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by Katie Pyzyk April 7, 2017 at 5:00 pm 0

Following Thursday’s strong storms — which spawned a rare Arlington tornado — and today’s chillier temperatures, the weekend should warm back up. That’s just in time for APS students’ first days of spring break.

Local small business news created quite a buzz this week, as long-time retailer Casual Adventure announced it will close and CarPool poured its final beers after months of surviving on borrowed time. Despite previous rumors of it “not doing well,” the owner of Clarendon restaurant Oz said that the Aussie-themed eatery has experienced a turnaround.

ARLnow readers also showed a lot of interest in residential news, with articles about recommendations to change residential parking near Metro stations and an affordable housing lottery drawing the most comments this week. An article about a local historic district nomination for the possible site of a new high school came in third.

Feel free to discuss those or any other topics of local interest in the comments. Have a great weekend!

by Katie Pyzyk April 7, 2017 at 3:45 pm 0

Update at 11:20 p.m. — The National Weather Service confirms that an EF-0 tornado tracked through Arlington and into the District on Thursday.

Earlier: The storms that whipped through Arlington and the D.C. region yesterday brought power outages and damage, and more trees toppled today, according to the Arlington County Fire Department.

But now the Capital Weather Gang believes the storms caused something else: a rare tornado in Arlington.

As CWG reported, the National Weather Service officially confirmed tornadoes in Herndon and in Southeast D.C. on Thursday. But the CWG team lists several other areas where they believe small tornadoes may have touched down, including in South Arlington near the Pentagon.

Radar indicated rotation there around 1:40 p.m., as noted on Twitter by weather enthusiast Ian Livingston.

Photographic evidence of damage near the Army Navy Country Club is consistent with tornadic activity, according to CWG. That’s also close to where one person was hurt when part of the Macy’s facade and roof at the Pentagon City mall was damaged and fell onto a car yesterday.

The National Weather Service reportedly is assessing damage near the Tidal Basin to determine if a tornado occurred there and along the H Street Corridor; the same storm caused the Arlington circulation. The Capital Weather Gang indicates the possible Arlington tornado may have been a separate occurrence from the one at the Tidal Basin, or that one tornado may have passed over the entire area in question.

by Chris Teale April 7, 2017 at 3:00 pm 0

The county’s commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the United States’ entry into World War I began yesterday with a brief ceremony at the County Building on Clarendon Blvd.

Originally intended to be at the American Legion War Memorial in Clarendon Central Park, the event was forced indoors by inclement weather.

The ceremony was part of a series of commemorative events being held by the county’s World War I Commemoration Task Force throughout this year.

County Board member John Vihstadt, the Board’s liaison to the commission, gave opening remarks, followed by commission chair Dr. Allison Finkelstein. Vihstadt spoke of the significance of World War I to Arlington, as it helped transform the county from a rural outpost to the urbanized home of the military.

“We commemorate World War I because it is not just the story of our country, but our county,” Vihstadt said.

Finkelstein said future events will look to further engage diverse segments of the community, launch community service projects and confront tough issues, like the role of racism in the war effort.

The war memorial where the ceremony was to be held segregates the 12 local men who died in World War I, with two presented away from the others and labeled “colored.” There have been discussions in the past about changing the plaque, and Finkelstein said she wanted to “find a consensus for the best way to address this plaque and respect the challenges they faced in Jim Crow’s America.”

Ed Bearss, chief historian emeritus at the National Park Service, gave the keynote address and discussed America’s involvement in the “war that was to make the world safe for democracy.”

by ARLnow.com April 7, 2017 at 2:00 pm 0

On the lookout for somewhere new to live? There are plenty of houses and condos open for viewing in Arlington this weekend.

Check out our real estate section for a full listing of open houses this weekend. Here are a few highlights:

2903 S. Woodley Street
1 Bed/1 Bath Condo
Agent: Carrie Shokraei
Listed: $265,000
Open: Sunday 2-4 p.m.

 

1301 Courthouse Road
2 Bed/2 Bath Condo
Agent: Richard Nathan
Listed: $534,800
Open: Sunday 2-4 p.m.

 

316 S. Fenwick Street
3 Bed/1.5 Bath Single-Family Detached
Agent: Elizabeth Lucchesi
Listed: $745,000
Open: Sunday 2-4 p.m.

