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Morning Notes

Arlington County Prepares for Winter Weather — Though a winter storm this weekend is looking increasingly unlikely for the area, Arlington County says it is preparing for a snowy winter and “will be ready to fight back” against snow and ice. [Arlington County]

More Solar Panels for APS — “Arlington County Public Schools signed a contract on Thursday night that they say will save them millions of dollars. Five of their schools will be made over with solar panels as part of a power purchase agreement, or PPA, with a Charlottesville, Virginia firm called Sun Tribe Solar.” [WUSA 9]

Fire at Ledo Pizza — Firefighters responded to an electrical fire at the Ledo Pizza restaurant in the Red Lion hotel in Rosslyn yesterday. The fire was extinguished by a sprinkler system. [Twitter]

Amazon, Pentagon City and Housing — Most or even all of Amazon’s permanent presence in Arlington could actually be in Pentagon City, not Crystal City. That presents an opportunity to add more housing, including affordable housing, in Pentagon City. [Greater Greater Washington]

American May Add Flights at DCA — “American Airlines is closely ‘studying’ online retailer Amazon’s plans to open a second headquarters steps away from its hub at Ronald Reagan Washington National airport, where it is already planning to add seats at the slot-controlled facility. ‘We absolutely plan to upgauge at DCA,’ the Fort Worth, Texas-based carrier’s vice-president of network Vasu Raja tells FlightGlobal.” [FlightGlobal]

Our Lady of Guadalupe Celebration — “On Saturday, December 8, approximately 300 people are expected to pour into Saint Agnes Catholic Church’s Parish Hall in Arlington to celebrate the anniversary of the apparition of the Blessed Mother to Juan Diego on December 12, 1531. Following the Mass, there will be a candle lit procession with some of the faithful carrying a statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe, followed by praying the rosary, and a potluck dinner with live entertainment -a mariachi band!” [Diocese of Arlington]

Flickr pool photo by Tom Mockler

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Morning Notes

ACPD Helps With Bush Funeral — Arlington County Police Department motor officers “had the honor of assisting with escorts” for the George H.W. Bush funeral yesterday. [Twitter]

Arlington County Named LGBTQ ‘All-Star’ — “For the third year in a row, Arlington has received national recognition for its protections of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community members. The County scored 92 out of 100 on the Municipal Equality Index (MEI)… because it scored at least an 85 despite being in a state without supportive state-level LGBTQ protections, the County also earned ‘all-star’ recognition.” [Arlington County]

Bikeshare Station Coming to Gravelly Point — A Capital Bikeshare station was being installed along the Mt. Vernon Trail at Gravelly Point Park yesterday. [Twitter]

County, Volunteers Planting Trees — “This fall alone, the Tree Stewards has planted about 300 trees. The group planned on planting 900, but the ice and snow in early November steered it a little off track. Arlington County contractors picked up the rest of the job.” [WDVM]

Flickr pool by Tom Mockler

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TRAFFIC ALERT: EB Columbia Pike Blocked By Crash

The eastbound lanes of Columbia Pike are currently blocked by a crash near the intersection with S. Four Mile Run Drive.

Airbags were deployed in the crash and medics are responding for report of non-life-threatening injuries.

Eastbound traffic is being diverted and is backing up before the crash scene. Drivers should avoid the area.

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Top Pike Booster Retiring

Cecilia Cassidy, the Executive Director of the Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization, is retiring.

CPRO, which was established in the 1980s to “champion and connect business and community along Columbia Pike,” announced the retirement in a press release Monday afternoon.

A search for Cassidy’s replacement is currently underway, the organization said. Her last day is currently expected to be Dec. 31.

More from the press release:

The Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization (CPRO) announces the retirement of its Executive Director, Cecilia Cassidy. Cassidy has served as the organization’s executive director since February 2016.

“CPRO is grateful for Cecilia’s leadership and her contributions to the organization,” said CPRO board president John Snyder, “but even more grateful for the spirit, enthusiasm, and friendship Cecilia has shared with us.”

Under Ms. Cassidy’s leadership, the organization has seen its largest period of financial growth in its 30-year history and adopted a strategic plan that included new initiatives such as the installation of nearly 70 place-making banners that were installed this month along the four-mile stretch of Columbia Pike that CPRO serves, unifying the corridor and celebrating “Arlington’s Oldest and Newest Main Street.”

