Culbertson were selling the business, Barnes and his partners decided to purchase the beloved Café in 2011. Because they recognized the special history of this dive bar (one of the last ones in Arlington), they didn’t change much, in fact they still have many of the same employees that worked there before they owned it.
As with the rest of Arlington businesses, Cowboy Café closed its doors in March. However, with the passing of Temporary Outdoor Seating Area (TOSA) permits, the owners have been able to welcome customers to their new outdoor seating area, formerly known as Cowboy Café’s parking lot. “Arlington’s restaurants have made huge sacrifices to protect the health and safety our community. TOSAs are a way to help our small businesses welcome back diners and patrons consistent with state directives and public health guidance." said County Board Member, Katie Cristol. "We’re grateful for their partnership and all they do to make our Arlington, and Lee Highway, a special place”
The outdoor seating has been a successful addition to Cowboy Cafe. So much so, in fact, that it has inspired Barnes to move forward with an idea he had a few years ago - to transform the area into a welcoming and visually intriguing outdoor space for the Arlington community.
said Barnes, speaking about murals in the two cities and Panama. “The art has brought business, beauty, and positivity into the communities.” A few years ago, when visiting Miami’s Wynwood Walls, Barnes had the idea to create a mural on Cowboy Café’s empty parking lot brick wall. The idea has been just an idea since then, but, ironically, the COVID-19 shutdown and subsequent TOSA have allowed him to finally move forward and turn his idea into reality.
In recent weeks, Barnes and LHA have been working to put together a team of other Lee Highway businesses - Dominion Electric, Potomac Paint, and Esoarc Architects – to take on the project of creating an outdoor space and mural at Cowboy Café (those interested in following the process can visit LHA's Placemaking Page). Soon after, artist and Arlington native, MasPaz, was commissioned to create the mural. The mural design, inspired by MasPaz’ recent work with Arlington Arts’ Words to Art program, is called “Community.”
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Next week LHA will reveal the finished mural and explore the design process with Pamela Gillen, retail architect from Esocarc Architecture, Matt Rowan, lighting expert and designer with Dominion Lighting, and design manager Beth Boggs from Potomac Paint!
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one word expressing their feelings and perception of life in quarantine on Arlington Arts’ Instagram, Facebook or Twitter pages. Arlington artists Sushmita Mazumdar (Buckingham), David Amoroso (Douglas Park), Maribeth Egan (Ballston/Virginia Square), Kate Fleming (Maywood) and MasPaz (Arlington Ridge) then each selected a word, turned it into art, and shared it back.
Seeing the artists’ expression of our words allows us to ponder our shared experience while navigating the unknown territory of this pandemic. The finished Words to Artworks are posted here.
#WeKeepUsSafe.” The mural represents the important role we all play in building community. It depicts a community member holding the neighborhood in her hands, patiently awaiting the peace dove to arrive. MasPaz is a muralist, art educator and conservationist who lives in Arlington Ridge.
Words to Art is a program of Arlington Cultural Affairs, a division of Arlington Economic Development, which delivers public activities as Arlington Arts. Arlington Arts worked together with Lee Highway Alliance to install the mural this summer.
Earlier this month, Arlington County awarded 394 businesses with the Small Business Emergency GRANT (Giving Resiliency Assets Near Term). The GRANT program provides financial assistance to Arlington’s small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The GRANT funds were designed to bridge the gap to provide near-term relief for businesses and nonprofits, some of whom have experienced delays or limitations with federal relief initiatives.
Congratulations to the following twenty-two Lee Highway businesses!
American Nail Salon
Bob & Edith's
Chesapeake Bagel Bakery
Child's Play Toys and Books
Christine Reardon-Davis, D.M.D
Facets Fine Jewelry
La Moo Creamery, LLC
Moore's Barber Shop
Pamela Wright Interiors
Pastries by Randolph
Sterling Picture Framers, Inc.
