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County Crews Have Repaired Dozens of Water Main Breaks Since Mid-December

Arlington County crews have been working through holidays and frigid wind chill temperatures to repair dozens of water main breaks over the past three weeks.

Since Dec. 17, there have been 38 water main breaks, which have affected the water service of up to 1,500 residents, according to Arlington Dept. of Environmental Services spokeswoman Kathryn O’Brien. Five water main breaks happened New Year’s weekend, prompting crews to work through what is a holiday for many.

The county was especially swamped with water main repair calls this past weekend, the last hurrah of the recent Arctic cold snap. Of the 38 water main breaks over three weeks, 12 have occurred since Jan. 6. Of those, all but three have been successfully repaired, O’Brien said. (Three were still being repaired as of 3 p.m.)

DES officials say freezing temperatures create stress on water and sewer infrastructure, increasing the chance of leaks.

“When ground temperatures drop to the water main depth, the pipe material gets cold, but the water temp drops at a slower rate due to its movement,” explained Arlington Water, Sewer and Streets Bureau Chief Harry Wang. “Then the temperature difference of the pipe and water cause the contraction and expansion in the cast iron pipe because part of the metal was contracting due to cold soil and part was in water above freezing. Exceeding the tolerance results the cracks.”

Arlington has five repair crews — each with 5-6 members — available around the clock to repair water main breaks, O’Brien said, and they’ve been busy. However, they also have the gear and training to do their work in all conditions.

“Our crews work through all types of weather to repair water main breaks and ensure that residents have access to water regardless of the weather,” she said. “This means crews work through freezing temperatures, snow, rain and high winds. Crews have protective gear to stay warm and dry, take frequent breaks to warm up and follow other protocols to ensure their safety.”

Here are just a couple of the water main repairs taking place today:


So Far, No Reports of Major Icing Problems in Arlington

The threat of freezing rain has prompted early dismissals for students, government employees and private sector employees alike, but so far few if any problems have been reported in Arlington.

The early dismissals did create an early rush hour on local highways, as workers and students headed home, but here in Arlington roads and sidewalks remained passable and largely free of slick spots, despite a wave a sleet earlier this afternoon.

The precipitation is over for now, but more is possible this evening. A re-freeze is also threatening to make tomorrow’s morning commute treacherous.

The following tweets show activity during the two-hour-or-so span from the start of the sleet to the heaviest of the traffic.


Arlington Agenda: January 8-15

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, Jan. 8

Free Home Buyer Workshop *
Orange Line Living (1600 Wilson Blvd, Suite #101)
Time: 6-7:30 p.m.

Attend a free workshop for first-time home buyers that will delve into a comprehensive explanation of the home purchasing process and will include a $1,500 credit for future home purchases. The class is co-hosted by Orange Line Living and The Keri Shull Team.

Wednesday, Jan. 10

Arlington Committee of 100: Arlington’s Infrastructure *
Marymount University, Phelan Hall (2807 N. Glebe Road)
Time: 7-8 p.m.

Greg Emmanuel, director of the Dept. of Environmental Services, will lead a discussion on Arlington’s infrastructure needs, coming changes and future plans. An optional dinner is $28 for member and $30 for all others.

Thursday, Jan. 11

Piano Fight Club Show
Clarendon Grill (1101 N. Highland Street)
Time: 9 p.m.-1 a.m.

The duo, which touts “dueling pianos like you’ve never seen it before,” will hold its first show of the year at the bar and grill, which offers a full-service food menu in addition to live entertainment at night.

Sunday, Jan. 14

Martin Luther King, Jr.: The Man and the Mission
Wakefield High School Auditorium (1325 S. Dinwiddie Street)
Time: 5-6:30 p.m.

The Dept. of Parks and Recreation is hosting the county’s annual program to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. The program features musical and dance talent from Duke Ellington School of the Arts and spoken word artist Kim Miller.

Monday, Jan. 15

MLK Day of Service
Arlington Career Center (816 S. Walter Reed Drive)
Time: 8:30 a.m.-noon

Instead of taking the day off, make the holiday “a day on” by participating in a day of service led by Volunteer Arlington. Participants of all ages will select one service or training opportunity in the free program.

*Denotes featured (sponsored) event


Italo Frame Store Open in Clarendon

The new Ten at Clarendon apartment building at 3110 10th Street N. has its first open retail tenant: frame store Italo Frame.

Open for about two weeks, owner Nasir Ester said it has a wide selection of frames as well as deeper shadow boxes for several photographs or other memorabilia.

Ester said he has been involved in the framing business for over 30 years. He previously owned Alna Art & Framing in Alexandria. The new store has frames from across Europe of all different colors and materials.

“You bring it, I will frame it for you,” he said.

The store is on the building’s westernmost corner, across the street from Fire Station 4.


The Chew: Keep Your Pet Safe in the Cold

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.

Click here to check out our short (approx 60 second) video about this article!

