Arlington, VA

From my first breath at Virginia Hospital Center to walking across DAR Constitution Hall for high school graduation, Arlington has been my home since birth. Despite the county’s growing hype around millennials, 18.5% of Arlington’s total population is 18 years or younger. That’s over 40,000 children, 27,000 of which are enrolled across Arlington’s nearly three dozen public K-12 schools.

There’s no complicated way to go around it: it has been a fantastic privilege to grow up in Arlington and I am not alone in this thought. Along with many of my friends and classmates, I was born here. I attended a private daycare, spent many of my childhood days swinging at the Harrison Street playground and went to preschool at The Children’s School in Westover.

When I was ready to attend kindergarten, my parents faced no qualms about a waitlist for a private education. Arlington’s public schools are as great as they come. Even a quick glance at national school rankings makes it clear why so many parents choose to live in Arlington and commute elsewhere for work.

I lived the first ten years of my life in Westover in a quaint two-bedroom home. I shared my bedroom with my little sister and attended McKinley Elementary School, where I received a great education. When my youngest sister was born, we decided it was time to move. We moved when I was in the fifth grade to a four-bedroom house in the Williamsburg neighborhood, which meant that I would have to attend a different middle school than all of my peers.

At eleven years old, that’s about as devastating as it comes. Yet looking back, I simply moved from a great neighborhood to another great neighborhood. In both middle school and high school there was never a day where there wasn’t something to do, whether in the county or across the river in the nation’s capital.

Now I’m 20 years old and attend college at Boston University. My high school friends are all over the map, some up north like me and many others still here in Virginia. However we’ve all looked back fondly at our time growing up in Arlington and come to the realization that we’ve all had it very, very good.

“I’ve had a chance now to see a little bit more of the country and I realize how lucky and privileged I’ve been with just about every aspect of my upbringing here,” said Maddie Donley, a rising junior at the University of Virginia. “People always say that they want to escape [Arlington], but I’ve come to see it as a great networking resource and an incredible place to call home.”

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The local chapter of KidicalMass, a national organization centered around casual community bike rides for families, will take a trip to Carvel Ice Cream this Sunday (July 30).

The organization kicks off its third annual “Kidically Summer 3.0” series of bike rides with a journey to Carvel in Virginia Square. The ride begins at 4:45 p.m. at Hayes Park (1516 N. Lincoln Street), where kids and families can cool off in its sprayground prior to the ride.

From there, cyclists will ride through the Virginia Square, Ashton Heights and Lyon Park neighborhoods on a course just over three miles long. The ride will end with ice cream at the Carvel store in Virginia Square.

According to the event description, “The route is pretty short, and as flat as they come in Arlington.” There will be stop lights at all of the major intersections and the group will travel back together from Carvel.

KidicalMass describes their bike rides as slow, short and easy with each ride no longer than four miles and going at speeds of typically six miles per hour. The group has previously hosted similar events for Father’s Day, as well as a “Junior Park Ranger Ride” along the George Washington Memorial Parkway.

The group typically hosts one bike ride a month and all events are posted on its website.

Image via KidicalMass

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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.

Wednesday

Small Business Roundtable *
Arlington Chamber of Commerce (2009 14th Street N., Suite 100)
Time: 11:45 a.m.-1 p.m.

The Chamber of Commerce hosts a monthly roundtable offering advice to small business owners. This month’s topic is “Growth Thinking: Putting your Unmet Customer Needs at the Center of your Growth, Innovation and Digital Agendas.”

Friday

Found Footage Festival: Cherished Gems
Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse (2309 Columbia Pike)
Time: 8 p.m.

Comedians Joe Pickett and Nick Prueher are at the Drafthouse to deliver a comedy show full of their all-time greatest VHS finds, with newly discovered footage and updates on the people in these videotaped obscurities.

Encore Stage’s The Music Man
Kenmore Middle School (200 S. Carlin Springs Road)
Time: 7:30-10 p.m.

Enjoy Meredith Willson’s six-time Tony Award-winning musical comedy. Shows run Friday, Saturday Sunday of this week and then Thursday through Sunday of next week. Recommended for ages 6 and older.

Saturday

Columbia Pike Movie Nights — Broadcast News
Penrose Square (2503 Columbia Pike)
Time: 8:30-10:30 p.m.

This free outdoor screening of the 1980s movie “Broadcast News” will start just after sunset. The movie is rated R. In case there is inclement weather, there will be a cancellation notice on Facebook or Twitter.

