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by Ethan Rothstein July 9, 2013 at 4:30 pm 3,029 0

Metro logoAn Orange Line train headed to Vienna took a wrong turn at Rosslyn around 3:00 p.m., going on the Blue Line before offloading passengers at the Arlington Cemetery Metro stop.

Both lines were delayed, according to WMATA, which reported the incident as a disabled train and a train malfunction. At 3:48 p.m., WMATA tweeted that the Blue and Orange line resumed normal service.

This is the second time in the last six days that an Orange Line train has been accidentally routed to the Blue Line. Last Wednesday, it occurred at the end of the morning rush hour.

Metro spokesman Dan Stessel said only “one or two trains saw minor delays as a result,” and characterized the mishap as “a minor inconvenience for passengers” in an email. Stessel said a signal issue was the cause of the problem and there were no safety issues for passengers.

by Katie Pyzyk July 9, 2013 at 3:30 pm 0

Arlington County is preparing to complete the long-awaited reconstruction of Long Bridge Drive, but first the County Board needs to approve a request for an additional $750,000 for the project.

The transformation of the former Old Jefferson Davis Highway involves converting approximately 2,750 feet of pockmarked roadway — from 12th Street S. to just south of Boundary Channel Drive — into what’s described as a safe, efficient multimodal transportation corridor. Improvements include bicycle lanes, sidewalks, bus shelters, landscaped medians, new gutters and a drainage system.

Despite the fact that Long Bridge Park opened in November 2011, Long Bridge Drive remains a major construction zone.

A county staff report points to trouble with utility companies as the cause for delays. A few years ago the utilities were informed of the need to move utility lines into a common duct bank, mostly at their own expenses. The duct bank was deemed necessary in order to make room for a storm drainage system because no such system had previously existed there. Utility work began in September 2010 and didn’t wrap up until spring of this year.

The county’s contractor, Donohoe Construction Company, has had to stop and re-start work on the storm drainage system a number of times while waiting for the other parties involved to complete their portions of the project. The county staff report says the utility companies caused further delays by making placement errors during installation of the duct, requiring adjustments.

The additional $750,000 in funding is necessary, according to the staff report, “due to the increased time to complete the road reconstruction and due to the County’s mitigation measures to resolve conflicts from incorrect utility installations and lastly,
due to cost escalation caused by the delays and the increased time to complete the roadway.”

If the County Board approves the funding at its meeting on Saturday (July 13), it will bring the cost of the road construction portion of Donohoe’s contract to about $7.5 million. (Factoring in various costs associated with construction of the park itself, Donohoe’s total contract award will be $27.8 million.)

County staff recommends the Board approve the funding request.

by Ethan Rothstein July 9, 2013 at 1:45 pm 1,231 0

Arlington-Mercury-LogoThe Arlington Mercury, a non-profit news website covering Arlington, is going on haitus for the rest of the year.

The site has been inactive since June 18, but editor Steve Thurston has an explanation: the Mercury just received 501(c)(3) status and is taking a break to secure funding to come back stronger in 2014.

Thurston, a full-time professor at Montgomery College in Maryland, said he plans to spend the rest of the year fundraising — be it through private donors, organizations or grants — with hopes of restarting the website with the start of the new year.

“We’re taking a break on the editorial side,” Thurston told ARLnow.com. “We made the decision that we were going to go on a hiatus and figure out how to get a little more money into the group now that we’ve got this [nonprofit] status.”

When the website starts again, he will start teaching only part time, devoting more of his time to the “Merc,” as he calls it. Thurston says he has meetings set up all over the county to try to court funding. He says it’s nearly impossible to fundraise effectively without 501(c)(3) status, since organizations that aren’t loyal readers don’t have assurances that the corporation is legitimate.

“It lets everyone who might want to give you money know that you’re a little nonprofit and not a thief,” he said.

The certification process with the Internal Revenue Service took 22 months and was incredibly time-consuming, Thurston said. Thurston said he formed the corporation in June 2011, applied for nonprofit status that August and launched the website in September 2011.

By the end of the school year with his full-time teaching schedule, it became clear there wasn’t enough time in the day to put forth an effective fundraising effort if he was still going to maintain the site. He declined to say how much he has raised so far.

Since Thurston started the site, he hasn’t paid himself or any of his writers a dollar, Thurston said, but, depending on the strength of the donations, that’s about to change. He plans to start taking home some pay and hopes to pay his writers.

“I’m hoping it will buy us more consistent reporting,” he said. “When you’re working with all volunteers, including me, it’s tough to be able to look at somebody and say ‘we need this by Tuesday at 2.’ If you start paying people, you’re able to say ‘you’ve got to find some time to do this job since we’re paying you.'”

