As we approach the new year, we have a sincere wish for 2013. We have noted with disappointment the increasingly negative tenor of some comments on the site, and we hope that in 2013 those commenting here keep in mind that while the people on this site may be using online aliases, they are our neighbors in this relatively tiny, 26 square mile county.
ARLnow.com staff has been doing our best to actively remove comments that contain personal insults, racially or ethnically insensitive remarks, or even vitriol directed at children who are part of a news story. We will continue to do so to make sure ARLnow.com is a safe place for a robust but respectful community discourse. We also hope that readers understand that the moderation of comments is an imperfect process, and refrain from cursing at or berating our staff who are making an honest effort to prevent discussions from degrading to the the level of discourse found on some other, popular news websites.
On a happier note, we expect to continue to expand the scope of our local coverage and our business operations in 2013. We owe a very big thank you to our readers and our clients for helping to make that happen.
Best wishes for a Merry Christmas. We’ll bring you three additional days of news coverage starting on Wednesday, before going on a brief New Years hiatus.
As with any web site redesign, there are bound to be some technical glitches. Here are the problems we’re aware of and working to fix:
- New user registration is not currently working
- The user profile edit page is still being tweaked
- The email newsletter subscription link at the bottom left doesn’t work
One change you’ll notice that is intentional is the removal of the crime map page. We hope you’ll continue to follow our weekly crime report posts for the most up-to-date listing of crimes in the area.
Please use the comment form on this article to let us know about any bugs you find as you browse the new site. We’ll add them to the list above and will work to resolve them as soon as possible. Please also let us know what you think of the redesign — good or bad.
Thank your for your continued readership and support of ARLnow.com.
Bethesda Now will provide the same standard of up-to-the-minute, original news coverage for Bethesda and Chevy Chase, Maryland that ARLnow.com provides for Arlington. The site will seek to report on important community issues, interesting local stories, and breaking news that impacts the daily lives of those who live and work in the area. Bethesda Now will exclusively focus on Bethesda, Chevy Chase and parts of Potomac — not on other parts of Montgomery County.
BethesdaNow.com is up and running now, but we’re only just getting started. Readers can expect even more news, reported for and by Bethesda area residents, in the coming months. Plus, both ARLnow.com and BethesdaNow.com will be undergoing a site redesign this fall.
For the month ending Friday, May 4, ARLnow.com readers viewed a total of 1,000,721 pages on the site, excluding the new real estate section. That’s the first time the monthly pageview count has exceeded 1,000,000 since we launched in January 2010.
ARLnow.com thanks our loyal readers for helping to propel us to web traffic statistics not typically seen for a “hyperlocal” website focused exclusively on a single community. We look forward to continuing to serve you and our advertisers for years to come.
ARLnow.com is an independent, locally-owned news website serving more than 125,000 unique visitors per month.* Our original journalism and photojournalism is produced by Arlington residents, often with the help of emails and anonymous tips from the community.
* Directly-measured web traffic statistics provided by Google Analytics
You might have recently noticed the “Real Estate” item in the menu bar, or you might have noticed the listings widget on the side of the page, but today we’re officially announcing the launch of the ARLnow.com Real Estate section.
Unlike national real estate websites, our real estate section is focused exclusively on Arlington, and is searchable by more than three dozen popular local neighborhoods. You can can also search for sales or rentals by price, zip code, address, number of bedrooms, open houses, new construction, sale by owner, etc.
In addition to the standard listings, real estate agents are in the process of adding featured listings and open houses to an interactive map on the front real estate page.
We’re still working out some minor kinks and quirks with our technology partner, but please let us know what you think of the real estate section so far in the comments.
ARLnow.com suffered technical problems around 6:30 tonight and we’re still working to get everything up and working again.
Articles and the home page were inaccessible from 6:30 until about 10:00 p.m. As of 10:25 p.m., we have restored most of the site, but we’re still trying to recover articles, comments and forum posts from the past 24 hours. Please be aware that there’s a risk that comments posted between tonight and tomorrow morning may be lost as we work to recover data.
