Thursday, April 2, 2015



Hopefully by now you've checked out our new site. If you have not, give it a try. Let us know if it works for you. Let us know if you find something wrong, incomplete or missing. 

Please note that our downtown site is exclusively for the Silver Spring Arts & Entertainment District "geography" - which is pretty much the same as the Silver Spring Urban District, more commonly known as 'downtown'. (That area from Montgomery College in the south end to Spring Street on the north. The area includes Fenton Village, the Ripley District, South Silver Spring, Ellsworth Drive, and the Civic Building and Veterans Plaza. It is transversed by Georgia Avenue, Colesville, and E/W Hwy. ) Our public commitment for the site is to list every enterprise that has a door opening to the sidewalk; i.e.: the site is not a directory of all businesses downtown - it is a directory of all restaurants, theaters, entertainment venues, and shopping.

The site also offers a highly interactive 'events' listing for art & entertainment related activities. We also list certain civic participation opportunities, as these add value to building a more robust and thriving community.While we have 'populated' the events database with some events, moving forward it will be the responsibility of the organizing group to suggest the event via the link provided on the site. (Please bear with us as we transition and grow the site. In the meantime you may find some duplicate listings.)

We are fully aware that no one site can be totally comprehensive - and that is not our intent. That is why we encourage you to visit the many other excellent directories and calendars that exist for the downtown - and nearby - areas. (See the many links on the (growing!) list on the sidebar on the left of this e-mail "TODO CALENDARS" and "DIRECTORIES".)

The site is administered by the Silver Spring Regional Center, which encompasses a much broader area. The Regional Area is one of five Regional Areas in the County. The Silver Spring Regional Area includes all neighborhoods and communities south of the Beltway (plus we do include Four Corners and Blair H.S.); east of Rock Creek Parkway; west of Prince George's County; and north of the D.C. line, including Takoma Park. This newsletter you are now reading serves that area. We will continue listing sample happening and news-u-can-share here. We try to get these newsletters out at least once a week - but no more than twice a week. We hope you find them useful.

Enjoy our new site for Silver Spring's downtown - and stay connected!

See you around Silver Spring,

Reemberto Rodriguez, Director
Silver Spring Regional Area

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

East Silver Spring Articles by Steve and Karen Burditt

{This is a guest blog posting by Steve and Karen Burditt, local architects and proud residents of East Silver Spring.}

We were asked about four years ago by founder and then-editor Eric Bonds to start writing a monthly column in The Voice about our community in East Silver Spring. At the time we had not grown fully aware of the digital world’s emerging blog culture. With this as background, we agreed to take the task on with some trepidation, having never committed to something like this before (what, people really want to read something in print written by a non-professional writer?).
We are both practicing architects and have developed a great appreciation for what we call the discovery phase of our projects. This is the initial set of steps a design professional takes with their client to explore a set of precedents, requirements, needs, goals and aspirations for the project, all in an effort to build a shared understanding before picking up a pencil to start a design. 

With this mindset we saw this column as an opportunity to take readers on a discovery tour of East Silver Spring. We wanted to shine a light on many aspects, covering the neighborhood’s history, diversity, and sensibilities of what we have come to see as a wonderful place to live, work, and play. We wanted the articles to be one part education, one part reflection, one part discovery and three parts boosterism for a place all too often overlooked by many, including visitors, investors, elected and appointed officials, and even those of us who live here. 

At the heart of everything we wrote was this question: Isn’t East Silver Spring almost all right? We borrowed (or rather stole) this basic question from Architect Robert Venturi, who coined it in a pioneering book he co-wrote in the 1960’s, called Learning from Las Vegas. This book explored the cultural, historical and emotional influences that help shape places. By posing the topics we did we were asking readers to ponder the unique history and cultural influences that shaped the physical qualities of our historic, walkable community. By asking this compelling question we wanted readers to take pause and embrace what makes this neighborhood special, hopefully before pushing forward with change and improvement. 

