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Winning County Decal Design Revealed

by Katie Pyzyk | January 29, 2013 at 5:00 pm | 2,048 views | 47 Comments

Arlington County 2013-2014 vehicle decalA high school junior’s graphic design has been chosen to grace Arlington windshields as the county’s winning 2013-2014 vehicle decal.

Ben Jenks, a Washington-Lee High School junior, designed the decal based on this year’s decal competition theme of “USS Arlington.” The theme was chosen to highlight the ship bearing the county’s name that will be commissioned this spring. The USS Arlington is named to honor those who lost their lives at the Pentagon on 9/11 and the first responders who risked their lives.

“I think this decal will be a fine inspiration to the sailors and Marines that will be onboard our ship, the USS Arlington,” said Treasurer Frank O’Leary. “It will also be a fitting tribute to those who died and those who served so heroically on 9/11.”

Jenks’ design was chosen through a county-wide vote after the field of competitors was narrowed from 23 entries to four finalists. The other finalists were Wakefield High School junior Kira Tucker, Wakefield High School junior Isabel George and Washington-Lee High School junior Ben Tobin.

The Treasurer’s Office began the design competition for high school students in 2005. This year, 2,080 votes were cast online and by mail.

O’Sullivan’s to Unveil New Addition

by Katie Pyzyk | January 29, 2013 at 4:00 pm | 2,000 views | 30 Comments

It’s taken about six months of construction and renovations, but O’Sullivan’s Irish Pub (3207 Washington Blvd) is ready to unveil its expansion.

The bar has taken over the space previously occupied by Fragrance World and Sam’s Corner. Owner Anselm Griffiths said there are still about two weeks worth of small projects to accomplish before the bar is considered finished.

Griffiths and his wife, the bar’s namesake Karen O’Sullivan, have owned the business for about seven years and have been interested in expansion nearly from the get go.

“I think we’ve had our eye on the little fragrance shop since we moved in,” Griffiths said. “When the space became available we were very happy to grab it up.”

The new space has been converted into a whiskey bar, with room for table seating. Bartenders will serve up more than 100 brands of whiskey, along with an expanded selection of tap beers.

“We definitely wanted to have a second bar to give us the ability to do private functions, which is something we’ve been turning away since we opened,” Griffiths said. “We think whiskey is sort of a great niche to get into, it’s definitely trending right now. I think a lot of the young people are getting back to more classic drinks.”

Much of the menu will stay the same for now, but there will be an effort to incorporate more of the whiskeys into sauces.

Despite the new bar, extra seating and additional restrooms, management wants customers to know O’Sullivan’s largely remains the same.

“We’re still keeping the character of O’Sullivan’s. It’s a family owned bar, that’s how it’s going to stay,” said General Manager Patrick Doody. “We will preserve the atmosphere that’s been really successful for us. That’s not going anywhere, we just have an extra room. What made us a really good local neighborhood Irish bar will stay the same.”

The exterior has been restored to how the building looked in the 1920s.

“Arlington County had a lot of say in the design of the exterior because the building was marked for historical preservation,” Griffiths said. “It was fun working with Arlington County on that. We spent a little more time and money, but it is really neat to restore the building.”

Tonight there will be a “soft opening” for invited guests, but the public will be able to get a peek at the changes on Thursday (January 31). An official grand opening celebration is being planned, and will feature a buffet and live band. An announcement on the date for that event is forthcoming, but it’s expected to be in about two weeks. Until then, the managers hope people come in to check out the upgrades.

“We’re looking forward to the new challenges of the new whiskey bar. We’re looking forward to more regulars, more people coming through the doors,” Doody said. “O’Sullivan’s is staying the same, it’s just getting a little bit bigger.”

Peter’s Take: Has The Arlington Way Lost Its Way?

by Peter Rousselot | January 29, 2013 at 2:30 pm | 1,855 views | 60 Comments

Peter’s Take is a weekly opinion column published on Tuesdays. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.

Peter RousselotWhen County Board member Mary Hynes launched a new initiative called PLACE (Participation, Leadership and Civic Engagement), ARLnow posted a video and wrote a capsule story. In the video, various people were asked what they thought the term “Arlington Way” meant.  The capsule story asked and answered the question:

“What is the ‘Arlington Way’ exactly? It is essentially an open conversation between the local government and the people who live and work in Arlington. But the Arlington Way can mean different things to different people, as the video … seems to prove.”

Has the Arlington Way lost its way?

Arlington has created an elaborate system of advisory commissions, committees and task forces to tap the wealth of talent in our community This system was supplemented in 2012 with the PLACE initiative. And, in 2013, the County Board has added Walter Tejada’s Neighborhood Town Halls.

Compared to every other community anywhere near its size, the variety of opportunities that Arlington affords for citizen engagement and participation is admirable.

But, the Arlington Way is losing its way because of a combination of:

  • whether, when and how the County Board frames the issues for community discussion
  • what the County Board does with the advice it gets

Example: the PPTA guidelines.

The Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) issued a report last fall warning that the Public Private Transportation Act (PPTA) lacked adequate safeguards, often enabling private firms to negotiate sweetheart deals that earn them high profits while placing most or all of the risk on the public.

