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by Chris Teale September 7, 2017 at 6:00 pm 0

A project to expand the gymnastics facilities at the Barcroft Sports & Fitness Center (4200 S. Four Mile Run Drive) is largely complete, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony set for next week.

The work doubled the space for gymnastics into a second room by converting the center’s gym, while adding new equipment to both rooms. Girls teams now have more space in which to practice, while county parks staff said it could help spur more registrations for boys teams.

Staff said the project was carried out due to “overwhelming demand from Arlington residents” for more space for gymnastics.

The existing gymnastics area also received a revamp, as well as the existing women’s locker room. Staff lockers were installed nearby, while the building got a new roof and had three HVAC systems replaced.

County staff and other officials will celebrate the completion of the project on Wednesday, September 13 from 5-6 p.m. at a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

The project had a total budget of $3.54 million, paid for by Pay As You Go Capital funds and bonds approved in the 2016 referendum. The County Board approved a construction contract last December worth just over $1.7 million.

Nearby Tucker Field at Barcroft Park is also set for upgrades in the coming years after the Arlington County Board approved a 10-year extension to its partnership with George Washington University, which hosts baseball games at the field.

GW will fully fund the construction of a new clubhouse as well as indoor and outdoor batting cages, which are also available for community use. Earlier this year, the university received an anonymous $2 million gift to fund the new clubhouse. GW also contributes funding each year for the field’s ongoing maintenance and repairs.

by ARLnow.com September 7, 2017 at 4:45 pm 0

Online retail behemoth Amazon just announced that it is searching for a place to build a second headquarters, and Arlington officials say the county is tossing its hat in the ring.

Amazon is looking to build its “HQ2” in North America, in a metropolitan area with a population over 1 million and room to build up to 8 million square feet of transit-accessible office space in a pedestrian-friendly setting. The new headquarters is expected to come with $5 billion worth of investment and will create up to 50,000 jobs, with an average salary north of $100,000.

Other requirements include being within 30 miles of a population center and no more than 45 minutes away from an international airport.

Arlington, officials say, could fit the bill — and the county is planning to respond to Amazon’s request for proposals.

“Yes, we will be pursuing the opportunity,” said Arlington Economic Development spokeswoman Cara O’Donnell, adding that it is “too early to say which specific locations would be under consideration.”

One potential option is Arlington’s Crystal City neighborhood, which has a burgeoning tech scene and an existing plan to build up to 9.7 million square feet of office space, partially through the demolition of aging, vacant office buildings. It is also transit and highway accessible, within walking distance of Reagan National Airport and much of its office space is owned by one company.

Another option is Arlington’s millennial-heavy Rosslyn-Ballston corridor, along the Orange Line. Rosslyn recently scored Nestle’s U.S. headquarters and Ballston has been active in trying to attract tech companies and fill soon-to-be-vacated office space.

O’Donnell declined to say what Arlington’s pitch to Amazon will be, but the transit accessibility and skilled, young professional workforce is likely to be a selling point. Economic incentives and tax breaks from the county and the state will also undoubtedly be involved — Amazon has stated that will be a determining factor.

Competition for the new headquarters will be intense, as the winning jurisdiction will be instantly transformed into a formidable technology center. In the Washington region alone, D.C., Loudoun County and Prince George’s County have already indicated that they will also be pursuing Amazon.

File photo

by ARLnow.com Sponsor September 7, 2017 at 3:30 pm 0

Healthy Paws

Editor’s Note: Healthy Paws is a column sponsored and written by the owners of Clarendon Animal Care, a full-service, general practice veterinary clinic and winner of a 2017 Arlington Chamber of Commerce Best Business Award. The clinic is located 3000 10th Street N., Suite B. and can be reached at 703-997-9776.

Lets face it, our pets age.  Just like us, some maintain cognitive function and stay sharp as a razor, and others … not so much. Whether you call it dementia or cognitive dysfunction, the symptoms we see in our pets are similar to what is seen in humans with Alzheimer’s or senile dementia.

