An Arlington, Va., church has hung 176 T-shirts on its front lawn, with each shirt representing someone shot to death in the D.C. area last year.
First Presbyterian Church, at the intersection of N. Carlin Springs Road and Vermont Street, steps from Ballston Common Mall, displayed the shirts on Saturday. Each garment shows the name of a victim, the victim’s age and the date in 2013 that he or she died.
Eighty-two white shirts represent people killed in D.C. Victims in Northern Virginia are honored with 31 yellow shirts. And 63 blue shirts were hung for people in Maryland. The display was coordinated by Heeding God’s Call, a faith-based nonprofit with a mission to end gun violence.
“Each [victim] is a human being, a child of God,” a flier the organization is distributing at the memorial reads. “Each one deserves to be remembered. Each passing deserves to be noted and mourned.”
Heeding God’s Call is trying to grow support for its efforts to combat “straw purchasing” done when someone legally purchases guns to re-sell them, sometimes to people who cannot legally purchase a gun because they have a criminal record, a mental illness or are too young. The group says the cemetery-like display is designed to be a reminder that straw purchasing is how many guns “end up illegally in the hands of those who use them to destroy countless lives.”
“Unlike a cemetery, this memorial isn’t behind trees and gates where no one can see it,” the flier reads. “It’s on public view where folks driving, biking or walking past not only can see it but can be reminded of the violence that happens day in and day out in the Greater Washington area and, yes, throughout the country.”
The memorial will be on display through Sept. 27.
Hat tip to @ipadreporter
Arlington ranked behind No. 1 Madison, Wis., and No. 2 Rochester, Minn., according to Livability.com, a website that “explores what makes small-to-medium sized cities great places to live.
“Arlington strikes a great middle ground for those who want something less urban than Washington D.C., but more suburban than many of the other towns that ring our nation’s capital,” Livability editor Matt Carmichael wrote. “Arlington’s status on this list can be traced largely to a decision made back in the 1960s.”
“Arlington lobbied to run the Metro underground and planned for high-rise and high-density development nearby,” Carmichael continued. “The result is the Rosslyn-Ballston Corridor that planners imagined as an ‘urban village.’ Each stop has its own function and identity. Together, its mix of retail, residential, government buildings, and offices help draw residents and businesses, but also help support the more traditional suburban parts of Arlington such as the cul-du-sac [sic], single-family-home neighborhoods of Country Club Hills and Columbia Pike.”
Livability scored localities in eight categories: economics, housing, amenities, infrastructure, demographics, social and civic capital, education and health care. Those factors were graded out of 100 and added together. Arlington had a score of 680 (Madison finished at 705, and Rochester and 685). Arlington received 88 points for its school system and 76 for amenities.
County leaders touted the ranking in a press release.
“This is gratifying recognition of decades of long-term thinking, planning and follow-through by many community leaders,” said Arlington County Board Chair Jay Fisette. “Our outstanding transportation network, strong neighborhoods, welcoming business climate, mixed-use development and great schools were all factors in our ranking.”
Flickr pool photo by @ddimick
Passersby along 14th Street N. in Virginia Square should not be alarmed by what appears to be a black bear climbing a tree on the street — it’s just a new carving from an Arlington artist.
The bear was carved in front of 3600 14th Street N. by Arlington native Andrew Mallon, a 2001 graduate of Washington-Lee High School, carpenter and, for the last two and a half year, the owner of Potomac Tree Sculptures. The bear was commissioned by homeowner Joanne Goode, who has lived in the house since 1958.
The tree is a dying oak that Goode was having workers cut down when, she said, their chainsaw stopped working and the bark was partially stripped off. She said her son told her about Mallon, who says he gave her a discount because the tree is prominently displayed out front. Unlike the famed “busty mermaid” statue that stood along Lee Highway for years before being cut down this spring, Goode wanted the sculpture to be part of the tree.
“I didn’t know the mermaid was a tree, I thought it was just a statue,” she said. “I didn’t want something to look like a statue, I wanted the tree to be there so you knew it was a tree.”
