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by Chris Teale — March 2, 2017 at 5:00 pm 0

A new Japanese ramen noodle restaurant opened its doors this week in Clarendon.

Hanabi Ramen celebrated its first day February 28 at the former Amsterdam Falafel space at 3024 Wilson Blvd, next to the future G.O.A.T. Sports Bar.

The restaurant has room for 35 people to eat, including on a long shared table in the middle of the dining area.

“You end up sitting with someone you have never met,” said the restaurant’s owner and chef Kenji. “We are hoping people can start conversations over ramen.”

There are plenty of other reminders of the owner’s Japanese heritage. Several norens — Japanese fabric dividers — hang to separate the back rooms from the dining area, while the kitchen is fully open for customers to see their food being made.

And above customers’ heads, a light fixture is made from several ramen boilers.

Kenji said the menu has many homemade ramen dishes, including tsukemen, a ramen dish with noodles that are dipped in a separate bowl of soup or broth. Kenji said he has heard from several people that Hanabi Ramen could be one of the first in the local area to serve the dish.

Pricing is on the lower end for a sit-down restaurant in Clarendon — around $14 for an entree, both for lunch and dinner, according to a menu posted on Facebook.

So far, Kenji said he has looked to make customers happy from “when they have the first sip of soup,” and he wishes to create a culture of teamwork among his staff.

Hanabi Ramen is open for lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., then for dinner from 4:30 to 10 p.m. daily.

by ARLnow.com — March 2, 2017 at 4:15 pm 0

Sarah Fraser (photo via Instagram)Media personality Sarah Fraser has been on the D.C. radio and TV airwaves for a decade. What you might not know about her is that she is a Virginia Square resident and is active locally here in Arlington.

On this week’s 26 Square Miles podcast, we talked with Sarah about her podcast and new media ventures, about the business of broadcasting, and about Arlington restaurants from Oz to Crystal City Restaurant.

Listen below or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Google PlayStitcher or TuneIn.

Photo via Instagram. Find more information about the Crystal City SoFar Sounds concert mentioned in the podcast here.

by Mark Kelly — March 2, 2017 at 3:30 pm 0

Mark KellyThe Right Note is a weekly opinion column. The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.

In 2009, the Arlington County Board filed a lawsuit to stop the Kaine Administration’s efforts to bring 395 HOT lanes through the county. This surprised state officials as for some time, County leaders had offered support for the idea.

The suit cost county taxpayers around $2 million in legal fees. It also embarrassingly named state employees, sued as individuals not in their official capacities, as parties to the case.

County leaders claimed victory when the lawsuit ultimately resulted in Virginia dropping the plan to create the lanes in the original build out of the tolled lanes in 2011.

Fast forward nearly six years to this week when it was announced that those lanes would now open in the fall of 2019. The new plan creates no interchanges that would allow Arlingtonians to have better access to the lanes. This was a concession to the biggest complaints about the plan which came from individuals in the Shirlington area who worried that a good deal of extra traffic would exit there under the initial proposal.

Arlingtonians should be concerned about traffic coming onto surface streets as the County continues to take travel lanes away and narrow critical corridors which unnecessarily causes increased traffic congestion.

Speaking of moving people through Arlington, this past week Arlington County Manager Mark Schwartz proposed a budget that would result in a tax increase of approximately 5 percent for single family homeowners 2017.

Schwartz said 1 percent of the increase would be dedicated to increasing Arlington’s share of ongoing funding for Metro. Under the proposal, Arlington taxpayers would add a $6 million net contribution to WMATA’s ongoing operations.

In addition to the ongoing contributions to Metro, the County intends to issue $22 million in new bonds for the failing system. The debt service on these bonds would cost taxpayers $1.5 million in the next fiscal year.

The bonding authority is left over from 2014, so it would not be a question for voters this year. It should voters ask more questions about just how badly the County needs bonds the Board asks you to vote on in the future.

Metro may need extra funding to get back on its feet, and there is no question Arlingtonians are willing to do their share. Until the agency makes transformational reforms, including getting out from under the thumb of the Amalgamated Transit Union, however, Arlington should be skeptical of agreeing to new financial contributions.

by Progressive Voice — March 2, 2017 at 2:45 pm 0

Alfonso LopezProgressive Voice is a weekly opinion column. The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the individual authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of their organizations or ARLnow.com.

