Batten down the hatches, it’s windy out there.
It’s so windy that the National Weather Service has issued a Wind Advisory, effective through 5 p.m. tonight.
WIND ADVISORY UNTIL 5PM EDT SAT
… WIND ADVISORY IN EFFECT UNTIL 5 PM EDT THIS AFTERNOON…
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN BALTIMORE MD/WASHINGTON HAS ISSUED A WIND ADVISORY… WHICH IS IN EFFECT UNTIL 5 PM EDT THIS AFTERNOON.
* TIMING… ONGOING. STRONG WINDS WILL CONTINUE THROUGH THE AFTERNOON BEFORE DIMINISHING THIS EVENING.
* WINDS… NORTHWEST WINDS WITH GUSTS OF 45 TO 50 MPH POSSIBLE.
* IMPACTS… SCATTERED TREE AND POWER LINE DAMAGE. DIFFICULTY DRIVING HIGH PROFILE VEHICLES.
A WIND ADVISORY MEANS THAT WINDS OF 45 TO 55 MPH ARE EXPECTED. WINDS WILL BE STRONG ENOUGH TO MAKE DRIVING DIFFICULT… ESPECIALLY FOR HIGH PROFILE VEHICLES. DRIVE CAUTIOUSLY.
It was a week of warmth and power issues in Arlington. Both are now in the rear view.
Fall has returned after a week-long summer reprise. Today (Saturday) should be breezy, cool and crisp, followed by a bit warmer of a fall day on Sunday.
Our three most-read articles of the week were: 1. Thousands Without Power in North Arlington; 2. County Board Approves Pedestrian-Only Streets in Arlington; and 3. ACPD Investigating More Than Two Dozen Car Break-ins.
Photo courtesy Andrew Pang
No significant injuries were reported, said Arlington County Police spokesman Capt. Bruce Benson. Those involved in the fight — students, reportedly — were evaluated but did not require medical treatment.
Washington-Lee’s football team was at home tonight, facing McLean High School. Police requested extra officers for security at the end of the game.
As of 9:45 p.m. no arrests had been made, Benson said.
Update at 11:55 a.m. — In addition to the fight during last night’s game, there was also a strong-arm robbery reported after the game. Police searched for the teenage suspect but were unable to locate him. The following email about the robbery was sent to the Cherrydale neighborhood listserv this morning.
My son was robbed after the Homecoming game at Washington Lee. It was right by the bike racks in front of the school on Stafford street, the guy asked for change for, and when my son took out the money to check, the boy snatched the money and ran, and when he yelled and tried to follow him, suddenly a group of the perpetrators friends showed up. I am glad the he did not engage, and instead went looking for a police officer.
The perpetrator had a Black Beanie cap, a grey sweatshirt, and blue jeans, he might have been only 15-16 years old. Even though only about $20 was snatched from my son, I hope the police follow up, as this totally is a sign of organized activity. Per police others were robbed last night as well.
Beyer is a freshman member of Congress who’s running in his first reelection campaign. Since succeeding long-time congressman Jim Moran, Beyer has been focused on a number of issues of importance to voters in the Eighth District of Virginia, which includes Arlington.
We asked Beyer about some of those issues, like the rehabilitation of the Memorial Bridge and aircraft noise from Reagan National Airport, as well as this year’s election and, of course, the presidential candidacy of Donald Trump.
No need to protest outside of our office, it’s not our fault, but ARLnow.com’s comment system is down.
Disqus, the our third-party comment system provider, is among the companies affected by a massive distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack today, which is mostly affecting internet users on the East Coast.
Twitter — and thus our popular Twitter account — is also having issues.
We apologize for the inconvenience and hope that the internet tubes get unclogged soon.
Update at 5:15 p.m. — Looks like we’ve been back up for a little while, but there’s always a possibility of additional intermittent issues.
Searching for a new home in Arlington? You’ll be able to find plenty of options this weekend.
1400 Barton Street South
1 Bed/1 Bath Townhouse
Agent: Jan Kennemer
Open: Sunday 1-4 p.m
4145 Four Mile Run Drive South
2 Bed/2 Bath Condo
Agent: Dina Gorrell
Open: Sunday 2-4 p.m
842 Monroe Street South
3 Bed/2 Bath Single-Family Detached
Agent: Veronica Seva-Gonzalez
Open: Sunday 1-3 p.m
1700 Clarendon Blvd
1 Bed/1.5 Bath Condo
Agent: Matthew Shepard
Open: Saturday 1-4 p.m
1401 Oak Street North
2 Bed/2.5 Bath Condo
Agent: David Lloyd
Open: Sunday 12-3 p.m
2412 6th Street South
4 Bed/4.5 Bath Single-Family Detached
Agent: Christopher Dudley
Open: Sunday 11 a.m-2 p.m
Real estate agents, if you don’t see your listings in our real estate section shoot us an email and we’ll let you know what your office needs to do to get listed.
