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by Katie Pyzyk — December 29, 2016 at 4:45 pm 0

An Arlington County police officer received a little holiday cheer from a secret gift giver yesterday.

One of the department’s officers found a gift card and note of gratitude left anonymously on the windshield of an ACPD cruiser.

https://twitter.com/ArlingtonVaPD/status/814196016933117952

That kind of appreciation isn’t exactly a common occurrence for the ACPD. Typically only the officers working on Christmas receive a little something extra: a meal provided by an employee group.

This holiday season there was, however, another notable demonstration of appreciation when a Brownie troop dropped off festive reindeer-shaped treats last week.

https://twitter.com/ArlingtonVaPD/status/812010035257581568

No matter how big or small, members of the ACPD are grateful for positive recognition from the public, both during the holidays and throughout the year.

“We appreciate the support we receive from our community,” said police spokeswoman Ashley Savage. “We’re often asked how citizens can show their appreciation for our officers. A simple thank you and handshake goes a long way for those working over the holidays.”

by ARLnow.com — December 29, 2016 at 3:45 pm 0

Cafe Asia

(Updated at 4 p.m.) In Arlington, 2016 was a year that was filled with local stories that were tragic, triumphant or just plain weird.

We’re counting down the top 20 most-read articles of 2016 this week. Today it’s time to look back at #6-10.

10. ACPD Announces Major Clarendon Drug Bust (20,968 views)
Ten people were charged after police uncovered what they described as a drug network that distributed marijuana, MDMA and cocaine in Clarendon.

Shooting on Columbia Pike (Photo courtesy @gr33ncI0ud)9. Shooting on Columbia Pike (21,448 views)
Three people were arrested following a shooting in front of the Burger King on Columbia Pike, including the man who was shot. Police say the incident stemmed from a dispute over the sale of a car.

8. Ballston Mall Demolition on Track for May or June Start (21,504 views)
People just couldn’t wait for the wrecking ball to start swinging at Ballston Common Mall, heralding the start of major construction on the Ballston Quarter renovation, which is expected to wrap up in 2018.

7. Arlington Ranked ‘Best City to Live in America’ (22,749 views)
Never mind that Arlington is a county and not a city, its inclusion at the top of this Niche.com list was a source of civic pride. Take that, runners up Cambridge, Massachusetts and Columbia, Maryland!

6. Cafe Asia Closing in Rosslyn (23,109 views)
Beloved by many, including a number of Rosslyn-based journalists, Cafe Asia died an untimely death in June. The restaurant’s cavernous interior belied its very reasonable entree prices. Its bar was also a thoroughly decent place to hang out after work.

Look for the much-anticipated #1-5 on the countdown tomorrow.

by Katie Pyzyk — December 29, 2016 at 11:15 am 0

So many notable people died in 2016 that the losses have contributed to some Twitter users dubbing this the #WorstYearEver. Now the Arlington Public Library has compiled a list of its books, DVDs, and music files that users can borrow to find out what made some of these people stand out from the crowd.

The list is not comprehensive because the library does not own items relating to every single notable person who died this year. It does, however, include items related to 67 well-known authors, performers, activists, scientists, and public figures.

Some of the items on the list are:

  • All You Need Is Ears by George Martin: An autobiography of the record producer and composer best known for his work with The Beatles.
  • "Starman" by Paul TrynkaDavid Bowie: Starman by Paul Trynka: The book examines Bowie’s many artistic reinventions and broad influence on the entertainment world.
  • Heimlich’s Maneuvers: My Seventy Years of Lifesaving Innovations by Henry J. Heimlich: An autobiography of the thoracic surgeon best known for inventing the technique to stop choking.
  • Arnold Palmer: Memories, Stories, and Memorabilia by Arnold Palmer: An autobiography of the professional golfer who many consider the greatest player in the sport’s history.
  • The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama by Gwen Ifill: The Peabody-Award winning journalist’s continuation of her long-time coverage of America’s race issues.
  • "I'm Your Man" by Leonard CohenI’m Your Man by Leonard Cohen (DVD): The documentary covers Cohen’s life and work and includes interviews with artists he inspired.
  • Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope (DVD): The sci-fi film features Carrie Fisher in her iconic role as Princess Leia.
  • Crazy Town: The Rob Ford Story by Robyn Doolittle: The biography covers the life of the controversial former Toronto mayor known for his drug- and alcohol-fueled antics.
  • 40 Greatest Hits by Merle Haggard (eMusic): The music file includes songs spanning the country legend’s career.

by ARLnow.com — December 28, 2016 at 3:50 pm 0

SUV crash on Clarendon sidewalk

(Updated at 4:05 p.m.) In Arlington, 2016 was a year that was filled with local stories that were tragic, triumphant or just plain weird.

