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Despite Complaints, County Allows Westover Beer Garden to Continue Offering Amplified Music

The Westover Market and Beer Garden will still be able to offer outdoor amplified music after striking a new deal with county officials, offering a compromise to placate neighbors who remain concerned about the noise emanating from the establishment.

The County Board unanimously agreed to revamped permit requirements for the popular beer garden Saturday (Oct. 20), stipulating that musicians at the restaurant will only be able to play amplified music outside until 9 p.m. on Fridays, one hour short of the current 10 p.m. limit. The Board is also requiring the restaurant to submit a modified “sound management plan” by this coming March.

County staff originally urged the Board to ban all amplified music at the beer garden, arguing that the restaurant had repeatedly violated its noise limits and elicited a number of complaints from people living in the residential neighbors surrounding the location at 5863 Washington Blvd. The beer garden has drawn all manner of county scrutiny in recent years, from its noise levels to its compliance with county permit regulations.

Yet the restaurant’s owners offered to limit outdoor music on the weekends as a middle-ground solution, and it was one the Board happily accepted.

“The Board recognizes that the Westover Beer Garden is a popular gathering spot for the neighborhood,” Board Chair Katie Cristol wrote in a statement. “But it also is close to homes. Arlington’s mixed-use neighborhoods, where we sometimes have commercial uses very close to homes, depend on everyone following the rules to work. By reducing the hours for amplified outdoor music, the Board is seeking to address the violation, while also giving the beer garden a path forward to comply with the conditions of its use permit.”

Several beer garden patrons spoke in support of the restaurant Saturday, noting that noise in the parking lot of the restaurant’s shopping center would often rise to the same level as the decibel limits set on the restaurant by the county. The beer garden has the distinction of being the only establishment in Arlington with an “outdoor live entertainment use permit,” according to the county, and its supporters argued that it’s generally abided by the permit’s strictures over the years.

“There are some things you have to accept as part of a big picture with wherever you live,” Dee Doyle told the Board. “There’s some noise, but that’s part of the bargain… The benefits of this business vastly outweigh any negatives.”

The Westover and Tara-Leeway Heights civic associations both urged the Board to maintain the beer garden’s live music permissions, and the restaurant’s backers argued that only a few disgruntled neighbors were complaining about the noise generated by the establishment. According to a new county staff report prepared for the meeting, county police received 12 calls about noise at the restaurant between April and October, but 75 percent of those calls came from the same two households.

But Thomas McCall, who lives near the restaurant, argued that people living on both sides of Washington Blvd have come together to protest the beer garden’s disruptions. He viewed the depiction of his fellow neighbors as “selfish” for complaining as a frustrating one, noting that he felt the neighborhood had tried to work with the restaurant in good faith on the issue.

“This permit modification allows the music to continues, allows the the patrons to continue to enjoy the beer garden, and alleviates the problems for nearby neighbors,” McCall told the Board.

Yet Bill Lawson, an attorney for the beer garden, argued that “if these guys can’t have amplified music, there’s just no point” in offering live entertainment outside at all.

“If you complain often enough and loud enough, you might succeed in shutting this business down,” Lawson said.

He offered the reduced hours as one way to address the issue, and added that owners David and Devin Hicks would also be willing to offer an independent “ombudsman” to monitor noise levels on a regular basis.

The Board was eager to sign off on that compromise, though many members expressed consternation that the issues at the beer garden have so frequently required their mediation.

“We want to build community, but at the same time, as we grow and change, if people have a nice home and a nice situation, we need to make sure they suddenly don’t hear a lot of music where they live,” said Board member Libby Garvey.

The Board will review the beer garden’s permits once more next October.

 

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Arlington Conductor Trips on Harpsichord, Breaks Hand

Just eight days before the start of its 12th performance season, the National Chamber Ensemble was faced with a potential disaster — the group’s concertmaster and violin soloist broke his hand.

Leo Sushansky, who doubles as the NCE’s artistic director, suffered a “freak accident” Friday (Oct. 12), the group said. Mary Anne Ellifritz, a member of the NCE’s board, says Sushansky was rushing to answer a phone call when he made a perilous decision to avoid a disassembled harpsichord on his living room floor.

