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BREAKING: Man Shot on Arlington Ridge Road

by ARLnow.com | March 20, 2013 at 10:40 pm | 6,801 views | 63 Comments

Police car (file photo)(Updated at 1:55 p.m.) Police are investigating a shooting that occurred on S. Arlington Ridge Road near, Gunston Middle School.

The incident happened around 8:30 p.m. at S. Arlington Ridge Road and S. Lang Street. According to police, a young adult male was walking on the sidewalk when a black male wearing a black hooded sweatshirt approached him and demanded money.

The victim was shot once in the leg and the suspect fled on foot with an undisclosed amount of cash, police said.

Police established a perimeter and brought in K-9 units and the Fairfax County Police helicopter to search for the suspect, but were unable to locate him. Both Gunston Middle School and nearby Oakridge Elementary School were hosting evening activities at the time and were locked down for a period after the incident.

The victim was transported to George Washington University hospital with what is described as a non-life-threatening injury, said Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.

Some roads in the area are still blocked off as police continue to investigate the crime.

The last reported non-fatal shooting in Arlington County occurred on May 29, 2012, outside of a hotel in Crystal City. A man suffered two non-life-threatening gunshot wounds during that incident. The murder of

County: Pike Super Stop Project on Track

by ARLnow.com | March 20, 2013 at 5:20 pm | 1,397 views | 40 Comments

New Super Stop at Columbia Pike and Walter Reed DriveNow that a prototype has been built, and now that Arlington will be replacing WMATA as the project manager, the Columbia Pike Super Stop project should proceed in a much quicker, smoother and more cost-efficient manner, county officials said Tuesday.

The project will ultimately construct a network of 24 enhanced “Super Stop” bus stops along Columbia Pike, featuring real-time bus arrival screens, lighting, heating and a modern design. Arlington County officials briefed the County Board on the status of the project at its meeting yesterday (Tuesday) afternoon, following a minor public outcry about the over $1 million construction cost of the first stop.

(The county funded just over $200,000 of the construction budget, with the rest coming from state and federal sources.)

“This is perhaps the first of its type in the Commonwealth,” Arlington County Director of Transportation Dennis Leach said of the newly-completed Super Stop, at the corner of Columbia Pike and S. Walter Reed Drive. “In any new endeavor, you end up paying more in soft costs for the prototype. When you actually get the efficiency is… when you refine it and go out replicate the facilities.”

New Super Stop at Columbia Pike and Walter Reed DriveThe Walter Reed stop took nearly a year and a half of on-again, off-again construction to complete. Leach hinted that replacing WMATA as the construction manager of the project may improve matters.

“This was a project that was a partnership between Arlington and WMATA,” he said. “Moving forward we are going to make a shift where these are going to be Arlington-managed construction projects. We hope to dramatically reduce the construction time, and we have already fine tuned the design… to make it easier to construct in the future.”

County Board member Chris Zimmerman said WMATA’s ability to run construction projects has been reduced over the past few years.

“Its capacity having been greatly diminished undoubtedly affected their ability to deal with a small project like this one,” he said.

Zimmerman said he believes the project is on track. Crews are expected to begin work this spring on a “Barton West” Super Stop near Penrose Square, followed by work on new stops at Columbus and Dinwiddie Streets later this summer.

“I’m a lot more confident going forward that we’ll be able to deliver these things on a reasonable basis in terms of time, budget and schedule,” he said.

Libby Garvey, a critic of the proposed Columbia Pike streetcar system (which will utilize the new stops, when built), asked a few tough questions about the project. She said she was still awaiting a breakdown of the costs of the project, and was skeptical that the open-air design would serve riders in bad weather.

“I did see the stop and it’s pretty, but I was struck by the fact that if it’s pouring rain i’m going to get wet, and if it’s cold the wind is going to be blowing on me,” she said. “It doesn’t seem to be much of a shelter.”

Zimmerman suggested there might be room for refining the design to provide more shelter in the rain, but said he was otherwise pleased with the distinctive design — which, he reminded the room, was chosen during a public process, with extensive input from residents.