Philippine Oriental Market & Deli
Time for a Walk
"The challenge of leadership is to be strong but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not a bully; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humor, but without folly." Jim Roh
Tyler Wilson, Past President of WHCA, remarked after George’s passing:“Every successful community needs a few people with initiative, motivation and the energy to focus on the greater good and to create a sense of togetherness. George had all those qualities and much more, and all of us in Waverly Hills will miss his decency, his enthusiasm and his leadership.”
Other friends and neighbors, experiencing shock and heartbreak over his death, referred to George as "one of the most decent men I’ve known" and a "fine gentleman and wise and caring leader." “If Waverly Hills had had a mayor, there is no one who could have done it better than George.”
A graduate of Georgetown University and the University of Minnesota, George was active for decades in his neighborhood and led the fight to get a sidewalk in front of his house. In 2013, he was an advisor to the Waverly Hills Neighborhood Conservation Plan. He retired in December of 2014 from a long career in publishing. Every year after that, from 2015-2020, he worked tirelessly for his community, including maintaining the two traffic circles on Utah Street. In 2018, after serving as Vice President for two years, George became President of the WHCA.
the idea and Caroline Caterini for her beautiful art work), additional picnic tables, and colorful Adirondack chairs (picture above). When it came to participation, George didn’t just talk about helping – he tackled the issue immediately and everyone in the neighborhood benefited.
earlier this year. As Ginger Brown, LHA's Executive Director said: "George truly believed in housing for all ages and income levels."
In addition to his successful advocacy with the County, George had a keen sense of humor and liked to have fun. An expert on bourbon, he and Dave raised money for LHA by enthusiastically offering tastings at the Broadview fundraiser. Happy and hardworking, he and his wife, Ellen, volunteered for nearly every event that Waverly Hills has celebrated, including the Woodstock Park Festival, Pizza and Democracy in the Park, Election Day Bake Sales, Oktoberfest at the Marymount Farmers Market, Light the Night Halloween Festival, Halloween and Holiday Décor Contests, and Selfies with Santa, where George dressed as an elf.
George emailed nearly every week, and below are some quotes that express his concern for others and his volunteer spirit:
“Today I received the request below from Maggie Ryan, the school social worker at Langston High School Continuation Program located at Langston-Brown, to provide some financial support to five students in the program…I think that this is a worthwhile request for WHCA to consider. Therefore, I move to propose that WHCA offer each of these five students $50 supermarket gift cards.” (Of course, the WHCA strongly supported his idea.)
After the Waverly Bakers’ 2018 Election Day Bake Sale, where George and Ellen stood and sold baked goods for five hours in the cold November air in front of Glebe School, George wrote, with a twinkle in his eye: “What a great result. However don’t tell anyone how much fun the three of us had at the bake sale. We don’t want anyone to be jealous.”
Last December, George wrote a ‘State of the Neighborhood Report, thanking everyone for their community spirit. With regard to Plan Lee Highway, George wrote: “Having attended many of these meetings, I would urge you to become involved in this project…”
As we sat in George’s garden last week, enjoying lovely flowers and interesting conversation, with stories of heritage and history sprinkled into community lore, we looked at George and Ellen and thought: “What a wonderfully caring and supportive partnership.” Let us continue to think of Ellen and our community in the months and years ahead – that is what George would have wanted.
Farewell dear George, those special memories of you that we all share will always bring smiles, but if only we could have you back for just a little while. As George sometimes said at the end of an email: “Regards to all and go Caps (and Gophers)!”
Sandi Chesrown, VP, WHCA
Paul Holland, VP, WHCA
John Shortall, Secretary, WHCA
As Virginia enters Phase 2 of reopening, many Lee Highway businesses are beginning to open their doors to the public. However, some businesses (gyms, studios, etc) are not yet there. Jhoon Rhee Tae Kwon Do, Lee Highway's premier Tae Kwon Do studio, may not be opening its doors quite yet, but they are reinventing how students can continue to study the martial art from the comfort of their homes.
LHA's Communications Manager spoke with Barry Shakelford, one of the school's owners, about the history of Jhoon Rhee Tae Kwon Do, what COVID-19 has been like for them, and how the community can lend their support.
