Montgomery County dodged the Superstorm Sandy bullet, then sailed through Election Day without major delays or problems. Could Thanksgiving Day run as smoothly? Not likely at this reporter's house. But miracles do happen, especially around these 500 square miles as of late.
We won't rehash the election results here. They're available on your favorite Patch site under the "News/Elections" tab. Suffice it to say, Democrats generally dominated and the state made national headlines with its ballot initiatives. We hope you've recovered sufficiently to get on with a long holiday season.
If you found yourself distracted last week, there was plenty going on around here other than voting:
On the same day that Washington was rocked by the resignation of Gen. David Petraeus from his position as director of the Central Intelligence Agency due to an extramarital affair, the incoming CEO of Bethesda-based defense giant Lockheed Martin quit in another ethics scandal. The giant defense contractor based in Bethesda announced the resignation of Christopher E. Kubasik, the company's vice-chairman, president and COO. An ethics investigation revealed Kubasik had a "close personal relationship" with a subordinate employee, according to news reports.
The Rockville City Council approved a plan to purchase the Fireside Park Apartments, allowing Rockville Housing Enterprises, which administers public housing, to proceed with the $37.5 million purchase of the 236-unit garden-style Fireside Park complex at 735 Monroe St. Mayor Phyllis Marcuccio said the project would have been better left to private ownership but supporters said it was a good deal for the city. Tell us your thoughts in our followup story on Rockville Patch.
Developer JBG has backed out of a land swap deal to build a $21 million second district police station as part of a larger residential project on Cordell Avenue, Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center director Ken Hartman said. Negotiations on the deal stretched back to 2008. The project had been hailed by the office of County Executive Isiah Leggett as an innovative way to partner with the private sector and save money developing public facilities. "It's time to go to Plan B," said County Council President Roger Berliner (D-Dist. 1). "I can't pretend to know what Plan B looks like."
Developers are proposing a 15-story retail and residential building at the corner of Old Georgetown Road and Commerce Lane, across the street from the Bethesda Metro. A United Bank is now at the site. “It’s smaller than what we’ve typically done in the past, but location drives everything,” Asheel Shah, Kettler senior vice president for real estate investments, said. He called the location "somewhat of a forgotten intersection." Between 104 and 120 rental units are proposed for the site.
You may have noticed the real estate sign on the front of the big, shiny Intelsat building on Connecticut Avenue in the Chevy Chase, DC, neighborhood, but the telecommunications company will remain at the site for the time being, Washington Business Journal reported. Although the company, which is based in Luxembourg, sold its 4000 Connecticut Ave. NW headquarters for $85 million earlier this year, it "signed a lease Oct. 5 to stay put through April 30, 2014," the company said in a regulatory filing.
Imagine a New Yorker dreading a visit to Washington because of city traffic. Well, that's now a reality, according to one report. DC-area traffic really is worse than that of the New York City region, according The Washington Examiner. "This report just reaffirms what every driver in our region experiences every day, and it's not just one of our routes, it's all over our region," AAA Mid-Atlantic's Lon Anderson was quoted as saying.
Any talk of traffic brings the countervailing discussion of mass transit. Route 29, named Colesville Road south of Four Corners and Columbia Pike to the north, is one of a few heavily trafficked corridors in Montgomery County that is being studied for inclusion in a possible new transit program, according to a news release from the planning department. The idea is a streetcar-like vehicle that travels much of the way in its own dedicated lane.
County officials are celebrating Darnestown Heritage Park, built on nearly a half acre near Darnestown and Seneca roads—part of an effort to give the unincorporated area a clear focal point that highlights Darnestown’s history. Public space artist Cheryl Foster created sculptures for the park, including a representation of William Darne, an early settler in the area and the town's namesake.
In other park news, Montgomery County officials plan to add about two acres of land to the Rock Creek Valley Stream Park in Silver Spring, the Gazette newspaper reported. The park is adjacent to Rock Creek Park in Washington, DC, and is also accessible to Chevy Chase. The deal has reportedly been in the making for four years. It's part of the Legacy Open Space Program that was created to provide "quality open space resources" to residents, the Gazette said.
Holiday lights are up on Bethesda Row, harkening the season of gift giving and shopping. Bethesda shoppers have a few new businesses to choose from this year, when finding those perfect gifts for family and friends. Bonobos, a by-appointment menswear shop, opened Nov. 7 on Bethesda Lane. Vino Volo is coming soon to Woodmont Avenue, bringing with it a wine lounge and restaurant.
In Silver Spring, lines were outside the door for the grand opening of H&M, and some lucky shoppers got $100 to spend in the retail store selling modestly priced clothing. "H&M is thrilled to be entering an area as lively as downtown Silver Spring," said Daniel Kulle, U.S. president for H&M, in a statement. "Customers in the Washington, DC, area have responded enthusiastically about the brand and we have seen great success with our expansion throughout this region." H&M is located at 8518 Fenton Street. Store hours will be Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sunday 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Montgomery County Public Schools Superintendent Joshua Starr will deliver his first State of the Schools address—"Building the Future Together"—at 7:30 a.m. on Nov. 12, at the Music Center at Strathmore. The event is open to the public, and those who plan to attend can RSVP on the MCPS website. The event is being billed as an opportunity for business, non-profit and educational leaders to hear Starr’s vision for the future of MCPS.
Creative and colorful, there's a different symbol of the holidays in downtown Silver Spring. Artist Julia Vogl was commissioned to create something that would be "eco-friendly and has the spirit of the holidays." The result is an art installation in the shape of a Christmas tree, made entirely of recycled plastic bottles. Vogl, a native of Washington, collected over 1,000 used bottles from special trash cans placed near DSW, from Discovery Communications employees and from students at two local middle schools. The bottles range from run-of-the-mill water bottles to windshield wiper fluid containers to cough syrup bottles, Vogl said. Check out the effect in our photo gallery.
Thirsting for more about food and drink in Montgomery County? Check out our foodie news here.