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Morning Notes

‘Coffee With a Cop’ Comes to Clarendon, Pentagon City — The Arlington County Police Department is hosting a pair of “Coffee with a Cop” events later this month, at a Starbucks in Pentagon City and Northside Social in Clarendon. In a press release, ACPD said it “is committed to developing and maintaining strong relationships with those we serve, a vital component to ensuring the public’s trust.” [Arlington County]

Potomac Roaring Over Great Falls — Those within earshot of the Potomac River are being treated to an especially loud roar this week as the rain-swollen river “churned and even exploded into the air at Great Falls.” It also flooded parts of Alexandria and the Georgetown riverfront. [Washington Post, Twitter, Twitter]

Artisphere Closing Anniversary — It has been three years since Artisphere closed its doors in Rosslyn. The former county-funded arts venue is now a co-working and events space.

Photo courtesy @jimcollierjr

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Joe’s Place to Celebrate 40 Years Serving Pizza and Pasta

(Updated at 11:50 a.m.) Joe’s Place Pizza & Pasta will be celebrating its 40th anniversary next week, and several state legislators and Arlington County Board Chair Katie Cristol are expected to be in attendance.

On Wednesday, Joe’s Place will offer its pizza, pasta and salad buffet bar at the original price of $3.99 for both lunch and dinner.

The restaurant, at 5555 Lee Highway, is the final remaining branch of a family-run chain that began in Woodbridge in 1978, a rep noted. It was founded by Joe Farruggio, who came to the U.S. from his hometown of Agrigento, Sicily. It is now managed by Joe’s nephew, Rosario Farruggio, and hosts numerous community events and fundraisers for local schools, sports teams and nonprofits each month.

A private event will also be held at the restaurant next week and is expected to feature a brief program during which a Congressional proclamation from Rep. Don Beyer’s office will be presented to the office.

“We have so much to be grateful for, especially all of our longtime staff and loyal customers,” the restaurant’s staff wrote. “Thank you!”

File photo

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Morning Notes

Instant Runoff Bill Fails in Richmond — It appeared to be headed toward potential passage, but a bill to allow Arlington County to hold instant-runoff elections for County Board was referred to another committee on a 51-49 House of Delegates vote and is effectively dead for 2018. [InsideNova]

Arlington Denies Request for 911 Recording — “Arlington County has denied a request from the family of Bijan Ghaisar to release the 911 call made after a hit-and-run crash he was involved in, before a police chase ended with U.S. Park Police fatally shooting him.” [Covering the Corridor, WTOP]

ARLnow on Kojo — ARLnow founder Scott Brodbeck will discussing the state of local news on the Kojo Nnamdi Show today. The show airs at noon on WAMU 88.5 FM. [Kojo Nnamdi Show]

A-SPAN Celebrates Quarter Century — The Arlington Street People’s Assistance Network, which started as a grassroots effort to address local homelessness, recently marked its 25th anniversary with a fundraiser and celebration in Rosslyn. [InsideNova]

Email List Hits 10K — ARLnow’s email newsletter mailing list crossed the 10,000 mark on Monday. Thank you to all of our subscribers, who are receiving our headlines free of social media filters. (ARLnow’s Twitter account reached 40,000 followers in December and our newly-verified Facebook account is on the verge of 24,000.)

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

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Morning Notes

ARLnow’s Eighth Birthday — Today is the eighth anniversary of the founding of ARLnow.com. Here is our first post ever.

Sexual Harassment FOIA Folo — In a follow-up to our FOIA request seeking any records of sexual harassment or assault allegations against senior Arlington officials since 2000 — no such records were found — we asked about any such cases, against any county employee, that were handled by the County Attorney’s office over the past decade. The response from the county’s FOIA officer: “There are no records responsive to your request because no such cases exist.” The last publicly reported case was that against an Arlington police officer in 2007.

