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Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com | September 23, 2013 at 8:00 am | 1,812 views | No Comments

Sunset over the Potomac (Flickr pool photo by BrianMKA)

Fisette Weds Long-Time Partner — Arlington County Board member Jay Fisette married long-time partner Bob Rosen last week. After 30 years together, the couple tied the knot in a low-key ceremony at All Souls Unitarian Church in the District. Fisette and Rosen’s union will not be recognized in Virginia, but Fisette said he thinks that same-sex marriage will be legalized in the Commonwealth within five years. [Sun Gazette]

Smash-and-Grab Lookout Sentenced — The man who served as a lookout in a series of smash-and-grab robberies in the D.C. area, including this robbery at the Tourneau store in Pentagon City, has been sentenced. Floyd Davis, 43, was sentenced to 7 years in prison for his role in the crimes. [Washington Post]

Reevesland Group Refines Proposal — A group that wants to convert the historic Reeves farmhouse into an agricultural learning center for school children has submitted a proposal to Arlington County. The group says its volunteers will lower the cost of necessary renovations to the building by 30 percent. It has offered to operate the center and make it available to Arlington Public Schools. In exchange, the group wants the county to pay for renovations (about $700,000), ongoing maintenance costs and utilities. [Sun Gazette]

Library Seeks Info on Mystery Football Photo — Arlington Public Library’s Center for Local History is seeking more information about a photograph found at a local home. The photo shows a group of men wearing early 20th century football equipment, posing in front of a school. [Arlington Public Library]

Flickr pool photo by BrianMKA

Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com | September 13, 2013 at 8:55 am | 1,235 views | No Comments

Morning traffic on I-395

Arlington Two-Year-Old Has ‘Read’ 1,000+ Books — A two-year-old Arlington girl has read — or, at least, had her parents read — 1,000 books so far. The girl is the poster child for Arlington Public Library’s new “1,000 Books Before Kindergarten” program, which encourages parents to help children build language skills by reading what amounts to about one book a day. [Washington Post]

Jose Andres Products Coming to Whole Foods — A new line of Spanish oils, vinegars, olives and “easy-to-make paella kits” from Chef Jose Andres, of Jaleo fame, will be coming to Whole Foods stores around the Washington area next month. [Washington Business Journal]

Road Closures for 9/11 Heroes Race — A number of roads in the Crystal City and Arlington Ridge areas will be closed Saturday morning for the 9/11 Heroes 5K Race. Parking restrictions will also be in place. [Arlington County]

Woman Leaves Library $700,000 In Her Will

by Ethan Rothstein | September 12, 2013 at 3:30 pm | 3,283 views | No Comments

Arlington Central LibraryAn Arlington resident who died in June gave what’s estimated to be more than $700,000 to the Arlington Public Library in her will.

Rosemarie Bowie lived most of her life in Arlington and was 76 when she died June 24. She left her home on the 700 block of N. Danville Street, and half of her residuary estate, to the Library. The property was assessed at $626,500 this year and the residuary estate is believed to be worth more than $100,000, according to Library spokesman Peter Golkin.

Bowie was “a quiet person, loved the Library, used it often and simply didn’t want to bother her family with her estate,” Golkin said.

“We’re blown away by her generosity,” Library Director Diane Kresh said. “It epitomizes how so many people in this community feel about the Library and that’s very humbling. I’m sorry I didn’t know her but she’s leaving a legacy that will touch generations to come.”

After Bowie retired from her career working in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and as an attorney, she volunteered provided legal services as a guardian to many elderly residents of Arlington.

The County Board will vote to approve the gift at its meeting Sept. 21. The money will be donated to the county in a Trust and Agency Account designated specifically for the library.

The Library will dedicate a plaque in Bowie’s memory at Central Library, Golkin said.

Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com | September 10, 2013 at 8:45 am | 1,114 views | No Comments

Sunrise over Columbia Pike (photo courtesy Jonathan Nateghi-Asli)

Arlington No. 1 in Va. for Tourism — For the fourth year in a row, tourists spent more money in Arlington than any other place in Virginia. Tourism generated about $2.8 billion in visitors spending in 2012, a 3.9 percent increase over 2011. The increase in spending happened despite the partial defunding of the county’s Convention and Visitors Services in 2012. County officials and local hotel managers are lobbying the state legislature to restore Arlington’s former 0.25 percent hotel tax surcharge in order to better promote tourism and visitor spending. [Arlington County]

New Additions to N. Va. Senior Olympics — About 730 people are participating in the 31st annual Northern Virginia Senior Olympics at the Thomas Jefferson Community Center (3501 2nd Street S.). The 13-day event features two new sports: rowing and handball. [Sun Gazette]

Online Library Card Sign-Up — Just in time for September’s national Library Card Sign-up Month, Arlington Public Library now allows Arlington residents to sign up for a library card completely online. It allows instant access to the library’s eBooks, magazines, streaming movies and premium research websites. [Arlington Public Library]

Photo courtesy Jonathan Nateghi-Asli

Author Chides Hollywood for D.C. Inaccuracies

by Ethan Rothstein | August 20, 2013 at 2:00 pm | 2,154 views | No Comments

Washington, D.C., likes to call itself the most powerful city in the world, but films based in D.C. have a knack for missing some basic information that would make locals chuckle. Those omissions made for a lively talk at the Arlington Central Library on Monday afternoon.

Author Mike Canning released the book ”Hollywood on the Potomac“ last year. It’s a comprehensive guide to how the film industry has treated D.C. as a subject, character and background since the time when moving pictures with sound were called “talkies.”

During his talk on Monday, Canning showed clips from several films that are based in D.C., from Frank Capra and Jimmy Stewart’s “Mr. Smith Goes To Washington” to Leonardo DiCaprio’s “J. Edgar.”

No film crew has ever been allowed to shoot inside the Senate or the House of Representatives, Canning said, but the closest approximation came in “Mr. Smith,” for which Capra and his crew spent days in the Senate building, taking measurements and photos of the hall.

“It took $100,000 and six months to build,” Canning said of the 1939 film’s iconic set. It’s still the finest approximation of Congress in a movie, Canning said.

He compared it to 2000′s “The Contender,” in which Jeff Bridges, who plays the president, calls a joint session of Congress in a scene filmed in Richmond’s General Assembly building.

The biggest “goof,” as Canning calls them, in a D.C. movie came in 1987′s “No Way Out.” Kevin Costner, playing a Naval officer, is running away from two men in suits. He jumps off the Whitehurst Freeway and finds himself running along the C&O canal in the heart of Georgetown, when he takes an abrupt left turn and enters a Metro stop. The nearly 100 people in the audience burst out laughing watching a film so gravely misrepresent the area’s public transit system.

Despite the Metro stop mistake, Canning insists the rest of the film is worth watching. Arlington residents may get a kick out of the opening scene, which pans out from the Pentagon and shows Pentagon City as it was in the mid-1980s: small houses surrounded by forest.

Morning Notes

by Katie Pyzyk | August 6, 2013 at 8:45 am | 1,881 views | No Comments

Bamboo in the North Highlands neighborhood

Gun Fact Check — New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg took aim at Virginia for being one of the top suppliers of guns used to commit crimes in his city. He called out the state for having weak gun laws. Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell’s office fought back, releasing a statement saying the state has some of the toughest gun laws in the country and its rates of crimes such as homicide and robbery are lower than in New York City. The New York Daily News checked out the claim, however, and found that Virginia has 3.9 killings for every 100,000 people. That’s compared to the state of New York — not just New York City — with 3.5 murders per 100,000 people. [New York Daily News]

Rabbits at Library — The library’s regular Paws to Read program is on hiatus in August. Instead of using dogs this month, one of the librarians suggested bringing in rabbits to join kids while they read. The librarian noted that the Muslim families she knows aren’t able to participate in the Paws to Read program because Islam discourages touching dogs. Three rabbits — Mocha, Copper and Apache — already took turns cuddling up with visitors at the Columbia Pike Branch Library. [Arlington Public Library]

Rabbit Population on the Rise — Arlington is one of the D.C. metro areas experiencing a rabbit boom. The county’s chief naturalist confirmed that there’s been a spike in most of Arlington’s neighborhoods. Because they typically don’t carry diseases or bother humans, the rabbit boom isn’t causing alarm. In fact, because the animals are prey for a number of other creatures, it’s believed their numbers will naturally come under control. [Washington Post]

