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by ARLnow.com June 19, 2017 at 4:15 pm 0

Update at 7:50 p.m. — The number of outages in Arlington is down to 200, according to Dominion.

Earlier: More than 5,500 Dominion customers are without power in Arlington following this afternoon’s storms, mostly in and around the Clarendon area.

The Clarendon outage extends from Wilson Blvd down to N. Bedford Street in Lyon Park, near Route 50. Numerous businesses in the area are without power and the busy intersection of Washington Blvd and 10th Street N.

As of 4:50 p.m. Dominion was reporting 5,542 outages in Arlington, with some smaller outages scattered throughout the county. There have also been reports of trees and utility wires down in the roadway in various locations, and at least one tree that fell and damaged a house.

The Arlington County Police Department is reminding drivers to treat dark traffic signals as a four-way stop.

Power outage map (top) via Dominion. Weather radar via weather.com.

by ARLnow.com Sponsor June 19, 2017 at 3:50 pm 0

Berry & Berry column banner

This is a sponsored column by attorneys John Berry and Kimberly Berry of Berry & Berry, PLLC, an employment and labor law firm located in  Northern Virginia that specializes in federal employee, security clearance, retirement, and private sector employee matters.

By John V. Berry

Many of our clients who are federal employees have been facing difficulties as a result of the hiring freeze enacted by President Donald Trump in January. While the initial hiring freeze has been rescinded in part, there are many restrictions still in place.

These restrictions have affected our federal employment practice since we often argue for or resolve cases involving changes, transfers, desk audits and promotions. This article covers the latest on the federal employee hiring freeze and where it presently stands.

Background

The federal hiring freeze began on January 23, shortly after the inauguration of the President, and covered most hiring actions for federal employees. This had the unfortunate result of causing many federal employees to take on additional jobs that were previously handled by other employees who had left but with no increase in compensation.

In many federal agencies, it appears that federal employees are unable to perform their basic work functions given the lack of staffing. The ban was eventually lifted, for the most part, on April 12. Additionally, there has also been a lack of staffing at the appointee levels as the current administration has only appointed one-third of the amount of appointees that the previous administration had in place at the same point in time.

Where We Are Now

While the original federal hiring freeze has been lifted for most agencies, some individual agencies have decided to leave the ban in place in order to reduce their number of employees. The somewhat understated goal is to reduce the size of the federal workplace.

For example, despite the lifting of the ban, the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of State currently still have varying restrictions on hiring new personnel as of right now. Other agencies have not openly continued the hiring freeze but have only been hiring on a limited basis.

In addition, since the lifting of the initial freeze, guidance has been issued intending to restrict hiring of federal employees. Other agencies, like the Department of Defense that lifted the hiring freeze, issued requirements that hiring officials comply with the intent of the Office of Management and Budget’s memorandum of April 12, which focuses on reducing the numbers of employees for agencies.

In getting back to normal following the freeze, there has also been a significant backlog of background and clearance investigations from dozens of federal departments that need employees. This will slow down the on-boarding process for these employees.

We suspect that hiring will eventually increase and the policies will be liberalized somewhat, because even agencies looking to reduce their size and scope have to perform basic functions.

We have run across a number of federal supervisors and other employees who have become overburdened to the point that they may leave federal government altogether because they have no assistance and are performing multiple jobs.  This will eventually lead to increased hiring.

It will also likely take a year in order for the federal government to get back to where it was in staffing and productivity before the change in administrations and the enactment of the hiring freeze.

If you need assistance with a federal employment issue, please contact our office at 703-668-0070 or at www.berrylegal.com to schedule a consultation. Please also like and visit us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/BerryBerryPllc.

by ARLnow.com June 19, 2017 at 3:15 pm 0

A customer of Amazon.com acquisition target Whole Foods had a special delivery for cars parked outside its Clarendon location Friday morning: wine bottles and loose change.

Police were called to the Whole Foods at 2700 Wilson Blvd around 7 a.m. Friday for a report of someone throwing objects out of a second floor window. When the arrived they allegedly found a 21-year-old Arlington man who was drunk and tossing wine bottles and change at a car below.

More from an Arlington County Police Department crime report:

MISSILE INTO OCCUPIED VEHICLE, 2017-06160070, 2700 block of Wilson Boulevard. At approximately 7:09 a.m. on June 16, officers responded to the report of an individual throwing objects. Upon arrival, it was determined a male subject was throwing objects at an occupied vehicle from an upstairs window. No one was injured. Marvin Sosa Velasquez, 21, of Arlington VA, was arrested and charged with missile into occupied vehicle and drunk in public. He is being held without bond.

by Chris Teale June 19, 2017 at 3:10 pm 0

Update at 3:20 p.m. — Arlington is now under a Severe Thunderstorm Warning until 4 p.m.

