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Video: Soldier on Scooter Menaced by Driver in Pentagon City

A man in Army fatigues who was riding a motorized scooter down an alley in Pentagon City was nearly run into by an impatient driver.

The road rage incident happened Friday afternoon along the driveway between the Pentagon Row shopping center and the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City mall. An apartment resident witnessed it and managed to take video of the final seconds, as the soldier scooted just out of the way of the tailgating driver.

“Heard some honking outside my apartment and went over to my balcony that overlooks Pentagon Row, right next to the Pentagon City Mall parking garage,” the tipster said via email. “Saw a car right on the heels of a gentleman on a motorized scooter. Gentleman was wearing military fatigues. The military figure yelled ‘Stop!’ Car proceeds to hit scooter after the rider hopped off. Driver then continues on their way.”

No injuries were reported.

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County Manager Proposes Rolling Over Most Unspent Funds from Last Budget

Facing a combined budget gap of up to $75 million, Arlington County Manager Mark Schwartz is eschewing the usual divvying up of leftover funds from the last fiscal year and instead proposing to roll them over with an eye on next year’s budget.

Schwartz will recommend at Saturday’s County Board meeting that the $21.9 million in unspent funds available to the county remain primarily unallocated, with $16.5 million being set aside to give the Board more options going into the next budget process.

“Difficult choices will be required to balance the FY 2020 budget and will likely include service reductions, and consideration of a real estate tax increase,” says a county staff report. “Setting aside $16.5 million in undesignated funds from the close-out of FY 2018 will give the County Board some flexibility when weighing these choices.”

Schwartz is also recommending the county allocate $3.4 million (along with $3 million from Arlington Public School) to increase its General Fund Operating Reserve — important for maintaining the county’s triple-AAA bond rating — and $2 million for use by the County Manager “to address unforeseen needs that arise during the fiscal year without reprioritizing or cutting other programs.”

The county has funds left in its coffers at the end of almost every fiscal year, thanks to conservative budgeting practices intended to maintain the triple-AAA rating.

Often, the budget “close-out” process ends up funding a grab bag of county priorities, from law enforcement needs to affordable housing. Asked about that this week, Schwartz said his recommendation does not mean that affordable housing is being deprioritized.

“It doesn’t mean that some of that money going forward couldn’t be used for affordable housing,” Schwartz said at the town hall meeting. “I just think, given the hole we have to fill, I didn’t want to preordain what my priorities would be. We’ll see how the Board receives that.”

A number of civic activists have been pushing the county to reform the budget close-out process, which they see as a boondoggle meant to fund pet projects with minimal public scrutiny or discussion.

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Fmr. Arlington State Dept. Employee Sentenced on Child Porn Charges

An Alexandria man who pleaded guilty to child pornography charges was sentenced today to 26 years in federal prison.

Skydance MacMahon, who worked as a Digital Media Administrator for the State Department in Arlington, conspired with a Canadian woman to “produce over a thousand sexually explicit images and videos of minor children in Canada,” federal prosecutors said. As previously reported, he did so in part using a work-issued cell phone.

The Arlington County Police Department and Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office assisted in the case, as did Canadian authorities and various federal agencies.

More from the office of the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia:

An Alexandria man was sentenced today to 26 years in prison for production of child pornography.

According to court documents, over at least a two year period, Skydance MacMahon, 45, conspired with an adult in Canada to produce over a thousand sexually explicit images and videos of minor children in Canada. These images and videos were produced at the direction of MacMahon using Skype and hidden cameras as well as overt recording. MacMahon distributed these image and video files to other users and consumers of child pornography by providing access to the files on his cloud storage services and also by directly sending the files to other users. In addition to the child pornography images and videos MacMahon himself created, he also received and possessed thousands of images and videos of child pornography.

During the time he committed these offenses, MacMahon was a Digital Media Administrator at the Foreign Services Institute of the U.S. Department of State in Arlington.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.

G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, Nancy McNamara, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, and Steve A. Linick, Inspector General for the Department of State, made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge Anthony J. Trenga. Assistant U.S. Attorney Whitney Dougherty Russell prosecuted the case.

