Congressman Jim Moran (D) and County Board member Walter Tejada were on hand to accept Arlington’s portion of the $9.2 million in grants awarded by the Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund, which is administered by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.
Arlington County was directly awarded $80,000 for its project to expand the “StormwaterWise Landscapes Program,” which provides incentives for private landowners to install innovative stormwater management projects on their properties. It’s projected to reduce the amount of pollution entering Four Mile Run, the Potomac River and the Chesapeake Bay by cutting down on the polluted runoff from at least 80 residential yards, driveways and roofs.
“I applaud the EPA and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation for their diligent management of the Chesapeake Bay small watershed and nutrient and sediment removal grants,” Moran said. “One of our most cherished resources, the Chesapeake Bay has fallen victim to contamination from decades of development and agriculture runoff. These grants help build local community efforts to clean the Bay, leveraging resources, and providing new and innovative approaches to fully restore the Bay’s health.”
In addition to the project grant, the county is expected to benefit secondarily from grants awarded to organizations doing projects throughout Northern Virginia and the state. An example is the $500,000 grant awarded to Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, Inc., which includes Falls Church in the communities it will target for stormwater incentive programs.
Allstate released its annual “America’s Best Drivers Report,” which ranks the country’s 200 largest cities in terms of frequency of car collisions. The report is based on Allstate claims data.
Arlington ranked 12th on the worst drivers side, coming in at 53% more likely than the national average to be involved in a collision. That’s up from 14th worst in 2011 and 20th in 2010.
Some surrounding areas fared even worse, with Washington, D.C. topping the worst drivers list, Baltimore coming in second and Alexandria ranking at number seven.
The full “worst drivers” list can be found on Forbes.
The project’s groundbreaking ceremony will take place next Tuesday, September 4, and construction is expected to last six weeks. The overhaul includes upgrading lighting, landscaping, pedestrian walkways, seating and a visitor information kiosk.
“We’re really excited about this, about the transformation coming to Crystal City,” said Crystal City BID President Angela Fox.
Fox added that many people will benefit from the facelift, considering the Metro Gateway area receives even more foot traffic than the other areas — Southern Gateway and Northern Gateway (Long Bridge Park area) — that were recently renovated. An estimated 26,000 riders use that Metro station daily.
The Metro entrance will remain open throughout the renovating period, although at times pedestrians may have to take detours around some construction in the plaza. If everything goes well, the project should be completed by mid-October.
Disclosure: Crystal City BID is an ARLnow.com advertiser.
Although the term “gulag” typically evokes images of Soviet forced labor camps, a former member of the U.S. Army will be speaking in Arlington about how she believes the term could apply to an American entity — Guantanamo Bay.
The Amnesty International NOVA Cluster is hosting a discussion led by Lt. Col. Lorraine Barlett, titled “Guantanamo: An American Gulag.” Lt. Col. Barlett recently retired from the Army after 27 years of service with the Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Corps., and served as counsel for a long-term prisoner incarcerated at Guantanamo.
Although closing Guantanamo was one of President Obama’s goals, the prison is still open and continues to fuel political disputes. Lt. Col. Barlett will speak on her views of the prison and its implications for U.S. and international law.
Those interested in attending the discussion should meet at the Central Library auditorium (1015 N. Quincy Street) at 7:00 p.m. on Monday, September 10. Refreshments will be provided for attendees.
The main event is being called the “Hunger Challenge,” during which residents are asked to try feeding themselves on $4.03 per day. That’s the amount of assistance the average Arlington resident would receive from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Participants are asked to try the challenge all month, for a week or even just a day, in an effort to understand the difficulty some of their neighbors have with feeding themselves and their families.
“If you struggle to eat well on $28.21 per week, you’ll understand how glad AFAC clients are to be able to fill the gap in their food budget with the milk, eggs, produce, meat and other items distributed by AFAC,” said Charles Meng, AFAC’s Executive Director.
AFAC currently helps about 1,600 families per week, which continues its recent trend of serving an all-time high number of people. Mona Bormet, AFAC Outreach and Research Manager, noted that it’s difficult and often embarrassing for people to receive assistance, but they may not have other options.
“They don’t really want to come here for help, they come here because they need to,” Bormet said. “Most people would rather be able to take care of themselves and their families on their own.”
AFAC is also offering the following volunteer opportunities to help fight hunger throughout September:
- Help collect food donations at local Safeway stores from September 8-11.
