On the ground in D.C., Maryland and Virginia

Archive for December 2010

Crumbs in Clarendon will open Thursday

December 28, 2010 - 12:04 PM
Crumbs Bake Shop in Clarendon. (Photo: TBD Staff)

Giant cupcake fans, take note. Clarendon's very own Crumbs Bake Shop will open its doors Thursday, Dec. 30, according to its Facebook page. 

As expected, the New York-based cupcakery will also be doing its traditional 1,000 cupcake giveaway to mark the opening of the Clarendon store, which is located at 2839 Clarendon Boulevard. The freebie fest, which usually happens the first Saturday after a store opens, is scheduled for Jan. 8 given that the first Saturday after the opening is New Year's Day.

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Views at Clarendon lawsuit: 'There might not be a next step'

December 28, 2010 - 11:54 AM
Views at Clarendon
A legal challenge to an affordable housing project planned for the Views at Clarendon may have come to an end. (Photo: TBD Staff)

A federal appeals court threw out the latest challenge against a Clarendon affordable housing project last week, as ARLNow reported yesterday, and now the man who has been fighting to prevent the development for the past year is weighing his options.

Peter Glassman, who lives not far from the site where Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing is building the 116-unit Views at Clarendon, first filed the legal challenge to the development in November 2009. His suit argued that the relationship between Arlington County and the property owner, the First Baptist Church of Clarendon, was too cozy under separation of church and state rules.

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Arlington's Christmas tree pickup starts Jan. 3

December 27, 2010 - 05:16 PM
Christmas Tree
Don't bother shoving that tree into a hatch-back like this one. Arlington will pick it up for you! (Photo: TBD Staff)

Christmas tree recycling will begin Jan. 3 in Arlington, when the county starts picking up the old trees along its usual garbage and recycling collection routes. Houses and townhouses that have county garbage collection should put trees out on no later than 6 a.m. on their trash days.

For apartment and condominium residents, recycling your tree means bringing it down to the Solid Waste Bureau at the Arlington Trades Center, 4300 South 29th Street. Trees can be dropped off any time on Saturday, or by appointment Monday through Friday.

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Shaw Library named Best of 2010's architecture by Wall Street Journal

December 27, 2010 - 04:55 PM
Watha T. Daniel/Shaw Library
Watha T. Daniel/Shaw Library. (Photo: TBD Staff)

If you care a lot about what The Wall Street Journal thinks about architecture (and heck, they do still employ Ada Louise Huxtable), you may be pleased to learn that the paper has chosen one of the Shaw neighborhood's newest buildings to honor as some of the "Best Architecture of 2010."

The WSJ chose to highlight innovative civic projects this year, thus the inclusion of a lowly neighborhood library. The MIT Media Lab in Cambridge, Mass. and the Brooklyn Bridge Park were also singled out. Here's what critic Julie V. Iovine had to say about D.C.'s entry:

In Washington, D.C., the beacon-bright Watha T. Daniel/Shaw Library designed by Davis Brody Bond Aedas is shaped into a dynamically jutting prow that is a far cry from the inward-turned, windowless brick models of yesteryear. The architecture—utilitarian but inventive, and with a green roof and 20-foot-tall central space—says much about the priorities and the programs going on inside libraries, where media-related services, community meeting spaces and teen rooms are becoming the norm as the former safe havens for books and bookworms turn themselves into interactive civic centers. The library, which opened in August, represents a new approach also seen in others under construction in many cities; some 18 are in the works in New York alone. It's an impressive trend.

Of course, the new Shaw library hasn't just been an architectural success. It's also boosted circulation numbers for D.C. Public Library. Not missing a beat on a chance to capitalize on good press, Chief Librarian Ginnie Cooper issued a statement to that effect Monday afternoon: "Since we began improving libraries, District residents have visited and checked out books in numbers not seen here in decades. Now people across the country know that the nation's capital has world-class libraries," Cooper said.

