Beyer Blasts GOP Tax Bill — Says Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) regarding the tax bill that passed the House yesterday: “I am adamantly opposed to the House Republican tax bill, H.R.1. The bill will raise taxes on millions of middle class Americans in order to fund tax cuts for the wealthy, and yet still manages to explode the deficit.” [Rep. Don Beyer]
Crystal City Scores 320 Jobs — A Georgetown-based nonprofit is moving much of its staff to a new office in Crystal City, leasing 90,000 square feet and adding 320 jobs in Arlington County. The move was announced by Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who approved a $500,000 state grant to assist Arlington with the project. [Virginia Business, Bisnow]
Dems Seek Ways to Defeat Vihstadt — “John Vihstadt, who in 2014 broke the Democratic stranglehold on the Arlington County Board, is ready to go back to the voters in 2018. And Arlington Democrats already are strategizing on how to oust him from office.” [InsideNova]
Charges Dropped Against ‘Laughing Librarian’ — Arlington librarian and Code Pink activist Desirée Fairooz, who was arrested after laughing during the confirmation hearing of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, has had the case against her dropped by the Justice Department. [American Libraries, NPR]
Incident at Kenmore Middle School — A tipster tells ARLnow.com that a Kenmore Middle School student was arrested yesterday afternoon for assaulting a PE teacher. An Arlington Public Schools spokesman, however, did not confirm that an arrest was made, saying: “There was an incident earlier today between a student and a teacher. Staff is following normal disciplinary procedures. But beyond that, we can’t disclose anymore because it is a student matter.”
Flickr pool photo by Michael Coffman
Upon being discovered, the man — who was wearing sunglasses and a mask — jumped out of the closet and fled on foot.
The resident did not report the incident to police until the afternoon. More from this week’s ACPD crime report:
BURGLARY (late), 2017-11140143, 6300 block of Lee Highway. At approximately 1:13 p.m. on November 14, police were dispatched to the late report of a breaking and entering. Upon arrival, it was determined that upon returning to the residence at approximately 4:00 a.m., the victim located an unknown suspect hiding inside a closet. Upon being located, the suspect fled the scene on foot. The suspect is described as a Hispanic male with light brown skin, approximately 5’5, wearing black sunglasses, a black mask, a black jacket, blue jeans, gloves, and socks. The investigation is ongoing.
The rest of this past week’s crime report highlights, including some that we’ve already reported, after the jump.
A profile of D.C.’s line cooks, the results from a race pairing triathletes and bikeshares, and other news of the day over in the District.
- Bowser is keeping mum on her administration’s progress in finding a new operator for the only hospital east of the river. [Post]
- Jury selection has begun in inauguration protest cases. [Post]
- Triatheletes got competitive with D.C.’s six bikesharing companies. [Express]
- Meet some of D.C.’s line cooks. [WCP]
- A case for genever. [WCP]
- Or cookie dough-flavored punch? [Eater]
- How the Museum of the Bible handles slavery, the bible, and the Confederacy. [Post]
- National Native American Veterans Memorial has put out a call for design submissions. [East City Art]
- D.C. is getting a second new ice skating rink. [Curbed]
- Shouk is opening up a much larger spot near Union Market. [Popville]
- The Thanksgiving travel forecast. [NBC4]
- Justice Department threatens D.C. over sanctuary city status. [WTOP]
- Spotted on Barrel’s sandwich board. [Popville]
- Beer + axes = ? [Washingtonian]
ACPD Helping Out in Puerto Rico — Arlington County Police officers are on the ground in hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico, directing traffic at critical intersections in areas without power. The officers were sent there as part of a national disaster mutual aid agreement. Local residents, meanwhile, have been expressing their appreciation for ACPD’s presence. [Twitter, Twitter, Twitter]
Blind Triplets Utilizing New Tech — The blind triplets who recently made history by all becoming Eagle Scouts are also among the early users of new Aira glasses. The technology, launched in April, uses camera-equipped glasses to allow a remote agent to narrate what they see in real time, thus providing additional autonomy for the wearer. [Washington Post]
School Board Members Ditch Ties — At Tuesday’s Arlington School Board meeting, the two male members of the Board “committed sartorial faux pas,” in the words of the Sun Gazette, by not wearing ties. [InsideNova]
Flickr pool photo by Chris Guyton
High-tech workshop TechShop filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy today (Wednesday), with all its locations, including in Crystal City, now closed.
TechShop, which had a 20,000-square-foot space at 2110-B Crystal Drive, opened in Arlington County in 2014. The company was founded in 2006, and at one stage had 10 locations in the United States and four more overseas.
