Arlington Ranks High for Tax Burden — Arlington County has the second highest overall tax burden in the nation, according to stats compiled by the website NerdWallet. Arlington’s high median income and high real estate costs factored heavily in the calculation, which includes federal, state and local taxes. [NerdWallet, Washington Business Journal]
Trevor Noah Performs in Arlington — Comedian Trevor Noah performed his first stand-up comedy show since being named the next host of The Daily Show last night in Arlington. It was the first of seven sold-out shows Noah is performing this weekend at the Arlington Cinema Drafthouse. In writing about the performance, the New York Times described the Drafthouse as “about a half-hour drive outside Washington, with drinks far cheaper than most places in the District.” [New York Times]
Amsterdam Falafelshop Offers Pot Pairings — Amsterdam Falafelshop, which has a location in Clarendon, is offering a “pot pairing menu” in time for 4/20. Also on April 20, the restaurant will offer sandwiches for $4.20. [Washington City Paper]
Arlington Resident in Voice Contest — Tara Cannon, an Arlington resident, is among the singers hoping to get a guaranteed audition for The Voice, via an online voting contest on NBC 4′s website. [NBC Washington]
Fairlington 5K Road Closures — Arlington County Police are planning on shutting down a number of roads Saturday morning for the second annual Fairlington 5K race. The roads are expected to be closed between 7:00 and 9:30 a.m. [Arlington County]
Cherry Blossom Race Closures — Police are planning on closing the Memorial Bridge and Memorial Circle to traffic Sunday morning for the Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run and 5K. The closure is scheduled to be in place from 5:00 to 11:00 a.m.
Pasha Cafe Changes Name — Pasha Cafe, at 3911 Lee Highway, has changed its name to Bistro 29. Owner Bill Hamrock tells ARLnow.com that “75% of the menu is the same,” but there have been some changes. “Some of our new items include: Fried Green Tomatoes, Shrimp ‘Tempura,’ Shrimp and Crab Potstickers, Bacon Wrapped Scallops, Balsamic Glazed Chicken and a Grilled Chicken Salad with Fried Brie and Mango Buttermilk Vinaigrette.” [Bistro 29]
Cigar Connection Closes — The Cigar Connection store across from the Ballston Metro station has closed after 12 years in business. [Facebook]
Garden Tool Lending Starts Wednesday – Arlington Public Library will restart its garden tool lending program for the season tomorrow, March 11. The program allows Arlington County residents with a library card to borrow gardening tools from Arlington Central Library (1015 N. Quincy Street). The library says it’s the only such program in the D.C. region. [Arlington Public Library]
Celebrity Spotting in Ballston — Dancing With the Stars champion Julianne Hough and her boyfriend, Washington Capitals center Brooks Laich, were spotted grabbing a bite to eat at A-Town Bar and Grill in Ballston over the weekend. We’re told the couple arrived after the Caps beat the Buffalo Sabres Saturday night.
