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by Adrian Cruz — May 25, 2016 at 1:45 pm 0

Since being diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes almost five years ago, Alex Simmons has worked to raise funds for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund (JDRF) — and like in basketball, he has succeeded in a major way.

Alex, a freshman at Washington-Lee High School, has raised over $45,000 for the foundation. Every year, Alex along with his family, friends and basketball teammates join “Alex’s Terminators” for the JDRF walk in D.C.  This year’s JDRF walk will be held on Sunday, June 5.

Over the past five years, about 100 people have helped Alex raise funds, participating in donation parties, 3-v-3 basketball tournaments, a silent auction and other events.

“The basketball community in Arlington has been happy to support Alex and his family,” said Bill Maddox, a family friend and Alex’s former coach. “He is a special kid and talented athlete who does not let the challenges of diabetes keep him from working hard on and off the court.”

Aside from his prolific fundraising, Alex spends much of his time on the basketball court, playing on Arlington Travel Basketball and AAU teams along with his school teams — previously at Gunston Middle School, now at Washington-Lee. In 2014, he received the travel basketball program’s Russell Quinn MVP award for his athleticism, sportsmanship and skill.

“When I found out I had diabetes, what I most worried about was if I could play basketball. I really enjoy basketball and it has helped me go through this process with diabetes because the activity required to play the game helps me maintain a stable blood sugar level,” said Alex.

Because of his diabetes, Alex has to check his blood sugar levels regularly and he also needs to inject himself with insulin six to eight times a day. Along with the constant shots and finger prints, he also finds it difficult to maintain stable blood sugar levels due to growth and his love of food.

Throughout it all, however, Alex has maintained a positive attitude.

“I am not on this journey alone, and my close friends, family and relatives make this process much easier for me,” he said. “I know that people donate money to JDRF not only for me, but for all the children throughout the country who don’t have it as easy as I do.”

Photos courtesy Kathy Mimberg

by Jackie Friedman — May 24, 2016 at 7:05 pm 0

The new beer garden at Spider Kelly’s is officially open for business.

The beer garden, which is located in the back patio of the Clarendon watering hole, first started serving customers last Thursday. With the sun finally shining after some not-so-nice weather this month, hopes are high for big crowds.

“We are really happy it’s here and our hope is that it will be something that our customers want,” said co-owner Nick Freshman.

“The goal in building it was to create a new outdoor space sort of supplemental to the space that we have inside,” Freshman said. “We kept a lot of the theme from the inside to the outside.”

A local graffiti artist, Andrew Funk, was hired to do a custom graffiti mural to add color to the space and to match the graffiti art inside.

The casual outdoor space offers seating for small and large groups. There is a combination of communal style seating with picnic benches and seating around two fire pits. There is also hightop seating at the bar. The large space offers a capacity of up to 300 people.

Beers, sangrias and ciders are served in the beer garden, and the beer list has been substantially expanded. There are 30 offered cans and 16 tap lines. There are also three homemade sangrias: red, white and sparkling.

For those arriving after work, there is a $4 happy hour drink special. The entire food menu is offered outside.

by Jackie Friedman — May 24, 2016 at 2:25 pm 0

Arlington resident Eugene Kahn turned 100 in November, but that hasn’t changed his three-day-a-week exercise habit at the Ballston Sport and Health Club.

Kahn joined the Sport and Health Club at Skyline in 1980 after retiring from his job at the Pentagon. However, in 1995 he transferred to the Ballston location, which is closer to his East Falls Church home, after he stopped driving.

Kahn said he owes his longevity to “incredible good luck,” perhaps in addition to some healthy life choices.

“I quit smoking pipes at 60 so maybe that’s one of the secrets,” said Kahn.

Sport and Health has become something of a second home for Kahn. The entire staff knows him and treats him like gym royalty. Customers show deference too — getting up to allow Kahn to use his usual machines, if need be.

Kahn performs his workouts alone but occasionally consults with trainers at Sport and Health Club to change up his weekly routine.

“I am very impressed with this facility, the people are wonderful. They are friendly and they greet you when you walk in,” he said.

While Kahn doesn’t consider himself much of an athlete, he has been exercising since starting his job at the Pentagon in 1961. During his lunch breaks at the Pentagon, he would swim for an hour and half in the Pentagon’s gym.

