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by Chris Teale October 31, 2017 at 4:15 pm 0

A multi-vehicle crash closed two southbound lanes of I-395 at the start of the evening rush hour today (Tuesday).

Police closed the center and left southbound lanes after the crash at around 3:45 p.m. near Mile Marker 7, just north of the Glebe Road exit. Cars could still get by slowly in the two right-hand lanes.

Backups were already reaching as far north as the Pentagon just after 4 p.m. Drivers in the area should expect delays.

by ARLnow.com October 31, 2017 at 3:45 pm 0

(Updated at 5 p.m.) A nearly $1.8 million home in Clarendon may be subject for forfeiture to the federal government as a result of the case against former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort.

A 12-count indictment of Manafort, accusing him of laundering money and failing to register as a foreign lobbyist, details his alleged transfer of money from overseas shell companies to buy cars, luxury goods and expensive real estate.

Among the properties is a home on the 1000 block of N. Edgewood Street, adjacent to to Green Pig Bistro and steps from the heart of Clarendon. Arlington County property records show the house, first built in 1920, was purchased in September 2012 for $1.9 million and is currently assessed at just over $1.75 million. Manafort’s daughter, Andrea, is listed as the owner.

The indictment alleges that the home was purchased with money transferred from a shell company in Cyprus and seeks its forfeiture, along with the forfeiture of three Manafort-linked properties in New York.

Another official involved in President Trump’s campaign, Rick Gates, was also named in the indictment, as part of the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

by ARLnow.com October 31, 2017 at 3:30 pm 0

Updated 3:50 p.m. — The fire has been extinguished and units are starting to clear the scene.

Firefighters are on scene of a possible fire in an office building on the 2500 block of Crystal Drive.

Initial reports suggest smoke has filled an elevator lobby in the building, which houses Defense Department offices. The building has been evacuated while firefighters investigate the source of the smoke.

Police have closed Crystal Drive between 23rd and 26th streets as a result of the fire department activity.

File photo

by Chris Teale October 31, 2017 at 2:30 pm 0

Two neighbors of a planned child care center on Lee Highway filed a lawsuit in Arlington Circuit Court this month to try and stop it opening.

The suit, filed by N. McKinley Street residents Francisca Ferro and Cornelius James Coakley who live right behind the property, is against the proposed Little Ambassadors Academy, which is planning to open at 5801 and 5901 Lee Highway. The Arlington County Board approved the plan at its September meeting.

Little Ambassadors, which already operates two child care centers on Lee Highway, is planning to open another facility that would have space for up to 155 children aged 20 months to 5 years old.

The center would be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and have its rear parking lot converted into an outdoor playground, while the loading area next to N. McKinley Street would be modified to have 20 parking spaces.

But in a complaint filed on October 18, the pair allege that the child care facility will negatively affect parking, traffic congestion and noise in the neighborhood, especially for local residents.

“The Special Use Permit materially impacts Petitioners in a way that is different from the impact on to the general public, by greatly increasing traffic and safety concerns in the vicinity of their residences as a result of the expanding the number of cars permitted to traverse and park in the area,” the complaint reads.

The complaint against the County Board and Little Ambassadors rests on four claims.

First, they allege that the Board did not give neighbors sufficient notice that a hearing on the planned child care facility would be taking place.

By law, those nearby must be given at least five days’ written notice, but Ferro and Coakley said they only heard about the hearing on September 14, two days before it was scheduled to be heard by the County Board.

Second, the pair argue that the County Board broke the Dillon Rule, which limits the power of local government by leaving it up to the state government to delegate powers to localities.

Third, the complaintants say that in having the county Department of Human Services decide on the maximum number of children that can attend, and by having the county Zoning Administrator approve the center’s parking plan, the County Board did not have the power to delegate those tasks and should have done it themselves.

Fourth, the pair also dinged the Board for an “unreasonable exercise of legislative function” in approving the center, meaning it should not have been approved, and said the center’s parking plan violates the county’s Zoning Ordinance.

