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New Fire Equipment, Three Firefighters Approved for Falls Church Fire Station

by Ethan Rothstein | July 22, 2014 at 12:00 pm | 1,317 views | No Comments

Engine 106 in front of the Falls Church Fire Station, also now as Arlington Station 6 (photo via FCVFD)(Updated at 12:35 p.m.) The Arlington County Board has agreed to help fund a new fire engine, ambulance, ladder truck and three additional firefighters at the Falls Church Fire Station (6950 N. Little Falls Road in Arlington).

The station is located in Arlington but the land and building are owned by the City of Falls Church. According to the county staff report, half of the station’s coverage area is in Falls Church, while the other half is in Arlington. The partnership contract between the two jurisdictions had not been updated since it was passed in 1989; the new agreement the Board approved on Saturday would replace the former contract.

The Arlington County Fire Department staffs and operates the station alongside the Falls Church Volunteer Fire Department.

“The new Fire and Emergency Medical Services Agreement between Arlington County and the City of Falls Church is a much-needed update to an agreement that dates back to 1989,” County Manager Barbara Donnellan said in an email. “This new agreement better serves both communities, by more clearly defining  operations and cost-sharing, and taking into account how service delivery has changed since 1989.”

The new agreement calls for three more full-time equivalent positions, for which the county and city will split expenditures. Despite the new purchases and new positions, county staff doesn’t anticipate any additional “net tax support.”

“While the County has additional expenses under the new agreement, such as Fall Church Fire Station maintenance,” the staff report states, “these additional expenses will be offset by additional reimbursements from the City.”

The old agreement, staff writes, did not clearly define how costs for maintenance and replacement of outdated equipment would be split between the two jurisdictions. In the first year of the new agreement, Falls Church has agreed to pay for capital improvements to the station to “bring the facility to an acceptable operating baseline.” The county has agreed to be responsible for maintenance and the city will fund all capital improvements going forward.

The city will pay the county $150,000 a year for capital investments, which the county will manage, and $738,000 for the initial improvements, which include replacing windows, overhead doors, and HVAC design.

Photo via Falls Church Volunteer Fire Department

County to Hold Ribbon Cutting for Parking App

by ARLnow.com | July 22, 2014 at 10:45 am | 1,545 views | No Comments

Parkmobile app on an iPhoneArlington County, which rarely misses an opportunity for a ribbon cutting event, will be holding one this week to kick off the county’s first pay-by-cell parking system.

Arlington will be rolling out the smartphone parking app Parkmobile over the next year — with the service first available to pay for street parking in Shirlington and Crystal City starting later this month.

The service will be expanded to Pentagon City this fall, Ballston and Clarendon this winter, and the rest of the county in the spring.

(Parkmobile is also currently used for pay-by-cell parking in the District of Columbia.)

The county will be holding a ribbon cutting to mark Arlington’s Parkmobile launch on Thursday, from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m., in front of Charlie Chiang’s Restaurant in Crystal City (320 23rd Street S.).

Those expected to help wield the giant pair of scissors include County Board Chair Jay Fisette, Arlington Director of Transportation Dennis Leach, Crystal City BID President and CEO Angela Fox, and Parkmobile CEO Cherie Fuzzell.

Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com | July 22, 2014 at 9:30 am | 2,208 views | No Comments

Yorktown vs. H-B Woodlawn ultimate frisbee (Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf)

Arlington Probation Officer Charged — A 40-year-old Arlington County probation officer has been charged with the aggravated sexual battery of a 10-year-old girl in Woodbridge. The officer has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation into the crime. [NBC Washington]

No Democrats to Run Against Van Doren — Nancy Van Doren is the lone Democrat to file to run for the Arlington School Board seat being vacated by Noah Simon. She’s expected to be confirmed as the Democratic endorsee on Aug. 6. [InsideNova]

Verizon Outage Reported — A widespread Verizon FiOS and wireless data outage was reported in the D.C. area Sunday night through Monday morning. [CBS Local]

Public Hearings for Water Plans — Arlington County will hold public hearings in September regarding an updated Water Distribution System Master Plan and an updated Stormwater Master Plan.

