Wednesday, March 31, 2010

what's up the pike: cheetos in their natural habitat

Cheetos In Their Natural Habitat
- It looks like The Thes ("a blog about beTHESda") is officially kaput or, at least, they didn't renew their web address. We're wondering if blogger Lisa - who actually lives in Downtown Silver Spring but wrote about Bethesda because "there's more going on there," as she told me last summer - has given up and finally moved to the dark side, or if she's writing about Silver Spring now under some other blog, or neither.

- Roger Miller, the African restaurant on Bonifant Street that closed late last year, will soon be replaced by Casa de Pollo, Peruvian rotisserie place run by Togolese immigrants, according to SoCo Eats. "You don't think we're from Peru?" the owners asked blogger SoCoblogboy when asked about their non-Latino appearance but, when pressed, said they'll be offering African dishes alongside the pollo a la brasa.

- This year's Silver Spring Blues Festival will take place on May 22, according to the Silver Spring Town Center blog. The performance lineup hasn't been announced yet, but check out our review of last year's festival, which brought local and national blues artists to Ellsworth Drive for a day of music and fine weather.

- And next Thursday, the Planning Board hosts five local bloggers for a panel discussion as part of their "Rethink Montgomery" speaker series. I'll be there with Eric Robbins of Thayer Avenue, Rockville Central's Cindy Cotte Griffiths, Barnaby Zall from the Friends of White Flint FLOG, and Greater Greater Washington's David Alpert, talking about blogging as a tool for community discourse and planning. The talk starts at 7:30pm at the Fortress of Planning (also known as the Park and Planning Commission), located at 8787 Georgia Avenue.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

now-weekly fenton street market returns this spring

Fenton Street Market Sign

After two successful Saturdays last fall, the Fenton Street Market returns in 2010 for EVERY Saturday from April 17 through the end of October. Last year, creator/magazine writer/nearby resident Hannah McCann noticed an empty parking lot at Fenton Street and Silver Spring Avenue and contacted property owner Ulysses Glee, who offered to let her use it for a weekly flea market drawing dozens of local vendors and hundreds of visitors.

Glee plans to build condos and a hotel on the site and expects to break ground next year. In the meantime, Fenton Street Market's bringing on over sixty new vendors (applications for which are still available!)
and has a new partnership with the Latino Economic Development Corporation, giving them more support for the local businesses who will appear there.

From their press release:

. . . Fenton Street Market promises fun and excitement from week to week! There will be 60+ vendors selling antiques, imported goods, crafts, art, and food, plus live music and various interactive programs to entertain and engage shoppers as they stroll the aisles!

Everyone with a service or product of value to the community is encouraged to apply to participate in the market. All applications will be considered, with an emphasis on quality and variety of product to keep the market fresh. Applications are being accepted on a rolling basis through the season's end in October, and are available online at

New developments since last fall's test dates bring solid footing to the 2010 season. The market is being run as a partnership between McCann and the Latino Economic Development Corporation (LEDC), an area nonprofit supporting small and independent business. And local dynamo Debbie Lee, founder of Rock-n-Romp and Handmade Mart, has signed on as the Fenton Street Market's manager.

Fenton Street Market is held at the corner of Fenton Street and Silver Spring Avenue in Downtown Silver Spring. The Silver Spring Metro is a short walk away, and there is free parking in the public lots across Fenton Street. A number of wonderful independent stores and restaurants are in the immediate area for shoppers to visit and support while they're in the neighborhood, and Fresh Farm market runs a weekly Saturday farm market 4 blocks away . . .

For more information contact Debbie Lee at

Monday, March 29, 2010

what's up the pike: spring break!

Broken Old Swings

If you or someone you know is in Montgomery County Public Schools, you're on spring break this week! That potentially means a slow week for news here in East County, but here's what I was able to dig up:

- In case you missed it, check out our latest news on the Woodside skate spot, which could open as early as this summer.

- Ceviche's been closed for barely a week, but a new use is already on its way. Local band Tigertronic will take over the shuttered bar overlooking Ellsworth Drive during the Human Rights Art Festival late next month, according to the event's Facebook page. They'll be playing music and hosting dances at night during the three-day festival, which is a pretty big deal and merits some serious blog posts in the near future. When it's over, Downtown Silver Spring manager Jennifer Nettles says they'll be looking for a new restaurant to move in permanently.

- Why move to Burtonsville? Afghan food, or more specifically, the Afghan food at Maiwand Kabob on Route 198. "I've lived in Burtonsville for a few years now, and this place makes me happy to keep living here (not too many other reasons!)," writes this commenter on Yelp.

- Are you afraid of the crowds downtown for this year's Cherry Blossom Festival? I am. You might want to check out Silver Spring's very own Big Cherry Block Party, taking place on Ellsworth from 11am to 6pm this Saturday, April 3, also known as my birthday. Celebrate all things Japanese with origami demonstrations, traditional dance, and J-Pop music. We'll even get our very own cherry blossom tree in a planting ceremony.

- From the listservs: editor of Washington Gardener magazine and friend of JUTP Kathy Jentz is launching a Lawn Flamingo Adoption Program. "I'll take in any homeless, legless, faded, or unwanted birds and give them a good home," she writes. Jentz is collecting flamingos for an art project.

- Are you interested in learning about a history of Washington, D.C. that doesn't have anything to do with presidents? Georgetown resident Cecily sent us a link over the weekend to her blog Quondam Washington, with everything from ghost stories to old photos of the nation's capitol. Check it out!

Friday, March 26, 2010

despite concerns, woodside skate spot could open by june

Current Proposed Woodside Skate Spot Plan
Last Friday, five local skaters met with a designer and staff from the county Department of Parks to discuss building a temporary skate spot at Woodside Park in Downtown Silver Spring. Everyone hopes it'll be open by this summer, but concerns remain about how other park users will interact with the facility.

The proposed skate spot would be located on the north side of the park located at Georgia Avenue and Spring Street, in a clearing between the gym and the basketball courts. It's about 65 feet wide and 56 feet long, or about 4,000 square feet. It's next to an existing set of stairs that skaters already do tricks on, affectionately called Big Four.

Plans for the skate spot, shown above, would contain several modular pieces like a pyramid, a "fun box" or low shelf, and a quarter-pipe that would be dropped into a concrete slab. The pieces would be arranged around a new, ornamental tree. Planners envision ledges around the tree for sitting and a short ramp for doing tricks on. They say the tree's a way to make the skate spot look more attractive.

