Arlington Under Wind Chill Advisory

It’s going to be a dangerously frigid New Year’s Eve in Arlington and around the D.C. area.

The National Weather Service has issued a Wind Chill Advisory, warning of sub-zero wind chills after 9 p.m. New Year’s revelers should try to avoid spending too much time outdoors tonight.

More from NWS:



ARLnow Holiday Weekend Discussion

As the weekend approaches, Arlington County could be at risk of another dusting of snow.

Local crews and their VDOT colleagues have been pretreating roads due to the snow potential Saturday. The recent low temperatures may create slick conditions, officials warn.

Any snow is forecast to arrive overnight tonight, and VDOT is warning drivers to do the following:

  • If conditions are icy, avoid driving for safety. Otherwise, give yourself plenty of time to get to your destination and reduce speeds significantly.
  • Continue to check weather forecasts. Pavement and air temperatures have been below freezing all week.
  • Take it slow on bridges, ramps, and overpasses, and other known trouble spots.
  • Ensure gas tanks and windshield wiper fluid tanks are full, and always use your headlights.

In this shortened week, these were our most read stories:

  1. Longtime Pizza Restaurant Faccia Luna to Become ‘Alto Fumo’
  2. Crime Report: Man With Gun Holds Up Three Near Yorktown HS
  3. Firefighters Called to Hospital to Remove Ring from Man’s Genitals
  4. Fishing Store District Angling Now Open in Cherrydale
  5. Forecasters Warn of Potential for Morning Snow

And these received the most comments:

  1. Morning Notes (December 28)
  2. Progressive Voice: The Case for a Democratic Primary in Arlington in 2018
  3. Firefighters Called to Hospital to Remove Ring from Man’s Genitals
  4. ‘High Adventure’ Ropes Course Planned for Upton Hill Regional Park
  5. Crime Report: Man With Gun Holds Up Three Near Yorktown HS

We’ll be off on Monday, except in the case of breaking news, for New Year’s Day. ARLnow will return to our normal publishing schedule on Tuesday.

Between now and then, feel free to discuss anything of local interest in the comments. Have a great weekend and happy new year!

Flickr pool photo by Jim Havard


Ray’s Hell Burger ‘Hiatus’ in Rosslyn Appears Permanent

Months after going on an apparent and indefinite “hiatus,” Ray’s Hell Burger appears to be officially leaving Rosslyn.

The restaurant at 1650 Wilson Blvd is now available for lease, albeit with the Ray’s awnings and signs still up, including one noting the hiatus.

Earlier this year, the Washington Business Journal reported that owner Michael Landrum wanted out of his lease on the spot, across the street from the redeveloping Wilson School site. That storefront was across from the original Hell Burger, which was visited twice by then-President Barack Obama.

Customers can still visit a Ray’s Hell Burger on K Street NW in D.C., as well as Ray’s the Steaks at 2300 Wilson Blvd in Courthouse. The latter received renewed praise from Northern Virginia Magazine earlier this year as one of its 50 best restaurants of 2017.

Landrum declined to comment further.


Ride-Hailing App Sprynt Closed Until April

A free ride-hailing app in the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor will be closed until April, according to a message posted when customers try to hail a car.

Sprynt launched in June, promising free rides along the corridor in electric vehicles that look a bit like a stretched-out golf cart with doors.

It initially offered short jaunts around a handful of Orange Line corridor neighborhoods, including Ballston, Virginia Square, Clarendon, Courthouse and Rosslyn. Within five days, the iOS app had over 700 downloads.

But when an ARLnow reporter tried to hail a ride today (Friday), a message popped up that the service is “not currently operating. Normal operating hours today are closed. We will be back in April 2018!”

Sprynt staff did not respond to requests for comment, and there is no mention of a closure on its social media accounts or website. Its last Facebook post touted free rides during the holiday season.


Open Houses in Arlington This Weekend

Looking for a home? There are plenty of houses and condos open for viewing this weekend.

