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by Heather Mongilio — August 18, 2015 at 1:15 pm 3,545 0

Beast of Barcroft (Couresty of Bill Schweigart)A new novel by Barcroft resident Bill Schweigart has taken an old Arlington mystery and added a twist.

The Beast of Barcroft,” set to be released as an e-book in November, is based on a series of actual animal attacks in Barcroft during 1974.

“Something for weeks in 1974 was scaring the residents of Arlington,” Schweigart said.

At least 23 pets near the Four Mile Run Trail were killed by an animal nicknamed “The Beast of Barcroft,” according to 1974 newspaper reports. Residents could hear a fearsome screeching a night, made even more terrifying by the fact that for a time no one knew what kind of a creature was making it.

“What is it that screams so, down there in the dark hollow of Four Mile Run?” read one contemporary newspaper article. “What is it that howls and kills and goes crash in the Arlington night; that tears the eyes from cats; that strips the hides from rabbits; that raises the hackles on the backs of terrified dogs and cats?”

Eventually the National Zoo was called in to capture the “beast,” which turned out to be a civet.

When Schweigart came across the story, he said it was the “lightning bolt that struck.”

"Beast" newspaper clipping (photo courtesy Bill Schweigart)“I love the network of trails here,” Schweigart said. “So I’ve always wanted to set something on the trail.”

Schweigart’s story takes plenty of artistic liberty with the actual history, he said, but he does reference it in his story. For instance, he includes a character who is a zoologist at the National Zoo.

“My bad guy is considerably more dangerous than what was caught in 1974,” he said.

“The Beast of Barcroft” is the first in a series featuring characters living in Arlington, he said. The second is already finished and set to be released in February 2016.

“Arlington is where I live and where I make my stand, and that’s where my characters are making their stands,” Schweigart said.

The book is a supernatural thriller and for adults only, he said, adding that he won’t let his own daughter read it.

“It would make me a very bad parent letting her read that book,” he said.

Bill Schweigart (Courtesy of Bill Schweigart)“The Beast of Barcroft” is Schweigart’s second book. His first, “Slipping the Cable,” is a thriller about a Coast Guard junior officer.

Schweigart started writing while at the Coast Guard Academy, he said. He wrote a story as part of assignment that ended up placing in a writing competition.

“That’s when I caught the bug,” he said.

Schweigart eventually wants to start writing as a full time profession, but for now, he writes in the morning before going to work, he said.

“If all the lovely readers would buy 100 copies of the book that would certainly help me in a huge way,” he joked.

“The Beast of Barcroft” is currently available for pre-order and will be released in November. The book’s plot summary, after the jump.

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by ARLnow.com — August 17, 2015 at 4:45 pm 3,213 0

Blocked bike lane in Courthouse (photo via arlingtonbikelaneblockers.tumblr.com)

The Arlington County Police Department is reminding drivers not to stop in bike lanes.

The department tweeted a cheeky “bike safety tip” flyer (below) with a simple flow chart this afternoon. The chart asks: can I stop in a bike lane? If you are riding a bike, the answer is yes — if you are not, the answer is no.

The flyer encourages those who see a bike lane hazard to call the Arlington public safety non-emergency line at 703-558-2222.

Photo (top) via arlingtonbikelaneblockers.tumblr.com

by ARLnow.com — August 13, 2015 at 10:15 am 1,990 0

Shake Shack (Photo via Wikipedia/Beyond My Ken)A Shake Shack will be coming to Pentagon City mall, according to permit applications filed with Arlington County.

The permits indicate that Shake Shack is planning a restaurant with outdoor patio seating and signage, indicating that it’s likely coming to the mall’s 50,000 square foot expansion along S. Hayes Street, which is currently under construction.

The location could be a boon to the New York-based burger restaurant, serving the legions of U.S. and international tourists who get dropped off at the mall by the busload in order to chow down at the food court and do a bit of shopping.

Rendering of changes to the Fashion Centre at Pentagon CitySo far there has been no official announcement of Shake Shack’s arrival from mall owner Simon. As for an opening date, spring 2016 seems to be the most likely timeframe. Two other restaurants announced for the mall’s addition — Matchbox and Sugar Factory — each have an anticipated spring opening.

While it will likely keep busy with tourists and shoppers, the Shake Shack will be losing some potential customers a year or two after it opens. It was announced yesterday that the Transportation Security Administration headquarters, located across the street, will be moving to Alexandria by 2018.

