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by ARLnow.com — May 15, 2013 at 6:00 pm 3,478 0

(Updated on 5/20/13) Arlington County, Falls Church and Ft. Myer firefighters responded to a house fire in Lyon Park tonight.

This fire was reported around 5:45 p.m., at the corner of N. Highland Street and 7th Street. Firefighters arrived on scene, made their way into the burning home and attacked heavy flames throughout the structure. The fire was eventually brought under control around 6:10 p.m., but not before causing significant damage to the home.

Smoke could be seen and smelled from the Clarendon area, readers told ARLnow.com via Twitter.

Nobody was injured in the blaze, according to Arlington County Fire Department spokesman Capt. Gregg Karl. The Red Cross is on scene, assisting the two adults and one child who lived in the house.

A 12-year-old boy was at home the time of the fire and managed to escape unscathed, Karl said. Two cats were also inside the house. One escaped unharmed and the other was later found injured inside the house, we’re told.

by ARLnow.com — May 15, 2013 at 5:00 pm 0

Panel discussion on immigration at Kenmore Middle SchoolRep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) and a group of like-minded panelists made the case for immigration reform Tuesday night at a community forum in Arlington.

Entitled “Building a Stronger Nation: Reforming Out Broken Immigration System,” the Moran-organized forum attracted several dozen attendees to Kenmore Middle School’s auditorium. The congressman and the panelists told the audience that immigration reform would energize the economy, bring in additional tax revenue, and enable immigrants to live a more productive and fulfilling life.

In his opening remarks, Moran said bipartisan immigration legislation that’s currently being crafted in the Senate has a better shot at becoming law than any other recent attempt at immigration reform.

Rep. Jim Moran, speaking at a panel discussion on immigration at Kenmore Middle School“The possibility for reform today may be better than it’s ever been,” he said. “Now is the best time in recent memory for enacting comprehensive immigration reform. But the enactment of reforms is by no means guaranteed… in a Congress that can’t seem to agree on anything of consequence.”

Moran said immigration reform is particularly important in Northern Virginia, where 27 percent of the population is foreign-born. (Of that foreign-born population, 38 percent of come from Latin America, 36 percent from Asia, 16 percent from Africa and 10 from Europe, according to statistics cited by Moran.)

Panelists made moral and economic arguments for immigration reform.

Patrick Oakford, who researches immigration issues for the liberal Center for American Progress, said that legalizing the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States could boost the economy by $832 billion over 10 years while raising the wages paid to immigrants.

Walter Tejada, speaking at a panel discussion on immigration at Kenmore Middle SchoolArlington County Board Chair Walter Tejada said immigration reform would help cash-strapped local governments. It would also help police departments, he said, by facilitating better cooperation with an immigrant community that’s currently fearful of law enforcement.

“The future of our nation is brighter by providing a path for citizenship,” Tejada said. “We really need to get behind and support our leaders in Congress.”

Other panelists tried to shoot down some of the arguments against immigration reform.

Kristian Ramos of the New Policy Institute, pro-immigration think tank, said immigration reform won’t open the floodgates to Mexican immigrants. He said that Mexico’s growing economy has helped to significantly reduce the flow of undocumented immigrants into the United States by providing more jobs and opportunities in Mexico. He also pointed out that that crime is down near the U.S.-Mexico border.

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by ARLnow.com — May 15, 2013 at 3:30 pm 1,015 0

Columbia Pike Blues Festival 2012A free blues concert will be held Thursday evening (May 16) at Penrose Square on Columbia Pike. The event is being held to promote the upcoming Columbia Pike Blues Festival.

Thursday’s concert will take place starting at 6:30 p.m. and will feature Karl Stoll and the Danger Zone and the Chris Polk Band. The concert, at Penrose Square (2503 Columbia Pike), is free and open to the public.

The 18th annual Columbia Pike Blues Festival will take place on June 15 and feature legendary guitarist G.E. Smith, who’s best known for being the musical director for Saturday Night Live and for being lead guitarist for Hall & Oates, Bob Dylan and other major musical acts.

As always, the Blues Festival will be held on S. Walter Reed Drive just north of Columbia Pike. The performance schedule on June 15 includes:

  • 1:00 p.m. — BG and the Mojo Hands
  • 2:00 p.m. — Clarence “Bluesman” Turner
  • 3:30 p.m. — Chris Polk [Sound Check]
  • 5:00 p.m. — Cathy Ponton King
  • 6:30 p.m. — G.E. Smith

File photo. Disclosure: Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization, organizer of the Blues Festival, is an ARLnow.com advertiser.

by ARLnow.com — May 15, 2013 at 2:00 pm 7,273 0

Design of new Williamsburg elementary schoolParents of Arlington youth soccer players and residents who live near Williamsburg Middle School have created dueling petitions — for and against a proposal to install lighting and new soccer fields at the school.

