Arlington Man Found Dead in Canal — Police have identified the man found floating dead in the C&O Canal in Georgetown as 51-year-old Arlington resident Osbaldo Lemus Bernal. So far, his death has not been deemed suspicious. [DCist, Patch]
Gutshall Steps Up Campaign Against Garvey — Planning Commission member and County Board hopeful Erik Gutshall is stepping up the rhetoric against his Democratic primary opponent, County Board member Libby Garvey. Gutshall, in an email, called Garvey a “failed… career politician.” At an event last night he blasted her tenure on the School Board — saying she did not do enough to address the school system’s capacity crisis — and her alleged lack of effort in addressing transit issues along Columbia Pike, following the cancellation of the streetcar project. [InsideNova, Blue Virginia]
Gutshall Wins Straw Poll Landslide — Those attending Del. Alfonso Lopez’s (D) second annual straw poll event on Columbia Pike last night favored Erik Gutshall over Libby Garvey in a landslide. One could argue that the event was attended by a select group of Democrats pre-disposed to oppose Garvey, but Gutshall captured 88 percent of the vote to Garvey’s 12 percent. The straw poll also asked attendees about the School Board race (Nancy Van Doren – 46%, Tannia Talento – 35%, Michael Shea – 11%, Chaz Crismon – 7%) and the Democratic presidential nomination (Hillary Clinton – 77%, Bernie Sanders – 23%).
Registration Open for Rosslyn Social Event — Registration is now open for City Social, Rosslyn’s annual meeting. The event, on May 11, is open to residents and will be attended by a number of Rosslyn movers and shakers. In addition to live music and giveaways, attendees at this year’s City Social will be able to enjoy wine, beer and a bourbon bar from Barley Mac, which is preparing to open in the former Red, Hot & Blue space on Wilson Blvd. [Rosslyn BID]
Wegman’s Inches Closer to Arlington — Arlington’s favorite unattainable grocery store obsession will soon be closer than ever. Wegman’s is reportedly planning to open a store in Tysons Corner in 2019. [Washington Business Journal]
Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick
Arlington Man Killed in Motorcycle Accident — An Arlington man died Saturday after his motorcycle skidded out of control while he was trying to get on northbound I-395 from Route 236, near Landmark Mall in Alexandria. Altankhuyag Saintur, 26, was pronounced dead at Inova Fairfax Hospital. [Washington Post]
Firefighters Battle Blaze in Cherrydale — Arlington County firefighters were able to quickly extinguish a house fire on the 4000 block of Vacation Lane in Cherrydale early Saturday morning. No injuries were reported. [Twitter]
Shamrock Crawl Arrests — There were no major incidents during Saturday’s Shamrock Crawl in Clarendon, but nine people were arrested for drunken behavior. The Arlington County Police Department maintained a significant presence at the bar crawl — paid for by the organizers — which kept unruliness to a relative minimum. [WJLA]
Another Grocery Store for the Pike? — Arlington County Board Chair Libby Garvey would like to attract another food option for the western end of Columbia Pike, at least for the two years between when the Food Star store closes for construction and another grocery store opens in its place. [InsideNova]
Two Programs Planned at Arlington Mill Center — Arlington County has agreed to lease 9,400 square feet of third-floor space in the Arlington Mill Community Center to two local children’s programs: Aspire! After School Learning and Jane Franklin Dance. Aspire! will have 18 months to raise the funds to build out and lease the space, under a Letter of Intent signed with the county. [Arlington County]
A big new development is coming to the corner of Columbia Pike and George Mason Drive.
The Arlington County Board on Saturday approved the redevelopment, which includes new six-story apartment building with 365 market-rate residential units, new retail spaces and a three-level parking garage.
The “Columbia Pike Village Center” development will close and demolish the Food Star grocery store, along with several small retail businesses. In its place will be a new 50,000 square foot grocery store, 31,530 square feet of new ground-floor retail space and a 22,150 square foot public square.
The public square will “serve residents of the apartment, and the community, as a place to sit, enjoy the surrounding, or hold small-scale events and gatherings,” a county press release notes. “A garden, public art and a water feature are planned for the square.”
In order to accommodate residents, park-goers and shoppers, the parking garage will have 604 vehicle spaces and 152 bike spaces. Additionally, developer Orr Partners will help build new six-foot wide sidewalks and will make streetscape improvements along the Pike and George Mason Drive.
Though the blizzard is long gone, some area grocery stores are still awaiting fresh shipments of milk, eggs, bread and meat to restock shelves stripped bare before and during the storm.
