Arlington, VA

Morning Notes

Demolition Starts at HQ2 Site — “Roughly a dozen demolition workers from construction firm ACECO were on site in yellow vests and hard hats, along with a couple of excavators, one of which sat on a mound of bricks as it tore down the southeast side of the single-story building.” [Washington Business Journal]

Apartments are Hot Near HQ2 — “The development patterns that are taking place in Crystal City make it a more live-work-play area versus being an office-dominated submarket that has an underground mall… That area is evolving with new product coming online and Amazon making its presence in the region. All of those things have helped generate demand for multifamily housing.” [Bisnow]

New Pool House for Army Navy CC — “Arlington County Board members on Jan. 25 are expected to approve procedural matters that will pave the way for Army Navy Country Club to renovate its swimming areas and construct a new poolhouse.” [InsideNova]

Arlington Eateries Absent from Top 20 List — The new 2020 Washingtonian 100 Very Best Restaurants list does not include any Arlington spots in the top 20. [Washingtonian]

County Pitches in to Route 7 BRT Study — “The Arlington government will toss in just under $40,000 in support of the next phase of a plan to develop high-quality bus service in the Route 7 corridor. Arlington will allocate $39,200 as its share in covering the $560,000 cost of a ‘mobility analysis,’ the fourth phase of the study.” [InsideNova]

Four Mile Run Biz Celebrates 25th — Family-owned car repair business Auto Stop Arlington is celebrating its 25th anniversary this weekend with an event that will include a food truck, beer and wine tastings, and kids activities. [Facebook]

RIP Jim Lehrer — The longtime host of the PBS Newshour, which is produced in the Shirlington area, has died at the age of 85. [Washington Post]

Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman

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Morning Notes

Changes to Stalled Ballston Development — “An Arlington homebuilder is reviving plans to redevelop a church in Ballston with a new proposal for a mix of townhomes and condos on the site… The site is currently home to the Portico Church, but the developer [BCN Homes] could someday replace it with 10 townhomes and 98 condo units.” [Washington Business Journal]

Beloved Former County Official Dies — “Ann Bisson, a long-time resident and former Deputy Commissioner of the Revenue for Arlington County, passed away peacefully on January 7, 2020… In addition to her work in the Commissioner’s office, Ann was very active in the community.” [Dignity Memorial]

History of Royal Visits to Arlington — “If Prince Harry and Meghan Markle ever decided to make their home in the DC area, they’d be in good company. Many members of the royal family have made their way to Arlington over the years.” [Arlington Public Library, Twitter]

Bill Proposes Funding for Local Cemeteries — “Three Arlington cemeteries would receive state funding under a program designed to preserve burial places of African-American Virginians. Del. Rip Sullivan (D-Fairfax-Arlington) has patroned legislation to add the three graveyards – at Calloway, Lomax and Mount Salvation churches – to the more than two dozen statewide that already receive support from the Virginia Department of Historic Resources.” [InsideNova]

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Sholom Harold “Doc” Friedman, the long-time proprietor of the former Public Shoe Store in Clarendon, has died. He was 86.

Friedman’s father opened the store in 1938. It moved from its original building in the 1970s to make way for the construction of Metro, ending up at its recognizable 3137 Wilson Blvd location, where it stayed for decades before closing in 2016 to make way for a 7-Eleven.

“Doc” was a beloved figure for generations of shoe store customers and patients of his podiatry office. He took over the store when his father could no longer work there, but there were no potential successors when it came time for Doc to retire a few years ago.

From a 2015 profile:

Friedman has children and several grandchildren, but none of them wanted to take up the mantle of Public Shoe Store the way he did from his father. His children are all at or near retirement, and the next generation are aspiring teachers and scientists.

“They don’t seem to be interested in it,” he said. “Kids today are into different things, it’s a different world.”

Although his loyal customers will miss coming into the shop and seeing him every day, shuffling deliberately across the store and trying his hardest to find the perfect shoe for each foot problem, he hasn’t thought much about what his next step will look like.