“He thought he would hop over it and make it to the phone in time,” Ellifritz wrote in an email. “He tripped on the music holder and went down… He wasn’t aware that he had gotten hurt at first, just bruised. When he went to put the hand under cold water, he saw it the fingers and hand were oddly shaped.”

And to make matters worse, Ellifritz says Sushansky subsequently learned that the call was from the front desk of his building — staff thought they’d received a package for him, but it was actually for another tenant.

“That’s quite a traumatic wrong number,” Ellifritz said.

With the ensemble’s opening concert set for Saturday (Oct. 20) at the Gunston Arts Center, the group desperately needed to find “an eleventh hour replacement” for Sushansky, and fast.

Luckily, the ensemble seems to have managed to have done just that. Another violinist with the NCE, Jorge Orozco, managed to come up with a solution to suggest to the group’s leaders; he had a friend who he thought might be up to the job.

Orozco happened to know that Dietrich Paredes (a touring conductor, violinist and the music director of the Caracas Symphony Orchestra in Venezuela) lives in D.C. and would likely be in town for the concert. After what the group described as “an urgent phone call,” Paredes agreed to fill in for Sushansky.

He’ll now lead the ensemble for the group’s “Masters of the Italian Baroque” program, which will feature work from composers including Vivaldi, Corelli, Albinoni and Pergolesi.

But that’s not to say that Sushansky will be completely sidelined due to his injury — the NCE says he’ll take over as conductor in the second half of the concert, leading the ensemble as it performs Pergolesi’s “Stabat Mater.” The NCE will be joined by soprano Sharon Christman and Washington National Opera mezzo-soprano Anamer Castrello for the performance.

After its performance Saturday, the group will hold four more concerts this season. Its next performance is slated for Dec. 15 at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington.

Season subscriptions to the NCE cost $145 after. General admission is $36 for adults and $18 for students. Group discounts for 10 or more are available by calling 703-685-7590. Tickets are available online.

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New Battle Brewing Over Noise at the Westover Beer Garden

Arlington officials could soon tell the Westover Beer Garden to turn down the volume, with a new round of bickering over live music at the restaurant set to go before the County Board this weekend.

County staff believe musicians at the Westover Market and Beer Garden, located at 5863 Washington Blvd, have gotten a bit too loud on Friday and Saturday nights in recent weeks. With the restaurant’s live music permit up for review once more, they’re recommending that the Board restrict the beer garden from offering any “amplified music” at its outdoor patio for the foreseeable future.

Staff argue in a report prepared for the Board that doing so would “mitigate noise impacts on the surrounding neighborhood,” but add that the beer garden’s owners disagree with that characterization.

This is far from the first dispute over the restaurant’s outdoor seating area, which has frequently attracted scrutiny from county zoning officials. Arlington even briefly barred the beer garden from welcoming live music outdoors in 2010, before lifting its ban a few years later.

Yet, over the last few months, staff wrote that zoning officials warned the restaurant that music was exceeding the agreed-upon decibel limits for the outdoor space. They added that several neighbors had called police to complain about the noise, particularly in June, though those calls all came in before 9 p.m., the time limit imposed by county permits for the beer garden to cut off loud music.

The staff report added that some neighbors have already contacted the county to support the restaurant, reasoning that a ban on amplified music would be “a more balanced approach than revoking the use permit completely.” Westover would still be allowed to offer live, un-amplified music both indoors and outdoors under the terms of the proposed permit arrangement.

The Board is set to review this matter at its meeting Saturday (Oct. 20).

Photo via Facebook

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Longtime Nightlife Venue Clarendon Grill to Close

Clarendon Grill is closing at the end of the month, the longtime Clarendon nightlife spot announced today (Monday).

Long a venue for live music, Clarendon Grill (1101 N. Highland Street) first opened in 1996. Its interior and back patio were both renovated in 2010.

In a Facebook post, the bar thanked its customers for its more than two decades in business.