Rhee was trained directly by Choi Hong Hi, the South Korean army general who originally developed this modern martial art. After coming to America in the 1950s, Grandmaster Rhee befriended Bruce Lee and introduced the celebrated martial artist to Tae Kwon Do. Rhee also taught Muhammed Ali, Jack Anderson, George Allen, Sr., Bob Livingston, Tony Robbins, Jack Valenti, and more than 300 U.S. Senators and House Representatives. Additionally, he was the creator of martial arts "safety gear" for sparring. He was instrumental in revolutionizing the martial arts industry so that everyone could enjoy its benefits. He made the art form available to individuals of all ages - from 4 to 84 - not just "tough guys" in their twenties who want to learn how to "fight."
MPH: And how did you get involved in the martial art and in Jhoon Rhee Tae Kwon Do?
Licensed Professional Counselor) for about a dozen years before I decided to open the school, and while I felt I was doing helpful work in that field, I feel I make more of an impact now; providing a sort of "preventative" mental health training... teaching kids discipline, confidence, respect, etc. Our Mission Statement is "Teaching Life Skills through Martial Arts."
MPH: How has the COVID-19 shutdown impacted Jhoon Rhee Tae Kwon Do?
BS: We have always adhered to stringent cleaning protocols, but in early March we increased their frequency, etc. We also made adjustments to some of our class protocols such as no longer shaking hands or giving high fives. As things progressed, it became clear that we would most likely be required to close our doors. When Arlington made the announcement to cancel the public schools, we closed immediately, although it was not necessarily a "requirement" at that time. It was simply the right thing to do. Our last day of "in-studio classes" was March 13. By the middle of that following week, we had created tons of training videos and uploaded them to our website so that students could continue to practice their skills. Within a few days, the videos had been watched over 300 times, and currently have over 2,000 view, with approximately 200 hours of "watch time." Although the videos were a big success, we knew we had to offer more. The very next week (on March 23) we began offering live-stream classes through Zoom for all of our ranks and ages. We currently have over 300 students attending online each week. We are conducting our stripe testing (small step progression) and full Rank Testing online. We also mail or deliver stripes and new belts to students' homes so they receive a tangible rewards for their hard work!
MPH: That's amazing! What has it been like for you and your business parter to make the switch to an online platform?
BS: Like everyone else who has made the switch, we've had to make lots of adjustments! We've not only had to become experts in Tae Kwon Do, but experts in technology too. We have our lead instructor of course, but then also utilize instructors in the "background" providing "tech support" (i.e., helping students login, entering attendance and checking for stripe progression, creating "break out" rooms on Zoom to provide students more individual attention, etc.) Also, finding the room in our homes to fully demonstrate techniques has been challenging! But there have definitely been benefits too. With the success of our online classes, we see this as an opportunity to reach students who may never have been able to attend our classes, i.e. students who are out of the area, students who are immunocompromised, etc.
MPH: Speaking of your students....what has this transition been like for them? How have they taken it?
greater Arlington and Lee Highway community can support the school?
BS: Although the "Jhoon Rhee" name is known internationally in martial arts circles, we are individually owned and therefore are one of the many small businesses being negatively impacted by this crisis. We would like the community to know that if they are interested in our martial arts classes, they do not have to wait until we resume our in-studio classes to start. We offer a complementary week of virtual classes to all ages (4 and up) in hopes that students will engage with us now!
MPH: What's your vision for the future of Jhoon Rhee Tae Kwon Do, after the pandemic has passed?
BS: I know that with the strength and support of our amazing community, we will continue to be able to offer the unique brand of martial arts training that Jhoon Rhee started all those years ago. In fact, with the ability to provide classes, training, and belt progression virtually, we will be able to offer our services to individuals who we wouldn't normally be able to reach. Grand Master Rhee's son, Master Chun Rhee, owns and operates the Jhoon Rhee school in Falls Church and is having the same sort of success we are with his virtual classes. We plan to discuss how we can continue to branch out and reach even more students with this new way of virtual teaching.