The field and lighting proposal was floated as an optional part of the Arlington Public Schools plan to build a new elementary school on the Williamsburg Middle School campus. The design of the school was approved in February and construction is expected to begin next year.

The proposal involves the construction of two synthetic turf fields next to the school, with lighting installed for the field farthest from the surrounding neighborhood. Arlington Public Schools spokesman Frank Bellavia says the school system currently doesn’t have the money necessary for the synthetic fields and lighting — about $2 million — so supporters are hoping to convince Arlington County to pay for the project.

A group of neighbors, however, has created a Change.org petition calling for the County Board to nix the field lighting component.

Williamsburg elementary school field plans“We, as registered voters in Arlington County, strongly oppose the installation of sport field lighting on any of the soccer fields on the Williamsburg Middle/Elementary school property,” the petition says. “The neighborhood surrounding Williamsburg will be heavily impacted by evening traffic, light intrusion, noise and parking impacts.”

So far, the neighbors’ petition has attracted 125 online signatures.

The Arlington Soccer Association, meanwhile, has created its own Change.org petition, which has gathered 1,085 signatures so far. The association says the fields, and the lighting, will help meet growing demand for youth soccer in Arlington.

“We, the undersigned, support placing a lighted synthetic rectangular athletic field on the grounds of Williamsburg Middle School,” the petition says. “The Arlington Department of Parks and Recreation estimates that a lighted synthetic field can sustain five times the overall use of an unlighted grass field.”

Williamsburg elementary school field plans“We are sensitive to the concerns of the local community,” the petition continues. “We believe that a lighted field at WMS should be limited to youth sports programming and have a curfew of 9:30 p.m.”

The fight is similar to the acrimonious battle over lighting proposed for the Bishop O’Connell High School baseball and football fields. After nearly 75 speakers weighed in on the O’Connell lighting proposal at a County Board meeting in 2011, the Board rejected the plan,

Before any possible County Board consideration, the Arlington Soccer Association is hoping to convince neighbors that a lighted field will not result in the light pollution, noise and traffic that many fear. The group wrote the following letter (after the jump) as a response to concerns expressed on the email listserv of a local civic association.

(more…)

by ARLnow.com — May 15, 2013 at 1:45 pm 450 0

T4W_LOGOtype®PEditor’s Note: ARLnow.com will be highlighting the companies that join our Arlington Service Directory this summer. The Service Directory is a place where Arlington residents can discover quality local companies that provide necessary and useful services for people, properties, pets and possessions.

Time for a Walk, a pet walking and feeding business based in Arlington’s Old Dominion neighborhood, takes care of your pets while you’re out of town or at work.

From the company’s Service Directory listing:

Time for a Walk, LLC specializes in helping dogs, cats, fish, birds, and virtually all other pets enjoy their days/evenings at home when their parents are unable to walk, feed, or otherwise care for them. Time for a Walk is a licensed, bonded and insured dog walking/pet sitting employee based business with offices located in Arlington, VA.

Our professional dog walkers and pet sitters have the experience, knowledge, and love for animals, which is necessary for pet parents to feel comfortable leaving their loved ones in good hands whether during the work day or for a vacation or business trip away from home.

by ARLnow.com — May 15, 2013 at 1:15 pm 779 0

This week’s Arlington Pet of the Week is a long, but lovable Australian Bearded Dragon named “Kirky”.

Here’s what Kirky’s owners had to say about this unique family pet:

When our oldest son was six years old he asked for a lizard for his birthday. Our friends had a bearded dragon that he loved and they told us that it was easy to take care of. Off to the store my son and I went to pick up our baby “beardy” who he named Kirky. Kirky was about 6 inches long and ate only crickets.

When Kirky was about one year old, he was a bit under the weather and we took him to a vet. To our surprise and delight we found out that Kirky was a girl!

As she grew (and grew) Kirky lived in a 10 gallon tank, then a 40 gallon tank and now, 6 years later, she lives in a 70 gallon tank by our picture window where she loves to sun herself. Kirky is about 2 ½ feet long and lucky for us, she is not going to grow any more. She no longer eats crickets but she does love broccoli and celery leaves and her Bearded Dragon Food.

Kirky enjoys sitting on her log under her heat lamp to warm up. When the TV is on, she watches with us. We even tried to take her on walks but that didn’t work out too well. She just sat in the grass and did not move! She is incredibly easy to take care of and is a joy to have around the house! Guests who come into our home are fascinated by her!

The Arlington Pet of the Week is sponsored by Dogma Bakery, which has locations at The Village at Shirlington (2772 S. Arlington Mill Drive) and the Lee Harrison Shopping Center (2445 N. Harrison Street).

