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by Katie Pyzyk — January 18, 2013 at 3:55 pm 452 5 Comments

NASA logoThere will be a star-studded Inauguration event in Arlington on Saturday (January 19) night. But the stars will be of the celestial, not celebrity, variety.

The David M. Brown Planetarium (1426 N. Quincy Street) will host NASA’s Star Party. Astronauts, astronomers and other experts will be on hand to talk about current NASA missions and the future of space exploration.

Weather permitting, one of the big attractions will be star gazing through the 15 telescopes set up in the plaza surrounding the planetarium. There will also be a variety of displays (both indoors and outdoors) relating to NASA and astronomy, including one featuring real meteorites.

Five seated shows will take place in the planetarium’s dome theater, but those have already sold out. No tickets are necessary to chat with the astronauts and experts, examine displays or take part in the star gazing.

“People of all ages can come and do something they don’t usually have chance to do, get one-on-one time with NASA astronauts and experts,” said NASA spokesperson Sarah Ramsey. “I think this is a great opportunity for people in the Arlington area and we’re excited to expand our Inauguration activities out of D.C. and into Arlington as well.”

The activities are all free and run from 5:30-9:30 p.m. In case of inclement weather, updated information about the event will be posted on NASA’s Inauguration activities website.

by Katie Pyzyk — January 18, 2013 at 3:15 pm 2,521 17 Comments

Sign at Lotus Grill and Noodles in ShirlingtonIt had only been open for about 10 days, but Lotus Grill and Noodles in Shirlington temporarily closed down yesterday.

A tipster sent ARLnow.com a photo of the county inspection sign that went up on the door yesterday, claiming the building is unsafe.

According to a representative with Arlington’s Inspection Services Division, the restaurant had opened before receiving its certificate of occupancy. The county worker said the restaurant owners took it upon themselves to open when they weren’t authorized to do so.

We’re told there were outstanding building, zoning and inspection issues that needed to be resolved before issuing the permit. However, all of the issues were resolved around noon today and the restaurant is officially able to serve customers.

The restaurant re-opened this afternoon.

by ARLnow.com — January 18, 2013 at 2:30 pm 404 6 Comments

Editor’s Note: This sponsored column is written by Nick Anderson, beermonger at Arrowine (4508 Lee Highway)

We’ve looked at Belgian Trappist Ales here before, but I wanted to take a quick moment this week to consider the newest member to the ranks of the official Trappist brewers. News of the addition of Austrian monastery Stift Engelszell to the list of approved Trappist breweries got a little lost last year in the wave of excitement over the impending release of Westvleteren 12. However, while Westy 12 has already come and gone (with none allocated for the District or Virginia) the first of Engelszell’s beers is reaching us now.

Engelszell’s Trappist brewery status was an overnight success story that took just north of 700 years: Founded in 1293, the Abbey was dissolved in the late 18th Century and stood abandoned until Alsatian monks expelled from France during World War I took up residence in 1925. Engelszell Abbey is the only Trappist monastery in Austria; it sustains itself, as all other Trappist orders do, with the sales of their wares. While becoming well-known for their cheese and liqueurs, the International Trappist Association recognized Engelszell with the bestowing of their trademark “Authentic Trappist Product” seal upon Engelszell’s liquor products in 2009. In May of last year, as Engelszell was working to get their brewery operation up and running, the ITA approved of the use of its seal on Engelszell’s beers. This makes Engelszell the eight Trappist brewery, and only the second located outside of Belgium.

That first beer from Engelszell is Gregorious, a strong dark Ale made with local hops and honey. Seeking to avoid the classic styles of Trappist brewing, Gregorious is very smooth, with dark fruit and cocoa notes from its roasted malts along with plenty of sweetness from the honey and mild carbonation. The sweet, smooth feel of Gregorious belies its 9.7% ABV; this is without a doubt a rich beer — a meal unto itself, though I can see it paired with earthy cheeses, nuts, and smoked meats of all kinds. There won’t be a lot of Engelszell beer available at first, as its operation is very small. I’ll only be receiving a couple of cases for Arrowine, with no clue at this point as to how often I should expect to see it. If you happen by some, though, don’t hesitate to try it out. You can be an early-adopter; that’s what people do these days, right?

Until next time.

Nick Anderson maintains a blog at www.beermonger.net, and can be found on Twitter at @The_Beermonger. Sign up for Arrowine’s money saving email offers and free wine and beer tastings at www.arrowine.com/mailing-list-signup.aspx. The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.

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by Katie Pyzyk — January 18, 2013 at 1:15 pm 809 79 Comments

Arlington, Virginia logo (small)Following two years of double digit growth, Arlington’s commercial property values have fallen.

Commercial property values decreased by 0.1 percent in Calendar Year (CY) 2012, coming in at $30.4 billion. Although multi-family rental properties fall into that category and increased by almost 1 percent, the rest of the commercial property types (office, retail, hotel) declined by 0.5 percent. Commercial properties still account for 49 percent of the county’s tax base.

