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by Chris Teale April 5, 2017 at 4:50 pm 0

The Hello Kitty Cafe truck will stop by Pentagon Row this Saturday as part of its tour of the Mid-Atlantic.

The truck will park near the Designer Shoe Warehouse at 1301 S. Joyce Street from 10 a.m.-8 p.m. on April 8.

It will offer candy and Hello Kitty-branded promotional items like mugs, t-shirts and headbands and water bottles with bows on.

The truck appeared in Bethesda last Saturday, and will move north into Maryland, Pennsylvania and New Jersey after visiting Arlington. A tour is also underway on the West Coast.

The cafe truck debuted in 2014 at Hello Kitty Con in Los Angeles.

by Chris Teale April 5, 2017 at 3:35 pm 0

Updated 4:20 p.m. — Arlington police spokeswoman Ashley Savage said just after 4 p.m. that the suspect had been safely taken into custody.

Earlier: Arlington police responded to the Patrick Henry Apartments on Wilson Blvd Tuesday afternoon, closing roads and bringing in the SWAT team for a possible barricade situation involving a wanted suspect.

Department spokeswoman Ashley Savage said Arlington officers were called in at 12:30 p.m. April 5 to assist their Fairfax County counterparts serving an arrest warrant at 6172 Wilson Blvd, near Upton Hill Regional Park.

Police closed Patrick Henry Drive and had officers posted in cruisers blocking the entrance to the apartment complex. Meanwhile, SWAT officers carrying rifles patrolled the perimeter of a building and the department’s armored vehicle was on scene.

Savage said the SWAT team was called in out of an “abundance of caution,” given the highly populated apartment complexes in the area and to ensure the safety of children getting off school buses. She said that despite the heavy police presence, the arrest warrant was a “routine” serving and that there is no threat to the public.

As of 3:35 p.m., officers had still not been able to make contact with the wanted individual, according to scanner traffic, and pedestrian and school bus traffic was being rerouted in certain areas.

by Chris Teale April 5, 2017 at 2:30 pm 0

This year’s Columbia Pike Blues Festival will be headlined by three-time Grammy nominee Bettye LaVette, part of a lineup of blues, R&B and funk performers.

The 22nd annual festival is set for Saturday, June 17, from 1-8:30 p.m. at the intersection of Columbia Pike and S. Walter Reed Drive.

Jonny Grave kicks off the festival at 1 p.m., followed by Sol Roots with Carly Harvey at 2 p.m. The Full Power Blues Band follows at 3:30 p.m., before Rufus Roundtree and Da B-more Brass Factory at 5 p.m. and LaVette at 6:45 p.m.

LaVette has been touring and performing since the birth of soul music in the 1960s. She performed at the “We Are One” concert before President Obama’s first inauguration in 2008, as well as the Kennedy Center honors for The Who that same year.

Also at the festival, presented by the Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization, will be food and drink, arts and crafts vendors and activities for children.

Photo via The Kurkland Agency

by ARLnow.com April 5, 2017 at 1:15 pm 0

Heaps of new customers have been saying g’day to Oz restaurant in Clarendon over the past year, its owners say.

Contrary to its portrayal on the new Real Housewives of Potomac season — a teaser video showed proprietors Ashley and Michael Darby arguing about it “not doing well” — Oz (2950 Clarendon Blvd) is currently a profitable business, according to Mr. Darby.

The argument happened in real life on June 22, 2016. Since then, Oz’s brunch business has boomed and helped reverse its fortunes. And a revamped food menu has been greeted with generally positive customer reviews.

That’s a welcome change from when the Washington Post panned Oz’s Australian cuisine as “bland,” shortly after it opened in September 2015, and locals took note of the empty tables one could see inside around dinnertime.

Darby, the Australian-born cofounder of D.C. developer Monumental Realty, admits that things were “not up to scratch” when Oz opened, but said issues with the service and the food have since been corrected. What viewers see at the beginning of “RHOP” season two is part of the restaurant’s “rebuilding” stage.

“We made a significant change that has brought about the success we’re having now,” Darby said. “Over the course of the show, you will find that the restaurant turns that corner and becomes the busy restaurant we have today.”

The other half of the power couple, Ashley Darby — a former Miss District of Columbia who is active in the restaurant’s day-to-day management in between her Instagram-chronicled globetrotting — echoed Michael’s words.

“America witnessed my candid reaction to the growing pains we were experiencing at Oz during the RHOP premiere, filmed last year,” she said. “It has taken some time to find our groove in the trendy Clarendon neighborhood, but we’re really getting into the swing of it. Our weekends are so busy I barely get time to sit down.”

