ARLnow Weekend Discussion

It’s Friday everyone! This means the end of a busy week for Arlington with news about everything from transit updates to whether Arlington really does recycle its glass and how Amazon may already be affecting real estate development.

It’s also been a week for Arlingtonians making their voices heard — whether that’s by signing petitions to save high school crew teams or literally singing on The Voice.

Then there’s the weather, from flooding to sunshine — it’s been a rollercoaster. Even the dogs are happier now, at least until the thunderstorm warnings kicked in.

It’s also been a big week for restaurants opening (and closing briefly thanks to electrical outages). Here’s five restaurant-related stories worth checking out:

  1. New Mexican Restaurant TTT Opening Today in Clarendon
  2. The Lot Beer Garden in Clarendon Plans Grand Opening for Next Spring
  3. New Restaurant Coming to Walter Reed Drive ‘Bermuda Triangle’
  4. New-Look Wendy’s Now Open on Route 7
  5. The Pinemoor’ Coming to Former Clarendon Grill Space

What are you eating this weekend? Let us know your weekend plans, and share your thoughts on our stories in the comments below.

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UPDATE: Spring Storm Drops Snow-Like Precipitation on Arlington

Update at 4:20 p.m. — The storm passed quickly, but not before dropping enough snow-like graupel and hail to whiten the ground.

Earlier: A Severe Thunderstorm Warning has been issued for Arlington, ahead of a line of storm approaching from the northwest.

The storms may produce hail and strong wind gusts, forecasters say.

More from the National Weather Service:

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN STERLING VIRGINIA HAS ISSUED A * SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING FOR… THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA… SOUTHEASTERN MONTGOMERY COUNTY IN CENTRAL MARYLAND… PRINCE GEORGES COUNTY IN CENTRAL MARYLAND… NORTHWESTERN CHARLES COUNTY IN SOUTHERN MARYLAND… ARLINGTON COUNTY IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA… THE CITY OF FALLS CHURCH IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA… SOUTHEASTERN FAIRFAX COUNTY IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA… EAST CENTRAL PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA… THE CITY OF ALEXANDRIA IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA… * UNTIL 430 PM EDT. * AT 351 PM EDT, A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WAS LOCATED NEAR OAKTON, OR NEAR RESTON, MOVING SOUTHEAST AT 50 MPH. HAZARD…60 MPH WIND GUSTS. WIND GUSTS OVER 50 MPH WERE REPORTED IN WINCHESTER, LEESBURG AND AT DULLES AIRPORT. SOURCE…RADAR INDICATED. IMPACT…DAMAGING WINDS WILL CAUSE SOME TREES AND LARGE BRANCHES TO FALL. THIS COULD INJURE THOSE OUTDOORS, AS WELL AS DAMAGE HOMES AND VEHICLES. ROADWAYS MAY BECOME BLOCKED BY DOWNED TREES. LOCALIZED POWER OUTAGES ARE POSSIBLE. UNSECURED LIGHT OBJECTS MAY BECOME PROJECTILES. * LOCATIONS IMPACTED INCLUDE… ARLINGTON, ALEXANDRIA, WALDORF, DALE CITY, BETHESDA, BOWIE, ANNANDALE, CLINTON, SPRINGFIELD, COLLEGE PARK, FORT WASHINGTON, GREENBELT, LANGLEY PARK, BELTSVILLE, FORT HUNT, GROVETON, FORESTVILLE, FALLS CHURCH, HUNTINGTON AND LARGO. PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS… GET INDOORS TO PROTECT YOURSELF FROM WIND AND LIGHTNING. TREES AROUND YOU MAY BE DOWNED FROM DAMAGING WINDS, SO IF YOU ARE NEAR LARGE TREES, MOVE TO AN INTERIOR ROOM ON THE LOWEST FLOOR. DON’T DRIVE UNDERNEATH TREES OR IN WOODED AREAS UNTIL THE THREAT HAS PASSED. && HAIL…<.75IN WIND…60MPH

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APS Parents, Superintendent At Odds Over Crew Funding

(Updated at 5:05 p.m.) Parents and Arlington Public Schools are at odds over funding high school crew, and whether the sport should be left to sink among system-wide budget cuts.

Superintendent Patrick Murphy’s $662.7 million budget proposal for the school’s next fiscal year budget proposes $8.9 million in cuts, though those cuts could be scaled back should the county increase its funding transfer to the school system.

Among the proposed cuts is eliminating money for high school rowing teams, a decision sparking criticism from parents who argue the sport helps their children’s development.

School spokesman Frank Bellavia told ARLnow today (Friday) that APS did not want to propose any cuts, and continues to hope the county will find to “fully fund” the school’s budget. The county would save $120,000 by cutting crew, according to Murphy’s budget.

