Editor’s Note: Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow.com, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups and their founders. The Ground Floor, Monday’s office space for young companies in Rosslyn, is now open. 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.
Vinay Bhargava has a master’s degree in electrical engineering, an MBA from MIT’s Sloan School of Management and seven years of experience working in negotiations and partnerships for Google. Today, Bhargava’s mission is to help teenagers figure out what college they want to go to.
That may sound like a fall from grace, but Bhargava’s startup, Mytonomy, is flourishing. The negotiator just inked a deal last month with the College Foundation of North Carolina, which is a national standard-bearer for preparing high school students for college, to provide services to every high school student in the state.
Mytonomy produces videos of recent high school and college alumni giving advice on different processes related to a student’s future, such as applying for college, writing the college essay and choosing a major. It’s called a “near-peer” advice model, allowing students to get counseling from those who have just been through the same process, as opposed to a guidance counselor or college guide book.
Bhargava, 43, got the idea from conversations with his friend and cofounder, Sean Burke, a guidance counselor at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Fairfax County. After two years in Google’s D.C. headquarters, Bjargava was ready to “focus on something with a social impact.”
“We felt there was a lack of awareness among young people about what jobs are actually out there,” Bhargava said. “There was a need to explain what some of these abstract careers are… there is an information problem with young people in making decisions about their future.”
So, in 2011, he and Burke founded Mytonomy. They started with focus groups and pilot programs at Burke’s high school to find out exactly what students thought would be helpful to them. They settled on creating videos, which can be made by alumni, counselors, teachers or, for college students and young professionals, young college graduates at the next step on a particularly career path.
Near-peer mentoring and “inter-generational advising” became the vehicle for Mytonomy’s products. Bhargava said LinkedIn was part of his inspiration; high school students can’t really use LinkedIn because they have no contacts, he said.
“What about high school kids?” Bhargava asked from Mytonomy’s space in Rosslyn’s UberOffices. “They don’t know anyone, but they have the greatest need. We wanted to create an advising platform that reaches kids today.”
That starts with teachers and counselors, who are the primary contributors to Mytonomy’s current pilot client: Arlington Public Schools. For the 2013-2014 school year, Mytonomy and APS have partnered to try to get Arlington high school students to engage and learn about their future.
Two wrecks, two friends, two deaths, one block apart. One friend died, and the other is now facing jail time for manslaughter.
Friday morning, police say Aman Singh Lail drove drunk and slammed into another car at the intersection of Fort Myer Drive and eastbound Lee Highway in Rosslyn, killing the 24-year-old driver. Amazingly, ten months prior, his friend Sami Ullah died when, after driving 90 miles per hour across the Key Bridge, he lost control of his 2008 BMW M5 and crashed just before the intersection of Fort Myer Drive and westbound Lee Highway.
The grim coincidence is tied together by a photo Lail posted in May on his Instagram account. “The last time I saw my brother Sami,” he wrote. Also posted on Instagram: a photo of what appears to be the tricked-out Jeep involved in the wreck.
Police have released few details about this morning’s accident, only saying that it occurred just after 2:00 a.m. when Lail’s Jeep Wrangler, which was traveling eastbound on Lee Highway, collided with Saqlain Chowhury’s Chrysler Crossfire at the Fort Myer Drive intersection. So far police are not saying how fast the vehicles were traveling, which had the green light at the intersection and whether Chowhury was wearing a seat belt.
Lail, a 24-year-old Baltimore resident, is now charged with DUI Aggravated Involuntary Manslaughter, a felony punishable by 1 to 20 years in prison. Given Lail’s prior driving record, he might see the upper end of that range.