“When the Grill first opened there were few bars and fewer customers. As Clarendon grew in popularity, so did The Grill. We were extremely lucky to have had the opportunity to be a part of a community that has since blossomed into a vibrant collection of local businesses,” said the post. “Thank you all for your support over the past 22 years.”

ARLnow reported in August that “for lease” signs were posted on Clarendon Grill’s windows. The last event currently posted on the bar’s website is a Halloween party scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 27.

Also via social media, prolific local restaurateur and businessman Scott Parker, whose venues like Don Tito and The G.O.A.T. competed with Clarendon Grill, lauded its contributions to the local nightlife scene.

“Congrats to them and their team on an absolutely amazing 22 year run,” Parker wrote. “People outside the industry often have no idea the true blood, sweat, and tears that go into running an establishment. 22 years in business is no small feat. Absolutely amazing! I’m thankful for what they have brought to Arlington, and how they paved the way for more bars and nightlife to come in.”

The closure represents another blow for live music in Arlington. Another major Clarendon music venue, Iota Club and Cafe, closed last fall.

It is unclear at this point what may be taking Clarendon Grill’s place.

The bar’s full announcement post is below.

So Long, Farewell…

It’s been an amazing ride. Our hearts are heavy as we share that the doors of the Clarendon Grill will be closing for good at the end of October. We were not ready, but sometimes things happen to change the course.

Some of you were around when the doors of the Clarendon Grill first opened back in the 1996 and some of you may not have been born yet. Either way we have truly enjoyed being the go to place for live music in Clarendon. When the Grill first opened there were few bars and fewer customers. As Clarendon grew in popularity, so did The Grill. We were extremely lucky to have had the opportunity to be a part of a community that has since blossomed into a vibrant collection of local businesses.

One of the most unique aspects of the Clarendon Grill is the staff. From our General Manager, to our bus boys, to our bartenders-the staff has remained the same for close to 20 years. That is a reflection of the unique culture and values that went well beyond a typical neighborhood bar. The Clarendon Grill was not just burgers, beers, and live music; it was a family to it’s staff and a “Night Out” for the community.

One of the many things we can be thankful for is all of the memories we have helped create, whether happy, funny, sad or forgettable (purposely or not). Thank you all for your support over the past 22 years.

It’s been a great run, but alas all good things must come to an end. There will be other bars, but none quite like the Clarendon Grill. Some things are replaceable like burgers and beers, but other things are intangible and we will argue that the staff and the experience we provided, will not be matched.

Cheers!

The Clarendon Grill Staff

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Morning Notes

Memorial Bridge Closure Delayed — “Work on Arlington Memorial Bridge was scheduled to close all lanes this weekend, but with the expected arrival of Hurricane Florence, the National Park Service announced that the closure has been pushed back. Now, instead of Friday, the temporary closure of both sidewalks and all six lanes on the crumbling bridge is planned for 7 p.m. on Sept. 21 through 5 a.m. on Sept. 24.” [WTOP]

Economist Food Truck Comes to Rosslyn — Today The Economist is scheduled to bring its food truck to Central Place Plaza in Rosslyn from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. The truck offers “a taste of the future,” including free meatless burgers. Also offered: a 12-issue subscription to the magazine for $12. [Rosslyn]

Bezos and Amazon Board in Town — Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and the Board of Directors of his $1 trillion company are in town for meetings and a much-anticipated speech at the Economic Club of Washington Thursday night. Some speculate the board is helping to evaluate the D.C. area as a possible location for Amazon’s second headquarters, while the company has denied rumors that Bezos will be making an HQ2-related announcement during his speech. [Washington Post]

AFAC Asks For More Cash — “The Arlington Food Assistance Center (AFAC) has announced a special appeal to its donors, volunteers and the public to raise $50,000 to offset the funds lost when the Arlington government reduced its support… In fiscal years 2017 and 2018, the county government provided $50,000 in addition to the base grant of $477,925 to address a spike in families needing food assistance. The additional funding was not included in the fiscal 2019 budget.” [InsideNova]

Iota Book in the Works — The co-owner of the late, lamented Iota Club is trying to raise money online to compile a book showcasing memorabilia from the former Clarendon music venue. More than $1,000 of a $90,000 goal has been raised so far. [GoFundMe]

Flickr pool photo by Tom Mockler

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National Chamber Ensemble Announces 2018-2019 Season

The National Chamber Ensemble (NCE) is returning to Arlington with a recently announced suite of performances covering the Baroque, Classical, Romantic and contemporary periods.