First, he said: tending to his Lyon Village home, which is just a few minutes ride from the store via his motorized red scooter.

“I’m going to clean out all my junk,” he said. He smiles when he’s asked what he’ll miss most about the store, and said only, “I don’t know yet.”

An obituary notes that Doc was a proud Mason and member of Arlington’s Congregation Etz Hayim.

Known and beloved in the Washington area as Doc Friedman, proprietor of Public Shoe Store; the family business founded by his late father, Samuel, and co-owned with his late brother, Joel, was in business for 78 years until Doc’s retirement in 2016. He was a proud Mason, and a founding and lifetime member of Congregation Etz Hayim. Graveside services will be held Thursday, October 10, 1:00 p.m., at King David Memorial Gardens in Falls Church, VA. Family will be receiving following burial with a minyan service at 6 p.m. at the late residence. Memorial contributions may be made to Capital Caring and Relay For Life of Olney – American Cancer Society. Services entrusted to Sagel Bloomfield Funeral Care.

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Local restaurateur Wilson Whitney, 60, has died of lung cancer, family and co-workers say.

Whitney passed away Wednesday, April 10, after being diagnosed with cancer last May, according to his business partner Chris Lefbom and his father Herbert “Bud” W. Whitney.

The restauranteur was behind some of Arlington’s most enduring watering holes, including Rhodeside Grill in Rosslyn, Ragtime in Courthouse and William Jeffrey’s Tavern on Columbia Pike. He also opened several restaurants in Falls Church.

Whitney was born in Tyler, Texas in 1958 and studied construction before finding a taste for the restaurant industry while working part-time at a barbecue joint in Lubbock, Texas, according to an obituary written by his father.

After moving to Arlington in 1988 as the local manager of the Black-Eyed Pea restaurant chain, Whitney delved into his first venture by buying eatery T.T. Reynolds in Fairfax. Then in 1994 he re-opened U Street’s Republic Gardens and later sold it. In 1994 he founded the Rhodeside Grill on 1836 Wilson Blvd which remains open today.

It was at Rhodeside Grill that he hired Adam Lubar and Lefbom as bartenders, later opening Ragtime (1345 N. Courthouse Road) together with them in 2001.

Whitney also partnered with three other Grill employees — Aimee Suyehiro, Stephen Scott, and Adam Roth — to open fine Italian dining spot Argia’s in Falls Church which closed after 18 years in September.’

One of Whitney’s most recent ventures was William Jeffrey’s Tavern at 2301 Columbia Pike, which he opened with business partners with Lubar and Lefbom in 2011. Previously, the trio opened Dogwood Tavern in Falls Church.

To Lubar and Lefbom Whitney was “a mentor, boss, manager, partner and friend to hundreds of restaurant employees over the years,” the two said in a Facebook post last week.

When he wasn’t helming his armada of restaurants, Whitney enjoyed boating on Lake Barcroft, practicing carpentry, and the Washington Nationals, Lefbom told ARLnow.

“He was scheduled to retire in July and didn’t quite make it,” Lefbom said. “I would’ve loved to see him relaxed in retirement with zero stress from the restaurant industry. He deserved it.”

Whitney lived in Arlington for the past 23 years and is survived by his wife Alica Lima-Whitney and two daughters Emma and Clara as well as his extended family: parents Herbert “Bud” W. Whitney and Elaine Whitney and sister Merrie Whitney of Richardson, Texas, brother David Whitney of Montrose, Colorado, and sister Laura Daly of Austin, Texas.

Rhodeside Grill, Ragtime and William Jeffrey’s Tavern were all closed for lunch today (Monday) to allow restaurant employees to “say goodbye to and celebrate the life of our friend, co-worker and boss,” according to social media posts.

