Arlington, VA

We’ve weathered a tropical storm and an otherwise slow local news cycle this week, now it’s time to kick back and enjoy what should be a decent weekend.

Without further ado, here are the most-read articles of the week:

  1. Here’s How Much You Need to Make to Be in the Top 20% of Arlington Households
  2. Neighborhood Spotlight: The 3 Best Pizza Places in Arlington
  3. County Board Passes Emergency Ordinance Against Sidewalk Crowding
  4. Two Dead of Suspected Overdoses as Arlington Battles Opioid Addiction
  5. Arlington GOP Chair Kicked Out of Local COVID Facebook Group
  6. Fashion Centre at Pentagon City Remains a Ghost Town Months After Reopening
  7. Smoke Shop Owner Goes Back on TV to Denounce Burglar Going Free
  8. Elevated Living: Brand New J Sol Ballston Luxury High-Rise
  9. JUST IN: Arlington Under Tropical Storm Warning Through Tuesday
  10. Small Demonstration at Arlington Intersection Yields Loud Response
  11. Just Reduced Properties in Arlington
  12. Arlington Nears 3,000 Coronavirus Cases

Feel free to discuss those stories or anything else of local interest in the comments. Have a great weekend!

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On Tuesday, Grace Abi-Najm Shea — a co-owner of Lebanese Taverna — was one of those watching in horror as an explosion tore through Beirut. She said they took the day to cry and grieve at the loss that happened in the country her family left years ago. The next morning, they got to work.

The regional Lebanese restaurant chain that started in Arlington in 1979 has since raised nearly $30,000 for the Lebanese Red Cross on GoFundMe.

This weekend, the company is planning to start a deal where $1 from every hummus order at Lebanese Taverna and LebTav locations will be going to the World Central Kitchen. Dany Abi-Najm, Grace’s brother and another co-owner, will be traveling to Beirut with D.C. celebrity chef Jose Andres as part of the World Central Kitchen team to deliver supplies and offer food to those who have been displaced by the explosion.

“It feels good to be doing something,” Shea said. “We mobilized pretty quickly on Wednesday morning. We just needed to do something. It was heartbreaking. My father lives there, he moved back 12 years ago, and the scenes on TV were just too much. I know so many people wanted to help.”

Shea said Lebanon has a history of corruption leading to mistrust of organizations and the government, so she said Lebanese Taverna wanted to be sure the money got to the right places.

“There was the immediate need with the Red Cross and [we’re] addressing the ongoing need starting this weekend with World Central Kitchen,” Shea said.

Shea said while there’s global empathy for Lebanon as it goes through this crisis, many people locally have felt connected to it indirectly via the restaurant that has served Arlington for 41 years.

“We all grew up here and have so much support from so many people,” Shea said. “For them to want to do something for the country we left is very touching.”

Shea said she and her family have concerns about their brother traveling internationally during the pandemic, but that it’s a risk they have to take.

“There’s a thing called COVID going on,” Shea said. “You can’t help other people without taking a risk, really in anything that you do. I think it’s something much bigger than us. There are 300 people displaced from their homes in a minute. One of them being my cousin, but thankfully he has a support system. His home was completely demolished.”

For many Lebanese, Shea said growing up during the civil war left them prepared for the risks.

For those who have donated, Shea had one message to share.

“Thank you,” Shea said. “The number of people who donated and the number of shares is incredible.”

File photo 

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Ed Talk is a biweekly opinion column. The views expressed are solely the author’s.

As the school year begins online for students across the country, parents face the challenge of supporting the educational needs of their children while working at their own jobs.

This challenge is real for all working parents. But the opportunities that parents have to meet their children’s needs vary greatly depending on socio-economic status.

Some families with sufficient financial resources are turning to learning pods.  These are small groups of students who will gather in homes or rented spaces with an adult who is paid to supervise them while learning online. Some pods will be led by teachers.

An internet search of  “learning pods” reveals many companies that will create pods and provide adults to supervise and/or teach. The websites for these companies offer pods for pre-kindergarten through grade 12, with two students to nine students per pod. Schedules can be five days per week, half-day or full-day.

The cost?  One website provides a pod for students in grades K-4, Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. with one educator at a cost of $4,583 per month per child for a three-student pod and $1,528 per month per child for a nine-student pod.

There certainly are benefits for those who can afford learning pods. For students, an adult can provide in-person assistance with their education in a small group setting. And interaction with peers promotes social-emotional learning. Parents benefit too, because they can work inside or outside the home while their children are engaged in distance learning.

But students from low-income families who cannot afford the pod fees are left out. They cannot benefit from a paid teacher in the home to enhance their distance learning and they miss out on in-person interaction with other students. Their parents may have to choose between giving up their jobs outside the home and going to work and leaving their children home alone.

Parents in Arlington, like those around the country, are forming learning pods. One website helps parents connect for free and a local company creates pods with an initial fee and monthly costs.