Part of the IRS’ requirements for 501(c)(3) organizations is to incorporate an educational component, which shouldn’t be difficult for the Montgomery College faculty member. Just what to do is still to be determined, however, as is much of the Merc’s future.

“I don’t know what the Merc will look like into the future,” Thurston said. “The news industry is changing a bunch, and who the hell knows what’s going to happen… I feel like we’ve gotten off the ground. We’ve done a lot, we’ve broken a number of stories, given some great analysis, but now it’s the time for people to give and for us to go out and say ‘we really need the money. If you like the site, help contribute.’”

by ARLnow.com July 9, 2013 at 12:45 pm 0

Arlington Agenda is a listing of interesting events for the week ahead in Arlington County.

If you’d like to see your event featured, fill out the event submission form. Also, be sure to check out our event calendar.


tuesdayJazz Concert to Benefit the Lyon Park Community House*
Lyon Park Community Center (414 N. Fillmore Street)
Time: 8:00 – 9:30 p.m.

Rachel and Tim Burns, Lyon Park residents, will be performing a live “old time” jazz concert. All proceeds will go towards the Lyon Park Community Center rebuild project.


wednesdayU.S. Army Twilight Tattoo
Whipple Field (Sheridan Avenue, Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall)
Time: 7:00 – 8:00 p.m.

Witness the Army’s elite ceremonial units in action in a free hour-long military pageant. This performance is the season’s first at Whipple field.


thursdayGirl Rising Documentary Screening*
Regal Ballston Common Stadium 12 (671 N. Glebe Road)
Time: 7:30 – 9:30 p.m.

“Girl Rising” mixes documentary and narrative filmmaking to show how education lifted nine girls out of poverty and cruel circumstances.


fridayLive Comedy: Cecily Strong
Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse (2903 Columbia Pike)
Time: 7:15 and 9:45 p.m.

Saturday Night Live breakout star and Second City veteran Cecily Strong performs live stand-up comedy. Tickets are $20.


saturdayLive Music: The Fuzz
Whitlow’s on Wilson (2854 Wilson Blvd)
Time: 10:00 p.m. – 1:00 a.m.

Local party rock cover band The Fuzz performs hit songs from today to back in the day. The high-energy show is free for bar-goers.


sundayFilm: Les Misérables
Shirlington Branch Library (4200 Campbell Avenue)
Time: 6:00 -9:00 p.m.

The Shirlington branch library holds a free matinee screening of the 2012 film Les Misérables, starring Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway and Sacha Baron Cohen.

*Denotes featured (sponsored) event

by Ethan Rothstein July 9, 2013 at 11:45 am 1,313 0

County Fair 5K route mapThe upcoming Arlington County Fair has added a 5K run/walk event to this year’s festivities.

The fair, which will run from Aug. 7-11, already has plenty of competitions — issuing awards for such things as fruit preserves, knitting, bees wax and photography. This is the first time it will host a road race.

The event will take place Sunday, Aug. 11, the last day of the fair, and the starting gun will be at 8:30 a.m. The fair itself is held on the grounds of the Thomas Jefferson Community Center (3501 2nd Street S.).

Pre-registration has already begun, and costs $25 per individual runner and $50 for a family of no more than four. The fair will run shuttles to and from the fairgrounds from the race start/finish line, at 701 S. Highlands Street.

The course, which is largely flat, allowing for some low times, loops around the fairgrounds at Thomas Jefferson Community Center twice. Runners who register before July 24 are guaranteed a T-shirt.

Photo via Arlington County Fair

by Ethan Rothstein July 9, 2013 at 10:45 am 0

School board member Abby RaphaelThe Arlington County School Board unanimously elected Abby Raphael as its new Board chair at its meeting Monday.

Raphael will serve for a one-year term, through June 2014. She replaces Emma Violand-Sánchez as chair, who remains on the board as a member. Raphael previously served as chair in the 2011-2012 school year.

James Lander was unanimously elected to serve as vice chair, replacing last year’s vice chair Sally Baird. Lander, elected to the Board in 2009, has not previously held a leadership position.

Usually, the previous vice chair ascends to the head position on the board, but Baird withdrew her name from consideration, per the Sun Gazette.

Raphael, a former Arlington Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney who started serving on the Board in 2008, said from the dais that the chair was “not something I sought or anticipated,” but vowed to tackle the board’s challenges in the upcoming year, including capacity issues and updating the schools’ capital improvement program.

