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by Chris Teale July 25, 2017 at 4:30 pm 0

Local representatives in the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives sharply criticized the Senate’s vote Tuesday (July 25) to begin debate on repealing the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare.

The Senate voted 51-50 — with Vice President Mike Pence called on as a tie-breaker vote — to open debate on repeal, with three possible plans to be discussed in the coming days.

Those plans are the Senate’s own plan to repeal and replace Obamacare; a 2015 House bill that would have repealed the law; and a bill that passed the House earlier this year.

U.S. Sens Mark Warner and Tim Kaine (D-Va.) both released statements strongly condemning the vote on the Senate floor.

Kaine said:

“As one of my colleagues has said, not a single one of us came to the United States Senate to hurt people, but that is exactly what Republicans have set in motion with today’s forced vote on a secret bill. For many of my constituents in Virginia and millions of people across America, this bill likely means losing insurance or paying much more for health care.

“I spent Friday volunteering at the RAM Clinic in Wise County, where thousands of people had traveled far from their homes–many of them sleeping in their cars and outside in the heat–to get care. The magnitude of the need was heartbreaking, and the message from these families was clear: ‘help us, don’t hurt us.’ As the wealthiest and most compassionate nation in the world, we must make our health care system better, not worse, for these families. We have to do our jobs to protect the health care of the kids whose parents who have been writing to me and asking Congress to stop this heartless bill.

“This is about what’s right and wrong. This is about who we are as Senators. This is about what thinking, feeling, breathing, believing human beings in positions of leadership will do to help people, not hurt them. Americans–healthy and sick–need us to get this right, but Republican Senators got it wrong with today’s vote. In the coming days, I hope we’ll change course, move to a more open process, and get back to helping people.”

Warner added:

“Today’s vote will have very real and disastrous consequences for millions of Americans. The only question is how many people will be harmed, since Senate Republicans voted to move forward on a bill no one has yet seen but which we already know will raise costs and kick millions off their health insurance, including millions of children, elderly and disabled Americans who depend on Medicaid.

“There is still time for reasonable Republican senators to abandon this partisan process. It is long past time for Republicans to sit down with Democrats and work on a bipartisan solution that actually improves our healthcare system.”

U.S. Rep. Don Beyer (D), who represents Arlington in the House, had not released a written statement as of the time of writing. On Twitter, Beyer also criticized the vote, and the uncertainty surrounding the Senate’s next steps.

by ARLnow.com July 25, 2017 at 1:15 pm 0

A Crystal City-based startup is planning to add 184 jobs here as part of an expansion, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced Monday.

Trustify, which moved into new offices overlooking Long Bridge Park earlier this year, is planning to spend just over $1 million on building and equipment costs associated with the expansion. The 184 jobs are expected to be added over a period of three years, according to Virginia Economic Development Partnership.

A VEDP spokeswoman said Trustify will be eligible for nearly $120,000 in state reimbursement for job recruitment and training.

Trustify is a sort of “Uber-for-PIs,” using the internet to connect businesses and consumers with trained private investigators. It makes money by taking a cut of the hourly fee charged to customers.

In a press release, McAuliffe and other officials, including Arlington County Board Chair Jay Fisette and state Sen. Adam Ebbin, heaped praise on Trustify for its rapid expansion.

“Trustify’s impressive growth in a short amount of time is a strong example of what high-tech, entrepreneurial companies can accomplish in the Commonwealth,” said the governor. “Arlington County and the Northern Virginia region are home to a dynamic IT industry… We are proud to have this innovative business in the Commonwealth contributing to the new Virginia economy, and look forward to Trustify’s continued success.”

Trustify President Jennifer Mellon, in turn, lauded Arlington County as a place to do business.

“We decided on Arlington, Virginia for many reasons,” Mellon said. “The community here in Arlington is a fantastic place in which to work and commute. Arlington provides employers and employees many benefits and advantages that are not available in other areas and communities. We believe the DC Metro area, in general, is a beacon of inclusive innovation with some of the best percentages of women and diversity in tech compared to the rest of the country. We have transportation, office, and community options and benefits that made this area the clear choice for Trustify.”

