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DEVELOPING: APS Exploring New School on Wilson Blvd Property

by ARLnow.com | April 23, 2014 at 7:00 pm | 583 views | No Comments

Wilson School (photo courtesy Preservation Arlington)Arlington Public Schools is backing off a plan to sell its Wilson School property to a developer. Instead, the school system and the county is exploring the possibility of building a new 1,300-student secondary school on the property.

Located at 1601 Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn, the Wilson School was built in 1910 and preservationists have been calling for it to be restored rather than torn down. Under a plan approved by the School Board last summer, it was to be demolished to make way for a private mixed-use development with affordable housing, a new fire station and a 1.5 acre park.

Now, according to a press release (after the jump), that plan has been scrapped in favor of retaining the property and perhaps building a new secondary school at the site, to address the school system’s capacity crunch.

No word yet on whether this might be a new location for the 624-student H-B Woodlawn Secondary Program, currently located in Cherrydale, or whether it would be a new secondary school entirely.

(more…)

Police: Man Throws Water Bottle at Mister Days Patrons, Hits Cop With SUV

by ARLnow.com | April 23, 2014 at 4:35 pm | 1,949 views | No Comments

Evan Rowland (photo courtesy ACPD)An Alexandria man has been arrested and charged with hitting an Arlington police officer with his SUV after tossing a water bottle at a group of people outside Mister Days in Clarendon.

The alleged incident happened around 2:00 a.m. this past Saturday.

“Officers witnessed a SUV stop in front of Mr. Days bar and throw a water bottle out of the vehicle at other patrons,” said an Arlington County Police Department crime report. “The vehicle took off at a high rate of speed, struck a median and was driving recklessly before stopping at a traffic light.”

Foot patrol officers chased down the SUV and, standing on either side of the vehicle, ordered the driver to get out, according to ACPD spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.

The driver “acknowledged their presence and chose to ignore their commands,” said Sternbeck, then “accelerated forward and knocked over the officer with the side of his vehicle” in an attempt to flee.

The officer was knocked to the ground and rolled several times, but only suffered minor injuries. Police caught up with the accused driver, 27-year-old Evan Rowland, in Alexandria. He was arrested and charged with Malicious Bodily Injury to a Law Enforcement Officer.

Photo courtesy ACPD

Police: Man Pulls Machete on Dog Bite Victim

by ARLnow.com | April 23, 2014 at 2:30 pm | 1,969 views | No Comments

A Chihuahua (photo by Paul Komarek)Arlington County police are looking for a man who allegedly pulled a machete on someone who was just bitten by his Chihuahua.

The incident happened around 9:00 Friday night at Doctor’s Run Park, in the Douglas Park neighborhood. The male victim had hopped a fence at the park to retrieve a ball when he was bitten by a Chihuahua, according to Arlington County Police Department spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.

The victim confronted the dog’s owner, who was at the park with a large group of people. The owner of the dog became agitated and tried to punch and kick the victim, Sternbeck said. Then the man allegedly went to his car, retrieved a machete, and threatened the victim with it.

A female acquaintance of the suspect convinced him to put the knife away and leave the scene, Sternbeck said. The victim escaped the confrontation with only minor scratches from the dog bite.

The suspect is described by police as “a Hispanic male, 5’5″, with black hair and brown eyes, and approximately 150 pounds and 40 years old.” Anybody with information about the man or the incident is asked to call Arlington County police at 703-558-2222.

File photo via Paul Komarek/Wikipedia

Metro PD Looking for ‘Inappropriate Touching’ Suspect

by ARLnow.com | April 23, 2014 at 11:15 am | 3,033 views | No Comments

Assault and Battery suspect (photo courtesy MTPD)Metro Transit Police are asking for the public’s help in identifying an Orange Line rider (pictured, left) who they say touched a woman inappropriately.

During the Feb. 12 evening rush hour commute, while on an Orange Line train near the Ballston Metro station, the man “allegedly rubbed the inner thigh of a patron as she sat next to him,” according to police. The crime is being described as “assault and battery.”

“Anyone who is able to identify the individual pictured below is asked to call Metro Transit Police Detectives at (202) 962-2121 and reference case #2014-07734,” MTPD said in a press release.

Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com | April 23, 2014 at 10:00 am | 776 views | No Comments

Dogwood flowers in Arlington (Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick)

Obama Visit Boosted Business at Bookstore — The November 2012 visit to One More Page Books (2200 N. Westmoreland Street) by President Obama and his family boosted revenue at the East Falls Church store by 20 percent. The visit still continues to benefit the store, according to owner Eileen McGervey. [Washington Business Journal]

Miss Gay Arlington Crowned — The new 2014 Miss Gay Arlington is Coco B. Colby. Colby was crowned after besting three competitors during the April 18 event at Freddie’s Beach Bar in Crystal City. Previous Miss Gay Arlington winners include Shaunda Leer, Stardust and Diamond D. Bottoms. [InsideNoVa]

County Promotes Building Safety — After a series of high-profile construction accidents this past fall, Arlington County has officially proclaimed May to be Building Safety Month. “Building safety is our focus every day, although most of that work happens behind the scenes,” said Arlington County Board Chair Jay Fisette, in a statement. [Arlington County]

Crystal City Power Purge Today — Crystal City is holding its annual Power Purge and Shred from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. today. The event, at 1900 Crystal Drive, allows residents to recycle electronics, paper and to get rid of household paints and supplies. There’s also a specialty hard drive crusher for data security. [Crystal City]

Yorktown, W-L Soccer Game Ends in Tie — A “hard-fought, exhausting” boys soccer match between Yorktown and Washington-Lee ended in a scoreless tie Tuesday night. [Washington Post]

Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick

County Board Passes $1.15 Billion Budget

by ARLnow.com | April 23, 2014 at 9:10 am | 1,146 views | No Comments

County Board 2014 budget adoptionThe Arlington County Board adopted a $1.15 billion budget Tuesday night.

The Fiscal Year 2015 budget trims one cent from the county’s real estate tax rate while — thanks to a rise in property assessments — adding funds for schools, road paving and high speed fiber optic infrastructure. It also maintains service levels in other areas of county government.

The real estate tax rate is now $0.996 per $100 in assessed value, bringing the annual county tax burden on the average Arlington homeowner to $7,327.

The budget includes merit pay raises for county employees, which the County Board added back into the budget after an outcry from police and firefighter employee associations.

The Board, including newly-elected member John Vihstadt, voted unanimously for the budget. Vihstadt, who was elected on a platform of fiscal responsibility, said he was pleased with the tax rate reduction and did not want “to let the perfect be the enemy of the good” in budget deliberations.

Two other Board members echoed that sentiment in voting for the budget. Libby Garvey said she didn’t approve of the budget’s cut to mental health services for prison inmates (a grant that funded an employee for that task had run out) and accused the Board of squirreling away transportation money in various funds with the intention of, at some point, using it for streetcar projects, which she opposes.

Walter Tejada spoke out against budget guidance that directs the county manager to study the possibility of privatization and outsourcing Volunteer Arlington, which promotes and coordinates volunteer opportunities.

Other budget guidance for the manager (which was added by the Board outside the normal public budget process) included:

  • A request for a report by the end of the year on the financial sustainability of Artisphere
  • Enhancement of the county’s internal audit functions and the establishment of a fraud and waste hotline
  • Improved parking ticket adjudication for tickets issued in error
  • A plan for a phased implementation of staffing increase for the county’s police, fire and other public safety departments

The county’s press release on the budget passage, after the jump.

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Ask Adam: Will Interest Rates Stay Low?

by ARLnow.com | April 22, 2014 at 2:30 pm | 1,123 views | No Comments

Ask Adam header

This regularly-scheduled 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 & 2014. Please submit your questions via email.

Q. We are looking at homes that will require us to obtain a jumbo loan. We’ve been pleasantly surprised by how low interest rates still are. Do you expect that to continue through the summer and possibly the rest of this year?

A. The short answer to your question, and good news,  is “yes” — rates are expected to remain low through the summer and perhaps even into parts of 2015. This is true for FHA, V.A., Conventional, as well as Jumbo loans.

To get to the “why” that these rates are expected to remain low, let me digress to a bit of recent history and then come back to expectations for the future. Months ago, rates were extremely low because the Federal Reserve was directly subsidizing interest rates (i.e. keeping them lower than rates would have been without the subsidy). Over the past months, the Fed has begun to eliminate this subsidy program, and rates were expected to rise to 5 percent or higher once this occurred. However, over the past few months, when the subsidy phase out actually did begin to occur, rates remained relatively constant, and even decreased a small bit. Experts scratched their heads.

While the Fed did phase out it’s direct subsidy of interest rates, the Fed also decided to keep what is called “short term borrowing” rates very low. Keeping short term rates low is a traditional manner that the Fed has used throughout history to keep overall borrowing rates low, and the Fed does this when they feel an overall lower cost of borrowing is the best way to assist a fragile economy to continue to recover.

Interestingly enough, the elimination of the rate subsidy by the Fed was not an indication that the Fed thought the economy was strong and that rates should increase. The Fed still believes that low rates are needed to help economic recovery, but they felt that the rate subsidy program was no longer necessary to achieve this goal. Most thought the subsidy would be eliminated because the Fed was OK with higher interest rates, but in reality, the Fed still believes and wants to maintain lower interest rates, but is doing this in a manner now where the rate subsidy is no longer necessary.

