Fairfax Wants Arlington’s Tourism Dollars — Fairfax County wants Arlington’s crown as the biggest tourism center in Virginia. “It’s our goal to beat out Arlington, and we’re going to continue giving it all we’ve got,” said Fairfax’s tourism chief, who is pushing for the county to build a new convention center. [InsideNova]
Free House in South Arlington — Here’s some truly affordable housing: a historic, all-steel Lustron house is being offered for free in south Arlington, to anyone willing to haul it away. [Twitter]
Super Pollo Wins Commuting Competition — Super Pollo in Ballston has won a county-sponsored competition “designed to encourage the Hispanic workforce to use modes of transportation other than driving alone when commuting to work.” [Arlington County]
Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick
Steamy Stretch Starting — It’s hot and humid outside today and through the end of the week. Afternoon storms are possible each day. During this hot stretch, authorities are warning people to stay hydrated and to make sure their air conditioners are in good working condition. [Washington Post, Twitter, Twitter]
Ultra-Nationalist Group Based in Arlington — The National Policy Institute, the “institutional center” of the nationalist movement that has come out of the woodwork in the U.S. thanks to the presidential candidacy of Donald Trump, is based here in Arlington. The Southern Poverty Law Center has called the think tank a “white supremacist” group. [Forward]
New Book About Arlington — Local author HK Park has published another book about Arlington. This kid-oriented, 44-page paperback is called “How Your City Works!! Behind The Scenes In Arlington, VA.”
Discussion of Pike Development — Arlington County Board members Libby Garvey and Christian Dorsey discussed the approval of the Rappahannock Coffee site redevelopment in the county’s Board meeting wrap-up video. [YouTube]
Signature Theatre Announces New Cast — The cast for the Signature Theatre production of “Jelly’s Last Jam” includes a Tony Award winner, a Helen Hayes Award winner and a star jazz pianist. The musical begins at the Shirlington theater in August. [Playbill]
Arlington’s Got Talent Winner — Lyfe, a spoken word artist, is the 2016 winner of the Arlington’s Got Talent competition. [InsideNova]
Photo courtesy B. Heather
Chick had been a fan of the NBC show for years and, to the loving skepticism of his wife, he would claim that some day he was going to try out for and compete on the show.
It wasn’t until a near-death experience that Chick ended up trying out for the show. Chick was visiting a client in jail when his heart stopped beating for 30 seconds. After being evaluated by doctors, it was discovered that he has a medical condition that causes his heart to stop whenever he passes out. He says that made him realize life was short.
“It didn’t necessarily have anything to do with my health,” he said. “But I think its kind of like — look, you have to take advantage of life while you have it and take advantage of the moments you have.”
Along with the health scare, Chick received inspiration from an unlikely source: “I was definitely in the worst shape of my life at the time that I started training for this and I remember right before I started to do it, I saw a meme on Facebook that said something like: ‘A year from now, you’ll wish you had started today,'” he said. “As silly as it sounds, its something else that told me that it’s time.”
Out of the 70,000-80,000 applicants who applied for the show, only 100 are invited to each regional qualifier. After months of grueling training, Chick was invited to attend the qualifier in Atlanta.
“I think that the most important thing that I see with these competitions is having adaptability and good body awareness,” he said of his training. “I think that makes a difference between the people who do consistently well and those who don’t. Adaptability and being able to change on the fly or being able to adjust to a situation that you might not have preferred to find yourself in is a big part of it.”
Chick also credits his five-year-old son as an inspiration. At his young age, he is already competing in ninja competitions and practicing parkour and other athletic pursuits.
“I try to look at the world through the eyes of my five-year old son,” he said. “To him, everything is something to play on, everything is an obstacle or a challenge. You look silly and ridiculous jumping over things outside of the federal courthouse. The U.S. Marshals are a little skeptical and may take their Tasers out but looking at the world this way is helpful.”
After the five qualifying rounds are shown, the top 15 contestants in each city make it to the finals in Las Vegas. Along with the first 75 finalists, 25 wild cards will be given out to other contestants, allowing for 100 contestants to try and win the $1 million prize.
Chick’s Atlanta qualifier will be shown tomorrow, June 8, at 8 p.m. on NBC, with an encore being shown at the same time the following day on the Esquire network. If he advances — Chick couldn’t reveal the outcome of the competition, which was taped several months ago — he will appear in subsequent episodes.