Arlington zoning calls for one parking space on site for each staff member at a child care center, with one parking space also provided for every 10 children that attend. The complaint says the 20 on-site spaces and four off-site spaces do not add up to enough parking.

In May, the Board added a staff member to the Dept. of Community, Planning, Housing and Development to suggest changes to Arlington’s zoning ordinance to help child care centers open.

At the time, Board vice chair Katie Cristol told ARLnow that “our biggest obstacles are within the zoning ordinance in terms of the number of parking spaces required by childcare centers or the amount of indoor vs. outdoor space.”

No hearing date has yet been set for the case.

Photos No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 via Google Maps

by ARLnow.com October 31, 2017 at 1:30 pm 0

The Arlington neighborhood tradition of Halloween parades continued today on a picture-perfect fall day.

Among the neighborhoods and schools hosting parades was Abingdon Elementary in Fairlington. Led by the Wakefield High School marching band, with rolling road closures courtesy of the Arlington County Police Department, hundreds of students and teachers marched down local streets as parents and residents snapped smartphone photos and cheered them on.

Among the crowd were ghouls, goblins and even raccoons.

One costume standout were small, paper mache versions of the Washington Nationals racing presidents. It took parent Catherine Ladd five weeks to custom-make the costumes for her sons and their Little League friends.

“It required the coordination of other parents… and taking over her first floor for over a month with the multiple figures in various stages of the design process,” Ladd said of the effort.

Dressed as George, Tom, Abe, Bill, Herbie and Teddy, the “petite” presidents batted cleanup near the end of the parade.

by ARLnow.com Sponsor October 31, 2017 at 12:30 pm 0

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

Question: I’m the Treasurer at [redacted Condo Association] and we’re working on the 2018 budget. What’s a good way for us to save money in the budget without compromising the health and maintenance of the building?

Answer: As a former Condo Board Treasurer, I feel the pain that this time of year brings, so I’m happy to offer some advice that helped me finding savings while I oversaw the budget and has helped other Associations do the same… review your Master Insurance Policy. I know, it’s not the most exciting answer, but your insurance policy is likely a top three expense on your balance sheet every year and if you haven’t reviewed it lately, there’s a good chance you can cut the cost by 5% or more and probably improve your coverage at the same time.

I’m not an expert in insurance so, I asked Andrew Schlaffer, Vice President at USI Insurance Service’s Community Association Practice (www.USI.com) to provide some details on what Board’s should look for when they do a review of their Master Policy. If you’d like to discuss a review with Andrew directly, you can reach him at 703.205.8764 or [email protected]. Take it away Andrew…

Pillars Of Insurance Reviews

Condo insurance reviews require a holistic approach, so it’s important to break the cost into a few distinct categories: insurance premium, deductible expense and out-of-pocket costs. To effectively accomplish long-term savings, all three of these categories need to be considered and addressed with a qualified insurance professional.

Adjust Coverage Responsibly To Save On Premium

Premium is certainly a factor to consider during the insurance selection process; however, available insurance products differ significantly. Coverages and services should be very carefully analyzed and compared. While omitting various coverages will save premium dollars, it might also result in substantially increased costs to the Association for out-of-pocket expenses related to uncovered claims.

It is critical to work with a professional who understands local insurance needs and can adjust your insurance program in a way that maximizes premium savings while maintaining adequate insurance coverage. Some coverages may be required by statute and/or Association documents, so cutting required coverage exposes the board to unwanted risk.

Deductibles Based On Loss History

Associations with strong financials often choose to increase their property deductibles which can provide immediate savings of 2-5%. Deductibles range from $2,500 to $25,000+. When considering deductibles, it is important for the Association to review their loss history and the loss history of comparable buildings in an effort to obtain an accurate estimate for deductible expenses.

Rate Shopping

The most common strategy employed by Associations seeking lower insurance costs is to shop their carrier. An Association can accomplish this in several ways but generally their appointed broker can offer alternative carriers in an effort to obtain the most competitive rates possible. Make sure your broker has access to all of the competitive markets in order to maximize the likelihood of finding savings. (more…)

by Chris Teale October 31, 2017 at 11:30 am 0

Arlington County should begin planning soon for the long-term growth in the use of driverless cars on its streets, says a local transportation expert.

