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Good Wednesday evening, Arlington. Today we published articles that were read a total of 7696 times… so far.

📈 Top stories

The following are the most-read articles for today — Feb 8, 2023.

  1. Sorry heartthrobs, Courthouse’s Taco Bell Cantina will likely not be open for Valentine’s Day
  2. Loyal Companion no more as both Arlington pet stores set to shutter later this month
  3. Morning Notes
  4. ACPD warns of common phone scams targeting Arlington residents

📅 Upcoming events

Here is what’s going on Thursday in Arlington, from our event calendar.

🌥 Thursday’s forecast

Overcast throughout the day. High of 66 and low of 51. Sunrise at 7:08 am and sunset at 5:40 pm. See more from Weather.gov.

💡 Thought of the Day

“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.” – Charles R. Swindoll

🌅 Tonight’s sunset

Thanks for reading! Feel free to discuss the day’s happenings in the comments.

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The newest Adoptable Pet of the Week is Koda!

This blue-eyed boy has the brains and beauty to compliment his future family.

His friends at Animal Welfare League of Arlington had a few things to say about Koda:

Gaze into those bright blue eyes and try not to fall in love!

Not only is Koda super handsome, but he’s got the brains and personality to go with it.

He loves spending time outside sniffing around the yard and playing with squeaky toys to his heart’s content.

He’s a “glass half full” kind of dog who is full of curiosity and enthusiasm!

Koda is currently in foster waiting to find his forever home. Want to set up a meet and greet? Email his foster at [email protected] and be sure to check out his entire profile.

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 gallery!

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File photo

Arlington County police are warning about some common scams that residents have been reporting.

The scams involve calls to victims from people impersonating law enforcement personnel, attorneys or even a victim’s family member. The goal is to induce fear and collect a payment over the phone.

“Legitimate government agencies and businesses will also not call individuals and demand immediate payment in the form of gift cards, cryptocurrency or digital cash transfers,” ACPD said in a press release Tuesday. “Any unsolicited contact that puts you in fear, requests you to act quickly or states there is an emergency requiring you to provide funds or personal identifiable information is likely a scam.”

Common scams include “The Jury Duty Scam,” the “Federal Agent Impersonation Scam” and “The Injured Family Member Scam.”

“Always be suspicious of unsolicited phone calls, texts or emails,” the press release notes. “Even if the information displayed on the caller ID appears the same as a law enforcement or government agency, hang up and call the agency directly to verify the caller’s legitimacy.”

The full press release is below.

Read More

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Morning Notes

Construction activity continues at Amazon’s HQ2 in Pentagon City (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

National Win for Local Girls — “Congratulations to the 10U Virginia Hurricanes for winning the organization’s FIFTH NFL Flag Football National Championship this weekend at the NFL Pro Bowl in Las Vegas!! Hurricanes teams have won NFL Flag National Championship titles four years in a row.” [Twitter]

County Seeking New Poet Laureate — “Arlington County is seeking its official Poet Laureate for the 2023-2025 term. With the final application deadline of March 24, 2023 by 5:00pm, the selected poet laureate’s two-year term will begin July 1, 2023. The poet selected as Arlington’s poet laureate will serve as an advocate for poetry and the literary arts and will advance Arlingtonians’ consciousness and appreciation of poetry in its written and spoken forms.” [Arlington County]

Community Police Academy Applications — “The Arlington County Police Department is now accepting applications for the 27th Community Police Academy (CPA). The CPA is an educational program designed to strengthen communication and collaboration between police and the community they serve. The goal of the CPA is to increase participant’s knowledge and understanding of how the Arlington County Police Department operates and its role in the community.” [ACPD]

Man Stabbed, Unclear Where — “500 block of S. Glebe Road. At approximately 5:45 p.m. on February 7, police were dispatched to the report of an assault with a weapon. Upon arrival, it was determined the male victim sought medical assistance at the fire station for a stab wound. The victim was transported to an area hospital with serious, non-life threatening injuries. Limited details were provided regarding the events that preceded the call for service and the location of the incident could not be determined.” [ACPD]

