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by ARLnow.com — June 12, 2017 at 10:05 am 0

(Updated at 12:05 p.m.) An Arlington County Police officer rescued a kitten over the weekend.

The officer found the kitten in the engine compartment of a car in Clarendon and was able to coax her out and hold her until animal control arrived.

That earned her kudos from the Animal Welfare League of Arlington’s Facebook account. Via AWLA:

Thank you to Officer Ernesto from The Arlington County Police Department for saving this little kitten! Officer Ernesto found this little kitten (now named Grease Monkey) in a car engine in Clarendon. She was able to coax the kitten out and hold on to her until Animal Control arrived. Thank you Officer Ernesto!

The rescue happened early Saturday morning, after Officer Ernesto saw people peering into the hood of a car, at the corner of 12th Street N. and N. Garfield Street, and stopped to help.

“At approximately 2:00 a.m. on Saturday, June 10, Officer Ernesto was on routine patrol when she observed a group of individuals at the intersection of 12th Street at Garfield Street using lights to look into the hood of a vehicle,” an ACPD spokeswoman said. “Officer Ernesto stopped to assist what she believed was a disabled vehicle and later determined there was kitten stuck inside.”

by Brooke Giles — June 9, 2017 at 1:30 pm 0

The Crystal Gateway Marriott hotel at 1700 Jefferson Davis Highway in Crystal City showed off some of its recently-completed renovations yesterday.

The nearly 600-room hotel figures prominently into Arlington’s hospitality industry, hosting tourists, business travelers and large meetings.

Major upgrades were made to the guest rooms, imparting a more modern design and moving away from the hotel’s red and gold color scheme to a royal blue one.

Behind the renovation is general manager Regan Linke, who worked as a bartender when the hotel first opened in 1982.

“I came back about five years ago and the hotel was in need of some renovation,” said Linke.

The remodel also included the addition of the new M Club Lounge for Gold and Platinum Elite Marriott Rewards members. The 24-hour lounge area has coffee, snacks and wine for members.

The rest of the lobby will be completed later this year.

The hotel also gave a taste of its new restaurant 15th & Eads, named after the intersection it sits on. Included were mixed drinks served in mason jars, a selection of flatbread pizza, sliced meats and cheeses and made-to-order samples of New York strip steak.

It also follows a trend for the area, which has undergone significant changes within the last year, including a slew of new restaurants, businesses and the Transitway bus system and its new dedicated lanes in the neighborhood.

“It matches what happening in Crystal City,” Linke said. “Crystal Drive is expanded with restaurants. We’re attached to Metro and so everybody’s really thrilled about what’s happening at the hotel.”

by Katherine Berko — June 9, 2017 at 11:30 am 0

From politicians to fashion bloggers, Arlington is home to a variety of social media influencers. One common thread among them? Many run their social media feeds like a business.

Angelica Talan, a resident of the Courthouse-Clarendon area, created the blog Clarendon Moms in 2011. Talan often frequented restaurant launches or book signings in the area but noticed she was the only mother present. She created Clarendon Moms as a resource for other Arlington-based mothers to learn about these free events.

The blog eventually expanded to include travel, fitness and fashion advice, and two years later, she began to profit from sponsored posts.

“It was never my intention,” Talan said. “I really just wanted to connect people with what was going on. Never in a million years would I have guessed that you could combine your passion for writing, photography, mingling with people and connecting people, create a blog and make money.”

In 2016, Talan’s friends helped her realize she needed to create a second blog, Angelica in the City, which is geared towards single women instead of mothers. Both of Talan’s blogs strive to promote positivity and an educational purpose.

Talan’s Instagram account has 21,500 thousand followers.

Virginia Square couple Blake Davenport and Leah Virbitsky, initially started their Instagram account, Discover Arlington, as a way to enhance Davenport’s real estate business.

The couple is very particular about the images they share on Instagram; the account now has 5,719 followers.

“On Instagram if you don’t have a good picture people are going to go right past it,” Daveport said.

They launched a website last September, which has the best places to eat, explore and buy a home. The couple started hosting events with local businesses in January.

Sarah Phillips of Arlington’s Penrose neighborhood and Michelle Martin, who lives in Los Angeles, began their fashion blog 52 Thursdays as a hobby.

Both women studied fashion in college, where they were sorority sisters. In 2013, they decided to create a business revolving around that shared passion.

“We came up with 52 Thursdays because our wine nights were on Thursdays,” Phillips said.

At first they did not share the website with anybody. Months went by and the women decided to give their web page a makeover: they organized a photo shoot at a studio and hired a professional photographer.

