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ARLnow Weekend Discussion

Some snow may fall over the weekend and even though accumulation is unlikely, several events like this weekend’s Fitness + Wellness Festival and Chalkapalooza have been rescheduled or cancelled.

Snow aside, let’s take a look back at ARLnow’s biggest stories over the past week.

  1. Elementary School Principal Dies Unexpectedly
  2. Lyon Park Gun Store Sales Steady Amid Gun Control Debate
  3. The Italian Store’s Vespa Has Been Recovered
  4. Arlington’s Millennials Want To Buy Homes, But It’s Complicated
  5. Updated: Escape Room Opening on Columbia Pike
  6. Istanbul Grill Expected To Replace Ballston Area’s El Ranchero

Feel free to discuss these topics, your weekend plans, or anything else that’s happening locally in the comments below. Have a great weekend!

Photo via Erinn Shirley/Flickr

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UPDATE: Westover Bank Robbery Suspect Arrested

Update at 2:45 p.m. on 4/8/18 — Christopher Lee Hicks has been arrested thanks to a tip, police announced today.

Arlington County Police located the bank robbery suspect following a citizen tip to the Emergency Communication Center. Christopher Lee Hicks was taken into custody in the 500 block of W. Broad Street in the City of Falls Church with the assistance of the City of Falls Church Police Department. He is charged with one count of Robbery and is being held in the Arlington County Detention Facility on no bond.

Earlier: Arlington County Police have identified a suspect in the December robbery of a Wells Fargo bank in Westover.

Police are looking for Christopher Lee Hicks, who they say is the man seen in surveillance photos of the robbery.

More from ACPD:

The Arlington County Police Department is seeking the public’s assistance locating a suspected wanted for robbery of the Wells Fargo Bank located at 1701 N. McKinley Road on December 22, 2017. Christopher Lee Hicks, 42, of No Fixed Address is wanted in Arlington County on one count of Robbery. Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Christopher Lee Hicks should contact Detective C. Riccio at 703.228.4180 or [email protected] If seen, please call 9-1-1 immediately.

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Time Stands Still, But Business Does Not, at Tiny Clarendon Watch Store

Dan Sabouni didn’t set out to be a watchmaker and repairman.

His shop, Clarendon’s Arlington Watch Works, never would have come to fruition if Sabouni had actually enjoyed working in an automotive engineering office after college.

Luckily for Sabouni, he had worked in a jewelry shop during college, and did repairs for antique shops in D.C.’s Georgetown neighborhood. Now, he occupies the tiny, 200-square-foot space, between Goody’s Pizza and Rien Tong, at 3127 Wilson Boulevard, repairing, buying, and selling watches.

He initially owned a similar store in Georgetown neighborhood — a spit of a shop with only 90-square-feet of space — and found success there.

“When I opened that shop, everyone thought I was crazy,” said Sabouni, recounting how people would ask him who even fixes watches anymore.

Eventually, he sold the shop in the early 2000s to a friend and began traveling the world with his watch repair money. That was before he was married, “of course,” he pointed out.

Once he “ran out of money,” Sabouni, originally from London, came back to the area. He opened up the new Arlington shop in January 2015. Per square foot, he says, he’s paying more than any other shop.

“For us watchmakers, we can’t afford high rent,” said Sabouni. “So this was small, but yet affordable.”

Though most would think that those seeking less expensive rent would stay away from one of the more bustling Arlington corridors, or even stay out of Arlington as a whole, Sabouni says that the demographic makeup of the county is necessary for his business to grow.

“I have to be in a place where people do have what I’m looking to repair,” he said. “If I were to go down to, you know, Detroit, Michigan — who’s going to spend a thousand dollars or more restoring their dad’s watch?”

“All said and done, I don’t think you’ll ever find a rich watchmaker,” he added. “But it pays the bills, and I do what I like.”

And his clientele seems to like what he does, as well. Looking at a Yelp review page for Arlington Watch Works, 28 of his 29 reviews are five stars.

It usually takes about a day for a repair, if all goes according to plan. But it’s not an easy task, and even just apprenticing with Sabouni takes several years before being allowed to work on a paying client’s piece.

Sabouni still says that he’s still learning himself, and meets almost every Saturday with his mentor to discuss what’s stumping them.