The county has been on the forefront of research into autonomous vehicles. In August, a car that appeared to be driverless was spotted on the streets of Courthouse and Clarendon.

The following month, car company Ford revealed it was behind the vehicle’s presence, as it was partnering with the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute to test signalling technology and people’s reactions. (A human driver disguised as a seat was actually behind the wheel).

CNBC reports that Ford plans to bring autonomous vehicles to a test market next year, while the CEO of chip manufacturer Nvidia said fully autonomous cars will be on the roads in “no more than four years.”

And with the technology continuing to be refined, the time is now to start planning for a future with more and more autonomous cars on the streets of Arlington, according to Diana Mendes of HNTB Corporation, an architecture and civil engineering consultancy firm with an office in Shirlington.

“Arlington is a very special place,” Mendes said. “There’s a lot of thought given to land use and community and how communities are designed. It’s not too soon to start thinking about those changes so that you have the benefit of being able to reflect and then be proactive as opposed to trying to play catch-up when things start happening that you may or may not think fit with the character of the place you want to be.”

To do it, Mendes said elected officials, staff and other stakeholders must look to the future and explore how government policy and physical infrastructure can be put together. That could include making sure that the likes of crosswalks and stop lights interact with the autonomous cars to enhance everyone’s safety, or exploring how street layouts can change to adapt to the new technology.

“I think the local planning processes, community planning and master planning as well as regional transportation planning processes is a good place to start,” Mendes said. “You have your short-term improvements, but maybe we now should be spending a little more energy in those longer-term improvements to we’re not solving yesterday’s problems tomorrow. That’s the right place to start.”

But while there are planning decisions to be made, Mendes said, it will be exciting to see how the technology of autonomous cars evolves. Potentially, she said, driverless vehicles will become less like the cars we are familiar with today and may be designed to be more suited for people to get work done on the road.

“These could be portable spaces dedicated to different functions that enable people to recoup time that they would have otherwise lost in more traditional forms of travel,” she said. “I think that changes the landscape dramatically.”

by ARLnow.com October 31, 2017 at 10:30 am 0

The following letter was written by Pat and Doreen Cappelaere, residents of Ellicott City, Md., regarding an event at Arlington National Cemetery this coming Saturday afternoon.

Our daughter, Valerie Cappelaere Delaney, achieved her dream of becoming a U.S. Navy fighter pilot and earned her Wings for Gold in February 2012.

Just a year later, at age 26, Valerie’s life was cut short when the EA-6B Prowler jet she was piloting crashed in a field near Spokane, Wash., during one of her last training flights prior to deployment. We were devastated, but soon realized that Valerie’s wings and her legacy would take flight in ways we could have never imagined.

At Valerie’s funeral, over 200 female military aviator wings from around the world were presented to our family in honor of her service and sacrifice, and in celebration of the strength and sisterhood of female aviators.

This impressive collection is now on display as part of the Wings for Val Exhibit at the Women’s Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery and became the inspiration for us to start the Wings for Val Foundation. The Foundation’s mission is to support and promote women in all fields, especially in the military and in aviation, and to inspire future generations of female leaders.

On November 4, we will be hosting a free event at the Women’s Memorial where a very special set of wings will be added to the collection from “Shutsy” Reynolds (see video below), one of approximately 1,000 Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) who flew military aircraft during World War II.

The event will also feature guest speaker, Erin Miller, the campaign leader for getting the law passed allowing her grandmother, WASP pilot Elaine Harmon, and other WASP to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.  We hope that you will consider helping us grow our mission by joining us at our upcoming event. Details can be found at www.wingsforval.org. 