“The Board will maintain its focus on student achievement and eliminating achievement gaps with an emphasis on retaining and developing our high quality teachers, recruiting more high quality staff, and reviewing various academic programs,” she said. “We also are aware that the fiscal climate continues to be a challenging one so we will focus on setting clear priorities for our Fiscal Year 2015 budget, continuing our evaluation of what is most effective and efficient in providing excellence in education for each student.”

Lander is the only member of the School Board up for election this November, and he narrowly won an endorsement battle in the Democratic endorsement caucus in May. A veteran of the Gulf War, Lander said from the dais that his focus “will be on results. Results matter.”

by ARLnow.com July 9, 2013 at 9:45 am 0

arlington-va-logoThe Arlington County Board is scheduled to decide over the weekend on a series of grants for local arts organizations and artists.

The Arlington Commission for the Arts recommended that 18 arts organizations and one individual artist receive direct financial support as part of the county’s Fiscal Year 2014 art grants. One of the organizations set to receive a grant, Signature Theatre, withdrew itself from consideration after it accepted a $250,000 tax bailout from the county in May.

The following are among the recipients of the $199,100 worth of proposed grants.

  • The American Century Theater — $9,780.00
  • Arlington Arts Center — $39,118.00
  • Arlington Philharmonic Association — $1,356.00
  • The Arlington Players — $6,457.00
  • Bowen McCauley Dance — $19,108.00
  • Dominion Stage — $2,421.00
  • Educational Theatre Company — $4,970.00
  • Encore Stage and Studio — $11,923.00
  • IBIS: A Chamber Music Society — $4,564.00
  • Jane Franklin Dance — $2,891.00
  • The Metropolitan Chorus — $3,951.00
  • National Chamber Ensemble — $2,362.00
  • Prelude: The Arlington Youth Orchestral Program — $3,420.00
  • Synetic Theater — $39,701.00
  • Teatro de la Luna — $14,969.00
  • UrbanArias, Inc. — $8,160.00
  • Washington Balalaika Society — $4,947.00
  • Washington Shakespeare Company — $14,002.00
  • Hendrick Sundquist for “Supply and Demand, A Natural History of Consumption” — $5,000.00

Additionally, the following are to receive facilities and technical services grants from the county:

Alma Boliviana, The Arlington Artists Alliance, The Arlington Children’s Chorus, The Arlingtones, BalletNova Center for Dance, Bangladesh Center for Community Development, Inc., Cambodian American Heritage, Inc., Carmen de Vicente Spanish Dance Academy, Centro Cultural Peru., Dance Asia, El Tayrona, Festival Argentino, First Draft at Charter Theater, Halau O’Aulani, Hexagon, Indian Dance Educators Association, Los Quetzales Mexican Dance Ensemble, Matices DC, Old Dominion Cloggers, Opera NOVA, Potomac Harmony Chorus, Prio Bangla, Inc., The ProBolivan Committee, Signature Theatre, Tinkus Tiataco USA, Vietnamese Cultural Society of Metropolitan Washington, Washington Area Mongolian Community Association.

by ARLnow.com July 9, 2013 at 8:30 am 2,009 0

Sunset over the Orange Line

Next County Manager To Be Arlington Resident? — A majority of County Board members would like the next county manager to be from Arlington. “Residing in the locality would make someone aware, in a more personal way,” County Board Walter Tejada told the Sun Gazette. But, “our first priority has to be [getting] the best-quality person.” Current county manager Barbara Donnellan lives in Fairfax County. [Sun Gazette]

Hard Times To Get Exclusive Starr Hill Brew — Hard Times Cafe will soon be serving a new brew — Hard Times Craft Lager. The beer is is the result of an exclusive partnership between the restaurant and the Virginia-based brewery. Hard Times’ 17 D.C.-area locations, including its spot in Clarendon, will all offer the beer, starting around the end of the month. [Washington Business Journal]

Video Laments Union Jack’s Closing — Some enterprising local videomaker has created a YouTube video to mourn the closing of Union Jack’s in Ballston. The video is done in the style of the “Hitler Reacts To…” meme. Note that the video contains explicit subtitles and is not safe for work. [YouTube – NSFW]

Bike Lane Boxes Suggested For Arlington — A cyclist who commutes from Washington, D.C., to Arlington every day took note of a bike-friendly feature that can be found on roads in New York City: bike boxes that allow cyclists to stop closer to an intersection on red than cars. Bike boxes could work here in Arlington, writes Brendan Casey, a business development manager at Arlington Transportation Partners.”If Arlington could implement bike boxes, cyclists could get a safe and legal head start on car traffic and build up momentum before cars are on their tails,” Casey writes. [Arlington Transportation Partners]

Flickr pool photo by Wolfkann


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