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Morning Notes

Icy Conditions on N. Glebe Road — The northbound lanes of N. Glebe Road are closed at Military Road “for an unknown amount of time” due to icy conditions. [Twitter]

County Board Member is Pregnant — Arlington County Board Chair Katie Cristol and her husband Steve are expecting their first child in May. [Twitter]

Long-Time APS Employee Dies — Charles Weber, a World War II veteran who “worked for Arlington County Public Schools for thirty-seven years and served as Principal of Swanson Junior High School and Stratford Junior High School,” has died at the age of 91. [Dignity Memorial]

Scooter Trips > Bikeshare Trips — “In October, when Arlington, Va.’s scooter pilot began, there were 69,189 Bird and Lime scooter trips for 75,425 total miles traveled with Bird and Lime. Meanwhile, Capital Bikeshare – routinely and still considered a success, with lots more potential – had 26,532 total trips in Arlington in October.” [Mobility Labs, Twitter]

Growing Number of $200K+ Earners in Arlington — “If there’s one place in America that doesn’t need a helping hand from Jeff Bezos, it could be [Arlington and the D.C. suburbs]. The Washington commuter area is home to four of the top 10 (Nos. 2, 3, 5 and 6) fastest-growing census tracts of high earners.” [Bloomberg]

Conspiracy Theorists Eye Cemetery — “QAnon believers have become convinced the deep-state cabal has a bunker under Arlington Cemetery, connected to a tunnel running straight to Comet Ping Pong.” [Twitter]

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Friends and family of the Arlington man killed as he tried to stop a sexual assault plan to celebrate his life this weekend, remembering him as a kind, generous and “decidedly decent” person.

Arlington police say 54-year-old Patricio Salazar attempted to intervene when he saw another man, 27-year-old Michael Nash, sexually assaulting a woman near Doctor’s Run Park last Thursday (Oct. 18). Investigators claim that Nash struck Salazar and ultimately knocked him unconscious. Salazar died from his injuries a short time later.

Salazar’s family has organized a memorial service this Saturday (Oct. 27) at a local funeral home. In lieu of flowers, his family is asking people to donate to an online fundraiser that will benefit survivors of sexual assault and gender-based violence, with plans to divide the money between a local charity and an organization in Salazar’s hometown of La Paz, Bolivia.

“My brother was very smart, funny, unassuming and humble about his gifts and talents,” Loty Salazar, Patricio’s sister, wrote in a description accompanying the GoFundMe page. “And, as he showed by his final act of great courage, he was a man of integrity and character, who believed in doing the right thing no matter what the cost. My family and I are at a loss to describe the depth of pain we are feeling. He has left us — and this world — far too soon, because we — and the world — really need heroes like him.”

Salazar’s sister declined a request for an interview, but his family did write in an online obituary that he attended college in Bolivia before transfering to the University of North Dakota, and eventually settling in Arlington.

Will Rubens, a Ballston resident and one of Salazar’s friends, told ARLnow that Salazar had lived in the county for close to 15 years. He first met Salazar at the old Greene Turtle bar in Ballston a few years ago, where they bonded over a shared love of sports, and the occasional beer.

“He was just a really warm, friendly, kind of goofy guy,” Rubens said. “He just had such a goofy lightness about him that immediately put a smile on your face. Most of our interactions were just joking around, and it always kind of made my day. You never knew exactly when you would run into him, so it was always a nice surprise.”

Rubens says Salazar had a passion for international soccer, the San Jose Sharks and the Oakland Raiders. But he was also a guitarist in his spare time, and loved attending local concerts, Rubens said.

His family added in the obituary that Salazar, known to his friends as “Pat,” had a passion for nature and animals and “was an avid walker and always longed for Bolivia and his Andean mountains.”

Rubens says that Salazar would return to La Paz fairly regularly to visit his family there, though he did also have some family around the D.C. area. In fact, Rubens says Salazar had offered to bring him back a memento after his next trip back home, in order to help Rubens complete his collection of fridge magnets from places he’s traveled for work.

“He was supposed to visit his family for Christmas and now that’s not to be, which is really sad… but I think it shows just what kind of guy Pat was,” Rubens said.

Rubens says he “felt like a freight train hit me” when he learned of Salazar’s death, as the two had just crossed paths a few days before his killing.

