Expect Early Spring, Says Groundhogs — Updated at 9:40 a.m. — Punxsutawney Phil and Potomac Phil both did not see their shadow this morning and thus have predicted an early spring. Unfortunately, the former Phil is wrong more often than he is right. [CNN, Borderstan]
New County Manager Inks Contract — The Arlington County Board last week ratified a contract with Mark Schwartz, the county’s newly-appointed county manager. (Schwartz served as interim county manager for six months before his appointment.) Under the contract, Schwartz will earn $245,000 in his first year, which is less than the $270,000 annual salary of his predecessor and former boss, Barbara Donnellan. [InsideNova]
WeWork Now Open in Crystal City — The WeWork co-working space in Crystal City officially opened yesterday. The office space is decorated with plush couches, hardwood floors and oversized light fixtures, among other design elements. [Twitter]
Online Plan Review System Up and Running — Arlington County launched its Electronic Plan Review system yesterday, allowing plans for building permits and land use to be submitted, reviewed and approved online. The system is expected to save time and money compared to the previous, in-person submissions, though those submitting plans still have to go to the county offices to pay the permit fees in person. [Arlington County]
Praise for Texas Jack’s — A food critic finds a lot to like at Texas Jack’s, the new barbecue restaurant in the former EatBar space in Lyon Park. Writes Tim Carman: “[Chef Matt Lang’s] moist brisket is A-lister stuff, thick, succulent slices with a pink smoke ring lingering just below a dark outer bark of salt, pepper, smoke and fat, all fused together in a Southern Pride smoker set low and slow.” [Washington Post]
Photo via Twitter/Scott Kelly
Starting this week, four 5K races will be held on consecutive Fridays — April 3, 10, 17 and 24. The races kick off from 2121 Crystal Drive at 6:30 p.m. each Friday, with a course that runs up and down Crystal Drive and Long Bridge Drive.
Registration for a single race is $20. Registration for all four races is $60. Runners can register online.
Drivers should expect road closures in the area during the race.
After each race there will be a post-race party at a local watering hole, with special deals for participants.
More information about the race is available on the Pacers website.
Disclosure: The Crystal City Business Improvement District is an ARLnow.com advertiser
On Saturday, from 6:00 to 10:00 p.m., the ice rink at 1201 S. Joyce Street will host a “Decades Night on Ice” party, in which participants are encouraged to dress according to their favorite decade.
“A DJ will be spinning the best tunes of each decade starting with the 60s at 6 pm, then the 70s at 7 pm, the 80s at 8 pm, and the 90s at 9 pm, through 10 pm,” according to a PR rep.
Admission for adults is $9, for children 12 and under and seniors 55 and up it’s $8. Skate rental, for those who don’t have their own, is $3.
Just don’t expect a throwback to this winter’s cold for the party. While snow is expected on Friday, the first day of spring, on Saturday the high temperature is expected to reach the upper 50s.
False Alarm at Arlington National Cemetery — The Arlington County Fire Department responded to Arlington National Cemetery yesterday afternoon for a fire alarm. Once on scene, firefighters determined that the alarm was set off by the tomb guards steam pressing their uniforms. [Twitter]
Arlington Real Estate Market Profiled — CNBC’s “Power Lunch” program profiled the real estate market in Arlington last week. The program took a look at three properties in the county, from a $364,900 condo in Ballston to a $1,275,000 luxury townhouse in Rosslyn. [CNBC]
Arlington Dems Have Plenty of Beads — Arlington Democrats are trying to figure out what to do with more than 200 pounds of Mardi Gras beads. The party purchased the beads for the annual Clarendon Mardi Gras parade, which was rescheduled and then canceled due to snow this year. [InsideNoVa]
Doorways Fundraiser Planned — Rocklands Barbeque (3471 Washington Blvd) will open its patio for the season on Thursday, April 17, with its annual “Shed Your Coat” fundraiser. The event, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., will benefit Doorways for Women and Families. [Doorways]
Flickr pool photo by Joseph Gruber
Old man winter is losing his grip on the area as spring-like temperatures have finally arrived.
Aside from the sunny, blue skies, the arrival of spring can perhaps best evident by looking at the remains of a formerly two-story snow fort.
The snow fort, built by a 19-year-old Leeway-Overlee resident, once stood 12 feet high. Now, it’s a small pile of “snow rubble,” surrounded by an area of brown grass about the size of the fort’s 11-foot-by-11-foot base.
Photo courtesy @StuNagurka
The Arlington Farmers Market, in Courthouse, will begin its “prime season” on Saturday, April 20.
The prime season hours run from 8:00 p.m. to noon. The expanded hours will be in effect at the market, which is run by Arlington County’s Department of Parks and Recreation, through December.
“The market showcases 30 vendors with a good balance of seasonally available, locally produced, top quality products,” the parks department said in a press release. “Fruit, jams, sauces, veggies, soups, eggs, beef, lamb, bison, pasta, seafood, honey, milk, cheese, yogurt, mushrooms, bread, pastries, plants, flowers — it is hard to think of a locavore item we don’t offer!”
