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The Black Heritage Museum of Arlington on Columbia Pike (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

It’s set to be a busy month at the Black Heritage Museum of Arlington as it continues to look for a permanent home.

The museum is participating in a number of Black History Month programs while preparing to put up new exhibits, museum director Scott Taylor told ARLnow.

This past weekend, the museum partnered with the Columbia Pike Partnership and the Embassy of Switzerland on a program focused on the importance of museums in the community.

On Sunday (Feb. 5), families and staff from Tuckahoe Elementary School visited the museum. Plus, Taylor monitored a panel last night for the local PBS station WETA discussing the production of last year’s documentary series “Making Black America.”

Coming up on Sunday, Feb. 19, the museum is again partnering with WETA for a screening of the documentary American Masters: Roberta Flack at the Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse on Columbia Pike.

Flack is known for several number-one hits including “Killing Me Softly” and grew up in Green Valley.

All of these events and programs have kept Taylor so busy that he hasn’t had a chance to put up any new exhibits, but that’s hopefully changing this week.

The museum is planning to set out a display featuring items from what was once Hoffman-Boston High School, Arlington’s only high school for Black students at a time when the county’s schools were segregated.

“We have some sixty-plus-year-old yearbooks that people see and feel and look at,” Taylor said.

There will also be a “few new things” from Fire Station 8, including several firemen hats and boots. Located in Halls Hill, it was Arlington’s only fire station staffed with Black firefighters. A state-of-the-art station is replacing the old one and is expected to be completed later this year.

Later this month, Taylor plans to put up an exhibit about Camp Casey featuring a gun from the era as well.

All of this comes as the museum continues its search for a permanent home. In September, it moved into a new space with the Columbia Pike Partnership on the first floor of the Ethiopian Community Development Council building at 3045B Columbia Pike.

While Taylor appreciates the temporary home, it is small and the museum is often unable to do everything it wants to do.

“Arlington needs this and, most people who come through, want [us] to expand,” he said. “I have things that I can’t even put up because we don’t have enough space.”

The museum is not close to finding its own home, Taylor said, noting money is the main obstacle.

“The rent in Arlington is just crazy. These new buildings want $10,000 a month,” he said.

At their grand re-opening in September, Taylor said he had a conversation with several County Board members about possibly moving into the building across the street if it ends up getting redeveloped by the county into a library.

But that remains only a possibility and somewhat far in the future.

The Black Heritage Museum is a “big asset” to the county, he said, one that he says needs to be cherished and given assistance to.

“This history is not being taught in schools. We bring voices to unsung heroes,” Taylor said. “This history belongs to Arlington.”

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This regularly scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by Eli Tucker, Arlington-based Realtor and Arlington resident. Please submit your questions to him via email for response in future columns. Video summaries of some articles can be found on YouTube on the Eli Residential channelEnjoy!

Question: How did the Arlington single-family housing market perform in 2022?

TL;DR (3:32)

Answer: The 2022 housing market came in like a lion and left like a lamb. The way things were reported in the news, one may be led to believe the 2nd half of the year was a disaster, with home values crashing because of higher interest rates, falling stock portfolios, the Ukrainian war, and buyer fatigue.

The truth, at least locally, is that the aggregate of the first half/second half, yin and yang housing market was still marked by strong price growth across all single-family sub-markets (I’ll analyze the condo market next week).

Strong, Stable Growth Continues for Arlington Single-Family Homes (SFH)

Like a blue-chip stock, the Arlington housing market is reliably strong and stable. We didn’t experience the double-digit annual appreciation of other national housing markets from ’20-’22 but we also benefitted by excellent growth prior to the pandemic buying craze (Amazon HQ2 and overall strong local market conditions).

You can also count on the likelihood of stable growth to continue even if other markets struggle as they transition out of their reliance on pandemic-buying and ultra-low interest rates.

