Day Laborer Site Now Closed — “Although not unexpected, mid-November nonetheless brought something of an end of an era to the Shirlington Employment and Education Center, better known as SEEC. The pavilion area in Shirlington that the organization had used since 2003 to connect day-laborers with contractors and homeowners who sought their services has been fenced off in preparation for changes to Jennie Dean Park, where it is located.” [InsideNova]
Tonight: Outdoor Art in Crystal City — “Walk along Crystal Drive on December 2nd from 6-9PM to see the words of Luisa A. Igloria, Poet Laureate of the Commonwealth of Virginia projected onto the facade of 2011 Crystal Drive as the opening installation of Arlington Art’s Visual Verse. Their work will be brought to life by noted artist Robin Bell.” [National Landing BID]
Beyer Blasts Proposed Metro Cuts — From Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.): “The proposed WMATA budget cuts would be apocalyptic for Metro service and devastate its workforce. This catastrophe must not be allowed to happen, and Congress can prevent it by passing a new aid package. WMATA is not alone in its massive funding shortfall, which is a direct result of the pandemic. Cuts like this will hit across the country without robust aid for state and local governments and specific targeted funding for transit.” [Press Release]
Rosslyn Tree Lighting — “Thanks @ABC7Kidd for starting the countdown at tonight’s neighborhood tree lighting!” [Twitter]
Library Director’s Xmas Playlist — “For the past 13 years, I have published a ‘Too Cool for Yule’ playlist, as my love letter to the County and the people we serve. And while (sadly) Spotify has replaced the cassette tape, making the process easier, like much of 2020, this playlist was more difficult than ever to create.” [Arlington Public Library]
A motorcycle-riding burglar, dressed in all black, smashed the glass front door of the Virginia ABC store in Ballston early this morning.
The burglary happened around 3:30 a.m. Monday, on the 800 block of N. Quincy Street. Arlington County police say the man “stole items of value” from the liquor store before fleeing on a motorcycle.
More from the Arlington County Police Department:
BURGLARY, 2020-11090026, 800 block of N. Quincy Street. At approximately 3:38 a.m. on November 9, police were dispatched to the report of a burglary just occurred. Upon arrival, it was determined that the unknown suspect forced entry to a business by shattering part of the glass door. The suspect stole items of value before fleeing the scene on a motorcycle. The suspect is described as a male, wearing a black jacket, black pants, a black ski mask, black gloves and carrying a backpack. The investigation is ongoing.
A resident photographed the aftermath of the glass-shattering crime:
Also in Monday’s ACPD crime report are a pair of violent incidents from over the weekend.
Around 7 p.m. on Saturday, on the 1100 block of S. Hayes Street in Pentagon City, police say an 18-year-old man brandished a knife at the employee of a business and swung a glass bottle at security personnel.
More from the crime report, with the suspect’s name omitted:
ATTEMPTED MALICIOUS WOUNDING, 2020-11070179, 1100 block of S. Hayes Street. At approximately 7:03 p.m. on November 7, police were dispatched to the report of disorderly conduct. Upon arrival, it was determined that the suspect approached a kiosk and began picking up items. When the employee engaged the suspect in conversation, the suspect pulled a folded knife from their pocket and put it back multiple times while continuing to walk around the kiosk. Security then escorted the suspect out of the area. The suspect returned shortly after, allegedly brandished the open knife and began to chase the employee. Security intervened and the suspect picked up a glass bottle and attempted to strike the security personnel who was able to knock the bottle from the suspect’s hand. The suspect left the scene on foot prior to police arrival but was located by responding officers with the assistance of security. [The 18-year-old suspect], of Washington D.C. was arrested and charged with Attempted Malicious Wounding, Assault and Disorderly Conduct and was held without bond.
Early Sunday morning, in Clarendon, a man was attacked by a group of 7-8 people after two groups got into a fight. From ACPD:
MALICIOUS WOUNDING BY MOB, 2020-11080031, 3100 block of 10th Street N. At approximately 2:03 a.m. on November 8, police were dispatched to the report of a fight. Upon arrival, officers located the male victim on the ground in need of medical attention. He was transported to an area hospital with injuries that are considered non-life threatening. The investigation determined that two groups had gotten into a fight in the 3200 block of 10th Street N. The groups separated and left in different directions. The victim was walking alone in the area of N. Hudson Street and 10th Street when approximately 7 – 8 individuals, believed to be involved in the earlier fight, exited a vehicle and began to chase after him. The suspects knocked the victim to the ground before assaulting him. The suspects fled the scene prior to police arrival. The investigation is ongoing.
