Wizards Practice Facility in Arlington? — There’s a potential plan for a Washington Wizards basketball practice facility in Arlington, reports NBC4′s Mark Segraves. However, the more likely plan for the practice facility is for it to be built in D.C.’s Shaw neighborhood. Wizards owner Ted Leonsis also owns the Washington Capitals, which has a practice facility at the Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Ballston. [NBC Washington]
Arlington Warns of ‘Potential Severe Traffic’ — Arlington County is warning residents about “potential severe traffic” today due to the massive crowds expected for the Concert for Valor on the National Mall, along with Metrorail service changes and numerous road closures in D.C. that are in place for the Veterans Day event.
Cherrydale Abuzz Over Sound Check — The Cherrydale community email listserv was “going crazy with complaints about the sound check” for the Concert for Valor last night, a tipster tells ARLnow.com. We’re told the neighborhood could hear bass and feel vibrations from the sound check. “One person reported that the Arlington County police were getting so many calls they were telling people to call the D.C. police who then told people to call [U.S.] Park Police,” the tipster said.
Cost of Thanksgiving Dips in Va. — Virginia families will save about $5 per person this year on Thanksgiving dinner thanks to lower food prices, according to the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation. [InsideNova]
Lyon Park ‘Sewer Justice’ Petition — A group called Arlingtonians for Sewer Justice – which represents 11 Lyon Park households that are being compelled to pay $10,000-20,000 for a new sewer connection because the county says it will no longer maintain a failing, private sewer line behind their homes — has created a new petition. The petition, which has so far gathered 95 supporters, calls for Arlington County to pay for the upkeep of privately owned sewer lines via a bond referendum. [Change.org]
Flickr pool photo by Ian Livingston
County Government Open on Columbus Day — Even though it’s a federal holiday, Arlington County government offices will be open for Columbus Day on Monday. Courts, DMV offices, the Sheriff’s Office and other state-related offices will be closed. Arlington Public Schools will be closed for a teacher work day. [Arlington County]
Antique Plane Fly-Over — About 30 World War II-era planes will be flying over the Pentagon and Arlington National Cemetery around
12:30 p.m. today 11:55 a.m. Saturday. [WTOP]
Higher Charges for DCA Passengers? — Reagan National Airport is expected to have its traffic increase by another two million passengers next year, while overtaking both Dulles and BWI in passengers by the end of this year. To help keep up with the growth, and perhaps encourage use of the recently-upgraded Dulles International Airport instead, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority is considering an increase of the passenger fee at DCA from $4.50 to $8.50. [WTOP]
Metrorail Ridership Continues to Slide — Ridership on Metrorail is continuing its five-year-slide. Ridership has slipped from a high of 225 million annual trips in 2009 to just over 200 million annual trips now. A shrinking federal workforce, increased telecommuting and increased bike and bus commuting are said to be the main drivers of the decrease. [Washington City Paper]
Office Buildings as Schools — Converting older office buildings into schools is increasingly being eyed as a two-fold solution to office vacancies and a school capacity crunch in Northern Virginia. In Falls Church, a five-story office building was converted into an elementary school — although a full gymnasium has yet to be built. [Washington Post]
‘Historic’ Garage Move Considered — Arlington’s Historical Affairs and Landmark Review Board will meet on Wednesday and consider a proposal to move a “historic garage” from county property onto the now privately-owned Fraber House site in Cherrydale. Preservationists might not be thrilled about the move, which would also require the removal of an oak tree. “Historic preservation advocates had wanted the county to draw the historic district line around the garage so that this wouldn’t have to happen… oh well,” one tipster told ARLnow.com. [PDF]
Photo courtesy @ClarendonScene
Restoration Anglican Church has opened its new church after more than a year of construction, giving its 500 congregants a permanent home.
The new church’s first service was Sept. 7, and the building at 1815 N. Quincy Street wowed everyone seeing it for the first time, Rev. David Haynke said.
“It was one of those days you wish you could remember for the rest of your life,” he told ARLnow.com inside the church today. “I just sat there and watched people come in and say ‘wow, it’s so beautiful.’ It’s sort of breathtaking.”
The former building, which was built by the now-disbanded Trinity Baptist Church more than 70 years ago, was torn down Aug. 15, 2013, Haynke said. Buying the building and the land from Trinity and constructing the new building cost $4.3 million.
The new church has seating for 375 — “18 inches per butt,” Haynke said — and new space below the chapel to host children’s activities and classes. The church was designed with a terrace to host its now-signature snacks after services, where “we can eat doughnut holes and just talk.”