Trustify says it raised $6.6 million in new funding this year, according to the Washington Business Journal. With that funding the company hopes to grow and capture more of the U.S. private investigations market. Figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics suggest that Trustify is after at least a $1.5 billion dollar market; there are some 28,500 private investigators nationwide making an average annual wage of around $53,500 a year, according to the BLS.

By the numbers, the company is one of the hottest tech startups in Arlington, but it is not without its critics. It has a very vocal, persistent critic in Glen Hellman, a local tech scene commentator and strategist who also goes by the nickname “Mr. Cranky.”

Hellman ripped what he characterized as an uncritical Washington Business Journal article on the governor’s Trustify announcement, despite being mentioned in that very article.

“It’s a good thing Washington Business Journal doesn’t have a sports page because they’d be writing headlines about every kid who ever received a participation trophy for being the bench warmer on the worst team in the lowest league of some minor 3rd grade soccer team,” Hellman said in an incendiary blog post this morning. “I believe the reason Trustify puts out these press releases is to counter any bad press they receive, to push down the SEO of negative stories and obfuscate… the truth in order to raise money from poor unsuspecting widows and orphans.”

The full press release from the governor’s office, after the jump.

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by ARLnow.com July 25, 2017 at 11:00 am 0

A 60-year-old man was arrested after he was found in the attic of a home in the Aurora Highlands neighborhood near Pentagon City.

Police say the resident of a home heard footsteps coming from above early Friday morning and called police. A suspect was located and charged with unlawful entry.

More from an Arlington County Police crime report:

UNLAWFUL ENTRY, 2017-07210024, 800 block of 22nd Street S. At approximately 1:24 a.m. on July 21, police responded to the report of a possible unlawful entry. Upon arrival, it was determined that police were contacted after a tenant reported hearing footsteps in the attic. Police searched the residence and located the suspect. Anthony Jones, 60, of No Fixed Address was arrested and charged with Unlawful Entry. He was held without bail.

Photo via Google Maps

by ARLnow.com July 25, 2017 at 9:05 am 0

Girls’ Firefighting Camp Featured on BBC — The annual girls’ firefighting camp held by Arlington County was the subject of a BBC News video segment, which was published online yesterday. [BBC]

Arlington Treated to ‘Massive’ Rainbow — After yesterday’s downpours, a bright rainbow was visible over Arlington, prompting a photo opportunity that many took advantage of. [Twitter]

Sunday’s Storm on Video — A Pentagon City resident captured one of Sunday’s storms on video, showing torrential rain, strong wind and a screen door that had blown off a building and got stuck in a tree. [YouTube]

by ARLnow.com July 25, 2017 at 6:00 am 0

ARLnow.com publisher Local News Now is seeking a talented, organized and outgoing individual to be our new Manager of Accounts and Special Projects.

We are looking for someone with at least five years of relevant professional experience to help us serve clients, delight readers and grow our company.

Though LNN is seven years old, we are a startup at heart, seeking to make a positive dent in the universe by establishing a sustainable business model for online hyperlocal news. We are back in growth mode and in search of the right, mission-oriented job candidate.

Manager of Accounts and Special Projects is a new position with the following job responsibilities.

  • Managing advertising accounts on ARLnow, Reston Now and PoPville and supporting sales staff. (Additional local online properties may be added to our portfolio in the coming months.)
  • Writing, copy editing and scheduling sponsored articles. (Requires working knowledge of Microsoft Office, WordPress and Adobe Photoshop.)
  • Scheduling display advertising campaigns and coordinating ad design.
  • Being our primary liaison to the local business community and serving as an advocate for local businesses both internally and externally. (Requires working knowledge of social media platforms.)
  • Supporting LNN’s marketing effort by representing the company at events, coordinating promotions and writing our B2B email newsletter. (Requires working knowledge of Mailchimp.)
  • Planning and executing special projects like contests and events.
  • Assisting the CEO and performing other tasks in support of the company’s growth and mission.
  • Innovating by coming up with ideas for new initiatives, pitching them and then executing those that are green lit.
  • Being technically adept and able to learn new software quickly, with minimal training.

If you have the combination of talent, experience, organization, tech know-how and people skills we’re looking for, please email a résumé and cover letter to [email protected]. No calls or recruiters, please.

Competitive salary plus health/vision/dental insurance and 401(k) offered. Also: free coffee, Diet Coke, snacks and beer.

The job and the company are based in Clarendon.