Though watch repairs are certainly at the heart of the business model, Sabouni has a number of expensive watches on his shelves. Some are priced as little as a few hundred dollars, while others on display push the $20,000-$25,000 mark.

One watch on display, which Sabouni unlockws from its case and brings to a work table, is infinitely more delicate than what you could find at department stores.

It’s an $8,900 Van Cleef and Arpels model, handmade, completely see through, and thoroughly filigreed with real gold.

It’s an expensive passion to pick up, and an equally difficult industry to get into. But in an age of industry disruptions and smartphone app development, Sabouni doesn’t see his industry, and his place in it, going away.

“As long as men are men, and want to have their toys — I guess [the industry] will be over when men want to stop playing with their toys.”

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Arlington Police Issued At Least 18 Jaywalking-Related Citations in 2017

Arlington County may be known as a generally pedestrian-friendly place, but you can get ticketed for jaywalking here.

At least 18 citations were issued in 2017 for common pedestrian code violations, according to the Arlington County Police Department.

Nine citations were issued for “pedestrian disobey walk/don’t walk,” and another nine were issued for “pedestrian walk in street when sidewalk is available,” according to ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage.

(The term jaywalking, while colloquially used to describe those crimes, is technically not an offense code in Virginia.)

“As part of a police officer’s routine duties, they enforce various traffic laws for pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists,” Savage told ARLnow.com. “Officers utilize their discretion and take enforcement action when there is a clear danger to the safety of travelers.”

At least one of these enforcement actions occurred yesterday outside of the Deloitte offices in Rosslyn (1919 N. Lynn Street), according to a tipster, who sent a photo of a man waiting near a police cruiser as an officer wrote up a citation.

Pedestrian-related citations, dependent on the exact nature of the offense, can result in fines of $66 (including processing fee).

Recent pedestrian-related fines, including fines for paying attention to a mobile device while crossing the street, have drawn attention from D.C. to Honolulu.

The annual Street Smart regional traffic safety campaign kicks off soon, running from April 16-May 13. The law enforcement effort attempts to encourage safe behavior among pedestrians, drivers, and bicyclists “through high visibility traffic enforcement and education while reducing the number of traffic related crashes and injuries.”

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Nesting Eagles Spotted Near Ft. Bennett Park

A pair of eagles and their eaglets have taken up residence along the GW Parkway, around Arlington’s Ft. Bennett Park northwest of Rosslyn.

Glenn Mai, a local resident who spotted the nest, said it is “viewable from Ft. Bennett Park” and “there are currently three chicks in the nest that can be seen with binoculars and/or a spotting scope.”

Another local spotted the nest late last month and has since posted several photos via Twitter.

This isn’t the first bald eagle sighting in the county, though most of Arlington’s bald eagles aren’t cruising around Clarendon.

Bald eagles, according to Cornell University’s Lab of Ornithology, build nests that are about five to six feet in diameter and two to four feet tall — making the nests the largest among birds. It can take up to three years for a pair of eagles to build a nest.

The Center for Conservation Biology keeps a map of eagle nests, as well as Chesapeake Bay herons, ospreys, and nightjars.

Photos courtesy of GM and MB/Flickr

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Open Houses in Arlington This Weekend

Looking for a home? There are plenty of houses and condos open for viewing this weekend.

Check out the Arlington Realty website for a full list of homes for sale and open houses in Arlington. Here are a few highlights:

856 N. Harrison Street
6 beds/5 bath, 1 half bath single-family home
Agent: Ann Wilson
Listed: $2,388,888
Open: Sunday 1-3 p.m.

 

105 N. Oakland Street
5 beds/4 bath, 1 half bath single-family home
Agent: David Lloyd
Listed: $1,750,000
Open: Sunday 1-4 p.m.

 

4244 N. Vacation Lane
5 beds/5 bath single-family home
Agent: William Gaskins
Listed: $1,375,000
Open: Sunday 2-4 p.m.

 

3855 N. Upland Street
5 beds/3 bath, 1 half bath single/family home
Agent: Christopher Wilkes
Listed: $914,000
Open: Sunday 1-4 p.m.