Pat and Doreen Cappelaere
Ellicott City, MD

ARLnow.com occasionally publishes letters about issues of local interest. To submit your thoughts for consideration, please email [email protected]. Letters may be edited for content and brevity.

by Chris Teale October 31, 2017 at 9:30 am 0

A fast-casual Greek restaurant is set to move into a shopping plaza in the Colonial Village neighborhood near Rosslyn.

The Simple Greek will arrive at 1731 Wilson Blvd, according to signs posted on the long-vacant storefront. It will be between the Guajillo Mexican restaurant and the Beangood! Coffee Pub, in the former Virginia ABC store space.

According to its website, the restaurant “is redefining the traditional Greek restaurant with an interactive concept that combines high quality ingredients, open kitchens and Greek atmosphere in a fast casual setting.”

Customers build their own meal by ordering from a combination of proteins, toppings and sauces, with sides, drinks and desserts also available. A Greek yogurt can also be built, with various sweet and savory options.

Already, The Simple Greek has 15 locations in Pennsylvania, Texas, Illinois, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Kentucky, Ohio, Florida and Arizona.

More are set to come in Florida, New Jersey, Texas, Indiana, Connecticut, North Carolina and Rhode Island. The Arlington location will be the first in Virginia.

Representatives with The Simple Greek did not respond to questions on an opening date. So far, no permitting applications have been filed with the county.

by ARLnow.com October 31, 2017 at 8:30 am 0

New Protected Bike Lane — The stretch of Army Navy Drive between S. Joyce Street and Army Navy Country Club, near Pentagon City, has a received a new, protected bike lane. “Both the protected lane and the buffered bike lane enhance bicycle safety and connectivity in the area, and also serve to narrow the relatively wide street and calm vehicle speeds,” county transportation officials said. [Arlington County]

Runner With Cerebral Palsy Training for Marathon — Arlington resident Jamie Watts, a regular at local 5K and 10K races, is now training hard for the New Jersey Marathon in April. Watts, who has cerebral palsy, runs with a cane and is being allowed to start the race early. [WUSA 9]

Rosslyn-Based Home Builder Purchased — CalAtlantic Group, a large national home builder based in Rosslyn, is being acquired by Lennar Corp. to form the nation’s largest home builder. [Associated Press]

Top 3 Developments in Crystal City — Bisnow has ranked the top three developments in Crystal City and come up with this list, from first to third: JBG’s proposed Central District development; Lowe’s planned 2351 Jefferson Davis Hwy residential tower; and the Long Bridge Park Aquatics Center, which is still in the design phase. [Bisnow]

County Seeks Design Nominations — “Arlington County’s biennial design awards program, DESIGNArlington, is now accepting submissions for great design in new construction, renovations, additions or adaptive re-use projects. Established in 2009, DESIGNArlington seeks to highlight excellence and diversity in the County’s built environment.” [Arlington County, PDF]

Flickr pool photo by Jason OX4

by Chris Teale October 30, 2017 at 4:15 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.

Tuesday

Theodore Roosevelt Program *
Arlington Hilton Hotel (905 N. Stafford Street)
Time: 6-9 p.m.

A Theodore Roosevelt Salute to President Lincoln, sponsored by the Lincoln Group of D.C.Joe Wiegand as Theodore Roosevelt will deliver a salute to the president he most admired. Teddy will greet guests, then take questions after his address.

Friday

For The Love of All Things Italian *
St. George’s Episcopal Church (915 N. Oakland Street)
Time: 7:30-9 p.m.

The Vivaldi Project performs works by members of the Bach family alongside those of Vivaldi, C.A. Campioni, Haydn and others in a chamber music concert on period instruments. Tickets cost $20 at the door, $10 for students.

Tom Arnold Live
Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse (2903 Columbia Pike)
Time: 7:30 and 10 p.m.

Film and television star Tom Arnold brings his stand-up show to the Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse, having won awards as a writer, producer and actor. Arnold will also perform on Saturday, November 4 a 7 p.m. and 10 p.m.

Saturday

Educational Theatre Company’s Fall Celebration *
Barcroft Community House (800 S. Buchanan Street)
Time: 7-9 p.m.

