by Jennifer Currier — December 1, 2015 at 6:00 pm 0

Test Taking (file photo)Yorktown High School will offer the Preliminary SAT in the spring for students with disabilities as part of an agreement resolving a complaint made by a Yorktown parent to the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights.

Typically taken by high school sophomores and juniors, the PSAT is a practice test for the SAT. Those with do exceptionally well could qualify for the National Merit Scholarship Program and win college tuition money.

Michelle Buehlmann filed the federal complaint in early October after her daughter was unable to take the PSAT earlier this fall.

Her daughter is a sophomore with a 504 Plan, an education plan for students who have disabilities but do not require special education services. In order for her to take the test, special accommodations that followed her 504 would need to be approved by the College Board, which coordinates the PSAT.

Applying for those accommodations is typically a responsibility taken on by the schools.

Buehlmann said once she realized Yorktown hadn’t applied and hadn’t informed her or her husband they would have to apply themselves, she filed the complaint.

“When I became aware that the school made the decision just to not apply and not tell us, I told them it wasn’t right and decided to file,” she explained. “It really was an honest misunderstanding and I’m sure a lot of it was miscommunication, but now we’re making sure something is done.”

Yesterday morning, Buehlmann and APS came to an early complaint resolution agreement in a meeting facilitated by the DOE. The agreement includes provisions for both Yorktown and the County to address this issue.

Not only will Yorktown administer the PSAT again in the spring for students with disabilities, but it also agreed to notify students and their parents about the test this week. In addition, the school will help them apply to the College Board for accommodations, a process that must be completed by Dec. 15.

In the long term, APS agreed to notify parents of 8th, 9th and 10th grade students with disabilities about the process to request accommodations by May 1 every year. They also agreed to train county school counseling staff on this application process.

Buehlmann said she was pleased with the complaint process overall and the final agreement they reached.

“Everyone handled the situation very well, and both agencies got their job done efficiently and effectively,” she said. “I think it’s a great example of how a large bureaucracy like the DOE and a big institution like APS can work well with parents to get a job done.”

An Arlington Public Schools spokesman declined to comment.

File photo

by ARLnow.com — December 1, 2015 at 4:55 pm 0

Virginia DMV office on Four Mile Run Drive (photo via Commonwealth of Virginia)News that the Virginia Dept. of Motor Vehicles office on S. Four Mile Run Drive in Arlington will be moving to Fairfax County next year has stirred up controversy in both locales.

DMV and elected officials in Fairfax are planning a community meeting on Thursday to discuss the DMV office’s move to a busy shopping center along Columbia Pike, reports the Annandale VA blog. Locals there have expressed concern that the new DMV will cause traffic and parking problems in the area.

In Arlington, meanwhile, some residents are unhappy with the idea of having to trek out to Fairfax County to get a drivers license. In order to address the concerns of Arlington residents, Del. Alfonso Lopez (D) will be hosting a town hall meeting with DMV officials this weekend.

From a press release:

Delegate Alfonso Lopez (D-Arlington) is hosting a town hall meeting with Senior DMV Officials to discuss the relocation of the DMV Customer Service Center on Four Mile Run Drive in Arlington. The meeting will take place on Sunday, December 6th from 2:00 to 3:30 pm at the Walter Reed Community Center. The meeting will be an opportunity for members of the community to ask questions and learn more about the decision.

WHO: Delegate Alfonso Lopez, Senior DMV Officials

WHAT: A town hall meeting to discuss relocating the DMV office on Four Mile Run Drive

WHEN: 2:00 pm to 3:30 pm

WHERE: The Walter Reed Community Center’s multipurpose room (2909 16th St S, Arlington, VA 22204)

by ARLnow.com — December 1, 2015 at 3:50 pm 0

(Updated at 4:30 p.m.) A new Hawaiian-inspired restaurant has opened in Shirlington.

Hula Girl Bar and Grill, a restaurant based on a popular food truck, originally opened last week at 4044 Campbell Avenue. It closed unexpectedly over the weekend due to a power issue, but reopened for dinner last night (Monday).

Hula Girl’s furnishings are unmistakably Hawaiian, down to flip flops on the wall, surf boards hanging from the ceiling, Spam cans on the tables, surf films on the TVs and the Outrigger Canoe Club hat on chef/owner Mikala Brennan’s head.

The food menu includes Poke, a Hawaiian raw fish dish, along with a Hula Girl teriyaki plate, grilled mahi-mahi and barbecue ribs. There are also salads, sides and desserts to choose from, all island inspired.

On the beverage menu, beers from Maui Brewing and Kona Brewing are featured along with local brews. A wine menu has selections from relatively exotic non-Hawaiian locales: Texas, New York, Michigan, New Mexico and Maryland, among other more standard winemaking regions.

