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by Chris Teale — March 8, 2017 at 4:45 pm 0

BFF Happy Hour

A happy hour event that combines networking with raising money to help combat breast cancer is coming to Clarendon next week.

The third annual “Breast Friends Forever” event, a young professionals’ happy hour that raises money for the Sharon McGowan Breast Health Fund, is taking place on Thursday, March 16 from 6 to 8 p.m. at MakeOffices Clarendon (3100 Clarendon Blvd, Ste. 200).

The event will feature cocktails, beer, wine and appetizers, plus a bra decorating contest and raffle.

All donations from the event will go towards funding SMBHF’s efforts to provide uninsured women and men in Arlington and Falls Church with life-saving and preventative breast cancer treatment and tests, giving free access to mammograms, sonograms, biopsies, medical devices and medications.

“We are proud to be sponsoring this event for its third year,” said MakeOffices CEO Raymond Rahbar. “The Sharon McGowan Breast Health fund works hard all year to support our community and this evening allows us to celebrate their efforts.”

The event is also sponsored by TTR Sotheby’s International Realtors. Those interested in attending can RSVP online.

by Chris Teale — March 8, 2017 at 3:35 pm 0

An under-utilized park south of Crystal City is in line for some major upgrades.

Across jurisdictional lines, the planning process for South Park at Potomac Yard near Four Mile Run is gathering steam, with a projected completion date of later this year. Arlington County and the City of Alexandria both own portions of the park, located between Potomac Avenue and U.S. Route 1, along Four Mile Run.

The park currently has a publicly accessible playground and a playground exclusively used by a daycare facility, planted shrub/perennial beds, walkways, a large grassy field and a steeply sloped grassy area.

A post on the county website explains the park’s unique history.

“The boundary line curvature represents the natural Four Mile Run channel before it was straightened and channelized by the Army Corps of Engineers after the 1972 Hurricane Agnes, which produced heavy rain and extensive flooding,” the post reads. “As a result, the Army Corps of Engineers straightened and channelized Four Mile Run and covered the stream’s natural banks with riprap. Unfortunately, this created a less than desirable condition for the stream’s ecology.”

And with money available in the county’s capital budget as well as a federal grant available to construct and improve connectivity to the Four Mile Run Trail, staff in the parks department are preparing to make improvements.

The first phase of construction is anticipated to begin early next year and link Route 1 to the Four Mile Run Trail. The second phase is slated to begin in 2022 for the remaining park elements.

Those remaining park elements will be decided through a civic engagement process led by county parks and recreation staff that began late last month with a community meeting at Gunston Middle School.

Three more meetings are scheduled — the next on March 29 at a location yet to be determined — with a view to residents helping determine the park’s design.

Attendees wrote down their desired park amenities at that first meeting, then the next meeting will bring further determination of park elements as well as staff soliciting potential park names.

But the park’s location and future is complicated by its location, and so the design will be guided in part by the Four Mile Run Restoration Master Plan and Design Guidelines.

“The Four Mile Run Restoration Master Plan and Design Guidelines provide a vision for in-stream and near-stream improvements,” said Bethany Heim, an associate planner at the county’s parks and recreation department. “The vision calls for public and private improvements to recognize Four Mile Run as an asset and, through design, make visual and physical connections to the water. The master plan also calls for innovative strategies to treat stormwater runoff that will improve the water quality.

“The South Park Master Plan will identify ways to connect people to the water, take advantage of view sheds, and improve the water quality of Four Mile Run.”

Alexandria, meanwhile, intends to improve its section of the site as part of the redevelopment of North Potomac Yard.

Dana Wedeles, acting principal planner in Alexandria’s department of recreation, parks and cultural activities, said she expects plenty of cooperation between the two jurisdictions on this project despite the differing timelines.

“We are working collaboratively to ensure that what is proposed through the Arlington process does not preclude complimentary future improvements to the Alexandria portion,” Wedeles said in an email. “We envision that the site will be used by both Arlington and Alexandria residents and, despite the two jurisdictions having different, timing of planning, design and implementation, we ultimately want to see one seamless improved open space.”

by Chris Teale — March 8, 2017 at 2:25 pm 0

Ballston neighborhood signFree district-wide Wi-Fi is launching in Ballston this month, promising to deliver a high-speed and seamless internet connection.

