Sunny and pleasant weather and a big-name headliner attracted the largest crowd yet to the Columbia Pike Blues Festival over the weekend, organizers said.
We’re told more than 7,000 people turned out for the 18th annual Blues Festival, which is held on S. Walter Reed Drive just north of the Pike. Guitarist G.E. Smith, of Saturday Night Live and Hall & Oates fame, headlined the event.
Takis Karantonis, Executive Director of the Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization, said he wasn’t surprised by the new attendance record. He expects the festival to continue to grow in crowds and quality as community ties continue to strengthen around the developing Columbia Pike town center area.
Asked about the ideal weather condition, Karantonis wouldn’t comment, for fear of jinxing next year’s festival.
“We don’t talk about the weather — before, during and after,” he said.
Disclosure: CPRO is an ARLnow.com advertiser.
Arlington Agenda is a listing of interesting events for the week ahead in Arlington County.
Crystal Screen: The King’s Speech
Crystal City BID (1851 S. Bell Street)
Time: 8:15 – 10:15 p.m.
Crystal City’s annual film festival. Bring a picnic and a blanket. Movies are held rain or shine, except in cases of severe, inclement weather. This year’s festival will feature trivia nights, costume contests, and visits from mobile dining partners.
Open Mic Night
Busboys and Poets (4251 S. Campbell Avenue)
Time: 8:00 – 10:00 p.m.
For two hours audiences can expect a diverse chorus of voices and a vast array of professional spoken word performers, open mic rookies, musicians and a different host every week.
ACE Summer Solstice and Cleanup Event
Bluemont Park (601 N. Manchester Street)
Time: 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Join Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment to celebrate the start of summer and the longest day of the year. Service project options including cleanups and invasive plant removal. Refreshments will be available.
Spectrum Theatre (1611 N. Kent Street)
Time: 7:00 – 10:00 p.m.
BuddhaFest is a 4-day festival inspired by the Buddhist practices of mindfulness, compassion and meditation featuring films, musical performances, and spiritual talks. This year’s speakers include Robert Thurman and Sharon Salzberg.
The Gunston Arts Center (2700 S. Lang Street)
Time: 8:00 – 11:00 p.m.
The American Century Theater presents Biography, S.N. Behrman’s comedy about the ramifications of one woman’s memoir.
Arlington Festival of the Arts*
Clarendon Neighborhood (1101 N. Highland Street)
Time: 10:00 a.m. -5:00 p.m.
More than 100 of the finest artists in country will converge upon Highland Street in Clarendon for a two-day juried outdoor gallery style art exhibit. A wide variety of original artwork will be on display and for sale with prices set to suit all budgets.
Carnival on the Boardwalk
Cherrydale United Methodist Church (3701 Lorcom Lane)
Time: 4:00 – 7:00 p.m.
Community event to benefit Hurricane Sandy Relief featuring fun boardwalk games, prizes, food, cakewalks, music, and auction items. Hosted by the Cherrydale United Methodist Church Youth Group.
*Denotes featured (sponsored) event
The second phase of the Crystal Drive Two-Way Conversion project was completed over the weekend.
As of Saturday, Crystal Drive between 23rd Street and 26th Street was open to two way traffic. Formerly, the road only allowed one-way northbound traffic.
A county spokeswoman said the conversion is just the beginning of a larger effort to reconfigure Crystal City’s street grid.
“The roadway now includes a northbound sharrow (a marking in the center of a travel lane that indicates bicyclists may use the full lane), a southbound bicycle lane, a north and southbound vehicular lane, up-to-date ADA compliant crosswalks, and upgraded traffic and pedestrian signals,” said Arlington County spokeswoman Laura G. Smith. ” This project marks the beginning of the major street network upgrades in Crystal City that better support the Crystal City Transitway, bicycle network, and general navigability of Crystal City.”
A third phase of the project is expected to establish two-way traffic on Crystal Drive from 26th to 27th Street.
A noted streetcar critic will address a meeting of the Northern Virginia Tea Party on Tuesday.
The event is scheduled from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. at Westover Branch Library (1644 N. McKinley Road). Randal O’Toole, a transportation expert at the libertarian CATO Institute, will “speak about current transportation policy issues, including the Columbia Pike streetcar.”
O’Toole wrote the book The Vanishing Automobile and Other Urban Myths: How Smart Growth Will Harm American Cities in 2001, and published a policy analysis entitled “The Great Streetcar Conspiracy” last year. The analysis says municipal streetcar systems are being encouraged by the federal government and by “engineering firms that stand to earn millions of dollars planning, designing, and building streetcar lines.”