Vihstadt Launches Re-election Bid — Arlington County Board member John Vihstadt made it official last night: he is running for re-election. Vihstadt, who is running as an independent, has picked up at least one Democratic challenger so far. However, he again has the backing of a number of prominent Democrats, including fellow Board member Libby Garvey, Commonwealth’s Attorney Theo Stamos and Treasurer Carla de la Pava. [InsideNova]

County Accepts Millions in Grant Funds — “The Arlington County Board today accepted $17.85 million in grant funding from three transportation entities that will be used for transit, bridge renovation and transportation capital projects in the County.” Among the projects is a new west entrance for the Ballston Metro station. [Arlington County]

County Board Accepts Immigration Donation — “The Arlington County Board today accepted a resident’s anonymous donation for a Citizenship Scholarship to help Arlingtonians pay the $725 federal application fee charged to those seeking to become U.S. citizens.” [Arlington County]

Man Convicted of 7-Eleven Robberies — A man arrested last year for a string of robberies has been convicted by a federal jury of three armed robberies and an armed carjacking. Among the crimes were two armed robberies of 7-Eleven stores in Arlington. [Alexandria News]

Arlington Lauded for Solar Program — The U.S. Department of Energy has named Arlington County a “SolSmart” community “for making it faster, easier and more affordable for Arlington homes and businesses to go solar.” [Twitter, Arlington County]

Flickr photo by John Sonderman

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An Anniversary for Arlington’s Car-Free Diet

Eight years ago this month, Arlington launched its search for two “car-free diet skeptics” to take the inaugural Car-Free Diet Challenge.

What resulted were two seasons of the challenge, featuring Car-Free Todd, Matt, Ross and Kyle; a blog; and a sketch-comedy show that appeared on YouTube and local cable TV. The goal: convince skeptical commuters of the virtues of biking, walking or taking the bus instead of driving.

The show might have been silly — and intentionally so — but it did have a certain je ne sais quoi. In all, the Car-Free Diet Challenge was creative and memorable enough to warrant a mention eight years later.

And it might have had some lasting impact. After all, last year’s Bike to Work Day in Arlington set a new registration record, with 2,900 people signed up.

So what are the Car-Free Diet Challenge contestants up to these days? We received updates on three of the four.

According to a county spokeswoman, Ross moved to Boston to attend graduate school and Todd moved to Reston. Matt, meanwhile, is “working for Tysons Partnership doing Transportation Demand Management… [helping] those in the Tysons area to be car-free or car-lite.”

There’s no word on whether any of the contestants remained car-free.

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Mister Days in Clarendon Celebrates 40th Anniversary

A mainstay of the Clarendon bar and restaurant scene celebrates a significant milestone Friday, as Mister Days (3100 Clarendon Blvd) marks its 40th anniversary.

It first opened in an alleyway off Dupont Circle on November 21, 1977 serving prime rib, ham sandwiches, a soup and a salad. And in the years that followed, including a move to 18th Street NW between L and M Streets NW before opening in Arlington in 2000, it gained a strong following.

The bar has served famous guests like movie star Arnold Schwarzenegger, former Washington Redskins greats like Sonny Jurgensen and John Riggins, and had live entertainment from singer-songwriter Mary Chapin Carpenter early in her career.

But owner Robert E. Lee said it is the relationships he has built that are most memorable.

“It’s kind of bittersweet,” Lee said of the anniversary. “You start losing friends, not customers, but friends that you met through business. After you get out of school, you have professional relationships. In the bar business and restaurant business, you meet hundreds of people that become friends.”

Lee said that initially, he was unsure about having televisions showing sports in Mister Days, figuring it would be a distraction from the dancing and food. But when he saw customers leaving to go home and watch “Roots,” a 1970s miniseries, he began to think differently.

Instead of relying on the major network broadcasts, Lee did something new for customers by, as he put it, putting on “all games all the time.” 

“We figured out how to do back-channels through satellite dishes, so we got the satellite dishes,” he said. “We started doing all games all the time. Nobody else had it. We weren’t the first sports bar, but I believe we were the first where you could get all the games. You couldn’t buy them.”