Long before COVID-19, significant disparities in academic outcomes existed between groups of students in Arlington. These disparities will grow with months of distance learning and the disparate opportunities that students have at home depending on their socio-economic status.

In his Back to School Update during the School Board’s July 30th meeting, Arlington Public Schools (APS) Superintendent Dr. Francisco Duran stated that APS is working with Arlington County Government and community partners to address the need for childcare for families while APS provides distance learning.

Arlington might look to the city of San Francisco, which has committed to opening 40 community learning hubs in September.  These will be located at recreation centers, libraries, and non-profit sites, providing full-day supervision for low-income students. Each hub will have access to technology for distance learning, enrichment activities, and meals.

In addition, APS should develop a plan for in-person instruction focused on students most in need. Such an approach is consistent with APS summer school, which is being offered online this summer for elementary students who need strengthening in math and literacy and secondary students who received low grades last school year.

Before APS opted for distance learning this fall for all students, the APS hybrid learning plan offered in-person learning two days a week. If social distancing is required when APS opens schools again, instead of limited, in-person instruction for all students, APS should offer in-person instruction for more hours for students most in need. This includes low-income students who have not had the benefit of small group instruction in learning pods.

Abby Raphael served on the Arlington School Board from 2008-2015, including two terms as Chair. She also led the Washington Area Boards of Education for two years. Currently she co-chairs the Project Peace Prevention Committee and Destination 2027 Steering Committee, is a member of the Board of the Arlington YMCA, and works with the Community Progress Network and Second Chance

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Learn to use the wheel! Art House 7 has a limited number of 4-week in-studio pottery classes beginning August 4. Learn how center a ball of clay and shape it into bowls, pots, vases, mugs. We are taking all precautions during COVID-19. Masks are required and social distancing is practiced. Ages 11-adult, $180.

Submit your own Community Post here for just $99.

An Alexandria man is in custody after police say he punched a random person walking by in Ballston, and then headbutted and spat on a police officer.

The incident happened around 6 p.m. last night, along N. Randolph and Stuart streets, as well as Wilson Blvd, according to police and witnesses.

“Upon arrival, it was determined that the victim was walking in the area when the suspect allegedly began yelling at him and approached him,” says an Arlington County Police Department crime report. “The victim moved away from the suspect, who then allegedly struck him in the side of the head. The suspect then continued walking away, before arriving officers made contact with him.”

“The suspect was acting disorderly and actively resisted officers while being placed in handcuffs,” the crime report continues. At that point officers on scene called for backup, sending numerous other officers speeding to help, according to scanner traffic at the time.

“As medics attempted to evaluate the suspect, he spit on an officer,” the crime report alleges. “While conducting a search incident to arrest, the suspect struck an officer with his head, causing minor injuries. At booking, the suspect continued to act disorderly and spit on a deputy.”

The 29-year-old man is now facing two counts of Assault and Battery on Law Enforcement and one count of Assault and Battery.

One witness told ARLnow there were actually multiple victims, including himself. The incident, the witness said, started at the Dunkin Donuts on N. Stuart Street.

“He then walked east on Wilson Blvd assaulting random people, yelling racial and homophobic slurs, knocking down trash cans then throwing bottles at cars in the street,” said the witness, who captured a video (below) showing the suspect screaming as police tried to restrain him.

Photo (top) courtesy Stephen Repetski

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Olson Weaver Question & Answer With A Landscape Lighting Designer

We are happy to announce that Olson Weaver Lighting Design & Install will host a landscape lighting related question and answer session to help homeowners/designers/architects and contractors learn more about landscape lighting and solve any existing lighting related problems they

Address: 5729 8th Street N.
Neighborhood: Bluemont/Bon Air
Listed: $915,000
Open: Sunday, August 9 from 2-4 p.m.

This lovely 4 bedroom, 2 1/2 bath home is situated on a quiet, tree-lined cul-de-sac a little over a mile from bustling Ballston. Close to Ballston Metro, I-66 and downtown D.C., and with two nearby bus stops, this home is a commuter’s dream!

Hardwood floors, brand new paint, beautifully remodeled bathrooms, wood-burning fireplace and awesome family room addition are just some of the features that make this home so special. The master bedroom suite features an elegant bath with stand-up shower and beautiful decorator tiles, along with a huge walk-in closet.

Enjoy the fully fenced and private backyard from the large covered and screened-in deck, which features a no maintenance composite floor. And, if you love walking or biking — you’ll have easy access to the Washington & Old Dominion, Bluemont Junction and Four Mile Run trails, along with Bluemont and Bon Air parks, right from your front door.

This home has been lovingly cared for by its owners and it shows, now it ready for you to make it your own.

For more photos, a video, 3D virtual tour and an interactive floor plan visit 5729N8thSt.com.