While some change is needed and well-intentioned, some of it also runs the risk of canceling out what makes East Silver Spring unique. Qualities we think worth embracing include the ethnic diversity of those who live and work here, the quirkiness of the small independent businesses populating our commercial center, Fenton Village. We think also of other more nebulous characteristics that make East Silver Spring simultaneously attractive, sometimes-hard-to-define, but nonetheless lovable. We wanted readers to consider these traits not only as assets, but also as the DNA that forms the fragile organism that is our neighborhood (as it is with all neighborhoods). We wanted readers to ponder how this could or should evolve over time. We wanted our readers to actively participate in a spirited dialog about what East Silver Spring was in the past, what it is now, and what it should be in the future.
We hope you enjoy reading what turned out to be a rather short series of only a dozen articles. We likely would have continued to write the column, covering other aspects and corners of East Silver Spring, had The Voice not gone through a rough patch at the height of the Great Recession. We are happy to see The Voice is alive and well again in digital form, presenting myriad opportunities for others to continue what we started. We have since moved on to other endeavors, advocating for our community through our work with our local civic group and involvement in preservation organizations. These new efforts are still rooted in the same goal of discovering, educating and celebrating our unique neighborhood.
Much change has come to East Silver Spring and Fenton Village in just these last couple of years. While we can debate what we like and don’t like about it, it will continue. One thing we are heartened to see is the addition of many thriving independent restaurants and businesses as well as so many people desiring to call East Silver Spring and Fenton Village home. We hope we never stop asking ourselves the question that got us started: Isn’t East Silver Spring almost all right?
- Karen Burditt & Steve Knight


The Different Paths of Preservation Part II, Preserving a Sense of Place: 
Staying Put in East Silver Spring – Part I: 
Staying Put in East Silver Spring – Part II: 
The Eyes of Your House: 
A Silver Spring Streetscape: 
The Neighborhoods of Silver Spring: 
A Community Arts Center for East Silver Spring: 
Fate of Historic Bank Building Uncertain: 
Weller’s Dry Cleaners: 
Architectural Detail Photo Essay: 
Silver Spring Park, 100 Years of Smart Living: 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Tips for announcing community events, festivals, fund-raisers, workshops, and such

{A version of this blog appeared a couple of years ago. This is an update.}

First things first:

The “Holy Grail” of a single portal, Facebook page, web-site, mobile-app, or FM radio station where you can tell the world the wonderful things your organization is doing simply does not exist.

For the past few years, the Silver Spring Regional Center has been releasing regular e-blasts that consists of a combination of civic meetings, community gathering and celebrations, and sample of fund-raisers and ticketed events. We do this as part of our mission to be “the eyes and ears of the community to County government – and vice versa.”  We also do this because we help “staff” the Silver Spring Arts and Entertainment District; and, we manage the Silver Spring Urban District.

Of course, we are not – and never intend to be - THE single source for information for all the amazing things going on in the Silver Spring Regional Area, which includes over 25 identifiable neighborhoods, eight commercial hubs, a major downtown area, and an incorporated City (Takoma Park) with its own downtown; and many great venues, countless restaurants, commercial entertainment opportunities, community serving non-profits, and over 60 faith communities.

We certainly appreciate and welcome you letting us know what is going on. We hope you will continue having us on your mailing list – or add us to it if we are not already.  Please send it directly to:
In return, please do subscribe to our e-blast. Go HERE to sign up. (We promise it is easy to unsubscribe if these e-blasts get to be spam for you.)

If you are looking for other sources to expand your message and reach the broadest audience possible for that next function, camp, workshop, etc., here’s some pointers we hope are helpful to you.


There are a handful of media outlets that welcome knowing about what is going on in the community and provide an excellent place to let the “general public” know about what you are doing. Among these are:  Washington Post’s “Going Out Guide.”  Make sure you ‘search’ for Silver Spring…  Solid listing of commercial opportunities.   “Silver Spring Patch” events calendar…  An excellent ‘searchable’ event listing.  “The Silver Spring Voice” events list…  Easy to read list.   “Gazette.Net”…  Maryland Community News Online.  Probably the most comprehensive list of events, with easy to follow web-link.   A simple way to reach the “NPR” crowd. And, your listing may even be featured in their daily “art minute”.

