Update at 10:25 p.m. on 4/24/11 — Most features of the new site are working, but it may take up to a week to get to the point where we can turn the forums on. Please excuse any snafus with the registration and login process, as well as any site slowness. Thank you for your patience.
Update at 4:15 a.m. on 4/23/11 — The forums are not operational yet. We expect them to be in place by Monday morning.
First, I want to thank all our loyal readers and commenters, who have made this site into a real community in just over 14 months. Our 3,100 Twitter followers, 2,400 email subscribers, 1,300 Facebook fans, and 200 Flickr poolers — as well as the 42,500 article comments we’ve received since launch — are all testaments to the passion many have for Arlington and its unique neighborhoods.
Several months ago, we decided to invest in a site redesign that will help enhance the community functions of the site, while at the same time making the site more visually-appealing. I’m pleased to report that, if all goes well, the new design will be in place by Monday. Here are some of the enhancements you can expect:
- Cleaner page layout
- Message board (forums) for community discussion of issues not covered in articles
- User registration, custom profiles, custom avatars and (maybe) private messaging
- A login will be required for the forums, but anonymous comments will still be permitted
- Prominent positioning for latest articles, comments and forum posts
- Current weather conditions visible on all pages
Early Saturday morning, the site will go offline so that that we can begin transitioning to the new site. Please excuse any technical problems that may ensue.
Although we’re not indulging in the Silicon Valley cliche of visually labeling the new site a “beta,” it will truly be a beta version for a few months. We expect fixes and changes to be a continuous process for a couple of months after launch. Feel free to use the comments section of this article to discuss the new design, report bugs and suggest changes.
Thank you again for your loyalty. Have a happy and relaxing Easter weekend and we’ll see you back here on Monday.
Tonight’s Crystal City 5K Friday race is your last chance to snap photos for our ‘Flickr Flash’ photo contest.
A panel will pick ten finalists and ARLnow.com readers will select the winners next week. Good luck to all contest participants!
You don’t typically expect to find anything of any culinary significance between a hair salon, a check cashing store and a Goodwill outlet, but Cafe Sazon (4704 Columbia Pike) may be the exception to the rule.
Sazon means “seasoning” in Spanish, which is a good way to describe the contrast of the cafe’s smartly-decorated interior to the rather drab section of Columbia Pike outside its windows. Open since January, Cafe Sazon specializes in South and Central American food and baked goods, with a few American items thrown into the mix.
Co-owner Adriana Torres, who has not left the area since she moved from Bolivia to this section of the Pike as a seven-year-old kid, says that business has started out slow but is picking up. Thanks to a favorable mention on the “22204″ email listserv, she says her customer base — primarily Hispanic — has gotten a bit more diverse lately.
Cafe Sazon is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and has items on the menu for all three meals. There are omelettes, freshly-baked pastries (made by an in-house baker), fajitas, soups, salads, and daily specials. On the drink menu is coffee, trea, cappuccino, Latin American sodas and Api Morado, a surprisingly delicious Bolivian specialty made with boiled red corn and “zest.”
The cafe offers free WiFi. Torres says she’ll soon be opening the restaurant’s basement for movie screenings and special events.
Libby Garvey and Del. Adam Ebbin, both trailing Rob Krupicka in fundraising, picked up some endorsements yesterday in the Democratic primary battle for the 30th District state Senate seat.
Garvey, Chair of the Arlington County School Board, received the endorsement of Fairfax County School Board member Dan Storck and Fairfax County Mt. Vernon District Supervisor Gerry Hyland.
“Libby Garvey offers a unique combination of vision and a proven track record of getting things done,” Hyland said in a statement. “Libby is exactly the style of leader we need working for us in Richmond.”
Ebbin, meanwhile picked up endorsements from three Arlington County officials: County Board member Jay Fisette, Commissioner of Revenue Ingrid Morroy and Treasurer Frank O’Leary.
“When Arlington needed a public defender’s office to ensure the fairness of our judicial system, we turned to Adam Ebbin to help us secure the funding,” Fisette said in a statement. “When we needed him, he delivered, and will continue to do so in the Senate.”
Krupicka, an Alexandria City Councilman, has previously received endorsements from Alexandria officials like Mayor Bill Euille.
Free Coffee for Earth Day — To celebrate Earth Day, Starbucks is offering a free coffee or tea to anybody who brings a reusable mug or tumbler. Caribou Coffee, which has locations in Shirlington and Crystal City, is also offering free coffee for those who bring reusable drinkware. [Starbucks, Shirlington Village Blogspot]
Ballston Recognized for Environmental Efforts — Ballston has been named one of the top 10 “green” neighborhoods in the Washington area by real estate listing service MRIS. [Prince of Petworth]
Lawsuit May Be Filed to Stop Mark Center Moves — Rep. Jim Moran is urging Virginia officials to sue the federal government after the Department of Defense’s inspector general found big potential traffic problems with the new Mark Center in Alexandria. According to the inspector general’s report, the Army misled local officials about traffic issues at the site. A lawsuit could keep hundreds or even thousands of jobs in Arlington while improvements are made to the Mark Center’s transportation infrastructure. [Washington Examiner]
Post Tackles Twilight Convention — In an amusing but sadly photo-less write-up of last weekend’s Twilight fan convention at the Sheraton National Hotel on Columbia Pike, a Washington Post reporter discovers that most die-hard Twilight convention-goers are 25 to 50 year-old women. There are, however, a few male fans, who may or may not have been more interested in the female fans than in the movie itself. [Washington Post]
Shirlington Village Trades Escalator for Stairs – Eschewing the normal progression of technology, Shirlington Village has completed a project that removed an escalator and replaced it with a set of stairs. [Shirlington Village Blog]
Flickr pool photo by Philliefan99