MPH: One final question. What is your favorite part of working at and owning Jhoon Rhee Tae Kwon Do?
vast array of neighborhoods and schools in the county, these parents wanted to create a place to connect with and support one another, and to discuss the unique experience of raising a black child. However, in 2018, as these parents became more aware of the disparities and different types of inequity present in APS, they decided to transition to an advocacy group.
In recent months, Black Parents of Arlington has dedicated time and resources to gather information and statistics from the APS dashboard, and to visualize the different experiences of white and black students in APS. Disparities in discipline and gifted students programs are just a few of the issues the organization is tackling. Their numbers show that 40% of black students are disciplined more than white students. Only 21% of black students are asked to join the gifted students program, compared to 46% of white students. And the numbers increase in schools with a higher white population.
Black Parents of Arlington has utilized these numbers to create a plan that would create a more equitable and welcome environment for children like theirs. They have been working with the School Board, APS’ Superintendent, HR, and the Department of Teaching and Learning to develop new programs. They hope to create cultural competency and anti-racist trainings for all staff members, to hire more teachers of color, and increase the number of mental health professionals in schools, particularly those who cater to more diverse populations with higher rates of discipline. “We believe in what Arlington can do” said Kernodle, “APS is and can be the best, but it must be the best for all students.”
Kernodle and her organization are excited for the community to join them in their fight. “Those with black children and are interested in joining can reach out to me directly. We are here for them” says Kernodle. Black Parents of Arlington also welcome those without black children who are eager to lend support. They are soon beginning to hold virtual events for allies, working with organizations like
intentionally anti-racist life, to understand more about white privilege, and to discuss ways they can use that privilege for good. And of course, Black Parents of Arlington always welcomes donations (through their PayPal account, @bpofa), which they utilize to offer funding to children who do not have the means access tutoring, especially during a pandemic and virtual learning.
For more information about Black Parents of Arlington and additional ways to get involved, visit their website. Readers can also sign up to be a part of the Facing Race in Arlington email group and view their resource list.
Formed in 1909, the NAACP is the United States’ oldest civil rights organization. They pride themselves on this fact, noting that leaders like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson got their start with the organization. But more so, they are proud that in their 110 years of existence, they have continued to push forward racial justice reforms and legislation, working to create a more just and equitable United States.
As the video of George Floyd’s death surfaced and protesters took to the streets, many Americans have been asking how they can do more to support the black community. Spain’s suggestion? Become a member of and donate to your local NAACP. Not only does the funding help to support the organization’s work, but volunteering a few hours a week, or a month, helps to push forward legislation and pressure local and state officials. In short, it helps communities seek important change.
What can members of the Arlington NAACP Chapter expect to help influence? Currently, Spain and his team are working closely with the Chief of Police, County Board, Congressman Don Beyer, Senator Warner, and others to implement a new standard of policing in Arlington County where all members
to encourage accountability.
The Chapter is also working to tackle racial injustice in Arlington Public Schools, is holding events to encourage Black communities to fill out their Census, registering community members to vote and get engaged in local and federal elections, re-evaluating the legality of chokeholds, and is hoping to offer further de-escalation training.
The Chapter holds virtual meetings once a month at 7:30pm that are open and free to the community. It’s a great way to engage in dialogue about current issues, listen to speakers, and, perhaps, explore the option of membership.
While these are excellent ways to get engaged in racial justice as an adult, how can teenagers or children get involved?
develop a Youth Community, there needs to be 20-25 individuals interested in joining (with a $12-$15 yearly fee) as well as an adult member to lead and monitor the group.
Ultimately, Spain believes that to create change, the Arlington community must build a culture of inclusivity and diversity. Policies are an excellent start, but "we must work to enforce that culture, have zero tolerance for those who don’t live by those values, and join together to create the community we envision. If you really want to make a difference, come join us” says Spain. “Working together in unity is necessary to accomplish important work.”
For more information about Arlington’s NAACP Chapter, membership, and ways to get involved in racial justice, visit their website today.