Oz’s $35 bottomless brunch — with unlimited food, penny mimosas, 50 cent beers and $2 bloody marys — has packed them in, according to Michael Darby. Some 500 customers a day visit Oz on the weekends, he said. And the restaurant has high hopes for increasing its weekday bar business and becoming more of a nighttime going-out destination on weekends.

“This is a very fun bar, we have that Australian attitude,” Darby said. Oz is proud of its craft cocktail menu and Australian wine selection; it now brings in a DJ on Saturday nights and, yes, you can order didgeridoo shots, if so inclined.

Darby credits the chef they brought on after the “mediocre” opening for being a big part of Oz’s transformation. Chef Brad Feickert, a tattooed Northern Virginia native who worked for celebrity chefs and also spent time at restaurants in Australia, has created an Australian-influenced menu adjusted for American palates.

“The quality of the food improved significantly when he came in,” Darby said. “The chef is just a good chef, that’s what it comes down to.”

The menu, which is ever evolving, includes both Australian and American staples, along with culinary mashups and exotic meats, including kangaroo, camel and ostrich. (It’s not exotic, but Darby recommends the Australian lamb.)

Just don’t confuse Oz with that well-known “Australian” restaurant chain — needless to say, there are no bloomin’ onions on the menu.

“We’re not Outback Steakhouse in any way,” Darby said. Outback is “not even an Australian product.”

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by ARLnow.com April 5, 2017 at 12:00 pm 0

This week’s Arlington Pet of the Week is Sesame, a social pup who loves people and dogs alike. Here is what his owner, Bethany had to say about him:

Sesame is a half Dachshund, half Pomeranian who lives in Arlington, VA.

You may have seen Sesame around the Penrose neighborhood — where many refer to him as “The Mayor of Penrose” because of his vicarious nature, ubiquitous presence and quickness to roll on his back for belly rubs and get love from other dogs. His mom calls him the dog whisperer, as dogs fall in love with him the moment they meet. Other owners will stand in amazement, saying their dog is normally unfriendly with or scared of other dogs. One of his favorite things to do is sit outside on William Jeffrey’s patio and people watch, hoping they will stop and say hello (he’s a bit of a ham!).

For such a small guy, Sesame has no fear when it comes to other dogs — running to them with vigor. The bigger the dog, the more Sesame wants to play! He often gets on his hind legs to be able to reach up and give them kisses.

The only time Sesame is afraid is when his mom leaves him — so she’s nicknamed him “Sesame Chicken”. Otherwise he loves to visit dog parks and being the fastest runner there — often starting a large running train with several dogs following! Other dog parents love seeing Sesame because they know their dogs will be worn out by the time they leave.

Lastly, Sesame currently has 3 girlfriends, including a puppy in his building, a full grown Golden Doodle and a mixed breed who looks to him to lead her around the dog park.

Want your pet to be considered for the Arlington Pet of the Week? Email [email protected] with a 2-3 paragraph bio and at least 3-4 horizontally-oriented photos of your pet. Please don’t send vertical photos, they don’t fit in our photo galleries!

Each week’s winner receives a sample of dog or cat treats from our sponsor, Becky’s Pet Care, along with $100 in Becky’s Bucks. Becky’s Pet Care is the winner six consecutive Angie’s List Super Service Awards, the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters’ 2013 Business of the Year and a proud supporter of the Arlington County Pawsitively Prepared Campaign.

Becky’s Pet Care provides professional dog walking and pet sitting in Arlington and all of Northern Virginia, as well as PetPrep training courses for Pet Care, CPR and emergency preparedness.

by Chris Teale April 5, 2017 at 11:00 am 0

New apartment and condo buildings close to Metro stations in Arlington could have fewer parking spaces, and more spaces for bikes and car-sharing services, under a recommendation by a county working group.

The county’s residential parking work group made a series of recommendations on future parking for new buildings and released its final report this week.

The group is made up of residents and other stakeholders, and came together in 2016 to work on a policy to guide county staff on required parking for new apartment and condo buildings.

Staff is now asking for feedback on those recommendations in an online survey, which is open through April 18.

The group’s first recommendation was to reduce the number of spaces available depending on how close a new building is to a Metro station. According to the final report, members were split evenly on how low that parking ratio of units to spaces should be.

One proposal would have 0.4 parking spaces per unit for a building less than one-eighth of a mile from a Metro station, and up to 0.8 parking spaces per unit for a building less than a mile away. The other would have even fewer spaces per unit.

The working group also recommended that if developers provide parking spaces for bicycles and car-sharing, they should be permitted to reduce vehicle parking spaces. The group said that providing 10 bicycle parking spaces should allow two fewer vehicle spots, while adding a Capital Bikeshare station and paying for its upkeep should mean up to four fewer spaces.