Significant assistance was provided by the FBI’s Cincinnati Field Office, the U.S. Department of State Office of Inspector General’s Cyber Forensic Division, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Halifax Regional Police, Crown Prosecution Service, Special Prosecution Section, the Nova Scotia Public Prosecution Service, the Arlington County Police Department, and the Arlington County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office.

Flickr photo by Joe Gratz

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Jane Franklin Dance Fall Concert Series – So Much Diversity and Talent

This Community Post was written by Jane Franklin Dance and underwritten by Washington Workplace.

An outdoor romp, world class fiddle, intergenerational reminisces, an adaptation of a Tom Wait’s song highlight Jane Franklin Dance’s fall concert series at Theatre on the Run. Saturday matinees feature family friendly shows “The Big Meow” and “Complete Dogness” plus performances by Local Motion Project and Go Bananas Dancing. Shorthanded layers movement with audio interviews. Fond memories of cultural change reveal connections to cassette tape, VHS, paper dolls, IBM 3033, Shorthand notation. “Auto Audio” is on a mission of adventure in the 3700 S Four Mile Run Drive parking lot. Movement rhythms suggest the American Old Western film genre, while illumination by car headlights and surf guitar music “Apache” by The Shadows completes the ride. Physical and fun, Beauty and the Beat is about presumptions that go way off course. You wonder about the guy who lives next door. Inspired by Tom Waits song “What’s He Building in There,” scenarios emerge of nosy neighbors jumping to big conclusions. Forty+ celebrates the collective creativity of people past the age of 40 by performing recent works by Andie deVaulx, Emily Crews, and Rebecca Weiss.

Shows take place Oct 27, 2018 -Nov 10, 2018 at Theatre on the Run, 3700 S Four Mile Run Drive, Arlington VA 22206.

For tickets, go to https://www.janefranklin.com/performances/tickets or phone 703-933-1111. Use code ARL for a 10% discount online. Join us for post-performance fun at nearby New District Brewing Company.

Open Houses in Arlington This Weekend

Looking for a home? There are plenty of houses and condos open for viewing this weekend.

Check out the Arlington Realty website for a full list of homes for sale and open houses in Arlington. Here are a few highlights:

4005 N. Richmond Street
5 bed/4 bath, 1 half bath single-family home
Agent: McEnearney Associates
Listed: $1,758,333
Open: Sunday 1-3 p.m.

 

6006 20th Street N.
4 bed/2 bath, 1 half bath single-family home
Agent: Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
Listed: $899,000
Open: Sunday 1-4 p.m.

 

3417 17th Street S.
3 bed/2 bath, 1 half bath single-family
Agent: Re/Max Allegiance
Listed: $719,000
Open: Sunday 1-4 p.m.

 

1805 S. Crystal Drive #613S
3 bed/2 bath condo
Agent: Keller Williams Capital Properties
Listed: $619,999
Open: Sunday 2-4 p.m.

 

3503 S. Stafford Street
2 bed/2 bath villa/townhouse
Agent: Long & Foster Real Estate
Listed: $479,000
Open: Saturday 1-4 p.m.

 

2700 13th Road S.
2 bed/1 bath villa/townhouse
Agent: Compass
Listed: $385,000
Open: Saturday 2-4 p.m.

 

1300 Army Navy Drive #812
1 bed/1 bath condo
Agent: Main Street Properties
Listed: $229,000
Open: Sunday 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

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BASIS Independent McLean Open House

At BASIS Independent McLean, students are inspired to learn at the highest international levels in a nationally recognized curriculum. Part of the lauded BASIS Curriculum Schools network, which includes the top 5 schools in the country per U.S. News &…

WWBG: This Weekend at Dominion Wine and Beer


Editor’s Note: This biweekly column is sponsored by Dominion Wine and Beer (107 Rowell Court, Falls Church). This week’s Guide is written by Arash Tafakor of Dominion Wine and Beer.

New beers include Solace Brewing Company Buzz Magic Double IPA, @birds fly Birds Fly South Ale Project Radio Silence Pale Ale, Mast Landing Brewing Company Little Choppy Hoppy Session Ale, and many more! Full list of arrivals in the link below.

This week’s featured brewery is Aslin Beer Company!


