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by Bridget Reed Morawski May 1, 2018 at 4:45 pm 0

Arlington’s Black Heritage Museum, once only a virtual museum, opened a physical, though temporary, location today (May 1).

A bit sparse, the museum’s exhibits and decor are still in the works; at least one exhibit room still needs to be filled. Though it opened in 1996, the museum has only had an online presence.

It’s a relatively bare-bones space, nestled on the top floor above the Sun Trust bank at 3108 Columbia Pike. It’s intended to be temporary until a suitable, permanent home for the collection can be located.

“It is what it is,” said Portia Clark, the museum’s volunteer office manager and the Nauck Civic Association’s president.

“For now, we just need a presence, so we don’t have a preference,” Clark added.

While additional exhibits are lined up, those currently available provide a glimpse into what Clark calls the rich history of the three predominantly African American communities in Arlington — Nauck, Hall’s Hill and Johnson’s Hill (now Arlington View).

In one area of the musuem, a visitor can learn about the life of prominent African-American Arlingtonian John Robinson; in another, the history of how black Arlingtonians never could truly say that they were born in the county since black families had to go to Washington to give birth, according to Clark.

“There are so many stories to be told,” she said. “There’s a number of stories that we’re still collecting to tell.”

Volunteer staff are still planning fundraising events, and Clark said that the museum hoped to raise much-needed funds at a Founders Day event, as well as at a possible art show and a book signing later in the summer.

The Black Heritage Museum is currently open on Tuesdays from 11 a.m.-3 p.m., on Thursdays from 3 p.m.-6 p.m., and on Saturdays from 1 p.m.-4 p.m., but different exhibit viewing times can be arranged by calling ahead and making a request.

by ARLnow.com April 26, 2018 at 8:30 am 0

Hotel Planned for Pike Development — Attendees at yesterday’s Columbia Pike Progress Luncheon learned that Orr Partners — which is redeveloping the Food Star grocery store and adjacent sites at Columbia Pike and S. George Mason Drive — has partnered with WhyHotel for the mixed-use project. WhyHotel touts itself as an operator of “pop-up hotels in newly built, luxury apartment buildings.” [Twitter]

County Launches LGBTQ Resource Website — Arlington County has partnered with the Human Rights Commission to develop a website with local, state and national resources for the LGBTQ community. The resources cover a range of topics including housing, domestic violence, sexual assault, health and youth needs. [Arlington County]

Mitten Departing for Illinois — Arlington Deputy County Manager Carol Mitten has accepted the job of City Administrator for Urbana, Ill. “I look forward to advancing common goals for a safe, healthy, sustainable city through thoughtful growth,” she said in a statement. [Smile Politely]

Location Named for Dominion Pint — The owners of Dominion Pint, the new restaurant from the team behind the District’s Meridian Pint and Brookland Pint, have signed a lease for their Northern Virginia establishment. The restaurant is scheduled to open in December at 6035 Wilson Blvd. in Dominion Hills. [PoPville]

VHC Employee Earns ‘4 Under 40’ Award — Virginia Hospital Center’s Taryn Overman, MSN, RN, CEN, has received this year’s “4 Under 40” Emerging Leader Award from the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association. Overman is recognized for going beyond her management responsibilities to help her community, such as during a collaboration with A-Span in which two tons of cereal was collected, and in directing a program that helped train community members in hands-only CPR.

Man Struck, Killed by Blue Line Train — A man was struck and killed by a train at the Arlington Cemetery Metro station last night. Video appears to show that the man was intentionally on the tracks at the time he was struck, according to Metro. [Washington Post, WUSA 9]

Flickr pool photo by Jennifer Presser

by ARLnow.com April 20, 2018 at 12:00 pm 0

More than 1,000 Dominion customers along Columbia Pike were without power around lunchtime Friday.

The outage is mostly affecting the Douglas Park neighborhood and the Glebe Road corridor between the Pike and Walter Reed Drive. A number of traffic signals, including the lights at the busy intersection of Columbia Pike and S. Glebe Road, are reported to be out.

In total, as of 11:45 a.m. Dominion was reporting 1,246 customers without power in Arlington County.

Update at 12:10 p.m. — Power has been restored, according to Dominion’s website.

Image via Dominion Power

by Bridget Reed Morawski April 19, 2018 at 2:15 pm 0

An arrest has been made in connection to the sneaker store arson and burglary on Columbia Pike last Friday (April 13).

Jimmy Andrews, 44, of no fixed address, has been charged with arson, arson while committing a felony, burglary, and grand larceny.

He was arrested while “walking in the area of Columbia Pike at S. Walter Reed Drive,” according to police, at about 4 a.m. this morning (April 19).

Legends Kicks & Apparel, the business that was burglarized and set alight, is approximately 360 feet from where the suspected arsonist was arrested.