Much of Mister Days’ popularity in D.C. came from its “Rally in the Alley,” an outdoor event held in conjunction with other nearby bars that included food, drink and live entertainment and at times hosted 15,000 people.

What began as a party one St. Patrick’s Day morphed into a charity event, just one of the bar’s charitable ventures that also included paying for kids to attend basketball camps and get basketball scholarships to DeMatha Catholic High School and donating food for free Christmas and Thanksgiving meals. 

“[Rally in the Alley] became a major event,” Lee said. “That’s like the acorn that became an oak tree. That was just an idea, and that’s what I love to do. You have an idea, and all of a sudden it works.”

But, Lee said, Mister Days left D.C. after a dispute with the landlord over the rent. Lee said that while at the time he felt it was the right decision, he now has some regrets about how he handled the situation, and described some of their exchanges as “foolishness.”

“We were so good and we were in an alley, and [the landlord wanted] to charge us the same as those facing the streets because of our success? That wouldn’t work,” he said. “But it could have worked. I was a little full of myself.”

The closure of the downtown Mister Days in 2001 caused consternation among students at George Washington University. An article at the time in The GW Hatchet, the university’s student newspaper, quoted various alumni and students lamenting the shuttering.

“It was a comfortable setting and you could always have fun,” Jim Quinlan, a GW graduate, said at the time. “You could always could walk in there and see your friends and see people you liked.”

After opening in Arlington in 2000, Mister Days has seen a change in Clarendon’s nightlife. Lee said he recalled only Clarendon Grill and Whitlow’s on Wilson being in the area at that time.

But since then, sports-themed bars have popped up across the neighborhood, including The G.O.A.T, which recently opened nearby.

Lee said he has been thinking about changing things up a bit at Mister Days, although he was coy on what might happen. 

“I’m going to be making a decision very soon,” he said. “If I decide to stick around, I will do it. But it’s going to require an investment. There’s a lot of things we could improve on here. Do I want to make that commitment of my time, with how much time is left? I’m 78 years old. Maybe it’s time.”

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Morning Notes

Two Arlington Men Finish in MCM Top 3 — Arlington residents Desta Morkama and Kieran O’Connor finished first and third, respectively, in the 42nd Marine Corps Marathon yesterday. Al Richmond, the last remaining “Groundpounder” who has run every MCM since it started, kept his streak alive with a 6:48.35 finish. The race, which begins and ends in Arlington, had its start delayed by 10 minutes due to a suspicious package investigation. [RunWashington, Washington Post, NBC Washington]

No Major Incidents at MCM — Other than the short starting delay, no major incidents were reported at this year’s Marine Corps Marathon. Within the county, Arlington law enforcement and the fire department maintained a heavy presence along the course, along with Virginia State Police and other agencies. Arlington school buses were parked at key intersections to prevent anyone from driving onto the course. [Twitter, Facebook, Twitter]

Pedestrian Killed on Memorial Bridge — The Arlington Memorial Bridge was closed for more than three hours Saturday morning after a 47-year-old man was struck and killed by a car on the bridge. The driver remained on scene. Police are seeking additional information about the crash from witnesses. [NBC Washington]

Board Approves Library Renovation Project — Arlington Central Library will be getting $1.7 million in renovations, thanks in large part to a private donation. The Arlington County Board approved the project at its Saturday meeting. Per a press release, the plans include “new meeting rooms, an updated ‘tech-central’ area and a multi-purpose maker lab, a community-based space where people can share knowledge and tools to create together.” [Arlington County]

Roosevelt Memorial Anniversary Event — The National Park Service is holding a family-friendly event on Sunday, Oct. 29 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the dedication of the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial on Roosevelt Island. The event will feature food including fried chicken and Indian pudding; an address from the former president’s great-grandson, Tweed Roosevelt; a Teddy Roosevelt re-enactor; and a “Teddy Bear story time.” Shuttles will be available from the Pentagon parking lot. [InsideNova]

Library to Launch New Digital Collection — “Arlington Public Library will launch a new digital collection of Arlington women and their achievements in March 2018. The Center for Local History’s (CLH) Community Archives contains many collections pertaining to women’s history and consequently the history of Arlington County.” [Arlington County]

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County Begins World War I Anniversary Commemoration

The county’s commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the United States’ entry into World War I began yesterday with a brief ceremony at the County Building on Clarendon Blvd.

