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Arlington’s Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Event Set for Sunday

Arlington will celebrate the life and legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. with a free annual event featuring local performers this Sunday (Jan 20).

“Supernatural” actor Christian Keyes is set to host Arlington’s MLK Tribute, which is now in its 50th year. The event will run from 5-6:30 p.m. at Wakefield High School.

Community members and county staff created the annual tribute one year after King’s assassination in 1968 as a way to bring the community together around King’s vision for social equality.

“Arlington’s beloved MLK tribute event is a joyful celebration of Dr. King and his powerful advocacy for social and economic justice, non-violence and empowerment that continues to serve as a beacon for our nation more than a half-century after his assassination,” Arlington County Board Chair Christian Dorsey said in a press release.

The program features music, dance and spoken word roles.

The lineup includes:

  • Spoken word artist Outspoken Poetress (Audrey Perkins)
  • Inspire Arts Collective
  • Soloist Jackie Pate
  • Soloist James Gibson
  • Arlington resident Joy Gardner
  • The Hoffman-Boston All Star Chorus led by Molly Haines
  • Teen Network boardmembers
  • Winners of the Arlington Public Schools’ MLK Literary and Visual Arts Contest

Guests will be seated on a first-come, first-served basis, and overflow space with a live stream of the program will be available if the auditorium reaches capacity. Anyone attending is encouraged to bring non-perishable goods to donate to Arlington Food Assistance Center.

Photo via Arlington County

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County Plans Two New Events to Lend a Hand to Furloughed Workers

As the longest government shutdown in the nation’s history continues without an end in sight, Arlington officials are continuing to offer help to federal government workers missing out on paychecks.

Two events scheduled for later this week are meant to reduce financial burdens facing furloughed workers.

The Arlington Public Library system plans to host a workshop on Thursday (Jan. 17) to help furloughed federal employees with their budgets and access county resources.

Entitled “Finding Help During Difficult Financial Times,” the workshop will provide how-to’s on the following:

After the presentation, Latrice Robinson, a financial coach and contractor who is a part of the CFPB Financial Coaching Program, will be on hand to answer any questions, along with AFAC Client Services Manager Lily Duran and outreach staff from the Public Assistance Division in DHS.

The workshop will take place from 10:30 a.m. to noon at the Barbara M. Donnellan Auditorium in the Central Library (1015 N. Quincy Street).

Arlington Public Schools also announced today (Tuesday) that it will hold a job fair on Friday (Jan. 18) for federal employees interested in substitute teaching.

The job fair will run from noon to 4 p.m. at the Syphax Education Center (2110 Washington Blvd). Participants should bring two forms of identification to the job fair and are encouraged to submit their application beforehand.

File photo

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Panda Tea House ‘Coming Soon’ to Pentagon City Mall

Panda Tea House is set to open at the former site of Kokee Tea in the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City mall.

An employee for Kokee Tea told ARLnow that spot closed in the food court at 1100 S. Hayes Street, but was not able to say exactly when it closed.

Kokee Tea has several other locations in Virginia, including Centreville, Fairfax and Springfield.

A banner at the shuttered storefront says that Panda Tea House is “coming soon” and will serve Thai hand rolled ice cream. The menu also offers bubble tea, according to its website.

Panda Tea House opened a location at Dulles Town Center in September.

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Holiday Market to Pop Up in Ballston Apartment Building Tomorrow

Local retailers will set up shop for a holiday market pop-up tomorrow (Saturday) in The View at Liberty Center at 4000 Wilson Blvd.

Gifts from the clothing boutique Mission Edit, Wine Time Crafts, stationary shop Creations by Sasha and other local businesses will be available for purchase from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Shoppers can also munch on holiday cookies with a cup of hot chocolate.

The first 300 people outside The View on the corner of N. Quincy Street and Wilson Blvd will get to take home a wreath from Merrifield Garden Center, which is located in Falls Church.

The View is encouraging visitors to bring new, unwrapped toys to support local Toys for Tots efforts by the U.S. Marine Corps. The apartment building also plans to raffle off holiday pies from D.C.-based bakery Whisked! to benefit Toys for Tots.