In the event that cuts have to happen, Bellavia said the Superintendent’s Office chose to prioritize “our instructional programs and the critical support provided to schools, students and families.”

A petition asking APS to keep funding crew has gained over 1,300 signatures in the last five days.

The petition argues that teams at Wakefield, Yorktown, and the recently-renamed Washington-Liberty, promote “wellness” and “reduce stress and anxiety.” The petition states that “in the current climate where we see an uptick in anxiety and depression among kids and an increase in obesity and sedentary lifestyles, we should not be cutting support for programs that help improve students’ lives.”

Many parents that signed touted the benefits of physical fitness and mental tenacity the sport gave their children, with several noting that crew offers equal opportunities to girls and boys.

“My daughter is short stature, she physically can’t participate in high school sports such as softball or lacrosse because it’s too dangerous. Her short stature is embraced as a coxswain,” one petition signer wrote on Wednesday.

W-L crew coach Wilson DeSousa also signed the petition, writing that in his years teaching the sport to APS high schoolers he’s seen it has “changed their lives and made them stronger young adults. Readied then for life through the hard work and challenges of being part of a team.”

Former crew members, several of them APS alumni, also signed the petition and shared what the sport meant to them.

“This is a wonderful sport which was THE best part of my high school experience,” a W-L alum wrote on Thursday. “Please keep supporting crew for kids who need it!”

County officials originally warned APS could be facing a $43 million budget gap next year, which Murphy said would have been the largest budget deficit for the school system in its entire history. County Manager Mark Schwartz later revised the estimate thanks to unexpected real estate assessment growth and lower-than-expected employee healthcare costs.

However, the increases are not enough to offset APS deficit, meaning some spending cuts are still needed. Murphy said earlier this month he expects to cut 23 staff positions due to the budget cuts, which will increase class sizes slightly next year. The budget also eliminates funding for some local travel, field trip travel, and laboratory collaboration.

“There’s a very clear reason we’re in this situation: more families are moving here, more businesses are moving here,” Murphy said at the time. “We must be doing something right.”

The Arlington School Board is set to vote on the final APS budget on April 11.

The full statement on cutting crew from Superintendent Patrick Murphy is below.

The Superintendent and APS does not want to take any of the proposed budget reductions. To present a proposed budget that was balanced, however, $8.9 million in reductions had to be proposed. Staff focused on preserving our instructional programs and the critical support provided to schools, students and families, but many difficult decisions had to be made about possible reductions. We continue to hope that the APS budget will be fully funded by Arlington County Government through funding strategies including an increase in the tax rate.

Photo via Yorktown Crew

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Refresh Therapeutic Massage Ballston Quarter

Refresh Therapeutic Massage (RTM) will be open on March 22, 2019 to expand access to an exceptional massage experience for Northern Virginia community residents, visitors and guests.

RTM is located in Ballston Quarter at 4238 Wilson Blvd, #1257 Arlington, VA 22203. Just a short walk from the Ballston Metro Station on the Orange and Silver lines, RTM is located near four hotels, numerous business offices and residential properties with shops and entertainment showcased in and around Ballston Quarter.

Ice Cream Jubilee Opens in Ballston

Ice Cream Jubilee has opened its new location in Ballston Quarter’s food hall.

The ice cream store, on the mall’s concourse level, is serving 16 unique flavors of ice cream, ranging from Thai Iced Tea to Honey Lemon Lavender to Banana Bourbon Caramel.

Owner Victoria Lai told ARLnow that she’s been pleasantly surprised by the number of customers they’ve had on their first day. She added that she’s excited to be among Ballston Quarter’s bevy of local food vendors.

“Every single day there’s something new down here,” she said. “There’s so much to look forward to.”

The opening comes at the same time as some other Ballston businesses were experiencing a power outage, across the street from the mall.

Dominion Energy spokesman Chuck Penn said the outage was caused by a nearby car accident and that Dominion crews were on the scene performing repairs.

“We expect to have all that done in about an hour,” Penn said at 2 p.m.

At 12:45 p.m. Dominion’s live outage map showed three customers affected by the outage.

Cava and Philz Coffee, which are both located at 4121 Wilson Blvd, posted signs on their front doors at noon Friday alerting customers they had closed due to the lack of power.

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National Chamber Ensemble — The Viennese Classics

National Chamber Ensemble’s “Musical Adventures Through The Time Machine” Season (Time Machine included) continues on to the the Classical Period!

With it’s growing emphasis on the melody was the remarkable period where composers let their imaginations run free in a quest for balance between reason and emotion. Experience the musical era obsessed with clarity, charm, balance, form and the genius of the three masters all working in Vienna: Joseph Haydn, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Ludwig van Beethoven.