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

Man Jabbed, Woman Punched at IHOP

by ARLnow.com | July 21, 2014 at 6:30 pm | 6,573 views | No Comments

Aftermath of an alleged assault at IHOP on 7/20/14 (submitted photo) Aftermath of an alleged assault at IHOP on 7/20/14 (submitted photo)

A man was jabbed with a fork and a woman was punched in the face during a scuffle at the International House of Pancakes (935 N. Stafford Street) in Ballston late Sunday night.

Police say a verbal argument escalated into a physical confrontation at the restaurant around 11:45 p.m. The suspect, identified as 45-year-old Arlington resident Ernesto Juarez-Cabrera, allegedly jabbed another man in the hand with a fork, then punched a female family member in the face, according to police.

Neither victim required a trip to the hospital, although the fork broke the skin on the man’s hand, Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck said. The fight was broken up by an IHOP manager, who escorted the suspect outside. While outside, Juarez-Cabrera repeatedly punched a restaurant window, breaking it, according to Sternbeck.

The broken glass cut Juarez-Cabrera’s hand and he was transported to a local hospital for treatment.

Juarez-Cabrera, who police say was intoxicated at the time of the incident, has been charged with malicious wounding, attempted malicious wounding, felony destruction of property, and domestic assault and battery.

County Board Approves $2.7 Billion Capital Improvement Plan

by Ethan Rothstein | July 21, 2014 at 5:00 pm | 1,698 views | No Comments

The County Board discusses the CIP 07/19/14The Arlington County Board has approved a plan for $2.7 billion in infrastructure spending — including $485 million for the Columbia Pike and Crystal City streetcar system — over the next 10 years.

Though controversial, the streetcar was just one component of the approved Capital Improvement Plan. The Board also gave a thumbs up to the School Board’s capital plan, a $534 million spending agenda over the next 10 years that includes a $105.8 million bond request that will be put to voters as a referendum.

The school bond will be placed on the Nov. 4 ballot along with $60.24 million for Metro and transportation, $39.9 million for community infrastructure and $13 million for parks and recreation. The county asked the Circuit Court to place its $219 million bond package on the ballot on Saturday, after the meeting, according to the Sun Gazette.

The streetcar was the main impetus behind County Board members John Vihstadt and Libby Garvey’s “no” votes, but the CIP passed 3-2 with Chair Jay Fisette, Vice Chair Mary Hynes and Board member Walter Tejada voting for approval. None of the $485 million in streetcar funds will come from local residential taxes; instead, it will be funded by a mix of state dollars and dedicated transportation funds.

“Regardless of the mix of federal state or local funds, it’s the public’s money after all, and it’s an unwise public expenditure regardless of where the streetcar is,” Vihstadt said. “I cannot vote for a CIP whose single biggest legacy from a funding share standpoint will be a financial and operational albatross for decades to come.”

In addition to the bond referenda, the CIP includes an estimated $28 million for reconstruction the Lubber Run Community Center, expected to occur in 2017-2018. It pledges $1.1 billion to the Metro system over the next 10 years and $25.1 million for a new Fire Station 8 and Office of Emergency Management operations center, the site for which has yet to be determined.

“This CIP reflects the values and goals of our community,” Fisette said in a press release. “The Board’s adoption of this plan comes after months of dialogue with Arlingtonians. Together, we’ve produced a balanced plan that maintains our existing infrastructure and makes strategic investments in our future. This is a prudent, financially sustainable plan that will meet the needs of our growing community and help maintain our triple-Aaa bond ratings.”

One of the biggest ticket items is a substantial increase in funding for street paving and maintenance. The Board approved $128.1 million over the next 10 years for street paving, a $14.1 million increase over the previous CIP. The Board also greenlighted $317.7 million in water and sewer maintenance and $61.3 million for stormwater management.