Bezos to Buy Washington Post — Jeff Bezos, the owner of Amazon.com, has agreed to buy the Washington Post for $250 million in cash. The sale is expected to be completed within 60 days. Employees at the Post were reportedly shocked by the deal. [Poynter Institute]

Library Shatters Summer Reading Record

by Ethan Rothstein | July 31, 2013 at 9:30 am | 554 views | No Comments

Summer reading at Arlington Public Library

(Updated on 8/1/13)

The Arlington Public Library summer reading program has already broken its all-time participation record with more than three weeks remaining until registration ends.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the library had 7,529 kids from preschool to high school signed up for its summer reading program, breaking last year’s record of 7,415. Registration ends for middle- and high-schoolers Aug. 20 and for elementary- and pre-schoolers Aug. 24.

“Summer reading gets more popular every year,” said library spokesman Peter Golkin. “I think it’s a snowball effect. Every year, the kids tell more friends about the program. Thanks to Harry Potter, I think kids are more interested in reading these days.”

Among the most popular titles young readers are borrowing from the library this summer are the Nancy Clancy: Super Sleuth series among second- to fourth-graders, the Big Nate series with those in grades 4-6, and, among the older students, The 5th Wave and Catching Fire, the second installment of The Hunger Games series that will come out in movie form this fall.

Kids who complete the summer reading program at the library earn prizes based on their age group, including a drawstring library bag for the younger children and a notebook and pen set for the middle- and high-schoolers.

Photo via Arlington Public Library

Video: Paws to Read Program

by ARLnow.com | July 24, 2013 at 11:00 am | 1,017 views | No Comments

A dog can’t judge your reading skills or correct your pronunciation of words.

That’s the concept behind Paws to Read, a popular program at Arlington public libraries that allows children to read outloud to a non-judgemental canine companion.

The program began in 2011 after Ashlawn Elementary School teacher Cynthia Power pitched it to library staff as a way to encourage kids to read. It has since expanded to six library locations and has earned Power (and her dog, Humphrey) an Outstanding Volunteer Award.

The county’s Arlington TV channel produced the video, above, about the Paws to Read program.

Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com | July 19, 2013 at 9:00 am | 1,121 views | No Comments

A resident sells air conditioning units at 11th and Randolph, near Ballston

Hot Car Mom Released from Jail – Zoraida Magali Conde Hernandez, who’s accused of fatally locking her 8-month-old son in a hot car earlier this month, was released from jail yesterday afternoon after being granted a $25,000 bond. Police say Conde Hernandez accidentally left the baby in her car for 6 hours while she went to work. NBC4 reports that she works at the Catholic Diocese of Arlington. [NBC Washington]

More Money for Paving in Virginia — More money is available for VDOT’s summer paving effort this year thanks to new transportation taxes. The planned repaving includes 90 lane miles of interstate highways and 79 miles of primary roads. Arlington is one of two Virginia counties that doesn’t rely on VDOT for maintenance of secondary roads. [Sun Gazette]

Library Group to Hold ‘Great Gatsby’ Ball — The group Friends of the Arlington Public Library will be holding a 1920s-themed “Great Gatsby” ball at Artisphere on Sept. 28. The event will raise money for the library’s early literacy initiatives. [Arlington Public Library]

Photo by Katie Pyzyk. Hat tip to Peter Golkin.

Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com | July 12, 2013 at 8:00 am | 580 views | No Comments

Black helicopter near Rosslyn (Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman)

Local History Being Digitized at Library — The Center for Local History, the new name for the Virginia Room at Arlington Central Library, is making a push to digitize historic photos and documents submitted by residents. The library’s own collection of historic documents is also being digitized. [Washington Post]

Arlington Dems Decamp for Competitive Races — Arlington Democrats, secure in the near-certainty that local races will go their way, are planning to help out in other, more competitive races around Northern Virginia. Among the help being offered by local Democrats is on-the-ground support and phone banking. [Sun Gazette]