Boeing Planning Some Layoffs — “Boeing Co expects to cut about 2,000 white-collar jobs this year in finance and human resources through a combination of attrition and layoffs, the U.S. planemaker confirmed Monday. Last month, the Arlington, Virginia-based company announced it would hire 10,000 workers in 2023 after hiring 15,000 people in 2022, but said some support positions would be cut.” [Reuters]

Prosecutor Nominated for Judge — “The Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney takes great pleasure in announcing that members of our local delegation to the General Assembly have nominated Cari Steele, our Chief Deputy, for a judgeship on the General District Court. I chose Cari as my Chief because of her talent, intelligence, kindness, and dedication. In the three years she has been part of our team, she brought an abiding passion to the cause of criminal justice reform and a deep sense of integrity to the cases she was entrusted to prosecute.” [Twitter]

Amazon Store Plans Hit Snag — “Amazon.com Inc. is pausing its aggressive grocery store growth to cut back on expenses, CEO Andy Jassy said Thursday after the company posted a historically rough quarter, studded with losses. That could explain why at least eight Amazon Fresh or Go grocery stores planned for Greater Washington have yet to open… [including in] Baileys Crossroads and Potomac Yard.” [Washington Business Journal]

It’s Wednesday — Mostly cloudy throughout the day. High of 57 and low of 44. Sunrise at 7:09 am and sunset at 5:39 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Good Tuesday evening, Arlington. Today we published articles that were read a total of 21948 times… so far.

📈 Top stories

The following are the most-read articles for today — Feb 7, 2023.

  1. NEW: Police investigate incidents at two Arlington middle schools
  2. Another off-the-beaten-path Arlington eatery gets rave critical review
  3. APS parents and teachers want transparency. They say School Board members are advised to be ‘vague.’
  4. Morning Notes

📅 Upcoming events

Here is what’s going on Wednesday in Arlington, from our event calendar.

⛅ Wednesday’s forecast

Mostly cloudy throughout the day. High of 58 and low of 44. Sunrise at 7:09 am and sunset at 5:39 pm. See more from Weather.gov.

💡 Thought of the Day

“It is never too late to be what you might have been.” -George Eliot

🌅 Tonight’s sunset

Thanks for reading! Feel free to discuss the day’s happenings in the comments.

8 Comments
Police on scene at Thomas Jefferson Middle School in June 2022 (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

A pair of incidents have prompted police investigations at two Arlington middle schools to start the week.

A student at Thomas Jefferson Middle School allegedly brought a weapon to school on Monday that turned out to be an airsoft gun. Police say they confiscated the airsoft gun and juvenile charges are pending.

From today’s Arlington County Police Department crime report:

CARRYING AIR GUN IN PUBLIC (late), 2023-02060183, 100 block of S. Old Glebe Road. At approximately 7:03 p.m. on February 6, police were dispatched to the late report of a brandishing. Upon arrival, it was determined at approximately 1:15 p.m., the juvenile suspect allegedly opened his backpack and exposed the handle of what was later determined to be an airsoft gun to several juveniles. No threats were made and the airsoft gun was not brandished during the incident. During the course of the investigation, officers identified the involved juvenile and recovered the airsoft gun. A petition is pending for violation of Arlington County Code § 13-8.

The following email was sent to Thomas Jefferson families.

Dear Jefferson Families:

This is to inform you that around 6:40 p.m. on Mon, Feb. 6, our administrative team was informed that a student had a gun during the last period of the school day. The Arlington County Police Department (ACPD) was immediately made aware and confiscated an “airsoft gun” from a student. Information and support from our school community enabled us to quickly investigate and take immediate action. In addition, appropriate disciplinary action is being taken.

Students are reminded that bringing weapons of any kind into the school is against the law and will result in disciplinary action by the school as well as a referral to ACPD. Again, please be assured that we always take these incidents seriously. The safety of our students and staff is our top priority. […]

An incident at Dorothy Hamm Middle School, meanwhile, involved a threatening note “slipped under a teacher workroom door.”

