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Restaurant/Framing Store Combo Opens in Ballston

by Katie Pyzyk | January 2, 2013 at 5:00 pm | 3,765 views | 30 Comments

When is a restaurant not just a restaurant? When it’s connected to a framing store, like the new Rus Uz in Ballston.

The restaurant is connected to Ballston Art and Framing (1000 N. Randolph Street), which is owned by the family behind the KH Art and Framing store on Lee Highway. Jamil Hakimi runs the framing business and said he originally had planned on just running his store, until he was approached by the Rakhmatullaev family about sharing the space, which previously had been occupied by Daily Deli.

“I’ve been in the framing shop business for a long time. I was going to turn this into a whole frame shop. We actually put up walls around the kitchen,” Hakimi said. “Then these guys came in one day, we introduced each other, and from there we just went half-half, basically.”

Prior to moving to the Ballston location, Rus Uz had been a catering business in Alexandria specializing in cuisine from Russia and Uzbekistan. Bek Rakhmatullaev said his father has been a cook for more than three decades and served several different presidents and embassy officials as a caterer. However, he had been toying with opening a restaurant for years, and finally saw the perfect opportunity.

“He saw a demand and he always wanted to open a place. Everyone was always asking for a tasting room,” Rakhmatullaev said. “With catering, you have to have big orders.”

The family believes the combination of Russian and Uzbek foods will make their restaurant stand out from others.

“There isn’t anything around like us that combines the two,” Rakhmatullaev said.

As far as the framing portion, it’s connected to the restaurant via an open doorway. Hakimi is still working out a schedule and how closely it will coincide with the restaurant hours. He notes that for food safety reasons, no framing work will be performed at the new shop; all of the framing orders from the Ballston location will be worked on at the Lee Highway location.

Rus Uz is currently in the process of obtaining its license to serve alcohol. The owners plan to have grand opening sometime in the near future, after the business has more time to get everything running smoothly.

Man Barricades Himself in Crystal City Apartment

by Katie Pyzyk | January 2, 2013 at 3:45 pm | 3,062 views | 20 Comments

Police and sheriff's deputies respond to a barricade situation in Crystal City (photo courtesy @vtspaeth)More than a dozen police units spent part of the afternoon at an apartment building on the 300 block of S. 23rd Street in Crystal City, where a man barricaded himself inside and made threats.

A sheriff’s deputy approached the 39-year-old man’s apartment around noon in an attempt to serve an eviction notice. According to police, the man threatened the deputy, as well as himself, and then barricaded himself in the apartment.

Police evacuated the neighboring apartments and set up a command post in one of the units, where they were able to talk with the man on the phone. The man came out of his apartment more than an hour later and police took him into custody. He was transported to Virginia Hospital Center for a mental evaluation.

Once the man exited his apartment, police searched it and found the shotgun the man had referred to when threatening the sheriff’s deputy.

It is unclear if the man will be charged. Nobody was hurt in the incident.

Photo courtesy @vtspaeth

Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt Opens in Penrose

by Katie Pyzyk | January 2, 2013 at 1:45 pm | 5,416 views | 50 Comments

Columbia Pike is getting in on the frozen yogurt craze, with the opening of a Menchie’s (2405 Columbia Pike) in Penrose Square.

The shop opened on Friday (December 28) and features a wall of 16 self-serve frozen yogurt machines and dozens of toppings. Menchie’s tries to cater to people with food allergies, so there are dairy free and gluten free options, as well as extensive ingredient labels for each flavor. Menchie’s has its own organic dairy in California which supplies the products and provides some flavors not available anywhere else.

Franchise owner Robert Guinn said business has been steady since the opening and customers have been receptive to the frozen yogurt shop.

“We were looking for someplace we could fit in and growth with,” Guinn said. “The community is really strong and we’ve been really happy with the retail traffic coming by.”

The chain is recognized around the world partly due to its team of “Sweet Friends” such as Menchie, Mookie, Barry and Sprinkle. Guinn said kids can identify with the Sweet Friends according to their different personalities considering each character has different traits. Employees at the Columbia Pike location having been taking turns dressing up as Menchie to draw customers into the store.

“All of our team members thought they’d never want to be in a Menchie costume, and honestly all of them have been out there and loved it,” Guinn said.

