Barring an act of Congress, a planned expansion of Arlington National Cemetery will move forward, despite the objections of some residents who say the plan will cut down too many trees and destroy a natural habitat.
Cemetery leaders and the Army Corps of Engineers, which designed the expansion plan, held an open house and site visit last Saturday to brief residents about the recently-updated plan, show them the site, and listen to their comments. The comments were mostly critical.
“There will be 800 trees taken down. That’s a really big loss for the community,” said one resident who declined to provide her name. “I think there would be lots of veterans who would like to be in a place where the birds are singing and creating nests.”
The Millennium Project, as the plan is called, will expand the cemetery’s burial space to a sloped parcel of undeveloped land adjacent to Fort Myer. The expansion is necessary, officials say, because the cemetery could run out of burial space within 12 years.
More than 700 native trees and nearly 70 dead and invasive trees will be removed, though the Cemetery plans to replant 600 trees as part of the project. Between in-ground burial spots and niche spaces in columbariums, the land is expected to provide a final resting place for up to 30,000 military veterans and their spouses.
Critics of the plan say that the loss of older, mature woodlands will have an outsized impact on the natural habitat, given that much of the rest of Arlington County is urbanized. Such older woodlands would take generations to replace, essentially making them “irreplaceable,” said critics, including members of several citizen groups like the Arlington Urban Forestry Commission.
Cemetery officials, however, say that the land was clearcut during the Civil War and that most of the trees are 50-100 years old, with the oldest at about 145 years old — not meeting the true definition of an “old growth” forest. Further, they say that clearing out the invasive species that have taken root in the current woodlands will provide a better environment in the long run, as the replanted trees grow and mature.
The plan presented last weekend was actually a more environmentally-sensitive revision of a cemetery expansion plan from 2006 that would have clearcut the land and filled in a stream that runs down the middle of it. Instead, the stream will be preserved, the trees adjacent to the stream will be saved, and a small grove of trees in the middle of the land will also be saved, for aesthetic purposes.
Critics of the plan said there are better options than cutting down a mature woodland. Options suggested included clearing invasive species and using the woodland as a place for loved ones to scatter ashes after cremation; converting one of the Pentagon’s parking lots into burial space; limiting expansion of the cemetery to the Navy Annex site; and accelerating the creation a new national military cemetery.
“Long term, you’re going to have to move off anyway and do this sort of thing elsewhere,” said Arlington resident and conservationist Mark Haynes. “Arlington has so little in terms of woods left… why take this now? Leave this here as part of the hallowed ground. You’ve got plans for the long term anyway, why not start them now?”
It’s the first weekend in spring, and “for sale” signs are in bloom. If you’re in the market for a new home, here are a few of the nearly 40 open houses to check out in Arlington this weekend.
1909 Key Boulevard
1 BD | 1 BA condominium
Katie Wethman, Keller Williams Realty
Open: Sunday, March 24 from 12:00 to 3:00 p.m.
1021 Garfield Street North
2 BD | 2 BA condominium
Marcial Peredo, Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc.
Open: Sunday, March 24 from 12:00 to 4:00 p.m.
5214 25th Road North
3 BD | 2 Full BA, 1 Half BA single family detached
Janet Callander, Weichert, Realtors
Open: Sunday, March 24 from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.
129 Fillmore Street North
3 BD | 2 BA single family detached
Ronald Cathell, Keller Williams Realty
Open: Sunday, March 24 from 12:00 to 3:00 p.m.
2231 Military Road
4 BD | 4 Full BA, 1 Half BA single family detached
Jeremy Stewart, Weichert, Realtors
Open: Sunday, March 24 from 12:00 to 3:00 p.m.
Editor’s Note: This sponsored column is written by Nick Anderson, beermonger at Arrowine (4508 Lee Highway)
A few weeks back while writing about the evolving craft beer market, I mentioned the growing demand for more ‘everyday’ brews; beers that friends could bring to spring/summer barbecues and throw in the cooler for any and all to enjoy. Since then I’ve had more than a few customers come into the store asking which beers I meant in particular when I wrote that, so let me give you a preview of things to come as the weather finally starts to warm up again.