Patrol officers observed Andrews and noted that he matched the suspect’s description, according to the Arlington County Police Department. Andrews was “found to be in possession of an item of value allegedly belonging to the victim business,” according to an ACPD press release.

On Tuesday (April 17), police released a video showing the suspect walking along Columbia Pike and spilling merchandise along the sidewalk.

Andrews is being held without bond.

Photo courtesy of Arlington County Police Department

by ARLnow.com April 17, 2018 at 10:10 am 0

The Arlington County Police Department has released surveillance video of a man suspected in an arson case along Columbia Pike.

The man is accused of breaking into the Legend Kicks and Apparel store early last Friday morning, stealing merchandise and then setting the store on fire. Firefighters were able to quickly extinguish the blaze after being alerted to it by a passerby.

In the video released by police (above), the man can be seen ambling down Columbia Pike after exiting the store. A bag full of apparently pilfered merchandise breaks as he approaches the camera. As the man bends down to pick it up, a portion of his rear end is blurred by police.

Legend Kicks is a relatively new store but had quickly grown a loyal customer base, particularly among younger people.

“They were getting quite a following by ‘sneakerheads’ in the area,” one nearby resident told ARLnow.com. “They had some very valuable stock. It’s such a shame.”

by Bridget Reed Morawski April 13, 2018 at 3:45 pm 0

Update at 4:15 p.m. — The Arlington County Police Department has released surveillance images of a man they say broke into the store and then set fire to it.

From ACPD:

The Arlington County Police Department’s Burglary/Larceny Unit is seeking the public’s assistance in identifying and locating a burglary and arson suspect captured on surveillance camera. At approximately 4:14 a.m. on April 13, the Arlington County Fire Department responded to the report of a structure fire in the 2600 block of Columbia Pike. After extinguishing the fire, the Fire Marshall responded to conduct an investigation and requested the assistance of the Arlington County Police Department. The investigation determined that at approximately 3:22 a.m., the suspect forced entry into the business and stole merchandise before intentionally setting a fire and fleeing the area on foot.

The suspect is described as a heavy-set male, 30-40 years old, approximately 5’10” to 6’0″ tall and weighing 300 pounds. He has a full beard and a bald spot. He was wearing glasses, a light shirt, dark colored jeans and a backpack at the time of the incident.

Anyone with information on the identity of these individuals or details surrounding this incident is asked to contact Detective T. Parsons of the Arlington County Police Department’s Burglary/Larceny Unit at 703-228-4172 or [email protected] To report information anonymously, contact the Arlington County Crime Solvers at 866.411.TIPS (8477).

Earlier: A fire was extinguished in the early morning hours this morning (Friday) at a business on Columbia Pike, according to the fire department.

Fourteen fire department units responded to the call on the 2600 block of Columbia Pike just before 4:15 a.m., after a passerby spotted the fire and called 911, according to a department spokesman.

The fire was out by 4:21 a.m. and there were no reported injuries.

The Fire Marshall was on scene and is investigating the cause, according to the spokesman. The fire was at Legend Kicks & Apparel, we’re told, and photos from the scene show firefighters at the storefront.

An online listing for the business indicates that the shoe store recently opened.

The block is also home to Le Touche Beauty Salon and The Salsa Room. The Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse is nearby, on another block.

Photos via Arlington County Fire Department

by Bridget Reed Morawski April 3, 2018 at 2:45 pm 0

Columbia Pike’s L.A. Bar & Grill has temporarily closed due to a state licensing issue.

The bar submitted its Virginia ABC license renewal application in the beginning of March, and the previous alcoholic beverage license expired at the end of March.

“We should have applied earlier, [but] hindsight is 20/20,” said Stephen Hubbard, the bar’s general manager.

The process is ongoing, and Hubbard anticipates that it will take “at least a couple of weeks,” though he isn’t sure.

In the meantime, the bar is taking advantage of the license renewal period and “doing some facelifting” in the form of painting and other tidying up efforts.

Back in 2016, L.A. Bar & Grill, at 2530 Columbia Pike, was ranked among UpOut’s top ten “ridiculously cool” D.C.-area dive bars.

by ARLnow.com April 3, 2018 at 2:45 pm 0

Columbia Pike’s L.A. Bar & Grill has temporarily closed due to a state licensing issue.

The bar submitted its Virginia ABC license renewal application in the beginning of March, and the previous alcoholic beverage license expired at the end of March.

“We should have applied earlier, [but] hindsight is 20/20,” said Stephen Hubbard, the bar’s general manager.

The process is ongoing, and Hubbard anticipates that it will take “at least a couple of weeks,” though he isn’t sure.

In the meantime, the bar is taking advantage of the license renewal period and “doing some facelifting” in the form of painting and other tidying up efforts.