Check out the Arlington Realty website for a full list of homes for sale and open houses in Arlington. Here are a few highlights:

3536 Utah Street
5 bed/5 bath, 1 half bath single-family home
Agent: Elizabeth Twigg
Listed: $1,874,999
Open: Sunday 1-4 p.m.


401 Edgewood Street
5 bed/4 bath, 1 half bath single-family home
Agent: Keri Shull
Listed: $1,330,000
Open: Sunday 2-4 p.m.


4313 35th Street N
4 bed/4 bath, 1 half bath single-family home
Agent: Keri Shull
Listed: $1,249,900
Open: Sunday 2-4 p.m.


1110-D Stafford Street
4 bed/3 bath, 1 half bath villa/townhouse
Agent: Daniel Lesniak
Listed: $999,900
Open: Sunday 2-4 p.m.


737 Buchanan Street
4 bed/3 bath single-family home
Agent: Nathan Shapiro
Listed: $849,900
Open: Sunday 1-4 p.m.


601 Florida Street
3 bed/2 bath single-family home
Agent: Esther Camarotte
Listed: $680,000
Open: Sunday 1-3 p.m.


4079 Four Mile Run Drive , #303
1 bed/1 bath condo
Agent: Donna Baez
Listed: $327,900
Open: Sunday 2-4 p.m.


1111 Arlington Boulevard, #436
0 bed/1 bath single-family home
Agent: Keri Shull
Listed: $128,000
Open: Sunday 2-4 p.m.


Jen’s Kitchen Closing Today in Virginia Square

A deli and grocery store in Virginia Square will close today (Friday), but is expected to reopen next month.

A sign on the front door of Jen’s Kitchen (901 N. Nelson Street) said all its grocery items including beer and wine must go, with everything half-price.

But Jen’s is set to reopen in late January under new management, the sign reads.

The store between Starbucks and a dry cleaners, on the first floor of the Virginia Square Apartments and just feet from the neighborhood’s Metro station, sells hot food and fresh salad as well as breakfast, lunch and dinner.

It opened in 2015, replacing the former Metro Cafe and Gourmet.


Firefighters Called to Hospital to Remove Ring from Man’s Genitals

Being a firefighter can be unpleasant at times.

You often hear about the heroics of Arlington’s bravest when there’s a house fire or a bad car wreck. But you don’t hear about the little things — the “public service” calls to help vulnerable residents or the medical calls where people are in pain from all manner of cringeworthy afflictions.

One such incident occurred last night.

A rescue company was called to Virginia Hospital Center around 10:45 p.m. to assist with the removal of a ring that was around a man’s genitals. The ring was causing “extreme swelling” and medical personnel were unable to get it off on their own, according to scanner traffic.

The jewelry was removed and the patient was in “good condition” following the removal, but a fire department spokesman brushed it off as all in a day’s work.

“It’s nothing exciting,” said Capt. Ben O’Bryant. “Our Rescues have tools for getting body parts out of machinery and other things so when the ER can’t get a ring off, they call Rescue 104 to help them out.”


Morning Notes

Arlington Adding Winter Shelter Beds — In response to the frigid temperatures, Arlington County says it is expanding the number of hypothermia slots at the Courthouse area winter shelter for singles operated by A-SPAN, “adding 10 more to the current 25.” [Twitter]

Bicycle Beltway Proposal — “A new bicycle beltway is set to be endorsed by the region’s Transportation Planning Board in January. The full Outer Loop would be 45 miles long. The beltway would also have additional connections in the middle, through the heart of downtown D.C. along the National Mall.” [WTOP]

Father of Rep. Don Beyer Dies — “Donald S. Beyer, Sr., the patriarch of the storied Beyer family dynasty in Falls Church, died last Saturday two weeks before his 94th birthday.” [Falls Church News-Press]

Local NYE Bar Options — Looking for a place to ring in the new year in Arlington? Last month we published a sponsored list of five options along the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor that are still applicable. [ARLnow]

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf


Most-Read Arlington Stories of 2017 (#1-5)

We’ve reached the end of our countdown of the most-read Arlington stories of 2017.