"We want it to look inviting to a mother pushing a stroller," said staff member Ching-Fang Chen. "That way, the neighborhood will be more open to it."

woodside skate spot
Early drawing of the Woodside Park skate spot with the tree in the middle.

But skaters worried it could be disruptive or even dangerous for those using the space. Keir Johnson, a skater who grew up in Silver Spring, explained the "flow" of skate parks: users will start at one end and build up speed to do a trick on the other before turning around and doing it again. The tree would block flow or potentially be a hazard if kids can't slow down before running into it. "It feels cramped," said Johnson.

"It looks like it was designed for prettiness," said Downtown resident Maryam Balbed, who began skating with her kids a year and a half ago and goes by the nickname Sk8ter Mom. "We have to design it for children's health and safety."

Aaron Spohn of Industry, California-based Spohn Ranch, the company contracted to build the modular pieces, agreed to take out the tree from their final design. Spohn shared catalogs of Spohn Ranch skate parks across the United States, including one in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba for sailors stationed at the naval base there and their families. Closer to home, the firm is building a skate park at the North Laurel Community Park in Howard County.

Skaters suggested other things that they'd like to see in the design. One was a combination ramp and stairs designed to look and feel like one you might see outside an office building, which could appeal to street skaters who now get chased off real-life versions of it across Downtown Silver Spring.

Skaters Getting Busted
Skaters regularly get chased out of otherwise unused Downtown plazas.
Johnson rattled off a list of things that local skaters like to use: ledges; a flat bar, a long, thin metal rod for grinding on; steps; a pyramid; a quarter-pipe, and a bank. "I think if we want to make the best use of the money and the space, we want things we're gonna use," he says. "If it has those five things in it, people will be psyched."

As a high school student in the 1990's, he managed East of Maui, a skate park on Ellsworth Drive that closed to make way for the Downtown redevelopment, where he and his friends ran camps and arranged skate demos. "I loved that place," says Johnson, who currently works as a field producer for reality TV shows. "It was a huge thing. It made Silver Spring very prominent."

Given the size and significance of East of Maui, it's unlikely that the Woodside skate spot could meet the need of Silver Spring skaters. Last fall, JUTP crunched a formula from Skaters for Public Skateparks that determines how large a skatepark needs to be based on an area's population. We estimated that approximiately 900 people in Silver Spring would use one on a regular basis, requiring a park nearly three acres in size.

Citing those figures, Sk8ter Mom worried that the Woodside skate spot could be overwhelmed. "This is like throwing a sandwich into a hungry crowd," she says. "All the little kids who don't go downtown, their parents are gonna bring them here."

The skate spot will cost approximately $69,000 to fabricate and install the modular pieces, according to project manager Ellen Masciocchi, in addition to the cost of laying the concrete slab, which is currently unknown. By comparison, planned parks in College Park and Clinton could cost $250,000 and $300,000, respectively, while a temporary skate spot built by police officers in Germantown cost only $1,000.

Germantown Skate Spot
The Germantown skate spot.

If all goes well, construction could start on the skate spot this spring and it could open in time for Go Skateboarding Day on June 21. One year after the skate spot opens, the Parks Department will conduct a review, seeing how well it's used, how expensive it is to maintain, and how many complaints it has generated.

After that, they'll decide whether to keep the temporary park or start planning for a permanent one. Even then, a permanent skate spot won't be built until Woodside Park is scheduled for renovations, likely within the next seven to eight years.

Sk8ter Mom questioned how much sway the park's neighbors will have. While most in the adjacent Woodside Civic Association support the project, a handful of neighbors managed to stall the project last fall, while plans several years ago to build a larger skatepark on Fenton Street were scuttled by neighbors there. "How much power do we give the residents?" she asked. "They own their homes, but they don't own the park. Do they get to dictate this project?"

This is the second meeting that the Department of Parks has held with skaters about the project, and despite the lingering concerns, local skater and Blake High School student Christian was happy about getting results. "We got rid of the tree," he says. "We got a lot covered."

Fellow skater and high school student Alex felt similarly. "At least we got to put a say into what we want in it," he says.

what's up the pike: don't graffiti the dumpster

'Our Homeowners Watch For Your Tag'

- Have you noticed "The New Ave," Takoma Park's attempt to draw business and investment to the New Hampshire Avenue corridor? Check out the blog of Sam Kittner, the local photographer whose shots of local mom-and-pop business owners were featured in the campaign.

- If you need a job and can fry chicken wings, the restaurant/drafthouse in the former Silver Spring Fire Station (now called "Fire Station 1") is hiring. Come by today between 10am and 4pm to MontgomeryWorks' job recruitment center, located at Wheaton Plaza. (Thanks again to SoCo Eats for the heads-up.)

- Tonight, Whole Foods hosts an in-store charity event to benefit the Whole Planet Foundation, a nonprofit group that supports microfinancing in developing countries. A $10 donation gets you in the door for live music, a silent auction with stuff from local businesses, but more importantly, samples. Donate $15 and you'll get a coupon for 10% off your next purchase at Adega Wine. The event's from 5 to 7pm at Whole Foods, located of course at Fenton and Wayne.

- Tonight's Blackbyrds (you know, from the 1975 hit "Rock Creek Park") concerts at the Blair Mansion Inn have been cancelled, according to their website. My guess is you can go there for information about refunds if you've already bought a ticket. Womp womp, y'all. (Thanks to reader Carine, who pointed this out to us on Facebook.)

- BUT you can still see local swing band Swingtopia playing their last show (at least, their last show this month) at Greek Village Restaurant in Colesville at 8pm Monday night. The restaurant's located at New Hampshire Avenue and Randolph Road; for more info, check out Swingtopia's website.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

what's up the pike: i'm already hungry (updated)

8407 Restaurant
- In case you didn't know, this is where 8407, the new restaurant by former Nicaro chef Pedro Matamoros will be located. (That's 8407 Ramsey Avenue, between Bonifant and Wayne.) Their blog and Twitter feed haven't been updated in a while, but if you walk by the back door (as I often do when I park my car in the adjacent Metro garage) you'll hear the clanging of pans and the yelling of men, which is encouraging.

UPDATE: Well, that was fast. SoCo Eats says 8407 will open for lunch tomorrow at 11:00am.