By: Alfonso Lopez

This past weekend, the 2017 General Assembly Session adjourned after reviewing almost 2,000 bills and numerous changes to the two-year State Budget.

While we saw bi-partisan support around many budgetary issues and took some important steps forward, there remains much work to be done in job creation and economic development, public education, transit and transportation infrastructure, environmental protection, affordable housing, and protecting civil rights of all Virginians.

Instead, Republicans wasted time pushing Trump-like messaging bills attacking immigrants, the LGBT community, and women’s health care providers. They pushed legislation protecting polluters and predatory towing companies while opposing legislation to help working families in Virginia. As a result, Governor McAuliffe will have to use his veto pen, as he already did with legislation that would restrict access to women’s health care and expand access to deadly weapons.

State Budget

We were able to close a budget shortfall while protecting core services, like K-12 education. We secured overdue raises for state police, teachers, and state employees and increased funding for opioid treatment and supportive housing for those suffering from mental illness. Other bright spots included $11 million for Virginia’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund, $1.3 million for the Virginia Early Childhood Foundation, and a 2.5% increase in Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits. 

Unfortunately, this budget does not fund Virginia’s solar development authority and the Republican majority continues to refuse federal dollars to expand Medicaid coverage for those Virginians most in need. They also shortchanged programs such as the New Economy Workforce Credential Grant Program that helps train Virginians for unfilled jobs. 

The Good

My legislation to cut red tape for small businesses that want to become certified as Small, Women, and Minority-owned passed, as did my legislation ensuring fair treatment for tenants. In addition, I am working with the Governor to improve lead and copper safeguards for our drinking water.

Other victories included requiring insurance company coverage of birth control pills for up to 12-months, ensuring that school systems test drinking water for lead in pre-1986 buildings, and requiring community colleges to award academic credit for individuals that complete registered apprenticeship credentials. We also passed the METRO Safety Compact that establishes a safety oversight authority and creates financial/operational improvements for WMATA (Metro). 

The Bad

Among the steps backward was a bill making it harder for Arlington to address predatory towing. Despite this being a real problem in our community, Northern Virginia can no longer use commonsense protections available in other Virginia localities. 

By extending coal tax credits despite market forces that have driven down demand for coal, we continue to give away millions to polluting coal companies while they slash jobs in Southwest Virginia.

Despite major pressure to end partisan gerrymandering, the General Assembly refused to support nonpartisan redistricting. To avoid going on the record, the majority used a procedural tactic in subcommittee over member objections to avoid a recorded vote. 

Also defeated were stricter oversight of the student loan industry, common sense felony larceny threshold reform, and universal background checks to reduce gun violence. 

The Ugly

The General Assembly continues to push legislation demonizing immigrants and stoking anti-immigrant sentiments for political gain. These bills ignore the complicated nature of federal immigration law and make it very difficult for Virginia’s cities and counties to use effective policies that build trust among police departments, public schools, and immigrant communities that is essential for greater public safety.

We saw more bills designed to restrict women’s reproductive rights and give people license to discriminate against LGBT Virginians. We should never be writing such discrimination into the Virginia Code. 

Reconvened Session

On April 5th the General Assembly will return to Richmond for the Reconvened Session to consider the Governor’s amendments to bills and vetoes. We intend to sustain the Governor’s vetoes of legislation that “…makes Virginia less safe, economically vibrant, or open to people and businesses from every walk of life.”

Alfonso Lopez represents the 49th District (South Arlington and Eastern Fairfax) in the Virginia House of Delegates and serves as the Democratic Whip. He and his family are long-time residents of Arlington. 

by Peter Rousselot — March 2, 2017 at 2:00 pm 0

Peter Rousselot

Peter’s Take is a weekly opinion column. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.

Arlington County is proposing to rely on private funds raised by a sports lobbying group to install an additional artificial turf field at Gunston Middle School.

