61°Clear

by Katie Pyzyk — April 20, 2017 at 8:13 pm 0

The National Weather Service has issued a severe thunderstorm warning for Arlington.

The warning is in effect until 8:45 p.m.

From NWS:

National Weather Service Baltimore MD/Washington DC
805 PM EDT THU APR 20 2017

The National Weather Service in Sterling Virginia has issued a

* Severe Thunderstorm Warning for…
The District of Columbia…
Southeastern Montgomery County in central Maryland…
Northern Prince Georges County in central Maryland…
Arlington County in northern Virginia…
The City of Falls Church in northern Virginia…
Northeastern Fairfax County in northern Virginia…

* Until 845 PM EDT

* At 804 PM EDT, a severe thunderstorm was located over American
University, or near Rosslyn, moving east at 30 mph.

HAZARD…60 mph wind gusts.

SOURCE…Radar indicated.

IMPACT…Damaging winds will cause some trees and large branches
to fall. This could injure those outdoors, as well as
damage homes and vehicles. Roadways may become blocked by
downed trees. Localized power outages are possible.
Unsecured light objects may become projectiles.

* Locations impacted include…
Arlington, Bethesda, Bowie, College Park, Greenbelt, Langley Park,
Beltsville, Forestville, Falls Church, Largo, Coral Hills,
Bladensburg, Pimmit Hills, Mclean, Byrd Stadium, Fedex Field, Fort
Totten, Rosslyn, Nationals Park and Howard University.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

Get indoors to protect yourself from wind and lightning. Trees around
you may be downed from damaging winds, so if you are near large
trees, move to an interior room on the lowest floor. Don`t drive
underneath trees or in wooded areas until the threat has passed.

by Katie Pyzyk — April 20, 2017 at 4:30 pm 0

Arlington County police are assisting the Fairfax County Police Department in the search for a suspect who took off in the East Falls Church area after a chase.

Around 3:30 p.m. Fairfax police were called to Tysons Corner for reports of a possible fraudulent transaction at the Apple Store. Officers found two suspects in a car in a parking lot and attempted to stop them.

The suspects took off and a pursuit ensued along Route 7 and Interstate 66. During the pursuit the suspects’ vehicle struck another vehicle but nobody was hurt.

The chase ended near N. Sycamore Street and 22nd Street N. in East Falls Church. Fairfax police arrested one suspect but the other took off on foot. A resident on the 6500 block of 22nd Street N. reports seeing police confiscate bags that appear to be from the Apple Store.

A helicopter and K-9 units are assisting with an active search for the suspect in the East Falls Church neighborhood.

The suspect is described as a black man between the ages of 20 and 25 who is about 6 feet tall and 180-200 pounds. He was last seen wearing a white t-shirt and white pants.

Police say homeowners in the area should lock windows, doors and garage doors and report anything suspicious by calling the police non-emergency number at 703-558-2222, and they should not attempt to approach any person who seems suspicious. Police also recommend remaining alert into the evening because sometimes suspects emerge after they believe police activity has calmed down.

Photos courtesy Erin Donahue

by Chris Teale — April 20, 2017 at 3:30 pm 0

The former Dominion Pet Center at the Lee-Harrison Shopping Center is being replaced by two businesses, including another pet store.

Going in will be Kriser’s Natural Pet Store at 2501A N. Harrison Street and speciality ice cream shop La Moo Creamery at 2501B N. Harrison Street.

Dominion Pet Center closed last year after facing stiff competition from internet retailers and the opening of a large chain competitor, Unleashed by Petco, across the street. It first opened in 1981.

Now Kriser’s and La Moo will fill the 3,113 square feet of available space between H&R Block and the Sushi-Zen Japanese Restaurant.

For Kriser’s, the move represents an expansion of its presence in Arlington, as it already has a location at 2509 N. Franklin Road in Clarendon. The store, which has locations elsewhere in Virginia as well as California, Colorado, Illinois and Texas, offers natural pet food and other products, grooming and training help.

