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by Chris Teale — June 13, 2017 at 8:00 pm 0

Convenience store giant Wawa is considering expanding into Arlington County as part of its push into the D.C. and Virginia market, but has no firm plans yet.

Wawa, which operates more than 750 stores in six states including 81 in Virginia, announced Tuesday night its first location will be in the District at 1111 19th Street NW.

And with an aggressive plan to add 30-50 stores in the region, including 5-10 in the next two years alone, Wawa representatives said there will be a concerted push to also look beyond D.C.’s neighborhoods and into the outlying counties in Maryland and Virginia.

“We think of Arlington, Fairfax and Loudoun [counties] a little differently, not so much as part of our District expansion but really more as part of our Virginia expansion,” said John Poplawski, Wawa’s senior director of site acquisition and development, in an interview. “We continue to work towards those, but frankly, the approval process and the zoning are a little more challenging in those markets.”

With its new store in D.C., Wawa is looking to expand its more urban stores, as opposed to its previous model of operating in suburban locations with gas stations attached.

The new District store will be the largest Wawa store in the country, and as well as the latest food offerings will be the first to have counter, indoor and outdoor seating. The store will also be the first to have Wawa’s so-called “Wild Goose” café brand.

Wawa announced its first foray into D.C. at an event Tuesday night at the Newseum. Company executives were joined by representatives of various local organizations and developers in a conference room overlooking the city skyline to unveil designs of the new store.

Outside, the company set up a Fan Zone where customers could pose for photographs with mascots Wally and Shorti and pick up branded merchandise.

Wawa is famous across Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware and Florida as well as elsewhere in Virginia for offering fresh food including made-to-order hoagies, fresh coffee and a slew of other food items including breakfast sandwiches.

And given the similarities between neighborhoods in D.C. and areas of Arlington like Ballston, Clarendon, Pentagon City and Crystal City, county residents could get a taste in their neighborhood soon.

“We’re looking for those intersections that have throughout the day pedestrian counts, folks that are there on the weekends, folks that are there late-night, surrounding businesses that will support us, and we have great partners here in the District,” Poplawski said.

Poplawski said more store locations will be announced in the next “60-90 days.” Rumors have swirled online about new stores opening in Chinatown and Georgetown in D.C., while a store in Sterling in Loudoun County will open on June 23.

by ARLnow.com — June 13, 2017 at 4:45 pm 0

A man allegedly filmed a woman in the bathroom stall of a Clarendon restaurant last night.

The incident happened just before 9 p.m. Monday, on the 3100 block of Wilson Blvd, according to the Arlington County Police Department. That block, across from the Clarendon Metro station, is home to a long stretch of bars and restaurants.

Police say that the woman was in the bathroom when she looked up and saw a man filming her with what appeared to be a cell phone.

“The victim advised that she was inside the restroom when she felt a presence, causing her to look up,” said ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage. “The victim then observed an unknown male suspect recording her. Once the victim observed the suspect, he fled the scene on foot.”

“The suspect is described as a 50-60 year old white male with long gray hair and blue eyes,” Savage continued. “He was wearing a blue plaid shirt and blue jeans at the time of the incident. The investigation is ongoing.”

by Chris Teale — June 13, 2017 at 3:30 pm 0

A gym that opened last year along Columbia Pike closed late last month.

True Health and Wholeness replaced the former World Gym at 1058 S. Walter Reed Drive, but itself closed two weeks ago, on May 30.

True focused on holistic approaches and family-friendliness, and looked to be a “one stop shop” for all health and fitness needs. In an email to the community, co-founders Nina and Christian Elliot blamed “some unexpected and blindsiding events the last couple weeks” for the closure.

“The hardest part is the sour stomach of realizing how many people we’ve let down, and the relationships we’ve come to cherish that are now at best, interrupted,” the pair wrote. “There are no words to convey how sorry we are to make this announcement.”

A reader alleged in an email that the pair cancelled all its classes without explanation and that members would not receive any refunds. The reader added that members with pre-paid memberships were told to ask their credit card companies for a chargeback.

Nina Elliot did not respond to requests for comment. The gym’s website is still operational.

Despite the closure of their business, the Elliots promised to return to the wellness business.