 

1201 N. Garfield Street
2 beds/2 bath, 1 half bath condo
Agent: Daniel Lesniak
Listed: $764,000
Open: Sunday 2-4 p.m.

 

101 S. Park Drive
3 beds/2 bath single-family home
Agent: A. Casey O’neal
Listed: $689,000
Open: Sunday 1-4 p.m.

 

2522 S. Walter Reed Drive
2 beds/2 bath condo
Agent: Sandra Graves
Listed: $525,000
Open: Sunday 1-3 p.m.

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WWBG: Where I Like to Grab a Beer in NYC

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.

On any trip to New York City, I try to get to my favorite watering holes and to find new ones.

Recently, I visited the Big Apple with my family. While there, I decided that I’d like to share my favorite restaurants and bottle shops for grabbing a beer.

Whether you’re waiting in long lines to get into the Supreme store in SoHo or in the long lines to get into the 9/11 Memorial & Museum or are waiting to get into the next showing of Hamilton — you’re probably going to want beer when you’re done.

Beer Table

(22 Grand Central Terminal, Across from Track 13 and WESTFIELD WORLD TRADE CENTER, 185 Greenwich Street)

My first stop was Beer Table in Westfield World Trade Center.

This small space had quite the singles selection with five beers on tap for filling in a variety of vessels that range from pint jars to mini kegs called “Gregs” — a contraction of growler and keg.

I couldn’t pass up a jar of Runcible, a Brett IPA from DC’s Right Proper Brewing Company. My literally pint-sized jar came cozily wrapped in a complimentary koozie and sealed well enough that the longish walk back to my hotel without immediate refrigeration did little to diminish the freshness.

As small as the Lower Manhattan location is, the one at Grand Central is even tinier. But show up on a Friday evening and you’ll find a line that stretches out their door and down the corridor. Thirsty commuters looking for some tasty beer for their train rides out of the city keep this location hopping!

They have big plans for the future, too. Their origins were in the restaurant business with a now-closed Beer Table restaurant in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Now, they’re returning to their roots with Beer Table Coffee Table on Third Avenue between 45th and 46th Streets.

While You’re In The Neighborhood…

When in the Financial District, be sure to grab a bite — and maybe some groceries — at Eataly.

Conveniently located upstairs from the Beer Table in Westfield World Trade Center, you’ll find a lot of Dogfish Head beers (they have collaborated on beers in recent years) and beer from an Italian craft brewery, Baladin. While I didn’t manage to try Baladin’s beer, they do make delicious sodas that we all fell for.

Cooper’s Craft & Kitchen

(169 8th Avenue and 87 2nd Avenue)

The last time I was in New York City we got up early to get a head start on the day. And we walked. We always walk in New York, but we really managed to get an unusual amount of walking in before lunch. We had walked about as far as we could manage and, while we contemplated our next move, one of us noticed Cooper’s across the street.

It was an oasis. I mean it. It was below freezing outside and, because it was the weekend, they were serving brunch. We were won over (everything was good but do try the french toast).

Now a must-visit for my entire family, Cooper’s Craft & Kitchen in the East Village sits blocks from Cooper Union at 87 2nd Avenue. Inside this corner restaurant with its panoramic views — great for people watching — is a gastropub that has more than 20 taps serving up great craft beer alongside delicious food. If you’re a locavore when it comes to craft beer, you will always find great New York area beers in addition to beers from around the world.

It feels like a cozy neighborhood hang out as much as a trendy craft beer bar. It has plenty of cool, but you’ll enjoy it if even if that’s not your thing. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

While You’re In The Neighborhood…

Perhaps you’ve just finished your meal at Cooper’s and want to grab a growler or some bottles or cans. Head a few blocks to the east to Good Beer NYC. Located near Tompkins Square at 422 E 9th Street, Good Beer is a step down off the sidewalk and into a compact bottle store that always has a great selection.

Tørst

(615 Manhattan Avenue, Brooklyn, NY)

When in NYC, you have to make the trek to Brooklyn’s Tørst in Greenpoint. At least that’s what Dominion Wine & Beer’s Arash Takafor said. There are so many reasons to venture into Brooklyn, but when you’re in Manhattan, it can feel like you’re completely leaving the city. I can tell you that there is no place I’ve been to that was more worth the effort.

Take a few trains from Manhattan — we took three, some with only one or two stops before the change — and get out at the Nassau Ave. station. Just down the block is an unassuming door with a sandwich board in front that marks it as Tørst.

