The Arlington County Fire Department is on the scene of a reported fire at Key Elementary School (2300 Key Blvd).
Initial reports suggest the fire is contained to the school’s freezer and possibly electrical in nature. The school has been evacuated, according to scanner traffic.
Firefighters on the scene say they were able to extinguish the small blaze after power to the freezer was shut down.
Workers have been there all day clearing out the restaurant and taking down signs and lights. A long table now blocks the mall entrance, and the name has already been removed from the outside facade.
Two employees say the Ballston location is just one of the several closing across the country as part of the restaurant chain’s restructuring plan. Real Mex Restaurants Inc. owns the chain and filed for Chapter 11 in October, due to what it called high debt, high rents and a weak economy. A bankruptcy court approved the sale of the company last week.
The Chevy’s location at Pentagon City will remain open and an employee there said they’re still “going strong.”
After a number of delays, the long awaited construction on the Overlee Community Association pool and clubhouse (6030 Lee Hwy) has begun. Final permits were obtained just last week, allowing construction to move forward.
The delay in obtaining county permits has been one of the numerous factors contributing to overall project delays, according to Overlee Long Range Planning Committee Chairman Chris Tai. He explained that a project like this is difficult due to squeezing a number of different things onto one compact site.
To those who criticize the length of time the project has taken to get going, Tai suggests remaining focused on forward progress.
“There’s plenty of time later to go back and figure out what could have been done differently,” Tai said. “But for now, we’re focused on getting the pool open and minimizing the disruption to members and the community in general.”
Demolition of the pool and the late 19th centruy clubhouse began in January and recently finished. Currently, crews at the site have begun construction on the new pool, deck and surrounding facilites.
The plan is to open different sections of the club in phases as they’re completed. Safety barriers will surround areas that are still under construction. The goal is to get the bath house and lap pool opened first, so swimmers can get back in the water as soon as possible. At this point, the best estimate for opening the main pool and surrounding deck is early June. The clubhouse will open last, possibly as soon as mid-July.
Tai says the lack of a clubhouse for at least part of the season should come as no surprise to members.
“We told all our members from day one that they shouldn’t anticipate much use of the clubhouse this coming summer,” Tai said. “The priority is to get the main pool up and running as soon as possible.”
All vehicles that pass through the checkpoint will be stopped and drivers asked to provide licenses. Any drivers suspected of being under the influence of alcohol or other substances will be ushered to a safe area nearby for further observation and possible testing. The checkpoint location will not be revealed ahead of time.
The checkpoint is part of the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign, in support of a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration-led crackdown on drunk driving. The program combines high-visibility DUI enforcement with public awareness to deter intoxicated individuals from getting behind the wheel.
Virginia’s maximum penalty for the first conviction for driving under the influence is 12 months in jail, a $2,500 fine and the suspension of driving privileges for 12 months.
A 19-dock Bikeshare station was installed near the Virginia Square metro station (901 N. Monroe St), and another one went up directly in front of the Central Library (1015 N. Quincy St), with 11 docks.
The stations, which appear to take very little time to install on location, have been spreading rapidly throughout Arlington since the fall. In October, we reported that the Central Library had been hoping to have a Bikeshare station by some point in the spring, but it was already installed last week.
There are at least a dozen additional stations approved to be built in Arlington this spring, and another dozen proposed stations awaiting approval from various sources. All are concentrated near the orange line corridor, with locations in the works from Rosslyn to the Bluemont neighborhood.
You can suggest locations where you think stations should be installed on Capital Bikeshare’s website. The interactive map also allows you to see where other people have suggested installing stations.
What should we expect from the spring real estate market in Arlington?
It feels like spring is already here in some ways. The sun is out and daytime temperatures have been hovering around the mid 50’s. Buyer demand is as high as I have seen it in recent years. People are even showing up to open houses. This is unusual for February.
Besides the cherry blossoms, the only thing missing is housing inventory. For example, I started working with a new client about three weeks ago. He wants a one-bedroom condo in Clarendon within a generous price range. There are lots of those, right? Unfortunately not. We have yet to look at a single home, because there are not any available for him to even consider.
In recent years we kept our fingers crossed for buyer demand to pick up. We now have ready, willing and able buyers, but not enough homes to go around.