A trend is forming in lower-ABV hoppy Ales, which will only grow more prominent this year. Aside from the always enjoyable Bitter American from 21st Amendment (dry-hopped English Special Bitter, 4.5% ABV), Founder’s Brewing has finally started shipping its excellent All-Day IPA to Virginia. At 4.7%, it’s probably more accurate to call All-Day a Pale Ale but the IPA name does draw attention. The combination of its light, minerally body with a focused hop character make All-Day pretty irresistible regardless of how it’s classified. Look for All-Day to be available until sometime in September. Schlafly Pale Ale is also now regularly available for those looking for a classic English-style Pale. At 4.4% ABV with grassy hops and clean palate feel, Schalfly Pale can please just about any crowd. Rumors have Devils Backbone packaging the lower-ABV version of its wonderful, balanced Eight Point IPA—appropriately called Four Point IPA—sometime this summer, along with a possible canning run of Striped Bass Pale Ale. In the meantime, I can’t recommend their current short-release sixer The Congo enough. An IPA fermented with a Belgian yeast strain, The Congo exhibits restraint compared to other Belgian IPA-style beers, many of which tend to have either an exaggerated yeast character, hop profile, or both.
Those looking for Belgian-styled beers should try the newly released Swing, from Victory Brewing Company. Swing is a Saison that clocks in at 4.5% ABV, with black and Szechuan peppercorns bringing more dryness than spice to its finish. Newly arrived is Saison de Lis from St. Louis’ Perennial Artisan Ales; at 5.0% and brewed with chamomile flowers it’s a great introduction to Perennial’s lineup. Also back in stock right now is Stillwater’s Premium, my favorite new beer of 2012. Another 4.5% Ale, Premium uses two brettanomyces wild yeast strains to make for what may be the funkiest session Ale out there right now. A non-brett version of Premium called Classique has popped up on tap around the area. I got to try Classique recently during Stillwater’s tap-takeover night at Pizzeria Paradiso in Old Town: it doesn’t lack for character and if rumors pan out we may just see some canned six-packs this year. Sour fans: don’t miss out on Timmerman’s Blanche Lambicus—it’s 4.5% ABV, spiced in the manner of a Witbier, and I’m not sure how long it’ll last. Also don’t forget my go-to session beer of choice, the 4.0% Bell’s Oarsman Ale.
Speaking of Bell’s, next week sees the return of the ever-popular Oberon Ale which will keep fans refreshed through the summer; and if everything goes the way it’s supposed to this week, then by the time you read this we’ll be seeing the first shipment of Abita’s Strawberry Harvest Lager hitting area shelves. Last but certainly not least we have Port City’s Downright Pils, one of my favorite new beers of last year and a great example of an approachable craft beer that everyone can enjoy.
So hang on out there; the warm weather will be here soon and there will be a lot to look forward to beer-wise during the spring and summer, even if we find ourselves cursing the heat and humidity before the summer officially starts. Until next time.
Nick Anderson maintains a blog at www.beermonger.net, and can be found on Twitter at @The_Beermonger. Sign up for Arrowine’s money saving email offers and free wine and beer tastings at www.arrowine.com/mailing-list-signup.aspx. The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.
If you can’t manage to travel to Paris anytime soon, walking into a new shop in Cherrydale may be enough to give you a French fix. The recent addition of La Maison at 3510 Lee Highway should please local Francophiles.
“This is a dream come true,” said owner Jeeun Friel. “I just love decorating and I’m a collector of beautiful things.”
The store quietly opened on Saturday (March 16) and has seen a steady stream of curious customers come through the doors.
“It’s been a lot of positive feedback. They’ve been very welcoming here,” said Friel.
The shop carries a variety of French and French-inspired products ranging from jewelry to candles and soaps to antique furniture pieces. Friel said she makes every effort to buy true antiques and not reproductions. She also sells art and new furniture pieces made by local artists, and as evidenced by the various bright items throughout the store, Friel reports a passion for “having fun with color.”
“La Maison means ‘the house’ in French. I want everybody to feel like this is someone’s home,” Friel said. “It’s kind of like a Parisian market with all different kinds of things.”
She originally worked as a private chef, but about 10 years ago Friel and a partner went in together on their first business, a hair salon, which they sold a few years later. Since then, she had been interested in opening a small store highlighting her enjoyment of decorating.
The space was previously occupied by a palm reading business, and prior to that it was Cherrydale Clockworks, which closed suddenly in August 2010.
“I’ve always adored this neighborhood, and I know it’s certainly up and coming,” said Friel. “I’ve seen it change the last seven years. I just love Cherrydale.”