The concerts will be held in Theater 1 of the Gunston Arts Center (2700 South Lang Street).

The NCE was founded in 2007 with the goal of connecting artists and their audience with concerts in a more intimate setting. The musicians share anecdotes about the composers and music. In a statement on the upcoming season, Artistic Director Leonid Sushansky said the goal this year is to take audiences on a trip through various eras to allow them to compare and contrast how the music has evolved over time.

The season launches on Oct. 20 with “Masters of the Italian Baroque”, featuring works by Vivaldi, Corelli, Albinoni and Pergolesi.

Following the theme of “Musical Adventures Through the Time Machine”, on Feb. 9 the series will move into the Romantic era with hits by Tchaikovsky, Mahler, Mendelssohn, Saint-Saens and Dvorak.

The “Viennese Classics” hits March 23 with music by Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven and “The Contemporaries” season finale concert on May 4, which includes the premiere of Alexander Goldstein’s new “Crossover Piano Trio” as well as the premiere of a new choreographed work with Bowen McCauley Dance, set to the music of Igor Stravinsky.

On Dec. 15, the NCE will hold a “Holiday Time Warp” concert that brings the holiday music of the various eras together. The concert will be held at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington (4444 Arlington Blvd).

String players between the ages of 12 and 18 are also invited to compete for the “Outstanding Young Artist Achievement Awards” and a scholarship. Applications are available online and due Nov. 19.

Season subscriptions to the NCE are $135 through Sept. 14 and $145 after. General admission is $36 for adults and $18 for students. Group discounts for 10 or more are available by calling 703-685-7590. Tickets are available online.

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Signature Theatre Cabaret Series to Return With 16-Act Lineup

Signature Theatre’s annual Sizzlin’ Summer Nights cabaret series will return tomorrow (Thursday) in Shirlington with a performance from the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, D.C.

Cabarets run for approximately one hour. Tickets for individual performances are $35 and all-access passes are available for $175.

The first ten cabarets are listed below. The full schedule may be found on Signature Theatre’s website, and performances run through Aug. 4.

  • July 19 (8 p.m.) — The Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, D.C.: It Takes Two
  • July 20 (7 p.m.) — Rochelle Rice: American Remix
  • July 20 (9 p.m.) — Mason Cabaret: An Evening with Stephen Sondheim
  • July 21 (7 p.m. and 9 p.m.) — Bob McDonald: Best of Bob
  • July 22 (5 p.m.) — Monumental Theatre: Flip Flop, A Miscast Cabaret
  • July 22 (7 p.m.) — Nova Y. Payton and Mark G. Meadows: Hotter than July
  • July 24 (8 p.m.) — Awa Sal Secka: Soul Divas
  • July 25 (8 p.m.) — Nova Y. Payton and Mark G. Meadows: Hotter than July
  • July 26 (8 p.m.) — Erin Driscoll: Ladies’ Night

The Washington Post has noted Signature Theatre’s cabaret series for lending the stage to out-of-town performers and promoting cabaret in the D.C. area. The Signature Theatre’s productions are routinely recognized as among the region’s best — they have won 107 Helen Hayes Awards and received 411 nominations.

Photos courtesy Signature Theatre

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Morning Notes

Arlington Named Top Digital County Again — “Arlington County is the No. 1 digital county in the nation for a third straight year. The Center for Digital Government and National Association of Counties 2018 award recognizes Arlington for its best technology practices in areas of open government, transparency, public engagement, planning, cyber security and operations.” [Arlington County]

Robbery in Courthouse — Two men reportedly robbed the Dunkin’ Donuts on Wilson Blvd in Courthouse yesterday evening. The men demanded money and fled the scene with cash but did not display any weapons during the robbery, according to initial reports. [Twitter]

Kaine to Campaign in Arlington Today — Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) tonight “will host a ‘Neighbor to Neighbor’ community conversation in Arlington to engage Northern Virginia voters on the critical issues facing our country and take their questions.” The event is taking place at the Barcroft Park Picnic Shelter (4200 S. Four Mile Run Drive) at 6:30 p.m.