- Last week, SoCo Eats suggested that Ceviche on Ellsworth has closed for good, and after days of confusion, Jennifer Nettles - manager of the Downtown Silver Spring complex in which the Latin restaurant and bar ("home of the $9 empanada") was located - has an answer. "They have chosen to close," writes Nettles. "We are hoping to have a new restaurant in the location shortly."

- If you need a job and can fry chicken wings, the restaurant/drafthouse in the former Silver Spring Fire Station (now called "Fire Station 1") is hiring. Come by tomorrow and Friday between 10am and 4pm to MontgomeryWorks' job recruitment center, located at Wheaton Plaza. (Thanks again to SoCo Eats for the heads-up.)

- On Friday, Whole Foods hosts an in-store charity event to benefit the Whole Planet Foundation, a nonprofit group that supports microfinancing in developing countries. A $10 donation gets you in the door for live music, a silent auction with stuff from local businesses, but more importantly, samples - because isn't that the best part of going to Whole Foods? Donate $15 and you'll get a coupon for 10% off your next purchase at Adega Wine. The event's from 5 to 7pm at Whole Foods, located of course at Fenton and Wayne.

- You like the song "Rock Creek Park"? Do you remember it? See The Blackbyrds (best known for the 1975 hit named for, and written about inappropriate relations in, the thing that keeps Bethesda safely at arm's length) for two shows this Friday at 8 and 10:15pm. They'll be at the Blair Mansion Inn, located at 7711 Eastern Avenue near Georgia. For more information, and to buy tickets, check out the Blair Mansion's website.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

you've got that purple pallor

Y'all may not notice it, but I've seriously been slacking off on the blog over the past couple of weeks. That's because I've been pretty busy with a fundraiser for Purple Line NOW! - which I staff as part of my day job (which I assume y'all are largely familiar with) that finally took place last night at the new Montgomery College Performing Arts Center without a hitch. It's exciting to do something different from my normal daily duties but still incorporates stuff I've learned from over the years.

And the end result is the video above, containing "video greetings" from a dozen Montgomery and Prince George's county state delegates and senators expressing their support for the Purple Line. It was a pretty time-consuming deal. I spent two days driving to Annapolis to visit the electeds and work with their tireless staffs to find just a couple of minutes for me to plunk a camera in front of them. (Many of them offered food, and one offered me a drink - you know who you are! - for my troubles.)

That was followed by three days driving between New Carrollton and Bethesda, shooting various places along the Purple Line; struggling to find parking in Chevy Chase, getting lost in Langley Park, and taking a couple minutes to enjoy the Saturday afternoon scene on Ellsworth in Downtown Silver Spring; and explaining to people what I was doing and why I was taking pictures of them crossing a street.

And then, editing hours and hours of video into a six-minute piece.

So I'm happy it's done, and that I've got something to show for it. Certainly I can't present this video without thanking all of the Purple Line NOW! board members and volunteers who made this project and the fundraiser as a whole successful - not to mention the AWESOME AWESOME staff at Montgomery College who ran lights and microphones and DVDs and sound boards and all sorts of cool stuff I don't understand.

And yes, that's Congresswoman Donna Edwards (D-Dist. 4), who was scheduled to speak at the fundraiser but unfortunately showed up after it had already ended. I was surprised she even came - I mean, our representatives deserve at least a nap after passing health-care reform - but I was impressed to see that the Congresswoman took the effort to make an appearance and talk people up for a while, too.

The best reason to come late to a fundraiser? You get all the leftover hors d'oeuvres. "Really?" Congresswoman Edwards said when handed a box of meat skewers, little mushroom-cheese-bacon things, and assorted vegetables. "Awesome!" I think she meant it. Hunger really humanizes people, even the ones you see on C-SPAN.

Monday, March 22, 2010

what's up the pike: hiding out

Hiding Out
- If you missed free italian ice at Rita's last weekend, you can still get your frozen dessert fix gratis this Tuesday at Ben and Jerry's for their annual Free Cone Day. The only East County Ben and Jerry's is located at 903 Ellsworth in Downtown Silver Spring.

- Video Movie Liquidators, the sometimes-vendor of adult entertainment in Downtown Wheaton, will shut its doors for good this Friday, so hurry quick before their stock is completely, uh, liquidated.

- Another bike shop is opening up in Old Takoma: next month, stop by Takoma Bicycle, located at 7030 Carroll Avenue near Westmoreland Avenue. They'll sell and fix bikes - including used ones "acquired by trade-ins, donations, and even roadside trash picks – anything to keep more bikes out of the landfill," according to a press release from the Old Takoma Business Association. (Does dumpster-diving for bikes surprise anyone in Takoma Park?) Unlike The Green Commuter, which just opened three blocks away, Takoma Bicycle will not specialize in electric bikes.

- And at 7042 Carroll, local chain CD Gamexchange is opening a new branch. They're relocating from their store in College Park, where sales have been cramped by a crackdown on pawn shops in Prince George's County and competition from other video game stores. I'm curious if the Takoma store will cannibalize sales at their Silver Spring location, just two miles away on Georgia Avenue.

- You might know Sk8ter Mom for her skater advocacy and tearing-up of Downtown Silver Spring concrete, but when she puts down the skateboard she's got a pretty awesome jazz blog. You want the most comprehensive listing of local jazz shows? Better check this out.

Friday, March 19, 2010

what's up the pike: do people even rollerblade anymore?

No Skateboarding

- Rita's Italian Ice is celebrating the start of their 2010 season by giving away free italian ice on Saturday from 12 to 10pm. The Burtonsville Rita's is onRoute 198, but they also have locations in College Park, Olney, and Aspen Hill.

- You've probably already heard that there'll be a meeting to discuss the new Silver Spring Civic Building, which after years of anticipation will finally open this July. The meeting will be next Tuesday, March 23 from 7 to 9pm at the Discovery Building.

- Costco's still thinking about opening up in Wheaton . . . Wheaton, Illinois, also known as Bizarro Wheaton or the Other, White Wheaton. Of course, the arguments for and against the big-box store coming to Wheaton, IL are the same as they are here.

For: "the Costco representative said a store would create about 300 jobs and, after three or four years, generate as much as $3 million annually in sales tax revenue for the city. 'The Costco thing has a lot of potential once you start to think about it,' [Bizarro Wheaton Official] said.

Against: "We've got a residential neighborhood right next door," [Other Bizarro Wheaton Official] said. "So it is a fairly incompatible use. I really respect the neighborhoods, and I don't want to do anything to damage them."