Before joining CPRO, Cassidy led Rosslyn Renaissance, one of Arlington’s four public/private partnerships, and was instrumental in the creation of Arlington’s first BID, the Rosslyn Business Improvement District, which she headed until 2013.

CPRO’s Board of Directors is in the early stages of the search process for Cassidy’s replacement.

The Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, public/private partnership. CPRO is a coalition of residents and civic associations, businesses and property owners, and the Arlington County Government.  For more information visit www.Columbia-Pike.org

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UPDATED: Large Crowd Reported at Clarendon Cheesecake Factory Amid Free Cheesecake Promotion

(Updated at 4:25 p.m.) Arlington County police and medics have responded to Clarendon after a promotion for free cheesecake got out of control.

Police were called to the area of the Cheesecake Factory at 2900 Clarendon Blvd earlier today for a report of a large crowd and heavy traffic in the area. Around 1 p.m., another dispatch went out for a fight in progress at the restaurant, though officers did not find an active fight when they arrived.

The culprit: the Cheesecake Factory is giving away free slices of cheesecake in honor of its 40th anniversary, but only to those who order on Doordash. The result, according to an Arlington County Police spokeswoman: an unruly crowd of delivery drivers inside the restaurant, trying to pick up orders, and a rash of double parking around the Clarendon area.

The scene was “a little hectic” and officers were working to bring order and “calm the situation down,” ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage told ARLnow.com.

During the fracas, according to Savage, one person refused police commands to leave the restaurant and a struggle with officers ensued. That person was arrested and is expected to be charged with disorderly conduct, Savage said. He requested to be transported to a local hospital by medics for evaluation of possible injuries.

Here is what the Cheesecake Factory said about the promotion on its website:

In celebration of our 40th anniversary, on December 5th only starting at 11:30AM local time, we’re giving away 40,000 FREE slices* of cheesecake! Get a free slice* of cheesecake when you order delivery through DoorDash! Use promo code FREESLICE at checkout. Get it while you can because an offer this sweet won’t last long!

As an added bonus, DoorDash is offering $0 delivery fee** on all of The Cheesecake Factory delivery orders from December 5 – 11! No promo code needed!

There are social media reports that the promotion has caused chaotic scenes at other Cheesecake Factories across the country.

Later Wednesday afternoon, photos and video emerged on Twitter that appeared to show the arrest and some of the chaos inside the restaurant.

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Arlington Pet of the Week: Gertie

Becky's Pet Care

This week’s Arlington Pet of the Week is Gertie, a 3-year-old shih tzu who loves making new friends.

Here’s what owner Amy had to say on Gertie’s behalf:

Hi I’m Gertie, a three year old Shih-Tzu dubbed the “Friendliest Dog on the Block” by my peeps in my South Arlington neighborhood.  I love to get to know any other dog or human alike, and sometimes to the embarrassment or my mom I will jump up to say hi or give some wet kisses if allowed!

In my free time I love to go on rides in the car.  Sometimes I even get to go sit outside William Jeffry’s Tavern or go to Home Depot and sit in the cart!  I also enjoy long walks around Thomas Jefferson Middle School, splashing around in my dog pool, and playing with my toys (especially my rubber chicken).  Most of all I like hanging out with my 2.5 year old human sister.    If you ever see me come up and say hi.  Did I mention I’m the friendliest dog on the block!?

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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Morning Notes

Menorah Lighting in Clarendon Tonight — “Arlington Police Chief Jay Farr will light the menorah at a Chanukah Festival of Lights ceremony, to be held on Wednesday, Dec. 5 at 6 p.m. at Clarendon Central Park.” [InsideNova]

County Spraying Brine on Roads — Ahead of a possible snowstorm this weekend, the odds of which are increasing, Arlington County is applying brine to some local roadways. [Twitter]

Most of Va. Feeling Good About HQ2 — “There may be some angst in Arlington over Amazon.com Inc.’s impending entrance to the market, but overall, the state is feeling good about HQ2.” [Washington Business Journal]

Nearby: Bush 41’s Favorite Chinese Restaurant — “In a non-descript Falls Church strip mall, a culinary secret: the Peking Gourmet Inn, where George H.W. Bush dined with his family more than a hundred times over the last thirty years. The restaurant even had plaques for the president and his wife Barbara on two of their chairs, and a window with bullet-proof glass to protect Bush as he dined at a semi-private table with Secret Service only feet away.” [WJLA]

Photo courtesy Andrew Clegg

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JUST IN: A-Town Bar and Grill Closing

(Updated at 5:20 p.m.) Ballston watering hole A-Town Bar and Grill, which opened in 2012 and helped launch a mini nightlife empire in Arlington, is closing.