By Colleen Corrigan, Writer and Animal Enthusiast 

Not only did Santa Claus come to town, but he also brought all the cold weather with him! While we focus on keeping our families safe and warm, don’t forget about the safety and welfare of your precious pet.

Here are some easy ways to keep your pet safe, happy and cozy in the cold:

  • Keep their paws free of road salt and ice:  Salt and ice on roads can irritate your dog’s feet and cause tummy troubles if ingested.  Clean their paws of caustic salt and ice when returning from a walk to avoid abrasions and discourage licking.  Bark + Boarding sells Kin + Kind Nose & Paw moisturizer, made with premium jojoba oil and shea butter, to keep paw pads soft and protect them against the cold weather elements.
  • Don’t forget the exercise:  Dogs need exercise year round, even in frigid temperatures. To maintain the physical and mental well-being of your four-legged friend, find some time for a quick run or game of fetch. If the weather is too cold, doggy daycare is the perfect answer! Bark + Boarding provides year-round doggy daycare so your pup can romp and play to his heart’s content in a temperature-controlled and supervised environment.
  • Don’t slack on grooming: Dogs whose coats get easily matted have a harder time drying out after being in the snow and cold rain. It’s a good idea to stick to your regular grooming schedule during the winter months for the comfort of your pooch.
  • Be mindful of time spent outdoors: Short-haired pets that have less natural insulation and short-legged pets who are closer to the ground will become colder more quickly. Additionally, elderly dogs and dogs with compromised immune systems may have a harder time regulating their body temperatures. Taking shorter, more frequent walks is a great solution for both humans and canines in sub-freezing temps.
  • Consider canine clothing:  For dogs that are not fortunate enough to have thick warm fur in the winter, or seem uncomfortable when the temperature drops, consider a dog sweater or coat for added warmth. It’s a great idea to have more than one garment handy so your pup never has to wear damp or wet clothing which can actually make him colder.
  • Hide the antifreeze:  Antifreeze is toxic and poisonous to animals. Pets are drawn to its sweet flavor and even small amounts can be lethal. Check under your vehicles for leaks and store antifreeze containers in a safe place.

We want our pets to be happy, safe and comfortable year round, and winter is no exception! For more tips and resources contact Bark + Boarding.

Mention this article for a FREE evaluation and click here to sign up for one today! If you have a question about your pet, feel free to come in, or email [email protected].


New App Festi Helps People Host, Attend and Pay for Private Events

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 phone application that launched last year is already helping more than 500 people in and around Arlington to go to and host private events.

Festi launched for Beta testing in May 2017, and is available on both iOS and Android. It allows people to host private events like yoga lessons or tell anyone nearby that they are selling homemade cookies. Hosts can then charge an admission fee through the app, and accept or reject anyone who signs up to come.

Anyone with a profile can follow their friends’ activity, like social media, and sign up for an event that interests them. Like ride-hailing apps Uber and Lyft, they can store credit card information for a quick-pay option, while events are also on offer for free.

Founder Rita Ting-Hopper, a Clarendon resident, said that it goes further than existing software like Meetup, which is for more public events attended by many people, rather than smaller gatherings.

“We’re talking about having a poker night at your house or baking cookies or a private dinner or a rooftop happy hour with just a few people,” she said. “I think the concept of Meetup is more for public and larger groups, and this is more personal.”

And included in the app is a feature to allow guests to communicate privately with the event’s host, putting the onus on them to swap contact details at events if they wish to stay in touch afterwards.

“This is a unique feature because there’s lots of people you don’t have contact information for, their emails or whatnot, and you may not want their contact information and don’t want other people having your contact information,” Ting-Hopper said. “For the purpose of this event, you can message each other, but once the event is over everything disappears like Snapchat. If you really like each other, you have to exchange contact information or hope for the next event.”

The idea for this app came from Ting-Hopper’s personal experience running an event through her church. A commercial litigation lawyer by trade, she found it to be an awkward experience when asking people to donate money to help pay for the events she hosted and wanted to find a better way.

“We belong to a church here, and I host a young professionals event at my house, at which we order pizza and cater food and people hang out for a happy hour,” Ting-Hopper said. “I had a money jar for people to donate for the cost of food, and it was a pain, because people like to ignore the money jar when they come in. And then it’s really awkward.”

The next step in the app’s development is marketing it to a wider audience, something Ting-Hopper said she will start by using interns from local colleges including George Washington and George Mason Universities.

With a target audience of people aged in their 20s and 30s, she said they are the perfect people to help her refine and promote her product.

“What better than to ask my target what they like, what they want, what works and what their friends and people will do?” Ting-Hopper said.

And Ting-Hopper said that she hopes Festi takes hold in Arlington and the D.C. area, and perhaps is not so concerned about expanding it into other regions.