Photo Courtesy Quantrell Colbert/NBC
Update at 4:30 p.m. on June 9 — The match has been moved to Fairfax County. It will now be taking place Saturday, June 11 from 3-6 p.m. at Phillips Programs (7010 Braddock Road) in Annandale, according to the league.
Update at 1 p.m. on June 9 — It seems that Major League Quidditch may need a magic wand to make its Arlington match happen this weekend. Originally set to take place at Tuckahoe Park, organizers then switched the venue to Thomas Jefferson Middle School. But that location is also in doubt.
From an Arlington Dept. of Parks and Recreation spokeswoman:
Not sure about how they thought they’d play in Tuckahoe Park, which is under construction. But we got a request to use the public field at Thomas Jefferson Monday night. We let them know that field is for drop play and can’t be reserved. And with this short notice (and with all the makeup games dues to the rain last month), we don’t have a field for them. They didn’t respond back to us so I’m not clear what their plans are. I guess they will work some magic?
From Major League Quidditch’s Amanda Dallas:
We’re working on securing a field at a school in Annandale… We’re just double-checking the field is the right size. Usually our scheduling isn’t this chaotic.
(Updated at 1:15 p.m. on June 8) An athletic competition, inspired by novels about a young wizard, is coming to Arlington this weekend.
The Washington Admirals, the D.C. area’s local quidditch team, will play the Ottawa Black Bears on Saturday, June 11 at the Thomas Jefferson Community Center (3501 2nd Street S.). Tickets are free and all ages are encouraged to attend.
According to the team roster, the Admirals consist of 28 players and a head coach. The team competes in Major League Quidditch, a national league with a regular season that runs from June 1 to August 30. Sixteen teams are divided up in four geographic divisions — North, South, East and West.
Quidditch, for those who are unfamiliar with the sport invented by author J.K. Rowling and featured in her Harry Potter novels (and movies), is described as a competitive, co-ed and semi-contact sport that’s a mixture of dodgeball, rugby and tag. Major League Quidditch rules call for teams of a half dozen players running around a field with brooms between their legs, trying to score points on a field utilizing a series of balls and hoops.
Quidditch is played by “thousands of athletes all over the world,” according to a CBS News profile of the sport that aired in April.
Chess prodigy Sam Schenk tied for 10th place in his division at the National K-12 Scholastic Championship chess competition in Orlando, Fla. He competed against 127 other players in his grade group to earn the ranking.
The annual competition is hosted by the U.S. Chess Federation. It separates participants by grade, and players only compete against people their own age. The grand prize is finishing first in a grade group and claiming the title of national champion.
Though this was Schenk’s fourth trip to the national tournament, it’s his first time taking home a prize.
“This was a great year for him, and this was absolutely the best he’s ever done,” Schenk’s parent Allison Rudoy said.
The 13-year-old is an 8th grader at Williamsburg Middle School in North Arlington. Rudoy said her son’s been playing chess since he joined an after school chess club at Jamestown Elementary five years ago.
“He kind of got hooked,” she said. “When the club ended, he kept with it and started studying on his own, reading a lot and playing in local tournaments.”
Now, Schenk is a part of the Arlington Chess Club where he practices what he studies, mostly playing against adults. He was also recently named one of the U.S. Chess Federation’s top 13-year-old chess players in the nation.
“He devotes an enormous amount of time to the study of chess and plays as much as he can,” Rudoy added. “It’s his favorite thing, but it’s not his only thing.”
Schenk is also involved in sports, playing youth basketball on a county recreation team.
While Rudoy said Schenk is very passionate about chess and would likely love to take home the top prize in Orlando someday, he is still young and anything could be in his future.
“All I know for sure is as long as he’s still interested in chess, his family will keep supporting him,” she said.
Photo courtesy of Allison Rudoy
(Updated at 5:25 p.m.) Local chefs walked away with big wins at a charity cooking competition in Clarendon last night.
The Arlington County Fire Department’s finest firehouse cooks faced off against three groups of local professional chefs in a reality TV-style cooking competition where the competitors had 25 minutes to whip up dishes using only ingredients found in the Arlington Food Assistance Center’s pantries.
Judges Scott Brodbeck of ARLnow.com, Becky Krystal of the Washington Post and Chef George Pagonis of Kapnos Taverna sampled each dish before choosing a winner of the round by ringing a large bell, signaling a vote for the firefighters, or putting on a chef’s hat. Chef David Guas of Bayou Bakery served as emcee for the night.
