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by ARLnow.com — October 24, 2014 at 5:35 pm 0

Police car (file photo)An 18-year-old man was shot in the rear end in the Nacuk neighborhood early yesterday morning, a law enforcement source tells ARLnow.com.

The teen showed up at Virginia Hospital Center at 2:30 a.m. Thursday with a single gunshot wound, according to a crime report (below).

The circumstances behind the shooting are unclear. So far, police do not have a description of the suspect.

MALICIOUS WOUNDING, 141023003, 2200 block of S. Shirlington Road. At approximately 2:30 am on October 23, a male victim arrived at Virginia Hospital Center with a single gunshot wound. The injury is non-life threatening. There is no suspect(s) description and the investigation is ongoing.

by ARLnow.com — October 24, 2014 at 11:10 am 0

Towers ParkArlington County needs more park and recreational facilities, and existing parkland shouldn’t be used for housing or other development.

That’s the message from the two candidates for County Board, incumbent John Vihstadt and Democratic challenger Alan Howze, in response to a questionnaire from the Arlington Parks Coalition.

Both Vihstadt and Howze said that Arlington needs more parkland and recreational space to meet existing needs, let alone future demands. Both said they would support the acquisition of new parkland by Arlington County.

In addition, Vihstadt floated a number of specific ideas, like “building up rather than out, in schools and public facilities construction and additions to maximize green space,” and “examining the feasibility of air rights over I-66 in Rosslyn and East Falls Church for fields development.”

On the topic of the “Public Land for Public Good” affordable housing initiative, both candidates rejected the idea of using parkland for affordable housing, schools or other purposes.

Howze, however, kept the door open to potentially redeveloping existing recreational facilities to include housing. His response to the Parks Coalition:

I do not support the development of existing parkland for other purposes. Parks are a public good that are available to all members of the community and it is important that we preserve these public spaces.

When current recreational facilities are renovated or rebuilt, I believe it is appropriate to engage in a community conversation about potential uses. For example, could pre-K and on-site childcare be integrated into a site – making it easier for parents to use a facility? Could housing for seniors be integrated on a site to make recreational amenities and wellness activities more accessible to them? There is no one size fits all answer to these questions – but by engaging the community I am confident that the appropriate solutions will emerge. In fact, it is this confidence in our community that led me to call earlier this year for a broad public process to bring people together to work towards solutions to address school overcrowding, park needs, affordable housing, and public safety infrastructure. By bringing the community together we can emerge with a broader consensus for how to move forward in protecting our parks – while meeting other important community needs in schools, recreational, housing and infrastructure.

Vihstadt said Arlington should find creative solutions for preserving affordable housing and building more school capacity that do not require the loss of parkland.

In my view, Arlington’s 149 parks and our many community/recreation centers are the very essence of “public land for public good” and should be preserved for their intended purpose and adequately maintained. It is both counterintuitive and counterproductive to locate housing, schools, or any other non-parks and recreation-related development on our increasingly precious parkland and recreational sites, and I will work and vote to keep our green space green. As we add ever more population and density to our County, we must more carefully assess how our development decisions are impacting the diversity and character of our neighborhoods and our public parks, as well as our schools and infrastructure. We must also endeavor to ensure that our core services, including our parks and recreation resources, keep pace with our population growth. Clearly, our County faces challenges in ensuring adequate school capacity and preserving our affordable housing stock, but I believe we also possess the resources and creativity to address these challenges while preserving and, indeed, enhancing, our parkland and recreational resources, including sports fields.

On a related note, I believe that our regional parks and nature centers should remain substantially as they are, absent community-driven upgrades and maintenance improvements.

by ARLnow.com — October 24, 2014 at 9:45 am 0

Coast Guard helicopter flies near I-395 and the Pentagon, with FedEx Field visible in the distance

Foo Fighters Release Arlington-Produced Track — The Foo Fighters have released a new track, “The Feast and the Famine,” which was recorded at Inner Ear Studio in Arlington. The recording session will be featured on tonight’s episode of HBO’s Foo Fighters documentary series. [Pitchfork]

Arlington Recognized as ‘Smart Community’ — Arlington County has been recognized as one of the world’s Smart 21 Communities of 2015. It’s one of four U.S. localities to receive the honor this year. [WTOP]