Earlier: The National Weather Service has issued a severe thunderstorm watch for Arlington County, effective until 8 p.m.

NWS advises that the storms may bring scattered hail up to the size of ping pong balls, high winds up to 70 mph and frequent lightning.

The watch has been issued across an area including the entire D.C. metropolitan area as well as parts of West Virginia and North Carolina.

A flash flood watch is also in effect, warning of 1-2 inches or more of rain this evening.

by Brooke Giles June 19, 2017 at 3:00 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.

Monday

Arlington Home Buyer Class *
Orange Line Living (1600 Wilson Boulevard)
Time: 6-8 p.m.

Learn tips on buying a home in this class taught by best-selling author and top nationally-ranked real estate agent Dan Lesniak, author of “The HyperLocal HyperFast Real Estate Agent.” Registration is required.

Tuesday

Washington Summer Sings
Clarendon United Methodist Church (606 N. Irving Street)
Time: 7:30-9 p.m.

Clarendon United Methodist Church will host the 35th annual Washington Summer Sings, bringing distinguished conductors and soloists to this unique singalong of choral masterpieces. In this performance, Thomas Beveridge conducts Mozart’s Requiem.

Thursday

Elephants on the Rampage
One More Page Books (2200 N. Westmoreland Street)
Time: 7-8 p.m.

Journalist and BYU law school student Sarah Jarman shares from her book, which argues the importance of classical conservatism in American politics and how the Republican Party has become more progressive with the rise of Donald Trump.

Friday

Kevin Barnett live at Arlington Drafthouse
Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse (2930 Columbia Pike)
Time: 10 p.m.

Barnett is the executive producer, head writer and is a cast member of truTV’s sketch comedy show, “Friends of the People.” He will perform two shows at the Drafthouse, one on Friday and one on Saturday.

Fridays at the Fountain
Crystal City Water Park (1750 Crystal Drive)
Time: Each Friday, 5-9 p.m

Fridays at the Fountain is the new name of Crystal City’s popular outdoor beer and wine garden at the Crystal City Water Park, each Friday through October 27. The event is free, with a cash bar and live music on hand.

Saturday

NPSFL DII National Championship *
Washington-Lee High School (1301 N. Stafford Street)
Time: 2-5:30 p.m.

The D.C. Generals will play the Columbus Marauders in the National Public Safety Football League Division II National Championship. The NPSFL consists of 22 teams from around the country made up police officers, firefighters and EMTs.

Sunday

Pops for Pets Free Concert *
Lubber Run Amphitheater (200 N. Columbus Street)
Time: 6-8 p.m.

Pack a picnic and bring family, friends and well-behaved pups to enjoy an evening of popular music at an outdoor concert under the stars for a concert featuring patriotic music. The free concert celebrates the work of AWLA and the Arlington Philharmonic.

*Denotes featured (sponsored) event

by Chris Teale June 19, 2017 at 2:00 pm 0

Neighbors of a former church in Ballston have mobilized against a plan that could allow more density at the site for future redevelopment.

The site at 1031 N. Vermont Street was home to the First Baptist Church of Ballston, which leased it to the Grace Community Church. Grace has since relocated its services to 125 S. Old Glebe Road. Full Circle Montessori School uses the space for classrooms, while there is also a parking lot and public children’s playground across 11th Street N. included.

But nearby residents in the north of the neighborhood spoke out Saturday against making the site denser, and cited an online petition with almost 500 signatures against any changes.

Local resident Dana Gerk said she started the petition to ask the Arlington County Board and planning staff to “protect us and our community.”

Under a plan advanced unanimously by the County Board at its Saturday meeting, the site could be rezoned to allow for approximately 115,000 square feet of mixed-use development, to include a multi-story residential building and townhomes. The new zone could allow up to 105 homes to be built.

Staff said the proposed amendment to the General Land Use Plan (GLUP) for the site — which calls for “high-medium residential mixed use” zoning with a tapering down in height toward the lower-density residential community —  would “more closely reflect the built conditions implemented through the County Board’s previous actions to approve numerous special exception site plans and rezonings since 1980.”

Board members said discussions around the planning principles for the site are separate from any new redevelopment plans, but one has already been submitted by a developer.