Crab Boil at New District Brewing Company
New District Brewing Company (2709 S. Oakland Street)
Time: 12:30-6:30 p.m.

This event has been postponed until August 5.

 

Toastmasters Expo *
Westover Library (1644 N. McKinley Road)
Time: 1-4 p.m.

Toastmasters International is a world leader in communication and leadership development. Learn how to speak in front of an audience and gain empowering skills at this expo hosted at Westover Library.

*Denotes featured (sponsored) event

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 The Arlington County Board voted to allocate over $200,000 to various art associations and individual artists for Fiscal Year 2018 at its meeting Saturday.

A total of 21 financial grants were distributed, totaling $215,810, with the majority of recipients also being granted the use of county facilities and technical services. Twelve other organizations were granted the use of county facilities and technical services under the so-called Space and Services Grant.

“The arts enrich our lives and enliven our community,” said County Board chair Jay Fisette in a statement. “The Arts Grants program supports a diverse arts community in Arlington.”

There was a rigorous application process to receive the grants, which total $215,810. According to a report by county staff, the Arlington Commission for the Arts Grant Recommendations used a two-step grant application process that also included a mandatory attendance at grant preparation workshops.

Of the 28 grant applications asking for financial support in FY 2018, the Commission received 21 from nonprofit art organizations and seven from individual artists. The county received 54 applications in total.

The commission allocated three different kinds of grants for artists:

  • Individual Artist Grants — direct financial support for an individual artist on a proposed work that they describe in their grant application
  • Project Grants — direct financial support for a specific project proposed by an organization
  • Space & Service Grants — grants for performance/rehearsal space and technical services for an organization.

The biggest organizations to receive grants include Washington Shakespeare Co., UrbanArias and the Arlington Arts Center.

The full list of grant recipients after the jump.

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Two Arlington nonprofits are benefitting from grants handed out by the company behind the I-395 High Occupancy Toll lanes.

Arlington Energy Masters Program and the Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization have both been awarded grants from the Express Lanes and Community Grant Program, run by Transurban.

The program aims to “support organizations that sustain, enhance or protect the local environment and communities.” Transurban manages the HOT lanes on the Capital Beltway, and will do the same for the planned I-395 HOT lanes set to run through Arlington.

Over $550,000 has been awarded to 119 organizations around Northern Virginia since 2008, several of which that have been from Arlington. Any group can apply for a grant via the online application.

The Energy Masters Program, which promotes sustainability throughout Arlington, received grant funding to help residents at the Fort Henry Gardens apartment complex in Nauck with insulation issues, and to help refurbish over 50 units.

The CPRO received grant funding to improve the Columbia Pike farmers market and ensure that residents have access to fresh, locally sourced food. In addition, the money received was also used to design messages that were placed around schools, libraries, churches and apartment complexes and on social media about the grant program and how to apply.

In the future, CPRO plans to work with local partners such as the Arlington Food Assistance program on additional nutrition-related outreach.

Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimmick

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STAR, Arlington’s bus service for disabled residents, will move to a new call center on Columbia Pike after County Board approval of the plan at its meeting Saturday.

Specialized Transit for Arlington Residents will move to 2301 Columbia Pike, Suite 120, near Penrose Square, after the Board agreed to rent the property from the landlord.

STAR’s existing call center is located at 2300 9th Street S. in the same neighborhood. Its lease on the property expired on June 30, and while it can be renewed on a monthly basis, the landlord plans to redevelop the office building and no longer wanted a long-term tenant.

In a report on the project, county staff noted various positives for the move.

“It is accessible and near a major transit stop with weekend service,” staff wrote. “Because it has its own separately-powered HVAC system, the call center can operate on weekends without incurring the cost of heating and cooling the entire floor. This will yield significant savings for the County in comparison with conventional office space.”

STAR is a paratransit branch of the ART bus system and provides transportation options to the disabled and handicapped who are unable to use public transportation. Those who ride with STAR call ahead to make reservations to be picked up from their home. STAR then routes the ride to pick up other residents who use the system along the way.

The Board will rent 2,337 square foot property for an initial period of 10.5 years (126 months), with a base rent of $4,944.70 per month. That rent will be free for the first six months. Staff estimate it will take three months for the office to be built out and readied to be the call center, during which time STAR will stay in its current location.

The total cost of construction for the new property is estimated at $300,000, part of which will be paid for by the landlord.

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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.

It’s no secret that the video game industry is rapidly growing and changing. Stephen Gheysens, 25, realized this when he sat down to play a new video game a few years after graduating college.