Back in 2016, L.A. Bar & Grill, at 2530 Columbia Pike, was ranked among UpOut’s top ten “ridiculously cool” D.C.-area dive bars.

by ARLnow.com April 2, 2018 at 9:45 am 0

(Updated at 6:15 p.m.) Richmond-based Ravenchase Adventures is opening a new escape room along Columbia Pike.

Signs are up for the business, which is located in the same building as William Jeffrey’s Tavern, near the corner of Columbia Pike and N. Adams Street.

Ravenchase — which describes itself as offering “elegant adventures for the spirited intellectual” — has existing escape rooms in Richmond and Herndon.

As defined by Wikipedia, an escape room is “a physical adventure game in which players solve a series of puzzles and riddles using clues, hints and strategy to complete the objectives at hand.”

The Arlington location is listed on the company’s website as “coming soon,” while the last Facebook post for the business said it would be opening in December 2017. A company rep emailed ARLnow.com after publication of this article to say that they were now hoping for a “late spring” opening.

“We are very heavy into the building process but it’s taken some more time that we had hoped,” said Omer Aru. “Once open, it will be a very stylish 4,000 square foot facility with four unique escape room games. We will be launching with at least two rooms: Glitch in the Matrix and MindTrap. We have two other that will follow very shortly after: Grandma’s Attic (What’s in the Attic), and Portal.”

Photo courtesy Sarah Campbell

by Bridget Reed Morawski March 21, 2018 at 1:45 pm 0

A long-time pharmacy volunteer at the Arlington Free Clinic has donated a quarter million dollars to the nonprofit medical center.

The $250,000 gift came from a retired Arlington special education teacher who prefers anonymity.

The clinic’s benefactor grew up in Pennsylvania coal country with immigrant parents. Her mother died of diabetes when she was nine; her father continued raising her until he died  of an untreated dental infection that spread to his brain when she was 18.

She came to the clinic one day and sat down with Arlington Free Clinic staff and asked what could be done with better funding.

“We started talking about dental, and her eyes lit up and the lights came on,” recounted Nancy White, the clinic’s executive director. White says that the volunteer wanted to support her father’s legacy with a gift that would prevent others from suffering how he did and to prevent children from losing their parents to preventable health problems.

The gift inspired the Arlington Free Clinic to set a $1 million fundraising goal to develop an in-house oral health program that would benefit low income adults without health insurance.

Currently, the clinic uses one dental chair at Arlington’s Department of Human Services to perform dental procedures. With the funding, the clinic hopes to rearrange their space at 2921 11th Street S., near Columbia Pike, so that three dental chairs could be installed where the pharmacy currently is, among other dental-related improvements.

The nonprofit has already raised $800,000 toward that goal, which they hope to achieve by November, and has planned upcoming events like a Bites & Blues fundraiser at Whitlow’s on Wilson on April 28.

This is not the first large donation received by the clinic. In 2011, the Arlington Free Clinic received a $677,500 gift to benefit mental health services.

by ARLnow.com March 2, 2018 at 2:30 pm 0

The westbound lanes of Columbia Pike are temporarily closed due to damage to the outside of the Arlington Cinema Drafthouse (2903 Columbia Pike).

On traffic cameras, the front panel of the Drafthouse’s marquee sign, which announces upcoming acts, could be seen dangling precariously in the wind. Firefighters are currently working to secure it and reopen the roadway ahead of rush hour.

While traffic is being diverted, there is another road hazard nearby. According to scanner reports, a large tree has fallen across 8th Street S. near the intersection with S. Walter Reed Drive.

More views of the dangling Drafthouse sign:

Update at 3:20 p.m. — All lanes of Columbia Pike have reopened. A photo of the tree down on 8th Street S. is below.

https://twitter.com/smugclimber/status/969668095349547009

by ARLnow.com February 28, 2018 at 4:30 pm 0

A dispute over a drive-thru ATM led a man in a Mercedes to draw a gun and make threats, police say.

The incident happened Monday afternoon, on the 3100 block of Columbia Pike, according to this week’s Arlington County Police Department crime report.

A SunTrust bank is located on that block of the Pike.

Police say that the suspect “became verbally irate” while waiting in line to use the ATM. More from the crime report:

BRANDISHING, 2018-02260160, 3100 block of Columbia Pike. At approximately 2:10 p.m. on February 26, police were dispatched to the report of a brandishing of a firearm. Upon arrival, it was determined that the victim was using the drive thru ATM when another vehicle pulled up behind him. The driver of the approaching vehicle became verbally irate, threatened the victim and allegedly brandished a firearm. The suspect is described as a black male, bald, approximately 25-30 years old, wearing glasses and a black shirt, driving a black Mercedes. The investigation is ongoing.

The rest of this past week’s crime report highlights, after the jump.

