Arlington, VA

Romo the dog, a long time beloved fixture of the Adams Morgan neighborhood in D.C., is settling into his new life in Arlington.

The 150 pound bull mastiff/pit bull mix became well known in D.C. for his habit of sleeping near an open window in owner Tiffany Scourby’s condo. Passersby took to the droopy dog, and a Facebook page and Twitter account dedicated to Romo soon sprang up.

Romo, along with Tiffany and her husband Peter Scourby, moved to the Forest Hills townhouse community in the Arlington Ridge neighborhood earlier this summer. So far, Peter says Romo has taken to his new life outside of the city.

“He’s enjoying the space more,” said Scourby. “We went from 1,000 square foot condo to 3,000 square feet.”

Although Scourby says there aren’t any windows in the new home with quite the foot traffic of Romo’s Adams Morgan haunt, the pooch has been given a bed by a window and has scoped out prime napping spots around his new home.

The couple says that like their dog, they are enjoying the newfound space Arlington affords.

“I’m a Virginia boy,” said Scourby. “I like the ‘burbs, and I wanted space. There’s a country club down the street, and I can see the Washington Monument from my house.”

Romo’s Facebook page has more than 3,000 likes and counting, and since moving the couple has discovered that some of their new neighbors are long-time Romo fans.

“When we first got here, a neighbor we hadn’t met yet said, ‘Oh my God, that looks like that Romo dog!,'” said Scourby. “When we told her it was him, she just screamed. Apparently she was one of his followers on Facebook.”

The move to Arlington won’t be the only change for Romo this summer. Peter says Tiffany is eight months pregnant and is due this September.

“[Romo’s] gonna have a little brother soon,” he said.

Photos via Facebook

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Five Points Intersection (Copy)Arlington County is finalizing the design for changes to the historically busy and confusing “Five Points Intersection” in Cherrydale.

The intersection, located near the Cherrydale Volunteer Fire Department at the confluence of Lee Highway, Old Dominion Drive, N. Quincy Street, Military Road and N. Quebec Street, has long been a source of ire for pedestrians and drivers alike because it can create dangerously complicated traffic patterns.

This frustration increased in 2013 when the county chose to move forward with proposed changes to the intersection as part of the Cherrydale Lee Highway Revitalization Program, over the objections of neighborhood residents. While the changes were intended to improve the intersection for pedestrians in keeping with the program’s goal of a more walkable Cherrydale, residents claimed they made the intersection even worse.

According to a 2014 neighborhood update on the project, some alterations that irked residents, such as guides directing cars to turn left in front of oncoming traffic (known as “puppy paw guides”), have since been removed.

Five-way intersection in CherrydaleHowever, the update claimed the changes were not extensive enough and the way residents turned before, while not a typical traffic pattern, was actually safer and more efficient.

As of now, the county is still moving forward with many of their proposed modifications. According to project manager Elizabeth Diggs, the project design is 90 percent complete and changes will include the installation of wider sidewalks, the addition of bike lanes, reflective crosswalks and handicap ramps, and upgrades to traffic signals, timing and street lights.

Diggs said recommendations from the Virginia Department of Transportation, county staff and an outside consultant were taken into account when finalizing the design. The project webpage says that recommendations from the Cherrydale Listserv and public meetings were also incorporated.

“The intersection improvements are being designed to improve vehicle turning movements and create a safer environment for pedestrian, bicycle and transit users,” said Diggs.

Construction on the project, originally planned for this spring and summer, is now slated to begin this winter.

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(Updated Aug. 11 at 2 p.m.) The TargetExpress store coming to 1500 Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn is now hiring.

Earlier this summer Target confirmed that a 23,000-square-foot store would be coming to Rosslyn, and the company now says the store will open this October.

In addition to a sign outside the new location that announces the company is now hiring, Target will hold a job fair this week from Aug. 13-15 at Hyatt Arlington (1325 Wilson Blvd).

The job fair will run from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. each day. Target says they are looking to hire roughly 60 new employees.

The store is slated to include an in-house Starbucks and a pharmacy, and will also carry groceries, prepared foods and clothing.

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School supplies (photo via pixabay.com)From today through this Sunday (Aug. 9), Virginia residents will be able to make some purchases tax-free.

Virginians are getting a break from the sales tax this weekend courtesy of Virginia’s General Assembly, which combined three existing sales tax holidays into one longer Tax-Free Weekend this year, according to the Virginia Department of Taxation.

According to the department, items exempt from the sales tax this weekend include school supplies, clothing and footwear, emergency preparedness items and some energy-efficient home appliances with either the Energy Star or WaterSense label.

Included in the list of exemptions are back-to-school staples like backpacks, calculators, flash drives and composition notebooks, as well as a variety of sports and recreational equipment.

For items that do not qualify for the sales tax exemption, store owners may still offer them as tax-free by choosing to have the store absorb the cost of the sales tax on behalf of the consumer.

More information about the sales tax holiday for both consumers and retailers can be found at the Department of Taxation’s website.

Photo via pixabay.com

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This year, the Arlington County Fair had something new to offer: an opening day parade.

