Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Websites; Drinks; Donaldson Run

Exclusive: “Soft Launch” of Fit Arlington Web Site.
Fit Arlington, a web site operated by the county to promote “a culture of fitness,” was launched softly, yesterday. The BuckinghamHeraldTrib is the first news outlet to be told of this.

The county hasn’t told other news outlets yet in order to work any bugs out of the system before an official launch in the near future, said Susan Kalish, in the department of parks, recreation and cultural resources.

The site is not intended to be a destination in itself, but “we’re trying to find ways to promote everybody else’s event…We’re helping you find out all the neat stuff that’s already happening,” Ms. Kalish said.
She said she isn’t as worried about promoting the larger events that have marketing budgets (such as the inaugural run of the
Battle of the Boulevard).

“It’s the little guys. That’s the ones I’m hoping we can help,” she said.

The site not only lists activities and allows groups to post their events, it has links to county-run sports leagues, recreation centers, and other low-impact activities such as birding, hiking and gardening.

New Drink at Java Shack
It’s a shot of summer in the arm—this new drink I’m having. I’m writing the blog today from the Java Shack on N. Franklin Road in Clarendon, and the in-house chef, Kylen McCarthy, who has worked at area establishments such as Tallula on Washington Boulevard, dreamed up this blended concoction of lemonade concentrate and mint with a whipped-milk-and-mint topping. The mint is fresh, says Dale Roberts, the Java Shack owner. A mint leaf garnishes the glass.

I just had one of the first batch ever made, gratis. Mr. Roberts said he hasn’t priced it yet, so I’d suggest you get in while he’s still feeling generous! It won’t go too cheap; the ingredients are high quality and the process—whip the bottom then the top before putting them together—is a bit labor intensive.

It’s as yet unnamed (I went with “Spring Fling”), but “green stuff” seems to be taking hold, unfortunately. Given the big race this weekend something with “Derby” in it might work better.

They’re serving it in an oversized shot glass on a saucer with a small spoon for scooping out the end of the milk. Delish!

Donaldson Re-renovated, nice.
Took the boy for a bike ride through north Arlington where all the rich people live, swung into the Gulf Branch Nature Center for a look-see. Then, on the way back we swung through the newly re-renovated Zachary Taylor Park (2900 Military Rd.). The sign now says it’s a “Nature Preserve,” which is why we rode through it—that’s a new moniker to me, but I might not have been as observant as I thought. The park went through major changes starting as far back as 2001, with major rebuilding starting in 2003. I have not heard back from the county yet as to when it changed from “park” to “preserve.” And in fact, the latest telephone calls have me wondering if I misread the sign. I’ll double check on the next bike ride.

Ironically, it looks as “natural” as a Zen garden, which is to say it’s very pretty but the plantings haven’t grown in to make the place look like it was created by the Great Landscape Designer in the Sky, but by the Great Landscape Designer in the County.

Still, the landscaping is nice. The trails were good for walking or riding bikes. Donaldson Run, which flows through the park, is pretty and has a couple nice waterfalls. Pretty.

Much of this has been an ongoing project over a number of years. However, last June’s storms (remember them?) blasted area rivers, the
county says on its web site, and the park needed post-renovation renovations in the past year. Now the county’s Department of Environmental Services has taken over riverbed restoration, said Susan Kalish of the Department of Parks Recreation and Community Resources.

All bike rides eventually end up at—wait for it—Sparrow Pond on Four Mile Run (near the Long Branch Nature Center), where we saw the usual turtles, bull frogs (in full, throat-busting croak), red-wing black birds, and ducks. The other day we saw a garter snake (I’m always surprised by the number of snakes we see).
The real fun was we got a good peek at some birders from the Northern Virginia Bird Club, bedecked with oversized hats, sunglasses and binoculars. Birders are a unique breed.

I suggested that they could leave the viewing deck and walk onto the peninsula which juts into the pond to see some of the wildlife up close, rather than using their binoculars. They pooh-poohed that as illegal, which I don’t believe it is. Still, they were fun to talk to and we traded stories of what we’d seen, most of which I’ve reported here in the past—we were all very excited about the wood ducks. One of the birders had seen an oriole.

Police Notes for Buckingham
April 30: Burglary, 4300 block of N. Henderson Rd.
Between 1:30 and 1:40 a.m., a 28-year-old woman awoke to find a man climbing in her bedroom window. The victim screamed and the suspect fled, the police reported. Officers responded and stopped a suspect matching the description provided by the victim. Edilberto Perez, 27, of Arlington, was arrested and charged with Burglary.

April 28:
Missile into Occupied Dwelling, 300 block of N. George Mason Dr.
At approximately 11:00 p.m., a man was standing in his kitchen when someone threw two bottles through the front window of the apartment. The victim had to jump out of the way to avoid flying glass but he was not injured, police reported. Two neighbors, Mario Sical-Jeronimo, 38, and Carolos Sical-Jeronimo, 20, were arrested and charged with throwing a missile into an occupied dwelling.

April 24: Attempted Breaking and Entering, 4500 block of N. Pershing Dr.
Between 7:00 p.m. on April 26 and 9:30 a.m. the next day, someone tampered with a window and basement door to a church. It does not appear anything was taken, police said.

I prefer to think of the Donaldson Run plants as hair plugs that haven't grown in yet :)

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