Arlington, VA

Rosslyn Jazzfest 2015, photo courtesy Rosslyn BIDA Grammy Award-winning Latin jazz ensemble is slated to headline the 26th annual Rosslyn Jazz Festival next week.

The festival will kick off at 1 p.m. on Saturday, September 10 at Gateway Park. Thousands of people are expected to attend the event, according to the Rosslyn BID, which helps organize the festival.

Grupo Fantasma, a Latin funk ensemble from Austin, Texas, is this year’s headlining act. The band’s 2010 album, “El Existentia,” won a Grammy for Best Latin Rock or Alternative Album in 2011.

Other acts scheduled to perform in the festival include vocalist Akua Allrich, guitarist Vieux Farka Touré and the Glen David Andrews Band.

“The Rosslyn Jazz Festival has something for everyone in the community,” said Mary-Claire Burick, president of the Rosslyn BID. “The festival takes a very modern and accessible approach to jazz with musical groups that have a strong millennial following.”

Along with musical performances, this year’s festival will feature a special where kids can create their own musical instruments and an “art jam” session where attendees can draw, paint or write poems inspired by the festival.

The event will also have beer and wine from local bars and a variety of snacks from area food trucks.

The Arlington County Police Department says it will shut down some roads in the area, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., for the jazz festival. Those road closures include:

  • Eastbound lanes of Lee Hwy between Fort Myer Drive and Lynn Street
  • 19th Street N. between Fort Myer and N. Moore Street

“Heavy pedestrian traffic is anticipated between the hours of 2:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m.,” the police department said. “Be prepared for delays if you do not detour prior to Fort Myer Drive.”

Photo courtesy Rosslyn BID

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"We Are Still Tornadoes" cover (Photo courtesy of Amazon.com)Arlington lawyer Susan Mullen’s journey to becoming a novelist began with an encounter with an old friend on Facebook.

Mullen reconnected with fellow lawyer and University of Virginia School of Law alum Michael Kun, who sought her help with what became “We Are Still Tornadoes,” a novel about best friends who follow different paths after high school. Kun, an author whose books include “The Locklear Letters” and “My Wife and My Dead Wife,” shocked Mullen with his writing proposal.

“I thought, ‘Why would you want to do that?'” Mullen said. “He’s a successful novelist, and I’ve never written anything before. We talked it through and basically agreed that we’d be honest with each other, and if it wasn’t going well, we’d just say, ‘Well this was fun,’ and move on.”

The novel centers around Scott and Cath, who grew up together in a small Maryland town. Through the use of letters between the friends, Mullen and Kun weave together a story of what happens when Cath goes to Wake Forest University and Scott stays behind to follow his musical dreams.

In order to keep the concept of writing letters back and forth a realistic one, the book is set in 1982, before online communication became widespread.

“It was a time when people wrote letters,” Mullen said. “It had to pre-date email because I don’t think that email has the same charm as writing letters, although members of the younger generations might disagree.”

To add authenticity to the missives, Mullen and Kun actually sent letters to each other throughout the writing process, with Mullen drafting Cath’s dispatches and Kun penning Scott’s notes.

Mullen and Kun discussed little beyond the novel’s framework and basic plot before starting the process, leaving the rest to the individual writer.

“We exchanged letters back and forth, and we just let it evolve,” Mullen said. “We surprised each other with the letters to a certain extent, and we would give each other a little bit of feedback along the way.”

The exchange of letters took over three years, something that Mullen attributes to both her and Kun’s busy lives as lawyers with families.

“I would only write when I had a significant block of time to really sit down and pay attention to do my best work,” Mullen said. “I really wanted to respect the process.”

When she was writing, Mullen’s oldest daughter was beginning her freshman year at Harvard University, giving her somebody to base the collegiate experience on. Both of her daughters also provided feedback in terms of how authentic the letters sounded. One major change was the inclusion of profanity, something her daughters felt came off as more authentic.

“Mike previously had a rule that he did not want his characters to curse because he wanted his daughter to eventually read his books,” Mullen said. “When my girls read it, they were like, ‘Mom, they have to curse, its just not realistic. It’s the way teenagers talk.'”

One challenge they faced while writing the book was finding a way to describe events that occurred while both characters were in the same location.

“You’re not going to write to each other about things that you have experienced together,” Mullen said. “It’s challenging sometimes to describe events with enough detail to be interesting to the reader and at the same time not include so much detail that its unrealistic from a letter-writing standpoint.”