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Wind fells newspaper boxes, banners, everything else (Photo)

December 27, 2010 - 04:00 PM
Newspaper Caddies
The wind has taken down even the heaviest of items today. (Photo: TBD Staff)

Today's windy weather has taken its toll on pretty much everything not bolted down out there, and newspapers boxes (especially the ones made of plastic) and other promotional materials are no exception.

A walk up Wilson Boulevard from Rosslyn revealed missing Rosslyn banners, overturned cones, and signs sliding along the pavement. This corner by Cosi in Court House has suffered several casualties.

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GRAB: What's Your Agenda?

December 27, 2010 - 03:30 PM
(Image: Courtesy of GRAB)

Name: GRAB (GRaffiti ABatement Partners, Inc.)

Members: One part-time executive director and an eight-member board of directors.

Agenda: “We are communities, businesses, and government working together to eliminate graffiti and vandalism in Montgomery County,” says executive director Kathy Paunil. “… It kind of degrades the neighborhood, when you see graffiti in areas.”

Founded: 1996

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D.C. power outage affecting more than 2,500 customers

December 27, 2010 - 12:50 PM

UPDATE 9:30 p.m.: Pepco was reporting 179 customers without power as of Monday evening, the Washington Post reports.


High winds are also wreaking havoc on power lines in the District today, as Pepco is now reporting that more than 2,500 D.C. customers are without power, many of them in Northeast. In Montgomery County there are about 900 Pepco customers affected by outages, according to Pepco spokesman Andre Francis.

The District's outages spiked early this afternoon, when incidents caused by the wind affected two feeder lines, Francis says. "It's all wind related right now," he says.

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Rosslyn Commons groundbreaking set for Jan. 25

December 27, 2010 - 12:12 PM
Rosslyn Commons
JBG is breaking ground on a 474-unit residential development on this site in Rosslyn next month. (Photo: TBD Staff)

Break out the shiny shovels and trucked-in dirt pile: JBG is breaking ground on a new residential development in Rosslyn Jan. 25. We brought you the news last month that JBG would break ground on its Rosslyn Commons residential development in January, and now that date has officially been set, JBG officials confirmed today.

Rosslyn Commons will be the first, but certainly not the last, building to break ground in the neighborhood in 2011.

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Power outage affecting more than 1,300 in Arlington

December 27, 2010 - 10:26 AM
Wind is taking its toll on power lines (and holiday decorations) around Arlington this morning. (Photo: TBD Staff)

Update, 12:30 p.m.: Power has been restored to all but 20 residences in the area, Dominion is reporting.

This morning's blustery winds have knocked down power lines in South Arlington, leaving more than 1,300 customers without power. The outages are mainly clustered in the Arlington Ridge and Aurora Highlands neighborhoods just west of Crystal City.

Dominion spokesperson David Botkins says that crews are on the scene and expect to restore power by 1 p.m.

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D.C. Police say hold off on putting gift boxes in the trash

December 27, 2010 - 08:25 AM
Trash cans in D.C.
(Photo: Courtesy dc.gov)

Did you get a new flat-screen television or an iPad for Christmas? Be careful about putting the boxes they came in into the trash too early. D.C. police say burglars are targeting homes by figuring out which expensive gifts residents got via their garbage.

"Avoid becoming an easy target for post-holiday burglars by not leaving boxes for new electronics and other items in the alley or other garbage pick-up locations for several days at a time," reads an email sent by Metropolitan Police Officer K.A. Sodimu to local police listservs over the holiday. "Instead, break down any boxes you are throwing out, put them in garbage bags and place them inside a trash can. (In many cases, especially with computer equipment, you might consider keeping the boxes for safe storage, shipping or moving in the future.) Think about keeping broken-down boxes inside – in a garage, for example – until the evening before your regular garbage pick-up. Some burglars actually look inside garbage cans for evidence of holiday gifts."

Trash pickup schedules in the District are unaffected by the holidays this week, so regular collection days apply.

Burglaries in D.C. are up 13 percent over last year, according to MPD crime stats.