As pointed out in the comments section of our initial article, Lail has faced nearly three dozen vehicle-related charges since 2008, and that’s just in Arlington, Fairfax and Loudoun counties alone. Among them:
- One for disregarding traffic lights in Fairfax County on Aug. 16, 2009
- One for Driving While Intoxicated in Arlington on Nov. 7, 2009, which was later amended to a charge of reckless driving
- Nine speeding violations, including one for going 97 in a 55 in Fairfax on Jan. 7, 2012
- One DWI conviction in Fairfax County, on Feb. 5, 2012
Lail is being held without bond at the Arlington County Detention Center.
Police say two vehicles, a Jeep and a sedan, were involved in a t-bone collision around 2:00 a.m. The Jeep, traveling eastbound on Lee Highway, struck the sedan and a 24-year-old man in the sedan died, according to Arlington County Police Department spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.
The driver of the striking vehicle remained on scene and has since been charged with DUI and involuntary manslaughter. From an ACPD press release:
The Arlington County Police Department is currently investigating a fatal motor vehicle accident which occurred in Rosslyn at the intersection of Lee Highway and Fort Myer Drive at 2:09 AM on January 24, 2014.
A Jeep Wrangler, operated by Aman Singh Lail, 24, of Baltimore, Maryland was travelling eastbound on Lee Highway when it struck a Chrysler Crossfire being operated by Saqlain Chowdhury, 24, of Alexandria, Virginia.
Mr. Chowdhury was transported by paramedics from the Arlington County Fire Department to the George Washington University Hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.
Mr. Lail has been charged with Driving Under the Influence – Aggravated Involuntary Manslaughter. He is being held without bond at the Arlington County Detention Center.
The eastbound lanes of Lee Highway were closed for approximately five hours, opening shortly before 7:00 AM.
Police are asking anyone with information concerning this incident to contact Detective Sara Bertollini of the Arlington County Police Department’s Critical Accident Team at (703) 228-4243.
Screenshot via NBC4
(Updated at 3:50 p.m.) A car has flipped on its roof on I-66 near Rosslyn.
Police and firefighters are responded to the scene, on eastbound I-66 just before Route 110 and the Roosevelt Bridge. Units on the scene reported one person trapped inside the vehicle, but that individual was soon extricated and transported to the hospital.
All but one lane of traffic was blocked at the accident scene, but fire department units have since cleared the scene and traffic is flowing again.
Arlington County firefighters responded to an apartment fire near Rosslyn Tuesday night.
Units on the scene reported flames coming from a third story apartment at the Rosslyn Heights apartment building on the 1800 block of N. Quinn Street.
A fire on the exterior balcony had extended to the interior of an apartment, according to the fire department Twitter account. The fire was quickly extinguished and no injuries were reported.
The residents of three apartments were displaced due to fire, smoke and water damage.
Update at 4:15 p.m. on 1/22/14 — In a press release, the Arlington County Fire Dept. says this fire started due to improper disposal of hot embers.
Last night, Arlington firefighters responded to a fire that started on the balcony and quickly spread to the inside of the apartment. Fortunately, no one was injured and the fire was reported early, keeping damage to an estimated $20,000. The fire was caused when occupants extinguished a fire in their fireplace with water and placed the logs outside on the deck. The occupants knew that it was dangerous to leave a fireplace unattended, but did not know how to properly dispose of hot ashes and embers.
It is a common misconception that the ashes are safe once the fire is extinguished; however, ashes and embers can smolder for hours. Ashes must be disposed of properly to prevent these types of fires from occurring. Once the fire is extinguished, place the ashes in a metal container with a lid. Never place ashes directly into a trash can or paper bag. Move the metal container outside and away from all combustibles, including decks, garages, and leaves. Soak the ashes with water and re-cover.
The Arlington County Fire Department recommends you follow these safety tips when using a fireplace:
- Have your chimney cleaned and inspected annually by a qualified professional.
- Always use a metal or heat-tempered glass screen to prevent sparks from flying into the room.
- Use only newspaper and kindling wood or fire starters to start a fire, never use flammable liquids to start a fire.
- Only burn dry, seasoned wood.
- Never leave the fireplace unattended.
- Allow ashes to cool completely before disposing.
