by ARLnow.com January 3, 2013 at 9:00 pm 1,974 34 Comments

Firefighters battled a small but smoky fire at Highland Shoe Repair (2020 14th Street N.) Thursday night.

A fire broke out around 7:15 p.m. in the back room of the shop, according to Arlington County Fire Department spokesman Capt. Gregg Karl. The blaze was quickly extinguished after firefighters arrived on scene, but not before it generated a considerable amount of acrid-smelling smoke.

Highland Shoe Repair offers off-site dry cleaning services in addition to repairing footwear and performing garment alterations. Numerous Arlington County police and sheriff uniforms can often be seen awaiting pickup at the shop, as police headquarters and the county jail are located across the street.

The fire and the firefighting effort also impacted the deli and lobby on either side of the shop. A light haze could also be seen inside the next-door Courthouse Deli, and the lobby of the office building that houses both shops — recently purchased by Arlington County for use as offices and as a year-round homeless shelter — was flooded by about an inch of standing water.

No injuries were reported as a result of the fire, Karl said. The fire response prompted police to shut down busy Courthouse Road between 13th and 15th Street N.

No word yet on the exact cause of the fire or on when the shop might reopen. The Arlington County Fire Marshal is investigating the incident.

Photo of ladder truck (above) courtesy @acsjacobson

by Katie Pyzyk January 3, 2013 at 5:00 pm 4,353 21 Comments

Senate page Jarrod Nagurka and President ObamaAn Arlington teen is doing a lot of storytelling about what he did on New Year’s Eve. He wasn’t out partying with friends, but instead spent Monday working as a page while the Senate scrambled to pass fiscal cliff legislation.

Jarrod Nagurka said he had a short break as the clock struck midnight, so he watched the New York City ball drop on a television in the Senate Democratic cloakroom.

“Nothing could be cooler than spending New Year’s in the Senate,” said Nagurka. “I was joking around with one of the senators that hopefully I’ll have quite a few more New Year’s Eves, but my days spending New Year’s Eve in the Senate are probably numbered.”

The last time the Senate worked on New Year’s Eve was in 1995, so this week’s occurrence is rather rare. The vote happened around 2:00 a.m. on January 1, after a series of long days. Nagurka said he put in around 80 hours of work in the eight days he served as a page over the past couple of weeks.

Nagurka, who just celebrated his 19th birthday yesterday, is originally from Arlington and is in his freshman year at the University of Virginia. He was one of 30 students chosen from across the country to participate in the page program in the fall of 2010. Knowing that Nagurka is local and would be on break from school, he was asked to return as a page during the recent fiscal cliff session. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) even took a moment on the Senate floor to thank Nagurka and the few other pages who were able to help out.

“We have 18-year-old Jarrod Nagurka, of Arlington. He gave up his winter break to be here,” Reid said. “I want the record to reflect our deep appreciation for [the pages], and I wish them the very best in their future endeavors.”

Back in 2010, Reid gave a lengthy speech thanking Nagurka and a page from Maryland, calling them “legislative heroes.” Reid said they took on the work of 30 legislative pages, and that pages are hard to come by for legislative sessions suddenly occurring around the holidays. Nagurka said due to the serious nature of the fiscal cliff situation, he didn’t expect accolades this time around and was honored that Reid still recognized him.

“When he thanked me on early Tuesday morning, it was really short and that’s understandable because it was right before the vote,” said Nagurka. “Back in 2010, it was longer, but look, he doesn’t have to do any of that. I certainly appreciate that he and others recognize we were there.”

Nagurka acknowledged many Americans’ frustrations with how the fiscal cliff situation played out, but he urged citizens to look at things from a different perspective.

“I think a lot off people have a tendency to say [senators are] not doing their job and they’re putting their work off,” said Nagurka. “I think people need to realize it’s not just one senator running the country. It’s like you have 100 CEOs trying to run one company. You have people who are ideologically on different ends of the spectrum, so I think that’s where the gridlock occurs. There are certainly parts of the bill that are tough to swallow, but it’s the first time in 20 years that they voted in the Senate for tax increases.”

Jarrod Nagurka and the other 2010 Senate Pages with John Kerry and Hillary ClintonSenate page duties typically include taking care of odd jobs that allow senators to remain on the floor. For instance, Nagurka said he has been asked to do everything from providing a glass of water to delivering legislative paperwork.

“As small of a role as a page plays, it’s kind of cool to contribute to making the Senate run and observe the workings,” he said. “What’s kind of cool for me is I almost felt like a fly on the wall. You really hear the conversations and the inner workings of the Senate, which is really not an experience too many people are fortunate enough to have.”

Although he’s currently majoring in economics, Nagurka isn’t ruling out a career in politics at some time in the future.