These days, when Kahn isn’t at Sport and Health, he’s typically at home doing chores around his house — except on Mondays, when he plays golf.

Although originally from New Jersey, Kahn and his wife of 74 years — she’s also a centenarian — have been living in the same house in Arlington since 1961. He plans to be there, still keeping up on chores, for the foreseeable future.

“I’m on my second pacemaker and this one is going to last for 12 years, so I’m not worried,” he said.

by Adrian Cruz — May 24, 2016 at 1:15 pm 0

ACPD officer buying a man a hat at Pentagon City mallA woman who witnessed an act of kindness by an Arlington County Police officer has helped to share it via social media.

While visiting the Pentagon City mall on Saturday with her son, Beth Schweinefuss says that she saw a man walking around the food court and standing by himself with a plastic bag on his head.

“We were sitting on the third floor of the mall resting and doing some people watching,” Schweinefuss told ARLnow.com. “We both noticed the gentleman in the food court standing by himself and wearing a plastic bag on his head. His mannerisms suggested to me he was possible talking to himself and was just looking around and listening to something on a portable tape recorder. That caught our attention.”

Soon after, a couple of police officers went down to the food court to speak to the man and Schweinefuss noted that instead of kicking him out of the mall, they spent a few minutes talking to him, taking care to speak to him with respect.

“They were smiling and chatting and doing their best to make this gentleman feel valued,” she said.

Eventually, all but one of the officers left. The officer who stayed took the man to a hat kiosk, helping him to pick one out and paying for it with his own money.

“It was moving to us because clearly this gentleman was in from the rain and rather than just escorting him out of the mall, the officers obviously took that time to find out what was going on with him and to provide some relief,” she said. “They clearly didn’t HAVE to do this, but they saw a person in need and helped. It was an opportunity for us to talk about people in need and how to help, but also to talk about how we so often see the negative encounters people have with police and it was very uplifting to see a positive encounter.”

Arlington County Police Department spokeswoman Ashley Savage said Schweinefuss contacted the department via its Facebook page, to share the story. After doing some digging, Savage was able to confirm that the officer had not only bought the man a hat, but had bought him dinner as well.

“We take protecting and serving beyond just our enforcement of the law. We like citizens to help each other and so the fact that we were able to do that and this woman and her son were able to see it and share a little bit of a life lesson — that’s more than we could really ask for in these types of situations,” said Savage.

by ARLnow.com — May 24, 2016 at 11:00 am 0

A new hardware store that’s coming to Courthouse is hoping to open its doors by the end of the summer.

Twins Ace Hardware will be located at the corner of Clarendon Blvd and N. Troy Street, on the ground floor of the 2001 Clarendon Blvd apartment building. At nearly 6,000 square feet, the store will carry “a wide variety of products” while offering “the same outstanding service you’ve enjoyed” at the company’s existing Fairfax store.

“We’re excited to be a part of the neighborhood,” co-owner Jeff Smith said. “[My twin brother] Craig and I have always loved Courthouse, but never found the right site for our store until now. [The building] has great amenities and convenient parking for our customers to load purchases large and small.”

“We’re working on construction and getting our permits and hope to open late summer this year,” Smith added, in response to an inquiry from ARLnow.com.

All 30,000 square feet of retail space in 2001 Clarendon Blvd is now leased, according to a press release. Another of the newer businesses to lease a space there, fitness studio Xtend Barre, has set a June 10 opening date.

Photos by Jackie Friedman

by Jackie Friedman — May 24, 2016 at 10:00 am 0

A new gym and wellness center that focuses on holistic approaches and family-friendliness has opened along Columbia Pike.

Located at 1058 S. Walter Reed Drive, in the former World Gym space, True Health and Wholeness had its grand opening on Saturday, May 14.

Husband-and-wife team Nina and Christian Elliot founded True Health and Wholeness to provide people with a “one stop shop” for all health and fitness needs. “Our goal is to provide a place where people can get true and sustainable answers to really change their lifestyle, said Nina Elliot.

True Health and Wholeness provides fitness, food, wellness and education services. Fitness services include personal training, small group training and large group workouts. Fitness classes such as barre and yoga are offered. Cooking classes and nutritional coaching are services that are provided to members.