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Silver Spring Library bridge: Necessary or bad design? (Poll)

December 27, 2010 - 07:55 AM
Silver Spring Library
A pedestrian bridge would connect the Wayne Avenue garage to the library building's third floor. (Image: Courtesy of The Lukmire Partnership)

Sometimes you get to make your case twice. Such is the case for proponents of building a pedestrian bridge linking the new Silver Spring Library to a parking garage.

The bridge was voted down by the Montgomery County Council last year by no small margin (8 to 1), but now the proposal has been revived, and with it, the arguments for and against the bridge.

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Last-minute Christmas tree shopping? It's slim pickings (Photo)

December 24, 2010 - 01:08 PM
Christmas Trees
These sad little trees will never fulfill their Christmas purpose! (Photo: TBD Staff)

Listen, we're all busy people and sometimes leaving a Christmas tree purchase to the last minute means you can score a deal, but you're just out of luck in D.C. today — many of the tree lots are either sold out of trees or just shut down altogether.

But in my hunt for a cheap, sad Charlie Brown Christmas tree, I did come upon a couple of leftovers in a lot at 9th Street and Massachusetts Avenue NW. It's too bad that the lot was closed and had no sign carrying a business name or phone number, because there was at least one person who wanted to show some love to those forgotten trees.

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Impulse Buys: Wine bottle statues

December 24, 2010 - 12:02 PM
wine bottle statues
Jazz up your wine bottles with these caddy statues from D'vines in Columbia Heights. (Photo: TBD Staff)

Snapshots of the wild, weird, and wonderful things you can buy in the D.C. area.

Product: Wine caddy steel statues by H&K Sculptures

Available at: D'vines, 3103 14th St. NW.

Cost: $60 to $85, depending on the model

Why you might want it: As last-minute gift ideas go, no one will see this coming. A solid option for the wine lover in your life who already has every single wine-related gizmo and gadget. Also good for anyone who adores whimsical, steel-based crafts.

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Photo: Downtown D.C. Christmas Eve ghost town

December 24, 2010 - 09:58 AM
Where is everybody? Oh right, it's Christmas Eve. (Photo: TBD Staff)

My favorite part about spending Christmas in D.C. is the freakish quiet. No lines, no traffic, and the small number of people you do see on the street are exceptionally friendly. We're in this together!

It's a rare Friday morning commute when you can stand in the middle of 11th Street near Metro Center and not see a single car coming in either direction.

More good news for anyone planning to make their way downtown this morning: the Department of Public Works has gone ahead and suspended enforcement of parking meters, residential parking, rush hour lane restrictions, and towing both today and Saturday, Dec. 24 and 25. (Those same rules will also apply Friday and Saturday, December 31 and January 1, FYI.)

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Arlington to get 16 more Bikeshare stations (Poll)

December 24, 2010 - 07:32 AM
Bikeshare bikes
More Capital Bikeshare bikes will come to Rosslyn next year. (Photo: TBD Staff)

We've known for a while that Arlington wants to bring more Capital Bikeshare stations to the county, but what we didn't know was when or where. Now the folks over at CaBi, along with BikeArlington, have released plans to put up 16 new stations in Arlington's Rosslyn-Ballston corridor (D.C. will also get 20 additional stations).

Most likely, the first of the new Arlington stations will be in Rosslyn, according to BikeArlington's Tim Kelley. "Rosslyn will definitely be the first place they'll go because of the connectivity to Georgetown and the rest of D.C.," Kelley tells TBD in an email. "We've been looking at a number of potential sites but don't have anything set in stone."

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Real-time Ride On bus updates available soon

December 23, 2010 - 03:41 PM
Ride On
(TBD Staff)

On the mornings of Dec. 20 and 21, when the temperature hit below freezing, Michelle Forman stood outside, waiting. Her Ride On bus is typically a few minutes late, but on these particular mornings, Forman had to wait 45 minutes along Forest Glen Road before the #8 to Silver Spring arrived.

