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by Chris Teale — March 21, 2017 at 4:30 pm 0

Aerial view of the Pentagon (Flickr pool photo by Michael Coffman)President Trump’s first budget proposal and its ramped-up defense spending could help Arlington’s economy, according to experts, but local lawmakers worry that cuts elsewhere in the federal government could hurt.

Trump’s budget blueprint for fiscal 2018, entitled “America First: A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again,” calls for $54 billion in additional defense spending.

The budget plan would cut federal funding to a swath of programs to help offset the increased defense spending, including a number that help lower-income residents.

That would likely mean a spending boon at the Pentagon, which has approximately 25,000 military and civilian occupants daily.

In addition, defense contractors based in the county could see more work go their way, as well as the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, an Arlington-based Department of Defense agency.

Frank Shafroth, director of the Center for State and Local Government Leadership at George Mason University’s Schar School of Policy and Government, added that DARPA work can be just as lucrative. DARPA “often subcontracts up to $7 for every dollar spent in house,” Shafroth said.

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) said the effects of decreased defense spending under President Obama, the result of the federal budget sequester, must be tackled but not in this way.

“We should be serious about addressing the fiscal issues in our country and work together to address the impact that the across-the-board spending cuts have had on the military and our national security,” Warner said in a statement. “However, the roadmap the President has laid out does not meet those goals.”

Of concern in Arlington is reduced spending on the State Department, which operates three D.C.-area field offices in Arlington. Trump’s plan would cut $10.1 billion from State and the U.S. Agency for International Development. That cut could force the closure or downsizing of those field offices, which handle security and investigations among other roles.

“Budgets show us a President’s priorities, and based on what President Trump released today, I’m concerned that he’s continuing to push policies that would hurt Virginians,” Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) said in a statement last week. “While I support the Administration’s commitment to investments in defense, deep cuts to the State Department jeopardize our national security.”

White House logoRep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) said Trump’s cuts could hurt Northern Virginia and the rest of the country.

“President Trump wants to spend more on defense and border security while making huge cuts to what they defend: our people, our health, and our environment,” he said. “These extreme cuts will hit my constituents particularly hard, including many federal workers at the State Department and Environmental Protection Agency. But their pain will be felt across the entire country.”

Any gains on the defense side may be offset by losses elsewhere, as Trump’s budget plan seeks to shrink the federal workforce. With a hiring freeze already in place, further cuts could be coming.

Analysis by the Stephen S. Fuller Institute at GMU found that Northern Virginia could lose as many as 3,600 federal jobs, under the assumption that between 5.4 and 6.6 percent of all federal jobs in the region are lost.

And the analysis found that any gains in DoD and other departments may not be enough to lessen the impact of losses elsewhere.

Despite others’ gloomy predictions, Shafroth said he is optimistic that Arlington can weather any storms, given how central it is in defense spending.

“On net, especially given the serious situation with North Korea, I believe there will be major job disruption, but, at the end of the day the county’s critical role in national defense and the very large increase in federal spending will lead to disruption, but close to a net overall wash,” he said.

Flickr pool photo (top) by Michael Coffman

by ARLnow.com — March 21, 2017 at 3:00 pm 0

Clarendon appears to be getting its first dedicated outdoor beer garden.

Alternately called “The Lot,” “The Beer Lot” or “Lot 10” in filings and online posts, the beer garden is coming to what’s currently a used car lot on the corner of Wilson Blvd and 10th Street N., at the western tip of Clarendon, according to sources and a Virginia ABC filing.

We’re told the beer garden will feature an expansive outdoor seating area, some indoor or tented space, food — perhaps provided by a rotating cohort of food trucks — and a focus on local beers. It’s expected to open by this summer.

Social Restaurant Group, which recently opened Pamplona and is opening Bar Bao, both in Clarendon, is the company behind The Lot. A company representative could not immediately be reached for comment.

Beer gardens, which have popped up all over the District in the past couple of years, are also coming soon to Rosslyn and Columbia Pike.

by Chris Teale — March 21, 2017 at 1:35 pm 0

LGBT rights "snowflake" pin

The term “snowflake” has become one of the more widely-used insults in online political debates lately, and now an Arlington man is trying to adopt it as a badge of honor.

Ballston resident Michael Getter has begun what he describes as a campaign to unite opposition against President Trump and his administration’s agenda. To do so, he’s planning to manufacture “snowflake” lapel pins of different colors to represent particular issues.

