A local blogging legend, Dan has been tirelessly chronicling community news, happenings and minutia in D.C. for more than a decade.
We asked him about how he started the site, his approach to PoPville’s coverage and about the parallels (and partnership) between PoP and ARLnow.
Photo by Hugh Clarke
After months of delays and regulatory hurdles, new Columbia Pike beer garden BrickHaus is set to open on Labor Day.
The 2900 Columbia Pike restaurant will open its doors at 2 p.m. with full service inside and a range of freshly tapped beers and new food. Reservations are not available, and the patio will not be open until October, owner Tony Wagner said in a Facebook post.
It's time to celebrate! BrickHaus is at long last opening our doors on Columbia Pike on Monday, September 4th. Doors…
Most construction on the space has been finished since May.
BrickHaus will be a beer garden on the first floor, with some 20 beers on tap and an approximately 30-seat outdoor patio. The second floor mezzanine will have upstairs dining with a menu including steaks, German food and other entrees.
It will offer mostly regional brews from Virginia, D.C. and Maryland, in addition to perhaps a couple of German beers. Wagner said draft wine will also be available.
The aging building has received an extensive renovation after being vacant for years following the departure of Blanca’s Restaurant.
“The oldest building on Columbia Pike will come to life once more, letting it all hang out!” Wagner wrote.
This biweekly column is sponsored by the Arlington County Department of Public Safety Communications & Emergency Management.
The Arlington County Department of Public Safety Communications and Emergency Management is celebrating National Preparedness Month during September. This is a great opportunity to highlight the importance of making emergency preparedness kits and developing a family communications plan.
The department has planned several ongoing initiatives and events to take place during September around this theme while also incorporating our own emphasis on children and families.
A little competition never hurt anyone
We are very excited to be working with Civic Associations for some friendly competition. Over the course of September, we will be tracking Arlington Alert sign-ups by neighborhood.
At the end of the month, the group with the most registrations will receive a special treat to enjoy for their fall festival celebration.
Food is always a plus!
We will have snacks to taste made from unconventional nonperishable foods that are great additions to anyone’s preparedness kit. Remember, best practices say you should have three days of food for each person in your kit.
And a good book to read…
Join us for Stop in for Stories on Friday September 22 at 10:15 and 11:00 a.m. at the Arlington Central Library (1015 N. Quincy Street). We will be reading age appropriate books for children with emergency preparedness and family communications planning themes.
Also stop by the Central Library all month long to see our partnership display with Arlington Food Assistance Center.
The best way to stay informed during an emergency is to sign up for Arlington Alert.
Arlington Alert is available to all Arlington County residents, commuters, visitors, businesses and their employees. For more information, visit ArlingtonAlert.com and sign up. To learn how you and your family can prepare for an emergency, visit ReadyArlington.com.
Save the Date!!
On September 20, the Department of Public Safety Communications & Emergency Management will be hosting a capstone event to celebrate those in our community who are helping to create a ready and resilient future.
Police say they were called to the intersection of N. Taylor Street and 18th Street N. in Cherrydale just after 4 p.m. for a report of a car break-in and theft that had just happened. Officers found five cars had been broken into and valuables stolen.
The suspects were then spotted fleeing towards Ballston.
“A responding officer witnessed three suspects matching the description fleeing towards the Metro and broadcast a lookout,” according to an Arlington County Police Department crime report.
“Officers responded to the Metro station and observed two of the suspects. Following a brief foot pursuit, one juvenile suspect was taken into custody by officers,” the crime report continued. “A second suspect was also taken into custody by officers. Nathan Outlaw, 19, of Washington, DC, was arrested and charged with three counts of Credit Card Theft. Additional charges are anticipated.”
The Arlington League of Women Voters (LWV) this week announced the screening of the Zach Galifianakis “documentary” which purports to examine the process of drawing legislative districts in North Carolina and the influence of money on the political process.
The project is part of a series designed to fight against Republicans who are advancing public policy initiatives, particularly at the state level. In other words, Galifianakis and the LWV want you to believe that redistricting is an “evil Republican” issue which result in bad policy outcomes.
For decades, Democrats took advantage of the redistricting process to maintain control of state legislatures and Congress. Virginia Senate Democrats even drew the most recent map to in a failed attempt to maintain their majority.
