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by ARLnow.com February 28, 2017 at 7:45 pm 0

Arlington County Police are on scene of a possible barricade situation in the Douglas Park neighborhood, just south of Columbia Pike.

Police have blocked off part of 16th Street S., between Glebe Road and S. Monroe Street.

“Lots of police cars and a cop on a loudspeaker that keeps asking for a guy to come to the door,” an anonymous tipster told ARLnow.com just before 7 p.m. “[They’re saying] we’re not going anywhere… just come out.”

“ACPD is working to have a wanted subject safely exit a residence,” said police department spokeswoman Ashley Savage. “There is no larger threat to community.”

Update at 8:50 p.m. — “The suspect has safely been taken into police custody,” Savage said. “Police remain on scene investigating.”

by Tim Regan February 28, 2017 at 4:45 pm 0

Clarendon Apple Store after its reopening (file photo)Locals looking to pick up the newest iPhone or Macbook Pro will once again be able to do so in Pentagon City.

The Pentagon City mall Apple Store, which closed for renovations last September, is due to reopen this weekend. A grand reopening party is set for Saturday, March 4, at 10 a.m.

“You’ll love what we’ve done with the place,” the company wrote on the store’s website and in an email.

“There’s a lot more to see at your new Apple Store in Arlington,” said the email. “Stop by on March 4 to take a look at what’s changed and try the latest Apple products.”

According to the aficionados at MacRumors.com, the store is slated to reopen with a “next generation” design that includes indoor trees, wood tables and 6K video screens throughout the store.

Last year, the Clarendon Apple Store also temporarily shuttered for a facelift. That location reopened in September.

File photo. Hat tip to Chaz P.

by Chris Teale February 28, 2017 at 3:50 pm 0

A car and an Arlington County school bus carrying students collided Tuesday afternoon near Upton Hill Regional Park.

A red SUV and the school bus collided just after 3 p.m. at the intersection of Wilson Boulevard and Patrick Henry Drive. Neither vehicle appeared to sustain much damage other than a few small dents and scratches.

A police officer at the scene told ARLnow.com the crash was “very minor.”

Four police cruisers arrived at the scene and closed one lane of traffic behind the two vehicles. All other traffic proceeded as normal. Another school bus arrived around 3:30 p.m. to pick up the students, who remained on the bus after the crash.

by ARLnow.com February 28, 2017 at 3:30 pm 0

Hourly forecast for 2017 Clarendon Mardi Gras parade (via Weather.com)

(Updated at 5:45 p.m.) Organizers are hoping for a Mardi Gras miracle, but it looks like tonight’s parade in Clarendon will be a soggy one.

The 18th annual Clarendon-Courthouse Mardi Gras Parade is slated to kick off at 7 p.m., making its way up Wilson Boulevard from N. Barton Street to N. Irving Street.

2013 Clarendon Mardi Gras paradeAn hourly forecast suggests rain may begin shortly before the parade begins, but Matt Hussmann, executive director of the Clarendon Alliance, says it will go on rain or shine — unless there is lightning in the area.

“We’re going forward and hoping the weather holds off,” said Hussmann. “The Mardi Gras Ball will go on irrespective.”

The annual parade has not had the best luck with weather. It was postponed in 2010, postponed and then cancelled in 2014, and postponed again in 2015 — all due to snow. It rained during the rescheduled 2015 parade.

Screen capture (top) via Weather.com. Photo (bottom) courtesy Jason Dixson Photography.

by Chris Teale February 28, 2017 at 3:00 pm 0

Someone behind the wheel of a car crashed into another car in a parking lot off of Columbia Pike this afternoon, before crashing into a nearby storefront.

The collision happened at the TitleMax Title Loans business at 3045 Columbia Pike just after 2 p.m. today.

The driver of the car, who didn’t want to give her name, said the vehicle lurched forward three times on its own while she was at the wheel. It then collided with a second car and smashed the front window of the store.

A handful of customers at the next-door McDonald’s told ARLnow.com they heard a loud bang. One person suffered a minor injury in the crash, according to scanner traffic. Authorities did not close any roads nearby.

A Subway restaurant, an Allstate insurance agent and the Ethio Cafe are in the same plaza. None of the other stores were affected by the crash.

by ARLnow.com February 28, 2017 at 2:22 pm 0

Becky McCleskey (photo courtesy U.S. Park Police)Becky McCleskey, an Arlington woman reported missing earlier this month, has been found dead.

McCleskey’s body was found Friday in the Potomac River near Old Angler’s Inn in Maryland, according to U.S. Park Police. Foul play is not suspected.

