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by Peter Rousselot July 20, 2017 at 1:00 pm 0

Peter RousselotPeter’s Take is a weekly opinion column. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.

Last Thursday, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) unveiled the latest Trumpcare bill. There aren’t enough Republican Senators who support this latest version. McConnell has now scheduled a vote on outright repeal of Obamacare for “early next week.”

Drastic Virginia Medicaid cuts

The most remarkably bad thing about Trumpcare is its persistent focus on drastically cutting Medicaid benefits. The per-capita caps would cost Virginia’s Medicaid program at least $1.4 billion over seven years.

U.S. Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) previously blasted these cuts:

Virginia historically has run one of the leanest Medicaid programs in the country…. But as a result of the steep cuts to Medicaid in Trumpcare, Virginia would be forced to pick up an additional $900 million in costs for Medicaid over the next ten years in order to maintain the same level of care.

Virginia Republican legislative leaders already are on record condemning these cuts: “Proposals to impose per-capita caps on federal Medicaid spending would put Virginia at a severe disadvantage.”

U.S. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) aptly summarized what’s wrong with her Senate leadership’s approach:

We should not be making fundamental changes in a vital safety net program that’s been on the books for 50 years, the Medicaid program, without having a single hearing to evaluate what the consequences are going to be.

Virginia children disproportionately harmed

The proposed Medicaid cuts would particularly harm Virginia’s children:

The bill would have a disproportionate effect on children, who make up about 60 percent of Medicaid enrollment in Virginia. During the 2014-15 school year, the most recent year for which data is available, Virginia school districts received $33 million in Medicaid reimbursements.

Virginians with pre-existing conditions lose coverage

The latest Trumpcare bill contains a new provision (the so-called Cruz amendment) that major health insurance companies say is “simply unworkable.” It would deny coverage for pre-existing conditions and de-stabilize insurance marketplaces in Virginia and across the nation:

The protections for preexisting conditions are gone. The GOP vision is of health markets where the very sick can buy unaffordable Obamacare-compliant plans that are, maybe, made affordable by subsidies, but most people are back in an insurance market where past allergies or future pregnancy or a history of knee problems will leave you basically uninsurable.

Conclusion

Republicans and Democrats remain divided over their contrasting degrees of respect for the principle of mutual obligation:

If [Trumpcare] passed, the Republican reform would eventually return the country to a system a lot like the one in place before the A.C.A., when older people, sick people, and the working poor struggled to find coverage–or went without.

Supporters of Trumpcare claim it would enable everyone to have access to affordable healthcare. But, the truth is that only those wealthy enough to pay would have access to meaningful healthcare.

Repeal of Obamacare without a replacement would be even worse. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that repeal would cause the number of uninsured people to rise by 18 million next year and by 32 million by 2026.

Both approaches are bad.

U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has issued a call for a fresh, bipartisan start for healthcare reform. He’s right.

Responsible Republicans and Democrats now should join together to hold open and thoughtful public hearings to fix those parts of Obamacare that need fixing.

by Larry Roberts July 20, 2017 at 12:15 pm 0

Progressive Voice is a weekly opinion column. The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the individual authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of their organizations or ARLnow.com.

By Larry Roberts

This is the fourth of five in a series of columns about how Arlington progressives and 8th Congressional District (Arlington, Alexandria, Falls Church and parts of Fairfax) Democrats responded from a policy perspective to the 2016 Presidential election.

In that same context, this week will bring an opportunity to see how this year’s gubernatorial candidates will try to define their agenda and that of their opponent as the Virginia Bar Association will host its traditional first gubernatorial debate of the campaigns season at 11 a.m. on July 22 at the Homestead in Hot Springs, Virginia. The public will be able to see the debate via a PBS live stream and there is generally substantial press coverage.

While we await the debate and coverage of it, I am providing – again without editorial comment — the progressive agenda as defined by resolutions adopted by the 8th Congressional District Democratic Convention delegates as a window into the views of progressive voters in an area of the Commonwealth that will be an important indicator of the level of Democratic enthusiasm during a general election that will receive national attention.

Opposition to Proposed 2018 Federal Budget: The Convention opposes the proposed federal budget as it would harm the economy and citizens of the Washington, D.C. region generally, including Northern Virginia, and encourages Democrats to hold elected officials accountable should they actively and/or passively support budgetary policies harmful to Northern Virginia.

Opposition to Gerrymandering: Gerrymandering of districts must end and voters should be allowed to select their political representatives instead of officeholders selecting their voters. Any solution should be independent, objective, and transparent. As a Constitutional amendment may be necessary to assure the independence of the redistricting process, the General Assembly should act in its 2018 session so that the amendment can take effect before the 2021 redistricting.

