Northern Virginia Transit Ridership Down — Amid Metro’s woes, transit ridership across Northern Virginia has dropped significantly. Metrorail ridership was down 6.7 percent for the one year period ending June 30, while Metrobus ridership is down 4.6 percent. Arlington Transit bus ridership, however, was up 13.8 percent. [InsideNova]
Arlington Family Gets Lost Cat Back — A new Arlington family whose cat jumped out of their moving van and ran away at a Michigan Welcome Center has been reunited with their wayward feline. The welcome center’s employees managed to safely trap the cat five days after it escaped. [NBC Washington]
Free Chips and Queso Today — California Tortilla restaurants are offering free chips and queso today, to commemorate the impending end of summer. Customers must say the password “easy cheesy” and make another purchase to get the free stuff. [Facebook]
CIA’s Local VC Firm Profiled — Courthouse-based In-Q-Tel, which functions as the Central Intelligence Agency’s venture capital arm, “operates in the shadows.” The firm is run as a taxpayer-funded nonprofit, investing in companies whose technology could benefit the CIA or the military. [Wall Street Journal]
Carlee Takes University Job — Former Arlington County Manager Ron Carlee, who most recently served as Charlotte, N.C.’s city manager, has taken an assistant professor position at Old Dominion University’s Strome College of Business in Norfolk. [Charlotte Observer]
Freecycle.org is a website that allows members to give things away to neighbors for free. It’s like Craigslist, but only for free stuff.
The Freecycle group for Arlington has nearly 3,500 members and more than 550 items offered either for giveaway or as “wanted.”
But one particular, unique item on the site caught a reader’s eye: a life-sized poster of communist revolutionary Vladimir Lenin.
The “souvenir from Soviet times” is more than six feet tall and is in “very good condition.” It’s available for pick up from a home in the Lyon Park neighborhood, near Clarendon.
“Only in Arlington,” said the reader who spotted it.
— Alex Wellman (@WellmanAlex) August 19, 2016
The police department is scheduled to host a summer block party at Kenmore Middle School (200 S. Carlin Springs Road) on Saturday, Aug. 27, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
“This free event provides residents an opportunity to get to know their neighbors and police officers while enjoying interactive stations, safety demonstrations, entertainment, food and much more,” ACPD said in a press release.
Some of the events planned for this year’s block party include a police cruiser expo, K9 demonstration and a “mini academy” where attendees can try their hand at being a cop.
The party will also have a moon bounce and a “kid zone” with badge-making, a “need for speed” police driving experience and an area where kids can try on police gear.
Additionally, the celebration will have “lots of sauce” from Rocklands Barbeque, according to an ACPD promotional video:
— ArlingtonCountyPD (@ArlingtonVaPD) August 17, 2016
Image via Arlington County
ACPD officers will set up shop outside of Goody’s (3125 Wilson Blvd) next Wednesday from noon-1 p.m. for a community outreach event called “Cones With a Cop,” according to an event flyer.
During the free event, attendees will be able to “get to know the officers and neighbors in your District while enjoying a refreshing treat,” the flyer says.
