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Water & Wall Offers ‘Pop-Up’ Chinese Menu

by Morgan Fecto | July 30, 2014 at 4:15 pm | 1,173 views | No Comments

Virginia Square restaurant Water & Wall, located at 3811 N. Fairfax Drive, is offering a “pop-up” Chinese menu for lunch until Aug. 29.

The “Uncle Paul’s Kitchenmenu, named for Water & Wall co-owner Tim Ma’s uncle, debuted almost three weeks ago at the restaurant, Ma said. It includes Chinese-inspired dishes, like Kung Pao Pork Belly, and more traditional Chinese fare, like “Uncle Paul’s Zha Jiang,” with prices ranging from $6 to $10.

The Zha Jiang is like a Chinese ragu, which Ma said the Chinese community jokingly calls “Marco Polo noodles, because Marco Polo came to China and took the recipe back, and that’s where Italian pasta comes from.”

The dishes from Uncle Paul’s Kitchen are smaller than regular entrees, reminiscent of dim sum, which allow customers to order two or three at a time. The lunch menu is available daily from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

“We are essentially running two restaurants here,” Ma said. “We have the kitchen divided for the Chinese stuff and then the rest of the storage space and refrigeration is for the regular restaurant stuff.”

Water & Wall opened eight months ago for dinner, and served only its French-inspired dishes. In mid-June, Ma, his parents, their “old school Chinese” air conditioner repairman, and some Chinese cooks were having a Chinese dinner and had the idea for the pop-up menu, Ma said.

“We were joking around, saying ‘Well this is more like a Chinese restaurant than an American or French place,’” Ma said.

From the idea’s inception, it took Ma two weeks to create the menu, which drew from dishes that his uncle served at his traditional Shandong restaurant “Paul Ma’s Kitchen,” in New York in the 1980s, Ma said.

“He had incredible success there with these homemade recipes,” Ma said. “It was like impossible to get a reservation there.”

The food Paul Ma cooked for his nephew, while living with him at Tim’s Virginia home, also inspired Ma’s lunch menu for Water & Wall.

“He continues to tell me things that I should tweak and things that I should add,” Ma said.

Ma also owns a restaurant serving American food in Vienna called Maple Ave Restaurant. For now, Ma is not sure whether Water & Wall will debut its planned lunch menu of French fusion dishes at the end of the month, or create something else closer to the pop-up menu’s choices.

“This has been really well received thus far,” Ma said. “We have a better response with the dishes my uncle created back in the day.”

UPDATED: NB I-395 Closed After Van Overturns Near Shirlington

by ARLnow.com | July 30, 2014 at 3:20 pm | 3,171 views | No Comments

Update at 4:50 p.m. — All lanes have reopened.

Update at 4:00 p.m. — The trapped victims have been extricated from the van. Rescuers are starting to clear the scene and police are planning on reopening at least one right-hand lane shorty.

Earlier: Police and firefighters are on the scene of an overturned minivan on I-395.

The incident happened just before 3:15 p.m., on the mainline northbound lanes under Shirlington Circle. As of 3:20 p.m., the northbound lanes were completely blocked and traffic was being diverted onto the circle.

Rescuers are reporting three people injured, with two people still trapped inside the van. Firefighters are currently trying to extricate the two trapped victims from the vehicle.

Photos courtesy @gogogaryo as noted

NOVA Legal Beat: Am I Protected If I Complain About Sexual Harassment?

by ARLnow.com Sponsor | July 30, 2014 at 2:30 pm | No Comments

NOVA Legal Beat logo

Editor’s Note: This sponsored column is written by Mathew B. Tully of Tully Rinckey PLLC, an Arlington firm that specializes in federal employment and labor law, security clearance proceedings, and military law.

Q. I did not file any formal complaint after my supervisor sexually harassed me, but I did make it crystal clear to management that I was not happy with the situation. Am I still protected against retaliation?

A. Employees can fight sex discrimination and sexual harassment by either participating in the legal system created by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act to counter this problem, or by opposing such unlawful conduct in the workplace. Either way, employees should be protected against retaliation. However, it is not always easy to prove an employee’s opposition activity is protected under the law.

Title VII protects workers who “made a charge, testified, assisted, or participated in any manner in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing.” For the most part, these participation protections address activities that are straightforward and tied to definitive actions: either an employee filed a lawsuit in federal court or a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or he or she did not; or either an employee talked to an investigator or testified in court, or he or she did not.

