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by Bridget Reed Morawski February 8, 2018 at 4:45 pm 0

The draft framework for the proposed Four Mile Run Valley area is now open for public comment. 

The county is setting out to reshape the Four Mile Run Valley area — centered around the Shirlington and Nauck neighborhoods — while balancing the commercial, residential, historic, environmental and industrial needs of the community. This is the latest step in a process which began June 2016.

The plan includes the redevelopment of Jennie Dean Park, with the goal of maximizing the park’s open green space. It also includes the potential establishment of an arts district — with a clustering of studios, theaters and maker spaces — though the idea has received some criticism from groups that want more green space or playing fields.

Proposed park amenities include educational stream overlooks, improved access to the stream, and commissioned public art pieces or sculptures, per the framework.

Changes to the Shirlington Dog Park seem to be limited to minor changes to improve erosion and water quality issues. That follows a public outcry about a potential reduction of the dog park’s size.

Among environmental considerations, the document states that the “area’s history of [industrial] development suggests that there may be soil contamination in soil locations.” Further sections note that excrement from the dog park is another significant soil and water contaminant in the area. The need for “an eye toward environmental remediation, stormwater management, and stream protection” is cited in numerous sections of the draft.

Residents have until Friday, Feb. 16 to comment online. The plan is expected to be presented to the Arlington County Board this spring.

by Anna Merod February 8, 2018 at 4:15 pm 0

(Updated at 6 p.m.) A free movie series is returning to Columbia Pike this summer, with a showing of a music-oriented film every weekend from June 1 through Sept. 1.

The series, called “The Music of the Movies: Oscar Scores and Classic Musicals,” will screen the films outdoors on Fridays at the Arlington Mill Community Center and Saturdays at Penrose Square.

The film series is sponsored by the Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization (CPRO) and the Signature Theatre.

Signature is thrilled to support the 2018 Columbia Pike Movie Nights, which will bring the magic of great classic musicals to the big screen for free to the Arlington community this summer,” said Eric Schaeffer, the Signature Theatre’s artistic director, through a CPRO press release.

Several movies will be classics like Grease, West Side Story, and The Sound of Music, but movies as recently-released as the Pixar-produced Coco will be screened as well.

Here’s the 2018 movie series schedule:

  • June 1 — Grease (Arlington Mill)
  • June 2 — Hairspray (Penrose Square)
  • June 8 — Chicago (Arlington Mill)
  • June 9 — The Color Purple (Penrose Square)
  • June 15 — Into the Woods (Arlington Mill)
  • June 16 — Dreamgirls (Penrose Square)
  • June 22 — Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory (Arlington Mill)
  • June 23 — O Brother, Where Art Thou? (Penrose Square)
  • June 29 — Batman (1999) (Arlington Mill)
  • June 30 — Batman (1989) (Penrose Square)
  • July 6 — Mary Poppins (Arlington Mill)
  • July 7 — Dick Tracy (Penrose Square)
  • July 13 — The Sound of Music (Arlington Mill)
  • July 14 — The Sound of Music (Penrose Square)
  • July 20 — Toy Story (Arlington Mill)
  • July 21 — Singin’ in the Rain (Penrose Square)
  • July 27 — Coco (Arlington Mill)
  • July 28 — Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (Penrose Square)
  • Aug. 3 — Jailhouse Rock (Arlington Mill)
  • Aug. 4 — The Music Man (Penrose Square)
  • Aug. 10 — Beauty and The Beast (1991) (Arlington Mill)
  • Aug. 11 — Beauty and The Beast (1991) (Penrose Square)
  • Aug. 17 — Young Frankenstein (Arlington Mill)
  • Aug. 18 — Young Frankenstein (Penrose Square)
  • Aug. 24 — West Side Story (Arlington Mill)
  • Aug. 25 — West Side Story (Penrose Square)
  • Aug. 31 — The Wizard of Oz (Arlington Mill)
  • Sept. 1 — The Wizard of Oz (Penrose Square)

Photo via Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization

by Mark Kelly February 8, 2018 at 3:45 pm 0

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.