And Getter said if the idea proves viable, proceeds from buying the snowflake pins will go to related charities and advocacy organizations that “have a proven track record and are effective.”

Getter says he was inspired by the opposition rallied at the Women’s March on Washington in January and the use of the word “snowflake” to show disdain for young people and their objections.

“It crystallized in my mind, that a snowflake might become a symbol not necessarily of the resistance, but basically for everybody who disagrees on different grounds with Trump and his administration,” Getter said. “Instead of hearing it as a derogatory term, we’ll learn that we’re all different.”

USA "snowflake" pin

Already, Getter has put together a list of more than 15 snowflake designs. Some are focused on issues like healthcare and immigration, while others are for those affiliated to a political party.

Getter said it was important to try and capture as many issues as possible, and be inclusive of all opposing viewpoints.

“Instead of lumping it altogether, saying, ‘Yes, we’re all one great mass,’ we’re not,” he said. “Different people have different interests. Some people are specifically interested in health care issues, some people want to stop wars, some people are interested in immigration issues, some are opposed to losing funding for the arts.”

The endeavor is set to ramp up as of May 1, which Getter said will mark the start of its Kickstarter campaign to raise initial funds.

Women's rights "snowflake" pin

Manufacturing the pins could prove costly, Getter said, as he wishes to have them made in the United States.

But he said he hopes his campaign will encourage unity among opponents of the Trump administration’s agenda.

“They have something they can be proud of, wear it and be part of a larger group that’s proud to be who they are, not ashamed of being called a ‘snowflake,'” he said. “I wanted to bring some unity and recognition, and make a statement. If you see another person on the street with a snowflake, you have an instant connection with that person, knowing they are on your side.”

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — March 21, 2017 at 12:30 pm 0

Ask Eli banner

This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by Eli Tucker, Arlington-based Realtor and Rosslyn resident. Please submit your questions to him via email for response in future columns. Enjoy!

Question: I’ve been renting my unit at the 1800 Wilson condos in the Rosslyn/Courthouse area for the last five years and am wondering why I used to get more rent five years ago than I do today, despite keeping the unit in great condition for each renter. Any ideas?

Answer: You may have heard that over the last five to six years, the rental market has hit all-time highs across the country, so it makes sense that you’d expect your rental income to increase. However, the increased rental demand and previously undersupplied luxury rental market in Rosslyn got the attention of some major developers, who recently built larger luxury rental buildings nearby.

Developer vs. Landlord

Landlords at 1800 Wilson and the neighboring Rosslyn/Courthouse condo buildings took a hit on rental income starting in 2013 as luxury apartment buildings Slate|Sedona, 19Nineteen Clarendon, and 2001 Clarendon added nearly 850 units to an undersupplied Rosslyn/Courthouse rental market, while offering deep discounts to new tenants in the range of one to two free months of rent (standard for new apartment buildings).

In the last year or two, each of the buildings have finished their initial leasing cycle and the incentives have expired at all three, so 1800 Wilson and other landlords in Rosslyn and Courthouse should see a small increase in rental rates.

Don’t expect a huge jump because rental supply is substantially higher now and Central Place, above the Rosslyn Metro station, just started leasing 377 luxury units. However, many of these apartments are in the ultra-luxury market and cater to a different renter than those looking at 1800 Wilson and similar buildings in the area.

Rental Trends

I built a table of rental trends in condo buildings in Rosslyn & Courthouse with comparable 1BR/1BA and 2BR/2BA units. I limited data to 1BR units w/ 650-850sqft and 2BR units w/ 900-1,350sqft to reflect the majority of 1BR and 2BR units at 1800 Wilson. “Avg Discount From Ask” is the average difference between final rental rate and original asking rental asking price.

Ask Eli comparable Rosslyn-Courthouse trends

If you’d like a question answered in my weekly column, please send an email to [email protected]. To read any of my older posts, visit the blog section of my website at http://www.RealtyDCMetro.com.

Eli Tucker is a licensed Realtor in Virginia, Washington DC, and Maryland with Real Living At Home, 2420 Wilson Blvd #101 Arlington, VA 22201, (202) 518-8781.

by ARLnow.com — March 21, 2017 at 11:30 am 0

The following Letter to the Editor was written by Arlington resident Matt Rizzolo regarding the county’s potential purchase of the Buck property, across from Washington-Lee High School, and the land use decisions that will accompany the purchase.