“It’s intentional that it’s grassroots in this area,” she said. “I really want to grow it and test it out here. I’d be happier having 500 users that are active rather than 50,000 users with only 100 active. The goal is to really promote community, so if that’s the intention I’d rather just have it in one community that works rather than in 50 communities that works half the time.”

Images via Festi


In-Home Dog Sitter Closed After Neighbor Complaints

An Arlington woman who looked after dogs in her home was forced to close late last year after a complaint from a neighbor.

A reader emailed to say that a woman she said was “the best dog boarder in Arlington” was closed after a neighbor “complained and effectively shut down her boarding business.”

The reader said she used the dog-boarding service Rover.com to connect with the sitter when she needed to go out of town. Rover.com describes itself as the “nation’s largest network of 5-star pet sitters and dog walkers,” and allows people to connect with others nearby who can help with their pets.

A spokeswoman for the county’s Department of Community, Planning, Housing and Development confirmed the closure at a house on S. Fenwick Street in Arlington Heights.

“The property owner admitted that she was operating a dog sitting business and that she had three adult dogs plus her own two adult dogs but was not able to obtain photos of the three adult dogs she was watching,” the spokeswoman said. “She informed the inspector that she was operating her business from a website called Rover.”

Such services could be illegal under Arlington County Code, which allows no more than three dogs per household. The only exception to that rule, per the Animal Welfare League of Arlington, is when the zoning administrator approves more and the home has a kennel license.

That could mean that more users of Rover.com in Arlington — there are nine sitters and walkers listed in the county on the website — are in breach of county code. In an email, the reader bemoaned the loss of a favorite service.

“This was the most lovely, family-run business you could imagine,” she said. “Kids at home helped look after the dogs. [They had] 112 repeat clients.”


JUST IN: Arlington Public Schools Closing Early

Arlington Public Schools will be closing two hours early due to the threat of freezing rain during the evening commute.

More from APS:

All APS schools and offices will close two hours early today. The Extended Day Program will stay open until 4 p.m. Extracurricular activities, interscholastic games, team practices, field trips, adult education classes, and programs in schools and on school grounds are canceled.

APS made the announcement around 10 a.m., as county crews were gearing up to pretreat local roadways.


Drybar Coming to Arlington, But Exact Location Unclear

A national hair salon chain that specializes in blowouts is coming to Arlington County as part of a nationwide expansion, but its location has not yet been revealed.

Drybar announced January 1 on Facebook it is expanding into Arlington and 21 other cities, including nearby Alexandria as well as in the likes of Pennsylvania, Texas, New Jersey among others.

A Drybar spokeswoman did not provide any further information on the Arlington outpost as of the time of writing after repeated requests, including requests for specifics on its location and a possible opening date.

Drybar offers hair blowouts at more than 70 locations in the United States and Canada, and has products at department stores like Nordstrom and Bloomingdale’s.

Currently, the closest Drybar to Arlington is in Tysons Corner.

New year, new shops!! Over 20 new Drybar locations coming to a city near you in 2018!💛

Posted by Drybar on Monday, January 1, 2018

Photo via Facebook


Meanwhile in D.C.

Photo by LaTur

How the city dealt with a frosty weekend, a Georgetown cafe is adding booze, an important redevelopment project near the Anacostia River, other news of the day over in the District.


Morning Notes

Ice Training for ACFD Water Rescue Team — While you were enjoying your weekend, snug in your warm home amid 10 degree weather, the Arlington County Fire Department’s water rescue team was using a chainsaw to cut holes in the ice on the Potomac and then jumping in. [Washington Post]

Freezing Rain Still Expected Tonight — A Winter Weather Advisory remains in effect tonight, as forecasters expect freezing rain to fall this afternoon and potentially make for a very messy evening commute. [Capital Weather Gang, Twitter]

Civic Federation Seeking County Event Help — The Arlington County Civic Federation is asking county government to help make it more affordable for civic associations to hold events on county property. Currently, there are insurance requirements that eat into civic associations’ meager budgets. [InsideNova]

Metro Proposes Refunds for Delays — “Under the proposal, riders would receive an automatic credit on their SmarTrip card if their trip is delayed by 15 minutes or more. Staff will ask Metro’s board to approve the change this week… The refunds would only be given during the weekday rush period.” [NBC Washington]

Crystal City Startup Scores $3 Million — Stardog Union, a “Enterprise Knowledge Graph startup” based in Crystal City, has added $3 million to its Series A venture funding round. The funding will be used for “marketing, sales and speeding up product development.” [Technically DC]

Notable Local Runner Publishes Novel — “Arlington marathon champion Jay Jacob Wind has published his first novel, a techno-thriller entitled The Man Who Stole the Sun, available now on Amazon Kindle and hand-printed by mail-order. ‘It is the first marathon terror fiction novel, based on the Marine Corps Marathon though Washington, DC, since the very real Boston Marathon bombing nearly five years ago, in April, 2013,’ Wind said.” [PRNewswire]

Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman


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