BLinked is available throughout Ballston’s public areas, thanks to a partnership between the Ballston Business Improvement District and Rockville-based startup Wi-Fiber. The BID says it is the first seamless, district-wide network in the region.

Wi-Fiber developed a system to serve the more than 30,000 people that work in Ballston. More than 30 discreet antennae relay signals connect all of Ballston’s outdoor public spaces to the “gigabit-capable” network, according to a press release.

Using algorithms to track data usage patterns throughout the neighborhood, BLinked also reads and interprets network activity in real time. It then uses the gathered data to redistribute resources to meet traffic and usage demands, meaning that users should not experience slow-downs.

“This is the next step in making Ballston stronger, smarter, and safer,” said Tina Leone, CEO of the Ballston BID. “We’re proud to be the first to meet the impending need for public connectivity, and we anticipate this inspires new information and communication infrastructures throughout Arlington and across the region.”

Such programs have been requested by local business leaders, including Monumental Sports & Entertainment chairman Ted Leonsis in an interview with the Washington Business Journal last month.

A similar initiative has been undertaken in New York City through LinkNYC, which has worked to replace pay phones in the city with so-called “Links,” which provide services like high-speed Wi-Fi, phone calls, a tablet for maps and city services and charging outlets.

The new Wi-Fi network can help reduce strain on traditional cellular networks, which can crumble under heightened activity in crisis situations.

Chase Donnelly, a founding partner of Wi-Fiber, said the move to area-wide Wi-Fi can help integrate electric grids, water systems, stoplights and more into the Internet system to improve efficiency.

“This network could one day serve as the spinal cord for the city’s infrastructure,” Donnelly said in a statement. “This vision people have about the next generation of cities in which everything is interconnected, that’s what we’re providing the foundation for.”

Update at 3 p.m. — A PR rep for the BID clarified that the network is “gigabit-capable,” not “gigabyte-capable” as stated in the press release. The network is currently being tested and is expected to be available to the public by the end of the month.

by ARLnow.com — March 8, 2017 at 1:15 pm 0

John Walsh and Mark Sisk (photos via ACPD)

Two Northern Virginia men have been sentenced after being convicted of ripping off elderly homeowners in Arlington’s Yorktown neighborhood.

John Walsh and Mark Sisk were sentenced to serve at least two years in prison and pay $62,100 in restitution to the victims, in addition to several years of probation. Prosecutors say the pair conned the elderly residents of a home on 27th Street N. into believing that they “were in need of serious home repair.”

More from an Arlington County Police Department press release, below.

Two men were sentenced on Friday, March 3, 2017 in the Arlington County Circuit Court for their role in a fraud scheme targeting Arlington County residents. John Patrick Walsh, 32, of Culpepper, VA was sentenced to seven years in prison, with all but two years suspended, on the charges of false pretenses and conspiracy. He was ordered to pay restitution to the victims in the amount of $62,100 and ordered to five years of probation upon release from incarceration. Mark Sisk, 31, of Boston, VA was sentenced to six years in prison, with all but two years and five months suspended, on three charges of false pretenses. He was ordered to pay restitution to the victims in the amount of $62,100 and ordered to three years of probation upon release from incarceration.

On September 10, 2016, Walsh and Sisk approached the victim’s residence in the 4800 block of N. 27th Street and fraudulently claimed to be contractors working in the area. They advised the elderly residents that they were in need of serious home repair and that failure to comply could result in the home catching fire. Throughout the month of September, Walsh and Sisk misrepresented the need for work and provided false information to the victims that work had been performed. Through a series of repeated home repair scams, the victims were defrauded of $62,100 in cash.

Arlington County Deputy Chief Daniel J. Murray, Commander of the Criminal Investigations Division said, “The individuals who perpetrate these scams target and victimize our most vulnerable populations. While there was a substantial loss of money in this investigation, the greater loss was the victim’s sense of security in their own home. This prosecution serves as another opportunity to warn residents to avoid becoming a victim of fraud.  Residents should beware of any smooth-talking salesman who comes to your home unannounced.”