At the end of the night, the local chefs walked away from the Clarendon Ballroom (3185 Wilson Blvd) with two of the coveted “Golden Eggplant” awards.
Arlington County Fire Department’s Lt. Romulius Queen and firefighter Frank Rachal took home the first “Golden Eggplant” of the night with their Southern Style Fried Chicken topped with a homemade barbecue sauce and accompanied by a zucchini pasta with a thai peanut and ginger sauce. All three judges rang the bell.
“That fried chicken, he really nailed it,” Pagonis said.
Queen and Rachal beat out SER Restaurant chef and co-owner Josu Zubikarai, who made Rulada chicken ragout with mushrooms and spicy vegetables.
It was Queen’s first time competing in AFAC’s Chiefs vs. Chefs event.
“It feels good to go home with a trophy instead of going home crying,” he said.
Chef Tom Madrecki of Chez le Commis took home the second “Eggplant” with his caramelized onion soup with buttermilk, accompanied by homemade bread with butter. He earned the votes of two out of the three judges for his simple but flavorful soup.
Cooking with only the food in AFAC’s pantry was a challenge, Madrecki said.
“It’s reflective of what thousands of Arlington families have to do every day, so it’s very rewarding,” he said.
Facing off against ACFD’s finest brought its own difficulties as the firefighters were both skilled chefs and have a connection to the community, Madrecki said. Votes for the firefighters were applauded by the crowd, whereas votes for the chefs were greeted by good-natured boos.
“We’re the underdogs as the chef because they’re the ones out in the community everyday,” he said. “They’re the ones protecting us so it’s an honor to cook with them.”
Cooking is part of the firehouse lifestyle, said Acting Chief Joesph Reshetar, adding that the firefighters often try out new dishes on their coworkers.
“The firehouse is where they experiment,” he said. “If you can please us, if you can please a group of people, you know you’re on to something.”
‘Monica the Medium’ Renewed — The ABC Family series “Monica the Medium” will be back for a second season. The show stars Monica Ten-Kate, a 21-year-old college student with ties to Arlington’s Fairlington neighborhood. The first season finale will air tonight. [Deadline Hollywood]
‘Most Interesting Man in Arlington’ Selected — According to a competition in Clarendon over the weekend, the “Most Interesting Man in Arlington” is an economist who has lived in Arlington for a year and a half and can turn the word “kumquat” into a description of a sex act. [DCist]
NAACP Honors Superintendent — The Arlington chapter of the NAACP has honored Arlington Public Schools Superintendent Patrick Murphy with its Community Appreciation Award. Murphy “exemplifies what it means to be a leader in education,” the organization said. APS has seen gains in minority achievement under Murphy’s administration. [InsideNova]
Three firefighters will see if they can handle the heat in the kitchen as they take on three local chefs in an annual cooking competition and fundraiser in Clarendon.
The Chiefs v. Chefs 4: Too Hot to Handle challenges chefs and firefighters to cook three courses using ingredients found in the Arlington Food Assistance Center’s pantry. The competition will be held from 6:30-9:30 p.m. at the Clarendon Ballroom (3185 Wilson Blvd) on Oct. 28.
“Pick your favorite team and watch three of the area’s most scintillating chefs go toe-to-toe with three of Arlington’s hottest firehouse cooks in a three-course throw-down! This infamous on-stage battle is on fire as each team tries to impress our panel of judges and set their taste buds ablaze,” AFAC said in a press release.
This year, Chef Josu Zubikarai of SER Restaurant, Chef Tom Madrecki of Chez le Commis and Chef Jesus Guzman from the U.S. Navy will take on three different firefighters. The competitors will battle to impress judges Chef George Pagonis of Kapnos Taverna, Becky Krystal from the Washington Post and Scott Brodbeck of ARLnow.com to win the “Golden Eggplant.”
“This competition is going to be a challenge, but it’s nothing like the one faced every day by hundreds of Arlington residents. It’s on us to raise awareness and help AFAC continue to deliver positive results in our local community. As a chef, what better way to do that than to show the judges how you can transform commonplace ingredients into something interesting, complex and unique,” Madrecki said in a statement. “It’s going to be an uphill battle against the chiefs, but no matter the results, the real winner will be Arlington families who need greater access to nutritious food.”
Tickets for the competition start at $100, with a package of two tickets selling for $175. Proceeds will go to helping AFAC feed Arlington families.
