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by Chris Teale May 8, 2017 at 4:45 pm 0

Neighborhoods across the county are getting ready for Neighborhood Day, set to take place Saturday and feature a wide range of events and activities.

The day looks to bring together neighbors to strengthen bonds on blocks and across the county.

This year’s events are:

Jennie Dean Park Historical Markers Unveiling Ceremony
At noon, the park’s new historical markers will be unveiled, followed by a tour  of Arlington Food Assistance Center’s new office at 2708 S Nelson Street.

Seventh Annual Turtle Trot 5K Race
A chip-timed 5K race at Bluemont Park on a certified course. The race begins at 10 a.m.

International Migratory Bird Day Festival
From 9-11 a.m., celebrate International Migratory Bird Day by learning about migratory birds such as hummingbirds and osprey with hands-on activities, games, crafts, bird walks and more. Meet at Lacey Woods Park Picnic Shelter, 1200 N. George Mason Drive.

Lee Highway Alliance Events
The Lee Highway Alliance is hosting three events to celebrate at Woodstock Park, Big Walnut Park and Langston-Brown Community Center.

Tuckahoe Home and Garden Tour
The self-guided Tuckahoe Home & Garden Tour showcases recently renovated Arlington homes that solve common space and design challenges through creative remodeling.

Fairlington Home and Garden Tour
Tour a variety of renovated homes and gardens in Fairlington Village. Tickets are $10 each and can be purchased in advance or on the day.

Remove Invasive Plants
Increase native species diversity by helping with the return of ferns and wildflowers, and the animals that depend on them, in areas once covered in destructive invasive plants. The Gulf Branch Nature Center will host the event from 2-4 p.m.

Zumbathon
Join Enrique and special guest Mimi in a two-hour zumbathon from noon-2 p.m. at Penrose Square.

Tara-Leeway Heights Community Day
From 1-3 p.m. at Big Walnut Park, the Tara-Leeway Heights community will host an event complete with food vendors, games and more.

LBCCA Celebration and Movie Night Series Kick-Off
The Long Branch Creek Civic Association will bring the community together to celebrate from 5-9 p.m. at Troy Park. The event will include a moon bounce, games and activities, potluck dinner, snacks, beverages and an outdoor movie screening.

Ashton Heights Neighborhood Yard Sale
From 8 a.m.-noon, visit the Ashton Heights neighborhood for a community-wide yard sale.

by Chris Teale May 8, 2017 at 3:50 pm 0

Startup Monday header

Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow.com, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups and their founders, plus other local technology happenings. The Ground Floor, Monday’s office space for young companies in Rosslyn, is now open. The Metro-accessible space features a 5,000-square-foot common area that includes a kitchen, lounge area, collaborative meeting spaces, and a stage for formal presentations.

Imagine filling in an online questionnaire, paying a fee and having someone else plan a surprise vacation for you, from the destination to the activities you will do once there.

The Vacation Hunt offers just that, founded by two residents near Columbia Pike about two months ago. Co-founder Roshni Agarwal said it was inspired by their love of travel, which she does a lot with husband and co-founder Jeff Allen.

“People are always commenting, ‘How do you decide where to go? How do you have time to plan everything?'” Agarwal said. “Our response is always that we just go. We see an open weekend, and we say we’ll just go somewhere. It doesn’t really matter where, we just go.”

On its website, those interested in such a planned vacation enter basic details like whether they want to travel domestically or abroad, how long for and if they want to travel alone or with others.

Then, a questionnaire gives customers options of the kind of vacation they are looking for — a city break, beach vacation or adventure holiday, for example — and they can list anywhere they have already been or are already planning to go to. Would-be vacationers also specify which airport they would prefer to fly out of.

With that form filled out and money paid, customers have the option of receiving clues about their destination either via social media, email or text message, to build the anticipation. Then a week before departure date, a full itinerary is sent out with travel and accommodation details as well as activities.

The company also offers separate trip planning for those with their destination already in mind, helping create an itinerary based on customers’ budgets.

Agarwal said having the vacation be something of a surprise is to try and inject an element of fun into the planning process.

“When you’re older, everything is kind of planned for you, at least that’s been my thing,” she said. “You have your life goals and whatever, and whenever you do have surprises, they’re not good. You never get a good surprise as an adult, or at least I have yet to. I wanted to do something that would be fun and bring back that joy of being young again.”

Already, Agarwal said, The Vacation Hunt has planned a variety of surprise trips, including its first group outing as it sent 20 people to Seattle for a surprise party. Agarwal said it has gained a following in Dallas, where the pair lived before moving to Arlington, and that now its focus is on growing its stature in the D.C. region.

The company has also been approached to help engaged couples plan their honeymoons, a market Agarwal said they might look to expand in the future.