Business owners, and in particular Elliots, are a resilient breed. We are weary and wounded right now, often unable to finish sentences without crying, but we didn’t suddenly forget everything we know about health and changing people’s lives. We have not lost our love of this work. We have learned so many lessons from the school of hard knocks the last 12 years and we promise not let those lessons go to waste. We believe we have a sacred duty to help as many people as we can.

by Katherine Berko — June 13, 2017 at 2:30 pm 0

All 15 high school graduates from the pilot year of AHC Inc.’s new college guidance program will progress into higher education.

This year, the seniors applied to 71 schools and were accepted into 54. Together, they received nearly $500,000 in scholarship money, including full rides to Georgetown University and the University of Pennsylvania. Many of the students are the first members of their family to attend college.

AHC, an Arlington-based affordable housing provider, hosted a celebration Monday night at the Lyon Park Community Center for the graduates, their families and mentors.

The free mentoring program is part of AHC’s resident services program, which began in 1993. The initiative is designed to provide students of all ages with something productive to do in their afternoons.

The program includes after-school activities for elementary school students, tutoring for middle and high school students and now a mentoring program to help high school seniors with the college process.

Each senior is paired with an adult for an entire year. The mentors aid their students with the college process, including financial aid, essays and scholarship applications.

Jasmine Connor began working with her mentor, Marjorie Macieria, in the fall.

“Working with Marjorie was the best. We clicked,” Connor said.

The two met weekly, primarily focusing on scholarship applications, of which Connor has received two: the “We Are the Dream” oratorical scholarship and the Arlington School Administrators Spirit Award. The scholarships will help fund Connor’s ambition to graduate debt-free from Northern Virginia Community College and George Mason University.

Connor plans to pursue a major in Early Childhood Development with a minor in Special Education. She has been inspired by her own teachers to help students with learning disabilities.

“Just because you have a learning disability, that doesn’t mean anything,” she said. 
”I have one and I got two scholarships and I’m going to college.”

Kyle Yapching-Galang began working with his mentor, Carter Vaden, in the seventh grade. Initially, she tutored him in French and then branched out to help him with English. While Vaden did not help Yapching-Galang with his college applications, she has been a part of his school career for six years.

“She’s a really good friend who helps me when I’m struggling or when I’m angsty,” Yapching-Galang said.

Vaden said she has seen Yapching-Galang grown from a shy middle-schooler into a confident adult. Yapching-Galang plans to attend Northern Virginia Community College in the fall.

Zanab Farooq has been attending AHC’s programs since pre-school. Yet, she credits her mentor of the past year, Joseph Maltby, for helping her get into college.

“I don’t think I would’ve gotten into college without him,” Farooq said. “He knew what to do, what not to do and how to stay on top of things.”

Farooq will be attending the University of Mary Washington in the fall, where she hopes to major in Marketing. With various scholarships secured, all she has to pay for is textbooks and a meal plan.

During the celebratory dinner, guest speaker and local Del. Alfonso Lopez (D) said he was proud of the graduates’ achievements.

“You are what we need. You are medicine,” he said. “You are the source of pleasure and accomplishment and hope for everything that ails every community. Your thirst for education and knowledge and the fact that you’ve done it, says so much about you.”

by ARLnow.com — June 13, 2017 at 1:15 pm 0

(Updated at 2:15 p.m.) Arlington County Police are investigating an alleged armed robbery that happened mid-afternoon on Monday.

According to initial reports, a Buckingham resident was robbed by an armed man after withdrawing cash from a bank along Columbia Pike.

A police spokeswoman said the robbery occurred inside a residence on N. Thomas Street in Buckingham. The suspect remains at large.

More from today’s ACPD crime report:

ARMED ROBBERY, 2017-06120175, 300 block of N. Thomas Street. At approximately 2:07 p.m. on June 12, officers responded to the report of an armed robbery. Upon arrival, the victim reported that an unknown male subject brandished a firearm and stole an undisclosed amount of cash from the victim. The suspect then fled the scene on foot. Responding units established a perimeter with negative results. The investigation is ongoing.

by Kalina Newman — June 13, 2017 at 11:45 am 0

Arlington Public Schools will begin to mark the end of the 2017 school year over the next week with graduation and promotion ceremonies.