Discussion

Arlington should not rely on private funding raised by a sports lobbying group to install artificial turf. Taking such funding is contrary to the overriding interest of Arlington citizens to receive from their local government an unbiased and transparent assessment of the health and safety risks of using artificial turf.

Just as it faces explosive growth of APS student enrollment, Arlington also faces exploding demand for sports use of field space. The allure of private dollars to help fund the installation of more artificial turf is strong.

Arlington should resist this temptation.

Health and safety risks of artificial turf

As I wrote last year, the newest, most credible evidence suggests that artificial turf fields utilizing crumb rubber are unsafe and unhealthy. The evidence is carefully summarized in an online petition currently signed by 325 supporters and available here.

For example:

Montgomery County, MD passed a unanimous Council vote to ban crumb rubber and implement the use of plant-based alternatives such as coconut fiber, cork and rice husk blendHartford, CT, Los Angeles Unified School District and the New York City Parks Departments already have banned the use of crumb rubber.

See also this Mount Sinai children’s health study.

Don’t wait for Trump EPA study

The federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in partnership with other federal agencies like the U. S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), is still studying the health risks of artificial turf fields that use re-cycled crumb rubber. Arlington has heavily relied on the lack of a definitive EPA conclusion to this long-ongoing study to justify Arlington’s continued use of artificial turf fields. Arlington’s reliance on the ABSENCE of such a conclusion is misplaced.

Sports lobbying groups like those upon whom Arlington is proposing to rely to help fund the Gunston project are also active at the federal level. At that level, these lobbyists are also seeking to promote artificial turf against claims of health risks:

The principal information the CPSC uses to assess the health effects of synthetic turf is supplied by industry lobbyists, according to internal records released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). Emails and other records obtained by PEER in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit detail how these lobbyists are allowed closed-door briefings and other direct contacts with key CPSC staff assigned to investigate their products.

Arlington need not and should not wait for the final conclusions of this joint federal government study–now led by the Trump administration. Instead, Arlington should follow the lead of Montgomery County and other local jurisdictions by committing now to replace all its artificial turf fields that currently use re-cycled crumb rubber when the useful lives of those fields end.

Other Gunston Considerations

Gunston already has the indoor “bubble” synthetic turf field plus an additional outdoor synthetic turf field.

Conclusion

The artificial turf industry lobby knows how to privately market its product to local municipalities. Given the children’s health and safety risks of artificial turf, Arlington should:

  • reject private money,
  • appoint a new citizen-led task force to re-examine where Arlington should go from here.

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — March 2, 2017 at 1:00 pm 0

Ready Arlington banner

This biweekly column is sponsored by the Arlington Office of Emergency Management.

Isn’t it appropriate to point out at the beginning of Women’s History Month that a field historically dominated by men has its roots attributed to a woman?

The groundwork for the field of emergency management can be traced back to the Office of Civilian Defense (OCD). The OCD was established by President Roosevelt during WWII to protect civilians and respond to community needs. The development of the agency was largely influenced by a plan drafted by First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, who helped lead the department as the Assistant Director.

Veterans and retired first responders were tapped to fill the earliest roles in the OCD, so naturally the field was largely male dominated. That trend continues today, with women accounting for only 34 percent of emergency management professionals.

In Arlington, we’re doing much better than the national average, with women representing 44 percent of our emergency management staff, and we’re working to close that gap further by offering programs like HERricane Arlington, a summer camp to develop girls ages 13-17, into our future emergency managers and leaders.

While our staff had very few female industry leaders to look up to as they developed into emergency managers, they didn’t lack for professional role models. We asked our OEM staff who they found inspiring, and although their responses varied in time periods and career paths, there were two common themes: all of the women were outspoken, and all pushed the social norms for their time period.

Ready Arlington, Jennifer Aniston in 2012 (photo via Wikimedia Commons)Amanda Nicoll – Watch Desk Officer

Jennifer Aniston: “She continues to have grace and decorum while going through a very public ordeal. She is a philanthropist while making people laugh. She has always fought back against critics who felt she needed to get married and have children. How she has handled all of these things encourages me to do the same.”