- It looks like Greg Sanders, son of recently-departed transit activist Harry Sanders, is following in his dad's footsteps with a blog post dismantling the libertarian argument that we have so much "suburban sprawl" because duh, everyone wants to live there. Greg's response (for those uninterested in planner-geekery): Downtown Silver Spring.

- Maryland state legislators are mulling a bill that would provide loans to people seeking to improve the energy efficiency of their home or business. Lisa Piccinini from UMD for Clean Energy - whose Matt Dernoga we interviewed last fall - writes a guest post about the program, and its implications for our environment, on Rethink College Park.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

silver spring civic building: the movie

Friend of JUTP Kathy Jentz sent us this documentary shot by her friend and Takoma Park resident Susan Harris about the new Silver Spring Civic Building, which is set to open at the corner of Ellsworth Drive and Fenton Street this July. The video features none other than Reemberto Rodriguez, director of the Silver Spring Regional Services Center (colloquially called the "Mayor of Silver Spring") and some lovely renderings of the Civic Building, which are already starting to come to life.

Harris co-produced the clip with Mario Starks at Docs in Progress, a non-profit group that teaches documentary filmmaking. Docs in Progress hosts a variety of workshops and screenings, including a free one this Saturday of American Feud, exploring the tensions between liberals and conservatives in the United States. That screening starts at 7pm at Docs in Progress' offices, located at 8700 First Avenue near Fenwick Lane.

Attendance is limited to just twenty people ("to allow for an intimate discussion"), so if you can't squeeze in, check out the video above.

cruisin' in burtonsville

Burtonsville Car Show 2009

These days, the only reason I come to Burtonsville is because I, like a lot of East County residents, am on my way to shop in Howard County. I have, though, really gotten into the little "restaurant row" that's forming on Route 198, eating empanadas at Cuba de Ayer and sipping Ethiopian coffee at Soretti's. But between the highway bypass and the increasingly awesome [ethnic] food is the small town Burtonsville used to be and a few residents desperately hold on to.

And in that small town, one thing rules: awesome cars. After all, one of the biggest attractions at the yearly Burtonsville Day celebration is the classic car show. This weekend, the time-honored tradition of cruising once again returns to Burtonsville, as I found on this message board (remember those?) for Chrysler Crossfire enthusiasts:

Its that time of year - this is a year round cruise in but usually doesn't really get going until this time of year. This event draws a lot of hot rods, race cars, exotics, customs, antiques, you name it, its there. So bring your Crossfire and join us every Sunday at 8:30 a.m. til around 10:30 a.m. In the Giant Food parking lot at the intersection of Rt's 198 and old Rt 29 in Burtonsville Maryland. We congregate in the lot by the KFC which is open for breakfast, there's also a Starbucks. Bring your camera, its the best free car show you will ever see! Hope to see you this Sunday morning!

I would be curious to check this out. But 8:30 on a Sunday morning? At that time you should either be in church (or whatever house of worship you choose to attend) or in bed. And I, sir, am not a church-goer. Of course, the Just Up The Pike-mobile (also known as the 2003 Honda Civic) isn't exactly the kind of car you would bring to a cruise-in, either.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

an afternoon in wheaton

Nothing like a bright sunny weekday afternoon walking around Downtown Wheaton. The air's warm and the bright colors of all the stores pop out at you so much that when you get home and fix up your photos you turn the saturation ALL THE WAY UP. "Ethnic diversity!" Scream the bright store displays. "Small-town quirkiness!" Or, in a fit of desperation, "Please come in and buy something!" It makes the heart warm.

Barbarian Window
Ridiculous store hours seem like a necessity at any comic book shop worth its salt. I don't know why. It adds character. Unfortunately, Barbarian Comics' website lists slightly more regular operating times. They're still closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, though.

Pho Comida Tipica
Friend of JUTP and awesomer photographer than I Chip Py told me about this place called Pho Comida Tipica. Tyler Cowen may say all the best Vietnamese food is in Northern Virginia, but I don't think it comes with salsa there.

Cadmus II
While Video Movie Liquidators is closing up for good next week, Wheaton won't be without adult entertainment so long as Cadmus II is open. Newsstand, you say? Can I get the New York Times here, like a sexy, 21-and-over Times?

Window Signs, Telvis Restaurant (1)
Gender roles are strictly enforced at Telvis Restaurant on Grandview Avenue. Or the painter didn't want to put a male dishwasher on the window. Hey, sex sells, or at least it would if they had any waitresses.

Click here to see the full photoset, or scroll down to check out a nifty slideshow.

what's up the pike: burtonsville has three streets with the same name

Winchester Homes At Forest Ridge
- BusinessWeek magazine just named Burtonsville one of the best affordable suburbs in the country, despite calling it a "wealthy suburb" in their little blurb. Isn't this kind of an oxymoron? (See affordable/wealthy suburban houses in Burtonsville above.) And where's this "local farmer's market" they're talking about?

- B'ville does, however, have Rita's Italian Ice, which is celebrating the start of their 2010 season by giving away free italian ice on Saturday from 12 to 10pm. The Burtonsville Rita's is on Route 198. (You know, it's Old Columbia Pike just past Old Columbia Pike, but if you hit Old Columbia Pike you've gone too far.) They also have locations in College Park, Olney, and Aspen Hill.

- These are good times for student journalism. Paint Branch High School's Mainstream just discovered (ha!) that the Discovery Channel has a big headquarters building in Downtown Silver Spring. Meanwhile, Howard University's Hilltop only became aware of Silver Spring two weeks ago. Kinda wonder why they're so impressed by the presence of a Borders. They have books at Howard, don't they?

- The Brits think Silver Spring is in "North West D.C.." Not sure whether that's good or bad for property values. Maybe the Howard kids read this before visiting - because, like all D.C. residents temporary or permanent, they're deathly afraid to venture out into the wilds of Maryland.

- Montgomery College has a cricket team that's competing in a national championship! You'd think a community college that's beating snooty four-year schools like GW would pay for the uniforms of the team doing so, but apparently that's not the case. Tsk tsk.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

in case you haven't seen something blow up today

Office workers in Downtown Silver Spring have blasting fever! Who wouldn't be jealous of those working in the NOAA buildings next to the future Silver Spring Transit Center - not because their days get interrupted by construction-related explosions next door, but because they're all making videos about it. YouTube "silver spring transit center" and you'll find four different clips of bedrock being blown to bits.

