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UPDATED: Supreme Court Puts Va. Same Sex Marriage on Hold

by Ethan Rothstein | August 20, 2014 at 1:15 pm | 2,139 views | No Comments

Arlington County's courthouse and police headquarters

Update at 3:20 p.m. – The U.S. Supreme Court has issued a stay in the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling striking down Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage. Arlington will not be able to grant marriage licenses unless the Supreme Court either declines to take further action or considers and then upholds the ruling.

Update at 4:40 p.m. — Paul Ferguson has issued a statement: “I am disappointed with the Supreme Court’s decision but remain hopeful that the Fourth Circuit’s ruling will ultimately be upheld. Our office will be prepared to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples whenever that time comes.”

Earlier: Arlington officials are preparing to issue what could be the state’s first same sex marriage licenses tomorrow (Thursday).

Unless a stay is issued by the U.S. Supreme Court, Arlington Clerk of the Circuit Court Paul Ferguson says he will start taking applications and issuing licenses to same sex couples at 8:00 a.m.

The applications will be taken on the 6th floor of the Arlington County Courthouse (1425 N. Courthouse Road), but in light of the fact that cameras are not allowed inside the courthouse, Ferguson will also administer oaths outside.

“Since cameras are not allowed, I will administer oaths to those couples who want to be filmed/interviewed outside of the courthouse,” Ferguson told ARLnow.com today. “Also, there will be ministers and civil celebrants outside the courthouse ready to perform marriages for those who would like to get married immediately after receiving the license.”

Arlington County is expecting a large media presence for the event. From 7:30 to 9:00 a.m., the police department is planning to shut down N. Courthouse Road between 14th and 15th Streets to allow for television truck parking.

Arlington will not be joined tomorrow by Arlington’s neighbor Fairfax County, whose clerk, John T. Frey, told RestonNow.com that he would not issue same sex marriage licenses until the court case was “a done deal.” If no stay is ordered, Ferguson said he’s not sure how big of a crowd to expect in his office tomorrow.

“We have redeployed staff from other sections of the office and will do our best to serve people as promptly as possible,” he said. “It is hard to estimate how many couples might request licenses. We have an overflow room for people to wait that is comfortable. I am guessing it will be a festive atmosphere with couples visiting with other couples who are waiting.”

Despite the planning, there’s a chance it could all be for naught, at least for a while.

Following the ruling of the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals last week that same sex marriages could begin first thing Thursday morning, state Attorney General Mark Herring requested a stay from the U.S. Supreme Court until it rules fully on the case to strike down the state’s constitutional amendment ban on same sex marriage.

“A stay is warranted,” Herring said in a press release, “in light of the negative impact on Virginia children, families, and businesses if the Supreme Court eventually rules against marriage equality and forces an unwinding of Virginians’ marriages, adoptions, inheritances, or workplace benefits.”

Chief Justice John Roberts has yet to issue a decision.

Arlington County Board Chairman Jay Fisette married his longtime partner, Bob Rosen, last fall, and told ARLnow.com from his office last week that even he was stunned with how quickly the momentum toward legal same sex marriages has grown.

“The pace of this evolution has been remarkable and rewarding,” Fisette said. “In my view, it’s just a matter of time. There’s now an inevitability around marriage equality, as there should be.”

ABC Store Could Return Near Colonial Village

by Ethan Rothstein | July 31, 2014 at 3:30 pm | 1,493 views | No Comments

The site of a possible new ABC store in Courthouse The site of a possible new ABC store in Courthouse

A Virginia ABC store may be coming to the Courthouse area.

The state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control is negotiating a lease for a liquor store in the new 1919 Clarendon Blvd building, an ABC official confirmed. That’s a block away from the Colonial Village Shopping Center, where another ABC store closed last year.

ABC has applied for a construction permit for the space, but it has yet to be approved.