Originally intended to be at the American Legion War Memorial in Clarendon Central Park, the event was forced indoors by inclement weather.

The ceremony was part of a series of commemorative events being held by the county’s World War I Commemoration Task Force throughout this year.

County Board member John Vihstadt, the Board’s liaison to the commission, gave opening remarks, followed by commission chair Dr. Allison Finkelstein. Vihstadt spoke of the significance of World War I to Arlington, as it helped transform the county from a rural outpost to the urbanized home of the military.

“We commemorate World War I because it is not just the story of our country, but our county,” Vihstadt said.

Finkelstein said future events will look to further engage diverse segments of the community, launch community service projects and confront tough issues, like the role of racism in the war effort.

The war memorial where the ceremony was to be held segregates the 12 local men who died in World War I, with two presented away from the others and labeled “colored.” There have been discussions in the past about changing the plaque, and Finkelstein said she wanted to “find a consensus for the best way to address this plaque and respect the challenges they faced in Jim Crow’s America.”

Ed Bearss, chief historian emeritus at the National Park Service, gave the keynote address and discussed America’s involvement in the “war that was to make the world safe for democracy.”

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Coast Guard Aviation Celebrating 100th Anniversary With Arlington, D.C. Flyover

Update on June 17 — The flyover has been pushed back to 1 p.m., according to the Coast Guard.

The United States Coast Guard will conduct a commemorative flyover of the D.C. area around noon on Friday, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of USCG aviation.

The flyover will involve nine aircraft representing the current Coast Guard fleet — painted in historic color schemes to honor Coast Guard aviation’s history of national defense and saving lives.

The aircraft will ultimately be flying to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum’s Udvar-Hazy Center, near Dulles International Airport, for the museum’s Innovations in Flight display on Saturday.

Arlington is right in the flight path of the flyover, thus making places like Gravelly Point Park, the Pentagon and the Air Force Memorial ideal viewing points for the event.

The aircraft participating in the flyover include “MH-65 Dolphin helicopters, MH-60T Jayhawk Helicopters, HC-144 Casa and C-27J Spartan Medium Range Surveillance aircraft, HC-130J Hercules Long Range Surveillance Aircraft, and the C-37 Gulfstream G-5 Long Range Command and Control Aircraft,” according to the Coast Guard.

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As Crystal City BID Celebrates Its 10th Anniversary, the Community Enjoys New Vitality

A decade ago, the picture for Crystal City looked bleak.

Despite its proximity to D.C. and National Airport, Crystal City was not seen as a particularly desirable place to live, work or go out. It was most commonly associated with blocky office buildings and an underground shopping center that was a useful passageway in bad weather but a somewhat sad place to be on a nice day. On top of all that, its aging office buildings would soon start emptying due to DoD offices moving out as part of BRAC.

It was in that context that the Crystal City Business Improvement District was born.

“When the Crystal City BID was formed in 2006, many aspects of the neighborhood had already started to change, the perception, however, had not,” said Crystal City BID president and CEO Angela Fox.

While there’s undoubtedly still room for improvement, Crystal City has come a long way in the 10 years since the BID’s founding. At its annual meeting this week local business and government leaders detailed some of the ways the BID has helped Crystal City achieve a newfound vitality.

For one, the BID’s events and arts initiatives — everything from 5K Fridays to beer and wine gardens to Artomatic to fashion shows to Synetic Theater — have helped to made Crystal City an increasingly popular place to run, bike, eat, drink and otherwise spend time in.

