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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.

by ARLnow.com — May 17, 2016 at 3:55 pm 0

Old Arlington County police car paint job (file photo)If for some reason you drive around without a seatbelt on, it could cost you your life. Next week, there’s a greater likelihood that it will at least cost you $25.

From Monday, May 23 to Monday, June 6 — it’s timed to coincide with the Memorial Day holiday — Arlington County will again be participating in the nationwide Click It or Ticket campaign.

ACPD will be “stepping up enforcement” of the state seatbelt law during that time.

From a press release:

Once again, the Arlington County Police Department is reminding motorists to Click It or Ticket. As part of the national seat belt enforcement campaign, law enforcement agencies around the country will be stepping up enforcement from May 23 to June 6, just ahead of one of the busiest travel weekends of the year.

Every day, unbuckled motorists are losing their lives in motor vehicle crashes. As we approach Memorial Day weekend and the summer vacation season, we want to make sure people are doing the one thing that can save them in a crash, buckling up.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly half of the 21,132 passenger vehicle occupants killed in crashes in 2013 were unrestrained. At night from 6 p.m. to 5:59 a.m., that number soared to 59 percent of those killed. That’s why one focus of the Click It or Ticket campaign is nighttime enforcement. Participating law enforcement agencies will be taking a no-excuses approach to seat belt law enforcement, writing citations day and night.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 2014, there was one fatality every 16 minutes, one person injured every 13 seconds, one property damage crash every 7 seconds, and 1 law enforcement-reported crash every 5 seconds.

by ARLnow.com — May 17, 2016 at 2:00 pm 0

Water main break on Arlington Ridge Road

This week is National Public Works Week, and to mark the occasion Arlington County has released some crazy stats from its public works division, the Dept. of Environmental Services.

Here’s what the county says DES has done over the past year:

  • “Collected some 34,000 tons of trash and another 31,000 tons of recycling curbside”
  • “Carried more than 2.8 million passengers on Arlington Transit (ART) bus trips”
  • “Paved 92 of the County’s 974 lane miles”
  • “Filled 12,100 potholes in 2015, and 4,917 so far in 2016”
  • “Cleaned and lined 57,000 linear feet of storm sewer pipe”
  • “Fixed 217 water main breaks”
  • “Replaced approximately three miles of water mains”
  • “Cleaned and lined 2,300 linear feet of water mains”
  • “Collected more than 2,300 tons of debris and sediment through street sweeping”

In a press release, the county noted that many of the jobs performed by DES crews took place while the average Arlington resident was sleeping or enjoying their weekend.

“Drinking water, trash, public transit, the sewers, streets and sidewalks rarely take a holiday,” the press release said. “Even County buildings need someone to maintain them, and it’s hard to vacuum or paint during regular business hours.”

Said County Manager Mark Schwartz:

“Every time you leave collection bins at the curb, pause for the crosswalk light or run the tap to brush your teeth, you’re interacting with the County’s Department of Environmental Services.

Sometimes the best work is the work you don’t notice. In Arlington we’re fortunate to have such dedicated, skillful men and women supporting our vital infrastructure.”

File photo

by ARLnow.com — May 17, 2016 at 10:55 am 0

Here are some words we do not have an opportunity to write often: a construction project in Arlington is running ahead of schedule.

Construction on the new eight-story, 161-room Hyatt Place hotel in Courthouse is entering the home stretch.

Groundbreaking for the hotel, at 2401 Wilson Blvd, took place on a chilly January day last year. Developer Ray Schupp says construction is expected to wrap up mid-summer.

“We are ahead of schedule and now anticipate moving up our opening to mid-August,” Schupp tells ARLnow.com. The opening was previously planned for mid-September.

Also in the works: an unveiling for a new Vivian Beer sculpture, commissioned as part of the development and to be located at the corner of Wilson Blvd and N. Adams Street. A date for the unveiling has not yet been set.

Schupp says grand opening festivities are also being planned for the hotel and the local community will be invited. He thanked neighbors for their patience during construction.

