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Animal Control Removes 21 Pets from Hoarder’s House

Twenty-one pets, including 19 cats and two dogs, were removed from a home in Arlington with hoarding conditions.

Arlington animal control officers responded with police to the home on Thursday, Jan. 18 to execute a search warrant “in relation to potential cruelty and hoarding,” according to an Animal Welfare League of Arlington spokeswoman.

“The animal control team removed 21 animals — 19 cats and 2 dogs — and transported them to emergency veterinary facilities for care,” AWLA said Thursday. “Today in Arlington County General District Court, [Animal Control] Chief [Jennifer] Toussaint was awarded custody of 16 cats. The remaining animals — 3 cats and 2 dogs — will be returned to the owner pending a full property inspection by animal control.”

Toussaint issued the following statement about the situation to ARLnow.com.

The success of these types of operations rises and falls on the support from the county and community. So many hands have gone into the positive outcome for these animals. I would like to recognize a few of those individuals and agencies who stepped up with less than 48 hour notice to come to these animals’ aid.

First and foremost I would like to thank the Animal Welfare League of Arlington. From making space for them, to establishing isolation for the sick cats, to lending support staff on site for the warrant execution, and now ultimately taking on the care and placement of 16 cats. They come through time and time again for our team and the community’s animals in need and provide top-notch care and compassion to every animal that is in their care.

I would also like to thank the Arlington County Police Department and Arlington County Commonwealth Attorney’s Office for their assistance and professionalism in this case from pre-warrant execution to the custody hearing.

Other assisting agencies and individuals include Michelle Welch with the Office of the Attorney General, Arlington Animal Hospital, Ballston Animal Hospital, Clarendon Animal Care, Caring Hands Animal Hospital, Kimberly Corcoran LVT, Adrienne Hergen, DVM, and Marnie Russ, foster volunteer.

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County Removes Confederate Memorial Near Bluemont Park

Arlington County officials have removed a Confederate plaque marking the location of a lookout during the Civil War after discovering the stone memorial was placed without the county’s permission.

The bicentennial marker and a red oak tree were placed by the Arlington chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy at the intersection of N. Arlington Mill Drive and Wilson Boulevard near the Bluemont Park’s parking lot.

“There are no records that it was placed with our permission,” said Katie Cristol, chairwoman of the Arlington County Board. “Now, county government is trying to get in touch with the owners.”

In August last year, following violence at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, an Arlington resident petitioned the Board to remove the memorial, to challenge individuals and organizations that seek to “make statues and symbols their battlefields.” Officials then discovered it was placed without county permission.

The marker read:

This Red Oak and stone were placed here as a Bicentennial Memorial to the men in gray who served on Upton Hill

County staff said it’s unclear when the memorial was erected. A Washington Post article published in 1979 indicates it was placed in 1976 to commemorate a Confederate outpost.

The United Daughters of the Confederacy declined a request for comment on Thursday.

Another historical marker, about a clash between Confederate and Union soldiers near the removed marker, was damaged in a car accident, Cristol said.

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The Right Note: Do Maps Matter?

The 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.

Redistricting has been thrust into the spotlight recently.

Courts are increasingly entertaining legal challenges to electoral maps, even based on challenges that the process is too political. Reformers are also seizing on perceived momentum to push for change.

Politicians who favor redistricting reform often do so because they believe the map has been drawn in a way that drastically favors the other side.

Republican Governor Larry Hogan favors redistricting in Maryland as Democrats there have drawn lines in a way to favor them. Portions of the map, which uses bodies of water to connect various portions of districts, resemble an ink blot test.

Democrats in Virginia favor redrawing Congressional district lines because Republicans currently hold seven of the eleven districts here.

Some backers of reform favor redistricting because they believe less partisan districts will produce less partisan public policy results as politicians will have to be more responsive to the middle or moderate voters. Many believe these new policy outcomes will look more like the things they wish would be accomplished.

Will the proposed reforms really be a silver bullet to address political polarization? Would the type of politician elected really change all that much? Will the base of each party lose influence on public policy to the middle? These are the things I hope to address next week in a Civic Federation panel discussion on redistricting.

Speaking of thawing political polarization, it looks like Democrats are once again split on County Board race. Three Democratic elected officials, all women, are backing Independent John Vihstadt’s re-election.