Ready Arlington Margaret Thatcher, (photo via Wikimedia Commons)Elizabeth Dexter – Watch Desk Officer

Margaret Thatcher: “She stayed true to herself, even though those around her doubted her abilities. She did not let anything get in her way.

Even when her opponents threw up road blocks, she pushed through, never losing sight of her end goals. And she succeeded.”

Ready Arlington, Amelia Earhart (photo via Wikimedia Commons)Lauren Stienstra – Senior Manager, Research and Policy Development

Amelia Earhart: “In the fourth grade, we were required to give a speech to our class on a personal hero, and I chose Amelia Earhart. Her sense of adventure, underscored by her grit and determination, resonates with me as strongly now as it did then.

She built an impressive career in a man’s field and advocated for women’s rights and women’s interests in engineering and science. Her courage, pragmatism, and commitment inspire me on a regular basis, and have motivated me to launch aspirational projects like HERricane Arlington. She asserted ownership over her future and made her own success- which is empowering women of all ages.”

Ready Arlington Eleanor Roosevelt, (photo via Wikimedia Commons)Samantha Brann – Deputy Coordinator

Eleanor Roosevelt “She overcame incredible personal challenges to find fulfillment in public life serving those without a voice. She was outspoken: holding press conferences, writing a daily newspaper article, hosting a radio show, and even disagreeing publicly with her husband, the President, when she felt morally obligated.

She advocated for women’s rights, civil rights, and the rights of WWII refugees. She reminds me that when I face adversity — when the couch, a pint of ice cream and Netflix is screaming my name — that’s when we can dig deep and achieve the most.”

Photos (1, 2, 3, 4) via Wikimedia Commons

by Tim Regan — March 2, 2017 at 12:00 pm 0

Marijuana(Updated at 1:02 p.m.) A new Arlington General District Court policy to skip appointing a lawyer for some first-time marijuana offenders has local public defenders speaking out.

Under the new policy, which took effect March 1, people caught with a small amount marijuana would not be appointed a lawyer if they have no criminal record and it’s their first pot possession offense.

According to a memo that court officials sent to the Arlington County Bar Association last month, some people caught with pot for the first time can enter a guilty plea and have the charge dismissed as long as they agree to meet “certain conditions” set by the court.

Offenders who qualify would have two weeks from arraignment to consult with an attorney if they choose, but wouldn’t be appointed one.

Though the Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution says “in all criminal prosecutions the accused… shall have assistance of counsel for his defense,” the Supreme Court ruled in a 1979 decision that the right to counsel only applies when a defendant faces imprisonment.

In this case, because the court is waiving jail time for those offenders, it does not legally need to appoint them counsel. Many other courts throughout the U.S. have also similarly waived imprisonment for first-time marijuana offenders.

Arlington’s Office of the Public Defender is protesting the policy on the grounds that it could unfairly affect people who can’t afford lawyers if they want them.

The office made its case in a rebuttal letter shared with ARLnow.com.

“While no doubt unintended, Arlington’s new policy will send us down a slippery slope towards the same scenario for poor people: no lawyers for indigent persons charged with personal-use marijuana possession cases where the court or prosecutor exclude jail time as a sentencing option,” the letter reads.

Matthew Foley, the office’s chief public defender, added that the new policy would “disproportionately affect minorities and immigrants” and possibly deprive them of their due process.

Foley argued that the policy could mislead people into thinking the charges would be expunged from their record, which they may not be. For citizens, he said, the consequences of a criminal record might include loss of educational opportunities, jobs, public benefits, student loans, and the ability to legally drive a car. For non-citizens, the consequences of such a record could mean deportation, the inability to become a citizen or re-enter the country.

“Liberty is not just about jail time,” he told ARLnow.com. “It’s about permanent criminal records, which affect you your entire life.”

Foley continued in the letter:

Assuming a typical indigent defendant can even get a free consultation with a private lawyer, how does that person parlay the attorney’s advice into getting due process? If the consulted lawyer advises that the police stop or search were unlawful, what will the indigent defendant without an appointed attorney be able to do with this advice? What if the person charged is innocent? How does the mere advice of the attorney lead to a just result? If the attorney tells the accused person that the case is weak, but he may be deported if he is found guilty, how does that help? The answer is clear: it will help no more than a doctor advising an uninsured, cash-strapped patient how to remove his tonsils, set a broken leg or cure his cancer.