Big Jump in Local Home Sales — “The red-hot summer real-estate market that evolved out of the springtime COVID crisis showed no signs of abating in September across Arlington. If anything, the market last month doubled down – literally. Home sales across the county totaled 274, up 44.2 percent from the 190 transactions recorded in September 2019.” [InsideNova]
Dems Protest Outside Trump HQ — Democrats protested outside of Trump reelection HQ in Rosslyn yesterday morning, criticizing the president for not agreeing to a virtual debate with Joe Biden. They came with signs and a large “Baby Trump” balloon. [Twitter]
Photos: Outdoor Coworking Space in Rosslyn — “Like dining out and birthday parties, coworking is now an outdoor activity thanks to the pandemic. At least it is in Rosslyn. Today, the new O2 pop-up (short for Outdoor Office) opens in Gateway Park by the Key Bridge.” [Washingtonian]
Amazon Employees to Keep Teleworking — “Amazon.com Inc.’s corporate offices may not return to pre-pandemic staffing levels until the middle of next year, with some managers telling their teams that they can continue to work from home until summer 2021.” [Washington Business Journal]
Tonight: Town Hall with APS Superintendent — “Dr. Durán will be hosting a community virtual Town Hall on Friday, October 16, from 5-6 p.m., to address the Return to School Plan. The Superintendent will address questions already received and take questions during the live event using Microsoft Teams or Facebook Live.” [Arlington Public Schools]
Ballston Private School Tackles Racism — “The Sycamore School (TSS), an independent nonprofit school serving 5th-12th grades, has invested in a year-long contract with nationally regarded educator and trainer Dr. Deborah Stroman as part of their continuing commitment to address issues of systemic racism.” [Press Release]
ART Bus Ridership Down — “For the fiscal year ending June 30, the ART system – funded by the Arlington government but operated by a private contractor – reported an average daily bus boarding total of 8,224, down 12.8 percent from the 9,434 reported for the previous fiscal year.” [InsideNova]
ABC Stores Are Doing Just Fine — “From March to September, [liquor sales in Northern Virginia] were up almost 17 percent over the year before: an average of nearly $37 million per month. March remains the month with the highest dollar amount of liquor sales in NoVa, at $39.3 million. July wasn’t far behind, with $38.5 million.” [Washingtonian]
Labor Day Closures — “Arlington County Government offices, courts, libraries & facilities will be closed on Monday, Sept. 7, 2020 for Labor Day.” Trash will be collected but parking meters will not be enforced. [Arlington County]
Library Buildings Remain Closed — “Even as neighboring Fairfax County is approaching the two-month mark for its reopened library system, Arlington officials appear in no rush to bring their library system more than marginally back to life. That means that while Arlington patrons will continue to have the chance to check out books online and pick them up at a central repository, they remain barred from visiting branches or wandering the stacks.” [InsideNova]
Bluemont BLM Protest Continues — “Father, in his red scooter, and son first rolled down the bike path to this corner in Arlington, Va., just after George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis police custody on May 25. They’ve been back most weekdays since, more than 60 times so far, as demonstrators in Louisville and Atlanta marched for justice for Black Americans killed at the hands of police and protests surged following the police shooting of Jacob Blake last month in Kenosha, Wis.” [Washington Post]
Deep Dive Into New Bridge — “The preferred alternative would add a new two-track rail bridge north of the Long Bridge while retaining the existing bridge without modifications. The plan would cost approximately $1.9 billion. The existing span would retain its CSX ownership, and the new span would be Virginia’s.” [Greater Greater Washington]
MU Extends President’s Contract — “Marymount University’s Board of Trustees unanimously voted to extend the contract of President Irma Becerra by an additional five years to 2026. This action comes one year earlier than expected, as Board members felt strongly that due to Dr. Becerra’s significant accomplishments during her tenure, it was important to ensure her continued association with Marymount on a more accelerated timeline.” [Press Release]
Trump Boat Parade Planned — “A boat parade is planned in support of President Trump on Sunday on the Potomac River. According to a Facebook post from an entity known as “Liberty Rally,” boaters will gather just before 1 PM in the Wilson Bridge no-wake zone and then proceed up the Potomac.” [Washingtonian]
Kanye Booted from Ballot — “A Richmond Circuit Court Judge has ruled that rapper Kanye West will be removed from the ballot as a presidential candidate in Virginia. The decision came after an attorney representing the plaintiffs in the case and Attorney General Mark Herring accused the West camp of acting fraudulently to get on the ballot.” [NBC 12]
Va. Booze Biz is Booming — “The Virginia Alcohol Beverage Control Authority announced Wednesday retail sales of $1.2 billion in fiscal 2020 — a nearly $120 million increase from the previous year and the second year in a row the liquor monopoly surpassed $1 billion in sales.” [Richmond Times-Dispatch]
(Updated at 3:10 p.m.) If you’re a regular at the ABC store in the Lee-Harrison Shopping Center just off Lee Highway, you might want to stop by to stock up this weekend because the store is temporarily closing.