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Virginia State Police Set to Crack Down on I-66 Toll Cheaters Tomorrow

Starting tomorrow, Virginia State Police are set to start enforcement activities intended to punish High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) violators on I-66.

VSP will start a focused HOV enforcement on I-66 express lanes inside the Beltway tomorrow (Thursday) during the morning and afternoon rush hour periods, the Virginia Department of Transportation recently announced.

Violators caught in this area face fines ranging from $125 for a first offense, up to $1,000 for a fourth or subsequent offense within a period of five years from the first one.

Drivers must have an E-ZPass device or E-ZPass Flex for vehicles with two or more people to travel during rush hours.

All vehicles with two or more people may use the road during rush hours for free, but need an E-ZPass Flex switched to HOV-mode. Drivers who choose to pay a toll and drive by themselves in the express lanes also need an E-ZPass.

VSP’s last focused HOV enforcement initiative in the same area caught 32 violators, and police wrote 19 other citations on Nov. 30.

HOV hours are from 5:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. eastbound and from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. westbound, Monday through Friday.

File photo

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Wilson Blvd Upgrades in Virginia Square Poised for Spring Construction

The county could soon get started on some eagerly awaited improvements to Wilson Blvd in Virginia Square this spring.

Between 2009 and 2012, Arlington County completed two previous phases of road construction from N. Quincy Street to N. Lincoln Street, adding new sidewalks, streetlights, trees, bus shelters and a traffic signal at Oakland Street.

The second phase was divided into two different areas, with the first one finished in 2010 and the second one in 2012.

Now, last part of the project has been split into “east” and “west” phases along N. Kenmore Street.

The County Board is now set to award Sagres Construction Corp. a contract and $1,084,766 for the work needed for the “west” portion between N. Monroe Street and N. Kenmore Street. Construction could then begin next spring and then wrap the following summer.

For the final section, which spans from N. Kenmore Street to 10th Street N., construction is expected to start in spring of 2020 and then finish in spring of 2021.

Project elements for both “east” and “west” include new curbs and gutters, ADA-compliant sidewalks, traffic signal improvements, Carlyle-style streetlights and trees along the street. Upgrades to the storm sewers and new asphalt paving, signing and markings will also happen, according to the county.

“During the conceptual design process, residents especially noted concern for providing a safe pedestrian crossing at the N. Kenmore Street intersection,” according to county documents.

The Board is set to approve the contract at its meeting Saturday (Dec. 15) as part of its consent agenda, which is generally reserved for noncontroversial items.

Map via Arlington County

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Custis Trail Narrows Temporarily for N. Lynn Street Project in Rosslyn

Starting this week, construction to improve the intersection of Lee Highway and N. Lynn Street in Rosslyn will significantly narrow a portion of the Custis Trail.

The Custis Trail will be restricted to six feet wide for the section between N. Fort Meyer Drive and Lynn Street, as crews work to transform one lane of Lee Highway into additional trail width and buffer space.

The trail narrowing will last for nine to 10 months while construction takes place on the south side of the trail.

Construction on the two-year, $9.3 million project officially kicked off in May and will happen in phases to reduce impacts on pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers, according to the county.

Workers will add wider sidewalks, on-street bike lanes and improved curb ramps as the northbound and southbound sections of Lee Highway meet Lynn Street.

The project will also include improvements to the Custis Trail as it runs alongside Lee Highway, including bicycle and pedestrian facility upgrades, lane reconfiguration and widening of the trail.

For street beautification efforts, the “Corridor of Light” public art installation will get added to each of the four corners of the Interstate 66 bridge.

The county is helping to fund the construction. The project, expected to wrap up in spring 2020, will require some lane and sidewalk closures.

Photo via VDOT and rendering via Arlington County

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Sheriff’s Office to Host Holiday Events for Imprisoned Parents

Incarcerated mothers and fathers can celebrate the holidays with their children next week as part of events hosted by the Arlington County Sheriff’s Office.

Incarcerated parents must meet certain requirements for the opportunity to have dinner with their children and make themed crafts.