Britney Spears Touches Down in Arlington — Britney Spears arrived at Reagan National Airport ahead of the kick off of her summer tour. Photos and video show her walking through the terminal with a small entourage. [Daily Mail]

Arlington to Pay to Help Retain Federal Tenant — “Arlington taxpayers will be on the hook for nearly $8 million over 10 years to subsidize a lease that will retain the Office of Naval Research in the county. County Board members on July 14 are expected to approve an incentive package that will keep the federal agency in its current 314,000 square feet of office space in Ballston.” [InsideNova]

Suspect Hailed Cab After Pike Burglary — “A burglar made his getaway from a scene in Arlington by hailing a taxi, according to officials. The Arlington County Police Department said the burglar targeted a business in the 3100 block of Columbia Pike near the Westmont neighborhood at about 10:25 a.m. on Sunday.” [Fox 5 DC]

George Mason Drive Detour — A “small detour” will be in place this weekend on N. George Mason Drive “as crews above remove the old half still remaining from the soon-to-be-replaced Carlin Springs Road Bridge.” [Twitter]

White Ford Bronco Profiled — Prolific local 90s cover band White Ford Bronco is the subject of a newspaper profile that dubs it the “undisputed king of D.C. cover bands.” The profile recounts that “at a recent concert at the Clarendon Ballroom, guys in button-down shirts and Birkenstocks pumped their fists to the chorus of ‘Mr. Jones.'” [Washington Post]

Metrobus Delays This Morning — Metrobus passengers reported delays and missed routes this morning, which WMATA says was the result of “bus operators reporting late to work as part of a collective labor action by their union.” [Twitter, WTOP]

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ACPD to Begin Enforcing Clarendon Drop-off and Pick-up Zones Tonight

Arlington County Police will begin issuing tickets as it enforces its new drop-off and pick-up zones in Clarendon tonight (Thursday).

ACPD made the announcement via Twitter this morning. It follows several weeks of public outreach about the new rules, which are intended to stop double parking, blocking of crosswalks and bike lanes, and other bad driver behavior.

The enforcement comes as an event has taken over Clarendon’s Metro plaza.

Make Music Day kicked off at 11 a.m. and is planned to run through through 9 p.m. tonight. Performers include Americana group Know1Else, who will take the stage at 5:30 p.m., and 9:30 Club veterans Skyline Hotel, slotted for 8 p.m.

Make Music Day began in France in the early 1980s and takes place annually on the summer solstice. The event is now celebrated in 800 cities across 120 countries, said Carol Leonhart, co-director of Make Music Day D.C. and co-founder of Global Jam 4 Peace.

The event also featured booths for music organizations like the Songwriters’ Association of WashingtonCancer Can Rock and the Archie Edwards Blues Heritage Foundation.

Melanie Pincus contributed photos and reporting

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Columbia Pike Blues Fest Returns Saturday

The 23rd annual Columbia Pike Blues Festival will take place this Saturday (June 16) from 1-8:30 p.m.

The event is free and will take place near the intersection of S. Walter Reed Drive and Columbia Pike. Singer/songwriter Don Bryant will headline the festival, which features blues, R&B and funk performers of regional and national acclaim.

Performances begin at 1 p.m. with Three Man Soul Machine, who will be followed by Caz Gardiner at 2 p.m. and King Soul Band at 3:30 p.m. Nikki Hill will take the stage at 5 p.m. ahead of Bryant’s 6:45 p.m. set.

The festival will also offer activities in the Arlington Art Truck, a reading from Arlington poet laureate Katherine E. Young, arts and crafts for sale from local artists and businesses, such as Hannah Huthwaite and Marney and Swa, as well as food, drink and booths from vendors and community organizations.

Saturday’s weather forecast calls for near-perfect weather: partly cloudy skies and a high of 85 degrees.