Image courtesy ACPD
Some Developers Are Pessimistic About the Pike — “The mood is not good,” Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization chairman John Murphy said of developers. “Some of them made big investments, big bets based on the county saying we’re going to do the streetcar. They feel betrayed, they’re not happy at all.” [Bisnow]
Board to Buy Bungalow to Bolster Benjamin Banneker — The Arlington County Board this weekend is expected to approve the purchase of a $637,500 property on 17th Street N. in order to expand Benjamin Banneker Park, near the East Falls Church Metro station. [InsideNova]
DCA Flight Path Changes — The Federal Aviation Administration is considering changes to flight paths for planes departing Reagan National Airport, in response to complaints from D.C. residents. Meanwhile, Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) is organizing a community meeting to discuss “recent changes to departure procedures for aircraft taking off to the south of the airport.” [WTOP, Rep. Don Beyer]
Chaplain at DCA Mourns Son — Rev. Nace Lanier, the chaplain at Reagan National Airport, is mourning the loss of his 10-year-old son to a brain tumor. [Washington Post]
Sehkraft Makes ‘Hottest New Bars’ List — Sehkraft Brewing in Clarendon is one of the 10 hottest new bars in the D.C. area, according to Zagat, which writes: “This sprawling, pulsating Arlington brewhouse, gastropub, butcher shop, beer garden and live-music venue is powered by the brilliantly colored art on the walls, robust smoked and grilled American fare and curated craft beers.” [Zagat]
Free Smoothies Today — Tropical Smoothie Cafe, which has a location at 3811 Fairfax Drive in Virginia Square, is celebrating National Flip Flop Day by raising money for charity and giving out some free smoothies. The store will offer free smoothies to customers wearing flip flops from 2-7 p.m. [Tropical Smoothie Cafe]
Photo courtesy @rydaka
County Board Debate Tonight — Democratic County Board candidates Libby Garvey and Erik Gutshall will debate tonight at 8 p.m. at the Arlington County Democratic Committee’s monthly meeting. The meeting is being held at Lubber Run Community Center. [ACDC]
Northside Social Expanding to Falls Church — Clarendon favorite Northside Social will be expanding to the City of Falls Church this fall. The new Northside Social will be located in the historic Blue and Gray American Legion Post building. [Falls Church News-Press]
Metro Track Work at Rosslyn — In a bit of unscheduled maintenance, Metro replaced track insulators around the Rosslyn Metro station yesterday. Metro has been experiencing problems with its aging track infrastructure, particularly fire-prone insulators and electrical equipment. [Twitter]
Attempted Rape Suspect May Be in Arlington — A man who’s wanted for the attempted rape of a child in Alexandria may be hiding in Arlington, authorities say. The man is being sought the the U.S. Marshals Service. [Alexandria News]
Free Guac and Chips at Cal Tor — California Tortilla, which has locations in Courthouse and Crystal City, is offering free chips and guacamole today. “Just say ‘It’s Guac O’Clock!’ to the cashier while ordering and all that hand-smashed goodness is yours!” the company says on its website. [California Tortilla]
Remembering Tom Richards — Who is Tom Richards and why was he such a pivotal figure in the history of Arlington’s parks and trails? A new article from Arlington County explains. Richards would have turned 90 this month; he collapsed and died on the Metro system in 2011. [Arlington County]
Moving Day for ARLnow.com — We are moving our offices up the Orange Line to Clarendon today. As a result, you may notice some delays in posting articles.
Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman
VDOT Holds HOT Lane Meeting — Last night VDOT gave the first formal public presentation of its plan to expand the I-395 HOV lanes and convert them to High Occupancy Toll lanes. The meeting was held at Wakefield High School and addressed issues from toll pricing to transit improvements to sound walls. [WTOP, Fox 5]
Bike-on-Bike Crashes Problematic for the Law — A new article asserts that Arlington County Police normally do not file reports for bike-on-bike crashes. “This is a bike accident. Life happens,” an officer reportedly told a victim after one recent incident. Incomplete or nonexistent police reports have frustrated victims and attorneys seeking legal redress — and led to the hiring of private investigators who try to gather evidence and find witnesses. [Washingtonian]
Disability Advocates Protest in Arlington — Disability rights advocates made their frustrations personal yesterday by protesting in front of the Arlington home of Vanita Gupta, head of the U.S. Justice Department Civil Rights Division. [Disability Scoop]
Proposal: Allow Older Cabs in Arlington — The Arlington County Board on Saturday is expected to consider a policy change that would allow older cabs on the road, among other changes. Currently, cabs entering service may be no older than two years old and then must be retired after reaching seven years old or 350,000 miles. Recognizing advances in vehicle reliability, the new policy would do away with the two year provision and set the maximum age of cabs at 10 years old. [Arlington County]
Free Donuts for Lawyers Today — It’s Be Kind to Lawyers Day and to mark the occasion Sugar Shack Donuts on Columbia Pike is offering a free “house donut” to lawyers today. Sugar Shack is also beginning a promotion that will give select customers free donuts to distribute to their favorite local teachers. “To participate, folks just need to use the hashtag #Treats4Teach to tell us on Facebook or Twitter why they should be picked to deliver donuts to their local school teachers and to which school,” said a press release.