Restoration had been holding one 5:00 p.m. Sunday service at Little Falls Presbyterian Church, but turnout was low because the time was inconvenient for many people. The pews have been filled for the two services held since the new church opened, Haynke said.
“It’s special because they all know they had at least a small part in it,” the reverend said, referring to congregants’ donations.
The church will be holding a consecration tomorrow, Saturday, at 10:00 a.m. with Bishop John Guernsey of the Mid-Atlantic Anglican Diocese. Haynke said two baptisms will be performed as part of the celebration. The church holds three services on Sundays, at 9:00 and 11:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.
A new “Catholic gift store” is getting ready to move into Cherrydale next month.
Joyful Spirit Gifts is a new business owned by Meg Miller Rydzewski, a parishioner at Saint Agnes Catholic Church, and it says on its website that it plans to open its brick-and-mortar and online store Sept. 1. The shop is located at 3315 Lee Highway, in the Lee Centre strip mall.
On its Facebook page, it describes itself as a “religious book store and gift shop.” Its slogan, posted on the Facebook page and in its window, is “Faith, Home, Sacraments, Holidays.” The store posted an ad on Craigslist seeking part-time employees to staff the shop, and this morning construction workers could be seen entering and exiting the storefront.
Rydzewski is a published novelist who says on her website she has been a stay-at-home mom in Arlington after a career as a “Wall Street equity analyst and portfolio manager.”
Pentagon Row Concert Series Starts Tonight — The summer concert series at Pentagon Row starts tonight with Philadelphia-based cover band Kristen and the Noise. The concerts are held every Thursday night from 7:00-9:00 p.m., through Aug. 21. [Pentagon Row]
District Taco Coming to Bethesda — Local, Arlington-based Mexican restaurant chain District Taco plans to open a location in Bethesda in 2016. The Bethesda location is expected to be District Taco’s first in Maryland. [Bethesda Now]
New Homes Coming to Cherrydale — Four new high-end homes are coming to the 4100 block of 18th Street N. in the Cherrydale neighborhood. The list price of the houses, built by Tradition Homes, is around $1.8 million. They’re expected to be ready for move-in by the spring of 2015. [Patch]
Flood Watch for D.C. Area — Arlington and the D.C. area is under a flood watch from noon today through later tonight. Another round of showers and thunderstorm with areas of heavy rain is expected today. [National Weather Service]
Bishop Attends School’s Last Mass — Arlington Bishop Paul Loverde attended the final school mass at St. Charles Borromeo Church last week. He “spoke to the palpable presence of both sadness and hope.” The school is closing due to low enrollment. The church’s pastor, meanwhile, is being transferred to another church against his will. [Arlington Catholic Herald]
Micah Edmond Profiled — Micah Edmond, the Republican candidate for congress who will be facing off against Democrat Don Beyer in November, says there is a “realistic way” for him to win the race. Edmond, who is African-American, Jewish, a small business owner and a Marine Corps veteran, says he’ll be “reaching out to communities that are often ignored and listening to their cares and concerns and offering solutions.” [InsideNova*]
Arlington Resident Faces Another Murder Trial — Christopher Deedy, a State Department Special Agent from Arlington who’s accused of murder in the 2011 shooting death of a man in Hawaii, is about to face trial again. Deedy’s trial last year ended in a mistrial. [Associated Press]
* Editor’s Note: This website employs popup ads and, during our visit today, autoplay video ads with audio turned on by default and no option for turning it off. For a better user experience, we have linked to a site that displays the article as plain text.
Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick
(Updated at 7:10 p.m.) Arlington’s Cherrydale neighborhood — along Lee Highway from I-66 to N. Quincy Street — is throwing a celebration this weekend to celebrate its businesses and the undergrounding of the utility lines in the area.
This Saturday, from noon to 5:00 p.m., businesses along the corridor will open their doors for “Discover Cherrydale,” featuring — among other things — scavenger hunts, talks and readings with local authors and there will be tours of Cherrydale Fire Station. There will also be an unveiling of a Capital Bikeshare station, a fencing demonstration from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. and live music throughout.
The empty storefront at the corner of Lee Highway and N. Lincoln Street will be open to the public to observe displays from local artists — it’s also where the book talks will be held — and there will be a community Zumba class from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m.
“This is the 14-year project to underground utilities along Lee Highway in Cherrydale,” Cherrydale Civic Association President Maureen Ross told ARLnow.com in an email. “It was a constant construction mess. Now it’s done.”
