20 Aug 2014
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Moco Mojo: It's Just SO Montgomery County

What says "Montgomery County" to you?


We found ourselves thinking a lot recently about this or that event or story being so Montgomery County.

Over the weekend, for example, Writers on the Row brought authors and readers together in Bethesda.

Richard Belzer, star of Law & Order: SVU, and author of “Dead Wrong: Straight Faces on the Country’s Most Controversial Cover-Ups,” as well as Rosie Pope, author of “Mommy IQ” and star of the Bravo hit TV show “Pregnant in Heels,” were among the celeb writers in town.

Then, on a Saturday night trip to see a movie in downtown Silver Spring, the excited throngs brought to mind the recent George Washington University School of Business study praising Silver Spring for successfully walking "the tightrope in attempting to achieve higher economic returns without gentrifying and detracting from its unique and diverse character."

Northward a bit up 270 on Sunday you may have encountered the Kentlands Oktoberfest on one of the most gorgeous days of the fall season. Scads of kids were spotted making harvest-inspired crafts at the Arts Barn while others rode on horse-drawn wagons and got their faces painted. Moms and Dads sampled gourmet wine and beer, and strolled among the jewelry and pottery vendors.

Did you enjoy your weekend in Montgomery County? What about our 500 square miles says "Montgomery County" to you? Tell us in comments.

There's plenty more to know about what went on in our county last week:

—If you ride the Metro into DC, your commute will be getting safer, according to officials. Metro Thursday unveiled a model of its new 7000-series railcar, marking the largest investment the company has made in the rail system's history. “For all that Metro does to keep government running, get people to work and get cars off the road, this investment in Metro is about safety," Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-MD, said of the new cars.

—A new church bell tower could chime in better cell phone reception for Germantown residents. Trinity United Methodist Church has leased land to Verizon to build a 110-foot cell phone tower that will also function as a computerized bell tower, Pastor James Miller told Patch. The tall white beams are already visible to divers approaching the church’s perch atop a hill at Clopper and Germantown roads.

—Everyone was excited about the long-awaited opening of the Town Square grocery store, Dawson’s Market, in Rockville Town Square but not about the trees missing nearby. Federal Realty Investment Trust, which owns the square, removed trees it said were blocking the view of the new storefront. for removing four trees along North Washington Street.

—Speaking of missing trees, Lockheed Martin CEO Robert J. Stevens is facing fines and community outrage for clear-cutting trees along the Potomac River near his home, The Washington Post reported Monday. Stevens, who lives on an estate in the Merry-Go-Round Farm community overlooking the river and the C&O Canal, cleared trees from 35,000-square-feet of land this summer, according to the report. Stevens claims he removed the trees for safety reasons after the June 29 derecho, according to The Post's report.

—Takoma Park is known for its small town feel, and that's the reason Bruce Sawtelle, owner of Takoma Bicycle, decided to open his doors on 7030 Caroll Avenue. Sawtelle is the subject of a Patch "Behind the Counter" profile that reveals why entrepreneurial spirit and a love of place can help fuel personal fulfillment.

—We got a closer look at just exactly what the Crown Development in Gaithersburg is slated to look like, and it includes six restaurants described as an exciting eclectic mix. Ground was broken on the development on Wednesday. Can't wait to find out what the restaurants are? Go here.

—If you're still having trouble coming up with a Halloween costume and you just don't have two hours to invest in turning yourself into a living anime character, don't fret. Storebought costumes are an acceptable fallback these days. We've got the list of the newest and most classic area costume shops.

—If your idea of Halloween is letting others do the work, there are a growing number of choices for scary places to visit. Go here for the top five haunted places in Maryland and here for more choices at parks and county attractions. Go ahead and scare yourself silly. Then send us the photos and let your friends make fun of you all over again. 

—It's not your imagination—the local deer population really is booming. The number of deer inhabiting a section of Rock Creek Park in Chevy Chase is more than three times what is recommended for the area, according to the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission. If part of Chevy Chase is added to the deer management program, police sharpshooters will cull the deer herd during the months when the park is closed (Jan. 1 through March 31), from 5:30 p.m. to sunrise, according to the commission.

—Thieves accustomed to stopping by Chevy Chase Village for a few easy laptops and GPS units may want to rethink their strategies. The village has been experiencing a jump in thefts, from an average of 25 a year to a recorded 68 so far this year. Most of the thefts have been from unlocked vehicles, according to Police Chief John Fitzgerald, so he came up with an idea—a bait car that will be wired for video and audio recording to track thieves who try to steal from it.

—If you can't find enough to occupy your time here on earth, you might try looking toward the skies. The offspring of Halley's Comet are about to put on quite a show over our county. Earth passes through a stream of debris from Halley's Comet beginning Oct. 15, which gives us the benefit of the annual Orionid meteor shower. The shower should be at its best the night of Saturday, Oct. 20, until just before dawn on Oct. 21. This year, the moon will be setting at about midnight, which will keep the sky dark enough that—barring cloud cover—you should be able to see up to 15 meteors per hour.

—Was it an emu elopement? You decide. A pair of five-foot-tall emus are safe back at home after they flew—or rather, ran from—their coop on a five-day escapade to points unknown across North Potomac. The flightless birds got loose on Thursday. “It was kind of like Bigfoot sightings, running all over to weird places,” said the birds' owner, Steven Strasburg. Bertha and Ernie ran off during the peak of emu mating season.

—Say good-bye to straight-A students in Montgomery County's public elementary schools (grades one through three). On their next report cards, instead of receiving the traditional letter grades of A, B, C, etc., first-, second- and third-grade students at public schools in the county will receive ES, P, I or N, The Washington Post reported.

Still haven't gotten enough Montgomery County news? Read top headlines here. Or check out weird Maryland news here.

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