- Help pick fresh produce from area farms and gardens that will be used for food donations, on September 8, 15, 22 and 29.
- Eat at Pete’s Apizza (3017 Clarendon Blvd) on Monday, September 17, from 11:00 a.m.-10:00 p.m. and 25 percent of the proceeds will be donated to AFAC.
- Attend movie night at Arlington Central Library (1015 N. Quincy Street) on Wednesday, September 19th, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Join AFAC and filmmaker Cintia Cabib in the main auditorium for a screening of “A Community of Gardeners.” The film highlights D.C. community gardens and their vital role.
- Join AFAC’s Young Professionals on Thursday, September 20, from 6:00-9:00 p.m. at Whitlow’s on Wilson (2854 Wilson Blvd) for Mug Night.
- Try the California Dreaming Wine Tasting at Screwtop Wine Bar & Cheese Shop (1025 N. Fillmore Street) on Monday, September 24, from 6:00-8:00 p.m. All of the proceeds will be donated to AFAC. The event is limited to 45 people, and costs $15.99 to sample 10 wines and cheeses.
Anyone interested can get involved with these and other AFAC volunteer opportunities by signing up online.
Arlington Newlyweds Climb Mountain in Tux and Gown — Bob Ewing and Antonie Hodge Ewing, a newlywed couple from Arlington who happen to be avid rock climbers, have attracted national media attention by climbing a summit in Seneca Rocks, W. Va. while wearing a tux and a wedding dress. A small wedding party, including the bride’s mother, also completed the climb with them. [ABC News]
McDonnell Gives Speech at GOP Convention — Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell delivered a speech at the Republican National Convention last night. McDonnell said the election “is about restoring the American Dream” and implementing the kind of fiscally conservative policies that have benefited Virginia. [NBC Washington, Transcript]
Boathouse Comment Period Extended – Updated at 12:30 p.m. — The National Park Service is now accepting public comments about preliminary alternatives for a Potomac River boathouse in Arlington County through Sept. 30. Of the four possible locations identified for the boathouse, two are just south of the Key Bridge, one is near Gravelly Point, and one is on Daingerfield Island. “The boathouse facility and its amenities would enhance public waterfront access in the vicinity of Arlington County for non-motorized recreational activities,” NPS says. [National Park Service]
Photo courtesy Andrew Clegg
(Updated at 4:05 p.m.) Police are investigating an unusual accident near Westover involving a bicyclist.
Initial reports said the cyclist was unconscious when police arrived, after being struck by a vehicle that left the scene. However, a police spokesman now says there might not have been a vehicle involved at all.
Police believe the cyclist may have suffered some sort of medical emergency and then fell onto the road, unconscious. However, the investigation is still ongoing and details are still coming in.
A tipster said the cyclist was transported to Fairfax Inova Hospital.
Earlier, Patrick Henry Drive was closed between 9th Road North and 11th Street North, and 10th Street North was blocked off where the accident occurred. All roads have been reopened.
There’s no word so far on the cyclist’s condition or the nature of the possible medical emergency.
DC Social Sports Club games are scheduled to be played at the sand courts at 2451 Crystal Drive, starting the week of September 10. During registration, teams choose to play on Mondays, Thursdays, Saturdays or Sundays. All teams are co-ed.
The league fee includes seven games, all equipment, DC Social t-shirts, a site supervisor and access to DC Social parties. Online registration is still open for teams or individuals searching for a team.
Plans are currently in the works another sports endeavor — field hockey — at nearby Long Bridge Park. Due to scheduling conflicts while reserving the turf fields there, field hockey won’t begin until spring of 2013.
Other DC Social Sports Club leagues throughout Arlington that still have late summer and early fall openings are listed online.
Disclosure: Crystal City Business Improvement District is an ARLnow.com advertiser.
Two men have been arrested in connection with last night’s bust of a suspected meth lab in Virginia Square.
Arlington resident William Hudgens, 31, and Leonard Fischer, 44, have been arrested and charged with Attempted Manufacturing of Methamphetamine.
Police were called to an apartment building at 801 N. Monroe Street around 9:30 p.m. on Monday for a dispute. When they got inside, officers noticed items consistent with the manufacturing of meth.
Due to the volatile nature of methamphetamine production, residents on three floors of the 225-unit building were evacuated as a safety precaution. Hazmat and bomb squad teams assisted police in their investigation of the suspicious materials.
Once the scene was deemed safe, members of the ACPD Vice Narcotics Unit executed a search warrant, and arrested Hudgens and Fischer.