Title VII also protects workers who “opposed any practice made an unlawful employment practice.” However, as the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York noted in Perry v. Kappos (2011), “‘opposition activity is protected when it responds to an employment practice that the employee reasonably believes is unlawful…’ whereas ‘[participation] activity is protected conduct regardless of whether that activity is reasonable.’” Not only must the employee’s belief that the employer engaged in discrimination be reasonable; so, too, must the employee’s opposition activity be reasonable.

The utilization of formal grievance procedures, informal protests and the vocalization of opinions all fall within the meaning of opposition activity, according to the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Laughlin v. Metropolitan Wash. Airports Auth. (1998). Such opposition activity should not be “disruptive or disorderly,” and it must strike a balance between the intent of the law and Congress’ “desire not to tie the hands of employers in the objective selection and control of personnel.”

In Laughlin, the 4th Circuit found that a secretary who copied confidential information and sent it to an outside party — believing the information represented the employer’s attempt to cover up a discriminatory act — engaged in opposition activity that was “disproportionate and unreasonable under the circumstances.” Consequently, the court found the secretary’s actions did not merit protection against retaliation under Title VII and the employer’s decision to terminate her “was sound.”

One type of opposition activity that merits Title VII’s protection against retaliation involves “complaining to the employer… and participating in an employer’s informal grievance procedures… when done in a manner that is ‘not disruptive or disorderly,’” the 4th Circuit noted.

Employees who believe they have been subjected to unlawful retaliation, either for their participation of opposition activity, should immediately consult with an employment law attorney.

Mathew B. Tully is the founding partner of Tully Rinckey PLLC. Located in Arlington, Va. and Washington, D.C., Tully Rinckey PLLC’s attorneys practice federal employment law, military law, and security clearance representation. To speak with an attorney, call 703-525-4700 or to learn more visit fedattorney.com. 

The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.

Southern Restaurant Coming to Courthouse?

by Ethan Rothstein | July 30, 2014 at 1:15 pm | 2,913 views | No Comments

Tupelo Honey Cafe, a North Carolina-based restaurant chain, is looking to move into the new apartment building at 2001 Clarendon Blvd in the Courthouse area.

Representatives from the restaurant and the building’s retail office have confirmed the two sides are finalizing negotiations, but aren’t prepared to announce a deal. The restaurant has locations in North Carolina and Tennessee, but an Arlington location would be its first in Virginia.

According to officials with the building’s retail and residential leasing firms, exterior construction is expected to be finished in mid-August, after which build-out for the retail properties will begin and take “about three to six months.” Apartment tenants are expected to begin moving in by September.

If Tupelo signs, it would join 7-Eleven, Hair Cuttery, Olive Oil Boom and a nail salon as retail spaces moving into the ground floor of the 154-unit apartment building.

Tupelo’s website says it cooks “just about everything Southern – from fried chicken to sweet potatoes to catfish.” It says its menu items are “scratch-made” with “farm-fresh produce.”

Washington-Lee Teacher Selected for Deep Sea Research Trip

by Morgan Fecto | July 30, 2014 at 11:15 am | 799 views | No Comments

Joan Le during a bio-diversity study of the Chesapeake Bay.A Washington-Lee High School teacher will embark on a 12-day-long National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration study that will enhance her science curriculum.

Earth science teacher Joan Le will accompany NOAA scientists in conducting “an on-going population survey of deep-water coral habitat in the Atlantic Ocean.” according to the agency. As one of NOAA’s “Teacher at Sea” cruises, the trip will give Le an opportunity to observe, research and interact with professional scientists.

“I want to bring real data back into the classrooms and find opportunities for citizen science [for the students],” Le said. “I’m hoping that through this process I can find ways for the students to actually contribute.”

For the first time in her four years at Washington-Lee, Le will teach an environmental studies course in addition to her earth sciences course in the fall. Le said she plans to create projects for both classes with the data she gathers on the trip.

Le said her teaching method is to try and make science a hands-on experience, like a science fair.

“My grades in science weren’t really that good,” the James Madison University alumna said. “I had great teachers, but something about science in the classroom doesn’t always translate how exciting science can actually be. It’s not always easy because there are lots of things to cover.”

Along with writing a blog to chronicle the trip, Le will submit an original lesson plan to NOAA that incorporates what she learned. Her plan will be available online for any science teacher to use in a classroom, Le said. 

“You can kind of look through what other teachers have done, and it’s great because it’s better than [having] matching worksheets,” said Le, who used a similar NOAA lesson plan in her first year of teaching.

NOAA has sponsored Teacher at Sea trips every year for the past 24 years. Out of 200 teachers who applied, Le was one of 25 chosen for research cruises. Le and the NOAA scientists will travel on the ship Henry B. Bigelow, and will set sail Aug. 5 from Newport, R.I.