It is expected that the economy will not significantly recover at least until early 2015, and since the Fed has stated that they prefer lower interest rates until there are signs of economic recovery, the most likely expectation is that rates will remain low through that period, which is very good news for homebuyers this summer.  (more…)

Photos: Tulips in Bloom at the Netherlands Carillon

by ARLnow.com | April 22, 2014 at 10:45 am | 1,310 views | No Comments

Springtime is here and the tulips are in bloom at the Netherlands Carillon near Rosslyn.

Thousands of colorful tulips bloom every year in front of the carillon, which was a gift from the Dutch in appreciation for the sacrifices the United States made during World War II. 

Dedicated on May 5, 1960, the carillon consists of fifty bells, which play various military hymns and anthems at noon and 6:00 p.m. daily. The bells occasionally play other songs for special occasions, like Auld Lang Syne on New Years Eve.

Photos by ARLnow.com and Flickr pool contributors Nathan Jones, Starbuck77 and BrianMKA as noted

Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com | April 22, 2014 at 8:55 am | 1,291 views | No Comments

A family at the base of the Netherlands Carillon

Earth Day in Arlington — Today is Earth Day around the globe, but Arlington County has declared that “every day is Earth Day in Arlington.” In a press release, the county detailed the steps it has been taking to enhance environmental sustainability and also highlighted some environmentally-friendly events around Arlington. Among the upcoming events are the Green Living Expo on April 26 and Bike to Work Day on May 16. [Arlington County]

School Board Candidate Visits All 52 Precincts — Arlington School Board candidate Barbara Kanninen says she has now knocked on doors in all 52 Arlington electoral precincts. Last year Kanninen was criticized for reportedly holding all of her published campaign events in north Arlington. [InsideNoVa]

Rally Against Rape in Rosslyn — The annual Rally Against Rape will be held in Rosslyn’s Gateway Park at 6:30 p.m. Thursday to raise awareness of sexual violence in Northern Virginia. The event is free and includes speakers, music and a resource fair. [Clarendon Nights, Eventful]

Police: Man Leads High Speed Chase Down Columbia Pike With Six Kids in Car

by ARLnow.com | April 21, 2014 at 4:05 pm | 7,951 views | No Comments

Police car (file photo)An armed robbery suspect is facing numerous criminal charges in Arlington after allegedly leading police on a high speed chase down Columbia Pike while a total of ten people, including six young children, were in his car.

The incident started just past 10:00 p.m. on Saturday.

Arlington police were notified of an armed robbery that took place near Kenmore Middle School, just over the border in Fairfax County. Two men robbed a pair of sisters at gunpoint in a parking lot on the 3100 block of S. Manchester Street in the Falls Church area, according to Fairfax County Police. The suspects allegedly robbed the 17- and 24-year-old of cash and possessions, then took off on foot.

Shortly thereafter, Fairfax officers located a suspect vehicle near Bailey’s Crossroads and tried to initiate a traffic stop, but the driver refused to stop, leading them on a chase, according to FCPD.

After a be-on-the-lookout broadcast, an Arlington officer spotted the suspect’s vehicle being chased eastbound on Columbia Pike and joined the pursuit, according to Arlington County police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. During the chase down the Pike the suspect drove at high rate of speed, ran red lights and swerved into the oncoming lanes to get around slower traffic, Sternbeck said.

The suspect crashed into a sedan at S. Glebe Road, then reversed into an unmarked Fairfax cruiser, before continuing to drive down the Pike, according to Arlington and Fairfax police.

The suspect eventually crossed the 14th Street Bridge into D.C., at which time Arlington called off its chase but the Fairfax units continued to pursue. The chase ended when the suspect’s car crashed into a barrier wall at C Street and Washington Avenue, according to FCPD.

Six children, all ages 6 and younger, were inside the suspect’s four-door Ford Focus during the chase, Arlington and Fairfax police said. The children were turned over to Child Protective Services in D.C. Four adults were inside the car at the time, police said.

The alleged driver, 25-year-old Marcus Woodland of D.C., is being held in the District pending extradition to Arlington. Woodland faces 11 charges in Arlington including 2 counts of attempted malicious wounding on law enforcement, felony eluding, felony hit and run, six counts of child endangerment, and reckless driving.

A second suspect, 31-year-old Christopher Woodland, also of D.C., is facing robbery charges in Fairfax County. Two other adults — 19-year-old Abena Okrah of Annandale and 25-year-old Beverly Starr of D.C. — are being charged with receiving stolen property. Fairfax County is seeking extradition of all four suspects.