A vehicle belonging to McCleskey was found in a parking lot at Great Falls National Park in Virginia on Feb. 6, when police were first informed of her disappearance.

From a Park Police press release:

On Friday, February 24 at approximately 5:50 p.m. a body was recovered from the water near Old Angler’s Inn in Potomac, Maryland.

The body has been confirmed as that of Becky McCleskey, 56, of Virginia.  McCleskey had been reported missing on February 6, 2017 in the area of Great Falls, Virginia. An extensive air, land, and water search was conducted for two days by the United States Park Police and the Montgomery County Fire and Police Departments.

Mrs. McCleskey’s vehicle was found in the parking lot at Great Falls National Park, Virginia on February 6, 2017.  There is no indication of foul play.

McCleskey has a son who is a high school student in Arlington, we’re told. She also leaves behind a husband, according to an email sent to Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington parishioners.

Her first husband, Arlington native Brian McCleskey, died of respiratory failure in 2007, according to a Washington Post obituary.

Photo courtesy U.S. Park Police

by ARLnow.com February 28, 2017 at 1:30 pm 0

Arlington County website down 2/28/17

(Updated at 3:10 p.m.) A widespread Amazon Web Services outage brought down the Arlington County website around 1 p.m. Tuesday.

As of 1:30 p.m. the site appeared to be partially back up, although images are not currently loading and some pages are still down.

A number of large websites and services are reported to be down or experiencing significant issues due to an outage of AWS’s web storage servers in the eastern United States. The outage was still ongoing as of 3 p.m.

Arlington County tweeted about the outage about half an hour after it started.

by ARLnow.com Sponsor February 28, 2017 at 12:00 pm 0

Ask Eli banner

This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by Eli Tucker, Arlington-based Realtor and Rosslyn resident. Please submit your questions to him via email for response in future columns. Enjoy!

Question: We are buying and selling a home simultaneously and our lender has provided us with a few options to qualify for the purchase without making our offer contingent on the sale of our current home. Do you have any tips for choosing which mortgage product is best for us?

Answer: Buying and selling a home at the same time can be a complex transaction logistically and financially. I explored the seller side of home sale contingencies in October, but here I’ll share advice I give buyers who face difficult financing decisions. Tip of the day: it’s not just about getting the lowest interest rate.

Weigh Your Options

Selling your home before making a purchase may afford you the best loan options, but it doesn’t always make sense for buyers:

  • It weakens your negotiation position on pricing (you’ll pay more) and your ability to compete for new listings
  • You weaken your position on the sale side, with more pressure accept an offer quickly
  • For many families with children and/or pets, selling your home while living there is a logistical nightmare

Mortgage Solutions

Certain lenders have a wide range of loan products to help buyers with limited cash reserves for a down payment, but substantial equity in their homes, qualify for a home purchase without a home sale contingency. The options include a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC), a second trust loan in which a large portion of your down payment comes from a second interest-only loan, and bridge loans (less common). Each of these options come with different short and long-term costs, so it can be difficult to decide what is best for you and your family.

Get A Professional Opinion

Most real estate transactions involve three professionals – your agent, your lender, and your title company, but when you’re faced with complex financial decisions, I highly recommend using a Financial Consultant to help you determine which financing option suits you. Your lender can explain the cost, pros/cons, and time constraints of each loan option and your agent can explain how different types of loans and contingencies will impact your transaction, but a good Financial Consultant will be able to help you determine the best way to leverage cash, debt, and tax write-offs to maximize your financial position.

Financial Consultants should do more than help you pick mutual funds for your retirement accounts and act as an expert sounding board when you’re facing major life decisions, like how to finance your home purchase. They can build models and run scenarios within the context of your personal savings/investment plan to help you make your decision. Although an experienced advisor can provide great advice with limited knowledge of your personal finances, you’ll get the most from somebody who has a complete picture of your finances and goals, so engage a professional early, if you haven’t already.

If you’re looking for a recommendation, Carl Grund (CFP, CPWA, AIF) with Signature Financial Parners has helped multiple clients of mine with difficult real estate decisions and is a local Arlingtonian. Feel free to contact him at [email protected] or 703-287-7128 for immediate or future advice.

If you’d like a question answered in my weekly column, please send an email to [email protected]. To read any of my older posts, visit the blog section of my website at http://www.RealtyDCMetro.com.

Eli Tucker is a licensed Realtor in Virginia, Washington DC, and Maryland with Real Living At Home, 2420 Wilson Blvd #101 Arlington, VA 22201, (202) 518-8781.

by Tim Regan February 28, 2017 at 11:15 am 0

Rosslyn is slated to get a new 180-seat indoor and outdoor beer garden this April.