Police do not believe the threat to be credible, according to an email sent to families this morning.

Dear DHMS Staff and Families,

Dorothy Hamm Middle School was informed of a threat of violence written on a piece of paper and slipped under a teacher workroom door. The threat was non-specific and did not include any information other than that something would happen today, Feb. 7.

The Department of Safety, Security, Risk and Emergency Management (SSREM) and the Arlington County Police Department (ACPD) have been contacted, and while we do not believe the threat is credible, they are investigating. The school is operating as normal at this time, and all students and staff are safe.

As a precaution, there will be increased police presence at the school today. Any staff or students who have knowledge of this are asked to contact the school or Arlington County Police Department.

Students are reminded that making threats of any kind is unacceptable and in violation of the Student Code of Conduct and will result in disciplinary action by the school as well as a referral to law enforcement.

We appreciate the staff member who brought this to our attention and ask all members of our community to report any threats they may see or hear, whether they believe they are credible or not.

We will keep you updated if we receive new information. Thank you for working together to make our school safe. If you have any questions, please feel free to call the office at 703-228-2910.

Ellen Smith
Principal
Dorothy Hamm Middle School

It has been a busy couple of weeks for police at Arlington’s public schools, following a fatal suspected overdose and threats of potential gun violence at Wakefield High School last week, as well as other substance-abuse-related dispatches.

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Virginia State Capitol on Feb. 1, 2023 (staff photo)

Two bills that would have given online-only local news publications like ARLnow some of the same privileges afforded legacy media outlets failed in Richmond over the past few weeks.

In the House of Delegates, HB 1920 would have included online local news publications that employ at least one full time journalist in an exemption from local Business, Professional, and Occupational License (BPOL) taxes.

Current statute exempts radio stations, television stations, newspapers, magazines, newsletters and “other publication[s] issued daily or regularly at average intervals not exceeding three months.” Online publications are not considered an “other publication” in Virginia, in part because the state exemption was originally passed in the late 1980s, before the advent of the modern commercial internet.

ARLnow’s parent company, which is based in Arlington and pays a mid-four-figure BPOL tax annually — nearly 10% of the company’s net income for 2022 — appealed the exclusion from the media outlet BPOL exemption to the Arlington Office of the Commissioner of Revenue in the fall. The office rejected the appeal, citing a 2020 Virginia Tax Commissioner ruling against a food blog that was also seeking the exemption.

Introduced by Del. Patrick Hope (D-Arlington), the bill garnered support from other Virginia online-only local news publishers but Arlington County officials expressed concern about a loss of tax revenue. Several other online publications, including Axios, are also based in Arlington.

HB 1920 was ultimately “laid on the table” by a House finance subcommittee, with committee members expressing both interest in studying the bill’s financial impact and surprise that legacy media outlets are excluded from BPOL.

Also considered this year was SB 1237, proposed by state Sen. Mark Obenshain (R-Harrisonburg), which would have given local governments and businesses the option of placing legal notice ads in qualifying online local news publications. Currently, such notices must be placed in printed newspapers to satisfy legal requirements.

Obenshain argued that numerous online-only local news publications have as many or more readers than their print counterparts, while citing the continued closure of print newspapers across the country, including the Richmond-area Chesterfield Observer earlier this month.

Here in Arlington, residents and County Board members have at times expressed frustration with the county placing its legal notices in the relatively lightly-circulated Washington Times newspaper. Board members, however, said that doing so is the most cost-effective way to meet state notice requirements and placing notices in the Washington Post, for instance, would be considerably more expensive.

Arlington County spent more than $37,000 with the Washington Times, an unabashedly conservative daily paper owned by an offshoot of the Unification Church, between fiscal years 2018 and 2019, according to a Freedom of Information Act response to a resident’s query in 2020.

The owners of ARLnow, Page Valley News and the MadRapp Recorder were among those to testify in favor of the bill last week. It was opposed by the Virginia Press Association and the publisher of InsideNoVa on the grounds that newspapers provide a permanent physical record of such notices and Virginia newspapers publishers already post notices online.