The 39th annual fair, themed “Summer Nights and Lights,” opened yesterday. An hour after opening, the parade processed down S. Highland and 2nd Streets. Participants included local Boy and Girl Scout troops, local businesses and several local dancing groups.

Arlington dance group Alma Boliviana, founded in 1991, performed a Bolivian folkloric dance in the 90 degree heat as part of the opening procession.

Group member Gabriela Grajeda said Alma Boliviana, which marched in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in 2011, was excited when Arlington County invited them to be part of the fair’s festivities.

“It was great — we definitely want to come back next year,” Grajeda said. “And now we’re going to go enjoy the fair!”

The fair will continue through Sunday (Aug. 9). Notable upcoming events include performances by The Harlem Wizards and outdoor concerts on Saturday and Sunday, as well as daily pony rides, milking demos and piglet races, where four week-old piglets run around a small dirt track to receive a treat.

Piglet racing proprietors Rick Signor and James Caruso were enthusiastic about the fair.

“This is a great one,” Caruso said. “Everyone’s been so receptive, and the crowds are great — not just the kids, the adults are having fun too.”

A full schedule of events and list of vendors can be found on the fair’s website.

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American Legion Mural DesignAmerican Legion Post 139 in Virginia Square is about to get a patriotic makeover.

Artist Scott LoBaido has chosen the post at 3445 Washington Blvd for the next mural on his Fifty State Tour, in which he aims to paint a flag mural on either a VFW or American Legion building in all fifty states.

LoBaido has been painting renditions of the stars and stripes for some time. According to the artist’s website, in 2006 he completed a similar mural-painting tour in which he drove across the United States and painted a flag on one rooftop in each state, so that they could be seen from airplanes by departing and returning soldiers.

LoBaido has received national attention for his art, including being named ABC News’ Person of the Week for his 2006 tour.

Post 139 Commander Bob Romano said that when he received the pitch for the flag mural last Thursday, he jumped at the chance.

“It was just too good to pass up,” said Romano.

Although the post has had to spend some money to rent a lift for the artist, the mural itself comes free of charge. LoBaido is scheduled to start work on Sunday, Aug. 16 and finish on Wednesday, Aug. 19.

According to Romano, a dedication ceremony is being planned for Thursday, Aug. 20 at noon. Romano said it will be primarily an American Legion event, and hopes that some Legion Riders will make an appearance.

“I think this is a good thing for the post,” said Romano. “When I first heard about it, I thought, ‘This has to happen.'”

Photo courtesy Bob Romano

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Metropole Brewing Company (Photo courtesy Steve Katrivanos)Arlington’s Metropole Brewing Company has two big events on the horizon: the opening of its first brewery and a name change for the company.

There was speculation in March that Metropole, a brewing company started by Arlington local Mike Katrivanos, might be opening its first facility at 2709 S. Oakland Street, near the Shirlington dog park and the W&OD Trail. Those suspicions were confirmed via a post on the business’s Facebook page Monday night.

Arlington’s first package brewery since 1916 is coming to your community!” said the post. “Time and time again, Arlington County is featured as one of the best places to live in the United States. Help make Arlington an even better place to live by supporting your local brewery.”

Steve Katrivanos — Mike’s brother and former bandmate in local alt rock group Sematic — said he anticipates the brewery, which will include a tasting room, will open this fall. In addition to on-premises sales, the brewery will sell its beer to local retailers.

“This started as my brother’s dream seven years ago, and he worked with Arlington for two years to make it a reality,” said Katrivanos. “We’re almost at at the finish line now.”

Katrivanos described the company as a craft brewery that strives to use locally-sourced and quality imported ingredients. In the past, Metropole has used Virginia honeysuckle to make their beer, and Katrivanos said the company recently acquired some local honey which they plan to use in a beer sometime soon.

“We pride ourselves on unique but drinkable craft beer,” said Katrivanos.

So far, Katrivanos says the community has been very supportive, with residents coming out to look at the space or help with renovations “pretty much every weekend.”

“We want to be part of the Arlington community,” said Katrivanos.

The brewery opening isn’t the only change for Metropole: the company is in the process of changing their name to New District Brewing Co., a transition Katrivanos expects to be completed sometime within the next week.

Photo courtesy Steve Katrivanos

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DCBWD.C. Beer Week is less than two weeks away and one of its most popular events will take place in Arlington.

Local brewery DC Brau and Quarterdeck Restaurant (1200 Fort Myer Drive) are partnering to put on the “Fourth Annual D.C. Beer Week Crab Fest” on Monday, Aug. 10 from 5-10 p.m.

The fest is being billed as “the event of D.C. Beer Week,” and promises all-you-can-eat Mid-Atlantic crab, $1 DC Brau on draft and pitchers of DC Brau for $5.

Tickets cost $45, and are available online.

“$1 Drafts? $5 Pitchers? They must be insane!!!” says the festival web page. “Yes, they are! Insane with our craving for these colorful crustaceans!!! Eat til your [sic] full.”

Although the crab fest is the only event in Arlington, Beer Week has events planned for the D.C. Metro area from Aug. 9-16. The schedule kicks off with a beer tasting in Northeast on Sunday, Aug. 9. Next comes the crab fest in Arlington on Monday, followed by a beach party at the National Building Museum on Tuesday, Aug. 11.