Now, the women partner with various brands to make a profit. They enjoy working with small businesses in Arlington such as South Block and LavaBarre. The women also offer fashion, blogging, branding and social media consultations as well.

(more…)

by Chris Teale — June 9, 2017 at 10:00 am 0

(Updated 1:10 p.m.) Construction in Rosslyn has led many people on foot to make a dubious choice after the temporary closure of a pedestrian walkway: walking in a busy street.

Crews closed the temporary walkway on Wilson Blvd between N. Lynn and N. Moore streets, adjacent to the Central Place development, where work is ongoing on the new CEB Tower.

And during lunchtime Thursday, numerous people made the risky decision to walk on the outside of the walkway along Wilson Blvd, just inches from cars traveling west on that major thoroughfare.

A reader emailed to say that pedestrians had been “forced” to walk in the street, although the sidewalk on the other side of Wilson Blvd remains open for use.

A spokeswoman for the county’s Dept. of Environmental Services said the closure will last until June 29 for utility work. She said signs direct pedestrians to the opposite sidewalk.

by ARLnow.com — June 8, 2017 at 5:15 pm 0

Arlington-based nonprofits have raised more than $16,000 so far as part of the United Way’s Do More 24 campaign.

The 24-hour fundraising campaign encourages D.C. area donors to give to any of more than 700 local participating nonprofits, thus funding “programs and services right here in our own community.”

“Held on June 8, 2017, Do More 24 is the DMV’s largest 24-hour online fundraiser,” said the United Way of the National Capital Area. “Last year, Do More 24 raised more than $1.55 million, which allowed nonprofit organizations to fill holes in their budget, buy desperately needed new equipment and serve more people in need across our region.”

Among the Arlington-based organizations on the Do More 24 leaderboard as of 5 p.m. Thursday were:

To help generate excitement for the campaign, many local nonprofits were active on social media, posting videos, detailing good things for which donations would be used, and setting goals for matching donations.

The donation campaign runs through 11:59 p.m. tonight (Thursday).

by Chris Teale — June 8, 2017 at 11:15 am 0

Work at a new Potomac Yard apartment building set to include a new church is well underway.

The County Board approved the addition of a church to the first and second floors of the 12-story residential building in 2015. The building was originally approved in 2007 but went unbuilt for some time.

Now, however, the site between Jefferson Davis Highway, 33rd Street S., 35th Street S. and S. Ball Street has been cleared by construction crews, with foundations set to be lain soon.

The new church — known previously as the “Meetinghouse of Worship” — is planned for a portion of the first and second floors of the building. It will be occupy 23,906 square feet of space, with a 300-seat sanctuary, classrooms, administrative offices and a multipurpose room on the first and second floors.

The church will be on the left side of the building, next to 33rd Street S., while on the right side of the building, the apartment complex will have a lobby and retail space.

The apartment complex is set to have 342 units, having added 11 with the church’s approval. A brochure on the building by architects DCS Design touts its “ground floor retail, rooftop pool and a private exercise facility,” and its proximity to public transit options.

The building will be close to a Crystal City-Potomac Yard transitway stop on Crystal Drive, parallel to Route 1.

Representatives with developer The Praedium Group did not respond to requests for comment on a timeline for construction, or further details on the church that will move in.

by ARLnow.com — June 8, 2017 at 9:25 am 0

D.C. isn’t the only wonky place with bars and restaurants opening early, offering specials and putting today’s James Comey testimony on the TVs. Some in Arlington are also getting in on the action.

The most hotly-anticipated Senate Intelligence Committee hearing in recent memory is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. Though the lack of a spectacular new revelation in Comey’s prepared remarks may be tamping down the enthusiasm a bit, many are still eager to hear what Comey has to say about President Trump — and, on Twitter, vice versa.

Here in Arlington, Liberty Tavern will be opening early, at 10 a.m., and putting the hearing on its five large TVs.

“We will serve free covfefe! And White Russians and Stoli and grapefruits during the hearing will be $5,”a rep for the Clarendon restaurant once visited by President Obama told ARLnow.com. “Lastly, we’ll offer all of our 12-inch wood-oven specialty pizzas for $10, including our popular brunch pizza that features our homemade breakfast sausage, house cured bacon, fried eggs, tomatoes, cheddar and sage.”

Also hosting hearing watchers is Ballston watering hole A-Town Bar and Grill, which will open at 10 a.m. and put the proceedings on its many TVs.