A Shake Shack in Pentagon City was presaged by Eater.com’s Missy Frederick, who reported last year that the company was looking closely at Bethesda, Reston and Pentagon City for potential future locations.

Hat tip to Chris Slatt. Photo (top) via Wikipedia/Beyond My Ken

by Mariah Joyce — August 12, 2015 at 1:30 pm 2,198 0

Romo the dog, a long time beloved fixture of the Adams Morgan neighborhood in D.C., is settling into his new life in Arlington.

The 150 pound bull mastiff/pit bull mix became well known in D.C. for his habit of sleeping near an open window in owner Tiffany Scourby’s condo. Passersby took to the droopy dog, and a Facebook page and Twitter account dedicated to Romo soon sprang up.

Romo, along with Tiffany and her husband Peter Scourby, moved to the Forest Hills townhouse community in the Arlington Ridge neighborhood earlier this summer. So far, Peter says Romo has taken to his new life outside of the city.

“He’s enjoying the space more,” said Scourby. “We went from 1,000 square foot condo to 3,000 square feet.”

Although Scourby says there aren’t any windows in the new home with quite the foot traffic of Romo’s Adams Morgan haunt, the pooch has been given a bed by a window and has scoped out prime napping spots around his new home.

The couple says that like their dog, they are enjoying the newfound space Arlington affords.

“I’m a Virginia boy,” said Scourby. “I like the ‘burbs, and I wanted space. There’s a country club down the street, and I can see the Washington Monument from my house.”

Romo’s Facebook page has more than 3,000 likes and counting, and since moving the couple has discovered that some of their new neighbors are long-time Romo fans.

“When we first got here, a neighbor we hadn’t met yet said, ‘Oh my God, that looks like that Romo dog!,'” said Scourby. “When we told her it was him, she just screamed. Apparently she was one of his followers on Facebook.”

The move to Arlington won’t be the only change for Romo this summer. Peter says Tiffany is eight months pregnant and is due this September.

“[Romo’s] gonna have a little brother soon,” he said.

Photos via Facebook

by Heather Mongilio — August 12, 2015 at 10:25 am 890 0

Spa Swag for Warriors logo

(Updated at 10:55 a.m.) A new Arlington-based nonprofit is looking to make the lives of female military personnel overseas more comfortable.

Spa Swag for Warriors is a women-owned charity that sends high-quality bath products — such as lavender-scented face wipes, skin creams, loofahs, shampoo, conditioner and lotion — to female service members serving abroad.

CEO and founder Lacey Chong said she started the organization after speaking with her friend Becca, a Marine Corps officer who was helping with the Ebola crisis in West Africa. The Marine told Chong about the limited access to bath products, which prompted Chong to collect items and send them over for Becca and other women to use “after a hard day of work serving our country.”

“Female soldiers put up with a lot overseas — unsanitary conditions, post-traumatic stress disorder, sexual assault and long hard days,” Chong said in a press release. “I think women instinctively understand that providing restorative products to deployed female service members can have an immediate impact on their morale and well-being.”

The nonprofit’s goal is to bring comfort to female service members, Chong said.

Female service member with spa goods

“We… aim to improve the morale and well-being of deployed female service members by providing high quality bath and body products,” she said.

The organization has mailed care packages across the world, including to countries in West Africa, East Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia.

“The items are hand-picked from socially responsible companies,” said the press release. “So far, the organization has been successful in securing donations of most-wanted items from companies such as Cate McNabb, Tom’s of Maine, Murad and Arbonne.”

The non-profit is looking for donations of the most-wanted bath products, including dry shampoo, eye cream, makeup remover and sleep masks. Donations can be mailed to Spa Swag for Warriors at P.O. Box 17207, Arlington, VA 22216.

Photos via Spa Swag for Warriors

by Heather Mongilio — August 11, 2015 at 1:45 pm 1,314 0

(Updated at 3:50 p.m.) Arlington brothers Henry and Karl Neff spent last Saturday morning doing something that will sound unappealing to most: pedaling up a really steep in hill in Howard County, Maryland.

The two Williamsburg kids were riding in the Highway to Heaven Hill Climb Time Trial as cyclists on the National Capital Velo Club/United Healthcare team, the largest cycling club on the East Coast, according to the club’s site.

The time trial is an individual event, where each rider is trying to complete a course in the fastest time. What made Saturday’s race challenging is that the 0.8 mile-course is majorly uphill at an 18 percent grade.

Despite the hill’s steepness, the race was “not as bad as I thought it would be,” 9-year-old Henry said. He placed ninth in his age group, with a time of six minutes, 24.25 seconds.