At the same time, she said that the epistolary format helped make the writing process easier for her as a rookie novelist.

“I only had to write one letter at a time,” Mullen said. “For a lot of first-time authors, what stops them is trying to figure out what they’re going to say from start to finish.”

“We Are Still Tornadoes” is set to come out Nov. 1.

Photo courtesy of Amazon.com

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Barcroft Park/Four Mile Run clean-upA local organization is looking for Arlington residents to help remove litter from Four Mile Run next month.

Volunteers with Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment (ACE) will help pick up trash from the stream during the organization’s annual cleanup at Barcroft Park on Saturday, Sept. 17.

Those who sign up for the event will be tasked with removing debris from Barcroft Park and along the banks of Four Mile Run.

The cleanup is being held in conjunction with Clean Virginia Waterways Day and the Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup. As part of its collaborative efforts, ACE will collect data on the garbage its volunteers remove from the stream.

“We will submit the data to both groups to contribute to an understanding of how litter is impacting our waterways and the wildlife that depends on our waterways,” said Elenor Hodges, executive director at ACE.

Those interested in helping out should bring along sturdy shoes they don’t mind getting wet, work gloves and a water bottle and wear long pants and sleeves to protect against poison ivy, Hodges said.

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Arlington fielded some of the country’s top youth athletes in water polo last month.

Capital Water Polo has two of the top 25 youth water polo teams in the United States after competing in USA Water Polo’s 2016 Junior Olympics in San Jose, Calif., from July 22-30.

The club, which trains at the pools at Washington-Lee, Yorktown and Wakefield high schools, sent more than 50 athletes ages 10-18 from five teams to the tournament.

The under-14 girls’ and under-12 boys’ teams were Capital Water Polo’s top squads, finishing 22nd and 24th, respectively. The under-18 boys’ team finished 44th in its fifth appearance in the tournament and the under-16 and under-14 boys’ teams finished 76th and 79th, respectively.

“I am incredibly proud of all our athletes for their dedication during the tough 10 months of training leading up to this championship tournament, as well as for their formidable play against the top teams in the nation,” coach Leslie Enwistle said in a statement. “Many of our competitors’ programs have been ranked nationally for over 20 years. We demonstrated that our coaches’ commitment to effectively develop all our athletes was successful at the highest level.”

Photos courtesy of Teresa Byrne

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A fast-casual eatery in Pentagon City gave select locals a taste of its noodle, rice and salad bowls and its automated ordering and payment system today, ahead of its scheduled opening next week.

Honeygrow, which is slated to make its official debut Monday in the recently-expanded Fashion Centre at Pentagon City mall, served up samples of its sesame garlic and Philly roast pork stir-fry bowls and other food during an RSVP-only preview lunch.

The restaurant follows a Chipotle-style ordering model that allows customers to pick between its suggested salad and stir-fry noodle or rice options, or create their own meals. Diners also can order a “honeybar,” a dessert with fresh fruit, honey and other toppings, such as coconut flakes and granola.

But unlike Chipotle, customers use touch screens to order and pay for their food, which they can eat in the restaurant or take away with them.

Honeygrow’s Arlington outpost is the Philadelphia-based company’s ninth restaurant and its first location in the D.C. area. The chain is slated to open a location in the District’s Chinatown neighborhood later this year, along with two other outposts in Baltimore.

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global assemblyArlington is set to get an outpost of a global company that focuses on tech education.

General Assembly is opening a campus in a yet-to-be-determined location in the county, company spokeswoman Lauren Roberts said today. The outpost is slated to arrive by the end of the year, along with nine other new campuses around the world.

At General Assembly, students can hone their computer skills — including coding, design and digital marketing — through short courses and 12-week “boot camp” classes online and in 15 campuses, including outposts in D.C., New York, London and Hong Kong.

“General Assembly is choosing to open new campuses in less traditional tech hotspots to increase accessibility for those looking to obtain in-demand digital skills,” Roberts said in an email. “Companies outside the Silicon Alleys and Valleys of the world can now leverage GA to hire a more diverse talent as well.”

Before the Arlington campus opens, General Assembly is scheduled to hold classes and workshops throughout Northern Virginia, including in Crystal City and Rosslyn.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

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Between large construction projects, utility work and street paving, Rosslyn has had a bumper crop of orange barrels this summer.