Under redistricting precedents, courts have looked at districts to see if they are equal in population, compact, and represent “communities of interest,” with population being most important to ensure everyone’s vote had the same impact. Compactness and keeping communities of interest together were secondary. The standard has never been to create as many competitive districts as possible.
Take Arlington as an example. With a population almost exactly equal to the average Senate District after the last Census, our county should have been a single district. It is both compact and contains a clear community of interest. Instead, Virginia Senate Democrats put Arlington into three districts in order to maximize the Democrat political advantage.
In Maryland, Democrats drew this contorted map in order to win every Congressional seat but one. Democrats there proved willing to use any means to gain a partisan advantage when they connected the Second and Third Congressional Districts using bodies of water.
Regardless of who is drawing the lines, the LWV in Arlington stated they want voters to “demand reform” in Virginia. The reform organizations like this one typically favor is a “non-partisan” redistricting commissions. (To be fair, Maryland’s Republican governor has called for the same.)
But who appoints the commissioners? The answer is almost certainly politicians. Are these commissioners accountable to the voters for the decisions they make? No. In other words, voters are even further removed from the redistricting process then they were before a commission gets involved.
And what is the goal? Is it competitive districts? The argument for competitive districts is that voters will elect more centrist candidates who will theoretically work together. However, it is virtually impossible to draw maps in a way that would not leave both political party bases in control of their caucuses, and thus in control the legislative agenda.
Do they believe competitive districts will bring in less money into the political process? Of course, groups like LWV favor limiting the ability of individuals to contribute to the candidate of their choice. They favor restricting 501(c)4 political spending, but allowing labor unions to spend without further restriction. And they often favor public financing of elections where you as a taxpayer are required to pay for the campaign of someone you fundamentally disagree with.
Redistricting has always been an inherently partisan process. Those on the losing side have always complained about it. And while reform sounds nice, it will result in a less accountable body controlling a process and having little impact on the laws that ultimately pass.
In an article last week, ARLnow.com chronicled inspection delays plaguing the opening of the new BrickHaus beer garden.
Last week’s article cross-referenced a 2016 ARLnow story detailing complaints by former Virginia Del. Rob Krupicka. He vented about navigating Arlington’s permitting and inspection process to open a donut shop.
This spring, the permitting process for home remodeling was slammed in Arlington Magazine.
I interviewed someone who recently opened a small professional services firm in Arlington.
I called this person’s attention to Krupicka’s experience. Was their own more recent experience similar? Answer: yes.
To recap, this is some of what Krupicka said:
- “Payments have to be made by mail or in person rather than online and for some things you can’t move forward without payment, so that means waiting in line in the planning office for hours.”
- “Planning, Zoning, Health, etc. don’t talk to each other and it appears they don’t understand where each other fits in the process. The process actually seems to assume the small business person will force that communication and coordination. …The big guys just hire lawyers. Small businesses should not have to.”
- “Many permits need to be applied for in person. You can’t just submit them online. … I have spent days waiting in the county offices. I have overheard a lot of very unhappy individuals and business people.”
- “There is an online system for some things, but … it was very cumbersome. I spent hours working with tech support to get it to work.”
Next, I asked my source to summarize their own experience:
- “There are often complaints of conflicting and differing interpretations of code requirements. For one business I know, they installed the door system according to their approved plans. The first inspector told them it wasn’t approvable, and that they had to replace it with an entirely different system. They made the substitution at great expense. The second inspector told them the re-worked door system was not approvable, and he would only accept the door system that matched their approved building permit plan set. The tenant then had to re-construct the door system for the third time.”
- “The inspectors use clip boards and then have to go back to the office and enter the data into a desktop. That doubles the effort that the inspectors have to make for each site. Arlington County needs to update from clipboards to a hand-held data management system.”
- “Technology updating could improve communication with customers/contractors. The data is then instantly reviewable by supervisors and those in other related departments with open permits dependent upon sequential and related inspections.”
Arlington correctly preaches that continually attracting small businesses is vital to our economic future. But, Arlington’s permitting and inspection practices badly undermine its sermons.
Arlington County is still trying to compete using paper in a digital world. Meanwhile, APS is giving iPads to every elementary school student in grades 2-5.
Legendary N.Y. Yankees Manager Casey Stengel proved himself a world-class baseball manager in the 1950’s. In 1962, Casey was hired as the manager to help launch the expansion N.Y. Mets. Expressing his frustration over the Mets’ team performance, Casey famously asked, “can’t anyone here play this game?”
