Flying Colors is a sponsored column on the hobby of backyard bird feeding written by Michael Zuiker, owner of the Wild Birds Unlimited store at the Lee Harrison Shopping Center. Visit the store at 2437 N. Harrison Street or call 703-241-3988.
Most birds undergo a seasonal transformation in summer, losing and replacing their feathers in a process known as molting. Bird and nature enthusiasts can help birds with the molting process by providing foods rich in protein.
Molting describes when a bird replaces some (partial molt) or all (full molt) of its feathers. Birds will also molt if they have lost feathers that need to be replaced immediately. You should not be surprised if you look into your backyard and see a bald cardinal, a chickadee with a Mohawk or a robin with a Bieber haircut!
Different species of birds molt at different times of the year and for different reasons. Some birds molt twice a year. During spring/summer, birds (especially males) molt to a much brighter, more colorful breeding plumage to be more attractive to potential mates. The male American Goldfinch is one of the more spectacular molting changes of your common backyard bird. In the fall/winter, birds return to a less attention-grabbing, non-breeding plumage.
Molting is a critical part of birds’ lives. It’s a complicated process that takes time and energy, and it takes place as birds carry on with their other daily routines.
Feathers are more than 90% protein, primarily keratins. Because of the nutritional demands on their bodies to produce feathers and feather pigment, birds must increase the amount of protein and fats in their diets.
Molting can be so physically demanding that many species of birds cannot fly during this time. Some birds such as geese, ducks and swans will molt in seclusion to avoid predators.
Offering bird foods high in protein and fats in backyard bird feeders is helpful during molting seasons. Foods such as Nyjer (thistle), peanuts, mealworms and Jim’s Birdacious Bark Butter aid birds in replacing their feathers and help ensure that their pigmentation is bright. Having the right food in your feeders isn’t just a wonderful way to see a variety of birds, but it’s also a way to provide birds with an easy-to-find food source during a very crucial time of their lives.
That is also why it is important for you to have your feeders filled when you leave town for a vacation. In order to meet your birds’ needs, it is important to have at least one foundational feeder that dependably provides food every day. Studies have demonstrated that a constant, and reliable source of supplemental food helps to improve health and body conditions. Good food: Good Molting: Good healthy bird.
JOIN OUR TEAM! Some of our team members have migrated to new horizons. We are now accepting applications for 4 new members. We are hiring for a Full time Manager, Part time Manager, and two Sales Associates. We are energized to bring joy to our customers hobby of backyard bird feeding, and we strive to do that with excellence. If you want to explore being part of our flock, stop in and pick up an application! Ask for Michael or call 703-241-3988
It’s been a week dominated by discussions of local wildlife, places to eat and a couple of traffic-related incidents of varying kinds.
These were our top five most-read stories this week:
- Fairlington Debates Trash Policy After Another Raccoon Attack
- JUST IN: Another Raccoon Attack Reported in Fairlington
- Fast-Casual Pizza Chain &pizza Coming to Ballston
- Man Gets Stuck At Arlington Stoplight For 20 Minutes, Films the Experience
- Man Flees on Foot From Traffic Stop, Leaves Two Kids in Car
Also on Arlington’s mind this week: the deferred approval of the design of the new Lubber Run Community Center, the three-month extension of the live entertainment permit at Chester’s in Nauck, the closure of Zaika in Clarendon and the launch of a study of a pedestrian link between Crystal City and Reagan National Airport.
Feel free to discuss those, and anything else of local interest in the comments. Have a great weekend!
Looking for a home? There are plenty of houses and condos open for viewing this weekend.
4089 S. Four Mile Run Drive, #303
2 Bed/2 Bath Condo
Agent: Amir Ingram
Open: Sunday 1-4 p.m.
2200 N. Westmoreland Street, #222
1 Bed/1 Bath Condo
Agent: Dianne Misleh
Open: Sunday 1-4 p.m.