Shelves normally stocked with milk, eggs and bread were empty earlier this afternoon at the Safeway and Target stores on Wilson Boulevard in Rosslyn. Though employees at both stores declined to say much, they did say it may take another day before they can restock.
An employee at the Whole Foods at 2700 Wilson Boulevard said the store had just four cartons of eggs left, and a worker at Mom’s Organic Market (1901 N Veitch Street) said milk supplies were running low.
Some residents also have reported shortages of certain items at the Clarendon Trader Joe’s (1109 N Highland Street). Joe Flinchum, a supervisor at that location, said his store hasn’t received a delivery since last week.
“Our warehouse is really far away,” Flinchum said. “They’ve obviously been impacted by the weather just as we have. We may get a perishable food delivery tentatively tomorrow morning.”
But not every store in the area is out of fresh food. An employee at the customer service desk of the Harris Teeter at 600 N Glebe Road said the store has everything except snow shovels and salt.
The seasonal ritual of stocking up on pre-blizzard household goods began in earnest this afternoon as shoppers clamored for bread, milk and other perishables in advance of Friday’s predicted double digit snowfall. Toilet paper, although not technically perishable, was also in high demand.
“I’ve been doing some recipe planning and planned out the week,” said Brittany Yam at Mom’s Organic Market at 1901 North Veitch Street. The mother of three from Donaldson Run was pushing a nearly full basket loaded with bread, fruit, frozen chicken strips and her daughter.
“You’re taking gamble with the snow,” she explained. “Is it going to be five inches or 20 inches? You have to take the bet and prepare for it.”
By the looks of the basket, she’s betting on a blizzard. And among other items, she’s anticipated the possibility of “cabin fever” and stocked up on baking supplies. “For baking projects, in case we get snowed in,” she said.
At the Safeway at 3713 Lee Highway at Maywood, all the shopping baskets were in use at 1:30 p.m. Meanwhile, at the Giant Food at 3115 Lee Highway in Lyon Village, the lines to the cashiers were prohibitively lengthy, snaking a distance down the aisles and creating a mournful pallor over the customers.
Things were calmer at Westover Market at 5863 Washington Boulevard, but the frequent customers also concentrated on the essentials, particularly the T.P. and bread.
Owner Suki Hicks said in 10 years, “we never close–not for snow or rain or anything. We will stay open.” As for the store’s well-known wall of beer, “and we’re never going to run out of beer,” she said.
Hicks adds that the popular fire pits in the adjacent Westover Beer Garden will be burning as well, no matter what the weather.
The robbery occurred around 11:30 a.m. at the Shell station at 5630 Lee Highway, near the intersection of N. Kensington Street.
According to scanner traffic, the suspect is a white male wearing gray pants and a gray sweater, described as approximately six feet tall and in his 40s.
Early reports said he robbed the station at gunpoint with a semi-automatic weapon and stole $400 to $500. Police said he fled the scene on foot, traveling south on N. Kensington.
A K-9 unit was dispatched from Alexandria to help the search. Police also went to the Rivendell School, which is across the street from the station, to notify administrators about the situation.
No injuries were reported.
Earlier this morning an armed robbery was reported at the Giant supermarket at 2901 S. Glebe Road near Arlington Ridge, prompting administrators to secure the building at nearby Gunston Middle School, according to scanner traffic. So far police have not responded to a request for comment about the earlier robbery.
MOM’s Organic Market founder and CEO Scott Nash was pleased with what he saw at the grand opening of the company’s first Arlington store today.
Shoppers — mostly the regional chain’s target customer: moms — lined the aisles, picking out organic goods and trying free samples. Not bad for 11:30 a.m. on the store’s first official day in business.
Nash explained that MOM’s, which has 13 other locations in the Mid-Atlantic region (the closest of which is in Alexandria), typically targets more suburban locales than Arlington.
“Something that has kept us from opening in more dense urban areas is the parking,” he said. “We are for a walkable community, but we have 5,000 customers a week and most of them are mothers, with kids. They need to drive, they can’t carry six bags of groceries to their apartment across the street. They are the bread and butter of our customer base and we won’t open a store unless we have ample parking for our true best customers.”
The new store is located at 1901 N. Veitch Street, in the Verde Pointe development along Lee Highway and within walking distance to the Courthouse Metro station. It has 100 spaces of free parking for customers, though the traffic pattern to get to the 50 lower level garage spaces seemed to be challenging for first-time shoppers.
Other than the parking issue, Nash said Arlington is an ideal location for MOM’s, thanks to the eco-minded population.
