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by ARLnow.com — January 8, 2013 at 4:55 pm 21,807 118 Comments

Arlington police block the Key Bridge due to a person threatening to jump D.C. police block the Key Bridge due to a person threatening to jump

Update at 7:35 p.m. — The man has been safely taken into police custody. The scene is now being cleared.

Update at 6:10 p.m. — Police are still attempting to talk and negotiate with the man. A SWAT team is now reportedly on scene.

Police are blocking either side of the Key Bridge due to a person threatening to jump.

A man is hanging on to the southeast side of the bridge and threatening to jump, according to scanner traffic and witnesses. We’re told that a helicopter and a Coast Guard boat are assisting police, who are trying to talk with the man.

D.C. and Arlington police have shut down vehicle and pedestrian traffic to the bridge. Inbound traffic from Arlington is being diverted onto Lee Highway and the George Washington Parkway.

Significant traffic backups have been reported in Rosslyn, particularly at the intersection of Lynn Street and Wilson Blvd. Earlier, police looked into reports of motorists getting out of their cars and yelling obscenities at each other as a result of the backups.

If you or someone you know is experiencing thoughts of suicide, help is a phone call away. Call Crisis Link at 703-527-4077.

Hat tip to @Agent_Greg

by ARLnow.com — January 8, 2013 at 3:35 pm 452 22 Comments

Animal Welfare League of Arlington sign near Shirlington

The Animal Welfare League of Arlington is touting the benefits of adopting a rescue animal as a pet.

The Shirlington-based organization, in a press release (below), said shelter pets can help you achieve your New Year’s resolutions.

Animal Welfare League of Arlington (AWLA) encourages you to make pets a part of your New Year’s resolution plan. Resolving to adopt a shelter pet will not only improve the quality of life for that animal, but will also enhance your own. A new pet can help you achieve many of the following most popular resolutions made each year.

  • Lose Weight, Get Healthy: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, pets can reduce blood pressure, cholesterol levels, triglyceride levels and feelings of loneliness. Nearly 13.6 percent of Arlingtonians are obese, compared to the 24 percent national average. Adopting a dog as a workout partner can provide that needed motivation for daily exercise. Taking your dog for a daily 30-minute walk (or two 15-minute walks, one in the morning and one in the evening) will keep you moving and ensure that you meet the minimum recommendations for healthy physical activity. There are many dogs at the League waiting for a new human companion who wants to walk, jog, or run every day.
  • Reduce Stress: There is no better stress reducer than the companionship of a devoted pet. Stroking a cat, dog, or small companion animal is a calming activity, which can lower heart rate and blood pressure. Research has indicated that when people spend time with a pet their levels of cortisol, a hormone associated with stress, is lowered while their level of serotonin, a hormone associated with improved mood and well-being, is increased.
  • Spend More Time with Friends and Family: Pets are an excellent way to bring families together, and dog walking is a great way to meet new people. Humans are social animals and need to interact with others. Pet owners have a tendency to want to share time and experiences with other pet owners. Walking your dog or visiting a dog park lets you socialize with other owners while your dog socializes with their dogs.
  • Help Others: People can experience a big boost in their own mood from doing something good for others. By adopting an animal you will not only be helping, you will be rescuing a life. Most pet owners report that they actually benefit more from the relationship than their pet. Resolving to adopt from or volunteer with AWLA will not only provide you with an intrinsic reward, but also the satisfaction of enriching the lives of animals.
  • Enjoy Life More: Having a pet can really make a difference in your daily quality of life. While the bond between pets and their people can be described in many ways, the bond at its root is an unconditional and uncomplicated love. Pets are not only a devoted source of comfort and loyalty, but can also provide a sense of safety and security. Caring for a pet can lead to a richer, fuller, and more meaningful life.

This year make a New Year’s resolution to enrich your life by rescuing a shelter animal. To learn more about AWLA’s diverse selection of companion animals including cats, dogs, rabbits, birds, and hamsters, download Arlington Pets App; visit the League at 2650 S. Arlington Mill Drive or www.awla.org .

by ARLnow.com — January 8, 2013 at 2:35 pm 2,141 35 Comments

A new Vietnamese restaurant has opened in Shirlington Village.

Lotus Vietnamese Grill & Noodles, at 4041 Campbell Avenue, started serving customers on Monday. The restaurant, which seats about 40, is located in a 2,100 square foot space next to Extra Virgin restaurant.