Arlington’s independent auditor, Chris Horton, is soliciting suggestions from the public on what to audit. Encouraging ongoing participation from all Arlingtonians is a good thing.

The current work plan for the auditor includes fleet management, public safety overtime, Business Improvement Districts and the Neighborhood Conservation Advisory Commission. It is a good start, but only two of these audits are definitely slated to be completed this fiscal year.

If you look at the what the auditor has identified as the “Audit Horizon,” it is clear that the office should step up the pace. The Audit Horizon includes affordable housing, capital improvement planning, economic development incentive funding, facilities management, the handling of personally identifiable information, procurement and analysis of the county’s financial condition. And that is just a partial list of important items.

The total budget for the auditor in FY 2018 is about $210,000. The County Board should consider a dramatic increase in the budget and staff allocation for the auditor during the current budget cycle discussions to at least $500,000.

There is too much important work to do to spread the audits out over the next decade, or even longer. If the Board is committed to paying more than lip service to this new level of accountability, then it is time to give the office the resources it needs.

The Electoral Board this week announced a competition to design a new “I Voted” sticker. A goal of the project is to help boost turnout in the 2019 election cycle, the historically lowest turnout year in each four-year cycle.

The idea that more voters should take advantage of their constitutional right whenever it is available to them is certainly a noble goal. As we saw this past November, turnout can be dramatically increased over prior years, but it is primarily driven by the circumstances surrounding a given election cycle.

While the holding the competition will draw some additional attention, it is hard to imagine that the stickers would do much. In New York, a city of 8.5 million people, 700 designs were submitted, but only 10,000 people voted on which design they liked best according to the Sun Gazette article. That’s just a little over 1/10th of one percent of the population.

by Progressive Voice February 8, 2018 at 3:15 pm 0

Progressive Voice is a weekly opinion column. The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the individual authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of their organizations or ARLnow.com.

By Steve Baker

Frederick Douglass said, “The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppose.” Last year, the Arlington Democrats reached their own limit and in response, sent volunteers beyond Arlington to House of Delegates’ districts around the Commonwealth.

Arlington, which is the smallest county in Virginia in square miles but one of the largest in terms of population, was in the highest Democratic performing congressional district in last November’s election.

Pleased with our own General Assembly delegation but eager to do better for Virginia and send a positive message of hope to the nation, we turned our focus to joining our neighbors and fellow Virginians in the burgeoning and ever more diverse suburbs and exurbs outside the beltway.

It wasn’t the first time we exported volunteers but in 2017 we elevated it to a grander scale, joining with many local groups, like WofA (We of Action), Arlington Indivisible and others. The Beyond Arlington program flourished in response to the confluence of our 2017 delegate races and a record number of 89 democratic candidates, with an enormous outpouring of volunteers due to the current administration in Washington.

The reasons for greater collaboration are clear. We have common goals: a growing need for schools, continued job growth and regional transportation solutions. We share many transit assets–Metro, VRE, our Interstates, toll roads and bike trails. We also have a need to protect the Potomac River watershed and our parks and open spaces.

Progress in these areas has often been difficult as an entrenched conservative General Assembly has, often by party-line votes, rejected progress or serious bipartisanship. Even after last year’s election, the 51% has refused to work with the other 49%, something Alexis de Tocqueville referred to as the “tyranny of the majority.”

This has been the case throughout our history. Conservatives in Virginia have fought federal authority vigorously, most notably over the abolition of slavery, women’s suffrage, school integration, the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act.

These same conservatives have no qualms exercising far greater authority over our local governments in Virginia through the Dillon Rule and state constitution, denying localities their own decision-making.

We saw this most recently in preventing localities from removing a statue from a local park or renaming stretches of state roads within their jurisdiction. As Governor Northam said last year on the campaign trail, “If we can’t change their minds, we need to change their seats.”