Nice Weather at Last — After this morning’s rain, expect clearing skies and pleasant weather that should stretch into next week. [Twitter]
Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick
The free rides (up to a $30 fare) will begin at 4 p.m. Thursday and end at 4 a.m. Friday. Those wanting to take advantage of the program have to call the SoberRide hotline at 1-800-200-TAXI (8294) to book their ride.
SoberRide is sponsored by alcohol companies, cab companies and a number of other brands and local organizations, with the goal of reducing drunk driving on local roads.
“During the evening hours immediately following the 2014 St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, nearly half of all U.S. traffic fatalities involved drunk drivers,” noted Kurt Erickson of the nonprofit Washington Regional Alcohol Program.
From a WRAP press release:
Preparing to combat that time of year when, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), nearly half of all U.S. traffic deaths are caused by drunk drivers*, free cab rides will be offered to would-be drunk drivers throughout Arlington County, Virginia on Thursday, March 17, 2016 (St. Patrick’s Day).
Offered by the nonprofit Washington Regional Alcohol Program (WRAP), the 2016 St. Patty’s Day SoberRide® program will be in operation beginning at 4:00 pm on Thursday, March 17 (St. Patrick’s Day) and continue until 4:00 am on Friday, March 18 as a way to keep local roads safe from impaired drivers during this traditionally high-risk holiday.
During this 12-hour period, area residents celebrating with alcohol may call the toll-free SoberRide® phone number 1-800-200-TAXI(8294) and be afforded a no-cost (up to a $ 30 fare), safe way home. AT&T wireless customers can dial #WRAP for the same service.
Local taxicab companies throughout the Washington-metropolitan area provide this no-cost service to local residents age 21 and older who otherwise may have attempted to drive home after drinking.
“During the evening hours immediately following the 2014 St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, nearly half of all U.S. traffic fatalities involved drunk drivers,” said Kurt Gregory Erickson, WRAP’s President.
SoberRide® is offered in the District of Columbia; throughout the Maryland counties of Montgomery and Prince George’s; and throughout the Northern Virginia counties of Arlington, Fairfax, (eastern) Loudoun and Prince William.
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.
“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.”
A pre-gameday pep rally will be taking place at Clarendon Grill (1101 N. Highland Street) this Saturday at 6 p.m. The free event is being hosted by Packers Everywhere, an organization that unites Packers fans in locales far from the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field.
Packers President and CEO Mark Murphy will greet fans as they arrive, as well as participate in a question-and-answer session with radio sportscaster and “voice of the Packers” Wayne Larrivee.
Larrivee will also facilitate a discussion between former players Nick Collins and Nick Barnett about Sunday’s matchup with the hometown Washington Redskins. Finally, Packers.com bloggers Vic Ketchman and Mike Spofford will preview the game and give their predictions.
Food and drink will be available for purchase — and yes, Miller Lite, the official beer of the Packers, is on tap. There will also be several fan giveaways.
The pep rally is a precursor to Sunday’s wild card playoff game against the Redskins, which kicks off at 4:40 p.m. on Fox.
Garvey Named 2016 Arlington County Board Chair — Libby Garvey, who is facing a challenge in this year’s Democratic primary, has been named the Chair of the Arlington County Board. Articles to follow.