“We host literally hundreds of events each year — from 5Ks every Friday in April, to fun sipping and tasting events throughout September, weekly farmers markets, art markets and world-class theater,” Fox said. “We’ve brought hundreds of thousands of people to the area each year. We have shown that if you create a place that people chose willingly to spend their time, the businesses, residents and investment will follow.”

(Crystal City BID is an ARLnow.com advertiser and frequently advertises events on our site.)

There’s also behind-the-scenes work, helping with the marketing of Crystal City as a business destination. Recently, trendy restaurants and bars like Taylor Gourmet, Good Stuff Eatery and Highline RxR have opened, with the encouragement of the BID and local property owners.

Customers of such places include both long-time residents and workers and relative newcomers, many of whom work in Crystal City’s burgeoning tech and innovation scene. High-tech membership-based workshop TechShop, incubators 1776 and Eastern Foundry, co-working company WeWork and its residential living experiment WeLive all have set up shop in Crystal City within the past few years. In deciding to locate in Crystal City, many such companies cite what they view as an upward trajectory for the neighborhood.

There’s plenty still to come for Crystal City, said Fox.

“New buildings and renovations are underway,” she said. “We also expect to bring more retail and entertainment options to the area, as well as a new aquatic center.”

“We envision Crystal City to be not just a place for tech and innovative companies to locate but also a place where new ideas, concepts, technologies and strategies can be actively tested and brought to market,” Fox continued, “a true innovative laboratory, as well as an awesome place to live, work, play and stay.”

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Morning Notes

Long Branch Nature Center woods (Flickr pool photo by James L.)

County Board Contenders Debate — The two Democratic contenders for Arlington County Board, incumbent Libby Garvey and challenger Erik Gutshall, debated who would be the most transparent and the best agent of change last night. Gutshall criticized Garvey for the lack of action on new transit options for Columbia Pike and for supporting the creation of a “blue ribbon panel” to study county priorities. [InsideNova, Washington Post]

Residents Concerned About Sex Offender — Some residents in the Bluemont neighborhood and the area around Bon Air Park are concerned about a registered sex offender who recently moved to the area. There have been reports of the man watching children’s soccer games and leaving balloons in the backyard of a family home. Police say they’re investigating. [Fox 5]

Vornado Attracting Millennials With Cool Restaurants — “Vornado has carefully curated its retail in Crystal City and Pentagon City to appeal to creative Millennials, bringing in tenants like DIY design and fabrication space TechShop and hip restaurants like We The Pizza, Sweetgreen and Taylor Gourmet, which just opened Monday. That’s not to mention the Whole Foods anchoring the retail section of Vornado’s The Bartlett, a trendy ‘city within a city’ with nearly 700 residential units.” [Bisnow]

Chinese News Agency Profiles Arlington’s Tech Scene — Xinhua, the state-run news agency that’s said to be the largest and most influential media organization in China, has published a feature story that discusses how Arlington has become a “hot spot for tech startups.” The story notes that in addition to a robust talent pool and the availability of investment capital, “government has also played a vital role in the development of startups in Arlington.” [Xinhua]

Outdoor Lab to Celebrate 50th Anniversary — The Arlington Outdoor Lab, a nonprofit facility that hosts more than 9,000 students annually for outdoor and environmental education, is celebrating its 50th anniversary with an event in Ballston next month. [Arlington Outdoor Lab]

Flickr pool photo by James L.