2830 S. Columbus Street
2 Bed/2 Bath Townhome
Agent: Barbara Kirkland
Open: Saturday and Sunday 2-4 p.m.
5933 1st Street N.
2 Bed/2 Bath Single Family Home
Agent: Ann Wilson
Open: Sunday 1-3 p.m.
2330 N. Jackson Street
3 Bed/2 Bath Single Family Home
Agent: Martine Burkel
Open: Sunday 2-5 p.m.
5919 10th Road N.
3 Bed/2.5 Bath Single Family Home
Agent: Ann Wilson
Open: Sunday 1-3 p.m.
3638 Vacation Lane
4 Bed/3 Bath Single-Family Home
Agent: Christopher Sanders
Open: Saturday 2-4 p.m., Sunday 1-3 p.m.
Construction crews have demolished the Cherry Hill Apartments just off Lee Highway, and a new four-story building is set to replace it.
The three-story garden apartments at 2110-2120 N. Monroe Street in Cherrydale have been razed, as well as two single-family homes next door. The former building had 77 units and was built in 1961 near a Safeway grocery store.
Building permits filed with the county indicate that 79 trees have also been removed from the site. Currently, diggers are removing any remaining walls and buildings from the property ahead of clearing the ground.
In its place, property owner Dittmar will build a four-story apartment building with 93 units as a by-right development, meaning it does not require Arlington County Board approval.
Material advertising the former apartments touted them as a “quiet, garden style community” with direct bus service to the Rosslyn Metro station.
5716 5th Street N.
Open: Sunday, July 23, from 1-4 p.m.
Located on a quiet cul-de-sac near the bike path to Ballston, this sun filled 2009 colonial has been refreshed and is in pristine move in condition.
Enter through the front porch to an inviting foyer with powder room, coat closet and wood floors that extend through the main and upper levels. The kitchen features generous wood cabinets, granite countertops, KitchenAid stainless appliances and is open to the dining and family rooms.
A gas fireplace is the focal point of the spacious family room, which accommodates media, play and gathering spaces. This room overlooks the fenced back yard and the spacious two car detached garage.
Upstairs, the master bedroom features a tray ceiling, built-ins, two closets, and a private bathroom. The second bedroom offers vaulted ceilings and double closet, and the third bedroom also has a large closet. Also on this level is the laundry area and linen storage.
In the daylight lower level, the rec room has high ceilings, tall windows and a door to the rear yard. What an ideal space for gatherings of family and friends. The fourth bedroom and third bathroom are on the lower level along with utility and storage areas.
The home is conveniently located between Ballston and Westover Village, parks, library and the bikepath. Ashlawn Elementary, Kenmore Middle School and Washington-Lee High School.
Walkable, commutable, and livable Arlington at its best!
Like us on Facebook at Betsy Twigg, Anne Cronin & Linda Murphy
Washington Fine Properties
A local YouTube personality waited at a red light near Virginia Hospital Center for 20 minutes earlier this week, and posted his experience to his channel.
Angelo, who describes himself as the creative director of the FlyingOverTr0ut channel, says he makes “sketches, commercial parodies, music videos, short films, drama, 9 hour videos of me sleeping, unauthorized T-Mobile commercials, and videos about my easily confused Greek mom.”
But a video posted July 18 shows him having a more troubling experience. It shows Angelo waiting at a red light at the intersection of Washington Blvd and N. George Mason Drive in Waycroft-Woodlawn for more than 20 minutes.
A timer in the bottom-right corner shows he waited 20 minutes and 30 seconds for the light to change at approximately 2:30 a.m.
The full video is below, although be warned there is strong language and it may not be suitable for viewing at work.
— Mike Lewan (@mlewan3) July 21, 2017
And for those with slightly less time to spare, Angelo posted an edited version of what he describes as his “expose of this intersection,” edited by fellow YouTube user gr18vidz14kidz.