The store, if it does finalize its lease, would move into the new building alongside Lucky Pot Asian restaurant, Oasis Nail salon — both under construction — and European Wax Center, which is already open. Also moving into the building, according to Elevation DC, is a location of H Street NE Lebanese eatery Shawafel, which also has a booth at Nationals Park.

Shawafel, owner Alberto Sissi told Elevation, plans to have two counters — one for its savory food items and one for sweets — along with a fresh juice station.

Southern Restaurant Coming to Courthouse?

by Ethan Rothstein | July 30, 2014 at 1:15 pm | 3,338 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.”

Updated at 11:50 a.m., 8/5/14: Tupelo Honey Cafe officials have confirmed that it is moving into the space in Courthouse.

Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com | July 30, 2014 at 9:30 am | 2,011 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

Courthouse Parking Lot Slated for Open Space

by Ethan Rothstein | July 24, 2014 at 12:15 pm | 3,063 views | No Comments

Courthouse Square Concept A Courthouse Square Concept B Courthouse Square Concept C

(Updated at 2:10 p.m.) The large surface parking lot between the Arlington County Justice Center and Courthouse Plaza appears destined to become open, green space at some point in the future.

Last night, county planners presented three concepts to the community as part of the Envision Courthouse Square outreach process. All of the concepts included using the space the surface parking lot occupies as a sort of town green, with pedestrian and bicycle paths crisscrossing the area in different patterns.

The workshop last night was the last in-person chance the community will have for significant input before staff from Arlington’s Department of Community Planning, Housing and Development drafts a Courthouse Sector Plan Addendum, to be brought before the community in the fall and presented to the Arlington County Board this winter.

Moving forward, the county will plan on placing parking underground while “retaining minimal surface parking,” according to CPHD Principal Urban Designer and Planner Jason Beske. There are no plans for buildings on the north edge of the current parking lot to preserve the square, and 14th Street and 15th Street between Courthouse Road and N. Uhle Street will both remain open to vehicular traffic.

Three “big ideas” were brought before those in attendance, which included the Envision Courthouse Square Working Group and county staff. The first, Concept A, calls for 3.9 acres of open space, a pedestrian promenade connecting 15th and 14th Streets N. in front of the AMC Courthouse movie theater and converts 15th Street between N. Courthouse Road and Clarendon Blvd into a shared pedestrian, bike and vehicle corridor.

Concept B, pictured above in the center, calls for the pedestrian promenade to be diagonal from the current Strayer Building — viewed as a target for high-rise redevelopment — to the Verizon Plaza building adjacent to the building that contains the Gold’s Gym. This plan calls for 4.2 acres of open space and includes a pocket park between Courthouse Plaza and N. Veitch Street.

Concept C, pictured above on the right, calls for 3.15 acres of open space and a more east-west alignment of paths and streets in the design area.

The plans for building redevelopment vary significantly among the three plans. Concept A calls for the two buildings with 15th Street frontages to be redeveloped at heights of 153-180 feet for the Strayer building — at the intersection with Clarendon Blvd — and 300 feet for the Landmark Block, at the intersection of with Courthouse Road. It also calls for retail in front of the AMC theater and a new building up to 180 feet tall next to it.

Concept B flips the proposed heights for the Strayer and Landmark blocks from Concept A, calls for the redevelopment of the AMC theater into a county or private building up to 180 feet tall and a three-to-five story “cultural building” at the Verizon Plaza site.

Concept C includes the most significant redevelopment: a “market shed” next to the AMC theater, the same proposed heights for the Strayer and Landmark block and two, 10-12 story buildings along 14th Street N., with the option to preserve the current theater or include a separate cultural use. The Verizon Plaza would be the site for a new, 300-foot high-rise building.

“Think of these plans as a kit-of-parts,” CPHD staff wrote in its presentation last night. “All of the big ideas are open for your feedback. Feedback results will inform us of the community’s preferences as we take the next steps to combine ideas and test their feasibility. The goal is to create a single, preferred plan that carries our shared vision forward.”

