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by Chris Teale September 20, 2017 at 4:30 pm 0

A pet store and grooming center will replace a longtime seafood shop near the Lee Heights Shops, according to county permits.

American Seafood at 4550 Lee Highway closed on December 31 last year after nearly 35 years in business.

And while none of its signs have been removed yet, permits indicate that work will be done to completely renovate the building. County planning staff approved the business license for the new pet store on September 12.

The Lee Heights Shops have seen some turnover in recent times, with long-time local stores Bradshaw’s Children’s Shoes and Lemon Twist closing late last year.

Lemon Twist was replaced by women’s clothing and accessories store Lemoncello Boutique. Bradshaw’s still has not been replaced.

by Chris Teale September 20, 2017 at 2:00 pm 0

A new hotel replacing the former Colony House Furniture Store in Rosslyn is starting to take shape, several years after its approval by the Arlington County Board.

The Hilton Homewood Suites at 1700 Lee Highway will be eight stories high with 168 rooms. Below ground will be two levels of parking, containing 102 spaces. The Board approved the plan by developer B.F. Saul in 2013.

As of Tuesday, the hotel’s main structure appeared to be finished, with work continuing inside on the future guest rooms, parking garage, loading bay and front entrance area. The hotel is close to the Rosslyn Vue condo building, but the trees between the two properties act as a shield of sorts between them.

On a web page about the project, B.F. Saul said the hotel is “scheduled to open in the near future.” Representatives with the company did not respond to requests for additional comment.

B.F. Saul said guests can expect “a focus on comfort and functionality” in an extended-stay hotel designed to be “guests’ home away from home while in the DC region for business or pleasure.”

“Sustainability is at the forefront of its design, construction and operation,” the page reads. “The suites offer large work areas, well-appointed bathrooms, digital flat screen televisions, fully-equipped kitchens, and an upscale, yet warm, home-like décor. The hotel will feature 1,400 square feet of highly flexible meeting space, and a best-of-class, 1,100 square foot fitness facility with state of the art equipment. The hotel will also feature a pool, spa, trail bicycles, and an outdoor patio equipped with a gas fireplace and built-in grill.”

by Chris Teale September 12, 2017 at 2:30 pm 0

A branch of Capital One Bank on Lee Highway is set to close later this year.

Multiple readers reported receiving letters from the bank at 5222 Lee Highway — its intersection with N. George Mason Drive — telling them the branch will close on November 18.

And a teller at the bank confirmed the news on Tuesday, saying that with another branch at 4700 Lee Highway, the company made the decision to consolidate its services at that location.

“We have another branch right down the street, so it just doesn’t make sense to have two so close together,” the teller said.

The bank is across the street from a strip mall — the Garden City Shopping Center — and a couple of blocks from the Lee-Harrison Shopping Center. No word yet on what might replace the bank.

A company spokeswoman did not respond to requests for comment.

by ARLnow.com August 25, 2017 at 2:15 pm 0

(Updated at 5:30 p.m.) Arlington County Police are investigating an indecent exposure incident that happened in a rideshare vehicle Thursday morning.

A man exposed himself and masturbated during the “pool” ride, in view of a female passenger, around 9 a.m., according to an ACPD crime report. It was not immediately clear with which ride-hailing service the vehicle was associated; scanner traffic referred to it as both an Uber and a Lyft ride.

The driver stopped near the intersection of Lee Highway and Spout Run Parkway, and police were called, after the female passenger witnessed the suspect in the act. After the ride stopped the male passenger then got out of the car and fled the scene, police say.

The suspect is described as an Asian man “in his mid-20’s, with a partially grown out buzz cut, wearing a black t-shirt, dark blue shorts, with a black backpack.” Police searched the area but were unable to find him.

“The investigation is ongoing,” police said.

by ARLnow.com August 18, 2017 at 10:30 am 0

The Democrats running for Arlington County Board and the Virginia House of Delegates say they are united with the Board in its desire to rename Jefferson Davis Highway and Lee Highway.

Arlington County Board candidate Erik Gutshall and incumbent House of Delegates candidates Mark Levine, Patrick Hope, Richard “Rip” Sullivan and Alfonso Lopez praised the County Board’s stand. In a statement, an excerpt of which is below, all five applauded what they described as “a powerful statement from the Arlington County Board rejecting racism and bigotry.”

The county will need to first obtain the legal authority to rename both stretches of state highway within its borders, an uphill battle in the GOP-controlled General Assembly. But the incumbents pledged to try to do so, so the county can choose “who in our history we want to honor and celebrate.”