This is a reflection of his 2014 coalition that defied conventional wisdom by producing a comfortable win in a November election after Democrats claimed the special election was little more than a fluke.

The question is what voters will do without a controversial big ticket item like the Columbia Pike streetcar driving the debate. Most prominent Democrats will end up backing Vihstadt’s opponent of course, but the endorsements are a reminder that every once in a while, political polarization stops at the county line.

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Progressive Voice: The Arts Enrich Arlington’s Economy and People

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 Janet Kopenhaver

As Arlington County updates our community development plans, the arts need to be emphasized and explicitly promoted in these discussions because of the positive impact they have on the economy and the people of our County.

Residents may be unaware that hundreds of individual artists and arts groups call Arlington County home. Indeed, with more than 6,000 employees, these artists and arts-related businesses represent 5.1 percent of Arlington businesses and 3 percent of the county’s workforce.

Non-profit art groups spend more than $170 million on operational expenses in Arlington County, which in turn generates tax revenue. Last year, arts audiences also spent more than $18 million above the cost of admission for such things as parking, meals, and local ground transportation in the County.

The arts go beyond this impressive economic impact, however, to also play an integral role in helping people. The arts do so by providing therapeutic support for veterans and residents with physical and mental challenges, for example, and also offering inspiration to and support for students.

A positive contribution of the arts is in helping veterans cope with depression, bipolar disorders, schizophrenia and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). One combat medic who served in Vietnam was having difficulty emotionally after he came home to Arlington. After attending several art therapy classes and through working on paintings and collages, he was able to slowly deal with his PTSD.

“I could express the locked-in things that I was afraid to talk about,” he said.

Numerous studies show that art therapy helps veterans like him who are suffering PTSD, especially those who are having trouble talking about their combat experience.

People suffering from neurological disease (such as Parkinson’s disease) experience noticeable benefits from movement or dance classes. Arlington’s Bowen McCauley Dance runs a program for people suffering from Parkinson’s and several clients have asserted how much their lives have improved since starting lessons.

One Arlington resident noted, “My state of mind is vastly improved.” Another wrote, “It benefits my mood and physical capability.”

Finally, an Arlingtonian declares there are “social, physical and emotional benefits” from the dance workouts. A National Institutes of Health report reinforces these observations with the finding that individuals with Parkinson’s demonstrated significant improvements in balance after taking dance classes.

Older people can help themselves keep their brains engaged by incorporating the arts into their daily lives. The Educational Theatre Company conducts weekly theatre workshops for older adults.

One Arlington resident summed up how it has impacted her, “Classes are very stimulating. They open up all sorts of avenues for thought.” According to the Alzheimer’s Association, “Creative arts programs benefit persons with dementia and their caregivers in a number of important ways, including non-verbal means of communicating.”

Studies show a strong correlation between students whose education includes the arts and higher GPAs and standardized test scores, and lower dropout rates. Furthermore, students with four years of arts or music in high school average 100 points better on their SAT scores than students with one half-year or less.

But the benefits go beyond test scores. A study by Stanford University found that young people who participate in the arts are three times more likely to be elected to class office, three times more likely to win an award for school attendance and two times more likely to read for pleasure and perform community service.

Finally, Arlington children with disabilities benefit from the Arlington Artists Alliance Community Artists Mentoring Program. One parent of a son with autism spectrum disorder stated that “…many times when my son comes home after school, he does not want to do anything. He wants to just be in his room, do his drawing and go anywhere.”

She added, “But on Wednesday mornings he’s happier when he gets up and he always wants to come here [the Alliance].”

Art therapy is especially effective with treating autism (which affects verbal expression and social skills) because it offers a method of communication without words.

The examples provided here illustrate just a few of the many ways that the arts positively impact Arlington residents and businesses. It behooves us to include the arts when planning our community’s development, for the arts enrich our economy while enriching our lives.

Janet Kopenhaver is the Founder of Embracing Arlington Arts – a citizens group whose mission is to inform others about the importance of arts, artists and arts organizations in our community; celebrate the critical contributions the arts make to all sectors of Arlington County; spearhead initiatives that maintain and grow the County’s cultural identity; and spread the word about the diverse performance and cultural events held in Arlington.

