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by ARLnow.com — May 22, 2015 at 4:30 pm 0

The weekend is finally here, which means three days of grilling, relaxing, being active outdoors, grumbling about motorcycle noise, spending time with friends and family, watching sports and, most importantly, remembering those who gave their lives in the service of our country.

We’ll think not only of the recent veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan but, with Rolling Thunder in town, of veterans of earlier foreign wars like the Vietnam War. Thinking about the Vietnam War and how it’s remembered in Arlington, the hallowed grounds of Arlington National Cemetery might first come to mind. But one can also think of Clarendon.

The county-produced video above covers the May 9 “Echoes of Little Saigon” history program, which explored the 1970s and 1980s in Clarendon, when the neighborhood was home to many Vietnamese refugees and the businesses they started, following the fall of Saigon.

Most of those businesses have since been displaced due to ever-rising rents, but their creators and customers who fled the war in Vietnam have largely gone on to raise families and successfully integrate themselves into American society. One could consider it a happy legacy of the war and a tribute to the cause of freedom and democracy that American service members fight for.

With that, feel free to use the comments section to discuss any local topics of interest this weekend. We’ll be back on Tuesday with more local news and notes.

by Tim Regan — May 22, 2015 at 3:05 pm 2,497 0

Food truck parked outside of Summers Restaurant, photo by Alan Beals

(Updated at 6:30 p.m.) The owners and managers of 12 restaurants centered around the Courthouse Metro station say local food trucks are severely impacting their restaurants.

We’re told that representatives from Summers Restaurant, Guarapo, Me Jana, TNR Cafe, Afghan Kabob House, Subway, Cosi, Boston Market, California Tortilla, Jerry’s Subs and Pizza, Corner Bakery, and Ireland’s Four Courts met Wednesday to form a group that plans to push the Arlington County Board to further regulate food trucks.

Alan Beal, COO of Bar Concepts, a restaurant consulting company that recently started working with Summers Restaurant, was the one who called Wednesday’s meeting to order.

“We’re forming a coalition because the food trucks are running amok,” says Beal. “It has a serious financial impact on these brick and mortar restaurants.”

Beal says between three and five food trucks park in front of Summers Restaurant and other Courthouse area eateries each day. Though the trucks are legally allowed to park there for two hours, Beal and other restaurant owners say the trucks sometimes skirt that time limit.

“Parking is free until 8 a.m.,” says Beal. “From 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m., food trucks will send cars to the Courthouse area to park in all the spots in front of these restaurants and wait for the food trucks to show up.”

“Sometimes, the food trucks even send people to stand in the spots and wait for the food trucks to arrive.” says Beal.

Guarapo owner Nesrin Abaza says the accumulation of food trucks caused her business to stop serving lunch altogether.

“It just wasn’t feasible,” says Abaza. “How can you compete? There’s no control.”

“It’s like, can I stand outside the restaurant next door and sell my empanadas?” Abaza says. “Would I be allowed to do that? Absolutely not. But food trucks can do that to us.”

Despite the recent outcry in Courthouse, this is hardly the first time food trucks have clashed with brick-and-mortar restaurants. In 2012, Rosslyn’s Business Improvement District mulled asking for restrictions on where food trucks could operate. But in 2013, the Arlington County Board went the opposite direction — voting to extend the parking time limit for food trucks from one hour to two hours.

“Our argument is that Arlington County has been listening to the food trucks,” Beal says. “At the end of the day, none of our businesses were approached or represented, and we see the food trucks multiplying.”

Che Ruddell-Tabisola, executive director of the DMV Food Truck Association, says he’s sympathetic to the restaurants’ problems, but that more regulation isn’t the answer.

“This has been something very common to hear from brick and mortar owners,” says Ruddell-Tabisola. “The underlying myth is that food trucks are somehow harming existing businesses, and it’s just not true.”

(more…)

by Tim Regan — May 22, 2015 at 1:45 pm 0

Hope For Our Veterans event posterAn  poker run and rooftop benefit concert this weekend is aiming to help homeless veterans and prevent veteran suicide.

The Hope for our Veterans benefit starts 7 a.m. at the Iwo Jima memorial in Arlington National Cemetery. There, a group of veterans will do 22 pushups to signify the fact that, statistically, 22 veterans commit suicide each day.

The poker run portion of the charity event starts at 10 a.m. at the Iwo Jima memorial. During the poker run, teams drive or ride to five locations across Northern Virginia to draw one poker card.

The five locations are:

  • Crystal City Sports Pub in Crystal City
  • Walkers Grille in Springfield
  • Heritage Brewing Co in Manassas
  • Gypsy Soul in Falls Church
  • Arlington Rooftop Bar and Grill in Courthouse

Poker cards may also be purchased for $20 each for those who don’t want to visit all the stops. All of the event’s proceeds go toward benefitting charities Operation Renewed Hope Foundation and Renovating Hope.

Organizers are hoping to attract Rolling Thunder participants — poker runs are popular among motorcyclists — but the event is open to bikers and non-bikers alike.