Reader Manfre sends us this video of the blasting, which will continue through the spring, made by NOAA meterologist Brian Klein ("in his spare time," he notes) and set to the 1812 Overture. Nothing says America like explosions! As for the Transit Center, expect to see the state of Maryland's second-largest transportation hub (which we wrote about last fall) open for its 97,000 daily users some time in 2011.

great peruvian taste test results (part two!)

At long last, here are the first results of Just Up The Pike's Great Peruvian Taste Test, finding you the best pollo a la brasa in suburban Maryland. We've been taste-testing the top five restaurants as selected by You, The Reader and rated according to our established taste test criteria, with a couple of changes.

What we haven't done, however, is taste them in order. So to begin, here's #4 and #2:

Interior, Sabroso Grill

Sabroso Grill
8624 Colesville Road, Silver Spring.

Located at Georgia and Colesville in the center of Downtown Silver Spring, fourth-place Sabroso Grill aims for a slightly more upscale Peruvian chicken experience than you'll find at its competitors. You'll still order food from the counter and watch a man with a large knife hack a chicken apart in front of you. But if you choose to eat inside, you'll get to do so in a surprisingly large dining room with mood lighting, soft music, and works "created by local, national & international artists."

Sabroso's food doesn't disappoint, but it won't knock your socks off. Come in for lunch if you work nearby or grab a quick dinner before a show at the AFI Silver Theatre, but if you prize food over ambiance, head to El Pollo Rico instead.

Meat and Flavor. The chicken is decent. There could be more flavor and the meat could have been juicier. I'm willing to chalk it up to a bad day because I was impressed by the friendly staff and awesome decor. Part of me wonders if Sabroso Grill would be good for "introducing" your friends to pollo a la brasa before sending them to places where orders are taken solely in Spanish.

Sides. You can pick any of the long list of the sides to accompany your chicken without paying extra, which is a big plus. The rice with cilantro was a pleasant surprise, though I found the plantains bitter and crunchy.

Sauces. It's the standard yellow sauce and green sauce. I found I emptied both packets way sooner than I have at other places.

The Meal, Sabroso Grill

Crisp and Juicy
Multiple locations; we tried the one at Wheaton Plaza, 11160 Veirs Mill Road, Wheaton.

Husband and wife Jorge and Carmen Perez opened the first Crisp and Juicy in Arlington twenty years ago and now have eight locations in the D.C. area, with five in Montgomery County alone. I visited their restaurant in Wheaton Plaza, tucked inside a parking garage next to the soon-to-reopen Hollywood East Cafe. Of the taste test Top Five, second-place Crisp and Juicy comes closest to a chain-restaurant experience. The servers are by far the most helpful. The dining areas are large, clean and brightly lit. And the food you'll get is predictable but not disappointing.

Meat and Flavor. One word: cumin. Lots of it. The meat is nice and tender, but a little greasy. It's not as flavorful as a hole-in-the-wall like Inka's, but still far more interesting than Boston Market.

Sides. The rice was nice and buttery, but the plantains - one of several sides you can pick from without an extra charge - weren't amazing. They could have been overcooked.

Sauces. Crisp and Juicy's known for their orange spicy sauce, served in place of the yellow sauce most places offer. The sauce is definitely a winner. Put your chicken in it. Put your plantains in it. Pour it on your rice. Ask for extra, take it home, and put it on your American food. You won't be sorry.

Soon, we'll let you know how El Pollo Rico, our #1 pollo a la brasa stacks up - and, if I'm not completely tired of taste-testing Peruvian rotisserie, I'll tell you about two of my favorite places that didn't make the top five.

Monday, March 15, 2010

what's up the pike: lose anything recently?

Lost Keys
- You'll soon see fliers with "East County's Most Wanted" posted up and down The Pike as part of the Third Police District's latest crime-prevention campaign. Hopefully, it'll continue the current trend of reduced crime across East County, where everything from burglaries to vehicle theft have fallen precipitously since this time last year.

- Maryland Politics Watch gets to the bottom of the dead-in-the-water plan to move the Wheaton Library. While it was suggested by urban planning consultants as a way to revitalize Downtown Wheaton, local residents made sure no one would even try to look at it seriously.

- Sure, your neighbor might be president of the homeowners' association, but does she moonlight as the king of a Ghanaian town? Silver Spring resident Peggielene Bartels does. How do you know when you're from Montgomery County? When your subjects in Ghana complain that you've "become a white woman."

- If you haven't gotten a chance to see local swing band Swingtopia, you've got the rest of the month to check them out. They'll be playing at the Greek Village Restaurant in Colesville at 8pm Monday nights through the rest of March. The restaurant's located at New Hampshire Avenue and Randolph Road; for more info, check out Swingtopia's website.

Friday, March 12, 2010

what's up the pike: here's your weekend, sort of

Wet Paint Sign

Over the past few months, Just Up The Pike has received an ever-increasing number of tips. Thanks for the help! It's because of these reader contributions that we've become what Maryland Politics Watch says is the #2 most-read local blog in Maryland. If you've got something to say, please don't hesitate to drop me a line at justupthepike at gmail dot com.


- Chuck Brown, the godfather of go-go, and the W.P.G. Trio are coming to Silver Spring - and no, we're not kidding. Check them out at the Blair Mansion Inn, 7711 Eastern Avenue near Georgia, tonight at 9pm. For more info, call 301/588-1688 or visit the Blair Mansion's website.

- The Lakeland Community Heritage Project, which works to preserving the history of College Park's black community, is holding a dinner dance tonight from 8pm to 12am honoring Lakeland's social clubs. It all goes down at the Holiday Inn College Park, located at 10000 Baltimore Avenue. For more info and to buy tickets, check out their blog.

- Looking for a pet? Appalachian Great Pyrenees Rescue, a Richmond-based volunteer group that finds homes specifically for Great Pyrenees dogs, is having an adoption event tomorrow. Come by the Big Bad Woof in Takoma, D.C., located at 177 Carroll Street NW, between 12 and 3pm to meet their dogs. For more info, visit them on Facebook or at their website.

- If you haven't gotten a chance to see local swing band Swingtopia, you've got the rest of the month to check them out. They'll be playing at the Greek Village Restaurant in Colesville at 8pm Monday nights through the rest of March. The restaurant's located at New Hampshire Avenue and Randolph Road; for more info, check out Swingtopia's website.

