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by ARLnow.com — May 22, 2015 at 4:30 pm 685 0

The weekend is finally here, which means three days of grilling, relaxing, being active outdoors, grumbling about motorcycle noise, spending time with friends and family, watching sports and, most importantly, remembering those who gave their lives in the service of our country.

We’ll think not only of the recent veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan but, with Rolling Thunder in town, of veterans of earlier foreign wars like the Vietnam War. Thinking about the Vietnam War and how it’s remembered in Arlington, the hallowed grounds of Arlington National Cemetery might first come to mind. But one can also think of Clarendon.

The county-produced video above covers the May 9 “Echoes of Little Saigon” history program, which explored the 1970s and 1980s in Clarendon, when the neighborhood was home to many Vietnamese refugees and the businesses they started, following the fall of Saigon.

Most of those businesses have since been displaced due to ever-rising rents, but their creators and customers who fled the war in Vietnam have largely gone on to raise families and successfully integrate themselves into American society. One could consider it a happy legacy of the war and a tribute to the cause of freedom and democracy that American service members fight for.

With that, feel free to use the comments section to discuss any local topics of interest this weekend. We’ll be back on Tuesday with more local news and notes.

by ARLnow.com — May 22, 2015 at 10:00 am 5,391 0

Rolling Thunder (Flickr pool photo by Michelle Dupray)

The annual Rolling Thunder motorcycle rally will rumble through Arlington starting today.

The Memorial Day weekend event will begin with the expected arrival of thousands of motorcyclists this afternoon, many of whom will be arriving via I-66. Authorities are warning drivers to expect delays on eastbound I-66 between 2:00 and 4:00 p.m.

The Hyatt Regency in Crystal City will serve as the hotel headquarters for the event, which according to organizers attracts some 900,000 bikers to the nation’s capital. The expected arrival time at the hotel is 3:00 p.m., according to a weekend schedule.

Arlington residents who live along the Route 1 corridor should, as usual, expect plenty of motorcycle noise throughout the weekend.

Aside from activity around the hotel, no Rolling Thunder events are planned in Arlington on Saturday. On Sunday, starting at 7:00 a.m., participants will gather at the Pentagon north and south parking lots for a large rally, which this year will include food trucks.

From the Pentagon, the bikers will depart for a rally on the National Mall, featuring various speakers and musical tributes, at noon.

To accommodate the large expected crowds, Arlington County and Virginia State Police will close Washington Blvd between I-395 and the Memorial Bridge from about 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Sunday.

“In addition, Arlington National Cemetery will only be accessible from southbound George Washington Memorial Parkway or northbound Route 110,” ACPD said in a press release. “Motorists should expect large numbers of motorcyclists in Northern Virginia and the entire Washington Metropolitan area this weekend.”

Flickr pool photo by Michelle Dupray

by ARLnow.com — May 22, 2015 at 9:15 am 1,022 0

Rolling Thunder motorcycle rally at the Pentagon (Flickr pool photo by Brian Irwin)

Memorial Day Closures — Arlington County government offices, courts, schools, and community centers will be closed on Monday for the Memorial Day holiday. Arlington’s public indoor pools will be open, trash and recycling will be collected and ART buses will operate on a holiday schedule. [Arlington County]

Flags In at Arlington National Cemetery — More than 1,000 soldiers from the Army’s 3rd Infantry Regiment, also known as the Old Guard, placed small American flags in front some 275,000 headstones at Arlington National Cemetery yesterday. The annual ceremony, known as “Flags In,” has been taking place before Memorial Day for more than 60 years. [U.S. Army]

Arlington Man Convicted of Sexual Abuse — Arlington resident Gary Hankins, a 45-year-old former licensed clinical social worker, has been convicted of sexually abusing a 17-year-old patient. The boy’s parents first contacted authorities after they discovered sexually suggestive texts from Hankins on his phone. [NBC Washington]

Candidates Bash Board’s Reevesland Vote — The Democratic candidates for County Board are criticizing the County Board’s vote this week to sell the historic Reeves farmhouse. At a debate lacking one candidate — School Board Chair James Lander, who had a School Board meeting — candidates took turns bashing the decision, calling it “shameful,” “bad business” and “beneath Arlington.” [InsideNova, Washington Post]

APS to Discuss Swanson, Williamsburg Plans — Next month Arlington Public Schools will hold public forums to discuss “interim options” for addressing capacity issues at Swanson and Williamsburg Middle Schools. “These interim solution options include the use of both on-site or off-site locations to house some portion of the school populations, the possibility of some interior redesign, the use of relocatables as part of the solution, and changes in scheduling,” APS said in a press release. [Arlington Public Schools]

Flickr pool photo by Brian Irwin

by ARLnow.com — May 21, 2015 at 3:30 pm 2,609 0

Washington Redskins HelmetVirginia state Sen. Chap Petersen (D-Fairfax) has some tongue-in-cheek suggestions for Arlington-appropriate alternatives to the name of Washington’s professional football team.