  • The average and median price of a SFH in Arlington was $1,280,000 and $1,150,000, respectively, an increase of 4.4% and 7%.
  • Over the last five years, the average and median price of a SFH in Arlington increased by 25.3% and 29.1%, respectively.
  • The average buyer paid 1.9% over asking to purchase a home in 2022.
  • Homes that sold within ten days of being listed sold for an average 5% over asking and 57% of homes sold in 2022 were sold within ten days.
  • Low supply was a big driver in keeping prices elevated despite difficult second half market conditions. There were 30% fewer SFHs sold in 2022 than in 2021.

22205, 22201 Zip Codes Lead Growth

If we drill down into performance by zip code (note: 22206 and 22209 don’t have enough SFH sales to be included), we find some really good insights:

  • 22204 is the only remaining zip code with an average price below $1M. It was only 2017 that the entire County’s average price was below $1M.
  • 22201 extended its lead as the most expensive zip code to purchase a SFH, costing an average of over $100k more than the next most expensive zip code, 22213, and finishing the year with an average price of nearly $1.6M.
  • 22201 and 22205 experienced the most appreciation, with YoY increases of 9.3% and 8.2%, respectively. The next highest zip code, 22203, grew by 4.9%.
  • 22205 was the most competitive/frustrating for buyers, with the average home selling for 4% over ask.
  • Over the last five years, the 22202 zip code (area surrounding HQ2) has, unsurprisingly, benefited from the highest appreciation at 33.8% growth since 2018 due to the Amazon HQ2 boost followed by the pandemic buying craze.

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Its February and you said you would start your journey to a healthier you, last month! If you are struggling and do not know how or what to do to get started, we are here to keep you accountable. At Aspire Higher Training, we offer 1-1 Personal Training for ALL fitness levels, Semi-Private Group Training, Sport Specific Training and Injury Prevention/Post-Physical Therapy Training. Monica and her team of trainers are available across Arlington, Va.

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Virginia State Capitol on Feb. 1, 2023 (staff photo)

Two bills that would have given online-only local news publications like ARLnow some of the same privileges afforded legacy media outlets failed in Richmond over the past few weeks.

In the House of Delegates, HB 1920 would have included online local news publications that employ at least one full time journalist in an exemption from local Business, Professional, and Occupational License (BPOL) taxes.

Current statute exempts radio stations, television stations, newspapers, magazines, newsletters and “other publication[s] issued daily or regularly at average intervals not exceeding three months.” Online publications are not considered an “other publication” in Virginia, in part because the state exemption was originally passed in the late 1980s, before the advent of the modern commercial internet.

ARLnow’s parent company, which is based in Arlington and pays a mid-four-figure BPOL tax annually — nearly 10% of the company’s net income for 2022 — appealed the exclusion from the media outlet BPOL exemption to the Arlington Office of the Commissioner of Revenue in the fall. The office rejected the appeal, citing a 2020 Virginia Tax Commissioner ruling against a food blog that was also seeking the exemption.

Introduced by Del. Patrick Hope (D-Arlington), the bill garnered support from other Virginia online-only local news publishers but Arlington County officials expressed concern about a loss of tax revenue. Several other online publications, including Axios, are also based in Arlington.

HB 1920 was ultimately “laid on the table” by a House finance subcommittee, with committee members expressing both interest in studying the bill’s financial impact and surprise that legacy media outlets are excluded from BPOL.

Also considered this year was SB 1237, proposed by state Sen. Mark Obenshain (R-Harrisonburg), which would have given local governments and businesses the option of placing legal notice ads in qualifying online local news publications. Currently, such notices must be placed in printed newspapers to satisfy legal requirements.

Obenshain argued that numerous online-only local news publications have as many or more readers than their print counterparts, while citing the continued closure of print newspapers across the country, including the Richmond-area Chesterfield Observer earlier this month.