- Place ashes in a metal container with a lid. Move the container at least 10 feet from the building and saturate the ashes with water.
More information at http://www.usfa.fema.gov/citizens/home_fire_prev/heating/fireplace.shtm
Photo courtesy @hilary1121
Ben’s Chili Bowl, the District-based late-night institution, is hoping to open its new location in Rosslyn next month.
News broke that the restaurant would be coming to Arlington in early September, and co-owner Nizam Ali told ARLnow.com he was hoping for a New Year’s Day opening, but acknowledged that was a bit too optimistic.
“The build-out is going well but the holidays got us a bit,” Ali said in an email last week. “Realistically we are about a month out, so early February is the plan right now.”
Ben’s Chili Bowl will be located at 1725 Wilson Blvd, in the old Ray’s Hell Burger storefront in Colonial Village Shopping Center. Ali has said the Rosslyn location will be designed to have the same feel as their U Street restaurant and plans to also be open for late night.
Campaign to Remove Confederate Name from Roads — An Alcova Heights resident has asked county officials to remove the name “Jefferson Davis” from Arlington roadways. He says its tie to slavery and segregation is offensive. County officials, however, point out that the removal process is complicated and would require state approval. [Sun Gazette]
Will Board Candidates Support the Streetcar? — There are questions regarding what will happen to the Columbia Pike streetcar project now that one of its biggest supporters — Chris Zimmerman — is stepping down from the Arlington County Board. So far, no candidates vying for his spot have come forward as outright supporters of the project, although two — independent John Vihstadt and Libertarian Evan Bernick — have voiced opposition to it. [Greater Greater Washington]
Rosslyn: The Brooklyn of Washington — Ghosts of DC posted a throwback advertisement from 1889, which claims Rosslyn is the “Brooklyn of Washington.” [Ghosts of DC]
Flickr pool photo by wolfkann
Rosslyn BID’s New Website — The Rosslyn Business Improvement District launched a new website yesterday. The launch comes at about the same time as a new BID logo and after the BID hired a new executive director this year. The website currently features a Q&A with the Executive Chef of soon-to-be-opened Heavy Seas Alehouse. [Rosslyn BID]
A Facebook Page For Discussing Arlington History – I grew up in Arlington, VA, a Facebook page for Arlington history, has garnered more than 10,500 “likes.” The posts can range from discussions about the old Parkington shopping center and the putt-putt course at the corner of Wilson Blvd and N. Glebe Road, to current local news and sports scores. Page administrator Eric Dobson said sometimes the comments get “offensive,” and he’s forced to delete them, but they mostly stay positive. [Falls Church News-Press]
Washington Post Profiles Chris Zimmerman – Arlington County Board member Chris Zimmerman, who is stepping down next month, “is one of the reasons that the dark days of Columbia Pike and other streets in Arlington are brighter and livelier, with more pedestrians and dining choices,” writes the Post’s Patricia Sullivan. The article touches on the Columbia Pike streetcar line, quoting head of Arlingtonians For Sensible Transit Peter Rousselot as saying Zimmerman “has insufficient sensitivity to the cost of some things he has labeled smart.” [Washington Post]
Del. Hope Seeks House of Delegates Weapons Ban – Del. Patrick Hope (D-47) will introduce legislation that will ban firearms from the floor of the House of Delegates. Hope acknowledges the bill has little hope of passing the Republican-controlled House, but was inspired to do so after Del. Joe Morrissey brought an AK-47 on the floor during a debate this year. [Sun Gazette]
Rosslyn Holiday Market Open Today — The Rosslyn Business Improvement District will be hosting a “pop-up” holiday market today from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. at 1500 Wilson Blvd. The market will feature boutique shopping, gift wrapping as well as snacks, sweets, cigar and spirits tasting and massages. Disclosure: As you can tell by the temporary site background, this event is being advertised on ARLnow.com.