The Arlington County Board on Tuesday adopted a resolution, by a vote of 3-0-2, calling on the Washington Redskins to change the team’s “objectionable” name.

On his blog today, Petersen — who last year helped to form a “Redskins Pride Caucus” in the Virginia General Assembly — took the opportunity to come up with some fitting team name suggestions.

“I read in the news this week that the Arlington County Board — having run out of actual problems — has decided to enter the world of naming professional sports teams,” Petersen wrote, introducing his list. “So what names fit for Virginia’s most ‘politically correct’ elected body?”

Petersen’s top 10 list is as follows.

  1. “The Dog Park Warriors”
  2. “The Million Dollar Bus Stops”
  3. “The Abandoned Street Cars”
  4. “The (Over) Regulators”
  5. “The Tax and Spenders”
  6. “The Vicious Vegans”
  7. “Poets in Turtlenecks”
  8. “The Exploited”
  9. “White Liberal Angst”
  10. “The Granola Bars”

by ARLnow.com — May 21, 2015 at 9:05 am 2,042 0

Frog in Arlington (Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley)

Traffic Switch on Columbia Pike — VDOT crews will open a new ramp from Washington Blvd to Columbia Pike tonight. Crews will also activate a new traffic signal on the Pike and remove an old one. The Pike/Washington Blvd bridge replacement project is expected to wrap up this summer. [VDOT]

Rep. Beyer’s First Bill Passes — Rep. Don Beyer’s (D-Va.) Science Prize Competition Act has passed with bipartisan support. The bill “will encourage federal agencies to use prize competitions to incentivize innovative scientific research and development.” It’s Beyer’s first bill to pass the House of Representatives after replacing the retired Rep. Jim Moran. [Twitter, U.S. House of Representatives]

County to Consider Board Reduction — The Arlington County Board will hold a public hearing on a proposed reduction to the Board of Equalization of Real Estate Appeals. The body hears appeals on real estate assessments, which are down by half from their peak in 2009. The proposal would cut the seven member board to five. [InsideNova]

Petition Against Gun Store Created — Residents have created an online petition against a gun store that’s set to open in Cherrydale. Think of the children, the petition creators say. “It is unconscionable, in an era where our children are forced to practice ‘lock down’ drills designed to train them how to protect themselves from armed intruders, to locate a gun shop anywhere in the vicinity of schools,” the petition states. “The fear of armed intruders permeates their education, and placing a shop that sells guns and/or ammunition within immediate distance of schools is confusing to students at best, and sparks fears of access to them at school at worst.” So far, the petition is more than 2/3rds of the way to its 1,000 signature goal. [Change.org]

Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley

by ARLnow.com — May 20, 2015 at 4:05 pm 3,607 0

The Italian Store opened its new Westover Village location to large crowds of hungry fans Monday.

The store, at 5837 Washington Blvd, represents an expansion for the company in more ways than one. At 6,000 square feet, the new store is more than twice the size of the original, beloved Italian Store in Lyon Village.

The Westover location features an espresso coffee bar, a gelato station, a sandwich counter, a pizza station and retail shelves of wine, pasta and sauce. There’s also a small private dining room in the back, an outdoor cafe area and a dedicated customer parking lot. Owner Robert Tramonte termed it an “Italian Store on steroids.”

Customers at the store Monday evening seemed unperturbed by the long lines and upbeat about the opening.

“We’re really excited about it,” said Amy Penchuk, who walked 10 minutes from her home to visit the new store. “I grew up in New York so I was used to getting great Italian food, and this makes me feel at home. It’s about as good as it gets around here.”

Tramonte enlisted his entire family to try to serve customers as quickly as possible.

His sons, Michael, Vincent and Joseph, were all working alongside him Monday night. Also working: Tramonte’s wife, Laura, who was celebrating her birthday.

Michael, a newly-minted college grad who’s managing the front of the store, said that despite continued delays and challenges, his dad was determined to open on his mom’s birthday.

“It’s her birthday present,” the elder Tramonte said, with a smile, when asked about the date. In the end, it paid off: Tramonte said the first day of business exceeded even his optimistic expectations.

by ARLnow.com — May 20, 2015 at 2:45 pm 971 0

The Tutti Frutti frozen yogurt store at 1301 S. Fern Street in Pentagon City, across from the Costco, has closed.