Scott Parker, a partner in the business, said in a Facebook post Tuesday evening that A-Town will close as its lease ends on Jan. 1, 2019. It will be replaced by “a brand new concept” in the same space, Parker said.

After an amazing run, our lease is up on January 1st and that will be the end of A-Town. It’s been an amazing journey that we couldn’t be more thankful for, but with our lease ending it’s time to say goodbye. However, we won’t be leaving! We’ve made a deal with the landlord to start a new lease, and we’ll be bringing a brand new concept to the exact same space which we will announce this spring, and plan to open early next summer. Stay tuned!

Though it was often crowded, and had a particularly devoted clientele for its “Sunday Funday” celebrations, A-Town did face challenges over the years. Rowdy customers made notable appearances in crime reports, and Arlington County officials sometimes balked at renewing its live entertainment permit.

Still, the good times kept rolling.

“We had an amazing run, it surpassed all of our expectations a million times over,” Parker told ARLnow.com

“The landlord wants to reinvest in us with a new concept,” he continued. “We’ll announce the concept sometime next spring and hope to open in early next summer.”

In the meantime, said Parker, A-Town fans can expect “a couple big parties” prior to the closing.

“[We] want to thank everyone that supported this place from the bottom of our hearts, we couldn’t have done what we’ve done in this city without A-Town,” Parker said.

Photo by Maryva2

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Morning Notes

Rosslyn Shooter Sentenced — “A man who worked as an investigator for conspiracy theorist Jack Burkman will serve nine years in prison for shooting and wounding his ex-boss” in a Rosslyn hotel parking garage. [Washington Post]

Marijuana Arrest Disparity — “African Americans were more than eight times more likely than whites to be arrested for marijuana crimes in Arlington from 2010-2016.” [Bacon’s Rebellion]

More on Long Bridge Plan — “New plans call to double the number of railroad tracks over the Potomac River between DC and Arlington, and to build a new pedestrian/bicycle bridge between Southwest Washington and Crystal City.” [Greater Greater Washington]

New Gym Coming to Arlington — “Blink Fitness is gearing up to expand into Northern Virginia with five new locations in Arlington, Alexandria and Fairfax. Northern Virginia-based Cove Fitness LLC inked the 10-year agreement with the New York fitness chain to bring gyms to the region that will create about 70 jobs and occupy 90,000 square feet.” [Washington Business Journal]

Crystal City Still in Spotlight — “I spent a day in Crystal City, Virginia — and it’s easy to see why Amazon picked it for its new HQ2 headquarters.” [Business Insider]

Most Elaborate Cubicle Xmas Decoration Ever? — At WJLA in Rosslyn, a TV director named Mason Herndon has converted his office cubicle into a log cabin complete with fake snow, a fake fireplace and Christmas lights. [Twitter]

Flickr pool photo by Tom Mockler

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Alleged Underwear Bandit Leads Would-Be Crime Fighter on Brief Chase

Geoff Collins was about to get lunch in Ballston on Friday when he witnessed what appeared to be a theft in progress.

A Macy’s employee was yelling at a man who had just run out of the store, carrying an arm-full of underwear. As the man crossed Wilson Blvd, Collins decided to give chase.

He never caught up to the man, but he did get a photo, which he emailed to ARLnow along with his story of what happened:

This morning around 11:40 a.m. on the 4300 block of Wilson Blvd in Ballston I witnessed a man running out of the Macy’s store carrying an arm full of men’s underwear. A store employee on her lunch break was screaming something in his direction as he ran across Wilson Blvd and up N. Taylor Street. I began pursuing him and took out my camera and yelled “hey, buddy” at which point he turned around for the attached photo. He immediately dropped the merchandise on the sidewalk and kept running toward Fairfax Drive. I picked up the merchandise, returned it to the store, and called the police. They came by about 10 minutes later and I filed a police report.

Collins said police took awhile to show up and get his side of the story. The officer never asked for the photo he took.

Police describe the incident as a “minor dispute.” No charges were filed.

“At approximately 11:49 a.m. on November 30, police were dispatched to the 700 block of N. Glebe Road for the report of a larceny just occurred,” said Arlington County Police Department spokeswoman Ashley Savage. “The investigation determined this incident was a resolved minor dispute.”