County Seeks Input for County Manager Search — Arlington County is seeking public input as it begins its search for a new county manager. “In the coming months, [executive recruiters] will be evaluating candidates for the position,” the county said in a press release. “They are seeking your input, suggestions, and comments on what will be important in the selection of a County Manager.” The county is conducting an online survey and holding a public meeting on July 20 to gather public input. [Arlington County]
Tejada Attends Trump Protest — Retiring Arlington County Board member Walter Tejada is getting a bit of national media attention after joining other local officials in a demonstration in front of Donald Trump’s under-construction hotel in D.C. The “Dump Trump” protest was held in response to the Republican presidential candidate’s inflammatory comments about Mexican immigrants. [CBS News, MyFoxDC]
Bernie Sanders Speaks in Ballston — Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders drew a “boisterous crowd” of nearly 500 supporters at a policy forum in Ballston last night. Sanders railed against the political influence of the “billionaire class” while calling for a $15 an hour minimum wage, expanded Social Security, guaranteed health care coverage and free public college tuition. [Washington Post]
Arlington College Student Gets Reality TV Show — Monica Ten-Kate, a 21-year-old Fairlington resident who is currently attending Penn State, has scored her own reality TV series — “Monica the Medium” — on ABC Family. Ten-Kate claims she can talk to the dead, and the “docuseries” will follow her as she balances classes and homework with her part-time profession of charging people money for “readings.” The show will premiere on Aug. 25. [Patch, ABC Family]
Signature to Launch Revamped Singing Competition — Signature Theatre in Shirlington will launch “Signature Voice,” a new singing competition, at its annual open house on Aug. 2. “The new ‘Signature Voice’ competition will replace the popular Signature Idol Competition held over the last five years,” according to a news report. “Held in Signature’s MAX Theatre, the competition will host a panel of three celebrity judges in search of the best undiscovered singers in the DC region.” [Broadway World]
Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman
Arlington Scores Lidl HQ — Arlington County will be the home of the new $77 million U.S. corporate headquarters of Lidl, a discount German grocery chain that’s seeking to expand in the United States. The headquarters is expected to create 500 new jobs in Arlington and will anchor the National Gateway office development near Potomac Yard. “Lidl chose Arlington for its U.S. corporate headquarters because of our commitment to diversifying our economy, a terrific workforce, regional transit connections and access to a major airport,” Arlington County Board Chair Mary Hynes said in a statement. [Arlington County]
Arlington Teen Advances in Singing Competition — Kenmore Middle School student Samantha Rios, who is competing on the Telemundo singing program “La Voz Kids,” has advanced to the semifinals and is now being coached by Reggaeton musician Daddy Yankee. [Washington Post]
Young Republicans Blast Anti-Gun-Store Tactics — Opponents of a gun store that’s trying to open in Cherrydale are urging their supporters to confront the owners of the store and the shopping center in which it’s opening in person. That has Republicans crying foul. “Having exhausted reasonable avenues, the anti-gunners encourage their flock to harass property owner,” said the Arlington Falls Church Young Republicans. [Twitter]
Immigration Center to Open in Crystal City — A planned immigration services center in Crystal City, which has been delayed due to legal wrangling over President Obama’s executive action deferring the deportation of certain illegal immigrants, is now reportedly set to open soon. Hundreds of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services employees will be working out of the office building at 2200 Crystal Drive, processing immigration applications and petitions. [Breitbart]
Praise for ‘Alice’ Production — The Encore Stage and Studio production of “Alice in Wonderland” is garnering critical kudos for its star, Brandi Moore, a Harvard-bound Washington-Lee High School senior. The show wraps up its run this weekend at Thomas Jefferson Community Theatre at 125 S. Old Glebe Road. [InsideNova]
Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley
Decal Competition Underway — The annual competition for high school students to design the county’s new vehicle decal has begun. Entries for the 2015-2016 decal are accepted until December 1. [InsideNova, Arlington County]
DIY Network Casting Call — DIY Network is accepting applications from residents of the D.C. metro region for its show “I Want That.” It is not a renovation program, but rather focuses on the best and newest home and garden products. Homeowners within a 30 minute drive from downtown D.C. will be considered. [DIY Network]
Business Conference for Latina Entrepreneurs — The Shirlington Employment and Education Center will host a Latino Women’s Business Development Conference next Saturday, November 8. The goal is to find Latino women interested in starting their own businesses and connecting them with resources to succeed. The program primarily will be in Spanish. [InsideNova]
Flickr pool photo by Nathan Jones
Rosslyn Apartment Building to Sell for $220 Million — The JBG Cos. has reached a deal to sell its new Sedona Slate apartments in Rosslyn for $220 million. The company spent about $150 million to develop the two-building apartment project, which had a ribbon cutting ceremony in June. [Washington Business Journal]
APS Competition to Reduce Dropout Rate — Arlington Public Schools (APS) announced a competition for data analysts to help the school system prevent students from dropping out. Analysts will help APS identify trends and hopefully will find ways to flag students who could use more one-on-one time with counselors. Assistant Superintendent for Information Services Raj Adusumilli told ARLnow.com the winning team of analysts likely will be announced by the end of this winter. Although no firm date is in place for finishing the data analysis, the school system anticipates being able to use the gathered information by about February 2014 in order to help students make class choices for next year. [Washington Post, Arlington Public Schools]
Opera Singer Wins Talent Competition — Opera singer Garrick Jordan won first place in the second annual “Arlington’s Got Talent” competition. Jordan beat out six other competitors on Sunday (November 18) at Clarendon Ballroom. [Sun Gazette]
When Chie Tamaki walked into one of Virginia’s Toastmasters speech clubs four years ago, a member asked her if she was interested in speaking.