Nixon: Arlington’s Favorite Top-of-the-Ticket Candidate — Arlington may be deep blue now, but it hasn’t always been a Democratic stronghold. Richard Nixon holds the honor of winning the Arlington vote more times than any other candidate on a presidential ticket. Arlington voted for Nixon five times, as a vice presidential candidate in 1952 and 1956, and as a presidential candidate in 1960, 1968 and 1972. [InsideNova]

HillNow.com Launches — ARLnow.com has a new sister site, Hill Now, which covers local news in the Capitol Hill neighborhood and around D.C.’s Ward 6. Hill Now launched this week and held a launch party Wednesday at Capitol Lounge. [Hill Now]

by ARLnow.com — October 23, 2014 at 3:45 pm 1,428 0

Police Chief Doug Scott at a community forum on policing

Could another Ferguson happen in Arlington?

Yes it could, admitted Arlington County Police Chief Doug Scott, but it’s not likely.

Scott and other local law enforcement and community figures were speaking at a community forum on policing last week at Wakefield High School when he was asked by WJLA’s Jeff Goldberg whether a police shooting — like the Aug. 9 shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. — could happen and spark unrest here. Yes, he said candidly, but Arlington County Police has been doing its best to ensure it does not.

For one, said Commonwealth’s Attorney Theo Stamos, Arlington officers are well-trained in the proper use of force.

“The level of professionalism, training… and the degree to which Arlington police exercise restraint in terms of the use of force,” make a controversial police shooting very unlikely, she said.

However unlikely, though, Scott said the department was prepared for a Ferguson-like shooting, in which the suspect turns out to be unarmed and conflicting witness statements are given. ACPD would stay in close contact with the local community in the wake of the shooting, would release information in a timely manner and would thoroughly investigate the shooting, he said.

“Part of my charge as the Chief of Police and working with members in the community, is to assure them that we’re going to do a comprehensive, objective and fair investigation,”said  Scott. “We’re going to put the officer on restricted duty. [He or she] is going to be compelled to give us a statement. There are going to be two investigations, a criminal investigation and an administrative investigation.”

Scott said the Ferguson police department seemed to be “trying to hold something back” after the shooting. “I think that those kind of things fueled the mistrust.”

Speakers at a police forum at Wakefield High SchoolDespite the police department’s efforts to build trust with minority communities — like Nauck, Arlington’s oldest African American neighborhood — speakers at the forum expressed concern about policing in the community. Some accused specific officers of being too aggressive, while others said that officers don’t spend enough time trying to be a part of the community.

“We should not be prisoners in our own house. Were were born and raised here,” said one Nauck resident, who said she was concerned about police “harassing” her sons. “You don’t go to my church. You only come out what, during Community Day? How are we supposed to trust you?”

“The way they speak to us is unacceptable,” said another woman. “The way they treat us in Nauck is not right.”

One young woman said she gets pulled over by ACPD at least once a week because she’s mistaken for her boyfriend, the co-signer on the car, whose drivers license is suspended. Another speaker said Nauck residents get stopped for riding bikes without helmets.

“Yet you put bikes without helmets in here,” he said, referring to Capital Bikeshare stations.

After the forum, Chief Scott said it’s clear that ACPD has more work to do.

“I thought I had a pretty good pulse on some of the issues that are out there in the community,” he told ARLnow.com. “I heard some things tonight that really have made me pause and think we have work to do in some of these communities in terms of trust in the police department.”

by ARLnow.com — October 23, 2014 at 9:00 am 1,410 0

Rainy walk near campaign signs in October

Tree Predicts Cold Winter — Local folklore holds that the seeds of the American Persimmon tree can predict how harsh the coming winter will be. According to Arlington County naturalist Alonso Abugattas, the seeds are predicting an especially cold winter. [Arlington County]

‘Purple Out Day’ in Arlington — Today is Arlington’s second annual Purple Out Day, which encourages residents to wear purple to promote domestic violence awareness. October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. [Arlington County]

Security Stepped Up at Tomb — The military increased security at the Tomb of the Unknowns yesterday following the fatal shooting at the Canadian war memorial in Ottawa. [WJLA]

Lane Closures on GW Parkway — Between 9:30 a.m. and 2:45 p.m. today, a northbound and a southbound lane of the GW Parkway will be closed in the area of the Yellow Line Metro bridge, for underside inspection of the bridge.