Savage noted that police discourage residents from chasing alleged criminals through the streets.

“For your safety, citizens are not encouraged to chase suspects, however, they are encouraged to be active witnesses and report criminal activity to police at 703-558-2222 or 9-1-1 in an emergency,” she said. “Information provided to dispatch should include a suspect description, location, method and direction of travel.”

Photo courtesy Geoff Collins

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TRAFFIC ALERT: I-395 HOV Lanes Blocked by Crash

A reported four-vehicle crash has completely blocked the HOV lanes of I-395 near Shirlington.

Police and firefighters are on scene, evaluating four people for possible injuries, according to scanner traffic.

Traffic cameras show northbound HOV traffic at a standstill past King Street.

Update at 12:20 p.m. — All lanes have reopened.

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Morning Notes

Police Investigate Stabbing Near Alexandria BorderUpdated at 2:45 p.m. — Arlington County Police are investigating a stabbing that happened last night at S. Arlington Ridge Road and S. Glebe Road. The incident, which started when the victim asked for help finding a ride, was initially believed to be a shooting, but was later determined to be “the result of a sharp weapon.” The victim was found with non-life threatening wounds just across the border in Alexandria. [Twitter, ACPD]

Major Redevelopment in Rosslyn — The Dittmar Co. has filed a preliminary site plan to redevelop the Holiday Inn hotel in Rosslyn, building 26- and 38-story towers housing 490 apartments and 327 hotel rooms. The proposal includes a 6,000 square foot event space on the top floor of the taller tower and the demolition of a skybridge crossing Fort Myer Drive. [Washington Business Journal]

Leonsis Says Build the Gondola — In a joint WaPo op-ed, Caps and Wizards owner Ted Leonsis, JBG Smith CEO Matt Kelly and former GOP Congressman Tom Davis say the proposed Georgetown-Rosslyn gondola would be a “forward-looking and innovative” investment in our transportation infrastructure. [Washington Post]

Local CEO Buys Rosslyn Buildings — “Affiliates belonging to Cogent Communications Holdings Inc. CEO Dave Schaeffer, one of the region’s highest-paid chief executives, have acquired a pair of Rosslyn office buildings (1550 and 1560 Wilson Blvd) recently renovated to include upgraded common-area space and a new boutique boxing-oriented fitness facility.” [Washington Business Journal]

Sheriff’s Office Raises Money for Prostate Cancer — The Arlington County Sheriff’s Office helped to raise money for prostate cancer treatment at Virginia Hospital Center during the month of November via its “Beards with a Badge initiative.” [Virginia Hospital Center, WJLA]

November Sets Weather Record — Last month was the wettest November on record for the Washington area. It was also the second-wettest meteorological fall on record for the area, according to the National Weather Service. [Twitter]

Police Searching for Missing Man Last Seen in Georgetown — Police are still looking for David Stern, a D.C. accountant last seen at Dixie Liquor on M Street in Georgetown. The 29-year-old, who is engaged to be married, hasn’t been seen since buying a bottle of Crown Royal at the store this past Tuesday. [Fox 5]

Photo courtesy @wwwchris

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BREAKING: Clark Street in Crystal City Closed Due to Bomb Threat

(Updated at 11:30 a.m.) A portion of S. Clark Street in Crystal City remains closed by police due to a bomb threat.

Clark Street is currently closed between 23rd Street and 26th Street while Pentagon and Arlington County bomb squads investigate a reported threat at a Department of Defense facility. Bomb-sniffing dogs are searching the building to ensure there are no explosives inside.

Pedestrians were moved away from the area as a precaution.

“Avoid the area and follow police direction,” said an Arlington Alert about the incident.

Update at 11:35 a.m. — The “all-clear” has been given and first responders are preparing to leave the scene.