For 12-year-old Karl, the race was easier than he expected, he said. His coaches told him it would be mostly uphill but there were more flat areas than he expected. He placed seventh in the 9-14 age group, with a time of 5 minutes, 49.45 seconds.

Karl has been cycling for three years, he said. Henry started last year, following in his brother’s footsteps.

“We first got into cycling because our mom biked to work,” Karl said.

Henry’s favorite part about cycling is winning, and he’s won a couple of races, he said. For Karl, it is the speed.

“The wind going past my face,” he said. “The accomplishment of how I went up this big hill.”

The two attend practices every Tuesday and Thursday at 5:30 p.m. where they learn different parts of racing. Some days they will work on drafting in the pack, sometimes they work on corners, Karl said.

During the school year, the boys fit in homework between school, practice and races. The cycling season can last until the middle of December and then picks up again March. The two spent this season racing all over Maryland and Virginia, competing in over 25 races, many during the school year.

Henry attends Drew Model School in the Montessori program. Karl attends Williamsburg Middle School, which lets out at 2:30 p.m., giving him around three hours to finish schoolwork before practice starts.

“I don’t have anything until 5:30 p.m. so that’s usually enough time to get my homework done,” Karl said.

by Heather Mongilio — August 11, 2015 at 11:30 am 996 0

Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) was treated to a special meal when he visited La Cocina, a bilingual culinary school for the unemployed or underemployed: crickets.

Beyer visited the Hispanic-oriented culinary school in the basement of Mount Olivet Church (1500 N. Glebe Road) near Ballston yesterday, where he learned more about the school’s mission and heard from a couple of the six current students.

“This is very exciting,” Beyer told the students.

For his visit, the students, under Chef Instructor Alberto Vega, prepared a green salad with honey-crusted crickets and gluten-free chocolate chip and cricket cookies.

Crickets add protein into the people’s diets, La Cocina Executive Director Patricia Funegra said during a presentation. Crickets are also a sustainable food and La Cocina is working to encourage healthy and sustainable food into modern diets, Funegra said.

“We have to start thinking about that [sustainable food] in a very serious way,” Funegra said.

La Cocina is both a school and a food assistance program. The students prepare meals and then deliver them to residents of local affordable housing communities in a partnership with Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing.

All meals prepared are made with healthy foods, in hopes of fighting obesity, which plagues the Hispanic community, Funegra said. Meals contain 50 percent fruit and vegetables and 50 percent lean proteins, according to La Cocina’s website.

Yesterday, the students prepared a salad and spaghetti and turkey meatballs for the residents. Beyer helped the students by ladling the meatballs. He then joined them in handing out the meals to families.

La Cocina has seen a lot of success with its program, Funegra said. The last class had 100 percent completion and job placement. The current class is the school’s third.

“To have 100 percent completion is something to be proud of,” she said.

The school teaches bilingual culinary skills, sanitation practices, English needed for culinary work and life, and employment skills, such as working in a team. The school does not charge tuition and provides all the materials for the students, including a travel stipend, Funegra said.

Students come from the entire D.C. area, with some coming as far as Germantown, Maryland.

(more…)

by Heather Mongilio — August 11, 2015 at 10:05 am 5,269 0

Oz restaurant in Clarendon

Oz, a new Clarendon bar and restaurant with modern Australian cuisine, is planning to open its doors next month.

The restaurant, located at 2950 Clarendon Blvd., is currently under construction, but Oz’s grand opening is planned for Sept. 10 for media and invited guests.

After its grand opening, the restaurant will open to the public, said co-owner Ashley Darby, a former Miss D.C.

The restaurant’s interior is meant to feel like a house on the Australian outback and can seat 150 guests, Darby said.

The back dining area will be decorated like the inside of a house, the bar is meant to feel like a back porch of a house and the front dining area will look a front patio, she said. The restaurant will also have outdoor seating for 50 guests.

Oz's bar (Courtesy of Ashley Darby)

Darby said she wants the Oz to be a place that guests can come to relax with friends, enjoy a beer and taste authentic Australian food. The menu will feature dishes served in Australia, such as rissoles and eggs, a typical Australian brunch dish, and an Australian version of a s’more.

Darby’s husband and Oz co-owner, Michael, is an Australian native.

“It’ll offer a different perspective on some cuts of meat and plates we have in America,” Darby said.

The Darbys have lived in Arlington for four years, and the area’s young and diverse population made it the ideal location for the restaurant, she said.

“We just loved it so much that it seemed to be the natural thing,” Darby said.