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Peter’s Take: Should Arlington’s New Schools be Located Outside Arlington?

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.

A story posted on the Arlington Sun-Gazette website last Friday asked the question, “Could school system go outside Arlington to find space for students?”

The story only addresses whether Virginia law authorizes Arlington to do so. Answer: yes, but only if Arlington does so in one or more adjacent Virginia jurisdictions: Fairfax County or the Cities of Alexandria or Falls Church.

Discussion

Whether it would make sense for APS to go outside Arlington to find space for Arlington students should be addressed only in the context of a new long-term plan that answers these questions:

  • What new schools do we need?
  • When do we need them?
  • Where in Arlington could/should we put them?
  • What will it cost to put them in Arlington?

In 2017, APS Superintendent Patrick Murphy publicly acknowledged that:

  • Arlington County forecasts continued total population and school enrollment growth for many years beyond the 2026 cut-off date in the current Capital Improvement Plan (CIP)
  • Arlington’s total population aged 0-14 will exceed 40,000 by 2030
  • APS needs to develop its own long-term new school construction plans well beyond 2026:

“In his report to School Board members, Murphy said the school system will need an additional 2,200-seat high school, plus up to two middle schools and up to four elementary schools, if enrollment continues to push toward, and beyond, 30,000 students.”

Based on the latest publicly-available data, APS is still on the same trajectory Murphy described a few months ago: pushing toward and well beyond 30,000 students.

In December 2017, in preparation for planning its latest CIP out to 2028, APS posted its latest enrollment projections by school and by year. With the requisite explanatory footnotes, these latest projections show an increase from a Fall 2017 total enrollment of 28,020 to a Fall 2027 total enrollment of 32,666.

This latest set of publicly-available data do not include updated capacity utilization numbers for each school, but those are supposed to be published sometime this month.

So long as these population and enrollment forecasts continue to represent the County’s and APS’ best estimates, they should be employed systematically to make long-term planning decisions for all land use and public infrastructure investments (e.g., schools, parks, roads).

It is in this long-term planning context that APS and Arlington County should first examine, and then extensively engage the public regarding, exactly where in Arlington we could/should locate at least one new high school (or maybe two), up to two middle schools, and up to four elementary schools.

This planning and extensive public engagement also should include answers to questions like these:

  • What other potential uses of the Arlington land would be foreclosed or seriously compromised if a new school is located on that land?
  • Would there be other acceptable alternative locations for those other potential uses?

If it appears that:

  • Neither Arlington County nor APS currently own enough available land for all the new schools needed, and
  • If neither Arlington County nor APS can afford to acquire enough new land or lease enough new space in Arlington, then
  • APS might have to look outside Arlington

Conclusion

The County and School Boards must demonstrate that they are:

  • Collaborating seamlessly and transparently on all these issues
  • Listening to public concerns and adjusting accordingly
  • Developing fiscally-sustainable, long term public plans to build the new schools we need when we need them
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Ristorante Murali Closes on Pentagon Row

Ristorante Murali is “closed forever,” according to the Italian restaurant’s website.

The signs on the restaurant’s building in Pentagon Row have been taken down with only a small sign in the door remaining.

The Italian restaurant had been open for 14 years before closing recently.

“After many years in business, we are forever closed. Thank you for your loyalty and we wish you well,” wrote the website.

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Listing of the Day: 4612 24th Street N.

Address: 4612 24th Street N.
Neighborhood: Old Dominion
Listed: $919,000
Open: Sunday, February 4 from 1-4 p.m.

The perfect combination in Lee Heights! Spacious and bright updated 3 bedroom, 3 bathroom colonial home with finished basement and separate two-car garage with finished work-out/game room, newly remodeled kitchen and updated master bath, excellent N. Arlington school pyramid (Discovery/Williamsburg/Yorktown). Located within blocks to Lee Heights shopping and restaurants, Marymount farmer’s market as well as nearby running and nature trails.

Kitchen remodeled top to bottom featuring quartz countertops, all new stainless appliances. Large master bedroom with walk-in closet and recently updated en-suite bathroom with new tile throughout. Mud room and office space add to comfortable main level living. Finished basement includes a large rec. room, full bath and separate office/den; perfect for guests or an au-pair/nanny. New landscaping enhances this large flat property, ideal for entertaining and play.