The state Senate’s judiciary committee ultimately voted 6-9 against the bill, after expressing concerns about which publications would qualify under SB 1237 and whether notices would be lost if online publications closed.

The vote was largely along party lines, with six GOP members voting in favor. Among those voting against it were members of the Democratic delegation from Fairfax County: Sen. Jennifer Boysko, Sen. Chap Petersen, Sen. Dick Saslaw and Sen. Scott Surovell. Previous attempts to pass a similar bill on the House side by Del. Hope have also failed in committee.

Online-only local news publishers who supported the bill — there are currently more than a dozen such local sites throughout the Commonwealth — have vowed to try again to gain bipartisan support for a modified version of this year’s bill during next year’s General Assembly session.

Separately, a bill from Del. Alfonso Lopez (D-Arlington) to provide tax credits that would benefit both print and online local news publishers, also failed in a House finance subcommittee. The bill, HB 2061, had the support of the Virginia Press Association.

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King of Koshary at 5515 Wilson Blvd in 2019

Another unassuming Arlington restaurant tucked well away from a Metro corridor has received a glowing write-up.

King of Koshary, at 5515 Wilson Blvd in Bluemont, “serves Egyptian food fit for royalty,” a Washington Post headline declared atop a new review that was published yesterday.

The restaurant, which opened in 2019, is helmed by “two chefs who pushed each other to create a first-class koshary in the suburban corridors of Washington,” wrote critic Tim Carman. The signature dish gets top billing in the review.

There are, perhaps, only a handful of moments in our eating lives that make us see a dish in a new light. This was one. Unlike my friend, I have had and enjoyed koshary numerous times. But King of Koshary’s version was different. I hit a kind of bliss point that words cannot capture. The condiments enveloped these grains and legumes, providing heat and aroma and order, but that alone didn’t explain my reaction (or that of my friend, who was pounding down that koshary by the spoonful). The dish reminded me, all over again, of the genius of necessity. Koshary, often called a “plate of the poor,” is further confirmation that a rewarding meal does not always begin with expensive ingredients. Paupers can eat like princes, for a small fraction of the cost, without any sense of self-delusion.

Last month the Post’s food critic ranked Charga Grill on Langston Blvd in Arlington No. 1 on his list of the D.C. area’s 10 best casual restaurants of 2022.

It has been a stellar start to the year for Arlington restaurants outside of the Metro corridors. Two weeks ago, four Arlington eateries made Washingtonian’s 100 Very Best Restaurants list, including CHIKO in Shirlington, Ruthie’s All-Day in Arlington Heights and Cafe Colline on Langston Blvd. SER in Ballston also made the Washingtonian list.

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Morning Notes

A colorful 7-Eleven in Rosslyn (Flickr pool photo by Jeff Vincent)

Knife Incident Along I-66 — “Scanner: Arlington and state police on scene of incident along I-66 near Rosslyn and the Key Bridge. A man reportedly came out of the woods and threatened some construction workers with a large knife.” [Twitter]

I-395 Chases Caught on Camera — From Dave Statter: “Watch: Two @VSPPIO chases into DC 50 minutes apart on I-395N. Both likely stolen vehicles that sped past troopers. This is the first. It came from the Beltway & Van Dorn about 2:40 am. Speeds up to 150 mph.” [Twitter]

Prosecutor: Duty to Not Comment on Cases  — From Parisa Dehghani-Tafti: “As your Commonwealth’s Attorney, however, I can never comment publicly on ongoing investigations — for even my comments could interfere with the investigative work by our dedicated police… even after an investigation is complete and an arrest has been made, I am still duty-bound by something called Rule 3.6 to refrain from certain public comments.” [Twitter]

School Board Opioid Work Session Tonight — “The School Board will hold a Work Session on Opioids & Substance Use in APS: Education & Prevention on 2/7 at 6:30 PM. The meeting is open to the public, but there will be no public comment. Simultaneous interpretation will be available in Spanish.” [Twitter]