The store closed recently and as of Monday it appeared that the furniture and froyo machinery had been cleared out.

The Tutti Frutti Pentagon City location first opened around the beginning of 2013. A north Arlington Tutti Frutti location, which is not owned by the same franchisee, remains open at 2439 N. Harrison Street, in the Lee-Harrison Shopping Center.

by ARLnow.com — May 20, 2015 at 12:00 pm 1,055 0

This week’s Arlington Pet of the Week is Ahri, a feisty but adorable Shiba Inu puppy who resides in Pentagon City.

Here’s what Ahri’s owner, Jane, had to say about her:

Ahri is a 13 week old Shiba Inu, although we’re pretty sure she’s actually just a fox. She was born in Salisbury, NC, the hometown of Cheerwine. She brought with her a lot of cheer and even more whine. Since moving into the apartment, Ahri has taken claim of the living room, forcing her cat brother, Abner, to slink around the room to his food.  There have been a few close encounters, but Abner has picked up some stealth moves.

What we love most about Ahri is her outgoing personality and how she dives head first into everything, literally. Ahri loves peanut butter and meeting new people, preferably both at the same time. Her absolute favorite spot is a shelf on the coffee table. The day she grows too big to fit there will probably be the worst day of her life.

Ahri enjoys an active Arlington lifestyle including long walks on the RiverHouse trail, attending a local running group (although it’s hard to call what she does running), and playing with her two best friends, London and Hazel. One of her many accolades includes being featured in a local political campaign where she did her best to live up to her doge predecessors. In her spare time she tweets @WhatDoesAhriSay.

Want your pet to be considered for the Arlington Pet of the Week? Email [email protected] with a 2-3 paragraph bio and at least 3-4 horizontally-oriented photos of your pet.

Each week’s winner receives a sample of dog or cat treats from our sponsor, Becky’s Pet Care, along with $100 in Becky’s Bucks. Becky’s Pet Care, the winner of three Angie’s List Super Service Awards and the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters’ 2013 Business of the Year, provides professional dog walking and pet sitting services in Arlington and Northern Virginia.

by ARLnow.com — May 20, 2015 at 11:00 am 5,041 0

Intersection of 2nd Street S. and S. Jackson Street (via Google Maps)A 14-year-old boy was struck by a car near Thomas Jefferson Middle School and seriously injured this morning.

The collision happened just after 7:30 at the intersection of 2nd Street S. and S. Jackson Street, a busy route for students walking to and from school.

The boy suffered serious but non-life-threatening injuries and was transported to Inova Fairfax Hospital, according to Arlington County Fire Department spokeswoman Lt. Sarah Marchegiani.

It was not immediately clear how the crash happened nor whether the teen was in the crosswalk when he was struck.

Image via Google Maps. Hat tip to Smiley456.

by ARLnow.com — May 20, 2015 at 10:00 am 5,051 0

Former Curves storefront in Cherrydale, possible home to a new gun storeNova Firearms is planning to open in the former Curves storefront in Cherrydale, the company confirmed Tuesday night.

In a statement, the McLean-based company said it will open its new Arlington location this summer. The store will sell firearms to police departments and civilians, and will offer gun safety classes.

Rumors have been flying around neighborhood listservs about the store, which is currently under construction. Some residents have said that such a store raises concerns about safety and even local property values.

The full statement from Nova Firearms is below.

McLean-based Nova Firearms have announced the opening of its new store in Arlington, Virginia scheduled for Summer 2015.

The grand opening of the Arlington location will coincide with the first anniversary of owner James “JB” Gates’ purchase of Nova Firearms. Nova first opened its doors in Falls Church in 2012 under previous ownership, then moved to its current location in McLean where it has enjoyed a warm reception.

“We want to thank the communities of Falls Church and McLean who welcomed Nova Firearms with open arms, and we believe Arlington will be an equally good location for our small, family-run business,” Gates said.

Nova supplies police departments as well as civilians. “Because of our proximity to the nation’s capital, the Pentagon, and CIA Headquarters, our customers understand security on a professional and personal level,” Gates explained.

When Gates isn’t behind the counter serving customers at Nova’s Mclean store, the US Marine Corps veteran provides personal protection and IT security services to a wide clientele, in and around the Metropolitan area.

The customers of Nova Firearms are equally diverse. According to Gates, their clients include many first time gun owners, longtime sportsmen, and the occasional celebrity. “You might be surprised by the number of well-known government leaders who did their Christmas shopping at Nova Firearms,” he remarked.