As he started to play, Gheysens realized that even a little time off from video games had left him much worse at gaming then he used to be.

“I turned to my friend and said, ‘I would literally pay for a lesson so that I could enjoy this,'” said Gheysens.

Thus, GamerTrainer — which is based in Arlington — was born. Even though eSports, the professional competitive gaming industry, is constantly expanding (it even has its own page on ESPN), there was no formal platform for one-on-one video game lessons, according to Gheysens.

“There are pro gamers out there that already give lessons but they’re very informal,” said Gheysens. “Why would you watch a YouTube video of someone playing the piano when you could take a lesson?”

GamerTrainer differentiates itself from just watching an online tutorial in that every lesson is personalized to the gamer.

“When you learn from somebody and have that direct feedback from someone that’s spent years perfecting the craft of the game, they’ll be able to see ‘Okay, you’re making this mistake, here’s how to correct it,” said Gheysens.

Anyone can take a lesson through GamerTrainer, whether they are just a beginner trying to get better for fun or a serious player wanting to sharpen and perfect their skills so that they can compete professionally through eSports.

“The market is really out there,” said Gheysens, “There’s a lot of money being pumped into eSports, and just recently a game called Overwatch launched a league of players in eight different cities.”

The GamerTrainer platform hasn’t officially launched yet but is expected to within the next couple of weeks. Lessons will take place over the popular online game streaming platform Twitch.

The person taking a lesson will have an online video chat with a trainer, and the trainer will also be able to see their game on the screen. This allows anyone to take lessons from the comfort of their own home.

Gheysens is aware that there are hundreds of video games out there and that no one can have a versed knowledge of every single game.

“We’re focusing on the top fifteen or so competitive games across PC and consoles such as Xbox One and PS4,” said Gheysens. Popular games include Overwatch, Call of Duty and the Madden NFL series.

“Train with the Best to Become the Best,” is GamerTrainer’s motto on Twitter, as the new startup makes its way through a rapidly expanding industry.

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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

Secrets to Success Podcast *
1776 (2231 Crystal Drive, #1000)
Time: 4-6 p.m.

The Chamber of Commerce is launching its first-ever live podcast recording. The first guest of the series is Pinkie Dent Mayfield of Graham Holdings Company. There will also be networking and food for ticket holders.

Tuesday

Understanding and Supporting Older LBGTQA Community
Arlington Mill Community Center (909 S. Dinwiddie Street)
Time: 6:30-8 p.m.

The Arlington Gay & Lesbian Alliance (AGLA) will host a special presentation for seniors in order to discuss the unique challenges dealt by older members of the LGBT community.

Wednesday

Building a Better Digital World: Adults Learn to Code
Central Library Computer Lab (1015 N. Quincy Street)
Time: 4-5 p.m.

This is the second session of a three session series designed to help adults learn how to code. Basic computer and internet skills are a prerequisite for the program.

Thursday

Columbia Movie Nights — The Princess Bride
Arlington Mill Community Center (909 South Dinwiddie Street)
Time: 8:30-10:30 p.m.

This free outdoor screening of the 80s family movie “The Princess Bride” will start just after sunset. In case there is inclement weather, there will be a cancellation notice on Facebook or Twitter.

Friday

“Intern John” Peer Pressure Comedy
Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse (2903 Columbia Pike)
Time: 7:30 p.m.

Intern John is the co-host of HOT 99.5’s The Kane Show. Now he’s on the comedy stage full of fresh material. The show is for adults aged 21 and over. There will also be a second show on Saturday night.

Saturday

Crystal City Twilighter 5K *
Crystal City Courtyard Green (2121 Crystal Drive)
Time: 8:30-10:30 p.m.

Run, race and compete with friends during this annual 5K race in downtown Crystal City at dusk. Proceeds from the event will go to Doorways for Women. Specials at local restaurants will be offered following the race.

Major League Quidditch
Thomas Jefferson Community Center (3501 2nd Street S.)
Time: 12-3 p.m.

The Washington Admirals host a three-game series against the Boston Night Riders as part of the national Major League Quidditch regular season. The sport is mixed gender and full contact, and is played by over 500 teams in 26 countries.

Sunday

Sundresses and Sangria Day Party
Pamplona (3100 Clarendon Blvd)
Time: 2-7 p.m.

Pamplona is hosting its signature brunch day party. Come dressed in a fancy sundress and enjoy live entertainment on the patio, pitchers of sangria and specials on frozen sangria. All are welcome.

*Denotes featured (sponsored) event

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Replacement of the Carlin Springs Road bridge will be up for discussion at the Arlington County Board’s meeting Saturday.