Or at least, that’s the plan, said owner Curt Large, who also owns nearby Continental Pool Lounge. Large is working to open a new hangout dubbed the Continental Beer Garden in a space currently used as a pop-up urban park with tables, chairs, potted plants and a mural at the corner of 19th Street and N. Moore Street.

“Everything still has to come together,” Large said. “We’ve made a lot of progress, but all the finishes need to occur.”

As ARLnow.com originally reported last August, the work includes a full renovation of the former service station located under the office building at 1901 N. Fort Myer Drive. That indoor area will be transformed into a bar and small seating area with a kitchen and bathrooms. But the real action happens outside, Large said. When it opens, the 4,000 square foot outdoor beer garden will have two bocce courts, picnic tables, outdoor sofas and comfy chairs.

“We hope that the seats fill up just because there’s demand for it,” he said. “As soon as the weather gets nice, people who are in offices all day will want to spend some time outside.”

At the bar, patrons can order beers from Virginia breweries such as Port City and Lost Rhino, Large said. The beer garden will also serve a couple German beers, a selection of wines on tap and happy hour mainstays such as sausage platters, meat skewers and pretzels with beer cheese.

Large started working on the former service station in 2013, when it was occupied by cars and two dumpsters.

“I walked past the space one day and had an epiphany,” he said. “This should be a beer garden.”

The space sat vacant for about two decades before being converted to an outdoor seating area by property owner JBG and the Rosslyn Business Improvement District in 2014. In the past, the lot has seen a number of events, including a pop-up beer garden organized by the Continental two years ago.

by ARLnow.com February 28, 2017 at 10:30 am 0

Jason Allen Johnson (photo courtesy ACPD)Police are still searching for Jason Allen Johnson, the suspect in the shooting death of a 23-year-old man at a house party in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Arlington.

Police say Johnson, 37, likely fled to Maryland after the Feb. 19 shooting. There’s no word on his current whereabouts, but detectives don’t think he’s in Arlington.

“Based on our investigation, we do not believe that Johnson is in Arlington County,” said Arlington County Police Department spokeswoman Ashley Savage.

“We ask that anyone with information on Johnson’s whereabouts contact the Arlington County Police Department at 703-558-2222,” Savage said. “Information can also be provided anonymously through Arlington County Crime Solvers at 1-866-411-TIPS. Arlington County Crime Solvers is offering a cash reward for information leading to the arrest of Johnson.”

“Johnson is considered armed and dangerous,” she added. “Anyone who sees Johnson should not approach and contact 911 immediately.”

by ARLnow.com February 28, 2017 at 9:30 am 0

Metro train (Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley)

Gutshall Running for County Board — As predicted, business owner Erik Gutshall is running for County Board this year, seeking the seat being vacated by Jay Fisette. Gutshall says on his website that his candidacy will be announced at the Arlington County Democratic Committee meeting on Wednesday. Gutshall unsuccessfully challenged County Board member Libby Garvey in last year’s Democratic primary. [Erik Gutshall for County Board]

Oscars Flub Involved W-L Grad — Warren Beatty is back atop the national consciousness, after an envelope mix-up led to perhaps the worst mistake in Oscars history, with Beatty and Best Picture co-presenter Faye Dunaway at the center of the fiasco. As many long-time Arlingtonians remember, Beatty spent his teenage years in Arlington, reportedly living on N. Huntington Street. He graduated from Washington-Lee High School and, as noted in a yearbook photo, was a star football player and the senior class president. [InsideNova]

Arlington Elementary Schools Top Rankings — In new rankings of D.C. area public elementary schools, Arlington elementary schools tallied a sweep of all the top 10 spots. [NicheWashington Business Journal]

ACPD Trying Out Uber Lane — This past weekend in Clarendon, the Arlington County Police Department set up a designated rideshare pickup lane to improve safety for those using Uber and Lyft to get a ride home from the bars. The police department described the action as a “pilot program” that was the result of “creative problem solving.” [Twitter]

Arlington’s ‘Segregation Wall’ — A new historic marker notes the significance of a 1930s-era wall in north Arlington. The wall was built by white residents of the Waycroft-Woodlawn neighborhood to provide a physical barrier between them and the historically black Hall’s Hill (High View Park) neighborhood. [InsideNova]