Gates is a proud sponsor of local charities, including the conservation efforts of local Ducks Unlimited chapters and programs supporting veterans and their families. He plans to offer expanded firearms safety training to the community at the new Arlington location of Nova Firearms.

by ARLnow.com — May 20, 2015 at 9:00 am 1,236 0

View of the Potomac and Roosevelt Island from Rosslyn

Survey Says: Resident Satisfaction High — Resident satisfaction with Arlington County is high, according to Arlington County. The county’s fourth Resident Satisfaction Survey, conducted by an outside research firm, suggested an 89 percent overall satisfaction rate with the quality of county services. “Just two percent of residents were dissatisfied with the overall quality of County services,” said a press release. One notable area for improvement: maintenance of county streets, with a satisfaction level of only 42 percent. [Arlington County]

Peak Memorial Day Traffic Expected Thursday — Contrary to conventional wisdom, the worst Memorial Day holiday traffic in the D.C. area will be Thursday evening, not Friday. According to an analysis of average travel speeds, drivers hoping to escape local holiday traffic should leave at night, around lunchtime Wednesday or Thursday, or Friday morning. [Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments]

Split Board Approves Reeves Farmhouse Sale — The Arlington County Board voted 3-2 last night to sell the historic Reeves farmhouse. “The County worked with the community for six years to find a way to retain public ownership of the house, or to create a public-private partnership to restore the house and open it to the public, but we were unable to achieve such a partnership, and the cost of restoring the property and bringing it up to code for public use was prohibitively expensive,” said County Board Chair Mary Hynes. Much of the land around the house will remain publicly-owned. [Arlington County]

County to Outsource Volunteer Program — The County Board also last night voted 3-2 to outsource Volunteer Arlington, the county’s volunteer management program. The county will now seek a nonprofit with which to form a public-private partnership. [Arlington County]

by ARLnow.com — May 19, 2015 at 5:55 pm 2,849 0

Washington Redskins HelmetThe Arlington County Board adopted a resolution Tuesday afternoon calling on Washington’s professional football team to change its name.

The resolution was introduced by County Board member Walter Tejada, who said using the name Redskins as a reference to Native Americans is “objectionable to many Americans, Virginians and Arlingtonians.”

In introducing the resolution, Tejada noted that the team is in talks to move from its current home at FedEx Field, perhaps to Virginia. He also said that the issue is “personal for me” as a native of El Salvador with Mayan roots.

The resolution passed with the support of Tejada, Mary Hynes and Jay Fisette. John Vihstadt and Libby Garvey abstained, saying they agreed personally with changing the name but did not think the Board should take a position on the issue.

Tejada said that Arlington “has often ‘spoken out’ on issues ‘before it became popular, and it is time for us to do it again,'” according to a county press release.

The full text of the resolution, after the jump.

(more…)

by ARLnow.com — May 19, 2015 at 4:45 pm 1,030 0

Players in the Arlington Girls Softball Association (photo via AGSA)James Lander, the Chair of the Arlington School Board, has responded to public concerns about use of school facilities raised by the Arlington Girls Softball Association.

On Monday afternoon Lander wrote to Steve Severn, president of the 30+ year old organization, regarding use of Wakefield High School’s softball field, as well as proposed batting cages and sponsor signage at Arlington Traditional School.

Lander said that the Wakefield softball field is closed to all teams due to safety concerns, that the school system is willing to find a location and design for the ATS batting cage that doesn’t interfere with school operation and that AGSA may put up temporary sponsor signage around school fields but must then take it down after games.

Lander, a Democrat, is currently running for Arlington County Board.

The full letter is below.

Dear Mr. Severn:

I am writing to respond further to concerns that have been expressed about use of Arlington school facilities by the Arlington Girls Softball Association (AGSA).

The Wakefield softball field is not being used by any teams until some improvements have been made. The positioning and safety measures for the softball field at Washington-Lee High School are different and, as a result, decisions are made to meet the unique needs of each space. The safety inspector was concerned about the proximity of Wakefield’s field to the parking lot and walkway through the site, and so APS has agreed to install safety netting. Regarding Wakefield’s use of other fields in the community, today was the last day for practice or play by the Wakefield softball teams, and the Wakefield Varsity Softball tournament will take place at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Fairfax County on Monday, May 18.

The AGSA has proposed building a batting cage at Arlington Traditional School. APS believes that the initially proposed location for the batting cage would be disruptive to the school’s program and that the specific design would not be appropriate on school property. The Assistant Superintendent for Facilities and Operations, Mr. John Chadwick, has spoken to Mr. Severn about this issue and has explained that APS is willing to consider other potential placement of the batting cage at the school and an alternative design. We look forward to working with the County and community representatives on this measure to find a solution that meets the needs of all parties.