Listed by:
Meg Ross
Keller Williams Realty
703-447-0970
[email protected]
MegRoss.com

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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:

6507 36th Street N.
5 BD/5 BA, 2 half bath single-family home
Agent: Weichert Realtors
Listed: $2,095,000
Open: Sunday 1-4 p.m.

 

5113 25th Place N.
4 BD/3 BA, 1 half bath single-family home
Agent: Century 21 Redwood Realty
Listed: $1,570,000
Open: Saturday 1-4 p.m.

 

4621 26th Street N.
4 BD/3 BA, 1 half bath single-family home
Agent: Re/Max Distinctive Real Estate, Inc.
Listed: $1,059,000
Open: Saturday 1-4 p.m.

 

1881 N. Nash Street #1708
1 BD/1 BA, 1 half bath condo
Agent: Compass
Listed: $935,000
Open: Sunday 1-3 p.m.

 

1320 N. Wayne Street #406
3 BD/3 BA condo
Agent: Kw Metro Center
Listed: $799,900
Open: Saturday 1-3 p.m.

 

1020 N. Highland Street #812
2 BD/2 BA condo
Agent: Compass
Listed: $674,999
Open: Sunday 1-3 p.m.

 

2825 S. Abingdon Street B
2 BD/2 BA condo
Agent: Pearson Smith Realty, Llc
Listed: $545,000
Open: Saturday 1-3 p.m.

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Earlier this week, thousands of Arlington residents received a mailing from the “Center for Voter Information” with a prepaid “vote from home ballot request form” enclosed.

Intended to make it easier for local residents to vote by mail during the pandemic, the mailing has instead led to mass confusion.

Much of the confusion locally can be traced to an error with the absentee ballot applications sent to 450,000 Fairfax County residents. The return mailing address for the application is, erroneously, that of the City of Fairfax, not Fairfax County.

There have also apparently been problems with mailings sent to other localities by the same get-out-the-vote nonprofit, leading the Virginia Dept. of Elections to issue a press release about it yesterday.

“The Center for Voter Information recently mailed absentee ballot applications to Virginia residents,” the department said, noting that it has no affiliation with the organization. “We are aware that voters in multiple localities that received an absentee ballot application were given pre-paid return envelopes addressed to the incorrect registrar’s office.”

Despite that, the press release notes that “any applications that arrive in the wrong locality’s office will be forwarded immediately to the correct office for processing.” The Center for Voter Information, for its part, says it’s working to fix the problems.

But with heightened concerns about funny business around the 2020 election, some who received the mailings are now under the false impression that they’re “fraudulent.”

“Have you guys come across the letters from the ‘Center for Voter Information?'” wrote one of numerous tipsters that have reached out to ARLnow. “There’s a vote by mail application form within, and they require a SS# to vote by mail (I’m already registered) and a return envelope to the Arlington County Registrar. Sketchy to say the least.”

“My wife received the same scam mail as shown in the article below,” another tipster said, linking to a Fairfax County press release. “I thought it may be of interest.”

Arlington County, meanwhile, issued its own press release Thursday (below), clarifying that the mailing sent to Arlington residents is not a scam and appears to contain correct information.

This week, many voters received pre-filled mail ballot applications from the Center for Voter Information. This is an independent organization not affiliated with the Arlington County Office of Voter Registration & Elections.

The form is the correct Virginia Vote by Mail Application for Arlington and can be used by voters to request a ballot for the Nov. 3 General Election. Voters can fold the application and return it in the provided envelope. It will be delivered directly to the Arlington County Office of Voter Registration & Elections for processing.

While there are reports of inaccurate information in other Virginia localities the ones provided to Arlington voters appear correct. The Center for Voter Information uses publicly available data sources.

Voters are encouraged to check their voter registration record online at vote.elections.virginia.gov. Voters who have submitted a request for a mail ballot in November do not need to submit another request. Ballots will be sent the week of Sept. 18.

Go to vote.arlingtonva.us to learn more about voting options for the November election.

If you have any questions, contact the Office of Voter Registration & Elections at [email protected] or by phone at 703-228-3456.

To be extra safe, voters should verify the pre-filled information in the Center for Voter Information mailer before sending it in, or should simply apply for an absentee ballot directly on the state website.

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After asking customers for suggestions of places to move, Pupatella says it will be staying in Bluemont after all.

The Neapolitan pizzeria said today via social media that its landlord has agreed to not raise the rent — after initially trying to hike it by 40% — and Pupatella will thus be staying put at its original 5104 Wilson Blvd location.

The June 9 Facebook post asking customers to “help us to spread the word and find a new perfect spot” received 350 comments, suggesting a variety of new locations and tactics for negotiating rent. Pupatella today credited the community for helping convince the landlord to keep the rent steady.

Pupatella has been expanding: a second Arlington location opened on S. Walter Reed Drive in December and more outposts are coming to Reston, the Mosaic District and Dupont Circle in D.C.

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