Arlington Startup Gets Acquired — Veenome, an Arlington-based tech startup, has been acquired by New York-based Integral Ad Science. Veenome’s software analyzes video content on web sites on behalf of advertisers. [Washington Business Journal]
Police Pose for Breakfast Club Scene — Five Arlington County school resource officers recreated an iconic scene from the movie The Breakfast Club, as part of a recruiting campaign for the police department. [Twitter]
Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf
TV Bachelor Arrested in Arlington — John Bonavia, a wealthy bachelor who tried to find love last year on the Bravo show Millionaire Matchmaker, was arrested in Ballston on Saturday, Nov. 1. Banavia was charged with being drunk in public on the 4200 block of N. Fairfax Drive, near the Ballston Metro station. [Radar Online]
Historical Marker for Pharmacy — Arlington County has erected a historical marker for the Green Valley Pharmacy in the Nauck neighborhood. The interactive marker includes audio clips from an interview with 86-year-old owner Leonard “Doc” Muse, who still operates the pharmacy to this day. [InsideNova, Arlington County]
No Blue Line Tomorrow — Metro’s Blue Line will be suspended on Tuesday (Veterans Day) to help with the agency’s effort to accommodate the massive crowds expected to attend the Concert for Valor on the National Mall. Yellow Line trains will replace Blue Line trains on Tuesday. As many as 800,000 people are expected to attend the concert. [WMATA]
County Offices Closed Tuesday — Arlington County offices, schools, courts and libraries will be closed for the Veterans Day holiday on Tuesday. ART buses will operate on a modified holiday schedule. Normal trash, recycling and leaf collection will still take place. [Arlington County]
Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley
Sheryl Crow Musical Coming to Shirlington — The world premiere musical adaptation of the moving Diner is coming to Signature Theatre in Shirlington next month. Written by Academy Award-winning screenwriter Barry Levinson, with music and lyrics by Sheryl Crow, Diner will run from Dec. 9 to Jan. 25. [Signature Theatre]
Crossover Voting Strong in N. Arlington — Throughout Arlington, Democratic voters “crossed over” to vote for John Vihstadt on Tuesday. Overall, however, the residential portions of North Arlington had the greatest crossover vote for the independent County Board candidate. [Not Larry Sabato]
Voter ID Rule Mostly Affected Seniors — About 60 Arlington voters did not bring a photo ID to the polls on Tuesday, election officials said. Under new ID rules in Virginia, they could only cast a provisional ballot then come back and present photo ID. Most of those without ID were senior citizens, and many of those senior citizens were from the same local retirement home. [InsideNova]
County Board Race is Anyone’s Guess – The outcome of the Arlington County Board race between incumbent John Vihstadt and Democratic challenger Alan Howze is far from certain. While Vihstadt is winning the fundraising battle, Howze is expected to benefit from far greater turnout than the 16 percent who voted in the special election this year. The last general election with a Senate race on the ballot saw a 55 percent turnout in Arlington. [Washington Post]
Vihstadt Peeved at ‘Pro-Streetcar Narrative’ — At yesterday’s County Board meeting, John Vihstadt complained about the county government’s pro-streetcar PR efforts. He suggested that he and fellow streetcar critic Libby Garvey, who make up 40 percent of the Board, should have their views heard through county government channels. Board Chair Jay Fisette slammed that idea, saying “it doesn’t make sense” for the county government to expend resources arguing against its own official policy. [InsideNova]
Cyclist Struck on Lynn Street — A bicyclist was struck by a vehicle on Lynn Street in Rosslyn, between Wilson Blvd and 19th Street N., just before 9:00 this morning. The cyclist was transported to Virginia Hospital Center with an apparent dislocated collarbone.
Bank Robbery in Falls Church — The FBI is looking for a man who robbed a BB&T Bank on West Broad Street in Falls Church yesterday morning. [Federal Bureau of Investigation]
Zac Hanson’s Birthday — On this day 29 years ago, “MMMBop” singer Zac Hanson was born in Arlington. [Hello!]
Famed octogenarian sex therapist Dr. Ruth Westheimer is slated to speak at an event in Ballston next month.
Dr. Ruth has been added to the agenda of the Beacon 50+ Expo, to be held on the third level of Ballston Common Mall from noon to 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 26. The 86-year-old will be talking about and autographing her latest book.
The free event will also feature “expert speakers, health screenings, informative resources, technology education and entertainment for older adults and their families,” according to a press release.
More than 100 exhibitors are expected to be on hand, and “giveaways and doors prizes will be plentiful.” The keynote speaker at the event is Dr. Robert Fischell, inventor of the rechargeable pacemaker, the implantable insulin pump, and dozens of other “life-changing medical devices.”
Another 50+ Expo will be held in Maryland — at the Silver Spring Civic Center on Sunday, Oct. 19.
Diners at Ruth’s Chris Steak House in Crystal City (2231 Crystal Drive) Monday night had some especially muscular, familiar-looking waiters.
Washington Redskins running back Alfred Morris and other team stars donned aprons and name tags for the second annual Blitz For The Better Celebrity Waiter Night fundraiser.