The changes the Board made to County Manager Barbara Donnellan’s proposed CIP were largely schedule-based. The Board elected to accelerate $1.4 million renovations to Tyrol Hills Park and $1.5 million for the Aurora Hills Community Center. Both projects are now scheduled to begin design and planning phases next year.

Moran Banned From Entering Russia

by Ethan Rothstein | July 21, 2014 at 3:30 pm | 2,839 views | No Comments

Rep. Jim Moran speaks at the groundbreaking of the Central Place residential construction in RosslynRep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) has been banned from entering Russia, a Russian official announced this weekend.

Moran is one of 13 people banned from entering the country, all of whom, according to the Associated Press, are “connected with the Guantanamo Bay detention camp and the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.”

In a press release, Moran countered by saying the ban is a result of his proposed amendment to a defense appropriations bill that would have stopped U.S. helicopter purchases from Rosoboronexport, the “sole state intermediary agency for Russia’s exports/imports of defense-related and dual use products, technologies and services.” Moran proposed the ban because of Rosoboronexport’s alleged supply of arms to Bashar al-Assad’s government in Syria.

“While this does clarify my overseas travel plans,” Moran said in his statement, “it seems that the Putin regime would be better served by addressing the consequences of encouraging and enabling Donetsk separatists to perform such a heinous act of cold blooded cruelty or utter incompetence that resulted in the mass murder of nearly 300 innocent civilians.”

Moran was the only congressman on the blacklist. The others include Guantanamo commander Rear Adm. Richard Butler, Retired Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, retired Col. Janis Karpinsky and Gladys Kessler, “a federal judge who rejected a Guantanamo inmate’s complaint of being force-fed while on hunger strike,” according to the AP.

The bans were a tit-for-tat response to the U.S.’s ban Russian parliament member Adam Delimkhanov, according to a statement by Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich. Lukashevich said Moran was “repeatedly accused of financial misdeeds,” but didn’t give any specifics.

Moran’s office said the congressman, who is set to retire at the end of his term, “has no plans to travel to Russia.”

Local Woof: What is Socialization?

by ARLnow.com | July 21, 2014 at 2:30 pm | 332 views | No Comments

Local Woof logo

Editor’s Note: The Local Woof is a column that’s sponsored and written by the staff of Woofs! Dog Training Center. Woofs! has full-service dog training, boarding, and daycare facilities, near Shirlington and Ballston.

Socialization is the process of positively introducing your puppy to new things so that as they grow into adulthood, they are able to adapt to new situations without fear or anxiety.

The most important thing to know is that most puppies are only open to the socialization process between the ages of 3 to 16 weeks. This is called the socialization window. During this time, the pup’s brain and sympathetic nervous system is programmed to accept new experiences with less fear and anxiety than normal. As the pup gets older, their neurobiology changes and it becomes more and more difficult to teach your dog to tolerate new things.

The result is that the first 3 to 16 weeks is the most important time of your dogs life. WOOFS! recommends that families consider this before they get a puppy since they are going to need to dedicate several weeks to puppy socialization.

To socialize your pup, you need to be prepared to take them to meet many people, many other safe and friendly dogs and to visit many new places. During these excursions, you will want to bring lots of treats and make all these experiences fun and positive. Exposing a dog to scary situations is NOT socialization. In order for socialization to be effective, the dog must be happy and relaxed.

Puppy socialization events and puppy classes and great ways to get your pup out and about. On the other hand, dog parks and dog daycares are excellent places to bring already socialized dogs but are not great places for socialization to occur. Proper socialization requires much closer supervision.

So what about the dog who is already older than 16 weeks? Well, the socialization window does not slam shut, but trying to introduce an unsocialized dog over 16 weeks to lots of new people and dogs and experiences is going to be much harder to do than if they were younger. Unfortunately, socialization after a certain age may not even be possible. This of course depends a lot on the dog’s genetic make up as well.

