Arlington County Board Chair Libby Garvey will face a primary challenge on her left this year.
Erik Gutshall, a small business owner and Arlington Planning Commission member, announced on New Year’s Day that he will be running against Garvey in the June Democratic primary. Garvey is nearing the end of her first four-year term on the Board.
Gutshall, who lives in Lyon Park and previously served as that community’s civic association president, said he intends to run a positive campaign against Garvey, who drew the ire of the local Democratic establishment after successfully campaigning against the Columbia Pike streetcar project and endorsing independent County Board member John Vihstadt in his two races against Democrat Alan Howze.
“Our county best meets the challenges we face when we are united behind our shared progressive values,” Gutshall said in a statement.
Gutshall is a home improvement contractor and owns Clarendon Home Services LLC. The full press release announcing Gutshall’s candidacy, after the jump.
Photo via Facebook
Thanksgiving festivities will begin bright and early tomorrow when more than 4,000 runners, joggers and walkers hit the streets for the 10th Annual Turkey Trot 5K.
This also means the holiday will begin with road closures around the course.
The race begins at 8 a.m. at the Christ Church of Arlington at 3020 N. Pershing Drive. Police are working with race directors to divert traffic and ensure the course is safe.
According to the Arlington County Police Department, the following road closures will be in effect from 7-10 a.m. tomorrow:
- Pershing Drive from Washington Boulevard to N. Oxford Street
- N. Oxford Street from Pershing Drive to 5th Street N
- 5th Street N from N. Nelson Street to N. Oxford Street
- N. Nelson Street from Pershing Drive to 5th Street N
- Washington Blvd from 9th Street N to Arlington Blvd, eastbound lanes only
- N. Fillmore Street from 9th Street N to 3rd Street N
- 3rd Street N from N. Fillmore Street to Washington Blvd
- N. Bedford Street from Arlington Blvd to N. Brookside Drive
- N. Brookside Drive from N. Bedford Street to Washington Blvd
All roads west of N. Highland Street will close and reopen before those east, due to the direction participants will travel along the course. A detailed course map is available online.
Street parking will also be restricted in certain areas that morning, marked with temporary “No Parking” signs.
Photo courtesy of Arlington Turkey Trot
(Updated at 11:25 a.m.) A car slammed into the front porch of a house in Lyon Park Sunday afternoon.
The crash happened around 1:30 p.m., near the intersection of 4th Street N. and N. Irving Street.
According to a witness, a car was crossing Pershing Drive on Irving when it was T-boned by a car heading eastbound on Pershing. One of the vehicles, a four door Honda sedan, then hopped a curb and ran into the front right corner of the house.
No injuries were reported.
Firefighters worked for several hours to shore up the porch so the car could be removed, we’re told.
(Updated at 1:35 p.m.) The crew behind the new Texas Jack’s Barbecue plans to start serving diners near Clarendon on Dec. 7, giving them a comfortable place to eat while going beyond expected barbecue standards.
The restaurant occupies the former home of Tallula and EatBar at 2761 Washington Blvd in Lyon Park.
The space now is unrecognizable, combining both locations to create a dining room and bar, partially separated by a wall with two doorways and three large, open windows. Both rooms are filled with reclaimed wood and other locally-sourced materials that make up the chairs, tables, bar and wall panels.
“We wanted to just make sure no matter when people come into the space, they feel comfortable being here and really enjoy themselves,” co-owner Steve Roberts said. “We also obviously wanted to focus on outstanding barbecue, making creative choices with top-quality meats.”
This choice meat comes from throughout the United States, including locally. Roberts said it’s all hormone- and antibiotic-free and spends three to four hours in one of two massive smokers.
“It’s what I’ve always been interested in cooking, and that’s what I mainly do,” he said. “My idea is to elevate the dishes you typically see at barbecue restaurants and give people what they aren’t expecting.”