A spokesman for the county’s Department of Environmental Services said they responded to his inquiry on Twitter, and that crews “improved the signal timing this week and will continue to monitor the timing at the intersection.”
Photo via Google Maps.
The free block party is an effort the connect the community with police officers. One of the highlights of the event will be “Behind the Badge,” an activity that will give attendees the chance to simulate real-world police scenarios.
It includes brief training on police tactics and will allow participants to play the role of a police officer in two scenarios.
The event will also offer free vehicle VIN etching, demonstrations from police K-9s and motorcycle officers, a distracted driving course, free food and drink and more.
“It’s an opportunity for public safety to give back to our community and also for the community to enjoy entertainment while getting to know the men and women who serve and protect Arlington County,” said Arlington County Police Department spokeswoman Ashley Savage.
To get the word out about the block party, the department is creating promotional videos that show another side of Arlington’s men and women in blue. An anonymous tipster spotted the filming of one such video in progress last week.
“Yesterday, I saw five or six ACPD officers filming some kind of video in the large swimming pool at the Dorchester Towers apartment complex off of Columbia Pike,” said the tipster. “Someone was filming the officers in what looked like full uniform — doing things like cannonballing into the pool and doing synchronized swimming routines!”
Savage said ACPD is filming “some creative videos” for the block party, and that those videos will be released closer to the event. She shared one still image from the filming, above.
Photo via Arlington County Police Department
The award recognizes the use of technology in areas of open government, transparency, citizen engagement, cyber security and operations. Arlington was the winner among counties with a population of 150,000-249,999 people.
Its open government program won recognition for its work using technology to make government transactions, planning and decision-making more accessible and transparent. The program introduced an app this year allowing access to the Arlington Public Library catalog, and helped establish an Open Data Advisory Group that uses data-driven analysis to inform policy.
The county also received credit for live-streaming County Board meetings, work sessions and some commission meetings as part of the open government program.
The award recognized the Department of Technology’s “Defining Arlington’s Digital Destiny Campaign,” which hosts a series of public discussions with residents, businesses and industry leaders to explore how Arlington can use technology to enhance the quality of life for all.
The county’s dark fiber network, ConnectArlington, also received credit for supporting government operations and links to Arlington Public Schools, along with its expansion to include Arlington businesses. The network initially linked all county and APS facilities with high-speed broadband.
“This award acknowledges not only the county’s commitment to open, accessible and transparent government and to encouraging engagement, but also the creativity and hard work of a county staff that is innovative in its approach to digital services,” Arlington County Board chair Jay Fisette said in a statement.
County representatives will be presented with the award at the National Association of Counties’ annual conference on Saturday (July 22) in Columbus, Ohio.
Arlington Man’s Dog Found Days After Fatal Crash — Ten days after 57-year-old Arlington resident William F. Schlesinger died in a crash on I-95 in North Carolina, his dog has been found alive. Nellie is being called a “miracle dog” after she wandered into a convenience store late at night with a broken leg and numerous bug bites. She had been riding in the pickup truck with Schlesinger when he reportedly fell asleep, veered off the highway and slammed into a tree. [Fayetteville Observer]
Local Election Fundraising Very Light — The frontrunners for Arlington County Board and School Board only have a few thousand dollars apiece in the bank as of the beginning of the month. Their opponents have even less. “It may turn out to be one of the least costly County Board general elections in recent history,” the Sun Gazette reports. [InsideNova]
State Dept. Office Staying in Arlington — The U.S. State Department is keeping its footprint in Rosslyn for another decade-and-a-half. The GSA signed a lease worth just over $200 million over 15 years for nearly 350,000 square feet of office space in central Rosslyn. The lease extends over two buildings, with one of the buildings also housing a private State Department contractor. [Washington Business Journal]
Update: W-L Expected to Reopen Next Week — Washington-Lee High School is expected to reopen for summer school classes next week after an air conditioning issue closed the school this week. W-L’s summer school classes were temporarily moved to Yorktown High School this week. [Arlington Public Schools]
‘Capital Bikeshare Fiesta’ in Nauck — “Arlington’s Dieta Cero-Auto program will be promoting Capital Bikeshare this Saturday at Drew Sprayground (3514 22nd Street S.) from 2-5 p.m. Stop by and purchase your CaBi membership for 50% off!” [Event Calendar]
Discovery Named ‘Green Ribbon School’ — “Discovery Elementary School is being recognized as a U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School… Discovery is one of 45 schools being honored for their innovative efforts to reduce environmental impact and utility costs, improve health and wellness, and ensure effective sustainability education.” [Arlington Public Schools]
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.”