Expect more barrels and lane closures starting Sunday, as a new road paving project gets underway. Wilson Blvd between N. Oak Street and N. Quinn Street is scheduled to be repaved from August 14-19.

To minimize traffic disruption, work will be mainly done from 9 p.m-5 a.m. The milling and paving is expected to be completed by 5 a.m. on Friday, August 19.

For two days before and then throughout the paving project, temporary “no parking” signs will be posted along the sides of the street. Cars that remain on the street will be towed.

In the meantime, as part of the continued construction on the Central Place project across from the Rosslyn Metro station, utility work is being conducted at the corner of 19th Street N. and N. Moore Street.

The work is being done by Dominion Power, which is setting up electrical systems for the new development. As a result of the construction activity, vehicles are only able to make right turns at the intersection. That has prompted detours for buses trying to access the Metro station.

The utility work is scheduled to be completed around Saturday, August 27.

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The Century Center office and retail complex in Crystal City is expected to sprout a new 22-story residential building in the next few years.

Property owner Lowe Enterprises submitted a preliminary site plan application in June, outlining its plans: a 286-unit residential building, located at the busy intersection of Crystal Drive and 23rd Street S.

The new building will be built above existing ground-floor retail, including California Tortilla, Buffalo Wild Wings and Mezeh Mediterranean Grill. The building will have 327,396 square feet of floor space, connected with an existing underground parking garage with 1,620 spaces.

In a letter to the county’s zoning division, the new development is described as “architecturally created to establish a distinguishable, contemporary, and elegant presence that will bring modern prominence to the southwest quadrant of the intersection.”

The building, with an address of 2351 Jefferson Davis Highway, is expected to contain modern amenities including an rooftop patio, a fitness area, a club room, an outdoor courtyard and bicycle storage room. Also, an existing second floor roof will be cleared of the mechanical equipment there now and will offer open space for residents. As part of the plan, the building will achieve a minimum LEED Silver certification.

The developer has included a transportation management plan to encourage residents to use alternative forms of transportation. The location is 0.4 miles from the Crystal City Metro station. Elements of the plan include placing transportation information displays in the building, offering new residents their choice of a $65 SmarTrip card or one-year bikeshare or carshare memberships, and distributing information about transit to residents and employees.

Century Center is currently home to restaurants, a Post Office branch and other small businesses. All existing tenants are expected to be able to continue operations during the property’s redevelopment, the plan states. There will approximately 17,500 square feet of ground floor retail space after construction, with nearly 10,000 square feet dedicated to existing restaurant tenants, it says.

The surrounding streetscape is also expected to be improved. The plans contain provisions for retail and food service kiosks along with a Capital Bikeshare station. It also includes new open space at the corner of 23rd Street S. and Crystal Drive that will be home to kiosks, outdoor seating and other activities. While the existing parking garage will continue to be used, the current four entrances will be reduced to one in order to better fulfill the vision of 23rd Street as a pedestrian-oriented street.

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Diana Sun (photo via Arlington County)Diana Sun is set to retire from her post as Arlington County’s chief spokeswoman this summer after 13 years on the job.

Sun, who joined the county as director of communications and assistant county manager in 2003, is slated to step down in the next couple of weeks. Her last day will be Friday, Sept. 2.

County Manager Mark Schwartz, who announced Sun’s retirement at a County Board meeting last month, said her communications department had “excellent relationships” with journalists and was available at all times to help with media relations.

“She’s held our communications efforts to the highest ethical standards and she has enhanced our reputation as a national leader,” he said.

Prior to working for the county, Sun served as the vice president of corporate communications at Capital One. The experience she brought with her had an immediate effect on the county government, her co-workers said.

“She joined us when we had at best a rudimentary public information office structure and she was bought in to professionalize and modernize the effort and she succeeded brilliantly at the task,” said Schwartz. “She built what I think is one of the best communications teams of any jurisdiction in the commonwealth and perhaps the United States. We are regarded as leaders and innovators in so many areas.”

During her time in the county government, Sun helped oversee the building and rebuilding of the county’s website, led the county’s expansion into social media, redesigned its Citizen newspaper and tracked down the history of the county seal, eventually getting it trademarked.

“The length of time you’ve been here, there’s been an enormous evolution of the communications function here in the county and a professionalization of that,” County Board member Jay Fisette said.

Photo via Arlington County

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Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) speaks alongside Del. Charniele Herring (D) at a press conference outside of the Courthouse Metro station

(Updated at 4:25 p.m.) Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton would help fix Memorial Bridge and the Metro system if she is elected president, local congressman Don Beyer said today.