“I think politics is definitely something I’ll keep open,” he said. “Political process is so rare, and sometimes people take it for granted in this country.”

Nagurka also is not ruling out another opportunity to work as a Senate page.

“If the Senate was brought back at some unusual time again, I’d expect to go back and help out.”

by Katie Pyzyk January 3, 2013 at 4:15 pm 4 Comments

Update at 4:35 p.m. — One westbound lane is now slowly getting by the scene of the water main break.

A water main break in Virginia Square is snarling traffic on Washington Blvd, and will continue to do so through the evening rush hour.

Westbound lanes of Washington Blvd have been closed between N. Kirkwood Road and N. Lincoln Street. Traffic heading eastbound has been reduced to one lane.

There’s no word when the road will re-open, but a crew will remain on the scene making repairs at least through rush hour.

by ARLnow.com January 3, 2013 at 3:55 pm 0

USS LogoEditor’s Note: This post is authored and sponsored by United Social Sports.

It’s a new year which means it’s time for resolutions and fresh starts.

United Social Sports is giving Arlington residents a chance to check several New Year’s goals off your list. We’re continuing to expand our  Arlington leagues this season, offering those who live, work or play here plenty of opportunities to get active and social.

This season USS has both returning and brand new leagues:

Indoor Volleyball

  • Sundays @ Skyline Sport & Health
  • Thursdays @ Skyline Sport & Health (Full)

Polar Bear Soccer




United Social Sports caters to a growing population in Arlington who love to stay active and who put an emphasis on having fun and being social over hardcore victories.

Registration closes for Winter leagues on Tuesday, January 8.  All leagues will begin the week of January 13.


by Katie Pyzyk January 3, 2013 at 2:55 pm 5,517 113 Comments

Alexander Chase Ricardo Reynoso Jr William Romero

Police have arrested three Arlington teens in connection with a rash of car windows being shot out with BB guns.

The suspects allegedly shot out the windows on more than 250 cars in Northern Virginia over the past several months, including two marked police vehicles. Nothing was taken from the cop cars, but at least one of the other incidents involved items being stolen from a vehicle.

19-year-old Alexander Chase and 18-year-old Ricardo Reynoso Jr., both of Arlington, were arrested and charged with felony destruction of property. Chase is currently being held without bond, and Reynoso is being held on a $1,000 bond. 18-year-old William Romero of Arlington was charged with grand larceny and grand larceny with intent to distribute. Romero is currently being held without bond.

The Arlington County Police Department says the suspects were caught based on an extensive investigation that has been going on for months. They were assisted by the Fairfax County Police Department.

The crimes are still being examined, and some may span all the way to West Virginia.

by Katie Pyzyk January 3, 2013 at 1:15 pm 3,044 31 Comments

The Papery in Clarendon is closingThis may give you a sense of déjà vu, but The Papery in Clarendon (2871 Clarendon Blvd) is closing. After making a comeback in late 2011, the business will now be closing for good.

Dick Visconti’s family owns the chain of stores, which is based in New Jersey. He said his brother had wanted to open a store in Arlington, but suddenly lost interest.

“My brother was operating the store and chose not to be involved anymore, and it got in the run down condition you saw,” Visconti said. “I came back in October 2011 and kept the store operational until now.”

When Visconti revived the store a little more than a year ago, the intention all along was to keep it open only until the lease expired, which happens this month. There is no plan to open a new Arlington location due to logistics.

“Unfortunately I’m done with Arlington. I’m a New Jersey based company and to operate in Arlington is logistically not feasible,” said Visconti. “I regret it because I think Arlington is beyond an awesome place to live and have a business, Market Common is an awesome location.”

Visconti said he hopes the store’s employees will be able to quickly find new jobs.

“They’re an outstanding staff. I wish I had them here,” Visconti said. “I told them that if any of them wanted to move to New Jersey, I’d hire them in a second.”

The Papery is holding a 50% off sale on everything in the store until it closes on January 13. Visconti reiterated that he wishes he didn’t have to close, but he doesn’t see any other option.

“I just live in New Jersey and can’t do it, that’s the bottom line,” said Visconti. “I’m really sorry that we have to go.”

by Katie Pyzyk January 3, 2013 at 11:45 am 1,926 29 Comments

New Ballston location for Potomac River Running store(Updated at 12:35 p.m.) The Potomac River Running store (PR) is leaving its Ballston location (3924 Wilson Blvd), but the store isn’t moving far. It’s heading to the other side of Ballston in the old Alliance Bank (4501 N. Fairfax Drive) space along Glebe Road.

Ray Pugsley and his wife Cathy own the family business along with Cathy’s sister, Margie Shapiro, and Margie’s husband, Brendan. Pugsley said a number of factors contributed to the couples’ decision to move.