Virginia ABC announced yesterday (Thursday) that several liquor stores in Northern Virginia would be consolidated starting this coming Monday, April 13.
“ABC supports its employees’ decisions to self-quarantine when necessary, which has impacted staffing levels in this region,” Virginia ABC said in a press release. “In order to maintain appropriate staffing and allow time to train additional personnel, ABC made the decision to temporarily close select stores in this area.”
The store is one of a dozen closing throughout the region. Virginia ABC said employees of the temporarily closed stores will have the option to work at other nearby locations to sustain operations.
The next closest ABC store is further east along Lee Highway at 4709 Lee Highway.
“ABC plans to reopen these stores on April 30, however the final decision will depend on the authority’s ability to properly and safely staff the stores,” Virginia ABC said. “All ABC stores currently operating across the commonwealth are open from noon to 7 p.m., seven days a week. The reduced operating hours allow staffing flexibility as well as more time for employees to clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and stock shelves.”
Virginia ABC also said some store operations have changed, including limiting the number of customers in the store at one time to no more than 10. Stores have also installed social distancing markers to ensure customers stand at least six feet apart from one another. The stores are also offering online ordering.
In addition to the temporary store closures, all Virginia ABC stores will be closed this Sunday in observance of Easter.
Photo via Google Maps
Resources to Assist Those in Need — Arlington County has created a list of food, financial and medical assistance that is available for neighbors in need during the coronavirus outbreak. [Arlington County]
Vihstadt Stands Up for Farmers Markets — “At Saturday’s County Board meeting, former board member John Vihstadt rapped the state government for lumping in farmers’ markets – of which Arlington has nearly a dozen operating throughout the week – with restaurants (which for the most part are now closed to dine-in service and in many cases are shuttered completely) rather than treating them as supermarkets (which remain open and running at full strength).” [InsideNova]
Giant Adjusting Store Hours — “Effective Friday, March 27, most Giant Food stores will adjust hours of operations to be open from 6:00 a.m.-10:00 p.m… The first hour of operations, 6:00-7:00 a.m. is reserved for senior citizens and immunocompromised individuals, including pregnant women and caregivers shopping for the immunocompromised, so that they may shop and practice safe social distancing.” [Press Release]
Va. Liquor Stores Limit Hours — “The Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority (ABC) will reduce operating hours at all of its stores statewide beginning Friday, March 27, due to the expanding nature of the COVID-19 outbreak… stores across the commonwealth will be open from noon to 7 p.m., seven days a week, starting Friday, March 27.” [Virginia ABC]
County to Help Hospital with Bond Sale — “Continuing a 42-year tradition of collaboration, the Arlington County government will assist Virginia Hospital Center in issuing bonds to support new construction. County Board members on March 21 authorized the government’s Industrial Development Authority, or IDA, to issue up to $300 million in tax-exempt revenue bonds to support the effort.” [InsideNova]
Local Catholic Schools Embrace Distance Learning — “The Catholic Diocese of Arlington’s Office of Catholic Schools announced the successful stand-up of distance learning in all 41 parish schools and high schools in the Diocese. Distance learning is now in place, offering interactive, personalized instruction to students through the remainder of the academic year.” [Press Release]
Local Leaders Urge Rent Leniency — “There are new calls for landlords to freeze [rent] payments to help mitigate the economic fallout of the pandemic… ‘We need them to show compassion on the front end, and we’ll work to make sure they’re made whole on the back end,’ said Arlington County Board member Christian Dorsey.” [Washington Business Journal]
Tomb Sentinels Are Still Guarding — “There is a sacred duty not even a pandemic can stop: a rite of continuity still carried out in Arlington National Cemetery even as much of the country shuts down. The sentinels who guard the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier recently marked more than 30,000 days of constant watch over the remains of unidentified U.S. service members — a streak persisting through the pandemic.” [WUSA 9]
Mike Bloomberg’s former Arlington campaign office at Pentagon Row might soon become a liquor store.