The menu offering include: crispy spring rolls, summer rolls, green papaya salad with beef jerky, lotus stem salad with prawns, vermicelli, phở noodle soups, bahn mi sandwiches, and various rice dishes. The restaurant has a small bar that offers beer, wine and liquor.

Lotus Grill is open from 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Carryout service is available by calling 703-566-2173.

by ARLnow.com — January 8, 2013 at 1:40 pm 1,308 34 Comments

Sandy Hook fundraiser flyerA group of local Virginia Tech alumni will be holding a happy hour tomorrow (Jan. 9) to raise money for those impacted by the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn.

The fundraiser will run from 5:30 to 9:00 p.m. at SoBe in Clarendon (3100 Clarendon Blvd). A $10 donation will buy attendees a wristband entitling them to $2.50 domestic beers, $3.50 rail drinks, $3.50 house wine and food specials. There will also be a 50/50 raffle and DJ Antonio Ernesto will perform.

All proceeds from the event will go to the Sandy Hook Support Fund, says co-organizer Colleen Whalen.

“As a Virginia Tech alum, I know what it’s like for a community to suffer loss from a tragic event such as what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary,” Whalen said. “It was the outpouring of support from communities around the world that helped my Virginia Tech family cope with our own tragedy.”

A local company, Project DC Events, is helping Whalen organize the happy hour. Whalen said she’s trying to build on the success of a previous Virginia Tech alumni-organized fundraiser for Sandy Hook, held at Whitlow’s last month.

“It’s kind of a second push for people who were unable to attend, or were already out of town for the holidays when the first one took place,” she told ARLnow.com. “Although some of the organizers went to Virginia Tech, we are trying to promote to a larger audience, not just Hokies.”

by ARLnow.com — January 8, 2013 at 12:15 pm 1,570 77 Comments

Editor’s Note: This is the first of several weekly opinion columns that ARLnow.com will be publishing in 2013. The columns, from local thought leaders across the political spectrum, are intended to introduce fresh ideas and spark community conversations about issues of local and state interest.

Peter RousselotHappy New Year, and welcome to Peter’s Take. My name is Peter Rousselot. Thanks to Scott Brodbeck and his team at ARLnow, I will be writing a weekly column with my take on Arlington and Virginia politics, government or civic affairs.

A bit of background: my family and I moved from Reston to Arlington in 1997. Our youngest daughter graduated from W-L High School. I have served as a Co-Chair of the Advisory Council on Instruction to the Arlington Public Schools; as Chair of the Fiscal Affairs Advisory Commission to the Arlington County Board, and as Chair of the Arlington County Democratic Committee. I am currently a member of the Central Committee of the Democratic Party of Virginia.

As 2013 unfolds, you’ll find that my take on the subjects I’ll be writing about will depart sometimes from the “party line.” I often find that the emperor or empress has no clothes, while others claim to see a majestically-robed monarch.

And that brings me to some New Year’s resolutions for Arlington and its elected leaders:

  • Celebrate and utilize the wealth of diverse talent we have in our community
  • Cherish new ideas and new thinking
  • Practice strong and vigorous public dissent expressed with civility
  • Always be open to re-examine and to change based on new circumstances

In the coming weeks and months, I will try hard to follow these New Year’s resolutions myself, and be guided by them when I write about local or state affairs.

by ARLnow.com — January 8, 2013 at 11:00 am 1,998 12 Comments

This periodic sponsored Q&A column is written by Adam Gallegos of Arlington-based real estate firm Arbour Realty, voted one of Arlington Magazine’s Best Realtors of 2013. Please submit follow-up questions in the comments section or via email.

Question: What changes do you see coming for the Arlington real estate market in 2013?

Based on how 2012 ended, I’m prepared to make five predictions for the Arlington real estate market in 2013.

1) Appraisals – During the last five or so years, appraisal values have been based on an amount equal-to or less-than the most recent home sales in a neighborhood. With home values on the rise, appraisals are going to have to start taking appreciation into consideration above what the most recent sales values have been. For example, let’s say the most similar homes sales were $99k, $102k and $103k, but the subject property has a contract for $105k. In this case the appraiser may need to take appreciation into consideration instead of defaulting to the most recent sales value of $103k. Obviously, appreciation will have to be merited.