“Streetcars are the latest urban planning fad, stimulated partly by the Obama administration’s preference for funding transportation projects that promote ‘livability’ (meaning living without automobiles) rather than mobility or cost-effective transportation,” O’Toole wrote.
“Based on 19th-century technology, the streetcar has no place in American cities today except when it functions as part of a completely self-supporting tourist line. Instead of subsidizing streetcars, cities should concentrate on basic — and modern — services such as fixing streets, coordinating traffic signals, and improving roadway safety.”
(Supporters argue that a modern streetcar system is a clean and efficient transportation solution that reduces traffic congestion and promotes economic development.)
Tuesday’s event is free and open to the public. “Extensive free parking in the evening is available at the rear of the adjacent elementary school,” according to the event invitation.
Photo via CATO Institute
The restaurant, at 1515 Wilson Blvd, will open on Thursday, June 27, according to PR rep Danielle Tergis. It will offer “a menu featuring customizable, made-to-order rice and noodle bowls rooted in authentic and traditional Thai flavors that are served in a modern way.”
“We have been working on this concept for more than two years,” co-owner Aulie Bunyarataphan told ARLnow.com in February. “It’s the first Thai restaurant around in this format.”
From a press release:
Guests will choose from 4 bases, 4 grilled proteins, 5 sauces, and 10 toppings designed to be mixed and matched to create countless menu combinations. Highlights of the menu include their signature Tom Yum chili paste as well as other house made marinades and sauces including their exclusive green Sriracha sauce. The open design of the kitchen will allow guests to see their meal being cooked in a traditional stir-fry wok or on a plancha (flat top grill), which cooks proteins faster and more evenly than an open flame grill creating a perfectly moist meal. A specially curated beverage menu includes roasted coconut juice typically found exclusively in Asian markets, toasted rice-flavored green tea, as well as Thai tea in bottles, Thai beers as well as fountain drinks. Prices for the bowls range from $6.75 – $7.95.
“Bases” include white and brown jasmine rice, pad thai rice noodles and Asian mixed salad. “Proteins” include grilled beef, chicken, shrimp and organic tofu.
The restaurant will be open daily from 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Bunyarataphan owns Tom Yum District with her husband, Mel Oursinsiri. The couple also owns two established local restaurants: Bangkok Joe’s in Georgetown and T.H.A.I in Shirlington.
(Updated at 11:30 a.m.) All lanes of N. Glebe Road were closed in the area of 16th Street, just north of Ballston, due to a moped accident.
Initial reports suggest that the victim crashed his moped after hitting the curb. Medics tended to the victim, who was reported to be unconscious.
No word yet on the victim’s condition. Glebe Road was reopened around 11:20 a.m.
The robbery happened on the 2400 block of S. Eads Street around 12:30 a.m. Police say two Arlington men, ages 32 and 33, were walking to their car from a nearby restaurant when a man crossed the street and engaged them in conversation. The man then pulled out a gun and demanded cash.
The victims emptied their pockets and then ran away. For an unknown reason, the suspect then fired a single gunshot, striking the side of the CVS Pharmacy building. No one was hurt.
A K-9 unit and the U.S. Park Police Eagle 1 helicopter responded to help in the ensuing search for the suspect. The suspect was not found, but the shirt he was wearing at the time of the robbery and the victims’ phones and keys were recovered a short distance away.
In all, the suspect made off with about $20 to $30, according to Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.
The suspect is described as a 45-50 year-old black male, approximately 5’4″ and 140 lbs. He was wearing a black and red horizontal-striped shirt and brown shorts.
Board Approves New Hotel — On Saturday, the Arlington County Board approved a new 168-room hotel on the former Colony House furniture site at 1700 Lee Highway. As part of the site plan approval, developer B.F. Saul agreed to make a $510,000 contribution to the county’s affordable housing fund, $62,546 to the utility undergrounding fund, $75,000 to the public art fund and $70,000 to pay for a widened sidewalk on a portion of N. Quinn Street. [Arlington County]
Diener Murder Case In-Depth — Writer Kris Coronado takes an in-depth look at how Arlington County police cracked the Carl Diener murder case, including how a hunch and DNA evidence played a pivotal role, and how one of the suspects rapped about the case against him. [Arlington Magazine]
County Floodplain Maps Updated — Arlington County has updated its floodplain maps for the first time since 1982. The new maps “reflect the best available data on flood risks,” removing 230 land parcels from the 100-year floodplain while adding 81 parcels. [Arlington County]
Airfare Drops at DCA — The average roundtrip airfare at Reagan National Airport was $370 in 2012. That’s down 4.6 percent from a year prior and down 20.1 percent compared to the year 2000. [Sun Gazette]
AHC Seniors Headed to College — All 11 high school seniors in the AHC Inc. Teen Program graduated this year and are going to college. “Many are the first in their family to achieve this milestone,” said Celia Slater, communications director for the Arlington-based affordable housing developer. “Together, the group earned more than $20,000 in scholarships”. The students’ families are from 9 different countries. [AHC Inc.]