The recently released holiday movie “The Grinch” served as the inspiration for this year’s theme.

“The events aim to foster positive relationships between parents and children and lessen the effects of separation,” a county press release said.

The events will take place from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Arlington County Detention Facility (1435 N. Courthouse Road). The fathers-only event takes place on Monday (Dec. 10), followed by the mothers-only event on Tuesday (Dec. 11).

The Sheriff’s Office plans to host similar events when summer comes along, according to the press release.

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‘Good Sweat’ Cycling Studio Set to Open in Rosslyn Next Year

(Updated at 9:40 a.m.) Good Sweat, an indoor cycling studio, is set to open in Rosslyn’s Colonial Village Shopping Center in early 2019.

Alessandra Hashemi, the founder of Good Sweat, told ARLnow that she is aiming for a March opening.

More than 180 people helped Good Sweat raise roughly $26,000 in 21 days, surpassing the studio’s goal of $25,000 in 25 days, the company posted on Facebook on Oct. 21. The money will fund the opening next year at 1711 Wilson Blvd.

A portion of the money from the campaign was donated to Arlington Street People’s Assistance Network to sponsor its “Sixth Annual Happy Hour Benefiting Veterans” on Nov. 7, Hashemi said.

The studio plans to have metered bike and offer classes in the mornings throughout the week and in the evenings on weekdays, according to a brochure sent to ARLnow.

“I have been indoor cycling for over 10 years, and I have seen it all (the good, the bad, the underwhelming),” Hashemi, said in the brochure. “Indoor cycling classes can be cathartic if you have amazing coaches, music and motivation.”

The brochure says that a percentage of every purchase will get invested in the community by hosting subsidized rides for low-income individuals and donating to a different local nonprofit every month, including Urban Alliance, A-SPAN Doorways for Women and Families and Arlington Food Assistance Center.

Good Sweat held two pop-up events earlier this year — a yin yoga class in February and a body weight boot camp in August.

The studio is currently selling discounted packages, some of which include pre-opening access, ranging from one drop-in class to unlimited access for three months.

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Construction Starts on ‘Clarendon Circle’ Intersection, Prompting Traffic Changes and Detours

Crews have broken ground on the first phase of the “Clarendon Circle” project, bringing improvements to one of the county’s trickiest intersections for pedestrians and cyclists but creating some temporary traffic changes.

The County Board approved in June the contract for the overhaul of the “Clarendon Circle” — the area where Clarendon, Washington and Wilson boulevards all meet, just past the Metro station.

The first phase of the project involves concrete work along eastbound Washington Blvd — west of Wilson Blvd and Fairfax Drive — along with removal of the existing curb and gutter in the area.

Ardent Construction Company began in September Clarendon Circle’s reconstruction, which is anticipated to last one year, according to the county.

Signs will provide detour directions. Drivers and pedestrians have the following options to Clarendon Blvd from Washington Blvd:

  • Turn right on southbound N. Kirkwood Road, which turns into 10th Street N. Then turn left on Wilson Blvd and continue straight.
  • Stay on Washington Blvd, crossing Wilson and Clarendon boulevards, and then turn left on N. Highland Street. Then turn right.

Additionally, left turns will be restricted on eastbound Washington Blvd along with the left turn from eastbound Washington Blvd to Clarendon Blvd through next summer.

Traffic disruptions with lane and sidewalk closures during the 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. work hours on Mondays through Fridays are expected, the county said, adding that no weekend work is scheduled.

The planned improvements address planners’ desired changes to the intersection, like shortening the distances pedestrians have to walk across roads. The work will also include long-anticipated installation of additional bike lanes, the widening of Washington Blvd and the addition of upgraded traffic signals.

The project will also add a “green streets” element to N. Irving Street, next to the Silver Diner, which planners have said will help better manage stormwater.

Additional plans for the project include installing new Carlyle streetlights, adding curb extensions at the Liberty Tavern corner and planting more trees.

Maps via Arlington County

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Hanukkah Celebrations Planned Around Arlington Next Week

Now that Thanksgiving is over, Hanukkah celebrations are right around the corner.

