Just six months ago, the Garfield Park apartment building in Clarendon was only beginning to take shape at the corner of Washington Boulevard and 10th Street N.
Today, insulation wrap is quickly being replaced with bricks as the project moves closer to completion.
The development will add nearly 150,000 square feet of new residential space to the Clarendon area — 149 luxury apartment units, 20,000 square feet of retail space and nearly 300 underground parking spaces.
The apartment building has a new web site, but so far no word on when exactly construction is expected to wrap up.
A Democratic lawmaker is speaking out against an inflammatory ad in the Clarendon Metro station that tells President Obama to “go to hell.”
The lighted ad, located near the end of one of platforms, promotes a DVD documentary called “Sick and Sicker: When the Government Becomes Your Doctor,” which sharply criticizes President Obama’s health care reform law and compares it to publicly-funded health care in Canada.
“Barack Obama wants politicians and bureaucrats to control America’s entire medical system,” the ad reads. “Go to hell Barack.”
The Democratic blog Blue Virginia first reported the ad this morning. It’s been in place at the Clarendon Metro station since at least last week, based on a search of Twitter posts.
Now, local Virginia congressman Jim Moran (D) is calling for the “offensive advertisement” to be taken down.
“This advertisement is inappropriate, disrespectful of the President, and should be removed immediately,” Moran said in a letter to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. “The families with children and thousands of tourists who take Metro everyday should not be subjected to such garbage. I understand WMATA vets these advertisements before allowing them to go up, but it seems someone wasn’t doing their job when this ad was approved.”
Though barely visible, at least one Metro rider tried to respond to the ad by writing on it in pen. “That’s President Obama to you!!” the anonymous scribbler wrote.
It’s unclear if the ad has been placed in any other Metro stations.
Update at 4:25 p.m. — Metro has issued a statement about the ad:
WMATA advertising has been ruled by the courts as a public forum protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution, and we may not decline ads based on their political content. WMATA does not endorse the advertising on our system, and ads do not reflect the position of the Authority.
Update at 5:15 p.m. — Rep. Moran has issued a statement in response to Metro’s statement.
I am disappointed by WMATA’s defense of this inappropriate advertisement. If their current advertising guidelines do not prohibit profane advertisements on taxpayer-funded property, then WMATA should take the initiative and update them. Profanity has no place in the public forum.
The specific language in the WMATA-approved ad that should be removed is not political, it’s profane. It defames the President of the United States in a way that coarsens the public discourse. All Americans have the right to make their voice heard under the First Amendment. But when we are talking about an advertisement on tax-payer funded facilities, as is the case with Metro, it should meet the minimum standards of propriety. I repeat my call on WMATA to exercise appropriate judgment and remove this offensive ad.
A man impersonating a police officer stole cash from a man’s wallet last week after asking to see his identification and vehicle registration. From the latest Arlington County crime report:
IMPERSONATING A POLICE OFFICER, 02/25/12, 3700 block of N Lee Highway. Just prior to noon on February 24, an unknown subject impersonated a police officer and stole $160 cash from a man’s wallet after asking to see identification and vehicle registration. The suspect is described as a white male, approximately 45 years old, 5’9” tall, with an average build. The suspect was reportedly driving a black convertible Ford Mustang.
Also last week, a burglar entered a residence and stole gear belong to a U.S. Park Police officer.
BURGLARY, 02/25/12, 2100 block of S. 26th Street. Between 10 pm on February 24, and 4 am on February 25, an unknown subject entered a residence and stole various items. Stolen items included a laptop, iPad and U.S. Park Police issued duty gear. There is no suspect description.
The rest of this week’s crime report, along with a previously-reported police impersonation home invasion, after the jump.
Update at 4:35 p.m. — The flooding has cleared up and all lanes have reopened, according to Dr. Gridlock.
Route 1 is closed just south of Potomac Yard in Alexandria due to flooding in the roadway.
High water and mud spilled onto the roadway from an adjacent construction site, a tipster tells us. Earlier rains have since stopped, but so far no word as to how much longer Route 1 will remain shut down.
Traffic is reportedly being rerouted onto Potomac Avenue, which runs behind Potomac Yard and into Crystal City.
Photo courtesy David Hyde
Yesterday the Virginia Senate narrowly passed a controversial bill that requires pregnant women to undergo an ultrasound before obtaining an abortion.