With over 8,000 people per square mile, Arlington is one of the most densely populated areas in the country. It’s no surprise, then, that Arlington is often held up as a model of walkability and smart growth, and the county government rightly champions such accolades. But being such a small, highly populated and growing county presents unique challenges–with transportation and facilities issues, including schools, high on the list.

This is where the county’s possible purchase a six-acre parcel of land in North Arlington comes into play. This plot, known as the “Buck property,” is in a central, high-value location: for example, it’s within walking distance of three different Metro stations, including Ballston and Clarendon. The size of the land–rarely available in Arlington–understandably has Arlington leaders champing at the bit to see how best to use this property to satisfy some of the county’s many needs. Arlington’s growing population requires more schools to educate students, more storage for school and county buses, more emergency and municipal facilities, and more open space for playing fields, to name just a few. A few months ago, I wrote a piece for the Washington Post urging the county to think big about this property–including exploring decking over I-66–and not simply take the path of least resistance. To me, the first step in this process is elementary–as in, elementary school.

Despite being located in one of the most densely populated parts of Arlington, houses near the Buck Property have no nearby neighborhood elementary school–most nearby children either walk nearly a mile to Glebe Elementary School (crossing busy Glebe Road), or most take buses to Taylor or Ashlawn Elementary Schools, both several miles away. (Arlington Science Focus School, located a couple blocks from the Buck property, is a choice school that offers no geographic preference to nearby households.) The location of the Buck property and the density of the surrounding neighborhood provide the county with an opportunity create a new, “walkers-only” elementary school–an opportunity the county should seize.

Building an elementary school on the Buck property would allow Arlington to “walk the walk on walkability,” and also to satisfy multiple county needs at once. Arlington doesn’t provide transportation for elementary school students who reside less than a mile from their school–here, a new elementary school could likely be filled with students who live within just a half mile from the site. A walkers-only school, drawing from the current boundaries of Glebe, Taylor, and Ashlawn, would obviate the need for these children to ride buses or walk long distances to school. Such a school would obviously hew to Arlington’s mission of smart growth and walkability, and could be used as a model for elsewhere in the region (and possibly, the nation).

Students’ health would benefit from walking even short distances to school instead of taking buses. A new elementary school would also alleviate the pressure on the already-stressed school system, which is currently forced to use over 100 trailer-type portable classrooms countywide. Arlington would be able to construct a new school without the expense of purchasing, housing, and servicing new buses to support the student population; the county would likewise be able to re-route or re-purpose buses currently used to transport students to Ashlawn or Taylor. Fewer buses moving students through the county’s busy corridors means reduced traffic and less pollution.

Finally, this new school could be just the first step in a larger, long-term project for the surrounding area. The school grounds could be combined with nearby Hayes Park and provide additional green space playing fields for students and the Arlington community. With so many schools and the David M. Brown Planetarium nearby, the county could explore partner with a private entity to establish a children’s learning center or athletic facilities. And the decking of I-66 should be analyzed, to possibly stitch back together the neighborhoods of Ballston-Virginia Square and Cherrydale (split by I-66 back in the early 80’s) with development above the highway.

The possibilities are many, but the first step here is for Arlington to walk the walk on walkability. Let’s examine the potential for walkers-only elementary school on the Buck property.

Matt Rizzolo
Arlington, Va.

ARLnow.com occasionally publishes thoughtful letters to the editor about issues of local interest. To submit a letter to the editor for consideration, please email it to [email protected]. Letters may be edited for content and brevity.

by Chris Teale — March 21, 2017 at 10:30 am 0

Arlington GOP logo(Updated 4:35 p.m.) Even with just one candidate declared for this year’s local elections, the Arlington GOP still believes it can make a splash.

Chairman Jim Presswood said with statewide elections to come as well as last year’s election of President Donald Trump, the local party should see increased interest.

“We’re certainly feeling very good after the results of last year’s election at the federal level, and we’re looking forward to this year at the state level elections,” Presswood said. “We’re looking forward to our statewide candidates doing quite well in a very strong field, and good competition for each slot, so we’re excited to see what happens in June in the primary.”

Adam Roosevelt headshotSo far, only Adam Roosevelt has thrown his hat in the ring, challenging Del. Alfonso Lopez in the 49th District of the House of Delegates. Roosevelt’s campaign is focused on education, growing small business, supporting the military and local law enforcement and enhancing cybersecurity.