On the program: Haydn’s Piano Trio No.39 in G Major “Gypsy”, Mozart’s Sonata for Violin and Piano No. 32 in B flat Major K. 454, and Beethoven’s Piano Trio Op.70 “Ghost.”

Joining violinist/artistic director Leo Sushansky will be cellist Sean Neidlinger and pianist Carlos Cesar Rodriguez.

Enjoy NCE artists sharing stories, humor, personal perspectives on the music. The goal of the NCE is to build a sense of closeness between performers and audience that enhances the feeling of community and a deeper musical experience

The performance will be followed by a reception with the artists.

“Delightful” — The Washington Post
“One of the gems of the entire Metro area” — DC Metro Theater Arts
“Enriched the musical skyline… for an amazing 10 years” — Nina Totenberg (NPR)

Free Parking:
For all evening and weekend performances use free parking lot at Gunston Arts Center. There are lots of great dining options nearby at Shirlington or Crystal City.

New Mexican Restaurant TTT Opening Today in Clarendon

(Updated at 3:50 p.m.) Arlington’s newest stop for tacos is holding a soft opening tonight (Friday) in Clarendon.

Tacos, Tortas, and Tequila (TTT) is the colorful creation of serial restauranteur Ivan Iricanin, who also owns Ambar and Baba across the street. Iricanin modeled the menu after Mexico City’s street food.

Starting Friday and continuing through Sunday, Iricanin says TTT will test out a limited version of its new menu with a dozen types of tacos available to order in groups of three. TTT will serve patrons from 4 p.m. until 1 a.m. tonight, he said.

The new restaurant’s soft opening continues this weekend, with TTT serving up taco combos Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m., and on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

“The goal is to be a neighborhood gathering spot,” Iricanin told ARLnow Friday morning, gesturing to the downstairs bar where he hopes people will order drinks, food, and bring books or laptops to hang out.

Eventually, he plans to open TTT for brunch seven days a week, keeping the taco eatery open from 7 a.m.

TTT occupies the ground floor of the giant, three-story homage to Mexican cuisine that Iricanin opened in what used to be La Tasca at 2900 Wilson Blvd. A mural of traditional Mexican motifs adorns the new eatery’s open kitchen in the style of Diego Rivera, and murals along the wall help guide patrons to the right floor.

The concept is similar to the Iricanin’s Silver Spring TTT, but he says the new spot will be unique because of a a collaboration struck with famed Mexican chef Gerardo Vázquez Lugo of the award-winning Nicos restaurant in Mexico City. With Chef Lugo’s help, the theme of the Clarendon building’s three restaurants — TTT, Buena Vida, and Buena Vida Social Club — is traditional Mexican food not altered for American palates.

“What I learned from Ambar is if you stay true to the roots and present the culture you can’t go wrong,” said Iricanin.

Upstairs from TTT is Buena Vida, a sit-down restaurant that opened Monday with a focus on what Iricanin called “indigenous recipes” of traditional family-style cooking in Mexico. Waiters prepare caesar salads and guacamole fresh at patron’s tables using  rolling side carts that line the edges of the spacious room overlooking Wilson Blvd and N. Fillmore Street.

Buena Vida’s menu features cold starters like tropical ceviche with tuna, cucumber and pineapple and classic starters like queso fundido served with herbs and tortillas made in-house. Entrees are a mix of meat and seafood dishes, like a Yucatan recipe for duck cooked in a pumpkin seed sauce.

The rooftop floor will host a third restaurant and bar space newly named “Buena Vida Social Club” and is still under construction. Iricanin says he hopes to open it in late April.

“It’s a challenge opening one restaurant. We’re opening three,” Iricanin admits.

He plans to also seat patrons on patios outside Buena Vida and TTT come early summer, pending better weather and sidewalk seating permits. With the patios, the three-story establishment will be able to seat a combined 345 people.

Despite the “tequila” in the name, Iricanin says he’s focusing on growing the restaurant’s wine selection. At the moment he says he’s importing craft wines from Mexico’s Baja region to pair with the menu, and hired a sommelier from Mexico City to help make the selection for Clarendon.

“Their wine culture is growing, there are amazing wines there,” said Iricanin. “My goal is by the end of the year to have 50 to 80 wines.”

Other future plans include using the 190 inch projection screen installed in front of TTT’s mural for game nights during the World Cup, or black and white movies on Fridays.

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APS Asking Residents for Feedback on Bus Service, Procedures for Spring Review

(Updated at 1 p.m.) Arlington Public Schools is asking for residents’ feedback on its bus “service, policies and procedures” as part of a comprehensive review scheduled this spring.

The school system’s Department of Multimodal Transportation Planning is helming the review, which will address issues including budget, congestion, and rising enrollment, per the announcement.

