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Vehicle Decal Design Competition Winner Announced

Arlington County’s 2018-2019 vehicle decals will have a drawing of its skyline behind blossoming cherry trees.

At the Arlington County Board’s meeting Tuesday (January 30), Treasurer Carla de la Pava announced that Schuyler Workmaster, a junior at Bishop O’Connell High School, won first place in the annual design competition over three other finalists.

Workmaster, in her third year as a finalist, said she chose to draw the design as she was inspired by the county’s mix of urban and natural settings.

“I chose to do this because it shows both the urban and nature aspect of Arlington,” she said at the meeting before her win was announced. “It just comes together in both pieces, and works together to create beauty. I think it represents Arlington because it’s very diverse, but it comes together to form something beautiful.”

Workmaster’s work was chosen among design finalists from three fellow student competitors: last year’s winner Amy Kohan, a junior at Wakefield High School; Washington-Lee junior Tom Bolles; and Yorktown High School junior Maddy Heinemann. Workmaster will receive a $750 cash prize from the Arlington Community Federal Credit Union and her design will be displayed on approximately 160,000 vehicles starting later this year.

A record 3,619 votes were cast in the competition, a figure de la Pava said is up 11 percent from last year. She said the interest in voting in the contest is huge across the county.

“The part that really tickles me is that it comes from all areas of Arlington,” de la Pava said. “All the nooks and crannies except for [Arlington National Cemetery]… it really represents how widespread the interest is in voting for this decal.”

Students are instructed to produce a design that represents Arlington. This year’s competition was widened to include anything that they felt represented World War I and the county’s participation in the war.

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Green Valley Pharmacy in Nauck Closed for ‘Renovations’

A historic pharmacy in Nauck is closed, reportedly for renovations.

A sign on the door of Green Valley Pharmacy at 2415 Shirlington Road said it “will reopen in the near future” once work is done. A reader said it has been closed since the end of last year.

The pharmacy earned local designation as an Arlington Historic District in 2013, after a request by longtime owner Dr. Leonard Muse.

“When Green Valley Pharmacy opened, no other pharmacies in Arlington welcomed the black community,” county staff wrote. “Typically, black customers had to use rear entrances and were not treated well with their medical prescriptions. Green Valley served both black and white customers, and it was especially popular for its dine-in food counter, where breakfast, lunch, dinner and an abundance of ice cream desserts were served. In the early days, an order of two hot dogs cost just 25 cents.”

But Muse died in August at the age of 94 after operating the pharmacy since 1952.

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Market Common Redevelopment Plan Goes Before County Board Tuesday

The Arlington County Board is set to debate the redevelopment of a section of Market Common in Clarendon, including of the former IOTA Club and Cafe building.

The Board will hear from developer Regency Centers as well as public testimony later today (Tuesday, January 30) on its plans for the area around the 2800 blocks of Clarendon and Wilson Blvds.

Regency Centers is proposing a renovation and extension of the former Education Center building, which would include expanding it into the building that once hosted IOTA and the former home of A&R Engravers (2836 Wilson Blvd).

It would also add a fourth floor and an outdoor terrace to the building; create what county staff described as a “ground level arcade” along N. Edgewood Street; allow buildings to host retail as well as office space; and beautify that section of Clarendon Blvd to make it more appealing.

Across the street, renderings have also shown a revamped courtyard area known as “The Loop,” with several new eateries or other stores in the central median of the shopping center, and seating areas nearby. Currently, that area has a small park with a fountain and benches.

A letter from the Planning Commission noted its unanimous support for the project at its January 17 meeting. The project also received the backing of the county’s Historical Affairs and Landmark Review Board and Transportation Commission.

HALRB chair Joan Lawrence said the mural for the former Conklyn’s Florist should be preserved for its historical significance. Under the development plan, it will be moved to the building wall above the preserved A & R Engraver’s building.

That building was built in 1941 and is identified as historic. The building that hosted IOTA, the source of some controversy last year as activists worked to save the local music venue, restaurant and bar, is not identified in a similar way.