We’re counting down the top 20 most-read articles of 2016 this week. Today it’s time to look back at #11-15.

15. RIP Lenny B. Robinson, the Maryland Batman (17,682 views)
The Maryland man who brought joy to children while dressed as Batman was tragically struck and killed by a car after his Batmobile broke down on I-70 in 2015. Robinson had previously stopped by an Arlington YMCA and cruised the streets of Clarendon. Even in 2016, his kindness was inspiring to thousands. 

Carpool (photo via Facebook)14. Carpool Expected to Close (18,134 views)
Carpool was expected to close at some point this fall. Then it was granted a reprieve. At last check, the Ballston watering hole was expected to remain open through March, if not longer.

13. Congressional Candidate’s Apparent Porn Post Going Viral (18,390 views)
Today brought the news that prolific press release publisher and porn tab screenshot promoter Mike Webb has his sights set on the Arlington School Board race. Despite our commenters’ love of all things Webb, we’ve tried to temper our coverage of his candidacy in reasonable proportion to his base of support. While running as a write-in candidate for Congress this fall, the total write-in vote for the Eighth District of Virginia race was 0.3 percent.

12. Social Media Clown Threats Target Arlington Middle Schools (19,656 views)
Some clown wrote threatening messages against local schools on Instagram and, despite it being a fairly obvious — and lazy — hoax, police and school officials had to take it seriously.

11. SUV Drives Down Sidewalk in Clarendon, One Trapped (20,011 views)
Almost miraculously the restaurant worker who was run over by an allegedly intoxicated driver in an SUV is on the road to recovery. ARLnow.com was on the scene just a couple of minutes after this crash happened on the sidewalk below our office.

Look for #5-10 on the countdown tomorrow.

by ARLnow.com — December 27, 2016 at 3:45 pm 0

Ballston Common Mall demolition

(Updated at 4 p.m.) In Arlington, 2016 was a year that was filled with local stories that were tragic, triumphant or just plain weird.

We’re counting down the top 20 most-read articles of 2016 this week.

Kicking off the list today is #16-20.

20. Creepy Clown Sighting Reported in Arlington (15,531 views)
Arlington’s version of the international “creepy clown” hysteria, which unsurprisingly died down shortly after Halloween, reached its peak when “a caller told police that her child saw a clown emerge from some woods in the Arlington Mill neighborhood.”

19. Demolition Underway at Ballston Common Mall (15,867 views)
There is apparently something satisfying about seeing an outdated shopping mall get torn to pieces. Especially when what’s taking its place looks pretty cool.

18. Washington Blvd Shut Down After Man Shoots Self in Car (16,255 views)
This story was tragic for the man and his family. Also, the way in which he chose to end his life disrupted the evening commute of thousands and traumatized first responders.

Hard Times Cafe in Clarendon Closing17. Hard Times Cafe in Clarendon is Closing (16,667 views)
This long-time Clarendon staple only gave customers a one-day heads up that it was closing for good. We have been unable to substantiate rumors as to the exact reason for its closing, though a combination of high rent and sluggish business seems likely. A replacement — G.O.A.T Sports Bar — was recently announced.

16. Teen Charged With Murder in Fatal Stabbing (17,181 views)
A 17-year-old was arrested and charged with murder in the fatal Friday night stabbing of a 46-year-old family member.

Look for #11-15 on the countdown tomorrow.

by ARLnow.com — December 27, 2016 at 1:15 pm 0

The Comcast Service Center in Clarendon is moving to Courthouse.

A sign in the service center, at 2707 Wilson Blvd, says it will close effective Saturday, Jan. 7. Local cable customers will instead be able to go to a new “Xfinity store” at 1515 N. Courthouse Road for payments, equipment exchange and other service.

Comcast recently reached a new franchise agreement with Arlington County. Under the agreement, Arlington Independent Media will be able to keep its studios in the rear of the Comcast building in Clarendon, but will begin paying rent on Jan. 1, 2018.

It’s unclear what the existing service center space will be used for after the move.