Meanwhile, every space for car-sharing services like Zipcar or Enterprise CarShare guaranteed for at least three years should mean up to five fewer parking spots, the report said.

Committed affordable housing units would also see lower parking ratios if close to Metro, due to what the report said is lower demand for parking spaces.

Units priced at 40 percent of area median income would not be required to provide any parking spaces, while affordable homes at 60 percent AMI would be required to provide 0.7 spaces per unit.

Other recommendations include a one-time payment by developers for “excess” parking, expanding shared parking on-site, and permitting developers to provide 100 percent of parking off-site, provided it is no further than 800 feet from the building and is secured for at least 10 years.

File photo

by ARLnow.com April 5, 2017 at 10:00 am 0

A Falls Church man is facing charges after he threw a coffee mug at another driver during a road rage incident, according to Arlington County Police.

The incident happened Sunday evening in the Pentagon City area. A police spokeswoman said the mug “struck the [victim’s] vehicle, causing the misdemeanor damage to personal property.”

More from this week’s ACPD crime report:

MISSILE INTO OCCUPIED VEHICLE, 2017-04020237, 500 block of 12th Street S. At approximately 6:35 p.m. on April 2, police were dispatched to the report of a dispute between drivers. Upon investigation it was determined that the suspect allegedly threw a coffee mug at the victim after the victim cut him off. The coffee mug struck the vehicle and no injuries were reported. Ghassan Odeh, 33, of Falls Church, VA was arrested and charged with Throwing a Missile into an Occupied Vehicle and misdemeanor Damage to Personal Property. He was released on an unsecured bond.

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

Photo via Zazzle

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by ARLnow.com April 5, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

CarPool Now Closed — A line out the door marked CarPool’s last day in business on Monday. The Ballston bar hosted a large crowd of patrons there to watch the Nationals opening day and the NCAA men’s basketball championship, and to say goodbye to the long-time watering hole. [Twitter]

Clement Opposes Tax Rate Hike — Independent Arlington County Board candidate Audrey Clement says she does not support the proposed property tax hike, which Arlington’s county manager says is necessary to fund Metro and Arlington Public Schools. [InsideNova]

Developments in School Board Race — Former congressional candidate Mike Webb has gathered the petition signatures necessary to get on this year’s Arlington School Board ballot, although he still has a couple of paperwork hurdles before he officially qualifies. Meanwhile, incumbent James Lander has received the endorsement of the Arlington Education Association as he faces two challengers in the Democratic endorsement caucus. [InsideNova, InsideNova]

Arlington’s Trees By The Numbers — “The County is proud home to some 755,400 trees of at least 122 species. If you had to put a price on all that priceless foliage, it’d be worth more than $1.4 billion.” [Arlington County]

Tour of the Trades Center — The latest “Around Arlington” video from the county gives viewers a tour of the Arlington Trandes Center near Shirlington, where school buses are housed, police cars get repaired and salt trucks get refilled. [YouTube]

Police Chief: See Something, Say Something — Although the vast majority of calls about suspicious people or circumstances turn out to be nothing, Arlington’s police chief is still encouraging residents to call the police non-emergency line at 703-558-2222 if they see something out of the ordinary. Said Chief Jay Farr: “Do not hesitate to call us about something suspicious. Some say, ‘I didn’t want to bother you,’ but I say, `Bother us.'” [Falls Church News-Press]

by ARLnow.com Sponsor April 5, 2017 at 6:00 am 0

Just Reduced banner

Each week, “Just Reduced” spotlights properties in Arlington County whose price have been cut over the previous week. The market summary is crafted by licensed broker Aaron Seekford of Arlington Realty, Inc. GET MORE out of your real estate investment with Aaron and his team by visiting www.arlingtonrealtyinc.com or calling 703-836-6116 today!

Please note: While Aaron Seekford provides this information for the community, he is not the listing agent of these homes.

Spring has sprung… and we’re starting to see some local real estate deals sprout up as well.

This week’s batch of “Just Reduced” homes features more than $400,000 in total reductions, providing a snapshot of everything that’s available here in Arlington County.

Each week, we try to give a broad overview of everything that’s available within our confines – from the perfect starter homes to luxury estates. There is truly something for everyone in Arlington County.

When you’re ready to embark on your journey to find the perfect home, my team has all the tools and knowledge needed to help you GET MORE out of your purchase! There are options galore available and we’re ready to help your future blossom.

As of April 3 there are 218 detached homes, 44 townhouses and 215 condos for sale throughout Arlington County. In total, 36 homes experienced a price reduction in the past week.

Here is this week’s selection of Just Reduced properties:

Please note that this is solely a selection of Just Reduced properties available in Arlington County. For a complete list of properties within your target budget and specifications, contact Aaron Seekford.

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