Wellness services include: naturopathy, massage, acupuncture, cranial sacral, muscle activation techniques, infrared sauna, ionic foot soaks and food sensitivity testing. Education workshops are provided as well as lifestyle transformation coaching and corporate wellness programs.

“By giving people more access to different things in one place, it gives us a way to mix all those passions of our own health and wanting to have a family environment,” said Christian Elliot.

A unique part of the gym is that there are fitness programs geared toward children. The Kid Fit program allows for children to gain coordination and fitness skills. The program will be starting in the fall and are age based skill applied groups. Kid Summer Camp will be starting in July.  There is also an area called the “Little Nest” where children 6 weeks to 18 months old are cared for while a member exercises.

The gym also gives back to the community as much as they can. In honor of National Purple Heart Day on August 7, True Health and Wholeness will identify two combat wounded Purple Heart recipients and present a certificate for one year of free Pilates classes. The spouse of a wounded veteran may be substituted to receive this offer.

“This is a passion that also helps other people change their lives,” said Christian Elliot.

by ARLnow.com — May 23, 2016 at 3:45 pm 0

James Hunter dog park in Clarendon (photo courtesy Arlington County)Doggone it, we messed up.

That’s what Arlington County is telling dogs and their owners who got stuck inside the James Hunter Community Canine Area (1299 N. Herndon Street) in Clarendon Friday evening.

A faulty latch is being blamed for the stuck gate that prevented dog park users from leaving. The fire department responded and removed the latch, allowing people and their pets to head home. A welder was scheduled to work on the gate today.

Arlington County issued a light-hearted press release about the incident today (see below), with the title, “Ruff Night Ends in Tails of Joy: We now know who let the dogs out.”

The Arlington County Fire Department came to the rescue of some two dozen pups plus their people last Friday after an inner gate froze closed around dinner time at Clarendon’s James Hunter Park’s dog park.

No one was howling to leave, but once firefighters removed the stubborn, industrial-grade latch, almost half the pooches and their biped pals hightailed it home, authorities reported.

“We want to apologize to the dogs and their owners,” said Jane Rudolph, director of the County Department of Parks and Recreation. “That gate had a date with the welder today.”

Park locks and latches are checked regularly and lubricated and adjusted as needed.

All eight of Arlington’s dog parks are open from sunrise until a half-hour after sunset unless otherwise designated.

The James Hunter dog park closes at 9 p.m.

File photo courtesy Arlington County

by ARLnow.com — May 23, 2016 at 10:00 am 0

A TJ Maxx store is coming to Pentagon Row, according to a building permit.

The store appears to be under construction in the former Hudson Trail Outfitters space on S. Joyce Street.

The outdoor retailer closed the store last year as the company shut down after nearly five decades in business.

Discount fashion store TJ Maxx will be one of the largest retailers by square footage at Pentagon Row, along with the existing discount shoe store DSW, which is located in a similar retail space on the same block. The nearest existing TJ Maxx stores are in Falls Church, D.C. and in Alexandria’s Potomac Yard shopping center.

by Adrian Cruz — May 20, 2016 at 5:30 pm 0

Seven Arlington students graduated Friday from a culinary program that trains individuals who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless in the skills necessary to get a job in a commercial kitchen.

This was the sixth incarnation of the D.C. Central Kitchen’s Culinary Training Program, which meets locally at the Fairlington Community Center. The graduation ceremony was held in Rosslyn Friday afternoon and the Arlington students were joined by eight other students from the Central Union Mission, a homeless shelter in D.C.

One of the speakers at the ceremony was Napolean Boakye, a graduate of the fifth Arlington class. He first found out about the program while living in the Carpenter’s Shelter in Old Town Alexandria. As a result of the program, he was offered two jobs in the culinary field and he now works with the National Youth Escape Arena in Maryland.

“This job training sponsored by Arlington County positively influenced me and prepared me to change my way of thinking and my life,” said Boakye. “I said to myself, never again. I’m tired of failure. I’ve been there, done that, I’m moving on to success.”

Two students won the program’s Ron Swanson Life Skills Award: Bryce Churchman from the Arlington program and Gary Lucas from the D.C program.

Along with culinary classes, the students also receive self-empowerment classes and get to train outside of the classroom, with each student receiving a month-long internship. Some of the internship sites included the Key Bridge Marriott, Mess Hall in D.C. and Nando’s Peri-Peri.