Arlington’s Historic Affairs and Landmark Review Board has recommended designating a tiny Ballston graveyard a local historic district, potentially disrupting a church’s redevelopment plans.
The HALRB voted 8-2-2 Wednesday night for a local historic district designation of the Robert Ball Sr. Family Burial Ground, after hearing from 37 speakers both for and against the designation.
The County Board will now decide, as early as next month, whether to authorize an advertisement of public hearings before the Planning Commission and the Board. Following the hearings, the County Board could vote on the historic district as early as December.
The graveyard is located next to Ballston’s Central United Methodist Church, which has filed a site plan application to redevelop its property at 4201 Fairfax Drive into an eight-story building with a new house of worship, 132 apartments (55 would be committed as affordable units), a daycare and preschool facility and charitable facilities.
The 150-year-old, 325-square foot burial ground includes headstones for members of the Ball family, for which Ballston is named. Nobody knows for sure whether there are human remains buried in the graveyard or whether the remains were relocated elsewhere decades ago during any number of construction projects.
Historic preservation activists have pushed for a historic designation, which could scuttle or at least significantly alter the redevelopment plans.
The church and its members, on the other hand, want the development to proceed.
“This project… is excellent for the community as it will provide much needed affordable housing in Ballston, maintain a sacred space of a church in Ballston proper, continue a strong outreach by providing meals to those in need on Fridays, and provide expanded daycare and preschool options in Ballston conveniently located near the Metro for commuting parents,” said Kathy Sibert, a congregant who’s also the president and CEO of the Arlington Street People’s Assistance Network.
“[The graveyard] was deeded to the church from the Ball Family in the 1920s,” said Sibert. “It is NOT an active grave site and the entire site has been heavily excavated for construction by the church and the County since that time so that virtually the entire site has been disturbed.
Sibert said the county officials have stopped processing its site plan application, “despite their prior commitment to us to hold our March 2017 tax credit application deadline.”
Update at 3:30 p.m. — The church’s pastor, Rev. Sarah Harrison-McQueen, tells ARLnow via email: “The local historic district boundaries recommended by county staff to the HALRB would have made our project infeasible. The HALRB voted to designate a smaller section of land than the staff proposed boundaries so we’ve asked our design team and engineers to evaluate the impact of this smaller section. I anticipate that we will have a better understanding of the potential ramifications sometime next week.”
She added: “Our current sanctuary is built within the boundaries of the former Ball family graveyard. The grave-markers do not appear to be in their original location. The church is seeking permission from the Virginia Department of Historic Resources to investigate this further.”
Spirits of 76, new bar with a patriotic name and Americana decor, has opened.
Specializing in whiskey and American comfort food, Spirits of 76 aims to be a neighborhood hangout. Live music is also part of the plan.
The bar quietly opened its doors Wednesday as part of a soft opening. It’s now open from 4 p.m. to last call on weekdays and from 10 a.m. to last call on weekends.
Home Prices Declining? — For the past two months, the median home sale price in Arlington has declined year-over-year. For September the median sale price was $515,000, down 10 percent compared to one year earlier. [WTOP]
Record Absentee Voting Expected — The total number of absentee ballots cast in Arlington is expected to reach 43,000 this year, smashing the county’s previous record of 35,000 in 2008. Arlington’s elections office hired “considerable extra staff” this year to meet voter demand. [Arlington County]
Va. Voter Registration Extended — To make up for a system failure before the Virginia’s voter registration deadline, a federal judge has ordered registration be extended through midnight tonight. [Politico]
Budget Guidance Anticipates Gap — County officials are projecting a $5.4 million funding gap for Arlington’s FY 2018 budget. That assumes a 2 percent growth in revenue, a 2.9 percent growth in expenditures, service levels remaining unchanged and the tax rate remaining at $0.991 per $100, which the county notes is the lowest rate in Northern Virginia. [Arlington County]
Local Man Competing in Maccabiah Games — David Ostroff, an Arlington resident, has been chosen to represent the United States on the 35+ Masters basketball team in the 20th World Maccabiah Game in Israel next summer. Ostroff is currently raising money for his sponsorship. [Maccabi USA]
Note: Photo (above) does not imply sponsorship or endorsement.
The incident was reported around 10 p.m. on the 2400 block of 27th Court S. No injuries were reported.