Photos by Samantha Moore. Hat tip to Eric LeKuch.

by ARLnow.com — December 27, 2016 at 10:00 am 0

Christmas tree with Hanukkah ornamentReady to get rid of your Christmas tree now that the holiday has come and gone? You may have to wait.

For those who are served by Arlington County’s curbside trash pickup, Christmas tree collection will run from Jan. 2-13, 2017.

“Residents are reminded to place the tree on the curb no later than 6 a.m. on your regular trash collection day and to remove all decorations, nails, stands and plastic bags,” the county notes on its website. “The trees are later ground into wood mulch for garden use.”

Arlington residents can also bring their trees to the county’s Solid Waste Bureau near Shirlington for recycling. Or, if you want to hang on to your tree well into the new year, just throwing in the trash is an option.

“After Jan. 13, please prepare the tree for yard waste collection on your regular trash collection day,” the county website says.

by ARLnow.com — December 23, 2016 at 10:30 am 0

Christmas treeJust like the federal government, Arlington County government will be closed the next two Mondays.

County government offices, courts, libraries and facilities will be closed on Sunday, Dec. 25 and Monday, Dec. 26 for Christmas, and on Sunday, Jan. 1 and Monday, Jan. 2 for New Year’s.

Parking meters will not be enforced during that time, though trash and recycling collection will proceed as normal.

Libraries will also be closed on Saturday, Dec. 24, while courts are closed today and Saturday. Arlington Public Schools are on break from Dec. 22-Jan. 2.

The county jail will remain open for inmate visits, from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. on Dec. 25-26 and Jan. 1-2.

by ARLnow.com — December 22, 2016 at 3:45 pm 0

Merry Christmas and happy Hanukkah to all of our listeners!

We close out 2016 with a special holiday podcast, featuring Rev. Sarah Harrison-McQueen of Central United Methodist Church in Ballston, Dr. Leonard L. Hamlin Sr. of Macedonia Baptist Church in Nauck, Rabbi Lia Bass of Congregation Etz Hayim along Route 50, and an exclusive interview with Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus.

This is a family-friendly episode that you can feel free to let your kids listen to.

Listen below or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Google PlayStitcher or TuneIn.

by ARLnow.com — December 22, 2016 at 11:00 am 0

There’s no snow in the forecast — sorry to those with dreams of a white Christmas — but Arlington County says it’s ready for the next big snowfall, whenever it may come.

The county has released a video saying that its snow crews — 46 trucks and 92 drivers on staff — are prepared to plow neighborhood streets earlier when 6+ inches of snow is expected to fall.

That’s a change from before, when county snow crews would wait to plow neighborhood streets only after higher-traffic streets were cleared. That led to neighborhood streets icing over and becoming difficult to plow, and that led to complaints from residents who had to wait days until their streets were cleared.

The change, which will “send more plows into neighborhoods sooner,” was approved over the summer.

by ARLnow.com — December 21, 2016 at 11:00 am 0

Renderings of the planned 9/11 Pentagon Memorial Visitor Education Center are up at the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City mall.

The renderings, located next to the elevator bank in the food court area, show the vision for the gleaming center, with a wall of glass allowing visitors to see the side of the Pentagon that was struck by Flight 77 on 9/11/2001.

The visitor center is set to be built within the highway cloverleaf at the junction of Columbia Pike and Washington Blvd, within easy walking distance of the existing Pentagon Memorial.

At last check, the visitor center was expected to be built by 2020.

The mall display encourages shoppers to donate to the project. The Pentagon Memorial Fund is asking for special individual donation of $90.11 to help build the center.

More on the project, from the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial website:

The Pentagon is the only 9/11 attack site without a visitor center or museum to explain the historic significance of the site. Among the hundreds of thousands of visitors to the Memorial each year, few know that this memorial is different from all others in Washington, DC in that it is located where the event took place. Research showed that there is a unique teachable moment at the Memorial to explain the events on 9/11; the stories of the victims and heroes; the role of the Department of Defense and Pentagon; and how the United States and governments around the world are working to help prevent another 9/11.

With the guidance of the project’s official education partner, National Geographic, the 9/11 Pentagon Memorial Visitor Education Center’s interactive exhibits and education programs will give visitors a sense of the broad impact of the tragedy from a variety of perspectives. Stories of the courage and resilient spirit demonstrated by Pentagon employees, first responders and residents of the area will be shared throughout the exhibits…

There will be a multi-media interactive exhibit space, a Children’s Education Area, a Reflection Area, conference and meeting rooms, an Auditorium, and a Sky Terrace.