While the meats — including brisket, pulled pork, sausage and pork and beef ribs — will be fairly straightforward, Lang is putting his own twist on Mexican-American fare to create separate dining room and bar menus, though guests can order from either in both areas.
He also had advice for how diners should approach the menu.
“I’d like to encourage guests to share and have them understand the best way to do this is get a plate of barbecue with whatever sides you want and share,” he said.
Platters and meals with barbecue meats cost between $12 and $20. The menu, though it’s not finalized, will also have appetizers and sandwiches, prices ranging from $8 to $16.
Other restaurant amenities include an open kitchen, ADA-friendly tables, accommodations for large parties or communal dining, a room that can be rented for private events, valet parking during peak hours, a bar equipped with outlets and USB ports, and both beer and wine on tap.
The space is also environmentally-friendly, reducing waste by installing all LED lighting fixtures and serving food on traditional enamelware, unlike many barbecue places that serve on paper plates and in cardboard boats.
“Many times, you’ll go into a barbecue place and there’s a lot of waste,” Roberts said. “There’s nothing throwaway about anything we have here, and we’re trying to be as sensitive as we can as far as sustainability and what we’re doing to the environment.”
Texas Jack’s plans to be open seven days a week from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m.
The robbery occurred just after 5 p.m., at the Blue Ridge Partners gas and service station on the 2700 block of N. Pershing Drive, at the intersection with Washington Blvd.
Initial reports suggest that two men robbed the store, with one man displaying a small chrome pistol. Then men took cash, an iPhone and Newport cigarette cartons, before fleeing on foot to a nearby black SUV with tinted windows and Maryland tags and then driving off.
Both suspects are described as black males in their 40s with average builds. The first suspect is described as 5’9″, wearing a Washington Redskins jacket. The second is described as 5’10” with a black jacket and a black ski cap.
No one was injured in the robbery.
The permit is for renovation of 850 square feet of office space into a “fast casual restaurant” serving meatless burgers and other alternative foods.
According to the restaurant’s nascent website, Alt’s is where “people go to eat tasty burgers without the guilt.” It lists the bacon “Altburger” with cheese as a menu item with less than 350 calories and 25 grams of protein.
The permit does not specify when the interior renovation of the space will begin.
Representatives for the restaurant could not be immediately reached for comment.
Hat tip to Martin L. Photo via Google Maps.
The “Cow Flop Drop” game is part of the Lyon Park neighborhood’s family-friendly, all-day Halloween festivities.
A cow named Blossom will wander around part of the park, marked off in an 8×8 grid. Residents will buy a square in the grid and hope that Blossom deposits her droppings in that square, to win cash prizes.
If Blossom’s bowels are uncharacteristically unproductive, a “brave volunteer” will “dress as a cow an lob a water balloon into the field to identify a winner.”
From the Lyon Park and Ashton Heights listservs:
This Saturday, shoehorned in between the Parade of Costumes at 10 AM and the bonfire at dark, Lyon Park will hold a Cow Flop Drop.
Yes, we have a cow. Yes, we have a plan. Yes, there will be games (with cow-themed prizes) and food.
Volunteers will create a grid on the ground with 64 square, and you’ll be able to purchase a square starting at 10:00 AM. Our cow, Blossom, will surprise and delight you as she enters the field at 10:30 AM.
From 10:30 AM until 2 PM, we’ll monitor Blossom’s “movements.” Each time she selects a square, the square’s owner will win a portion of the proceeds from that game. It’s cow chip bingo!
The earliest games will be low-stakes, and you can purchase a square for just a few dollars. Around noon, we’ll offer a high stakes game with each square costing $50. And don’t have a cow — if Blossom doesn’t deliver every 30 minutes, we have a very brave volunteer who will dress as a cow an lob a water balloon into the field to identify a winner!
If your costumed child would like to run a game and toss a balloon, we will offer a few $1 games if you can recruit enough players to cover the entire board.
