Arlington’s sprayground parks include Drew Playground (3514 22nd Street S.), Hayes Park (1516 N. Lincoln Street) and Lyon Village Park (1800 N. Highland Street).
The county is hoping to open a fourth spraygound park near Pentagon City next year.
Photo via Arlington County
The National Science Foundation currently employs about 2,100 people at its Ballston headquarters, according to a spokeswoman, but the government agency has indicated that it is potentially interested in moving to a new building when its lease expires in 2013. NSF would like the new space to be about 25 percent larger than its current location at 4201 Wilson Boulevard, and about 12.5 percent cheaper per square foot than the current comparable office rent in Ballston, according to the Washington Business Journal.
The federal government’s office rent cap in Northern Virginia is $38 per square foot, compared to the average Ballston Class A office rent of $43.47, according to WSJ. That has led to speculation that NSF might leave Ballston altogether.
“We’re going to pursue them and we’re going to pursue them aggressively,” Alexandria Vice Mayor Kerry Donley said of the agency’s impending lease expiration, to the Alexandria Times. Donley was instrumental in persuading the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to move its headquarters from Crystal City to Alexandria in the early-to-mid 2000s.
The area’s congressional delegation, however, has asked the General Services Administration — which helps manage government properties — to strongly consider keeping NSF in Arlington.
“We urge you to take into account recent developments that we believe continue to make Arlington the ideal location for NSF Headquarters,” said a letter to the GSA’s top official, signed by Sen. Jim Webb, Sen. Mark Warner and Rep. Jim Moran.
The letter, dated February 23, 2010, argues that NSF benefits from its proximity to Ballston institutions like the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Office of Naval Research and Virginia Tech’s new Advanced Research Institute.
“Arlington County is a national epicenter for scientific research, particularly in the areas of defense and homeland security,” the letter stated. “Not only does [Ballston] provide these agencies with access to one of the most highly educated and highly trained workforces in the nation, it also provides them with immediate access to a large pool of technical experts in the contracting community as well.”
“We believe a relocation of NSF Headquarters away from Arlington would [have a] detrimental effect on the ability of each of these research organizations to achieve their agency objectives,” the letter concluded.
Every 10-15 years, the ‘franchise agreement’ that gives one company a virtual monopoly over cable TV service in Arlington is put up for review. The current agreement with Comcast is expiring in 2013, and the county is asking for citizen input into whether it should renew the company’s franchise, and under what conditions.
Right now, if you exclude fiber optic TV provider Verizon FiOS, Comcast is Arlington’s sole cable provider. Under its current franchise agreement, Comcast provides a number of guarantees, including customer service standards, regular system testing and maintenance, and free internet service for Arlington Public Schools. It also makes annual contributions to support the television channels run by the county government, county schools and by public access organization Arlington Independent Media. (About one percent of your cable bill goes to support AIM.)
Arlington, a lucrative market for cable operators, must now decide what to ask for as part of another 10-15 year agreement with Comcast. As part of that process, the county will be holding a number of focus groups that will discuss ways to improve cable service and while providing additional community benefits.
The focus groups will involve specific interest groups with a stake in the outcome of the franchise negotiations. A total of eight focus groups — each open to the general public — are planned for the month of June. Among them:
- K-12 Schools, Teachers, Staff, Students, and Parents (June 16)
- Local Government Agencies and Departments (June 20)
- Emergency Services, Federal Agencies & Institutional Network (June 20)
- Non Profit, Health and Human Service Organizations, Civic Societies and Groups (June 21)
- Arts, Culture, Music and Heritage (June 21)
- Churches and Faith-Based Organizations (June 22)
- Neighborhood Organizations, County Board Commissions (June 22)
- Higher Education, Healthcare Institutions, and Businesses (June 23)
“These focus groups… provide a chance for interested community members to learn about the franchise renewal and to share opinions about future services that could be available to our community through the Comcast cable system,” the county said in a press release. “The process of granting a new franchise to Comcast deserves serious consideration and public input.”
See more information on the meetings on the county’s web site. The focus groups will be conducted by The Buske Group, a consulting firm that’s assisting the county during the franchise renewal process.