Donnellan Wins Leadership Award — Arlington County Manager Barbara Donnellan has been recognized with a Visionary Leadership Award. The award, from the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, “recognizes top government officials for their outstanding contributions to metropolitan Washington and their home jurisdictions.” [MWCOG]

Arlington Arby’s Sells Smaller Smalls — The Arby’s restaurant at Ballston Common Mall — and elsewhere, apparently — sells small fountain beverages that are labeled on the outside as “22 oz.” but which actually hold only 21 ounces of liquid. [Consumerist]

by ARLnow.com — October 22, 2014 at 2:45 pm 4,033 0

A man who got drunk, sped down the wrong way of a one-way street in Clarendon and caused a crash that seriously injured a pedestrian earlier this year has pleaded guilty to a felony charge.

Pentagon City resident Benjamin Andruss, 37, pleaed guilty yesterday to felony DUI maiming. He is scheduled to be sentenced in February.

The crash happened between 8:30 and 9:00 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 12. Prosecutors say Andruss had just left First Down Sports Bar in Ballston, where he had consumed 4-5 beers and three glasses of whiskey while watching afternoon football games. A friend encouraged him to take a cab, but Andruss insisted on driving.

Andruss drove from the Ballston Common Mall parking garage to Clarendon, revving the engine of his Mercedes-Benz at stop lights and “speeding the whole way,” prosecutors said. At the intersection of Wilson, Clarendon and Washington Blvds, he again revved his engine at the stop light, then accelerated straight through the intersection when the light turned green.

Andruss sped the wrong way down Wilson Blvd, past Spider Kelly’s and other bars. His Mercedes ran up on the sidewalk, striking the side of the Clarendon War Memorial. In his path was a pedestrian, a man around 30 years old who works for the U.S. Department of Energy.

The pedestrian tried to dive out of the way, but Andruss struck a parked car, which then struck the pedestrian. The man regained consciousness in the middle of the street.

From a statement of facts entered by prosecutors as part of the plea:

He was taken by ambulance to GW Hospital, where he was treated for numerous injuries to his head and left elbow. Both required serious treatment. His head required more than a dozen staples. His broken elbow required surgery, the insertion of a metal plate, and screws to ensure regained functionality. The elbow now has a permanent visible scar. And [the victim], despite weeks of physical therapy, has yet to regain – and may never regain – a full range of motion.

After the crash, the Defendant exited the vehicle and appeared to try to walk away. He was prevented from doing so by onlookers. The Defendant was described as unsteady on his feet, with slurred speech and bloodshot/glassy eyes. He repeatedly “fell” into an officer’s arms as they spoke. The Defendant admitted to drinking and refused to perform all field sobriety tests. He was placed under arrest at 9:20pm.

“Mr. Andruss made a series of poor decisions that evening,” Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Josh Katcher told ARLnow.com. “He drank too much, he didn’t take a cab, he drove recklessly from Ballston to Clarendon, and then he drove the wrong way, down the wrong street, at the wrong time.”

“Try to imagine this from the victim’s perspective: he’s minding his own business, walking down a sidewalk, when he hears an engine revving, sees a set of headlights speeding towards him, and has no more than a second to try to dive out of the way,” Katcher continued. “Next thing he knows he is on his back in the middle of the street with people looking down at him telling him not to move. This is the type of mayhem that happens when people drink and drive. There is no defense, no reason, and no excuse for this type of behavior.”

Andruss is scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 6, 2015. He’s expected to receive a sentence of 1-5 years in prison.

This is not the only legal trouble Andruss is facing. Three days after the crash he was fired, and a week after that he was sued by his former employer, accused of making hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of improper purchases on his company credit card and withdraws from the company checking account, all while deliberately concealing evidence of his actions.

by ARLnow.com — October 22, 2014 at 10:30 am 662 0

Becketts Stache Dash logo Global Strides 5K logo

(Updated at 12:20 p.m.) Runners participating in 5K races next weekend will weave their way through opposite ends of the county.

The Global Strides 5K sends runners into the streets surrounding Tuckahoe Elementary School next Saturday, November 1. The 5K begins at 8:00 a.m. and the 1 mile fun run begins at 9:00 a.m.

Proceeds from the Global Strides 5K will benefit Arlington Academy of Hope School in Uganda. AAH is a nonprofit organization founded by an Arlington family, aimed at improving the lives of children in rural Uganda through education and health care.

Registration is $25 and can be done online or at the race. Those who register online by next week’s deadline will receive a race t-shirt.