Incredibly, the summer real estate market got hotter this week as temperatures also soared. Some 84 brave sellers put their homes on the market this week while 75 buyers ratified contracts. Of those, 34 sold within a week. There’s essentially been no slowdown of Arlington’s market this summer.
Good news for buyers, mortgage rates slid back about seven basis points following about the same drop in the yield on the 10-yr US Treasury bond. The 30-yr fixed rate is now at about 4%-4.1% with no points.
A new Pew Research Center report shows that the nation has the highest renter rate since 1965. Nearly 37% of households are renters, based on Census data. The largest demographic increase is millennials, those 35 yrs and younger. Major factors are high student loan debt, lack of savings for down payment, and desire to maintain mobility and not commit to a single location for the long term. When asked, renters said their biggest regret was wishing they had bought a home. The report said that in the long run, buying is still a better financial deal than renting.
Click to see all the fresh new inventory in MRIS and call Team Cathell (703-975-2500) when you find a home you like.
- 2513 ARLINGTON BLVD #101, ARLINGTON, VA 22201 – $255,000
- 1920 RHODES ST #74, ARLINGTON, VA 22201- $310,000
- 3830 9TH ST N #903E, ARLINGTON, VA 22203- $375,000
- 1001 VERMONT ST N #804, ARLINGTON, VA 22201- $383,000
- 2400 CLARENDON BLVD #PH05 ARLINGTON, VA 22201 – $400,000
- 1050 TAYLOR ST N #601, ARLINGTON, VA 22201 – $490,000
- 3222 20TH RD N, ARLINGTON, VA 22207 – $660,000
- 5750 15TH ST N, ARLINGTON, VA 22205 – $799,000
Some residents in Columbia Forest will be without water tonight (July 20) and traffic will be diverted for emergency repairs along Columbia Pike.
Crews from the county’s Department of Environmental Services will be making emergency water main repairs at the intersection of Columbia Pike and S. Frederick Street, beginning at 8 p.m. The repairs are scheduled to last until 8 a.m. July 21.
(1/2) Emergency water repairs will take place at Columbia Pike & S Frederick St. Repairs are expected to occur tonight at 8pm – 7/21 at 8am.
— Arlington DES (@ArlingtonDES) July 20, 2017
(2/2) Water service for approx 100-150 customers will be affected tonight at 10:30pm – 7/21 at 5am. Pike traffic will be detoured #VATraffic
— Arlington DES (@ArlingtonDES) July 20, 2017
During that time, the Pike’s eastbound lanes between S. Greenbrier Street and S. Dinwiddie Street will be closed, while the westbound lanes will be converted into a lane each for eastbound and westbound traffic.
DES said approximately 100-150 people will have water service affected. The Columbia Forest Civic Association said that water will be turned off for the buildings at 5200, 5300 and 5353 Columbia Pike.
Urgent Alert: Water will be turned off for three buildings on Columbia Pike (5200, 5300, 5353) until 5am 7/21/17 @alongthepike (2/2)
— Columbia Forest (@CFCA_Arlington) July 20, 2017
Photo via Google Maps.
A small grocery store at the Dominion Hills Centre shopping plaza will close at month’s end, another business to depart the neighborhood strip mall.
