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by ARLnow.com — July 27, 2016 at 7:30 pm 0

Something knocked down a lamppost in Courthouse this afternoon.

The light toppled over in front of the CVS Pharmacy, near the Metro station. Luckily, no one was reported to be hurt by the falling mass of metal and glass.

The lamppost is located next to a bus stop. However, by the time an ARLnow.com reporter arrived on scene the lamppost had already been moved out of the middle of the sidewalk and none of the buses idling nearby had any sign of damage.

by Adrian Cruz — July 27, 2016 at 6:20 pm 0

A panel of futurists and technologists made their predictions for Arlington’s future in a video released this week on the heels of the county receiving recognition as the top “digital county” of its size in the nation.

Due to the District’s building height restrictions, the panelists predicted increased urbanization is coming.

“I think that Arlington is uniquely positioned to be an urban center around a city that has height restrictions around its buildings,” said Shawn DuBrevac, chief economist for the Computer Technology Association. “We globally have this push towards urbanization. It will happen in an interesting way in the D.C. metro area because you can’t build skyscrapers in Washington, D.C. They’ll start to show up in Arlington and in other places.”

The panelists also noted that as the county becomes more digitized, more data will become available to analyze. That includes data gleaned from communication platforms, including social media and messaging apps.

“I don’t think the public square is physical. We’re on the cusp of virtual reality,” said Cheryl Foil, principal of Kiddar Capital’s tech ventures. “People right now are using Snapchat and other messengers. What’s great about that is when it’s not in person, it’s already digital, it’s already data. You can measure and analyze it.”

The futurists and technologists said community leaders can take the data they get to make decisions to improve residents’ lives. For example, Capital Bikeshare stations and retail outlets could have better locations based on street traffic data.

But brick-and-mortar retailers will face increasing competition from online retailers, the panelists predicted. Today, about 7 percent of purchases are made online. By 2050, DuBrevac sees that number increased to 40-60 percent, something he attributes computers making purchases without any human input.

“The retail environment that we visit today will not be the retail environment we need 40-50 years from now,” he said. “The infrastructure that we have will need to shift as we move towards these types of environments. The digitization of retail is going to change everything I do today in my home, in my building, how I walk, where I go to, the shops that I visit, all that could change.”

A video of the predictions and other discussions can be found above. The first part of the discussion can be viewed here.

by Adrian Cruz — July 27, 2016 at 3:35 pm 0

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Arlington hotels are offering free coffee, cookies and other perks to the county’s cops to thank them for their service.

At an Arlington Chamber of Commerce ceremony yesterday, Arlington County Police Department chief Jay Farr received the gifts from six local hotels.

“Each day, the hardworking men and women of the Arlington County Police Department work tirelessly to protect us,” DoubleTree general manager Dori Familiant said in a press release. “It is an honor to work with the other hotels through the Chamber to extend our appreciation to the ACPD officers for their dedication to keeping our businesses, residents, and visitors safe.”

According to the Chamber, the gifts included:

  • Arlington Court Suites Hotel
    • A three-day free access to its Capital View Lounge for a choice of breakfast or dinner along with free parking and free access to the Capital View
  • DoubleTree by Hilton Crystal City
    • Free coffee anytime in Made Market, the grab and go located in the lobby
    • Complimentary lunch and dinner any day in the employee cafeteria
    • Complimentary DoubleTree by Hilton cookies at any time (Available at the front desk)
  • Holiday Inn Rosslyn
    • Complimentary cup of coffee daily from 6 a.m.-8 p.m. from the Potomac Perk Cafe
  • Hyatt Arlington at Washington’s Key Bridge
    • Complimentary items from Starbucks on an ongoing basis
  • Key Bridge Marriott
    • Complimentary beverages to be picked up in the staff breakroom
  • Residence Inn Arlington Capital View
    • Free cup of coffee at Illy’s Cafe from 6 a.m.- 6 p.m. every day.

Photo via Arlington Chamber of Commerce

by Adrian Cruz — July 27, 2016 at 1:15 pm 0

(Updated at 4:40 p.m)

Students at Virginia Tech’s Washington-Alexandria Architecture Center have joined Arlington County planners in brainstorming ideas to revitalize the Rosslyn waterfront.

Rosslyn residents and visitors currently have no direct walkway to the Potomac River or even a path to reach the Key Bridge to get into Georgetown, without crossing busy roads and on-ramps.