Witnesses said a police helicopter was involved in the chase, but that couldn’t be immediately confirmed.

“Many police cars and a helicopter just went flying eastbound on Columbia pike @ Walter Reed dr,” @OwenHassig tweeted shortly after 10:30 p.m.

File photo

BREAKING: Worker Seriously Injured After Trailer Hitch Crushes Head

by ARLnow.com | April 21, 2014 at 2:15 pm | 5,864 views | No Comments

(Updated at 3:05 p.m.) A worker is fighting for his life after his head was crushed by a trailer hitch in the Arna Valley View neighborhood, between Pentagon City and Shirlington.

The accident happened around 1:15 p.m, outside an apartment complex in the area of 26th and S. Troy Streets. Initial reports indicate that an older man was working under a white van with a trailer attached, trying to fix a tire, when something happened to cause the trailer hitch to come down on the man’s head, crushing it.

An Arlington County Fire Department technical rescue team worked for 30-45 minutes to safely lift up the van and free the victim, who’s said to be alive but in critical condition with a grievous head injury. He was transported via ambulance to George Washington University Hospital.

The victim’s son, who was working with his dad at the time of the accident, helped to flag down emergency responders. Unconfirmed reports suggest the men work for a pool services company.

Young Republicans Holding Forum on Pot Sentencing

by ARLnow.com | April 21, 2014 at 11:30 am | 1,550 views | No Comments

Marijuana and handcuff (photo via Facebook)The Arlington Falls Church Young Republicans will be hosting a panel discussion on marijuana sentencing reform tonight.

As more states and localities like D.C. decriminalize or even legalize pot possession, a national dialogue has emerged over lengthy prison sentences for nonviolent marijuana offenders. The AFCYRs are bringing that discussion to Arlington.

“There is an ongoing national discussion about marijuana sentencing reform, and I want to make sure the Republicans are leading the charge,” AFCYR Chairman Matthew Hurtt said in a media advisory. “It’s an issue that can unite members of our community, regardless of party, race or gender, and we look forward to hearing from those actively engaged in this topic.”

The panel discussion will be held at Hard Times Cafe (3028 Wilson Blvd) in Clarendon, starting at 7:00 p.m. today (Monday). Panelists include Heritage Foundation legal fellow John Malcom, Families Again Mandatory Minimums counsel Molly Gill and Republican Maryland state senator Chris Shank.

Attendees are asked to RSVP online.

Photo via Facebook

ACPD Officer Involved in Early Morning Wreck

by ARLnow.com | April 21, 2014 at 10:20 am | 3,194 views | No Comments

Police-involved crash at Clarendon Blvd and N. Barton Street (courtesy photo)A female Arlington County police officer suffered minor injuries after an early morning wreck in the Courthouse area Saturday.

The crash happened around 3:00 a.m. Police say the officer was heading eastbound on Clarendon Blvd and was approaching a flashing yellow light at the intersection with N. Barton Street.

The officer proceeded through the flashing yellow, but at the same time a Jeep traveling on Barton Street ran through the flashing red, according to Arlington County Police Department spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.

The resulting collision heavily damaged the front of the officer’s cruiser and caused the Jeep to flip on its side. The officer suffered minor injuries but did not need to go to the hospital. No other injuries were reported.

The driver of the Jeep was issued a ticket for a red light violation and was released, Sternbeck said.

Courtesy photo

Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com | April 21, 2014 at 9:10 am | 2,085 views | No Comments

Sunset over the Memorial Bridge (Flickr pool photo by Joseph Gruber)

Vihstadt Backs Off Independent Auditor Push — Newly-elected County Board member John Vihstadt is backing off a campaign promise to push for an independent auditor for Arlington County. Vihstadt “learned of the internal auditing that the county does and its plans to make that role more robust.” He plans to evaluate the effectiveness of the county’s auditing project around mid-year. [Washington Post]

Howze Won Pike Precincts — Democratic County Board candidate Alan Howze, who lost to John Vihstadt in the April 8 special election, narrowly won the precincts around Columbia Pike. Opponents of the planned Columbia Pike streetcar say the slim victory — Howze supports the streetcar while Vihstadt does not — is proof that even Columbia Pike residents who stand to benefit from the streetcar are lukewarm on the project. [InsideNoVa]

A Weekend in Courthouse in 2.5 Minutes — Timelapse photography of Arlington’s Courthouse Square area shows 2.5 days in just 2.5 minutes. The video includes a view of the Courthouse farmers market from setup to break down. [YouTube]

Flickr pool photo by Joseph Gruber

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