The Board will consider a construction project that would remove the 65-foot-wide bridge and replace it with a 69-foot-wide structure. The bridge takes N. Carlin Springs Road over N. George Mason Drive near Barrett Elementary School and Lubber Run Park on the border of the Arlington Forest and Bluemont neighborhoods.

In a report on the project, county staff said that while still structurally sound, the bridge was built in 1961 and is the most deteriorated county-owned bridge.

The Rustler Construction company submitted the winning bid on the project, which would combine the bridge replacement with a new sewer line along N. Carlin Springs Road between N. Abingdon Street and N. George Mason Drive. The bridge will also receive the following additions:

  • Wider sidewalks
  • Bike lanes
  • Four vehicular travel lanes
  • A facade arch and decorative railing
  • Enhanced lighting on and under the bridge
  • The street name on the bridge facade

Staff estimates the entire project will cost just over $5.8 million, with another $1.1 million set aside in contingency funds. The project for the bridge will be funded from the county’s capital improvement program, as well as with bonds, grant funding and money from the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority.

Additional bonds from the project to revamp the Shirlington Road Bridge will be used to make up a funding gap of $775,000, as that is progressing slower than expected, according to the staff report.

The sewer project will also be funded from the capital improvement program, and from funds carried over from another project in the Sanitary Sewer System improvement program that has been put on hold several times.

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The Arlington Chamber of Commerce will launch its first ever live podcast series next Monday (July 17), recorded in front of an audience at 1776 in Crystal City.

The series is titled “Secrets to Success” and will host a different Arlington business titan, who will share their stories about the Arlington business world.

The first show will feature Pinkie Dent Mayfield, vice president for corporate affairs and special assistant to the chairman at education and media company Graham Holdings. ARLnow founder Scott Brodbeck will be the program’s moderator and will lead the discussion with Mayfield, who will share her business philosophy at the offices of startup incubator 1776 (2231 Crystal Drive #1000).

Those on hand for the event will be able to ask Mayfield questions during a Q&A segment. The event also features a networking portion and food served from Ruth’s Chris Steak House.

For those unable to attend, the podcast will later be published online.

The evening’s agenda is as follows:

  • 4-4:30 p.m.: Registration and open networking
  • 4:30-5:15 p.m.: Live recorded podcast
  • 5:15-5:30 p.m.: Q&A (not recorded)
  • 5:30-6 p.m.: Networking reception
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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.

Rize has come a long way, literally and physically. The online savings website was first picked up in 2014 as part of the Silicon Valley-based venture fund 500 Startups. Once enough money was invested, it moved across the country to a permanent home in MakeOffices in Clarendon.

Rize works as an online savings account, designed to make automatic transfers from a user’s main bank account with a higher interest rate than any other national bank. Money saved in Rize is insured up to $250,000 and there are no required monthly fees.

It went live in April after a beta testing period.

Online money management isn’t new. PayPal popularized online payments in the late 90s. Payment app Venmo was created in 2009 and has become a oft-used tool when splitting a bill with friends. Almost every major bank has their own app complete with its own budgeting options.

Rize differentiates itself from the crowd on a personal level — the startup says it truly cares about the user’s money and experience. When setting a savings goal, users can choose from the traditional, such as “Emergency Fund,” or “Vacation,” or they can create their own custom goal.

Rize’s savings interest rate is 15 times higher than the national average. While this would seem like a big cost for the startup, Amatori said a higher interest rate should be the norm across the country.

“Banks have the option to give you an interest rate larger than 1 percent, but they choose not to,” said Erica Amatori, marketing lead for Rize. “We give our customers back the money they deserve.”

Rize also appeals to customers on a personal level by giving them the option to choose whether or not they pay a monthly fee. Not only that, users can choose how much they would want to pay. It’s a win-win scenario, because it’s also how the startup earns a profit.

“We make money from our pay-as-you-want model, so at the end of the sign-up process you can pay $1, $2, $3 or nothing a month to use our product,” said Amatori. “Most of our customers do pay us something a month, usually around $2.50.”

In addition to having no maintenance fees, unlike some major banks, Rize users can make unlimited transfers and withdrawals. Most major banks limit the number of transfers users can make before they must pay a fee.

“It’s a really exciting time for us because banks are screwing up a lot, so to be on the verge of this revolution where tech is such a big thing and we know we can make it better,” said Amatori. “Banks are blindsided by it.”

So far, Rize is only available via the web, but Amatori said that a smartphone app is coming soon.

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