Bar photo courtesy of Ashley Darby

by Mariah Joyce — August 10, 2015 at 3:45 pm 2,975 0

(Updated Aug. 11 at 2 p.m.) The TargetExpress store coming to 1500 Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn is now hiring.

Earlier this summer Target confirmed that a 23,000-square-foot store would be coming to Rosslyn, and the company now says the store will open this October.

In addition to a sign outside the new location that announces the company is now hiring, Target will hold a job fair this week from Aug. 13-15 at Hyatt Arlington (1325 Wilson Blvd).

The job fair will run from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. each day. Target says they are looking to hire roughly 60 new employees.

The store is slated to include an in-house Starbucks and a pharmacy, and will also carry groceries, prepared foods and clothing.

by Mariah Joyce — August 6, 2015 at 3:30 pm 2,185 0

This year, the Arlington County Fair had something new to offer: an opening day parade.

The 39th annual fair, themed “Summer Nights and Lights,” opened yesterday. An hour after opening, the parade processed down S. Highland and 2nd Streets. Participants included local Boy and Girl Scout troops, local businesses and several local dancing groups.

Arlington dance group Alma Boliviana, founded in 1991, performed a Bolivian folkloric dance in the 90 degree heat as part of the opening procession.

Group member Gabriela Grajeda said Alma Boliviana, which marched in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in 2011, was excited when Arlington County invited them to be part of the fair’s festivities.

“It was great — we definitely want to come back next year,” Grajeda said. “And now we’re going to go enjoy the fair!”

The fair will continue through Sunday (Aug. 9). Notable upcoming events include performances by The Harlem Wizards and outdoor concerts on Saturday and Sunday, as well as daily pony rides, milking demos and piglet races, where four week-old piglets run around a small dirt track to receive a treat.

Piglet racing proprietors Rick Signor and James Caruso were enthusiastic about the fair.

“This is a great one,” Caruso said. “Everyone’s been so receptive, and the crowds are great — not just the kids, the adults are having fun too.”

A full schedule of events and list of vendors can be found on the fair’s website.

by ARLnow.com — August 6, 2015 at 9:45 am 9,558 0

Man marching down Lee Highway with a Confederate flag (photo courtesy @WanyeVVest)

A man holding a Confederate flag was spotted marching down Lee Highway near East Falls Church this morning.

The above photo was taken near N. Sycamore Street around 8:00 a.m. A reader said the man was walking very deliberately down the street, with a Confederate flag that had the Gadsden flag’s “Don’t Tread On Me” snake in the middle.

“[He was] not yelling anything but [you] could tell he was walking with pride in his step,” said the reader.

At least one concerned resident called police to report the display, which is highly unusual for Arlington, but according to scanner traffic police determined that the man was exercising his First Amendment rights and not violating the law.

Photo courtesy @WanyeVVest

by ARLnow.com — August 5, 2015 at 4:50 pm 1,495 0

A county water crew’s effort to smoke some bees out of a hollow tree ended with a fire department response earlier today.

The incident happened Wednesday morning near the intersection of 17th Street N. and N. Buchanan Street, in the Waycroft-Woodlawn neighborhood.

An Arlington Water, Sewer, Streets Bureau crew was trying to rid the tree of the bees, in order to replace a meter box below the tree, when something seemingly went wrong.

“Crews discovered a beehive in the hollow part of the tree and smoked it out so they could access the box,” said Meghan McMahon, a spokeswoman for Arlington’s Dept. of Environmental Services. “The tree began smoking badly, so crews called the fire department.”

“[Firefighters] sprayed the tree down as a precautionary measure… the tree did not catch fire,” McMahon noted. “Crews didn’t want to take any chances in today’s dry, hot weather.”

The tree is scheduled to be removed by the county parks department Thursday, at which time the water crew will try again to replace the meter box.

by Heather Mongilio — August 5, 2015 at 11:15 am 2,108 0

Smyth (courtesy photo)A local law enforcement officer has turned to the Internet in hopes of raising money for her dog’s surgery.

The officer, whose first name is DeDe, set up a GoFundMe campaign with a goal of $800 to cover the medical expenses of veterinary knee surgery. (Ed. note: officer’s last name has removed due to safety concerns.)

Smyth, a 6-year-old Chihuahua, injured his knee while jumping off of a bed to get a toy stuffed monkey, DeDe said. The injury is common for small dogs.

Smyth can still walk, but the veterinarian recommend limiting his movement to stop him from hurting his knee more.