The graduation rate for Arlington students ranges between 85 to 90 percent and graduates have an 90 percent job placement rate.

Photos by Jackie Friedman

by ARLnow.com — May 20, 2016 at 11:10 am 0

The Spirits of ’76, a new Revolutionary War-themed restaurant and bar from the general manager of Georgetown’s former Rhino Bar, is hoping to open in July.

Signs are now up outside the restaurant at 3211 Washington Blvd, in the former Taste of Morocco space, across the street from Northside Social.

Restaurant managers have been mum about their plans, at least when contacted by ARLnow.com, but said on Facebook this week that they were “shooting for a July opening.”

There will undoubtedly be opportunities for a fun thematic rivalry with its next door neighbor, the European-inspired Park Lane Tavern, especially if it opens on July 4.

Photos by Jackie Friedman

by Jackie Friedman — May 20, 2016 at 10:20 am 0

Today is Bike to Work Day around the D.C. area. More than 1,500 people were expected to participate in Arlington alone.

This year Arlington County hosted seven “pit stops” for the event — in Ballston, Crystal City, East Falls Church, Rosslyn, Shirlington and at Penrose Square on Columbia Pike. Six were morning pit stops; the seventh, also in (or, at least, near) Shirlington, is an “afternoon party” at New District Brewing, from 4:30-6:30 p.m.

The two biggest stops were Ballston and Rosslyn, where bicyclists gathered en masse, enjoying the nice weather and offerings from various vendors in a festival-like atmosphere. At the stop in Rosslyn, Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) pedaled in and gave a brief speech.

“Let’s make Arlington and D.C. a better place to live,” he said.

Tim Kelley, marketing manager for BikeArlington, said that Bike to Work Day started in 2002 and has become a fun annual tradition for bike commuters and occasional cyclists alike. BikeArlington was expecting 500 people to stop by the Ballston pit stop and more than 1,000 at the Rosslyn location.

by Jackie Friedman — May 19, 2016 at 5:00 pm 0

A new pie store is now open along Lee Highway.

In April, two Arlington moms, Wendy MacCallum and Heather Sheire, opened Livin’ The Pie Life on 2166 N. Glebe Road. “We are happy to be here, it’s our dream home,” said MacCallum.

Before opening up their store, MacCallum and Sheire sold pies at the Clarendon and Westover farmers markets. Sheire also has a food blog that she said has contributed to the growth of the business.

They sell both savory and sweet flavors; customers are able to choose from a variety of sizes and flavors, which rotate seasonally. Large sweet pies range from $24-36.

Some flavors include strawberry rhubarb, Wendy’s Key Lime Pie or their most popular flavor, apple. Livin’ The Pie Life makes certain that the ingredients they use to bake the pies of the highest quality, with fresh, locally-sourced fruit in season or top quality frozen fruit out of season. One of their biggest mottos is that “if it’s in the name it better be in the pie,” said Sheire.

In addition to pies, the store offers coffee from Virginia-based Red Rooster Coffee. Plus, there are t-shirts for sale.

For both MacCallum and Sheire, one of the most important things to them is the strong bond that they have with their customers.

“The most rewarding thing is that we’ve met really great people who have become consistent customers at the shop,” said Sheire. For die hard customers the store offers a Pie of the Month Club — $370 for a year’s worth of pies.

Aside from just dropping by the store, customers can order pies online for delivery or pickup.

by ARLnow.com — May 19, 2016 at 12:55 pm 0

Did you miss our Hot Topics on the Pike event last month?

Good news: our friends at Arlington Independent Media were there and they just released their video from the event (above).

The first half is a discussion among our opinion columnists — Mark Kelly (The Right Note), Peter Rousselot (Peter’s Take) and Larry Roberts (Progressive Voice) — on countywide issues. (The opinion columns will return next week. This week we are publishing candidate essays from the contenders for the Democratic School Board endorsement.)

The second half was a discussion of Columbia Pike-specific issues with County Board member Katie Cristol, Arlington County Transportation Commission Chair Chris Slatt, Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization Chair John Murphy and small business owner Michael “Mike on the Pike” Garcia.