Want your pet to be considered to be the Arlington Pet of the Week? Email steph@arlnow.com with a 2-3 paragraph bio and 3-4 photos of your pet. Each week’s winner receives a $25 Dogma gift card.

by ARLnow.com — May 15, 2013 at 12:00 pm 557 0

Red Parrot Asian Bistro will be celebrating its grand opening next week.

The restaurant, at 1110 N. Glebe Road in Ballston, quietly opened for business on March 1. But next Wednesday (May 22) the restaurant will hold its official grand opening event, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m.

The event will feature free food tastings and happy hour specials, said owner and chef Wendy Cheung. There will also be a DJ, ribbon dancers from Dance Asia, and a ribbon cutting ceremony, we’re told.

Red Parrot, which has two existing location in Hanover and Baltimore, Md., serves Thai, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese and Japanese cuisine for dine-in, carry-out and delivery.

by ARLnow.com — May 15, 2013 at 11:00 am 6,913 0

One man’s palatial homeless camp near Rosslyn took VDOT crews five hours to tear down using heavy machinery and numerous dump trucks, WJLA reported.

The camp, located in the woods along the path that leads from the Mt. Vernon Trail to N. Lynn Street, near the Key Bridge, was about half the size of a football field. The camp was reportedly the work of one El Salvadoran immigrant, who spent years building it, eventually adding a makeshift kitchen, bedroom, and living room.

VDOT crews with bulldozers and heavy machinery spent hours tearing the camp down on Monday, after complaints from some passersby, according to WJLA.

by ARLnow.com — May 15, 2013 at 10:15 am 1,592 0

Fraber House (photo via Arlington County)Arlington County is planning to designate the Fraber House at 1612 N. Quincy Street in Cherrydale a “local historic district,” then sell it to the highest bidder.

The house and surrounding grounds were purchased by the county from the Fraber family in 2002, for $537,000, with the intention of demolishing the yellow Bungalow-style home and using the land to expand adjacent Oakgrove Park.

The latter part of that plan was foiled when the Cherrydale neighborhood included the house and its detached garage in its designation to the National Register of Historic Places.

The home was deemed historically significant as “a classic example of the early-20th century Bungalow form… built and lived in by the types of middle and working class people who first established Arlington as a commuter suburb.”

“This presented a dilemma for the County’s land acquisition and historic preservation programs,” county staff wrote in a report this month. “For the last eleven years, the County has considered a variety of options to balance preserving the open space for Oakgrove Park and preserving the historic buildings on the site.”

That eleven years of contemplation has led to a plan to protect the home with a local historic designation, then try to sell it to someone who would presumably want to fix it up and live in it. The plan calls for the home to be offered for sale by a real estate agent starting this summer. It will be sold in “as is” condition — given that it “still retains its original building footprint, windows and doors, and nearly all of its exterior and interior materials and details.”

The parcels of land around the home will be retained by the county and used to expand Oakgrove Park, which consists of a youth soccer field, a playground and picnic equipment. The county says it will use proceeds of the sale to fund future park land acquisition.

Detached garage next to Fraber House (photo via Arlington County)The plan, which will be considered by the County Board this weekend as it votes to advertise public hearings on the historic designation, is not without some measure of controversy.

In March, the county’s Historic Affairs and Landmark Review Board recommended that the historic designation be extended to the home’s detached garage. Earlier this month, the Arlington Planning Commission voted unanimously to also favor historic status for the garage.

County staff, however, is recommending that the garage, which sits on land the county wants to use for the park, not receive historic status. Instead, the county will encourage the buyer of the home to move the garage closer to the home, on privately-owned land. Or, if that fails, the county will “make the garage available to an interested part for relocation… at the expense of the interested party.”

“This would allow the County to retain the remaining parkland for open space (as was the original intent) and for future park amenities,” staff wrote.

The County Board is scheduled to consider the Request to Advertise the historic designation at its Saturday meeting.

Photos via Arlington County

by ARLnow.com — May 15, 2013 at 9:05 am 914 0

Dusk at Kenmore Middle School

Yorktown Baseball Sets Record – Yorktown High School’s baseball team has finished the regular reason undefeated in the National District. With 14 victories, the Patriots set a National District record for wins in a single season. [Sun Gazette]

Crystal City BRT Named — The Bus Rapid Transit system that will serve Crystal City and Potomac Yard next year will be named “Metro Way” and will feature a blue bus design. The buses will travel from Pentagon City to Alexandria, and will run every 6 minutes during the rush hour. [Greater Greater Washington]

USS Arlington Fundraising $100K Short of Goal — So far, more than $390,000 has been donated or is expected to be pledged for a 9/11 “tribute room” on the USS Arlington. That leaves the ship’s commissioning committee more than $100,000 short of its $500,000 goal, however. Fundraising is continuing and committee member Frank O’Leary says he is “hoping to crack $400,000 this month.”

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