Flickr pool photo by Ddimick
In the Board chair’s annual State of the County address, Tejada touted Arlington as a “coveted area” that people want to live and work in. However, citing the planned departure of the National Science Foundation and its 2,200+ jobs to Alexandria, and the county’s 17 percent (and rising) office vacancy rate, Tejada said the county must work to “reinvent” itself.
“Arlington is facing some economic uncertainty,” he said. “One of the worst things… is to be complacent. It’s time to reinvent ourselves once again. An important strategy of our reinvention is our focus on science and technology.”
To that end, Tejada said the county will continue to fight to keep the NSF in Ballston.
“We are profoundly disappointed, but I believe the last word has not been written on this,” he said. “We still believe Arlington is the best home for the National Science Foundation, and we hope that it stays. We will work diligently to make sure that happens.”
“It just doesn’t make sense,” he continued. “Undoing a science cluster that the federal government itself has spent two decades and quite a lot of taxpayer money building? We believe this decision needs closer scrutiny. How much are Alexandria taxpayers paying for this deal?”
“Arlington has become a hotbed of startup technology companies,” he said. Emphasizing private sector commercial growth is important, he said, since the biggest office tenant in Arlington, the federal government, has become “unpredictable at best.”
Also part of Arlington’s “reinvention” is the controversial Columbia Pike streetcar system.
“The streetcar is our best transit option for Columbia Pike,” Tejada said. “The streetcar will create that main street feel that the community wants. It will reduce pollution and congestion. And yes, it is affordable in the long term. The Pike streetcar system is equal to the cost of one Metrorail station.”
The streetcar will be funded via a commercial property tax surcharge that’s earmarked for transportation projects. The financing would not qualify for a voter referendum under state law, Tejada said, and “the plan is well within the county’s self-imposed debt limit.”
Tejada said he would not have supported the streetcar had the Columbia Pike Neighborhoods Plan not called for the preservation of affordable housing. He called on the business leaders in the room to contribute to the affordable housing effort on the Pike.
The intoxicated man was sitting on a wall and fell backwards, according to Arlington County Fire Battalion Chief Daniel Fitch. He became wedged between the platform wall and the station wall.
About a dozen firefighters and medics are attempting to render assistance to the man. Due to his large size, however, the man has thus far been unable to get back up to the platform, Fitch said.
So far, no disruptions to Metro service have been reported as a result of the incident.
This Father’s Day, surprise dad with a day of open houses to find his new dream home in Arlington.
2107 N. Scott Street
1 BD | 1 BA condominium
Katie Wethman, Keller Williams Realty
Open: Sunday, June 16 from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m.
2301 25th Street South
2 BD | 2 BA condominium
Phyllis Alexander, Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc.
Open: Saturday, June 15 from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.
2405 1st Road South
3 BD | 3 BA single family detached
Diana Feldman, Long & Foster Real Estate
Open: Sunday, June 16 from 12:00 to 3:00 p.m.
1901B N. Adams Street
2 BD | 2 BA condominium
Kevin Love, Re/max Allegiance
Open: Sunday, June 16 from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.
3213 4th Street North
3 BD | 2 BA single family detached
Debbie Kent, Cottage Street Realty Llc
Open: Sunday, June 16 from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.
1812 N. Stafford Street
4 BD | 2 Full BA, 1 Half BA single family detached
Alexandra Holden, ‘weichert, Realtors
Open: Sunday, June 16 from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.
A new hookah lounge and restaurant is coming to Lee Highway, perhaps as soon as this summer.
Cloud Lounge is planning to open at 2525 Lee Highway, in the basement of Burger 7 restaurant. A sign is up in the adjacent parking lot and its owner, who owns both Burger 7 and Cloud Lounge, told us in a brief phone call that he’s hoping to open this summer.
A construction permit for the lounge, first issued in February 2011, indicates that it will seat 53 people. We’re told the restaurant will serve Middle Eastern cuisine, as well as Illy coffee, chocolates and other desserts.
The lounge will also offer cigars, thanks to a walk-in humidor, and hookahs. Alcoholic beverages will not be offered, we’re told.
The interior of Cloud Lounge, meanwhile, will have a unique look, according to the restaurant’s website.
“The distressed aged space is dressed and accessorized with semi modern Baroque designed furniture,” the site says. “When such style of furniture is mixed with modern & vibrant color upholstery, the results are one of a kind.”