At 6 p.m., teams will convene on the Arlington Rooftop Bar and Grill to present their poker hands. The best poker hand wins a 10-day trip to the Ala Moana Hotel in Waikiki, Hawaii.

The concert portion of the event also begins at 10 a.m. at the Arlington Rooftop Bar and Grill, and is hosted by former Yahoo! and TV Guide Channel personality Nikki Boyer. Artists such as McKayla Reece, Tommy Fields and Mars Rodeo will play until 1:30 a.m.

The concert is free before 2 p.m., after which tickets cost $25.

by Tim Regan — May 22, 2015 at 12:00 pm 300 0

As the weather heats up, so too, typically, does our local real estate market. Memorial Day weekend may be a great opportunity to view some properties on the market while your buying competition is on vacation.

See our real estate section for a full listing of open houses. Here are a few highlights:


4837 28th Street South
2 BD / 1 BA condominium
Agent: Craig Fauver, Craig Fauver Real Estate
Listed: $385,000
Open: Saturday, May 23, 12:00 to 4:00 p.m.

4152 36th Street South
2 BD / 2 BA condominium
Agent: Bonnie Blaszczyk, Re/Max Allegiance
Listed: $433,750
Open: Sunday, May 24, 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.

2212 2nd Street South
3 BD / 1 BA duplex
Agent: Mandeep Mokha, Century 21 New Millennium
Listed: $454,900
Open: Sunday, May 24, 1:00 to 5:00 p.m.

4763 Arlington Boulevard
3 BD / 2 BA single family detached
Agent: Don Samson, Samson Properties
Listed: $668,000
Open: Sunday, May 24, 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.

1201 North Garfield Street*
2 BD / 2 BA condominium
Agent: Natalie Roy, Keller Williams Realty
Listed: $750,000
Open: Friday, May 22, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, May 24, 2 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

*Denotes featured (sponsored) listing

by Tim Regan — May 22, 2015 at 11:00 am 1,455 0

Our Lady of the Vanishing Arts, photo courtesy of Artisphere

A new art piece will lambast the closure of Artisphere on the venue’s final day of live performance.

Artist Carolina Mayorga can neither confirm nor deny that she will assume the form of the Virgin Mary apparition during a performance titled “Our Lady of the Vanishing Arts.” But Mayorga, who’s dressed as the holy figure before, says there’s a good possibility a divine apparition could materialize at 7 p.m. on Saturday, June 6.

“[The Virgin Mary] is thinking about making an apparition at Artisphere,” Mayorga says, chuckling. “She might appear. She’s thinking about it.”

During the performance piece, which lasts an hour and precedes a musical performance by Stooges Brass Band and Black Masala, Mayorga will perform mock holy rituals and anoint Artisphere attendees.

“I have these cardboard letters that spell the word art,” explains Mayorga. “and I’m going to burn them in a little metal tray, mix that with oil, and use a brush to [paint dollar signs on attendees’ foreheads].”

A live organist will play Catholic mass classics such as “Ave Maria” alongside the performance.

“I call it Ash Saturday,” says Mayorga.

The point of the performance, explains Mayorga, isn’t to belittle religion. Instead, it’s to mourn the loss of a local artistic institution.

“I benefitted from Artisphere for a long time,” she says. “I did an artist in residency with them in 2013. They’ve always been supportive of my work.”

Some of the art from Mayorga’s residency still clings to the gallery’s walls as a permanent installation.

“When you want to do a special performance, you need a venue like Artisphere,” Mayorga says. “It really hurts to lose it.”

Photo courtesy of Artisphere.

by ARLnow.com — May 22, 2015 at 10:00 am 3,343 0

Rolling Thunder (Flickr pool photo by Michelle Dupray)

The annual Rolling Thunder motorcycle rally will rumble through Arlington starting today.

The Memorial Day weekend event will begin with the expected arrival of thousands of motorcyclists this afternoon, many of whom will be arriving via I-66. Authorities are warning drivers to expect delays on eastbound I-66 between 2:00 and 4:00 p.m.

The Hyatt Regency in Crystal City will serve as the hotel headquarters for the event, which according to organizers attracts some 900,000 bikers to the nation’s capital. The expected arrival time at the hotel is 3:00 p.m., according to a weekend schedule.

Arlington residents who live along the Route 1 corridor should, as usual, expect plenty of motorcycle noise throughout the weekend.

Aside from activity around the hotel, no Rolling Thunder events are planned in Arlington on Saturday. On Sunday, starting at 7:00 a.m., participants will gather at the Pentagon north and south parking lots for a large rally, which this year will include food trucks.

From the Pentagon, the bikers will depart for a rally on the National Mall, featuring various speakers and musical tributes, at noon.

To accommodate the large expected crowds, Arlington County and Virginia State Police will close Washington Blvd between I-395 and the Memorial Bridge from about 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Sunday.

“In addition, Arlington National Cemetery will only be accessible from southbound George Washington Memorial Parkway or northbound Route 110,” ACPD said in a press release. “Motorists should expect large numbers of motorcyclists in Northern Virginia and the entire Washington Metropolitan area this weekend.”