These pets can get lost in the house, become ornery, not want to do things they used to enjoy, lose house training and litter box habits, pace/vocalize or otherwise seem agitated or anxious (and often at night), just to name a few common symptoms.

Cognitive Dysfunction is relatively common in an aged pet population – though the symptoms are not “normal” signs of aging. When screening and intervention occurs earlier in the process of this syndrome, we can often improve longevity and quality of life for the pet (and often their human companion), though we cannot cure it.

It is important to realize that these symptoms can be seen with many other diseases or chronic pain (such as from arthritis). Ruling out other treatable or manageable conditions is helpful and increases our chances of keeping our aged pets comfortable.

Adequate pain management is by far the most common issue we have to address before determining if additional therapies for cognitive dysfunction are needed. Our fur family is just so good at being stoic that sometimes we don’t adequately recognize subtle signs of pain until it becomes so bad and starts to alter their behavior.

Some other diseases that can cause similar symptoms are other primary neurologic diseases (brain tumors, inflammation around the brain, etc…), kidney disease, hypertension, altered thyroid function and altered adrenal gland function. Blood testing and a comprehensive physical exam are important screening tools for some of these underlying diseases.

Once any and all underlying problems are adequately addressed, management of cognitive dysfunction generally involves dietary management (there are some newer diets that specifically help address the altered brain nutrient needs), increased antioxidant supplements, melatonin and anti-anxiety medications such as selegiline or Prozac.

Reducing outside stressors on our pets has also been shown to be beneficial. If your pet is showing symptoms of cognitive dysfunction – then it is not ideal to make major changes in their life (such as getting a new pet or changing their environment), if possible those stressors can trigger things to get much worse for them, and more quickly.

If major stressors are inevitable, then easing them into the change may be helpful. Additionally, similar to doing crossword puzzles as a human, keeping cognitive skills fresh is important for our pets as well.

Environmental enrichment and mental stimulation is really important: ways we can work on these skills are with tools like puzzle and feeder toys, climbing and agility and general maintenance of a good activity level and ongoing task and obedience training.

If you have an older pet who is experiencing disorientation, changes in their sleep/wake cycle, loss of house training, changes in social interactions, increased agitation or anxiety and/or changes in activity level – talk to your veterinarian about looking into what underlying causes might be present and ways to help support your old friend’s brain health and comfort.

by Mark Kelly September 7, 2017 at 2:45 pm 0

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.

The Civic Federation’s annual debate reminds Arlington voters that there is an election just two months away.

While much of the focus is on who will win seats in Richmond including the Governor’s Mansion, Arlingtonians will be able to vote on local issues as well when they choose a new School Board and County Board member.

According to Inside Nova, Erik Gutshall, the Democrats’ nominee for County Board, was said to have positioned himself as a “fiscal conservative” in his campaign. Once you move past the “laugh out loud” nature of that notion, Arlingtonians must ask themselves what options they have in this November?

To his credit, Gutshall has put forward a comprehensive list of policy positions, but it is one that puts him right in line with the current majority on the County Board. While he certainly will have his own take on the issues, voters cannot anticipate a major shift from the status quo.

Perennial candidate and former Green Party endorsee Audrey Clement’s electoral fortunes have ebbed and flowed depending on who else is on the ballot. Her left-leaning views on most issues, however, are well known.

Newcomer, and currently Green Party endorsee, Charles McCullough is calling for the expansion of housing assistance, the creation of a program to begin school spending on infants and taking away the rights of property owners to build on their lots.

McCullough is not alone on the political left. New York City’s Democrat Mayor Bill de Blasio recently commented that he would essentially like to overrule our nation’s protection of private property rights and give government the right to control how and where people can live.

Many in Arlington probably share this notion. But not all Arlingtonians are ready to endorse what de Blasio called the “socialistic impulse.”