Inside is a warm wood interior with communal tables and a long bar sporting 21 taps. Details are important to the Tørst experience. Each of the tap handles is a different shade of wood, from light to very dark. This corresponds to the color and strength of the beers on draft. Lighter pilsners and session beers are on the light end (think birch) and IPAs and sours run through the middle and heavies and stouts are on the dark end. (think walnut).

Their glasses take this attention to detail to another level. Made up of a pattern of triangles that appears merely ornamental (vaguely resembling pine trees), they are actually a creatively graduated system. Each row represents 5 oz., 8 oz. and 14 oz. One of the standouts from my flight was the 5 oz. pour of Aslin Beer Co. and Stillwater Artisanal’s collaboration Recess, which was refreshingly tart and fruity.

Finally, the food — think gastro beer bar — and the service — our bartender was knowledgeable, warm and friendly — are details that put Tørst on any must-visit list. Three of us had sandwiches (the favorite being a fried chicken breast with celery root remoulade), while my wife had a green goddess salad with pickled grapes and blue cheese crumbles. The sandwiches arrived with no sides but there was so much to enjoy between the pieces of bread that it was anything but underwhelming. Finishing it off, we shared a dessert of house-made vanilla ice cream with cacao nib brittle and amarena cherries.

While You’re In The Neighborhood…

Our bartender recommended that we walk several blocks to the Northwest to shop at Brouwerij Lane. Also in Greenpoint, Brouwerij Lane is a well-stocked bottle shop that has around 20 taps for growler fills and pours to enjoy on-site by their wood-burning stove inside or out back.

Friday Beer Tasting

Join Dominion Wine & Beer on Friday, April 6 from 5 — 7 p.m. as they host their weekly beer tasting. They’ll be featuring new beers from Cigar City Brewing, Crooked Run Brewing and a collaboration from AleSmith Brewing Company and Pizza Port Brewing Company!

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Not Wasting Waste: How Arlington and Alexandria Turn Trash Into Electricity

If you live in a single-family home in Arlington, the trash you put out for collection each week eventually comes back to you — in the form of electricity.

While the Arlington recycling rate is nearly 50 percent, well above the national average of about 35 percent, that means that there still is plenty of garbage to deal with. All that waste has to go somewhere and much of it ends up at a waste-to-energy plant in Alexandria, near the Van Dorn Street Metro station, that Arlington jointly owns with the city.

Covanta, the company that operates the facility, estimates that they process 975 tons of solid waste per day, distributed among the three 325 ton-per-day furnaces on-site, preventing it from ending up in a landfill.

“In some ways, the U.S. can be seen as a third-world country, with the way we’re putting garbage in landfills,” said James Regan, Covanta’s media director.

Arlington and Alexandria’s municipal waste goes through an emissions-controlled incinerator, where the controlled fire reaches temperatures just under 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. The fire boils water, which in turn generates steam and, through that, electricity.

That generates about 23 megawatts of baseload power, according to Regan, enough to power about 20,000 homes.

Emissions are monitored throughout the processes, with a few-dozen-or-so knobs, buttons and devices each focused on a different aspect of the process.

With all the capabilities, however, the control room’s goal is threefold: to monitor multiple security camera feeds in case of the occasional, small fire in the trash pit; to monitor temperatures in the combustion chamber; and pollution monitoring and emissions controls.

The combustion has led to a 90 percent reduction of waste by volume, which the company says offsets, on average, one ton of carbon dioxide equivalent for each ton of waste processed.

Both ferrous and non-ferrous metals are able to be extracted from the combustion and recycled, and Covanta is currently developing ways to reuse ash “as aggregate for roadways and construction materials.”

The facility has been burning trash since February 1988, according to Bryan Donnelly, the Arlington/Alexandria facility manager.

Prior to that, there was another incinerator, but it didn’t have the emissions controls or metal recovery program that the current waste-to-energy plant has.

New plants can cost as much as $500 million, but tend to be much larger than Arlington’s plant, which is only four acres — the smallest operated by Covanta. Most other plants are closer to 24 acres, according to Regan.

He estimates that this facility, in today’s dollars, would have cost about $200 million.

