Friday, April 29, 2011

H&M Coming to Mall

Wheaton Patch reported this morning that H&M will be opening a store at the mall.  It sounds like it's going to be a two-story store because the article mentions it taking over some retail spacse on the first and second floors.  Unfortunately, the Guess store will be going to make way for this, which is unfortunate because I thought that was one of the better non-departure store retailers in the mall.  Still, I think this is good shopping news (not so good for my wallet, probably).

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Gazette Article Brings Clarity to Costco Issue

The Gazette posted an article on its website this morning that I think brings some clarity to the issue of the $4 million subsidy to Costco.  It explains the county fund that this money would be coming from and also points out the amount of county funds that Westfield has received over the past few years for projects on their property.

The only item that I find surprising/confusing is that Ike Leggett was able to sign an agreement between the county and Westfield agreeing to give them $4 million prior to the county council approving any such funding.  I readily admit that I'm not an expert on how these things work in the county, so maybe this isn't so unusual.  Was there a disclaimer in the agreement saying that it was contigent on the council approving the funds?

I certainly don't have a problem with Wheaton receiving alot of the money from the county's Economic Development Fund, but I would prefer that this money goes towards projects that encourage use of public transit and create a more walkable downtown.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

County Council Attempting to Block Costco Subsidy

Thanks to a reader tip, I came across an Examiner article (also referenced by Patch and TBD) reporting that several members of the county council are attempting to block the $4 million subsidy that Ike Leggett has proposed giving Costco to encourage them to open a store in Wheaton.  All along, this subsidy hasn't sat well with me.  First of all, Costco announced its plan to open a store in Wheaton in a press release that listed a number of other new store locations around the country.  I always wondered if the other communities threw that kind of money at Costco to get them to come or if Costco just decided to go there based purely on the potential money they would be making.

If the county is going to give my money to a company or developer to encourage them to do a project here in Wheaton, I want that money to go to projects that encourage smart growth, the use of public transit, and a better environment for pedestrians.  The Costco project does none of these things.  I understand that Costco will bring in more retail job positions to Wheaton and will certainly help spur more business at the mall, but I don't think it's the kind of project that warrants getting taxpayer money to make it happen.  As Marc Elrich was quoted as saying in the article, "Westfield Mall has gazillions of dollars...They're going to make a freaking fortune on Costco".  Well said.  This project is going to make plenty of money on its own merits.  It doesn't need a handout from taxpayers to 'balance the numbers' and make it happen.

Other postings I've done on Costco can be found here.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Zombie Walk - Lots of Advance Notice!

Thayer Avenue has announced the date for this year's Silver Spring Zombie Walk as Saturday, October 22nd.  With this much advanced notice, you have no excuse not to make it!

Myth or Reality - 1969 Zeppelin show in Wheaton

Some of you may have heard of a supposed Led Zeppelin show in Wheaton back in 1969 at the Rec Center on Georgia Ave.  There is much debate about whether or not this show actually happened (of course, I'd like to believe that it did).  WTOP has an article bringing up this debate again now that a documentary by Jeff Krulick is in the works about this mythical show.  The Post had an article about this show back in 2009, which is the first I remember hearing about it, and there is a mention of it on Led Zeppelin's website.  A little while after this initial Post article, there was a reunion of people who claim to have attended the concert, which the Post and the Gazette covered.

Based on a Wikipedia entry about the Rec Center, I found out that the center also hosted concerts by some pretty kick ass bands (Alice Cooper, Iggy and the Stooges) as well as some not-so-kick ass  bands (Bob Seger, Rod Stewart).  I would have loved to see the Stooges back in the day, and I had to smile at the mention in the Post article about Sharon Ellis, the former director of the center, recalling how she had to ask Iggy Pop to stop smearing peanut butter on his chest during their show.  They don't make bands like that anymore.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Free Yoga This Weekend

Willow Street Yoga will be offering free classes this Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  If you've never tried yoga before, or if you're just curious to check out their studios, this is a great opportunity.  They have studio locations in Silver Spring and Takoma Park (both an easy walk from the metro).  I've taken classes at Willow Street for 6 years now, and they have a really wonderful group of instructors there.