Mallon said the carving is the first publicly visible one he’s done in Arlington, and he’s not done with it. He plans on carving a hawk on top of the tree, a fox, and maybe squirrels and raccoons. Mallon said a bear like Goode’s would normally run one of his customers about $800. It took eight hours in total — six on Sept. 5, two on Sept. 9 — to create.
Mallon uses a chainsaw to carve the sculpture and a blowtorch and sandpaper to achieve the bear’s dark brown color. He said he can carve sculptures into basically any tree, but wouldn’t recommend it for live trees since the process kills the tree.
“If it’s a tree that’s dying, get a tree company to come, cut all the limbs off, and we can come up with something great to put in it,” Mallon said. “There are a lot of designs I haven’t tried yet. I love sea life. I’d love to do a shark or a marlin. I’ve done plenty of turtles, and some bass jumping out of the water.”
In just the first weekend the tree went up, Goode said she had dozens of comments from neighbors and people walking and driving by. All of the comments, she said, have been positive.
“People either parked their cars or drove by and said, ‘Hey, that’s cool, that’s neat, I love it,’” she said. “It’s just unreal the amount of attention it’s gotten.”
Mallon can be reached at 703-919-4835 or at email@example.com.
A new gift shop, Two the Moon, is now open in the Williamsburg Shopping Center (6501 29th Street N.).
Two the Moon opened on Sept. 2 and is owned by Williamsburg resident Johanna Braden. Braden retired earlier this year as an end-of-life specialist with Virginia Hospital Center, where she had worked the past 10 years. She said she retired “for about a half a day, until the house was clean,” before she decided to get to work opening up a gift shop.
“The kids don’t need me anymore, so my husband asked me what I wanted to do,” she said in her Boston accent. “Who asks a 56-year-old woman what she wants to do?”
She said she knew immediately she wanted to open a gift shop in her neighborhood, so she leased the basement space in the strip mall, which had been vacant for seven years since Action Music moved out of the space. It was “in ruins” she said, but in six months she, her family and friends fixed it up and made it ready to use.
Now open, the shop features gifts and wares from about 20 Arlington vendors as well as people from the surrounding area and up and down the East Coast. Braden keeps a book with the stories of each artist or vendor sold in the shop, so she and her employees can give the full story to every customer.
“It’s a fun place,” she said as she waltzed around the store, proudly showing stationery with drawings of Westover landmarks, blankets made from recycled cotton and linens made by a cancer survivor that say “Fork Cancer.” “I think it’s going to be a hit. I really want it to be about community, because I live in the community and I care about the community.”
The store is open from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays, from noon to 5:00 p.m. on Sundays and closed on Mondays. For one weekend a month, Braden is planning on holding a showcase for an Arlington artist and serving wine and cheese. This past weekend, the artist was Jessica Lee Designs, which specializes in handmade jewelry.
Getting a hair cut or your nails done in one of the most expensive areas in the country doesn’t have to cost a fortune — Arlington cosmetology schools offer low-cost services under professional supervision.
High school students at Arlington Career Center provide spa services as they prepare to pass the state exam to become licensed beauticians.
“The students do the work and it’s overseen by two cosmetology teachers,” instructor Rosenia Peake said.
A blowout costs $15, a haircut costs $10 and senior citizens get a 10 percent discount. Appointments at 816 S. Walter Reed Dr. are scheduled for 8 a.m., 11:15 a.m. and 1:45 p.m. and can be made by calling (703) 228-5799.
Students aren’t giving manicures now but will be later this year, said Peake, who noted the Arlington Public Schools-run program gets teenagers job-ready.
“You’re a professional in the 11th grade, and you haven’t even graduated from high school,” she said. “This is a stepping stone to another life.”
ACC principal Margaret Chung said the program serves both locals and students.
“It’s an incredible opportunity for our students to be able to give back to the community,” she said. “Students get hands-on experience and learn to interact in a professional way.”