The County Board has at least 3 citizen advisory groups that should have been asked to meet, review the proposed PPTA guidelines, and report back to the community: the Transit Advisory Committee, the Transportation Commission, and the Fiscal Affairs Advisory Commission. The County Board never requested such meetings or reports. Why not? What was the rush to enact such far-reaching guidelines without the input of these advisory groups?

Other examples:

  • The County Board’s recent decision on what to do with its fiscal year closeout funds, totaling many millions of dollars, included no opportunity for significant community engagement.
  • The entire structure of County Board decision making is a question too:  an item can appear once on an agenda and be voted on the same night.  Compare this with the School Board’s process of an item appearing first for information, with an opportunity for public comment, and then not being voted on until the next meeting – two weeks later. For major decisions, the School Board has even more time between public notice and action (like what to do with its fiscal year closeout funds).

We are losing our way. We have created many commissions, PLACE, and Neighborhood Town Halls so it looks like there is a lot of input, and there may be on many decisions. But, too many of the big, important decisions are reached without following the process we have created.

When we do use the process, the County Board too often disregards the input.  Of course, it is naïve to believe that the Board should always follow the recommendations, but when at midnight Board members are making changes to staff proposals and voting that same night – that does not inspire sufficient confidence in the Board’s decisions.

Peter Rousselot is a member of the Central Committee of the Democratic Party of Virginia and former chair of the Arlington County Democratic Committee.

BREAKING: Police Arrest Three for Murder of 87-Year-Old Arlington Man

by ARLnow.com | January 29, 2013 at 12:58 pm | 5,346 views | 39 Comments

(L to R) Mack Leon Wood, Jean Pierre and Sapien Edmonds

(Updated at 1:15 p.m.) Arlington County police have arrested three suspects in the murder of an 87-year-old Arlington man.

Mack L. WoodOn Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012, police found Mack L. Wood, 87, dead in his home on the 3700 block of N. Wakefield Street, in the Old Glebe neighborhood. Three days later, police announced that Wood’s death was “suspicious.”

Today, the Arlington County Police Department announced that three people have been arrested in connection with Wood’s death, which is now suspected to be a homicide.

Among those arrested was Mack’s 47-year-old son. Police records show he was arrested in Hillsborough County, Florida, in the Tampa area, yesterday, Jan. 28.

From an ACPD press release:

The Arlington County Police Department’s Homicide/Robbery Unit has charged three suspects in connection with the suspicious death of an Arlington County resident. The investigation began when the incident was reported as an accidental death on the morning of October 13, 2012. The victim was identified as Mack L. Wood, 87, of Arlington, VA. His body was discovered inside his residence in the 3700 block of N. Wakefield Street by a family member.

After a thorough review of evidence, forensic examination, consultation with the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner and an extensive investigation, three suspects were identified and apprehended without incident. The son of the victim, Mack Leon Wood, Jr., 47, was located by the United States Marshals Service in the Tampa, FL area and has been arrested and charged with first degree murder. Jean Caleb Pierre, 32, and Sapien Edmonds, 29, both of Henrico, VA have also been charged with first degree murder. All three suspects are currently being held without bond.

Wood’s death was the fifth reported homicide in Arlington County in 2012, after homicides in Shirlington, Hall’s Hill and on Columbia Pike.

Protein Bar Opens Tomorrow in Ballston

by Katie Pyzyk | January 29, 2013 at 12:25 pm | 3,083 views | 26 Comments

A new restaurant aimed at offering high protein foods is opening in Ballston tomorrow. Protein Bar (800 N. Glebe Road) will start serving its blended drinks, wraps and other entrees around lunchtime on Wednesday.

The goal is to serve foods high in protein, high in fiber and low on refined sugars. Founder Matt Matros based the menu on the diet that helped him lose weight.

“I grew up heavy. I switched to the high protein diet and ended up losing 50 pounds in a summer. It’s all of the foods we sell now,” Matros said. “The idea being that high protein foods help you feel full longer, so if you have something higher in protein you’ll not snack later on in the day. That’s what’s worked for me and it’s worked for a lot of our customers.”

Matros went to business school and then worked for Kraft Foods for a while. He became discouraged by the lack of restaurants offering foods along the lines of his high protein diet, so he decided to launch Protein Bar.

“I realized there was no place that started the kind of foods I wanted to eat, so that’s when I decided to start it all myself,” he said.

The first restaurant opened in May of 2009 in Chicago, and Matros recently has been looking for other markets to move into. The D.C. metro is the first place Protein Bar has expanded outside of the Chicago area. Matros says coming here seemed like a natural fit because the people lead similar lifestyles as those in Chicago.

“They eat healthy, they’re educated, they can appreciate what we’re doing,” Matros said. “They’re urban professionals, they’re busy, they don’t have time for lunch.”

Eventually, Matros hopes to expand into other areas in Northern Virginia, like Rosslyn.

“Arlingtonians have a coolness about them,” he said. “We definitely enjoy being here.”