From an Arlington County police crime report:
MISSILE INTO OCCUPIED DWELLING, 161019045, 2400 block of S. 27th Court. At approximately 10:00 p.m. on October 19, officers responded to the report of a late shots fired. Upon investigation, it was determined that a male victim found a bullet hole in the roof of a room inside his residence. A bullet was found on the floor nearby. A search of the residence and a check on the welfare were conducted in nearby residences. An origin of the bullet was unable to be located. The investigation is ongoing.
Separately, but around the same time, police responded to a report of someone shooting at people and homes with an airsoft gun in the Columbia Forest neighborhood, just north of Wakefield High School.
ATTEMPTED MALICIOUS WOUNDING, 161019048, 5200 block of S. 11th Street. At approximately 10:05 p.m. on October 19, an unknown subject(s) shot an air-soft firearm at a male victim and the surrounding houses in the neighborhood. The victim was uninjured and there was no damaged property found. There is no suspect(s) description. The investigation is ongoing.
On a calm summer night a few months ago, just after the Fourth of July, a big, century-old tree toppled over, blocking a street and knocking out power to much of the Ashton Heights neighborhood.
Fast forward to today and something cool has come from the tree’s unfortunate demise.
Local chainsaw artist Andrew Mallon has turned part of the big tree — the stump of which remains horizontal in a front yard along the 500 block of N. Lincoln Street — into a sculpture of a two-headed dragon.
The sculpture has captured the neighborhood’s imagination and is clearly an object of fascination for the homeowners’ young son, who was outside admiring it with a caretaker when ARLnow.com stopped by yesterday afternoon.
Mallon, who grew up two blocks from the home, says the family was “disappointed” that the tree fell down, but specifically asked whether it could be kept for posterity, in dragon form.
“They asked if a dragon with a horn was a possibility,” Mallon said. “They wanted a carving the kids could play on that also included a bench for the adults to enjoy. I thought it was a great idea and quickly started thinking of different ways to incorporate all the elements the family wanted.”
“This carving has really been an amazing piece to work on and I couldn’t be happier it is living at a great home, with a fun loving family, in my old neighborhood,” continued Mallon. “I have to be honest the 10 year old in me is a little jealous I didn’t have a dragon to play on as a child.”
Before the carving could begin, Mallon said, a crane had to be brought into remove the four-ton tree from the street. After that, the design was finalized: a dragon with two heads and a kid-friendly saddle.
“To fit the design in the log I had to start the carving by leveling out the bottom and removing about 1,000 pounds from it,” said Mallon. “After being properly leveled, I used my largest saw to block out the heads, body, and tail. Once the general shape was there I was able to switch to a smaller saw to begin working on the details. This includes the playful faces, tail, saddle, etc.”
“I still have some details like the scales to complete, but will be waiting to finish them until we can put the dragon in its permanent location,” he added. “Once the carving is finished I will burn it to add depth and color. This will be followed by a nice sanding, to prevent splinters, and finished with an outdoor sealer to protect the carving from the elements so it lasts for years to come.”
Update at 3:15 p.m. — Power has been restored to all but a handful of Dominion customers in Arlington. Asked about the outages last night and today, a Dominion spokesman told ARLnow.com: “We experienced equipment failure resulting in a failed connector and wire falling into another line. 5,054 customers were restored in increments up to 2 hours and 23 minutes. The remaining 1,680 customers were restored after 6 hours and 44 minutes.”
Update at 11:10 a.m. — Another power outage has been reported near Crystal City. In all, about 500 Dominion customers are currently without power, according to the utility company’s website.
Police are helping with traffic control at several intersections in the Ballston area due to a power outage.
The outage was first reported just before 9 a.m. and follows last night’s widespread outage along the Lee Highway corridor.
More than 200 customers are affected by this morning’s outage, according to Dominion’s power outage map. Washington-Lee High School is just outside the area marked as without power.
Among the affected traffic signals are those at the busy intersection of Washington Blvd and Glebe Road, according to scanner traffic.
Heard a boom and now there's no power near W&L. Come on Thursday! You can do it! @ARLnowDOTcom
— Marissa (@MShackapopolis) October 20, 2016
The following letter to the editor was submitted by John Foti on behalf of Arlington’s youth baseball community. Via letters and outreach at meetings, baseball advocates are pushing back against vocal opposition, among a group of residents, to the renovation of a baseball diamond in Bluemont Park.
A small minority of opponents have dominated the conversation about the planned improvements to the baseball diamond at Bluemont Park. I’d like to speak up for the proponents.
Participation in youth baseball has grown rapidly as the county’s school-age population has grown. There are currently over 3,600 youth baseball participants playing each year, up from about 2,400 participants just 7 years ago. Bluemont field #3 is one of the most heavily-used fields for kids aged 8- to 12-years old.