CPHD officials said an online survey will be posted shortly for community members unable to attend last night to weigh in on the three concepts.

Images via Arlington CPHD

Courthouse Square Designs to be Unveiled Tomorrow

by Ethan Rothstein | July 22, 2014 at 3:45 pm | 2,219 views | No Comments

Courthouse Square mapThree potential designs for the re-envisioned Courthouse Square area will be presented to the community tomorrow (Wednesday) night.

The workshop will be held on the third floor of the office building at 1310 N. Courthouse Road from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. The public will see three draft design concepts for the area that include plans for open space, building location and design, cultural resources, circulation (moving cars, pedestrians and bicycles through the area) and sustainability.

After the workshop, county staff and the Envision Courthouse Square Working Group will take the community’s recommendations and, along with county planning staff, formulate a draft revision to the 1993 Courthouse Sector Plan Addendum, to be brought before the Arlington County Board this winter.

The workshop could be the final chance for the public to engage in person with the working group before the plans start to take a more definite shape. There have already been two community workshops — one in March and another in April — as well as an online survey that revealed respondents have more open space and an outdoor movie program on the top of their wish list for the area.

Courthouse Square is defined as the 9-acre area around the large surface parking lot between Courthouse Plaza and the Arlington County Justice Center. It’s bounded by N. Courthouse Road to the east, Clarendon Blvd to the north, Courthouse Plaza to the west and just south of 14th Street N. to the south.

Image via Arlington County

‘Lucky Pot’ Restaurant Coming to Courthouse

by Ethan Rothstein | July 9, 2014 at 5:00 pm | 2,309 views | No Comments

(Updated at 7:30 p.m.) A new Asian restaurant is moving into the ground floor of the new 1919 Clarendon Blvd apartment building.

The eatery is called Lucky Pot, and it will serve a variety of Asian dishes, including sushi, Chinese and Thai cuisine, according to Jeff Handler of Asadoorian Retail Solutions, which helped to lease the space. The restaurant is hoping to open by August.

Lucky Pot is one of several new businesses coming to the area of the “superblock” between N. Rhodes Street and Courthouse Road. It will join a 7-Eleven, a Hair Cuttery, a nail salon and a specialty olive oil shop on the block, although those businesses are moving into the 2001 Clarendon Blvd building, still under construction, next door.

Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com | July 8, 2014 at 9:20 am | 3,331 views | No Comments

View of the Odyssey building in Courthouse (photo courtesy James Mahony)

Arlington Man’s Death Ruled a Homicide — The death of Arlington resident Michael Hrizuk in D.C.’s Glover Park neighborhood has been ruled a homicide. Hrizuk, 57, died of a “blunt impact head injury” during a reported assault. [Washington Post]

De la Pava Takes Over As Treasurer — After more than 30 years in office, Frank O’Leary stepped down as Arlington County Treasurer Monday. Stepping up to replace him is his chief deputy, Carla de la Pava, who was sworn in to serve as treasurer in a ceremony at county government headquarters. De la Pava is so far unopposed in an upcoming special election that would allow her to continue serving out O’Leary’s term, which runs through Dec. 2015. [InsideNova]

TDM Is the ‘Secret to Arlington’s Success’ — The man who heads Arlington County Commuter Services, the county’s Transportation Demand Management (TDM) agency, says TDM is the “secret to Arlington’s success.” Commuter Services Bureau Chief Chris Hamilton says ACCS programs like BikeArlington, WalkArlington, The Commuter Store and the Car-Free Diet campaign have helped to keep cars off the street even as Arlington’s population has grown. [Mobility Lab]

‘Orange Line Disaster’ at Courthouse — The Orange Line was a “disaster” at the Courthouse Metro station this morning, commuters reported via Twitter. According to various reports, delays started when a train with a door problem offloaded at Courthouse. Passengers crowded onto the platform at the station, which was reportedly un-air-conditioned. At some point, a passenger on a train fainted, prompting that train to hold at the station while medical personnel responded.