Home owners have long been conditioned to believe that spring is the best time of year to sell a home. I’m hoping that the current drought of housing inventory in Arlington will soon be quenched by home owners throughout town that are simply biding their time until the “spring market” before they list their homes. Personally, I’ve been advising potential sellers to get their homes on the market as soon as possible — while competition is low.
Where are the current home buyers coming from?
We are all aware that mortgage interest rates are at all time lows. What you may not be aware of is that rental rates have been climbing to record-breaking numbers in Arlington. For a mid-range two-bedroom apartment in Clarendon you could easily be looking at $3,500 per month. Because of low interest rates and high rental rates, it’s not hard for many would-be-renters to build a case for transitioning to home ownership.
Does this also affect the higher end market?
I think it does. I call it trickle-up economics. For example: Sarah sells her condo in Ballston to a first time homebuyer so she can purchase a townhouse in Rosslyn. Jim sells Sarah his townhouse in Rosslyn so he can purchase his dream home in Lyon Village. As you can see in this example, the sale of Sarah’s condo to a first time home buyer, trickled-up to affect the purchase of a higher priced home in Lyon Village.
The Animal Welfare League of Arlington is seeking volunteers to help it handle a seasonal surge in orphaned kittens.
“Kitten season,” as it’s called, begins in the spring. The League is specifically looking for foster parents who can help care for orphaned kittens until they’re old enough to be adopted.
From the AWLA:
Each spring and summer our shelter receives orphaned kittens that are too young to survive on their own. They require round- the-clock feeding and nurturing for several weeks before they are old enough to be adopted. Once the kittens are ready for adoption, the foster parent returns them to the shelter for adoption into permanent homes. The League desperately needs foster parents with very flexible schedules who can care for these unweaned animals.
We are holding an Foster Volunteer Recruitment meeting on Monday, March 5th from 7:00-8:00 PM at the Animal Welfare League of Arlington, 2650 S. Arlington Mill Dr. Arlington, VA 22206. At our informational meeting, experienced foster volunteers will give personal accounts of the time and commitment required. They will also share pictures and heartwarming stories of their experiences and what motivates them to foster our most vulnerable shelter animals.
Volunteer foster parents must be able to take the foster animals into their homes and provide a clean safe environment for them, as well as a lot of love and patience. The Animal Welfare League of Arlington will provide foster parents with the training they need to properly care for their kittens. The League also provides food, supplies, and veterinary care for foster animals.
The first step to become a foster parent is to complete our online volunteer application here at www.awla.org/volunteer.shtml, attend a volunteer orientation/training, and complete a home visit with the foster coordinator.
Last week the Sun Gazette reported that supporters of Green Party candidate for County Board Audrey Clement were trying to make the case that Arlington’s roads are crumbling — and the county’s political leaders should be held responsible for it.
County Board Chair Mary Hynes acknowledged that local roadways were “rough,” and that road maintenance had fallen behind in recent years, but said funding added several years ago should help allow Arlington to repave roads every 15 years.
How important will the state of local roads be when you go into the voting booth on March 27?
Happy Fat Tuesday — It’s Fat Tuesday, the traditional day of feasting (or partying) before Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. To celebrate the occasion, the annual Clarendon Mardi Gras parade will be held tonight, starting at 8:00 p.m. See our list of local Mardi Gras happenings for additional festivities around Arlington.
Three Arrested After Ballston Fight — Three suspects were arrested following a fight near the Ballston Metro station Monday evening. The fight broke out in the area of Fairfax Drive and N. Stuart Street. Fairfax Drive was partially blocked by police vehicles following the incident. Additional details were not immediately available.
Arlington Man Killed in Loudoun County — An Arlington man was killed when a deer came crashing through the windshield of the SUV he was riding in Saturday night. The freak accident happened on Route 9 in Loudoun County around 7:30 p.m. Police say a Toyota Prius first hit the deer, launching it in the air. The deer came down on the SUV, killing 26-year-old Rodolfo Ruiz Villatoro of Arlington. [MyFoxDC]
Legislators Accept Trips and Gifts — Among the corporate gifts and travel accepted by local state lawmakers last year: a $8,796 trip to France (Del. David Englin) and $400 circus tickets (Del. Patrick Hope). [Sun Gazette]