Here in Arlington, residents and County Board members have at times expressed frustration with the county placing its legal notices in the relatively lightly-circulated Washington Times newspaper. Board members, however, admitted that doing so is the most cost-effective way to meet state notice requirements and that placing notices in the Washington Post, for instance, would be considerably more expensive.

Arlington County spent more than $37,000 with the Washington Times, an unabashedly conservative daily paper owned by an offshoot of the Unification Church, between fiscal years 2018 and 2019, according to a Freedom of Information Act response to a resident’s query in 2020.

The owners of ARLnow, Page Valley News and the MadRapp Recorder were among those to testify in favor of the bill last week. It was opposed by the Virginia Press Association and the publisher of InsideNoVa on the grounds that newspapers provide a permanent physical record of such notices and Virginia newspapers publishers already post notices online.

The state Senate’s judiciary committee ultimately voted 6-9 against the bill, after expressing concerns about which publications would qualify under SB 1237 and whether notices would be lost if online publications closed.

The vote was largely along party lines, with six GOP members voting in favor. Among those voting against it were members of the Democratic delegation from Fairfax County: Sen. Jennifer Boysko, Sen. Chap Petersen, Sen. Dick Saslaw and Sen. Scott Surovell. Previous attempts to pass a similar bill on the House side by Del. Hope have also failed in committee.

Online-only local news publishers who supported the bill — there are currently more than a dozen such local sites throughout the Commonwealth — have vowed to try again to gain bipartisan support for a modified version of this year’s bill during next year’s General Assembly session.

Separately, a bill from Del. Alfonso Lopez (D-Arlington) to provide tax credits that would benefit both print and online local news publishers, also failed in a House finance subcommittee. The bill, HB 2061, had the support of the Virginia Press Association.

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St. Ann Giant Used Book Sale is Back!

After a two-year hiatus, the book sale of the year has returned, Sunday Feb. 12, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Hundreds if not thousands of used books for every age and taste at amazing prices! Every genre will be

Bishop O’Connell High School students will be dancing for 12 hours straight to raise money for the research and treatment of cystic fibrosis.

The nearly 50-year-old tradition, dubbed the “Superdance,” will take place on Saturday, March 11 from noon to midnight. Each year, over 95% of the student body attends the event, which has live bands, DJs and games.

“This is a beloved school tradition created in the hopes of finding a cure for cystic fibrosis and in remembrance of several members of the O’Donnell family who died from the disease,” said Lizzie Whelan, the publicity chair for the Superdance.

Cystic fibrosis is an inherited disease that causes severe damage to the lungs, digestive system and other organs in the body and leads to an early death. A therapeutic drug approved in 2019 can help patients avoid lung failure and live longer.

But no such therapy existed in 1976, when the first 12-hour dance-a-thon was organized by Maura O’Donnell, then a senior at Bishop O’Connell. She put it together in hopes of raising enough money to find a cure after her sister Brenda died of the disease in 1975.

Maura, who also had cystic fibrosis, attended the first Superdance and graduated high school, but died from the disease while in nursing school.

She is remembered as “a vibrant young girl, who left an impact on every person that had the pleasure of meeting her,” Whelan said.

“Maura created a monumental impact on the student body that has lasted forty years and will continue to influence O’Connell students in the future,” Whelan said. “The entire Bishop O’Connell is dedicated to supporting this cause and continuing the fight that Maura so bravely started.”

Since its inception, Superdance has raised nearly $4.9 million to help find a cure for cystic fibrosis. This year, Whelan says the students aim to raise over $143,000 and pass the $5 million mark. Last year, the Superdance raised $136,000, making Bishop O’Connell is the largest high school contributor to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

An assembly previewing the event and educating students about cystic fibrosis will be held this Friday, Feb. 10. It will feature speeches from the student council, presentations from student committees, guest speakers, skits and games. At the end of the assembly, this year’s theme for Superdance will be revealed.

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King of Koshary at 5515 Wilson Blvd in 2019

Another unassuming Arlington restaurant tucked well away from a Metro corridor has received a glowing write-up.