“Most cities and counties have recognized the value of their waterfronts as a gathering place,” Arlington’s planning supervisor for urban design and research Kris Krider said in a news release. “But the waterfront below Rosslyn has little pedestrian access and must overcome the barrier of busy highways and large numbers of drivers . . . who just whiz by with seemingly no interest in stopping to explore the area.”

Virginia Tech associate professor Paul Kelsch and doctorate student Jodi LaCoe developed three options the students could choose from as the base for their designs:

  • Bike, Bathe, and Beyond — “a connection to existing bike paths leading people to the site in addition to some form of bathing.” This could include things like a structure for storing one’s bike; showering and heading to work; a new spa along the bike path; or swimming in a cleaner Potomac River or a public pool.
  • A Food-Boat Wharf — “a place where future food boats could moor along the river’s edge and sell to Rosslyn workers looking for a delectable waterside lunch.”
  • Urban Drive-In Theater — entertainment for people “coming by foot, bike, or car to watch movies or other performances.”

In all, 18 students submitted their designs, with most of them electing to base their ideas on the “Bike, Bathe and Beyond” program. According to the county’s website, the suggestions include:

Paige Courtney’s Natural Swimming Pool

Paige proposed moving the parkway farther inland, cutting into the slope with a large retaining wall that supports a new traffic circle for access to the Key Bridge. The former roadbed is utilized for storm water management and two swimming pools along the waterfront for lap and family swimming. The former eastbound lane of the parkway provides vehicular access and parking for the new facility.

Charlston Britton’s Bridging the Gap – A Boathouse for Rosslyn

Charlston seeked to explore and provide a connection between the perceived boundaries of the Rosslyn business district and the Rosslyn waterfront. At present time, the transportation infrastructure within Rosslyn acts as a hindrance to convenient access to the Potomac River. By occupying the void beneath Key Bridge and connecting the Mount Vernon Trail and the Potomac Heritage trail, this project aims to bridge the gap between the city and the river’s edge.

Jack Gamboa’s Rosslyn Bike + Bath

This project is designed as a place of seclusion in the midst of the Rosslyn Business Improvement District. The bike path connects to the city sidewalks and provides a way to traverse the steep hill. The existing George Washington Memorial Parkway is pushed into the Potomac to create a secluded water channel and clear land for development. The bath is set into the hillside and contains spa facilities as well as a series of indoor pools for year round relaxation.

Sebastian Zaror’s Mount Vernon Trail Station

Sebastian’s project is situated in the coastal side of the Mount Vernon Trail facing the Arlington riverside. The goal is to encourage users of the trail to use the project as a station in their commute or exercise regimen throughout the year. The building features an outside pool fed by a constructed wetland and a sports facility meant for everyday use.

(more…)

by Jackie Friedman — July 27, 2016 at 10:55 am 0

No official opening date has been set yet, but construction and building permits are up outside the new Nando’s Peri-Peri restaurant in Ballston.

“We are getting close at Ballston,” said Jim Popkin, a representative for the company.

The restaurant is located at 4401 Wilson Blvd, the former home to Italian eatery Vapiano’s.

A Virginia ABC notice outside of the restaurant indicates that Nando’s is seeking to serve wine, beer and cocktails in a space with more than 150 seats.

The Portuguese-style chicken chain has an existing Arlington location in Pentagon City.

by Adrian Cruz — July 27, 2016 at 10:00 am 0

Arlington’s recently-appointed poet laureate read a new original poem at one of last week’s Arlington County Board meetings.

At the Tuesday, July 19 meeting, poet Katherine E. Young read a poem entitled “Evening Storm: Ballston,” which depicts the aftermath of a thunderstorm that felled a tree in the area.

“This poem describes an actual storm that took place near Lubber Run Park but it could very easily serve as a metaphor for where we as a community and we as a country find ourselves now,” said Young, who’s the first poet laureate in the county’s history.

The poem is transcribed below.