“We’ve also been asked to do two honeymoons, so we might try to expand more into the honeymoon area, because you’re already under the stress of wedding planning, it’s one less thing to do, which we hadn’t really thought of when we started this,” she said.

Image via Facebook

by Chris Teale May 8, 2017 at 2:55 pm 0

Those in charge at Stageplate Bistro in Ballston say the new restaurant’s opening is just days away, now all its required permits are approved.

The eatery at 900 N. Glebe Road, on the first floor of the Virginia Tech Research Center, is the successor to Backstage Bistro Cafe near Dulles International Airport that closed last October. Backstage also hosted a catering company that specialized in events and providing food for touring entertainment acts.

With its certificates of occupancy finalized and having hosted some small functions for investors to give its food a test-run, general manager Mary Marchetti said a full opening is just days away.

The menu will feature mostly American cuisine, with some subtle differences. Instead of serving pizza, Stageplate will serve Turkish pide, a street food version of pizza that can be filled with various different ingredients.

“Pide is one of those things that you can do really fun ingredients, like fill it up with fun and interesting things,” Marchetti said. “It’s almost like a cross between a Stromboli and an artisanal pizza. You can do roasted butternut squash, red onion, delicious cheeses and stuff like that.”

In addition, Marchetti said guests can expect pasta, sandwiches, soups and salads. In the evenings, she said the menu will likely have other rotating options in its bistro entrees.

The restaurant will have around 125 seats indoors, 28 outside on the patio and nine at the bar, while a back room can be hired out for small events and functions of no more than about 50.

Stageplate joins a crowded area of Ballston, with an Applebee’s nearby as well as World of Beer and P.F. Chang’s. Marchetti said the newcomer has put some thought into how it will fit in with the rest of its neighbors.

“We’re so lucky to be in the middle of all these great restaurants,” she said. “With everybody that’s on the street, we tried to say, ‘Okay, what can we do that will complement and help hopefully bring more people to the area?’ We were really cognizant of the beers we put on tap, the wines we’re going to serve and the food we’re going to serve.”

by ARLnow.com Sponsor May 8, 2017 at 2:00 pm 0

Berry & Berry column banner

This is a sponsored column by attorneys John Berry and Kimberly Berry of Berry & Berry, PLLC, an employment and labor law firm located in Northern Virginia that specializes in federal employee, security clearance, retirement, and private sector employee matters.

By John Berry

The recently enacted D.C. Universal Paid Leave Amendment Act could affect residents in Northern Virginia and other states who work in the District of Columbia. The act was made applicable to most employers that are required to pay for D.C. unemployment insurance. The Act, however, does not apply to federal or D.C. public employers.

Under the new Act, employees who live in Virginia or Maryland but work in Washington, D.C. will be entitled to the following additional forms of leave:

  1. Up to 8 weeks of parental leave;
  2. Up to 6 weeks of family leave to care for a family member; and
  3. Up to 2 weeks of medical leave for a serious health condition.

An employee is restricted from taking more than eight weeks of the above-mentioned combined leave in a 52-week period. During such paid leave, an employee will receive up to a maximum of $1,000 per week during the leave period. Under the act, an employee has an obligation to notify an employer at least 10 days in advance of the leave (where foreseeable).

To receive such leave, an employee is required to submit claims to the D.C. government, which will then notify the employer. The leave benefits above are in addition to, not in lieu of, any currently paid leave benefits by the employer.

Starting July 1, 2019, D.C. employers will begin paying a new payroll tax to fund the program. Employees working in D.C. will be able to access these new benefits beginning July 1, 2020. There has been some discussion of potential amendments or future changes to the act, but the provisions have been passed into law.

Employers are prohibited from interfering with eligible individuals’ rights for leave under the act. Additionally, it is unlawful for employers to retaliate against employees for exercising or attempting to exercise their rights under the new act.

If you need assistance with employment law matters in Virginia or the District of Columbia, please contact our office at 703-668-0070 or at www.berrylegal.com to schedule a consultation. Please also like and visit us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/BerryBerryPllc.

by ARLnow.com May 8, 2017 at 1:00 pm 0

Two drunk men in their early 20s went on a vandalism spree Saturday morning, with a shotgun as their weapon of choice, according to Arlington County Police.

The shootings happened around 2:20 a.m. Saturday, on the 2800 block of Key Blvd in Lyon Village, police say.

“The suspects advised that they were intoxicated and wanted to remain in the area until sober,” ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage told ARLnow.com. “That’s when they retrieved the shotgun, walked through the neighborhood and discharged multiple rounds.”

Two men, from Springfield and Falls Church, were arrested with the help of a description provided by a witness. They are now facing numerous charges including discharge of a firearm in a public place and destruction of property.