King of Koshary, at 5515 Wilson Blvd in Bluemont, “serves Egyptian food fit for royalty,” a Washington Post headline declared atop a new review that was published yesterday.

The restaurant, which opened in 2019, is helmed by “two chefs who pushed each other to create a first-class koshary in the suburban corridors of Washington,” wrote critic Tim Carman. The signature dish gets top billing in the review.

There are, perhaps, only a handful of moments in our eating lives that make us see a dish in a new light. This was one. Unlike my friend, I have had and enjoyed koshary numerous times. But King of Koshary’s version was different. I hit a kind of bliss point that words cannot capture. The condiments enveloped these grains and legumes, providing heat and aroma and order, but that alone didn’t explain my reaction (or that of my friend, who was pounding down that koshary by the spoonful). The dish reminded me, all over again, of the genius of necessity. Koshary, often called a “plate of the poor,” is further confirmation that a rewarding meal does not always begin with expensive ingredients. Paupers can eat like princes, for a small fraction of the cost, without any sense of self-delusion.

Last month the Post’s food critic ranked Charga Grill on Langston Blvd in Arlington No. 1 on his list of the D.C. area’s 10 best casual restaurants of 2022.

It has been a stellar start to the year for Arlington restaurants outside of the Metro corridors. Two weeks ago, four Arlington eateries made Washingtonian’s 100 Very Best Restaurants list, including CHIKO in Shirlington, Ruthie’s All-Day in Arlington Heights and Cafe Colline on Langston Blvd. SER in Ballston also made the Washingtonian list.

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Morning Notes

A colorful 7-Eleven in Rosslyn (Flickr pool photo by Jeff Vincent)

Knife Incident Along I-66 — “Scanner: Arlington and state police on scene of incident along I-66 near Rosslyn and the Key Bridge. A man reportedly came out of the woods and threatened some construction workers with a large knife.” [Twitter]

I-395 Chases Caught on Camera — From Dave Statter: “Watch: Two @VSPPIO chases into DC 50 minutes apart on I-395N. Both likely stolen vehicles that sped past troopers. This is the first. It came from the Beltway & Van Dorn about 2:40 am. Speeds up to 150 mph.” [Twitter]

Prosecutor: Duty to Not Comment on Cases  — From Parisa Dehghani-Tafti: “As your Commonwealth’s Attorney, however, I can never comment publicly on ongoing investigations — for even my comments could interfere with the investigative work by our dedicated police… even after an investigation is complete and an arrest has been made, I am still duty-bound by something called Rule 3.6 to refrain from certain public comments.” [Twitter]

School Board Opioid Work Session Tonight — “The School Board will hold a Work Session on Opioids & Substance Use in APS: Education & Prevention on 2/7 at 6:30 PM. The meeting is open to the public, but there will be no public comment. Simultaneous interpretation will be available in Spanish.” [Twitter]

La Coop Coffee Opening — “Join us for the grand opening of our Arlington location on Saturday, February 11th starting at 8 AM! Located at 4807 1st St. N.” [Instagram]

Metro Boosting Service Starting Today — “Metro is boosting mid-week service for customers who use the Blue, Orange and Blue Plus lines during the morning and evening rush hour periods. As announced just over a week ago, service on the three lines will increase to every 12 minutes instead of 15 minutes from 6 – 9 a.m. and 3 – 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. In the heart of the system, between Rosslyn and Stadium-Armory where the lines merge, trains will arrive at stations every four minutes.” [WMATA]

Home Hunts Heating Back Up — “Homebuyers are returning to the market in Northern Virginia in early 2023, with mortgage rates steadily declining over the past two months, according to real estate experts. The first few weeks of 2023 saw homes for sale in the region that had been sitting for a while suddenly getting multiple offers, according to Rob Traister, a Realtor and Associate Broker with RE/MAX 100.” [Patch]

It’s Tuesday — Mostly cloudy throughout the day. High of 54 and low of 31. Sunrise at 7:10 am and sunset at 5:38 pm. [Weather.gov]

Flickr pool photo by Jeff Vincent

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Good Monday evening, Arlington. Today we published articles that were read a total of 10824 times… so far.