Bluemont #3 is a field used by more than 1,000 kids for more than 70 games a season and roughly 60 practices per week. Unfortunately, overuse and misuse of the field for non-baseball activities (such as riding bicycles around the diamond) have combined to make it very susceptible to unplayable field conditions. This spring alone, an estimated 60 percent of the scheduled activities on Bluemont #3 were cancelled due to unplayable field conditions – which is significantly higher than any other baseball field in the County
To derail the planned improvements, project opponents have made several assertions that are wrong or misguided.
- They assert there is surplus of baseball fields, but only half of the 38 fields they identified are actually safe, usable fields. The remaining 50% are poorly maintained and are not usable. Bluemont #3 sits at the bottom of the list of playable fields.
- They argue that allocating land to youth baseball is inefficient because of “low utilization rates during daylight hours”. Please keep in mind that the kids that use these fields are in school from 8am-4pm. Using this flawed logic is like stating “APS has plenty of classroom space because the schools are empty between 4pm-6am”. It is used every single weekday from 4pm until the sun goes down for either practices or games.
- They contend that very few county residents benefit from the field, but this conclusion is based on incomplete data. Granted, the field does not serve any of the non-baseball playing residents, but it does serve of the 1,000 KIDS who play baseball.
Opponents are particularly opposed to fencing the field. Fencing helps mark in-play territory, keeps balls from flying out and hitting park users, and extends the life of taxpayer investments. Because the field is not currently fenced, park users routinely wander onto the field of play and interrupt permitted users. This is incredibly unsafe and unfortunate for the kids that are playing. Moreover, fields that have fences elsewhere in the county tend to remain in relatively good shape: They require only routine maintenance during the season and generally last years beyond their expected “useful life”.
The planned renovation of the Bluemont field will restore this much needed field to a condition of playability and safety, while helping to ease diamond field supply/demand issues for families across the County.
There are a few thousand good reasons to restore Bluemont #3, most of them are between ages 8-12 and want a good, safe place to play ball.
Arlington Babe Ruth
(on behalf of the Arlington Youth Baseball Community)
ARLnow.com occasionally publishes thoughtful letters to the editor about issues of local interest. To submit a letter to the editor, please email it to [email protected] Letters may be edited for content and brevity.
Earthquake Drill Today — Virginia and a handful of other states will be participating in the Great SouthEast ShakeOut earthquake drill today at 10:20 a.m. [ShakeOut.org]
Sobering News on Office Vacancies — County officials are warning that Arlington’s office vacancy rate will remain relatively high for the foreseeable future. Optimistically, economic development officials believe that by “slowly and steadily” winning lease renewals and new tenants, the vacancy rate could decline to just past 15 percent, from the current 20 percent, within a few years. [InsideNova]
Arlington No. 8 on Marathon Training Rankings — Arlington County has ranked No. 8 on a list of the best places to train for a marathon. The county earned high marks for its parks, its walkability and its climate. [Competitor]
Most Popular College Applications — The three top schools in terms of the number of applications from the high school class of 2016 in Arlington were: 1. Virginia Commonwealth University, 2. University of Virginia and 3. Virginia Tech. [Arlington Magazine]
Arlington’s Commuter Efforts Lauded — “Arlington County Commuter Services (ACCS) is being recognized for weaving mobility into broader efforts to improve local quality of life and economic competitiveness. ACCS was named by the Association for Commuter Transportation as having the best transportation demand management (TDM) program among all large municipalities in the United States.” [Arlington County]
Photo courtesy Katie Pyzyk
Update at 11:10 p.m. — Currently 907 customers in Arlington are without power, according to Dominion.
(Updated at 9:50 p.m.) More than 5,000 Dominion customers were without power in parts of north Arlington tonight due to an extended outage.
The outage was first reported around 6 p.m. and is affecting much of the Lee Highway corridor between Lyon Village and East Falls Church. Multiple transformer fires were also reported.
Dominion’s website reported at 8:30 p.m. that 5,427 customers in Arlington are in the dark and that the cause of the outage is “pending investigation.” The estimated restoration time is listed as between 8-11 p.m.
The timing of the outage is causing some anxiety among Arlington’s political-savvy populace, with the minutes ticking down to the 9 p.m. start of the third and final presidential debate.
Transformer fire photos (above) courtesy Andrew Pang
— LincolnACFD (@LincolnACFD) October 19, 2016
Transformer just blew at Heidelberg pastry shop. Lee hwy without power. @ARLnowDOTcom
— Stephanie Berman (@seberman) October 19, 2016
— Tyler (@jtdant) October 19, 2016
@ARLnowDOTcom riding my bike from Sycamore to Lorcom & Nellie Custis – many but not all neighborhoods w/out electricity. What's going on?
— Debby Bowman (@bowmandj626) October 20, 2016
— Joe Hardy (@johnjosephhardy) October 20, 2016