If you’re looking for a quiet and friendly neighborhood with walkability to stores and public transport (3Y Lee Highway — Farragut Square Metrobus Line), look no further!

To view a 3-D tour of the property, click here.

Listed by:
Liz Lord
Keller Williams Realty
Phone: (571) 331-9213
[email protected]
www.arlvahomes.com

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Korean Restaurant to Open in Place of Shawafel in Courthouse

Bibimix, a quick-service Korean restaurant, is getting ready to open in Courthouse as soon as next week.

The new Korean restaurant at 1910 Wilson Blvd will be replacing the former Shawafel, which closed in 2016 after only being open for about a year.

Restaurant co-owner Sang Moon described Bibimix’s format as “Chipotle style,” where customers can make their own rice or salad bowls using up to 40 different toppings. They will also be serving Korean fried chicken, he said.

Moon expects to host a soft opening next week. Customers will be able to get 20 percent off their meal on March 1, during the store’s official grand opening, Moon said.

Bibimix hopes to be able to find staying power after an eatery with a similar format struggled elsewhere in Arlington. Chipotle-style Korean restaurant KBQ Korean BBQ & Bar closed in Crystal City last year after being in business for six months.

Photo courtesy Christopher Cahill

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Tree Removal Begins Today Along Segment of Old Dominion Drive

The curbside lane along eastbound Old Dominion Drive will be closed today, tomorrow and on Monday as the county removes trees to make way for a new sidewalk.

Closures will remain in effect from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. today and Monday and from 9:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. tomorrow. The “missing link” sidewalk project is anticipated to begin construction this spring/summer with completion expected in spring 2019.

Once trees are removed, utility adjustments will begin to complete the sidewalk from the south side of Old Dominion Drive from Cherrydale Firehouse to N. Thomas Street.

The county has allocated $1.15 million for the project, a spokeswoman said.

Photos via Arlington County

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Meanwhile in D.C.

Photo by Harrison Jones

A Groundhog Day scandal, new bill gives women easier access to birth control, and other news of the day over in the District.

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Morning Notes

Alexandria Absent from Short Bridge Park Plans — “While plans for the border-spanning park are underway on the Arlington side, one frustration expressed at the County Board was that Alexandria has no plans to develop its side of the park… ‘That’s a little disappointing,’ County Board member John Vihstadt said. ‘I am concerned we’re going to be spending significant amounts of money for improvements on the Alexandria side.'” [Arlington Connection]

Review of Columbia Pike’s BrickhausBrickhaus, which opened last year at the intersection of Columbia Pike and S. Walter Reed Drive, is like a miniature, “year-round, indoor beer garden [that] serves German-inspired fare.” [Northern Virginia Magazine]

Commuting Satisfaction in Arlington — According to data from Arlington County’s Mobility Lab, Arlington residents commute to work by means other than driving alone 60 percent of the time. Those who walk or bike have the highest rate of satisfaction with their commute, while those who take a train have the lowest satisfaction rate. [Mobility Lab]

Fmr. Clarendon Restaurant Owners Like Falls Church — David and Rebecca Tax, the founders behind classic Clarendon restaurants like Big Belly Deli, Lazy Sundae, Clare and Don’s and Mexicali Blues, are happy with their decision to move Lazy Sundae and Clare and Don’s to Falls Church more than a decade ago. “Falls Church is a lot like what Clarendon was like in 1996 when we opened Lazy Sundae,” said David, while Rebecca remembered the Clarendon of the mid-to-late 90s as “more family oriented, fewer singles.” [Eater]

Mobile Phones Could Be Banned at Pentagon — A military review of personal electronics policies, ordered by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, could result in non-military cell phones being banned at the Pentagon. About 30,000 servicemembers, civilians and contractors work at the Pentagon. [Stars and Stripes]

Japanese Embassy Lauds New Arlington Decal — Via a tweet from the Embassy of Japan in D.C.: “As this year’s @CherryBlossFest nears, we’re excited to hear that the blooming cherry trees along the Potomac River will soon be displayed on windshields in Arlington County. Congratulations to @OConnellHS’s Schuyler Workmaster for winning @ArlingtonVA’s decal contest!” [Twitter]

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

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