“I personally think they’re extremely attractive,” he said. “Part of making people confident and comfortable using transit is creating places that they feel like they want to be, even in the dark.”

Back to Drawing Board for Potomac Overlook Plan

by ARLnow.com | March 20, 2013 at 4:05 pm | 22 Comments

Treetop shelter similar to one proposed for Potomac Overlook Regional Park (photo via NVRPA)The Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority has scrapped a plan to add amenities to Potomac Overlook Regional Park (2845 N. Marcey Road) after an outcry from residents.

The NVRPA had floated a plan to add a tree house overlook, a youth camp ground and a small urban farm to the 67-acre park, among other additions and renovations. In response, residents who live by the park formed a group called the Potomac Overlook Preservation Association, and bombarded county and NVRPA officials with emails protesting the plan.

The plan, opponents said, would shift the park toward a more high-impact recreational use rather than the current use for nature preservation and for low-impact recreation.

At a meeting held by the preservation association last night (Tuesday) — attended by a standing-room-only crowd of more than 250, organizers said — NVRPA officials said they would throw out previous plans and restart the public process of considering improvements to the park.

In an email to ARLnow.com, NVRPA Executive Director Paul Gilbert said the authority realized it had fumbled the public presentation of the plan.

The issue is one of process and semantics more than anything else. While it was our intention (and our actions) to seek public input before we moved forward with any of these ideas, many in the community read our meeting minutes and reached the conclusion that we had made final decisions. In truth we had not done any site specific planning or determined the ultimate feasibility of these idea.

Because of this miscommunication, some looked at the Power Point that had been presented and reached worse case scenarios about many of the ideas. We were never able to have the conversation with the community that we wanted and because opinions were formed we realized that we needed to reset the process and start over. The characterizations that these plans somehow changed the nature of the park were never well founded. We simply got off on the wrong foot.

We will probably discuss some of these ideas in the years ahead, because many of them were very good. But we will be more careful in issues of process and semantics in the future.

Site plan for Potomac Regional Overlook ParkIn a press release, the Potomac Overlook Preservation Association said it supported some parts of the plan, and will work to shape future plans.

“Park users and local residents voiced strong support for certain aspects of the plan, such as greater efforts to control invasive species and rebuilding the park’s aging birds-of-prey shelter and deteriorating trails,  but quickly organized to block the development projects,” said the organization. “Users of the park immediately welcomed the park authority’s reversal, praised their quick response to the growing community pressure, and pledged to work cooperatively with the authority in future planning efforts.”

The president of the preservation association, Steve Blakely, said NVRPA “did the right thing.”

“The NVRPA did the right thing by listening to the community,” he said. “They deserve full credit for that, and doing it quickly.”

Arlington Restaurants to Offer Cherry-Themed Menu Items

by ARLnow.com | March 20, 2013 at 3:00 pm | 1,053 views | 8 Comments

Cherry Picks dish (photo via RAMW)A number of Arlington restaurants will be offering special menus in honor of the National Cherry Blossom Festival, which starts today and runs through April 14.

From now until the end of the festival, five participating Arlington restaurants will “serve creative spring and Festival-inspired entrées, appetizers, desserts, cocktails, or multi-course menus.” Last year, no Arlington restaurants participated.

The special offerings are part of the festival’s Cherry Picks program, now in its 11th year.

The participating restaurants are:

  • American Tap Room Clarendon (3101 Wilson Blvd)
  • Amuse at Le Meridien (1121 19th Street N)
  • Epic Smokehouse (1330 S Fair St)
  • Morton’s The Steakhouse – Arlington (1750 Crystal Drive)
  • Sushi Rock (1900 Clarendon Blvd)

Photo via National Cherry Blossom Festival

Beer Garden to Replace Velocity 5

by ARLnow.com | March 20, 2013 at 2:05 pm | 81 Comments

Advertisement for Social Haus (photo via Facebook)Pretty soon, you’ll be able to order beer in a two liter boot in Arlington.