Arlingtonians are invited to a series of workshops in March and April to share their thoughts in person:

  • Monday, March 25 at Wakefield (1325 S. Dinwiddie Street)
  • Wednesday, March 27 at Yorktown (5200 Yorktown Blvd)
  • Wednesday, April 3 at Washington-Liberty (1301 N. Stafford Street)
  • Saturday, April 6 at Patrick Henry (701 S. Highland Street)

Participants will also have an opportunity to submit comments online in a questionnaire scheduled to be released this month, per the APS announcement.

“Whether your student currently rides a bus or you would like to know how bus eligibility is determined, or your student used to ride the bus or may ride the bus in the future, we’d like to hear from you,” APS said, noting that the last time APS held a top-down review of its bus system was in 2005.

Some adjustments have been made since then, such as trying to shore up attendance on buses in 2012 with a voucher system.

APS is also conducting a public survey with the county until Thursday, April 4 to overhaul the industrial lot where its school buses are stored. The 38-acre “Trades Center” lot has struggled with overcrowding for years, officials say, leading APS to shift some school vehicles over to the “Buck site” on 1425 N. Quincy Street starting last year.

Flickr pool photo by afagan

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Open Houses in Arlington This Weekend

Looking for a home? There are plenty of houses and condos open for viewing this weekend.

Check out the Arlington Realty website for a full list of homes for sale and open houses in Arlington. Here are a few highlights:

3116 N. Nelson Street
7 BR/6 BA, 1 half bath single-family home
Agent: Mcenearney Associates
Listed: $2,649,333
Open: Saturday 12-1 p.m.

 

1956 N. Vermont Street
5 BR/4 BA, 1 half bath single-family home
Agent: Washington Fine Properties, Llc
Listed: $1,450,000
Open: Sunday 2-4 p.m.

 

2550 Washington Boulevard
4 BR/3 BA single-family home
Agent: Xrealty.Net Llc
Listed: $935,000
Open: Sunday 2-4 p.m.

 

2800 1st Place S.
4 BR/2 BA, 1 half bath single-family home
Agent: Fairfax Realty Select
Listed: $779,100
Open: Sunday 1-4 p.m.

 

1530 Key Boulevard #131
2 BR/1 BA condo
Agent: Keller Williams Realty
Listed: $529,000
Open: Saturday 1-3 p.m.

 

2301 25th Street S. 4-105
2 BR/2 BA single-family home
Agent: Redfin Corporation
Listed: $423,000
Open: Sunday 1-4 p.m.

 

4614-B 28th Road S. B
2 BR/1 BA single-family home
Agent: Exp Realty, Llc
Listed: $349,900
Open: Sunday 1-4 p.m.

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ACFD Responds to Gas Leak in Ft. Myer Heights

(Updated at 10:40 a.m.) Firefighters responded this morning to a significant gas leak at a construction site in the Radnor-Ft. Myer Heights neighborhood.

A gas line was reportedly struck at a construction site near the intersection of N. Rolfe Street and the Arlington Blvd access road. The gas leak prompted evacuations of nearby residents.

Washington Gas is currently on scene working to control the leak, ACFD said.

Map via Google Maps

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Post 139 Light Show

Scott LoBaido, 53, from Staten Island, NY is an artist who has devoted much of his time to creating patriotic works of art all around the country. Much of his work has been dedicated to honoring veterans for their service and sacrifice.

Just a few years ago, he chose Arlington American Legion Post 139 as one of the locations for his flag murals in his “Painting Flags Across America” 50 state tour. LoBaido began his tour with Post 202 in Fayetteville, February 2015 and completed his 49th flag at Post 139 in August 2015. Now he is honoring the Post again by including it in his newest tour, the “22-13 Exhibit.”

His fourth tour since 2006 begins in March and will include travels to sites in each of the original 13 colonies in an effort to raise awareness of the issue of veteran suicide. A study by the Department of Veterans Affairs indicates that every day 20 to 22 veterans take their lives due to the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder and other combat related issues.

Having grown up in a patriotic family where his grandmother flew the flag every day, LoBaido decided to use his art to bring the same spirit of patriotism to others. He has been busy painting flags on schools, police stations and fire houses and has always devoted his efforts to bringing recognition to the veterans and service providers who keep us all safe.

The lighted exhibit includes 22 figures of service members, which represents the number of daily average suicides. It also includes the number 22, with the first 2 reversed to depict a heart, surrounded by 22 pairs of boots.

You can view the exhibit on the evenings of March 19-20 at Post 139 on Washington Boulevard in Arlington. When the sun sets and the exhibition lights up, you will get the full effect of this very moving exhibit and feel the full impact of the sacrifice made by our veterans.

To view details of this project and donate go to scottlobaido.com and click on support.

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