All last night, the sirens shrieked.
Fire trucks skittered like water bugs, their plastic eyelids conning streets gorged and rivered by the storm.
Daylight reveals buds, limbs, entire trees shattered where they stand.
Already, chain saws roll their metallic rrrrrs.
In my neighbor’s yard, a fresh cut stump.
The raw wood, cool, wet, smooth to the touch.
Twenty-six rings, 26 years of xylem and phloem ferrying food and water for the care and feeding of this one tree.
It might have stood for years to come, shading this house, shading the houses that follow this one.
All of the houses and the tree itself pretending that the shading of houses is the purpose set out for the tree.
Surely there’s some purpose for everything.
Surely what we do here has meaning.
Why else would we have crept last night from our hiding places to flit along streets littered by downed trees and power lines.
Strange nocturnal insects marking the darkened blocks with the scent of our headlights.

by ARLnow.com — July 26, 2016 at 4:55 pm 0

Ambar, a Balkan restaurant with locations on Capitol Hill and in Belgrade, is apparently planning to open in Clarendon.

A liquor license application indicates that Ambar will be located at 2901 Wilson Blvd — the current location of Boulevard Woodgrill.

A representative for Boulevard Woodgrill said today that the owner could not be reached for comment. Earlier this month the restaurant announced that it was opening a new “speakeasy” bar in the back of the restaurant.

There was no answer at a phone number associated with the liquor license application and Ambar. The restaurant, originally founded as a partnership between celebrity chef Richard Sandoval and Ivan Iricanin, is also planning to open a new location in D.C.’s Shaw neighborhood.

Ambar’s Capitol Hill location, at 523 8th Street SE on Barracks Row, has received rave reviews on Yelp and other online review sites.

by ARLnow.com — July 26, 2016 at 2:35 pm 0

Altar'd State in the Pentagon City mall (photo via Facebook)

The Fashion Centre at Pentagon City has a new fashion retailer.

Altar’d State, a faith-based retailer of boho-chic women’s clothing, opened this week on the first level of the mall, not far from its main S. Hayes Street entrance.

In a press release, below, the store is described as “a place of respite for the modern-day woman and offers a distinctive shopping experience with the latest fashion finds, the most sought after accessories and delightful home décor.” As a company, Altar’d State emphasizes its giving to charitable causes with the slogan “Stand Out. For Good.”

Altar’d State, an inspiring women’s boutique, is opening at Fashion Centre at Pentagon City at the end of July. This site will mark the 73rd store and the first location in the Arlington community for the growing retail chain.

Altar’d State is a place of respite for the modern-day woman and offers a distinctive shopping experience with the latest fashion finds, the most sought after accessories and delightful home décor. Altar’d State’s breath-taking interiors seek to inspire guests as they shop and provide them with a place of rejuvenation from their daily stressors.

Altar’d State’s popularity is growing not only for its trend setting apparel and inspiring retail design, but also for its emphasis on giving back to charitable organizations locally and globally. Every Monday is Mission Monday, where 10% of Monday’s net proceeds are donated to a local nonprofit charity selected by the store associates. During the months of July and August, Altar’d State at Fashion Centre at Pentagon City will be supporting a charity that focuses on “Pet Pals”. The company encourages associates to get involved in charitable missions through paid volunteer hours and also sponsors children in impoverished areas around the world. The sponsorship provides children with clothing, nutritious meals, education, shelter, healthcare and counseling support to help them rise up and out of poverty. Altar’d State focuses on giving back by seeking out vendor partners who share their giving philosophy.

Arlington shoppers can feel good about their purchases by knowing they are helping those in need in their home town and on a global scale.

“The give-back mission isn’t just what we do, it’s who we are,” comments Aaron Walters, Chairman and CEO. “From the very beginning, our mission has been to help the less fortunate. For Altar’d State, a new store means a new community in which we can have a positive impact.”

Altar’d State also offers an online retail store found at www.altardstate.com.

For employment opportunities, please visit www.altardstate.com/careers.

Photo via Facebook

by Adrian Cruz — July 26, 2016 at 11:05 am 0

Two nonprofit organizations teamed up over the weekend in Arlington to provide voter registration to former felons after Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe restored the voting rights of about 200,000 Virginia ex-offenders.

The League of Women Voters in Arlington and National Association of Blacks in Criminal Justice held a voter registration event on Saturday at the Macedonia Baptist Church.

In order to secure voting rights again, the former felon must have completed his or her sentence along and finished supervised probation or parole.

“In my old life, I was just here. I didn’t feel as if I was part of the country, a citizen,” said Virginian Terry Garrett, who previously served time for shoplifting. “Whoever people voted in, I didn’t get to have a say. Today I know that I am an important part of society, and every vote counts. Now, I am a citizen and part of this country. Everyone should keep that right. No matter what.”