For his part, Lopez filed for re-election earlier this month after serving the district for six years. In his announcement, Lopez said he is running “because we deserve an open and welcoming Commonwealth that protects everyone and creates economic opportunity for all.”

Beyond Roosevelt, the local GOP has tried to recruit candidates for the County Board, School Board and other House of Delegates seats, to no avail as yet.

So far, Arlington’s three other House of Delegates members — all Democrats — are unopposed, while there are four Democratic candidates vying for the retiring chairman Jay Fisette’s seat as well as independent Audrey Clement.

School Board member James Lander, meanwhile, faces challenges from Maura McMahon, Monique O’Grady and Mike Webb. The latter unsuccessfully ran for the Republican nomination last year to challenge Rep. Don Beyer (D).

The local Republicans have not run a County Board candidate since 2012, when Mark Kelly and Matt Wavro both lost to Libby Garvey. Board Member John Vihstadt serves as an independent despite having previously identified as a Republican.

Presswood said he takes the time at every monthly meeting to encourage newcomers to step forward. Mike Lane was the last Republican to sit on the County Board after he won a special election in 1999.

“Typically, people who want to run contact us, and that’s how we’ve been working it,” he said. “We certainly are, as we notice people getting more involved in the committee, saying, ‘Hey, you should run.’ We’ve done that, but as far as this cycle goes we haven’t seen anyone really step forward yet. But hopefully they will soon.”

If candidates do step forward, Presswood said, the local party would likely hold either a so-called “firehouse primary” or a mass meeting to determine nominees.

by ARLnow.com — March 21, 2017 at 9:45 am 0

Puddle at Columbia Pike and S. Glebe Road (Flickr pool photo by Bekah Richards)

Big Changes Coming to DCA — The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority has revealed updated designs of the coming changes at Reagan National Airport. Among the changes are a new commuter terminal, replacing the outdoor commuter gate 35X, and a new structure to house security checkpoints, which will be positioned before travelers enter the airport’s main terminal B/C hallway. [WTOP, WTOP]

Ethiopian Restaurant Coming to Courthouse — Chercher Ethiopian restaurant is expanding from the District to a new location at 2000 14th Street N. in Courthouse. It will be the first Virginia outpost for the acclaimed Ethiopian restaurant. Its owner says he chose Courthouse because the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor lacks Ethiopian dining options. [Washington Business Journal]

Tornado Drill Today — Yesterday was the first day of spring and today, at 9:45 a.m., Virginia is holding its annual statewide tornado drill. The drill is “a yearly opportunity to prepare Virginians for tornado emergencies and to test public warning systems.” [Virginia Dept. of Emergency Management]

Va. Pols Speaking at Arlington Dems Dinner — Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tom Perriello and state Attorney General Mark Herring will be the headline speakers at the Arlington Democrats’ annual “Blue Victory Dinner,” formerly known as the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner, on April 8. The other Democratic candidate for governor, Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, “had a conflict and will not be able to make it.” [InsideNova]

School 5K to Close Streets — Roads will be closed in Arlington’s Williamsburg neighborhood Saturday morning for the second annual Discovery/Nottingham Friendship 5K. [Arlington County, Discovery Elementary School]

Flickr pool photo by Bekah Richards

by ARLnow.com — March 21, 2017 at 9:30 am 0

Arlington Ridge Road was shut down between 23rd Street S. and S. Glebe Road this morning due to emergency water main repairs.

The AM rush hour closure affected those dropping students off at Gunston Middle School and Oakridge Elementary.

As of 9 a.m. crews were said to be wrapping up the repairs.

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — March 21, 2017 at 6:00 am 0

Washington D.C. welcomes the opening of the East Coast’s first virtual reality escape room, “Oblivion.” The thrilling 60 minute brain teaser marries the adventurous concept of escape gaming and the technological marvels of virtual reality.

May it be of historic or political significance, throughout its history Washington D.C. has been home to quite a few firsts. However, not many would have guessed that the nation’s capital is going to be in the headlines when it comes to escape rooms.

In terms of history escape gaming is still a relatively newborn concept, since the first rooms have only opened little more than a decade ago. The idea behind escape rooms is cleverly simplistic: create a room full of puzzles and brain teasers, “lock” in a group of people (usually friends, families or co-workers), and give them 60 minutes to solve said puzzles in order to escape, or “win”. Teamplay, a ticking a clock, some excitement, and you have all the main elements of a proper entertainment.