The bill passed by the state Senate had been amended to only require an external ultrasound, following a furor over the fact that the original version would have mandated invasive transvaginal ultrasounds for most first trimester pregnancies.
On a bipartisan vote, the bill was also amended to exclude rape and incest victims from the ultrasound requirement. That amendment was proposed by Sen. Janet Howell (D), who represents part of Arlington. Other amendments proposed by Howell, including amendments that would have mandated insurance companies to cover the cost of the procedure, were rejected on a party line vote.
Howell criticized the bill, even in its amended form, for requiring a medical procedure that’s not medically necessary.
“Before this bill was amended, there were those who talked about it as ‘state rape.’ And Republicans voted for it,” Howell said. “The amended bill goes from state rape to state assault. And Republicans have now voted for state assault on women.”
Sen. Barbara Favola (D), of Arlington, also weighed in.
“I’m personally offended as a woman that the state of Virginia doesn’t trust my judgment about making intimate personal decisions about my body and my reproductive health,” Favola said in a statement. “This is the height of government intervention stomping on my constitutional rights. What will be next?”
Republicans argued that the ultrasound bill allows women to make a better informed decision before getting an abortion. The amended bill will now head to the House of Delegates, where it’s expected to pass, before landing on Gov. Bob McDonnell’s desk, where it’s expected to be signed.
Update at 11:20 a.m. — Another accident, involving at least two vehicles, is currently blocking two lefthand lanes of SB I-395 in the vicinity of the first accident.
The bend in I-395 near Washington Boulevard has claimed yet another rainy weather victim.
The car’s driver was evaluated for possible injuries, but initial reports suggest the injuries were minor and didn’t require transport to the hospital. Police and a flatbed tow truck are currently on scene.
The fire broke out just before 5:00 p.m., in the basement of a house on the 900 block of N. Patrick Henry Drive. The flames then spread from the basement to the upper floors of the two-story dwelling, according to fire department spokesman Capt. Gregg Karl.
It took firefighters about 20-30 minutes to extinguish the flames. The Red Cross was called to assist two displaced residents from the home.
No injuries were reported.
Photo courtesy Capt. Gregg Karl
Wienermobile Spotted in Arlington — The Oscar Mayer Wienermobile was spotted yesterday afternoon at the entrance to Bluemont Park (above). No word yet on what it was doing there.
Vornado Hurt By BRAC — Vornado Realty Trust, one of the primary commercial landlords in the Crystal City area, is hurting due to the Base Realignment and Closure Act. The company is currently “staring down the barrel of nearly 2.4 million square feet of vacant space” as the U.S. military continues to move offices and departments from leased buildings to forts and other owned properties.. [Washington Business Journal]
One Handgun a Month Law Repealed — Yesterday Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) made it official and signed a bill that repeals the state’s 19-year-old “One Handgun a Month” law. In response, Rep. Jim Moran (D) said in a statement: “Today Virginia retreated from sensible gun control policy… The repeal of this law will return Virginia to being the nation’s number one gun-running state, putting more guns into the hands of criminals and traffickers.”
Hotels Gouging For Inauguration? — Booking a room in Arlington for Inauguration Day 2013 is going to cost you. Hotels have already jacked up prices in anticipation of the crush of visitors to the D.C. area for the inauguration. TBD.com compiled a list of notable examples, and found $479 per night rooms at the Rosslyn Hyatt, $399 per night rooms at the Ballston Comfort Inn, and $299 per night rooms at the Lee Highway EconoLodge.
Several local social clubs will be toasting the arrival of “Leap Day” in Arlington tomorrow.
Tomorrow is Feb. 29, a date that comes around only every four years or so during a leap year. Leap Day, as it’s known, might not be an officially recognized holiday, but it does have its fans. At least three Meetup.com groups are planning Leap Day events here in Arlington. Among them:
- The 20s and 30s Wine Lovers group will be holding a Leap Day happy hour at Cheesetique (4056 Campbell Avenue) in Shirlington, starting at 5:30 p.m. After sipping wine and sampling cheese, the group plans to head to a nearby bar.
- The Fairlington Social Club is planning a “Leap Day Sadie Hawkins Happy Hour” at Bungalow Billiards (2766 S. Arlington Mill Drive) in Shilrington, starting at 6:00 p.m. The “Sadie Hawkins” part, in case you’re wondering, refers to a pseudo-tradition of women asking men out on dates on Leap Day.
