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Student Sexual Assault Bill Lands on Governor’s Desk

A bill that will bar Virginia public school employees from providing job recommendations to fellow employees who have sexually assaulted students landed on Gov. Ralph Northam’s desk this week for signing.

State Sen. Adam Ebbin (D), who represents Arlington and Alexandria, said he introduced bill S.B. 605 after Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) brought the issue to his attention.

Ebbin learned that a Loudoun County school employee from received a “glowing” recommendation by a school principal even after the employee was accused of improper behavior with students. The teacher was later able to work in Florida after working at the Loudoun school.

No known, similar incident has occurred at Arlington Public Schools, according to Ebbin.

“It is unconscionable that anyone, particularly a school official, would recommend someone who they know or have reason to believe committed sexual misconduct,” Ebbin said. “It would be horrific to have a child sexually abused when that abuse could have been easily avoided.”

Ebbin added that he intends to work toward applying the bill’s provisions to private schools in the future. The bill initially included private schools, but was later amended.

File photo.

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Yorktown High School Modifications Set For Approval

The final design of Yorktown High School modifications that will increase the building’s capacity to 2,189 seats is set to be approved at the Arlington School Board meeting on Thursday (March 8).

Per the plan, at least six classrooms will be created by converting a computer lab, a computer alcove, and several teacher work rooms. A copy room will turn into a new “teacher collaboration space,” and other teacher work space and offices will also be reconfigured.

Existing storage will be turned into bicycle storage, and charging stations will be added throughout the school, including in the cafeteria and atrium. The current gym lockers will be replaced.

The larger seating capacity comes weeks after the proposed Arlington Public Schools budget was announced with class size increases.

The project’s estimated $4 million cost will be funded by the capital reserve, according to School Board documents.

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Arlington Artist Mas Paz Teaches, Paints Murals Across the Globe

Though his art can be spotted across the globe, artist Mas Paz calls Arlington home.

Mas Paz, whose real name is Federico Frum, describes his work as indigenous contemporary art, using graffiti and standard bucket paint as his media.

“I started kind of playing with this indigenous typography kind of style, which wasn’t graffiti letters but more like line work letters,” Frum said of his early graffiti tagging days during a trip to Brazil. “[It] kind of looked like maybe Mayan hieroglyphic lines with actually letters. So that was really fun.”

His work has been featured at the Smithsonian Institution, the Corcoran Gallery Art, and New York City’s The New Museum, but his murals can be found as far away as Pakistan and Mexico and as closeby as Crystal City. Frum has traveled the world to teach mural workshops, and in February he was invited by the American embassy in El Salvador to teach children how to paint street murals.

Born in Bogota, Colombia, Frum — whose pseudonym means “more peace” in Spanish — was adopted when he was a year old and raised in Arlington. He graduated from George Mason University with a degree in art and visual technology in 2005.

Frum moved to Brooklyn a year after graduating, living there for seven years while selling t-shirts on the street in between 3D modeling and screen printing. He then traveled through South America before returning to Arlington ready to come home. He now works out of his house in the Arlington Ridge neighborhood.

“I was really hungry to do a lot of projects here in D.C.,” Frum said. “I’m so happy I’m back here and it’s so cool I can keep it rooted so that where I come from I represent, but also go to places, other countries, or go to other cities and do a lot of work.”

Mas Paz initially started as just Paz, his New York graffiti tag. That was before his friend Youth Waste approached him to create his own stickers, and Paz didn’t fit neatly on the square template that they wanted. That’s when Frum decided to send more of a message, adding the mas to paz. Frum also wanted a message so in 2012 when he added Mas Paz, which translates to more peace in English, he had found the right fit and meaning.

Indigenous art has become a way for Frum to express and explore who he is, even though there are pieces of him he will never truly know, such as where exactly he was born. Five percent of all his project earnings go toward the orphanage that he lived in as a child, La Casa de La Madre y El Nino.

There are no days off for Frum, but he says that it never feels like he’s working when he’s making art. The work makes the days fly by, and he doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon.

“I intend to be 90 years old and still creating,” he said.

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Crime Report: Inappropriate Touching in Bathroom

A man touched a woman in appropriately in a Clarendon bathroom this past weekend, police say.

The incident happened early Saturday morning, around 1 a.m., at a business on the 3100 block of Wilson Blvd., which is home to a number of popular bars. The suspect left the scene and is being sought on a charge of sexual battery.