But Commonwealth’s Attorney Theo Stamos disputed Foley’s argument and called his rhetoric “overheated.”

(more…)

by Chris Teale — March 2, 2017 at 11:20 am 0

Four local Democrats are in the running to replace Arlington County Board chairman Jay Fisette, just over a week after he announced he will not seek reelection.

Peter Fallon, Erik Gutshall, Kim Klingler and Vivek Patil are vying for the Democratic nomination to replace Fisette. The local party will hold a caucus in May to select its nominee for the November general election.

Three of the candidates addressed a packed house at the monthly meeting of the Arlington County Democratic Committee on Wednesday night, hosted at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington.

And the man they will replace, 20-year board veteran Fisette, said he was grateful to serve the county, having moved to Arlington in 1983. Fisette has previously said he will stay involved in public life in some other form when his term on the board expires in December.

“It has truly been a privilege to be able to represent you and Arlington over the past 20 years,” Fisette said. After his remarks, he received a standing ovation.

Gutshall is currently the chairman of the county planning commission, and lost in the Democratic primary in 2016 against incumbent board member Libby Garvey.

Gutshall praised Garvey for helping local Democrats unite after the primary, and said he is prioritizing schools, smarter growth and economic development in his campaign. Gutshall added that he will work closely with the recently-established Joint Facilities Advisory Commission that he said he lobbied for last year to develop “innovative solutions” to the county’s facility needs.

On Wednesday morning, Fisette endorsed Gutshall’s candidacy.

“For me, the board will benefit from Erik’s years of civic and community leadership, his knowledge and expertise in planning and environmental sustainability, and his experience as a small business owner and parent,” Fisette said in a statement. “Further, Erik has a strong character and serious vision for what he wants our community to be in the future. I would feel especially confident in Arlington’s future with Erik on the County Board, and I couldn’t be prouder to endorse his candidacy.”

In an accompanying statement, Gutshall praised Fisette for his leadership and said he is “humbled” to have his endorsement.

“Arlington is a better place as a result of Jay’s thoughtful, responsible and progressive leadership on the County Board,” Gutshall said. “Jay was a trailblazer in more ways than one, and his election paved the way for countless other Virginians to pursue public service. I am humbled to have Jay’s support and intend to honor his legacy by articulating a forward-looking vision for Arlington County that builds on our community’s success.”

Klingler ran in 2012 for the Democratic nomination to the County Board and currently serves as chairwoman of the county’s emergency preparedness advisory commission. She said that keeping residents safe must be the No. 1 priority, as well as making government operate more efficiently.

(more…)

by Tim Regan — March 2, 2017 at 10:50 am 0

A truck caught fire in Crystal City this morning, prompting a response from the Arlington County Fire Department.

The blaze broke out in a box truck carrying shredded material before 10:30 a.m. this morning. The truck was parked in front of a building on the 200 block of 12th Street S.

Arlington County firefighters were able to quickly extinguish the small fire, which was in the back of the truck. The truck itself did not catch fire, according to scanner traffic.

by ARLnow.com — March 2, 2017 at 10:00 am 0

Police car lightsA homeowner near Ballston was unexpectedly visited by four random, middle-aged people who claimed to be representatives of an insurance company.

Police are now investigating the incident, which happened Monday around noon on the 4500 block of N. Carlin Springs Road, as a case of unlawful entry and possibly more.

Additional information from an Arlington County Police Department crime report:

UNLAWFUL ENTRY, 2017-02270125, 4500 block of N. Carlin Springs Road. At approximately 12:06 p.m. on February 27, officers responded to the report of a breaking and entering. Upon arrival, it was determined that four unknown individuals entered a residence while the homeowner was inside and claimed to be an insurance company. The individuals observed each room and then left the residence. No items appeared to be missing. The first suspect is described as a white female in her late forties, with short blonde hair, and was heavy set. The second suspect is described as a black male in his late forties with a thin build. The third suspect is described as a white male in his late forties, with black/grey hair, and was heavy set. The fourth suspect is described as a white female in her late forties, with light brown hair, and an average build. The investigation is ongoing.