A notice posted in the window says Virginia ABC is “considering establishing a retail store at this location,” on the 1300 block of S. Joyce Street. The sign first went up last month, before Bloomberg dropped out of the Democratic presidential race.
“As is customary when a new store location is under consideration, we post a sign for two weeks indicating a potential new store to gather local input before moving forward to secure a lease,” said Dawn Eischen, Public Relations Manager for Virginia ABC.
“Virginia ABC strategically chooses store locations to meet market demands and to better serve its customers,” she added.
There are currently eight state-run liquor stores in Arlington, according to the Virginia ABC website. The closest to the proposed Pentagon Row location are at the Arlington Ridge Shopping Center (2955A S. Glebe Road) and in Crystal City (320 23rd Street S.)
Eischen told ARLnow this morning that Virginia ABC “is currently going through the leasing process” at Pentagon Row, though an opening date is uncertain given the coronavirus outbreak.
“We are still planning to place a store at that location,” she said. “Due to adjustments ABC and others are making to business processes as a result of the coronavirus, we’re uncertain when the leasing process will be completed or when the store will be open to the public.”
Photo courtesy anonymous
Arlington Loves Tito’s — The top-grossing liquor brand at Virginia ABC stores in Arlington, and most of Northern Virginia, is Tito’s Handmade Vodka. [Virginia Mercury]
More on Lee Highway Planning Process — “In the new year, the professional team will begin guiding the community in laying out a plan for the [Lee Highway] corridor’s next 30 years. Arlington is known for extensive and very slow community engagement, and the planning process will probably take at least two more years. The push for a more progressive, inclusive, sustainable US Route 29 must be perseverant.” [Greater Greater Washington]
Local ‘Passport’ for Small Biz Saturday — “One Page Books is partnering with thirteen other local businesses for Small Business Saturday. Pick up a Small Business Saturday Shopping ‘Passport‘ at any of the participating businesses, including Covet, Two the Moon, Lemon Lane and Trade Roots.” [WAMU]
Reminder: Mall Hours and Promotions — Arlington’s two malls have special Black Friday hours and promotions today. [ARLnow]
Now Might Be the Time to Sell Your Home — “‘Some sellers are thinking ‘gosh, why don’t I just wait until Amazon gets into full bloom before I sell my house, because maybe values will go up even higher,” Christine Richardson, president of the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors, told WTOP. ‘But I’m not sure that is necessarily the right way to think about it, because often that initial exuberance is actually higher than reality turns out to be.'” [WTOP]
Local CVS Sold Millions of Opioids — “The largest recipient of pain pills in Arlington, according to the database, is a CVS Pharmacy located at 3133 Lee Highway. A total of 1,465,700 pills were shipped to this pharmacy between 2006 and 2012, which would be enough for one pill per year for each of the 106,612 people who live within five miles of the pharmacy.” [Patch]
Lots of Booze Sales in Arlington — “The eight Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) stores in Arlington accounted for 2.8 percent of total ABC purchases Virginia-wide during the state government’s last fiscal year, which saw a new statewide record set in total sales volume. A total of $29,052,507 in sales (excluding tax) were made at Arlington’s ABC stores from July 2018 to June 2019.” [InsideNova]
Cristol on Kojo — Arlington County Board member Katie Cristol went on WAMU’s Kojo Nnamdi Show on Friday. Among the topics she discussed: the federal government’s search for a new shelter for detained, unaccompanied immigrant children in Northern Virginia. [Kojo Nnamdi Show, Twitter]
Local Restaurants Coming to Memphis — A pair of local restaurants — Matchbox American Kitchen and Arlington-based Big Buns Best Damn Burger Co. — are opening new locations in Memphis, Tennessee. [Washington Business Journal]
Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf
Virginia lawmakers are considering loosening some state alcohol regulations in the coming months — and that could be good news for Arlington’s bars and restaurants.