It offered access to high-tech equipment like 3D printers and laser cutters, and had monthly and annual memberships for use of its facilities, as well as classes for non-members to learn how to use the equipment.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy means a court-appointed trustee will now sell all TechShop’s assets. Anyone who left personal items in one of its locations will be contacted with a time to come and collect them.
In a statement, founder Jim Newton said the business was no longer financially viable.
“I’m very proud of what my team and I did to build TechShop,” Newton said. “I’m very sad that we were not able to make TechShop into a sustainable business. It is my prayer that each of the people we touched will take those little sparks they received while they worked on their dreams at TechShop, and turn them into their own grand experiment.”
According to figures provided by the company, TechShop provided access to over $1.4 million of high quality tools and machinery to its users for a membership fee of less than $4 per day. It had more than 9,000 active members in the United States, and engaged more than 100,000 people, including through memberships, classes and youth programs. It also helped train more than 3,000 veterans.
“As a veteran myself, I’m proud to say that TechShop has provided membership and training to over three thousand returning veterans,” TechShop CEO Dan Woods said in a statement. “This program enabled veterans to develop skills and experience–preparing them for jobs in advanced manufacturing and helping dozens of vets to launch their own companies.”
Almost three years to the day since the cancellation of the Columbia Pike streetcar project, the nonprofit behind revitalizing the Pike and its neighborhoods believes it is on the right path.
The Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization received extra funding in April when the Arlington County Board approved its FY 2018 budget, and CPRO president John Snyder said the money has already helped.
He said the extra funds are helping pay more CPRO staff as full-time employees rather than part-time, and has also provided an extra staff member in the county’s Solid Waste Bureau within the Department of Environmental Services to pick up litter, empty trash cans and keep the area tidy.
“It’s been a big boost, and I think we’re going to see some more visible changes as we’re able to really execute on some of the things that we’ve wanted to do for a while but haven’t had the resources to do,” Snyder said.
Being able to employ more full-time staff means CPRO can support more events, Snyder said, including the soon-to-relaunch Arlington Mill Farmers Market in addition to the market already at Pike Park. (CPRO also puts on the annual Columbia Pike Blues Festival.)
He also pointed to this summer’s outdoor movie screenings at the Arlington Mill Community Center and Penrose Square, which were about much more than watching movies.
“Last summer we had a big increase in our movie nights and really advertised them a lot,” Snyder said. “So we got pretty big crowds at both Arlington Mill and Penrose Square, and that’s not just about the movies. They’re all 1980s movies that probably everybody has already seen, but it’s about getting together as a neighborhood.”
And to encourage more businesses to move onto the Pike, Snyder said CPRO will partner with Arlington Economic Development on a market study of the potential customers who live near the Pike and demographics. That way, businesses would have more of an idea of their customer base before moving in.
“[If] some business is thinking, ‘Gee, would I like to relocate to the Pike?’ we can give them some concrete data that would tell them what the demographics are like, what the buying power is, to help them make those decisions,” Snyder said. “It will also perhaps help us guide policies so we know what are things that would help the businesses.”
With new projects coming online soon, like the “Columbia Pike Village Center” anchored by a Harris Teeter grocery store in place of Food Star, as well as a condo building next to S. Buchanan Street, Snyder said it will be imperative for the planned “Premium Transit Network” of buses to work as planned.
“I think it can help, particularly if we make sure that we’re going at regular six-minute intervals all through the week,” he said. “One of the most consistent traffic days on the Pike is Saturday. If we make sure that we’ve got the transit coming by on a reliable six-minute interval so that people can really just walk to the stop, use it, walk back home, I think it’ll start getting a lot of that sort of business.”
Arlington County and seemingly every other place in North America is competing to host Amazon’s second corporate headquarters. But while the odds seem long, Crystal City actually has a good shot at being one of the finalists in Amazon’s search.
The D.C. area is widely regarded as a likely contender for “HQ2,” but sources tell ARLnow.com that the District itself is unlikely to get the headquarters, in part due to high taxes, high real estate costs, a lack of available contiguous space that meets Amazon’s expectations and a lack of congressional representation.
That would leave the areas surrounding D.C. as contenders, and none has the available space and is more accessible to downtown, transit and an airport than Crystal City.
Specifically, commercial real estate sources tell us, Crystal City and Potomac Yard are, in combination, regarded by many as the region’s best chance at landing HQ2. Among the advantages:
- Available contiguous office space and developable land, thanks to BRAC and the development of Potomac Yard.
- Only having to deal with one primary property owner, JBG Smith, which owns much of Crystal City and Potomac Yard. (The company did submit a bid, the Washington Business Journal confirmed this week.)
