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!
Photographers: want to show off your skills and get a chance to win gift cards to local restaurants?
If so, head down to the 5K race on Crystal Drive in Crystal City tonight and get a few photos of anything race-related. Upload the photos to our contest Flickr group and get a chance to win some tasty prizes.
If you brought your camera to last week’s race and haven’t uploaded your photos yet, feel free to upload them now.
With any luck the rain will have passed by the time the race starts. The contest is sponsored by ARLnow.com, Foto DC, Crystal City BID and Pacers.
Flickr photo by Diltch1
Tomorrow hundreds of runners will kick off the first Crystal City 5K Friday of the year, and we’re hosting a contest to make the evening race as competitive for photographers as it is for runners.
ARLnow.com, in partnership with Crystal City BID, FotoDC and Pacers, is challenging photographers of all skill levels to take photos of the first four 5K Friday races and upload up to five to a specially-designated contest page on Flickr. Feel free to use your creativity and take photos of anything race-related.
On Sunday, April 24, a panel of representatives from all four organizations will help choose ten finalists. Then it’s up to ARLnow.com readers to vote for the winning photos.
We’re offering the following prizes to the top three vote-getters:
- 1st Prize: $200 Morton’s Crystal City gift card and a race t-shirt
- 2nd Prize: $50 Jaleo gift card and race t-shirt
- 3rd Prize: $25 Bozzelli’s Italian Deli gift card and race t-shirt
The winners will be announced during the race after-party at Crystal City’s FLASH photo exhibit. Happy snapping!
As it turns out, we’re pretty talkative.
This site has been around for less than a year, and yesterday we reached our 20,000th comment. When we launched, some people questioned whether Arlington was “interesting” enough for the site to succeed. Why not write about D.C., or Alexandria, or national politics, some asked.
About 2.2 million page views later, I think we have our answer.
Thanks for the support, Arlington!
Update on 12/23 — We have a winner.
When Synetic Theater offered us two free tickets to their family-friendly performance of The Nutcracker — playing in Crystal City through Jan. 16 — we immediately realized that this was a perfect opportunity for a holiday-themed contest.
Compose a poem about Arlington, in the style of a classic holiday song or story. For instance, you might work brown flip flops into Twas the Night Before Christmas.
Submit your masterpiece in the comments section, and be sure to use your real email address so we can tell you how to claim your Nutcracker tickets if you’re the winner.
Please keep your poem short and lighthearted. Mean-spirited or obscene submissions will be removed.
We’ll pick our favorite and announce the champion around this time tomorrow.
Photo courtesy Synetic Theater
A quick programming note: ARLnow.com will be up until the wee hours tonight bringing you live, on-location election coverage. We’ll be reporting from Democratic and Republican victory parties, bringing you the latest results, photos and quotes from local leaders.
With that said, I wanted to offer a quick apology for anybody who tried to access the site between noon and 4:00 this afternoon. An ARLnow.com story was linked to by the ever-popular Drudge Report this morning. The flood of web traffic from that one link caused the site to crash — multiple times.
After two server upgrades we were able to get the site back up, albeit running very slowly. After another upgrade things were pretty much back to normal.
Since we were busy with the server, the site went a while without any new posts. Rest assured that we’ll get to any planned non-election-related stories tomorrow.
Thanks for your patience.