2) Selling Buyers To Sellers – As I’ve talked about in past articles, we are seeing more and more competitive situations out there. As a buyer’s agent, I am finding myself “selling” my clients to home sellers more often. By appealing to the sellers on a rational and emotional level, I’m trying to improve the chances of them choosing to work with my client over the other buyers that are submitting offers on the same home.

3) Pre-Construction Sales – I expect that many new homes will sell before they are completed. The bad news is that you will have to use your imagination to envision the finished home. The good news is that you may have an opportunity for input on some of the finishes and design decisions. There is also an opportunity for the home to gain value prior to you closing on it (of course the reverse could also happen).

4) Higher Interest Rates – We’ve been spoiled by absurdly low interest rates, but from what I’m being told by mortgage experts, rates are going to begin inching back towards “normal.” If you intend to purchase a home this year and are depending on the current interest rates, you may want to initiate the buying process sooner than later. Once you have a ratified contract, you can usually lock in your interest rate.

5) More Inventory – As home prices continue to appreciate, I expect that it will motivate more homeowners to sell their homes. The result should be a greater volume of listings and sales in 2013. But, I’m not convinced the housing supply will catch up with demand in Arlington this year. At least not for the under $750,000 market.

I’m looking forward to keeping you updated throughout the year.  Please keep the questions coming.

(more…)

by ARLnow.com — January 8, 2013 at 10:00 am 1,570 57 Comments

Walter Reed Super Stop on Columbia Pike Walter Reed Super Stop on Columbia Pike

Delayed by “unexpected issues,” the first of the Columbia Pike “Super Stops” is finally expected to wrap up construction next month.

The new deluxe bus stop in front of the Rite Aid at the corner of Columbia Pike and Walter Reed Drive will offer shelter to 10-15 passengers with seating and lighting, real time electronic schedule information and other enhancements. It’s one of 24 planned Super Stops on the Pike.

The Walter Reed stop was approved in Sept. 2011 and has been beset by construction delays.

“The Walter Reed Super Stop is the prototype for this project and the first bus stop of its kind in the region,” said project representative Corey Cranmer. “Given that, there have been a number of unexpected issues regarding construction and new materials that we have had to work through with WMATA during the project.”

Cranmer said the stop is “slated for completion in late February.” This spring, crews are expected to start work on the “Barton West” stop near Penrose Square. Construction on a pair of stops at Columbus and Dinwiddie Street will start at some point after July 1, following the completion of road work in the area.

by ARLnow.com — January 8, 2013 at 9:00 am 1,902 160 Comments

Route 50 (photo by Jkurl11)

Streetcar Referendum Might Be Necessary — Arlington County might be forced to hold a bond referendum for the Columbia Pike streetcar if it’s unable to sell a certain type of revenue bond to partially fund the $250 million project. For now, the project is awaiting word on whether it will receive up to $75 million in federal funding. [Sun Gazette]

Higher-End Stores at Pentagon City Mall — The Fashion Centre at Pentagon City has undergone a transformation that brought higher-end “aspirational luxury” stores to the mall. Recent addition to the malls include Oakley, Sperry, Mezlan and Cole Haan. Among the stores that have recently left is Aeropostale, which was forced out by a Microsoft Store. [Washington Post]

‘Dooring’ Law Proposed in Richmond — A law has  been proposed for the upcoming Virginia General Assembly session (which starts tomorrow) that would make a vehicle occupant liable in the event they open their car door in the path of a cyclist, causing an accident. Similar laws are already on the books in Maryland and D.C. [WTOP]

State Dept. Cancels Search for Lease in Rosslyn — The State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security, based on Lynn Street in Rosslyn, has canceled a search for a new lease. The agency is now looking for a building to buy, raising the prospect that it may be looking to move into the District. [Washington Business Journal]

Flickr pool photo by Jkurl11

by ARLnow.com — January 8, 2013 at 7:00 am 0

The following is today’s featured event from our new event calendar. Submit your event to the calendar here.

ulikClarinet Capers with Julian MilkisSaturday, Jan. 12 from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. — Hailed as one of the world’s greatest living clarinetists, Julian Milkis remains the only student of Jazz Legend Benny Goodman, and has been described as a dazzling soloist, chamber musician and jazz clarinetist. Milkis will perform at Artisphere’s Spectrum Theater with members of the National Chamber Ensemble: Kathryn Brake on piano, Leo Sushansky on violin, and Uri Wassertzug on viola.

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