The 9/11 Pentagon Memorial Visitor Education Center site is in a dramatic location, right where the attack of 9/11 took place and adjacent to the 9/11 Pentagon Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery, and Air Force Memorial. Its orientation corresponds to the path of Flight 77. This thoughtful arrangement creates a powerful backdrop to heighten the experience for visitors as they arrive at the 9/11 Pentagon Memorial Visitor Education Center.

by ARLnow.com — December 21, 2016 at 10:00 am 0

Dickey's Barbecue Pit logoA Texas-style barbecue restaurant chain is considering opening an Arlington location next year.

A press release yesterday from Dickey’s Barbecue Pit included an Arlington dateline, but only said that the new restaurant would be opening in “the state of Virginia.”

Asked for clarification, a company spokeswoman told ARLnow.com that the restaurant may open in Arlington.

“The exact location has not been decided yet, but they are looking at locations in Arlington and Alexandria,” said the spokeswoman.

The press release is below.

Arlington, VA — Dickey’s Barbecue Pit will be opening its tenth new location in the state of Virginia with a new store slated to begin serving delicious, Texas-style barbecue in 2017. The new store’s owner, Mario Aguilar, is excited to embark on this new adventure by opening his very first Dickey’s Barbecue Pit location in the community he grew up in.

“The Dickey family congratulates Mario Aguilar on opening his first Dickey’s Barbecue Pit location in Virginia,” says Roland Dickey, Jr., CEO of Dickey’s Barbecue Restaurants, Inc. “Dickey’s Barbecue Pit is growing rapidly across the nation, and we are always proud when we have the opportunity to add a new Owner/Operator to the Dickey’s family.”

Born and raised in Virginia, Aguilar has been part of this community his entire life and is excited to serve Dickey’s Barbecue to the people whom he considers his family. Aguilar has been a business owner for the past 12 years, owning multiple AT&T locations throughout Virginia. When he decided it was time to get into the restaurant industry he knew Dickey’s was the right place for him because he loves the food and the 75-year-old brand.

“Dickey’s is a great brand that is well-known throughout the nation and I am excited to be a part of it,” says Aguilar. “Dickey’s will do well in this community because there is a large need for slow-smoked barbecue, and I am proud to be the one to provide it.”

by ARLnow.com — December 20, 2016 at 1:00 pm 0

We reported earlier this month that Punch Bowl Social was coming to Arlington. Now we know where it’s coming to: the renovated Ballston Quarter mall.

Punch Bowl Social says it will be opening a 25,000 square foot space at the mall in June 2018.

“Already a hit in other cities and a proven millennial magnet, Punch Bowl Social Ballston will include eight bowling lanes, one bocce court, three private karaoke rooms, a custom built 360 degree bar and various lounging and gathering spots — for groups both large and small — housed in an eclectic space melding mountain lodge, Victorian and modern industrial design themes,” the company said in a press release.

The full press release is below.

Punch Bowl Social, the leader in the “eatertainment” movement, announced today that it will open a 25,000 square-foot restaurant, bar and entertainment concept in Arlington’s Ballston Quarter in June 2018. Punch Bowl Social pairs a Hugh Acheson designed, scratch-made menu and craft beverage program with “old-school” social activities like vintage video games, shuffleboard, private karaoke rooms, bowling, Ping-Pong, bocce and skee-ball.

Already a hit in other cities and a proven millennial magnet, Punch Bowl Social Ballston will include eight bowling lanes, one bocce court, three private karaoke rooms, a custom built 360 degree bar and various lounging and gathering spots – for groups both large and small – housed in an eclectic space melding mountain lodge, Victorian and modern industrial design themes.

Punch Bowl Social founder & CEO Robert Thompson noted that Ballston Quarter is exactly the type of development where Punch Bowl Social flourishes. “The Ballston Quarter is poised to become the urban village for Arlington and the surrounding metro area,” he said. “The team behind the project is curating a unique, elevated experience that emphasizes attention to detail and quality offerings. These are the same considerations that drive Punch Bowl Social.”