If you need help, we recommend contacting a positive reinforcement training center near you. Operation Socialization is another great resource. It is an organization dedicated to safe early socialization and is a great resource for owners of new pups.

Happy Socializing!

The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.

CEB to Anchor New ‘Central Place’ Office Tower

by Ethan Rothstein | July 21, 2014 at 1:30 pm | 1,904 views | No Comments

Rendering of the Central Place project in Rosslyn (via JBG Cos.)The Corporate Executive Board Company (CEB) announced today it will occupy 350,000 square feet on 15 floors of the planned Central Place office building in Rosslyn — allowing construction on the building to move forward.

The building will be renamed CEB Tower and is expected to be completed by 2018, when CEB will move from its current headquarters in the Waterview building, a block away at 1919 N. Lynn Street. CEB estimates the move will bring 800 new jobs to the area by the time the move is complete.

The move was announced two days after the Arlington County Board approved an amended sign ordinance that allows developers to apply for signage above 50 feet high. The signs were previously prohibited in the two-block radius in which CEB Tower will be located.

Sweetening the pot: $4.5 million in grant money from the Governor’s Opportunity Fund, a matching pledge of infrastructure improvements from Arlington County, and $5 million from the Virginia Economic Development Incentive Grant.

“This Agreement would not have been possible without the exceptional partnership of the Commonwealth and Arlington County,” CEB Chairman and CEO Tom Monahan said in a press release. “The Governor’s office and our local government representatives clearly demonstrated why Virginia is a great state for business. Under their leadership, we are confident in Arlington’s future as a business hub and thrilled to be a landmark business in — and significant economic contributor to — the Rosslyn community.”

“While it’s too early to size precisely the economic impact for 2018 and beyond, their partnership and leadership notably support our strategy for continued growth and margin expansion,” Monahan added.

Before the office tower is complete, Central Place’s developer, the JBG Companies, is expected to wrap up construction on its 31-story residential tower next door in 2017. The twin, 390-foot skyscrapers are expected to have ground floor retail and observation decks.

“CEB is exactly the type of business Arlington needs as we move forward as a leader in the innovation economy,” Arlington County Board Chair Jay Fisette said in the county’s release. “Today’s announcement is a shining example of how the new initiatives we’ve implemented this year are increasing Arlington’s economic competitiveness and ensuring our place as a leading community for technology businesses of the future.”

CEB moved to Rosslyn from D.C. six years ago.

“Virginia has proudly served as home to CEB since its move from the District in 2008,” Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe said in a statement. “A new global headquarters and investment of this magnitude are tremendous testaments to the confidence the company has in Arlington County and the Commonwealth as it grows its presence internationally, and creates the workspace and technology for jobs of the 21st century.”

Photo via The JBG Companies

White Noise App Developer Continues to Evolve

by Ethan Rothstein | July 21, 2014 at 12:00 pm | 1,403 views | No Comments

Startup Monday header

Editor’s Note: Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow.com, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups, founders and funders. The Ground Floor is Monday’s office space for young companies in Rosslyn. The Metro-accessible space features a 5,000-square-foot common area that includes a kitchen, lounge area, collaborative meeting spaces, and a stage for formal presentations.

The TM Soft team(Updated at 2:20 p.m.) Mobile applications have become a major sector of the technology industry in the last few years, but when TM Soft Founder Todd Moore got his start, there was no book, no blueprint on how to run a successful app company.

Moore was working as a software developer in federal contracting when, in 2008, he decided he would try and build an iPhone app to help him sleep. This was in the early days of iPhones, when they were running iOS 2.0, the first iteration to include the app store.

“I was teaching myself how to create apps late night weekends and just doing it for fun,” Moore told ARLnow.com from a conference room in Rosslyn’s UberOffices. “Then I was making games and useful apps, and when I published White Noise, it became the No. 1 free app on iTunes overnight.”