Earlier this year, Reston-based NVR submitted a preliminary application to turn the site into a seven-story building with 73 apartments and townhomes, and 13 townhomes on the north of 11th Street N.

County Board chair Jay Fisette emphasized the Board’s approval was not related to any potential development, but was instead about making broader plans for how a site may look in the future.

“I think today proved that if we can separate the planning issues from the particular building being proposed, we will have a better opportunity to shape what we want in that building when it comes forward,” Fisette said.

Opponents of upping the density on the site spoke against any changes. Independent County Board candidate Audrey Clement bemoaned the approval of several under-construction projects in the area contributing to the “already-congested Ballston neighborhood,” and said neighbors might pursue legal action to prevent more development.

“The impact of these projects has not even been felt, these buildings have not yet been built,” she said. “Yet Ballston is already gridlocked.”

The Board’s approval means it will now hold public hearings on a potential GLUP amendment. Anthony Fusarelli, a staff member in the county’s Department of Community, Planning, Housing and Development, said such hearings could be held before the end of this year.

by Chris Teale June 19, 2017 at 12:00 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.

A software startup received a $35,000 grant at Saturday’s Arlington County Board meeting after relocating to Crystal City last year.

Stardog is one of two companies to receive a Gazelle Grant, an incentive program from Arlington Economic Development for fast-growing companies to locate in the county.

The other company to receive a grant so far, Videoblocks, announced it would move to Courthouse last month. It will receive $110,000.

Stardog moved to 1400 Crystal Drive in September, having launched in 2005 in the Shaw neighborhood of D.C. CEO Kendall Clark said the company helps businesses bring together internal data from various different sources.

Clark said that while that process could take a large company like Samsung a week and use 30 people to collate all the data on, for example, the purchases of a certain dishwasher in the corridor between D.C. and New York, Stardog’s technology does the job in a matter of seconds.

Stardog already serves the likes of NASA, Oxford University Press and Bosch.

“We’re lucky to have found a bunch of really big customers who have this problem and we solve it well,” Clark said. “It’s not an area that anyone else is really focusing on in our software, so it’s a good combination of need and the software business that we’re looking at, which is a good combination if you can find it.”

Clark said Stardog chose Arlington after its landlord in Shaw tripled the rent, but he said the new Crystal City location has many benefits for employees. With software developers based as far afield as Hawaii and Moscow, Clark said the close proximity to National Airport and Metro helps staff get around easily, while the places where people can eat and live are numerous.

In addition, Clark said, Stardog found Arlington to be a much easier place to do business in as a startup.

“All the business license and low level paperwork that doesn’t really get you any advantage to being in a place — but if you don’t do it it’s bad — it’s lots of stuff like that in Arlington that you can do online,” he said. “In the District, I found for whatever reason there was always some reason I or somebody else had to go to an office in Southeast, struggle with parking and the whole nightmare and then go in and you’re there all day.”

Under the terms of the grant, Stardog must create 70 new full-time jobs at its Arlington office and lease 3,500 square feet of office space. If, by the end of 2019, it has not hit 90 percent of its space target and 50 percent of its employment target, it will have to pay back some or all of the grant.

A staff report that recommended approving the grant said Stardog will use the grant to help build out its new office, relocate its operations and recruit and train new employees.

Clark said the company plans to triple its revenue from last year, and is “on track” right now to do just that. That new revenue will lead to more full-time employees, which will lead to “more people buying houses,” Clark said.

by ARLnow.com June 19, 2017 at 11:35 am 0

Roosevelt Island near Rosslyn is closed today due to tree damage from insects and today’s impending storms.

The National Park Service made the announcement this morning.

The park service says numerous trees have been severely weakened by the invasive emerald ash borer and will be removed in the coming weeks. More from NPS:

Theodore Roosevelt Island is closed for safety in advance of expected thunderstorms, some severe with high winds, this afternoon though this evening. The island will remain closed until tree crews can assess and address damage or new hazards.

A recent tree survey on Theodore Roosevelt Island found extensive damage to trees along the island’s trails from the invasive and deadly emerald ash borer. These diseased and dead ash trees are at an increased risk of falling, especially during storms.

Theodore Roosevelt Island is one of many parks in the Greater Washington Area hit hard by emerald ash borer. The island has many ash trees throughout its 88 acres that have been infected with the exotic beetle. The pest is highly destructive, killing ash trees within two to three years once infected. Dead ash trees rapidly become dry, brittle and hazardous. There is no known cure; once a tree is infected, it will die.