Raising funds “to provide opportunities, support and resources to children and families in need in the Washington, D.C. area,” according to the team blog, the event was organized by Blitz for the Better founder and Redskins outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan.
Morris, caught on camera (above) by TMZ Sports outside the event, participated along with tight end Niles Paul, safety Ryan Clark, and fullback Darrel Young, and a number of linebackers and linemen: Jackson Jeffcoat, Gabe Miller, Adam Hayward, Shawn Lauvao and Braxston Cave.
County Official: I-66 Doesn’t Need More Lanes — Arlington County officials have repeatedly expressed opposition to widening I-66 inside the Beltway. Now one county official is even decrying a proposal to add lanes to I-66 outside of the Beltway. Arlington County Commuter Services chief Chris Hamilton says the plans “are not only maddening, but they fly in the face of everything we’ve learned about induced demand… it’s impossible to build ourselves out of congestion because the roads themselves cause traffic.” [Mobility Lab]
ACPD to Hold ‘Chief-for-the-Day’ Contest — The Arlington County Police Department is holding an essay contest for children ages 8-12. The kid who submits the best answer to the question “what does it mean to be a police officer?” will be named “chief-for-the-day.” The winner will be “picked up at his or her house on August 5, 2014 by a patrol car and driven to the ACPD to spend the day involved in fun filled activities.” [Arlington County]
Arlington Beauty Queen Almost Married Dean Martin — Beauty queen and Washington-Lee High School grad Gail Renshaw, who was named Miss USA-World in 1969, nearly married the late Rat Pack crooner Dean Martin. In the end, Renshaw turned down Martin’s marriage proposal, moved to Prince George’s County, worked as a dialysis nurse and married a banker. [Falls Church News-Press]
Arlington Native Goes to China, Voices TV Show — Yorktown High School grad Emily Jeffers wasn’t sure about what exactly she wanted to do for work when she traveled to China on a one-way ticket and a tourist visa. Eventually, she found employment dubbing a state-produced Chinese sitcom into English for syndication on South African TV. [InsideNova]
Potomac Yard Metro Station Progress — Federal transit authorities have narrowed down the list of potential locations for a Potomac Yard Metro station from four to two. The two remaining locations are also the two least expensive options studied — one is relatively close to the existing Potomac Yard shopping center while the other is close to the Potomac Greens neighborhood. [Washington Business Journal]
Flickr pool photo by Joseph Gruber
Washington Wizards swingman Martell Webster has a new position: serving ice cream at new Clarendon shop Nicecream Factory (2831 Clarendon Blvd).
Webster, who lives in McLean, had started cycling to Clarendon some afternoons to taste some of Nicecream’s treats after his childhood friend from Seattle, Wash., James Conti, started working as Nicecream’s marketing coordinator a month ago.
“Actually, that’s my little brother,” Webster is quick to point out. Webster played basketball with Conti’s older brother and said their family “took me in and pretty much raised me. It was my home away from home.”
The Washington Post reported earlier this week that Webster was doing some promotional work for Nicecream, but Friday afternoon he was behind the counter and in front of the store, making batches of homemade, on-demand ice cream like the two small half-mango, half-pistachio cups he served to a young family. He was also passing out samples to passers-by on the sidewalk, encouraging them to come inside.
“He usually comes in and sits in the corner eating and kind of crouches down,” Nicecream owner Sandra Tran told ARLnow.com while Webster was entertaining a toddler, asking her if he should dye his goatee pink. “When there’s a customer who comes in to check it out, he’ll kind of pop up and tell them ‘it’s really good.’”
Webster, who is listed at 6-foot-7, averaged 9.7 points and 2.8 rebounds in 27.7 minutes per game for the Wizards this year, his second in Washington. He’s moving back to Portland, Ore., for the summer in late June — the Portland Trail Blazers is where he spent the first five years of his career after being chosen with the No. 6 overall pick in the 2005 draft, directly out of high school.