Photo courtesy James Mahony

Arlington Watches U.S. Men’s Soccer Advance in World Cup

by Morgan Fecto | June 26, 2014 at 3:35 pm | 2,258 views | No Comments

(Updated at 3:50 p.m.Summers Restaurant in Courthouse was saturated with beer, World Cup fans and support for the U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team this afternoon. Bargoers were on the edge of their seats before the game between the U.S. and Germany even started.

“This is, like, the biggest game of my life,” said Joyce Batka, a soccer fan since kindergarten and supporter of U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann since he played for the German national team in the 1990s. “I’m really torn. I’d love it if there was a tie today so that both teams advance.”

The Germans defeated the U.S. team, 1-0, but because the U.S. lost to Germany by only one goal and Portugal, which defeated Ghana, lost by four earlier in the tournament, the U.S. advanced to the Round of 16.

Batka planned weeks ahead to take the day off from work and watch the game, much like Wes Cronkite, who had his day off scheduled since December. Batka and Cronkite were two of the thousands of soccer fans, new and old, who ditched work today to pack neighborhood restaurants with TVs from noon to 2:00 p.m.

“I haven’t missed a World Cup game since 1994,” Cronkite said. Cronkite was sporting a U.S. jersey, and others showed support with American flags, Hawaiian leis and other displays of team pride.

The United States defeated Ghana, 2-1, to open the tournament last week, and was beating Portugal 2-1 until 94 and a half minutes into the 95-minute game, the Portuguese scored to force a tie. If the U.S. had held on, they would have advanced regardless of their result against Germany.

“They could have closed it out last time,” Courtney Friedman, a soccer fan for five years, said while wearing an American flag poncho, “but that makes this game extra special.”

Although neither team scored during the first half of the game, curses and expressions of frustration filled Summers with each German shot American goalie Tim Howard blocked, leading many fans to pay closer attention to the Portugal-Ghana game. A man with a vuvuzela paced and yawned near the bar.

“They’re not even trying anymore,” a man in the crowd said at the beginning of the second half. “The game is dead.” Germany scored its first and only goal of the game before he finished his sentence.

“These Germans are very boisterous,” Dave Endres, who was at a bar in Tysons on Sunday for the U.S.’s game against Portugal, said.

For the rest of the second half, the crowd was quiet apart from shouts of disagreement at “unfair” calls from the referee, and one man who chanted “U-S-A, U-S-A,” after Ghana scored its only goal on Portugal.

The U.S. team will now face the winner of either Belgium or Algeria in the Round of 16 on Tuesday at 3:30 p.m. It’s the first time in U.S. Soccer history that the men’s team advanced out of the group stage in two straight World Cups. In 2010, The U.S. was eliminated by Ghana in the Round of 16.

Despite the loss, the bar crowd still clapped, cheered and shouted “U-S-A, U-S-A” at the end of the game. Emotionally-drained fans, overall, were all smiles at the end result.

“It was still good,” bar patron Francisco Lainez said. “I mean, they lost, but they still get to the next stage.”

New Four-Mile Race Comes to Courthouse This Weekend

by Ethan Rothstein | June 25, 2014 at 10:00 am | 1,037 views | No Comments

Freedom Four Miler posterA new four-mile race will be held this Sunday morning from Courthouse down through Rosslyn and on Route 110.

The Freedom Four Miler is being organized by Pacers in partnership with Ireland’s Four Courts (2051 Wilson Blvd), which also serves as the race’s start and finish line. The race will begin at 8:00 a.m. and registration is $40.

It’s the inaugural running of the race, and it replaces the former Let Freedom Run 5K held in Fairfax County as the Fourth of July race in Pacers’ race offerings, according to Pacers Race Director Lisa Reeves.