Also on Nov. 1, the inaugural Paws2Care 5K Family Fun Run/Walk will be held in Bluemont Park, at 9:00 a.m. The event will include free activities and giveaways like yoga, massages, face painting, music, dog treats, raffles and prizes.

The next day, on November 2, things will get a little hairy in Shirlington for the Beckett’s Irish Pub Stache Dash. Proceeds from that race go to The Movember Foundation, an organization that raises funds for men’s health programs.

The 5K begins at Samuel Beckett’s Irish Pub (2800 S. Randolph Street) at 8:00 a.m. There will be a post-race party at Samuel Beckett’s, where attendees will be provided with a mustache if they don’t already have one.

Registration is $40 and can be done online. Participants will receive a tech tee and light snacks after the race.

by ARLnow.com — October 22, 2014 at 9:20 am 2,485 0

Sub-three-dollar gas in Arlington on 10/22/14

County Board Race is Anyone’s Guess – The outcome of the Arlington County Board race between incumbent John Vihstadt and Democratic challenger Alan Howze is far from certain. While Vihstadt is winning the fundraising battle, Howze is expected to benefit from far greater turnout than the 16 percent who voted in the special election this year. The last general election with a Senate race on the ballot saw a 55 percent turnout in Arlington. [Washington Post]

Vihstadt Peeved at ‘Pro-Streetcar Narrative’ — At yesterday’s County Board meeting, John Vihstadt complained about the county government’s pro-streetcar PR efforts. He suggested that he and fellow streetcar critic Libby Garvey, who make up 40 percent of the Board, should have their views heard through county government channels. Board Chair Jay Fisette slammed that idea, saying “it doesn’t make sense” for the county government to expend resources arguing against its own official policy. [InsideNova]

Cyclist Struck on Lynn Street — A bicyclist was struck by a vehicle on Lynn Street in Rosslyn, between Wilson Blvd and 19th Street N., just before 9:00 this morning. The cyclist was transported to Virginia Hospital Center with an apparent dislocated collarbone.

Bank Robbery in Falls Church — The FBI is looking for a man who robbed a BB&T Bank on West Broad Street in Falls Church yesterday morning. [Federal Bureau of Investigation]

Zac Hanson’s Birthday — On this day 29 years ago, “MMMBop” singer Zac Hanson was born in Arlington. [Hello!]

by ARLnow.com — October 21, 2014 at 4:45 pm 4,558 0

Virginia Hospital Center logoVirginia Hospital Center has issued a statement regarding its handling of a possible Ebola case.

On Friday, the hospital refused to admit a patient who was thought to possibly be infected with the Ebola virus, despite the fact that she was initially transported there. Instead, the Arlington paramedic crew was directed to take the patient to Inova Fairfax Hospital, where she was treated.

It was later learned that the woman did not have Ebola.

VHC says it took proper action on Friday, because construction was taking place in the hospital’s biocontainment area. That construction is reportedly now complete, and the hospital says it is ready to treat a suspected Ebola patient.

From Virginia Hospital Center:

When the Ebola crisis initially unfolded and early guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) were released, Virginia Hospital Center put in place processes and protocols that allowed us to safely screen suspected Ebola patients. As suspected Ebola cases surfaced at other hospitals and the CDC continued to change their recommended care guidelines, Virginia Hospital Center believed it was imperative that we have dedicated connecting rooms in the biocontainment area that would allow for the use of an anteroom by staff to safely enter and leave a patient’s room and safely remove and decontaminate Personal Protective Equipment. We needed to construct this anteroom to help mitigate the risk of transmission to patients, staff and our community.

On Friday, October 17, Arlington EMS alerted us that a patient with suspected Ebola symptoms and a reported, recent travel history to a CDC high-risk area was in transport to Virginia Hospital Center. Given the clinical symptoms, travel history, possible need for admission and the Hospital’s ongoing construction in this biocontainment area, we immediately contacted Inova Fairfax Hospital to inquire about their readiness to accept a suspected Ebola patient. Concurrent with their agreement to accept the patient, Arlington EMS arrived. The patient was then transported to Inova Fairfax Hospital. The safety and well-being of the patient, as well as all of our patients, staff and community, was paramount in our decision to transport the patient to a hospital equipped to care for the patient at that time. The construction in our biocontainment area is now complete and the Hospital is prepared to isolate, test and treat a suspected Ebola patient.

by ARLnow.com — October 21, 2014 at 4:10 pm 1,695 0

It wouldn’t be October if there weren’t some creepy creations crawling onto lawns around Arlington.