Photo via Google Maps

(more…)

by Bridget Reed Morawski February 27, 2018 at 4:45 pm 0

A new residential development is under construction just south of Columbia Pike.

The development, first approved in 2009, is described as “a residential project for 36 condominium units within 12 townhouse structures.” It is currently under construction at 1100 S. Highland Street, behind the Audi dealership, and along what it planned as a future extension of 11th Street S.

The permit holder is listed as the Ethiopian Community Development Council (ECDC), which has offices at 901 S. Highland Street, about two blocks away from the construction site. Construction permits were first approved in late September last year.

ECDC did not immediately respond to requests for comment from ARLnow.

by ARLnow.com February 26, 2018 at 8:30 am 0

County Board Approves Bike Boulevard Contract — The Arlington County Board on Saturday approved a half-million dollar contract for safety improvements to the intersection of S. Walter Reed Drive and 12th Street S. Per a county press release: “The project, one of several designed to make the Columbia Pike bike boulevards safer and more comfortable, will provide traffic calming and pedestrian improvements at the intersection.” [Arlington County]

Wakefield Boys Win Basketball Tourney — “The Wakefield Warriors won the 2018 boys Northern Region 5C Tournament basketball championship on their home court Feb. 23. The region crown was the 10th in program history for the high school team and second since 2014.” [InsideNova]

Hearing on Historic District Fee — The County Board will hold a public hearing in April to discuss an application fee for those seeking a local historic district. The fee, between $250-1,000 per request, would only partially reimburse the county for staff time spent researching each request, but could serve as a deterrent against frivolous requests. [InsideNova]

ICYMI: Weekend Articles — ARLnow published two articles of note over the weekend: first, a recap of the County Board’s decision to not raise the property tax rate this budget season, and second, a developing story about state legislation that could cost the county’s coffers around $2 million while slashing the tax bills of Arlington’s two country clubs.

Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley

by Bridget Reed Morawski February 23, 2018 at 10:45 am 0

When James Sampson was 14, a few of his friends were hit with the red ring of death — the notorious Xbox problem that devastated gamers globally. Instead of buying new devices, they turned to Sampson — who soldered some of the wiring in the devices, along with some other tinkering, and brought them back to life.

He saved his friends hundreds of dollars, and his only training was a few hours spent watching YouTube video tutorials.

“It became a lot of people calling me asking me to fix their cell phones, laptops, just any device they had,” said Sampson. He began referring people to an actual electronic repair business — until he realized that the shop was making a lot of money.

The now 23-year-old has now gone into business himself, opening up Wireless Rxx last week at 2340 Columbia Pike. Sampson works alongside longtime electronics repairman Mario Vasquez, who has been in business for about 26 years. Sampson does the microelectronic repairs and soldering while Vasquez focuses on more traditional electronic appliances.

The pair complement each other technically and linguistically; the Chilean-born Sampson’s first language was Spanish, so he’s able to help the many nearby Spanish-speaking customers and Vasquez as he assists English-speaking clients.

By the end of the first week, Wireless Rxx made back their $700 rent without any marketing or advertising — and without the planned “old retro vibe” interior design changes, including new neon signs and flooring. The building itself, which Sampson calls “old and tattered,” stands out from the luxury mixed-use development across the street.

Wireless Rxx saw around 27 customers, and earned around $1,700 in the first week, with many flat-screen television repairs, laptop fixes, and cell phones that needed to be unlocked — though Sampson runs serial numbers and other phone identification numbers to make sure that he isn’t unlocking a stolen phone.

While many Arlingtonians might be excited to get a new phone and toss their older model, many low-income residents are finding value in the service, Sampson said, as they are able to pay significantly less for what is in most cases a relatively minor fix instead of buying an entirely new product or waiting weeks for a manufacturer repair.

“It’s a mix of what the market economy put up,” said the young entrepreneur. “You either have to wait for your fix — because if you break your phone and you go to Apple, it can be a $200 or $300 price tag — or if you take it here, it can be under $100.”

He has friends who are either recent immigrants or on college scholarships with less money to spare. They’ll go to Sampson with their younger sister’s iPads and $20 or $30, looking for a repair. It helps them maintain a decent standard of living without spending money that they don’t have for a brand new device, he said.

Sampson buys dead devices from customers, which he either fixes, sells, or recycles responsibly with a certified e-recycling company. Most electronic components aren’t safe for general trash collection.

He stressed the importance of proper electronic recycling, noting the dangerous chemicals in lithium batteries, which are found in many electronic devices. Poking one can result in chemical burns.

“If something’s broke, you can still fix it. You can still put maybe a third of the device’s [cost] into fixing it, and it’ll be a working device as opposed to buying a new one,” said Sampson. “Especially in our society right now, we just throw things away.”

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