There are some new vendors at the market this year, the press release said, including Shells Yes! Crab Cake Company, Number 1 Sons’ pickles and kimchi, Goin’ Good Eats’ sweet bakery items, and Upper Crust Bakery’s artisanal breads.
The farmers market, billed as “the oldest market in the County and one of the oldest in the region,” was founded in 1980.
“The market was established in response to residents’ requests for a weekly local market, since at that time only Bethesda and D.C. hosted weekly markets,” the parks department said. “From then to now, it has supported local farmers and producers by selecting vendors within a 125 mile radius, cutting down on ‘food miles’ traveled to reach Arlington.”
The unseasonal spring heat is expected to stick around for at least another day. Tomorrow’s high temperature is predicted to be 81, according to the National Weather Service.
On Friday, rain showers are expected to usher in more April-appropriate temperatures.
(Updated at 12:40 p.m.) Just two weeks after several inches of snow fell on parts of Arlington, Reagan National Airport has recorded the area’s first >80 degree thermometer reading in 2013.
As of noon today, the weather station at DCA reported a temperature of 81 degrees. The mercury actually hit 80 yesterday afternoon, as pointed out by ABC 7 meteorologist Alex Liggitt.
The temperature is predicted to keep climbing tomorrow, with Weather.com predicting a high of 90 degrees on Wednesday.
Update at 2:05 p.m. — In another sign of the season, Arlington County paramedics have been dispatched to Arlington National Cemetery for a patient suffering a possible heat stroke. Such calls are common during the summer, but are much less common during early April.
From now until the end of the festival, five participating Arlington restaurants will “serve creative spring and Festival-inspired entrées, appetizers, desserts, cocktails, or multi-course menus.” Last year, no Arlington restaurants participated.
The special offerings are part of the festival’s Cherry Picks program, now in its 11th year.
The participating restaurants are:
- American Tap Room Clarendon (3101 Wilson Blvd)
- Amuse at Le Meridien (1121 19th Street N)
- Epic Smokehouse (1330 S Fair St)
- Morton’s The Steakhouse – Arlington (1750 Crystal Drive)
- Sushi Rock (1900 Clarendon Blvd)
Photo via National Cherry Blossom Festival
It’s the First Day of Spring — At 7:02 this morning, astronomical winter ended and spring officially began. Spring also means longer days. Currently, we’re gaining about two and a half minutes of daylight per day. [Capital Weather Gang]
EFC Has Fullest Metro Parking Lot — East Falls Church has the fullest parking lot in the Metro system, with a 120 percent usage rate. Demand for the lot is only expected to increase when the Silver Line opens. [Washington Examiner]
Playground Coming to Long Bridge Park — The Arlington County Board yesterday approved $186,000 in funding for a new playground at Long Bridge Park, near Crystal City. [Sun Gazette]
La Tagliatella to Open in Shirlington — La Tagliatella, which is starting to wrap up work on its new restaurant in Clarendon, will be opening a second Arlington restaurant in the former Extra Virgin space in Shirlington. La Tagliatella is a global, European-based Italian restaurant chain. The Arlington restaurants will be the company’s third and fourth locations in the U.S. [Northern Virginia Magazine]
Board Approves Neighborhood Projects — As expected, the County Board yesterday approved $2.5 million in funding for five Neighborhood Conservation projects. The funds will come from bonds approved by Arlington voters. [Arlington County]
As the weather gets warmer, Arlingtonians can expect more options for buying farm-fresh produce and artisan goods.
With the expected launch of the new Westover Farmers Market, this year there will be seven local farmers markets for residents to choose from. We’ve compiled the following guide, for your reference.
- Courthouse (N. Courthouse Road and 14th Street N.) — Saturdays — Perhaps the largest of Arlington’s farmers markets, the Arlington Farmers Market in Courthouse is open year-round. Its expanded summer hours — from 8:00 a.m. to noon — will begin next weekend, on April 21.
- Columbia Pike (Columbia Pike and S. Walter Reed Drive) — Sundays — The only other year-round farmers market in Arlington, besides Courthouse, the Columbia Pike market is now operating under the “regular” seasonal hours of 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m., according to the Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization website.
- Clarendon (Clarendon Blvd and N. Highland Street) — Wednesdays — The Clarendon Farmers Market kicked off its 14th season yesterday afternoon (April 11). The market, which is open from 3:00 to 7:00 p.m., runs through the end of October, with its peak summer “high season” starting in May.
- Crystal City (Crystal Drive between 18th and 20th Streets) — Tuesdays — The Crystal City farmers market, operated by FRESHFARM Markets, serves a largely workday crowd from 3:00 to 7:00 p.m. The market will open for the season on May 1 and will run through November 20.
- Westover (Washington Blvd and N. McKinley Road) — Sundays — Organizers of Arlington’s newest farmers market are hoping to kick off its inaugural season on May 6. When it does launch, the market will be open from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Check the market’s new website for updates.