Into Oblivion

Escape rooms usually have a theme, may it be a Sherlock Holmes murder mystery or a doomsday bunker, the setting is half the fun. This is where the idea of virtual reality comes into play, as Alex, the owner of Insomnia Escape Room DC puts it, “I had this idea for a while, putting together escape gaming and VR”. He adds, “I have quite a lot of experience in IT, and our escape rooms has been here for two years now, and I though, somehow marrying the two could be fun”.

Insomnia Escape Room has established itself as one of D.C.’s prominent escape rooms, they entertain hundreds of people every month. With Oblivion the creators went an extra mile to create a unique atmosphere, something that is futuristic enough for VR, so haunted houses were out of the question in this case. They needed something techy.

Enter Oblivion and it’s immersive story, which centers around a scientist by the name of Michael Hall, who is credited with inventing the world’s first artificial intelligence, ELIZA. In Oblivion’s lore artificial intelligence proved so successful that people began to use it in critical processes and everyday operations. However, suddenly ELIZA stopped responding to its masters. A built-in automatic security protocol, preventing anyone except the creator to control the A.I. was put in place. The problem is that Michael disappeared and can not be found. Society fell into a complete panic, and this where the brave escape room players enter, as they are the ones sent to figure out what exactly went wrong with ELIZA.

The future of escape rooms?

Many feel that the idea of escape gaming came at the right time. The tactile nature of pulling levers, fiddling with switches and searching for clues came as a welcome alternative to the somewhat disconnected nature of online gaming. Families finally had something fun to do together, not to mention the immense opportunities of corporate team building activities. After all, employees working together in a fun – non stressful – environment is the dream of all HR department heads!

Enter virtual reality, and we might have a match made in heaven. In the past three years VR headsets have outgrown their shiny tech gadget status and started making real headway in the entertainment industry. With more advanced headsets coming out every year, we could be talking about a $162 billion industry by 2020. With such trends already in motion, we would not be surprised to see Oblivion as the first of many VR escape rooms to come.

The preceding post was written and sponsored by Insomnia Escape Room DC.

by Chris Teale — March 20, 2017 at 4:45 pm 0

The Stratford School building in Cherrydale will expand as it transitions to a middle school.

The County Board unanimously approved a plan Saturday to add 40,000 square feet to the school, which currently houses the H-B Woodlawn secondary program. The addition will include a new library, an auxiliary gym, classrooms, science labs and other teaching spaces and a new student common area.

A design for the 1,000-seat middle school was first approved last year by the County Board.

Also in 2016, the County Board designated the school as a local historic district. In 1959, when Stratford was previously a middle school, it was the first Virginia public school to be integrated.

“This plan ensures that Stratford School building, perhaps Arlington’s most significant local historic designation so far, will be preserved — and will be adapted to serve the changing needs of our growing student population,” County Board Chairman Jay Fisette said. “We have to meet our county’s current needs while remembering and honoring the important role Stratford played in 1959, when it became the first public school in the commonwealth to be integrated.”

Ben Bergen, assistant director of design and construction for schools, said Superintendent Patrick Murphy has formed a group to discuss an “interpretive experience” to recognize the school’s history.

The school’s athletic field will be re-graded and rebuilt. Arlington Public Schools staff agreed to try redesigning the field to meet Ultimate Frisbee requirements, as in current plans it is too short for that sport. H-B Woodlawn currently offers an Ultimate Frisbee program for its students.

The H-B Woodlawn and Stratford programs are set relocate to the redeveloping Wilson School site in Rosslyn, starting in 2019.

Bergen said construction should begin early next year, with the major work being done in the summers of 2018 and 2019. H-B Woodlawn students will stay in the building during construction, while the Stratford program will move into temporary buildings.

School Board chairwoman Nancy Van Doren said once finished, the new Stratford School will be a facility everyone can be proud of.

“We broke so many new boundaries with this, and I think we’re going to end up with a fabulous, fabulous project,” she said.

by Chris Teale — March 20, 2017 at 3:45 pm 0

Hedgehog (photo courtesy Kelly)Arlington residents will be allowed to own hedgehogs under the latest draft of a plan to ban “wild and exotic” pets in the county.

The County Board voted unanimously Saturday to revisit the proposed ban, with some modifications, at its June 17 meeting after more public discussion.