Educational Theatre Company celebrates the kickoff of its 20th year with desserts, a live band, cash bar, face-painting and much more.ETC expands access to theatre for children, adults and senior citizens through participant-driven programming.

Clarendon Halloween Crawl
Clarendon Grill (1101 N. Highland Street)
Time: 1-9 p.m.

A chance to celebrate the spirit of Halloween while bar-hopping through Arlington’s most popular bars with thousands of people. Attendees get a souvenir haunted mug, cover-free access to Arlington’s best bars, drink  and food specials and more.

Seventh Annual Arlington Puzzle Festival
Arlington Central Library (1015 N. Quincy Street)
Time: 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

A celebration of words, logic, numbers and thinking, and a place to meet other puzzle fanatics. Participation is free for members of the Friends of the Arlington Public Library, with a suggested donation of $15 for non-members.

*Denotes featured (sponsored) event

by Chris Teale October 30, 2017 at 3:15 pm 0

Chester’s Billiards, Bar & Grill is no more after its landlord put its building in Nauck up for sale.

The billiards hall and neighborhood bar at 2620 Shirlington Road closed on Wednesday, October 25. Signs outside show the building, now abandoned, is up for sale. The Chester’s sign remains.

Chester’s had gone before the Arlington County Board on Tuesday, October 24 for a three-month review of its live entertainment permit. County staff had recommended before the meeting for a second time this year that the Board deny an extension of the permit.

But at the meeting, Rebecca Lewis, a managing member at Chester’s, said the building’s owner has decided to sell their property. Lewis said he did so because of the ongoing issues with the building’s elevator, which has led to criminal charges and will take more than $250,000 to fix.

Lewis also questioned staff’s data on calls to the Arlington County Police Department, as well as the violation of its ABC license. She said that several of the five police calls involved an employee who was caught embezzling funds and is now the subject of criminal proceedings, and said that there were people in the community who wanted to “sabotage the business.”

“It seems that there seems to have been, especially with the police department, a wanting to shut down this business,” Lewis said.

Adam Watson, a staffer at the county’s Department of Community, Planning, Housing and Development, also noted that Chester’s hosted two dance parties with 40-50 people despite not holding a permit to do so. In response, Lewis said that those events were music shows that did not qualify as dance events.

“It’s almost impossible to tell people when music is playing that they can’t move their bodies,” she said. “[We] never encouraged or had something that we called a dance event.”

In a brief statement to the Board, Chester’s manager David Breedlove stood by the bar’s arrest record, and said he was grateful to the police for their help.

“I want to thank the Arlington police department for setting me straight, but never, one time, was there an arrest at that bar,” he said. “Yes, there were problems down below.”

Board member Christian Dorsey said it is clearly “difficult” to run a business, but said he hoped the bar’s managers try again soon. In a unanimous vote, the Board denied an extension to the bar’s permit.

“Clearly this didn’t work out for you or the community, which is why we are where we are today,” Dorsey said. “But I certainly wish you luck in any future endeavors you are about to take.”

by ARLnow.com Sponsor October 30, 2017 at 2:30 pm 0

The following bi-weekly column is written and sponsored by Bark + Boarding, which provides a heart-centered and safe environment for your pets. Conveniently located at 5818-C Seminary Road in Bailey’s Crossroads, Bark & Boarding offers doggy daycare, boarding, grooming, walking and training services, plus in-home pet care.

Rae Patterson, Writer and Animal Enthusiast

The team at Bark & Boarding is committed to the well-being of your pet and of pets everywhere. That’s why we want to share some reasons we believe it is important to spay or neuter your animals.

To begin with, let’s answer the question, “Why is it such a big deal anyway?” The main problem humans try to combat by spaying and neutering is overpopulation. And the extent of that problem is quite extraordinary.