Gooljar wants to raise $200 to get local, independent coffee shop Rappahannock Coffee & Roasting (2406 Columbia Pike) some new WiFi gear. It seems that the cafe’s existing wireless router is slow, outdated and can barely accommodate more than four simultaneous WiFi users. To remedy the situation, Gooljar is asking customers to make donations to help update the equipment.
“It’s a small coffee shop and the owners don’t make that much to be spending it on things like this but people are here all the time and we could benefit from a new router!” he wrote on ChipIn.com, a web site that helps users conduct grassroots fundraisers.
While we don’t doubt Gooljar’s sincerity — he said he’ll provide donors with a photo of him presenting the router to the store’s owners — we ask that potential contributors do their own due diligence before donating.
Photo via ChipIn.com
If you’re unfamiliar with Craigslist’s “Missed Connections” section, it’s ostensibly a place for people to go to try to find love interests who they saw or talked to in a fleeting moment, who they now have no other way of contacting.
The past week or so has seen a number of Arlington-related missed connections, many of them involving unlikely places or situations to be looking for love.
- Army Dude by the Horses (Arlington Cemetery) — “I probably talked more to the horse than I did to you, but I do remember you smiling a lot.”
- Taste of Arlington (Ballston) — “You have a nose piercing and we traded a few looks as we waited for the [paella] to be finished. Despite my dressed down attire, please note that I am employed.”
- Columbia Pike Farmers Market — “I asked you about the single fruit you had purchased… We also spoke about seafood.”
- 25C Bus — “We were on the bus together. Looked at each other a lot.”
- Sitting in Court (Courthouse) — “I’m not the shy type, but something about asking for your number during court just seemed wrong.”
Former NPR “Morning Edition” host and longtime Arlington resident Bob Edwards will speak at Arlington Central Library in two weeks.
The radio great will reflect on his work at NPR and, most recently, Sirius XM satellite radio. He will also discuss his books about sportscaster Red Barber, Fridays with Red: A Radio Friendship, and legendary newsman Edward R. Murrow, Edward R. Murrow and the Birth of Broadcast Journalism.
Edwards will take the stage at Arlington Central Library Auditorium at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, June 14. See more about his appearance on the Library Blog.
Heat Advisory Today – The heat and high humidity is not relenting after a scorching Memorial Day. The National Weather Service has issued a heat advisory for the D.C region from noon to 8:00 p.m. today. Temperatures are expected to reach the low-to-mid 90s, while the heat index soars to as high as 105. [Weather Channel]
Palin Does Rolling Thunder — Sarah Palin
invited herself to attended the annual Rolling Thunder motorcycle gathering at the Pentagon over the weekend, causing a media feeding frenzy and a few hard feelings. Some organizers and attendees grumbled that the one-time Republican vice presidential candidate’s appearance created a political distraction from Rolling Thunder’s mission to raise awareness of American prisoners of war and missing service members. Palin was accompanied by husband Todd and daughters Bristol and Piper. [CBS News, Washington Post]
Missing D.C. Man Found Safe – Matthew Hill, a youth minister at George Washington University who went missing last Tuesday, has been found safe near his family’s home in North Carolina. D.C. police told a newspaper that he had traveled there — without contacting family or friends — for “personal reasons.” An extensive volunteer-led search and social media outreach campaign was launched by Hill’s friends following his disappearance. (His last known location was an Arlington gas station.) The concern for Hill’s well-being even extended into the sports world. Boston Red Sox pitcher Daniel Bard, a close friend of Hill, was said to be continuously checking his cell phone for updates in the team’s clubhouse. [Charlotte Observer, Boston Globe]
County Lawyer Gets NYT Wedding Write-Up — Congratulations to Arlington County Attorney’s Office lawyer Brian Charville and congressional staffer Bridget Fallon. Not only did the couple get married on Saturday, but their wedding received a coveted New York Times write-up. [New York Times]
Local Opera Company to Shut Down — After 50 years in existence, the Arlington-based Aurora Opera Theatre will be ceasing operations on July 1 due to financial difficulties. Aurora is currently the oldest operating opera company in Virgina. [Sun Gazette]
Flickr pool photo by Philliefan99
Update at 9:05 p.m. — The number of Dominion customers without power in Arlington is now down to 350.
Dominion is reporting that just over 2,500 customers are without power in Arlington after a line of storms raced through the area just after dinner time.
There have been scattered reports of downed trees and power lines following the storms, which brought sudden high winds to Arlington around 7:45 tonight.