A previous version of the proposal had included hedgehogs among the banned species. Lyn Hainge, assistant division chief of the county’s public health division, said she received feedback from several hundred people, many of them pro-hedgehog, after the ban plan was publicized.

Snake owners, however, might still run afoul of the new rules.

Hainge said the original plan to ban non-venomous snakes that measured more than 4 feet in length has been changed. Now, those that weigh more than 10 pounds would be banned.

But Jennifer Toussaint, the county’s chief animal control officer, said that switch did not take into account different snake species.

“It can be confusing for individuals as to what they can and cannot legally acquire,” she said. “We have snakes that would fall into that list that pose minimal risk to the public.”

Bonnie Keller, operator of Virginia Reptile Rescue, Inc., said she has previously brought snakes that are 14 feet long and weigh 175 pounds to birthday parties for 4- and 5-year-olds. She offered to help educate the public about any risks.

Board member John Vihstadt asked for statistics on injuries caused to first-responders by such pets. Hainge said they are still being compiled and will be available at the next public hearing.

Vihstadt also said he wanted to see a “stronger foundation” for the new rules, and asked staff if they had talked with neighboring jurisdictions who have done similar work, and those who have not.

“What is the real foundation for this?” Vihstadt asked. “What is the problem we’re trying to solve?”

Board member Libby Garvey asked if there can be greater flexibility in registering existing animals, like if people move to work for the State Department and bring a favorite pet with them.

“We can’t imagine all the different circumstances there are, and I would like to have some wiggle room if there’s a way of doing that,” Garvey said.

The code change will be revisited in June, after further public comment.

“This issue has stirred a great deal of public interest and valuable comments,” said County Board Chair Jay Fisette, in a statement. “Staff has incorporated enough changes into the proposed ordinance that it needs to be re-advertised and we need to give people an additional chance to provide feedback.”

Photo courtesy Kelly

by Chris Teale — March 20, 2017 at 3:00 pm 0

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

First Home Buyer Seminar *
Orange Line Living (1600 Wilson Blvd.)
Time: 6-8 p.m.

The Orange Line Living and Keri Shull Team will have specialists on hand, including lenders and buyer agents, to give you an overview of the buying process. Attendees will learn valuable home buying strategies that will save 3 percent or more.

Wednesday

Help Design The New Lubber Run Community Center
Barrett Elementary School (4401 N. Henderson Road)
Time: 6-9 p.m. Wednesday; 1-3:30 p.m. Saturday

The process to design the new Lubber Run Community Center began in February, with nearly 200 children, adults and seniors. See how the design has evolved, and help the project move forward. Childcare offered during Saturday’s work session.

Ways To Support Your Anxious Child
Arlington Central Library (1015 N. Quincy Street)
Time: 7:30-9 p.m.

This free lecture will feature an expert speaker who will address the modern day parenting challenge of supporting an anxious child. The expert is Christina Tripodi Mitchell, founder and clinical director of The Child & Family Practice in D.C.

Thursday

Community Meeting on Homelessness
Marymount University Reinsch Library Building (2807 N. Glebe Road)
Time: 7-8:30 p.m.

Join the partners of Arlington’s 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness for this annual informational session on homelessness in the community.

Saturday

25th Annual Tossed and Found Rummage Sale *
Crystal City (2200 Crystal Drive, 6th Floor)
Time: 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

Shop thousands of quality pre-owned housewares, fashions, books, sporting goods, electronics and furniture. Free garage parking is available at the Crystal City Shops. Cash or check only will be accepted for merchandise purchases.

Move me festival8th Annual Move Me Festival *
Kenmore Middle School (200 S. Carlin Springs Road)
Time: 1 p.m.-5 p.m.

A free family-friendly celebration of arts and culture. This festival promotes healthy lifestyles through movement and a love for dance. More than 20 artists and dance groups will perform to a culturally diverse audience.

National Chamber Ensemble – The Four Seasons of Vivaldi and Piazzolla *
Rosslyn Spectrum Theatre (1611 N. Kent Street)
Time: 7:30-9:30 p.m.

The National Chamber Ensemble presents The Four Seasons of Vivaldi and Piazzolla. The evening will include readings by County Board Chairman Jay Fisette.

Sunday

Dr. Seuss Birthday Party
St. John’s Episcopal Church (415 S. Lexington Street)
Time: 2:30-4 p.m.