The event was held at the Celtic House Irish Pub (2500 Columbia Pike) and hosted by Amanda Fischer.

by ARLnow.com — May 19, 2016 at 10:30 am 0

The new Whole Foods grocery store in Pentagon City will be opening on Wednesday, June 29, the company announced today.

The nearly 37,000-square-foot store is located on the ground floor of the Bartlett, a new 22-story apartment building at the corner of 12th Street S. and S. Eads Street.

The new store will feature:

  • An expansive organic salad bar
  • Prepared foods hot bars
  • Several unique food venues
  • Made-in-house and artisan charcuterie
  • An extensive selection of beer, wine and cheese
  • A scratch bakery
  • A coffee/juice bar
  • A pub
  • A dog-friendly patio

Whole Foods is now hiring for the store, as detailed in the press release below.

Whole Foods Market, America’s healthiest grocery store™, will open its ninth Northern Virginia location on Wednesday, June 29, in Pentagon City. The 36,800 square-foot store is located at the corner of 12th Street South and South Eads Street.

“Our newest Whole Foods Market will reflect the energy and vitality of this growing Arlington community,” said Mike Ameg, the store’s team leader. “This store will offer Northern Virginia families the highest quality natural and organic products, including seasonal, locally-sourced produce, sustainable seafood and high-quality meat and poultry – all free of artificial flavors, colors, sweeteners, preservatives and hydrogenated oils. We’re also excited to bring an extensive offering of fast-casual dining options to the many residents who live and work in the heart of Pentagon City.”

Along with the expansive organic salad bar and prepared foods hot bars pioneered by Whole Foods Market chefs, this store will feature several unique food venues, made-in-house and artisan charcuterie, an extensive selection of beer, wine and cheese, and a scratch bakery. The store’s many seating areas – which include a coffee/juice bar, pub, and dog-friendly patio – are also sure to become popular meeting places.

Whole Foods Market team members will be organizing and attending events in and around the community over the coming weeks and there are also openings for new part-time and full-time team member positions across a variety of departments. Interested applicants can apply at www.wholefoodsmarket.com/careers.

Follow news about this store’s opening and about all of the Northern Virginia Whole Foods Market happenings through social media: Twitter @WholeFoodsNoVa; Instagram: @WholeFoodsNoVa, and on Facebook: Whole Foods Market NoVa.

by ARLnow.com — May 19, 2016 at 10:00 am 0

On Wednesday we reported that a cat and her kittens were living on top of Gunston Middle School. Today we’re happy to report that the kittens have been successfully removed from the roof.

After a bit of an impasse with Arlington Public Schools officials, yesterday animal control officers from the Animal Welfare League of Arlington were able to find a way to safely get to the roof, capture the kittens and get them back down from the roof.

AWLA detailed the process in a Facebook post last night.

We are happy to report that the kittens have been safely removed from the roof and are in our care here at the shelter!

We were made aware of this little family after a young student saw the kittens outside his classroom window and called the shelter. The mother cat was able to freely come and go from the flat roof, and had decided that it was the safest spot for her kittens!

Because the mother cat is feral, we needed to wait to remove her kittens until they were old enough to eat on their own and not rely on her for survival. Typically our officers do not climb onto roofs for safety reasons, but after we were informed that there was a secured ladder on the side of the building, the officers knew they had to help. And so Operation Roof Kitten Rescue began!

Officers Corcoran, Solano and Dispatcher Barrett were able to capture the fearful kittens in a net and transfer them to a carrier. They created a harness made of leashes so that Officer Solano could “wear” the carrier as she descended the ladder.

The kittens are now the perfect age for socializing: old enough to eat on their own, but young enough to learn to enjoy human contact. They will now go to a foster home until they are old enough and friendly enough for adoption. Thank you to everyone who assisted us in this rescue!

What will happen to the kittens’ mother? AWLA also answered that on the Facebook post.

When it comes to feral kittens there’s a delicate balance between leaving them with their mothers vs taking them into the shelter. If we leave them with the mother until they are completely grown and leave her on their own, they will be too old to socialize and adopt out – they will be feral like their mother, and then those kittens will grow and have more kittens of their own, leading to a larger and larger population of feral cats in the area. The officers and shelter staff feel that it’s in the best interests of the mother and kittens to remove them at this time. As stated above, the officers are looking options for the mother cat. We can assure you that the welfare of both the kittens and mother are what we are most concerned about.

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