Although no firm date has been set, Friel plans to hold a grand opening celebration next month. Until then, she’s working to get a website up and running and on spreading the word about the store’s soft opening.
“Come and say hello,” Friel said. “I welcome anyone and everyone and just want them to feel like this is a special place with lots of different, eclectic, unique little finds. It’s like a treasure hunt.”
Every Friday in April, roads will close down for the Crystal Run 5K Fridays races, which begin at 6:30 p.m.
“The 5K Fridays Race Series is one of our most popular programs,” said Angela Fox, President/CEO of the Crystal City BID. “People can get their weekend warrior workout done early in a fun and festive way, and then relax and enjoy the rest of the weekend.”
After the race, runners can clean up with a free shower at the local Sport & Health (2231 Crystal Drive), or visit Kora Restaurant (2250 Crystal Drive) for half price pasta. Hamburger Hamlet (1750 Crystal Square Arcade) will host post-race festivities, with food and drink specials for racers, volunteers, friends and family.
This year, 5K Fridays will be part of the Gold’s Gym Get Fit Challenge. Gold’s Gym will select six contestants and provide them with a membership and 12 weeks of free personal training to help them lose weight. The Washington Post Express will track their challenges and successes each week. The April 26 race will serve as the official mid-point challenge. After the race, contestants will go to Kora Restaurant to meet with celebrity chef Morou, who will provide dinner and discuss healthy eating.
Each race has an entry fee of $20, or a bulk rate of $60 for all four races. Registration is available online.
Disclosure: Crystal City BID is an ARLnow.com advertiser
Next Thursday (March 28) will be a big deal for those looking for different ways to get around South Arlington. A ribbon cutting is planned for the first Capital Bikeshare station along the Columbia Pike corridor.
Arlington County Board Chair Walter Tejada is scheduled cut the ceremonial ribbon at the event and help to launch the 2013 expansion wave, which includes 33 new stations around Columbia Pike and Shirlington. Last year’s expansion focused on the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor. The full list of planned stations is available online.
The station also marks another milestone — it’s the 200th in the Capital Bikeshare system.
The ribbon cutting ceremony will take place at 9:00 a.m. on March 28, at the Walter Reed Community Center (2909 16th Street South).
Election Officials Seek Funding for Scanners — County election officials hope the County Board approves funding for bar code scanners that could speed up voter check-in at the polls. The scanners would read the codes on voters’ drivers’ licenses and voting cards, which would more quickly bring up residents’ information. A final County Board decision might not happen until the end of the fiscal year. [Sun Gazette]
Local Woman to Appear on Jeopardy! — Arlington resident Mary Jo Shoop will compete tonight on America’s popular quiz show, Jeopardy! During her time taping the show, Shoop was able to meet and get photos with host Alex Trebek. The episode will air tonight (Friday) at 7:30 p.m. on ABC 7 (WJLA).
APS Requests $0.005 Tax Rate Increase — (Updated at 10:00 a.m.) — Thursday night’s School Board meeting began with the announcement that the schools have asked the county for a one-half of one cent increase in the tax rate, which adds up to about $3 million. The funds would cover shortfalls in the proposed Fiscal Year 2014 budget of $520 million. APS Board Chair Emma Violand-Sanchez said the spring 2013 enrollment figures were higher than expected, prompting the need for more county money. [Arlington Mercury]
School Board Appoints Assistant Superintendent of Facilities and Operations — John Chadwick was named the new Assistant Superintendent of Facilities and Operations at last night’s (March 21) School Board meeting. He has served as the interim assistant superintendent since Feb. 1, and has served as the APS Director of Design and Construction since 2011. “John is a calm and reassuring leader as he has worked to collaborate with staff and the community on initiatives such as our recently-adopted ten-year Capital Improvement Plan (CIP). He has also been an adept manager for all of our recent capital improvement projects, including the construction at Yorktown and Wakefield and the planning of a new elementary school to be built on the Williamsburg site and the addition at Ashlawn,” said APS Superintendent Dr. Patrick Murphy. “John’s leadership over the past two years for our ‘More Seats for More Students’ deliberations, as well as his support for the work of our new Multimodal Transportation Committee and our many other collaborative efforts with the Arlington County Government have been a tremendous asset to APS.”
Flickr pool photo by Wolfkann