The schedule of events continues with three consecutive tap-takeovers featuring locally brewed beers at RFD on Wednesday, ChurchKey on Thursday and High Velocity on Friday.

Finally, the week-long celebration of beer rounds out with two weekend events in Dupont: a beer-tasting hosted by Devil’s Backbone Brewery on Saturday, Aug. 15 and a “beer scavenger hunt” on Sunday, Aug. 16.

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Toran Gaal Ride Across AmericaFor much of this summer, combat-injured Marine veteran and double-amputee Toran Gaal has been on a cross-country cycling trip to Arlington.

On June 1, Gaal set off from San Diego on his “Ride Across America,” an almost 4,000 mile trek which he will complete entirely on a hand-cycle.

Gaal embarked on the journey to raise money and awareness for the Semper Fi Fund, the charity that helped him recover after he was severely injured in an IED explosion in Afghanistan in 2011. Following the explosion, Gaal was comatose for two months and lost both legs and part of his hip.

“[The Semper Fi Fund] is doing so much good for every branch,” said Gaal. “I wanted to pay it forward to the next generation.”

Gaal will have been on the road for 65 days by the time he’s expected to arrive in Arlington this Sunday, Aug. 2. He will have stopped in close to 50 other towns and cities along the way. At the end of his ride, he will place a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery.

Brian Riley, fellow combat-injured Marine veteran, is accompanying Gaal on the road in a support vehicle.

Photo via www.hisshoesmove.com

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The Arlington Food Assistance Center has been exploring ways to serve hungry families in Arlington by partnering with local businesses and larger corporations.

To that end, AFAC recently started Sponsor Purchased Food, a program through which corporations can buy produce, package it and donate it to AFAC as a team-building exercise.

AFAC partnering with app maker Spotluck“That helps us in a lot of different ways,” said AFAC executive director Charles Meng. “It certainly gets our name out in the public more. It engenders a donation. And it involves a lot of individuals who then tend to become donors once they find out what we do.”

Meng says the program has been “very successful,” with over 50 corporations participating in the past few months. AFAC plans to continue the program well into next year.

Currently, AFAC serves 2,100 families in the area and dispenses about 86,000 pounds of food per week at 18 distribution sites across Arlington. According to Meng, the number of people AFAC serves has doubled since 2013 and is currently increasing at a rate of about 25 families per month.

AFAC partnering with app maker SpotluckAFAC has been collaborating with businesses to feed these hungry families through more than just donations.

Last Friday, July 24, AFAC and Spotluck, a Bethesda company that created an app to connect people with local restaurants, worked together to put on a potluck dinner for 130 Arlington residents in need at the Gates of Ballston apartment complex (4108 4th Street N.)

Twenty-two restaurants around Arlington donated food to the potluck, including Sushi Rock, Don Tito, The Boulevard Woodgrill, Faccia Luna and Whitlow’s on Wilson.

Meng said that the event with Spotluck — documented in the video above — was a success.

“All of those restaurants [that donated] did a fantastic job, and the Spotluck people were really great to work with, and they were really enthusiastic,” said Meng. “When people actually get a chance to hand out food to somebody and see the people they’re helping, it gets the message across a lot easier and a lot more directly to the individual, so it’s really great to have a company like Spotluck working with us.”

Currently, about half of AFAC’s money and food come from individual donations. Of the remaining 50 percent, about eight percent comes from Arlington County, 10 percent come from local religious congregations and the rest come from local businesses, foundations and larger corporations.

“We’ve got tremendous support from a lot of the businesses here in Arlington,” said Meng.

Photos courtesy AFAC. Disclosure: Spotluck is an ARLnow.com advertiser.

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Alexandria Restaurant Partners, a local restaurant management and consulting company, is planning to open new restaurant Palette 22 at the Village at Shirlington (2700 S. Quincy Street) in December.

The restaurant is envisioned as following in the footsteps of ARP-managed restaurant Cafe Tu Tu Tango in Orlando, Florida, a small-plates eatery which boasts the theme of “Food, Art, Fun.” The company describes Palette 22 as Cafe Tu Tu Tango designed “for the local, millennial crowd,” and says the restaurant will emphasize authentic international street food, street art and a creative craft bar program.

According to Paul Beckmann, the architect on the project, the building permits for the restaurant were submitted on July 13 and are currently under review. Beckmann anticipates that construction will start mid to late August and last about three months.

Palette 22 is opening in the space formerly occupied by Italian restaurant Extra Virgin, which closed in 2013.

“The space right now is pretty rough,” said Beckmann. “Much of the equipment has more than lived out its life span. We’re having to clear out the entire space.”

Once completed, the restaurant will be able to seat 168 inside and an additional 34 on an outdoor patio running along Campbell Avenue.

This will be ARP’s first restaurant in Arlington. The company currently owns Old Town Alexandria restaurant The Majestic, manages Virtue Feed & Grain, and has plans to open Lena’s Wood-Fired Pizza & Tap in Alexandria in September.

Photos via Beckman Architects

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