Based on a permitting application submitted to the county, La Moo will be a retail ice cream parlor. No other details were available on its website.

by Katie Pyzyk — April 20, 2017 at 2:30 pm 0

Police have arrested one person for a trespassing incident that turned into a pursuit in Pentagon City.

Just before 1:30 a.m. on Wednesday police responded to a report of two suspicious people trespassing at a residential property on the 1200 block of N. Eads Street in Pentagon City. Upon arriving in the area, a K-9 officer saw the suspects fleeing on foot.

Police canvassed the area and briefly pursued the suspects on foot, then made one arrest. Further investigation revealed that at least one vehicle in the area had been tampered with.

Daikel Holsey-Stewart, 19, of Capitol Heights, MD, has been charged with tampering with an auto, trespassing and being a fugitive from justice.

The investigation is ongoing.

by Mark Kelly — April 20, 2017 at 1:45 pm 2 Comments

Mark KellyThe Right Note is a weekly opinion column. The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.

Arlington spent around $300 million building three new high schools over the past decade. The most logical solution to the need for additional classroom seats would be to add on to the existing structures.

The problem: those schools were largely planned when school officials were betting on studies showing school enrollments stable or going down, not up. As a result, little thought was given to the ability to expand those facilities at a later date.

Much will be made of this painful process over the weeks and months to come. Parents who quite possibly moved into a neighborhood so their children could attend their preferred high school in the future will be upset if new lines force them into a new school. Neighborhoods surrounding the new site will complain about traffic and loss of green space, even stadium lights. Fiscal watchdogs will not like the cost.

The fact is, there is no good solution to finding a new location. There is almost certainly only a “least bad” one.

And who agreed with my position on the Nestlé subsidy?

At this week’s Young Democrats candidate forum, the Democratic candidates for the County Board seemed to share my concern that the giant corporation received $12 million in tax incentives while existing Arlington businesses received nothing.

A quick check of the candidate’s websites finds a mixed bag of results as to how big a priority it is for them. Neither Kim Klingler or Peter Fallon’s issues pages have an entire section dedicated to making Arlington’s policies more business friendly, though Klingler does make mention of improving county services. Vivek Patil’s site has some talking points, but no real specific plans.

Erik Gutshall has the most extensive section on the economy. While it calls for regulatory improvements, it also restates things the County Board is already doing in the name of “economic development” including fully funding incentives like the one given to the candy giant.

Yes, a shot in the arm for the local economy benefits everyone. However, the current overriding philosophy is to give advantages to new businesses over existing businesses. Arlington, and Virginia as a whole, can and should do more than throw our tax dollars at economic development. Tax and regulatory relief along with streamlining bureaucratic processes should be the top priorities to make our economies thrive.

And an independent or Republican County Board candidate who made improving the local economy the top priority would be a welcome addition to the field.

by Peter Rousselot — April 20, 2017 at 1:00 pm 0

Peter Rousselot

Peter’s Take is a weekly opinion column. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.

A grudging admission by a representative of the county’s department of parks and recreation at a civic association meeting last week underscores that DPR still has a very long way to go to improve its civic engagement practices.

Background

In February 2016, the Aurora Highlands Civic Association developed a proposal to restore the west end of Virginia Highlands Park. The proposal was designed “to replace the exclusive softball fields on the west side with a different sort of community park.”

The 16-page AHCA proposal identified a problem and proposed a solution:

Problem: VHP is a popular and heavily used recreational facility that today is dominated by athletic space. The Pentagon City area, including Aurora Highlands, has insufficient park space to accommodate the broad constituency represented in our diverse and rapidly growing population.

Solution: To restore a balance to VHP by transforming the west side into a vibrant public park with creatively designed open green space that complements the existing recreational facilities on the east side.

The full proposal contains a detailed explanation why the softball fields should be eliminated.

Later that month, AHCA voted 35-0 to send a letter to the County Board requesting in part that the Board:

Direct DPR to begin a community-wide planning process to update the west side of VHP with the objective of achieving multi-use open green space that serves a broad cross section of Arlington County residents and a goal of updating the west side of VHP to include multi-use open green space within the next five years.