“The ‘Conklyn’s Florist’ former sign is no longer a sign as defined the Zoning Ordinance and should be treated as a piece of historic art and not as a sign to be regulated,” Lawrence wrote in a letter to the Board. “The HALRB feels strongly that this piece of art should be preserved and its connection to Arlington’s history acknowledged. The use and placement of a historic marker that does this should be included in the project.”

The Board is expected to vote on the project at its recessed meeting tonight.

Images via county staff report

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Levine ‘Extremely Optimistic’ of Legalizing Medical Marijuana This Year

Del. Mark Levine (D-45) has said he is “extremely optimistic” of a bill passing in the Virginia General Assembly this year that would legalize a form of medical marijuana.

Levine is chief co-patron on H.B. 1251, introduced by Del. Ben Cline (R-24), which advanced from a subcommittee of the Virginia House of Delegates’ Courts of Justice committee.

It would make medical marijuana, made from cannabidiol oils that can be used for medical purposes after being derived from the flowers of cannabis plants, legal as of July 1, 2018.

The bill would allow physicians to recommend the use of medical cannabidiol oils, going further than a bill introduced by Levine — H.B. 137 — that would have allowed its use only for cancer patients.

He introduced the same legislation in 2017, but it failed in subcommittee. Since then, Levine said he has worked to show lawmakers on both sides of the aisle the benefits of legalization, including Cline, who said he was “pleased with what I’m hearing. I’m hearing developments that I haven’t heard before,” in a hearing last year.

“I’ve long advocated for reform of our outdated and unnecessarily punitive marijuana laws,” Levine wrote in an email to supporters. “Those of you who know me personally know I’ve never even tried cannabis… But just because something physically disgusts me does not make me blind to the scientific fact that non-psychoactive cannabidiol oils from cannabis — oils that don’t get you “high” — have proven scientific effects that reduce pain and nausea and even kill cancer cells.”

The legislation still needs to pass both the House of Delegates and the Virginia State Senate, but Levine said he is hopeful of full passage.

“Having counted the votes on full committee and talked to members in both the House of Delegates and the Senate, I am extremely optimistic about the fate of this legislation,” Levine wrote. “I expect this law to pass. I predict cannabidiol oils will be legally prescribed in Virginia for diagnosis or treatment of illnesses beginning in July 2018.”

In a similar vein, bills by state Sens. Adam Ebbin (D-30) and Barbara Favola (D-31) that would have decriminalized the possession of marijuana and reduce penalties for its distribution both failed in committee today (Monday).

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Arlington, D.C. Region Could Get Snow Dusting Tuesday Morning

Arlington County and the rest of the D.C. region could be in for more snow, starting early tomorrow morning and lasting through rush hour.

The Capital Weather Gang reported that Arlington and the rest of the area could receive up to 1 inch of snow early Tuesday, between roughly 3 and 10 a.m.

County road crews will be out with their colleagues from the Virginia Department of Transportation pre-treating roads through rush hour today. VDOT asked drivers to give tanker trucks and trailing safety vehicles room to work.

In a press release, VDOT further asked drivers to:

  • Stay closely tuned to weather forecasts (see National Weather Service) overnight and through the day tomorrow
  • Consider teleworking or adjusting trips around the forecast. If conditions are icy, delay trips for safety.
  • Assume any “wet” pavement to be icy. Bridges, ramps, overpasses and lower-volume roads may ice first, and even previously treated roads will become slick quickly with the low pavement temperatures.
  • Ensure gas and wiper fluid tanks are full, and have a good emergency kit. Here’s how: http://www.ready.gov/car.
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Bluemont Pizza Restaurant Pupatella Warns Against Online Ordering

A pizza restaurant in Bluemont is warning potential customers against ordering their food online, as it said such offers are fraudulent.