Loan for Affordable Apartments Approved — The Arlington County Board on Saturday approved a $7.4 million loan to help build 125 new affordable apartments at the Berkeley on S. Glebe Road. Nonprofit developer AHC is expected to seek another loan for the redevelopment, from the county’s affordable housing fund, next fiscal year. [Arlington County]

Per-Student Spending to Rise — Under a new budget proposed by Arlington Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Patrick Murphy, per-student spending would rise 2.9 percent to $19,521. APS has been straining to keep up with rising enrollment, issuing bonds to build new schools and renovate others. [InsideNova]

Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley

by ARLnow.com Sponsor February 28, 2017 at 6:00 am 0

'Complacent Class' cover imageIn 1835, French diplomat Alexis de Tocqueville published Democracy in America, in which he wrote of a United States that was perpetually in motion — full of restlessness, energy, and ambition.

Now, over 180 years later, America’s national character seems to be changing. Americans across income classes are moving less, starting fewer businesses, marrying people more like themselves, and basing choices on algorithms that wall them off from anything new or different.

In other words, Americans have become complacent. They are working harder than ever to postpone or avoid change. A focus on safety and caution over everything else has resulted in an America that is less dynamic and more conformist than ever before.

That’s the primary observation George Mason economist Tyler Cowen makes in his new book, The Complacent Class: The Self-Defeating Quest for the American Dream. In it he documents the rising trends of self-segregation, stagnation, and risk avoidance in America. Of the book, author Malcolm Gladwell said, “His brilliant new book…has been on my nightstand after I devoured it in one sitting. I am at round-the-clock Cowen saturation right now.” At Foreign Affairs, Edward Luce said, “Cowen does a marvelous job of turning his Tocquevillian eye to today’s America.”

On Monday, March 6, from 6-7 p.m., the Mercatus Center at George Mason University will host a live interview at George Mason’s Arlington Campus (3351 Fairfax Drive) between Reason Magazine’s Katherine Mangu-Ward and Tyler Cowen on American complacency and what it means for the future of politics, the economy, and the very foundation of our culture.

The event is free of charge and open to the public, and copies of the book will be available for purchase after the discussion.

The discussion is especially timely given the current state of politics. In his book, Tyler Cowen notes that the short-term peace and calm that results from American complacency simply cannot last. He predicts a chaotic future as more Americans rebel against the economic stagnation and lack of mobility that result from maintaining the status quo.

While America may currently seem less stable and more restless than before, The Complacent Class suggests there is reason for long-term optimism as the upcoming process of social, economic, and legal transformation could ultimately reinvigorate Americans to bring back the dynamism, energy and ambition that Tocqueville observed in his time. Nevertheless, many Americans may soon wish to have the era of complacency back.

Click here to register for the free event.

Click here to pre-order a copy of The Complacent Class:The Self-Defeating Quest for the American Dream.

The preceding was written and sponsored by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.

by ARLnow.com Sponsor February 27, 2017 at 6:00 pm 0

Mid-Atlantic Builders

Join the Mid-Atlantic Builders team as an Assistant Community Sales Manager!

Mid-Atlantic Builders is a privately held company dedicated to designing, marketing, and building luxury homes in the metropolitan Washington, D.C. area. We’ve been in business for more than 35 years and have over 1,500 satisfied homeowners.

If you want to be on a winning team, you will appreciate our unparalleled industry recognition. We have won dozens of major awards, including “America’s Best Builders” and a confidence inspiring roster of regional and local builder and community awards. We are looking for an eager professional to be responsible for the following:

  • Manage community sales and educate prospective homeowners regarding available homes and home sites
  • Manage communication with purchaser from contract through settlement
  • Administer sales contract and reporting of home sales, lot status, and inventory
  • Demonstrate and maintain model home, brochures, price lists and associated marketing materials
  • Manage and develop systems for following up on existing, and creating new, sales leads
  • Ensure information on the community and homes is properly represented on the website, social media and MRIS, as well as in print media such as New Homes Guide
  • Convey the brand value and advantages and promote the Mission, Vision, and Values of Mid-Atlantic Builders prospective purchasers and homeowners
  • Gather and analyze market and competitor data to ensure our homes and community maintain a superior value advantage

This is an excellent career opportunity with competitive benefits and salary! Send your resume to [email protected] or call (301) 231-0009 ext. 214 for more information.

The preceding was written and sponsored by Mid-Atlantic Builders

by Chris Teale February 27, 2017 at 4:45 pm 0

A project to repave the Theodore Roosevelt Island parking lot and realign a nearby section of the Mount Vernon Trail is slated to begin later this week.