For a little more money, Graham Webb Academy offers more extensive salon services in Rosslyn. At 1621 N. Kent St., student stylists give haircuts ($19), blowouts ($14), full highlights ($57) and more, according to their website. A manicure there costs $12, and a Brazilian Blowout runs $175.
Appointments can be made by calling (703) 243-9322 and walk-ins are available.
In Virginia Square, Kenny’s Beauty Academy advertises women’s haircuts for $15, men’s haircuts for $10 and manicures for $10. A Brazilian keratin treatment there costs $100, the school’s website says. The 3461 Washington Blvd. school can be reached at (571) 522-4566.
Photo via Arlington Career Center
With domestic violence in the news, the Animal Welfare League of Arlington is spreading the word about a program that allows those in dire situations to shelter their pets.
The nonprofit organization, located at 2650 S. Arlington Mill Drive, has a program called “Safekeeping.” The program allows pet owners in Arlington and Falls Church to shelter their pets at AWLA for up to two weeks while the owner is coping with an emergency, like domestic violence, losing a home or the owner’s death.
With the national spotlight thrust on domestic violence after video surfaced of Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice punching his then-fiancée, AWLA is hoping to remind abuse victims that their pet’s well-being could be at risk as well as their own.
“A strong connection has been documented linking animal abuse and domestic violence,” said AWLA spokeswoman Kerry McKeel. “Women often delay their decision to leave an abusive partner out of concern for the safety of their pets.”
The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence reports that 83 percent of women and 63 percent of children, after having arrived at a domestic violence shelter — such as Doorways for Women and Families – reported incidents of pet abuse.
“At AWLA our steadfast mission throughout the year is to improve the lives of animals and one way in which we accomplish this objective is through our Safekeeping program,” McKeel said. “Animals often give continuity and hope during a crisis, so it is distressing for many when they feel forced to part with a pet due to their circumstance. During a crisis, pet owners often just need some short-term help to get back on their feet and that is what we offer through the Safekeeping program.”
Animals can be sheltered at AWLA for two weeks at a time, and the owners are required to check on the pet’s welfare after one week, AWLA says. There is no limit for how many times an animal can be sheltered in case of emergency. McKeel said that, since Safekeeping was launched as a service in 2005, more than 200 animals have been sheltered.
File photo courtesy AWLA
(Updated at 2:25 p.m.) Arlington’s 22201 ZIP code, which contains Clarendon, Courthouse Virginia Square and part of Ballston, is the top area for “educated millennials” in the country, according to a new report.
Redfin, a real estate firm, released a study that found 22201 has the highest percentage educated people between the ages of 25 and 34 in the country, at 44 percent. Just behind 22201 is the 22209 ZIP code, which comprises all of Rosslyn and Ft. Myer Heights, with 43 percent.
In addition to sporting the most millennials per capita of any ZIP code in the country, Arlington also has by far the highest median income of any of the top 25 millennial-dense neighborhoods, according to Redfin’s data. 22201 is first at $110,300, 22203 — 16th in density at 30 percent — is second at $100,900. The 22206 ZIP code, which includes Shirlington, is 14th in density at 32 percent and third in income at $95,000, while 22209 is fourth in income at $94,100.
Two ZIP codes in Chicago trail immediately behind Arlington in terms of millennials per capita, with a Miami ZIP code ranked fifth. Washington, D.C.’s 20009 (Columbia Heights and Adams Morgan) is seventh in the country and 20008 (Woodley Park, Cleveland Park and north of Dupont Circle) is 18th.
“Redfin’s report looks at the common attributes of millennial ZIPs,” said Redfin’s Alina Ptaszynski. “Not surprisingly they are diverse, urban areas that are expensive places to live and buy a home.”
In addition to having the highest percentage of — and arguably the richest — millennials in the nation, Clarendon was named the D.C. area’s “best neighborhood for millennials” earlier this year by Niche.com.
Unsurprisingly, Redfin found that millennials across the U.S. have a lower rate of home ownership than the population as a whole — 42 percent for millennials compared to 65 of the overall population.