Employers: Are you trying to find exceptional candidates for your professional job openings? Consider advertising the position as ARLnow.com’s Job of the Day. Find out more here.

by ARLnow.com July 24, 2017 at 3:30 pm 0

Updated at 9:40 p.m. — Police say the deaths of two people found deceased in an East Falls Church home were the result of an “apparent murder suicide.” More from an ACPD press release:

Arlington County Police Department’s Homicide/Robbery Unit is investigating an apparent murder-suicide in the East Falls Church neighborhood.

At approximately 2:42 p.m. on July 24, police responded to a check on the welfare call in the 2400 block of N. Quantico Street. Inside the residence, arriving officers located two adults deceased from apparent gunshot wounds. The victim, Terry Lynn Matsumoto, 82, of Arlington, VA was pronounced deceased at the scene along with the subject, Masao Matsumoto, 81, of Arlington, VA. The victim and subject were married.

This appears to be an isolated incident and there is no indication of a larger threat to the community. Detectives continue to investigate the circumstances that [preceded] the incident. Final determination of cause of death will be made by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

Earlier: Arlington County Police are investigating the deaths of two people in Arlington’s East Falls Church neighborhood.

The investigation is taking place on the 2400 block of N. Quantico Street, two blocks north of Lee Highway. Police found the bodies of two people in a house Monday afternoon.

“Two adults were located deceased inside a residence,” confirmed ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage. “Police do not believe there’s a threat to the community. The investigation is ongoing and police will remain in the area.

So far police have not released the names of the deceased individuals nor have they said whether either of the deaths is considered suspicious, only calling it an “active death investigation” at this stage.

“It’s very strange,” one local resident told ARLnow.com. “We’re kind of a quiet neighborhood.”

by Chris Teale July 24, 2017 at 10:05 am 0

Homeowners could be notified in future tax assessments if their property is subject to any special circumstances that would prevent tearing down and rebuilding their house without County Board approval.

Such special circumstances would include homes on so-called pipe-stem lots, which have a narrow “stem” that runs from the street and does not meet requirements for minimum lot width, and in Resource Protection Areas, which help protect environmentally sensitive lands near streams.

If homes are subject to those circumstances, anyone wishing to tear down the current house and build a new one on the same property must go to the Arlington County Board for approval. Projects not hindered by such issues are permitted by right under zoning rules, so long as the new home continues to conform.

Board member Libby Garvey said she has spoken to County Manager Mark Schwartz about including a note to property owners in their tax assessments, which are mailed each year and outline the property tax bill due to the county.

“That’s one piece of paper that pretty much everyone in the county looks at,” Garvey told ARLnow last week. “So that seems like a really good place to put information like that with an asterisk or note, but we have to see if we can actually do that.”

Garvey and colleague John Vihstadt suggested the change at the July 15 County Board meeting, after a plan to build a new home in Ashton Heights ran into difficulties in June because of its location on a pipe-stem lot. The family that owns the N. Kenmore Street property did not realize it would require special approval to build a new house, a costly process in terms of time and expense.

After community meetings and some modifications to the proposed new house between June and July’s meetings, the Board unanimously approved the plan. Vihstadt said the county must make such issues more understandable for county residents, including on the designated web page for pipe-stem lots, which he said must be “a better information source.”

“Despite the happy ending, it would have been much simpler had the family known from the start that they faced this extra challenge,” Garvey said last week in an email to constituents. “We need to find a simple way for residents to know when their current or potential homes have some special situation that could affect their ability to build.”

Schwartz said at the July 15 meeting that while the county is committed to simplifying its permitting process, he warned that applicants must also do the necessary leg-work for such projects.

“I think people need to be aware there is still a requirement on their part to do their due diligence,” he said. “If they were to somehow rely on a notation on a website from us, it’s hard to believe but sometimes we make mistakes, and due diligence is required on the part of the applicant to do their research through the appropriate legal means.”

County Attorney Steve MacIsaac agreed, and noted that from a legal standpoint, the county can only help in so many ways.

“It’s incumbent on anyone who’s buying anything to be sure they know what they’re buying,” he said. “The ‘buyer beware’ phrase definitely applies to land, and you’ve got to know what you can do with it before you buy it.”