We apologize to our readers for the inconvenience and promise to do our very best make sure technical problems like this don’t happen again.
Update at 8:15 a.m. – It appears that comments and forums posts from yesterday morning to yesterday evening have unfortunately been lost. We sincerely apologize for this.
Update at 9:20 a.m. — We have temporarily taken down the “Latest Top Stories” section of the homepage. It will hopefully return later today.
Whether you’re celebrating the holiday in Arlington or out of town, ARLnow.com wishes you and your family a very happy, abundant and safe Thanksgiving.
We’ll be back on Friday with a special Black Friday edition of the Morning Notes, followed by normal coverage on Monday. And, of course, we’ll be here should any significant breaking news happen over the holiday weekend.
(Updated at 2:55 p.m.) Smartphone users who want a browsing experience optimized for their touchscreen device finally have a full-featured mobile option when reading ARLnow.com on the go.
ARLnow.com has a new mobile website this morning, and it can currently be accessed by scrolling to the bottom of the page on your mobile browser and selecting “Switch to Mobile Version.” You can switch back to the full website, if you like, by scrolling to the bottom of the mobile site and selecting “off” under “Mobile Theme.”
As part of the transition to the new mobile site, it was necessary to turn off image uploading in the comments section. We regret that there’s currently no way to allow comment images and the mobile website to co-exist. Images can still be uploaded to our Forums.
ARLnow.com’s legacy mobile site, meanwhile, is still accessible at http://m.arlnow.com. Users of non-touch screen phones, like certain Blackberries, should continue to use the legacy site.
As always, we welcome your feedback.
If you’re a regular ARLnow.com reader, you may have noticed that the site started loading noticeably faster last week. You may have even noticed that the site never got knocked offline last week, as it did several times in August due to high demand.
There’s a reason for that — over Labor Day weekend we upgraded to a new server and refined some of our website coding.
For the time being, we’ve had to suspend our mobile-optimized website — which used to automatically appear for smartphone users — and had to make some changes to our “Recent Comments” box in the sidebar. We expect to have the mobile site back up and running within a month or two, and hope to upgrade the “Recent Comments” box by the end of the year.
(Mobile users can still access a mobile-optimized version of our site, however, by pointing your browser to m.arlnow.com.)
A big thank you goes out to Alex Chamandy of Arlington Virginia Computer Repair, who spent hours setting up the server and helping to optimize its performance. Also, thank you to all our loyal readers, tipsters and comments section pundits who have helped us get to the point where this server upgrade was necessary.
Please let us know of any problems or concerns you have with the site in the comments section.
Aurora Hills Babysitter Co-Op — While the District has been ranked as the most expensive place in the country for childcare, parents in the Aurora Hills neighborhood, near Crystal City, have banded together to save money by taking care of each other’s kids. The Aurora Hills babysitting co-op is “just a group of moms helping each other out,” according to one of the members. [MyFoxDC]
Seasonal Green Chiles Arrive in Arlington — A shipment of green chiles, fresh from the famous growing region of Hatch, N.M., has arrived at Santa Fe Cafe (1500 Wilson Blvd) in Rosslyn. The restaurant is expecting to receive about 100 pounds of Hatch green chiles throughout September. Owner Kip Laramie says he’ll be using the flavorful, spicy ingredient to serve dishes like locally smoked pork chop with green chile peach chutney, grilled spinach with green chile quesadilla, and red snapper with artichokes, mushrooms and green chiles. [Rosslyn Blog]
Public Forum Planned for Comcast Renewal — Comcast is seeking to renew its cable franchise agreement with the county, and a public meeting is planned to give residents a chance to share their thoughts on the company’s service in Arlington. Officials are specifically seeking ideas for public services that Comcast can provide as part of a new franchise agreement. The meeting will be held on at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 13, in the County Board room of 2100 Clarendon Boulevard. [Arlington County]
ARLnow Mobile Site Disabled — We’ve temporarily disabled the mobile version of our web site. Web-enabled mobile phone users visiting ARLnow.com will now see the full version of the site. We expect to have the mobile site back up by Monday.