As in past years, the event will prompt several road closures from around 7:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, according to a county press release.

A full list of road closures is below:

  • Walter Reed Drive, from Columbia Pike to 9th Street S. (detour: 7th Street S. westbound to Highland Street)
  • 9th Road, from S. Garfield Street to Walter Reed Drive
  • 9th Street, from S. Highland Street to Walter Reed Drive

Photo courtesy Columbia Pike Documentary Project

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Numerous Local Road Closures Planned for Rolling Thunder

It’s Memorial Day weekend, which means that it is also Rolling Thunder weekend here in the D.C. area.

Thousands of bikers are expected to stream into the area over the next couple of days. The event, intended to raise awareness of American service members who were prisoners of war or remain missing in action, is prompting a number of road closures in Arlington.

The first of the planned closures is on 23rd Street S. between S. Eads and Fern streets. Starting today and running through Sunday, the Crystal City Sports Pub and Crystal City BID are hosting a free outdoor concert series dubbed “Crystal City Thunder,” from 4-8 p.m. each night.

More from the Arlington County Police Department:

Motorists using S. 23rd Street can detour around the closure by using S. 22nd Street (one block north of S. 23rd Street) via S. Eads Street or S. Fern Street, depending on their direction of travel.

Parking will also be restricted in the same location from 3:00 PM Friday afternoon until 9:00 PM Sunday night, except for motorcycles.  Motorcyclists are encouraged to back their cycle to the curb and line up in an orderly fashion to maximize the space.  Vehicles in violation will be subject to tow. If you are towed from a public street, call the Emergency Communication Center at 703-558-2222.

Barrels and other traffic management equipment will be deployed in the area.  Motorists are reminded to follow police direction and be aware of the extra motorcycle traffic associated with this event and the Rolling Thunder Rally.

The police department is also warning of “severe” traffic impacts from a temporary closure of eastbound I-66 Saturday morning, “to allow veterans of the Vietnam War to travel to the Arlington National Cemetery.”

The Arlington County Police Department is informing the public that traffic on I-66 Eastbound on Saturday, May 26, 2018 from 8:15 a.m. to approximately 9:30 a.m. will be severely impacted by temporary closures to allow veterans of the Vietnam War to travel to the Arlington National Cemetery. Route 110 southbound and Washington Boulevard (Route 27) near Columbia Pike will also incur temporary traffic disruptions.

In addition, between 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., traffic in the Crystal City area may experience delays as another veterans’ group is escorted through the area.

On Sunday, Washington Blvd and the Memorial Bridge will be closed to traffic for the Rolling Thunder Rally. More from ACPD:

The Arlington County Police Department and Virginia State Police will close part of Washington Boulevard near the Pentagon on Sunday, May 27, 2018, for the Rolling Thunder motorcycle rally.  From 7:00 a.m. to approximately 4:00 p.m., Washington Blvd. (Route 27) will be closed from I-395 to the Memorial Bridge.

In addition, Arlington National Cemetery will only be accessible from southbound George Washington Memorial Parkway or northbound Route 110.

Motorists should expect large numbers of motorcyclists in Northern Virginia and the entire Washington Metropolitan area during the Memorial Day weekend.

For questions or concerns, please contact Lieutenant Steve Meincke at 703-228-4148.

AAA Mid-Atlantic, meanwhile, is reminding drivers to keep an eye out for motorcyclists during the event.

During the Memorial Day holiday weekend, waves of motorcyclists, as far as the eye can see, will participate in the annual Rolling Thunder procession to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.   As a result, “motorists could encounter possible delays if operating in the vicinity of this event and may wish to consider alternative routes,” warns the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD). With an upturn in motorcyclists in the region this weekend, area motorists should know how to detect and respond to so many bikers sharing the road, advises AAA Mid-Atlantic. For safety’s sake, motorists should also listen for the sound of motorcycles approaching in blind spots during Rolling Thunder Ride for Freedom XXX.