The police investigation is ongoing.
Starting in early September, the Arlington Circuit Court, which includes the City of Falls Church, will mail out questionnaires to randomly selected residents. The questionnaires are used to qualify residents for jury duty during the 2013 court year, which runs from January 21, 2013 through January 2014.
Around 10,000 residents from Arlington and the City of Falls Church are selected from the registered voter lists provided by the State Board of Elections. Jury Commissioners review the responses on the questionnaires to determine a person’s eligibility to serve as a juror for civil and criminal trials in the Arlington Circuit Court.
Anyone who receives a questionnaire is asked to follow these steps:
- Read the entire questionnaire carefully, front and back, for detailed instructions.
- Using your Candidate ID number printed on the questionnaire, visit the secure juror website to complete and submit the questionnaire online (if using this option, do not mail in the form).
- You may also mail the completed form as instructed in the questionnaire.
- The questionnaire is not a summons to appear, so please do not call the Clerk’s Office asking for an excuse from jury duty. Excuses or postponements to serve at another time during the year can be considered if you are actually summoned to serve as a juror.
The form must be completed and returned within 10 days of receipt. Failure to respond to the questionnaire may result in being summoned to Court to complete the form in person.
The normal term of service for those who are picked for jury duty is one week, from Monday through Thursday. Trials generally average one to two days, and jurors receive a $30 expense reimbursement for each day they report for service.
More information about jury duty is available on the county’s website.
There was no fanfare for the opening of Tropical Smoothie Cafe (3811 Fairfax Drive) in Virginia Square on Monday because it was a surprise for everyone — including the owner.
Owner Marcus Barnett said after the typical county permitting delays, he finally received word yesterday that the restaurant could open. He hurried to the bank, and had the doors open for customers by 4:00 yesterday afternoon. Today is the first full day of operation.
Barnett noted two things that set Tropical Smoothie Cafe apart from its smoothie competitors: the restaurants serves food and uses natural ingredients.
“I know everyone says that,” Barnett said. “But even in our smoothies, we don’t use concentrates. It’s all real fruit that you can see and we blend it up.”
The menu includes salads, sandwiches, wraps and flatbreads. In keeping with the healthy theme, there’s also a focus on portion control.
“It’s just enough, not to overdo it,” Barnett said. “That’s the reason I got into this, to do something healthy. I wanted to find a place that had good food and good quality as well.”
Barnett is a Virginia native who attended The College of William and Mary, where he met his friend and current business partner, Manish Singh. The two frequented a Tropical Smoothie Cafe there and became friends with the owner. For years, the goal has been to eventually open a location of their own in the D.C. metro area.
The two were particularly drawn to Arlington because they notice residents making efforts to lead healthy lifestyles.
“We love how Arlington is very active. We see people run in front of our store all day long, Gold’s Gym is there, Sport and Health and all these bikers,” Barnett said. “I think that goes hand in hand with what we’re doing.”
The restaurant will have its grand opening from Thursday, September 20 through Saturday, September 22. All customers who purchase a smoothie those three days will receive a free food item. Barnett hopes that helps people realize the restaurant serves more than just smoothies.
Although there are no immediate plans for area locations other than Virginia Square, Barnett is leaving it open as a possibility.
“If we can win over Arlington we can do anything,” he said.
Number of Households Growing — The number of households in Arlington grew by one percent over the past year — from 105,667 to 106,717 — a rate twice that of the 0.5 percent household growth in the Commonwealth of Virginia, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. [Sun Gazette]
New Ballston Bars Reviewed — Ballston’s bar scene has “received a shot in the arm over the last two weeks” with the openings of World of Beer and A-Town Bar and Grill, according to a review by Fritz Hahn. [Washington Post]
Flickr pool photo by Ddimick
Update on 8/28/12 at 1:00 p.m. — Police confirm they have arrested two men in connection with the suspected meth lab.
Update at 1:05 a.m. — Residents of the second and fourth floors are being allowed back in the building. The bomb squad is packing up its gear, but police and the hazmat teams are remaining on the scene, according to Fire Department spokesman Capt. Gregg Karl.
An apartment building just a block away from the Virginia Square Metro station has been partially evacuated as police and firefighters investigate a possible meth lab discovered in an apartment.
The area around the Virginia Square Apartments, a 225-unit high rise at 801 N. Monroe Street, has been cordoned off by authorities. Police, firefighters, the bomb squad and a hazmat team are all on the scene, and a decontamination area has been set up. Numerous evacuated residents have gathered outside the Metro station.