The Dominion Hills Grocery & Deli at 6035 Wilson Blvd will close at the end of July after 13 years. The store’s owner said the closure is because of a sudden rent increase by the property owner.
A sign on the store’s front door reads:
To our friends, neighbors & customers at Dominion Hills Centre,
This is to inform you all that Dominion Food-Mart will be closing on July 31, 2017. We deeply appreciate the loyalty and the support from you all for the past 13 years.
It has been a great pleasure knowing and being friend[s] with you.
We will miss you all very much!
The store is the latest to depart the shopping center, months after Little River Yoga Studio, Great Harvest Bread Company and the florist all shuttered.
Those storefronts are still listed as being for rent by the property’s owner, Rosenthal, but all are still vacant.
A reader emailed to say that she and others in the Dominion Hills community are concerned that the shopping center will “go the way of Clarendon,” which has seen the departure of long-time businesses as rent has increased.
This biweekly column is sponsored by the Arlington Office of Emergency Management.
You’ve heard us say it once, you’ll hear us say it again, and you’re probably tired of hearing it: if you see something, say something.
So why do we have to keep telling you?
And why are we telling you now?
It boils down to the scientific phenomena known as bystander effect. The bystander effect occurs when the presence of other people discourages someone from acting or intervening during an emergency situation. The more bystanders there are, the less likely it is that any of them will help — they assume someone else will.
This is commonly known as “diffusion of responsibility” and its why many accidents, crimes, and suspicious packages go unreported. Another factor at play is “social conformity,” or the instinct to read social cues and mirror the behavior of the people around us. If other people aren’t helping, neither will we.
It’s no secret that summer time weather and travel will bring crowds to Arlington. Our community is rich with farmer’s markets, 5K runs, civic association parties and food festivals. These events bring our neighbors closer together and build relationships between the people that live, work and play here. It brings strength to our social fabric.
But with any gathering of people, know that the bystander effect will probably kick in. People may see a suspicious bag and think “I’m sure someone will handle this.” They might see a person asleep in the sidewalk and think “He’s probably fine.” They may see a motorist seated by their car on the side of the road and think “She doesn’t really need my help.”
So how do we beat the bystander effect?
First, it’s important to understand that people that ignore emergency situations or victims in distress aren’t bad people. It’s just part of their human psychology. This is where you can step in — expect that others won’t help. Make a conscious effort to be the person who will act. When you do this, you can actually leverage social conformity to your advantage — others will see you helping and start to help as well.
We also know that some people have a fear of calling for emergency services. That’s reasonable: it’s estimated that on average, a person in the U.S. will only call 9-1-1 twice in their entire lives, so it’s not like they get a lot of practice. It’s not the only reason people avoid calling, but it is one we can address right here, right now.
So make a commitment this summer to be the hero. Be the person who will act and report suspicious activity, crimes, and accidents — thereby helping others in our community. (Need a reminder about what suspicious activity is? Check out this helpful guide. It’s also has info on protecting civil rights and liberties.)
Overall, Jack Brown, the Director of Arlington’s Department of Public Safety Communications and Emergency Management, says it best: “We have a great community and excellent public safety services. Everyone, including the public, is on our team to keep Arlington safe.”
A report out of Toronto is that a local man built a set of stairs at a public park after the city quoted a minimum of $65,000 to do the job — the high end for the estimate was a whopping $150,000.
By contrast, the cost for materials and labor for the completed project was $550, which was paid for by asking some neighbors to chip in.
Toronto is now threatening to tear them down until they can build the more expensive version. The city attempted to block off the eight stairs with caution tape in the interim, but from the looks of the photos, people who like using the stairs are continuing to do so anyway.
Almost certainly, the stairs were not built to city code. Just as certainly, there is no acceptable reason the project should cost at least 120 times more than your average man on the street can build it. But as we have learned in Arlington, when the government is involved in a project or “solving a problem,” it almost always costs the taxpayers more than it should.