 

29 N. Oakland Street
3 Bed/3.5 Bath Townhome
Agent: Ronald Cathell
Listed: $799,900
Open: Saturday and Sunday 1-4 p.m.

 

5011 14th Street N
4 Bed/3 Bath Single-Family Detached
Agent: Ronald Cathell
Listed: $899,900
Open: Saturday and Sunday 1-4 p.m.

 

3700 N. Woodstock Street
5 Beds/4 Bath Single-Family Detached
Agent: Kevin Love
Listed: $1,000,000
Open: Sunday 1-4 p.m.

 

2601 N. Jefferson Street
4 Bed/4.5 Bath Single-Family Detached
Agent: Christopher Downey
Listed: $1,124,900
Open: Sunday 2-4 p.m.

 

Interested in getting your open house listed? Email us.

by Chris Teale April 7, 2017 at 1:00 pm 0

Arlington Public Schools’ preliminary FY 2018 budget has an $11 million gap in funding after the School Board approved its proposal last night.

The budget now stands at just over $614 million, down from Superintendent Patrick Murphy’s initial plan of $617 million.

County Manager Mark Schwartz’s proposed additional real estate tax hike, in part to help fund schools, would likely make up the shortfall in county funding. The state has also kicked in an additional $78,000 to help with construction projects.

“What we’ve done with our budget is taken it to the point where it fits with what the county manager has proposed to the County Board,” said School Board vice chair Barbara Kanninen. “We’re looking at the county manager’s proposal as his sincerest effort to do what’s needed at the county level. We hope the County Board sees it that way.”

During Thursday’s meeting, members found savings by again tweaking the budget plan. Savings include $1.8 million on technology, adding a transportation planner and removing a School Board staff member. Various other job cuts would only take effect if the County Board does not provide the extra money.

Board members emphasized that the savings on technology do not relate to the controversial one-to-one policy of giving each elementary student an iPad. Leslie Peterson, assistant superintendent for finance and management services, said that instead the savings have come through looking at the school system’s procurement of contracts.

School Board member Reid Goldstein said staff and elected officials have worked tirelessly to bring the funding deficit down from more than $20 million. He said that even with the efficiencies found, the budget plan balances educating students with fiscal responsibility.

“I think we’re in a spot where we’ve got something really viable and [it] does contribute to our needs, and the overwhelming cost of course is growth for next year,” Goldstein said.

School Board members presented the budget plan to the County Board earlier today. The County Board is set to adopt its budget and tax rates on April 22.

by ARLnow.com Sponsor April 7, 2017 at 12:00 pm 0

Weekend Wine and Beer Guide logo

Editor’s Note: This biweekly column is sponsored by Dominion Wine and Beer (107 Rowell Court, Falls Church). It is written by Garrett Cruce, a Cicerone Program Certified Beer Server.

I’ve been listening to the soundtrack to the musical “Hamilton” on repeat for the last two weeks. In the third song, “My Shot,” Alexander Hamilton’s friend John Laurens boasts that he’s on his third Sam Adams. Then I listened to Samuel Adams founder Jim Koch tell his own story on NPR’s How I Built This podcast.

It made me start thinking that maybe I should take another look at this venerable craft brewery. Samuel Adams’ Boston Beer Company may not have existed before the mid-80s — that’s 1980s of course — but they were among the founding fathers of modern craft brewing.

I know what you’re thinking: Sam Adams feels ubiquitous — often they are the only craft beer option on tap at national chains. For the craft beer connoisseur, there’s little to be excited about in their unsurprising offerings. Despite their forays into West Coast IPAs (a bit behind the curve) with the Rebel series of IPAs, their beers are seen as also-ran.

And they don’t seem terribly small. At nearly 4.5 million barrels of production across seven brands, Boston Beer Company ranks second among the more than 5,200 craft breweries, behind Pennsylvania’s D.G. Yuengling & Son. The Brewers Association limits craft breweries to 6 million barrels annually.

Another key stipulation of being a craft brewery is that less than 25 percent of the craft brewery can be owned by a company that is not a craft brewery. Samuel Adams’ parent company, Boston Beer Company, meets all the basic criteria. To put this in perspective, Anheuser-Busch brews more than 100 brands in the U.S. alone.