Regrettably, Arlington Republicans (myself included) failed to find a candidate to run this year despite the County Board race being an open seat contest. So Arlington voters are left with a limited choice on a scale that ranges from status quo left to far left.

The “Vihstadt coalition” of Independents, Republicans and fiscally conservative Democrats could still produce a majority of votes in a non-presidential election year. Maybe it’s time for a spirited write-in campaign for County Board?

by Peter Rousselot September 7, 2017 at 2:00 pm 0

Peter RousselotPeter’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.

In an article last week, ARLnow.com highlighted comments by the CEO of the Ballston Business Improvement District about the NSF departure. Tina Leone struck a note of reassurance:

Leone said the neighborhood is going to be just fine without a federal tenant [NSF] and its more than 2,000 employees, even though she said it will add about 1 percent to Arlington’s office vacancy rate … Leone said the reason for her optimism lies in the major development projects underway…

Ms. Leone is doing her job to promote Ballston. But from a long-term fiscal perspective, the “major development projects underway” do not justify her optimism.

New Ballston development projects are likely to be a fiscal net negative

As one commenter on last week’s Ballston story aptly summarized:

All of the new buildings in Ballston are residential or educational. The developers of approved (but unbuilt) commercial buildings in Ballston (including one in Liberty Center) are in the process of or have received approval of site plan amendments that permit them to construct residential buildings on their sites.

The long-term fiscal impact of each of these new, large Ballston residential buildings is likely to be a net negative for Arlington’s budget. The total costs of new school seats, parks, and all other public infrastructure required to serve the added residential population in each building are likely to exceed substantially the new tax revenues that each project and its new residents will generate.

Examples of studies elsewhere that document this likely net-negative outcome include:

  • Counting the Costs of Growth (Albemarle County/Charlottesville)
  • The Fiscal and Economic Impacts of Stafford County’s Proposed 2008 and 2010 Comprehensive Plans
  • A Meta-Analysis of Cost of Community Service Studies (“We find clear support for the common perception that residential land uses tend to have ratios greater than one, while commercial/industrial and agricultural/open-space land uses tend to have ratios less than one.”)

Unlike its neighbors, Arlington fails to prepare short-term and long-term fiscal impact analyses of projects like those approved for Ballston

Neighboring jurisdictions like Fairfax and Loudoun counties use some form of project-specific fiscal impact assessments as part of their review processes. Even though these jurisdictions use a proffer system rather than a special exception/site-plan system, the benefits to policy-makers and the public of having project-specific fiscal impact assessments are common to all of us.

Falls Church City has utilized fiscal impact analyses for years, and has a detailed description of its model.

Caveats: Other jurisdictions’ models often don’t include capital costs or assess environmental impacts or quantify a value for natural space. A new branch of economics — environmental economics — provides new models that help to establish a monetary value for open space and the natural infrastructure.

Arlington should adopt project-specific fiscal impact statements

The Community Facilities Study Group’s (CFSG) Final Report  contained this Recommendation No. 12:

Add an economic and fiscal impact section to private development (special exception/site plan and Form Based Code) project staff reports to provide information on the costs (e.g. the projected service demands and other costs to the community) and benefits (e.g. the taxes and other economic benefits) likely to be generated by a proposed project.

Why hasn’t Arlington County adopted CFSG Recommendation No. 12?

Conclusion

Both short-term and long-term planning must include a fiscal component.

Arlington should adopt fiscal planning tools like those long-since used by its neighbors.

by Chris Teale September 7, 2017 at 1:00 pm 0

More than 30 people protested Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ arrival on the Arlington campus of George Mason University on Thursday morning.

Protestors outside where she made her announcement accused her of “protecting rapists” and failing to protect the most vulnerable, and the survivors of sexual assault.

“After a week of disgusting announcements, this is going to be the worst of them,” said GMU graduate Rodrigo Velasquez, adding that there is “no legal or moral argument for rolling back protections for our most vulnerable.”