But the day before the event, the Virginia Supreme Court voted to overturn the governor’s executive actions, stating that McAuliffe does not have the authority to issue a blanket rights restoration. As a result of the decision, the court ordered that anybody who registered to vote as a result of the governor’s executive orders to be removed from the registry.

The governor is currently in the process of individually restoring the voting rights of formerly incarcerated individuals.

Despite the uncertainty after the decision, the event still went on as planned with 14 people coming to restore their voting rights. League member Karen Kimball said the court’s decision may have contributed to the low turnout, noting the possibility of individuals being confused or deterred from registering as a result.

“The League considers this event a success because it highlighted an important segment of our community whose right to apply for restoration of voting rights is too frequently unknown by former felons or ignored by them,” Kimball said. “The League believes that having and exercising the right to vote is part of their rehabilitation process and enables them to be full participating citizens in our community.”

Photos Courtesy Karen Kimball

by Adrian Cruz — July 26, 2016 at 9:55 am 0

Minh Vietnamese Restaurant, located at 2500 Wilson Blvd, has closed citing lease issues and other business concerns.

There is a sign posted by the owners that reads “Dear Customers, We are very sorry to inform you that due to business concerns including our lease on this space, Minh has ceased operation effective immediately. We appreciate your patronage over the years we have been here, and we are sad to be leaving.”

The restaurant has been at that location for over 10 years and it was one of the few remaining Vietnamese restaurants in the Clarendon area, a hotbed of Vietnamese businesses before the construction of the Orange Line. It was said to be “one of the original Vietnamese restaurants that put Clarendon on the map.”

There is no word yet on whether those behind the restaurant plan on reopening in another location.

by ARLnow.com — July 26, 2016 at 9:10 am 0

Denis Kudla (Photo by Mike Stobe for USTA, via USOC)On the list of Team USA athletes heading to Rio for this summer’s Olympic Games, there’s only one whose hometown is listed as Arlington, Va.

Denis Kudla, Arlington’s own rising tennis star, will be competing in his first Olympics this year, alongside other major American tennis figures like Madison Keys, the Williams sisters and the Bryan brothers.

Kudla was born in Kiev, Ukraine, moved to the United States with his family on his first birthday, and began playing tennis at the age of 7. The highlight of his career thus far has been reaching the fourth round at Wimbledon last summer, the last American man standing at the Grand Slam tournament.

Kudla has ranked as high as 53 on the ATP world men’s tennis rankings.

The opening ceremonies for the Rio games is scheduled for Friday, Aug. 5.

by Andrew Ramonas — July 25, 2016 at 4:45 pm 0

Shady Grove Fertility location at 901 N. Stuart Street in Ballston (Photo via Shady Grove Fertility)

A new fertility center has arrived in Ballston.

Shady Grove Fertility has a location now open at 901 N. Stuart Street in the Ballston Metro Center Office Towers, the center announced last week. Dr. Anitha S. Nair, a reproductive endocrinologist who leads the Arlington office, will treat men and women fighting infertility.

With its Ballston clinic, Shady Grove Fertility currently has 19 full-service outposts in Virginia, D.C., Maryland and Pennsylvania.

“In response to the growing demand for Shady Grove Fertility services in Northern Virginia, we’ve located our newest office in Arlington, VA, within steps of the Metro to provide additional convenience for our patients,” Shady Grove Fertility’s medical director Eric A. Widra said in a statement. “With Dr. Nair being a longtime resident of the city, we’re excited to provide the Arlington community with the experience and success we’ve achieved throughout the region.”

Photo via Shady Grove Fertility

by Lindsay Smith — July 22, 2016 at 2:30 pm 0

A modern-looking plaque across the street from the Madison Community Center and Fort Ethan Allen Park is sporting some seriously outdated lingo.

The plaque reads:

FORT ETHAN ALLEN CHAIN BRIDGE GULF BRANCH SANCTUARY FOR WILDLIFE AND NOT SO WILDLIFE HEREINAFTER REFERRED TO AS …

THE SANCTUARY

… HISTORICAL SITE OF CIVIL WAR FORT ETHAN ALLEN WHICH COMMANDED ALL THE APPROACHES SOUTH OF PIMMIT RUN TO CHAIN BRIDGE DURING THE WAR OF NORTHERN AGGRESSION (1861-1865)

Of particular interest is the phrase “War of Northern Aggression.” It’s safe to say that this term, used by some southerners to refer to the Civil War, has been out of favor in Arlington for some time.