Flickr pool photo by Michelle Dupray

by ARLnow.com — May 22, 2015 at 9:15 am 977 0

Rolling Thunder motorcycle rally at the Pentagon (Flickr pool photo by Brian Irwin)

Memorial Day Closures — Arlington County government offices, courts, schools, and community centers will be closed on Monday for the Memorial Day holiday. Arlington’s public indoor pools will be open, trash and recycling will be collected and ART buses will operate on a holiday schedule. [Arlington County]

Flags In at Arlington National Cemetery — More than 1,000 soldiers from the Army’s 3rd Infantry Regiment, also known as the Old Guard, placed small American flags in front some 275,000 headstones at Arlington National Cemetery yesterday. The annual ceremony, known as “Flags In,” has been taking place before Memorial Day for more than 60 years. [U.S. Army]

Arlington Man Convicted of Sexual Abuse — Arlington resident Gary Hankins, a 45-year-old former licensed clinical social worker, has been convicted of sexually abusing a 17-year-old patient. The boy’s parents first contacted authorities after they discovered sexually suggestive texts from Hankins on his phone. [NBC Washington]

Candidates Bash Board’s Reevesland Vote — The Democratic candidates for County Board are criticizing the County Board’s vote this week to sell the historic Reeves farmhouse. At a debate lacking one candidate — School Board Chair James Lander, who had a School Board meeting — candidates took turns bashing the decision, calling it “shameful,” “bad business” and “beneath Arlington.” [InsideNova, Washington Post]

APS to Discuss Swanson, Williamsburg Plans — Next month Arlington Public Schools will hold public forums to discuss “interim options” for addressing capacity issues at Swanson and Williamsburg Middle Schools. “These interim solution options include the use of both on-site or off-site locations to house some portion of the school populations, the possibility of some interior redesign, the use of relocatables as part of the solution, and changes in scheduling,” APS said in a press release. [Arlington Public Schools]

Flickr pool photo by Brian Irwin

Just Listed in Arlington

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — May 22, 2015 at 5:00 am 548 0

Just Listed banner

Just Listed highlights Arlington properties that just came on the market within the past week. This feature is written and sponsored by Team Cathell, “Your Orange Line Specialists.”

For buyers of homes in Arlington, there is good news this week… and bad news.

Buyers should be thrilled to see 94 new listings this week at all price points providing lots of fresh choices. But buyers this week also saw their purchasing power drop as mortgage interest rates took a sharp turn upward.

The 30-yr fixed rate mortgage is now averaging over 4% at about 4.125%. And for now, it appears rates may continue to inch upward in the coming weeks. That may have influenced buyers to ratify 77 contracts this week and lock in rates before they climb further.

The average list price for ratified contracts this week mover higher at $679,457. The average days on market for homes ratified stands at 37.

The listing of the week: the $4 million contemporary townhouse perched on the bluffs above the Potomac River on Chain Bridge Rd.

You can access all active listings in Arlington on the Cathell Team website.

by Tim Regan — May 21, 2015 at 4:30 pm 2,198 0

Towing dispute outside the Arlington DMVArlington may stand to benefit from a bill in Congress intended to help localities tackle predatory towing.

Congressmen Don Beyer (D-Va.) and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) today reintroduced The State and Local Predatory Towing Enforcement Act, a bill they say would solidify state and local governments’ ability to end predatory towing practices.

As federal law currently stands, state and local governments are prohibited from regulating local towing industries. Though a 2002 U.S. Supreme Court decision is considered to have given local governments the ability to regulate those industries, the reintroduced bill would codify it and reduce some legal uncertainties.

An identical bill was introduced by former Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.), but died in the U.S. House of Representatives in February.

“Unfair and predatory towing practices take money out of our constituents’ wallets and strain their budgets,” said Rep. Beyer in a press release. “I am proud to join Rep. Van Hollen to provide our state and local governments with the authority they need to properly regulate this industry with common sense, consumer friendly towing protections.”

The predatory towing debate in Arlington has been revived as of late thanks to the national coverage of ESPN sportscaster Britt McHenry’s caught-on-camera rant against Ballston-based Advanced Towing. Despite the opportune timing, Beyer’s office says the high-profile incident did not have any impact on the congressman’s decision to introduce the bill.

Arlington County Board Member Jay Fisette has kept his eye on local predatory towing practices since 1999.

“Predatory towing is something I’ve thought about a lot,” Fisette says. “Next to cable, this has been the second-highest number of complaints [by residents].”

Fisette, who supports the bill, sees it as a way to help reinforce local governments’ ability to regulate predatory towing. “It’s always nice to have it in black and white where no one can challenge it,” he says.

For instance, Fisette says he’d like to give a towing veto to local businesses. “Have the property owner sign off on the tow before the tow company is allowed to remove the vehicle,” he says.

The end goal is to give drivers the confidence to park without fear of being towed at a moment’s notice.

“I try to create a community where people are able to park one time and go do five things,” Fisette says. “Walk to one store, walk to another, then go back to their car. I don’t want them moving five spaces down. It creates community, reduces congestion, and cuts down on pollution.”

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