The End

Stick a fork in me — I’m done! Thanks to all in the community who supported The Penguin over the last three years, whether as casual readers, regular commenters or occasional advertisers.

Bigger thanks to members of the Penguin newsroom: Maggie Ardiente, Nick Hammer, Brian Hefele, Michael Kent Cornett; contributing writers Cynthia Cotte Griffiths, Jason Gedeik, Linda LombardiEric Robbins, Brad Rourke; and real-life Penguin intern Reginald Galloway (not to be confused with his successor). It takes incredible talent and skill to translate experiences into words and images, and I was fortunate to have them share with The Penguin.

Biggest thanks go to my family and especially to my husband, Penguin photog Ron Pace. They invested a lot of sweat and tear equity in this project, and it wouldn’t exist if not for them. When I was down, they hugged me. When I was wallowing in self-pity, they kicked my ass. They’re my strength, and I’ll love them always.

The Penguin’s articles, videos and slideshows will remain online for readers’ reference. However, the “Holler back” section will be closed to comments.

I’m out!


Montgomery County’s operating budget is in a deep, tar-filled pit, but Silver Spring’s citizens advisory board has an idea or two about how to fix that.

Photo: Members of the citizens advisory board at Monday nights meeting in Long Branch. Credit: J. Deseo/SSP.

Photo: Members of the citizens advisory board at Monday night's meeting in Long Branch. Credit: J. Deseo/SSP.

At its monthly meeting Monday night in Long Branch, board members proposed higher parking fees and a greater reliance on free labor to cover some of the projected $608 million shortfall in the fiscal year 2011 operating budget.

Board member Constance Wynn, of South Four Corners, said she’d be willing to pay $1.50 per hour to park in downtown Silver Spring’s public garages. That rate represents a 100 percent increase from the current $0.75 short-term hourly rate. Debbie Linn, a board member from the Sligo-Branville area, said she didn’t want to pay that much but was willing to take a $1 hourly rate.

Either way, it’s a problem, board member “Southside” Evan Glass, of South Silver Spring, and economic-development guru Mel Tull argued. According to them, the Town Square and Wayne Avenue public garages next to the Downtown Silver Spring shopping center have a 20-year agreement with the county to waive parking fees after 6:00 p.m. weekdays and all day on weekends. (more…)

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The Early Bird

Of course, The Penguin’s last week of business would be chock full of stuff to report, leaving me with little time to slack off. It’s just Montgomery County’s way of squeezing every last drop of life out of me.

It’s also the county’s first week back from the winter holidays, and the county council and exec are hitting the ground running. Committee meetings, public forums, blah blah blah. I’m just grateful the planning board is focused on the county’s agricultural hinterlands this week.

Soak up these last few moments of tranquility, then brace yourself for this week: (more…)


This Weekend

There isn’t much happening this weekend in downtown Silver Spring. Everyone’s too broke from the winter holidays to pull off a show or throw a party. At least strolling through the farmers market is still free.

10:00 a.m. Regional vendors sell fresh produce, meats and dairy, and baked goods at the Silver Spring farmers market. This free event takes place on Ellsworth Drive, between Georgia Avenue and Fenton Street, until 1:00 p.m.

Photo: Did someone say barbecue? Credit: J. Deseo/SSP.

Photo: Did someone say "barbecue"? Credit: J. Deseo/SSP.

Rule no. 1 when throwing a barbecue: Always invite the neighbors. Otherwise, they might mistake the mesquite-scented smoke wafting from your balcony as a sign of trouble.

That’s more or less what went down Wednesday evening at The Veridian apartments in South Silver Spring. Sometime before 6:20 p.m., county firefighters descended on the high rise along East-West Highway after a resident reported weirdness on a nearby balcony, a spokesperson for the MoCo Fire and Rescue Services confirmed via Twitter.

Exactly what kind of weirdness was reported is unknown. However, it was learned later that a tenant had been prepping dinner on an outdoor grill set on one of the building’s balconies, the @mcfrs tweeter indicated. It’s not known whether the flames and smoke were contained to the grill, or whether the cook had lost control of what was cooking.

MCFRS was emailed additional questions but did not respond before press time. However, the Twitter message said grilling on apartment balconies goes against county code. (more…)


Gratuitous Shot

Courtesy of Flickr user Johnny Dollar. Reposted with permission.

Courtesy of Flickr user Johnny Dollar. Reposted with permission.

On Monday, the Public Broadcasting System announced that “The Antiques Roadshow” will be rolling through Washington, DC, this August. For the uninitiated, the program brings tchotchke collectors out of the woodworks to have their stuff appraised by professional antique dealers. Some of it is crap, some of it is big money, all of it is entertaining.

So what would “Roadshow” pros think of the tiki mugs above? (more…)

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