When will someone be held accountable for the long-standing deficiencies in permitting and inspection? Why can’t Arlington County play this game?
Progressive 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 Emma Violand-Sánchez
On the morning of Thursday, August 24, I stood at Courthouse Plaza next to Lizette A., an extraordinary young woman, as she led a press conference to announce that she and 10 other Dreamers and their allies would spend the weekend marching from Charlottesville to Richmond to advocate for the immigrant community.
Lizette said that she and her fellow Dreamers could not continue to sit and wait as politicians “use our futures as a bargaining chip while having our families and communities torn apart.”
Lizette was referring to the agonizing uncertainty about whether the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) programs will be ended by the current administration and Congress. These programs, instituted under the Obama Administration, have allowed nearly 800,000 students and young working adults to contribute to the country that is their home.
Lizette is an inspiration. I have known her since she graduated valedictorian from Wakefield High School. She was only two months old when her parents brought her to the United States. Lizette qualified for DACA, earned a scholarship to attend college and now works at an educational non-profit.
But instead of rejoicing in their success, Lizette and other DACA recipients live under stress because Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and other attorneys general have given President Trump an ultimatum that if he does not phase out DACA by September 5, they will sue the federal government.
How can it be that an exceptional professional who has lived virtually her entire life in Arlington and considers herself an American – it is the only country she has known – faces such a threat to her future and that of about 800,000 DACA recipients? Without DACA, these young people will lose work permits, their defense against deportation, and their chance to go to college at in-state tuition rates.
More than 600 college and university presidents wrote to the President to uphold and continue DACA. It is not just a moral imperative but an economic benefit to the nation: The Center for American Progress has calculated that the country would gain $433.4 billion in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) if DACA is continued.
What is to be gained by pulling the rug out from under the feet of these hard-working young people? What is the source of this bigotry? Sadly, recent events in Charlottesville reminded us all of how strong are the forces of hate and division in this country.
And shortly after Charlottesville, the President of the United States pardoned a sheriff who was convicted of using racial profiling to target immigrants. Think about that: Our president pardoned a man who was found guilty of discrimination and contempt of court.
Lizette is one of the founding Board members of the Dream Project. The Project’s mission is to empower students whose immigration status creates barriers to education — by working with them to access and succeed in college through scholarships, mentoring, family engagement, and advocacy.
The Dream Project has awarded 77 scholarships for the 2017-18 academic year. This past year, we had an exceptional retention rate in college of over 83 percent and 24 of our Dream Scholars have graduated from college. They currently are working as engineers, medical professionals, researchers, and journalists.
In times of such darkness as we face today, it is tempting to give in. In times of such hatred as we face today, it is easy to hate back. But as Martin Luther King once said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
This is why we must continue to shine light on our work so that more people can see what our Dreamers are striving for, what they aspire to achieve, how they hope to contribute to this great nation, and what inspiring young men and women they are.
And we must resist the desire to hate back at those who hate us: The rightness of our cause will be proven by our deeds, by our values, by our character. Our Dreamers don’t have time to hate – they are too busy building productive and creative lives, caring for their families, and contributing to their communities and their country.
Dr. Emma Violand Sánchez is the founder and President of the Dream Project Board. She is a former chair of the Arlington School Board member and retired administrator. In January 2017 she was selected as a Washingtonian of the Year and in June 17 she received the Woman of Vision Lifetime Achievement Award from the Arlington Commission on the Status of Women.
Top Dog Direct will hold a “Speed Pitch” event at TechShop (2100-B Crystal Drive) in Crystal City on Monday, September 18 starting at 9:30 a.m.
The event will be held in conjunction with the Inventors Network of the Capital Area, a nonprofit that helps inventors of all experience levels network and share information.
Anyone who wants to pitch their ideas at the event must fill out and send an application form beforehand. The form asks for a short description of the product, and has the following requirements for the pitch itself:
- Prototype or final product available to present
- Consumer product
- Reach a mass audience
- Can retail from $9.99-39.99
- Easy to understand
- New product that is not on the market
- Short, two-minute pitch
Forms must be sent to [email protected], with the subject line, “Sept 18 Arlington, VA Pitch.” Top Dog will review applications and then select the contenders for the pitch-a-thon.
The unofficial end to summer is almost here. Not the calendar season, mind you, but the fun part of summer where schools are out, pools are open and vacations are taken.