Read on for the top five, including our most-read story of the year.

  1. Dozens of Dirt Bikes, ATV Rumbled Past Crystal City Last Night (23,996 views)

In at least the fourth such incident in Arlington County since 2015, dozens of dirt bike and ATV riders rumbled through Crystal City one Sunday evening in June. The riders followed Route 1, and that day were spotted in various parts of D.C., including downtown. A similar instance of ATV and dirt bike riders in Arlington occurred in April. In the aftermath of the April joy ride, D.C. resident Stephon Williams, 24, received a four-year jail sentence. 

  1. BREAKING: Yorktown High Teacher Charged with Indecent Exposure (24,512 views)

Yorktown High School history teacher Thomas Lenihan was charged in January with indecent exposure after allegedly exposing himself to two teenagers in the locker room of the Sport & Health Club on Greensboro Drive in Tysons Corner. Lenihan was placed on administrative leave.

  1. Arlington Resident Surprised to Find Anaconda in Toilet (32,175 views)

A Shirlington resident found a snake — a juvenile Yellow Anaconda, to be exact — in an apartment toilet in January. An Animal Welfare League of Arlington spokeswoman said the snake was likely someone’s pet that was either abandoned or escaped. No one was injured and the snake, named Sir Hiss, was safely removed from the apartment and taken to AWLA’s shelter. In September, the Arlington County Board banned residents from keeping various “wild and exotic” animals as pets, although they could keep non-venomous snakes.

  1. Police Tase Suspect in Pikachu Onesie During Brawl Outside A-Town Bar & Grill (37,116 views)

A wild fight outside A-Town Bar & Grill one Sunday night in March resulted in two suspects being tased by police, including one man who was brawling while wearing a Pikachu onesie. According to police, it started when the man in the Pikachu costume, Steven Goodwine, Jr., tried to pick a fight with the bouncers at A-Town after being kicked out. The incident came just days before a regular review of the bar’s permit by the County Board, and resulted in more regular Board reviews and more stringent regulations. But in June, things appeared to have calmed down at A-Town in its latest review, with no major incidents reported since.

  1. Public Fornication Leads to Police Altercation (261,530 views)

Our most popular story of the year came on March 24, as two homeless people were arrested after police interrupted their (allegedly) very public lovemaking in Rosslyn Highlands Park. Nicole Faircloth, 42, was arrested and charged with assault and battery on police and performing a sexual act in a public place, according to a crime report. Petko Ubiparipovic, 42, was arrested and charged with performing a sexual act in a public place. 

The eagle-eyed among you will notice that this article had more than 200,000 views more than No. 2 in our list.

That spike in traffic came after the article was picked up by the Drudge Report, a news aggregation website, and shared with its more-than 1 million Twitter followers.

In just a few months, it has become the most viewed article of all time on ARLnow.com, surpassing a 2015 morning poll asking if towing had become too predatory in the county and a 2014 piece on an Ebola scare at the Pentagon.

It’s been quite a year.


Just Listed in Arlington

Just Listed banner

Just Listed highlights Arlington properties that just came on the market within the past week. This feature is written and sponsored by Team Cathell, “Your Orange Line Specialists.”

Historically, the week between Christmas and New Years is the slowest of the year for real estate activity, and this week lived down to the expectation. Only 12 new listings hit the market, and buyers ratified only 16 contracts this week. For this posting, there are only a few new listings still active for your review.

A number of Arlingtonians have lined up at the county’s Treasurer’s office to prepay their 2018 property taxes so they can deduct them in their 2017 tax return before the new tax law goes into effect. But most likely they won’t get the deduction, and all they are accomplishing is providing the county with an interest free loan. That’s because the IRS this week issued an opinion that a deduction can only be taken if the municipality issues their 2018 assessments in 2017. Arlington won’t issue its property assessments until next month.

“A prepayment of anticipated real property taxes that have not been assessed prior to 2018 are not deductible in 2017,” the IRS said in its advisory on Wednesday.