Graduation ceremonies are scheduled for the following times and places.

  • Arlington Career Center PEP (Friday, June 16, 10 a.m. in the Career Center)
  • Stratford (Friday, June 16, 1 p.m. in the H-B Woodlawn auditorium)
  • Arlington Career Center GED (Friday, June 16,  7 p.m. in the Washington-Lee High School little theatre)
  • New Directions (Monday, June 19, 11 a.m., Arlington Central Library)
  • H-B Woodlawn (Tuesday, June 20, 5 p.m., H-B Woodlawn cafeteria)
  • Comprehensive high schools (Wednesday, June 21, DAR Constitution Hall – Washington-Lee at 10 a.m., Yorktown at 2 p.m., Wakefield at 8 p.m.)
  • Arlington Community High School (Thursday, June 22, 9:30 a.m., Washington-Lee auditorium)
  • Langston Continuation Program (Thursday, June 22, 1 p.m., Washington-Lee auditorium)

The last day of school for APS is as follows.

  • Tuesday, June 20: High schools
  • Thursday, June 22: Middle schools (promotion ceremonies that day)
  • Friday, June 23: Elementary schools (a number also have celebrations that day)

The first day of school for the next school year is Tuesday, Sept. 5.

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — June 13, 2017 at 11:00 am 0

Ask Eli banner

This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by Eli Tucker, Arlington-based Realtor and Rosslyn resident. Please submit your questions to him via email for response in future columns. Enjoy!

Question: I really like the architectural style of older homes and feel like I can get a better deal by focusing on homes built more than 30 years ago. Can you provide me some data showing the number of homes old by age and any suggestions you have for a buyer shopping for an older home?

Answer: I also have a personal preference for older homes and love working with clients who have a taste for unique architectural styles! With a bit of vision and a good checklist of things to watch out for, buying an older home can offer real value. To avoid having your dream home turn into a money pit or safety hazard, here are some things you can do prior to purchasing your home to protect yourself:

  • Double up your inspection: You should always have your home inspected by a reputable inspector, but nobody is perfect, so it’s a good investment to have two sets of professional eyes on the home to ensure maximum coverage.
  • Don’t forget your chimney: A general inspection doesn’t include a full chimney inspection and chimneys tend to be one of the least maintained parts of a home, especially if the previous owner didn’t use the fireplace. A damaged chimney can be unsafe and expensive to fix.
  • Check the structural integrity: Old homes have weathered many storms (literally) and the chances they’ve experienced water penetration at some point is high, especially if it sits in a low-lying area where the ground is likely to hold more water. Talk to your inspector about whether or not it makes sense to have a structural engineer do an in-depth study of the foundation and other structural elements of the home.
  • Electrical testing: There’s a good chance an older home has gone through multiple rounds of electrical updates through a few different owners. You never know if a previous owner was a self-proclaimed jack-of-all-trades who fancied themselves a public servant by day and electrician by night. For the sake of your family, make sure a professional gets behind the walls to make sure everything looks good (wiring is safe, home is properly grounded, etc).
  • Insulation: One of the biggest downsides to older homes is poor insulation, especially if they still have older windows and roofing. Check the home for cold/hot spots, proper insulation installation, and seals around doors and windows.
  • Termites or other wood-destroying insects: Termite/wood-destroying insect inspections are very cheap and worth every penny. In Northern Virginia, sellers are responsible for repairing any termite damage.
  • Lead testing: In addition to testing for lead paint, you may consider testing your water for elevated levels of lead due to leaching from lead pipes or lead soldering, which wasn’t banned in the US until 1986.

Let’s take a quick look at the age of single-family homes sold in Arlington, by decade, from 2012-2016:

If you’d like a question answered in my weekly column, please send an email to [email protected]. To read any of my older posts, visit the blog section of my website at http://www.RealtyDCMetro.com. 

Eli Tucker is a licensed Realtor in Virginia, Washington DC, and Maryland with Real Living At Home, 2420 Wilson Blvd #101 Arlington, VA 22201, (202) 518-8781.

by Chris Teale — June 13, 2017 at 10:05 am 0

The busy intersection of Route 50 and Park Drive is set for improvements under a plan being considered Saturday by the Arlington County Board.