“We’re not saying take everything to [a waste-to-energy] facility,” said Regan. “We’re saying, let’s recycle more, to 65 percent. Let’s reduce the amount of landfill that [the U.S.] is doing,”

Exterior view via Google Maps

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Honking Metro Trains Irking Residents Along I-66

If you live near I-66, between the East Falls Church and Ballston Metro stations, the rumbling of Metro trains is a noise you’re probably used to.

But at least one person who lives in that area has taken to social media to comment on what she says is a recent escalation in noise: the constant, loud honking by trains as they roll by.

Video uploaded to Twitter indeed seems to show jarringly loud honking for a residential neighborhood.

The resident posted that she has lived at that location for 13 years and that this is a new neighborhood problem.

The social media complaints go as far back as January 22, and regular Twitter posts indicate that the honking hasn’t ceased or abated, and occurs after rush hour as well as on the weekends.

Though WMATA officials haven’t yet answered an ARLnow request for comment, Metro replied to the resident on Wednesday via Twitter and said that the honking is a safety measure.

“Thank you for contacting us about the frequent honking near your home,” the transit agency wrote. “At times trains may come across animals or unauthorized people near or on the tracks resulting in the operator to blow the train horn. Your tweet was shared with the Rail Division for review.”

That explanation, the resident replied, seems unlikely given the frequency of the honking.

“Thank you for responding, however this is a constant occurrence… All day every single day,” she said. “This is new and extremely intrusive to anyone who has a home nearby.”

Update at 2:15 p.m. — The resident who first contacted ARLnow.com about the honking says it has stopped since the publication of this article. Also via Twitter, some say that the honks may have to do with workers on or near the tracks.

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Morning Notes

ACFD Battles Kitchen Fire — Arlington County firefighters last night extinguished a kitchen fire in an apartment building on the 1900 block of N. Calvert Street, just north of Lee Highway and east of Spout Run. No injuries were reported. [Twitter, Twitter]

Taylor P.E. Teacher Pleads to Drug Charge — A second former P.E. teacher at Taylor Elementary School has pleaded guilty to charges stemming from a drug bust in December. Michael Diaddigo, 28, will reportedly “serve 1 of a 12-months jail sentence if he follows probation, which includes a $500 fine and substance abuse treatment.” [Twitter]

Central Place Bus Tunnel Still Closed — “A bus tunnel in Rosslyn critical to many commuters — which Metro said more than a year ago would open in days — remains closed due to outstanding construction concerns, WTOP has learned.” [WTOP]

Lanes Closures in Crystal City Tonight — The lanes of certain roads around Crystal City will be closed for about two hours tonight to accommodate the first of the annual Crystal City 5K Friday races. [Arlington County]

Residential Parking Permit Applications — “It is now time to renew your Residential Permit Parking Program permits and passes for the new program fiscal year beginning July 1, 2018. Remember enforcement continues throughout the year, so new passes/permits must be displayed by July 1st, 2018.” [Arlington County]

Actor Says No to WJLA Interview — Amy Schumer has turned down an interview with Arlington-based TV station WJLA (ABC 7) because it is owned by Sinclair, the broadcast station owner under fire for making its anchors read a script denouncing “biased and false news” from other outlets. [Buzzfeed]

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Just Listed in Arlington

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.”

There’s a reason why trying to make sense of a housing market drives economists crazy.

This week, for example, in the prime Spring market some 91 sellers listed their homes for sale, but only 53 buyers ratified contracts. There were no snow storms stopping buyers from touring homes, no natural or political disasters. Buyers were just not motivated this week.

The slow pace of absorption raised the level of inventory in Arlington to two months. But the average days on market stayed steady at 28. Of the 53 ratified contracts this week, 20 of those homes sold within seven days.

Arlington seems to be settling into a tale of two markets. Homes priced below $900,000 may receive multiple offers and sell quickly, while homes priced higher typically may linger a few weeks before that single offer comes in. We are hearing more and more of bidding wars on homes priced at $300,000 to $700,000.

Buyers enjoyed the good news this week that mortgage rates dropped for a second consecutive week. Freddie Mac reported that the 30-yr fixed rate dropped four basis points to about 4.5% with no points. Trade-related anxiety in financial markets pushed the yield down on the benchmark 10-year Treasury bill. Mortgage rates followed.

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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