School expanding to better serve special needs students

Clay Kaufman chats with a foreman at the site of The Siena School’s expansion project. Photo by Mike Diegel. A Silver Spring private school is undergoing a major expansion project to allow it to serve more special needs students. The Siena School at 1300 Forest Glen Road serves “bright, college-bound students with mild to moderate language-based learning differences,” said Clay Kaufman, one of two heads of the school. “They are one or two grade levels behind in their reading and writing. It’s the language-based learning differences they struggle with. “These kids are big thinkers, they’re very entrepreneurial, they’re very...

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Coffee shop/café planned for downtown Takoma Park

Takoma Bev. Co. will open on Laurel Avenue. Photo by Mike Diegel. A pair of entrepreneurs are planning to open a specialty coffee shop/café early next year in downtown Takoma Park. Co-owners Chris Brown (general manager) and Seth Cook (coffee director) will operate Takoma Bev. Co., offering morning espresso drinks, coffees and teas along with a breakfast menu at 6917 Laurel Ave., according to the company website. Later in the day, they will transition to a place for people to hang out, perhaps do some work, with a menu of sandwiches, salads and snacks. In the evening, patrons can...

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Vote by mail option available for November election

Vote by mail applications are available from the Montgomery County Board of Elections for those who prefer this option for the November election. Registered voters are eligible to vote by mail as long as they have a Maryland driver’s license or MVA-issued ID card. This will become the voter’s official ballot and anyone choosing this option will not be able to vote at the polls on Election Day on Nov. 8, or during early voting, which is Oct. 27 – Nov. 3. Apply for the vote by mail ballot at www.777vote.org, selecting Vote by Mail in the left-hand column....

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Hotel, retail planned for 8600 Georgia Avenue

Plans for a hotel with retail space have been submitted for this corner of Georgia Avenue and Colesville Road in downtown Silver Spring. Photo by Mike Diegel A preliminary plan application has been submitted to the Montgomery County Planning Board for a 173-room hotel with about 4,200 square feet of ground-level retail at 8600 Georgia Ave., the corner of Georgia and Colesville Road currently occupied by a gas station. The hotel would include about 5,000 square feet of meeting space, dining and stand 130 feet tall, within the 145 feet allowed in that zone. One potential sticking point might...

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Passion for Learning: prepping middle school students for college

Cynthia Rubenstein (back row, second from left) with staff and summer campers on a campus visit to the Shady Grove Center. Photo courtesy Cynthia Rubenstein. It can take time to find your niche in the world, even for an organization. What began in 2003 as a mentoring project under the Montgomery County Business Roundtable for Education eventually morphed into an independent organization concentrating on preparing middle school students for college. According to Passion for Learning Executive Director Cynthia Rubenstein, the Silver Spring group then launched as a nonprofit 501(c)3 in 2004. “The original focus was connecting the local and county...

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Public Service Announcements part of Jumbotron Rotation

Announcements related to the Silver Spring Arts & Entertainment District and Urban District are a priority for Jumbotron PSAs. Photo by Mike Diegel Not everything you see on the Ellsworth Place Jumbotrons is a paid commercial message. When owner Petrie Richardson Ventures and Lamar, the advertising company, went to the county’s Sign Review Board to win approval of the remodeled development’s new signs, they offered to reserve 5 percent of the time (3 minutes per hour) for public service announcements. The PSA process is being administered by the Silver Spring Urban District, similar to the process for approving and installing...

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Need Event Space? Look to the Silver Spring Civic Building

Eric Rasch, with a view of the atrium in the background. Photo by Elenilson Ayala. Community groups, non-profit organizations and other entities looking for affordable spaces to hold meetings or other events are increasingly looking at the Silver Spring Civic Building to meet their needs. Use of the building is open to everyone, not just county residents, according to Eric Rasch, operations manager for the building. “There’s three different categories, though, for folks, and that’s where the residency factor comes into play,” he said. Rates vary for each category, which include Montgomery County non-profits, Montgomery County residents and out-of-county...

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It Seemed Crazy at the Time

Ray Barry in his office above the AFI Silver Theatre. Photo by Mike Diegel The first time Ray Barry saw the Silver Theatre his reaction was not good. He saw dead animals, mold, water and more in a theater surrounded by empty storefronts. But he had been asked by the American Film Institute, where he had worked since 1980, to lead an exploration of the possibility of moving AFI from the Kennedy Center to downtown Silver Spring. “When the county first came to talk to us about it, it seemed insane,” he said. “It seemed like ‘you must be...

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UP in Silver Spring

This rendering shows a concept for the exterior of UP, a yoga/wellness/fitness studio coming to South Silver Spring. Courtesy Dave Giacomin  Erin McNamara and Dave Giacomin, residents of the Seven Oaks-Evanswood neighborhood in Silver Spring, have signed a lease to open a new business called UP in the space above the former Jackie’s Restaurant in South Silver Spring. “UP is a new platform for transformation,” said Giacomin in a Facebook post. “Our mission is to change lives through healing, wellness, and adventure. At UP, you will find classes and workshops in yoga, outdoor adventure, nutrition and many other modalities as...

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