The aforementioned children’s parade of costumes starts at 10 a.m. Saturday, followed by an “explore a fire truck” event starting at 11 a.m. From 7-9 p.m., the community will hold its annual Halloween bonfire in the park.
The Spring Mill Bread Company is expected to open its doors on Pershing Drive on Saturday.
The bakery’s owner tells ARLnow.com that final preparations are underway and the aroma of freshly-baked bread should begin wafting from the 2209 N. Pershing Drive location in Lyon Park tomorrow.
The Lyon Park Community Center may be open by the end of October, despite some trouble securing a source of funding earlier this summer.
The renovations to the community center are set to wrap up on Oct. 31, but there is always the potential for construction delays, said Jeannette Wick, chair of the Lyon Park Community Center. Wick says she thinks residents will like what they see when the community center reopens.
“The building is absolutely beautiful,” she said.
The Lyon Park Citizen’s Association ran into some legal trouble after seven concerned citizens filed a petition in court against the group’s motion to get a line of credit with Cardinal Bank. Under the agreement with the bank, to get the $600,000 the association might need for renovations, the park was to be used as collateral.
A judge ruled in favor of the petition, saying that LPCA’s line of credit was improperly filed.
The legal problems are all resolved now, Wick said, adding that the association was able to secure a line of credit from First Virginia Community Bank without having to put the park up as collateral.
“They very quickly stepped up to the plates and helped us out,” Wick said.
LPCA is currently using money from fundraising to pay for the renovations, but “once we expend all of our available funds, we’ll have to draw on [the line of credit],” she said.
Fundraising for the community center has been “robust,” according to Wick, and LPCA raised approximately $85,000 for the park in a June fundraising push.
“We did very well with fundraising… people were very generous,” she said.
Little Change to Office Vacancy Rate — There was little change to Arlington’s high office vacancy rate in the second quarter of 2015, compared to one year prior. On a neighborhood level, the vacancy rate was up significantly in the Clarendon and Courthouse area but down in Virginia Square. [InsideNova]
Metro Offers Credits for Friday Mess — Metro is issuing a SmarTrip credit to riders who travelled on the Blue, Orange or Silver lines between 5 a.m. and 7 p.m. The credit is being issued automatically, as an apology for major delays caused by a track power issue near the East Falls Church station, among other Metro snafus last week. [WMATA]
Move-In Date Delayed for New Apartments — The move-in date for the new Verde Pointe apartments on Lee Highway has been delayed. Originally planned for Aug. 1, the building opening is now reportedly expected to take place within three weeks. Would-be residents are being told that building safety inspections are still taking place. [NBC Washington]
Dems Move Chili Cookoff — The annual Labor Day chili cookoff organized by the Arlington County Democratic Committee has been moved this year. The event will be held at the Barcroft Community House (800 S. Buchanan Street) rather than the usual venue of the Lyon Park Community Center, which is in the midst of renovations. [InsideNova]
Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman
Three people and two dogs escaped from a two-alarm house fire on the 700 block of N. Edgewood Street, near Clarendon, this evening.
The fire broke out around 7:00 p.m. in the rear of a three-story house. Residents told ARLnow.com that they rent the house and were playing video games when all of a sudden they noticed a fire in their backyard, which borders the 2700 block of Washington Blvd.
The three people inside the house grabbed the two dogs that were inside and fled for safety, they said. No injuries were reported.
Despite heavy flames and smoke, firefighters were able to largely contain the fire to the house’s back porch and first floor. Washington Blvd was closed in both directions while fire companies from Arlington and Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall battled the blaze.
The county fire marshal is investigating the cause. Residents said they didn’t hear any loud noises before seeing the fire. ARLnow.com spotted a melted electrical meter near the charred rear porch, but a fire department spokesman declined to speculate on a cause.