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by Peter Rousselot February 8, 2018 at 2:45 pm 0

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.

The 2018 Virginia legislative session again has featured a batch of proposed bills relating to voting rights.

Several of those bills relate to no-excuse absentee voting.

No-excuse absentee voting bills

HB 1072 was co-sponsored by Arlington Delegate Patrick Hope and 15 others. The bill would have erased the current extensive and complicated list limiting the reasons (excuses) entitling a registered voter to vote absentee. But, this bill was sidelined on January 30 by a 4 to 2 vote in a Virginia House of Delegates subcommittee.

Also on January 30, one Virginia Senate no-excuse absentee voting bill, SB 254, was deferred until 2019 by a unanimous vote of a Senate committee. Another Senate bill, SB114, met the same fate.

Virginia should enact a law authorizing no-excuse absentee voting

Like other voting rights issues, Arlington voters can only obtain the right to no-excuse absentee voting if that right is enacted at the state level because Virginia is a Dillon Rule state.

Virginia has developed a series of 16 narrow, but often confusing and overlapping, excuses that entitle registered voters to vote absentee. Unless your reason for wanting to vote absentee fits squarely within one or more of the 16 categories on the authorized list you can’t vote absentee.

Virginia’s current system should be changed. It should be replaced by a system that permits any registered voter to vote absentee without having to provide any excuse.

Reasons to support no-excuse absentee voting

The bedrock reason why the current system should be changed is that experience in other states has demonstrated that no-excuse absentee voting enables more registered voters to vote to choose their elected officials. The broader the base on which our political leadership rests, the more likely that decisions made by our leaders will be respected.

The League of Women Voters of Virginia recently has prepared a helpful checklist of reasons to support no-excuse absentee voting, including these:

  • No voter should have to provide personal unrelated information to cast a ballot
  • Extra personnel are needed to explain the current excuses
  • Voters have found it very confusing to determine what the current excuses mean, and therefore their eligibility to vote before Election Day
  • Local Election Offices have had success in reducing long lines on Election Day by encouraging absentee voting
  • For voting absentee in-person, eliminating the cumbersome process of completing the absentee application would save time as well as the expense of printing the form

Opponents of a no-excuse absentee voting system have argued that it encourages too many more voters to vote too early, thereby foreclosing their opportunity to vote based on late-breaking developments in a political campaign. Weighing this risk against the depression of voter turnout under the current system, the benefits of providing more opportunities to vote outweigh the risks that some voters might regret that they voted too early.

Both Democrats and Republicans should support no-excuse absentee voting

No-excuse absentee voting has been enacted by a majority of U. S. states–both “red states” and “blue states.”

Conclusion

No-excuse absentee voting should be a subject on which Virginia Republicans and Virginia Democrats can agree. No-excuse absentee voting will enable more Virginians to vote.

The current patchwork quilt of 16 authorized excuses should be replaced by: no excuses necessary.

by Anna Merod February 8, 2018 at 2:15 pm 0

The emergency lights are on at the Pentagon City Metro station’s underground pedestrian tunnel, but nobody’s there.

The third entrance to the Metro station is still closed despite an Arlington County staff report scheduling a March 2017 opening. The tunnel is now supposed to open sometime this spring, wrote Catherine Matthews, communications specialist for the county’s Dept. of Environmental Services, to ARLnow.com via email.

The pedestrian tunnel connected to the Metro is located at the northeast corner of the intersection of S. Hayes Street and 12th Street S. The tunnel opening was initially scheduled for 2015.

The county made an agreement last year with WMATA to claim responsibility for maintaining and operating the $1.3 million tunnel.

“Over the past year the connection, operations and maintenance agreement with WMATA has been amended and a separate letter agreement with Brookfield Office Properties has been executed; specifically to confirm and finalize procedures for the opening and closing of the tunnel each day,” Matthews said.

WMATA and Brookfield Office Properties are responsible for finalizing the procedures for opening and closing the tunnel, according to Matthews, and once that has been done the tunnel will open, she added.