Update: Family Given Lease Extension — An Arlington family with a disabled son has been given a 30-day lease extension, after they went to the media to protest the landlord’s reported refusal to renew their lease. The family said the manager of Columbia Pike apartment complex complained about them making too much noise. [Washington Post]
Dorsey to Serve on Metro Board — Christian Dorsey, who along with Katie Cristol began his first County Board term on Jan. 1, has been chosen to serve as Arlington’s non-voting representative on the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority board of directors. [InsideNova]
Reminder: Arlington Is the Smallest Governing County — Arlington County is the smallest self-governing county in the United States. Kalawao County in Hawaii, New York County in Manhattan and Bristol County in Rhode Island are smaller, but don’t have their own separate county governments. [Arlington County]
Favola Proposes Allowing Cigarette Tax Hike — State Sen. Barbara Favola (D) has proposed a bill that would allow Arlington and Fairfax counties to double local cigarette taxes. The extra funds would be used to support education. [InsideNova]
Free Breakfast at Northside Social — It’s unclear whether the promotion is still going on as of publication time, but Northside Social this morning was giving away free breakfasts and coffee courtesy of the new CBS show Angel from Hell, starring Jane Lynch. [Twitter, Twitter]
Christmas Tree Collection Starts Today — Christmas tree collection in Arlington County starts today and runs through Friday, Jan. 15. Trees will be collected curbside on regular trash collection days. Those who live in apartments or condos without county trash collection can bring their trees to the Solid Waste Bureau near Shirlington. [ARLnow]
It’s no secret that digital marketing is the future. It allows businesses to reach customers for a fraction of the cost of traditional media — and in ways never imagined before.
Unfortunately the digital landscape is changing quickly and often it’s hard to keep up. The marketing mix in today’s mobile world is substantially different than it was just a year or two ago.
This is especially challenging for local business owners, who would rather focus on delighting customers rather than the latest geotargeting tech. Plus, local businesses often face a barrage of telemarketing calls from out of town, fly by night peddlers of various online services, making it hard to know who to trust.
To help sort out the options — and provide some real-world best practices that will bring your business more customers and more revenue — ARLnow.com is bringing small business digital marketing expert Stanley Gauss to town next Thursday.
Gauss and ARLnow.com owner Scott Brodbeck will be holding two free, small group discussions about the latest digital marketing options specifically for local businesses: social media, mobile, geotargeting, email blasts and everything in between. The events are free for owners and managers of Arlington-based local businesses.
If you’re unable to attend in person, you may also use the links above to register to phone in via conference call. Or, to inquire about a one-on-one discussion at your office earlier in the day, contact ARLnow’s Meghan McMahon at [email protected] or 703-348-0583.
Flora Wallace had a typical problem for a newly married woman who just moved to a new home. She had many items that she didn’t need but were still in good shape.
Wallace then heard about the Buy Nothing Project, a gift-giving economy where neighbors give away items for free, from her cousin. She decided to bring the project to her neighborhood on Columbia Pike.
“I like the idea of being able to get in touch with a neighbor and give a new home to an item I didn’t need,” Wallace said.
Wallace contacted the administrators of the national Buy Nothing Project who helped her set up the Buy Nothing Project Columbia Pike Corridor group on Facebook. The idea behind the project is to create hyperlocal groups where neighbors can post items they want to give away or post requests for items people might have — and form tighter-knit communities.
“Time and again, members of our groups find themselves spending more and more time interacting in our groups, finding new ways to give back to the community that has brought humor, entertainment, and yes, free stuff into their lives,” says the project’s website. “The Buy Nothing Project is about setting the scarcity model of our cash economy aside in favor of creatively and collaboratively sharing the abundance around us.”
Each group is hyperlocal for areas with less than 50,000 people, meaning that only people in the specific group’s ZIP code can join. Columbia Pike residents in the 22204 ZIP code can join by requesting to Facebook group. Wallace will then contact them and ask for proof of residence before allowing the person to join, she said.
While the Buy Nothing Project helps people find new homes for their items, the project also allows people to connect with neighbors, something Wallace hopes to achieve, she said.
“The focus of the project is getting neighbors to know each other,” she said.
So far the group is small with eight members, but Wallace said she hopes it will grow as more people hear about it. Her goal is to have about 150 members in the next six months.
She has had requests from people outside of the ZIP code, and while she had to reject them, she said she hopes they start their own groups in their neighborhoods.