She wasn’t. At least not yet.
After moving from Japan to Arlington 13 years ago, Tamaki was shy and lacked English speaking skills. She was so timid that even after one year with Toastmasters, she remained quiet, unable to overcome the language barrier. Now, four years after joining, the Arlington resident is winning public speaking competitions.
Last month, Tamaki defeated 200 local participants to win the district level of the largest speaking competition in the world: the Toastmasters International Speech Contest. On Aug. 21, Tamaki will travel to Cincinnati for the semifinals, representing District 27 — D.C., Southwest Maryland and Northern Virginia. If she qualifies, Tamaki will be one of nine people participating in the finals two days later.
Toastmasters International is a non-profit educational organization that teaches public speaking and leadership skills through various events and conferences. During the competition, participants’ 5-7-minute speeches are judged on content, organization, gesture and style.
Tamaki, who works as a translator and as a bilingual paralegal, said she joined the Toastmaster organization to learn English. But she quickly learned that the only way to come out of her shell and improve these skills was to participate in other speech contests. She had been to conferences before and wanted to be like the people she saw on stage, but her poor language skills hindered her.
“But I did step by step and I did my best,” she said. “Sometimes, I have to work harder.”
When she won the district-level competition, she only thought one thing: It’s a miracle.
Beauty Pageant in Crystal City — The annual Miss United States beauty pageant is taking place at Synetic Theater in Crystal City today and tomorrow (Saturday). Single women between the ages of 20 and 29 come from 55 states and U.S. territories to compete in the pageant. [Miss United States]
Marymount Launching Baseball Program — Arlington’s Marymount University is launching a baseball program, with a team composed largely of freshmen from Northern Virginia high schools. The team will play at Bishop O’Connell High School’s baseball field. [Washington Post]
County Still Reviewing Streetcar Finance Options — Arlington County officials are still trying to decide on their preferred funding mechanism for the Columbia Pike streetcar project. The streetcar could be built and in operation as early as 2017. [Sun Gazette]
Yelp Details ‘Yuppie’ Concentration in Clarendon — The business review site Yelp has published a map that shows the concentration of certain words in reviews. In the D.C. area, the word “yuppie” has the highest concentration in Clarendon. It also shows up to a lesser degree in Ballston, Courthouse and the Columbia Pike town center area. [Yelp]
Flickr pool photo by Ddimick
The show will features eight bands from high schools around the D.C. region, including two from Arlington: New Metro (Yorktown H.S.) and Challenger Deep (Washington-Lee H.S.). Each of the bands in the show writes and performs their own music.
The audience will decide who wins the Battle of the Bands showcase. The winner will receive 32 hours of professional recording time at 4Mile Studios in Arlington.
The show will be held at Artisphere’s Dome Theatre at 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 16. Tickets are $5 and are available online.
The Battle of the Bands is being produced by four teen interns at Artisphere, including Yorktown students Burke Justice and Charlotte Raskovich.
“Artisphere’s Teens Work Experience is a month-long interactive internship for DMV area high school seniors,” Artisphere said in a press release. “The four participants in the program, mentored by Sasha Lord of Sasha Lord Presents, have learned through professional experiences and workshops various aspects of running a performing arts center with the main project being the curation and presentation of a Battle of the Bands.”