AHCA and Friends of Aurora Highlands Parks, which submitted a comparable redesign proposal, requested follow-up information earlier this year about the “scope, constraints, limitations, and any charges.” No DPR replies included any charge or limitation mentioning the softball fields.

Fourteen months after AHCA’s Proposal submission — on April 12, 2017 — DPR made a presentation to AHCA about elaborate (and apparently costly) plans DPR had to engage with the community about a VHP redesign. DPR representative Scott McPartlin repeatedly acknowledged that various community groups requested “civic lawns, green space, gardens, more trees…” He then asserted that was all very possible through the “transparent,” informative grand envisioning process he had just described.

After the presentation, Natasha Atkins, AHCA President, asked if the softball fields were then removable.

McPartlin’s response: “No. That is not our intention…The facilities are needed.”

Discussion

Regardless of the merits of DPR’s just-revealed conclusion that the softball fields could not be eliminated, DPR’s fourteen-month delay in responding to AHCA’s proposal to eliminate those fields, particularly with the off-hand acknowledgement finally extracted, is an inexcusable failure of civic engagement.

The centerpiece of AHCA’s 2016 proposal was the softball fields’ elimination and their transformation largely into open green space. AHCA reasonably expected a timely, open, and transparent public process in which:

  • AHCA could make its case,
  • Softball field proponents and any other interests could make their cases,
  • Sufficient data would be made available for informed discussion, and then
  • DPR would reach a transparent conclusion for or against retaining the softball fields with a reasoned explanation.

Conclusion

If DPR thought that the softball fields could not be eliminated, it should have responded to that effect within 30 to 60 days of receiving AHCA’s 2016 proposal. Otherwise, DPR should have launched a transparent public process specifically including the possible elimination of those fields.

by Progressive Voice — April 20, 2017 at 12:15 pm 0

Progressive Voice is a weekly opinion column. The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the individual authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of their organizations or ARLnow.com.

By Rip Sullivan

This year’s General Assembly session saw one highly partisan bill after another pass both Republican-controlled chambers, with little or no apparent interest in seeking input from Democrats.

This left Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) to wield his veto pen to strike down such extreme bills as one that would shield from civil liability those who would actively discriminate against same-sex couples, and another that would legalize the carrying of concealed switchblade knives.

Veto Session is the day on which the General Assembly reconvenes to vote on whether to sustain or reject the Governor’s vetoes, and to consider amendments that the Governor made to legislation passed by the General Assembly. This year, every one of McAuliffe’s 40 vetoes was sustained, and the vast majority of his amendments were adopted.

For critics of McAuliffe’s extensive use of the veto power, it is worth a closer look at the bills that he prevented from becoming law in the Commonwealth. This year alone, the Governor vetoed bills that were directed at weakening LGBT rights, defunding Planned Parenthood and putting more guns in more places.

Some of the bills passed by the Republican majority were simply messaging bills, often redundant of current law. For example, McAuliffe vetoed one bill that would criminalize the act of giving or receiving any money in exchange for registering to vote. This is already a crime under federal law.

There were other bills that sought to perpetuate the myth of voter fraud by encouraging investigations into Virginia voters without clear standards for when and how those inquiries would be conducted. Voter fraud, though it is exceptionally rare, is already a crime in Virginia.

The Governor also vetoed a number of bills that Democrats universally agree would undermine the economic security of many of Virginia’s most vulnerable individuals. For those living in poverty and receiving public assistance, one bill would have prohibited anyone with a criminal history from receiving this help. Keeping those who have committed a crime – for example, petty theft – from receiving public assistance would make it even more likely that those individuals would be forced back into a life of crime and reduce public safety.