Tragically, “motorcyclists are overrepresented in crashes and fatalities,” highway safety advocates warn.  Advocates point the finger of blame at the rising age of motorcyclists, traffic congestion, and distracted driving as overarching factors in the number of roadway deaths of motorcyclists. Other factors include alcohol impairment and recreational marijuana and drug impairment.  “In 2016, one-quarter of motorcyclists who died had a blood alcohol level over the legal limit, the highest percentage of any vehicle type,” according to the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA). “Data suggest that trend continued in 2017.”

“Across the nation and around the Washington metro area, motorcyclists are disproportionately vulnerable to losing their lives and limbs in traffic crashes,” said John B. Townsend II, AAA Mid-Atlantic’s Manager of Public and Government Affairs. “Although the average motorcyclist rides his or her bike between 3,000 to 6,000 miles per year, motorcycle riders and passengers are ‘about 27 times as likely as passenger car occupants to die in a motor vehicle traffic crash, and six times as likely to be injured,’ research shows.”

Watch out for motorcyclists during Rolling Thunder Ride for Freedom XXX. Motorcycle fatalities soared to the highest level in a decade in Virginia during 2017, according to Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) data. All told, 107 motorcyclists lost their lives in crashes on Virginia roads in 2017, as motorcycle fatalities increased nearly 50 percent over 2016, when 72 motorcyclists died in motorcycle-related crashes across Virginia, according to the 2017 Virginia Traffic Crash Facts report. Of the 1,794 motorcycle riders injured in crashes in 2017, almost half, 830 bikers or 46.2 percent, were age 41 or above. Motorcycle crashes comprised 1.7 percent of all traffic crashes in the state, but 12.7 percent all fatalities.

Flickr pool photo by Brian Irwin

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Free Concert Series Comes to Market Common Clarendon

Market Common Clarendon is hosting a free concert series called “Rock the Loop” from May through July.

The concerts are held from 6:30-8:30 p.m. every Thursday at “The Loop” in the shopping center.

Here’s the full concert schedule below:

  • May 17 – Gary Smallwood (Classic Rock/Blues)
  • May 24 – Shane Gamble (Country Rock)
  • May 31 – Driven to Clarity (Acoustic Covers)
  • June 7 –  Hand Painted Swinger (Pop Rock)
  • June 14 – Chris Bruno (Popular Covers)
  • June 21 – Yellow Tie Guy (Rock/Alternative/Folk)
  • June 28 – Smokin’ Lounge (Pop/Rock/Jazz)
  • July 5 – Brian Weber (Rock/Blues/Folk)
  • July 12 – Elizabeth, Phil & Chris (Rock/Latin/Go-go)
  • July 19 – Nina Casey Trio (Acoustic Blues/Swing)
  • July 26 – Phil Kominski (Acoustic/Folk)

Market Common Clarendon is also offering free concerts for kids each Friday through August, starting at 10:30 a.m. each day.

Photo via Facebook

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Crystal City’s ‘Fridays at the Fountain’ to Open a Month Early

Crystal City’s summertime happy hour event series, Fridays at the Fountain, is coming back early this year.

The pop-up beer garden event was so well received by the community last year that organizers decided to open this year’s event series on May 4, which is a month earlier than usual, according to a press release from the Crystal City BID, which organizes the events.

Fridays at the Fountain will be held every Friday from May through October at the Crystal City Water Park (1750 Crystal Drive), and events feature live music from local musicians. Admission is free, and beer and wine will be sold for $5. Attendees can also pay $20 to join the “Mug Club” and receive a branded, reusable mug.

This year’s event features a new partnership with The Stand, a concession stand operated by The Social Restaurant Group. Visitors can purchase beverages provided by Crystal City Wine Shop as well as food options from a rotation of local vendors.