Protein Bar will open tomorrow (January 30) at 11:00 a.m. and will give food away to the first 50 customers. The restaurant will open for normal business hours (7:30 a.m.-8:00 p.m.) on Thursday. Protein Bar will be closed on Sundays.

Free Tax Help Clinics Begin Friday

by Katie Pyzyk | January 29, 2013 at 10:45 am | 33 Comments

Money (file photo)Starting this Friday, Arlington County is holding free clinics to assist residents with tax preparation.

The clinics are intended to serve residents with “low or moderate income.” Several of the clinics are vague about income levels, but others specify a maximum income.

Those seeking assistance must bring a photo ID, social security cards for each family member, earnings statements (W-2, W-2G, and all 1099′s received) and a copy of last year’s federal and state returns. If applicable, participants should also bring interest and dividend statements, daycare expenses paid in 2012, student loan interest payments, a record of any sales tax paid on new vehicles purchased in 2012 and a record of any real estate taxes paid in 2012.

The schedule for the clinics is as follows:

  • Arlington Central Library (1015 N. Quincy Street) — Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10:30 a.m.-3:00 p.m., February 5-April 11. No appointments are necessary, customers are handled on a first-come, first-served basis. Spanish speakers will be available.
  • Columbia Pike Branch Library (816 S. Walter Reed Drive) — Tuesdays from 1:15-7:45 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays from 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m., February 1-April 13. No appointments are necessary, customers are handled on a first-come, first-served basis. Spanish speakers will be available.
  • Arlington Department of Human Services (2100 Washington Blvd) — Tuesdays from 5:30-7:00 p.m. (or when all available slots are filled), February 5-April 9. No appointments are necessary, customers are handled on a first-come, first-served basis. Maximum income is $35,000 for one person or $51,000 for families. Spanish speakers will be available.
  • ECDC Enterprise Development Group (901 S. Highland Street) — Tuesdays and Fridays from 6:00-9:00 p.m., Saturdays from 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m., February 1-April 13. No appointments are necessary, customers are handled on a first-come, first-served basis. Maximum income is $51,000. Spanish speakers will be available.
  • AARP Travel Team — (Only available to people unable to leave their homes.) Call 703-594-6576 to schedule an appointment.

Festival to Celebrate African American History and Culture

by Katie Pyzyk | January 29, 2013 at 9:45 am | 409 views | No Comments

Arlington, Virginia logo (small)Arlington is celebrating Black History Month with dancing, food and art at the 21st Annual Feel the Heritage Festival next month. The event will take place at the Langston-Brown Community Center (2121 N. Culpeper Street) from noon-4:00 p.m. on Saturday, February 9.

Avon Dews will provide live music and the Soul in Motion Players will offer an African dance and drumming performance. Kids can enjoy face painting, balloon art and making art projects while adults check out the vendors.

Anyone interested in taking in the history of the High View Park neighborhood can join in a cultural walk starting at 2:30 p.m. The group will stop at significant locations along the route, where walkers will be encouraged to share memories about the neighborhood, its residents and its traditions.

There will be a raffle during the event and the winner will receive two round-trip airline tickets to anywhere in Africa that Ethiopian Airlines flies. The $5 tickets can be purchased in advance online or at the event.

Morning Notes

by Katie Pyzyk | January 29, 2013 at 8:50 am | 794 views | 21 Comments

Blue jay in North Arlington

VA Senate Panel Advances “Love Shack” Bill — A state Senate panel unanimously advanced a bill proposed by Sen. Adam Ebbin (D) that would repeal the Virginia law making it illegal for unmarried couples to live together. Currently, cohabitation by unmarried couples is a misdemeanor under the law, which went into effect in 1877. [Washington Post]

Board Accepts Grant to Fight Childhood Obesity — The County Board has accepted a state grant worth $25,000 to fund a Healthy Meals for Healthy Families program at Carlin Springs Elementary School, intended to fight childhood obesity. The program will include weekly hands-on classes in healthy food preparation and healthy eating for at-risk third, fourth and fifth graders and their families. “[The grant] will fund a program at Carlin Springs Elementary that will not only educate our children and families – but ultimately change behaviors to promote life-long healthy eating and healthy living,” said Board Chairman Walter Tejada. [Arlington County]

APS Makes EPA’s Green Power Purchasers List — Arlington Public Schools has come in at number five on the Environmental Protection Agency’s list of the Top 20 K-12 green power purchasers. APS meets six percent of its electricity use by purchasing more than 3,000,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of green power each year. “Utilizing green power helps us become more sustainable, while also sending a message to others across the U.S. that supporting clean sources of electricity is a sound business decision and an important choice in reducing climate risk,” said APS Superintendent Dr. Pat Murphy. “Most importantly, this conveys to our students the important role and responsibility that all of us have in safeguarding our environment today and in the future.” [Arlington Public Schools]

Board Promises to Hear PenPlace Concerns — At its meeting on Saturday (January 26), the County Board assured concerned residents that their voices will be heard in regards to the proposed PenPlace development. Board member Chris Zimmerman refuted claims by opponents that there wouldn’t be a serious review of the Pentagon City project. The plan involves developing 10 acres of mostly vacant land into a complex of 12 to 22 story buildings. [Sun Gazette]

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