“Our neighbors in Lyon Village and the surrounding communities have lived through this process while being positive (and sometimes forgiving),” he said. “We want to thank them in our opening.”

Photos by Jackie Friedman

by ARLnow.com — May 13, 2016 at 2:15 pm 0

Arlington County paid its annual tribute to fallen law enforcement officers this morning.

The county’s observance of Peace Officers Memorial Day took place at 8 a.m., in the Arlington County Justice Center Plaza at 1425 N. Courthouse Road. The six Arlington County Police Department officers who have died in the line of duty were remembered during the ceremony, as was a seventh officer who died after suffering a heart attack and falling to his death in the 1920s.

Among those participating in the ceremony was the son of Officer George Pomraning, who was shot to death at the age of 26 while bringing a prisoner to jail on Sept. 2, 1973. Pomraning’s son, who was born around the time of his father’s death, wiped tears from his face after placing a rose in his honor next to the police memorial statue.

Other event participants included Police Chief Jay Farr, Sheriff Beth Arthur, County Board Chair Libby Garvey and County Manager Mark Schwartz. There were also representatives from the Alexandria Police Department, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Police Department and other local law enforcement agencies.

The memorial ceremony coincides with National Police Week, which brings law enforcement officers from around the country and around the world together in the D.C. area. Police motorcades running down local highways, as well as to and from the airport, are a common sight in Arlington before and during the week-long event, which officially starts on May 15.

Among the pre-Police Week activities, several Arlington County officers took part in a cross-state Law Enforcement United bike ride that arrived at the Iwo Jima memorial near Rosslyn yesterday afternoon.

by ARLnow.com — May 12, 2016 at 2:00 pm 0

(Updated at 2:55 p.m.) The new Garrett Popcorn Shop opened today at the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City — and customers are lining up faster than they can pop the kernels. Some even brought homemade signs to mark the occasion.

Located in the former Johnny Rockets space, near the Metro entrance on the food court level, it’s the Chicago-based company’s 50th location and its first in the D.C. area.

To celebrate today’s opening, Garrett is offering $1 treat bags, $19.49 gallon tins of mixed popcorn and free D.C. tote bags to the first 200 customers (excluding those just buying the $1 treat bag.)

Those specials, and the allure of cheesy, buttery or crispy sweet popcorn from the Windy City, apparently was enough to convince customers to wait in an enormous line that stretched halfway through the food court.

A group at the front of the line insisted that they had been waiting for two hours. Was that worth it?

“Oh yeah, their popcorn is the bomb,” one of the women said.

At the very least, posts on the company’s Facebook page seem to confirm that the line is indeed as long as it looks.

Wrote one devoted popcorn fan: “The line isn’t moving. I’m like the 300th person in line. Did you guys run out of kernels?”

by ARLnow.com — May 12, 2016 at 11:30 am 0

The existing Food Star on Columbia PikeMore than 1,800 people say they oppose replacing the Food Star supermarket on Columbia Pike with a new Harris Teeter store.

A Change.org petition called “Help Save the Food Star Supermarket” had 1,817 supporters as of 11 a.m. today.

The petition is a response to the redevelopment of the Food Star strip mall site, which was approved by the Arlington County Board in February. The shopping center is slated to be torn down and replaced by a six-story apartment building with 365 market-rate units and, on the ground floor, an array of retail locations including a 50,000 square foot Harris Teeter store.

The petition paints a picture of Harris Teeter as a “high end” grocery store and Food Star as an affordable, unique neighborhood institution that should be preserved.

I am very concerned that the Food Star grocery store is being targeted for demolition. A well-known business that has been at the same location since 1984, Food Star has become a cultural hub for residents in Arlington County.

  • It is centrally located (within walking distance of most of our residents) and caters to our culturally diverse population. Anywhere between fifteen – sixteen thousand residents (maybe even more) will purchase groceries from Food Star every month and even every week.
  • It serves as a place of employment. Thirty – forty residents that live in the area work there full-time.  The employees are friendly, helpful, and knowledgeable about the products that are being sold.
  • It serves as a “home away from home” for many of its patrons. Food Star sells unique products from all over the world that caters to many different multiethnic groups. Most of these products cannot be found at any other grocery stores.

