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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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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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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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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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Anyone who wants their pet to get more followers on social media can learn how to do just that at a panel discussion next week.

The Animal Welfare League of Arlington will host a panel discussion called “Insta-Pets: How To Make Your Pets Instagram Famous,” from 6:30-7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, January 31 at its 2650 S. Arlington Mill Drive headquarters.

Speaking will be the owners of some of the most popular animal Instagram accounts in the D.C. area, including Izzy the Chow, Sebastian and Luna, and Navy the Corgi.

“Is your dog the cutest thing since sliced bread, but they still only have 15 followers on Instagram?” organizers wrote. “Does your cat do more tricks than Penn & Teller, but only your mom and dad are seeing the amazing feats? Have you set up the cutest Instagram account ever for your animal, but you can’t get over your follower plateau? AWLA is here to help!”

Tickets are $15 and are available online.

Photo via Facebook

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Two Arlington-based companies are set to receive incentive-based economic development grants as they expand in the county.

Rosslyn-based technology company Higher Logic and Clarendon-based media firm Axios are both in line to receive $60,000 each under the county’s incentive-based Gazelle Grant program. The program, administered through Arlington Economic Development, encourages businesses to move into or stay in Arlington.

Under the terms of the grants, both companies must commit to leasing a certain amount of office space and creating more full-time jobs. If they do not fulfill the terms as of December 31, 2020, they will be required to pay back at least some of the grant.

For its grant, Higher Logic must lease at least 31,000 square feet of office space, maintain its existing 107 full-time jobs and create 133 new full-time positions.

Founded in 2007, Higher Logic had been exploring a new location for its headquarters, having expanded to take up 15,000 square feet by 2015. It will move to 1919 N. Lynn Street in Rosslyn and occupy an entire floor of the building on a 10-year lease.

Axios, meanwhile, must lease at lease 15,000 square feet of office space, maintain its existing 60 full-time jobs and create 60 new full-time positions.

Having initially located at the MakeOffices coworking space at the office building at 3100 Clarendon Blvd, Axios is set to expand into the 13th floor at the same address and sign a 10-year lease.

The Arlington County Board will vote on whether to award the grants at its meeting Saturday (January 27). Staff recommended approval of both.

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Another dedicated poke restaurant is set to open soon in Arlington, this time in Rosslyn.

Signs are up for Poke Bar at 1735 N. Lynn Street, on the first floor of the International Place building and next door to the Potbelly sandwich shop.

It follows Poké it Up, which moved into the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City at the start of this year and was the county’s first dedicated poke restaurant.

The franchise restaurant has locations in nine states, Canada and New Zealand. This would be its first in the D.C. area.

Customers can build their own poke bowl with rice, noodles or vegetables as a base; protein like tuna, salmon, tofu, shrimp and octopus; sauce; vegetables; sides; and toppings.

No word yet on an opening date.

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The Arlington County Police Department has released surveillance images of four people suspected of a strong armed robbery at the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City.

Police said four men stole “numerous sunglasses” from the Sunglass Hut at the mall at 1100 S. Hayes Street just before noon on Tuesday, January 16. In doing so, police said they threatened and pushed a store employee during a struggle, then fled the scene.

The first suspect is described as a black male wearing boots, dark colored pants, a black hooded sweatshirt and a green jacket. The second is described as a black male wearing black track pants, a black hooded sweatshirt and sneakers.

The third suspect is described as a black male wearing sneakers, blue jeans and a black jacket. The fourth is described as a black male wearing sneakers, black pants and a black hooded sweatshirt.

More from an ACPD press release:

The Arlington County Police Department’s Homicide/Robbery Unit is asking for the public’s assistance in identifying and locating four robbery suspects caught on surveillance. At approximately 11:55 a.m. on January 16, police were dispatched to the report of a strong armed robbery at the Sunglass Hut located in the 1100 block of S. Hayes Street. Upon arrival, it was determined that four suspects entered the business and stole numerous sunglasses. During the incident, the suspects threatened and pushed a male employee during a brief struggle. The suspects fled the scene prior to police arrival.

Suspect One is described as a black male wearing boots, dark colored pants, a black hooded sweatshirt and a green jacket. Suspect Two is described as a black male wearing black track pants, a black hooded sweatshirt and sneakers. Suspect Three is described as a black male wearing sneakers, blue jeans and a black jacket. Suspect Four is described as a black male wearing sneakers, black pants and a black hooded sweatshirt.