Pupatella at 5104 Wilson Blvd posted on its Facebook account on Friday (January 27) that people should not order from them using online apps or websites, as “we do not have an online ordering system and all those apps and websites that say we do are fraud.”

The eatery has been listed as available for online orders on Menuocity, and was on Mealage, but that has since been removed.

The pizzeria has gained plaudits over the years for its Neapolitan pizza, including recognition as the best pizza in Virginia from FlipKey.com, a TripAdvisor company. It announced it would expand in 2016.

Owners at Pupatella did not respond to requests for further comment.

Dear customers, Please do not order our food online from any apps or websites, we do not have an online ordering system and all those apps and websites that say we do are fraud.

Posted by PUPATELLA on Saturday, January 27, 2018

Flickr pool photo by Chris

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Arlington Agenda: January 29-February 4

Arlington Agenda is a listing of interesting events for the week ahead in Arlington County. If you’d like to see your event featured, fill out the event submission form.

Also, be sure to check out our event calendar.

Monday, Jan. 29

First-Time Home Buyer Workshop *
Orange Line Living (1600 Wilson Blvd)
Time: 6-7:30 p.m.

Get a comprehensive explanation of the home purchasing process. Learn the acronyms and definitions you will need, what happens at each stage of your transaction, how to negotiate a lower purchase price, the different loans available and more.

Thursday, Feb. 1

Harry Potter Night
One More Page Books (2200 N. Westmoreland Street)
Time: 6-8 p.m.

An evening exploring the magic of the hit young adult novel series, where children and adults alike can make their own wants, compete in a trivia night, and indulge in some themed snacks. This year’s theme will be fantastic beasts.

Friday, Feb. 2

Creative Coffee | Ink Brushes
Connection: Crystal City (2100 Crystal Drive)
Time: 11 a.m. to noon

A casual weekly meet-up for creatives to work on their art or craft, play with new mediums and socialize. Bring your favorite materials and snacks, as well as any non-messy art supplies to work on any projects to bring along.

Dana Gould LIVE
Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse (2903 Columbia Pike)
Time: 7:30 p.m.

Standup comedian, podcaster, and Comedy Central alum Dana Gould comes to the stage on February 2 (7:30 p.m.) and February 3 (7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.) for three performances of his standup show. Gould has six solo specials already.

Crystal Couture Show & Sale
Crystal City Shops (1750 Crystal Drive)
Time: 5-9 p.m.

The designer discount bargain pop-up sale and fashion show returns for two days, bringing over 30 regional boutiques, designers and retailers together. Entry includes five minute makeovers; a $20 ticket option is available for additional perks.

Saturday, Feb. 3

Toastmasters International Language and Culture Clubs *
Westover Library (1644 N. McKinley Road)
Time: 2:30-4:30 p.m.

District 27 Toastmasters hosts two separate meetings, each focused on organizing Toastmasters foreign language clubs. The 2:30 p.m. meeting will focus on Portuguese, while the 3:30 p.m. meeting will discuss African languages and culture.

Cycle for Second Chances
CycleBar Columbia Pike (3400 Columbia Pike)
Time: 1:30-2:50 p.m.

Join Offender Aid and Restoration, an organization dedicated to supporting previously incarcerated men and women as they rejoin the community, for an indoor cycling ride and fundraising event. Class admission starts at a suggested $25 donation.

Sunday, Feb. 4

WineMaker Dinner *
(This event has been rescheduled)

*Denotes featured (sponsored) event

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County Board Gives Permanent Protection to Four Specimen Trees

Four trees have been designated for special protection as specimen trees by the Arlington County Board.

The trees, all on private property, are designated as an “outstanding example of [their] species,” according to a county press release over the weekend.

They were all offered protection under the county’s Tree Preservation Ordinance, and now are permanently protected from injury or removal.

The trees were nominated for the protected status by their owners.