This year, the Jewish holiday begins at sunset on Sunday (Dec. 2) and ends the following Monday, Dec. 10.

Arlington is ready for the festivities to begin, with seven events planned in the area for locals to attend during Hanukkah.

  • Dec. 2: Chanukah at Kol Ami — The Northern Virginia affiliate of the Jewish Reconstructionist Movement is set to sing and play dreidel at its potluck. Attendees are asked bring their menorahs, candles and pre-cooked food.
  • Dec. 2: Light Up Your Shabbanukkah Table — OneTable will be at the Crate & Barrel on Clarendon Blvd to learn how to get your table ready for the Festival of Lights.
  • Dec. 4: Chanukah in Clarendon — Spider Kelly’s will have a menorah lighting and dreidel tournament. The $18 admission includes a drink ticket, latkes and unlimited darts, pool and shuffleboard.
  • Dec. 5: Clarendon Chanukah Menorah Lighting — The free event at Clarendon Central Park will include the lighting of a six-foot menorah and hot potato latkes, chocolate gelt and dreidels.
  • Dec. 6: Chanukah on Ice — Head to the Pentagon Row Ice Rink for the lighting of a six-foot menorah, a free raffle, ice skating and kosher hot dogs. Tickets, which include the skate rental, bought before Monday (Dec. 3) are $10 and $13 after.
  • Dec. 6: Festival of Lasers — Compete in laser tag to celebrate Hanukkah at the Ultrazone Laser Tag in Falls Church. Tickets are $25.
  • Dec. 7: Shabbat-Hanukkah Party — The Congregation Etz Hayim’s monthly potluck will turn into a Hanukkah party after Shabbat services at 6:15 p.m. After kiddush and motzi, the group will serve latkes alongside the potluck, sing songs and play Hanukkah games.

File photo

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County Set to Officially Open New Washington Blvd Bike Trail Today

(Updated at 12:22 a.m.) Arlington County is set to celebrate the opening of a new section of the Washington Blvd Bike Trail today (Nov. 30).

The event will take place from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. along the new bike trail on the east side of Towers Park (801 S. Scott Street). Capital Bikeshare bikes will be available for attendees to try out the trail after remarks from the speakers.

Construction on the trail began in January. Work zipped along over the last few months to complete it before the end of fall.

The new 10-foot-wide trail runs between Towers Park and 2nd Street S. in Penrose, to provide more seamless access for cyclists and pedestrians to a previously constructed trail between Arlington Blvd and Walter Reed Drive.

This story has been updated

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I-CE-NY Set to Open Today in Village at Shirlington

I-CE-NY is set to start dishing out ice cream today in Shirlington.

The unique ice cream chain, which serves “smashed and rolled ice cream” with mix-ins like fruit, cookies and candy, started in Thailand before expanding to New York City in 2015 and then other U.S. cities.

Debuting on the same day as Shirlington’s Light Up the Village event, the shop plans to offer a “Buy One, Get One Free” rolled ice cream promotion today (Nov. 29), a spokeswoman for Federal Realty told ARLnow.

With more than 250 locations across Asia and more than 20 locations in the U.S., this is I-CE-NY’s first D.C.-area location.

In October, signs in the windows of a storefront at 4150 Campbell Ave for I-CE-NY indicated that it would take the former Knits Etc. space. The shop neighbors Samuel Beckett’s Irish Gastro Pub and Diana Nails.

I-CE-NY offers a number of signature pre-set ice cream and mix-in combos, including “Mango Sticky RI-CE” and “Strawberry Cheese-CE Cake,” per its website.

The ice cream gets made by pouring the ice cream base — including flavors such as “Thai I-CE Tea,” “Biscoff Cookie Butter,” “Cookie Spree,” “Want S’mores” and more — with a choice of mix-in ingredients on a custom-designed metal plate that can get as cold as -15 degrees Fahrenheit, the spokeswoman said. It is then chopped, smashed, flattened and served in chubby rolls.

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Westover Exhibit Explores 40 Years of Change in Arlington’s Neighborhoods

Arlingtonians can get a glimpse into the past with a photo exhibit currently on display at Westover Branch Library.