Some Arlingtonians maximize their summer fun by taking long vacations abroad, to the beach or to visit family. Others keep their nose to the grindstone and take some vacation days here and there.
Just how much vacation did Arlington residents take between Memorial Day and Labor Day? Let’s find out.
Developer Lands Loan for Ballston Project — Saul Centers has secured a $157 million construction loan for its Rosenthal Mazda/750 N. Glebe project that will replace the former car dealership with nearly 500 apartments and a small-format Target store. [Washington Business Journal]
Carpool to Reopen… In Fair Lakes — The owners of the now-shuttered Carpool bar and restaurant in Ballston, which closed to make way for a new high-rise residential building, are working to open its successor in the Fair Lakes section of Fairfax County. The new bar is expected to open its doors in October. [Northern Virginia Magazine]
Civ Fed Wants Younger Crowd — A key goal of the Arlington Civic Federation’s new president is to attract participation from younger residents and to “leave [it] with a more youthful leadership team at the end of my presidency.” [InsideNova]
Dad Doodles on Daughter’s Lunch Bags — Every school day, Arlington dad Mike Jenkins makes lunch for his 16-year-old daughter and places it in a brown paper lunch bag which he fills with cartoon doodles. But Jenkins is not just any dad and his cartoons are not the work of an amateur: Jenkins is a political cartoonist turned freelance caricaturist and the doodles are whimsical works of art. [Washingtonian]
Flickr pool photo by Chris Guyton
An exclusive home buying class is being held on Sept. 11 and 18 in Arlington.
The first 3 to attend each class get a free Roku Express!
Looking for a home in a great location but without the high costs? Consider an older home.
- Older homes will save you money on your real estate taxes because the assessed value is lower.
- In the DC metro region, an older home can save you $50,000 and more compared to newer construction homes in the same neighborhood.
- You can always renovate the home later, leaving you with a modern home with more character.
Attend the Home Buyer Class hosted by Orange Line Living and Get $1,500 Towards Your Next Home Purchase!
You will get a comprehensive explanation of the home purchasing process – there’s more to know than you’d think. The Orange Line Living Team will be teaching all of the acronyms and definitions you will need, what happens at each stage of your transaction, real strategies on how to negotiate a lower purchase price, the different type of loans available, and much more. There will be local specialists from multiple industries in attendance, so come with questions.
Benefits of Attending
- $1,500 credit towards your new home or towards early lease termination
- 12-month home buy-back guarantee
- Food and drinks provided
- AND the first 3 to attend will receive a Roku Express!
The event is hosted by best-selling author and top nationally-ranked real estate agent Dan Lesniak, author of The HyperLocal HyperFast Real Estate Agent. Dan and his team have developed a special process that has allowed them to help over one thousand local families buy or sell their home.
- When: Monday at 6:00pm on: 9/11 and 9/18
- Where: Orange Line Living, 1600 Wilson Blvd, Suite 101, Arlington, VA 22209
- Cost: Free
- Parking: Validated Parking or Street Parking
- Food: Appetizers and Drinks
- Contact: [email protected] or call 571-969-7653
Space is limited so be sure to register at arlingtonhomebuyerclass.com!
Several thousand people are expected to descend on Rosslyn’s Gateway Park on Saturday, September 9 for this year’s Rosslyn Jazz Fest.
The free event at the park at 1300 Lee Highway regularly draws more than 5,000 people for jazz music, local food trucks and a beer and wine garden from 1-7 p.m.
This year’s lineup, with timings, is as follows:
- 1 p.m. – Joe Keyes & The Late Bloomer Band
- 2:20 p.m. – Xenia Rubinos
- 3:45 p.m. – Lee Fields & The Expressions
- 5:30 p.m. – The Soul Rebels
Food trucks Tacos Matadores, Rocklands BBQ, Mangia Tutti, Chix N Stix, Tapas Truck, Bon Bonni and Healthy Food Fool will be on site.
And for the second year, the Rosslyn Business Improvement District is partnering with neighborhood restaurants to offer discounts at to those attending this event. Customers must mention the code “Rosslyn Retail” at participating restaurants and receive 15 percent off their bill all day long.
The offer is available at Barley Mac, Bistro 360, Heavy Seas Alehouse, Kona Grill, Pancho Villa, Piola, Ben’s Chili Bowl, cityhouse, Key Bridge Terrace, Jimmy John’s, Continental Pool Lounge and The Perfect Pita.