On Tap Now

  • Aslin x Casa Agria Specialty Ales ‘Bale’ Peanut Butter Turtle Candy inspired Imperial Stout!
  • Aslin ‘Save Second Base’ NE IPA w/ Dragon Fruit & Vanilla, a portion of the proceeds of this beer will be donated to the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation for breast cancer research!
  • Laser Raptors Imperial IPA
  • ‘Much Ado’ Helles Lager

And last but not least, tapping soon: ‘The Implication’ Double IPA, loaded with Nelson Sauvin, Hallertau Blanc and Lemon Drop. Pours only on all Aslin beers.

Download the DigitalPour mobile app to view all 36 of our taps in real time with pricing and crowler availability!

Stop by Saturday from 1-5 p.m. for our weekly wine tasting! This week we are featuring Rasa Vineyards Occam’s Razor Red, Weingut Köster Wolf Müller-Thurgau, Domaine Pillot Jean-Michel et Laurent Bourgogne Rouge and Eden Ciders Heritage Cider!

Full list of new beer arrivals, wine sales, and more details click this link.

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Despite Delay, Developer Looks Ready to Slash Parking at Red Top Cab Site in Clarendon

After a brief delay, the developers of the Red Top Cab properties in Clarendon look set to win permission to include fewer parking spaces as part of a major redevelopment of the area into mixed-use buildings.

The Shooshan Company has hoped for weeks now to slash 178 parking spaces from its previously approved plans for the site, located where Washington Boulevard meets 13th Street N. The developer has long planned on transforming the space into three buildings offering 584 multifamily units, 1,295 square feet of retail space and two parking garages, but hoped to cut back on some of the parking at the site to save a bit of money.

The County Board first heard that request back in September, but ultimately decided to delay consideration of the matter for a month. That decision was largely due to “concerns expressed by the Board Members regarding retroactive changes to the residential parking ratio” after plans were already approved, according to a county staff report on the issue.

Neighbors also voiced concerns that a reduction in parking without a corresponding addition of space for bicycles would have a negative impact on surrounding streets.

Since then, county staff have taken a fresh look at the issue, and are prepared to tell the Board that “no undue adverse impacts are anticipated as a result of the reduction in the parking ratio.”

Not only did county staffers “not find any deficiencies in the infrastructure around the site,” but the developer also completed another analysis of traffic in the area. That study found that changes in the area are likely to reduce congestion nearby, and that the parking to be added (both in the garages and on the street) should be adequate to manage demand in the neighborhood.

The Board will consider the issue again at its meeting tomorrow (Saturday). Shooshan is currently targeting the first quarter of 2019 to begin construction on the properties, and recently closed on the sale of the property while also teaming up with another developer to manage the project.

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Tax Hikes and Service Cuts Look Increasingly Likely Next Year, County Leaders Warn

Arlington officials expect a mix of across-the-board service cuts and tax rate increases is the surest way for the county to tackle its widening budget gap next year.

With a funding gap that could ballon as large as $78 million for fiscal year 2020, County Manager Mark Schwartz has repeatedly warned that some tough times are ahead for the county government. He repeated those gloomy projections at a budget-focused town hall with community leaders last night (Wednesday), noting that factors ranging from swelling school enrollment levels to dwindling county revenues to increasing Metro funding obligations will all squeeze county coffers once more.

The question Schwartz (and soon enough, the County Board) is looking to answer is: how should Arlington balance cuts with new tax increases? The answer will set the tenor of the Board’s upcoming budget deliberations, particularly when considering that the county has avoided tax increases in recent years.

“New tax increases are certainly a tool we should be looking at this year,” Schwartz told the group. “It depends on what the Board gives me as guidance, but I’m hoping that they carve out some room for tax increases.”

That’s not to say that Schwartz is only looking at jacking up tax rates — he says he’s asked all of his department heads to sketch out what an 8 percent budget reduction would look like for them, even though he tends to “hate across-the-board cuts” and would much rather “apply a set of principles to choose among departments and decide where to spend our marginal dollars.”

Nevertheless, Schwartz believes the county’s funding squeeze is such that simply slashing expenses can’t be the only answer. In addition to opening three new schools in the coming year and digging deep to cope with money pulled away from the county as part of the new Metro funding deal, Schwartz says the county needs to get creative to address the new costs of public safety pay increases the Board approved last year and new expenses associated with the state’s Medicaid expansion.