“It’s very dense and we are sure this demographic has a lot of ‘lifestylers,'” he said. “The lifestylers are people who don’t just like organic food, but they have the same moral view that we have.”
That moral view was on prominent display, with signs explaining that the store only carries “green rated” seafood, that none of its cereals market to children with cartoon characters, and that it doesn’t sell conventionally grown produce because of the use of pesticides.
At 12,500 square feet, the new Arlington MOM’s is about the same size of most of the company’s newer stores. Asked about competition from the nearby Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s stores in Clarendon, Nash said that the presence of those stores was actually encouraging, pointing to the kind of market in which MOM’s thrives.
“We feel like where’s there’s a successful Trader Joe’s and a successful Whole Foods, there will be successful MOM’s,” he said. “What sets us apart is Trader Joe’s has about 4,000 items, we have 14,000, and Whole Foods has about 28,000. We’re kind of in between, we’re cheaper than Whole Foods, we have only organic produce, we don’t mix, plus we have great customer service and a very unique, incredible selection of products.”
MOM’s is open seven days a week. Its grand opening celebration will continue through Sunday.
A new MOM’s Organic Market is opening next week on Lee Highway, within walking distance to Courthouse.
The store, at 1901 N. Veitch Street, is planning a grand opening celebration between Friday, Nov. 13 and Sunday, Nov. 15.
“Join us for a weekend of local tastings, environmental activities, henna art and more!” the company said on its website. “Five percent of Grand Opening sales will be donated to Moms Clean Air Force, a community of moms and dads united against air pollution and climate change to protect our children’s health.”
There will also be meet and greets with environmental organizations, like the Northern Virginia Conservation Trust, and live music Saturday and Sunday afternoon from Arlington singer-songwriter (and H-B Woodlawn student) Calista Garcia.
In addition to the grocery store, MOM’s is also opening a Naked Lunch storefront along Uhle Street. Naked Lunch is an organic, vegetarian and vegan-only eatery that serves soups, sandwiches, bowls and raw juices.
Other MOM’s features include free car charging stations, local beer and organic wine, and recycling drop-off for wine corks, CFL bulbs, eye glasses, plastic bags, household batteries and shoes.
MOM’s is located in the new Verde Pointe development, along with 162 luxury apartments and 36 townhouse flats.
Up to 8 inches of snow are expected to fall Thursday, as cold air moves in and rain turns to sleet and snowflakes.
Arlington road crews — about 50 trucks total — are expected to start a “full team effort” to plow and treat roads at midnight, according to a Dept. of Environmental Services spokeswoman.
VDOT, meanwhile, said it has “all hands on deck” for Thursday’s storm. It has a website for residents to monitor snow-clearing progress: vdotplows.org.
VDOT issued the following press release Wednesday afternoon, urging drivers to stay off the roads Thursday.
Road crews in Fairfax, Loudoun, Prince William and Arlington counties are preparing for another winter storm to include rain, sleet, and snow, followed by several days of frigid temperatures that will make clearing roads a challenge. By midnight, more than 3,800 trucks will be staged along interstates, major roads and neighborhood streets.
“We’re asking drivers to prepare now for a long couple of days,” said Branco Vlacich, VDOT’s district maintenance engineer for northern Virginia. “It will be vital to stay off the roads tomorrow, as conditions will be treacherous during the storm. Crews will also need that room to clear snow quickly during the day, because frigid temperatures overnight and through the weekend will mean repeated refreeze of any accumulation left on the road.”
With the storm expected to begin as rain, crews will not pre-treat for this storm. They will treat roads with salt and sand during sleet and freezing rain, and begin to plow as the storm transitions to accumulating snow.
What motorists and residents should know:
- Road conditions will be treacherous during the storm. Drivers should stay off roads throughout the day tomorrow to provide crews as much room as possible to plow and treat roads.
- Crews will plow and treat interstates, major roads and neighborhoods in northern Virginia concurrently.
- Residents are asked to park in driveways or on the odd-numbered side of the street to allow plows room to pass.
- Chemicals are not used in subdivisions, but crews sand hills, curves and intersections to provide traction. For most storms, one snowplow pass, about eight to ten feet wide, is made.
- Repeated refreeze and black ice are likely through the weekend, with single-digit lows overnight and below-freezing pavement temperatures forecasted to persist for the next several days.
Arlington middle schools and most elementary schools are already slated to be closed to students Thursday and Friday for parent-teacher conferences. Arlington Public Schools has yet to make a final call on closing schools entirely on Thursday.