While it is understandable that Harris Teeter is looking to expand into Alcova Heights area (at the corner of Columbia Pike and George Mason Drive), it seems like a very unnecessary business practice that is driven purely by profit and not by necessity. A cursory search on Google Maps indicates that there are at least 7 other high-end grocery stores located within a ten mile radius of the Food Star grocery store. However, if Food Star were to be torn down, most of the residents in the area would not be able to afford the costs associated with traveling to or shopping at these stores.

For the residents of Alcova Heights (Arlington) and other patrons from Virginia, Washington D.C. and Maryland, The Food Star grocery store is more than just a grocery store. It serves as a cultural icon, valuable resource, and a place of employment. I firmly believe that it should stay open. I am calling on Harris Teeter to reconsider adding a new location at Food Star’s current address, and to cease any actions related building a new store.

by ARLnow.com — May 12, 2016 at 9:10 am 0

Car2Go at the Village of Shirlington (courtesy photo)Arlington is no longer an island unto itself for Car2Go members.

The car-sharing service announced yesterday that it had received the go-ahead from the District Dept. of Transportation to allow one-way trips between Arlington and D.C. Starting Thursday, May 26, Car2Go members will be able to drive from Arlington and park in D.C., and vice versa.

The Arlington County Board approved cross-jurisdictional trips at its meeting last month. A county staff report noted that Car2Go was struggling to gain traction as an Arlington-only service, and had reduced the number of cars in the county from 95 to 25.

by ARLnow.com — May 10, 2016 at 2:35 pm 0

Couples Retreat Day Spa in Clarendon (photo courtesy Eric LeKuch)The former B&C Jewelry Boutique, at 2729 Wilson Blvd in Clarendon, is becoming a day spa for couples.

The aptly named “Couples Retreat Day Spa” is holding its grand opening, according to a sign hanging from the awning.

Couples Retreat, according to the signage, offers various massage and reflexology services. It is advertising a $65 per hour rate.

The storefront is located next to Revolution Cycles and across the street from Whole Foods.

B&C closed last August, two and a half years after first opening. The business remains open in Alexandria.

Hat tip to Eric LeKuch

by ARLnow.com — May 10, 2016 at 1:30 pm 0

The former Wendy’s restaurant in Courthouse is no more.

A construction crew demolished the restaurant yesterday, reducing it to a pile of rubble. As of last night, only a couple of newspaper boxes and small brick wall that was in front of the restaurant’s drive-thru lane still stood.

Wendy’s closed in December, as did its next-door neighbor, the Wells Fargo bank. The bank is next in line for demolition.

The site is set to be redeveloped into a 12-story office building that will feature Wells Fargo as its marquee ground floor retail tenant.

There are now three remaining Wendy’s restaurants in Arlington: at 5066 Lee Highway, 3431 Columbia Pike and 5050 S. Chesterfield Road, which is just off of Route 7 on the Fairfax County border.

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

MakeOffices, the Arlington-born coworking company that recently expanded to Chicago and Philadelphia, will be opening its new flagship location in Clarendon next month.

The 40,000 square foot space, on the second floor of the 3100 Clarendon Blvd office building, is set to open June 1.

“Clarendon is called home by many young entrepreneurs and high-achieving professionals, and MakeOffices gives them the place to meet across the table to share ideas and grow their businesses,” said MakeOffices CEO Raymond Rahbar.

The new office — the company’s second in Arlington, in addition to its original Rosslyn location — will be MakeOffices’ largest in the D.C. area. It will have 135 private offices, 454 desks, 10 call rooms, eight conference rooms, two wellness rooms, a relaxation room and five audiovisual booths.

