow the case out there to find out what happened.
The second surprise was that whipping was an acceptable form of punishment until the 1920s. With the headline “Whipping Makes Men ‘Feel Fine'”, the Chicago Defender related the lashing of two men for abusing their wives in Rockville in 1922. There aren’t many details in the paper except that it might have been done publicly (“they were bound to the post and then the lash was applied”) and that it was usually “applied” to African Americans as a punishment (“Kemp was the first white man to receive such punishment in Montgomery county for many years.”). This story is uncomfortable and infuriating in so many ways.
I was saddened to learn that Rockville View, a regular blog fed by Cindy Cotte Griffiths, will cease this summer due to the increased cost of insurance for websites. She promises, however, to “keep you all informed and will continue in an email newsletter format.”
Keeping the community informed about local news from special events to crimes to Council meetings is a tough job, especially as a volunteer. It takes more time than anyone can imagine, although it looks so easy to do. A few paragraphs and a photo can quickly consume several hours (and I’m speaking from experience). So a big thanks to Cindy and all of the other community bloggers who keep us informed (even if I don’t always agree with you) because you’re helping to fill a big hole left by the closing of the Gazette. Bethesda Magazine and the Washington Post still haven’t managed to provide the coverage that Rockville deserves (geez, it’s one of the largest cities in the state and the county seat of the most influential counties in the U.S.).
Rockville’s Farmers Market opens this Saturday, May 13 from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. and runs through Nov. 18 in the jury parking lot at East Jefferson (MD 28) and Monroe streets in downtown (that’s across from the Americana). This weekend will probably feature various salad greens, asparagus, and strawberries, as well plants and flowers, herbs, baked goods, local beer and wine, knife sharpening, meat, and coffee. For more information, including a list of participating vendors and approximate harvest dates for select fruits and vegetables, visit www.rockvillemd.gov/farmers or call 240-314-8620.
If you’re new to Rockville, in addition to this Saturday morning market, there’s a second but smaller market downtown in front of Continue reading →
- Enhancing our 9-1-1 Emergency System: Continuing the the work I began last year in memory of wonderful Rockville resident and activist Carl Henn to make our 9-1-1 system more reliable (this bill died in committee in a battle over security and accountability, alas)
- Protecting Consumers: Prohibiting “bait and switch” at the gas pump and restricting the swiping and storing of personal data from our driver’s licenses.
- Increasing Election Access and Transparency: Modifying our election laws to provide for greater access and transparency.
- Supporting Non-Profits: Providing short term micro-loans to bridge funding gaps that many organizations experience.
Successes from her first year as the senator from our district include Language Access (the first bill of its kind in the nation!), “Fertility Parity,” informing voters about ‘closed’ primaries, and funding for worthy local projects (such as the Rockville Swim Center improvements). She provided an overview of her legislative agenda to Gaithersburg’s Mayor and Council on January 3, 2017 (YouTube, starting at 41:00).
I’ve just requested Delegates Kumar Barve, Jim Gilchrist, and Andrew Platt in District 18 for their legislative priorities for this year and will share them as soon as they’re available.
The F. Scott Fitzgerald Literary Festival, which this year will honor Garrison Keillor, founder and host of A Prairie Home Companion and The Writer’s Almanac, invites writers to submit entries for the festival’s short story contest. There is no restriction on subject matter but stories must be fewer than 4,000 words and unpublished and only residents of Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C. are eligible to enter. Entries for the 20th Annual F. Scott Fitzgerald Short Story Contest must be postmarked by Friday, Aug. 12, 2016.
Garrison Keillor will be the festival highlight when he receives the F. Scott Fitzgerald Award for Outstanding Achievement in American Literature. Keillor went to work for Minnesota Public Radio in 1969, and on July 6, 1974, he hosted the first broadcast of A Prairie Home Companion in St. Paul. He is the host of The Writer’s Almanac, the editor of the Good Poems series of anthologies from Viking, and author of nearly fifty books, including Lake Wobegon Days. The award is named in honor of F. Scott Fitzgerald, who is considered one of America’s finest writers and like Keillor, was born in Minnesota. Scott is buried in St. Mary’s Cemetery with his wife Zelda in downtown Rockville (did you know that he’s related to the author of our national anthem, Francis Scott Key, hence his name F. Scott?).
The award has been presented to some of America’s most distinguished writers, including Norman Mailer, Pat Conroy, John Updike and Joyce Carol Oates. The festival’s activities include writing workshops designed for emerging and established fiction and nonfiction writers, literary discussions, panels and a film screening. The festival is for writers and book lovers who are not themselves writers. Festival sponsors include the City of Rockville; the F. Scott Fitzgerald Literary Conference, Inc.; and the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County.
Learn more about the contest and festival at www.fscottfestival.org or by calling 301-309-9461.
On Monday, May 9, the Rockville Mayor and Council will continue its worksession on “Rockville’s Pike Neighborhood Plan.” Along with building heights and pedestrian crossings, traffic congestion is a major controversy and the conversation has become terribly confusing: widening or narrowing the road, keeping or eliminating the access roads, extending adjacent roads, increasing Metro service, and incorporating bus rapid transit (BRT). Some of these solutions are beyond the control of the City (such as Metro service), some benefit one group versus another (such as businesses or nearby residents), and others are so expensive or far in the future that their feasibility is unclear (such as the BRT). What’s become incredibly confusing are Continue reading →
The Fourth Annual A-RTS at Rockville Town Square Fine Art Festival will bring together more than 160 artists who are creating the most exceptional art found in America today. A-RTS, a premier outdoor art festival, takes place Saturday, May 7, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday, May 8, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.
The jury-selected artists from across the U.S. will exhibit in an outdoor art gallery brought to life on the streets of Rockville Town Square. All participants were selected based on the creativity, innovation, and exquisite execution of their original works. A list of artists is available at http://www.a-rts.org.
These acclaimed artists represent the country’s highest calibre of art in a wide range of media including ceramics, digital art, drawing, fiber, glass, graphics/printmaking, painting, photography, and sculpture, among others. Also highlighted are the wearable arts – from fashion to jewelry – perfect for last minute Mother’s Day or graduation gifts.
According to A-RTS Festival Director Robin Markowitz, who also heads the Bethesda Row Arts Festival, A-RTS is a rare opportunity to meet outstanding artists and discover their work first-hand. “We’ve created an extraordinary and accessible show – one that has something for everyone – from college students to moms, whimsical collectors to fine art patrons.”
New this year, visitors to A-RTS can sample creations of another kind – Maryland wines and distinctive craft beers – all served in commemorative glasses. Local food purveyors will offer artisanal foods from hand-made chocolates to olive oils. And, A-RTS starts and ends on a high note with live music from bands including the popular 19th Street Band.
A-RTS will take place rain or shine. Sponsors include Bethesda Magazine, Rockville Town Square, Federal Realty Investment Trust, and Cambria Hotel & Suites Rockville.
Rockville Town Square, located in downtown Rockville between Hungerford (#355), Middle, Washington, and Beall streets, is within easy walking distance of the Rockville Metro Station. Parking is available at numerous garages located around the Festival site.
More information about A-RTS is available at http://www-a-rts.org or by visiting A-RTS on Facebook. More information about Rockville Town Square, one of the area’s most popular destinations for shopping and dining, is available at http://rockvilletownsquare.com.
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 →
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.