In our recent e-blasts, we routinely lists others' calendars and directories. Here's a sample of the latest:

Silver Spring general downtown area
Visit Montgomery (Countywide but searchable to Silver Spring)
New! Park & Planning's Monthly Calendar

SSTCi Winter Program in the Civic Building

Downtown Silver Spring 
(Ellsworth Dr, by the Fountain)
Silver Spring A&E District
Takoma Park
Takoma/Silver Spring Voice 
Old Takoma
Cultural Arts Center (TPSS MC) 
Busy's Blog (Art-centric happenings)
The Fillmore 
American Film Institute (AFI) 
Meditation Museum Upcoming Events 

Blair High School News and More

All storefronts throughout downtown
Downtown Silver Spring 'core' (Ellsworth)
Chamber of Commerce 
Know of other on-line community calendars or directories specific to Silver Spring?
e-mail us HERE

Beyond these, there are of course the often forgotten ‘obvious people-to-people’ places that most organizations have easy access to. Ultimately, nothing replaces “word of mouth.”  Getting our own staff, board members, customers, clients, and friends to help us spread the word and get the function listed in their own virtual and real networks can pay great dividends. Key among these are:

- community listservs

- faith community bulletins

- other non-profits

- affinity groups message boards

Each organization knows best how to maximize their own resources. However it is done, it is imperative that these ‘obvious’ networks be tapped to promote and get the word out to the closest of ‘constituents’, the ‘friends-of-friends’. This is oftentimes one of the easiest and most productive acts that anyone can do without much effort to help the event be as successful as it can be. Yet, this simple approach is all too often brushed aside or not given the attention it merits.

We hope you will take advantage of all the existing tools to help you ‘spread the word’ and look forward to continuing to hear about the wonderful opportunities you create to build community!

See you around Silver Spring,

Reemberto Rodriguez, Director

Silver Spring Regional Area

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Brief reflections upon my return from India with our County’s Sister Cities Delegation

NOVEMBER 23, 2014 - Sunday

Feed, Heal, Shelter, and Educate the World.
(Brief reflections upon my return from India with our County’s Sister Cities Delegation.)

The new video for Band Aid Thirty came out recently. It is a remake of the 1984 “Do they know it is Christmas (Feed the Word)”.  It has appropriately been re-positioned as “Heal the World” to address the Ebola crisis.

While certainly cheesy - and very much a Hollywood approach to the catastrophic situation - it still works. Not perfect; yes, cheesy. But meaningful. I thank the artists for taking the time and effort to (re)make it for a new generation. It is a solid addition to our tradition of Christmas songs. (I know that in our jaded world is so easy to criticize. But…)

It is not lost on me that the first version released 30 years ago was released when our oldest son was born. We were young and idealistic. We bought the t-shirt. Proudly contributed and figured we were being part of the solution to that ravaging famine that struck Ethiopia at the time.

Little did I know at that time that Africa would become an integral part of my life. My wife's (Geraldina Dominguez) work has taken her to countless African nations in the battle against that other devastating, ugly - and still relevant - issue of HIV/AIDS. My local community work has also taken us to Ethiopia as part of the our County’s Sister Cities Delegation. And we remain intimately connected with our local, diverse, and wonderful Continental African communities - including those being most impacted by Ebola.

30 years have changed a lot of things. Yet some remain so radically the same.

We just returned from another Sister Cities venture. This time to India. Our Sister City is Hyderabad, but we also visited New Delhi, Agra (The Taj Mahal), Mumbai, and Amritsar (The Golden Temple). On the way there we also had a 6 hour layover in Dubai.

It was so evident that the need to feed the world - and heal the world - is as dire today as 30 years ago. Not only in Africa, but Asia, Latin America, and most of the southern parts of the world… Yes, Band Aid Thirty is timely - and still as relevant.

In these times of Holidays in America it is indeed very appropriate to take time to discern how we individually, as a neighborhood, community, city, state, nation and world react to this need to feed and heal the world.

We are each of course called in different ways. Some help in their local soup kitchens while others write the policies that guide the United Nations efforts to eradicate world hunger. All contribution is worthy. They all have merit.