A county press release suggests the drop in commercial property values is due to impacts from the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) in Crystal City and concerns about federal budget issues. The budget concerns are expected to have an impact for the next few years. While state and federal grant funding remains uncertain, real estate tax revenues represent approximately 56 percent of the county’s total revenues.

“These assessments reflect the impact that BRAC, and the slow economic recovery, continues to have on Arlington,” said Arlington County Manager Barbara Donnellan in a statement. “While our balance of commercial and residential development continues to keep Arlington’s economic outlook fundamentally sound, we are not immune from the larger economic forces that continue to buffet the nation. As we projected late last year, there will be about a $50 million gap between the County’s revenues and expenses, and both County government and Schools will need to make some tough choices to close that gap.”

Overall, Arlington’s 2013 real estate assessments remained unchanged. The average assessment for existing single-family properties, including condominiums, townhouses and detached homes, increased by about 1 percent, to $524,700.

Real estate assessments will be mailed to all Arlington property owners starting today, and will be available online after 5:00 p.m. Of all residential property owners, 47 percent will see no change in their assessment, 22 percent will see declines of varying amounts and 31 will see increases of varying amounts.

by Katie Pyzyk — January 18, 2013 at 11:50 am 1,712 31 Comments

A number of road and government closures will be in place on Monday for the observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and for the Presidential Inauguration.

The following government offices will be closed on Monday, January 21:

  • Libraries
  • Courts
  • Parks, community centers and nature centers (except Barcroft Sports and Fitness Center, which is open from 6:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.)
  • Schools
  • Human Services

Parking meters will not be enforced on Monday. Trash and recycling pickup will run on a normal schedule, but the call center will be closed.

ART will run a Saturday schedule on Routes 41, 51, 77 & 87. ART will also run a special Inauguration schedule on the ART 42. All other routes will not operate. Metrorail will be open on Monday from 4:00 a.m. until 2:00 a.m. on Tuesday. Rush hour service runs from 4:00 a.m.-9:00 p.m. and peak fares will be in effect.

The following roads and bridges will be closed or restricted on Monday for the Inauguration:

  • I-395 HOV northbound lanes will close at 9:00 a.m. HOV lanes on I-395 will re-open southbound at the end of the Inaugural address. I-395 main lanes and I-66 will be open to all traffic.
  • All traffic on the 14th Street Bridge will be diverted by MPD onto the Southeast/Southwest freeway beginning at 5:30 a.m.
  • Traffic coming across the Teddy Roosevelt Bridge will be diverted into northbound Potomac River Expressway to Pennsylvania Avenue or Whitehurst Freeway/K Street.
  • Memorial Bridge is restricted to pedestrians and authorized vehicles only.

In addition to the numerous road closures in the District, U.S. Park Police will also close the following Virginia roads starting at 5:00 a.m. on Monday:

  • Route 27/Washington Blvd at Route 50 Bypass (at 5:30 a.m. when ACPD closes Route 27, closure moves to Northbound George Washington Memorial Parkway ramp to Memorial Bridge)
  • Southbound George Washington Memorial Parkway at the ramp to Memorial Bridge
  • Southbound George Washington Memorial Parkway at the ramp to Southbound Route 27/Washington Blvd
  • Southbound Boundary Channel Drive at the ramp to Route 27/Washington Blvd
  • Northbound Route 110 ramp to Memorial Drive. All vehicles will be forced to take a left to Arlington National Cemetery. All vehicles exiting Arlington National Cemetery must take Route 110 South.

by Katie Pyzyk — January 18, 2013 at 10:55 am 2,354 167 Comments

State Senator Barbara Favola (file photo)State Senator Barbara Favola (D) has introduced a bill in the Virginia General Assembly aimed at eliminating instances of bullying in schools.

The legislation defines the term “bullying” and requires school boards to prohibit students and school employees from engaging in any actions that fall under the definition. The bill also requires local school boards to implement policies and procedures for reporting, investigating and addressing acts of bullying.

The part of the bill defining bullying reads:

“Bullying” means any aggressive and unwanted behavior that is intended to harm or humiliate the victim; involves a real or perceived power imbalance between the aggressor or aggressors and victim; and is repeated over time or causes severe emotional trauma. “Bullying” includes behavior motivated by a real or perceived differentiating characteristic of the victim and cyber bullying. “Bullying” does not include ordinary teasing, horseplay, argument, or peer conflict.

The legislation requires each of the school boards around the state to add a portion to its code of student conduct addressing bullying by July 1, 2014. This would prohibit bullying in classrooms, on a school bus, on school property and at school-sponsored activities.

Each code of conduct must also be updated with provisions to protect students and school employees who come forward to report instances of bullying, and must allow the reporting individuals to remain anonymous. School administrators or their designees would be required to promptly investigate every credible report of bullying.