Considering the massive amounts of code and time it takes to launch some apps today, Moore’s app was relatively low-tech; he went around his house and yard in Arlington recording noises, like a fan, crickets and rain. He put the app on the store, and a month later he began charging $1.99 for it and created a separate, free app with advertisements. The switch enabled him to quit his job and devote his energy full-time to maintaining White Noise and building new apps.

Screenshot of TM Soft's White Noise Lite app“It only took me a weekend to build the first [White Noise app],” he said. “It only looped eight different sounds. It was simpler times back then. Times have changed, now these phones are like personal computers.”

To date, White Noise has been downloaded more than 20 million times, allowing Moore to eventually grow his company to five full-time staff members. The ongoing success of the app has allowed him to experiment, and fail, with more ambitious apps. He said he’s launched more than 20, but only four have turned into high-volume downloads.

“It’s nice to be able to come into work and be able to say ‘this is what we’re going to do,’” he said. “If I have some wacky idea I want to try, we can try it. It’s total freedom.”

After White Noise became his meal ticket, Moore changed tack and started building more games and tools. He developed Card Counter, a game that teaches its users how to count cards at a blackjack table. Moore said he developed it after reading “Bringing Down The House,” a story about how MIT students learned to county cards and made millions of dollars at Las Vegas casinos.

Card Counter was in the top 20 of iTunes apps after casinos issued a warning about card counting apps. Puzzle app Compulsive is at around 2 million downloads. Moore is in production of another puzzle game that has social competition aspects and multiple levels.

“That’s something I’m spending a lot of time on,which is risky,” Moore said. “The longer it takes you to finish your app, the riskier it is.” (more…)

County Board Approves Pub Crawl Regulations

by Ethan Rothstein | July 21, 2014 at 10:30 am | 4,252 views | No Comments

2014 All-American Bar Crawl attendeesBar crawls in Clarendon may be changing after the Arlington County Board approved new event regulations at its meeting on Saturday.

The new regulations will include fees charged to the organizers to recoup the cost of extra police and community resources required to deal with the nearly 5,000 people estimated to attend some of the crawls. The crawls, which have previously been organized without much input from the county, will now need to be approved in advance.

The specifics of how much organizers will have to be and the criteria under which pub crawls will be approved or rejected have not yet been determined. County Manager Barbara Donnellan said she plans to return to the County Board with the full, implemented policy before Halloween, which is expected to be the date of the next major pub crawl.

“We have, I believe, the highest percentage of 25-34 year olds as a percentage of our population than any community in the United States, and we embrace that group,” County Board Chair Jay Fisette said during the meeting. “We embrace their vitality and the energy they bring to our community as a creative class and workforce, and at the same time we request and require that they respect others.”

The approved regulation was seen as somewhat of a compromise between residents who want fewer and smaller crawls and the organizers who want to see the crawls continue on unabated. The Board first discussed amending its special events policy, last updated in 2012, in April during budget discussions. At the time, Donnellan requested $45,000 for police overtime specifically to manage the pub crawls. The Board directed Donnellan to return with an updated policy.

In the meantime, the crawls drew another round of controversy after an attendee in June allegedly stripped naked before leading police on a car chase that ended with a crash in Clarendon. That incident, paired with a women alleging stripping naked at the Arlington Magistrate’s Office during a March bar crawl, helped bring the issue to the Board’s attention.

“It’s two incidents out of thousands of people,” Project D.C. Events co-owner Alex Lopez told ARLnow.com earlier this month. Lopez pointed out that neither happened inside a bar. Project D.C. Events organized both the March and June pub crawls at which the incidents take place, as well as crawls in D.C. that have occurred without public incidents. “You don’t hear about bar crawls in D.C. because nothing happens at them. If you say, ‘oh everything was peaceful in the last bar crawl,’ well, no one is going to read that.”

According to a county press release, about 1,130 people responded to an online survey about how best to manage the pub crawls, but only one member of the public spoke during the comment period: frequent County Board critic Jim Hurysz.

The motion passed 5-0 and the Board generally lauded the police and staff for their work in bringing a “common sense” solution to the issue.