Tour de France Viewing for a Good Cause — Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse (2903 Columbia Pike) will host a viewing party for the critical Stage 15 of the Tour de France on Sunday. The cyclists’ mountainous climb will be projected on the big screen starting at 7:00 p.m. Tickets to the event is free, but attendees are encouraged to donate to Companions for Heroes, which provides companion dogs that were rescued from shelters to military veterans. [Rouleurville]

Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman

Volunteer Opportunity: Doll Groomer

by Katie Pyzyk | July 10, 2013 at 2:30 pm | 1,856 views | No Comments

American Girl doll (photo via Facebook)The Central Library needs volunteers for a project that has nothing to do with books and everything to do with toys. It’s seeking a “doll groomer.”

The library recently began lending American Girl dolls and the toys are getting a lot of play time. Volunteers are needed for upkeep of the dolls, including combing their hair, washing their clothes and replacing worn out parts. The position posting reads: “We need someone who enjoys working with dolls and their belongings and who is dependable.”

There would be a weekly commitment, but hours are flexible. Ideal candidates are teens or a parent/child team. Those 18 years and older must consent to a background check.

Interested volunteers should contact Barbara Dean at 703-228-7688 or put in a request online.

Below are a few other new volunteer opportunities around Arlington:

    • Community Picnic Volunteers — The Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing is looking for helpers at a picnic it is hosting for residents at Columbia Grove on July 15. Volunteers would help with setup and cleanup, leading games for children, face painting, cooking and distributing food and drinks. The picnic is designed to help residents meet their neighbors and build a sense of community. The event runs from 3:30-7:30 p.m., but arrangements may be made for those who can’t stay the entire time. Anyone interested in helping should contact Liz McElwee at 703-851-3635 or send an online request.
    • Angel Tree Family Registration — Although it’s summertime, the Salvation Army is already looking for people to help with its Angel Tree holiday gift program. The program identifies needy children and matches each one with a sponsor who will provide holiday gifts for the child. Volunteers will register needy families for the program and help make holiday wish lists. Helpers must be available on weekdays from September 16-October 11, but the schedule is flexible. Although volunteers who are available on a recurring basis are preferred, those who are only available on a one-time basis will also be considered. To sign up, call Brittney Drakeford at 202-756-2615 or send an online request.
    • Spanish Academy Teacher Assistant — Volunteer teacher assistants are needed for Edu-Futuro’s Spanish Academy — a two week (August 12-23) summer immersion camp that provides cultural and academic enrichment and Spanish language skills to rising kindergarteners through fifth graders. Volunteers will perform tasks such as assisting with student registration, helping with classroom activities and watching over students during activities and recess breaks. Applicants should have Spanish language skills (verbal and written), experience working with children and must go through a background check. To sign up, contact Eneida Alcade at 703-228-2560 or send an online request.

Photo via Facebook

Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com | July 8, 2013 at 8:30 am | 1,658 views | No Comments

Walkway to Ballston Mall (Flickr pool photo by Wolfkann)

Fairfax May Be ‘Big Winner’ From Streetcar — The Columbia Pike streetcar may be an economic boon to Fairfax County. Fairfax is planning to use its portion of the future streetcar system to lure office tenants to the Skyline and Baileys Crossroads areas. Already, promise of the streetcar might be helping to sway the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to move to Skyline from Ballston. [Sun Gazette]

Office Absorption Down as Sequester Takes Hold — The D.C. region, particularly Northern Virginia, is shedding office tenants. The region typically “absorbs” about 900,000 square feet of office space per quarter, but posted a negative 100,000 square foot absorption figure between April and June. Tenant downsizing and federal job losses and budget cuts are being blamed for the poor absorption figures. [Globe St]

Brink Unopposed in Upcoming Election — Arlington’s Del. Bob Brink (D) is running unopposed for reelection in November, after the Libertarian candidate he was set to face dropped out of the race. Del. Patrick Hope, Del. Alfonso Lopez and Del. Rob Krupicka, all Democrats, area facing a Libertarian, an Independent Green and and independent candidate, respectively. So far, no Republican challengers have been announced. [Sun Gazette]

Library Seeking LEGO Artists — Arlington Public Library is seeking LEGO builders ages 18 and under to help design and build LEGO structures for display at a library. [Arlington Public Library]

Flickr pool photo by Wolfkann

UPDATED: Homeless Men Attacked Outside Library

by ARLnow.com | June 24, 2013 at 12:00 pm | 6,429 views | No Comments

Police car lights(Updated at 4:00 p.m.) An arrest has been made in the case of two homeless men who were viciously attacked outside Arlington Central Library early this morning.