Sam Adams may be the second largest craft brewery in America now, but they were one of the first craft breweries to capture the imagination of American beer drinkers. The origin story, which Jim Koch vividly recounts on the podcast, sounds like the story of American craft beer.

So, I started thinking: What if I’m wrong about Sam Adams? What if we all are? For instance, I’d recently written about their Oktoberfest and how it’s exemplary of the style. I decided I had to try again and see for myself. I selected three recent releases and gave them a fresh look. I wasn’t disappointed.

First up: Samuel Adams Boston Lager (5.0% ABV)

This is a classic, a relic of another time. Boston Lager won the Best Beer in America at the 1985 Great American Beer Festival. It’s easy to see how. Today, in a sea of local nano brews rather than macro brews, it might seem less adventurous.

Sometimes a beer is an experience, but sometimes it’s just a beer. That’s when a simple, tasty brew like this really hits the spot.

Amber in color — more like a Munich lager than the more common pilsner style — it smells like honey and Wheaties. Each sip is sweet and malt-balanced, definitely a beer from a time when hops were an accent and not main contenders. In fact, the use of old world noble hops from Germany suggests a nod to tradition rather than a reach into the future.

Even if this isn’t where the hottest beers are going, it’s refreshing to know that there’s still a solid and delicious lager just about anywhere you buy beer.

Next: Samuel Adams Fresh as Helles Lager (5.4% ABV)

This lager looks and tastes more like the beer that Americans have known as lager. Inhaling deep, I got soda crackers dipped in clover honey. In the mouth it’s crisp and honey flavored without being too sweet.

Typical of a light colored lager, the sip is brief but full flavored. I didn’t get much of anything from the orange blossom, but this beer was so enjoyable that I was fine with that. This a great one to have in your beer fridge when the days get warmer and you just want to chill.

Last, but not least: Samuel Adams Hopscape Wheat Ale (5.5% ABV)

I’ve had this twice now. Once on tap — I think that bar might want to clean their lines — and once from the bottle. The bottle wins, hands down.

Hopscape was the most complex beer I tasted from Samuel Adams and it’s very tasty. The aroma was an enticing blend of roses, honeydew melon and biscuits.

That melon carries through in the flavor — more musky cantaloupe than honeydew — along with a slight sweetness and a subtle malt backbone.

Though not a wheat beer in the style of a hefeweizen, Hopscape has a typically effervescent mouthfeel. Altogether, this fragrant, flavorful beer satisfies. It’s just subtle enough to feel like it belongs in the Samuel Adams lineup without being too old fashioned.

Do you have a secret (or not-so-secret) favorite from Sam Adams?

by Chris Teale April 7, 2017 at 11:00 am 0

With residents still worried about the impacts of noise and increased air traffic around Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, the region’s congressional representatives are pushing for change.

Yesterday, Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA) joined other D.C. metro area legislators in writing to members of the House Appropriations Committee to support airplane noise mitigation provisions in the fiscal year Transportation-Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Bill.

Beyer is a member of the Congressional Quiet Skies Caucus, and urged the committee to fund health studies on the effects of airplane noise. The legislators cited past studies that have linked excessive exposure to noise with hypertension and learning difficulties.

Beyer requested that appropriators include language directing the Federal Aviation Administration to expedite its review of current noise standards.

“Airplane noise is a pervasive problem around the United States, but especially in Northern Virginia neighborhoods below ever-shifting flight paths in and out of DCA,” said Beyer in a statement. “To date, the FAA has not satisfactorily addressed the situation, while the problem has worsened in many communities. It is past time for Congress to take action, and I hope my colleagues on the Appropriations Committee heed our call.”

Legislators also signed a bipartisan letter urging the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority — which operates Reagan National and Dulles International Airport — not to add more flight traffic at DCA.

They point out that Reagan National has experienced six consecutive years of passenger growth and outpaced passenger volume at Dulles in both 2015 and 2016. In fact, they say domestic commercial passenger traffic since 2000 has increased by 50 percent at Reagan, but it decreased by 9 percent at Dulles.

Congress is preparing to work on legislation to reauthorize the FAA for this year. The delegation said that maintaining the current rules will allow Dulles and BWI to continue to grow and serve long-haul destinations, while also not subjecting National to additional traffic.