More from this week’s Arlington County Police Department crime report:

SEXUAL BATTERY, 2018-03030022, 3100 block of Wilson Boulevard. At approximately 1:08 a.m. on March 3, police were dispatched to the report of a sexual battery. Upon arrival, it was determined that an unknown male suspect inappropriately touched the female victim inside the bathroom of a business. The suspect is described as a black male, approximately 5’8″ tall, with tattoos on both arms. He was wearing a white t-shirt and denim pants at the time of the incident. The investigation is ongoing.

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

BURGLARY, 2018-03060251, 900 block of 20th Street S. At approximately 9:36 p.m. on March 6, police were dispatched to the report of a burglary just discovered. Upon arrival, it was determined that between 6:45 p.m. and 8:55 p.m. on March 6, an unknown suspect(s) entered a residence and stole items of value. There is no suspect description. The investigation is ongoing.

BURGLARY (late), 2018-03060257, 900 block of 16th Street S. At approximately 10:55 p.m. on March 6, police were dispatched to the late report of a burglary. Upon arrival, it was determined that between 8:00 p.m. and 9:54 p.m. on March 6, an unknown suspect(s) gained entry to a residence, rummaged through multiple rooms and stole numerous items of value. There is no suspect description. The investigation is ongoing.

INDECENT EXPOSURE, 2018-03030296, 1900 block of Clarendon Boulevard. At approximately 11:42 p.m. on March 3, police were dispatched to the report of an indecent exposure. Upon arrival, it was determined that as the victim was leaving their residence they observed a male subject exposing himself. A canvas of the area was negative. The subject is described as a brown-skinned male, approximately 5’8″ to 5’10” wearing a gray sweatshirt and dark jeans. The investigation is ongoing.

ATTEMPTED ROBBERY, 2018-03040002, 16th Street N at N. Rhodes Street. At approximately 12:06 a.m. on March 4, police were dispatched to the report of an attempted robbery. Upon arrival, it was determined that as the female victim was walking in the area, an unknown suspect grabbed her from behind and began a verbal demand. The victim yelled and shoved the suspect, causing him to flee the area on foot. Responding officers established a perimeter and a canvas of the area was negative. The suspect is described as Hispanic male, approximately 5’8″ to 5’10” wearing a gray sweatshirt and dark pants. The investigation is ongoing.

BURGLARY, 2018-03020371, 900 block of S. Glebe Road. Between 7:30 p.m. on March 1 and 7:30 a.m. on March 2, an unknown suspect entered a residence and stole cash from the victim. There is no suspect description. The investigation is ongoing.

ROBBERY, 2018-02270160, 4600 block of Lee Highway. At approximately 1:45 p.m. on February 27, police were dispatched to the report of an assault that just occurred. Upon arrival, it was determined that the male suspect approached the female victim and attempted to forcibly remove a cell phone from her hands. The victim was able to maintain control of the cell phone. When a witness verbally intervened, the suspect fled the scene on foot. A suspect description was broadcast to police and arriving units located a suspect matching the description. Darryl Forrest, 37, of Arlington, VA was arrested and charged with attempted robbery. He was held on no bond.

PEEPING, 2018-02280206, Unit block of S. Glebe Road. At approximately 5:25 p.m. on February 28, police were dispatched to the report of a subject recording a female victim in a dressing room. Upon arrival, it was determined that at approximately 5:00 p.m., while the victim was inside of a fitting room, an unknown male suspect reached under the wall and began recording her with a cell phone. The victim shouted for help and the suspect left the fitting room. The suspect fled the scene prior to police arrival. The suspect is described as a light skinned Hispanic male, approximately 40 years old, with a heavy build, a short neck, short curly black hair, wearing a gray and red striped shirt, a dark jacket, gray or khaki pants, carrying a dark backpack.

BURGLARY, 2018-02280225, 2000 block of Wilson Boulevard. At approximately 6:50 p.m. on February 28, police were dispatched to the report of a subject matching the description from a prior Burglary and Grand Larceny. Upon arrival, it was determined that an employee encountered the subject in a restricted area of the business and confronted him. Arriving officers took the suspect into custody. During the course of the investigation, the suspect was determined to be involved in the December 31 incident (2017-12310079). Maurice Smith, 36, was arrested and charged with Burglary, as well as Burglary and Grand Larceny from the prior incident. He was held on no bond.

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Arlington Pet of the Week: Baxter

Becky's Pet Care

This week’s Arlington Pet of the Week is Baxter, a 10-month-old Golden Retriever who likes to go to the Shirlington dog park and watch Animal Planet.