Other vetoed bills included one that would encourage companies to pay workers less – Democrats universally rejected these anti-worker bills and I am glad that the Governor vetoed them immediately. Two bills would have prohibited a state agency and a local government from entering into a contract with a company that requires that company to pay workers at rates above prevailing wages and benefits. We should be encouraging contracts with companies that are willing to pay workers more, not engaging in a race to the bottom for wages and benefits.

Another agenda item that Republicans targeted unsuccessfully was making life more difficult for immigrants and refugees. One particularly dangerous bill included a requirement that the Commonwealth publish personally identifiable information for every refugee settled in Virginia. A reminder: refugees are here legally.

This bill was not only an invasion of privacy, but also a reckless move that would put refugees in immediate danger. Refugees are classified as such because they are fleeing oppression – they have specifically been targeted by the government of their home country. To make a list of their personal information public would be to make those who have sought refuge in our country targets again – even exposing them to their oppressors.

Finally, perhaps the most widely covered issue of this year’s Veto Session was whether the Governor’s budget amendment to expand Medicaid to about 400,000 low-income working Virginians should stand. The Governor’s amendment would have allowed him to expand Medicaid on October 1, 2017, if the Affordable Care Act still stood in its current form with respect to Medicaid. The amendment was rejected along party lines, 66 to 34, meaning Medicaid will not be expanded this year and Virginia will continue to lose billions of Virginia taxpayer dollars reallocated to states that have expanded Medicaid.

During this Veto Session the priorities of both parties were revealed in stark contrast, and I am glad that Democrats were able to fight back through McAuliffe against the most extreme of the bills passed by Republicans.

It will be a far different Veto Session in 2018 if we do not have a Democratic Governor and a strong Democratic presence in the House of Delegates after this November’s election. As we have seen at the national level, turnout matters and elections have consequences.

Rip is a Northern Virginia community activist and a member of the Virginia House of Delegates from Virginia’s 48th District, which encompasses parts of Arlington and McLean.

by Chris Teale — April 20, 2017 at 11:15 am 0

The long-planned demolition of the pedestrian bridge over Wilson Blvd in Ballston should begin soon, according to a spokeswoman for the developer.

The bridge between Ballston Common Mall and 4201 Wilson Blvd — which houses the soon-to-be-relocated National Science Foundation — closed last year as part of the mall’s renovation.

An anonymous tipster reported seeing bricks being removed at the base of the bridge’s pillars where it connects to the mall, and wondered if demolition was beginning.

But a spokeswoman for developer Forest City, which is carrying out the mall’s revamp, said last week it is not doing any work on the bridge at this time. She added that demolition is scheduled to start soon.

“We are not doing any construction on the structural components that would affect the bridge,” the spokeswoman said. “The demolition should begin within the next 30 days, but we will notify the public once we have a solid date.”

The bridge is still on track to be reconstructed and reopened in time for the revamped mall’s opening in fall 2018.

by Chris Teale — April 20, 2017 at 10:15 am 0

The four Democratic candidates for County Board may hold differing positions on a number of issues, but they agree on one thing: Arlington’s subsidy to lure Nestle might have been better spent elsewhere.

At a forum last night hosted by the Arlington Young Democrats, less than three weeks before the local party’s caucus, the four Democrats running for the Arlington County Board said the package of $12 million in state and local performance-based funds could have better served the local community.

“This is good for Arlington, good for filling our office space, but I would rather have seen some of that money go towards child care in Crystal City and Rosslyn, for example,” said Erik Gutshall.

“At the end of the day, we have to consider who is getting a subsidy and if they deserve it,” said Peter Fallon, who added that given the competition between jurisdictions for such moves, incentives can play a role in the right situations.

Both Kim Klingler and Vivek Patil drew a comparison to the small businesses throughout the county, and asked if they could have been assisted like multinational Nestle was, in particular through the building of a website showing all that Arlington has to offer.

“If we can stand up a website for Nestle [employees that showcases the county] in three weeks, imagine what we can do for our small businesses in three weeks,” Klingler said.

“That red carpet should be rolled out for small businesses and entrepreneurs,” Patil agreed.