In Courthouse, Ireland’s Four Courts will be open for lunch and have hearing coverage on its TVs with the volume on. The pub will also offer lunch specials during the hearing.

by Brooke Giles — June 7, 2017 at 4:55 pm 0

Sociopolitical comedian W. Kamau Bell is coming to the Arlington Cinema Drafthouse for the first time this Friday.

The host of the CNN show “United Shades of America” is known for exploring tough subjects. In two seasons of “United Shades, Bell has spent time with members of the Ku Klux Klan and has sat down with Alexandria-based white supremacist Richard Spencer. The show was nominated for a Primetime Emmy award in 2016.

But although he’s been outspoken about his support of social causes, Bell says his comedy act is not about political affiliation.

“I feel the need to make the jokes about the people who I feel need to have jokes made about them, it could be the left, it could be the right, could be somewhere in between,” he said.

The comedian believes that too many of America’s issues have been politicized even though those issues exist no matter where someone is from. By poking fun at both sides, he believes he helps erases some of the social divides.

“We think of the north and the south and the west and the Midwest, but every town, every city, every part of this country, there are different things going on,” Bell said. He thinks that once people stop focusing on what makes us different, “we’d realize that we all want more money from our job, we all want better schools for our kids.”

In an especially polarized political climate, Bell thinks that his show can be a place for people to unwind. He says his visits to places with histories of racism often turn out to be the best shows, because the audience members need the break more than anyone else.

The author of the book “The Awkward Thoughts of W. Kamau Bell: Tales of a 6′ 4″, African American, Heterosexual, Cisgender, Left-Leaning, Asthmatic, Black and Proud Blerd, Mama’s Boy, Dad, and Stand-Up Comedian,” released early this month, wants people to leave his show willing to engage with those with different perspectives.

“We are not as strong in our communities as we think we are, we need to get to know our neighbors,” Bell said. “We need to get to know the people two streets over, we need to get to know people outside of neighborhoods.”

And although it can be uncomfortable, he believes it’s an important learning experience.

“Awkward can often lead to a better place, a smarter place and a more joyful and more informed place,” Bell said. “That’s what I’m encouraging people to do, lean into the awkward.”

Bell will perform two shows at the Drafthouse on Friday, an early show at 7:30 p.m. that is now sold out and a late show at 10 p.m. Tickets are $35 for general admission, $63 for general admission and a book.

Courtesy photos

by ARLnow.com — June 7, 2017 at 1:00 pm 0

(Updated at 1:30 p.m) The space vacated by Applebee’s in Ballston less than three weeks ago will not be empty for long.

The restaurant at 900 N. Glebe Road closed on May 27. Applebee’s closing followed the closure of the Greene Turtle Sports Bar & Grille in the same space in April 2016.

Despite the challenges of filling the large restaurant space on the western side of Glebe Road with customers, a new eatery called Bistro 1521 is set to move in soon.

Solita Wakefield, a partner in the business and the restaurant’s general manager, said that Bistro 1521 will serve traditional Filipino cuisine like lumpia, adobo and pancit (noodles), plus fusion dishes mechado with a Spanish flair.

Wakefield was previously a co-owner of Bistro 7107, a Filipino restaurant on 23rd Street S. in Crystal City, which recently closed, according to Yelp. There are no other large sit-down Filipino restaurants in Arlington, Wakefield said, and only a handful elsewhere in the D.C. area. She expects to win over both Filipino customers — including those who work at the Philippines embassy — as well as those new to the cuisine.

Bistro 1521 is located in the same building as Stageplate Bistro, on the first floor of the the Virginia Tech Research Center. It occupies a large restaurant space, with seating capacity for 220 inside and 60 on the outside patio.

“It’s going to be grand,” Wakefield said.

Wakefield plans to keep the interior of the former Applebee’s largely unchanged, with the addition of some Filipino paintings and other decorations. She also plans to keep Applebee’s regularly-scheduled events, like cornhole, trivia night and painting night.

Wakefield is hoping that the business permits are approved in time for the restaurant to open in July.

Hat tip to Todd B.

by ARLnow.com — June 6, 2017 at 5:40 pm 0

Every once in awhile, a mystery captivates a community.

Today, those who work in the office building at 3100 Clarendon Blvd (including ARLnow.com’s staff) are wondering: under what circumstances did this stick of Old Spice High Endurance deodorant get on top of this bus stop?

The deodorant has been there, across from the Clarendon Metro plaza, for at least a week. Neither rain nor wind has knocked it from its perch. It’s unclear if anyone will ever remove it.

Some locals who spoke to ARLnow.com had theories as to how the deodorant got up there.