A gathering featuring Dr. Seuss stories, crafts and games, along with ice cream and cake to say happy birthday to the beloved children’s author. Children under age 8 must be accompanied by a parent.

Wine Dinner: Emilia-Romagna *
Osteria da Nino (2900 S. Quincy Street)
Time: 6-9 p.m.

With wine provided by Tre Monti, enjoy pairings with food from the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy, including Vigna Rocca, Thea Bianco, Thea Rosso and Vitalba. Admission costs $75 per person, and includes all five course of food and wine.

Evil Cyborg Sea Monsters
Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse (2903 Columbia Pike)
Time: 7 p.m.

Cartoonist Mike Capozzola presents a “live multimedia nerd comedy” show about superheroes, action movies, sci-fi, monsters and secret agents. The show is “PG-14,” runs about an hour and tickets are on sale for $10.

*Denotes featured (sponsored) event

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — March 20, 2017 at 2:15 pm 0

The Chew column banner

The following bi-weekly column is written and sponsored by Dog Paws n Cat Claws, which provides a heart-centered and safe environment for your pets. Conveniently located at 5818-C Seminary Road in Bailey’s Crossroads, DPnCC offers doggy daycare, boarding, grooming, walking and training services, plus in-home pet care.

Our new full-time professional groomer, Lux, has a gift when it comes to working with dogs. When her longtime clients arrive for their appointments, the dogs are clearly happy to see her. As soon as they come in, they pull towards her, jump up to say hello or roll over for their customary tummy rub.

Many dogs don’t find a grooming experience pleasurable and may display severe anxiety upon entering a salon. But when it comes to Lux, every day I witness dogs looking forward to the time they share with her.

“You have to keep calm in order to keep them calm. Pay attention to signs of discomfort or stress and give them a break. Talk to them. Reward them. Give them extra love,” Lux explains.

If you’re the owner of a dog who suffers from grooming anxiety, there are several things you can do to help them become more comfortable with grooming services.

Puppy Grooming

When bringing home a new puppy, Lux suggests, “Take them for a groom before they’re three months old.” The younger the dog, the less chance of them developing a fear of the process as they mature.

Adult Dog Grooming

If you’ve rescued an adult dog you may need to do some introductory training, starting at home. Vetstreet.com’s resident trainer Mikkel Becker advises getting your dog familiar with being touched in sensitive areas before their first grooming appointment, specifically the muzzle, eyes, ears, paws, tail, rear, and groin.

Brush your dog frequently so they’re familiar with how it feels. Go slow at first. Your goal is to make the experience pleasurable for them. Being touched by you — someone they trust — will make them feel more comfortable when handled by a groomer.

Stressful Car Rides

I had a friend whose dog was only taken in the car to go to the vet or a grooming appointment. By only taking him to places where he was poked and prodded, her dog understandably associated the car with bad experiences. Make sure you take your dog for car rides to do fun things, too! This way they won’t automatically associate a car ride with a grooming appointment.

Introduce Them to the Salon

Before their first groom, Lux recommends introducing your dog to the grooming salon. Ask employees to spoil her with attention and give her several treats. When she comes back for the appointment, your dog will associate the salon with treats – something to look forward to!

Another suggestion is to make sure your pup gets 20-30 minutes of exercise right before their appointment. This will tire them out and make it easier for the groomer to finish in a timely manner.

Muzzles and Sedation

You can choose to muzzle your dog, but we recommend purchasing one with holes in the front so the dog can be rewarded with treats. Ask your groomer if they’re willing to give treats for good behavior. Lux is more than willing to oblige to this request from clients.

A dog with a severe case of anxiety may need to be sedated but we urge you to attempt other options before heading to the pharmacy. Try using a homeopathic stress stopper or an Adaptil collar, which contains a calming pheromone. If approved by your vet, try Benadryl and be sure to ask for dosage instructions. Melatonin is also worth trying with your vet’s approval.

Most dogs require regular grooming every 4-6 weeks. Taking the time and effort to get him ready to enjoy the grooming experience will pay off in less stress for you and your dog and make the groomer’s job easier in the end.

Lux is in the office weekly, from Wednesday through Sunday. She grooms cats, too! Call us to book an appointment.