The intersection, in the Arlington Forest neighborhood, is slated for new sidewalks, upgraded traffic lights, high-visibility crosswalks and new trees, curbs and gutters.

The majority of improvements are slated for the intersection and a small stretch of N. Park Drive between Route 50 and a traffic circle. That’s also near a small strip mall that includes an Outback Steakhouse restaurant.

County staff estimate that 64,000 cars travel through the intersection daily, and the traffic volume and speed can make life difficult for bicyclists, pedestrians and those getting on and off buses. The intersection has also been the scene of numerous crashes.

Staff said the plan creates an “urban-style intersection that will reduce speeding and the incidence of collisions, and ultimately improve safety for all.

“The project will create better access and crossings for pedestrians, transit users, bikers and those traveling on the shared-use paths parallel to Arlington Boulevard,” they continued.

The County Board is set to award a construction contract for the plan at its meeting Saturday. The contract is worth just under $1.5 million, with $224,000 as a contingency for rising costs. More than $1 million of funding is through the Virginia Department of Transportation’s Highway Safety Improvement Program, with the county adding $461,000 in general obligations bonds.

Under a timeline proposed by staff, construction would begin in August.

by ARLnow.com — June 13, 2017 at 9:10 am 0

D.C. and Arlington: Tech Towns? — The Greater Washington area has ranked third on a major real estate firm’s list of “Tech Cities 1.0.” The area received high marks for its educated workforce and pace of startup growth. Arlington, meanwhile, is continuing to land tech firms from D.C. and Fairfax County, in part thanks to active outreach and an incentive program from Arlington Economic Development. State incentives helped keep Applied Predictive Technologies in Ballston; the firm has a new office and is now expanding and creating 350 jobs.

Exotic Pet Ban Vote Delayed — The Arlington County Board is expected to delay its consideration of a new exotic pet ban until the fall. The proposal has garnered strong reactions from both sides of the issue, including from the D.C.-based Animal Welfare Institute, which is urging the Board to approve the ban. [InsideNova]

Pentagon 9/11 Memorial Gets Architect — Denver-based Fentress Architects has been selected as the designer of the $75 million 9/11 Pentagon Memorial Visitor Education Center. The center will be built near the intersection of Washington Blvd and Columbia Pike, which is set to be realigned as part of an expansion of Arlington National Cemetery.  [Washington Business Journal]

DJO Standout in Running for National Recognition — Bishop O’Connell High School softball standout Kathryn Sandercock is in the running for USA Today’s ALL-USA High School Softball Player of the Year. She is currently second in an online poll. Sandercock was also just named to the 2017 Spring All-Met first team. Other Arlington high school students named to the first team All-Met in their sports include three boys soccer and one girls soccer player. [USA Today]

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

by Buzz McClain — June 13, 2017 at 6:00 am 0

“I love the work of helping a client in court.” says Arlington attorney and counselor at law William P. Robinson III.

That’s a good thing, for himself and his clients, because Robinson is very often in front of a judge, trying cases for his areas of practice, which include criminal and traffic offenses, family law and contract disputes.

“I’m in the ‘people problem’ business,” he says. “Since I’m a solo practice law firm, I’m the one who always handles the case directly — and the client deals only with me. My business number is my cell number so I’m easy to get a hold of.”

Robinson, a Ballston resident who has been practicing for almost a decade in Northern Virginia and D.C. and knows the lay of the land like the back of his hand, comes from a family of attorneys. And one major bit of wisdom he took to heart early was to be accessible, to put clients at ease with what they are going through.

When asked what he likes best about his chosen career, Robinson takes a moment to consider his answer. Finally he concludes, “On one hand I enjoy negotiation with the opposite party, and on the other I’m determined to win at trial.”

“But ultimately, I’m lucky to be able to work with people from all different backgrounds and problems in a fast-paced region, working to help them get the relief they are looking for.”

Robinson’s law practice includes criminal and traffic defense, family law, contract and lease negotiations, and civil litigation.

See William P. Robinson III’s website here. His phone number is 703-789-4800. His email address is [email protected]

The preceding sponsored post was written by Buzz McClain.

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