“Despite his injury, he continues to be a loving little dog that keeps trying to play with his brother and neighboring dogs,” says the fundraising page. “Smyth is in need of a surgery that I am unable to fund at this time to repair his patella luxation. I don’t want my little guy to suffer, while I’m trying to save up the money. Any donation help my little guy get back to his fun playful little loving self.”

The surgery, anesthesia and pre- and post-operation care total $800, she said. During the procedure, Smyth will also have to get a heart echo to determine if he has a heart murmur.

“My concern is his treatment being prolonged by trying to raise the funds,” DeDe said. She said she’s usually a private person but is going public with this in order to speed up the treatment.

A couple years ago, her other dog, a Chihuahua named Wessin, had to have a similar surgery on both knees. DeDe said has a special connection with Smyth, who can pick up her moods and try to make her feel better.

“I’d never admit this to the other one [Wessin], but he’s my favorite,” DeDe said.

Two Arlington dog daycares are also helping DeDe raise money. Wag More Dogs (2606 S. Oxford Street) and WOOFS! Dog Training Center (4160 S. Four Mile Run Drive) will hang flyers about Smyth and his surgery, DeDe said.

DeDe did not want the police agency she works for named because she’s raising funds as a private individual and not as a representative of the department.

Courtesy photo

by Mariah Joyce — August 5, 2015 at 10:00 am 961 0

American Legion Mural DesignAmerican Legion Post 139 in Virginia Square is about to get a patriotic makeover.

Artist Scott LoBaido has chosen the post at 3445 Washington Blvd for the next mural on his Fifty State Tour, in which he aims to paint a flag mural on either a VFW or American Legion building in all fifty states.

LoBaido has been painting renditions of the stars and stripes for some time. According to the artist’s website, in 2006 he completed a similar mural-painting tour in which he drove across the United States and painted a flag on one rooftop in each state, so that they could be seen from airplanes by departing and returning soldiers.

LoBaido has received national attention for his art, including being named ABC News’ Person of the Week for his 2006 tour.

Post 139 Commander Bob Romano said that when he received the pitch for the flag mural last Thursday, he jumped at the chance.

“It was just too good to pass up,” said Romano.

Although the post has had to spend some money to rent a lift for the artist, the mural itself comes free of charge. LoBaido is scheduled to start work on Sunday, Aug. 16 and finish on Wednesday, Aug. 19.

According to Romano, a dedication ceremony is being planned for Thursday, Aug. 20 at noon. Romano said it will be primarily an American Legion event, and hopes that some Legion Riders will make an appearance.

“I think this is a good thing for the post,” said Romano. “When I first heard about it, I thought, ‘This has to happen.'”

Photo courtesy Bob Romano

by Mariah Joyce — August 4, 2015 at 4:30 pm 4,771 0

Metropole Brewing Company (Photo courtesy Steve Katrivanos)Arlington’s Metropole Brewing Company has two big events on the horizon: the opening of its first brewery and a name change for the company.

There was speculation in March that Metropole, a brewing company started by Arlington local Mike Katrivanos, might be opening its first facility at 2709 S. Oakland Street, near the Shirlington dog park and the W&OD Trail. Those suspicions were confirmed via a post on the business’s Facebook page Monday night.

Arlington’s first package brewery since 1916 is coming to your community!” said the post. “Time and time again, Arlington County is featured as one of the best places to live in the United States. Help make Arlington an even better place to live by supporting your local brewery.”

Steve Katrivanos — Mike’s brother and former bandmate in local alt rock group Sematic — said he anticipates the brewery, which will include a tasting room, will open this fall. In addition to on-premises sales, the brewery will sell its beer to local retailers.

“This started as my brother’s dream seven years ago, and he worked with Arlington for two years to make it a reality,” said Katrivanos. “We’re almost at at the finish line now.”

Katrivanos described the company as a craft brewery that strives to use locally-sourced and quality imported ingredients. In the past, Metropole has used Virginia honeysuckle to make their beer, and Katrivanos said the company recently acquired some local honey which they plan to use in a beer sometime soon.

“We pride ourselves on unique but drinkable craft beer,” said Katrivanos.

So far, Katrivanos says the community has been very supportive, with residents coming out to look at the space or help with renovations “pretty much every weekend.”

“We want to be part of the Arlington community,” said Katrivanos.

The brewery opening isn’t the only change for Metropole: the company is in the process of changing their name to New District Brewing Co., a transition Katrivanos expects to be completed sometime within the next week.

Photo courtesy Steve Katrivanos

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