Image via City-Data
Wakefield High School student Amelia Semprebon could win $2,500 in a national entrepreneurship contest for her “cookies on a stick.”
Semprebon won first place in the D.C. region in the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship Elevator Pitch program, and is one of 36 national finalists for the $2,500 prize. The prize money can be used either as a scholarship or seed funding for the business.
Semprebon’s business, Millie Pops, was in second place in the online voting as of Tuesday evening.
The classes, which are six weeknights and two weekends, begin on Sept. 11 (Thursday) and next Tuesday, Sept. 16. The classes are held at the new fire training academy in Shirlington (2800 S. Taylor Street).
The classes cover disaster preparedness, disaster medical operations, fire suppression and utility shutoff, disaster psychology, terrorism, light search and rescue and team organization, according to Community Emergency Response Team volunteer coordinator Cythina Kellams. The session concludes with the trainees participating in a mock-disaster response.
“To date, more than 650 Arlingtonians have completed CERT training, many of whom have elected to be members of neighborhood teams available to assist the county in disasters,” Kellams wrote in an email. “Following the 2012 derecho, CERT members provided critical back-up to the county’s disabled 9-1-1 system.”
The classes are open to anyone who lives or works in Arlington and is 18 and older. If accompanied by a parent, 16- and 17-year-olds are also welcome. To secure one of the limited remaining spots, and for more information about class times, email ArlingtonCERT@gmail.com.
Photo courtesy Cynthia Kellams
Arlington’s Maywood neighborhood lost its foremost historian last month.
Robert McAtee, the community’s oldest resident, died Aug. 10 at the age of 100. A colorful local figure, “Mac” was a captain in the U.S. Army during World War II. He was known for his love of collectables, Scottish history and of telling tales of “old Arlington.”
Members of Maywood’s neighborhood listserv were informed of McAtee’s passing last week. The email included an obituary, written by Maywood resident Peter Harnik.
The obit is reprinted, with permission, below.
Robert McAtee, the oldest resident of Arlington’s Maywood neighborhood, died on Sunday, August 10. He was just two months shy of 101 and had lived in the same house for 98 years.
Universally known as “Mac,” Mr. McAtee was an institution in the county, attending community meetings and high school reunions in the kilt of his Scottish kinsmen and regaling all listeners with scrupulously accurate stories of old Arlington. An inveterate collector, Mac is reported to have had more than 20,000 license plates and 1,000 books of Scottish history along with cameras, buttons, stamps, coins, fossils, and much more.
He attended Cherrydale Elementary School (since demolished) and enjoyed telling stories of clambering along (and under) the trestle of the old Washington and Old Dominion Railroad. He also attended Washington-Lee High School, where he was a proud member of the Cadet Corps. After graduation in 1932, he began his working life at the Government Printing Office, where he worked until being drafted into the Army of the US in the fall of 1941. Mac was selected to attend Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning, GA where he graduated with Class 13. He served for three years and was honorably discharged as a Captain. To further contribute to the war effort, Mac subsequently volunteered for the US Maritime Service.
At the conclusion of World War II, Mac returned to Maywood. He attended Columbia Tech where he studied electrical engineering. He worked for General Electric for a short time until he began managing a trailer rental lot on Lee Highway. In 1955 he purchased a trailer rental business at Seven Corners which he operated for over 45 years.
Mac had one sister but was never married and leaves no survivors. In recent years he was cared for by his long-time friend Robert Beck, Katherine Skerl, and care-givers Denora, Amy, and Marina.
In addition to good health, he also had a prodigious memory. Almost until the end he could rattle off the names of every family member in virtually every house in Maywood in the 1930s. He delighted showing visitors his collection of 24 letters and postcards – each with a different address – that had arrived at his house. The house didn’t change, but over the years its street name, city name, post office, zip code and other identifiers did.
Mac also reported that his family was the first in the neighborhood to install indoor plumbing. He told of the regular deliveries of milk, eggs, coal and blocks of ice, and he pointed out the location of small shops and the kindergarten within what is now the residential neighborhood.