The General Assembly is weighing a bevy of changes to how the state’s Alcoholic Beverage Control authority, commonly known as the ABC, hands out licenses and permits to better match the ever-evolving beverage business.
Changes could include a big reduction in the types of permits the ABC hands out, or perhaps even a change in regulations dictating how much food businesses need to sell if they’re also offering liquor. All that and more were tweaks offered up by ABC officials and state lawmakers to local business owners at a gathering hosted by the Arlington Chamber of Commerce Thursday (Aug. 16), as part of a bid to connect the business community to its regulators.
“We’re trying to look for a concept that does free up the market a little bit, without getting to the point that we have bars on every corner,” said Tom Kirby, ABC’s acting chief of law enforcement.
A particularly popular option offered up by Kirby and his colleagues: somehow adjusting ABC’s current requirement that businesses maintain a 45 percent to 55 percent split between food and mixed drink sales. Beer and wine sales are exempted from that requirement, yet some bars and restaurants still find themselves challenged by that standard.
Freddie Lutz, owner of Freddie’s Beach Bar in Crystal City, recounted that he’s had several slow winters where he’s bumped up against those limits, largely thanks to competition from bars in D.C. and Maryland. Accordingly, he’d be quite happy indeed to see those limits change, particularly as he prepares to open another restaurant in Crystal City.
“I just want to see that ratio tweaked just enough to not get gray hair over it,” Lutz said.
To that end, Kirby said his agency could work with lawmakers to bump the food standard down to 35 percent of gross sales, or even offer exemptions at certain levels of sales.
State Sen. Jeremy McPike, D-29th District, currently sits on a subcommittee examining ABC issues, which he says is weighing even more targeted fixes. For instance, lawmakers could measure how much liquor bars sell by volume to determine a balance between food and drink, instead of looking at the dollar amount of sales.
The goal of the limit in the first place is, after all, to prevent bar patrons from being overserved.
“What if you have a higher-priced shot that costs like $150?” McPike said. “Think about how much you need to sell to make up for that.”
ABC officials stressed that such a change would in the agency’s interest as well — Chris Curtis, secretary to the ABC’s board, noted its employees spend roughly “10,400 man hours” each year monitoring whether restaurants are complying with the food-drink split.
“But I’m sure that pales in comparison to the amount of time you all have to spend sending us this information,” Curtis said.
Another possible change the ABC could consider is issuing a new type of permit to let bar patrons bring their beverages outside into a common area shared by multiple businesses. McPike suggested that local governments, or even business improvement districts, could manage the process, allowing for more events drawing in a variety of restaurants in a small area.
Kate Bates, the chamber’s president and CEO, noted that Rosslyn businesses have long hoped to offer events pulling in all the neighborhood’s different bars, but have run into challenges letting people easily move between different establishments if they’re too far away from each.
Similarly, Cassie Hurley, events manager for the Crystal City BID, suggested that her group “would love to do something similar to 6th Street in Austin, [Texas] on 23rd Street” to let people bring their drinks into stores along the small strip.
Kirby says ABC is receptive to the idea, though he did caution that inevitably there will be enforcement issues to consider, considering that revelers could easily get carried away and leave the permitted boundaries for such activities.
Complicating matters further are the political realities of Richmond — the needs of Northern Virginia businesses are quite different from those in Southwest Virginia, where, as McPike pointed out, there are still some dry counties left.
Progress could certainly be slow in some areas, as lawmakers will only meet for a short legislative session next year with more elections on the way. And, as Sen. Adam Ebbin, D-30th District, noted “it’s rare that we rewrite whole code sections all at the same time.”
But Kirby underscored that ABC is willing to work with lawmakers to ensure everyone is a bit more satisfied with the entire regulatory framework.
“There is a lot of agreement that we need to do something differently,” Kirby said.