Most of the reported power outages are in South Arlington. Several traffic lights are reported to be dark along Columbia Pike.
Westbound I-66 is slow from Rosslyn to Falls Church. Meanwhile, northbound I-395 is jammed from Glebe Road to the 14th Street Bridge.
In addition to heavy traffic, we’ve also spotted packs of Rolling Thunder motorcyclists heading into town for the annual Memorial Day weekend gathering.
Another accident has occurred at the dangerous Washington Boulevard/Columbia Pike interchange.
The two-car accident happened this morning on the on-ramp from eastbound Columbia Pike to northbound Washington Boulevard. No injuries were reported, though the ramp was shut down for awhile.
The on-ramp was mentioned in our Most Dangerous On-Ramps list in February for its lack of room for merging cars to get up to speed.
VDOT is set to start work on a new Washington Boulevard/Columbia Pike bridge and interchange later this year.
The area is once again under a Severe Thunderstorm Watch. Forecasters say storms with large hail and damaging winds are possible.
From the National Weather Service:
A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH IS IN EFFECT UNTIL 8 PM FOR THE ENTIRE AREA. THUNDERSTORMS MAY BECOME SEVERE…WITH LARGE HAIL AND DAMAGING WIND GUSTS AS THE PRIMARY THREATS.
Capital Empanadas will serve “freshly-made Andean-style empanadas” to denizens of the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor and, in a few weeks, Crystal City as well.
The cart’s owner, Richard Villegas, is a native of Colombia and a ten-year Arlington resident. Villegas says he is “thrilled” to introduce this “unique treat” to the area.
“Our Andean-style handmade empanadas have typical flavors from our beloved Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador and Peru,” the Capital Empanadas web site says. “We put our heart and soul into our empanadas and you’ll feel the love once you meet us and enjoy them.”
The Capital Empanadas menu includes:
- Meat (carne) empanada
- Chicken empanada
- Cheese empanada
- Veggie empanada
- Plantain chips
- Dulce de Leche
- Water and soft drinks (including Colombiana, Inca Kola and Coke products)
Photo courtesy Capital Empanadas
Fire broke out in a third floor condo around 11:20 p.m. Firefighters arriving at the scene reported heavy smoke and flames. One victim was found in the apartment and transported to George Washington University Hospital. He was later pronounced dead.
Firefighters were able to extinguish the blaze relatively quickly, said ACFD spokesman Lt. Gregg Karl. There was significant damage to one apartment and some smoke damage to nearby units.
The victim has been identified as 77-year-old Frederick Cole, the sole occupant of the apartment that caught fire.
“The fire investigation is ongoing, but it does not appear to be suspicious at this time,” authorities said in a statement.
Police and firefighters are responding to an accident involving a car and a Metrobus on Lee Highway.
The accident occurred near the intersection of Lee Highway and Spout Run. Initial reports suggest that there were four occupants on the bus at the time.
Drivers should expect some minor traffic issues in the area.
More than 100 demonstrators marched through the busy streets of Virginia Square, Clarendon and Courthouse last night in support of immigrant rights and against deportations.
The protesters, assisted by a police escort, marched from George Mason University’s Arlington campus to the Arlington County jail. Holding signs and chanting slogans in English and Spanish, the protesters made their message loud and clear for scores of bewildered bystanders and outdoor diners in Clarendon.
Once at the jail, a number of speakers addressed the crowd. Most condemned the federal ‘Secure Communities’ immigration enforcement program while praising Arlington for attempting to “opt-out” of the program.
“Arlington was one of the first communities to opt out of Secure Communities,” said Tenants and Workers United Interim Director Jennifer Morley. “When people who live in Arlington heard about it, they spoke out, the organized. Arlington knows that Secure Communities is not the kind of initiative we want in our community.”
“Washington, D.C. is a sanctuary community!” shouted Johnny Barnes, executive director of the ACLU’s National Capital Area chapter, to loud cheers.
A woman identified as “Elizabeth” tearfully spoke about how she was deported before, but made her way back to the area so she could support her young daughter, who has a heart condition.
Also speaking at the rally was Arlington County Police Capt. Jim Wasem, who spoke on behalf of the department. ACPD Chief Doug Scott has previously expressed concern that Secure Communities could dissuade immigrants from cooperating with police investigations.