The four new specimen trees are:

  • Willow Oak at 2411 N. Monroe Street. The tree’s circumference is nearly 193 inches, and it stands 130 feet tall, with a crown spread of more than 80 feet.
  • Blackgum at 3225 N. Albemarle Street. The tree boasts a circumference of nearly 74 inches, stands 60 feet tall and has a crown spread of 50 feet.
  • American Beech, at 1600 N. Jackson Street. Its excellent condition earned the tree its protected status. Sixty feet tall, it has a circumference of nearly 106 inches and a crown spread of more than 55 feet.
  • Southern Red Oak at 5220 11th Road N. The tree has a circumference of 192 inches and stands 120 feet tall, with an 80-foot-plus crown spread. It is currently the County Champion for the Southern Red Oak species.

“Our County is working on many fronts to preserve trees and to protect our tree canopy,” County Board chair Katie Cristol said in a statement. “Specimen trees are one piece of this puzzle. These are special trees, usually very old and deeply loved by their owners, that have been found to have such outstanding qualities that they merit special protections.”

The latter tree belongs to local activist Nora Palmatier, who chairs the county’s Urban Forestry Commission and is a recipient of the county’s Bill Thomas Outstanding Park Service Volunteer Award.

In a statement, Palmatier said:

Having a Specimen Tree in the yard is really important to us. First, there are the bragging rights so we can show photos when others show off grandkids. Second, this massive oak’s leaves keep the house shaded at all hours during the summer so our air conditioner rarely runs which saves money and is more relaxing with fresh air from open windows. Third, our tree is an apartment building for birds, squirrels and pollinators so we are constantly entertained by our neighbors’ antics.

Yet most important, designated Specimen Trees are officially listed on the real estate property deed. Whoever buys our old house in the future will want to replace it, and they’ll note the magnificent Southern Red Oak in the back requires special protections.

Oaks naturally live hundreds of years, and we hope simply by making this an extra step, our tree will continue benefitting the neighborhood another hundred years.

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‘Super Coffee’ Business Sunniva Appears Headed to ABC’s ‘Shark Tank’

Startup Monday header

Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow.com, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups and their founders, plus other local technology happenings. The Ground Floor, Monday’s office space for young companies in Rosslyn, is now open. The Metro-accessible space features a 5,000-square-foot common area that includes a kitchen, lounge area, collaborative meeting spaces, and a stage for formal presentations.

A Crystal City-based manufacturer of so-called “super coffee” looks set to appear on the popular ABC television show “Shark Tank.”

Sunniva, founded in 2015 by brothers Jordan, Jake and Jimmy DeCicco, appears to be set to appear on the show where entrepreneurs seek the investments of four millionaires, on Sunday, February 11.

In a preview of the show, ABC says viewers can expect to hear from “a trio of brothers from Arlington, Virginia,” who, “present their all-natural super beverage.”

The three brothers auditioned for “Shark Tank” last year. In an audition video posted to YouTube, Jordan DeCicco said Sunniva is looking for a $400,000 investment from the “Sharks” in return for a 5 percent stake in the company. It’s unclear if that is the amount the brothers will actually be seeking on the show.

“As college student-athletes, we were tired,” Jake DeCicco said in the video. “We were falling asleep in class after practice. Our school stores offered the usual unhealthy coffees and energy drinks. But we refused to put that garbage into our bodies.”

The drink combines Colombian coffee, coconut oil, and a lactose-free milk protein is a low-fat, low-cal beverage that the DeCiccos said offers a longer-term energy boost compared to other products that often provide an energy spike and a crash later. Each bottle has 90mg of caffeine, which is pretty standard for an 8 oz. cup of coffee.

Jake DeCicco first started making and selling the drink from his dorm room at Philadelphia University, and then enlisted the help of his older brother Jordan, who was at business school at Georgetown University. Oldest brother Jim is the CEO, while Jake is listed as COO.

“Now, we’ve come a long way from our little brother’s dorm room, but we’re just getting started,” Jim DeCicco said in the audition video. “Sharks, as athletes, we need a coach to help us refine our business fundamentals and share our super coffee with the world.”