“People really have a problem finding something in the budget to get rid of or do less of,” Schwartz said. “It’s not a complaint, but in many cases, we’ve not had a really hard conversation about what we don’t want to do. And at a certain point, efficiencies won’t cut it, and this is one year where it won’t.”

He suggested that both the real estate and personal property tax rates could go up to address those budget concerns, though it’s difficult to know by how much just yet. A great deal depends on the budget the school system delivers to the county, considering that initial estimates suggest a $43 million budget gap from Arlington Public Schools alone — Schwartz encouraged the School Board to consider the hard question of bumping up class sizes and formulating a “revenue-based budget versus a needs-based one,” but the final decision will rest with APS leaders.

Eventually, Schwartz expects that the county’s office vacancy rate will shrink to a point where Arlington isn’t constantly facing such pressures. He noted that the rate has shrunk from 20.8 percent in 2015 to 18 percent as of last month, and as “outdated buildings” in neighborhoods like Crystal City are increasingly refreshed or converted into apartments, he expects the county will soon enough be back on sound financial footing.

In the meantime, however, he urged a focus on more than “nibbling a little bit here and there” and a real focus on “looking at how we do things” to bolster the county’s financial picture.

While the sentiment among county taxpayers is another story entirely, the town hall participants, at least, seemed broadly receptive to paying a bit more to avoid drastic cuts.

“I’m a old, retired coot living on a fixed salary… but Arlington has absolutely fantastic programs for everybody,” said Bill Braswell, a member of the county’s Neighborhood Complete Streets Commission. “I’m ready, willing and able to support a tax increase, because I’m getting far more than I pay in tax increases, and I enjoy it.”

Photo via Facebook

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Morning Notes

Renewed HQ2 Buzz — The New York Times has published a lengthy look at Crystal City, which is being discussed as a frontrunner to land Amazon’s second headquarters. “All of the signs are pointing to Crystal City,” one of the people quoted in the article said. Separately, the Wall Street Journal reports that only some of the 20 HQ2 finalist cities — including New York City, Newark, N.J., Chicago and the D.C. area — have received second visits from Amazon officials. [New York Times, Wall Street Journal]

Former Wizard Selling Home in Arlington — Former Washington Wizards center Marcin Gortat has listed his house in Arlington’s Cherrydale neighborhood for $1.9 million. [Real House Life of Arlington]

Upton Hill Park Caught in Complaint Crossfire — After acceding to demands of tree advocates and scrapping plans for a 17-space parking lot at Upton Hill Park, the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority is now facing opposition to its proposed park upgrades from nearby residents worried that the lack of additional parking will cause more vehicles to be parked in the neighborhood. [InsideNova]

New Option for Commuting to Arlington — “Sameride, a ridesharing app that allows drivers and passengers to offer and request rides, has launched a new route from Herndon, Reston and Loudoun County to Arlington and the District.” [Reston Now]

Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman

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Just Listed in Arlington

Just Listed highlights Arlington properties that just came on the market within the past week. This feature is written and sponsored by Team Cathell, “Your Orange Line Specialists.”

Buyers picked up the pace a bit this week by ratifying 58 contracts, while sellers also appeared motivated by listing 61 homes. This is so far the busiest week this fall for Arlington’s real estate market.

The days on market climbed somewhat to 43, reflecting many sales of properties long on the market. One home had been for sale nearly two years.

Buyers should be motivated in this market as time is not on their side. Home values in Arlington keep trending ever so slightly upward at about 2.2% so far this year, and purchasing power continues to be eroded by rising interest rates. The sooner buyers ratify a contract, the sooner they lock in a price and interest rate.

This week rates dropped about five basis points, but then regained that yesterday. The 30-yr fixed rate with no points is now at 5% and could go to 6% by the middle of next year.

In order to sell more 10-yr bonds to pay for the US budget deficit, the Treasury has had to raise the yield which influences long term rates like mortgages.

Click here to see all the fresh new inventory in MRIS and call Team Cathell (703-975-2500) when you find a home you like.

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