The cocktail menu includes plenty of tropical fruit and names like “Hawaii Kai Margarita,” “Blue HI,” “Say Pineapple 5X Fast” and “Never Below 75,” along with a signature Hula Girl Mai Tai.

While overworked, Brennan said she “feels great” about the new brick and mortar extension of her food truck vision.

“I had been looking for a location for 2 years — and we finally found our home here in Shirlington,” she told ARLnow.com. “The community has been so supportive and positive with us opening — feels like the Aloha Spirit is coming alive!”

Hula Girl is currently open Sunday through Thursday from 5 to 10 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 5 to 11 p.m. Lunch service is expected to begin “late December.”

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — December 1, 2015 at 2:45 pm 0

Ask Eli banner

This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by Eli Tucker, Arlington-based Realtor and Rosslyn resident. Please submit your questions to him via email for response in future columns. Enjoy!

Question: Is the winter a good time to buy a home?

Answer: Every agent, homeowner, and homebuyer seems to have a different opinion on real estate during the coldest months of the year. I’d encourage you to read the comments for a range of theories. We’ve all heard that the winter is a bad time to sell a home (not necessarily the case and something I’m happy to address this in another column), so shouldn’t that make it the best time to buy a home? Well, it depends on what type of buyer you are and your motivating factors.

YES, if:

  • You’re a deal-hunter primarily concerned with value and the bottom line
  • You’ve already spent a long time seeing homes and defining your criteria, so you’ll know it’s the right home as soon as you see it


  • You’re picky and have a very specific and unique set of criteria that would benefit from a higher housing inventory
  • Finding the “perfect” home is more important to you than the bottom line

Check out the trends in Arlington over the past five years:

Chart #1 shows a significant drop in housing supply (average active listings) from late November to mid/late March (Thanksgiving through NCAA Basketball March Madness are two good markers).

Ask Eli Dec. 1 Chart 1

Chart #2 shows that from November to March, buyers usually receive a greater discount from the original list price by a couple more percentage points than the median discounts from April to October. The percentage along the y-axis is the percent of the sales price to the original list price (100% means the buyer paid full price). Note that these numbers do not factor in any seller credits.

Ask Eli Dec. 1 Chart 2

This doesn’t mean you can’t find the perfect home in January or can’t get a great deal in June, but if you want to play it by the numbers, the data for Arlington over the past five years is pretty consistent.

P.S. Please email me your questions, I’m running low!

If you’d like a question answered in my weekly column, please send me an email at [email protected]. To quickly read any of my older posts, visit the blog section of my website at http://www.RealtyDCMetro.com.

The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.

Eli Tucker is a licensed Realtor in Virginia, Washington DC, and Maryland with Real Living At Home, 2420 Wilson Blvd #101 Arlington, VA 22201, 202-518-8781.

by Jennifer Currier — December 1, 2015 at 1:45 pm 0

With the local craft beer trend on the rise in Arlington, another homegrown brewery is working to open its doors before the new year.

New District Brewing Co. — formerly known as Metropole Brewing Company — is on track to open its 2709 S. Oakland Street location by the end of the month. The brewery is off S. Four Mile Run Drive near the Shirlington dog park and the W&OD Trail.

The 5,200 square foot space was formerly home to a moving and storage company. The garage-style building is now in the final stages of being repurposed into a fully-operational brewery with short- and long-term cold storage, a bar with 12 taps, a tasting room with tables and seating, as well as a small retail space.

Though he couldn’t give an exact opening date, co-owner Steve Katrivanos said the small company is now working on the final touches.

“We have a clear vision for what we want to do,” he said. “We’re still developing our brand as we finish up packaging and labeling. Still, we’re pretty confident in a late-December open date.”

Katrivano’s brother, Mike, first had the idea to start a brewery, and rumors of its opening started in March. The company is owned and operated by the two brothers, their father and one of Mike’s college friends. Katrivanos said they’ve also been fortunate to have the help of other family and friends to have their vision realized.

“We’re very much a DIY organization that’s been building up for quite some time,” he said. “My brother’s an electrical engineer by school, and he can build about just about anything. I’m sure he’s saved us hundreds of thousands of dollars and he’s done such a good job.”


by ARLnow.com — December 1, 2015 at 12:30 pm 0

Christmas decorated home at N. Abingdon and 16th (Flickr photo by Craig Pennington)

A North Arlington house has been named one of the “15 Most Decked-Out Holiday Homes in America.”

The house, on N. Abingdon Street at 16th Street N., near Virginia Hospital Center, is a perennial draw around holiday time. It features an array of lights, wreaths, Santa Clauses and other Christmas decorations.

The website MSN.com listed the house as No. 11 on its list of the 15 most outlandishly-decorated holiday homes in the U.S.