- An Alexandria social group is planning a “Leap Day Party” at Tortoise & Hare Bar and Grille (567 23rd Street S.) in Crystal City, starting at 7:00 p.m.
As for the motivation for having a Leap Day celebration, last week the show 30 Rock (pictured above) explained that February 29 is “a magical extra day… to do the things you normally wouldn’t do.”
For the local Meetup organizers, however, the motivation was more along the lines of: “why not?”
“[It] seemed like a good excuse to have a happy hour,” said Gary, organizer of the Fairlington Social Club event, in an email.
Screen grab via NBC
Could the recent controversy in Richmond over social issues be hurting Virginia businesses? Yes, says Arlington’s Del. Bob Brink (D) and a group of local business leaders.
This year’s state legislative session has been marked by heated partisan debate over the merits of Republican-sponsored bills concerning abortion, women’s health and gay adoptions. Most of the controversial bills have been either killed or delayed, and the legislature is now starting to focus its attention on the state budget, but Democrats are still decrying the renewed focus on social issues and the media attention it brought to Virginia.
(Update at 3:00 p.m.: a modified version of a bill requiring mandatory ultrasounds for women seeking abortions has passed the Virginia Senate by a vote of 21-19.)
Yesterday Del. Brink took to the floor of the House of Delegates (see video, above) to read a letter from a number of Northern Virginia business leaders, including representatives of the Consumer Electronics Association and Vornado/Charles E. Smith. Addressed to Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) and the entire state legislature, the letter argued that “extreme proposals governing social issues” are detrimental to Virginia’s ability to attract “the best and the brightest employees and entrepreneurs.”
As business leaders and employers in Virginia we applaud your successful bi-partisan efforts to keep Virginia first in national rankings as the most business-friendly state.
We urge you to maintain this ranking going forward by ensuring Virginia is a magnet for the best and the brightest employees and entrepreneurs.
Specifically, we urge you to reject extreme proposals governing social issues on which Americans are passionately divided. Otherwise it will be difficult for Virginia to attract and retain the entrepreneurs and talent we need to grow Virginia.
Del. Brink minced no words in describing how he felt about the outward image projected by Virginia General Assembly this year.
“All you have to do is turn on your TV, open any national newspaper, or go to YouTube, and it’s impossible to escape the conclusion that we’ve allowed ourselves to be portrayed as a bunch of ignorant, backward-looking buffoons,” Brink said. “It’s not just our image that’s taken a hit: it’s the economy — the knowledge-based economy of the 21st century — that’s in danger.”
The Fairfax Drive exit from Route 50/Arlington Boulevard will be closed from Wednesday to Friday so that VDOT contractors can install new storm water infrastructure. The construction is part of the ongoing Arlington Boulevard/Courthouse Road/10th Street interchange project.
Lane closures are also planned in the area on both east- and westbound Route 50, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., through Friday.
Work on the interchange project is scheduled to continue through fall 2013, and is expected to result in additional periodic lane, exit and road closures.
Image via Google Maps
Arlington County is looking to hire a “Streetcar System Manager,” to help with the county’s $250 million Columbia Pike streetcar project. The full-time position is advertised as paying between $72,000 and $119,000 annually.
From a job posting on the county’s website:
Exciting, unique opportunity to be on the ground floor of a new multi-jurisdictional Streetcar System. Over the next decade, Arlington County, in partnership with Fairfax County and the City of Alexandria, will develop two streetcar corridors, which will ultimately operate as a unified streetcar system. The Streetcar System Manager will be responsible for the day-to-day operations of the County’s effort to design, finance, and construct the streetcar system including a wide variety of planning, project management and program management duties:
- Leading the day-to-day development process within the County and coordinating legal and public processes required by jurisdictional partners and state and federal funding and oversight agencies;
- Providing financial oversight to ensure that millions of dollars in public investment are spent in a responsible, cost-effective manner to ensure maximum grant-fund reimbursement, preparing budget requests for funding, and investigating additional funding sources;
- Researching, analyzing, and recommending alternative methodologies, for funding, constructing, operating and maintaining the streetcar system;
- Managing the contracting, contract administration and contract monitoring processes, including developing bid and proposal packages;
- Directing and/or managing the work of, architectural and engineering consultants, construction management firms, and construction contractors ;
- Building partner relationships and serving as primary spokesperson with news media and the general public; and
- Developing systems, maintaining records and preparing written reports that provide for the proper evaluation, control and documentation of project activities.