Erik Gutshall, Democratic nominee for Arlington County Board, said “I am proud to live in a community that has long shared the values of diversity and inclusion. I fully embrace the County Board’s determination to garner local control of the names of our roadways, as I know Arlington’s delegation to the Virginia General Assembly do.”

“It’s long past time for us to rename highways that were labeled to send a hateful and divisive message to people of color in our community,” said Delegate Alfonso Lopez (49th District), House Democratic Whip. “I look forward to working with the Arlington County Board to make sure they have the necessary authority from the General Assembly to make these important changes.”

Delegate Patrick Hope (47th District) said, “I have long-supported the renaming of Jefferson Davis Highway and Lee Highway in Arlington and commend the Arlington County Board for this bold statement of leadership. I look forward to supporting legislation to grant Arlington and all localities the freedom to rename buildings, roads, and to remove monuments that do not reflect our values.”

“Giving localities the authority to rename highways — like Jefferson Davis Highway — is long overdue,” said Delegate Rip Sullivan (48th District), “This is not about erasing or trying to change history — indeed, we must never forget the evil that led to our Civil War. Rather, this is about a community choosing who in our history we want to honor and celebrate. Arlington County should have that choice. As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, ‘Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.’ This matters, and I applaud the County Board for choosing not to be silent on this important issue.”

“I’m very pleased that the Arlington County Board is committed to renaming the Jefferson Davis Highway, ” said Delegate Mark Levine (45th District). “Changing those street signs will no longer honor the Mississippi traitor (with little or no connection to Arlington) who was President of a rebellious group of states that seceded from the union to enforce and protect their cruel and odious institution of slavery. Street signs bearing the current name of this highway do a gross injustice to Arlingtonians who are loyal to their nation and who abhor slavery. I know the vast majority of us are looking forward to seeing these signs no more.”

by ARLnow.com August 17, 2017 at 5:25 pm 0

(Updated at 5:35 p.m.) Arlington is thinking about renaming two state highways named after Confederate leaders, but needs authorization from the state legislature to do so, according to a statement released by the Arlington County Board late Thursday afternoon.

In the statement, County Board Chair Jay Fisette says the county is “united against racism and bigotry” in the wake of the events in Charlottesville this past weekend.

“Arlington rejects the hateful speech and actions of the KKK, white supremacists, neo-Nazis and the alt-right movement,” the statement says. “We will not allow a resurgent hate movement that distorts history and threatens our future to take us backward.”

The statement goes on to say that the county is seeking legislative authority to rename Jefferson Davis Highway (Route 1) and Lee Highway.

“Arlington is committed to seeking the authority from the General Assembly to rename both Jefferson Davis and Lee highways within our boundaries,” said the statement. “Our legislative delegation is committed to putting legislation forward on Jefferson Davis Highway. Arlington believes that local governments should have the authority to name any roadways within our borders.”

Arlington’s ability to actually get the authority, however, is in serious doubt due to Republican majorities in both the House of Delegates and state Senate. Arlington has previously placed authority for renaming Jefferson Davis Highway on its list of legislative priorities, to no avail.

Fisette notes that the renaming of Washington-Lee High School is also under consideration, but falls under the jurisdiction of the School Board.

The full statement is below.

The tragedy that unfolded in Charlottesville, where three people lost their lives, has shaken the conscience of our community and of our nation.

The Arlington County Board condemns the act of domestic terrorism that cost Heather Heyer her life, and mourns her death and the deaths of the two Virginia State Police troopers, H. Jay Cullen and Berke M.M. Bates, who died in the line of duty. Our thoughts and prayers are with their families, and with the many who were injured that day.

As many yard signs across Arlington proclaim: “hate has no home here.”

It is appropriate, in the wake of the Charlottesville events, that our community and many others are reconsidering the public memorialization of Confederate leaders. This Board has received numerous letters from concerned residents pleading that these leaders of rebellion against the Union not be publicly memorialized – particularly noting Jefferson Davis Highway, Lee Highway and Washington-Lee High School.

Because we are a county, Arlington currently does not have the authority to rename state highways such as Jefferson Davis Highway and Lee Highway. We do have the authority to name local roads, and we exercised it in 2012 to rename Old Jefferson Davis Highway as Long Bridge Drive.

Arlington is committed to seeking the authority from the General Assembly to rename both Jefferson Davis and Lee highways within our boundaries. Our legislative delegation is committed to putting legislation forward on Jefferson Davis Highway. Arlington believes that local governments should have the authority to name any roadways within our borders.

Because it is a city, neighboring Alexandria controls all roadways within its borders. The City Council voted in September 2016 to rename its stretch of Jefferson Davis Highway, and graciously included two Arlington residents in the advisory panel it formed to seek suggestions from the public for a new name. That panel will make a recommendation this fall, and the Alexandria City Council will act.