The race now becomes the second four-miler Pacers holds in Arlington with Four Courts, pairing with the annual Four Courts Four-Miler held on St. Patrick’s Day weekend.

Both four milers have the same basic course – a straight-line, turnaround course, traveling down Wilson Blvd and continuing on Route 110 before turning back in between Rosslyn and the Pentagon. The Arlington County Police Department has yet to announced the official street closures and times, but Reeves said roads will be closed on a rolling basis following the course. All roads should be fully open by 9:00 a.m., Reeves said, and closures will begin to go into effect at around 7:45 a.m.

“It’s a celebration-type race, that’s really what it’s all about,” Reeves said. “Having a good time with your friends and everything. We always encourage people to wear costumes, and we’ll have a photo booth with props like an Uncle Sam hat for runners and spectators to pose with.”

‘All American Bar Crawl’ Coming to Clarendon

by ARLnow.com | June 11, 2014 at 4:05 pm | 2,093 views | No Comments

Uncle_Sam_LogoA bar crawl is promising to bring “a day full of Star Spangled shenanigans and bar-hopping” to Courthouse and Clarendon later this month.

The All American Bar Crawl will take place from 2:00 to 9:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 28. Tickets are $15 now or $20 at the door.

Organizers say “thousands” of patriotic partiers are expected to flock to local watering holes like Clarendon Ballroom, Velocity Five, Bracket Room and Mad Rose Tavern, which are among the 14 participating bars announced so far for the event.

Participants — who are encouraged to dress in red, white and blue – receive specials at each bar, a “signature freedom mug,” “patriotic party beads,” $2 pizza slices at Bronx Pizza and raffle tickets.

This is not the first year for the All American Bar Crawl, which is being held in advance of the Fourth of July. The event was also held in Clarendon last year.

Arlington County policymakers are currently considering measures to impose additional restrictions or fees on bar crawls.

New Courthouse Park Now Open

by ARLnow.com | June 11, 2014 at 1:30 pm | 2,147 views | No Comments

The new temporary park at the corner of Clarendon Blvd and N. Barton Street (2409 Clarendon Blvd) is now open.

The space, in the Courthouse neighborhood, is being billed as “a little oasis in the bustling urban corridor.” It features open green space and a “multi-use activity area” where residents are encouraged to “BYOG,” or “bring your own game.”

“The new open space has lawns and multi-use activity area that is perfect for bocce, cornhole, lawn bowling or just about anything a toddler can think up!” said Arlington Dept. of Parks and Recreation spokeswoman Laura Barragan. “Lawn and gardens surround an inner plaza where there are colorful tables with umbrellas as well as uniquely designed seating for people to enjoy the outdoors.”

The park, located on land temporarily donated to the county by the Korean embassy, was designed with sustainability in mind. It includes an old garbage dumpster that was recycled as a planter, plants and boulders transplanted from elsewhere in the county, and simple, low-cost elements like concrete block planters, according to Barragan.

Construction on the park started in February and wrapped up a week ago, on June 4. The park is expected to remain open for at least a year.

Photos courtesy Arlington County

Bystanders Stop Sexual Assault Near Courthouse Metro

by ARLnow.com | June 3, 2014 at 11:00 am | 10,030 views | No Comments

Ryan Dean mug shot (photo courtesy ACPD)(Updated at 12:35 p.m.) A group of four men in their 20s intervened to stop a sexual assault outside of the Courthouse Metro station early Saturday morning, according to police.

The incident happened around 3:30 a.m. It started, police say, when a man followed a 31-year-old woman off the Metro and, after exiting the station, threw her into a bush near the corner of N. Veitch Street and Wilson Blvd.

The man tried to sexually assault the woman, but her screams for help were heard by a group of four men who ran to her aid, fought off the attacker and called police, according Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.

The suspect was arrested as he tried to flee eastbound on Clarendon Blvd, Sternbeck said. Ryan Dean, 27-years-old of no fixed address, is charged with sexual battery.

Photo courtesy ACPD

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