Photo via cloudlounge.co
Joseph Richards, 52, of Arlington and David Lux, 66, of Springfield were sentenced today to 27 and 15 months in prison respectively.
They pleaded guilty in March to conspiracy to commit major government fraud in a scheme that falsely portrayed their company as being minority-owned in order to win millions of dollars in contracts intended for “disadvantaged small businesses.”
Arlington resident Keith Hedman, 53, also pleaded guilty in the scheme and is awaiting a sentencing hearing scheduled for June 21. Federal prosecutors say Hedman formed the company Richards and Lux worked for, and also formed a second Arlington-based security contractor that obtained more than $31 million in contract payments under false pretences.
The second company qualified for disadvantaged status as part of the Small Business Administration’s Section 8(a) program — and thus was eligible for preferential treatment in government contracts — after Hedman, a former Marine, selected a Maryland woman to “serve as a figurehead owner.” The woman qualified for the program “based on her Portuguese heritage and history of social disadvantage.”
The Associated Press previously identified the two companies involved as Security Assistance Corp. and Protection Strategies Inc. Both have a listed address in an office building at 2300 9th St S., near Columbia Pike.
“In total, the scheme netted government contracts valued at more than $153 million,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia said in a press release today. The full press release, after the jump.
Flickr photo by Joe Gratz
Editor’s Note: This sponsored column is written by Katie Carter, cheesemonger at Arrowine (4508 Lee Highway)
The story of blue cheese is the story of the balance between great milk and the blue penicillium mold, our attempts to control the two, and the pleasure we experience when it’s done right. A happy accident led to the discovery of this special category of cheeses.
The tale goes that a young shepherd left his lunch of bread and cheese near the natural caves of Cambalou in the Roquefort-sur-Soulzon region of France. When he returned to fetch his food a few days later, he discovered his cheese had grown mold. Not wanting to waste his food, the shepherd ate the moldy cheese, which turned out to be delicious! By leaving his cheese to grow mold (penicillium roqueforti) native to that very particular cave, this shepherd inadvertently created the very first Roquefort cheese.
Today, almost all of the blue cheese produced around the world are made using the cultivated mold from these special caves. It is usually added to the milk in liquid form before coagulation but some cheesemakers still use a powdered version. The blue-green mold needs air to grow, so most blues are either pierced with needles or have a very open texture (air pockets) where the mold forms. Willi Schmid is the only producer I know of that creates an intentional pattern by splitting the cheese with a knife a few weeks after production.
The best blues are not overpowered by the flavor of the mold. The cheese and mold should harmonize and work together to create a unique, yet balanced, experience. Blues are naturally stronger in flavor than most other cheeses but not all blues are intense. They can range from very buttery with a slight spice to incredibly bold and acidic. Queso Cabrales is the strongest blue I have come across. Some people love it; I find it way too strong to eat on its own.
Dating back to the 18th century, Stilton is England’s most famous blue cheese. It was described in the early 1720’s by author Daniel Defoe as, “English Parmesan, and is brought to the table with the mites or maggots round it so thick that they bring a spoon with them for you to eat the mites with, as you do the cheese.” Fortunately, maggots are no longer present in the blue cheese and is enjoyed instead with a glass of port. Though it is a classic winter cheese, Stilton can be enjoyed throughout the year. Made today only with pasteurized cow’s milk, it is buttery and rich while the blue veining adds a pleasant acidity. Look for Stilton made by the Colston Bassett creamery, the best and oldest Stilton producer.
In April, the Arlington County Board quietly approved a site plan amendment for the vacant National Gateway building at 3500 and 3550 S. Clark Street, along Jefferson Davis Highway near Potomac Yard. The amendment was granted to allow the office building to be used for educational purposes.
Specifically, the building was to be occupied by a new 1,300-student law school, complete with 22 classrooms, a law library, a bookstore, a moot courtroom and a cafe.
Since April, however, no construction permits have been issued for the building. InfiLaw System, a Florida-based consortium of independent law schools that was planning to open the new school, now says that plans have fallen through, at least for now.
“The InfiLaw System was exploring opening a law school in Arlington, Virginia,” confirmed Kathy Heldman, the organization’s vice president of marketing, via email last night. “We have decided to put the initiative on hold.”
No word yet on whether InfiLaw might revive the law school plans at some point in the near future. The decision is another blow to Arlington’s commercial real estate market, which is reeling from the National Science Foundation’s decision to move to Alexandria and the Fish and Wildlife Service’s expected decision to move to the Skyline area of Fairfax County.
Photo via nationalgatewayarlington.com