We expect that the name Alexandria selects will be suitable for our section of Jefferson Davis Highway as well. Anyone in Arlington who wants to suggest a new name for Jefferson Davis Highway can do so on the City of Alexandria’s website through September 25.

While we are not aware of any Confederate statues on County-owned land in Arlington, we support Governor McAuliffe’s recent proposal that all Virginia localities relocate Confederate statues in Virginia to museums, and be given the legal authority to do so.

Finally, the name of Washington-Lee High School and all other public schools in Arlington falls under the authority of the School Board. We know that the School Board will be speaking to this issue in the near future.

Although this is a painful time for us all, ultimately, Arlington’s story is an inspiring one of racial and social progress, of moving forward and overcoming the deep wounds inflicted by slavery, the Civil War, Jim Crow and the legacy of  segregation. Our past can never be erased, but we can and will continue to learn from it.

Arlington today is a vibrant, diverse and inclusive community that treats each individual with respect and champions human and civil rights.

We will not allow a resurgent hate movement that distorts history and threatens our future to take us backward. Together, we will continue to strengthen the bonds that unite us.

Jay Fisette
Arlington County Board Chair, on behalf of the County Board

by Chris Teale August 8, 2017 at 3:45 pm 0

A local woman is appealing for witnesses to come forward after a driver struck her daughter while she rode her bicycle last week.

In a post on Facebook, reader Cynthia Hoftiezer said her teenage daughter was cycling near the intersection of Lee Highway and N. George Mason Drive between 8:45 and 9 a.m. on Thursday, August 3.

Hoftiezer said a car turning right on a red light from Lee Highway onto N. George Mason Drive then struck her daughter and drove away without stopping. Via Facebook:

Please share: If anyone saw the car turn right on red from Lee Hwy to George Mason Dr. on Thursday morning 8/3 between 8:45 and 9 am, and strike my teenager on a bicycle, please call Arlington County police non-emergency number at 703-558-2222 referencing case no. 2017-08050186. While my daughter is ok, the driver did not stop.

Arlington County Police Department spokeswoman Ashley Savage confirmed the details of the crash, and said that the victim “reported that the striking vehicle initially slowed following the crash but did not stop and continued south on George Mason Drive.”

Savage said the suspect vehicle is a white, four-door sedan.

Image via Google Maps.

by Chris Teale August 1, 2017 at 3:35 pm 0

A local nonprofit that helps encourage at-risk children and their families to develop a love of reading will close next week after 28 years.

The Reading Connection, which has offices at 1501 Lee Highway near Rosslyn, will close its doors on Friday, August 11. It will hold its last “Read-Aloud,” where volunteers read to children at shelters and community centers, on Wednesday, August 9.

The nonprofit is dedicated to providing low-income children and their families with opportunities to read and be read to, as well as giving them free books when they might otherwise not have any.

Its volunteers held Read-Alouds at over a dozen locations — mostly apartment complexes — across the D.C. metropolitan area, including at Columbia Grove, New Hope Housing, The Shelton, The Springs, Sullivan House, Virginia Gardens and Woodbury Park in Arlington. Other locations are in Alexandria, Annandale, Bethesda and D.C.

The nonprofit’s director of program operations Stephanie Berman Hopkins announced the closure earlier today in an email to volunteers, which was obtained by ARLnow.com.

“I am so proud of the work we have done together and all of the children we have inspired to love reading,” Berman Hopkins wrote. “The impact our programs have had will continue to live on. Thank you for your dedication to this organization, the Read-Aloud program and the kids and families we serve. It has been an honor and a pleasure to work with you all. Our programs would not have been as strong as they have been without all of your efforts.”

In the email, Berman Hopkins said The Reading Connection’s board of directors reviewed the organization and determined it is not financially viable. TRC’s annual budget was $600,000, according to its website.

Berman Hopkins and The Reading Connection’s executive director, Catherine Keightley, declined to comment on the review, citing privacy considerations for those involved, but Keightley said finding continued funding would have been too difficult.

“What lots of reports are telling us is that funding is going to become more challenging, I think locally and regionally,” she said in a brief interview. “There may be a shift in funding priorities given some of the actions with the new [presidential] administration.”

Prior to its closing The Reading Connection will hold a book and supply sale from Monday, August 7 until Wednesday, August 9.

The email to The Reading Connection volunteers is below, after the jump.

(more…)

by Chris Teale July 21, 2017 at 1:45 pm 0

Construction crews have demolished the Cherry Hill Apartments just off Lee Highway, and a new four-story building is set to replace it.