More on Texas Jack’s BBQ — Texas Jack’s Barbecue, which is replacing the former Tallula and EatBar in Lyon Park, will be helmed by a pair of Hill Country BBQ vets. The 145-seat restaurant will also have a 26-seat patio. It will serve meats that are smoked on site and plans to remain open until 2 a.m. seven days a week. [Washingtonian]
CEO’s $3.7 Million Rosslyn Condo — Gracia Martore, the former CEO of Gannett and current CEO of the newspaper company’s broadcast and digital spinoff, Tegna, has purchased a condo in Rosslyn for $3.65 million. The 4,447 square foot condo in Turnberry Tower (1881 N. Nash Street) features a 900 square foot outdoor balcony with sweeping views of D.C. [Washington Business Journal]
Police Chief Prioritizes Community Engagement — New Arlington Police Chief Jay Farr says he will make community engagement one of his top priorities. Farr plans to “realign how we do business a little bit,” adding more interaction with residents, he told the local Kiwanis Club. [InsideNova]
Arlington Arts Center Director Departs — Stefanie Fedor, executive director of the Arlington Arts Center, is leaving her position next month to head the Visual Arts Center of Richmond. AAC’s Director of Exhibitions will take over as Acting Executive Director while the organization’s board searches for Fedor’s permanent replacement. [Patch]
Rosslyn Employer Leaving for D.C. — The American Psychiatric Association, currently based at 1000 Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn, has signed a lease at The Wharf project on the Southwest D.C. waterfront. The association has about 250 employees. It is expected to move in 2017. [Washington Business Journal]
Flickr pool photo by David Giambarresi
There’s a barbering school within walking distance of Clarendon, and it offers what might be the cheapest haircut in town.
Amid million-dollar homes and trendy apartments, the American Barber Academy has a low profile at its third-floor office in Lyon Park, at 2300 N. Pershing Drive. What the school lacks in street signage, though, it makes up for in pricing: among other services, it offers hot towel shaves for the cost of a large drink at Starbucks.
The academy is owned by master barber Kristen Kelly, who’s been in the business for some 20 years. Kelly, who also lives in Arlington, opened the school in 2014 after realizing that the D.C. region was lacking in schools for barbers.
“And I knew if I opened the school, students would come,” she said.
Currently, Kelly has a dozen students in her first class, which is scheduled to to graduate in the fall. She has also taught advanced-level students seeking to further develop their hair styling skills, she said.
Receiving a degree in barbering from the school take about a year to complete and costs $10,o00 at the college. The school offers the 1,500-hour license, which is standard for D.C. and Virginia, but also works in Maryland where the license only requires 1,200 hours, Kelly said.
The American Barber Academy offers day and night classes and Kelly has students with bachelor’s and master’s degrees. She also enrolls students as young as 16 and has pupils of all ages, including one in his 60s, she said.
And while there are other barber colleges in the area there are two aspects that make the American Barber Academy unique, Kelly said. The first is that the college has a multicultural focus, while many other colleges only focus on a specific hair type.
The school is one of the only female-owned barbering schools, Kelly said, which can be difficult.
“I’m a women-owned business in a male dominant art,” she said. “They don’t expect it to be me. I’m the last person expect to see run a barber shop.”
In addition to being a school, the American Barber Academy is a fully functional barber shop. Kelly offers men’s haircuts for $7 and hot towel shaves for $5.
“If a guy comes here once, he tells his roommates or his friends because you can’t beat our prices,” she said.
And Arlington residents love the shop, she said, adding that there are not many traditional barber shops in the county.
The funding for the half-finished renovations to the Lyon Park Community Center may be in jeopardy.
In November of 2014, the Lyon Park Citizens Association voted to take out a $600,000 line of credit from Cardinal Bank to help fund the $1.2 million renovations. The vote was almost evenly split, with those who opposed the motion saying they were concerned about the park and community center being used as collateral to obtain the loan.
Now, the resulting legal wrangling over the loan has resulted in a ruling that will prevent it from being issued, at least as originally planned.