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Morning Notes

"Rosslyn Noir" (Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf)

Woman Struck By Metrobus Files Suit — A woman who was struck and pinned under a Metrobus in Crystal City last month is suing WMATA for $25 million. The woman, who suffered a broken arm and crush injuries to her left leg, worked as a personal trainer and bartender. She’s still recovering in a hospital, according to the lawsuit. [Associated Press]

Rhodeside Grill Anniversary — Rhodeside Grill (1836 Wilson Blvd) is celebrating its 20th anniversary tonight. [ARLnow]

Letter Writer: Muslim Town Hall Was Partisan — A Muslim Town Hall at Arlington Central Library billed as a “non-partisan community event” included lots of criticism of Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, says an attendee who wrote to the Sun Gazette. [InsideNova]

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

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Arlington Agenda: April 11-17

Arlington Agenda is a listing of interesting events for the week ahead in Arlington County. If you’d like to see your event featured, fill out the event submission form.

Also, be sure to check out our event calendar.

Tuesday

900px-by-460pxConversations with Tyler: A Conversation with Camille Paglia*
George Mason University Arlington (3351 Fairfax Drive, 4th Floor)
Time: 3:30-5:00 p.m.

Cultural critic, intellectual provocateur and feminist icon Camille Paglia will join Tyler Cowen for a wide-ranging discussion. Paglia, one of the world’s great polymaths, will engage Cowen on topics from Edmund Spenser to the Rolling Stones to Carly Fiorina.

Wednesday

NGN-logo_with-taglineNextGenNow Gives Back Spring Social*
Lyon Hall (3100 Washington Boulevard)
Time: 5:30-8 p.m.

Join NextGenNow young professionals at the NGN Gives Back Spring Social! Each year the NextGenNow initiative selects an area of focus for their grant-giving activity. This year NGN will focut on physical, mental and/or emotional health.

Thursday

Jim BreuerLive Comedy: Jim Breuer
Arlington Cinema Drafthouse (2903 Columbia Pike)
Time: 7:30 p.m.

Former Saturday Night Live cast member Jim Breuer, the famed “Goat Boy,” will perform live standup comedy at the Drafthouse Thursday and Friday night at 7:30 and 10 p.m. Tickets are available online for $35.

Friday

NOVA-sale-2016Fancy Pants NOVA Spring Sale*
The Falls Church Episcopal (115 E. Fairfax Street)
Time: 9 a.m.-1 p.m.

Don’t miss the largest selection of new and gently used boutique kids clothing, sizes 0-10. You’ll find brands like: Anavini, Bella Bliss, Crewcuts, Funtasia Too, Lilly Pulitzer, Oscar de la Renta, Mini Boden, Shrimp and Grits, Vineyard Vines and more!

Rhodeside Grill (courtesy photo)Twentieth Anniversary Celebration
Rhodeside Grill (1836 Wilson Blvd)
Time: 4 p.m.-2 a.m.

Rhodeside Grill celebrates its 20th anniversary with a party that will rage from happy hour to closing time. Original happy hour prices offered from 4-7 p.m. Original appetizers back on the menu. Live music all night.

Saturday

logo-2Home Buyer Seminar*
Optime Realty (1600 Wilson Blvd, Suite 101)
Time: 11 a.m.-1 p.m.

Our team is hosting two Home Buying Seminar events on April 16 and 18 at our Rosslyn office. We will have specialists on hand (including lenders and buyer agents) to give you an overview of the buying process. The event is totally free.

Arlington Festival of the Arts posterFourth Annual Arlington Festival of the Arts
North Highland Street & Washington Blvd in Clarendon
Time: 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

Enjoy a weekend of true visual inspiration in Clarendon, as over 100 artists will showcase their works including glass, mixed media, paintings, jewelry and pottery, providing all sorts of opportunities to appreciate and purchase art. The festival continues on Sunday.