Studying coral is a significant way to understand past climates, Le said. Although she is excited for the cruise, Le said she is unsure exactly what the trip will entail.

“In the manual, one of the important traits they list is flexibility,” Le said. “So I’m ready for anything.”

Photo Courtesy Joan Le

Va. Sales Tax Holiday This Weekend

by ARLnow.com | July 30, 2014 at 10:30 am | 1,098 views | No Comments

Money(Updated at 11:00 a.m.) The Commonwealth of Virginia will be holding its annual school supplies, clothing and footwear sales tax holiday this weekend.

From Friday, Aug. 1 to Sunday, Aug. 3 eligible purchases will be exempted from Virginia’s sales tax, which is 6 percent in Northern Virginia. To be eligible, each school supply item must be $20 or less and each article of clothing or footwear must be $100 or less.

Generally, computer equipment, clothing accessories, protective equipment and sporting goods are not exempt from the tax.

Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com | July 30, 2014 at 9:30 am | 1,879 views | No Comments

Il Radicchio on Clarendon Blvd

‘Republican’ Not Found on GOP Candidate’s Signs — Republican candidate Dave Foster, who’s running to represent the 48th District in the Virginia House of Delegates, has a notable addition and omission on his campaign signs. Foster’s signs include a union label, but do not include the word “Republican.” Foster will face Democrat Rip Sullivan in a special election on Aug. 19. [InsideNova]

Arlington Transportation ‘What Ifs’ — Three shelved transportation proposals could have had a big impact on Arlington over the past 50 years. One would have seen a new 22-mile Blue Line built through Arlington, under the Potomac via a new tunnel, to Georgetown and eventually to RFK stadium. Another would have converted Route 1 through Crystal City to “Interstate 595.” A third would have built a new bridge from Spout Run Parkway to Georgetown. [Washington Post]

Clarendon ‘Good Morning Guy’ Profiled — Robert Gordon, the Express newspaper distributor who excitedly wishes Metrorail commuters in Clarendon a good morning on weekdays, says his is “the best job I can ever have in the world.” [WJLA]

Blues and Brews in Crystal City TonightClarence “Bluesman” Turner is scheduled to perform in Crystal City tonight for the monthly summer “Blues and Brews” concert. The event, in the courtyard of 2121 Crystal Drive, also features a craft beer garden. [Crystal City]

Courthouse Square Survey — Arlington County is inviting the public to weigh in on the latest design concepts for the Envision Courthouse Square project. [Arlington County]

Flickr pool photo by Jason OX4

Military Art Therapy Studio Planned for Crystal City

by Morgan Fecto | July 29, 2014 at 4:30 pm | 905 views | No Comments

(Updated at 6:00 p.m) A walk-in studio art facility for veterans and active-duty service members plans to open Oct. 15 in Crystal City.

Alexandria-based The 296 Project launched a Kickstarter on July 24 with a $30,000 goal to fund the 1,100-square-foot space, which it calls “A Combat Veteran’s Healing Place.” The studio will be located in a retail space at the Shops at 2100 Crystal Drive.

Kickstarter proceeds will go toward renovation materials, art supplies and equipment for the facility, which will cater to service members with post-traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injury (TBI), according to a press release.

“When the suffering is so strong words can barely describe it, when no one understands, when there’s no support system, this new facility allows our men and women in uniform to tell their stories with a paintbrush, clay, pen and pencil, chalk, through music, digital design, 3D design, spoken word or through poetry,” Scott Gordon, executive director of The 296 Project, told ARLnow.com in an email.

The project plans to give service members a place to explore art as well as socialize. It plans to provide art therapists with a space for seminars, art classes and group therapy sessions, although it will not be a therapy-providing entity, according to The 296 Project spokesperson Rebekah Wiseman.

The general public will be allowed in, according to the organization, so it can learn more about the community of service members with PTSD and TBI who are helped by art and expressive therapies.

“With or without a PTS/TBI diagnosis, our facility, our seminars, workshops, etc., will be therapeutic,” Wiseman wrote.

Service members will have to provide records to prove that they are or were members of the military, said Wiseman. The facility plans to be open six days of the week, from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. 

“We believe we can save thousands of lives in the Northern Virginia area alone,” Gordon said. “This is just too important not to support.”

The Kickstarter will accept contributions until Sept. 22. Currently, the project has six backers and has raised $710. 