More from an ACPD crime report:

DESTRUCTION OF PROPERTY (Significant), 2017-05060047, 2800 block of Key Boulevard. At approximately 2:19 a.m. on May 6, police were dispatched for the report of two suspects walking in the area damaging vehicles. Arriving officers located individuals matching the descriptions provided by a witness. The investigation revealed that the two intoxicated suspects retrieved a shotgun from their vehicle, discharged multiple rounds and damaged several vehicles. Alex Ventura, 21, of Springfield, VA was arrested and charged with destruction of property (x4), drunk in public and reckless handling of a firearm. Gerson Arias, 22, of Falls Church, VA was arrested and charged with intentionally destroy property, discharge a firearm in a public place, possession of a controlled substance, and drunk in public.

by ARLnow.com May 8, 2017 at 12:00 pm 0

A cavalcade of fire department vehicles descended on an under-construction apartment complex in Clarendon this morning.

A fire was reported on the fourth floor of the partially-built 10th Street Flats building at 932 N. Highland Street just after 11:30 a.m. The 143-unit luxury residential community is expected to be completed by this fall.

Initial reports suggest there was a small fire between the walls on the fourth floor, which was mostly extinguished before firefighters arrived on scene. Crews checked to make sure the fire had not spread and are now ventilating the structure.

Construction workers were evacuated from the building during the incident, while firefighters diverted traffic from 10th Street N. They initially connected hoses to the nearby fire hydrants ready to tackle a blaze, but by noon were beginning to disperse.

The small blaze follows a series of huge, high-profile infernos at similar under-construction apartment complexes in College Park, Md.; Raleigh, N.C.; and Maplewood, N.J. Like those buildings, 10th Street Flats is “stick-built” — constructed primarily of wood.

by ARLnow.com May 8, 2017 at 11:10 am 0

A Japanese barbecue restaurant is coming to the former Brixx Pizza space in Clarendon.

Signs are now up in the windows of 1119 N. Hudson Street for Gyu-Kaku restaurant. It’s the first D.C. area outpost of the chain, which is based in Japan.

Gyu-Kaku, which translates to “Horn of the Bull,” serves Yakiniku cuisine — barbecued meats and veggies that are cooked by diners on a charcoal grill in the center of the table. The chain has hundreds of locations in Japan and existing U.S. locations in New York, Los Angeles, Hawaii and elsewhere.

Brixx, a small chain of wood-fired pizza restaurants, closed its Clarendon location in April 2016 after just six months in business. Brixx was housed in a newly-constructed restaurant space on N. Hudson Street, an off-the-beaten-path location between longtime restaurant Nam-Viet and a CVS Pharmacy.

Courtesy photo

by ARLnow.com May 8, 2017 at 10:05 am 0

A small meadow preserved by the Arlington County Board, which overruled a plan to build a connector trail from the W&OD Trail to Carlin Springs Road, has been clearcut as a result of invasive species control measures.

The meadow was the subject of a mini-controversy in 2015, which saw civic activist Bernie Berne and others argue that building a 220-foot connector trail would destroy natural plant life and increase runoff into Four Mile Run.

The County Board agreed and voted against the plan from county staff, which proposed a connector trail in response to demand from cyclists seeking a better way to access Carlin Springs Road. (The meadow had an existing “cow path” from frequent off-roading by trail users.)

Though preserved at the time, the meadow was recently mowed down and stripped of most plant life. A sign indicates that it was done by Dominion as part of its invasive species control measures along power line right-of-ways, like the W&OD Trail.

Photos (1-2) courtesy Chris Slatt

by ARLnow.com May 8, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

Two Arrested After Fleeing Traffic Stop — Two suspects were arrested by Arlington County Police earlier this morning after they took off on foot following a traffic stop in Pentagon City. Army Navy Drive was closed between Fern and Eads streets while officers on the ground and the U.S. Park Police helicopter searched for the suspects. [NBC Washington, Twitter]

Barcroft Fitness Room Closing — The fitness room in the Barcroft Sport and Fitness Center is scheduled to be closed between May 15 and this fall due to planned renovations.

PreCheck RV Coming to Crystal City — A TSA PreCheck mobile enrollment station will be parked at two different locations in Crystal City during the last two full weeks in May. The RV will be open weekdays; walk-ins are welcome but reservations can be made online. [WTOP]

Closing the Achievement Gap — The head of the Civic Coalition for Minority Children says lagging standardized test scores among African-American and Latino students in Arlington Public Schools can “be traced to disparities in teaching literacy to young children.” [InsideNova]

Dog Takes ‘Snuggle Tours’ of AWLA Offices — The Animal Welfare League of Arlington on Friday posted a video of Irma, a cuddly pup who takes “snuggle tours” of the AWLA offices, seeking extra belly rubs. [Twitter]

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