- Proximity to Metro’s Yellow and Blue lines.
- Close proximity to a major airport, Reagan National.
- An urban “downtown”-like setting with restaurants, hotels, shopping and other amenities within walking distance.
- Congressional representation.
- Low state taxes.
As outlined by Washingtonian, Crystal City also comes with all of the benefits of the D.C. region: ample tech talent and universities nearby, proximity to the federal government, and an easy drive for Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos from his new Kalorama mansion. It also comes with some of the negatives: higher real estate costs than smaller cities, high cost of living for workers and thus higher salary costs.
Fresh off of its big win in attracting Nestle’s U.S. headquarters, Rosslyn has also tossed its hat into the HQ2 ring, sources tell us. Rosslyn has many of Crystal City’s pluses but, we’re told, lacks developable space and would be tight quarters for the online giant.
Arlington Economic Development, meanwhile, is keeping its pitch to Amazon close to the vest, publicly revealing few details. Likewise Angela Fox, CEO of the Crystal City Business Improvement District, declined to comment for this article.
Two Washington-Lee High School students suffered minor injuries after the car they were riding in hit a tree in a home’s front yard near the school.
The car hit the tree just after 11 a.m. on the 1600 block of N. Randolph Street after veering off the road. The crash occurred in the Cherrydale neighborhood, near the Cherry Valley Nature Area.
It caused damage to the front of the car, but did not appear to have caused much damage to the tree or any of the surrounding houses.
The pair were interviewed by police officers and attended to by paramedics, while startled neighbors came out of their houses to survey the scene.
The incident started just after 9 a.m. near the intersection of N. Lynn Street and Lee Highway.
According to scanner traffic, the suspect is a panhandler who robbed another homeless man in October. He was spotted in Rosslyn this morning and led police on a brief foot chase. The suspect reportedly dodged a Taser and then outran police as he he fled into the woods along I-66.
The suspect is described as a white male with a shaved head, wearing a hooded sweatshirt and blue jeans.
Police are setting up a perimeter and bringing in a K-9 unit and the U.S. Park Police helicopter to search for the suspect.
— ArlingtonCountyPD (@ArlingtonVaPD) November 15, 2017
The Bible Museum is ready for its big reveal, the Christmas bar is back, Amtrak is getting more comfortable, and other news of the day over in the District.
- Mayor announces plan to help green card holders who are employed by the D.C. government apply for citizenship. [Post]
- In defense of the Clean Rivers tax. [Post]
- Figure out how often Metro makes you late! [GGW]
- This enormous Dupont Circle mansion houses three senior Freemasons. [Atlas Obscura]
- Tis the season for the Christmas bar line. [Washingtonian]
- Divine intervention (or really good developers) got the Bible Museum done in a lickety split three years. [WBJ]
- Take a peek inside. [Curbed]
- And get ready for loaves and fishes, or at least new museum food. [Post]
- Meanwhile, “The Wharf is shaping up to be a high-end nightlife district, an Adams Morgan for thirty-somethings with better seafood.” [WCP]
- And here’s another new place to find (very) fresh fish. [WCP]
- Man beaten with a baseball bat near the Shaw Metro station. [NBC4]
- D.C.’s annual Transgender Day of Remembrance is set for Monday. [Blade]
- This is happening. [Washingtonian]
- We’re all for better seats, but what if we just fixed the wi-fi situation instead? [WTOP]
- This bar doesn’t have a name for you to forget after a few cocktails. [WCP]
- This robber didn’t stand a chance against four women at this H Street eatery. [Washingtonian]
Ballston May Be Next ‘Hot’ Neighborhood — Thanks to new development, the renovation of Ballston Common Mall, and the efforts of the Ballston Business Improvement District and others, Ballston is being mentioned as the region’s “next hottest neighborhood.” [Washington Post]
Wegmans Coming to Alexandria — A Wegmans grocery store is finally set to open within a reasonably short drive of at least some parts of Arlington. Per WBJ, the Rochester, NY-based chain will open an 84,000-square-foot store at Hoffman Town Center in Alexandria, not far from where the National Science Foundation recently moved. [Washington Business Journal]
Decal Deadline is Today — Today is the deadline to display the new 2017-2018 Arlington County vehicle decal. “Beginning November 16, you will be at risk of receiving a parking ticket if your decal is not displayed on your windshield,” says the county. [Arlington County]
‘News Dude’ Finds Human Seat — NBC 4’s Adam Tuss was able to catch up with the man who wore a seat costume in Virginia Tech and Ford’s unusual “driverless” car experiment in Arlington. The researcher said he was “pretty stressed out” after Tuss ran up to him at an intersection and asked what he was doing dressed as a car seat in a van. [NBC Washington, Twitter]
Flickr pool photo by Eric
Construction to expand a federal training facility has closed a walking trail near Alcova Heights Park.