The three-story garden apartments at 2110-2120 N. Monroe Street in Cherrydale have been razed, as well as two single-family homes next door. The former building had 77 units and was built in 1961 near a Safeway grocery store.

Building permits filed with the county indicate that 79 trees have also been removed from the site. Currently, diggers are removing any remaining walls and buildings from the property ahead of clearing the ground.

In its place, property owner Dittmar will build a four-story apartment building with 93 units as a by-right development, meaning it does not require Arlington County Board approval.

Material advertising the former apartments touted them as a “quiet, garden style community” with direct bus service to the Rosslyn Metro station.

by ARLnow.com July 20, 2017 at 9:15 am 0

Fairlington to Trap Raccoons — Following two well-publicized raccoon attacks in the past week, the Fairlington Villages condo association is taking action. In a letter to residents, the association says its Board of Directors has “authorized management to engage a wild animal control contractor to begin a program of trapping raccoons on the property.”

County Moves Forward on Fairfax Drive Ownership — “Arlington County wants to own State Route 237 (Fairfax Drive/10th St. North) from roughly Ballston to Courthouse. The County Board voted at its July 18, 2017 meeting to request that the Commonwealth transfer ownership of the stretch of road to Arlington.” [Arlington County]

Arlington Mulls Lee Highway Ownership — Now that it owns Columbia Pike and is requesting ownership of Fairfax Drive, should Arlington also consider asking VDOT for ownership of Lee Highway? “It’s an intriguing idea,” said one County Board member. [InsideNova]

Darbys Dish on Their Split — Even friends of Real Housewives of Potomac castmates Ashley and Michael Darby might not have suspected that the couple had split up before revealing it on a RHOP reunion show. The pair, who jointly own Oz restaurant in Clarendon, “still spend time together socially” but as of February both have separate apartments in Arlington. [Bravo]

Road Closures for 5K Race in Crystal City — The annual Crystal City Twilighter 5K race will shut down parts of Crystal Drive, Long Bridge Drive and other adjacent roads Saturday night. [Arlington County]

Photo courtesy “ARLnow Reader”

by ARLnow.com July 14, 2017 at 11:05 am 0

(Updated at 11:35 a.m.) A march from the National Rifle Association in Fairfax to the Dept. of Justice in D.C. is expected to make its way through Arlington tonight.

A rally for the Women’s March from #NRA2DOJ got underway Friday morning outside of NRA headquarters and around 11:30 a.m. marchers embarked on their 18 mile journey. The march is intended to “denounce the false and intimidating rhetoric of the NRA and send a clear message that our movement will proudly and bravely continue to strive for the respect of the civil and human rights of all people.”

The march is expected to reach Arlington in the late afternoon or early evening. It will head down Lee Highway before entering the District via Rosslyn and the Key Bridge.

While road closures are planned in D.C., police say that none are planned in Arlington, as marchers are expected to stay on sidewalks.

“Arlington County Police will be on scene and will monitor for any impacts,” said ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage.

The county’s Office of Emergency Management, however, said “there is a potential for traffic disruption” along the march route so drivers should “consider alternate routes.”

https://twitter.com/womensmarch/status/885861601345142784

Photo (top) via Twitter

by ARLnow.com June 27, 2017 at 3:35 pm 0

For those who want to ring in Independence Day with some backyard pyrotechnics, at least two fireworks stands are now open in Arlington.

With the Fourth of July a week away, stands along Columbia Pike and Lee Highway are offering various types of sparklers, whirligigs and other fireworks that are legal in Virginia.

The first stand is located in a parking lot near the corner of Columbia Pike and S. Glebe Road. The other is also in a parking lot, near the corner of Lee Highway and N. Harrison Street. Both have been offering fireworks at their respective locations, around the Fourth of July holiday, for years.

For those planning a year ahead, such fireworks stands will often offer deep discounts after the holiday.

by Chris Teale June 6, 2017 at 11:00 am 0

A 7-Eleven on Lee Highway in Cherrydale will close by the end of the month, and local residents are concerned for the future of other business nearby.

Multiple anonymous tipsters said they heard the 7-Eleven at 3901 Lee Highway will close. One said the new landlord is refusing to sign a new lease with the convenience store. Former landlord Kostas Kapasouris sold the properties earlier this year, and confirmed in an interview Tuesday morning that the 7-Eleven will close by the end of June.

County property records indicate that Naqibullah M. Ismail bought the shopping plaza and the stores across N. Pollard Street from it in February. The plaza sold for $3 million, according to those records. Ismail, an Arlington resident whose LinkedIn page says he is the CEO of an Afghanistan-based contractor to the Dept. of Defense, did not respond to requests for comment.

