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by ARLnow.com — January 14, 2013 at 3:45 pm 2,545 47 Comments

New Dunkin' Donuts store in CourthouseJust a month after interior construction started, a new Dunkin’ Donuts store has opened at 2201 Wilson Blvd in Courthouse.

The new Dunkin’ location is offering free medium hot or iced coffee this week to celebrate its grand opening.

The store is open from 5:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, we’re told.

Dunkin’ Donuts replaces a former Quiznos restaurant in the Wilson Blvd storefront.

Photo by Stephanie Todd

by ARLnow.com — January 14, 2013 at 2:45 pm 4,042 209 Comments

Re-elected County Board member Walter Tejada at Arlington Democrats 2011 election victory party(Updated at 11:00 p.m.) Arlington County Board Chairman Walter Tejada will participate in a protest against an Arlington-based company Tuesday morning.

The demonstration, organized in part by the Laborers International Union of North America, will protest the “use of immigration status against workers” by Corinthian Contractors, Inc. Arlington residents and local immigration groups are expected to protest outside the company’s Shirlington-area headquarters.

Tejada will “stop by the event,” according to a spokeswoman.

In a press advisory, protest organizers accused Corinthian Contractors of threatening laborers with deportation after they complained about not receiving a fair wage.

On December 2, a group of workers sent a letter to their employer, Corinthian Contractors, Inc., asking to be paid the legally required minimum wages for their work on a DC Water project. On December 6, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents arrested the workers at their usual meeting spot as they waited for their ride to work. Two bystanders were also arrested.

Following their arrest, Corinthian Contractors continued to threaten the workforce with immigration enforcement. Finally, on December 31, 2012, Corinthian Contractors announced that it suddenly discovered that the I-9s of the entire workforce needed to be immediately “re-verified.” Corinthian took the opportunity during the “re-verification” process to fire almost half of the workers working on DC Water projects. The vast majority of those fired had signed a letter complaining of Corinthian’s failure to pay the legally required wages.

These workers have had their lives torn apart. Some have been deported. Others who remain have seen family members deported. All are still awaiting a determination of their status. And all of this turmoil to is due to the ruthlessness of a contractor who was offended that workers would try to hold him accountable to pay legally required wages.

On Tuesday, these workers will tell Corinthian Contractors that they cannot be intimidated out of their rights and will request the public and public officials to join them in demanding justice for Corinthian’s workers!

The protest is scheduled to take place at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday at 3126 S. Abingdon Street.

In 2010, Corinthian Contractors completed work on a $1.5 million contract for the Arlington County Department of Environmental Services, according to its website. The company has not responded to a call seeking comment.

by ARLnow.com — January 14, 2013 at 1:45 pm 1,974 27 Comments

Ted Leonsis, the billionaire owner of the Washington Capitals and Wizards, says Ballston could soon be known as a haven for entrepreneurs and the “creative class.”

Leonsis made the remarks at a launch event Thursday night for the new Ballston Business Improvement District, which has announced a new campaign to brand Ballston as “home to some of the world’s brightest minds and most innovative industries.” The campaign will capitalize on the fact that the community is home to the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency, the National Science Foundation, the Virginia Tech Research Center, and various science and technology-related companies.

Leonsis, whose Capitals practice at the Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Ballston, said he’s encouraged to see the BID unifying Ballston’s public agencies, private companies and academia around the theme of innovation.

“The community is really coming together to try to stimulate everything about the creative class,” he said.

As part of the BID’s campaign, Leonsis, a former AOL executive, is helping to conduct and underwrite a business competition for entrepreneurs called the Ballston LaunchPad Challenge. He said the winning business idea may receive funding from the $450 million investment fund he set up with AOL co-founder Steve Case.

“We’re here to help and mentor and to help find the next great companies that will start their businesses here and will create employment for residents in Northern Virginia,” Leonsis said.

“Right now there’s this mythology that the only great companies that can get started happen out in Silicon Valley, and that’s not what we adhere to or we believe,” he continued. “We think that there’s a creative class, that there’s unbelievable gifts, talent and infrastructure in Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C. and Maryland — and we want to help stimulate that. We think that there are great young entrepreneurs walking among us.”

Leonsis said the contest, which is just one component of the BID’s overall branding and business improvement effort, will  pay dividends in terms of stimulating economic activity in the area.

“This is a small part of this overall branding and outreach program, but I think it can be a very important part, because jobs are still the number one issue facing our country,” he said. “There’s no more noble, higher calling for an individual to create a company, see your vision come to life, and to employ people. Families get supported, kids get to go to good schools in the community, you start to shop in the mall, you start to eat in the restaurants, and the money stays within the community.”

