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