We encountered residents who surrendered their yard to frightful grave-dwellers on N. Jackson Street, in Ashton Heights, and in two yards within a block of S. Joyce Street in Aurora Highlands.

Have you seen other ghoulish Halloween decorations around town? If so, snap a photo or two and post it in the comments section.

Halloween takes place on Friday, Oct. 31 this year. There is no official time for trick-or-treating in Arlington County.

A number of Halloween-themed events are taking place over the next two weekends, including the Howl-O-Ween dog walk, the Douglas Park Halloween Trail of Terror, a family-friendly Halloween party at Potomac Overlook Regional Park, and a Halloween bar crawl in Clarendon.

by ARLnow.com — October 21, 2014 at 10:15 am 6,305 0

Timothy Lowe (photo courtesy ACPD)A man was arrested Thursday night after allegedly doing push-ups in public while naked, then resisting arrest.

The incident happened around 8:00 p.m. on the 3200 block of 24th Street S. Police say a local resident, 31-year-old Timothy Lowe, was nude and doing push-ups in the middle of the street.

“The subject ignored numerous commands by police and began approaching officers in an aggressive manner while yelling obscenities,” according to a crime report. “The subject was taken into custody following a taser deployment.”

Lowe has been charged with indecent exposure, disorderly conduct and obstruction of justice. He was under the influence of the drug PCP at the time of the incident, according to Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.

Lowe, who spoke out against what he described as police profiling and harassment at a community forum on policing a day prior to his arrest, has had other run-ins with the law.

In September, he was arrested and charged in connection to a stabbing in the Nauck neighborhood.

Photo courtesy ACPD

by ARLnow.com — October 21, 2014 at 9:25 am 1,299 0

10/19/14 leaves (Flickr pool photo by Wolfkann)

Arlington Spends More on Low-Income Students — Arlington Public Schools spend about $21,000 per pupil on low-income students, compared to the $12,000 it spends on more affluent students, according to data from the Thomas B. Fordham Institute. [Greater Greater Washington]

Tornado Struck Alexandria Last Week — A weak EF-0 tornado struck part of Alexandria this past Wednesday. A Tornado Warning was issued for Arlington as the tornado tracked north. [National Weather Service]

Teachers Endorse Kanninen — The Arlington Education Association’s political action committee has endorsed Barbara Kanninen for School Board. The teachers group said “Barbara understands that all types of students need personal support and that teachers are important partners in making this happen.” Kanninen is running against Audrey Clement.

Arlington’s ‘Ten Commandments’ — A parody video showing “Arlington County Government’s Ten Commandments” has been created by someone calling themselves “Jim Taxpayer.” The video includes commandments like “With These Riches, Which Have Become Thine, Build A New Covenant, A Glorious Car of Street, Thy Chariot of Vanity.” [YouTube]

Flickr pool photo by Wolfkann

by ARLnow.com — October 20, 2014 at 7:00 pm 2,575 0

U.S. Park Police badgeA pedestrian is in critical condition after being struck by a vehicle on the George Washington Parkway.

The collision happened around 8:30 Sunday night. A driver vehicle heading northbound struck a pedestrian just before the exit to Spout Run. The striking vehicle then drove off, continuing on northbound, according to U.S. Park Police.

The pedestrian, who has not been identified, is “currently being treated at a local hospital and remains in critical condition,” police said Monday night. It’s unclear why he or she was on foot in or along the roadway.

Investigators don’t have a description of the vehicle, and are asking witnesses to come forward.

“Commuters traveling north on the George Washington Memorial Parkway that may have witnessed this crash or may have information is asked to contact the United States Park Police Tip Line at 202-610-8737,” Park Police said.

by ARLnow.com — October 20, 2014 at 5:05 pm 9,672 0

Hazmat response for possible Ebola patient at the Pentagon on 10/17/14Virginia Hospital Center refused to admit the potential Ebola patient from the Pentagon on Friday, according to county officials, despite the hospital saying two weeks earlier that it was ready to handle such patients.

Responding to an inquiry from ARLnow.com today, the Arlington County Fire Department confirmed reports that VHC refused the woman — who at the time was thought to potentially have the deadly Ebola virus — when medics brought her to the hospital. She never left the ambulance.

“We were turned away,” said ACFD spokeswoman Lt. Sarah Marchegiani. “We followed our protocol and brought the patient to the closest hospital (VHC), at which point we were rerouted to Fairfax Inova.”