When it does open, the tunnel will be available to pedestrians weekdays from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

by Bridget Reed Morawski February 8, 2018 at 1:45 pm 0

(Updated at 2:05 p.m.) Arlington County’s plan for a Columbia Pike corridor “premium bus service network” will start this summer, with more frequent, condensed bus service, improved bus transit stations, and off-vehicle fare collection points in the works.

A Columbia Pike service evaluation briefing from WMATA to the Arlington County Transit Advisory Committee on January 16 laid out the major bus service plan: streamlining eleven 16-line routes down to six main routes, with further streamlining implemented in multiple phases.

Current Columbia Pike corridor service routes include the 16A, B, E, J, and P daily lines and the 16 G, H, and K lines, which run from Columbia Heights West through Pentagon City daily. There are also three peak period bus lines: the 16L, which runs from Annandale, Va., to the Pentagon via Skyline City; the 16X, from Columbia Pike to Washington’s Federal Triangle; and the 16Y, from Columbia Pike to Washington’s Farragut Square.

The first phase of the premium bus service network would eliminate the 16E and J lines, while maintaining daily service for the 16A, G, H, and X. Peak period service will continue along the 16L and Y. The 16X’s extension into Federal Triangle would be maintained only during peak periods.

Phase two would maintain the initial phase’s route streamlining, while adding a transfer-free, bus-to-bus Crystal City connection. The evaluation notes the possibility for weekend service for the 26A bus line, which runs from Annandale to East Falls Church, but that component of the plan is still under consideration.

Further route streamlining would occur under phase three, which would maintain the daily 16A and X routes, as well as the peak period 16L and Y routes, but would strike out the 16G and H lines. A new line — a 16M line to run from Crystal City to Skyline City — would be added. Arlington Transit (ART) routes 41 and 45 would continue serving the Arlington Mill and Columbia Pike corridor after the 16G and H merge, according to Lynn Rivers, the Arlington transit bureau chief and the project’s manager.

Phase three opens up the possibility of an extension of the 16X and Y bus routes service hours, but it’s currently marked as a future consideration. The county is also reviewing transit signal prioritization as a bus rapid transit solution to give buses a head start at traffic lights, allowing for decreased public transit times. Rivers told ARLnow.com that this initiative “can be achieved with minimal impacts to vehicular travel.”

Updated bus transit stations are also in the works, with “near-level boarding” and real-time bus tracking and system information. Passengers would be able to pay for their bus fare prior to entering the bus.

Photos via Arlington County

by ARLnow.com Sponsor February 8, 2018 at 12:45 pm 0

In a profession based on relationships, trust and integrity are the cornerstones that Clarendon-based Elite Dental (1025 N. Fillmore Street) believe to be sacred to their practice.

That is why they are the dental office for many local dental professionals, their families and their staff. Doctors Dudley & Hartman take a lot of pride in the hundreds of Arlingtonian smiles they have improved. With the help of modern technology and excellent technique, they have differentiated themselves in how they have prevented countless root canals, extractions and implants for their patients.

Patients can expect a unique experience at Elite Dental. Focused on the needs and busy lifestyles of their patients, Elite Dental genuinely values their patients’ time while providing quality care, comprehensive services and efficient use of technology at their foundation. Elite Dental offers high-tech customer service in a warm, stress-free office setting — their many trusting and happy patients are a testament to this. Visit Elite Dental’s Yelp and Google reviews to see what others are saying.