Organizers said parking nearby will be limited. Public parking is available on N. Moore Street between 19th Street N. and Lee Highway for a $5 flat fee, while parking around Rosslyn will likely be limited too. Instead, organizers said they “strongly encourage” attendees to take Metro or bike to the festival, with the park a few blocks away from the Rosslyn Metro station.
Photos via Rosslyn BID.
This week’s Arlington Pet of the Week is Bear, a 5-year-old Siamese mix cat.
Here is what her owner Linglu had to say about her:
Bear is a 5-year-old Siamese mix. She had a very humble beginning of life. When she was only a few weeks old, she was found in a drainpipe covered with fleas and she almost died. The nice volunteers at Madison-Greene Humane Society rescued her and nursed her back to health. She was then adopted by her human parents, an Arlington couple who were newlyweds at the time of her adoption.
Bear has a very strong personality. Her hobbies include getting high on catnip, chasing invisible ghosts around the house, trying to fit into the smallest box possible, sleeping on her daddy’s lap when he plays video games, stealing pastries from the kitchen counter, and nibbling her mommy’s leg when she prepares Bear’s meals.
Bear is a highly intelligent cat. She is very good at the Mad Scientist game (a toy where cats spin tubes to get treats). Her daddy even trained her to do tricks, such as sit, stay, come, shake hands, and high five. No wonder Bear’s parents love her dearly despite of all her quirkiness!
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 of 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.
The incident happened just before 6 p.m. on the 4000 block of 5th Road N. — a block that includes restaurants, a yoga studio, a towing lot and the rear of a Mercedes-Benz dealership.
Police say the victim suffered a non-life-threatening cut to the face and the suspect was taken into custody. The motive for the alleged crime is unclear.
“The suspect was consuming alcohol prior to the incident,” said Arlington County Police Department spokeswoman Ashley Savage. “What preceded the incident remains under investigation.”
More from this week’s ACPD crime report:
MALICIOUS WOUNDING, 2017-08260207, 4000 block of 5th Road N. At approximately 5:58 p.m. on August 26, officers responded to a report of a stabbing. Upon arrival it was determined that a known suspect struck the victim in the face, causing a laceration. The victim was transported to Virginia Hospital Center with non-life threatening injuries. Jeffery Warren, 55, of Stafford, VA was arrested and charged with Malicious Wounding and held with no bond.
Also in the crime report, a man has been charged with aggravated sexual battery after allegedly “playing with children in an inappropriate way” in the Aurora Highlands neighborhood.
AGGRAVATED SEXUAL BATTERY, 2017-08230184, 2700 block of S. Fern Street. At approximately 3:20 p.m. on August 23, police responded to the report of a suspicious person. Upon arrival, police met with a female victim who observed the male suspect playing with children in an inappropriate way. During the course of the investigation, it was determined that the suspect touched two minor females in a sexual manner. Marlon Cardona-Orellana, 38, of Arlington, VA was arrested and charged with two counts of aggravated sexual battery.
The rest of this past week’s crime report highlights, including some that we’ve already reported, after the jump.
The last still-operating reminder of when Clarendon was known as “Little Saigon” is celebrating its reopening with an open house today (Wednesday).
Nam-Viet at 1127 N. Hudson Street closed temporarily last month for renovations, but is back in business today with a free lunch buffet from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. It will reopen for regular business hours tomorrow (Thursday).
During the renovations, workers raised the restaurant’s ceilings, refreshed the ceiling tiles, added new tables, chairs and toilets and, literally, raised the bar. The eatery seats 90 people inside and another 60 on the patio outside. General manager Richard Nguyen said the refresh was the first since the restaurant opened in Clarendon in 1986.
“We figured, hey, we stayed here 31 years, have longevity, let’s see if we can stay here for even longer,” Nguyen said.
When customers walk into the restaurant, they will see photos of former prisoners of war, who Nguyen said have helped make Nam-Viet a success. The restaurant holds reunions for POWs as well as other private events.
Nguyen said customers can expect the same menu as before, filled with traditional Vietnamese food which has stayed more or less unchanged throughout its decades in business.
“The only thing that’s changed over 31 years is the décor,” he said. “Everything else has stayed the same.”
The renovation came a month after Nam-Viet closed its second location, in D.C.’s Cleveland Park neighborhood. Nam-Viet’s full letter to its customers is after the jump.