“People get drunk on the weekends, that would be my best guess,” said a man who works at a local bar.

“I assume somebody just threw it and didn’t expect it to land up there,” said another passerby.

“I ride this bus every day. I would’ve never looked up there, even though I’m tall I can’t see up there,” said a man waiting at the bus stop, who was previously unaware of the deodorant’s presence. “Maybe somebody was upset with the deodorant’s performance and threw it up there out of anger. Or, more often than not, people throw things up there to see how often they stay up there.”

The windows on the second floor of 3100 Clarendon Blvd — home to the MakeOffices coworking space and dozens of companies — do not open, thus making it unlikely that it was tossed from an office. There is a rooftop patio on the third floor, but it would have been difficult to get a stick of deodorant to land and stay on the angled bus stop roof from that height.

Have any other guesses? Let us know in the comments.

by Brooke Giles — June 6, 2017 at 4:30 pm 0

An aromatherapy store in Clarendon has shuttered after 20 years in business.

Cosmic Energy at 1114 N. Irving Street provided a “one-stop-shopping” experience for metaphysical and aromatherapy products. Those products included oils, incense, sacred herbs, teas, body care products and more.

Although the business’ website is still operational, the building is empty and there is a for rent sign in its window. Cosmic Energy’s phone number is no longer in service and instead directs callers to similar stores nearby.

by Katherine Berko — June 6, 2017 at 3:30 pm 0

The 20th Armed Forces Cycling Classic will take place in Arlington this weekend, and one of its former champions is set to get back in the saddle.

Jake Keough, a three-time winner of the Crystal Cup race, will be cycling in it for the first time since he was forced into retirement three years ago due to an irregular heartbeat.

“After being a professional for 10-plus years, I began to have heart arrhythmias…I had major complications,” Keough wrote in an email.

Keough will be cycling with Team Skyline, run by the acclaimed bicyclist Ryan DeWald. DeWald, like Keough, suffers from another chronic medical condition: Type 1 diabetes. Both were diagnosed in 2014 and took time away.

“I got thin. I got sick. I didn’t know what was wrong with me,” DeWald said. “I missed one weekend of racing then I got back on my bike, I got on insulin, I re-sorted out how to race my bike on insulin. I worked with some of the best doctors in the world.”

When DeWald re-entered the cycling realm after his brief hiatus, he made an immediate impact. In 2015, he was ranked third nationally as a Category One rider, out of 1,475 cyclists.

Despite that impressive statistic, DeWald remembers when everybody told him to stop biking. He refused to take their advice.

“I had nothing to lose so I just kept racing the bike. Now, I’m turning more into an inspirational athlete with dynamic speaking skills,” DeWald said.

He hopes to eventually transfer out of bike racing and take on more leadership roles.

DeWald started the foundation, Winning the Race with Diabetes, to help people manage Type 1 diabetes while also engaging in athletic lifestyles. In addition to running Team Skyline, he runs a team bike shop in Reading, Penn.

While DeWald was getting back on his bike, Keough underwent cardiac ablation surgery. The procedure caused him to go into cardiac arrest.

“I was told by the best sports cardiologists in the world that I could never be an athlete again and that I should live a sedentary life,” Keough wrote.

Yet, Keough persisted. He takes medication to keep his heart rate low and has a sprinter plate on his chest.

“I’m back racing on my own terms and trying not to let my health issues dictate how I live my life,” Keough wrote.

“I think he’s taking his life into his own hands every time he sprints…I think he’s a few steps away from winning a big one,” DeWald said of his teammate. And after years apart, the men rekindled their friendship via social media this past winter.

“He was telling me about what happened to him, he asked me about my condition and we started comparing notes,” DeWald said.

Shortly thereafter, Keough joined DeWald’s team. Team Skyline rides about 15,000 miles per year and races 50-60 events annually.

This weekend’s race will not be Keough’s first since leaving retirement. However, he remains surprised by his recent success.

“I didn’t really plan on making a comeback. But, after racing Speed Week this spring and finishing fifth at Athens Twilight and fourth overall, I realized I could still be a factor at the top level of the sport I love,” Keough wrote.

Skyline is hopeful for this weekend. Keough’s youngest brother, Luke Keough, will also be participating this weekend, on a different team.

“Obviously, as a former winner, the goal is to get back to the top step. But, more importantly, it’s to have a blast,” Keough wrote.

“We’re going to try to win,” DeWald said. “Jake has just got to beat his brother [in the race]. How hard can it be to beat your younger brother?”