The new owners of Velocity 5 (2300 Clarendon Blvd) in Courthouse say they’re planning to convert the 200-seat restaurant and bar into “Social Haus,” which they describe as “a traditional beer garden with a modern twist.” They’re hoping to renovate the restaurant soon — a project expected to take several weeks — and reopen it by the end of May.

According to Matt Rofougaran, one of six partners who purchased the Courthouse location of Velocity 5 last month, Social Haus will feature a selection of 100 beers, including 35 on tap. The beers — which will range from local brews, German and Belgian imports and standards like Corona — will be available in bottles or, for beers on tap, in steins and boots ranging from half a liter to a full two liters.

While beer will be the big draw, Social Haus will also offer local and German wines. Specialty cocktails will be on the menu, and Rofougaran said the partners are currently working to secure a machine that will serve frozen Red Bull and vodka cocktails.

Outdoor seating at Velocity 5The seating new arrangements will be reminiscent of a traditional German beer hall. The renovations will knock down walls inside the restaurant to make way for two large picnic-style tables — “social seating” as Rofougaran called it — which will comprise about 75 percent of the seating inside Social Haus.

Other planned interior improvements include a doubling of the size of the ladies’ restroom. As for the outdoor patio seating, the partners plan to add heating elements this fall, then plan to create a separate outdoor bar next year.

Rofougaran says the owners, who will continue running the restaurant as “Velocity 5″ until the renovations, are also working to revamp the restaurant’s menu and improve the much-maligned food.

“The food menu is going to completely change,” Rofougaran said. “We’re going to have fresh, organic, healthy options. There’s still going to be good burgers and wings and stuff, but instead of having the regular crap, we’re going to have grass-fed beef with no hormones, no preservatives.”

“We’re thinking of the health-conscious people in Arlington,” he added. “People know what they’re eating these days, they’re not eating crap like they used to.”

In addition to the healthier options, a gluten free menu, a Sunday brunch menu, and the improved bar food, Rofougaran said Social Haus will serve German favorites like bratwurst and schnitzel.

Rofougaran says he and his five partners are all Northern Virginia natives who have experience in the restaurant and bar promotion businesses. They range in age from 28 to 33.

“We know what people like,” he said. “We’ve been going out in Arlington ever since college.”

Rofougaran said he and his partners are hoping to gather community input on the plans for Social Haus. They’ve set up a suggestion box at Velocity 5 and, in an unorthodox move, Rofougaran encouraged any residents who wanted to weigh in the plans to call him on his cell phone: 703-856-5613.

Photos via Facebook

Batman to Visit Arlington YMCA

by ARLnow.com | March 20, 2013 at 12:15 pm | 790 views | 13 Comments

Lenny B. Robinson and his vintage BatmobileBatman will be visiting the Arlington YMCA at 3422 13th Street N. on Friday to teach kids about poison prevention.

The Caped Crusader will be at the ‘Y’ from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Friday, March 22, hosting an event called “Be a Superhero in Your Home.” The event, which is sponsored by the YMCA, the Alliance for Consumer Education and the American Association of Poison Control Centers, will teach kids “to be a superhero in their home by reading labels, asking permission before using an unknown product, and other poison prevention tips.”

Lenny B. Robinson as Batman (photo via Facebook)The highlight of the event will be a visit by the Dark Knight — also known as Maryland millionaire Lenny B. Robinson — who will be arriving in style in his $300,000 1966 replica Batmobile. Robinson, 49, has been visiting sick kids in children’s hospitals across the county in the vintage Batmobile, as part of his Baltimore-based Superheroes for Kids organization.

Robinson made international news last year when his $250,000 Lamborghini Batmobile was pulled over by Montgomery County Police. The dashcam video of the traffic stop went viral and Robinson became a minor celebrity in his own right.

Arlington families interested in participating in Friday’s poison prevention event are asked to RSVP to events@consumered.org. Only 100 tickets are available for the event.

Photo via Facebook

Board Approves $50K for 9/11 Tribute Room on USS Arlington

by ARLnow.com | March 20, 2013 at 11:00 am | 45 Comments

USS Arlington (photo courtesy Northrop Grumman)The Arlington County Board has approved $50,000 to support the creation of a Sept. 11 “Tribute Room” in the USS Arlington.