Among the artists performing will be early/traditional musician Tina Chancey, a violinist and guitar duo from the Maywood neighborhood named Kitchen Gorilla and Cherrydale resident Ken Sick. The event will be going on rain or shine, and free and open to the public
Photo (top) courtesy Discover Cherrydale. Photo (bottom) via Google Maps
Arlington County’s ambulance bus — typically used for mass casualty situations — was utilized this afternoon to transport a patient who reportedly weighed more than 600 pounds.
The ambulance bus and two additional ambulance crews were dispatched to the Cherrydale Health & Rehabilitation Center (3710 Lee Highway) to help take the man to the hospital around 3:15 p.m.
The man was suffering from an elevated temperature and a chronic infection, according to fire department radio traffic.
A dryer fire early this morning has caused Cherrydale eateries Billy’s Cheesesteaks and Pasha Cafe to close indefinitely.
The fire was called in to dispatch at 2:18 a.m., according to Arlington County Fire Department spokeswoman Lt. Sarah Marchegiani, who said she couldn’t specify how long it took the firefighters to extinguish the blaze.
The fire originated from a dryer in the back of Billy’s Cheesesteaks (3907 Lee Highway), according to Marchegiani, and fire marshals estimate it did approximately $10,000 worth of damage to the restaurant. Pasha Cafe, which is just next door and has the same owner, suffered some smoke damage. The buildings were unoccupied and no one was injured in the fire.
A manager at Pasha told ARLnow.com that Pasha should reopen “very soon,” but admitted he didn’t know how long it would Billy’s Cheesesteaks to reopen. Billy’s had been cleared of most of the debris but soot still covers the walls and many surfaces.
A boat fell off its trailer on Lee Highway in Cherrydale Saturday evening, requiring a 40-ton crane and several hours to remove it from the roadway.
The boat belongs to Tom McNulty, a Yorktown resident who took his 16-foot Bayliner power boat out on the Potomac to enjoy the unseasonably warm weather on Saturday. Driving back on Lee Highway, McNulty said he hit a big bump in front of the Dunkin Donuts at 3520 Lee Highway.
“We weren’t going fast, maybe 27 or 30 mph,” McNulty told ARLnow.com today. “We hit the bump and the trailer doesn’t have any suspension. We felt it slide, slowed down, and that’s when it drifted into the right lane and hit a street light.”
McNulty said multiple safety chains and other securing mechanisms snapped, allowing the boat to come completely off the trailer. Once it hit the pavement, it slid down the road “about 100 feet,” McNulty said, leaving fiberglass residue all over the pavement.
The incident happened around 4:45 p.m. McNulty said it took about three hours for the crane — which was called in after a flatbed tow truck operator took one look at the boat and realized he could not tow it — to finally lift it and take it to a yard, where it now sits awaiting an insurance claims adjuster.
“My brother was the one who called it in, and the 911 dispatcher thought we said a bird in a road,” McNulty said. “I’m sure dispatch thought some idiot called in a bird in the road, so when they sent a squad car they realized what was actually happening.”
McNulty said there’s only superficial damage to the boat, but said this isn’t the first time he’s had problems keeping his boat out of harm’s way.
“A tree fell on my first boat,” he said. “During the derecho storm last year. This massive tree just came right down on it. I’m getting my pilot’s license next year so I hope I have better luck with planes.”
With the stated goal of “a more economically vibrant, walkable, attractive Lee Highway corridor — one that benefits neighborhoods and the business community,” representatives from the civic associations have already met with the Arlington County Planning Commission for guidance, according to representatives of the Waverly Hills Civic Association.
Along with Waverly Hills, East Falls Church, John M. Langston, Glebewood, Yorktown, Leeway Overlee, Old Dominion, Donaldson Run, Cherrydale, Maywood, and Lyon Village have also joined what the group is calling the “Lee Highway Grassroots Re-visioning.”
Waverly Hills Civic Association President Ginger Brown says the group hasn’t discussed specifics on what the future Lee Highway should look like, calling these first months since the group formed in February “the educational phase,” which includes meetings with the county’s planning staff.
Among the issues the group will be examining and presenting to staff and, they hope, the County Board, will be land use planning and zoning, housing, transportation and parking, demographic trends, tax increment financing and transferable development rights.
“It is anticipated that the new vision will be sent — in early 2015 — to the Arlington County Manager’s office with a request that the County Board appoint and fund a Task Force,” Brown wrote in an email. “Its purpose would be to formally develop a Lee Highway Sector Plan that guides future rezoning and development applications.”
Restoration Anglican Church in Cherrydale began demolition on its 150-seat church this morning, clearing the way for a new church building in the same spot.