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Morning Notes

Rare, Tropical Dragonfly Spotted in Arlington — “There was quite the discovery at this year’s Bioblitz in Glencarlyn Park. After a photo posted on the crowd-sourcing tracker, iNaturalist, started to spark a lot of interest… the consensus was that what had been photographed was a Great Pondhawk Dragonfly (Erythemis vesiculosa).” [Arlington County]

Frost Fest Rescheduled — Frost Fest at Pentagon Row, originally planned for Saturday, has been rescheduled due to expected rainy weather. It will now take place this Sunday from 4-7 p.m. [Twitter]

County to Open Garages During Snowstorms — “If a big winter storm – or two, or three – hits the region in coming months, Arlington residents will be able to leave their cars safe and sound in county-owned garages for the duration. It’s all part of an effort to keep residential streets as free of vehicles as possible so snow-plow operators can do their job.” [InsideNova]

Crafthouse Going Big — Beer-centric local restaurant chain Crafthouse, which has a location in Ballston, has inked a $250 million deal to franchise nationally. [Reston Now]

Portion of W&OD Trail to Get Separate Lanes — “A major 1.2-mile stretch of the W&OD Trail bike path that traverses the City of Falls Church… will soon be enhanced with the benefit of $3.2 million from the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority and turned into a dual path — one for bikes and the other for pedestrians.” [Falls Church News-Press]

Amazon News Roundup — Virginia economic development officials say they have “accounted for a host of risks that might arise related to Amazon, from a shift in direction for the company to antitrust litigation.” The Arlington Civic Federation “will host a discussion of the proposed Amazon economic-incentive package at its monthly meeting, to be held on Tuesday, Dec. 11 at 7 p.m. at Virginia Hospital Center.” Arlington County’s building and permitting staff “won’t be doing anything out of the ordinary to accommodate Amazon, such as fast-tracking, a common incentive offered to big economic development prizes.” And, in a new report on the oft-reported subject, “Amazon’s Northern Virginia headquarters could exacerbate existing economic disparities.”

Flickr pool photo by David Giambarresi

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Letter to the Editor: Converting Drew into a STEAM Option School is a ‘Ridiculous’ Plan

The following Letter to the Editor was submitted by Amelia Black, a Nauck resident living within Drew Model School’s attendance boundaries and the mother of two young children.

She penned this note to the Arlington School Board as it weighs a redrawing of South Arlington school boundaries. Parents at Henry Elementary School have proposed converting Drew into a neighborhood school accepting countywide transfers for a “STEAM” program in order to address some of their boundary concerns. The Board has dismissed the possibility of such a proposal, and is set to vote on a final boundary map next month.

My name is Amelia Black, and I am a parent of two children under the age of 5, and I live in the Drew neighborhood walk-zone. The views expressed here are my own.

I am writing because I have been frustrated to learn of the recent proposal by some community members to scrap this whole boundary process and make the new Drew neighborhood school a ‘hybrid option school.’ I thought it was ridiculous on its face, but learned it has been shopped around with all School Board members and even has a full PR campaign complete with ARLnow article and attempts to convince neutral stakeholders like Drew’s principal and PTA president.

I am not sure what you all think about this proposal, but I am hoping it is non-idea for you like it is for me. The school has been an option school for decades and has not had the benefit of a single community rallying around its success like other schools have had. You all know the history of the school, how we all got this point, and I hope that going back now is not considered an option.

I personally support map 6 with some reservation, in particular about filling the school and students not opting out, ultimately delaying Drew congealing into a strong community school. Changes that I hope would be considered 1) all Pre-school seats, including leftover non-VPI seats, should be given to Drew families living in this boundaries so as to encourage families to come into the school 2) Large numbers of students should not be allowed to stay at their former neighborhood school just because it has some extra capacity.

However, I am also formally requesting that you do what you feel is the best long-term solution for all students. The inherent problem with having all us parents constantly engaged in any process like this is that we all would do ANYTHING to prevent real or perceived threats to our children’s’ optimal development.

Parents can pull out charts, spreadsheets, and videos but none of us are objective, and we all want what we feel is the best solution RIGHT THIS MINUTE for our precious children. But often, what is best for those being the loudest right now is not necessarily the best solution for the long-term. We elected you all to gather our input and then make an objective decision that is best for all students, not just the ones who have time and resources to make our voices heard.  I’ve shared my opinion, and I am telling myself I’m objective, but I’m biased like every other parent, and I hope you will each do what you feel is most fair to all involved.

As a final thought, please though there have been many flaws in this process that I hope you will seriously reflect on in making improvements for the future, please do not delay this decision. Please make efforts to pull the band aid off now and make a decision on December 6.  Delaying the decision will only give people more time to creatively combat the inevitably painful acceptance of changes coming next year.

ARLnow.com occasionally publishes thoughtful letters to the editor about issues of local interest. To submit a letter to the editor for consideration, please email it to [email protected]. Letters may be edited for content and brevity. 

Photo via Google Maps

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