DeVos announced a plan to rethink the government’s enforcement of Title IX and federal regulations of sexual assault policies on college campuses. During her speech, per reporters inside, DeVos said she would implement a public comment period to gather feedback on it.

DeVos reportedly added that she would look to follow “due process” in enforcement of Title IX, and that the “era of rule by letter is over.” She said she would not change federal guidelines yet, nor the so-called “Dear Colleague” letter that gave colleges that receive federal money guidelines on how to report alleged sexual assaults, but it is under review.

Protestors carried signs attacking DeVos and President Trump, as well as sharing personal stories of sexual assault on college campuses. The crowd regularly broke out into chants of “Stand with survivors,” “Stop protecting rapists” and “Stop Betsy DeVos” throughout.

And when one protestor got word through social media that the protests could be heard in the auditorium where DeVos was speaking, enormous cheers, jeers and whistles broke out, as well as chants of “Can you hear us?”

Protestors promised that their fight is just beginning, and urged those looking on to speak in support of current regulations.

“We will not go back to a time when survivors go back into the shadows,” Velasquez said. “So let’s make sure Betsy DeVos hears this.”

The protestors dispersed around 1 p.m., after the conclusion of DeVos’ speech.

by Progressive Voice September 7, 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 John Grant

Labor Day is in the rearview mirror, students are back in school, and football is in the air. Fall is here and — since we live in Virginia where we have elections every year — that means we have another election in just a few short weeks.

On November 7, the eyes of the nation will be on Virginia as we elect our next Governor. This will be the first major statewide election since the 2016 Presidential election.

If you’re disheartened or angered by what’s happening across the Potomac River, you have a chance to send a message to America — and the world — by making sure we send the right person to the Governor’s mansion.

I believe Dr. Ralph Northam is the right person for the job. He’s a pediatric neurologist who also served as a U.S. Army physician from 1984-1992. He is also our current Lt. Governor, having previously served two terms in the Virginia State Senate.

Dr. Northam has the right experience to keep Virginia moving forward and continue the great work of Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D). He has worked side by side with McAuliffe in strengthening and diversifying Virginia’s economy — particularly in communities like Arlington that have substantial federal spending as part of their local economy.

Dr. Northam is a thoughtful listener and a pragmatic problem solver. Given what we’re all seeing on the news every day, doesn’t that sound like a breath of fresh air?

My grandmother always said you can tell a lot about people by the company they keep. Dr. Northam’s endorsements show that his agenda and his values fit well with Arlington — the Virginia League of Conservation Voters, NARAL Pro Choice Virginia, the Virginia Education Association, the Virginia Professional Firefighters and Equality Virginia are some of many organizations endorsing Dr. Northam’s candidacy. Ralph’s company is Arlington’s company.

Dr. Northam grew up on the Chesapeake Bay. Stewardship of our natural heritage is in his DNA. In his time in Richmond, Dr. Northam has taken steps to combat the climate crisis, promote the new energy economy and the jobs it creates, and advance clean energy solutions.

Dr. Northam’s vision for our environment stands in stark contrast to the efforts by Ed Gillespie to take Virginia backwards in terms of energy production. That led Tom Perriello to recently highlight the importance of electing Ralph Northam in this piece on Blue Virginia.

I know a lot of people are just realizing we have an election this year. There’s plenty of time to do your homework. You can learn a lot more about Dr. Northam here. I believe you’ll agree with me that Dr. Northam is the right person to stand up for Arlington values in Richmond.

While you’re learning more about Ralph Northam, keep in mind that Virginia Democrats also have great candidates for Lt. Governor (Justin Fairfax) and Attorney General (Mark Herring). Their values and positions on the issues also align with the majority of Arlingtonians.

Here are a few things you can do right now:

1) Make sure you’re registered to vote. Moved recently? New to the Commonwealth? Out of town on Election Day? You have until Monday, October 16 to update your registration and until Tuesday, October 31 to request an absentee ballot. I know we’re all busy, so consider this your five-week warning. You can find information about voting in Arlington here.