“This is very strategic not just for Ballston, but for our country,” Leonsis added. “If we are to make an investment… we want a commitment that you’ll stay in this community that’s treating you and supporting you so well.”

Leonsis said that small business in particular can help “get young people get back to work” and out of their parents’ homes.

“We should never lose sight of the importance of small business,” he said. “Big companies right now retain earnings and shed jobs. Small businesses are creating all of the new opportunities and all of the innovation that’s keeping us competitive against global competition.”

Leonsis started and ended by addressing a topic that was on the minds of many — one concerning the return of dozens of wealthy individuals to the Ballston area.

“Thank you, and let’s go Caps,” he said, concluding his remarks.

Disclosure: The Ballston Business Improvement District is an ARLnow.com advertiser.

by ARLnow.com — January 14, 2013 at 11:45 am 571 21 Comments

Arlington Public Schools Facebook page

Arlington Public Schools has joined several popular social media websites in an effort to better communicate with the community at large.

The school system is now on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. From an APS press release:

In an effort to increase communications and strengthen ties with Arlington Public Schools families and the community, APS has developed a social media presence. The Facebook, Twitter and YouTube accounts will go live on Mon, Jan. 14.

These new communication channels will provide the APS community with more ways to receive information about current events, capital improvements, the budget, boundaries and other initiatives, as well as all the news and events going on throughout APS.

by ARLnow.com — January 14, 2013 at 10:45 am 3,543 28 Comments

Williams Sonoma store in Pentagon City mall Williams Sonoma store in Pentagon City mall

The Williams-Sonoma gourmet food and cookware store at Pentagon City mall is closing after this week.

The store’s last day in business will be Sunday, Jan. 20, according to a sign at the entrance. Until then, the store is offering display items for up to 50 percent off.

As of Saturday, Jan. 12 many of the store’s shelves — especially those that once contained sale items — were bare.

by ARLnow.com — January 14, 2013 at 9:45 am 2,283 23 Comments

Crews on the scene of a possible sewage spill at the Potomac Yard Harris Teeter (photo courtesy Douglas Wendt)The Harris Teeter grocery store at 3600 S. Glebe Road near Potomac Yard will remain closed for the foreseeable future.

The store closed last May after it was flooded with raw sewage — an incident caused by a clog at the nearby Arlington County Water Pollution Control Plan. It has yet to reopen.

A Harris Teeter spokeswoman said the store will not reopen until the company can be assured that measures are in place to prevent another catastrophic sewage incident.

“We are actively working with both the county and our landlord to discuss solutions to make sure that which happened does not happen again,” said company spokeswoman Danna Jones. “Once those solutions are implemented, we are ready to start work on the interior of the store, and at that point, Harris Teeter will make various public announcements to share the good news with everyone.”

An Arlington County spokeswoman would not comment on whether the county was working with Harris Teeter to reduce the risk of another sewage backup or mitigate the effects of the May incident. The county did say that, so far, no lawsuits have been filed against the county in response to last year’s sewage backup.

“I can confirm that no civil lawsuits have been filed,” said Arlington County spokeswoman Mary Curtius.

Photo courtesy Douglas Wendt

by ARLnow.com — January 14, 2013 at 8:35 am 880 96 Comments

BBQ smoker outside Whitlow's on Wilsom (photo by Katie Pyzyk)

Pentagon Shooter Sentenced — Yonathan Melaku, the ex-Marine who pleaded guilty last year to firing bullets at the Pentagon, has been sentenced to 25 years in prison. Melaku had planned a terror campaign that included spray painting Arabic statements on gravestones and leaving explosives in Arlington National Cemetery, according to prosecutors. [Washington Post]

Bad Reviews for Rosslyn Safeway — While getting high marks for friendly cashiers, the Safeway supermarket in Rosslyn has earned a dismal 1.5 out of 5 stars in 53 reviews on Yelp. Customers have called the store “disgusting,” “gross,” “cavernous” and the “worst grocery store ever.” [Ode Street Tribune]

Gala Celebration for Wakefield High — The Wakefield Alumni Foundation will be hosting a celebration in May to celebrate the high school’s 60th anniversary. A new Wakefield High School building is expected to open this summer, and the present 1950s-era building will eventually be torn down. [Sun Gazette]

Wakefield Routs Yorktown — The Wakefield Warriors boys basketball team defeated the Yorktown Patriots by the lopsided score of 74-41 on Jan. 11. Wakefield improved to a record of 10-4 overall, while Yorktown fell to 5-8. [Sun Gazette]

Photo by Katie Pyzyk

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