The Armed Forces Cycling Classic consists of two days of races: the Clarendon Cup on Saturday, in Clarendon, and the Crystal Cup and non-competitive Challenge Ride on Sunday, in Crystal City. The pro-am races, along with corresponding kids races and the Challenge Ride, are open to spectators.

by Brooke Giles — June 6, 2017 at 2:15 pm 0

The Animal Welfare League of Arlington announced it is opening the first neonatal kitten nursery in the D.C. area.

The “Kitten Academy” will help foster hundreds of kittens that are less than three weeks old, the age when a kitten is the most vulnerable. The academy will open thanks to a donation of $25,000 from Falls Church residents Ted and Willa Lutz.

According to AWLA, kittens in shelters have to overcome exposure to disease and the lack of a nursing mother before reaching an age when they can be adopted. As a result, many shelters are forced to euthanize the kittens.

Shelters can also struggle to accommodate all the neonatal kittens that arrive, especially during “Kitten Season” when many cats give birth. The season typically lasts from spring until fall, and reaches its peak in late spring.

AWLA will hold a Kitten Care Workshop on Wednesday, June 14 to train those interested in taking care of the kittens. The workshop will teach life-saving techniques and how to properly bottle feed them.

Photo via Animal Welfare League of Arlington.

by Chris Teale — June 6, 2017 at 11:00 am 0

A 7-Eleven on Lee Highway in Cherrydale will close by the end of the month, and local residents are concerned for the future of other business nearby.

Multiple anonymous tipsters said they heard the 7-Eleven at 3901 Lee Highway will close. One said the new landlord is refusing to sign a new lease with the convenience store. Former landlord Kostas Kapasouris sold the properties earlier this year, and confirmed in an interview Tuesday morning that the 7-Eleven will close by the end of June.

County property records indicate that Naqibullah M. Ismail bought the shopping plaza and the stores across N. Pollard Street from it in February. The plaza sold for $3 million, according to those records. Ismail, an Arlington resident whose LinkedIn page says he is the CEO of an Afghanistan-based contractor to the Dept. of Defense, did not respond to requests for comment.

Kapasouris also owned the buildings that housed Billy’s Cheesesteaks, Bistro 29 on one side, and the former Drug Fair building, which houses Sun & Moon Yoga, Sterling Frames, Company Flowers and almost housed the NOVA Firearms gun store until its lease was cancelled in 2015. He said the other stores should “hopefully” stay open for the foreseeable future.

Jim Todd, president of the Cherrydale Citizens Association, said that while all he has heard is “second hand or rumor” around the stores’ future, he hopes any possible redevelopment plans are consistent with previous guidelines approved for the area.

“Whatever happens, we hope that any redevelopment that might be coming follows the design guidelines set out in the Cherrydale Revitalization Plan and the Cherrydale Neighborhood Conservation Plan, and promotes the vision for the future of Lee Highway set out by the Lee Highway Alliance,” Todd said. “We also want to express our support for and continue to work with Kostas and all our locally-owned Cherrydale businesses.”

7-Eleven media relations staff did not respond to requests for comment.

by Chris Teale — June 6, 2017 at 10:00 am 0

With the county’s Public Art Master Plan set for a revamp in the coming months, residents are being asked for their feedback on the various installations around Arlington.

Those interested can fill out an online survey, which includes questions on which current artworks people are familiar with; which they find memorable; and goals and approaches for public art.

The survey is open until 5 p.m. on June 19.

“Adopted in 2004, the PAMP outlines a strategy for how public art will improve the quality of Arlington’s public spaces and facilities,” the survey reads. “We invite you to help inform the update by filling out this questionnaire.”

The update is the plan’s first since 2004, and will look to take into account the findings from the 2016 Arlington Arts strategic planning process and other plans expected to be completed this year, including on public spaces, the Four Mile Run Valley and Lee Highway.

In addition to the questionnaire, public artist Graham Coreil-Allen has conducted a series of “County Wandering” walking tours to explore and reimagine local areas, while the county has a social media education campaign on public art using the hashtag #ARLPublicArt.

In recent years, the County Board approved the $1 million “Corridor of Light” public art project in Rosslyn, the installation of various pieces to the fence separating the Four Mile Run trail from the county’s sewage plant and a project by artist Linda Hesh for local people to say what the word “civic” means to them.

Other upcoming public art projects — which typically take several years to develop — include an installation at Columbia Pike’s western gateway, the design of the upcoming Nauck Town Square park, and a stainless steel sculpture that will be placed next to a new apartment building in Courthouse.

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