“It’s an evolution to figure out how to satisfy the various kinds of people who live in Clarendon,” Board Vice Chair Mary Hynes said. Hynes lives just a few blocks from the epicenter of the pub crawls in Clarendon. “People don’t want Clarendon’s reputation to be only what happened at that last pub crawl. Business owners want people to come to Clarendon and eat and enjoy all the amenities.”

“We’re going to do this and monitor and see what happens,” Hynes continued, “and if this doesn’t work, we’ll be back here… to see if we need to take any more steps or not.”

Photo via Project D.C. Events

Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com | July 21, 2014 at 9:00 am | 2,084 views | No Comments

Unique perspective in Rosslyn (Flickr pool photo by Ameschen)

Va. Highlands Park Renovations Approved — The Arlington County Board on Saturday approved a $2 million renovation project for Virginia Highlands Park, near Pentagon City. The renovations include new tennis and basketball courts and new court lighting. [Arlington County]

Fire Station Relocation Plan Paused – After hearing community complaints, the county is reconsidering a plan to relocate Fire Station No. 8 and the Office of Emergency Management to the Old Dominion neighborhood. County staff will study alternate locations for the fire station and OEM, then will hold a “master-planning process.” [InsideNova]

New Clarendon Apartments Approved — A new apartment development near Clarendon was approved by the County Board over the weekend. The five-story apartment building, dubbed 10th Street Flats, will include dedicated affordable housing, live-work apartments, and a new office for the Arlington-Alexandria Coalition for the Homeless. Two small office buildings and Jay’s Saloon will be demolished to make way for the project, though demolition is not expected until next year. [Arlington County]

Toll Lanes, Rapid Bus Service Proposed for I-66 — VDOT hopes to add toll lanes and rapid bus service to I-66 outside the Beltway in a few years. State transportation leaders are also considering a long-term plan to extend Metro’s Orange Line past Vienna. [InsideNova]

Arlington Mill Farmers’ Market Approved — At its Saturday meeting, the Arlington County Board approved a new farmers’ market outside the Arlington Mill Community Center on Columbia Pike. The market, which will be held Wednesdays from 3:00 to 7:00 p.m., could launch as early as next month. [Arlington County]

Rand Paul Headlining Arlington Events — Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul (R) will make two appearances in Arlington on Tuesday evening. The likely GOP presidential candidate will headline sold-out events, at Le Meridien in Rosslyn and Arlington Rooftop Bar and Grill in Courthouse. [Washington Post]

Flickr pool photo by Ameschen

Arlington Agenda (July 21-27)

by Ethan Rothstein | July 21, 2014 at 5:00 am | 378 views | No Comments

Arlington Agenda is a listing of interesting events for the week ahead in Arlington County.

If you’d like to see your event featured, fill out the event submission form. Also, be sure to check out our event calendar.

Monday

Bachelor BoysLive Music: The Bachelor Boys
IOTA Club and Cafe (2832 Wilson Blvd)
Time: 8:00 p.m.

Party band the Bachelor Boys, who say they play a mix of funk, oldies and modern music to dance to, performs a free show at IOTA.

Tuesday

ARLive flyerARLive Startup Smackdown
Crystal Tech Fund (2231 Crystal Drive)
Time: 6:00-8:30 p.m.

Check out more than a dozen Arlington-based startup companies at this social and networking event, co-sponsored by ARLnow.com. Appetizers and adult beverages are included with the price of admission.

Ventriloquist Uncle Ty-Rone
Columbia Pike Branch Library (816 S. Walter Reed Drive)
Time: 7:00-7:30 p.m.

Ventriloquist Ty-Rone Brown chips in to help Arlington Public Library with its summer reading program. Brown will perform a free, comedic reading intended for elementary school children.

Thursday

Aneesh Chopra at the Ballston LaunchPad FinaleBook Signing, Cocktails with Aneesh Chopra
Capital One Labs (3030 Clarendon Blvd, 8th Floor)
Time: 6:00-8:00 p.m.