The parking lot will be closed from this Wednesday, March 1, until the project is completed, which should take until late spring, the National Park Service said.

Workers will slightly raise and widen the trail in places, while the parking lot gets new curbs and gutters for better water drainage. Roosevelt Island will remain open during the work and cyclists can take a short detour on the trail to bypass construction.

With the parking lot closed, NPS said those accessing the trail should park at Daingerfield Island or Columbia Island, or use the public parking in Rosslyn, a 15-minute walk away.

NPS began the planning process to improve safety on this section of the Mount Vernon Trail in 2014, in a project it said would seek to “reduce visitor conflict and improve visitor experience.”

More from NPS:

On March 1, the National Park Service (NPS) will begin a project to repave the parking lot and realign the Mount Vernon Trail at Theodore Roosevelt Island. To ensure visitor safety, the parking lot will be closed until the project’s completion, expected to be late spring. Pedestrians will have access to the island throughout the project, and cyclists can bypass construction via a short detour on the Mount Vernon Trail.

In addition to realigning the Mount Vernon Trail, the NPS will raise the trail slightly and widen it in places. The parking lot will have new curbs and gutters for better water drainage.

Mount Vernon Trail users accessing the trail by car should use the parking lots at Daingerfield Island and Columbia Island, or consider nearby public parking options. The closest parking to Theodore Roosevelt Island is in Rosslyn, a 15-minnute walk from the Island.

Mount Vernon Trail is an 18-mile paved multi-use trail stretching from George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate to Theodore Roosevelt Island. The trail is a hub for recreational activity and connects with regional trails including the Potomac Heritage, Custis, Rock Creek, Four Mile Run, and Woodrow Wilson Bridge trails.

National parks in the national capital region provide exceptional outdoor trail experiences that help people enjoy nature and history, while providing safe and enjoyable opportunities for people to walk, run, bike, commute and have fun with friends and family.

Photo via Google Street View

by Tim Regan February 27, 2017 at 3:45 pm 0

Startup Monday header

Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow.com, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups and their founders, plus other local technology happenings. 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.

Worker in office, photo courtesy of Curiosity MediaWhen online dictionary SpanishDict.com hit the web in 1999, its primary audience was English speakers looking to learn Spanish. The idea was simple: to create an easy-to-use resource for students and learners that would serve as the definitive guide for translating Spanish words into English.

Nearly 20 years later, the tables have turned. Today, a good chunk of the site’s 14 million monthly users are native Spanish speakers who want to learn English. And that number is growing, said Chris Cummings, CEO of the Rosslyn-based startup behind SpanishDict, Curiosity Media

SpanishDict on a phone, photo courtesy of Curiosity Media.jpg“People ask us all the time if we’ve considered going into other languages,” Cummings said. “The answer is that we are going into a new audience, but it’s actually the same language pair.”

Cummings is no stranger to finding new audiences. In 2013, he helped launch Fluencia, a subscription-based Spanish learning program. The software course features an “adaptive pace” and an automated tutoring system to help users become more fluent. Since its launch, Fluencia has grown its monthly user base to around 800,000 learners from across the world.

Though Fluencia continues to expand, Cummings said his company’s dictionary services are growing at an even quicker pace.

Worker in office another angle, photo courtesy of Curiosity Media.jpg“We’re adding thousands and thousands of new Spanish speakers every week,” he said. “We already have millions on the site.”

Cummings added that there could even come a day where there’s just as many native Spanish speakers using SpanishDict as there are native English speakers, if not more.

“For every English speaker that’s interested in communicating in Spanish, there’s about three or four Spanish speakers that are interested in communicating in English,” he said. “It’s a much, much bigger market.”

Part of the reason for such a steep rate of user growth is the sheer number of “bells and whistles” that SpanishDict offers, Cummings said. People who might otherwise use a “quick and dirty” translation service like Google Translate are drawn to SpanishDict’s many features.

“If you want native audio pronunciation of a word, we got that. If you want to know how to conjugate verbs, we got that. If you want to see the word in real life example sentences, we got that,” Cummings said. “For all these reasons, it just becomes a better way to be a first stop for translating a word than maybe what you see on Google Translate.”

Workers in the Curiosity Media office, photo courtesy of Curiosity Media.jpgHe continued, “We’re able to go so deep on this language pair is because there are more than 800 million native English and Spanish speakers in the world. That’s what enables us to go so deep and provide such high value content in this language pair.”

In 2013, Curiosity Media had just a handful of employees. Now, it has 17 in its office in Rosslyn, and it’s still growing.

The company currently is hiring for engineering and product management positions.

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