“Our airports enable Maryland, the District of Columbia and Virginia to access the global economy in ways that create jobs and opportunities for the region,” the letter reads. “Part of the rationale for the relocation of major corporate headquarters such as SAIC, Hilton Hotels, Nestle USA and Volkswagen of America is the connectivity our regional aviation system provides.”

Both the House and Senate are expected to consider FAA reauthorization proposals in the coming months. The current FAA authorization expires at the end of September.

by Chris Teale April 7, 2017 at 10:00 am 0

Police closed part of westbound Arlington Blvd during the Friday morning rush hour after a collision between two cars in Arlington Forest.

Officers shut Route 50 from just before N. Henderson Road to the intersection with N. Park Drive at around 8:30 a.m. Drivers heading west on Arlington Blvd. were diverted around the crash scene.

A police officer at the scene said it appeared that the driver of a gray Acura tried to turn left from the westbound lanes collided with a white Honda heading in the other direction. Neither driver appeared to sustain injuries, and the Acura was able to drive from the crash to a tow truck.

Firefighters and medics spread sand on the street to soak up any spilled fluids from the cars.

Both cars were removed from the accident scene at around 8:50 a.m. The eastbound lanes remained open, with traffic passing through as normal.

by Katie Pyzyk April 7, 2017 at 9:15 am 0

Spring Break Activities — Today is the last day of school for Arlington Public Schools students before spring break. The county’s parks and recreation department has some suggested activities to keep kids of all ages occupied next week. [Arlington County]

Casual Adventure Property’s Familiar New Owners — The owners of long-time Virginia Square outdoor retailer Casual Adventure announced this week that it’s closing, and the property sale reportedly already has taken place. The new owner is 1404 Hancock Street Investment LLC, a company registered to Brian Normile of BCN Enterprises. He’s partnering with Stephen and Mark Fedorchak, who own Liberty Tavern, Lyon Hall and Northside Social. [Washington Business Journal]

CEB Acquisition Complete — IT consulting and research firm Gartner has completed its acquisition of Arlington-based technology and insights firm CEB in a $3.3 billion deal. Gartner plans to expand CEB’s consulting services into new markets and develop a line of new research and advisory products. [StamfordAdvocate]

Solid-Waste Plant Upgrade Raises Flaring Gas Concerns — Arlington County is encountering some pushback over the $100 million upgrade to the Water Pollution Control Plant. Concerns have been raised over a proposed new process that might cause flaring gas. [InsideNova]

Photo courtesy Rob Laybourn

Just Listed in Arlington

by ARLnow.com Sponsor April 7, 2017 at 6:00 am 0

Just Listed banner

Just Listed highlights Arlington properties that just came on the market within the past week. This feature is written and sponsored by Team Cathell, “Your Orange Line Specialists.”

Finally, the inventory floodgates opened this week in Arlington with 90 new listings.

That’s the biggest weekly gain so far this year. But buyers were close behind with 83 ratified contracts. Even with this week’s surge of fresh listings, Arlington’s inventory level hasn’t been this low since the hay days of 2004-2005. There are 494 active homes for sale right now. With current absorption rate of 332 homes sold per month, Arlington has only 1.48 months of inventory. That’s a horrendously brutal market for buyers. And it probably won’t get better until summer.

Interest rates jiggled up and down this week ending up virtually unchanged at about 4.25% for a 30-yr fixed rate. When shopping for a mortgage, consider other factors than just lowest rate. Lenders charge a variety of processing fees and origination points. A “point” is 1% of loan amount. You might get a great quoted rate, but they neglected to mention the origination points.

When comparing, ask all lenders to quote you a rate based on zero origination points so you are comparing apples to apples. And ask for full list of their fees. Look at the total cost of each quoted loan. As an option, you can also pay “discount points” up front to lower your interest rate. This is a smart tactic if you plan on holding the property for five years or more.  Also, work only with reputable lenders preferably who come recommended by your agent or someone you trust. Good communication with your loan officer is essential to matching up your unique needs with the right mortgage product.

Click to see all the fresh new inventory in MRIS and call Team Cathell (703-975-2500) when you find a home you like.

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