Pay and Benefits: Congress should establish a national paid family and medical leave policy that guarantees at least 12 weeks of compensated leave to care for new children or deal with family medical emergencies. Congress and the Commonwealth should incentivize businesses to adopt profit sharing systems such as employee stock ownership plans to ensure workers receive a fair share of large employer success. Virginia should explore ways to provide options and incentives for employers to voluntarily offer increased pay and benefits in these areas.

Political Contributions from Public Service Corporations: General Assembly members should reject campaign contributions from a public service corporation. The Convention supports legislation prohibiting candidates for the General Assembly or statewide office from soliciting or accepting campaign contributions from a public service corporation and urges Virginia’s state and local elected officials to establish the fight against climate change as a top legislative priority in accordance with Virginia’s constitutional mandate to “protect [Virginia’s] atmosphere, lands, and waters from pollution, impairment, or destruction.”

Preserving the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): The proposed federal budget cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency are detrimental to protecting the nation’s clean air and water. Congress should use a full life cycle cost analysis in setting budget priorities rather than ideological agendas.

Primaries Instead of Caucuses: The Convention recommends that the Democratic Party of Virginia and the local Democratic committees conduct primaries whenever possible.

Religious Freedom: The Convention condemns the Trump Administration in the strongest possible terms for allowing an employer to interfere with employee health care benefits based on the employer’s religious beliefs. This policy is a direct infringement of the employee’s religious views. Congress should overturn these hasty and ill-advised actions so as to restore the right of every citizen to hold their own religious views and to reach their own views on political issues without taxpayer subsidized lectures advocating partisan positions from the pulpit.

SNAP and Nutrition: This nation should make sufficient resources available to end hunger in the United States. The Convention opposes the conversion of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program into a block grant to the states. The federal agricultural program should include nutritional assistance as an integral part of its mission. The Convention opposes steps that would attack nutritional education and the promotion of good eating habits by school children and by the population as a whole.

Larry Roberts is an attorney in private practice who has previously served in the state Cabinet as Counselor to Governor Tim Kaine and as Arlington County Democratic Committee Chair. He has been Chair for three successful statewide political campaigns, including Justin Fairfax’s campaign to be the Democratic nominee for Lt. Governor in 2017.

by ARLnow.com July 20, 2017 at 11:15 am 0

It’s already a sweltering summer day and it’s only going to get worse.

Arlington County and much of the rest of the D.C. area is under a Heat Advisory through Thursday evening, as the heat index is expected to climb well over 100.

More from the National Weather Service:

… HEAT ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 7 PM EDT THIS EVENING… * HEAT INDEX VALUES… UP TO 107 DUE TO TEMPERATURES IN THE MID 90S, AND DEWPOINTS AROUND 70. * IMPACTS… THE HEAT AND HUMIDITY MAY CAUSE HEAT STRESS DURING OUTDOOR EXERTION OR EXTENDED EXPOSURE. PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS… A HEAT ADVISORY MEANS THAT A PERIOD OF HIGH TEMPERATURES IS EXPECTED. THE COMBINATION OF HIGH TEMPERATURES AND HIGH HUMIDITY WILL CREATE A SITUATION IN WHICH HEAT ILLNESSES ARE POSSIBLE. TAKE EXTRA PRECAUTIONS IF YOU WORK OR SPEND TIME OUTSIDE. WHEN POSSIBLE, RESCHEDULE STRENUOUS ACTIVITIES TO EARLY MORNING OR EVENING. KNOW THE SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF HEAT EXHAUSTION AND HEAT STROKE. WEAR LIGHT WEIGHT AND LOOSE FITTING CLOTHING WHEN POSSIBLE AND DRINK PLENTY OF WATER. TO REDUCE RISK DURING OUTDOOR WORK, THE OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH ADMINISTRATION RECOMMENDS SCHEDULING FREQUENT REST BREAKS IN SHADED OR AIR CONDITIONED ENVIRONMENTS. ANYONE OVERCOME BY HEAT SHOULD BE MOVED TO A COOL AND SHADED LOCATION. HEAT STROKE IS AN EMERGENCY – CALL 911. &&

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 ARLnow.com Sponsor July 20, 2017 at 6:00 am 0

6229 Washington Blvd
Neighborhood: Westover
Price: $1,495,000
Open House*: Sunday, July 23 from 2-4 p.m.

Arlington’s finest new home! This stunning new single-family home, built by Madison Homes, offers an extensive list of upgraded features and top quality craftsmanship.