The new tax bill caps the amount that tax filers can deduct in state and local income, sales and property taxes at $10,000, beginning next year.

Click to see all the fresh new inventory in MRIS and call Team Cathell (703-975-2500) when you find a home you like.


Hope Bill in Va. House Would Raise Grand Larceny Threshold

Del. Patrick Hope (D) proposed a bill in the Virginia House of Delegates to raise the minimum value of stolen money or goods that constitute a “grand larceny.”

Hope, who represents Arlington in the House of Delegates, filed HB 17 to raise the threshold from its current minimum of $200 to $500. Under current law, stealing goods or money worth less than $200 is a petit larceny.

Grand larceny, a felony, typically carries a sentence of at least a year in prison, while petit larceny is a misdemeanor so generally results in probation, fines or lesser prison sentences.

State Sen. David Suetterlein (R-Salem) has filed identical legislation — SB 105 — in the Virginia State Senate.

Earlier this year, research by the nonprofit Pew Charitable Trusts found that raising the threshold does not impact overall property crime or larceny rates, and that states that increased their thresholds reported “roughly” the same average decrease in crime as 20 states that did not.


Progressive Voice: The Case for a Democratic Primary in Arlington in 2018

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 Jill Caiazzo

With 2018 on the horizon, much of the political discussion is focused on the Congressional midterm elections. But the New Year brings another contest much closer to home: the 2018 Arlington County Board race featuring a Democratic challenger to incumbent John Vihstadt.

Assuming that more than one Democrat throws his or her hat into the ring (and three are already rumored), the voting members of the Arlington County Democratic Committee will select the method for nominating the Democratic candidate: a primary or a caucus. I plan to vote for a primary.

A primary has several key advantages over a caucus. Because a primary is run by the government, the full election apparatus of Arlington County applies to a County Board primary.

On Primary Day, all 54 polling locations in Arlington are open to voters for 13 hours. Absentee voting also is available to eligible voters, who can include military personnel stationed overseas, business travelers, the infirm, and their caregivers.

This well-run election apparatus greatly facilitates voter participation in a County Board primary. Even with the usual absolute best efforts, a caucus run by the local Democratic Party – with its limited voting hours, handful of locations, and lack of absentee voting – pales in comparison.

Equally important, voters also are more likely to know about a primary than a caucus, especially if the primary also features a contest for either Congressional midterm. This scenario is not far-fetched in 2018: members of Our Revolution (the offshoot of Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign) and other progressive groups are apparently recruiting challengers to U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine  (D) and Rep. Don Beyer (D).

Such a challenge (if brought to fruition) likely would be well-publicized, drawing more voters to the polls than would be expected from a County Board race alone.

To be sure, this greater number of voters creates practical problems for potential Democratic candidates for the County Board. A far greater level of effort – and fundraising – is required to campaign on a truly county-wide basis (as necessitated by a primary) than to campaign among the much smaller subset of voters who frequent Democratic caucuses.

More than 15,000 voters cast ballots in the County Board primary held in 2016, whereas less than 6,000 voters cast ballots in the County Board Democratic caucus held in 2017. Doubling the effort required to secure the Democratic nomination potentially can leave the victorious candidate exhausted and underfunded as he or she heads into the general election.

This challenge is particularly acute for candidates historically underrepresented in politics and government, who may start with fewer resources than candidates drawn from more established circles. For example, younger candidates seeking to bring greater millennial representation to the County Board may face difficulties raising significant funds from their personal networks.

Less established in their careers, they also may struggle to make the time necessary for a county-wide campaign. Yet, despite this challenge, the Arlington Young Democrats have been some of the most outspoken advocates for the use of primaries versus caucuses to select Democratic candidates.

Far from youthful hubris, this position reflects a canny understanding of this singular political moment. As a candidate, President Donald Trump understood the moment as well. It comes down to this: Americans are tired of feeling like the system is rigged against them.