“I’m not surprised at all that he got involved, I think it was very brave of him,” Rubens said. “But Pat was not the kind of guy where he would’ve rushed in, guns blazing… he had no illusions of grandeur, he was not that kind of guy. But he always would’ve stopped if he saw somebody in need.”

Police arrested Nash this past Friday (Oct. 19), charging him with several counts related to the alleged sexual assault. He has yet to be charged in connection with Salazar’s death, but police say additional charges are likely forthcoming.

Nash is set for his first hearing in Arlington General District Court on Jan. 16.

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Morning Notes

Arlington Losing Big Office Tenant — “BAE Systems Inc. is moving its headquarters to Falls Church as part of a consolidation of its Northern Virginia office space… The move will also further ding Arlington County’s office vacancy rate, which at the end of 2017 was 20.6 percent.” [Washington Business Journal]

Hazmat Situation at Kaiser Permanente — Arlington County firefighters responded to a hazardous materials incident at Kaiser Permanente in Falls Church yesterday. Five people were evaluated by medics and, of them, two were transported to the hospital. [WJLA, Twitter, Twitter]

Red Top Development Groundbreaking Nears — “The Shooshan Co. has teamed up with Trammell Crow Residential on the first phase of its planned Red Top Cab site redevelopment in Clarendon, with groundbreaking slated for early next year. The partners closed Sept. 29 on their acquisition from The Red Top Cab Co. founder Neal Nichols of several parcels along Irving and Hudson streets for a listed consideration amount of nearly $28.2 million, according to Arlington County’s Recorder of Deeds.” [Washington Business Journal]

RIP Lance Newman and Tim Wise — Two notable Arlingtonians have died: “Tim Wise, the longtime president of the Arlington County Taxpayers Association, died Friday in Fredericksburg after a 10-month battle with cancer and heart trouble… Lance Newman, one of four black students who in February 1959 began attending a previously all-white middle school in Arlington… had died after a short illness.” [InsideNova]

ACSO Launches Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign — “Breast cancer hits close to home for the Arlington County Sheriff’s Office, which has launched a campaign to raise awareness about early detection and preventative care. Over the last six years, two employees at the county’s sheriff’s office have been diagnosed with breast cancer.” [WUSA 9]

Forum Planned to Discuss Accessory Dwellings — “A forum looking at current regulations related to accessory-dwelling units in Arlington will be held on Monday, Oct. 15 at 7 p.m. at Central Library. Speakers will discuss how changes made to the county’s housing ordinances in 2017 impact the regulatory process, and will look at whether further changes are needed.” [InsideNova]

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An ’80s themed bootcamp will take place in Rosslyn tomorrow to honor Ralf Hofmann, a man remembered as a passionate advocate for Arlington’s homeless and recent immigrants.

Hofmann, a former General Manager at the Hyatt Centric Arlington who was very active in several local charities, passed away on July 30 after a battle with a rare and aggressive cancer. All proceeds of the bootcamp will go towards a GoFundMe set up to support his wife, Heather, and their two sons.

The bootcamp will be held in Gateway Park (1300 Lee Highway). Sign in for the event starts at 6:30 p.m., with the workout starting at 7:30. A raffle afterwards will give attendees a chance to win a weekend stay at the Hyatt Centric, free dinner at Cityhouse, or a month of free coffee from Key Bridge Terrace. Attendees are encouraged to wear ’80s themed workout attire and plenty of neon.

Hofmann worked in culinary arts for over 30 years, working in the Hyatt Centric as executive chef before becoming general manager. In his work at the hotel, he regularly partnered with groups like the Arlington Street People’s Assistance Network (A-SPAN) and served on the board of La Cocina, a program that offers local latino immigrants a bilingual course in job training and language skills.

“We approached [the Hyatt Centric] to become a partner, meaning they hire our students for internships,” said Paty Funegra, CEO of La Cocina. “Ralf right away pushed to sign that agreement. They hosted our students there in the kitchen, and when he got promoted to operations manager, he approached me to offer more help. ‘I’m here,’ he told me, ‘can I help you in any other capacities?'”