*Denotes featured (sponsored) content

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Morning Notes

A duck in Bon Air Park (Flickr pool photo by Airamangel)

Power Outage at Courthouse Metro Station — A power outage has been reported at the Courthouse Metro station. The outage turned off most of the lights and trapped some customers in the station’s elevator, according to Twitter accounts. The station is said to now be operating on emergency power. [Twitter, Twitter]

Interview with John Vihstadt — Washingtonian has published a Q&A with Arlington County Board member John Vihstadt. During the interview, Vihstadt said of county government: “by and large, it’s well managed.” Before he was elected, however, Vihstadt said the county was in danger of losing its way. “There was a growing consensus that we were too self-congratulatory. There was too much ‘Aren’t we doing great?’ And if there was room for improvement, it was nothing another taxpayer dollar couldn’t solve.” [Washingtonian]

Garvey on I-66 Widening — In a county-produced video, Arlington County Board Chair Libby Garvey discusses the somewhat controversial VDOT plan to widen a portion of I-66 in Arlington. [Facebook]

Another AAA Rating for Arlington — Bond rating agency Fitch Ratings has again assigned Arlington County its top AAA rating. The high rating allows the county to borrow money more cheaply than less creditworthy jurisdictions. [BusinessWire]

Rising Sea Levels and Arlington — A new interactive map shows what rising sea levels would mean for D.C. and Arlington. The good news is that the two meters of sea level rise predicted to occur by 2100 would result in little impact for most of Arlington; the most vulnerable areas are portions of Reagan National Airport, East Potomac Park in D.C. and other areas along the banks of the Potomac. [Washingtonian]

Arlington Little League Opening Day — It looks to be a cool and cloudy start to the local little league season this weekend. Arlington Little League’s 30th anniversary season kicks off at 1:30 p.m. Sunday at Barcroft Park. [Twitter]

One Year Anniversary for Shirlington RestaurantOsteria da Nino in Shirlington (2900 S. Quincy Street) is celebrating its one year anniversary on Sunday. The restaurant will offer a complimentary glass of Prosecco and appetizers for guests from 4-6 p.m. [ARLnow]

Flickr pool photo by Airamangel

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Whitlow’s to Celebrate 20th Anniversary Tonight and Saturday

Whitlow's on Wilson (photo via Facebook)(Updated at 5:55 p.m.) Whitlow’s is celebrating its 20th anniversary in Clarendon with two nights of free events.

To start, the local watering hole at 2854 Wilson Blvd will hold a release party for a new signature beer tonight.

Created as a collaboration with Devil’s Backbone Brewing near Lexington, Va., the beer is being called the “Whitlow’s Good Time IPA.” It’s a moderately hoppy beer that’s 4.7 percent alcohol by volume, according to Whitlow’s manager Jon Williams.

Locals can get their first taste of the beer for a big toast at 7 p.m. The beer will be offered for $3 from 7-9 p.m. Then, starting at 10 p.m. tonight, local party band For the Win will play a free show (correction: there will be a $5 cover after 10 p.m.).

On Saturday, the band Virginia Coalition will play a free show at Whitlow’s. “VaCo” used to play at the bar every Tuesday night during the early 2000s before getting big.

“We’re looking forward seeing some old faces,” said Williams.

Williams reflected on Clarendon’s evolution since Whitlow’s first opened. (Before coming to Clarendon in 1995, Whitlow’s was a greasy spoon and bar in D.C. It first opened there in 1946.)

“The neighborhood has changed,” he said. “The condos got built and the demographics have gotten younger. And obviously there’s a lot more competition now.”

Despite the competition, Whitlow’s has managed to stay busy, attracting both younger bar-goers and long-time “neighborhood folks.” Williams chalked that up to Whitlow’s not straying far from its roots.

“We don’t try to be something we’re not,” he said. “We’re not pretentious at all and we just stay true to what we started out as — a neighborhood gathering spot — and I think people appreciate that. It’s a gathering place people who have lived here a long time know they’re pretty much guaranteed to run into someone they know.”

The most recent major change: the opening of a new rooftop bar, Wilson’s on Whitlow’s, a few years back.

Asked what the future holds, Williams wasn’t sure.

“We’re going to keep chugging along and keep coming up with silly ideas,” he said. “You have to keep doing stuff to stay fresh and current in people’s minds. That’s the biggest challenge. We’re going to get through this weekend and put on the thinking caps again.”

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