The historic photo montage documents houses and buildings in Arlington before their demolition and the structures that replaced them, spanning 40 years. The photos are showcased in window frames preserved from the demolished houses depicted.

The “Windows to the Past: Arlington, Then and Now” exhibit by Tom Dickinson will be on display until Jan. 5 at 1644 N. McKinley Road, Suite 3.

Dickinson, a historian, photographer and historic preservation advocate, told ARLnow that his exhibit combines his passion for photography and historic preservation.

When he moved to Arlington in 1978, he said he was shocked by the constant demolition of older homes and commercial buildings, so he’s been snapping and collecting pictures of houses fated for demolition and then what replaced them.

Dickinson said he finds out about the houses from online archives of demolition permits that developers have to apply for, word-of-mouth and his own observations. One indicator he looks for is a dangling power line, which has to get cut from the telephone pole before a demolition.

The exhibit, which is funded by the Arlington Arts Grant Program, includes photos of Lustron prefabricated enameled steel houses which were developed after World War II, and Certigrade homes, which are made from cedar wood. The original houses in the “before” pictures were built between the late 1800s and early 1900s.

Dickinson got permission from the developers to salvage windows from the houses. His appreciation for the craftsmanship of windows began after he took a workshop on window construction about 15 years ago.

“These are the windows through which who knows how many thousands of eyes peered out through this glass to the world around them, and the light that illuminated their lives came in,” he said. “It’s the last sort of symbolic artifact from these houses.”

While Dickinson acknowledges that some people see new developments as a progress, Dickinson has a “two-prong lament for the loss of affordable housing and of historic structures.”

Some houses in Arlington are better off torn down, he said. “A lot of these places that were torn down were houses that were not distinguished in any way, just average and inexpensive [ones] that served their purpose and came to the end of their life,” he said. “But still that comes with a cost, environmentally, in terms of the energy for demolition, transporting debris and filling up landfill space. There’s an environmental penalty.”

Dickinson insists that the greenest houses are the ones that are already built.

On the heels of Amazon’s announcement that it will set up its second headquarters in Crystal City, Dickinson said he expects to see fewer “less expensive” houses as housing demand skyrockets, along with increasing congestion on the highways and Metro. “It’s the Manhattanization of Arlington.”

Dickinson isn’t holding his breath for Arlington County to put the brakes on developments. “They’re going to do everything they need to do to make Amazon happy and help them find housing for people,” he said.

“This change is inevitable — it’s going to happen for good or for bad,” Dickinson said, adding that in 40 years from now, he expects Arlington to look completely different from its appearance today.

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DC Lash Bar Set to Open Monday at Ballston Quarter

DC Lash Bar, a beauty shop specializing in eyelash and eyebrow enhancement services, is set to open Monday (Dec. 3) in Ballston Quarter.

Located at 4238 Wilson Blvd, the beauty shop salon is behind the CVS on the first floor of the mall. The Ballston Quarter spot is the second location for DC Lash Bar, which has its flagship store in D.C.

The “official” opening date was moved from today (Nov. 28) to Monday. The delay, according to a spokeswoman, was due to some final installations being pushed back to after the Thanksgiving holiday.

Owner and co-founder Josie Philippe decided to expand shortly after the 2016 opening of the original Georgetown shop, according to a press release.

“We’ve seen an incredible response to our eyelash and tanning services,” Philippe said. “Opening a second shop just made sense; we’re excited to expand our capabilities and increase the number of customers served.”

The DC Lash Bar in Ballston Quarter location will offer eyelash extensions in natural, classic, volume and hybrid sets; eyelash lifts and tints; eyebrow shaping; and tinting and henna treatments. Airbrush tanning is currently only available at the Georgetown location.

To celebrate the Ballston Quarter opening, DC Lash Bar will offer ongoing discounts on its signature services at both locations.

Staff members of both stores are legally certified in eyelash extensions and licensed cosmetologists and estheticians.

The store’s opening next week marks yet another business starting to serve customers in the development, after Ballston Quarter previously faced a handful of opening delays.

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