So far police are not officially confirming that they’re investigating a meth lab, only officially confirming that they found a “hazmat situation” while responding to a domestic incident on the third floor of the building. Police and the fire department chose to evacuate the second, third and fourth floors of the building, according to Arlington County Police spokesman Lt. Michael Watson.
The homemade production of methamphetamine is dangerous and meth lab explosions happen on a regular basis across the country.
In a letter to parents and in an online video (above), Arlington Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Patrick Murphy is trying to answer questions and quell outrage among some parents in response to changes to the school system’s busing policies.
Just weeks before the start of school, APS sent letters to parents notifying them that the school system would begin enforcing rules, already in place, that reserve bus transportation for students a mile or more away from their elementary school and 1.5 miles or more away from their middle or high school. Students outside the so-called “walk zones” have been issued passes that allow them to board a bus at a specific bus stop; those inside the walk zones must walk, bike or otherwise find their own transportation to school.
The goal was to increase the efficiency, on-time performance and safety of the bus system by knowing which students will board the bus at which time and place. The changes also made it possible for Arlington to absorb nearly 1,000 new students this year without having to buy additional buses or hire additional drivers.
But hundreds of parents have protested against the changes by signing an online petition or joining a Facebook group called “Arlington Parents for Safe Transportation.” Many of those parents say their children were previously eligible for bus transportation, but were not issued passes this year. They argue that forcing their children to walk to school — sometimes over busy roads — risks their safety.
In his letter, Dr. Murphy said the changes actually improve student safety.
“The primary focus of this transition has been to ensure the safety of our students,” he said. “This means we need to know who is on the bus, and to ensure that our buses are not overcrowded, especially in the face of our growing enrollment needs. We also need to focus on improving on-time service to and from schools. This new system will also ensure that we avoid having too many or too few students assigned to a bus.”
Dr. Murphy struck an apologetic tone when responding to complaints that the changes were made too close to the new school year, which starts on Tuesday, Sept. 4.
“I regret the confusion some families have experienced and want to assure you that we are working to address and respond quickly to the many questions and concerns that have been raised,” Dr. Murphy wrote. “I recognize that notifying you recently of specific changes for your child’s eligibility for the bus service has been disruptive to some families.”
Approximately 14,000 students are eligible for bus transportation this year, while about 9,000 are within their school’s walk zone, according to APS. The letter revealed that a recalculation of distances to schools has prompted APS to eliminate 12 bus stops, affecting about 250 students. (There are 1,783 bus stops across the county.)
Dr. Murphy said some mistakes were made, resulting in bus passes not being issued to some students outside the walk zones. Those mistakes are being corrected, he said, via an ongoing appeals process.
New Orleans is on the minds of many in the country, as Tropical Storm Isaac strengthens and barrels down on the city, which was devastated by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
But if Katrina proved anything, it’s this: regardless of Isaac’s impact, New Orleans’ unique culture will remain as vibrant as ever. And part of that culture will be coming to Arlington next week.
Bayou Bakery in Courthouse (1515 N. Courthouse Road) will be hosting a “one night only” concert by a lineup of notable New Orleans jazz artists from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 8.
Among those set to perform are Derrick Tabb and Stafford Agee of the Grammy award-winning Rebirth Brass Band, Jeffrey Hills and William Smith of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, eight members of the Roots of Music Crusaders marching band, along with drummer Terrance Andrews and saxophonist Allen Dejan.
Tickets for the event, described by Bayou Bakery as “a once in a lifetime jam session of continuous live music,” start at a minimum donation of $60. Proceeds from the event will benefit The Roots of Music, a New Orleans-based program that helps develop the musical talents of 9-14 year olds. Tabb, a drummer, was named a “CNN Hero” in 2009 for his work with The Roots of Music.
Tickets are not yet available for purchase, but will include food (a choice of three Cajun entrees and dessert) plus drinks (three Abita draft beers for a $75 minimum donation, non-alcoholic beverages for $60). Seating will be limited, but the restaurant will provide standing space for those without seats.
In a press release, Bayou Bakery said it was chosen to host the concert due to owner David Guas’ Louisiana heritage.
“Being a native of New Orleans, Guas was hand-picked to host this intimate gathering and serve up some of his award-winning southern fare,” the restaurant said.
Photo courtesy Bayou Bakery