Milder weather is expected this weekend and early next week — but those hoping that spring will be here to stay would be well-advised to remember last year — when a winter storm on March 3, 2014 dropped about 4 inches of snow on the area, lower than most forecasts at the time. That storm was followed by warmer weather then, two weeks later, a St. Patrick’s Day storm that resulted in 7-8 inches of accumulation.
The incident happened just after noon, at the Safeway on the 3700 block of Lee Highway. Police say a man implied that he had a weapon and demanded cash. The store’s manager was able to subdue the suspect and hold him until police arrived.
From this week’s Arlington County crime report:
ROBBERY, 150217009, 3700 block of Lee Highway. On February 17 at 12:03 pm, a male suspect entered the Safeway and attempted to rob the store demanding money and assaulting the store manager and implied he had a weapon. The manager was able to detain the suspect until police arrived. Enkhamar Tserenorj, 19, of McLean, VA, was arrested and charged with robbery and assault & battery. He was held without bond.
Last Friday, just before Valentine’s Day, a man allegedly used a master key and bolt cutters to break into his ex-wife’s apartment in the Columbia Heights West community.
Once inside, police say the man assaulted the woman and her boyfriend.
BURGLARY/ASSAULT, 150214003, 700 block of S. Florida Street. At 11:53 pm on February 13, a male subject gained entry to his ex-wife’s apartment by using a master key and bolt cutters. The suspect forced his way into the bedroom and physically assaulted the 44 year-old female victim and her boyfriend. The suspect fled and was located by police at a relative’s house. Gonzalo Cruz, 45, of Arlington, VA, was arrested and charged with burglary, possession of burglarious tools, destruction of property and assault. He was held without bond.
The rest of this week’s crime report, after the jump. All named suspects are considered innocent until proven guilty.
MOM’s Organic Market — prominent family-owned and operated grocer, and leading environmental advocate — is set to open its first location in Arlington County this summer at the Verde Pointe development, located at the intersection of Lee Highway and North Veitch Street.
MOM’s Organic Market was founded by Scott Nash in 1987 in his mother’s garage, and since has grown to include 12 locations across the Mid-Atlantic. Known for stocking a higher volume of organic produce than any other grocer, MOM’s takes an active role in environmental preservation and public health initiatives in the region and beyond.
A longtime supporter of renewable energy, MOM’s has been fully wind powered since 2005. In February of 2013, MOM’s started harvesting energy from the sun with their first solar panel installation at their Waldorf, Md. location. The new Arlington MOM’s Market will maintain a free customer recycling center in which compost, commingled recyclable goods, plastic bags, household batteries, CFLs, fluorescent bulbs, shoes, corks, and cell phones are accepted. The organization also hosts recycling drives throughout the year for uncommon or hard-to-recycle goods such as electronic waste, eye glasses, denim, and holiday incandescent string lights.
“This is a great location,” shared MOM’s President and Founder, Scott Nash. “We’re excited to move in to the Arlington market.”
In line with MOM’s environmental advocacy, Verde Pointe has been designed and is being constructed to LEED Gold standards, and will have several major sustainable features such as electric car charging stations and individually remote-controlled thermostats so residents can more closely control and monitor their energy use.
The project — to be delivered in June 2015 — is led by award-winning developer McCaffery Interests in collaboration with architect Antunovich Associates, Clark Construction, and Arlington County, and with strong financial support from Cardinal Bank, Burke and Herbert Bank. It is located on the former site of Bergmann’s Dry Cleaning.
Verde Pointe will contain 162 apartment homes in a luxe residential tower as well as 36 apartment homes divided into townhome flats. The development will have close to 250 parking spaces for its residents and grocery store, will begin leasing in March of 2015 via verdepointe.com. In addition to Verde Pointe, McCaffery Interests is internationally renowned for developing environmentally conscious projects nationwide, most notably the approximately 600 acre Lakeside development on Chicago’s South Side.
For more information on MOM’s offerings, initiatives and corporate structure, please visit http://www.momsorganicmarket.com/. All information on the Verde Pointe development and up-coming plans can be found at http://www.verdepointe.com/. Development and contact information for McCaffery Interests and McCaffery Brokerage can be found at http://www.mccafferyinterests.com/.
The preceding article was sponsored by McCaffery Interests
The incident happened around 8:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 5. Police say the man gathered up the meat and then left the store without paying.
An employee tried to stop him, but the suspect punched the employee in the arm, yelled at him and took off westbound on Wilson, according to a crime report.