Flickr pool photo by Philliefan99
If you were expecting to get our daily ARLnow.com Afternoon Update email newsletter, rest assured that it is still coming, but a bit later than usual.
We’ve temporarily adjusted the timing of the mass mailing in order to protect against a spike in web traffic. With more than 3,000 email subscribers, many of whom click on articles simultaneously after receiving the newsletter, we’ve had difficulty keeping our server stable during the otherwise high-traffic time between 4:00 and 5:00 p.m.
That’s all going to change once we upgrade to a bigger, badder server, but the transition is expected to happen no sooner than this coming weekend. In the meantime, please excuse the later emails and the technical explanation. As always, feel free to share any thoughts in the comments section.
A new annual community event will be launching later this year
in Arlington. Organizers have released a few tantalizing tidbits about the event, but most details will remain a mystery until a formal announcement featuring Virginia First Lady Maureen McDonnell on Wednesday of next week.
The one-day event is expected take place Labor Day weekend along the W&OD Trail
in Arlington. It will feature “a sports event with a historic twist, a large-scale environmental action activity (biggest in the park’s history) and a festival featuring a national recording artist which we expect will draw several thousand attendees,” said Chris Browne, Vice President of the Greater Washington Sports Alliance.
“It is going to be BIG and very relevant to our regional community,” Browne added.
Wednesday’s announcement will feature First Lady McDonnell, County Board Chairman Chris Zimmerman and Paul Koonce, CEO of Dominion Virginia Power, which is sponsoring the event. The announcement is scheduled to take place at 11:00 a.m. at Bluemont Park (601 N. Manchester Street).
Please be aware that we’re working to fix a bug in the comments section.
When selecting ‘reply’ on certain comments, the page will scroll to the beginning of the comments section. When this happens, you will need to scroll back down to the comment box, which will appear below the comment you’re replying to.
Sorry for the inconvenience. We hope to have this issue resolved within the next 24-48 hours.
Update at 10:25 p.m. on 4/24/11 — Most features of the new site are working, but it may take up to a week to get to the point where we can turn the forums on. Please excuse any snafus with the registration and login process, as well as any site slowness. Thank you for your patience.
Update at 4:15 a.m. on 4/23/11 — The forums are not operational yet. We expect them to be in place by Monday morning.
First, I want to thank all our loyal readers and commenters, who have made this site into a real community in just over 14 months. Our 3,100 Twitter followers, 2,400 email subscribers, 1,300 Facebook fans, and 200 Flickr poolers — as well as the 42,500 article comments we’ve received since launch — are all testaments to the passion many have for Arlington and its unique neighborhoods.
Several months ago, we decided to invest in a site redesign that will help enhance the community functions of the site, while at the same time making the site more visually-appealing. I’m pleased to report that, if all goes well, the new design will be in place by Monday. Here are some of the enhancements you can expect:
- Cleaner page layout
- Message board (forums) for community discussion of issues not covered in articles
- User registration, custom profiles, custom avatars and (maybe) private messaging
- A login will be required for the forums, but anonymous comments will still be permitted
- Prominent positioning for latest articles, comments and forum posts
- Current weather conditions visible on all pages
Early Saturday morning, the site will go offline so that that we can begin transitioning to the new site. Please excuse any technical problems that may ensue.
Although we’re not indulging in the Silicon Valley cliche of visually labeling the new site a “beta,” it will truly be a beta version for a few months. We expect fixes and changes to be a continuous process for a couple of months after launch. Feel free to use the comments section of this article to discuss the new design, report bugs and suggest changes.
Thank you again for your loyalty. Have a happy and relaxing Easter weekend and we’ll see you back here on Monday.
Tonight’s Crystal City 5K Friday race is your last chance to snap photos for our ‘Flickr Flash’ photo contest.
A panel will pick ten finalists and ARLnow.com readers will select the winners next week. Good luck to all contest participants!