- Have you ever wanted to grow bananas in your backyard? Don't let that three feet of snow we just had fool you into thinking you can't. The Silver Spring Garden Club hosts botanist John Boggan for a free talk about hardy plants normally found in warmer locales. The meeting's at 8pm Monday in the Brookside Gardens Education Building, located at 1800 Glenallan Avenue in Wheaton.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

on harry sanders (1946-2010)

I've worked alongside Harry Sanders for the past year as a staffer to Purple Line NOW! The last time I saw him was last Saturday at Suburban Hospital, when I came to videotape a short greeting from him for our Purple Line NOW! fundraiser later this month. It was assumed that he wouldn't be at the event, but no one would have guessed that we would lose him so soon.

I'm editing the video now. Harry is lying in the hospital bed, wearing a purple shirt with Purple Line NOW! memorabilia surrounding him. A bouquet of purple orchids is sitting on the table next to him. And the remarks he makes, prepared by his wife Barbara and son Greg earlier that day, begin "Daniel Burnham said, 'Make no little plans.'" He's incredibly weak. Harry has to force the words out of his mouth, and his voice disappears entirely on the word "said."

Barbara explained to me that, over thirty years ago, she and Harry had fought to bring the Green Line right into the center of the University of Maryland, despite fears from the administration and the city alike that it would "bring undesirables" into their community. While they lost that fight, they've never given up on improving transit all across suburban Maryland.

The Purple Line isn't a small plan. It's not hyperbole for me to say that it'll connect some of the poorest neighborhoods in the region with some of the most affluent communities in the nation. It'll hopefully alter the way we live, work and play in suburban Maryland. And, most admirable of all, it's already brought people together from different races, classes, backgrounds under these very auspicious goals.

Much of the praise Harry Sanders has received on Maryland Politics Watch has been about his work as a civic activist, but I think of him as so much more for that. In twenty-five years of pushing for what we now know as the Purple Line, Harry and his friends have done much more than civic activism. They aren't about protecting the status quo. They aren't about accepting things as they are. Their work reflects an optimism about the future - the possibility that we can make things better through our combined efforts - that people half their age have already lost.

I'm deeply saddened that Harry will never get to walk from his house to the future 16th Street Station and catch the Purple Line. It's imperative that we get it built now. Not just for all the people who will benefit from it, but for someone without whom it could have never even happened.

I'll miss you, Harry. I'm glad I got to see you one last time, and my hopes and prayers are with your family.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

what's up the pike: first bike ride of the new year

Bikes For Sale (I Rode The One In The Middle And It Was Sweet)

- Most go-go shows in East County have gotten shut down, but we've got one better for you: Chuck Brown, the godfather of go-go, and the W.P.G. Trio are coming to the Blair Mansion Inn, 7711 Eastern Avenue near Georgia, this Friday at 9pm. For more info, call 301/588-1688 or visit the Blair Mansion's website.

- Now that the snow's quickly melting away, the Voice wants you to find the "first signs of spring" in their photo contest. E-mail photos to DCGardenPhotos at aol dot com - with your name, age and contact info, of course - by March 26. Winners in their adult and youth categories will win a T-shirt, a subscription to Washington Gardener magazine, and get published in the April Voice.

- It looks like we've got a new neighbor and a new blogger at the same time: Sprung on The Spring is the diary of a couple who recently bought a house in Silver Spring and their attempts to learn about the area. They might want to fill out that blogroll if they're looking for some knowledge. (I'm just saying.) Check out their "10 Reasons Why I Want To Live in Silver Spring."

- Looking for a historian? David Rotenstein, Four Corners resident and former chairman of the Montgomery County Historic Preservation Commission, is looking for a job and he's got a blog about his research on the area's history. So far, he's written about a "home of the future built in Silver Spring during the 1939 World's Fair and racist covenants that kept non-whites from moving to certain neighborhoods in the 30's.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

little changes approved, bigger changes on the way at city place

A lot of things have kept City Place Mall from success since it opened in 1992. The five-story mall at Colesville and Fenton in Downtown Silver Spring has a mix of discount and off-brand stores that attract shoppers from across the region but aren't relevant to well-heeled people living in the immediate area. It also suffers from a reputation for crime, notably a drug-related shooting during rush hour last fall. (The lack of an Internet presence beyond this listing and a Wikipedia entry doesn't help, either.)

People Outside City Place Mall (Colesville and Fenton)
This fountain at Colesville and Fenton will be removed, making the entrance to City Place more visible.

Like most enclosed malls in an urban setting, City Place's biggest flaw is that it presents big blank walls to the street, meaning that pedestrians who don't know what's in there aren't given a reason to go inside. That's what owners Petrie Ross Ventures seek to fix about City Place in the first phase of a major renovation, approved by the Montgomery County Planning Board last Thursday.

Nighttime View, City Place Entrance

Daytime View, City Place Entrance

Nighttime (left) and daytime (right) views of the new City Place entrance at Colesville and Fenton. All images taken from the Planning Department's report.

They want to renovate the plaza at the corner of Colesville Road and Fenton Street, the mall's most visible entrance but perhaps also its most foreboding. Signs for anchor stores Marshalls and Burlington Coat Factory are plastered several stories up, making them hard to see for people on foot or driving past. A large sculptural fountain, lined with spiky strips to discourage loitering, blocks the door.

New Plaza, City Place Mall
A plan of the new plaza.

The developer's proposal would take out the fountain and repave the entire plaza, making it easier for people to circulate and open up sight lines. This will hopefully discourage loitering and make the space feel safer. A tree that interferes with wheelchair ramps at the crosswalk for Colesville Road will be removed.

And a new metal screen, similar to the ones placed along Ellsworth Drive and Fenton Street in 2005, will wrap around the corner. It'll display large tenant signs, a new sign for the mall itself, and a video screen "that will televise events, ads and information as an aesthetic response to this admittedly commercial enterprise," according to a report filed by Planning staff. The screen will be required to display public information and event calendars every five minutes.

The proposal doesn't address any changes to the restaurants flanking the entrance, Taste of Morocco and a shuttered Ruby Tuesday that was vandalized in the fall of 2008. Both eateries' street-facing windows are either covered up or tinted, and their patio seating - a great way to activate the plaza - is largely unused. Hopefully, renovating the plaza will encourage at least Taste of Morocco to open up to the outside.

Concession Stand, AMC City Place 10
The ten-screen movie theatre atop City Place, closed since 2004, could be converted to offices.