Arlington Economic Development’s TandemNSI program hosts former Obama administration Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra for a signing of his book, “Innovative State.” The event is free.

Friday

Tiffany HaddishLive Comedy: Tiffany Haddish
Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse (2903 Columbia Pike)
Time: 10:00 p.m.

Comedian Tiffany Haddish has been featured on HBO and Comedy Central and also works as an actor and dancer. Tickets are $20 and are available online.

Saturday

Arlington Historical Society logoPlanes, Trains and Zeppelins
Arlington Historical Museum at the Hume School (1805 S. Arlington Ridge Road)
Time: 1:30-3:30 p.m.

Arlington Historical Society is staging three historical readings for families at the same time: one of a book about planes, one about trains and one about Zeppelins. The program is free.

Local 12Concert at Potomac Overlook
Potomac Overlook Regional Park (2845 N. Marcey Drive)
Time: 7:00-9:00 p.m.

Rock and blues band Local 12 performs a free concert at Potomac Overlook Park. Picnic supplies are welcome, as is a $5 donation. Alcohol is prohibited.

Taxi Companies File Suit Against Uber, Lyft

by Ethan Rothstein | July 18, 2014 at 5:05 pm | 3,360 views | No Comments

A Blue Top taxicab in ClarendonA group of eight Northern Virginia taxi companies, including Arlington Blue Top Cabs, are suing Uber, Lyft and the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles.

The suit, filed in Fairfax County Circuit Court, requests the judge issue an injunction that would prevent the ride sharing companies from operating in Virginia without a broker’s license. The DMV has issued “cease and desist” orders against the two ride-sharing companies, but they have continued to operate in the state.

Uber and Lyft have applied for temporary operating authority while the DMV reviews their applications for broker’s licenses. According to a DMV official, neither company has been granted operating authority — temporary or otherwise — while the department awaits guidance from Attorney General Mark Herring.

The 41-page lawsuit claims Uber and Lyft operate without regulation and without requiring detailed background checks or comprehensive auto insurance, and by doing so “pose an immediate, real and substantial threat to the business of Alexandria White Top, Fairfax White Top, Arlington Blue Top, Love Limousine, VIP Cab Company, Checker Cab, Prince William Yellow Cab and King Cab.”

“The primary concern of Arlington Blue Top Cabs is the safety of our passengers and driver,” Arlington Blue Top Cabs Vice President John Massoud told ARLnow.com through a spokesperson. “Companies such as Uber and Lyft have proven their lack of concern for these people by not requiring adequate insurance and background checks. That’s why we filed this complaint in Fairfax Circuit Court.”

Taxi drivers have mounted protests against Uber and Lyft in recent months, and before that were protesting cab companies for “unfair working conditions,” and requesting Arlington enact a “driver’s bill of rights.”

During the legal disputes, Uber and Lyft have maintained service to Northern Virgina — Uber is even expanding farther out into the outskirts of Northern Virginia — as local police, including the Arlington County Police Department, have committed to upholding the DMV’s cease-and-desist order by ticketing drivers.

Uber and Lyft have combined to raise hundreds of millions of dollars in venture capital as they expand to more cities nationwide and internationally. Uber launched in the D.C. area last summer.

Police Seek Witnesses to Fatal GW Parkway Crash

by ARLnow.com | July 18, 2014 at 3:45 pm | 5,081 views | No Comments

Serious crash on the GW Parkway 7/2/14 (photo courtesy @CAPT258)Investigators are hoping to learn more about a fatal wreck on the George Washington Parkway earlier this month.

The crash happened just before 4:45 p.m. on July 2. A black BMW traveling southbound near the first overlook crossed over the center median and collided head-on with a Hyundai SUV, according to U.S. Park Police.

The driver of the SUV, identified as Michael Poling of Vienna, Va., was flown to the trauma center at Medstar, where he succumbed to his injuries. The driver of the BMW was treated for non-life-threatening injuries.