We understand the important role that the AGSA sponsors play in supporting this opportunity for young girls in our community.  Regarding the issue of posting banners on the fence at Arlington Traditional, as noted in earlier replies, the School Board policies do not allow outside groups to post and leave signs in schools and on school grounds over an eight-week period.  However, when community groups such as the Babe Ruth and Arlington Little League teams use our fields and local groups like churches and other community organizations use our schools, as part of their community use they regularly post signs and/or distribute flyers during their activity and then the signs and flyers are taken away at the end of the event.  We hope that the Arlington Girls Softball Association will consider this option so that the girls softball sponsors can be recognized during your practices and games.

Finally, the Arlington Department of Parks and Recreation has contacted APS about these and other concerns, and our staffs will be working collaboratively over the coming months to develop a consistent framework for all athletics and community groups to follow when using county and school spaces so that we can avoid any future misunderstandings.

Sincerely,

James Lander, Chair

by ARLnow.com — May 19, 2015 at 2:45 pm 4,463 0

Former Curves storefront in Cherrydale, possible home to a new gun storeUpdate on 5/20/15 — Nova Firearms has confirmed that it is indeed opening a store in Cherrydale.

The Maywood and Cherrydale neighborhood email listservs are abuzz today with talk of a gun store coming to the neighborhood.

The rumors surround the former Curves storefront at 2105 N. Pollard Street, in a small strip mall along Lee Highway. In a widely-circulated email, a neighbor says she’s spoken with the shopping center’s owner and he confirmed that a gun store will open there.

The property owner, Kostas Kapasouris, told ARLnow.com last week that an “expensive sporting goods” store has leased the space. He would not say who owns the store was or whether it would sell guns.

Listserv users have said they believe that the store may be linked with NOVA Firearms, a gun store in McLean. A man who answered the phone this afternoon said the owner of NOVA Firearms would call an ARLnow.com reporter back — but then quickly hung up before asking for a phone number.

Owners and employees of other stores in the shopping center said they heard the same rumors of a gun store or a high-end sporting goods store selling guns, but said they had not heard anything definitive from Kapasouris. Some expressed concerns about a gun store moving in, particularly given that there are several schools in the area.

Residents on the listservs expressed similar concerns.

“Wow! Was hoping for something a bit more family friendly,” one said. “I’m sure ‘walkable to gun shop’ will do wonders for our real estate values.”

“I am adamantly opposed to this!” another said. “If others feel the same way, can we petition the County to prevent this business in our neighborhood?”

It’s unlikely the county government has any legal standing to prevent a gun store that’s otherwise following Virginia law from opening. At least one resident privately told ARLnow.com that he’s not sure why there’s such an uproar.

“Note that the pawnshop on Lee Highway and Kirkwood (which used to go by National Pawnbrokers) also sells firearms, so I’m not sure what the big deal is,” he said.

Interior construction could be heard inside the store last week and workers could be seen coming and going. County officials told ARLnow.com that construction permits were not necessary because the work was minor. Inspectors responded to the location and found no code violations.

As of Tuesday afternoon, opaque plastic sheets covered the store’s windows and no other activity could be seen.

by ARLnow.com — May 19, 2015 at 1:00 pm 9,443 0

Ballston Common Mall, set to undergo a major renovation project next year, will be rebranded as “Ballston Quarter.”

Mall owner Forest City revealed the new name at the International Council of Shopping Centers convention in Las Vegas on Monday, as first reported by Bisnow.

The new mall’s most defining feature will be an open-air plaza running through the middle of what is now enclosed shopping space.

A recently-deployed Ballston Quarter website, which includes the slogan “Life Uncommon” and a slick preview video, lists the features of the airy shopping center:

  • “An open-air, urban environment coupled with a remodeled interior concourse”
  • “An open-air, public plaza gathering space and an intimate mews entrance along Wilson Boulevard”
  • “Activated streetscape to engage the community including street-entry stores and restaurants, some with sidewalk, terrace or rooftop dining options”
  • “A unique and vibrant mix of stores, restaurants, entertainment venues – 365,000 SF in addition to Macy’s”
  • “A residential tower with over 380 apartment homes and stunning amenities will top the new Ballston Quarter”

Macy’s, Rock Bottom Brewery, Panera Bread, Sport & Health, Regis Hair Salon, Regal Cinema, Noodles and Company, CVS, Kettler Capitals Iceplex and Shiki Sushi are all expected to remain open during the renovations. Most other mall retailers are expected to close after the end of the year.

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