📈 Top stories

The following are the most-read articles for today — Feb 6, 2023.

  1. Police up patrols around Wakefield HS as classes resume but social media threat rumors circulate
  2. After fatal overdose, substance abuse-related dispatches to Arlington schools continue
  3. The blown up Little Free Library in Arlington Forest was mysteriously rebuilt last week
  4. Helicopter called in to search for armed robbery suspects on Columbia Pike

📅 Upcoming events

Here is what’s going on Tuesday in Arlington, from our event calendar.

⛅ Tuesday’s forecast

Mostly cloudy throughout the day. High of 54 and low of 44. Sunrise at 7:10 am and sunset at 5:38 pm. See more from Weather.gov.

💡 Thought of the Day

Life is short, so make sure you spend it doing something meaningful.

🌅 Tonight’s sunset

Thanks for reading! Feel free to discuss the day’s happenings in the comments.

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The most recent edition of the Arlington Sun Gazette newspaper

The Sun Gazette newspaper has not published new articles on its website since Friday and may have printed its last edition.

Several sources tell ARLnow that the free weekly paper, which has separate editions serving Arlington and parts of Fairfax County, has effectively shuttered, though no notice of a closure was published online.

Sun Gazette staffers, meanwhile, have been hired for a new local newspaper called the Gazette Leader.

Editor Scott McCaffrey, sports editor Dave Facinoli and advertising director Vicky Mashaw are among those hired for the new paper, with Mashaw assuming the title of General Manager.

Jim O’Rourke, CEO of Arizona-based O’Rourke Media Group, confirmed to ARLnow that his company had hired the Sun Gazette vets and would be launching the new local publication later this week. The goal is for the print edition to go out Thursday and a new website to launch then or shortly thereafter. Two-thirds of papers will be mailed to local addresses, the rest distributed by other means, he said.

O’Rourke declined further comment, saying that a formal announcement with more details would be published with the first edition.

An email sent by Mashaw, obtained by ARLnow, suggests that the Gazette Leader will have much of the same local news focus and coverage area as its predecessor.

“We are excited to communicate to you about the launch of the Gazetteleader.com and two new weekly print publications that will serve Arlington, Great Falls, McLean, Tysons, Oakton and Vienna,” the email said. “You can expect hyper-local community news coverage, original reporting, the most advanced local news website in the region, easy to read and access newsletters delivered directly to your inbox, an e-edition replica of the print products and so much more.”

The Sun Gazette was the successor to the daily Northern Virginia Sun, which ceased publishing in 1998. The paper is owned — at last check — by Northern Virginia Media Services, which previously owned but then sold two publications, Leesburg Today and Ashburn Today, in 2015, and sold the website InsideNoVa.com in 2018.

There’s no word yet on what might have led to the staff departure and possible closure.

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Have you noticed a striking sculpture at Monroe Street and Wilson Boulevard? It’s the Museum of Contemporary Art Arlington’s newest installation, Make Your Mark, by Arlington artist, Adam Henry. This sculpture celebrates MoCA Arlington’s rebranding and brings the museum’s energy outdoors.

On February 11, come inside when the museum’s galleries reopen with two new exhibitions: Rebecca Rivas Rogers: Grey View and Crisis of Image.

Grey View, in the Wyatt Resident Artist Gallery, is an homage to “gray” and a snapshot of the artist’s process. Consisting of photographs, collage, and a site-specific installation, this show is an outgrowth of Rivas-Rogers’ visual investigations into places you see on your way to somewhere else.

On the main level, Crisis of Image features artists who seek equity in today’s saturated visual world by developing new methods related to the production of images.

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