A new plaza is only the beginning of ambitious changes planned by Petrie Ross. Parts of City Place's upper two floors, occupied by a ten-screen movie theatre that closed in 2004, could be converted to offices. Signs around the mall already advertise the yet-unbuilt space for rent, and a flyer from the leasing agency shows how the building would be retrofitted - both inside, where the theatre would be gutted, and outside, where new windows would be added to the upper stories - to accomodate the renovations.

City Place Mall Office Tower

City Place Mall Office Tower (Seen From Colesville)

Renderings of the renovated mall and office tower addition, seen from the corner of Fenton and Ellsworth (left) and Colesville Road (right).

The office addition, both within the existing mall and in a nine-story office building on top that was first approved twenty years ago, brings a customer base that could draw new, higher-end retailers to City Place. As recently as last summer, the developers had unsuccessfully courted Park and Planning to occupy the 300,000-square foot tower. But without office tenants willing to take a chance on the mall's potential turnaround, it's likely that nothing could happen at all.

In the meantime, there's a possibility that City Place Mall could get a new name. All of the renderings above show new signage at the corner of Colesville and Fenton reading "The Galleria at Silver Spring." As Silver Spring, Singular first suggested in 2006, the name City Place carries with it some serious baggage and could use a new moniker to get disenchanted shoppers interested again.

Monday, March 8, 2010

what's up the pike: "no, that was a train"

- Check out this video of blasting at the Silver Spring Transit Center, which will continue at least through the end of March. It's preparing the site for actual construction, which should start later this year and be completed some time in 2011. You'll have to skip to about 0:45 to see the actual blast, but it's still pretty cool.

- Tonight, local swing band Swingtopia returns to the Greek Village Restaurant in Colesville. Swingtopia is an eight-piece outfit led by Doug Elliott and featuring our very own Cyndy, who writes the blog Photocynthesis, on the bass. Check them out at 8pm at the restaurant, located at New Hampshire Avenue and Randolph Road.

- A study on the demographics of downtown Wheaton prepared by county planners for the new Wheaton CBD Sector Plan reveals that the neighborhood has a substantial population of young, single people, meaning there's totally a market for all the new apartments going up in the area. The study also says that Wheaton's Hispanic population is smaller than that in other downtowns like Silver Spring or Gaithersburg, surprising given the number of ethnic businesses in the area.

- Developers are required to build eight stories of parking for an office building that'll go up with the Fillmore music hall in Downtown Silver Spring. Seriously? Does anyone know that they're, like, three blocks from the second-biggest transit center in the state?

- A new electric bike store will open in Takoma Park just in time for Earth Day. The Green Commuter will "will sell and rent electric bikes, conventional bikes, and e-scooters along with parts, accessories and kits to electrify a standard bicycle" in addition to providing bike repairs, according to a press release. You'll find them at 7320 Carroll Avenue in Old Takoma.

Friday, March 5, 2010

what's up the pike: art 'n' soul 'n' ice cream

- The Art 'N' Soul Open Mic returns to Moorenko's Ice Cream Cafe tonight. Middle- and high-school students who write, play music, or produce other kinds of performable art, are invited to show their stuff at the event, which takes place on the first Friday of each month. Sign-up starts at 7pm at Moorenko's, 8030 Georgia Avenue near East-West Highway. They aren't organizing the event, but you can check out Art 'N' Soul's website or shoot an e-mail to info at artnsoulopenmic dot org.

- This is the last weekend for Kensington Arts Theatre's production of Rent, closing this Sunday at the Kensington Town Hall, 3710 Mitchell Street. Check out JUTP's review of the rock opera, and then hit up KAT's website for tickets and details.

- Meanwhile, Forum Theatre's Amazons and Their Men, "loosely based" on the life of German propagandist Leni Riefenstahl, is at the Round House Theatre in Downtown Silver Spring through March 20.

- Also on Saturday: if you (like me) occasionally go swing dancing at Glen Echo Park, save your gas: Einstein High holds its annual Community Swing Dance, featuring the school's jazz band and "on-the-spot" lessons by local dance competitors. "Everyone is . . . invited to lindy, boogie woogie, jitterbug, fox trot and shuffle off to Buffalo," reads an invitation. (The Charleston is presumably forbidden.)

The dance starts at 7pm at Einstein, 11135 Newport Mill Road, Kensington. Tickets can be bought at the door for $15 and benefit the school's arts program. For more info, call 301/929-4495.

And, just coming in from the wires:

- Silver Spring International Middle School's holding an Arts Night and Silent Auction to fund their spring artist residencies, which include the Shakespeare Theatre Company, an Art Club sponsored by Pyramid Atlantic, and murals to be placed throughout the school. You'll get to meet the artists, enjoy arts and crafts, and of course bid on items in the auction. The event starts at 6:30pm at the school, located at 313 Wayne Avenue at Dale Drive.

- The Bach Sinfonia, a group that performs early classical music, will perform several Bach works, including "Ich lasse dich nicht, du segnest mich denn" ("Lord, do not depart until I am blessed"), which until recently was attributed to the composer's great-uncle. The show starts at 8pm tomorrow night at the new Montgomery College Performing Arts Center, 7995 Georgia Avenue at Burlington. For more info, check out Bach Sinfonia's website.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

thoughts on silver spring action, and community space

Crossing Georgia at Colesville (2)
Last night, I went to Silver Spring Action, IMPACT Silver Spring's fourth-annual community networking event. Each time I go, I'm always really blown away by the turnout, the diversity of the crowd, and the sense of goodwill they share. The theme of this year's event was "re-defining community space," and much like last year's, the bulk of the evening was spent in break-out groups discussing specific issues, like:

- What are available spaces in our community?
- How can we use them creatively?
- How do we pay for them?
- And how do we make sure people know about them?

Whether or not these questions get answered, it's empowering to see just how many different kinds of people are in this room, seated at little round tables, eating cookies and talking about the public realm. At one breakout table, I was seated between a white woman and an African woman. We were all basically asked where do people hang out. The first answers were pretty unanimous: Churches. Schools. The grocery store. And then they diverged.

The white woman said backyards. "I know places where people's backyards open to one another and they can gather in the space between," she said. I assumed she must live in a house. The African woman said Starbucks. "Whenever I want to find someone," she said, "I go to the Starbucks in Downtown Silver Spring. I see my friends there, I see my countrymen there. People go just to spend time." I immediately guessed she must live in an apartment.