Images courtesy The 296 Project

Amsterdam Falafelshop Plans September Opening

by Ethan Rothstein | July 29, 2014 at 3:15 pm | 1,913 views | No Comments

Amsterdam Falafelshop's future space in Clarendon Amsterdam Falafelshop's future space in Clarendon

Amsterdam Falafelshop, the local falafel and “Dutch fries” chain, is planning to open its Clarendon location by the end of September.

Amsterdam Falafelshop announced in April it would be moving into the former BGR: The Burger Joint space next to Hard Times Café at 3024 Wilson Blvd. Franchise owner David Rosenstein — who also owns a dozen D.C. area Popeye’s franchises — planned a mid-summer opening, but as is the case with many restaurant build-outs, it has taken longer than expected.

The space now has a sign on the window that reads “Amsterdam Falafelshop is landing here this summer… Cause [sic] we love this neighborhood and we think you love falafel… we think you need falafel… we think you crave falafel.”

Ask Adam: Inexpensive Upgrades

by ARLnow.com | July 29, 2014 at 2:00 pm | 1,199 views | No Comments

Ask Adam header

This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by Adam Gallegos of Arlington-based real estate firm Arbour Realty, voted one of Arlington Magazine’s Best Realtors of 2013 & 2014. Please submit your questions via email.

Q. We just bought our first house and are feeling a little house poor, but we are eager to make some worthwhile improvements. Can you recommend some relatively inexpensive improvements that will provide return on investment at some point? 

I love your enthusiasm and foresight. You don’t always have to spend a lot of money to improve the appearance and value of your home. Below are my top five suggestions:

Paint — You just bought the home so I am hoping you plan to live there for many years to come. Updating the interior paint is probably not a strong return on investment project at this point as you are likely to paint again before selling one day. At that time it will be a good idea to speak with your agent about the trending interior colors. This year I am seeing a lot of the light grays.

I suggest concentrating on the exterior. The wood trim and shutters often get neglected. You can give them a fresh look and provide them with much needed protection from sun, rain and snow. I can’t tell you how many home inspections I have been to where we discovered rotting wood trim.

Deck Cleaning and Staining – Similar to the suggestion above, this is a project you can do by yourself to freshen and protect your investment.

Start with a thorough cleaning. I usually rent a power washer from Bill’s True Value Hardware (2213 N. Buchanan Street), but first check around to see if you have a friend that will lend you theirs. It’s a simple process of cleaning, sanding and staining. Compare stains to find one that lasts for a longer period of time.

Landscaping — I just got back from a trip to Cape May, N.J., and was extremely impressed with the beautiful landscaping that is prevalent in that little beach town. It’s amazing how much more inviting the landscaping can make a home feel regardless of the home’s age.

I suggest creating a plan for your landscaping that takes into account the placement of plants, flowers and shrubs in relations to their height and the seasons they are in bloom. You should also consider the amount of water and sun they will require. It’s nice to create a garden you don’t have to water.

Because we are talking about improvements that will add value to your home, I suggest using perennial flowers that will continue to come back season after season.

Arlington County provides free mulch. For a small fee you can even have it delivered. Mulch provides a nice accent to your yard and helps control weeds.

Hardware — No offense to those of you who have gold colored hardware throughout your homes, but it is not really the finish of choice for most home buyers right now. I’m talking about doorknobs, light fixtures, fireplace hardware, cabinet knobs, towel racks… you get the picture. You can really update the feel of your home by replacing these items with a popular finish like brushed nickel or oil rubbed bronze.

ReStore – Habitat for Humanity ReStores are nonprofit home improvement stores and donation centers that sell new and gently used furniture, home accessories, building materials, and appliances to the public. Because they depend on donations, the inventory is hit or miss, but I have seen some gems in there. Everything from hardwood flooring to stainless steel appliances. There is a ReStore located in Alexandria.

I highly recommend YouTube for any projects you would like a quick education about. In my personal experience, it has been a life saver.

The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.

New Benches to Be Installed Near Ballston Metro Station

by Ethan Rothstein | July 29, 2014 at 12:45 pm | 2,428 views | No Comments

The Ballston property manager that replaced planters to prevent people from sitting says benches will soon be installed in their place.

Stephen Gilbert, the vice president of marketing for Gates Hudson, the property manager of the building adjacent to the Ballston Metro station, said the company plans to install 15 benches near the station and next to the new planters by mid-August.

Additional “street furniture” is also planned for the busy bus stop.

“This is a cross promotion with the Ballston [Business Improvement District] and we are investing nearly $28,000 to improve the seating area,” Gilbert wrote in an email to ARLnow.com. “The bus shelters currently in place and managed by WMATA and Arlington County are not adequate in our opinion.”