The elevated experiences that Thompson references are what have ensured Punch Bowl Social’s singular position atop the “eatertainment” industry’s leadership roster. As noted in a multi-page spread in Inc. Magazine’s December/January issue, Punch Bowl Social has “broken from the pack.” The article pays homage to the brand and to Thompson’s uncanny – one could argue unparalleled – ability to market to the often elusive millennial, now the country’s largest demographic and a group sure to descend upon Ballston Quarter.

Joe Boehm, Executive Vice President, Real Estate at Forest City Realty Trust, the development company behind the Ballson Quarter, notes that it was these very factors that drew Forest City to Punch Bowl Social. “The Ballston Quarter will offer an experience that is purposeful, thoughtful and uncommon,” Boehm said. “We support this goal by partnering with anchor tenants capable of delivering on this promise. Punch Bowl Social is an industry leader with a proven track record. But more importantly, it offers an authentic experience that resonates across demographic groupings, literally offering something for everyone.”

Punch Bowl Social has made a name for itself with its remarkably balanced execution of the eat, drink, play concept. The brand prides itself on its food-forward approach, with an inspired menu created by the company’s culinary partner, celebrity chef Hugh Acheson. Acheson, a restauranteur, cookbook author, Top Chef judge and James Beard award winner, leads the ongoing culinary direction of the growing restaurant concept while underscoring its commitment to a seasonally inspired, scratch kitchen.

Punch Bowl Social Ballston marks the company’s first east coast location. Other cities include, among others, Detroit; Cleveland; Portland, Ore; Austin; and Denver, Colorado, where Punch Bowl Social originated.

PUNCH BOWL SOCIAL

Punch Bowl Social brings classic entertainment and real culinary chops together under the same roof, in an environment that is playful and surprisingly intimate. Punch Bowl Social’s scratch kitchen serves weekend brunch, lunch, dinner and late-night snacks while the in-house mixologists focus on serving up craft beverages. For more information, visit www.punchbowlsocial.com

by ARLnow.com — December 20, 2016 at 11:00 am 0

Arlington County has released its year-in-review video for 2016.

The annual video includes highlights of county-related goings on for the past year.

Actual important events and issues aside, here are some of the little things we learned from the video:

  • There’s no hazing ritual for new County Board members.
  • John Vihstadt is not offended by fellow Board members saying he is “lawyerly.”
  • Rosslyn-based ABC 7 appears to have been the county’s TV station of choice during the 2016 blizzard.
  • The blizzard happened on County Manager Mark Schwartz’s second week on the job and it was “a baptism by snow.”
  • Libby Garvey admits that the new live streams of commission meetings can double as a sleep aid.
  • The county has some sweet aerial footage of Arlington.
  • Being a county ombudsman involves lots of hand shaking.
  • “Planning is our bread and butter” — Jay Fisette.
  • The new Ballston Quarter mall is going to be pretty cool and is going to “transform” Ballston.
  • You can rent thermal cameras at the library.

Also from the video, we were told that the Fire Station 8 decision was “the essence of public engagement;” that 600 units committed affordable housing were approved, preserved or extended in 2016; that Arlington “functionally ended veteran homelessness” in the county and that a major theme of 2017 will be the county’s commitment to being “welcoming and inclusive.”

by ARLnow.com — December 20, 2016 at 10:00 am 0

Future CociNana truck (photo via GoFundMe)

A Clarendon bar veteran is raising money to launch a new food truck in Arlington.

Michael Terrence O’Connor says on the crowdfunding platform GoFundMe that he’s hoping to raise $15,000. The money will help with various startup costs for a food truck he’s planning to launch called CociNana.

The truck will focus on serving tamales, but will also offer other comfort food, says the fundraising website. The name is intended to honor the women who taught O’Connor how to cook.

“CociNana is an endearment to the many years of my youth I spent in the kitchens of my Grandmas, Tias, Aunties and other Nanas,” he wrote.

O’Connor, who has worked at Iota Club and Sehkraft Brewing, we’re told, says he’s already put a deposit down on a truck and has the necessary Arlington permits for it.

“Iota Mike,” as one reader said he’s known as, has so far raised just over $7,000. He says he’ll use the money to reduce his monthly payment on the truck, to get branding and merchandise for the truck, to secure kitchen and depot services, and to “meet regulatory hurdles, fines and procedures.”

Incentives for donating include gift cards, free tamales or even having your name inscribed on the truck.

“I am eternally grateful for all your support and look forward to seeing you out the window,” O’Connor wrote.

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