Funegra said Hofmann was one of La Cocina’s biggest advocates, and was active in helping the group fundraise.

“He was my mentor,” said Funegra. “He was very generous, very open. He had a big heart, and cooking was his passion.”

Funegra said that Hofmann himself was an immigrant and that he was very conscious of trying to offer opportunities to others. Hofmann had a large collection of cooking books, which he donated to La Cocina to form the start of their library at their new facility at 3507 Columbia Pike. Funegra said they will be naming it the Hofmann Family Library in his honor.

Kathy Sibert, CEO of A-SPAN, said Hofmann was a driving force behind having the Hyatt host events for local charities and holding donation drives. For those in A-SPAN ready to work, Hofmann made sure there were internships available.

“Ralf was very involved,” said Sibert. “He worked on all of these things. He came to the events and really set the tone with his staff: to be very involved in the community.”

“We thought the Hyatt might be a good relationship, but Ralf really brought it to a personal level,” said Scott Miller, senior director of development at ASPAN. “He was absolutely the first to offer up an internship program, giving people a second or third chance. That was one of our first corporate partners for an internship. There are a lot of hurdles to jump, you had to get that person willing to raise their hand and say, ‘I’ll be your champion.’ Without Ralf’s help, we wouldn’t have had those jobs and internships, and those people wouldn’t have had their second chance. He opened up their facilities. It was his willingness to take that chance and be that champion with them.”

As a manager, Miller said Hofmann was very inclusive and made sure everyone had a voice and felt included.

“It was never a manager talking down to people, it was seeing people eye to eye,” said Miller. “He wanted to make sure people felt comfortable and friendly.”

Miller said whenever someone new would start working at the Hyatt Centric, Hofmann would make sure they had a “coffee break buddy”, someone who could help show them around and make sure they didn’t feel isolated.

According to his friends, Hofmann was also a very smart dresser.

“He would always wear beautiful suits; tailored with a handkerchief,” said Miller. “One time, we borrowed a riser for our open house… When we finally got it back to him, it must have been 100 degrees outside. The hospitality people were out there doing other stuff, and he’s out there in his expensive suit moving it by himself.”

Miller said Hofmann tore part of his suit moving the heavy riser, but that he was dismissive of it.

“That was Ralf; willing to help,” said Miller. “He wouldn’t pull someone off desk duty if it was something he could do himself.”

Photo via Rosslyn BID

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The owner of a vegetarian restaurant that was briefly open in Lyon Park died last month.

Bryan Francis Morrell passed away last Sunday (July 29), according to an obituary posted on a Fairfax funeral home’s website.

Morrell helped found Alt’s Vegetarian Restaurant, which opened this past spring and served up meatless burgers in a space at 2300 Pershing Drive.

A tipster told ARLnow that Morrell was dealing with health problems, but otherwise didn’t provide details on how he died. Representatives with Alt’s did not respond to a request for comment, and the restaurant has shut down after opening its doors in late March.

Morrell was born and raised in Fairfax, according to the obituary, and attended W.T. Woodson High School. After graduating from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, Morrell worked for SAIC, in addition to founding Alt’s.

The obituary memorializes Morrell as “an avid environmentalist and wildlife enthusiast, sneakerhead and technology buff” and says he “will be missed for his stubborn, yet charismatic and humorous personality.” It added that Morrell helped champion the passage of a state law requiring that drivers over the age of 75 renew their licenses in person every five years, after his brother, Darren, was killed by an elderly driver in 2011.

Morrell is survived by; his parents, David and Cynthia; his brother, Matthew; and his “best friend,” Roxanne, according to the obituary.

The family is holding a private funeral, and urges anyone interested to send donations to the World Wildlife Organization in Morrell’s name in lieu of flowers.

Photo via Fairfax Memorial Funeral Home

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Carrie Johnson, a fixture of Arlington County civic life and a longtime Democratic activist, died at the age of 77 this past Saturday (May 5).