Besides local funding, the project will also be funded through grants from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT). The Streetcar System Manager shall have a thorough understanding of the requirements and processes of the FTA for project approval, funding and oversight. This employee leads the Streetcar Section within the Transit Bureau where project development and streetcar program work will be accomplished using internal and external matrix teams, including County employees and a wide variety of contractors. Depending upon the eventual partnership agreements, organizational structure, and federal requirements associated with funding streams, it is likely that the section will grow to include permanent county staff, especially as development moves toward the construction and operation stages.
The position reports to the Transit Bureau Chief within the Transportation Division of the Department of Environmental Services. The County’s proposed streetcar system is multi-jurisdictional and depending upon the evolution and development of the system, at some time in the future this position and its functions may be transferred to a separate entity created to manage the streetcar system.
As of September, county officials were hoping to begin construction on the Columbia Pike streetcar system in 2015 and have it up and running in 2017. Earlier this month officials gave a community presentation in which they discussed a number of alternative options to the streetcar, including building an articulated bus system along Columbia Pike.
Two men impersonating police officers with a search warrant forced their way into a home on the 300 block of S. Fillmore Street around 11:20 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 23, according to Arlington County police. One of the suspects held the residents — a woman and two children — at knifepoint in the living room while the second suspect, armed with a handgun, ransacked the house. In the end, the suspects made off with nearly $13,000 in cash and jewelry.
A police source has confirmed to ARLnow.com that the house targeted by the two armed robbers was that of Rafi Khan, 23, who was arrested in December and charged with two counts of bank robbery. Both robberies both took place in Arlington over the course of a week.
Khan’s trial is currently scheduled for May. The exact connection between Khan and the home invasion is unclear, but police have indicated that they believe his home was specifically targeted, telling news outlets that the crime was likely an “isolated incident” and that “there’s no reason to believe that this is an ongoing occurrence.”
In a crime report last week, police issued the following descriptions of the suspects.
The first suspect is described as a black male, 6’2” tall, with a medium build and was wearing a black ski mask, sunglasses, a black Northface winter coat and black gloves. The second suspect is described as a black male, 5’5” tall, with a heavy build and was wearing eyeglasses, black coat and black pants.
The absentee application can be mailed or faxed — but the deadline is 5:00 p.m. today.
Those who want to vote absentee in person can still do so through this coming Saturday. Additional information on the absentee voting process, including the list of valid reasons for voting absentee, is available on the Arlington County website.
Flickr pool photo by Philliefan99
Senate Dems Defeat HPV Immunization Repeal — State Senate Democrats are taking credit for killing a bill that would have repealed the 2007 law that requires sixth grade girls be immunized from the Human Papillomavirus (HPV). Said Arlington’s Sen. Barbara Favola (D), in a statement: “The best way to eradicate cervical cancer is widespread HPV vaccination. In the past, the most successful immunization programs, such as those for smallpox or polio, required universal vaccination. Cervical cancer is the 2nd leading cause of cancer deaths in the world, but with this vaccination, there is hope for ending the suffering caused by cervical cancer.” [Washington Post]
Favola Criticized for Skipping Budget Vote — State Sen. Barbara Favola is being criticized by Republicans for skipping a vote on the state budget in favor of making a TV appearance. Favola appeared on MSNBC’s ‘Hardball with Chris Matthews’ while votes were being taken on the Republican-supported budget plan. In the end, however, her vote wouldn’t have changed the outcome — the budget didn’t pass. [Sun Gazette]
Cat Enters Va. Senate Race — A cat is running for Virginia’s open U.S. Senate seat. The “Hank for Senate” campaign has launched, amid a flurry of publicity, with a campaign TV ad and the campaign slogan “Milk in every bowl.” Hank has quite the personal story — including being saved from euthanization by an animal rescue group. [WTOP]
Cherrydale Library Book — The 50-year history of the cozy Cherrydale branch library has been documented in a new book. “Fifty Years of Cherrydale Library,” by Greg Embree, is available online (for free) and in print. [Blurb]