- Rosslyn (Wilson Blvd and N. Oak Street) — Thursdays — The only Arlington farmers market that has its own dedicated concert series, the Rosslyn Farmers Market will be open from May 31 to October 25 this year. The market serves a lunchtime crowd from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
- Ballston (N. Stuart Street and 9th Street N.) — Thursdays — Located at Welburn Square, the Ballston farmers market has the latest starting date:
June 7June 28. The market will be open from 3:00 to 7:00 p.m., through the end of October. FRESHFARM Markets will be taking over management of the farmers market this year, according to Ballston Business Improvement District Executive Director Tina Leone.
On Monday the taste of your tap water may be changing as the Washington Aqueduct conducts its annual “spring cleaning.”
Residents may notice a distinct “chlorine” taste and smell in the water for the next seven weeks. Local water authorities issued the following press release about the change:
From March 26 through May 7, 2012, the disinfectant in drinking water will temporarily switch from chloramine to chlorine.
The annual switch in water disinfection is part of a routine program to clean and maintain water distribution systems in the District of Columbia, Arlington County and Falls Church. During the temporary switch to chlorine, local water authorities will also conduct system-wide flushing to enhance water quality. This program is standard practice for many U.S. water systems that use chloramine during the majority of the year.
The Washington Aqueduct is the organization responsible for treating drinking water — including water disinfection — for the District of Columbia, Arlington County, and Falls Church, Virginia. Local water authorities are responsible for monitoring drinking water to ensure chlorine levels continue to meet safe target levels.
Individuals and business owners who take special precautions to remove chloramine from tap water, such as dialysis centers, medical facilities and aquatic pet owners, should continue to take the same precautions during the temporary switch to chlorine. Most methods for removing chloramine from tap water are effective in removing chlorine. Individuals with special health concerns should consult with a health care provider on the use of tap water.
During this time, individuals may notice a change in the taste and smell of their drinking water. Local water authorities recommend running the cold water tap for approximately two minutes and refrigerating cold tap water for a few hours to reduce taste and odor. Water filters are also effective in reducing chlorine taste and odor.
First Day of Spring / Tornado Drill — Today’s the first official day of spring, though it’s hard to think of the warm weather the past couple of weeks as “winter.” Along with the start of spring comes the start of the most active time for tornadoes. With that in mind, Virginia is holding a statewide tornado drill at 9:45 this morning.
County Budget Hearing Tonight — Arlington County is hearing a public hearing on its proposed FY 2013 budget tonight. The hearing is being held in the County Board room at 2100 Clarendon Boulevard and is scheduled to start at 7:00 p.m. A public hearing on the county’s proposed tax rate changes is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. on Thursday. [Arlington County]
Leonsis Helps Raise Money for AFAC — Washington Capitals owner Ted Leonsis has helped the Arlington Food Assistance Center raise an additional $21,000. Lenonsis offered tickets to his box at the Verizon Center to anybody willing to donate $3,500 to AFAC, which six donors quickly did. [Sun Gazette]
One could hardly have asked for a more beautiful start to March.
As the thermometer hit 70 degrees today — the first day of meteorological spring — trees, flowers and other plants were starting to bloom. From Shirlington to Ballston, from Waverly Hills to the Custis Trail, the colors of spring are beginning to emerge.
It’s no surprise that the blooms are getting an early start. According to the Capital Weather Gang, this year’s meteorological winter was the third warmest on record in D.C.
The official start of spring — the Vernal Equinox — is March 20. The peak bloom for D.C.’s cherry blossom trees, meanwhile, is now predicted for March 24.
Warmer than normal temperatures have many people experiencing spring fever in our area. While the trails and parks are swarming with revelers trying to soak up the sun, it may not be time to get out the gardening gear just yet.
The sporadic 50 and 60 degree days have some bulbs sprouting early and have even prompted a pollen update today. The Capital Weather Gang reports that January broke our string of three colder than average winters. The average temperature of 40.8 was only 4.8 degrees warmer than the normal of 36, but brought us the 17th warmest January on record since 1871.
So with the early sprouting and continued mild weather, is it OK to start gardening yet? Not so fast. According to Manager Carey Fortnoff at Bill’s True Value Garden Center (4756 Lee Hwy), it all depends on what you’re going to plant. Small ground plants could still die if another cold snap occurs. Frost would harm the roots and kill the entire plant. Fortnoff says it’s best to wait until mid-March when the threat of frost has passed.
If you can’t wait that long and want to take advantage of the mild conditions, soil can be tilled and fortified with peat and lime right now. Some larger trees and bushes also may be able to withstand another chill if put in the ground soon. Pansies are also a popular choice for planting immediately due to hardiness. Another popular option is to germinate seeds in starter pots indoors, then move the small plants outside in March.
Fortnoff said although most of the spring planting supplies are already in or on their way, the rush of gardeners hasn’t hit yet.
“February is our graveyard month,” Fortnoff said. “But if you have something in mind you know you want to do, like seeding grass, come in and browse.”
If you do want to get some yard work in, now is the time. This may be the last dry 60 degree day we experience for a while. It’s also a good time to buy gardening supplies while items are well stocked.