New ‘Aerial Yoga’ Studio Opens — Spark Yoga, an “aerial yoga” studio, has opened at 2201 N. Pershing Drive in Lyon Park. [Washingtonian]
Woman, Friends Arrested in Towing Dispute — Updated at 9:20 a.m. — A woman and her two friends were arrested Tuesday night after a dispute over towing. The woman tried to block her car from being towed from a parking lot and called police. When police arrived, the officer tried to remove her from her vehicle, and she allegedly fought back. Police say her friends also physically confronted the officer. The woman and one friend were charged with obstruction of justice and the the other friend was charged with assault and battery of a policy officer. [Patch]
Flickr pool photo by Christaki
(Updated at 5:50 p.m.) The three two-month old elevators at the Rosslyn Metro Station were all out of service this morning, leaving commuters to use the long escalators on the other side of N. Moore Street.
The problem, according to Arlington Department of Environmental Services spokesman Eric Balliet, was caused after Metro workers turned off power to the station after closing Thursday night. The new elevators failed to restart this morning when the power was turned back on.
“We apologize to Rosslyn Metro riders,” Balliet said in an email. “We’re working with [Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority] and our contractor to address unforeseen issues like this in the future.”
The elevators were designed and constructed by DES and opened Oct. 6. Friday morning was not the first time there have been problems with the high-speed elevators, which are designed to carry thousands of passengers a day. WMATA spokesman Dan Stessel said that the elevators are under a yearlong warranty with the manufacturer, meaning Metro is not responsible for maintaining and repairing the elevators.
Two of the elevators returned to normal operations around 10:30 a.m., Metro spokeswoman Morgan Dye said in an email. The third elevator has been out of service — and continues to be out of service — due to an unrelated issue.
“It is not uncommon for there to be a need for fine tuning during the initial ‘break-in period’ on any new machinery — whether it be elevators, escalators, railcars, buses, etc.,” Dye said. ”Working through the fine-tuning of this kind of equipment is routine and expected.”
Balliet echoed Dye’s words about the break-in period.
“Many of the problems experienced since opening are typical for an elevator break-in period,” he said. “In fact, the number of disruptions had been decreasing week by week until this power outage for track work. We’ll continue working with our contractors to ensure higher levels of reliability.”
First Night of Hanukkah — Tonight is the first night of Hanukkah, the eight-day Jewish holiday also known as the Festival of Lights. [Chabad]
Ebbin Introduces Repeal of Va. Gay Marriage Ban — State Sen. Adam Ebbin has introduced legislation that would repeal Virginia’s constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. In order to repeal the amendment, which was approved by voters in 2006, Ebbin’s legislation would need to pass the General Assembly in 2014 and 2016, and be approved in a statewide referendum. [Sun Gazette]
No Tenants for New Rosslyn Skyscraper — So far, no tenants have signed on to lease office space in 1812 North Moore, the new skyscraper in Rosslyn that holds the title of the region’s tallest building (with the exception of the Washington Monument). The lack of tenants is being blamed on weakness in the local office market. The office vacancy rate inside the Beltway has risen from 10 percent in 2010 to 17.5 percent this quarter. [Washington Post]
Flickr pool photo by J. Sonder
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and FBR, an investment bank, will be moving into new offices in Arlington over the next year and a half. That’s good news for economic development officials in Arlington, who are still reeling from the impending loss of the National Science Foundation and its 2,237 jobs.
FBR will move from a “trophy” office building at 1001 19th Street N. in Rosslyn to a slightly less lofty accommodations, at 1300 17th Street N., also in Rosslyn. FBR’s new lease runs through the end of 2025. First-year rent for the space — on the building’s 2nd, 13th and 14th floors — is $41 per square foot for the lower floor and $51.50 per square foot for the higher floors, according to an SEC filing.
FBR employs approximately 250 people in Arlington. The company hopes to make the move this May.