First, PR currently rents from Freshbikes, and the lease is up at the end of January. Pugsley said because of the sublet situation, PR doesn’t have long term control over the space. The owners of PR had concerns about what ultimately would happen to the single-level building.

“All low buildings in Arlington become tall buildings, so there was uncertainty going forward what would happen to that spot,” said Pugsley. “There’s no plan, but given that other things were important to us, we figured we would not wait until the time when everyone had to get out because someone is building there.”

Pugsley said another factor that’s been nagging him for years is the inability for customers to see the store due to the county’s sign restrictions. The new location will allow for high visibility at the corner of N. Fairfax Drive and Glebe Road.

“We just had a lot of people who said, even years after we were open, ‘I didn’t even know you were there!'” said Pugsley. “The way sign laws are in Arlington, we didn’t have a sign that was visible from the road because of our location in the building. We were thinking where can we go for better visibility and this spot was open.”

The final element making the location ideal is its proximity to trails. PR offers various training programs and running groups which will benefit from being closer to trail entrances.

“We put a lot of emphasis on our training programs, especially for beginner to newer runners. Not having to run around city blocks is more attractive to someone who is just getting into running,” said Pugsley. “It’s got a lot of good options for folks who can’t run that far or haven’t built up their fitness yet. In the current location, by the time you get to a trail you have to turn around and come back.”

As far as parking concerns at the new, higher traffic location, the building offers parking in its underground garage. PR will validate on weekdays from 7:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. for half an hour, and for an hour after 5:00 p.m. and on weekends.

Although no definite moving date has been set yet, Potomac River Running will be in its new space by the end of January. There will be a grand re-opening at some point, but the owners haven’t decided if they would prefer to wait until the spring for better weather. The owners will send out a notice on social media before the current location closes, and they’ll try to do the entire move in one day.

“We’re excited about this location,” Pugsley said. “It’s a little bigger and we liked the idea of being closer to the trails. I really hope this conveys how much we’re looking forward to being in the new place.”

by ARLnow.com January 3, 2013 at 10:40 am 3,448 37 Comments

A New Years Day dispute between a girlfriend and a boyfriend ended with the boyfriend being taken to the hospital for stab wounds, according to this week’s Arlington County crime report.

The incident took place in the Columbia Heights West neighborhood. The girlfriend, 32-year-old Griselda Saravia, was arrested and charged with stabbing her boyfriend in the arm with a kitchen knife.

UNLAWFUL WOUNDING, 01/01/13, 800 block of S. Frederick Street. At 4:40pm on January 1, a victim and his girlfriend got into a verbal altercation. The argument quickly escalated and the suspect stabbed her boyfriend in the arm with a kitchen knife. The victim was able to break free and call the police. He was later transported to Virginia Hospital Center for medical treatment of the stab wound. Griselda Y. Saravia, 32, of Arlington, VA was arrested and charged with unlawful wounding. She was released on recognizance with a $7,500 unsecured bond.

Early Sunday morning, according to police, a Herndon man “repeatedly punched” someone inside a Rosslyn store “for no apparent reason.” The victim suffered significant head and facial injuries, police said.

MALICIOUS WOUNDING, 12/30/12, 1600 block of N. Wilson Boulevard. On December 30 at 3:45 am, an intoxicated subject attacked another subject inside of a store for no apparent reason. The subject repeatedly punched the victim in the head, then proceeded to drag the victim to the back of the store and continued to punch him. Following the altercation, the victim was found unconscious with facial swelling and was transported to GW hospital. [Redacted due to charges being dropped], 30, of Herndon, VA, was arrested and charged with malicious wounding. He was held without bond.

The rest of this week’s crime report, after the jump.


by Katie Pyzyk January 3, 2013 at 9:20 am 1,736 44 Comments

Arlington, Virginia and Key Bridge across Potomac River from Georgetown (photo by Wolfkann)

Mario’s and Carvel to Remain Open Despite Sale — Mario’s Pizza House and Carvel Ice Cream shop (3322 Wilson Blvd) were sold at auction last month for $2.86 million, achieving one of the highest per square foot sales in Arlington. The tenants will continue to operate at the location because the sale was for the real estate only, not the businesses. [Globe Newswire]

Tejada and Violand-Sanchez Make History in Virginia — As of January 1, Arlington made history by becoming the first Virginia jurisdiction to have its two local elected bodies headed by Latinos. Walter Tejada was selected to chair the County Board for 2013, joining Emma Violand-Sanchez who is halfway through her term as School Board chair. Tejada is a native of El Salvador and Violand-Sanchez is a native of Bolivia. [Sun Gazette]

Flickr pool photo by Wolfkann


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