Arlington gained national notoriety for our $1 million, open air, not quite big enough to keep you dry if it rained, bus stop. That price tag was explained away as a prototype absorbing costs for design and engineering. Then it was announced the county had lowered the cost per stop to a still mind-boggling $575,000. Better, but still equivalent to the construction costs of a rather large custom home.
Arlington this week announced it would pay nearly $3.9 million for a building assessed at $2.4 million. According to County Board chair Jay Fisette, paying 44 percent over the assessed value was the best deal they could get from the building’s owner. The total cost of moving the county’s Head Start program to the location will come in at $10.5 million once renovations are complete.
In 2014, Arlingtonians looked at the county’s record under one party rule and voted in an independent. Following up on his campaign platform, John Vihstadt lead the effort to bring a County Auditor on board.
In June, the County Board approved the County Auditor’s FY 2018 work plan. And there is nothing wrong with the plan as a first step. However, if the Board is able to dole out an extra $1.5 million for a piece of property, they should be prepared to find an additional $150,000 for the Auditor’s office budget and hire two more people to speed up the pace of reviewing how the county spends our money.
Last Thursday, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) unveiled the latest Trumpcare bill. There aren’t enough Republican Senators who support this latest version. McConnell has now scheduled a vote on outright repeal of Obamacare for “early next week.”
Drastic Virginia Medicaid cuts
The most remarkably bad thing about Trumpcare is its persistent focus on drastically cutting Medicaid benefits. The per-capita caps would cost Virginia’s Medicaid program at least $1.4 billion over seven years.
U.S. Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) previously blasted these cuts:
Virginia historically has run one of the leanest Medicaid programs in the country…. But as a result of the steep cuts to Medicaid in Trumpcare, Virginia would be forced to pick up an additional $900 million in costs for Medicaid over the next ten years in order to maintain the same level of care.
Virginia Republican legislative leaders already are on record condemning these cuts: “Proposals to impose per-capita caps on federal Medicaid spending would put Virginia at a severe disadvantage.”
U.S. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) aptly summarized what’s wrong with her Senate leadership’s approach:
We should not be making fundamental changes in a vital safety net program that’s been on the books for 50 years, the Medicaid program, without having a single hearing to evaluate what the consequences are going to be.
Virginia children disproportionately harmed
The proposed Medicaid cuts would particularly harm Virginia’s children:
The bill would have a disproportionate effect on children, who make up about 60 percent of Medicaid enrollment in Virginia. During the 2014-15 school year, the most recent year for which data is available, Virginia school districts received $33 million in Medicaid reimbursements.
Virginians with pre-existing conditions lose coverage
The latest Trumpcare bill contains a new provision (the so-called Cruz amendment) that major health insurance companies say is “simply unworkable.” It would deny coverage for pre-existing conditions and de-stabilize insurance marketplaces in Virginia and across the nation:
The protections for preexisting conditions are gone. The GOP vision is of health markets where the very sick can buy unaffordable Obamacare-compliant plans that are, maybe, made affordable by subsidies, but most people are back in an insurance market where past allergies or future pregnancy or a history of knee problems will leave you basically uninsurable.
Republicans and Democrats remain divided over their contrasting degrees of respect for the principle of mutual obligation:
If [Trumpcare] passed, the Republican reform would eventually return the country to a system a lot like the one in place before the A.C.A., when older people, sick people, and the working poor struggled to find coverage–or went without.
Supporters of Trumpcare claim it would enable everyone to have access to affordable healthcare. But, the truth is that only those wealthy enough to pay would have access to meaningful healthcare.
Repeal of Obamacare without a replacement would be even worse. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that repeal would cause the number of uninsured people to rise by 18 million next year and by 32 million by 2026.
Both approaches are bad.
U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has issued a call for a fresh, bipartisan start for healthcare reform. He’s right.
Responsible Republicans and Democrats now should join together to hold open and thoughtful public hearings to fix those parts of Obamacare that need fixing.