In addition to general questions about the county’s tax rate, business community and the environment, each candidate faced questions specific to their campaigns and backgrounds from moderator Michael Lee Pope, a reporter with Virginia Public Radio.

Gutshall was asked if he is a so-called “party insider” due to the endorsements he has received from a slew of former County Board members and current chair Jay Fisette, who will retire at year’s end.

“I think it speaks to the fact that I have worked alongside these people for a number of years,” Gutshall said.

Fallon spoke about what he learned from his time on the planning commission and said that the county’s comprehensive planning at times has failed to keep up with the demand of county services.

Patil reiterated his call for a “green and clean tech economy” to encourage innovation and new industries in the county. “There is no city or state that owns that right now,” he said.

Following her run in 2012, Klingler said she was inspired to run again by the results of last year’s presidential election.

The candidates will be joined by independent Audrey Clement at a forum next Wednesday hosted by the Arlington Chamber of Commerce at Synetic Theater, then they will debate again the following Wednesday at ACDC’s monthly general meeting.

by Katie Pyzyk — April 20, 2017 at 9:21 am 0

Lander Apologizes for Insensitive Comments — School Board member James Lander has apologized for making insensitive comments about domestic violence yesterday on the “Arlington in the Morning” radio show. Lander has taken flak for appearing to engage in victim blaming when discussing the 2010 murder of UVA student Yeardly Love. In a statement, Lander said he made a “terrible communication mistake.” [Facebook]

Airport Contract Workers Win Pay Increase — Contract workers at Reagan National and Dulles International airports won their two-year fight for higher wages. The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority’s board voted yesterday to require companies doing business with area airports to pay their workers a base hourly wage of $11.55 starting in January. Some of the workers currently make $7.25 an hour. [Washington Post]

More Passengers at DCA — More than 1.6 million passengers traveled through Reagan National Airport in February, which is a 2.6 percent increase over last year. [InsideNova]

Failing Air Grade — Arlington County earned an F grade in the American Lung Association’s 2017 “State of the Air” report. The region’s traffic created a lot of air pollution that contributed to a high level of smog in both Arlington and the District. Arlington did, however, receive an A grade in one category: particle pollution, also known as soot. [WTOP]

Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley

by Buzz McClain — April 20, 2017 at 6:00 am 0

The “mystery” of who will be honored as the Arlington County law enforcement officer of the year will be solved Thursday, May 4, during the annual award presentation luncheon sponsored Arlington County Crime Solvers.

The public is invited to attend the ceremony at the Salsa Room, 2619 Columbia Pike, from noon to 1:30 p.m. Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) will deliver the keynote speech. Arlington Sheriff Chief Deputy Paul Larson, Police Chief Jay Farr and other county officials will speak on community-police relations and the effort to join forces in fighting crime.

Chief Deputy Larson and Chief Farr will present the two Law Enforcement Recognition Awards to the Arlington County law enforcement officers chosen by the Crime Solvers as those who have made significant contributions to making Arlingtonians safe.

“I believe the ACCS can foster a strong relationship with the local community and law enforcement by bringing us together each year and saying ‘thank you’ to those who risk their lives everyday to protect our safety,” said Andres Tobar, ACCS president and executive director of the Shirlington Employment & Education Center.

This is the fifth time the Crime Solvers have honored Arlington’s law enforcement with a ceremony and lunch. This year is the first time for the presentation of a new award, given to the Arlington Chamber of Commerce, to a community organization that best represents community-law enforcement relations.

In addition, Richard V. Doud, Jr., the founding president of the Arlington County Crime Solvers chapter, will also be recognized with a special award.

Arlington County Crime Solvers maintains a volunteer-operated, 24-hour tips line for anonymous callers to report crimes and wanted persons. Cash rewards of up to $1,000 are offered to those who provide information leading to arrest or the recovery of drugs or stolen property. The number is 1-866-411-TIPS (8477). 

For more information or to RSVP, please see this website, or contact Andres Tobar at [email protected]

×

Subscribe to our mailing list