Detective K. White was the lead detective.

by ARLnow.com — March 8, 2017 at 12:00 pm 0

This week’s Arlington Pet of the Week is Bruno, a young-at-heart dog whose nickname is “Wonderpup.” Here is what his owner, Shira, had to say about him:

Is this a dog, Ewok or Gremlin? The answer is (kind of) all three. Bruno is an 11-year-old Pekingese from California.

Bruno might be in his golden years, but is the epitome of “age is just a number.” Everyone who meets Bruno does not believe he is 11! He has the energy level of a much younger dog. He loves belly rubs, Brussel sprouts, bell peppers and playing his version of fetch (which is his owner throwing the ball, Bruno running to get it but never bringing it back).

As you can see, Bruno resembles an Ewok, something that is slightly unappreciated by his owner because she has never seen Star Wars. People also think he looks like a Gremlin, especially when his hair is fully grown out.

Bruno loves his mama, but forgets about her when new people walk into the room. If he feels like you haven’t adequately petted him enough, he’ll let you know by using his head to lift your hand back to the top of his head. Bruno’s nickname is the Wonderpup because he is the wonderest pup there is!

Want your pet to be considered for the Arlington Pet of the Week? Email [email protected] with a 2-3 paragraph bio and at least 3-4 horizontally-oriented photos of your pet. Please don’t send vertical photos, they don’t fit in our photo galleries!

Each week’s winner receives a sample of dog or cat treats from our sponsor, Becky’s Pet Care, along with $100 in Becky’s Bucks. Becky’s Pet Care is the winner six consecutive Angie’s List Super Service Awards, the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters’ 2013 Business of the Year and a proud supporter of the Arlington County Pawsitively Prepared Campaign.

Becky’s Pet Care provides professional dog walking and pet sitting in Arlington and all of Northern Virginia, as well as PetPrep training courses for Pet Care, CPR and emergency preparedness.

by ARLnow.com — March 8, 2017 at 11:00 am 0

Police car lightsIn this week’s Arlington County Police Department crime report, there are two incidents of Arlington residents charged with assault on a police officer.

One of the incidents happened early Friday morning in Ballston, while the other happened last Tuesday along Columbia Pike.

From ACPD:

ASSAULT & BATTERY ON POLICE, 2017-03030034, 4000 block of Wilson Boulevard. At approximately 3:01 AM on March 3, police responded to the report of a dispute. As officers were conducting the investigation, a male subject became aggressive and pushed an officer several times before being detained. A warrant was secured for Assault and Battery on Police for Robert Holloway, 46, of Arlington VA.

ASSAULT AND BATTERY ON POLICE, 2017-02280024, 5500 block of Columbia Pike. At approximately 2:50 a.m. on February 28, officers responded to the report of a fight in progress. As officers were investigating the incident, a subject on scene became argumentative and aggressive towards an individual being interviewed by police. As officers were attempting to escort the subject away from the scene, he allegedly began to physically resist the officers, swung his arm and struck an officer in the face. Dorj Jargalsaikhan, 47, of Arlington VA was arrested and charged with Assault and Battery on a Law Enforcement Officer. He was held on no bond.

The rest of the past week’s ACPD crime report highlights, including some that we’ve already reported, after the jump.

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by ARLnow.com — March 8, 2017 at 10:00 am 0

Aerial view of Arlington residential neighborhood (screen capture via Arlington TV)(Updated at 12:50 p.m.) It’s hard to dispute that Arlington is a great place, which is why it winds up near the top of a lot of lists of various place rankings.

For instance, Arlington was crowned the Best City to Live in America last year by the website Niche.com.

Just a week later, however, Arlington was only No. 7 on the list of Best Suburbs to Live in America, behind No. 4 ranked Merrifield. And that’s not to mention the fact that Niche also ranked Arlington the No. 11 “Best Place to Live in America” last year.

Mashing together U.S. Census data sets and other info to rank places on various dimensions is a popular activity among publicity-seeking companies, since news outlets often pick up such stories and readers, in turn, love reading and sharing ranking articles. But the rankings — ARLnow.com is sent dozens of such lists each year — are often contradictory, nonsensical or, at least, highly questionable.