The wonderful open floor plan is perfect for living and entertaining and includes 9-foot ceilings on all 3 levels. The stunning, gourmet kitchen opens to the family room and breakfast area with quartz counters and stainless appliances. Oversized windows and a four-panel sliding door open out to a spacious, flat and fully fenced rear yard.

Located in North Arlington this new home is just blocks from both the East Falls Church Metro and the shops, restaurants, and farmers market at Westover. Minutes to I-66 and Ballston these homes are a commuter’s dream! Side entry garage offers a private turnaround.

Offering close to 5,000 square feet on 3 levels this home is just right for everyday living with 5 bedrooms and 4.5 bathrooms. The upper level includes a gorgeous master suite with “his” and “her” closets, an expansive master bathroom with a grand walk-in shower and separate soaking tub.

The walk-up fully finished lower level offers a recreation room, bonus room and the fifth bedroom with a full bath. Other great features include a spacious 2 car garage with mudroom and cubbies, detailed panel molding and buffet counter in the dining room and upper level laundry room with built in cabinets and granite countertops. Tuckahoe Elementary School, Swanson Middle School and Yorktown High School.

*Open House is at 6231 Washington Blvd on Sunday, July 23 from 2-4 p.m. Two homes are for sale, 6229 and 6231 Washington Blvd.

Listed By:
Anne DiBenedetto
Washington Fine Properties
703-615-1897
[email protected]

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.

(more…)

by Chris Teale July 19, 2017 at 4:30 pm 0

Chester’s Billiards, Bar & Grill will have three months to remedy various violations after the Arlington County Board voted unanimously to grant a brief extension to its live entertainment permit.

The billiards hall and neighborhood bar at 2620 Shirlington Road had the annual review of its permit at the Board’s recessed meeting Tuesday (July 18), and county staff recommended an extension be denied after a slew of problems.

But the Board agreed to give Chester’s three months before having another review to correct various violations, which included 16 calls for service to the Arlington County Police Department as well as notices from the Fire Marshal, Code and Zoning Enforcement and Virginia ABC.

“I hope we’ve impressed on you all that this is not to be seen as an endorsement of the current state of affairs,” Board vice chair Katie Cristol said. “This is an opportunity to try to get it right.”

Rebecca Lewis, the agent for the building, promised that Chester’s will use the Arlington County Police Department’s after-hours service to employ off-duty officers as security on nights when it has live entertainment, and will ensure bartenders are trained in when to cut people off.

The live entertainment permit allows Chester’s to host “a variety of live entertainment types, including music, comedy and magicians.”

Lewis and Chester’s manager David Breedlove said the introduction of a fence around the property, which is as high as eight feet in some places, should help with security. Lewis added that after some management turmoil since the bar opened in 2015, they have been on a more even footing the past couple of months.

“We can’t change the neighborhood, but what’s happening inside Chester’s has changed,” Lewis said. “We’ve learned the lessons, and we have followed the rules that were laid out in the original use permit.”

Board member Christian Dorsey cautioned against rhetoric that may appear to blame the neighborhood for any problems. He also tried to determine the status of the building’s elevator, which is the subject of criminal proceedings.

“My overarching conversation,” Dorsey said, “is if the elevator makes it inappropriate for us to renew the use permit, should we have a business operating there at all?”

Chester’s representatives said the elevator has not operated since opening, and that they are applying to have it decommissioned. Adam Watson, a planner in the county’s Department of Community, Planning, Housing and Development, said the violation must be remedied, and that staff would work to determine how necessary a working elevator is for the business.

Lewis and Breedlove said many violations have come from being a relatively new business, including from Virginia ABC as their food sales are not as high as required for their liquor license. Both promised to do better.

“This is always really tough,” Dorsey said. “I hate to be in the business of hurting someone’s opportunity to earn a living and fulfill their creative and entrepreneurial dreams, but it also seems by your own admission…this has been a growing experience for you in terms of operating a business, finding out the right things to offer, the right things to work with.”

Chester’s will be back before the Board for its review in October.

Photo via Google Maps.

by ARLnow.com July 19, 2017 at 3:15 pm 0

(Updated at 3:50 p.m.) The Fairlington neighborhood has a raccoon problem.

A week after a woman was attacked by a raccoon, requiring 87 stitches, another attack happened in Fairlington this morning, according to the Animal Welfare League of Arlington.

The incident happened on the 4800 block of 28th Street S., AWLA said. That’s the same block as yet another raccoon attack last year.

On a neighborhood Facebook page, the victim’s wife said he was attacked after walking out of his house and, unlike the last week’s attack, no pets were involved.

“One bit him on the leg and the other attempted to get in the house,” the woman said. “Rabies shots required and X-ray of fingers.”