The attack took place just before 3:00 a.m., on the 1000 block of N. Quincy Street.

Police say the men, who are brothers, were sleeping on benches outside the library when another man approached and began arguing with them. The argument escalated and the suspect then brandished a machete and began slashing at the victims, police said.

Derrick Sutherland (photo via ACPD)The victims suffered “numerous large lacerations” all over their upper torso and face area, according to Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. They were transported to George Washington University Hospital with serious but non-life-threatening injuries.

The victims have not been identified by name, but Sternbeck described them as 26-year-old brothers of no fixed address.

The suspect, 28-year-old Derrick Sutherland, remained at large this morning but was later arrested in the Ballston area. Sutherland is homeless and was known to carry a machete, Sternbeck said.

From an ACPD press release:

The Arlington County Police Department has taken a 28 year-old man into custody and charged him with two counts of aggravated malicious wounding stemming from a machete attack that occurred early this morning. Derrick Sutherland, 28, of no fixed address is currently being held without bond in the Arlington County Detention Facility.

Sutherland approached the two victims outside the Central Library at 2:50 a.m. and began arguing with them. The argument escalated and Sutherland brandished a machete, which he used to strike each victim numerous times. Both victims sustained significant non-life threatening injuries and were transported to GW Hospital in Washington, D.C.

Sutherland fled the scene immediately after the attack and remained at-large through the morning hours. However, through a collaborative effort between the Homicide/Robbery Unit and Patrol Division, officers were able to locate Sutherland in the area of Wilson Boulevard and N. Piedmont Street and take him into custody.

Library Now Offers Streaming Movies

by ARLnow.com | June 21, 2013 at 10:45 am | 2,212 views | No Comments

Your library card now lets you stream independent films at home, for free.

As explained in the video above, Arlington Public Library cardholders can sign up for a free account with IndieFlix, a streaming movie service that offers unlimited access to thousands of independent feature films, documentaries and shorts. Films can be streamed to a PC, phone, tablet, Xbox 360 or Roku device.

The library website also has instructions for signing up.

Tea Party to Host Anti-Streetcar Scholar in Westover

by ARLnow.com | June 17, 2013 at 1:00 pm | 2,761 views | No Comments

Randal O'Toole (photo via CATO Institute)A noted streetcar critic will address a meeting of the Northern Virginia Tea Party on Tuesday.

The event is scheduled from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. at Westover Branch Library (1644 N. McKinley Road). Randal O’Toole, a transportation expert at the libertarian CATO Institute, will “speak about current transportation policy issues, including the Columbia Pike streetcar.”

O’Toole wrote the book The Vanishing Automobile and Other Urban Myths: How Smart Growth Will Harm American Cities in 2001, and published a policy analysis entitled “The Great Streetcar Conspiracy” last year. The analysis says municipal streetcar systems are being encouraged by the federal government and by “engineering firms that stand to earn millions of dollars planning, designing, and building streetcar lines.”

“Streetcars are the latest urban planning fad, stimulated partly by the Obama administration’s preference for funding transportation projects that promote ‘livability’ (meaning living without automobiles) rather than mobility or cost-effective transportation,” O’Toole wrote.

“Based on 19th-century technology, the streetcar has no place in American cities today except when it functions as part of a completely self-supporting tourist line. Instead of subsidizing streetcars, cities should concentrate on basic — and modern — services such as fixing streets, coordinating traffic signals, and improving roadway safety.”

(Supporters argue that a modern streetcar system is a clean and efficient transportation solution that reduces traffic congestion and promotes economic development.)

Tuesday’s event is free and open to the public. “Extensive free parking in the evening is available at the rear of the adjacent elementary school,” according to the event invitation.

Photo via CATO Institute

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