Elite Dental is currently accepting new patients. Call 703-988-6963, or email [email protected] to schedule an appointment. Mention ARLnow and receive a free teeth-whitening kit!

by ARLnow.com Sponsor February 8, 2018 at 11:45 am 0

Healthy Paws

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

February is the month of LOVE, and who better to shower love on than your pets! Human-Animal relationships have many benefits similar to Human-Human relationships. Here are some interesting facts about the Human-Animal Bond:

  • Oxytocin, which you may have heard about in relation to mother-baby bonding, is also the hormone that bonds us to our pets and produces that sense of happiness and well-being in your interactions with your pet. Amazingly, dogs also have a surge of oxytocin when interacting with their owners, as opposed to strangers.
  • February is also American Heart Month, which is appropriate to mention here since many research studies have shown that owning pets great for our heart health. The American Heart Association has gone as far as to publish a summary of all the research that demonstrates how pet ownership can directly improve cardiovascular health. The main benefits are that interactions with pets lower stress hormones in the body and that pets (especially dogs) make you more active. Exercise and reduced stress help lower blood pressure, which helps prevent many cardiovascular diseases.
  • Mental health benefits of pet ownership are also a popular research topic. Studies have shown the benefits of pet ownership/assistance for anxiety, depression, PTSD and dementia disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease. Animal-assisted therapy programs are becoming more and more popular as a tool in treating those with mental health disorders.

You probably already knew that your bond with your pet was special, but science absolutely confirms that is true! Shower your pet with lots of love this month, but be sure to keep them away from your chocolate.

Check back in 2 weeks  for our blog on DENTAL DISEASE — and feel free to join us at the Aurora Hills Branch Library on Tuesday, February 20 from 5-6:00 p.m. — we (Clarendon Animal Care/Dr. Gloor) will be presenting on pet dental health. Sign up here!

Have a topic you’d like us to write about? Email us ([email protected]). We want to tailor these posts to the topics that interest you the most.

by ARLnow.com February 8, 2018 at 10:45 am 0

Someone threw a piece of concrete through the window of a house in the Barcroft neighborhood, according to this week’s Arlington County crime report.

The incident happened around 8:45 p.m. Tuesday, near the intersection of 9th Street and S. Buchanan Street. Someone was home at the time and called police.

More from ACPD:

MISSILE INTO OCCUPIED DWELLING, 2018-02060222, 900 block of S. Buchanan Street. At approximately 8:45 p.m. on February 6, police were dispatched to the report of destruction of property. Upon arrival, it was determined that an unknown suspect(s) threw a piece of concrete through the window of an occupied residence, causing damage. No injuries were reported. There is no suspect(s) description. The investigation is ongoing.

The rest of this past week’s crime report highlights, including some that we’ve already reported, after the jump.

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by ARLnow.com February 8, 2018 at 9:45 am 0

Porter Drama Centers Around Arlington — The resignation of White House aide Rob Porter, which has been a national headline this week, has a number of Arlington connections. Porter reportedly has an apartment here, which he shared with a girlfriend before starting to date White House Communications Director Hope Hicks, and the protective order Porter’s second wife filed against him was to keep him away from her Arlington residence. [Daily Mail, New York Times]

Arlington Kid’s Star Continues to Rise — Nine-year-old Iain Armitage stars as the title character in the CBS comedy Young Sheldon and also was featured HBO’s Golden Globe-winning Big Little Lies. That’s in addition to film roles Armitage, an Arlington native whose family owns a house in Ashton Heights, is getting as he continues to build his Hollywood career. Just 3.5 years ago, Armitage was best known for his viral reviews of Signature Theatre shows. [Toronto Star]

Flyover This Morning — There will be a military flyover around 11:30 this morning for a funeral at Arlington National Cemetery. [Twitter]

Local Lawmakers’ Bills Defeated in Richmond — A number of bills introduced by Democratic lawmakers that represent parts of Arlington have, predictably, failed to gain traction in the GOP-controlled state legislature. Among the current batch of bills being defeated in committee: a bill to force the release of presidential candidate tax returns (Sen. Janet Howell), create an state-level Office of Immigrant Assistance (Sen. Adam Ebbin) and expand the list of IDs accepted for voting (Del. Rip Sullivan).

Photo via @NCPCgov / Twitter

by Christina Sturdivant-Sani February 8, 2018 at 9:00 am 0

The education of Ward 8 Councilmember Trayon White, DCPS enrollment dips, and other news of the day over in the District.

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