Walter Reed garage relentlessly illuminates Bethesda neighborhood

This parking garage on a Bethesda military base has angered neighbors, who complain about its bright lights and massive size. (Rachel Siegel/TWP) Judith Wortman said she hadn’t heard a word about a massive parking garage getting built in her neighborhood when she first saw the “deep hole in the ground” last year. Wortman lives across the street from Naval Support Activity Bethesda, which contains Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. At first, she assumed the construction would turn out a few more surface-level parking spaces for the hospital across Jones Bridge Road. Then the walls went up, and up, and up. Soon the 650-space garage stood six levels tall. Then the lights went on. Bright illumination from the garage shines through her living room windows from nightfall until daybreak, she said. “When Walter Reed moved here, they promised to be a good neighbor to the community,” said Wortman, who has lived in her home for 44 years. “It was our understanding that they would consider us in any of their plans that they would have in the future.”Several other residents of this quiet Bethesda neighborhood said they, too, are disturbed by the parking structure. But they declined to be quoted, citing privacy concerns. Jeremy Brooks, a spokesman for Naval Support Activity Bethesda, said the lights are on all night for security. Brooks said other locations on the base were considered for the garage, but they were disqualified because of geological and historical preservation issues, among other reasons. The lot near Jones Bridge Road was chosen because there was already designated parking nearby and because the area was within walking distance for hospital employees, Brooks said. A statement on the garage’s potential environmental impact was made available for public comment and presented at local events and to homeowners associations. But Brooks acknowledged that neighbors across Jones Bridge Road “were not Continue Reading

Maryland police officer rescues bald eagle on Christmas Eve

It was a Christmas (Eve) miracle for an American icon. Jeff Woods, a lieutenant at the Charles County Sheriff's Office and bird handler, was called to help a full-grown female bald eagle, which was found lying on the side of a road in La Plata. According to the sheriff's office's Facebook page, Woods captured the eagle with a net and transported her to the Owl Moon Raptor Center, a wildlife rehab that specializes in birds of prey. Suzanne Shoemaker, the director of the Owl Moon Raptor Center, told Fox News in an interview on Tuesday that the bird may have fractured her coracoid, the bone that connects a bird’s shoulder to its breastplate and is critical for flight. She suspects that the bird flew into a power line. The eagle is “on her feet and is improving,” Shoemaker said, adding that she’s receiving “supportive care and pain medication.” Caretakers have also wrapped the bird's wing so it is immobile, she said. The injured bird will be moved to Tri-State Bird Rescue and Research, a wildlife rescue center in Delaware. Shoemaker said that this facility will be able to further care for the eagle, as Owl Moon Raptor Center, which receives roughly 200 raptors a year, primarily deals with emergency care before transferring the birds to other facilities. If the eagle doesn’t improve, there is a possibility she could be euthanized, she said, as caring for adult bald eagles is expensive and Continue Reading