Anyone with information on the identity of these individuals or details surrounding this incident is asked to contact Detective C. Riccio of the Arlington County Police Department’s Homicide/Robbery Unit at 703-228-4180 or [email protected]. To report information anonymously, contact the Arlington County Crime Solvers at 866.411.TIPS (8477).

Photos via ACPD

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A store in Westover Village that offers handmade and fairly traded products from developing countries has opened a new cafe.

Those behind Trade Roots (5852 Washington Blvd) opened the cafe, called Roots & Vines. It offers fairly traded coffees, teas and food items.

The café is run by chef Katia Reecer, who grew up in a Brazilian restaurant family and rounded her skills at the former Academie de Cuisine in Bethesda.

“Roots & Vines offers a casual and welcoming ambiance to relax over locally sourced and globally inspired coffee, tea, sweets & savories,” Reecer said in a statement. “We plan to keep the eclectic menu limited with weekly and seasonal changes, while always offering vegetarian and vegan options. My mother instilled in me the simple philosophy that when you cook with passion using both your hands and palate, the results will always be extraordinary.”

Trade Roots also sells soaps, food, jewelry and home products from local people, and prides itself on offering “beautiful and unique” items.

“I’m thrilled to have Katia as part of the team,” Trade Roots owner Lisa Ostroff said in a statement. “Trade Roots’ customers will now have fair trade coffee and tea options and an array of delicious foods and drinks from around the globe. Katia’s experience and philosophy lend perfectly to our vibe. She makes healthy morning treats like oatmeal and fruit parfaits and some amazing-but-not-as-healthy scones and croissants as well!”

Photos via Facebook

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(Updated 8:25 a.m. January 25) A now-demolished funeral home in Virginia Square is set for continued use as a parking lot for crews working on redeveloping the former CarPool site.

The Arlington County Board will consider an extension on the approval of the site plan at 3901 Fairfax Drive, and its interim use for parking, until February 2021.

Construction crews working on the CarPool project use the site as parking while building work is ongoing on a 22-story luxury high rise, which will have up to 330 residential units, 264 underground parking spaces and ground-floor retail.

The Board approved the project in 2012 on the site of the old Arlington Funeral Home.  It was first used as a temporary parking lot the following year after the building’s demolition.

In its place, a 10-story building with three levels of underground parking is planned. It would include office space and ground floor retail. It had been the planned location of a 150-seat black box theater, but that plan was nixed last year.

In a report on the planned extension, county staff said that developer BDC Crimson LLC has promised that development will be underway by 2021, “once financing is finalized to permit construction.”

Staff recommended the Board approve the extension.

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Arlington County is set to receive more than $17 million in grant funding from state agencies for various transportation and transit projects.

The Arlington County Board will vote on Saturday (January 27) on whether to accept the funds, totaling $17.8 million, from the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission and the Department of Rail and Public Transportation.

Of that, the county is set to receive $15 million from DPRT, just over $870,000 from NVTC and almost $2 million from VDOT. The money is to fund transit, bridge renovations and other transportation projects.

DPRT funds come from its Smart Scale program, a statewide funding program where jurisdictions apply for a limited amount of grant funding. NVTC’s funding is through its program to administer revenue made from the I-66 tolls. The VDOT funding is from a revenue sharing program the county regularly applies for.

The county was awarded money for the following projects, by the following bodies:

  • Ballston Metro station west entrance – $10 million (DPRT)
  • Purchase of Mobile Commuter Store – $500,000 (DPRT)
  • Purchase of eight 40-foot buses – $4 million (DPRT)
  • Installation and accessibility improvements of bus stops along the ART route to Marymount University – $500,000 (DPRT)
  • Bus stop consolidation and accessibility improvements – $462,000 (NVTC)
  • Multimodal real-time transportation information screens – $250,000 (NVTC)
  • ART bus rehabilitation for ART 55 peak service expansion – $160,000 (NVTC)
  • Shirlington Road Bridge – $935,000 (VDOT)
  • Pershing Drive – $1,050,000 (VDOT)

In a report, county staff recommended the Board accept the funds.

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