Why? The different ways these two women interact with other people isn't a cultural one. It's an urban-suburban one. On my cul-de-sac, where the backyards do bleed into one another, Starbucks is almost irrelevant because we can fire up the grill and meet the neighbors right here. (We haven't, not for ten years, but the space remains.)

But if you don't have a yard, or any private space where you can entertain other people, you become reliant on the public realm - be it legally public spaces, like the new Civic Building, or private ones, like a coffee shop - to meet and engage with others. And we have to make sure these places can be created and retained, not just Downtown, but throughout East County.

This is a conversation we can have in a place like Downtown Silver Spring, where I think the built form - one organized around connecting streets and a mix of building types and uses - literally forces people to interact with each other and make do. But it's not yet a conversation you can have in White Oak or Burtonsville or Calverton, where I live, because they were built to separate.

Where I live, shops don't mingle with offices, apartments don't mix with houses, and public space generally means programmed space, like playing fields, schools, or even parking lots. There are very few places where people can run into each other. The Amish Market was one, of course, but it's gone.

And as a result, I think a lot of understanding between different cultures/interests/lifestyles/whatever is completely lost. People just don't have to interact with people who are different from them. They can afford to move or put their kids in private school or simply shut themselves in their car or house. After all, it was at the charrette in Burtonsville two years ago where people complained that a public green there would "bring undesirables."

A strong community is one where people have opportunities to engage one another. It's not as simple as holding a meeting at the community center. It's building a place, from the very ground up, around the idea that people will interact with each other regardless of color, class or status. To that end, a lot of IMPACT Silver Spring's work in "creating community space" has already been done for them. But the work they do to advance that idea is noble, and I'm proud to have them in our community.

demolition underway at future studio plaza

Chip Py, photographer and friend of JUTP, sent us this photo of demolition work on Thayer Avenue for Studio Plaza, a mixed-use development in Fenton Village approved by the Planning Board (PDF!) last spring. This site was formerly home to record store Roadhouse Oldies (which has since relocated a block away) and a handful of other small shops, seen here in a photo taken with Jerry McCoy of the Silver Spring Historical Society.

Located on a five-acre block bounded by Fenton Street and Thayer, Silver Spring and Georgia avenues, Studio Plaza will have a hotel, up to 600 apartments, offices and retail, along with a third-acre public green, pictured below.

central green rendering
While redevelopment often means loss of neighborhood character, it's good to see that at least one local landmark wasn't completely displaced. Studio Plaza is just one of the really exciting new projects going up in Downtown Silver Spring, and I know I'm not the only one looking forward to seeing it happen one day.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

east county activists prepare to walk across country

Y'all might remember musician/activist/friend of JUTP Davey Rogner from our story two years ago on a student-led campaign against the InterCounty Connector, or maybe from his [now-defunct] band, Lonely are the Brave. When he recently told me about his plans to spend the next year and a half walking to San Francisco, I was impressed more than I was confused.

Most of my newly-graduated friends are either working or looking for work. But Davey, who grew up in White Oak, and a couple of his friends will leave in less than three weeks to walk from Maryland to California, organizing community trash clean-ups and leading discussion about "alternatives to our nation's throwaway mentality." Their campaign, dubbed Pick Up America, will maintain a heavy online presence during their trip. Pick Up America's holding a fundraiser tomorrow at the Sandy Spring Friends Meeting, and Davey sent out this letter to friends and family explaining their trip:

On March 20th, 2010 I am leaving to walk across the country and pick up trash for over a year and a half. As you have been a part of my life in some way, I feel it is my responsibility to let you know of my eminent departure. This journey, known as Pick Up America, is the the ultimate test of my physical, mental and spiritual stamina.

I know that by the time I complete this journey I will be drastically different. My first and primary motive for walking is to actualize my full potential. There is something inside me stirring; telling me that if I can improve myself, I can inspire others to take the proactive steps that will improve their lives. Through our website, social media, and short videos, our campaign hopes to illuminate a paradigm that measures well-being by the inner happiness one feels, as opposed to the material comforts one can gather. Pick Up America is my addition to the conversation of how we can reform the American lifestyle to become happier and healthier.

Like so many in the past, our path will mimic the great American migration west in search of more bountiful resources. Throughout our walk we will be speaking to people about how to sustain America's natural resources for generations to come. We believe that the concept of waste can and should be eliminated from the human paradigm. Yes, we are talking about RECYCLING and COMPOSTING, but more importantly we are addressing the pressing need to REDUCE and REUSE the number of products we consume on a daily basis. Simply put, we live in a finite world and the insatiable appetite of (not only) the American economy has overtaken the ability of the natural world to regenerate. If we continue along this path, the vital support base that the natural world provides to our economy will collapse and we will experience a serious downgrade in the human experience.

I would like to invite you to Pick Up America’s March Forth Fundraiser (on March 4th) at Sandy Spring Friends Community Center in Ashton, MD. The event will feature a description of our entire initiative, a three course vegetarian meal, jazz standards, local art that depicts our route, a raffle with cool prizes, as well as keynotes from the new mayor of College Park, MD Andy Fellows and Brent Bolin, the policy advocate for the Anacostia Watershed Society. We are asking for a minimum donation of $30 to attend. I have attached a flyer that details the event. Please RSVP as soon as possible as space is very limited.

In essence I am leading four people under the age of twenty-five into the heartland of America picking up trash, giving presentations about zero-waste economies and documenting our adventure on the internet. Along our path, we will be doing anything and everything we can to help people develop the ideas of how their community can actualize sustainability. The task is monumental and our success is wholly dependent upon our ability to communicate our vision and develop alternatives with interested individuals. It is also wholly dependent upon our ability to generate support from people who believe in this vision and would like to contribute to our adventure.

Please share Pick Up America with as many people you feel may be interested. If you would like to support Pick Up America, but can not make the fundraiser, please visit our website,, and make a contribution through paypal. I have taken the steps to designate our group as a non-profit, so all donations we receive will be tax deductible for your 2010 tax return as long as I provide you with the proper documentation. I will be trading slips in exchange for checks at the fundraiser. If you can’t make the fundraiser, donate and need documentation please write to me and I will get you the appropriate form.

Please contact me before I go if you would love to talk about my adventure!!!! Trust me, I can use all the advice I can get!!!!

All the Best,

Davey Rogner
Campaign Coordinator
Pick Up America