Another neighbor said the attack happened just before 6 a.m.

Animal control officers were unable to locate the raccoons involved in the attack, according to Chief Animal Control Officer Jennifer Toussaint. AWLA is stepping up its response to the attacks, she said via email.

We are actively working on a multifaceted approach to reducing the risk to the public as well as preventing future incidents as quickly as possible. We have reached out to the neighboring animal control agency to quicken potential response times to future incidents. We have contacted a biologist with the VA State Department of Game and Inland Fisheries to access raccoon population management and discuss the most recent incidents and attacks. Animal control formally presented to the Fairlington Villages community and property management last year, with the assistance of the Humane Society of the United States-Urban Wildlife Management, to consider alternative trash policies and other precautionary measures to aid in preventing these types of incidents from occurring while reducing the raccoon population.

It is important that the community stay alert, and that they remove any attractants around their properties including–standing water, trash, and bird feeders. Dogs and domestic pets should be kept inside or on leash at all times. Do not feed or approach any wild, stray, or feral animals, even if they appear friendly or injured. Please make sure your dogs and cats are up-to-date on their rabies vaccinations.

Animal control requests that any sightings of raccoons out in the common areas of this community or encroaching on the property in any way be reported immediately at 703-931-9241. Raccoons are known to be carriers of rabies as well as other diseases so any interaction with them (person or pet) should be reported immediately to Arlington County Animal Control. Animal Control is reachable directly 24/7-365 days a year at 703-931-9241.

On the neighborhood Facebook page, a few residents have started calling for the raccoons to be trapped and relocated or shot, though both are illegal. Others say the neighborhood’s condominium associations should reconsider their trash policies.

by Chris Teale July 19, 2017 at 2:00 pm 0

The Arlington County Board deferred a vote Tuesday on the design of the new Lubber Run Community Center after confusion over the timing of meetings on the project.

But the Board did agree, by a 3-2 vote, to a $37 million contract to replace the center, out of a total project budget of $47.8 million.

The new center will replace the one built in 1956 at 300 N. Park Drive, Arlington’s first purpose-built community center.

The building will provide programs for youth, adults and seniors including a preschool, senior center, gymnasium and fitness center and several multipurpose rooms. It also will house about 70 employees in the county’s Department of Parks and Recreation. Construction could begin as early as next fall.

A meeting is scheduled for today (July 19) at Barrett Elementary School for residents to give feedback on the new building’s design. That meeting coming a day after the Board’s scheduled design vote left some members perturbed, as they wanted to see the community engagement process play out before taking action.

Before the start of deliberations, County Manager Mark Schwartz apologized for any communications that caused “confusion or anxiety” in the community.

A timeline in May provided by local resident Michael Thomas had the Board likely voting on the design in September. But Jane Rudolph, director of the county’s Department of Parks and Recreation, said the plan was moved up after staff found they could have the construction contract ready for July’s meeting and advertised on July 7. She also apologized for any confusion

“This is really, I think, close to a smoking gun,” said Board member John Vihstadt. “I don’t understand why we couldn’t defer to September to realize and fulfill the original intention of staff to have the board meeting after the next concept presentation and another PFRC meeting as well.”

Vihstadt was joined in voting to defer, while simultaneously approving the construction contract, by chair Jay Fisette and Christian Dorsey. The trio emphasized that no “fundamental changes” should be made to the plan during the review.

Board member Libby Garvey and vice chair Katie Cristol voted against the plan. Cristol said that the consensus on the Board that no major changes should be made, coupled with the support of many in the community for the new center, should be enough to proceed.

Of those who testified on the project, many had concerns around the project’s impact on the environment, including the need to cut down some trees and possible erosion. Independent County Board candidate Audrey Clement, reading remarks on behalf of local activist Suzanne Smith Sundburg, said people wanted more open green space and more trees, rather than more pavement and buildings.

“Staff’s perception of the community’s feedback on this project continues to be at odds with the public’s perception of what it has asked for,” Clement said.

Community engagement for the project took a more modern approach than similar efforts in the past. The engagement used more technology like online surveys and looked to reach out to previously under-represented communities like the Spanish-speaking population in the county.

While Board members and staff recognized the foul-up with the timeline, some residents said the majority of community outreach was done well.

“This is textbook on how to do community engagement,” said Nathan Zee, an Arlington Forest resident. “You went above and beyond what would be reasonably expected, and should be commended. The outstanding design reflects this hard work.”

Images via county presentation

by ARLnow.com Sponsor July 19, 2017 at 1:00 pm 0

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by ARLnow.com July 19, 2017 at 12:00 pm 0

This week’s Arlington Pet of the Week is Cooper, a Mali Uromastyx lizard.