In the coming weeks, crews are expected to begin the removal of the affected trees. More information will be provided in the coming days.

by ARLnow.com June 19, 2017 at 11:05 am 0

(Updated at 11:40 a.m.) One man has been arrested and three more are being sought by police after a group of four robbed a store at the Pentagon City mall.

The incident happened around 11:30 a.m. on Friday. Police say the suspects stole items, and one threatened an employee with a knife, before they all fled in a waiting car.

The crime occurred at the Zara store in the mall.

More from today’s Arlington County Police Department crime report:

ROBBERY, 2017-06160141, 1100 block of S. Hayes Street. At approximately 11:27 a.m. on June 16, officers responded to the report of a larceny in progress. Upon arrival, it was determined four male suspects had stolen merchandise and fled the scene in a nearby vehicle. One suspect brandished a knife and threatened employees. Following further investigation, one suspect, Kendall Charlie Mobley-Reid, 20, of Washington D.C, was arrested and charged with robbery. The investigation into the identity of the three remaining suspects is ongoing. The first suspect is described as a black male in his mid-twenties, approximately 6’1″-6’2″ tall with a skinny build. He was wearing dark shorts, a white tank top, and red sneakers. The second suspect is described as a black male in his late teens-early twenties, approximately 5’2″-5’4″ tall. He was wearing a white tank top, jeans, and red sneakers. The third suspect is described as a black male in his mid-twenties, approximately 5’8″ tall with an average build. He was wearing black pants, a “mustard colored” jacket, and gold sneakers.

by ARLnow.com June 19, 2017 at 10:10 am 0

Heavy rains and severe storms may make for a challenging evening commute today (Monday).

The National Weather Service has issued a Flash Flood Watch, warning of 1-2 inches of rain or more this evening. (See below.)

NWS and local authorities are also cautioning that some storms today may be severe.

The Flash Flood Watch:

… FLASH FLOOD WATCH IN EFFECT FROM 3 PM EDT THIS AFTERNOON THROUGH THIS EVENING… THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN STERLING VIRGINIA HAS ISSUED A * FLASH FLOOD WATCH… * FROM 3 PM EDT THIS AFTERNOON THROUGH THIS EVENING * A COLD FRONT WILL MOVE THROUGH THE REGION THIS AFTERNOON AND EARLY THIS EVENING. WIDESPREAD SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS WILL ACCOMPANY THIS FRONT SOME OF WHICH COULD PRODUCE INTENSE RAINFALL RATES IN A SHORT PERIOD OF TIME. WIDESPREAD RAINFALL AMOUNTS OF 1 TO 2 INCHES ARE EXPECTED WITH LOCALIZED AMOUNTS OF 3 TO 4 INCHES POSSIBLE WHICH COULD RESULT IN FLASH FLOODING. * FLASH FLOODING OF CREEKS, STREAMS AND ROADWAYS WILL BE POSSIBLE, ESPECIALLY IN URBAN AND POOR DRAINAGE AREAS. PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS… A FLASH FLOOD WATCH MEANS THAT CONDITIONS MAY DEVELOP THAT LEAD TO FLASH FLOODING. FLASH FLOODING IS A VERY DANGEROUS SITUATION. YOU SHOULD MONITOR LATER FORECASTS AND BE PREPARED TO TAKE ACTION SHOULD FLASH FLOOD WARNINGS BE ISSUED. &&

by ARLnow.com June 19, 2017 at 8:55 am 0

Board Approves Construction Contracts — The Arlington County Board approved three construction projects at its meeting this past Saturday, including contracts to improve safety at the intersection of Arlington Blvd and Park Drive, to improve safety along the W&OD and Custis trails, and to repair three bridges in Rosslyn. [Arlington County]

Feds to Help Fund Arlington Art Truck — Arlington County’s arts truck has received a $25,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. The truck, which received $70,000 in funding from the county last year, “aims to both expand community access to art and to diversify public engagement.” [InsideNova]

Arlington Treasurer Wins State Award — Arlington County Treasurer Carla de la Pava received the 2017 President’s Award from the Treasurers’ Association of Virginia at its annual conference in Virginia Beach. It’s the first such recognition for an Arlington County treasurer. One measure of a treasurer’s job effectiveness is the tax delinquency rate; last year Arlington’s rate was 0.24 percent, an all-time local low and the lowest in Virginia. [Arlington County]

Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley

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