This is the first Menchie’s location in Arlington. The shop plans to hold a grand opening starting next Saturday (January 12) which will run for a week. There will be a variety of events announced, including frozen yogurt and t-shirt giveaways.

Tejada Outlines 2013 Priorities as County Board Chair

by ARLnow.com | January 2, 2013 at 12:35 pm | 3,817 views | 62 Comments

Arlington County Board member Walter TejadaWalter Tejada, the new Arlington County Board Chair for 2013, says he will use his chairmanship to push for progress in four local policy areas: affordable housing, fitness and health, urban agriculture, and pedestrian and bicycle safety.

Tejada and other County Board members outlined their vision for the county at the Board’s traditional New Year’s Day meeting on Tuesday. As Chair, Tejada’s priorities will receive the sharpest focus.

In a seven-page speech, Tejada repeatedly called on the county to “move forward together… for all of Arlington.”

Tejada’s first major policy initiative is affordable housing. Tejada repeated a call he and Board member Chris Zimmerman previously made: for new affordable housing investment funded via adoption of Tax Increment Financing for Columbia Pike. The TIF would steer a percentage of taxes gained through increases in property values along Columbia Pike to the creation of new affordable housing, to bolster the county’s existing 6,585 committed affordable units.

“Already on Columbia Pike, market forces are threatening one of the County’s largest supplies of market-rate affordable housing,” Tejada said. ”I have asked [County Manager Barbara Donnellan] to analyze and submit a recommendation by June 2013 for creating a transit oriented affordable housing fund on Columbia Pike through adoption of a TIF.”

“We need to house our healthcare workers and teacher aides, our cashiers and restaurant workers, our cleaning staff and small business employees, and other hard-working people so vital to our County’s economic health,” he continued. “We need to maintain the cultural and economic diversity that is so vital to Arlington’s soul, for all of Arlington.”

Tejada acknowledged that more affordable housing will not come cheap, but quoted former president John F. Kennedy in saying, “To those whom much is given, much is expected.”

An affordable housing TIF on the Pike wouldn’t be the county’s first use of the funding vehicle. A TIF is in place to fund infrastructure improvements in Crystal City, including a planned Crystal City streetcar.

After affordable housing, Tejada called for the county to “promote healthy living” through an initiative called FitArlington.

The new focus on fitness and health will include the creation of a “Arlington Healthy Community Action Team” (HCAT) comprised of local health and fitness providers, youth services providers, nutrition educators and urban agriculture enthusiasts. In addition to promoting physical fitness in general, the county will work in partnership with the HCAT and Arlington Public Schools to help reduce the rate of childhood obesity in Arlington.

The childhood obesity initiative will kick off with a community meeting from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 17 at the Fairlington Community Center (3308 S. Stafford Street).

Tejada also highlighted the work of the county’s Urban Agriculture Task Force, which was announced as an initiative at the 2012 New Year’s Day meeting. Among the issues being considered by the task force is the controversial proposal to allow Arlington residents to raise egg-laying hens in their backyards. Tejada said he expects the task force’s forthcoming recommendations to help promote healthy eating in Arlington.

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Help Wanted Highlight: Public Relations/Public Affairs Consultant

by ARLnow.com | January 2, 2013 at 11:25 am | 2,285 views | No Comments

Looking for a job? Know someone who is? Starting today, ARLnow.com will periodically be highlighting job openings in the area. If you’re an employer with a position to fill, contact steph@arlnow.com to find out how we can help get your listing out in front of our talented, well-educated readership.

SCLLC Logo - WashingtonStrategic Communications, LLC seeks a Public Relations/Public Affairs Consultant for the company’s Washington, D.C. office.

Key Areas of Responsibility:

  • 50% – public relations planning and execution; 30% – government relations analysis, advocacy and response, 20% new business development
  • Public relations focus — energy, education, and healthcare industries
    • Develop and execute strategic communications plans, including media and community outreach, incorporating ability for two-way dialogue with key audiences – research, prepare and distribute news releases, Op-Eds, and messages via new media, conduct follow up with wide variety of stakeholders, including the media
    • Track news and conversations related to clients and industries; assist with communications development and outreach with and on behalf of clients
  • Government relations focus — energy, environmental technologies, and high tech industries
    • Monitor legislation and regulatory issues facing clients; review, analyze and prepare written comments/testimony for legislative/regulatory proceedings; cultivate business relationships with policymakers at state government level
  • Business development focus – existing and new industries
    • Use existing professional network to identify potential leads, develop proposals for new business, and successfully conclude agreements with new clients
    • Identify opportunities for business in related industries to existing client base, or new industries that have a need for SCLLC services and products
    • Meet annual goals for new business development, scaled to business network size, experience, and expertise
  • Provide integral client support and strategy assistance