The FDIC, meanwhile, has signed a lease for 171,000 square feet in the former DARPA building at 3701 N. Fairfax Drive, in Virginia Square. The agency expects to move employees there from an office at 1310 N. Courthouse Road, in Courthouse, in April 2015.
The FDIC has an existing office at 3501 N. Fairfax Drive, and the new accommodations will eliminate the need to shuttle employees back and forth between Courthouse and Virginia Square, the Washington Business Journal reported.
Rosslyn Apartment Building to Sell for $220 Million — The JBG Cos. has reached a deal to sell its new Sedona Slate apartments in Rosslyn for $220 million. The company spent about $150 million to develop the two-building apartment project, which had a ribbon cutting ceremony in June. [Washington Business Journal]
APS Competition to Reduce Dropout Rate — Arlington Public Schools (APS) announced a competition for data analysts to help the school system prevent students from dropping out. Analysts will help APS identify trends and hopefully will find ways to flag students who could use more one-on-one time with counselors. Assistant Superintendent for Information Services Raj Adusumilli told ARLnow.com the winning team of analysts likely will be announced by the end of this winter. Although no firm date is in place for finishing the data analysis, the school system anticipates being able to use the gathered information by about February 2014 in order to help students make class choices for next year. [Washington Post, Arlington Public Schools]
Opera Singer Wins Talent Competition — Opera singer Garrick Jordan won first place in the second annual “Arlington’s Got Talent” competition. Jordan beat out six other competitors on Sunday (November 18) at Clarendon Ballroom. [Sun Gazette]
Around 9:45 a.m., an emergency call came in for an elevator worker who somehow got caught in an elevator pulley system at 1300 17th Street N. in Rosslyn. By the time emergency workers arrived at the scene, the man’s co-workers had already untangled him from the cables and pulley.
Emergency workers reported the worker’s hand was partially severed at the palm. The man, who is in his 60s, was transported to the trauma center at George Washington University hospital.
No additional information is available regarding his condition.
County Seeks “Great Design” Nominations — Arlington County’s is accepting submissions for great design in new construction, renovations, additions or adaptive re-use projects. It’s part of the biennial design awards program, DESIGNArlington, which recognizes people who do design work that enhances the county’s built environment. Applications can be submitted online until 5:00 p.m. on December 2. An independent panel of architecture, urban design, historic preservation, public art and landscape design professionals will examine the nominations and select several winners. Previous winners include Northside Social, the Reed School/Westover Library, and the Gleason/Pries residence. [Arlington County]
Preservation Arlington Highlights Bruner Home — This week, Preservation Arlington looks at the Brumer house in its “Preserved and Developed” series. In 1934, Dr. Roland Bruner purchased the property at 2018 S. Glebe Road in the Nauck neigbhorhood. Only two black doctors had been practicing in Arlington at that time, so Brumer opened a private practice in his house to help serve the black community. He worked up until his death in 1978, and a historical marker now stands near his home. [Preservation Arlington]
Close Election Could Benefit VA DREAM Act — Fresh off a victory in Tuesday’s election, Del. Alfonso Lopez plans to make enactment of the DREAM Act his number one priority for the Virginia General Assembly session. It appears the narrow victories of Governor-elect Terry McAuliffe (D) and Del. Thomas Rust (R) may help the prospects for such legislation. Lopez and Rust had combined similar pieces of legislation last year that made it through the House Committee on Education on a 17-4 vote, but stalled because the House Appropriations Committee did not act on the measure before the session ended. If the bill makes it to McAuliffe, he is expected to sign it into law. [Sun Gazette]
Rosslyn BID Collects and Donates Marine Corps Marathon Clothing — The Rosslyn Business Improvement District (BID) collected and redistributed 968 pounds of clothes to the Arlington Street People’s Assistance Network (A-SPAN). The clothes were items such as hats, gloves, sweatshirts and pants that runners shed while passing through Rosslyn during the Marine Corps Marathon on October 27. The BID had the clothing cleaned and gave it to A-SPAN to distribute to people in need.