Until he leaves for Portland, however, he said he plans on stopping by Nicecream “periodically” to help serve. He calls himself the “unofficial intern,” and he gets all the scoops of dark chocolate and sea salt — his favorite flavor — he wants.
He said it took him “about 156,000 tries” before he was able to make his first batch of ice cream worthy of serving to customers.
“It was pretty rough, but like with anything, practice makes you stronger,” he said. “Now I’m up to par, but there’s always a head over my shoulder, so to speak.”
Conti graduated from college a year ago and had been in discussions to join the Nicecream team for “a while” before he moved from Tacoma, Wash., to Arlington. Now, he’s living in Webster’s guest house and has his “big brother” working for him.
“I knew I wanted to use him somehow,” he said. “I think was the best way to do it. Knowing Martell, he might actually work at an ice cream shop. It’s still great to see him interact and engage with the customers. Not a lot of professional athletes would do that.”
JetBlue Adding Service from DCA — JetBlue Airlines will begin direct service from Reagan National Airport to Charleston, S.C.; Hartford, Conn.; and Nassau, Bahamas on June 19. On July 2 the airline will add a second daily flight between DCA and Tampa. [InsideNova]
Beyer Accused of Using Car Dealership Ads to Boost Campaign — Del. Patrick Hope is accusing fellow Democratic congressional candidate Don Beyer of trying to “buy an election” and increase his name recognition by increasing ad buys for his eponymous Don Beyer Volvo dealership. Hope’s campaign says radio station WAMU has pulled ads for Don Beyer Volvo until after the June 10 primary. [Blue Virginia]
Celebrity Spotting in Shirlington — Actor and director Beau Bridges was reportedly spotted having dinner at Busboys and Poets in Shirlington this past Friday night. [Shirlington Village Blog Spot]
Flickr pool photo by Joseph Gruber
The True Lies sidekick and Best Damn Sports Show Period host, who rose to fame as a writer on Roseanne, will be in Arlington for four standup performances: Friday, April 11 and Saturday, April 12 at 7:30 and 10:00 p.m.
Tickets to the show are $25.
Entertainment icon Oprah Winfrey will attend a fundraiser in Arlington for congressional candidate Lavern Chatman (D) next month, Chatman’s campaign announced this morning.
Winfrey will headline Chatman’s fundraiser, which will be held somewhere in Arlington on Saturday, April 5, according to the campaign. The event will also “feature several prominent leaders speaking on women’s issues, globally, nationally, and in the 8th District of Virginia.”
“Oprah is a good friend and we both share a passion for empowering women and girls for leadership,” Chatman said in a statement. “I’m delighted she is coming to town to help with my congressional campaign.”
Chatman is the former President and CEO of the Northern Virginia Urban League. She held her campaign kickoff event at Arlington’s Army Navy Country Club on Feb. 12.
So far, the Chatman campaign says it has raised $200,000 in the race to replace Rep. Jim Moran in Congress. The race includes nearly a dozen candidates vying for the Democratic nomination.
Photo courtesy Alan Light via Wikipedia
(Updated at 12:30 p.m.) Comedian Bill Cosby joined Arlington County Board Chairman Jay Fisette and other local notables in helping to open the new Ben’s Chili Bowl in Rosslyn this morning.
Cosby’s jokes and antics drew laughs from the large crowd of media and spectators that gathered to see the ribbon cutting for the iconic U Street eatery’s first stand-alone, brick-and-mortar expansion. Other attendees and speakers included the Ali family, which owns the restaurant; the ambassador of Trinidad and Tobago, late founder Ben Ali’s home country; WPGC DJ Shack Nd Pack; and Rosslyn BID President Mary-Claire Burick.
Cosby joked that as an aging Navy veteran, he was glad to have a Ben’s Chili Bowl near Arlington National Cemetery.
“The reason why this establishment has decided to open here is for me,” he said. “I’m 76-and-a-half years old. I’m going to have my 77th birthday in July… I spent four years in the Navy, which means I am eligible for a military funeral. Now, my can ghost make the trip here instead of flying over to U Street.”