The same thing happened to her four times in November. And since Ride On doesn't provide real-time updates or alerts, she called Montgomery County's 311 call center to find out the whereabouts of her bus.

"[The operator] said, ‘We have no idea where that bus is. We have no record of that bus,'" Forman recalls. "It’s as if that bus doesn’t even exist on certain days, for whatever reason, and I have no clue why."

The bus finally showed up and some angry riders even yelled at the stone-faced driver.

It turns out Forman's bus has been late due to a "personnel issue that came up" that has since been resolved, says Montgomery County spokeswoman Esther Bowring. But soon riders may be able to avoid the predicament of waiting for a phantom bus altogether — within the next month or so, the county's 311 call center will be able to provide real-time updates on late buses.

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Imperfect Arlington: Unregulated parking?

December 23, 2010 - 03:15 PM
Makeshift parking lot
A few drivers have discovered the best parking in Clarendon. (Photo: TBD Staff)

Arlington's reputation as a clean, green, friendly utopia on the Potomac hasn't come out of nowhere. Potholes are fixed, bricks are realigned, improperly trimmed trees are remedied. But there must be some glitches, at least some tiny imperfections in the well-manicured matrix that is Arlington. In Imperfect Arlington, we search for and document these anomalies, and, most likely, take note of how quickly they are repaired into oblivion. Have you caught Arlington off its game? Send us a tip.

There are plenty of different ways parking spaces are regulated in Arlington. Traditional meters, pay station parking spaces, gated public and private garages, zoned parking in residential areas, private lots that are enforced by towing companies. So finding a seeming free-for-all parking option like this tiny triangle on Clarendon Boulevard across from the back of Whole Foods, is an anomaly for sure.

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DC Arts District banners go up

December 23, 2010 - 01:55 PM
DC Arts District banners
Banners proclaiming the U Street/Logan/Shaw neighborhoods the DC Arts District went up this week. (Photo: TBD Staff)

The banners are up! The banners are up!

If you need to ask which banners, you haven't been paying very close attention. These are the light pole signs associated with the Arts District branding campaign, a city-funded effort to group together the neighborhoods of Logan Circle, Shaw, U Street, and parts of Dupont under an umbrella identity associated with the arts.

Installation of the banners — with the at-last finalized "DC Arts District" or "DCAD" name — began on Thursday, and will continue for the next several days, according to branding project team leader Andrea Doughty.

While the designs on each individual banner vary, there are three main concepts that ended up being included: the "city grid" scheme that plays with lines and dots to look like streets and traffic circles; the "radiating district map" that places the arts district on an outline of D.C.; and "modern art circles," which are fairly self-explanatory. Most of the banners also include the phrases "U Street," "Logan," and "Shaw," although some of them that will be placed closer to Dupont will not include those neighborhood names, Doughty says.

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Silver Spring sports bar finally opens

December 23, 2010 - 12:20 PM
Babe's Sports Bar & Grill opens in the space formerly occupied by Gallery Lounge. (Photo: TBD Staff)

We told you earlier this week not to worry over the multiple delays in opening Babe's Sports Bar & Grill, and we were right.

The sports bar at 1115 East-West Highway finally opened this morning, just as owner Ron Bouchard most recently predicted.

"I'm going through the jitters," Bouchard said over the phone, before he raced off into the kitchen.

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Arlington's snow complaints website gets its first test run

December 23, 2010 - 11:20 AM
Arlingtonians had their keyboards at the ready to submit sidewalk clearing complaints after last week's snow. (Photo: TBD Staff)

It might have been barely a couple inches of snow, but last weeks' storm was a good barometer for Arlington's new snow complaint submission system.

The updated snow removal complaint system was rolled out in conjunction with a new Arlington County law requiring residents to clear their sidewalks.

The Dec. 16 storm dropped a just enough snow to make driving conditions treacherous and lead Arlington Public Schools to close early. The white stuff was mostly gone by the end of the weekend, but that didn't stop sidewalk sentinels from submitting 30 complaints via the new interactive snow removal map.

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