Johnson served for years as the keeper of voter lists at the Arlington County Democratic Committee, earning the moniker of “list lady,” and she spent nearly 20 years on the county’s Planning Commission. She passed away at the Virginia Hospital Center due to complications from lung cancer, according to her nephew, Gavin Cahill.

Friends and family members remember Johnson as an intelligent and devoted member of the Arlington community, with a quick wit and quiet confidence. She lived in Ashton Heights, where she worked as a freelance writer after a career as a legislative aide and journalist in D.C.

“Carrie was beloved and respected by several generations of Arlingtonians,” Jay Fisette, who served on the County Board for 20 years, told ARLnow. “She walked softly, yet was as large an influence on Arlington’s civic culture and success as anyone actually elected to public office.”

Cahill says Johnson was born in Milwaukee, and moved to D.C. after college to start a career in politics. She spent eight years working as a staffer for a few Republicans in Congress before joining the editorial board of The Washington Post, where she wrote articles and speeches for then-publisher Katharine Graham.

Johnson moved to Arlington in 1979, Cahill said, and quickly got involved in the county’s political scene.

“She always used to say that she became a Democrat when she moved to Arlington,” Cahill said. “And she never looked back.”

Miriam Balutis remembers meeting Johnson at some sort of Democratic function back then — she says even three decades ago, Johnson was in charge of maintaining the committee’s lists of likely voters, a responsibility she’d hold for years to come.

“She put an extraordinary amount of time and effort into compiling those voter lists, sorting them, knowing what was up to date,” Balutis said. “And we put them to good use. We used to go to the polls on Election Day and track people as they were voting. So by the end of day, we would know who we needed to call, who hasn’t come to vote yet.”

Jill Caiazzo, the chair of the county’s Democratic committee, says Johnson’s efforts went far beyond lists — she credits Johnson’s data analysis work as a driving factor behind many of the committee’s outreach efforts.

“She was never showy in any way, but she was a force behind the scenes,” Caiazzo said.

Cahill says Johnson also joined the Arlington Planning Commission in 1986, and served on it through 2005. Fisette believes she was among the longest tenured members of the commission in Arlington’s history, and he says she mentored a whole host of commissioners to follow in her footsteps.

Johnson counted her prime achievement as the creation of Long Bridge Park, which sits across from the Pentagon, transforming a handful of industrial properties into a popular community space. Cahill said she also did lots of work on planning and zoning issues in Fort Myer Heights, Virginia Square and the Four Mile Run Valley.

“She modeled, through her behavior, the civility, competence and commitment to building this community you need to be in public service,” Fisette said. “She was part of the glue here.”

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Morning Notes

Pedestrian Hit, in Critical Condition — Police closed a ramp to Washington Blvd and southbound I-395 during a portion of the Monday morning rush after a vehicle hit a pedestrian in the area of Columbia Pike and Queen Street. The man was taken to the hospital in critical condition. [WJLA, WTOP]

Woman With Cerebral Palsy Finishes First Marathon — Arlington resident Jamie Watts has completed her first marathon, finishing the New Jersey Marathon in 14 hours and 33 minutes. Watts, 36, has cerebral palsy and started participating in races a few years ago to get in shape for a family trip. She has since worked her way up to half marathons and now a full 26.2 miles. [WUSA 9]

Homebuyers’ Cost Per Square Foot Increases — Arlington homebuyers’ cost per square foot increased by 3.6% during the first quarter of 2018, compared with the same time last year. Those buying homes within the county paid a median $462 per square foot, which is more than in any other Northern Virginia jurisdiction. [InsideNova]

Taekwondo Legend Dies in Arlington — “Grandmaster Jhoon Rhee, the man known as the ‘father of American Taekwondo,’ died Monday after a long illness. He was 86. His son, Chun Rhee, said his father died in hospice care in Arlington, Virginia.” [Associated Press]

Cinco De Mayo Options in Arlington — Ragtime, Pamplona and Bar Bao are a few of the Arlington options for celebrating Cinco de Mayo and the Kentucky Derby this weekend. [Eater]

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