He was perhaps best known in the neighborhood for annually renewing his automobile’s license plate with his updated age, usually entwining Roman numerals with his initials. Even though he wasn’t able to drive at the end, he kept his car, and at his death his plate spelled simply “RBM 100″.
Mr. McAtee took part in many recorded remembrances and also bequeathed much of his historically significant collection to the Virginia Room of the Arlington Library.
A memorial service will be held in the Fall.
After the jump: McAtee’s memories of Arlington in the first half of the 20th century, reprinted with permission. (more…)
(Updated at 4:05 p.m.) Bistro 360, the wine bar, bistro and gourmet market coming to the former Café Assorti space (1800 Wilson Blvd), is hoping to open by Oct. 1.
Bistro 360 owner Art Hauptman, who also owns Cassatt’s Kiwi Cafe (4536 Lee Highway), said the bistro section to the right of the store will serve entrees and appetizers, seat 50-60 and be open for dinner every night and brunch on Saturdays and Sundays. The wine bar section, in the back of the shop, will have seating for about 30 people and be open during the day and the evenings.
The shop section, which will have more than 120 different wines in addition to beer, coffee, tea, charcuterie and cheese, will also be open during the day and evening.
“It’ll be a gourmet-style market with sort of high-end items,” Hauptman told ARLnow.com today. “It’s not Dean & DeLuca, but it will be more than your corner market.”
The wine bar and bistro will serve food inspired from a variety of international cuisines, but “largely focused on Mediterranean,” Hauptman said. “The idea is exploration and travel lead to the mingling of cuisine. Some will be traditional dishes and some will be fusion.”
The restaurant will be quiet and respectful of the community, Hauptman said, but he hopes to get a mix of middle-aged and mid-20s customers who enjoy a quiet glass of wine.
“It’s not going to be a Clarendon-style place,” he said. “I don’t like noisy restaurants, even though I know people drink more in them.”
Initially, Hauptman was looking to move Cassatt’s during lease negotiations with its current landlord. After he and the landlord were able to agree on a deal, Hauptman had already done location research, he said, so he decided to open up a second restaurant. He chose the Rosslyn location because he owns it, he said, and “landlords are a pain the ass.”
“Last week, my kids were playing at the new rope park (at Rocky Run Park on N. Barton Street), I noticed a loose bolt on the climbing rope, took a photo, submitted through the [mobile] app and it was fixed within 48 hours,” Clarendon resident Izzy Tepekoylu told ARLnow.com in an email. “Wow! This is how a local government should work! Very impressed. I don’t think I ever thought I’d say this, but this made me feel good about my local taxes.”
The app is available on iPhone and Android devices. It allows users to see pending service requests in their area, check on the requests’ status, and submit their own. Users can also look up what items are recyclable in the county and what aren’t, and view county and Arlington County Police Department press releases.
“I had submitted a bunch of potholes through the app before and all were fixed, everyone should use it, it’s great,” Tepekoylu wrote. “We always write about complaints and what is broken etc., I thought we should also write about the good stuff as well.”
The app doesn’t have any reviews on iTunes, but it has three five-star reviews and two one-star reviews on the Google Play store. The app was updated in July, with a new user interface and a “streamlined request submission workflow.”
The free app has 1,588 downloads from iTunes since it launched in February, according to county spokeswoman Jennifer Smith, and 514 on Android. Of all electronically submitted requests for service, about 25 percent come from the apps, Smith said, and 75 percent come from the “Report a Problem” web page.
In August, there were 151 submissions for service on the from the mobile app, which, along with the web page, was developed by New York City-based tech company Public Stuff.
Arlington County’s Department of Parks and Recreation has released a video encouraging families to sign up children for activities, even if they are going through financial hardship.
“Don’t let fees be a barrier to signing up your child,” the video’s narrator says. “Arlington wants to ensure that every child has an opportunity to learn, grow and have fun all year round.”
The parks department offers families 50 percent off all parks and recreation programs if qualified for reduced-price lunches at Arlington Public Schools. If the family qualifies for free lunches in schools, it only has to pay 25 percent of the full fee to participate, according to Parks and Rec spokeswoman Susan Kalish.