The ship, which will carry U.S. Marines, helicopters and expeditionary vehicles to hot spots around the world, is set to be commissioned on Saturday, April 6, in a ceremony that will be attended by numerous  Arlington County officials and first responders. The ship was named the USS Arlington in commemoration of the Sept. 11 attack on the Pentagon.

The USS Arlington Commissioning Committee has been trying to raise $500,000 for the commissioning and for a Sept. 11 Tribute Room on the ship. Though the fundraising has recently hit a slow patch, with only 2/3 of the goal met, the Arlington County Board gave the effort a boost Tuesday night with a $50,000 allocation for the Tribute Room.

“This is a big week for the USS Arlington and for our community,” County Board Chairman Walter Tejada said in a statement. “It is fitting that the Board has approved funding for the ship’s Tribute Room just days before the USS Arlington sails into Norfolk, where it will be welcomed by some of the same first responders who performed so heroically on 9/11.”

The Tribute Room will “recognize and honor those who lost their lives at the Pentagon on 9/11 and to honor the heroic efforts of the first responders and emergency services who came to the rescue,” according to a press release. Navy regulations prohibit federal funds from being used for such a purpose.

Arlington Restaurants Nominated for RAMMY Awards

by ARLnow.com | March 20, 2013 at 10:15 am | 684 views | 38 Comments

Inside David Guas' new Bayou Bakery in CourthouseA number of Arlington restaurants were named 2013 RAMMY Award nominees last night.

The annual awards gala is organized by the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington (RAMW). Nominees were announced last night in 16 categories.

While Arlington was shut out in the “fine dining” and “upscale casual” categories, Arlington-based restaurants made up more than half the “Casual Restaurant of the Year” category.

Among the five casual restaurant nominees were Bayou Bakery (1515 N. Courthouse Road), Pete’s New Haven Style Apizza (3017 Clarendon Blvd) and Nando’s Peri-Peri (1301 S. Joyce Street). Bayou was the only purely Arlington restaurant; Pete’s and Nando’s both have other locations outside of Arlington.

Fuego Cocina y Tequileria logo (via Facebook)Clarendon’s Fuego Cocina y Tequileria (2800 Clarendon Blvd) was nominated in the New Restaurant of the Year category. Meanwhile, chef Scot Harlan of Green Pig Bistro (1025 N. Fillmore Street), another Clarendon restaurant, was nominated as in the Rising Culinary Star of the Year category. Also nominated in the Rising Culinary Star category was Tim Ma, who’s planning to open a new restaurant, “Water & Wall,” in Virginia Square.

The RAMMY Award winners will be announced at a gala event on Sunday, June 23.

Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com | March 20, 2013 at 9:05 am | 1,052 views | 38 Comments

View across the Key Bridge into D.C.

It’s the First Day of Spring — At 7:02 this morning, astronomical winter ended and spring officially began. Spring also means longer days. Currently, we’re gaining about two and a half minutes of daylight per day. [Capital Weather Gang]

EFC Has Fullest Metro Parking Lot — East Falls Church has the fullest parking lot in the Metro system, with a 120 percent usage rate. Demand for the lot is only expected to increase when the Silver Line opens. [Washington Examiner]

Playground Coming to Long Bridge Park — The Arlington County Board yesterday approved $186,000 in funding for a new playground at Long Bridge Park, near Crystal City. [Sun Gazette]

La Tagliatella to Open in Shirlington — La Tagliatella, which is starting to wrap up work on its new restaurant in Clarendon, will be opening a second Arlington restaurant in the former Extra Virgin space in Shirlington. La Tagliatella is a global, European-based Italian restaurant chain. The Arlington restaurants will be the company’s third and fourth locations in the U.S. [Northern Virginia Magazine]

Board Approves Neighborhood Projects — As expected, the County Board yesterday approved $2.5 million in funding for five Neighborhood Conservation projects. The funds will come from bonds approved by Arlington voters. [Arlington County]

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