Flickr photo by Craig Pennington

by Jennifer Currier — December 1, 2015 at 11:30 am 0

A long-vacant Cherrydale strip mall storefront, once slated to become a gun store, has been brought to life as a pop-up vintage gift shop.

NOVA Firearms cancelled its lease and its plans to add a location at 2105 N. Pollard Street this summer, following an uproar that pitted concerned residents against both local and national gun enthusiasts.

This holiday season, however, what was once an ideological battleground is now a temporary shop.

POP Vintage opened this past Friday as a vintage shop, featuring collected, donated, estate sale and consigned items, ranging in price from $2 to $20,000. It will be open every day from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. now until Christmas Eve.

“This is a place where people can sell, barter and trade their items openly and safely, they just have to do it by Christmas,” owner Olympia Hantzopoulos said.

The store is the Rosslyn resident’s first time operating a pop-up. It’s also her first time dealing with a space with such a heated history.

Hantzopoulos said she doesn’t go a day without hearing about what the store could’ve been.

“It was such a difficult issue for both sides,” she said. “Just this Saturday two women got in an argument in the store, which was full of customers, disagreeing over whether this space should be a gun store or not.”

Despite some leftover bitterness from the gun store debate, it hasn’t stopped customers from shopping. Hantzopoulos said her first weekend open was quite busy and the experience has been a positive one so far.

“I’m overwhelmed by the community support,” she said. “I think being here and having something here is doing a lot of good for the neighborhood.”

This also isn’t Hantzopoulos’ first time working with vintage and collectible items. She also owns Miracles in the City, a hair salon in Rosslyn that’s been open for nearly 20 years. The salon also has a small boutique where Hantzopoulos sells vintage jewelry, and all profits from jewelry sales are donated to charity.

She’s adopted the same charitable model for POP Vintage — any proceeds taken in beyond what’s needed to pay the lease will be donated to charities that support women and children in the United States and around the world.

One organization Hantzopoulos plans to support sends donations to an orphanage in Afghanistan, and another provides school supplies for local students. Hantzopoulos said helping in any way she can has always been a priority.

“Thinking about the reality of how little some people have just makes me miserable,” she said. “But you can’t dwell on that, you have to just do what you can do and trust it’s helping.”

From jewelry, to paintings by D.C. artists, to chandeliers, to one-of-a-kind rugs handmade in the Middle East, to tea sets and much more, Hantzopoulos has collected enough items to offer a little bit of everything for holiday shoppers. She knows where they came from, who they belonged to and why, in her opinion, they’re valuable.

“That’s the thing about vintage,” she said. “Everything has a story. It just so happens this space does, too.”

by ARLnow.com — December 1, 2015 at 10:30 am 0

Public Shoe Store, at 3137 Wilson Blvd, will be closing soonUpdate at 4:35 p.m. — Public Shoe Store is still open, says owner S.H. “Doc” Friedman’s daughter. “Public Shoe is still operating and will continue to do so for another few months,” Karen Friedman Widmayer said this afternoon. In April, Friedman told ARLnow.com that the store would close by the end of the summer.

A new 7-Eleven store is coming to the heart of the Clarendon business district.

Permits have been filed for a 7-Eleven at 3137 Wilson Blvd, the former Public Shoe Store, which closed earlier this year is preparing to close after 78 years in business.

So far, it’s early in the permitting process and there’s no word as to when the store might open.

This will be the sixth 7-Eleven store within a half mile or so. The nearest store is a couple of blocks away, at 3000 Washington Blvd. Another is located at 2704 Washington Blvd, and three are clustered around the Virginia Square Metro station.

Hat tip to Chris Slatt

by ARLnow.com — December 1, 2015 at 9:55 am 0

Puddle runner (Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf)

Shirlington Tree Lighting Rescheduled — Due to rain, the Shirlington tree lighting event scheduled for tonight has been rescheduled. The holiday event is now set for Monday, Dec. 7 from 6-8:30 p.m. [Facebook]

Yona Now Open in Ballston — New ramen restaurant Yona opened for lunch yesterday in Ballston, attracting a “packed house” for $15 bowls of ramen. The restaurant, at 4000 Wilson Blvd, plans to start serving dinner on Friday. [Yona, Twitter]

Pothole Attracts Attention of Pentagon Police — A pothole on a stretch of roadway near the Pentagon attracted the attention of security forces after at least three cars became disabled due to running over it. Pentagon police are sent to investigate any time a vehicle stops on the site of the highway in view of the building. In 2010 a man fired shots at the Pentagon from his car on the side of I-395. [WTOP]

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

by Jennifer Currier — November 30, 2015 at 4:45 pm 0

Arlington Agenda is a listing of interesting events for the week ahead in Arlington County and surrounding communities. If you’d like to see your event featured, fill out the event submission…


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