The trail between 6th Street S. and S. Quincy Street closed permanently yesterday for construction on the State Department’s National Foreign Affairs Training Center (4000 Arlington Blvd).
NFATC trains members of the nation’s foreign service, and is seeking to expand its campus in Arlington to include a new training and classroom facility, childcare center and other buildings. The project is expected to be completed in October 2018.
As planned, the expansion would extend the perimeter fence farther south, and, in the process, swallow up a pedestrian path that connects George Mason Drive and S. Quincy Street.
Starting today, the trail between 6th St S and Quincy St S will be closed for construction at the National Foreign Affairs Training Center. More Details: https://t.co/RfRqGCfD81 pic.twitter.com/C5Zu2EpRGs
— BikeArlington (@BikeArlington) November 13, 2017
The decision to close the path came under fire earlier this year from local residents, who signed a petition to try to save it. At the time, critics said pedestrians would be deprived of a way to walk from one end of the Alcova Heights neighborhood to another.
The petition was signed by more than 130 people and urged the General Services Administration, which is responsible for the project, to “build a perimeter trail connecting 3rd St. S to the existing trail at Quincy at 6th St. S,” among other demands.
UPDATE: The sewage line leak into Donaldson Run was stopped overnight with a bypass installation. Pipe repairs continue. Photo shows the remote location of the leak, adjacent to Zachary Taylor Park. pic.twitter.com/OcLdVOcjCz
— Arlington DES (@ArlingtonDES) November 14, 2017
Workers from the county’s Department of Environmental Services stopped a sewage leak into the Donaldson Run stream overnight.
According to a tweet from DES, crews installed a bypass overnight into a sewage pipe, which broke due to its age, damage from tree roots and the recent cold temperatures.
Repairs to the pipe, which is in a remote location next to Zachary Taylor Park (2900 Military Road), are ongoing.
A DES spokesman said that the remote location made the leak hard to find, but that staff had been aware since last weekend.
“[S]taff did log the leak report over the weekend and the search began soon thereafter,” the spokesman said. “It just took a while for crews to find the leak because of the remote location — which you can see on the tweet photo.”
The spokesman reiterated that the “discharge that entered Donaldson Run will be diminished by natural flushing of the stream over time.”
The mayor went on a rat walkabout, the outcry grows over a plan to end sports on the National Mall, Anacostia is getting a bookstore and more news of the day over in the District.
- D.C. officials rail against GOP tax plan. [Post]
- And how it could affect the local housing market. [UrbanTurf]
- Let my people go (play sports on the Mall). [Post]
- More of that. [WAMU]
- Anacostia is getting its first bookstore in more than two decades. [Curbed]
- Cherry blossom trees throughout the season. [Post]
- Get ready to roll your eyes. [Washingtonian]
- Rooftop ice skating! [Post]
- With a side of luxury igloos? [Washingtonian]
- Ohioians skip school trip to D.C. over safety concerns. [WAMU]
- Bowser took a rat walk in Dupont. [NBC]
- Should this couple get a handicapped street parking spot? [WJLA]
- Things people have tossed over the White House fence recently. [Washingtonian]
- Car2go is phasing out their trademark Smart cars though it will take a little while. [Jalopnik/Twitter]
- The Palisades is getting two pre fab homes. [WBJ]
- D.C. filed raze applications for Barry Farms. [Curbed]
Local Entrepreneur Scores on Shark Tank — “Sharmi Albrechtsen, founder and CEO of Arlington-based tech toy company SmartGurlz, landed an investment from FUBU founder Daymond John on Sunday’s “Shark Tank” episode: $200,000 for 25 percent of the business.” [Washington Business Journal]
New Year’s Meeting Nixed Again — For the second year in a row, what was once the traditional New Year’s Day organizational meeting of the Arlington County Board will not be held on Jan. 1. The meeting is instead expected to be held on Jan. 2, according to a draft 2018 County Board calendar. [InsideNova]
ACPD Holding Toy Drive — The Arlington County Police Department is holding its third annual Fill the Cruiser Holiday Toy Drive for children in need in Arlington. Officers will be collecting toys on the evenings of Tuesday, Nov. 28 and Tuesday, Dec. 5 in various locations around the county. [Arlington County]
Flickr pool photo by Bekah Richards