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Parts of Army Navy Drive Could Be Reduced to One Lane Each Way Under Complete Streets Plan

A section of Army Navy Drive could go down to one lane for cars in each direction under a Complete Streets plan being considered by the county.

County staff wrote that the project would rebuild Army Navy Drive in Pentagon City as a street “featuring enhanced bicycle, transit, environmental and pedestrian facilities.”

The lane reduction would take place between S. Eads Street and 12th Street S., and staff said it would help connect various local neighborhoods and landmarks.

“The goal of the project is to improve the local connections between the Pentagon and the commercial, residential and retail services of Pentagon City and Crystal City,” staff wrote.

Other changes include planted medians instead of raised concrete medians, and new bike lanes.

“The reconstruction will provide a physically separated two-way protected bicycle lane facility along the south side of Army Navy Drive, in addition to shorter and safer pedestrian crossings, and will accommodate future high-capacity transit,” said the county’s website. “Motor vehicle travel lanes will be reduced in number where appropriate and will be narrowed to dimensions appropriate for a slower urban context.”

The project would also extend the Crystal City-Potomac Yard Transitway into Pentagon City by adding a dedicated bus lane on Army Navy Drive, and link to the bike lanes planned for S. Clark Street between 12th Street S. and 15th Street S.

Staff will host an Army Navy Drive Complete Streets Workshop on Wednesday, January 31 from 4-7 p.m. at the Aurora Hills Branch Library (735 18th Street S.). The meeting will be an open forum to discuss the project.

Construction is expected to begin in spring 2020, and be complete in spring 2022.

Image No. 1 via county staff. Image No. 2 via Google Maps.

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Tipsters Given Cash Reward for Helping Identify Armed Robbery Suspects

Citizen tipsters were rewarded with $650 for helping the Arlington County Police Department track down two men suspected of armed robbery in 2016.

Police arrested Jorgito Cruz, 37, of Alexandria and Alexander Ruiz, 21, of Puerto Rico for trying to rob Sacramento Jewelers on the 2700 block of Washington Blvd in Lyon Park just before 5:45 pm. on December 7, 2016.

The pair were armed with guns, and tried to hold an employee hostage before fleeing the scene.

Police were led to the men after tipsters spotted a suspicious vehicle stopped on the Washington Blvd exit of I-395 shortly after the robbery. The tipsters reported seeing a man removing tape from the license plate and throwing something away.

Noting the large police presence in the area, the tipsters copied down the license plate number and contacted police. They were arrested in Fairfax County, south of Alexandria, just before midnight that night.

The tipsters were given the cash reward by Arlington County Crime Solvers, a community program that sponsors a 24-hour confidential tip line — 1-866-411-TIPS (8477) — for individuals to anonymously report potential leads or information. Callers who provide information leading to arrest, the recovery of drugs or stolen property, are eligible for a cash reward of up to $1,000.

“During the commission of their crimes, Jorgito Cruz and Alexander Serpa Ruiz endangered the lives of innocent and hardworking citizens,” said Police Chief Jay Farr said in a statement. “Thanks to the assistance of the witnesses and the diligent investigative work of detectives, two violent offenders have been removed from our streets and will no longer be in a position to cause harm in our community. This case highlights how police and the public can work together to maintain the safety and security of Arlington County.”

In June 2017, Cruz pled guilty to two counts of attempted armed robbery, conspiracy to commit armed robbery, two counts of abduction and use of a firearm during the commission of a robbery. He was sentenced to 11 years in prison and 20 years of probation upon release.

Ruiz pled guilty to three counts of robbery and use of a firearm during the commission of a robbery. He was sentenced to six years in prison and 10 years of probation upon release.

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ARLnow Weekend Discussion

With another week over, let’s take a look back before heading into the weekend.