Additional performers will be announced soon, but here’s the current music lineup:

  • May 4 – Revelator Hill
  • May 11 – Whiskey Pull
  • May 18 – Zach Cutler & Friends
  • May 25 – Gordon Sterling 3
  • June 1 – Big Bad Juju
  • June 8 – Mary El Band
  • June 15 – Revelator Hill
  • June 22 – Jonathan Sloane Trio
  • June 29 – Holly Montgomery
  • July 6 – The Jogo Project
  • July 13 – The Jon Miller Band
  • July 20 – Gordon Sterling and the People
  • July 27 – Big Bad Juju

Photo courtesy Crystal City BID

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Morning Notes

Community Concerns Over Hospital Land SwapUpdated at 1:50 p.m. — Virginia Hospital Centers needs to expand to keep up with patient demand but the planned expansion is in a holding pattern as resident concerns are addressed. “Tracy Greiner, chair of a task force of three nearby civic associations, said the hospital has ‘failed to effectively address three years of homeowner feedback.’ Neighbors — some who’ve been in Halls Hill for three generations, others who just bought in — worry about traffic, nighttime lights and construction.” [Falls Church News-Press]

Beyer Wants Answers from FBI — Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) is requesting a meeting with the director of the FBI to discuss the investigation into the fatal shooting of Bijan Ghaisar by U.S. Park Police along the GW Parkway, to ensure that it proceeds expeditiously. Of note: “Beyer said that Arlington County, where the 911 calls came in, will not release the 911 tapes because the FBI hasn’t given them permission because it’s an ongoing investigation.” [WTOP]

Wilcox to Headline Arlington Gala — “Arlington’s own Amy Wilcox, a recording artist and star of A&E Network’s ‘Crazy Hearts: Nashville,’ will be the featured performer at the Arlington Community Foundation’s annual gala – ‘This Is Us’ – to be held April 21. The evening event will be held at the Ritz-Carlton Pentagon City, with funds raised being used to support the philanthropic initiatives of the foundation.” [InsideNova]

Candy Dispute Prompts Call to Police — According to scanner traffic, police responded yesterday evening to a domestic incident in which “a father is not allowing his kid to have candy and they’re all fighting.” [Twitter]

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County Board Approves Expanded Seating, Music Hours at Westover Market

(Updated at 1:15 p.m.) The Arlington County Board approved two of the new use permit requests from Westover Market last night (March 20).

The market and beer garden sought to expand its current 29 outdoor cafe seats to 102, which was approved unanimously, but with conditions. The requested, expanded “piped-in” music hours were also approved.

“Previously, the beer garden could not play a radio, recorded, or piped-in music in the outdoor cafe area unless it was during the same hours as the live music,” noted County Board Chair Katie Cristol. “Now, they’re free to do so any evening until 10 p.m. on weeknights or 11 p.m. on weekend nights.”

The County Manager’s staff had recommended approving the expanding seating and music hours. The business withdrew a request, not supported by county staff, to expand the permitted hours of outdoor live entertainment.

The Westover Market also asked for a code modification for outdoor fireplaces, which was denied due to “life and safety concerns.” However, other forms of outdoor heating are still permitted.

An amendment was added that Westover Market would be required to have a representative on site at all times to comply with the new regulations and handle complaints. Board members said their votes were in the interest of helping a local business serve its customers.

“We’re losing the uniqueness,” lamented Board Member John Vihstadt. He said Arlington was losing its “funky” character, citing the recent closure of Clarendon’s Iota Club and Cafe and explaining his view that the most desirable neighborhoods to live in in the county are those with more unique neighborhood amenities and going-out options.

A number of beer garden customers spoke in favor of the permit changes during the public comment period. David Calhoun, the market’s bar manager, told the Board that the beer garden is trying to be a good neighbor.

“We jumped through every hoop, every hurdle that we could,” he said. “We’re not asking for too much and we’re always willing to tone it down if there is a complaint.”

Though the new use permits were approved, some Board members acknowledged and echoed the concerns of those opposed to the market’s requests.

Board Chair Katie Cristol said any enforcement of the new use permits would be difficult and would require responding police officers to have very specific zoning law knowledge, such as knowing the difference between amplified, live, or piped in music permissions.

“All of these things somehow have to find a balance,” said Board Member Christian Dorsey, explaining the difficulty in determining how to limit what he said is the only outdoor cafe with live entertainment in the county.

The market at 5863 Washington Boulevard has become an entertainment and drinking destination, popular with local residents and families, but the county has struggled with how to regulate it given little existing precedent for a business of its kind.

File photo

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