Rightly or wrongly, a Democratic caucus — with its smaller scale, limited publicity appeal, and resulting diminished voting pool — is seen by many as rigged in favor of the Democratic establishment. Even the most worthy and consensus candidate who emerges victorious from a Democratic caucus is destined to bear that taint in the current political environment.

Given the choice between such a candidate and a battle-weary (and battle-tested) Democratic primary victor, I choose the latter. Neither option is perfect — and there are some advantages to caucuses — but it is far easier in this moment to overcome candidate and donor fatigue than to motivate a disaffected electorate.

Democrats need more than anti-Trump backlash to earn a victory, particularly for a local race focused more on housing affordability than the latest tweet storm.

A candidate who wins a primary featuring a broader set of voters than a caucus by offering positive ideas for tackling housing and other issues stands the best chance of attracting general election voters in this moment. That candidate also stands the best chance of inspiring the progressive activists who proved so effective in the 2017 general election for Governor. I will take those odds any day.

Jill Caiazzo is an Arlington resident and recently completed successful service as Co-Chair of the 2017 Arlington Joint Democratic Campaign. She is a candidate for Arlington County Democratic Committee Chair in an election to be held in January 2018.


Peter’s Take: Addressing Arlington County’s Challenges in 2018

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.

In last week’s column, I explained that the Arlington County government is forecasting that in 2040 Arlington will have 55,300 more residents than it does today.

I noted these challenges:

  • Where will they live?
  • How well will Arlington serve them and at what cost?

Last week, I summarized seven initiatives that the County Board should pursue in 2018 to address these challenges.

Today’s column summarizes eight more initiatives that the Board should undertake to plan for Arlington County’s 25 percent population growth.

Growth and Development

  1. Dedicated funding stream for Metro: Metro’s success is central to the future growth and development of Arlington. A new dedicated funding stream for Metro is critical for Metro’s success. Departing Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s (D) proposed package of reforms and new taxes has elements that seem promising. But, actually getting a new dedicated funding stream will require bipartisan support for tax increases from Republicans in Congress and in Richmond.
  2. Buck/VHC properties: The County Board (and APS) should utilize the Buck and Virginia Hospital Center properties (and any other parcels in a similar state of transition) as interim sites for school bus parking, flex/swing classroom space, infrastructure project staging areas, etc. Leaving such properties vacant and unused while spending years developing final community-based land use plans is imprudent in these fiscally challenging times.
  3. Permitting and Inspections: Finally fix this seriously-flawed process. What’s taking so long? What’s the deadline?

Fiscal Responsibility

  1. New accounting/budget software: Invest in a new, modern, reliable accounting/budget software system rather than continuing to spend large sums of money supporting Arlington’s outdated PRISM system (a legacy program that the vendor no longer supports). Allocate adequate funding to county staff training on the new accounting/budget system.
  2. Carryover surplus: In spring 2018, prior to the conclusion of deliberations over the FY 2019 operating budget, the County Board should direct the County Manager not to plan on spending any amount from any FY 2018 budget carryover surplus unless the proposed expenditure is for a genuine emergency. Instead, the Board should direct the Manager to defer any final decisions regarding what to do with any such surplus for consideration in Spring 2019.

Openness and Transparency

  1. Sexual harassment/youth protection training: The county (and Arlington Public Schools) need to provide the best available sexual harassment and youth protection training for all employees. The County and School Boards should act collaboratively and transparently to adopt the appropriate policies. D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) already has taken the regional lead on these issues.
  2. Focus new civic engagement resources on key priorities: The County Board should advise the County Manager that it wishes to focus the County government’s promising new civic engagement resources (headed by Bryna Helfer, Engage Arlington) to engage with Arlington residents on key priority choices which drive major amounts of budget dollars. E.g.: “We have enough money for Option A or Option B, but not both. Which do you prefer?”
  3. Adopt 72-hour rule: The County Board formally should adopt a comprehensive 72-hour rule for posting on its website key documents relating to decisions on the agenda for County Board meetings. Failure to comply with the rule should mean the decision must be deferred unless at least four Board members vote to waive the rule.