La Coop Coffee Opening — “Join us for the grand opening of our Arlington location on Saturday, February 11th starting at 8 AM! Located at 4807 1st St. N.” [Instagram]

Metro Boosting Service Starting Today — “Metro is boosting mid-week service for customers who use the Blue, Orange and Blue Plus lines during the morning and evening rush hour periods. As announced just over a week ago, service on the three lines will increase to every 12 minutes instead of 15 minutes from 6 – 9 a.m. and 3 – 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. In the heart of the system, between Rosslyn and Stadium-Armory where the lines merge, trains will arrive at stations every four minutes.” [WMATA]

Home Hunts Heating Back Up — “Homebuyers are returning to the market in Northern Virginia in early 2023, with mortgage rates steadily declining over the past two months, according to real estate experts. The first few weeks of 2023 saw homes for sale in the region that had been sitting for a while suddenly getting multiple offers, according to Rob Traister, a Realtor and Associate Broker with RE/MAX 100.” [Patch]

It’s Tuesday — Mostly cloudy throughout the day. High of 54 and low of 31. Sunrise at 7:10 am and sunset at 5:38 pm. [Weather.gov]

Flickr pool photo by Jeff Vincent

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Good Monday evening, Arlington. Today we published articles that were read a total of 10824 times… so far.

📈 Top stories

The following are the most-read articles for today — Feb 6, 2023.

  1. Police up patrols around Wakefield HS as classes resume but social media threat rumors circulate
  2. After fatal overdose, substance abuse-related dispatches to Arlington schools continue
  3. The blown up Little Free Library in Arlington Forest was mysteriously rebuilt last week
  4. Helicopter called in to search for armed robbery suspects on Columbia Pike

📅 Upcoming events

Here is what’s going on Tuesday in Arlington, from our event calendar.

⛅ Tuesday’s forecast

Mostly cloudy throughout the day. High of 54 and low of 44. Sunrise at 7:10 am and sunset at 5:38 pm. See more from Weather.gov.

💡 Thought of the Day

Life is short, so make sure you spend it doing something meaningful.

🌅 Tonight’s sunset

Thanks for reading! Feel free to discuss the day’s happenings in the comments.

3 Comments
The most recent edition of the Arlington Sun Gazette newspaper

The Sun Gazette newspaper has not published new articles on its website since Friday and may have printed its last edition.

Several sources tell ARLnow that the free weekly paper, which has separate editions serving Arlington and parts of Fairfax County, has effectively shuttered, though no notice of a closure was published online.

Sun Gazette staffers, meanwhile, have been hired for a new local newspaper called the Gazette Leader.

Editor Scott McCaffrey, sports editor Dave Facinoli and advertising director Vicky Mashaw are among those hired for the new paper, with Mashaw assuming the title of General Manager.

Jim O’Rourke, CEO of Arizona-based O’Rourke Media Group, confirmed to ARLnow that his company had hired the Sun Gazette vets and would be launching the new local publication later this week. The goal is for the print edition to go out Thursday and a new website to launch then or shortly thereafter. Two-thirds of papers will be mailed to local addresses, the rest distributed by other means, he said.

O’Rourke declined further comment, saying that a formal announcement with more details would be published with the first edition.

An email sent by Mashaw, obtained by ARLnow, suggests that the Gazette Leader will have much of the same local news focus and coverage area as its predecessor.

“We are excited to communicate to you about the launch of the Gazetteleader.com and two new weekly print publications that will serve Arlington, Great Falls, McLean, Tysons, Oakton and Vienna,” the email said. “You can expect hyper-local community news coverage, original reporting, the most advanced local news website in the region, easy to read and access newsletters delivered directly to your inbox, an e-edition replica of the print products and so much more.”

The Sun Gazette was the successor to the daily Northern Virginia Sun, which ceased publishing in 1998. The paper is owned — at last check — by Northern Virginia Media Services, which previously owned but then sold two publications, Leesburg Today and Ashburn Today, in 2015, and sold the website InsideNoVa.com in 2018.

There’s no word yet on what might have led to the staff departure and possible closure.

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