“Individuals and families without children may also qualify for fee reductions or a temporary hardship fee reduction based on a variety of other documents (such as completed income taxes or proof of benefits such as WIC or SNAP),” Kalish said in an email. “Fee reduction level is based on household size and the total net income.”
Temporary hardships include a loss of a job or divorce, Kalish said, and residents hoping to apply for a reduced fee also need to provide proof. To apply, a resident can visit any community center with a photo ID and fill out the required forms. The county’s website provides a list of acceptable documents individuals and families can use to prove they qualify for reduced fees.
The program, which has been going on for “a number of years,” currently serves about 1,500 residents with reduced fees, Kalish said.
Christiana Campos, the new restaurateur who won the Ballston Business Improvement District’s Restaurant Challenge this year, plans to open her new restaurant this winter.
Originally branded as “Casita,” Campos’ project at 1110 N. Glebe Road, next to The Melting Pot, will now be called “SER,” an acronym for “Simple, Easy, Real,” and a play on words with the Spanish verb “to be.”
As part of the Restaurant Challenge prize package, SER received a year of free rent from the building’s owner, Brookfield Properties, and a $245,000 interest-free loan. Campos told ARLnow.com that the restaurant needs “a bit more,” than the loan, so she has launched a Kickstarter campaign for another $15,000.
“The money we raise here [will] be used for the design and renovation of the place,” the Kickstarter says, “for an open kitchen where you can watch the cooking magic happen before your very own eyes, patio furniture… tables, chairs, lighting, a new dishwasher… an indoor herb garden, frames for our walls (with photos of friends, family and neighbors), linens, plates, glassware.”
As of this morning (Wednesday), SER has raised $2,925 of its goal. The fundraising round will close on Oct. 20. Among the perks that donors can receive:
- For pledging $2,500, a donor will receive a five-course tasting dinner party for eight people and an invitation to SER’s soft opening.
- For $800, the donor and a guest will get to shadow SER’s chef for a day, plus a five-course tasting meal for two and an invitation to SER’s soft opening.
- For $500, the donor and a guest will be given a blind tasting menu; they will be given dishes by SER’s chef while blindfold, and receive an invitation to SER’s soft opening
The restaurant will specialize in “authentic, comfort Spanish food that goes beyond tapas,” Campos said in her email, adding that it is planned to be a casual, neighborhood spot, but the food will be “a gastronomical journey and cultural adventure throughout every region of Spain.”
Crockett and Tubbs may be long off the air, but two men are trying to bring the flair of the “Miami Vice” TV show to their new Arlington-based food truck.
Miami Vice Burgers opened its window for the first time last Thursday on N. Stuart Street in Ballston. Owner Santo Mirabile and his partner, Gary Romain, have manned the truck in matching Hawaiian shirts on weekdays since then. Mirabile said he plans to continue to park in Ballston this week before circulating to Courthouse, Rosslyn and Crystal City.
“We have something nobody else has,” Mirabile said about his menu, which includes a Tubbs Burger, Sonny’s Burger and a Don Johnson Special — a 6-inch roll with Italian or Chorizo sausage, Chimichurri sauce and grilled onions and peppers. “We’re trying to bring a South Beach taste to Northern Virginia.”
Mirabile owned the El-Chaparral Meat Market in Clarendon for 27 years before he closed it and moved back to Florida; he grew up in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., and he said he’s always been a huge fan of the TV show. He said he couldn’t sit around the house all day, and his children always encouraged him to try to sell his burgers, so he decided to give it a whirl.
“I worked for Marriott for many years and I learned to love the food business there,” he said. “I love working with food and people. The food truck is a fun job.”
The burgers have eclectic toppings and sauces — Sonny’s Burger is a quarter-pound angus beef patty with guacamole, grilled onion, jalapeño relish, cilantro sour cream with a “Sonny” side up egg on a brioche bun. Mirabile could neither confirm nor deny the inclusion of an Edward James Olmos burger in the future.