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Moran Votes No on Fiscal Cliff Legislation

by Katie Pyzyk | January 2, 2013 at 9:50 am | 3,377 views | 74 Comments

Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA)Late Tuesday night, Congress approved legislation to end the battle over avoiding the “fiscal cliff.” However, Rep. Jim Moran (D) was not one of the members giving the measure his stamp of approval.

The House voted (257 to 167) to send the plan to President Obama, less than 24 hours after the Senate passed it. But Moran spoke on the House floor last night in opposition of the legislation, contending it doesn’t create a permanent solution.

“We set up three more fiscal cliffs. We’re going to have to deal with the debt ceiling, we’re going to have to deal with the continuing resolution expiration and we’re going to have to deal with the sequester,” Moran said on the House floor. “We’re going to look back on this night and regret it, notwithstanding the fact that 95 percent of us apparently will vote for it.”

Moran released the following explanation in a statement:

Throughout negotiations aimed at staving off the economic damage of the so-called ‘fiscal cliff,’ I have been hoping to cast a vote for a balanced deal which addressed both long run fiscal issues and the artificial short term crisis created by the Budget Control Act.

Unfortunately the bill before us today is wholly inadequate. It leaves our country with three more ‘fiscal cliffs’ to negotiate over the next three months. There’s no clarity as to how we preserve the full faith and credit of the U.S. by raising the statutory debt limit, the economically devastating sequester is delayed two months but remains in full effect, and there’s no direction as to how we will fund the government for the remainder of the year when the continuing resolution runs out in March. Each of these deadlines represents a major political battle in which nearly 40 percent of Northern Virginia’s economy in terms of federal contracts and federal employees will be on the chopping block. Our leverage to strike a balanced deal will only be weaker in those coming battles following passage of this bill.

Furthermore, I question the wisdom of permanently locking in revenue levels which are far too low. This includes an estate tax structure which provides a massive tax cut for a small minority of the richest Americans at the cost $369 billion dollars, in exchange for only a temporary extension of important programs that help low and middle class Americans.

“I am deeply concerned by the long term consequences of this hastily crafted agreement, both in terms of our ability to invest in our priorities, such as educating and training future generations, and in terms of the way we govern this country. For these reasons, I cannot in good conscience support this legislation.

Morning Notes

by Katie Pyzyk | January 2, 2013 at 9:00 am | 2,493 views | 10 Comments

Disc golf in Bluemont Park

Park Police Seeking Hit and Run Info — The U.S. Park Police is asking for the public’s help with providing information about an early morning hit and run on Monday. Around 5:45 a.m. on December 31, a driver was involved in an accident with a motorcyclist while traveling on the Memorial Bridge. The motorcyclist is being treated for a serious leg injury and other non-life threatening injuries. Police need help finding the other driver involved. The person was said to be in a brown minivan, which may have damage along the front driver’s side. Call the U.S. Park Police tip line at 202-610-8737 or U.S. Park Police Dispatch at 202-610-7500 with any info.

Avant Bard Needs New Theater — WSC Avant Bard has spent the past two years as the resident theater company at Artisphere, but now the performance group is looking for a new home. Avant Bard has not been operating under an official lease at Artisphere, and received the news last month that it needs to find a new space before its play season begins in May. The county now wants to use the stages at Artisphere for shorter running productions. [Washington Post]

APS Holding Meetings about New Williamsburg School — Public meetings begin next week regarding the new elementary school that will be built on the Williamsburg Middle School site. There will be a work session next Wednesday, January 9, from 7:00-9:00 p.m. in the Williamsburg auditorium. On January 14, the public will get a chance to look at the concept designs from 6:00-8:00 p.m., and on January 17, the School Board and County Board will engage in a work session about the plan following a project presentation. Residents are welcome to attend all meetings. [Arlington Public Schools]

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