Here is what his owner Rachel had to say:

Baxter is a good boy. He is a 10 month old Golden Retriever who lives in Court House. He loves to play outside with his friends, and you can usually find him on the bottom of the puppy pile! He likes to go to Shirlington Dog Park or take a walk to the Iwo Jima Memorial when the weather is nice.

Baxter has a unique love of his crate and belly rubs! His favorite treats are Earth Animal No-Hides and Himalayan Churpi Chews. His TV programs so far have been the Westminster Kennel Club dog show, FSU basketball games, and Animal Planet. He barks at the lions when they are on the hunt.

His “type” is corgis because they are fluffy and his best friend Rocket is a corgi! Baxter likes when Mama works at home because he gets more treats. Feel free to follow Baxter and his friendly adventures on Instagram @BaxterBabbs.

Want your pet to be considered for the Arlington Pet of the Week? Email [email protected] with a 2-3 paragraph bio and at least 3-4 horizontally-oriented photos of your pet. Please don’t send vertical photos, they don’t fit in our photo galleries!

Each week’s winner receives a sample of dog or cat treats from our sponsor, Becky’s Pet Care, along with $100 in Becky’s Bucks. Becky’s Pet Care is the winner of six consecutive Angie’s List Super Service Awards, the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters’ 2013 Business of the Year and a proud supporter of the Arlington County Pawsitively Prepared Campaign.

Becky’s Pet Care provides professional dog walking and pet sitting in Arlington and all of Northern Virginia, as well as PetPrep training courses for Pet Care, CPR and emergency preparedness.

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Small Biz Focus: Testing the Marketplace? Try Prototypes.

This column is sponsored by BizLaunch, a division of Arlington Economic Development.

Let’s face it. We live in a fickle marketplace.

Shoppers have a short attention span and consumers are easily bored and quickly want the next cool thing.

Entrepreneurs are notorious for being spurred on by a single idea, that literal lightbulb moment, that drives their passion and turns their focus to producing one item or service. Some invest all their savings and resources into the promise of a profitable future, and if you’re lucky, smart, well timed and well promoted, that one product or service could be the only one you’ll ever need.

But even for hugely successful items (like the dizzying fidget spinner?) there can be a quick peak and never return to popularity.

Few have the opportunity or resources to get input, organize focus groups or engage deep demographic analytics that will help grow their business or keep their ideas competitive.

But for startups and small businesses in Arlington, more options for creating a stable path are all part of the County support for creatives.

For Lorilee Stultz at Dennison Lane, participating in Made in Arlington was the first step to a new product idea. Using a hand stamping process and natural fabrics, Dennison Lane was already well versed in table linens and home accessories that blended tradition with craft.

So when a fan of Made in Arlington said, “wouldn’t it be great to have the Made in Arlington logo stamped onto baby onesies?” Lori didn’t hesitate to say, “let’s try it!” Welcome to the prototype stage. Picking samples of soft baby onesies and using the Made in Arlington stamp in colors for girls, boys and ‘we don’t know yet!’ The items are now getting ready for sales.

Where can creative Arlington entrepreneurs look to test the market?

  • Limited edition items in small shops
  • Pop up retail like Made in Arlington at Plaza Shop
  • Local boutiques
  • Farmers markets
  • Seasonal opportunities such as Art on the Plaza

Alongside the vast array of business development services available through BizLaunch, the path to success is often taken in baby steps.

Check here for ongoing listings and opportunities.

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Taste of Arlington Brings Back Free General Admission

Taste of Arlington is bringing back free general admission after charging for an entry wristband last year for the first time.

Gormandizing gaggles will still need to pay to eat or drink at the event, which is being held Sunday, May 20 from noon to 6 p.m.

Listed prices for tickets purchased before May 1 range from $6 for a single beer or wine ticket to $40 for a book of 10 “taste” tickets to $95 for a V.I.P. lounge pass. Tickets purchased after May 1 are more costly, and tickets purchased on the day of the event are even more so.

It’s rain or shine ticketing, so there are no refunds for bad weather.

Local brewery New District Brewing Company is listed as a vendor at a beer and wine garden. A live concert will be held at the beer garden, but no word yet on the performing artists.

Ballston’s SER and Pepita Cantina and Clarendon’s Don Tito and Oz are participating, as well as dozens of other Arlington restaurants and a few from outside of the county. The event web page notes that there will be over 50 food trucks and restaurants serving their specialties, though currently there are only 41 listed.

The festival will be held on Wilson Boulevard between N. Randolph and N. Lincoln streets, approximately along the stretch between the Ballston and Virginia Square Metro stations.