Image via county presentation

by ARLnow.com July 24, 2017 at 9:05 am 0

Virginia Unemployment Rate Drops — Virginia’s unemployment rate has ticked down a tenth of a point to 3.7 percent. That’s the Commonwealth’s lowest unemployment rate since April 2008. [Virginian-Pilot, Twitter]

Crash Victim Remembered — Arlington resident William F. Schlesinger, who died after falling asleep and crashing his pickup truck on I-95 in North Carolina, is being remembered by friends. Schlesinger’s story generated additional headlines after his dog, who was traveling with him at the time, was found alive 10 days after the crash. [Fayetteville Observer]

‘Open Door Monday’ Today — The County Board might have already held its final meeting before its summer break, but there is one more “Open Door Monday” session on the schedule. Today a County Board member will be available to chat with residents on any topic, without an appointment, at the Aurora Hills Branch Library near Pentagon City. The next Open Door Monday will be held after Labor Day. [Arlington County]

Arlington Ridge Water Main Repairs — Arlington Ridge Road is partially blocked and several dozen water customers are without service this morning due to emergency water repairs. The repairs are expected to be complete by 4 p.m. [Twitter, Twitter]

by Chris Teale July 21, 2017 at 10:00 am 0

Arlington County is the No. 1 “digital county” of its size in the nation for the second year in a row, according to The Center for Digital Government and the National Association of Counties.

The award recognizes the use of technology in areas of open government, transparency, citizen engagement, cyber security and operations. Arlington was the winner among counties with a population of 150,000-249,999 people.

Its open government program won recognition for its work using technology to make government transactions, planning and decision-making more accessible and transparent. The program introduced an app this year allowing access to the Arlington Public Library catalog, and helped establish an Open Data Advisory Group that uses data-driven analysis to inform policy.

The county also received credit for live-streaming County Board meetings, work sessions and some commission meetings as part of the open government program.

The award recognized the Department of Technology’s “Defining Arlington’s Digital Destiny Campaign,” which hosts a series of public discussions with residents, businesses and industry leaders to explore how Arlington can use technology to enhance the quality of life for all.

The county’s dark fiber network, ConnectArlington, also received credit for supporting government operations and links to Arlington Public Schools, along with its expansion to include Arlington businesses. The network initially linked all county and APS facilities with high-speed broadband.

“This award acknowledges not only the county’s commitment to open, accessible and transparent government and to encouraging engagement, but also the creativity and hard work of a county staff that is innovative in its approach to digital services,” Arlington County Board chair Jay Fisette said in a statement.

County representatives will be presented with the award at the National Association of Counties’ annual conference on Saturday (July 22) in Columbus, Ohio.

by ARLnow.com July 21, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

Arlington Man’s Dog Found Days After Fatal Crash — Ten days after 57-year-old Arlington resident William F. Schlesinger died in a crash on I-95 in North Carolina, his dog has been found alive. Nellie is being called a “miracle dog” after she wandered into a convenience store late at night with a broken leg and numerous bug bites. She had been riding in the pickup truck with Schlesinger when he reportedly fell asleep, veered off the highway and slammed into a tree. [Fayetteville Observer]

Local Election Fundraising Very Light — The frontrunners for Arlington County Board and School Board only have a few thousand dollars apiece in the bank as of the beginning of the month. Their opponents have even less. “It may turn out to be one of the least costly County Board general elections in recent history,” the Sun Gazette reports. [InsideNova]

State Dept. Office Staying in Arlington — The U.S. State Department is keeping its footprint in Rosslyn for another decade-and-a-half. The GSA signed a lease worth just over $200 million over 15 years for nearly 350,000 square feet of office space in central Rosslyn. The lease extends over two buildings, with one of the buildings also housing a private State Department contractor. [Washington Business Journal]

Update: W-L Expected to Reopen Next Week — Washington-Lee High School is expected to reopen for summer school classes next week after an air conditioning issue closed the school this week. W-L’s summer school classes were temporarily moved to Yorktown High School this week. [Arlington Public Schools]

‘Capital Bikeshare Fiesta’ in Nauck — “Arlington’s Dieta Cero-Auto program will be promoting Capital Bikeshare this Saturday at Drew Sprayground (3514 22nd Street S.) from 2-5 p.m. Stop by and purchase your CaBi membership for 50% off!” [Event Calendar]

Discovery Named ‘Green Ribbon School’ — “Discovery Elementary School is being recognized as a U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School… Discovery is one of 45 schools being honored for their innovative efforts to reduce environmental impact and utility costs, improve health and wellness, and ensure effective sustainability education.” [Arlington Public Schools]

by Chris Teale July 20, 2017 at 4:30 pm 0

Some residents in Columbia Forest will be without water tonight (July 20) and traffic will be diverted for emergency repairs along Columbia Pike.

