It’s the first brick-and-mortar storefront for LeoNora and its Colombian-born, French-trained owner, Carolina Garcia. Garcia started LeoNora as a baked good delivery service out of her home. She started renting out the kitchen of a local restaurant after the business grew too big for her home — and now she has a place to call her own after outgrowing the shared kitchen.
With the shop open, Garcia says she’s now going to focus on growing in-store sales — though she’s still offering delivery service for baked good orders over $50.
All baking is taking space at LeoNora’s new location, in a room adjacent to Garcia’s small retail space. In addition to artisan baked goods, LeoNora is offering patrons fresh-brewed Colombian coffee.
Though Clarendon is an expensive place to run a business, Garcia says the store’s slightly off-the-beaten-path location is helping her to keep costs down.
LeoNora will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and from 8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Sunday. It will be closed to customers on Monday.
New traffic signals were being installed today at the busy intersection of Wilson Boulevard and N. Pollard Street in Ballston, near the Gold’s Gym and the Wiinky’s burger restaurant.
The installation comes about three months after the Sun Gazette reported, in an article entitled “Residents Find Developer Payments Don’t Translate Into Traffic-Signal Installation,” that a developer had agreed to contribute $150,000 toward the addition of traffic signals at the intersection back in 2004. At the time of the article, the County Manager Barbara Donnellan promised to investigate why the traffic signal had not yet been installed.
Though the signals were installed today, we’re told it may be a “couple of weeks” until they’re switched on.
Registration for winter parks and recreation classes, popular with school-aged children, opened at 8:00 a.m. The registration website was beset by technical problems within 5 minutes of the opening, but was back up and working by 8:15 a.m., according to Arlington Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources spokeswoman Susan Kalish.
Even though the problems lasted less than 15 minutes, some parents — who rushed to register their children for classes before the classes filled up — weren’t pleased. Similar technical problems have plagued the class registration system in the past.
“Server crashes have happened repeatedly on the morning of class signup — to the frustration of parents across Arlington trying to sign their kids up for classes,” one parent told ARLnow.com.
Another tipster said that the timing of the registration opening — around the same time that kids are getting ready for school — has made things unnecessarily difficult for parents.
“The problem is that some of the classes fill up so fast and if you can’t get through by the time you do someone else has your class and you are wait listed,” the parent said. “Also try working on this with kids running around trying to get ready for school and climbing on you. Not easy. This happens every registration.”
Another source of frustration for some: this year’s class schedule erroneously listed the registration date as “Wednesday, Dec. 13.”
Kalish said the parks department is working with its technology vendor to identify the source of this morning’s problems. Despite the fact that online registration number have “increased significantly over the past few years,” Kalish said server capacity was likely not the culprit this year.
“In the past, the registration volume in the first 10-15 minutes of registration has taxed our servers,” Kalish said. “We addressed that issue prior to this registration cycle and our servers functioned well and were not at capacity this morning. We are working with the vendor to explore what else could be contributing to this issue.”
Kalish said today is one of the busiest days for class registration, though the first day of summer camp registration is usually the busiest.
(Updated at 1:45 p.m.) A fire broke out at the Berkeley Apartments building at 2900 S. Glebe Road this morning.
Flames and heavy smoke were spotted coming from a second-floor apartment just after 11:30 a.m. Firefighters from Arlington, Alexandria and Fairfax responded and were able to extinguish the flames within minutes, said Arlington County Fire Department spokesman Lt. Gregg Karl.
No injuries were reported. S. Glebe Road was blocked for about two hours during and after the fire. The apartment building is just across from the Arlington Ridge Shopping Center.
Photo (top) courtesy Lt. Gregg Karl/ACFD
When Cutter Hodierne got the call, at 11:00 p.m. on the day before Thanksgiving, he assumed it was a prank.
The voice on the other end congratulated him for his short film, Fishing Without Nets, being selected to the Sundance Film Festival, one of the most prestigious film festivals in the world. After the caller repeatedly assured Hodierne that he wasn’t being pranked — “that’s what everybody I call says” — the realization set in: this 24-year-old H-B Woodlawn grad and college dropout was mere weeks away from presenting his film at the festival that had helped the careers of indie film icons like Kevin Smith, Robert Rodriguez, Quentin Tarantino, Paul Thomas Anderson and Steven Soderbergh.
“This is just a big dream since I picked up a camera for the first time,” said Hodierne, 24, in a phone interview.
Fishing Without Nets was written, directed, produced and edited by Hodierne. It is a fictional story about Somali pirates, told from the perspective of the pirates. Filmed in Kenya, utilizing amateur Somali actors, the short is a testament to Hodierne’s perseverance and resourcefulness.
Together with producing partners Raphael Swann (another H-B Woodlawn grad), John Hibey (also a co-writer), Harold Otieno and Abubakr Mire, Hodierne managed to overcome challenge after challenge over the course of three months to complete the filming of the 17-minute film.
“Most of the guys cast as pirates were just local Somali guys living in Kenya who looked the part,” Hodierne said.
Then there was the matter of obtaining guns from the police for the filming. The Kenyan government, which has strict gun laws on its books, was not easily persuaded that Hodierne and his small crew were trustworthy enough to be given (real) automatic weapons.
“People are very suspicious of anybody trying to rent a bunch of guns from the police,” he said with a laugh. Eventually, Hodierne got his way — and his guns.
Then Hodierne found himself in a real-life life-and-death situation. He and his producing partners were robbed at gunpoint by a group of men. After giving the armed men everything they had, Hodierne and company were marched out to the ocean.
Last fall, McKinney was accused of hitting a man with his car along S. Eads Street in Pentagon City, following an argument. Police say the man, whom McKinney had picked up in a slug line, demanded to be let out of the car after McKinney started speeding and driving erratically on the highway. McKinney pulled off at Pentagon City and let the man out, but then struck him with his car, police said.
WTOP reports that an Arlington County Circuit Court judge sentenced McKinney to a year in prison on each charge, but suspended most of the sentence and credited McKinney for time served.
Rehabbed Bridge to Be More Ped-Friendly — Arlington County is preparing to rehabilitate the Carlin Springs Road bridge over George Mason Drive, and the bridge’s chosen design will make it much more pedestrian-friendly. Currently, the bridge only has a pair of 5 foot sidewalks. The new bridge will have 8 foot sidewalks and 5 foot bike lanes on either side, but with narrower lanes for cars and no center divider. [Greater Greater Washington]
Arlington HQ’d Firm Gets New Name — The security contractor formerly known as Blackwater — now headquartered in Arlington — has a new name. The company’s name was changed to ‘Xe’ about three years ago, amid controversy over Blackwater’s role in civilian deaths in Iraq. On Monday the name was changed again, to ‘Academi.’ [Washington Post]
Wakefield Grad Dies in Crash — Casey Noriega, a 2000 graduate of Wakefield High School, was killed in a single-vehicle crash on Saturday in Fairfax County. Noriega, 29, was the mother of a 7-year-old son. [Kingstowne Patch]
Flickr pool photo by wfyurasko