Sara Schabach
In-Home Pet Care Manager

by Chris Teale — March 20, 2017 at 1:30 pm 0

Ludvin Estrada sentencedA man who fled to Guatemala to escape murder charges was sentenced to 45 years in prison Friday for a 1999 homicide in the Radnor/Fort Myer Heights neighborhood.

Ludvin Estrada, 41, was convicted of killing 27-year-old Eva Veliz on May 11, 1999. Police found Veliz dead inside the trunk of a car parked on the 1300 block of N. Pierce Street.

The pair were seen leaving together, after a night out, at approximately 2:45 a.m. on the day of the murder. At some point, the pair started arguing and Estrada strangled Veliz to death, prosecutors say.

Estrada then immediately fled to Guatemala.

Police issued a warrant for Estrada’s arrest, but were unable to find him in Guatemala. The Arlington County Police Department’s cold case unit took over the case in 2012.

A combination of case files, laboratory results and evidence from the crime scene led law enforcement authorities to Estrada in September 2016. He was then extradited to the United States.

More from ACPD:

A man who fled to Guatemala following the 1999 murder of Eva Veliz in the Radnor/Ft. Myer Heights neighborhood of Arlington County was sentenced in the Arlington County Circuit Court on Friday, March 17, 2017. Judge Daniel Fiore imposed the maximum judgement permitted by the plea agreement and sentenced Ludvin Estrada, 41, to forty-five years in prison.

On May 11, 1999, at approximately 4:33 p.m., Arlington County Police responded to the report of a 27-year-old female victim located deceased inside the trunk of a vehicle parked in the 1300 block of N. Pierce Street. The investigation revealed that on the evening prior the victim, Eva Veliz, and the subject, Ludvin Estrada, had been out dancing and were seen leaving together at approximately 2:45 a.m. on May 11, 1999. At some point during the evening, a verbal altercation ensued between the two and the subject strangled the victim causing her death. Estrada immediately fled to Guatemala.

A warrant was issued for Estrada in 1999 but efforts to locate him in Guatemala were unsuccessful. In 2012, the case was assigned to the Arlington County Police Department’s Cold Case Unit. Through a review of the case files, crime scene evidence and laboratory results detectives located additional information that verified Estrada’s involvement in the murder.

In September 2016, following a joint investigation by the Arlington County Police Department, the United States Department of State, the Department of Justice Office of International Affairs, the United States Marshals Service and Guatemalan Law Enforcement, Estrada was extradited to the United States to face charges in the 1999 murder of Eva Veliz.

“Today’s sentence is the culmination of years of dogged work and perseverance by Arlington’s law enforcement community.  A special thank you goes to Detective Rosa Ortiz who never, ever forgot about our victim.  Together with two dedicated prosecutors, Assistant Commonwealth Attorneys’ Stephanie Siegel and Lindsay Brooker, this defendant was finally brought to justice.” said Theo Stamos, Commonwealth’s Attorney.

Arlington County Deputy Chief Daniel J. Murray, Commander of the Criminal Investigations Division said, “More than a decade ago, Eva Veliz was taken from her loving family in a senseless act of domestic violence. While this case was never a whodunit, Ludvin Estrada’s decision to flee the country made this investigation much more complex. This case demonstrates our commitment to pursue cases, no matter how much time has passed. The message to criminals and the families of the victims is clear — Arlington County will not waver in our commitment to investigate and prosecute cold case homicides.”

by ARLnow.com — March 20, 2017 at 12:45 pm 0

Carpool (photo via Facebook)

(Updated at 1:35 p.m.) After staying open for months on borrowed time, Ballston bar CarPool is preparing to close for good.

The popular local watering hole will serve its last customers in Ballston on Monday, April 3, says co-owner Mark Handwerger.

The announcement, below, comes seven-and-a-half months after the first reports that CarPool was about to close after it was sold to make way for a large redevelopment. That development was approved in 2015 but subsequently delayed.

More on the “closing night” plans from CarPool’s management:

Please join us on Monday, April 3rd, for Closing Night. It should be a grand day as we simultaneously celebrate Baseball’s Opening Day (and the start of the Nationals pursuit of a World Series crown), the culmination of another wonderful and wacky March Madness (and the crowning of this year’s NCAA Men’s Basketball Champion: UCLA?!?!), and one final Last Call for CarPool. Please stop in and say “goodbye” one last time before the taps run dry.

Handwerger says the owners of CarPool expect to open a new location in the Fair Lakes area of Fairfax County as early as July or August.

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