Crews from the county’s Department of Environmental Services will be making emergency water main repairs at the intersection of Columbia Pike and S. Frederick Street, beginning at 8 p.m. The repairs are scheduled to last until 8 a.m. July 21.

During that time, the Pike’s eastbound lanes between S. Greenbrier Street and S. Dinwiddie Street will be closed, while the westbound lanes will be converted into a lane each for eastbound and westbound traffic.

DES said approximately 100-150 people will have water service affected. The Columbia Forest Civic Association said that water will be turned off for the buildings at 5200, 5300 and 5353 Columbia Pike.

Photo via Google Maps.

by Brooke Giles July 20, 2017 at 10:45 am 0

Another scammer who claims to be serving an arrest warrant for a supposed jury duty mix-up is targeting Arlington residents.

A reader said a man claiming to be a Sgt. Jimmy Jackson with the Arlington County Police Department called her saying there was a warrant out for her arrest due to the mix-up. Police reported a similar scam earlier this year.

Unlike previous scams, the reader said the caller did not ask for money right away, but instead stated that they had to schedule an in-person affidavit. He said the money paid for reserving a time block would be refunded at a future court appearance.

Although the scammer name drops Arlington General District Court clerk Steven Robert Spurr and Chief Judge William T. Newman from Arlington Circuit Court, police said the badge number he cites — No. 3319 — is fake. County courts also always send any information for jury duty by mail or email.

Department spokeswoman Ashley Savage said no badge number begins with the digits 33, and that police will never ask for money over the phone. Savage also encouraged any victims of fraud to report it at the county’s online reporting system.

by Chris Teale July 20, 2017 at 10:00 am 0

A car crashed into the front door of a dentist’s office in Buckingham this morning, trapping patients inside for a brief time according to scanner traffic.

The car crash into Breckenridge Family Dental on the 400 block of N. Park Drive just before 9:30 a.m. Thursday (July 20). The dentist’s office is near Barrett Elementary School and the Lubber Run Community Center.

A captain with the Arlington County Fire Department said at the scene that the crash caused minor property and vehicle damage, but no injuries. He added that patients were trapped because of the way the car wedged against the door, but that firefighters and medics quickly moved it.

Patients were able to go in and out of a side entrance once the car had moved out of an abundance of caution. No roads were closed.

by ARLnow.com July 20, 2017 at 9:15 am 0

Fairlington to Trap Raccoons — Following two well-publicized raccoon attacks in the past week, the Fairlington Villages condo association is taking action. In a letter to residents, the association says its Board of Directors has “authorized management to engage a wild animal control contractor to begin a program of trapping raccoons on the property.”

County Moves Forward on Fairfax Drive Ownership — “Arlington County wants to own State Route 237 (Fairfax Drive/10th St. North) from roughly Ballston to Courthouse. The County Board voted at its July 18, 2017 meeting to request that the Commonwealth transfer ownership of the stretch of road to Arlington.” [Arlington County]

Arlington Mulls Lee Highway Ownership — Now that it owns Columbia Pike and is requesting ownership of Fairfax Drive, should Arlington also consider asking VDOT for ownership of Lee Highway? “It’s an intriguing idea,” said one County Board member. [InsideNova]

Darbys Dish on Their Split — Even friends of Real Housewives of Potomac castmates Ashley and Michael Darby might not have suspected that the couple had split up before revealing it on a RHOP reunion show. The pair, who jointly own Oz restaurant in Clarendon, “still spend time together socially” but as of February both have separate apartments in Arlington. [Bravo]

Road Closures for 5K Race in Crystal City — The annual Crystal City Twilighter 5K race will shut down parts of Crystal Drive, Long Bridge Drive and other adjacent roads Saturday night. [Arlington County]

Photo courtesy “ARLnow Reader”

by Kalina Newman July 19, 2017 at 5:45 pm 0

 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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