So far there’s no word of charges being filed. Police are asking witnesses and those with information about the crash to come forward to assist with their investigation.

U.S. Park Police issued the following press release about the crash this afternoon.

Detectives from the United States Park Police (USPP), Criminal Investigations Branch, are investigating a three car vehicle crash which occurred N/B George Washington Memorial Parkway in the area of the 1st Overlook.

On Wednesday, July 2, 2014, at approximately 4:43 pm units from USPP District Two responded for the report of a motor vehicle crash with one victim trapped. Fireboard and EMS personnel arrived on scene and extricated the trapped operator identified as Michael Alan Poling of Vienna, Virginia from the vehicle. Mr. Poling was transported by USPP Eagle 1 to Medstar where he later succumbed to his injuries.

Preliminary investigation reveals that a black BMW traveling in the left lane S/B on the GW Parkway in the area of the 1st Overlook crossed over the grass median into oncoming traffic of the N/B GW Parkway lanes. The BMW entered the travel lane of a Hyundai SUV Mr. Poling was operating striking it head on and additionally struck a Honda traveling in the left lane of N/B GW Parkway.

The operator of the BMW was transported to GW Hospital by ambulance with non-life threatening injuries but was held for observation.

The Criminal Investigations Branch is asking for the assistance of commuters that were traveling S/B on the GW Parkway that witnessed the crash or that may have information. Anyone with information is asked to call the United States Park Police Tip Line at 202-610-8737.

Photo courtesy @CAPT258

Arlington House Gets $12.35 Million Donation

by Ethan Rothstein | July 18, 2014 at 2:30 pm | 1,485 views | No Comments

(Updated at 2:40 p.m.) Arlington House, the former home of Robert E. Lee on the grounds of Arlington National Cemetery, received a major donation this week.

D.C. philanthropist David Rubenstein, co-founder of private equity firm The Carlyle Group, donated $12.35 million to the National Park Service “to restore and improve access to Arlington House.” The donation will fund a project that will restore Arlington House “as it was in 1860,” including more attention to the slave quarters. The money will also fund technology investments, with more mobile and web “assets,” an audio tour and a virtual tour, NPS said.

“I am honored to support the National Park Service’s renovation of historic Arlington House built in honor of George Washington and located on hallowed ground atop Arlington National Cemetery,” Rubenstein said in the release. “I hope that upon its restoration, Arlington House will appropriately remind visitors of America’s rich history and our country’s good fortune to have such a unique site to honor our veterans, especially those who gave the last full measure of devotion on behalf of this nation.”

Arlington House went through a round of renovations 2-3 years ago — including work done to repair damage from the 2011 mid-Atlantic earthquake.

The Washington Post reported that Rubenstein, a billionaire, decided to make the donatation after funding half of the Washington Monument’s post-earthquake repairs. NPS Director Jonathan Jarvis suggested the $12.35 million repair project for Arlington House — described as languishing in “embarrassing” condition — to which Rubenstein simply replied, “be glad to do that.”

Arlington House was built by George Washington Parke Custis — and, the NPS points out, his slaves — between 1802 and 1818 as a memorial to George Washington, before it was the home to Lee and his plantation. The plantation was used as a base for Union soldiers during the Civil War, as a community for freed slaves after the Emancipation Proclamation and, later, as a military cemetery.

The NPS says more than 650,000 people visit the house every year, making it the country’s most-visited house museum. Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.), the ranking member on the Interior and Environment Appropriations Committee, which oversees the National Parks, issued a statement after Rubenstein announced his gift yesterday.

“On behalf of 8th District voters and local history buffs I’d like to thank Mr. Rubenstein for his generous gift,” Moran said. “I’ve been a supporter of Arlington House, the Robert E. Lee Memorial, throughout my 24 years representing the people of Northern Virginia. Mr. Rubenstein’s philanthropy allows the flexibility needed to restore this historic site, working beyond the constraints of public funding to build on the restoration work already completed by the National Park Service.”

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