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
The library is working with an Ohio-based company called Hoopla Digital, which bills itself as a “free Netflix-like service” which users can access through their Apple TV, smartphone, tablet or laptop.
Hoopla offers a range of digital content including e-books, comics, audiobooks, music and streaming TV and movies.
The library’s current contract with Hoopla gives library patrons access to audiobooks and music, according to library spokesman Peter Golkin, who described the partnership as the next logical step in adapting to new technology, something libraries have been doing for decades.
Golkin said one particularly attractive feature of Hoopla was the elimination of waiting lists. In the past, when libraries bought audiobooks, they would have to buy several copies — and even then patrons could end up waiting a long time for more popular titles. Through Hoopla, however, one title can be checked out by an unlimited number of patrons.
The company also touts its automatic returns, which it says eliminate library late-fees. Users will be able to check out up to six items a month and listen to them as often as desired. Due to record label restrictions, the same album may only be checked out twice in a 30-day period.
Arlington Public Library began using Hoopla last Tuesday (June 16), and is the 10th library system in Virginia to do so. To start using the service, patrons can create an account through the library’s website.
County to Seek Ballston Mall Partnership — Arlington County is moving quickly to try to come up with a public-private partnership for the redevelopment of Ballston Common Mall. County Board members said Tuesday that they believe the redevelopment will bring important economic benefits. “To not reinvest is to watch the death, I think, of Ballston,” said County Board Chair Mary Hynes. [InsideNova, Arlington County]
Crash Near Kenmore Middle School — A five-vehicle crash occurred around 5:30 yesterday evening on S. Carlin Springs Road, just south of Kenmore Middle School. Scanner reports suggest a driver mistook the gas pedal for the brake at an intersection, leading to the multi-vehicle wreck. [Twitter]
Playground Contracts Awarded — The Arlington County Board has voted unanimously to award two contracts, together worth about $2 million, for new playgrounds at Long Bridge Park and Tyrol Hills Park. Construction on both is expected to begin later this summer and will take about four months. [Arlington County]
Panhandlers Stake Out Turf in Arlington — There’s “an ongoing turf war” among panhandlers in Arlington County, who seek to hold certain lucrative, traffic-laden roadsides and medians. The “war” has resulted in the occasional fist fight and accusations that rival panhandlers are making up their sob stories, which often revolve around being a veteran or losing a home. [Falls Church News-Press]
Free Chips and Guac at Cal Tor Today — California Tortilla locations, including the eatery in Courthouse, are offering free chips and guacamole to customers today. A purchase is required. [California Tortilla]
Flickr pool photo by airamangel
Renderings of Proposed Ballston High-Rise — Ahead of Wednesday’s Arlington Site Plan Review Committee meeting, developers Lionstone and Penzance have released new renderings of the 22-story, 330-unit apartment tower they’re proposing to build on the Carpool site in Ballston. The tower is sleek metal and glass, with a retail pavilion on the ground floor. In a second phase, the developers are proposing to replace an aging, adjacent office building with another 22-story, 362-unit residential building. [Washington Business Journal]
Free Cone Day at Haagen-Dazs — The Haagen-Dazs store at Pentagon City mall is offering free ice cream today from 4:00-8:00 p.m. as part of the company’s nationwide Free Cone Day. [Facebook]
Coalition for Minority Affairs Honors Students — Eighty-seven African and African-American Arlington Public Schools students were honored last week by the Civic Coalition for Minority Affairs. The Northern Virginia group “endeavors to foster high academic achievement through its annual awards ceremony.” [Arlington Public Schools]
Today through Saturday, from 10:00 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., the mall will offer free, full-service gift-wrapping, complete with a variety of wrapping paper, ribbons, and red and pink bows.
The only catch: you have to spend more than $250 at any of a handful of pricey stores. Those stores include:
- Armani Exchange
- Hugo Boss
- Kate Spade
- Michael Kors
- Stuart Weitzman
- Vince Camuto
Shoppers who want to take advantage of the service are asked to bring proof of purchase to the Guest Services kiosk.
From 4:00 to 8:00 p.m., Menchie’s at Penrose Square (2405 Columbia Pike) will be offering one free 6 oz. cup of frozen yogurt to each “fan” who walks through the door, according to a press release.
Froyo freeloaders will also be given a 20 percent off coupon for their next visit.
Menchie’s has 475 locations, including the one in Arlington.
California Tortilla in Courthouse will be offering free burritos to customers on Thursday to celebrate a transition to a new franchise owner.
The restaurant, at 2057 Wilson Blvd, has been closed for renovations and sports a new look inside. On Thursday, from 11:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and 5:00 to 7:30 p.m., all customers can get a free burrito and a drink. The first 20 customers in line get a “Burrito Elito” loyalty card with free burritos for a year.
California Tortilla also has locations at Reagan National Airport and in Crystal City. Those, along with all other “Cal Tor” locatons, are offering free chips and queso sauce to any customer who tells the cashier they voted. The promotion is valid today only.