Here is what his owner Ted had to say about his scaly friend:

Many families in Arlington enjoy the company of dogs or cats, but our family cuddles up with Cooper, our Mali Uromastyx lizard. Cooper joined our family in the summer of 2010 as our fourth lizard of two bearded dragons and two uromastyx.

Initially, my father had reservations about adopting another lizard but was persuaded when we let him name him. Cooper was named for Cooper Union, my father’s alma mater, and has been a member of the family ever since.

Cooper didn’t start out on the best of terms with the family as within days of adopting him, we almost lost him; literally. We took him in the car for a ride one day only to have him squirm out of our hands and quickly scoot underneath the car seat.

We tried baiting him out with blueberries (one of his favorite foods) but he wouldn’t budge! He was too far under the seat for us to grab him so my brother eventually rescued him by taking the entire seat out of the car! We scooped him up before he could run under another and thus Cooper was saved.

These days Cooper leads a mostly sedentary life (as many uromastyx do) hidden in his rock cave. He doesn’t venture out often but when he does he is either basking under his heat lamp or eating meals (consisting of kibble, greens, and occasional treats such as dandelions). When he’s out we take the opportunity to bathe him, play with him and give him our adoring love.

Want your pet to be considered for the Arlington Pet of the Week? Email [email protected] with a 2-3 paragraph bio and at least 3-4 horizontally-oriented photos of your pet. Please don’t send vertical photos, they don’t fit in our photo galleries!

Each week’s winner receives a sample of dog or cat treats from our sponsor, Becky’s Pet Care, along with $100 in Becky’s Bucks. Becky’s Pet Care is the winner of six consecutive Angie’s List Super Service Awards, the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters’ 2013 Business of the Year and a proud supporter of the Arlington County Pawsitively Prepared Campaign.

Becky’s Pet Care provides professional dog walking and pet sitting in Arlington and all of Northern Virginia, as well as PetPrep training courses for Pet Care, CPR and emergency preparedness.

by Katherine Berko July 19, 2017 at 11:00 am 0

Zaika, an Indian restaurant in Clarendon, has closed.

Located on the second level of the Market Common Clarendon shopping center, Zaika described its menu as modern Indian food, with eastern flavors and a western twist. Dishes included classic Indian entrees, such as Chicken Tikka Masala, as well as Indo-Chinese options, like the Manchurian: “A classic Chinese dish with authentic Indian spices.”

Zaika’s phone number has been disconnected and OpenTable no longer allows people to make reservations to eat there. Yesterday the restaurant was empty and dark, with no explanation for the closing posted in the windows or on the business’s Facebook page.

Zaika’s Twitter account, meanwhile, has been converted to an account for Angeethi, an Indian restaurant in Herndon.

by Katherine Berko July 19, 2017 at 10:00 am 0

At a time when everyone is glued to their smartphones, spontaneous, in-person interactions seem to be on the decline. But a new public art installation in Courthouse is hoping to buck the trend, encouraging people to talk to strangers and make new friends.

Created by the Spanish art collective, mmmm…, and presented by the county’s public art initiative, “Meeting Bowls” opened Monday (July 17), and will be in town until November 1, when the installation will be transported to its next exhibit, in Miami. The bowls are red, blue and yellow among other colors, and made from medium-density fiberboard.

The installation is part of Courthouse 2.0: Reimagining the Civic, a public art initiative that strives to explore the interaction between civic space and life in Arlington.

“They are on display in a public space and are free and open to the public to engage with as they pass by, take a moment to rest, have lunch, or converse with friends,” Jim Byers, the marketing director at Arlington Cultural Affairs, said in an email.

There are bowls located at 14th Street N. and N. Courthouse Road, each with seating for eight people. The bowls are five feet tall and eight feet in diameter, and look to spark conversation among their users through their circular seating arrangements. The bowls also mimic swings, since they rock back and forth when occupied.

Byers said the funding for transporting Meeting Bowls to Arlington and Miami came from a grant from the Madrid-based public arts agency Acción Cultural Española. Byers said Arlington Cultural Affairs also paid around $14,000 from its own budget.

Meeting Bowls first appeared in the United States back in 2011, in New York’s Times Square. Instead of shipping the bowls from Spain, new bowls were created in the U.S. with computer-aided manufacturing. Digital files of the more than 75 parts that make up a bowl are emailed to a regional manufacturer and made locally.

Spanish artists Eva Salmerón and Emilio Alarcón will host a discussion about the creations at the bowls on September 23 at 11 a.m.

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