These were our most read stories of the week:

  1. Castle Carved Out of Tree Trunk Outside East Falls Church Home
  2. Police: Three Arrested for Gang-Related Stabbing Along Four Mile Run
  3. Beer Garden BrickHaus Applying to Keep Patio Partly in Sidewalk
  4. DEVELOPING: Track Fire at Pentagon City Metro
  5. Video: A-Town Co-Owner Speaks Out About Imposter

And these received the most comments:

  1. Police Charge Three Teenagers in Four Mile Run Trail Stabbing
  2. UPDATED: Federal Government to Re-Open
  3. Arlington Democrats Join Thousands in Women’s March on Washington
  4. Morning Notes (Thursday, January 25)
  5. Cherrydale Residents Fight for Proper Spelling of Park

Feel free to discuss anything of local interest in the comments. Have a great weekend!

Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman

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Nonprofit The Sycamore School to Expand Campus, Add Grades

Arlington County’s only nonprofit secondary school is set to expand and add three new grade levels for the 2018-2019 school year.

The Sycamore School will add 4,225 square feet of space at its current location at The Arlington Center (4600 Fairfax Drive, Suite 300) in Ballston, the school said in a press release. That extra space will include a math and science suite, black box theater, an engineering room and an additional electives room.

In addition, the school will expand to include students from fifth to 10th grade next school year. It opened in September 2017 with an inaugural class of students from sixth to eighth grade.

School officials said that despite the growth in grades, enrollment will be capped at 60 students for 2018-2019 “to maintain the very low teacher to student ratio.” The school plans to grow to be grades 5-12 school in the next three years.

“We hear overwhelmingly from prospective and current parents that fifth grade was immensely stressful for their children. Our educational priorities are skewed when too much importance is placed on test scores and grades versus teaching children how to think, how to learn and the value of a productive struggle,” said Dr. Karyn Ewart, TSS founder and head of school, in a statement. “We’re seeing more and more students who are overly perfectionistic and risk averse, which leads to higher instances of anxiety and depression.”

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Podcast: Arlington Economic Development Director Victor Hoskins

The competition for online retail giant Amazon’s second headquarters is hotting up, and Arlington County is right in the thick of things.

The company announced last week that Northern Virginia — including Arlington alongside Alexandria, Loudoun and Fairfax Counties — has made its short-list of 20 finalists from 238 separate proposals from the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

And while the county is keeping details of its bid close to the vest — like many others in the running — there have been rumblings that both Crystal City and Rosslyn have been floated as good locations for Amazon’s so-called “HQ2.”

Arlington County Board chair Katie Cristol promised to release details of the county’s bid, win or lose, once the process is over.

On this week’s 26 Square Miles podcast, we discussed the county’s bid for Amazon as well as other topics like the office vacancy rate, the shrinking influence of the federal government and also the future of arts in the county, with Arlington Economic Development director Victor Hoskins.

Listen below or subscribe to the podcast on iTunesGoogle PlayStitcher or TuneIn.

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Board to Consider ‘Short Bridge Park’ Name for Potomac Yard Park

The Arlington County Board will debate whether to name a park near Potomac Yard “Short Bridge Park,” after it being known informally as “South Park” for over a decade.

The county’s Parks and Recreation Commission recommended the name for the park between Potomac Ave and U.S. Route 1, along Four Mile Run. Arlington County and the City of Alexandria both own portions of the park.

A county staff report on the naming notes that the park had the informal moniker “South Park” as it is the southernmost park in the Potomac Yard Phased Development Site Plan, which provides a roadmap for development in the area. It was created in October 2000.

The park currently has a publicly accessible playground and a playground exclusively used by a daycare facility, planted shrub/perennial beds, walkways, a large grassy field and a steeply sloped grassy area.

Renovations to the park will improve its connectivity to the Four Mile Run Trail, as well as add facilities like a dog park, an “interpretative plaza,” more pathways, a shade structure and other plazas and a meadow.

In a letter to the Board, Parks and Recreation Commission chair Caroline Haynes said the group supports the plans for the park and its new name, which she said is a “complement to ‘Long Bridge Park‘ both in size and location.”

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