The plaque is attached to a large stone on the corner of N. Richmond and Stafford streets, near where the fort once stood. Behind it is a small but lush green space, surrounded by a wood rail fence. But “the Sanctuary,” according to neighbors, is the name a housing developer gave to the homes he built in the area.

Many residents of this 18-home community, who say their homes were built on land owned and developed by the Caruthers family, find the plaque near the entrance to their neighborhood a little strange. (We were unable to reach the Caruthers family to comment on the plaque.)

“The thing that mentions the War of Northern Aggression?” said Maxwell Denney. “I mean, it’s just ridiculous.”

Other locals also find the terminology out of place.

“I thought this plaque… was rather odd,” said a tipster who emailed ARLnow.com. “While I recognize that Virginia seceded at the Civil War, a modern-day reference to the ‘War of Northern Aggression’ (at the site of a Union fort) strikes me as somewhat peculiar.”

Officials we talked to said they are not sure of the story behind the plaque.

The Arlington County Historic Preservation program, Arlington Public Schools, the Arlington Department of Parks and Recreation, and even the people at the Madison Community Center — none knew anything about the plaque. Arlington historic preservation officials said the plaque does not belong to the county and they had no record of its installation.

Update at 5:05 p.m. — Commenter AnonymousArlingtonian linked to a 2011 Arlington Connection article that points to Preston Caruthers as the plaque’s builder. The plaque also was mentioned in a Falls Church News-Press column in 2011, but the author of that column, Charlie Clark, told us today he doesn’t believe Caruthers installed it.

Update at 6:45 p.m. on July 24 — Clark has updated his previous assertion, saying he has since confirmed the plaque was indeed installed by Caruthers.

Update at 9:50 a.m. on July 25 — Falls Church News-Press columnist and Arlington history enthusiast Charlie Clark has walked back his earlier statement on who wrote the three-decade-old plaque mentioning the “war of northern aggression” that is on display on private property on N. Stafford Street at the Madison Center and Fort Ethan Allen.

Clark over the weekend contacted the Caruthers family and learned that it was indeed developer Preston Caruthers who created the sign, which the family has long seen as a humorous way to get people’s attention. Here is Caruthers’ statement to Clark:

“Thank you for the concern about some my friends and good neighbors’ attention to our sanctuary street sign. It was never intended to be offensive in any way, but rather to point out to citizens and visitors the sad history of our area during the Civil War. The plaque and statues on the school playground provide so little attention to this sad era of our community’s history. I’m very sorry if this has ever offended anyone.”

by ARLnow.com — July 19, 2016 at 5:30 pm 0

MakeOffices Clarendon

(Updated at 2:15 p.m.) ARLnow.com is seeking an ambitious intern to join our small team in Clarendon this fall.

We’re looking for a college intern who is pursuing a career in journalism and has relevant academic and extracurricular experience. Interest in local news in particular is a plus.

This is an especially hands-on, educational internship that will provide our intern with dozens of bylines over the course of the semester as well as valuable writing and editing guidance. Other responsibilities include research and occasional administrative tasks.

The internship will pay a $1,000 stipend to cover commuting and other expenses, but is otherwise unpaid. Internship start and end dates are flexible, as are hours — though we require at least 20 hours per week.

Strong writing skills are a must. Photography experience and familiarity with WordPress and Photoshop are desired.

To apply, please email a resume, cover letter and additional writing sample to [email protected]. The application deadline is August 1.

by Jackie Friedman — July 19, 2016 at 3:00 pm 0

A business billing itself as a “superfood cafe” is on track to open soon in Rosslyn.

Vitality Bowls is set to arrive on the ground floor of 1515 Wilson Blvd “by the end of this summer,” according Mackenzie Coopman, a representative for the company.

The California-based restaurant chain specializes in “acai bowls,” which are blends of the “superfood” berry topped with ingredients such as bananas, strawberries and granola. Other menu options include smoothies, juices salads and paninis. All of the cafe’s food is organic, according to its website.

“Conveniently situated at the busy intersection of Wilson Boulevard and Oak Street, local residents, professionals and students will have easy access to healthier food options while out and about,” Coopman said.

Vitality Bowls claims that it plans to open 10-20 locations in Arlington and the D.C. area. The company currently has 20 locations across the U.S. and says it has another 30 “in development.”

Local entrepreneurs Anisha Sharma, Narender Neerukonda and Raghu Gondi are leading the opening of the forthcoming eatery in Rosslyn.

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