Gates Hudson replaced the planters earlier this month because, as an employee told ARLnow.com, “they’re meant to be planters and that’s it… A lot of people were loitering there, damaging the plants and leaving trash.” Gilbert said that the new planters’ capstones “were only a small part” of Gates Hudson’s master plan for improving the space on N. Stuart Street.

“I ensure you that once you see what we have under construction you will see that we are creating a very convenient and comfortable space for commuters and pedestrians,” Gilbert wrote.

County Survey: Residents Approve of Affordable Housing Policies

by Ethan Rothstein | July 29, 2014 at 11:30 am | 1,414 views | No Comments

Arlington County Board 5/10/14Arlington residents seem to approve of the County Board’s recent work on affordable housing, according to a county-funded study.

According to a survey, cited during last week’s County Board meeting, 65 percent of 1,744 respondents believe it’s “very important” to help senior citizens age in place. Meanwhile, 60 percent believe affordable housing options for the county’s workforce are “very important,” and 58 percent believe it’s important for “moderate and low-income families with children in public schools” to have affordable housing options.

When “very important” answers were combined with “somewhat important,” those figures jump to 92 percent, 88 percent and 90 percent, respectively.

The survey, which was conducted in English and Spanish, is a component of the county’s ongoing affordable housing study, which was launched in July 2012. The study’s recent work includes a review of best practices, a preliminary report on housing needs and a “complete assessment of strategies/program approaches, with community review.”

County Board Vice Chair Mary Hynes said the survey revealed “strong support for what [the County Board] has been doing.” She also said that the survey wasn’t an attempt to “duplicate census information,” but rather measure the priorities of the community.

“We were instead trying to find out what people thought about how housing is at the moment in Arlington,” she said. “As well as their attitudes about housing objectives and policies that this board has been pursuing… It’s good validation for us, and really helpful information for our group as they continue to work on refining what will become, we hope, a comprehensive plan.”

The study weighed residents’ opinions on the county’s affordable housing policies. Forty-six percent of respondents “strongly favor” Arlington’s affordable housing ordinance — which allows developers bonus density if they dedicate affordable housing units or donate to the county’s affordable housing fund — while 44 percent strongly favor the county’s affordable housing grant program. Twenty-four percent of survey takers either somewhat oppose or strongly oppose the affordable housing ordinance.

The County Board is expected reveal more survey results at its September meeting. Another phase of the affordable housing study is expected to conclude in June 2015.

Arlington County dedicates about 5 percent of its non-school budget to affordable housing investment.

Morgan Fecto contributed to this report

Arlington Prepared to Grant Same-Sex Marriage Licenses

by ARLnow.com | July 29, 2014 at 10:15 am | 3,566 views | No Comments

LGBT rainbow flag (image via Wikipedia)(Updated at 10:45 a.m.) If a federal appeals court ruling goes unchallenged, Arlington County Clerk of the Circuit Court Paul Ferguson says his office is prepared to “start issuing marriage licenses to same sex applicants immediately.”

On Monday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond upheld a lower court’s decision that Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. State Sen. Adam Ebbin who represents part of Arlington and was the first openly gay member of the Virginia General Assembly, applauded the court’s decision.

“This victory for liberty is in keeping with Jefferson’s admonition that ‘laws and institutions must go hand and hand with the progress of the human mind,’” Ebbin said in a statement. “As the birthplace of America’s civil liberties, it is especially fitting that Virginia provides full equality to all of her citizens.”

The ruling will not take effect for 21 days, according to news reports, and could be put on hold indefinitely if those seeking to uphold the marriage ban are granted a stay while appealing to the full appellate court or the U.S. Supreme Court.

Ferguson, who participates in an annual pro-gay marriage demonstration in Arlington, said he believes the appeals process will continue to drag out.

“From what I have heard, it is likely that a stay will be asked for and granted by the Fourth Circuit consistent with the Supreme Court’s recent ruling in the Utah case,” Ferguson told ARLnow.com Monday afternoon. “If the stay is granted, it is likely we will need to wait until the Supreme Court rules.”

Ferguson said he expects to receive guidance from Virginia’s Democratic attorney general, Mark Herring, “in the near future.”

Should a stay not be granted, however, Ferguson said “the Arlington Circuit Court Clerk’s office will issue marriage licenses to same sex applicants as soon as we are certain they would be valid.”

“It is possible that the court could rule rejecting the stay sooner,” he said. Asked about the possibility of a crush of gay and lesbian couples seeking marriage licenses, Ferguson said his office “will do our best to accommodate applicants in a timely manner.”

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