Arlington needs to demonstrate that it has fiscally-sustainable longer-term plans to accommodate its projected population growth.


Citizen Burger Bar Now Serving Brunch

Clarendon’s Citizen Burger Bar (1051 N. Highland Street) is now serving weekend brunch.

Citizen’s brunch menu includes egg benedicts, French toast, pancakes, mimosas, Tito’s Bloody Marys and more. That’s in addition to the usual staples like craft beer, grass-fed beef burgers and other locally-sourced food.

Bunch starts at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, 10 a.m. on Sunday, and run through 3 p.m. each day. CB will also be hosting a special New Year’s Day brunch this coming Monday, from 10 a.m.-3 p.m., following its no-cover NYE celebration.

Citizen’s brunch menu includes drink specials, including a new mimosa deal, the pricing of which is low enough that Virginia law prevents us from telling you about it.

The preceding was written by ARLnow and promoted by Citizen Burger Bar.


County: ‘Consult With a Tax Professional’ About Property Tax Prepayments

(Updated at 1:55 p.m.) Arlington County has collected some $11.5 million in property tax deposits for future years, according to Treasurer Carla de la Pava, but it’s unclear whether taxpayers will be able to deduct those prepayments from their 2017 federal taxes.

Following a ruling by the IRS yesterday, limiting deductions to property taxes assessed in 2017, the county issued a statement Thursday afternoon that made it clear that Arlington is unable to assess 2018 property taxes until the County Board sets the tax rate in April.

The Arlington County Treasurer’s Office and Arlington County have received multiple inquiries based on the statement issued by the Internal Revenue Service on December 27, 2017, concerning deductibility of the property taxes. Neither the Treasurer nor the County staff will be offering individuals advice on tax issues and suggest people consult with a tax professional for any IRS related questions.

Arlington County, through the Department of Real Estate Assessment issues real property tax assessments each year in mid-January. The assessments for Calendar Year 2018 will be completed in mid-January and mailed to residents at that time.

Bills for taxes owed for calendar year 2018 are generated by the Treasurer after a tax rate is set by the County Board in April.

Those bills are due and payable in two installments – by June 15 for the first portion, and October 5 for the second portion.

De la Pava says the tax office has been inundated with tax deposits this week, but the activity has slowed considerably since the IRS ruling.

Taxpayers hoping to save on their taxes before the $10,000 cap on state and local tax (SALT) deductions goes into effect next year have jammed the phone lines and the payment queues of the treasurer’s office. So far, $11.5 million in deposits have been made across more than 1,500 tax accounts, de la Pava said.

That includes some $4.5 million collected over a six hour span Wednesday, before the ruling, but it also includes $1.8 million collected today following the IRS determination.

De la Pava said that her office, which is roughly two-thirds staffed because of the holidays, handled 1,500 phone calls yesterday, while keeping wait times to around 30 minutes.

“It was crazy,” she told ARLnow.com. “They did the best they could.”

De la Pava and other county officials are being careful not to give federal tax advice to residents given the ongoing uncertainty.

“The only thing I can say is that the real estate assessments have not been made and will not be made in 2017,” she said.

Bobby Grohs of RLG Tax Advisors, an Arlington-based CPA firm, told ARLnow.com that the letter of the law suggests that deposits for Arlington property taxes will not be deductible.

“A prepayment of anticipated real property taxes that have not been assessed prior to 2018 is not deductible in 2017,” he said. “Since Arlington does their 2018 assessment in January, prepaying these taxes in 2017 will not permit you to take a deduction on your 2017 tax filings.”

But that has not stopped the tax deposits, which are continuing to flow in, though at a reduced rate. Some taxpayers believe that there will be lawsuits that may end up reversing the IRS ruling, we’re told.

Other D.C. area jurisdictions, meanwhile, are collecting prepayments that should be deductible under the IRS rules. Among them are the City of Falls Church and the District of Columbia, which have already assessed next year’s property taxes.


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