The rest of the past week’s ACPD crime report highlights, including some that we’ve already reported, after the jump.

(more…)

by ARLnow.com — March 2, 2017 at 8:55 am 0

Rosslyn overhead view (Photo courtesy John Sonderman)

Woman Arrested in Williamsburg Murder Case — A 27-year-old Maryland woman has been arrested and charged with being an accessory to last month’s homicide at a house party in the Williamsburg neighborhood. A press release does not specify how Monique Williams allegedly helped the suspect, Jason Allen Johnson, who remains at large. [Arlington County]

Police Looking for Missing Teen — Fairfax County Police are leading the search for Alex Daniel Terceros, a developmentally disabled 17-year-old who was reportedly last seen at the under-renovation Ballston Common Mall, after his mom dropped him off at the mall. [Fox 5]

Georgetown Still Interested in Gondola — Georgetown is pushing forward with studies that would be the precursor for a Rosslyn-Georgetown gondola system, despite Arlington County pledging not to fund any such project. [Bisnow]

Three Running for School Board — Three people are now running in the Democratic school board endorsement caucus. Montessori advocate Monique O’Grady, the mother of Fox TV star Brittany O’Grady, has joined the race, facing off against incumbent James Lander and fellow challenger Maura McMahon. [InsideNova]

VOICE Condemns VOICE — The local social justice group Virginians Organized for Interfaith Community Engagement has issued a statement condemning President Donald Trump’s proposed Victims Of Immigration Crime Engagement Office (VOICE). The Virginia VOICE says Trump’s VOICE is “a regrettable attempt to criminalize a whole category of U.S. residents, the vast majority of whom are law-abiding, tax-paying contributors to the country’s economy.” [VOICE]

Parents of Autistic Students File Complaint Against APS — “In Arlington, Va., the Autistic Self Advocacy Network filed a discrimination complaint last spring with the Justice Department on behalf of five nonspeaking students — dubbed the “Arlington Five” — whose requests to use letter boards and trained communication supporters to access general education were denied by the school district.” [Washington Post]

Photo courtesy John Sonderman

by Buzz McClain — March 2, 2017 at 6:00 am 0

The FBI’s loss is Arlington real estate’s gain. Arlington’s award-winning Realtor Kevin Love could have followed in his father’s footsteps in the Bureau–“I know he would have liked one of his six children to join the bureau,” Love says–but Warren Love also encouraged his children to follow their passions and create their own path.

In 1985, as an economics major at George Mason University, Kevin Love started a career selling Arlington real estate. Along the way Love, a Top 1% of Realtors nationally, has collected accolades including Top 20 in Virginia for Re/max, induction to the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors’ Pioneer Club and Re/max’s Hall of Fame and Lifetime Achievement Award. He’s also one of the region’s first Realtors to earn the Senior Real Estate Specialist designation.

bright redBut accolades are secondary to Love, he says.

“The one thing I want my clients to know is that I care,” he says. “The happiness and well-being of my clients is my top priority.”

Key to that frictionless relationship is an “efficient and positive selling experience,” he says. With a wealth of experience preparing homes for sale and negotiating favorable transactions, he’s also upfront, reputable and honest, not to mention enthusiastic, still, after all these years.

These qualities show up in the statistics accumulated over three decades and more than 1,000 transactions:

  • His average list-price-to-sold-price ratio is 103%.
  • His average days on market, 7.

His familiarity with Arlington had guided him to help in the community in various ways over the years. He says he derives “a unique satisfaction” in participation and commitment to community, particularly the “Feet on the Streets” community outreach program offered by the St. Augustine Catholic Church, where he also serves as an usher. He also supports the Children’s Miracle network of Re/max and he volunteers for various fundraisers offered by the American Heart Association and the ALS Association and the Foundation for Life.

“If you like what you do, the job is half done,” FBI agent Warren Love told his children. Kevin Love clearly took that advice to heart.

To reach Kevin Love, call 703-969-6776 or email [email protected].

The preceding was a business profile written by Buzz McClain and sponsored by Kevin Love.

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