“Sen. Favola patroned this bill because she believes it is an important message to put language in the law to protect our children and create safe learning environments,” said Legislative Assistant Arlene Spinelli. “Studies demonstrate that when bullying takes place in the school environment, academic performance is impacted and suffers. This issue is a priority of the Virginia Education Association.”

The bill is currently awaiting a vote in the state Senate Education and Health Committee.

by Katie Pyzyk — January 18, 2013 at 9:40 am 1,284 26 Comments

A-Town Bar and Grill

Citizen Receives Reward for Crime Tip — A tipster will get a $650 reward from Arlington County Crime Solvers (ACCS) for helping police solve a case from Christmas Day. The tipster’s information helped police arrest a suspect from an armed robbery of a 7-Eleven. “We are delighted to pay a reward to a local resident whose tip led to an arrest in an armed robbery,” said ACCS President Andres Tobar. “We encourage local residents who have information on a crime to call the ACCS tip line at 866-411-8477 to remain anonymous. If the tip leads to an arrest, a reward will be paid.” [Arlington County Crime Solvers]

Tejada Launches Campaign Targeting Childhood Obesity — County Board Chairman Walter Tejada kicked off his Moving Forward Together Campaign at a community meeting yesterday. The initiative involves the county working with a volunteer coalition and community members on several points, such as getting kids moving more at recess and in after school programs, establishing healthier vending options and training childcare providers in nutrition and physical activity. Residents are encouraged to get involved with the newly formed Healthy Community Action Team (HCAT). [Arlington County]

Construction Work at Central Library — Work has started on the Central Library’s first major interior renovations since the early 1990s, and includes painting, carpeting, new signs and new desks. Because staff needs to use the Quiet Study Room during construction, it will be closed to the public for the duration of renovations. Construction is expected to finish in the spring. [Arlington Public Library]

Free Inauguration Viewing on the Big Screen — Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse (2903 Columbia Pike) is allowing customers to stop by on Monday, January 21, to watch the public Presidential Inauguration on the big screen. Admission is free and doors open at 11:00 a.m. [Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse]

Mind Your Body Oasis Grand Opening — Saturday (January 19) is the grand opening celebration for the new Mind Your Body Oasis (1750 Crystal Drive) in Crystal City. There will be raffles and samples of the juices sold at the yoga studio and holistic center. Customers will also be able to try a free yoga class.

by Katie Pyzyk — January 18, 2013 at 8:45 am 428 11 Comments

Water main break on Columbia Pike (file photo)The 30 inch water main that broke earlier this week at Arlington Blvd and S. Irving Street continues to cause water pressure trouble for residents in South Arlington.

Residents in Lyon Park, Buckingham, Douglas Park, Arlington Heights, Alcova Heights, Arlington Ridge and portions of Crystal City may be affected, along with portions of surrounding neighborhoods. According to the Arlington County Department of Environmental Services (DES), the worst pressure issues will likely be during peak times in the morning from 6:00-9:00 a.m., and in the evening from 5:00-9:00 p.m.

The county is asking residents to help reduce the pressure problems by minimizing water use at peak times. For example, run dishwashers and washing machines during off-peak hours or take a shower at a different time.

The affected water main is more than 60 years old and will remain out of service while the county brings in an expert who specializes in prestressed concrete cylinder pipes. County staff will also need to order or borrow the parts necessary for the repair. It’s unclear exactly how long the repair will take, but it could be up to a week.

Yesterday, low temperatures and the repair work prompted several leaks in neighborhoods near the water main, further reducing pressure in the system. Residents who see a leak or have other water concerns can contact the Water Emergency hotline at 703-228-6555.

“We appreciate the patience of Arlington residents as we continue to work through this challenging repair,” said DES Communications Specialist Myllisa Kennedy.

by ARLnow.com — January 18, 2013 at 7:00 am 0

The following are today’s featured events from our Arlington event calendar. Submit your event to the calendar here.

The 2013 Grassroots Inauguration Gala and Fundraiser for AFACState Theatre (220 N. Washington Street, Falls Church) on Saturday, Jan. 19, from 7:30 – 11:30 p.m.

buttonSupporters and volunteers of the 2012 Obama campaign are invited to a “Grassroots Gala” at the State Theatre in Falls Church on Saturday, January 19th at 7:30 PM. Tickets for the event, which includes a live band, hors d’ouvres, and a cash bar, are available for $50 on the State Theatre website or box office.

Come celebrate our common victory with other volunteers and Democrats who worked hard in Northern Virginia to turn the state blue – AGAIN ! Come as you are – jeans to sequins.

Spanish Class for Children & AdultsClaremont Elementary School (4700 S. Chesterfield Road) on Saturday, Jan. 19 from 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

marta-class-editedOn January 19, Edu-Futuro will be holding in-person registration for its Spanish classes for children and adults through its Escuela Bolivia Program for the spring semester at Claremont Elementary School.

Edu-Futuro provides Spanish classes to children and adults taught by native Spanish speakers at some of the most competitive prices in the Greater DC region. Adult classes include a beginners and intermediate course. Classes for children are from Pre- K through 8th grade.

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