Wallace recommends residents of other parts of Arlington contact the national Buy Nothing Project administrators to start a new group. They can help a person start the page and go through all the rules that apply to the project, including how posts should be written, how to approve members, etc.
Wallace said she can see people creating a Buy Nothing Clarendon or Buy Nothing Courthouse, as examples. After all, the project helps people meet each other.
“By re-homing items in your community, you get to know who lives there,” she said.
Wallace posted the first item on the group — a CD tower. While no one has taken her up on the offer, she said she thinks it will happen as more people join the group.
“My goal is to find homes for items I might grow out of in the next years and definitely to meet new people,” Wallace said.
East Falls Church residents can now grab an energizing cold-pressed juice before heading off to work in the morning, following the opening of a new South Block Juice Company store at 2121 N Westmoreland Street.
The micro juicery’s factory and test kitchen had been located in the neighborhood since last summer, according to company owner Amir Mostafavi. When the cafe next door to his factory closed down, Mostafavi took the opportunity to expand.
The East Falls Church store will be able to seat 30 people inside and up to 15 outside, significantly more than either of South Block’s other locations, on 11th Street N. in Clarendon and at George Washington University. Mostafavi hopes this extra space will allow the store to expand its repertoire to include fundraisers, neighborhood events and maybe even some tours of the factory next door.
A grand opening celebration is planned for this Saturday (July 18) from 9-11 a.m. If the lure of a brand new micro juicery isn’t enough, the store will be offering free half pints of juice and $25 gift cards to the first 25 people to come out.
Although business is booming now, Mostafavi says his juices weren’t always so popular. He opened his first smoothie and health food shop at GW in 2004, when he was three years out of college, but the store just didn’t kick off the way he expected it to. It wasn’t until 2011, when Mostafavi opened his Clarendon location and bought his first cold pressed juicer, that things finally began to take off.
“I took a big risk when I changed to all cold press because no one in this area had heard of it — we tried to educate them on why it was better. It was a risk, but I really thought it was a better product,” said Mostafavi. “At first, people would say, no, I don’t want bottled juice, I want fresh juice, but we tried to educate them on why it was better and better for you. Six months later, that’s all anybody wanted.”
Mostafavi says he believes South Block has been successful partially because it is such a small company.
“I try to have things that people want, that are good for you, and I try to have it before anybody else and do it better than anybody else. I think that’s a benefit of being a smaller company — the bigger corporations catch on a little bit late, and they cut corners to cut cost, and it just isn’t the same quality product.”
In addition to their juices and smoothies, the East Falls Church store has trendy products like nitrogen-infused cold-brew coffee. Mostafavi tries to keep South Block ahead of the curve by paying attention to the products being introduced in California and New York, and then bringing those products to the D.C. area.
“I try to continue to evolve the products and the menu,” said Mostafavi. “I think that’s one thing that’s made South Block successful.”
Mostafavi says the business is still expanding, with plans for future stores in both Vienna and Georgetown.
The remaining Barre in the Park classes in Rosslyn have been rescheduled from Wednesday to Thursday evenings, starting this week.
Barre in the Park, which is in its second season, is a series of free outdoor classes offered weekly in Rosslyn’s Gateway Park (1300 Lee Highway) by exercise studio Lava Barre, in partnership with the Rosslyn Business Improvement District.
(Barre is a type of trendy exercise class that combines elements of ballet with yoga and Pilates.)
Lava Barre is offering this free series in part to promote their new studio in Rosslyn (1528 Clarendon Blvd), which opened this summer. The Rosslyn studio replaced a Lava Barre studio previously located in Clarendon.
The series started in May and is slated to continue into the early fall. Although the classes are free, registration is required. According to Lava Barre, all registered participants need to bring is themselves, a towel or mat and some water.
Absent cancellation due to inclement weather, the remaining Barre in the Park classes will be offered Thursday evenings in Gateway Park from 6-7 p.m. Should a class be cancelled due to weather, the BID says a notification will be sent to those registered for the class via email.
Currently, classes are planned to continue from now until the end of September.
Photo courtesy Lava Barre