“Its centerpiece is a large communal area comprising of a kitchen and event space that can host 70 seated and up to 150 at a reception-style event,” notes a press release. That kitchen will offer complimentary coffee, tea, fruit and, yes, a selection of three beers on draft. Also free: office-wide WiFi, conference room rentals and printer access.

The 3100 Clarendon Blvd location affords views of the Clarendon Metro station, easy walks to restaurants and bars and even a direct underground connection to the Clarendon Metro station. (That connection was sealed off while the high-security Defense Intelligence Agency was the building’s office tenant.)

MakeOffices is competing with the likes of WeWork in the booming coworking sector.

Like WeWork and other, smaller competitors, MakeOffices offers its members flexible month-to-month leases that allow small companies to grow and large companies to host teams without the need to build out an office or sign a long-term lease. Thanks to copious amenities, collaboration among members and other factors, coworking spaces have developed a reputation for producing happier employees than traditional offices, with their typical rows of cubicles and lack of beer.

Despite its large size, MakeOffices expects its new Clarendon location — which is still under construction and just beginning to host hardhat tours — to fill up quickly. (ARLnow.com is among the companies that will have an office there.)

Pricing for a single desk in the space starts at $300 per month, while private offices start at $700 per month. (Offices with a view cost a bit more.) Potential tenants can schedule a tour online.

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

Baby duck rescued from storm drain (Photo courtesy @AWLAArlington)

An Arlington animal control officer rescued six baby ducks from a storm drain Monday morning.

The Animal Welfare League of Arlington, which provides animal control services in the county, announced the duckling rescue via Twitter yesterday.

Here’s what happened, according to AWLA’s Chelsea Lindsey.

Officer Corcoran was called out this morning for six ducklings who had fallen through the grates of a storm drain. Officer Corcoran was able to use a large net to get all six ducklings out of the water at the bottom. She put them in a crate and waited nearby for the mother to come back, but she never returned, so Officer Corcoran brought them back to the shelter and they were taken to a wildlife rehabber in Falls Church who will care for them until they are old enough to be released back into the wild.

Photo courtesy @AWLAArlington

by ARLnow.com — May 9, 2016 at 2:45 pm 0

Insult-filled receipt from Peter Chang restaurant (courtesy photo)A group of friends who dined at Peter Chang restaurant (2503-E N. Harrison Street) on Saturday were shocked to find the words “asshole” and “I have a small penis” on their receipt at the end of the night.

The words were apparently insults typed in by one of the servers, in response to a particularly persnickety member of the group.

One of the diners, Matthew, emailed us and the Washington Post about the experience but asked that his last name be withheld. Matthew said the trouble started when one member of his party, who previously lived in China and speaks Mandarin, but is not Chinese, commented about the way the rice was served.

“One of my friends — who lived in China for 5 years — questioned the authenticity of how the rice was supposed to be served at a Chinese restaurant,” Matthew said. “Peter Changs [sic] served it in one bowl instead of individually, which is how I guess they serve it in China. I guess the waitress took offense to that.”

Then the receipt arrived. Below the various food items, it included the following lines: “im plad [sic] asshole” and “i have a small penis.”

The man who questioned the rice serving was wearing plaid that night, Matthew said. Management, according to Matthew, tried to pass it off as a “joke.”

“I wasn’t too offended by it, but the waitress and the management kept saying it was simply a ‘joke’ and they didn’t do too much to apologize,” he said. “Ultimately we got a $20 gift card. Like many incidents, the cover up was worse than the crime.”

It’s unclear whether the server purposely included the lines on the receipt or if they were only intended to vent some steam internally.

The restaurant has not responded to a request for comment from ARLnow.com. A manager told the Washington Post that “servers had previously been warned before about leaving offensive comments in the [point-of-sale] system” and that he’s cut the hours of the server who left the insults on the receipt.

The Post also reported that when the group asked to split the check four ways, the server replied sarcastically, “That’s totally how they do it in China.”

Chef Peter Chang, whose Szechuan cuisine has earned him something of a cult following, opened his eponymous restaurant in Arlington’s Lee-Harrison shopping center last March.

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