2) Out of town on Election Day? You have until October 31 to request an absentee ballot. Or you can vote in-person absentee at Courthouse Plaza starting on Friday, September 22.

3) Feeling fired up and ready to go? You can volunteer via the Arlington Democrats or via the Northam campaign here.

John Grant is a past Chair of the Arlington County Transportation Commission. He lives in Nauck with his wife, toddler and Alaskan Malamute.

by ARLnow.com Sponsor September 7, 2017 at 11:35 am 0

It’s not quite a Grand Opening, but it is a big step and a new beginning for Dr. Ujjwal Shakya and the staff of MMA & Sports Rehab in South Arlington.

After almost 3 years of building a patient population inside Pentagon Mixed Martial Arts at 1041 S. Edgewood Street — near Columbia Pike — Dr. Shakya has moved his physical therapy practice two doors down to his own clinic at 1033 S. Edgewood on the same street.

Dr. Shakya says the clinic treats more than just the MMA competitor or athlete. “About 5 to 10 percent of our patients are MMA athletes,” he says. “Most patients have a number of sports-related injuries, chronic pain syndrome and acute pain/injuries from everyday activities.”

It helps that Dr. Shakya active in sports, which clearly helps him understand injuries specific to athletes. He has been practicing martial arts, particularly Muay Thai, for the last six years and plays cricket for the DC Royal Cricket Club locally.

Dr. Shakya believes that the clinic has experienced rapid growth and positive feedback because of widespread word-of-mouth referrals, evident by the sincere and abundant praises on Yelp, Google Plus and other social media platforms. He wholeheartedly appreciates patients for their kind words about his services.

The MMA & Sports Rehab practice includes multi-disciplinary approaches to disorders of general orthopedic, vestibular (balance), neurological and sports nature. Patients are likely to experience any combination of therapeutic exercises, Kinesio taping, soft tissue mobilization, Myofascial Release, Blood Flow Restriction training, Dry Needling and other manual therapies.

Dr. Shakya says, “We perform various manual therapy techniques along with specific therapeutic exercises, and patient education is a big part of our practice. We focus on a combination of excellent patient service, focused and effective therapy.”

But perhaps most crucially, Dr. Shakya sees a patient not as a single complaint to fix, but as a comprehensive and holistic person. “We see the patient as a whole person rather than just a pain in the neck or a low back ache,” he says.

For instance, he says, if the complaint is an ailing ankle, “We address the hip, the knee and the core. The patient is a full person, not just an ankle. I try to find the source of the symptoms, the source of the pain.”

Dr. Shakya, who is originally from Nepal, has the unique distinction of being one of the few physical therapists he knows of with double-doctorates: Doctor of Physical Therapy and Doctor of Manual Therapy, in addition to being a Board Certified Sports Specialist.

There are more credentials, and you can see them on the clinic’s website.

The transition from the gym setting to the clinic setting affords patients with opportunities for relief in both locations as Shakya’s practice continues to have access to Pentagon MMA.

The bottom line on the expansion of the business into its own clinic says something about the care and treatment patients experience at MMA & Sports Rehab. “Our patients have continued to support us and we are proud to provide exceptional care with expertise,” the doctor says.

For more information about MMA & Sports Rehab, see the website here, call 703-884-7084 or email at [email protected]. The preceding was sponsored by MMA & Sports Rehab and written by Buzz McClain.

by Chris Teale September 7, 2017 at 10:45 am 0

(Updated 2:10 p.m.) After months of anticipation, the successor to the former RiRa Irish Pub in Clarendon will open its doors tomorrow (Friday).

Wilson Hardware’s soft opening at 2915 Wilson Blvd will begin at 5 p.m. Friday, with happy hour from 5-7 p.m., according to an event listing. It will open at the same time on Saturday as well, with a DJ to perform on both nights from 10 p.m. until close.

Anyone wanting to make dinner reservations for Friday or Saturday can now do so online.