Rubble already covers the church’s grounds at 1815 N. Quincy Street, as construction crews quickly tore down the small, brick building. Temporary church services will now be held at 5:00 p.m. on Sundays at Little Falls Presbyterian Church at 6025 N. Little Falls Road.
When Restoration Anglican Church congregation formed in January 2009, with less than 100 members of its congregation, it rented space for services from Trinity Baptist Church at the Quincy Street location. When Trinity disbanded in 2010, Restoration bought the building and has called it home ever since.
The building permit for Restoration’s new church was issued Aug. 12, and construction crews wasted no time in getting started. The congregation raised more than $2.4 million toward the design and construction of the building, according to Restoration’s website.
The new building will house a 375-person sanctuary, classrooms and will have a front porch for post-service gatherings. Whereas the old church was “quaint” and centered on the property with grass surrounding it, Parish Administrator Kat Vinson said the new one will be almost to the limits of the property.
“It was exciting to watch [the demolition begin] this morning,” Vinson said.
The construction of the new church is projected to take 8-12 months, Vinson said. Restoration hopes this building will last its congregation, which is about 500 strong, for years to come.
Two Arlington Dunkin’ Donuts stores were broken into overnight.
The Courthouse and Cherrydale Dunkin’ Donuts locations, on the 2200 block of Wilson Blvd and the 3500 block of Lee Highway, were closed this morning while police investigated the crime.
According to Arlington County Police Department spokesman Dustin Sternbeck, two suspects forced entry to the restaurants via the front door, then broke into the cash register and took cash. The store safe was tampered with, but was not opened, Sternbeck said.
Police are currently reviewing surveillance footage as part of the investigation.
Hat tip to Bill Everingham
An SUV overturned as a result of a collision at the intersection of N. Randolph and 21st Streets Wednesday morning.
Neither the driver of the SUV nor the driver of the white sedan with which it collided were injured in the crash, which occurred around 9:00 a.m. The SUV ended up on its roof on N. Randolph Street, but traffic on the small, residential street was able to drive around the damaged cars.
The driver of the SUV — which was heading uphill at the time of the wreck — said he didn’t see the stop sign at the intersection, which is partly obscured by a power line pole.
“The next thing I knew it was airborne,” he told ARLnow.com. “I have no idea how it flipped.”
The driver was able to exit the overturned vehicle via the passenger-side door.
Residents of the Cherrydale neighborhood came to the scene after the wreck, and one witness who saw the crash said she had sent complaints to the county about the stop sign before. A similar accident happened in the same place nine months ago, the woman, who asked not to be identified, said.
“They’ve got to fix the stop sign,” she said. “This is not a safe corner.”
A wild animal, believed by some to be a coyote, is causing increasing concern among Cherrydale residents.
The concern stems from Cherrydale resident Jay Stapf’s sighting of what he says were three decapitated fox heads on his back lawn this May. When Stapf went to retrieve his puppy, Stella, from the backyard, he was greeted by the sight of the severed heads.
“It was creepy, almost like when you bury someone in sand at the beach,” Stapf wrote in a report of the incident.
For the second time that month, Stapf called the Animal Welfare League of Arlington, who showed up to assist.
AWLA determined that a human didn’t sever the fox heads. They also suggested that Stapf install a motion sensor camera in his backyard in order to get further clues about the incident. However, Stapf says AWLA never followed up to confirm that a coyote was involved.
“We don’t know for certain [what they were] because they never came out and trapped them,” said Stapf.
AWLA Chief of Animal Control Alice Burton said that most of the time when people report coyote sightings to her, they turn out to be foxes, but this was a case that had her puzzled.
“It’s funny because I’ve reached out to professional naturalists on this and no one has a clue,” said Burton.
“Usually when we find decapitated animals, it’s kind of unusual. Heads are actually the first thing that animals eat,” said Alonso Abugattas, The Department of Parks and Recreations’s natural resources manager and one of the people Burton consulted with.
Sheila Dougherty, who walks Stella, had another neighbor who also reported a coyote sighting, so she decided to check with other residents on the Cherrydale email listserv.
“I think it’s good for everyone to know that there are coyotes in Arlington so that they can make informed decisions about whether to leave their dogs and cats out at night,” Dougherty said.
Eleven other members in the community wrote in with evidence of coyote sightings, with three others seeing a coyote as recently as this past spring.
Some of the sightings were indirect like Stapf’s. One neighbor reported seeing half a bunny in her backyard and the other indirectly reported a pet cat found dead through violent means.