And, it is not just ‘feeding and healing’ that warrants attention. It is also ‘shelter and education’ - and many other components of the social, public, private, faith and philanthropic sector… Indeed, things can be so complicated, and seem so hopeless - and are so often analysed to the point of paralysis - that ‘helping’ seems useless and meaningless.

Yet there are so many amazing efforts to do just that: Feed, heal, shelter, and educate the world.
  • No doubt that when we materially feed and heal the world we are spiritually enriched.

  • No doubt that when we shelter and educate the world our foundation is strengthened; our knowledge enlightened.

It may be stating the obvious, but it is amazing how most faith traditions and non-sectarian institutions agree on the simple point that a better fed, healthier, sheltered, and educated people constitute a better society. It is so amazing to see so many faith traditions and non-sectarian institutions work on these matters.

In our India visit we shared with rural schools, dialysis hospitals, places for the mentally challenged and homes for the destitute and maimed. Most are run by faith communities with little - and in some cases no - government support. The dedication, love, and empathy of the people that operate these facilities is nothing short of miraculous. No doubt that money is not their driving force, to say the least. (We are fortunate in our County to have a wonderful Indian-American community that remains very connected to these real needs ‘back home’ and stand ready to welcome others in these initiatives. Much more to follow on these opportunities in the months to come as the Sister Cities efforts reconvene. Stay tuned.)

Personal reflection

As happens to many people it was the face of the children, their smiles, and their beautiful eyes that was personally most impactful of all sensory experiences while in India. The Taj is spectacular. The Golden Temple magnificent. The poverty overwhelming. The crowded streets tax all senses.

  • Yet it was the face of the children, their smiles, and their beautiful eyes - their evident eternal, innocent hope; their evident resolve - that I will forever take with me.

Oh, of course I contributed to the cause. Of course I will send more money. Of course I will talk up the need for others to do the same and more… But, let there be no doubt: I am so convinced that these children will build a better India. These children will build a better world - if only we adults stop our senseless wars and exuberant materialistic ambitions...

These children deserve better.

And - running the risk of touching a highly sensitive topic - particularly the girls: They definitely deserve better.

It was jarring to visit a rural school where all boys had sandals, but none of the girls did. The girls are dispensable. Female feticide and infanticide is a very real issue.

(Sometimes I want to cry out: Wrong. So wrong. All wrong. If certain faiths and/or cultural traditions have evolved to the warped place that demeans womanhood, then let’s call it for what it is: a warped, misguided, fanatical, and - yes - inhumane faith and cultural tradition that has no place in these times. We as a human race are better than that.)

But, of course as serious as this one singular topic is, we should not be paralyzed by it to the point of not doing anything about what’s is immediately possible and practical, or take the little steps that make a little difference… Sometimes it is the little things that matter a lot.

So as we begin this our Holiday Season let’s each do what little we can, how ever imperfect and incomplete it may be, to make that little difference: Feed, Heal, Shelter, and Educate the World.

(NOTE: Sometimes I sense that we are being overloaded with images and the power of words is being lost… So, I hope you appreciate just words for now. Pictures and videos of the visit will follow.)

Sunday, October 12, 2014

FELIZ CUMPLEAÑO Silver Spring Senior Village!

{Our Silver Spring Senior Village is a year old today. We celebrate! Here’s the formal remarks I will give - with some possible ad-lib, of course!}




  • Happy First Birthday, Silver Spring Senior Village!

You know, you may be a year young now, but I remember when your parents were in courtship a few years back…

I am so humbled and proud to have being there in the beginning!

(And as a trusted good friend of your parents, I have some stories about the courtship that are best not shared in public… It’d make us all blush.)

What an amazing journey this has been… And:

What an amazing place, this Silver Spring is… Isn't?

  • Last night Geraldina and I were celebrating the birthday of a dear friend literally just down the street in a nearby neighborhood.  We were about oh, 25 folks or so in the course of the evening.  Whites, blacks, brown, and every hue in between. Young, young at heart, children. Folks from Korea, Ethiopia, Latin America, African Americans, and even some people from Massachusetts!