“The subject is described as a clean shaven black male, in his 40’s, 5’09”, 220 lbs, wearing a black knit cap, black leather jacket, grey sweatshirt, black jeans, and white/black sneakers,” the crime report states. “The store employee was not injured.”
APS Ranked in Top 100 — Arlington Public Schools has ranked No. 38 on a list of the top 100 school districts in America, published by the education website Niche. [WJLA]
Howze Won Pike Precincts — There was a bright spot for Democrat Alan Howze, who lost to incumbent John Vihstadt in a historic County Board election on Tuesday. Howze narrowly beat Vihstadt in the voting precincts along Columbia Pike. Howze supported the building of the Columbia Pike streetcar while Vihstadt vehemently opposes it. [InsideNova]
Preservation Arlington Opposes School Plans — The group Preservation Arlington wants its supporters to speak out against plans to build a new school on the Wilson School site in Rosslyn and to make changes to the Stratford School that would compromise its “historic integrity.”
No Tysons Wegman’s — A deal to bring a Wegman’s grocery store to Tysons Corner has fallen through. That will likely be disappointing to the many Arlingtonians who have been longing for a Wegman’s location closer than Fairfax or Woodbridge. Arlington isn’t the only D.C. suburb hoping for a Wegman’s, however. Reston residents have been calling for one, though the chain’s general requirement of a 80,000-150,000 square foot store with plenty of surface parking reportedly makes a Reston location unlikely. [Washington Post]
Streets Market and Café, a new grocery store in Lyon Park, is now open.
The boutique grocery opened Friday at 2201 N. Pershing Dr. Though the store is small, “this is not a bodega,” said company vice president Campbell Burns.
The store carries beer, wine, toiletries, produce, sandwiches and sushi, which is made fresh every morning at the company’s D.C. outpost on 14th Street NW. (The Pershing Drive location is Streets Market’s second.)
“It’s a full-on Whole Foods in 3,000 square feet, minus the kitchen,” Burns said. “It’s all geared toward the surrounding community. We’re flexible. If consumers prefer a different brand or more variety of a product, we can adjust as needed.”
Burns said the company was thrilled to be in Arlington is already thinking about expanding.
“We’re excited about the market and the neighborhood,” he said. “We think our concept is going to be well-received.”
The development, proposed by Safeway and local developer Mark Silverwood, would replace the current, aging Safeway and its large surface parking lot with a new store, and would build a 4-story, 160-unit apartment complex directly above that store.
Between the store and the apartments, plans call for about 400 parking spaces in an underground garage. From the Bluemont Civic Association newsletter:
The Safeway–Silverwood proposal calls for a building 65’ in height with a footprint that encompasses the entire site. This new “Lifestyle” Safeway, with a height of 20’, would occupy virtually the entire ground floor; four residential stories above the store would contain approximately 160 1-bedroom plus den and 2-bedroom apartments.
Below the store would be two levels of underground parking: the upper level with 190 parking spaces serving Safeway, the lower level with 212 spaces dedicated to apartment residents. Silverwood explained that approximately 10 of the apartments would qualify as affordable housing, and the building itself would qualify for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) gold level certification.
The new store would contain an upscale deli, service meat counter, and a bakery. Extra space would be dedicated to fresh fruits, vegetables, flowers, and other perishable items. A Starbucks would be co-located in the store — with indoor and possible outdoor seating — along with a drycleaners.
Silverwood and Safeway told residents that the apartment development is necessary in order to pay for the new store. In order to build the project, however, the County Board must first approve a rezoning of the Safeway site from “C-1,” or low intensity retail, to “C-O-1.0,” or moderate intensity mixed use.
In a three-way vote, 56.6 percent of the 173 residents at Wednesday night’s standing-room-only meeting voted to oppose any rezoning of the site. Only 18.5 percent of residents voted in favor of the development, while 24.9 percent voted for a compromise resolution that would oppose rezoning “unless we have strong assurances that negative impacts to the neighborhood will not occur or will be mitigated.”
Most residents who spoke at the meeting spoke out against the development. Many expressed concern that allowing Safeway to develop the site would lead to more development.
“I worry that development will continue and destroy the residential character of our neighborhood,” said one resident. “This has consequences for the entire area. I don’t have any problem with the developer wanting to make money, but you really shouldn’t do that at the expense of our neighborhood.”
“This is not just NIMBY [Not In My Backyard],” said another resident. “This is the first step in our neighborhood, and it’s not going to be the last if we let it go. You say NIMBY, but nobody is going to look out for our backyards if we don’t do so ourselves.”
Others worried about traffic, noise, building heights, and parking issues.