Speaking at a brief press conference outside the Courthouse Metro station, Rep. Beyer (D-Va.) said Clinton would make it a top priority in her first 100 days in office to break through Washington’s gridlock and make the biggest investment in jobs and infrastructure since World War II.

Her economic plan would add jobs to the economy via investments in U.S. infrastructure, Beyer said, including Northern Virginia’s “two great priorities” — Memorial Bridge and Metrorail.

Without more investment, Metro’s long-term capital budget and the deteriorating bridge — which just received a federal grant — would continue to suffer, he said.

“We know the incredibly important role that infrastructure plays in job creation, economic development and raising incomes,” Beyer said. “In Virginia, we expect our leaders to enact policies that help our economy thrive. Hillary Clinton is committed to building an economy that works for everyone in Virginia and America, not just those at the top.”

Jared Bernstein, Vice President Joe Biden’s former chief economic adviser, who joined Beyer and Del. Charniele Herring (D) at the news conference, said Clinton’s plan would have economic benefits for everyone.

“Hillary Clinton’s vision is an inclusive vision where economic growth benefits not just those at the very top, but middle class and lower-income households as well, where investments are made not simply in the bank accounts of those at the very top of the scale, but in people across the income scale,” he said.

According to the Clinton campaign, an analysis by Moody’s economist and former McCain adviser Mark Zandi suggests that Clinton’s economic plan would create 271,000 jobs in Virginia, compared to a projected loss of 89,000 jobs under Republican nominee Donald Trump’s economic plan. (Trump updated his plan in a speech today.)

Not everybody was impressed with the mid-morning press conference. An ART bus driver, picking passengers up at a nearby bus stop, asked a news photographer what was going on. Upon hearing that it was a pro-Hillary press conference, and that the candidate would not be attending, the driver said he was voting for Trump, before driving off.

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Startup Monday header

Editor’s Note: 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.

Many companies across the U.S. have issues with worker morale and productivity. Clarendon-based E3 Solutions employs neuroscience to help companies solve those problems.

E3 CEO Don Rheem said he started his business six years ago to give human resources departments tools they can use through empirically validated science. While many companies have cutting-edge computers and software, few of them have HR processes that aren’t stuck in the 1990s, he said.

“Very little that’s done in the HR field is actually based on empirically validated research related to human behavior,” Rheem said.

The idea for E3 — which gets its name from the three E’s of envision, empower and engage — came when Rheem worked as a communications consultant. After 20 years in the communications industry, Rheem realized that while he was helping find better ways to communicate, the messages he conveyed remained ineffective.

He then took it upon himself to figure out ways to make workplace culture better and improve communication on a greater scale. Using science, Rheem was able to discover some of the main issues that affect workers.

Rheem learned that humans by nature are hard-wired to work as a group, creating a tribe. The workplace has evolved into a tribe, where adults spend most of their time with other adults, he said. As a result, the brain has specific requirements that lead to the optimal performance of the group.

“The brain expects to find certain conditions when it gets into the group and we now know what those conditions are,” Rheem said. “That’s what we help our clients see and understand, and then we help them to do the tactical things, the logistical things that they need to do in their company so that the brain feels those conditions that it wanted.”

For new clients, E3 begins with a 26-question online assessment that companies send out to all of their employees. After collecting the data, E3 can figure out how engaged the employees are, creating a profile that helps businesses determine what the issues are.

In the case of an electric company that had a morale issue, for example, E3 found that about a third of its employees were disengaged. After a year of working with the company, almost half of the disconnected workers became engaged.

“That’s the beauty of using science,” Rheem said. “Unlike these typical leadership approaches that are literally made up by the company or proprietor that’s doing it, we use science, and when you use science, it works every time.”

E3 also makes sure to apply what it sells to its own business.

Rheem said he chose to base his company in a MakeOffices location due to the social aspects that come with working in a shared office space. Unlike traditional workplaces with long hallways and individual offices where interaction might be limited, MakeOffices allows people to mingle with employees from other businesses, building connections and a sense of community in the workplace.

“We know we’re herd animals,” he said. “We know we’re hardwired to have safe and secure connections with others. What we’re essentially helping our clients do is creating those safe and secure connections inside the workplace. When you do that, people thrive by design. When you create those conditions, you don’t have to tell employees to become engaged, they become engaged organically.”

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