From Lyttonsville to Long Branch and Langley Park;

From Montgomery Hills to Montgomery College;

From Four Corners to the Corner beer & wine store on Sligo Avenue near my house…:

From Takoma Park to Indian Springs and Woodside...

Silver Spring is the Soul, Salsa, and Spirit of Montgomery County.

And, this Senior Village is the heart of Silver Spring:

  • Zip Code 20910 - and vicinity and friends - we welcome all!

(By the way, it is not lost on some that 20910 is one digit transposed from 90210 - Beverly Hills has nothing on us!)

When Geraldina and I talk about the “R” word (retirement) we always end up at the same point: Why go anywhere else? Our house is not new; and yes, the ‘hood is sometimes rough around the edges… But, I can’t think of a more real, welcoming, authentic place to pursue our encore years than the heart of Silver Spring, zip code 20910, right here with the Silver Spring Senior Village.

I mean, where else - within the span of a single week - and this is all based on a true story of this past week alone! - where else can you start the weekend smoking a good cigar at a local cigar shop owned by a Salvadoran; have some locally brewed beer at our new brewery - and stop by to talk to the owner of our future urban winery; have dinner at one of the various iconic restaurants that have been around for decades one day, and the next day have dinner at one of our many Ethiopian restaurants (believe you me - each is a different experience); walk around Saturday morning - even in the rain - and visit with the farmers market on Ellsworth and the craft market on Veterans Plaza; see a quality production of “Ain’t Misbehaving” at our new Black Box Theater; visit with young worshipers at a rock-and-roll church at The Fillmore on a Sunday morning; see movies from Spain and Venezuela at the AFI’s Latin-American Film Festival; share books at a book-swap at Kefa Cafe AND our library!; stroll down Sligo Creek Trail; and enjoy this beautiful afternoon with the good folks of the Silver Spring Senior Village - ALL in zip code 20910!... (And, oh, all the stuff that I still want to do - but that’ll have to wait till next week… By the way, get your ice skates on! See you on the ice rink in the next few days!)

As a proud card-carrying member of this Senior Village I applaud the many - MANY! - folks that have worked so hard to bring it to where it is at… And I also want to applaud all the businesses, partners, and just plaing old good folks that have joined in this journey… And applaud all who are setting the stage for its bright, wonderful, future!


Friday, October 10, 2014

retooling time... visit us in these links for now...

We are retooling our blog.

If you'd like to see our recent e-blast, please see list here:

DO please subscribe to our e-blasts! You can do so from the link here:

Please follow us on Twitter:

See u 'round Silver Spring!

Reemberto Rodriguez, Director
Silver Spring Regional Center

Wednesday, June 18, 2014


Life threatening EMERGENCY

COUNTY INFORMATION on most anything
(If in doubt, call 3-1-1 )

Alternate 311 number (if you are calling from areas adjacent to, near to, or from other counties)

240-773-TIPS (8477)

To contact the police for NON-emergencies

Urban District HOTLINE - for downtown issues needing immediate attention

Park Police- 24 hours 

Parks Service Center – problems or repairs in parks (Callers will get a repair ticket # they can track)

Graffiti, pot holes (on Ga Ave, Colesville, E/W Hwy, New Hampshire and other State Roads)
{ For local and county roads: 3-1-1 }

Sign up for Alerts HERE
(NOTE: If you have not signed up for these Alerts yet, please consider doing so NOW.)

Main County “Portal” HERE.

Mobile link to downtown establishments directory HERE.

Ride on Ride On? Help us make it even better!
From Will Kenlaw, Program Manager: Marketing, Advertising, Sales, & Customer Service for Ride On: "Residents and riders can voice their comments, concerns, compliments, and complaints regarding Ride On several ways including:"

  • Call 311 if inside Montgomery County or 240-777-0311 if outside the County, 7 am – 7 pm, Monday - Friday
  • Follow Us on Twitter and tweet us on our Twitter account at
  • Like us on Facebook and submit comments on our Facebook account at

  • Write us the old fashioned way via US Mail at Ride On Customer Service, Montgomery County Transit, 101 Monroe Street, 5th Floor, Rockville, MD 20850

*Corrections / additions? Please leave a post. Thanks!