Kapasouris also owned the buildings that housed Billy’s Cheesesteaks, Bistro 29 on one side, and the former Drug Fair building, which houses Sun & Moon Yoga, Sterling Frames, Company Flowers and almost housed the NOVA Firearms gun store until its lease was cancelled in 2015. He said the other stores should “hopefully” stay open for the foreseeable future.

Jim Todd, president of the Cherrydale Citizens Association, said that while all he has heard is “second hand or rumor” around the stores’ future, he hopes any possible redevelopment plans are consistent with previous guidelines approved for the area.

“Whatever happens, we hope that any redevelopment that might be coming follows the design guidelines set out in the Cherrydale Revitalization Plan and the Cherrydale Neighborhood Conservation Plan, and promotes the vision for the future of Lee Highway set out by the Lee Highway Alliance,” Todd said. “We also want to express our support for and continue to work with Kostas and all our locally-owned Cherrydale businesses.”

7-Eleven media relations staff did not respond to requests for comment.

by Kalina Newman June 5, 2017 at 3:15 pm 0

The first phase for the upgrades on the intersection between Lee Highway and N. Glebe Road are well underway after construction began March 6.

A spokeswoman for the county’s Dept. of Environmental Services (DES) said the installation of spaces for underground utilities should be done by the end of the year.

After that is complete, utility cables will be transferred underground from the overhead poles. Each individual wooden overhead pole will then be removed and any remaining existing overhead utilities will be rearranged.

Improvements include wider sidewalks, upgraded traffic signals, enhanced left-turn lanes and the installation of left-turn lanes for N. Glebe Road. The area will also get four new bus shelters with real-time arrival information, new streetlights and crosswalk markings.

Currently the construction hours are 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Fridays.

Workers may close a single lane of traffic in one or both directions along Lee Highway, Glebe Road or both during construction. Vehicles turning left or right might also be detoured as construction moves into the intersection itself.

Additionally, some bus stops in the area will be relocated and some sidewalks will be closed or rerouted to allow for construction. Off-street parking in the area may also be reduced in the coming months.

DES says it does not expect any changes to be made to the current design plan for the project.

by Chris Teale May 8, 2017 at 4:45 pm 0

Neighborhoods across the county are getting ready for Neighborhood Day, set to take place Saturday and feature a wide range of events and activities.

The day looks to bring together neighbors to strengthen bonds on blocks and across the county.

This year’s events are:

Jennie Dean Park Historical Markers Unveiling Ceremony
At noon, the park’s new historical markers will be unveiled, followed by a tour  of Arlington Food Assistance Center’s new office at 2708 S Nelson Street.

Seventh Annual Turtle Trot 5K Race
A chip-timed 5K race at Bluemont Park on a certified course. The race begins at 10 a.m.

International Migratory Bird Day Festival
From 9-11 a.m., celebrate International Migratory Bird Day by learning about migratory birds such as hummingbirds and osprey with hands-on activities, games, crafts, bird walks and more. Meet at Lacey Woods Park Picnic Shelter, 1200 N. George Mason Drive.

Lee Highway Alliance Events
The Lee Highway Alliance is hosting three events to celebrate at Woodstock Park, Big Walnut Park and Langston-Brown Community Center.

Tuckahoe Home and Garden Tour
The self-guided Tuckahoe Home & Garden Tour showcases recently renovated Arlington homes that solve common space and design challenges through creative remodeling.

Fairlington Home and Garden Tour
Tour a variety of renovated homes and gardens in Fairlington Village. Tickets are $10 each and can be purchased in advance or on the day.

Remove Invasive Plants
Increase native species diversity by helping with the return of ferns and wildflowers, and the animals that depend on them, in areas once covered in destructive invasive plants. The Gulf Branch Nature Center will host the event from 2-4 p.m.

Zumbathon
Join Enrique and special guest Mimi in a two-hour zumbathon from noon-2 p.m. at Penrose Square.

Tara-Leeway Heights Community Day
From 1-3 p.m. at Big Walnut Park, the Tara-Leeway Heights community will host an event complete with food vendors, games and more.

LBCCA Celebration and Movie Night Series Kick-Off
The Long Branch Creek Civic Association will bring the community together to celebrate from 5-9 p.m. at Troy Park. The event will include a moon bounce, games and activities, potluck dinner, snacks, beverages and an outdoor movie screening.

Ashton Heights Neighborhood Yard Sale
From 8 a.m.-noon, visit the Ashton Heights neighborhood for a community-wide yard sale.

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