  • It is estimated that there are nearly 70 million stray dogs and cats living in the U.S.
  • Stray (abandoned or feral) animals suffer from unpredictable living conditions, lack of shelter, lack of sufficient food and water and high risk for illness, all due to overpopulation.
  • Stray animal overpopulation poses a threat to human welfare: It’s unsanitary, disrupts the natural environment and draws predatory animals like coyotes into populated areas.
  • There are an estimated 30-40 million stray (abandoned or feral) cats living in the U.S.
  • Approximately 5 million shelter animals are euthanized each year in the U.S.
  • At least 80% of those euthanized were healthy and could have been re-homed.
  • The estimated amount spent by U.S. humane organizations and animal control organizations combined reaches nearly $3 billion

A lack of commitment to spay and neuter pets is a leading cause in the overpopulation of unwanted animals. Even if your pet is an indoor animal, that doesn’t mean your pet won’t ever slip out. Dogs love to squeeze past your legs or dig under the fence to go for a run, and cats are experts at escape, especially when in heat.

It only takes once for your pet to produce an entire litter of babies. Consider this: A single cat has an average of 3-5 kittens. Don’t think she’s one and done. A cat will breed 2-3 per year if possible. Each of her kittens will be capable of reproducing another 3-5 kittens within 6 months.

Even if your cat only has one litter of 5 kittens, and each of her babies only has (or helps produce) one litter of 5 kittens, that’s 25 new cats that need homes within less than a year, just from your cat’s one-time excursion.

We know you’ll also be wondering spaying or neutering harms your pet. No, the surgery is safe. In fact, spay and neuter procedures provide health benefits for your animals. Females are protected from the common ailments of uterine infections and breast tumors; males are prevented from getting testicular cancer and some prostate problems.

Spaying and neutering can also help keep you and your pet both sane. Females won’t go into heat, a yowling and spraying frenzy that is unlikely to be a happy time for either of you. Males will be less driven to escape, less likely to engage in territorial spraying, and maybe a little less aggressive. (more…)

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

A man suspected of stabbing another man in Jennie Dean Park near Shirlington on June 20 has been arrested in California.

Jose Montano, 41, was arrested in Suisun City, which is about 50 miles northeast of San Francisco. United States Marshals Service, United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement and California Highway Patrol all assisted in the arrest, said Arlington County Police spokeswoman Ashley Savage.

Montano “is being held on no bond in California and the extradition process is pending.”

The weekday afternoon stabbing in June left an acquaintance of Montano bleeding heavily from his arm, according to police. He was transported to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries while Montano reportedly fled on a mountain bike.

by Chris Teale October 30, 2017 at 12:30 pm 0

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 Crystal City-based software startup that received an economic development grant from the Arlington County Board earlier this year has raised $6 million from investors.

Stardog Union, which moved to 1400 Crystal Drive last September, took on funding from venture capital firm Grotech Ventures, as well as existing investors Core Capital and Boulder Ventures. All three invest in software and technology companies.

The injection of cash came from the company’s Series A funding round, the first time startups receive investments from venture capital firms and the first time ownership is offered to those external investors.

Since raising its seed round of early investments in July 2016, Stardog has more than tripled its revenue and secured many recognizable companies as customers. That includes the likes of NASA, Oxford University Press and Bosch.

Stardog Union helps businesses bring together internal data from different sources. At the time of its county grant, CEO and co-founder Kendall Clark told ARLnow that while that process could take a large company like Samsung a week and use 30 people to collate all the data on, Stardog’s technology does the job in a matter of seconds.

“Stardog is uniquely solving the largest unsolved problem in enterprise IT: data silos,” said Steve Fredrick, general partner at Grotech Ventures, in a statement. “They’ve generated substantial traction including some truly amazing logos despite having raised very little capital and having done no marketing to date.”

Stardog received a Gazelle Grant earlier this year a Gazelle Grant, an incentive program from Arlington Economic Development to encourage fast-growing companies to locate in the county. It received $35,000 in return for creating 70 new full-time jobs at its Arlington office and leasing 3,500 square feet of office space.

“We had an incredible year of growth and are excited to have Grotech as a new partner to accelerate further,” Clark said in a statement. As part of the investment, Fredrick has joined Stardog’s board of directors.

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