“Over in that cemetery there is no cholesterol,” he continued. “There are no triglycerides. Eat as many as you like. Double down on the cheese and fries. A lot of people may not go to heaven, because this is heaven.”
Arlington County Board Chairman Jay Fisette presented Cosby and Virginia Ali, Ben’s widow, with keys to Arlington. Cosby quipped that he would use it to get out of parking tickets.
“Whoa, who put me on stage after Bill Cosby?” Fisette said, to which Cosby shot back: “your mother did.”
“Thanks for choosing Arlington… for your second spot,” Fisette said. “As I’ve always said, chili for breakfast, chili for lunch, chili for dinner and a half smoke for dessert.”
Customers flooded into the the restaurant following the ribbon cutting, leaving a large crowd outside the doors, waiting to get in. Hundreds showed up to the Colonial Village Shopping Center parking lot to see Cosby speak and get some of the first tastes of chili, half smokes, hamburgers and milkshakes after standing outside in near-freezing temperatures.
The restaurant is located at 1725 Wilson Blvd, in the former Ray’s Hell Burger space. It’s owned and operated by three sons, Nizam, Kamal and Sage, and one daughter, Vida. The family said during the ribbon cutting that the restaurant plans to stay open until 4:30 a.m.
“The chili will sober you up,” Cosby said of Ben’s likely late night customers.
A grand opening celebration is scheduled for the new location, at 1725 Wilson Blvd, at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, March 6. Cosby is “100 percent confirmed” for the event, the Rosslyn Business Improvement District was told today by the restaurant’s owners.
Cosby is arguably the biggest celebrity fan of the landmark U Street eatery, and counts the owners, the Ali family, as friends. The comedian is expected to give a few remarks with the family before the store’s opening.
Arlington County Board members are also expected to be in attendance.
Photo via Facebook
Bracket Room, a new upscale sports bar in Clarendon, is planning to open its doors on Thursday, Sept. 5.
The restaurant received its liquor license this week and will be wrapping up interior construction over the next week. Co-owner and reality television star Chris Bukowski says the Bracket Room will distinguish itself from other sports bars in the area by offering a higher-end, “female-friendly” experience, complete with a wide variety of cocktails and shooters and higher-quality food.
“What’s going to separate us any every other sports bar is our food,” Bukowski told ARLnow.com. “We have put in the most effort into our food. It’s not going to be your typical bar food… that’s what’s going to bring people back.”
Bracket Room chef Roland Kator, a personal friend of Bukowski who formerly worked at restaurants in Las Vegas and Chicago, including celebrity chef Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill, has helped design a menu that includes both bar favorites and slightly more adventurous fare. Pizza, burgers and tacos are available, as is ceviche, Maine lobster and a “superfoods salad.”
Lined with flat screen TVs and wood paneling, the bar’s modern interior suggests a lounge more akin to Las Vegas than Arlington, which is what Bukowski was aiming for. Adding to the high-end vibe: a private, 20-person VIP area with a customized iPad to control the TVs and the volume.
Bukowski first came up with the idea for the Bracket Room 5 years ago. His TV fame, through roles on ABC reality shows “The Bachelorette” and “Bachelor Pad,” gave him a “marketable name” that helped to make the restaurant a reality, he said. Already, fans have been coming into the under-construction restaurant seeking photos.
While many celebrity chefs are content to put their name on a restaurant with which they have little on-going personal involvement, Bukowski, as a celebrity owner, says he will be more hands-on. He has put his TV work on hold until at least the spring, so he can focus on running the restaurant.
“We have to have everything perfect, from our construction to our staff,” he said. “I will be here every day — interacting with people, making sure everybody’s having a good time.”
Bukowski noted that he “lives literally right above the bar” — in the Lyon Place apartment building. He moved in about 7 months ago.
“I love Clarendon… it’s a perfect location,” he said, when asked about why he chose Arlington and not his native Chicago as the place to open the bar. “The demographic is right up my alley… a lot of young professionals, people that are right out of college that are hungry to make a career for themselves, but still like to go out and enjoy the nightlife.”