In the spirit of ranking things, today we’re letting our users arbitrarily rank “the most questionable rankings involving Arlington.” Here are the contenders and the organizations that compiled each respective list:

  • Arlington is the No. 3 “super cool U.S. city” (Expedia)
  • Arlington Heights and Yorktown are the No. 2 and No. 3 “hottest neighborhoods” in the D.C. area (Redfin)
  • Arlington is the No. 5 “Worst City to Own a Car” (SmartAsset)
  • Arlington is the No. 33 mid-sized city for “cultural diversity” (WalletHub)
  • Arlington is the No. 985 “Most Liberal Place in U.S. (Crowdpac)
  • Arlington is the No. 1 “Hardest Working City in America” (SmartAsset)
  • Arlington is the No. 1 “Best City to Retire” (Bankrate)
  • Arlington is the No. 162 “Best City to Retire” (Niche)
  • Arlington is No. 4 for “Best U.S. City Parks” (Trust for Public Lands)
  • Arlington is No. 64 for “Best Cities for Outdoor Activities” (Niche)
  • Arlington is the No. 8 “Best City to Train for a Marathon” (Competitor)
  • Arlington is the No. 1 “Best City to Live in America” (Niche)
  • Arlington is the No. 7 “Best Suburb to Live in America” (Niche)
  • Arlington is the No. 11 “Best Place to Live in America” (Niche)

Feel free to vote for as many entries as you like, because why not.

by ARLnow.com — March 8, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

Patio furniture carnage after a windstorm (Flickr pool photo by Lisa Novak)

Skimmers Found on Gas Pumps — Arlington County Police are investigating credit card skimmers that were found on gas pumps at the Shell station on S. Four Mile Run Drive. [NBC Washington]

‘Project DAPS’ Now Online — An Arlington Public Library project to digitize records, photos and oral histories of the effort to desegregate schools in Arlington County went online last month. Arlington “defied the state” when the first black students began attending Stratford Junior High in January 1959, though it would take another 12 years before county schools were fully integrated. [WAMU]

Candidate Withdraws from Delegate Race — It’s the shortest local primary challenge in recent memory. Alexandria City School Board member Karen Graf, who announced on Feb. 6 that she was challenging Del. Mark Levine (D-45) for the Democratic nomination, has withdrawn from the race. Levine’s 45th House of Delegates district includes part of Arlington. [Alexandria News]

Some Still Skeptical of High Water Bills — “Ridiculous” is how one local civic association president described Arlington County’s conclusion that big spikes in water bills charged to some homeowners last year were not the result of systematic errors. [InsideNova]

New Vape Store in Ballston — “House of Vape, one of the fastest growing retail vape chains in the Mid-Atlantic region, has opened a new brick and mortar store in Arlington, Virginia, near the Ballston Metro station.” [PR Rocket]

Flickr pool photo by Lisa Novak

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — March 8, 2017 at 6:00 am 0

Just Reduced banner

Each week, “Just Reduced” spotlights properties in Arlington County whose price have been cut over the previous week. The market summary is crafted by licensed broker Aaron Seekford of Arlington Realty, Inc. GET MORE out of your real estate investment with Aaron and his team by visiting www.arlingtonrealtyinc.com or calling 703-836-6116 today!

Please note: While Aaron Seekford provides this information for the community, he is not the listing agent of these homes.

The number of the week is 10. Why, you ask?

Well, we’ve seen a 10 percent uptick in detached home listings over last week. We’ve also seen a 10 percent uptick in the number of townhouse listings over the past week. And, while we’re at it and for the purpose of this column, our number of homes experiencing a price reduction has jumped more than 10 percent as well.

So, what does all of this mean for you? It means that more and more listings are hitting the market, meaning that more and more sellers need to be competitive with their pricing.

As the temps warm up, our team anticipates that our local housing market will continue to warm up as well. If there is a home that catches your eye, just remember that the initial listing is only the starting point.

From there, you’ll want a team that’s ready to help you GET MORE out of your transaction. And we are certainly happy to help!

As of March 7 there are 175 detached homes, 40 townhouses and 201 condos for sale throughout Arlington County. In total, 42 homes experienced a price reduction in the past week.

Here is this week’s selection of Just Reduced properties:

Please note that this is solely a selection of Just Reduced properties available in Arlington County. For a complete list of properties within your target budget and specifications, contact Aaron Seekford.

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