When the LPCA approved the motion to take out a line of credit, a group of seven residents referred to in court documents as the “Concerned Lyon Park Beneficiaries” opposed the petition in court. Their concerns were outlined in a flyer circulated to the community.
The opposition, filed Nov. 7 2014, states that the residents in question feel the Board encumbered the park “under imprudent conditions,” and that the residents “have reasonable and legal concerns regarding the ability of the community to re-pay this sizeable loan, and the resulting ramifications of a loan default.”
(Encumber is a legal term meaning that the property was placed in position where more than one party had a valid legal claim on it; if the park were used as collateral for a loan, both Cardinal Bank and the Lyon Park community would have valid claims.)
Another court document pertaining to the case dated July 30, 2014, states that “recently two trustees [of Lyon Park] resigned because each refused to sign documents pertaining to a $600,000 bank loan for a planned renovation of the community house. The appointment of successor trustees is far from a routine appointment.”
Since its inception in 1925, Lyon Park has had trustees appointed by the community to hold the deed to the park on behalf of all residents. When a loan is taken out for the park, the trustees have been the ones to sign the documents. Court documents also state that the park has been put up as collateral for a loan at least twice before, in 1925 for $2,500 and 1927 for $3,000.
Circuit Court judge Jonathan Thacher ruled last month that the latest loan was improperly filed. While the decision doesn’t prohibit the Board of Governors from using the park as collateral for a loan, that option is effectively closed to the community because at least one of the seven residents who challenged the Board’s decision in court indicated that he or she would also oppose any future filings, thus imposing burdensome legal costs, according to Lyon Park Community Center Chair Jeannette Wick.
“We are going to exclusively pursue options that don’t involve encumbering the park,” said Wick. “We’d like to go forward without further litigation — we could end up tied up in court forever.”
After the judge ruled, Wick said the Board came up with a table of options which included:
- Raising enough money that a loan would not be required.
- Working with Cardinal Bank to find a way to borrow without encumbering the park.
- Stopping construction completely.
According to Wick, with more than half a million dollars still required for renovations, the first option is unrealistic even with neighbors’ “incredible generosity.” The second option is still being explored, but is proving difficult because thus far Cardinal Bank has insisted on collateral. Wick described the third option as undesirable for several reasons.
“It would be bad for the neighborhood, it’s costly to stop construction and having an unfinished building on our property creates an attractive nuisance for thefts and squatters,” said Wick. “Right now, we’re searching for some sort of happy medium between option one and option three.”
Wick estimates residents have donated about $500,000 towards the project thus far, including roughly $85,000 since June 1.
“Everyone that I have talked to has been united in the view that ‘It’s halfway done, we need to move forward,'” said Wick. “If you look at the donation map, giving has been robust throughout the community — this isn’t a project where it’s a one-man show or only a few people want it.”
Kevin Baer, a resident who opposed putting the park up as collateral, said that he and other concerned residents “look forward to continuing to work together in the neighborhood to find a prudent way forward.”
The renovations to the center, currently in progress, include making the building ADA compliant, adding a sun room, and improving the kitchen and bathrooms.
Eclectic Threads, the vintage consignment, furniture and clothing store in Lyon Park, is closing in June.
The shop, at the corner of Washington Blvd and Pershing Drive, has been open since 1982, owner Sheila Selario told ARLnow.com today. It’s combined with Corner Cupboard, and Selario runs the two stores with her daughter, Tara.
The building’s being sold, Selario said, prompting the closure. Everything in the shop — a mix of knick-knacks, furs, lamps and pretty much anything else that can fit through the door — is 20 percent off for now, but the sale could go up before Eclectic Threads shuts down.
“If the public hasn’t come in yet, now’s the time,” Selario said.
The store opened as consignment 33 years ago before growing in scope. Selario said she’s going to use her time now to “catch up on things” she missed while running the business.
“I’m really going to miss it,” she said. “It’s been a wonderful experience.”