The dog-friendly “BarkPark” will cost $15 for entry, which includes a bandanna and a taste ticket as well as a place for your dog to hang out. A family area with games will be free.

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Construction Underway on Courthouse Pedestrian Safety Improvements

Crews are starting construction this week on changes to an intersection in Courthouse.

The $640,000 project is intended to provide pedestrian safety improvements at the intersection of Clarendon Blvd and 15th Street N. One major change is the removal of a slip lane.

The plan is to remove a one-way portion of roadway that serves as a shortcut to 15th Street N. in front of county government headquarters, and instead have Clarendon Blvd traffic access 15th Street via a 90 degree turn at the traffic signal-equipped intersection a bit farther down the road.

As currently configured the triangle of roadway leads to conflicts between cars and pedestrians, county staff says. The goal of the project is to improve “pedestrian safety, circulation and access in and around Courthouse Plaza.”

The new intersection will include additional trees, green space and other amenities for pedestrians and bicyclists.

Construction hours are 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Monday through Friday, according to the county website.

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Morning Notes

Wakefield Advances to Championship — The Wakefield High School boys basketball team has advanced to the Virginia Class 5 championship after defeating Edison last night 82-66. The team will face Varina tomorrow at VCU. Meanwhile, Wakefield senior forward A’Mari Cooper has been named Northern Region Class 5 Player of the Year. [Washington Post, InsideNova]

Metro Starts Selling Merch — Despite its reliability issues and subsequent image problem, Metro has launched a new line of clothing and gifts, sold online and at a new gift store at Metro Center. The reaction to the merchandise has been mixed. [WMATA, NBC Washington]

General Assembly Passes Car Seat Bill — “Today, the Virginia General Assembly passed House Bill 708… which would change the commonwealth’s law to require that child safety seats remain rear facing until the age of two, or the child reaches the minimum weight limit for a forward-facing child restraint device as prescribed by the manufacturer of the device. The bill is now on its way to Governor Northam’s office for his signature. If signed, the new law would become effective July 1, 2019.” [AAA Mid-Atlantic]

More Restaurants Considering Ballston Quarter — Fresh off the announcement that Ted’s Bulletin was coming to Ballston Quarter, the owners of trendy D.C. spots Himitsu and Gravitas are said to be considering opening up eateries at the mall. Also in the works: a donut shop, an arepas stand, an oyster bar, and a barbecue joint. [Washington Business Journal]

Nicecream Expanding to D.C. — Liquid nitrogen-powered ice cream shop Nicecream Factory, which first opened in Clarendon, has since expanded to Alexandria and is now planning to open two D.C. locations, in Adams Morgan and Shaw. [Washington Business Journal]

Nearby: Gun Reform Discussion — Fred Guttenberg, father of one of the Parkland, Florida high school shooting victims, will speak at an event called “A Conversation About Gun Safety And The Safety Of American Schools” at T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria tonight. Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) is hosting the event, which will discuss “actions we can take to ensure no other parent has to experience this kind of trauma.” [Eventbrite]

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Just Reduced Properties in Arlington

Each week, “Just Reduced” spotlights properties in Arlington County whose price have been cut over the previous week. The market summary is crafted by licensed broker Aaron Seekford of Arlington Realty, Inc. GET MORE out of your real estate investment with Aaron and his team by visiting www.arlingtonrealtyinc.com or calling 703-836-6116 today!

Please note: While Aaron Seekford provides this information for the community, he is not the listing agent of these homes.  

Here in March (yowsers, it’s March already?), we’ve seen a noticeable uptick in home listings.

In fact, within the last week, there are now 10 percent more homes, townhouses and condos for sale in Arlington County.

And, as the temps heat up and Ole Man Winter finally goes away, we’ll see more homes hitting the market. More and more people like to explore homes when it’s not snowing or 20 degrees outside. Who in the world would have thought?

In addition to more listings, we’re also seeing more reduced-priced homes. The number of homes reduced this week compared to last week is nearly double. And, we can count on this trend continuing. The more homes that are on the market, the more competitive sellers need to be to get their home sold.

Regardless of what side of a transaction you may fall on, my team will help you GET MORE out of your transaction. Amid the competition, we can make it happen.

As of March 5, there are 165 detached homes, 25 townhouses and 204 condos for sale throughout Arlington County. In total, 33 homes experienced a price reduction in the past week.

Here is this week’s selection of Just Reduced properties:

Please note that this is solely a selection of Just Reduced properties available in Arlington County. For a complete list of properties within your target budget and specifications, contact Aaron Seekford.

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