“The team has been working hard create a beautiful, multi-level space for everyone’s enjoyment,” an invite to the soft opening reads. “Guests can anticipate bold fixtures, textured artwork and a unique experience in the new eclectic venue.”

The new 7,000-square-foot bar and lounge has three distinct bar areas, including one on the roof. Inside and outside are motifs and murals.

Food to be served will include Hardware fritters, crab dip and panzerotti, which is crisp-fried pizza dough stuffed with cheeses and marinara sauce. The menu will also feature avocado burgers with grass-fed beef, duck confit with roasted vegetables, steak frites and pan-seared salmon with saffron mashed potatoes.

Many of the drinks will reference the Virginia Hardware store, which occupied the space from the early 1960s until 2005. The cocktail menu will feature signature drinks such as the “Blueprint,” a mix of rosé, vodka, cantaloupe, lemon, ancho chile and mint; the “Adjustable Wrench” made with bourbon, rum, vanilla and chocolate bitters and the “Bright Idea,” a shareable cocktail for two.

Work to renovate and build out the space began last year.

“We’re so excited for everyone to finally see our vision for Wilson Hardware to come to life,” co-owner Jad Bouchebel said in a statement. “We know Arlingtonians will be pleasantly surprised when they see how we’ve revamped the space into an elegant new restaurant and bar.”

Photos No. 2, 4-6 via Instagram.

by Chris Teale September 7, 2017 at 9:55 am 0

A new beauty store is set to move to Pentagon Row, reportedly as early as next spring.

Ulta Beauty is opening a 10,000-square-foot store at 1101 S. Joyce Street, replacing the Vitamin Shoppe and Lime Fresh Mexican Grill. The store will be close to Harris Teeter and Bed Bath & Beyond.

Washingtonian magazine reported late last month it will open in spring 2018. As of Thursday, construction crews were hard at work on the space.

Ulta offers a wide range of beauty products, including brands like Urban Decay, Nars and MAC. It also offers services like facials, eyebrow waxing and hair styling.

Already, Ulta has stores nearby in Bailey’s Crossroads, Springfield and Northeast Washington. Its online careers portal notes several open positions at the planned Pentagon Row store.

Ulta is one of a number of businesses that have opened or are opening at Pentagon Row in the coming months. Signs nearby welcome the arrivals of the F45 Training gym, Club Pilates, Aabee Kabob, a Deli and Basic Burger.

Basic Burger, a Shake Shack-eque burger restaurant, opened its first location in Courthouse last year.

by ARLnow.com September 7, 2017 at 8:55 am 0

ACPD Sending Supplies to Houston — The Arlington County Police Department is sending relief supplies to Houston Police, “who have been tirelessly serving those affected by Hurricane Harvey,” the department announced yesterday in a tweet. [Twitter]

More on County Board Debate — At Tuesday night’s Arlington Civic Federation debate, the two independent candidates blasted the County Board for supposedly being too pro cozy with business interests. Charles McCullough “several times ripped the county government for extending millions of dollars in ‘payola and corporate welfare’ in an effort to win economic-development successes,” while Audrey Clement “portrayed Arlington leaders as sharing a matrimonial bed with the development community, rubber-stamping new projects to reap the tax revenue they generate.” [InsideNova]

Arlington Encouraging Vanpools — Arlington County, via its Arlington Transportation Partners program, is encouraging commuters to join a vanpool, touting savings of up to $10,000 a year compared to solo commuting. [Arlington Transportation Partners]

Arlington Free Clinic Women’s Health Program — Grants from the Susan G. Komen foundation are funding a women’s health program at the Arlington Free Clinic and in turn saving the lives of breast cancer patients who otherwise could not afford their healthcare costs. Among those who beat breast cancer with the clinic’s help is one of its employees, a mother of three who found a lump while attending a breast health event in 2003. [WJLA]

Nearby: Rabid Raccoon Found — A raccoon found in an Alexandria park has tested positive for rabies. [Patch]

Flickr pool photo by Vandiik

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