VHC has not responded to multiple requests for comment from ARLnow.com. Marchegiani said the hospital claimed not to be prepared for such a patient, even though the department had previously been told VHC could accept suspected Ebola patients.

“The reason told to our medical director was that they couldn’t handle the patient,” said Marchegiani. Earlier this month, however, VHC told TV station WUSA 9 that it was ready to deal with potential Ebola patients.

“Virginia Hospital Center wants to reassure our community that the Hospital has the infrastructure and procedures already in place to screen, and if necessary, isolate, test and treat all high-risk patients. We drill and prepare for just such situations; therefore, our staff is highly trained to take appropriate precautions for a suspected and/or confirmed Ebola case.

A multi-disciplinary taskforce has reviewed our infection control guidelines and reinforced education of the Hospital staff to ensure it can detect a patient with Ebola Virus Disease, protect all healthcare workers so they can safely care for the patient, and respond to the patient in a timely manner.”

An ARLnow.com tipster indicates emergency responders called the VHC emergency room from the scene at the Pentagon, and were told to bring the patient over. The tipster claims hospital administration refused to allow the patient inside once she arrived at the hospital. The person tells ARLnow.com there was a “heated exchange” between the emergency physician and hospital administration inside the emergency room while the patient waited in the ambulance. The tipster also claims hospital administration worried it would lose business if it came to be seen as an “Ebola hospital.”

The county’s emergency officials reportedly have had talks with officials at VHC since the incident. ACFD confirms VHC has agreed to accept potential Ebola patients in the future.

Arlington County officials also have confirmed that the patient had not traveled to West Africa, as she allegedly first told authorities. In fact, she had not left the country at all, the county said, and had no contact with other potentially infected people.

“She had stated that she had traveled to Sierra Leone at the scene and did exhibit symptoms consistent with Ebola, so responders took all appropriate steps,” said Diana Sun, Arlington County’s Director of Communications. “There was an investigative process that went beyond Arlington. During the course of this, people close to the patient were interviewed and stated that she had not left the country. The patient herself, later in the afternoon, recanted her story and said that she had not left the country. When that last piece came in, public health officials felt confident in not pursuing” further testing for the Ebola virus.

There’s no word yet on whether the woman will face any charges.

by ARLnow.com — October 20, 2014 at 2:30 pm 3,599 0

Village Sweet logoIf you have a sweet tooth, get ready to spend time hanging out at a new shop coming to Westover. “Village Sweet” bakery is preparing to move in at 5872 Washington Blvd.

Owner Dawn Hart has operated a customized sugar cookie business online since 2006. She had wanted to expand her offerings and to secure a brick-and-mortar location, which would allow her to stop renting commercial kitchen space. It was her dream to open in Westover, the neighborhood where she lives, but she didn’t think any space would open up. It just so happened that the day after she talked to her husband about the prospect of opening a bakery in Westover, he ran into the landlord for the space Village Sweet now will occupy.

“We’re very excited and the location honestly could not be better,” said Hart. “It’s such a happening place.”

Although customers can continue to order the customized cookies Hart made so popular with Monster Cookie Co., the shop will serve a wide variety of sweets. Donuts, guava and cotija cheese pastries, seasonal granolas and dark chocolate cookies with steal cut oats are some of the goodies Hart plans to offer. She’s still playing around with the full menu and will do small recipe taste test events until the shop opens.

“We’re pairing some things a lot of people probably have not had before and opening up some unique flavors,” Hart said.

Something she’s passionate about is making sure the treats taste good, but also are baked on-site each morning with quality, local ingredients. There will be gluten-free and nut-free options for customers with allergies.

“We’re baking foods you’re going to feel good about eating. They’re not loaded with preservatives. They’re the best quality pastries you can possibly get. It’s just an updated version of your’s mom’s baking,” said Hart. “If you’re going to put a doughnut in your mouth, you should feel good about it. It’s so important to me, the quality of what people are eating.”

During the day the shop will have seating for customers, but certain nights will be designated for groups to rent out the space for custom cookie decorating parties. The bakers will come up with custom sugar cookies for nearly any occasion — such as kids’ birthdays, book clubs and holiday parties — and customers get to ice and decorate the cookies however they choose.

Village Sweet does not yet have a firm opening date, but Hart hopes it will be in January. There will be a grand opening celebration once she feels operations are running smoothly.

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