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Morning Notes

Twilight at Washington Golf and Country Club (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Ballston Building to Be Renovated — “Arlington’s Monday Properties has made two new office building acquisitions as it banks on workers across the market returning to their offices in the coming months. The commercial property owner and developer has purchased the former home of CACI International’s headquarters, Three Ballston Plaza at 1100 N. Glebe Rd. — for $118 million. The 330,000-square-foot property, one of the most prominent in Ballston, will get a Gensler-designed renovation to help it compete in the modern commercial office environment.” [Washington Business Journal]

Rescued Dog Seeking New Home — “[Several] weeks ago, a young, mixed breed dog was rescued after being trapped between two fences alongside I-395. Since then, the Animal Welfare League of Arlington, which renamed the dog “Benito,” has been helping him feel happier and more confident. ‘We were unable to find Benito’s owner, so he’s looking for a new family to call his own.'” [Patch]

Local Shops Offer ‘Passport’ — “On Small Business Saturday 2021, November 27th, Arlington and Falls Church shoppers will get a chance to participate in a shopping ‘Passport’ program to discover unique shops, find deals, keep their shopping dollars local and be eligible to win prizes. Led by One More Page Books, the Passport enables shoppers who are looking to participate in the national #shoplocal effort to easily discover small businesses near them.” [Press Release]

MLK Contest for Students Now Open — “Arlington Public Schools students are invited to take part in the annual ‘Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Literary and Visual Contest.’ Entries are due by 5 p.m. Thu, Dec. 16.” [Arlington Public Schools]

VFW Post in Va. Square Profiled — “7News’ Ashlie Rodriguez discovered a little-known secret, tucked away in Arlington, Virginia, where hundreds of veterans gather, swap stories, share memories, and find a place of refuge. Here’s a look inside the John Lyon VFW Post 3150.” [WJLA]

State Tax Coffers Are Overflowing — “Virginia budget officials say they’ve never seen anything like it — more than $13 billion in additional state revenues this year and in the next two fiscal years. The House Appropriations Committee projects a $3.5 billion increase in revenue above the current forecast in the fiscal year that began July 1, based on higher pending forecasts of state income tax and other revenues in the pair of budgets that Gov. Ralph Northam will present to the General Assembly next month.” [Richmond Times-Dispatch]

It’s Thursday — Today will start off sunny and warm, with a high near 73, before a rainy evening. Southwest wind 7 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 25 mph. Sunrise at 6:54 a.m. and sunset at 4:52 p.m. Tomorrow will be sunny, breezy and cooler, with a high near 50. Northwest wind 10 to 17 mph, with gusts as high as 28 mph. [Weather.gov]

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A raccoon (via Jonnelle Yankovich/Unsplash)

There was a rabid raccoon on the loose in Arlington that came into contact with a number of dogs.

Last week, Arlington animal control responded to an incident involving multiple dogs and a raccoon at the heavily-visited Shirlington Dog Park at 2710 S. Oakland Street.

The raccoon was removed and, later, tested clinically positive for rabies — a disease that both humans and animals can get from a scratch or a bit from an infected animal.

This is not the first time in recent memory a rabid animal has threatened Arlington humans and their furry best friends. In May, a potentially rabid fox bit two people near Lacey Woods Park. In February and March, a rabies outbreak in raccoons had pet owners thinking about their own quarantine for their animals.

Animal control is asking residents to make sure their pets are up to date on their vaccines, to keep dogs on a leash and cats inside, to feed pets inside and not to approach wildlife. The department is also asking residents to remove wildlife attractants, such as compost and unsecured garbage cans, from their yards.

“If you, your child, or your pet may have come into contact with any wild animals including bats or raccoons, please call Arlington County Animal Control at 703-931-9241 immediately,” the Animal Welfare League of Arlington said in a message posted on social media. “It is fatal if medical care is not given promptly.”

“Arlington County Animal Control is also urging residents to remain vigilant and if they see any animal that appears sick, lethargic, disoriented, or aggressive to stay away from the animal and call Animal Control immediately,” AWLA said. “If you come across a deceased rabies vector animal (including cats, dogs, foxes, raccoons, and groundhogs) in your yard or a public space please do not handle the animal and contact Animal Control promptly.”

Photo via Jonnelle Yankovich/Unsplash

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Rescue of dog caught in fence along I-395 (via Animal Welfare League of Arlington)

A dog is lucky to be alive after getting caught in a fence along I-395.

Animal control officers from the Animal Welfare League of Arlington rescued the petrified pup from along the busy highway earlier today. A video and account of the rescue was posted on social media.

From AWLA:

Chief Toussaint and Officer [Elpers] made a life-saving rescue today, after this terrified dog somehow got himself stuck between two fences right next to interstate 395.

Chief Toussaint had to cut the fence with bolt-cutters to get to him, and after trying treats and a few other methods, put dog food on her slip lead, waiting for him to start eating, and then slowly slipped the leash over his head. In total it took about an hour and half to get the dog safely into a crate, all the while traffic was roaring by right next to them.

The dog is now safe and sound here at AWLA while we look for his family. We are so grateful to Chief Toussaint and Officer Elpers for getting this dog to safety!

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Morning Notes

A man rides a personal watercraft in Boundary Channel near Columbia Island Marina (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

APS Enrollment Down — “Despite intensive efforts to get them back, Arlington Public Schools has about 4 percent fewer students in class than it did pre-pandemic, according to new figures. Superintendent Francisco Durán on Oct. 14 said the school system’s official count for the 2021-22 school year is 26,911 students, based on enrollment Sept. 30 that will be submitted to state officials as is required by law. That’s down slightly from the 26,932 students reported on hand at the start of classes in August.” [Sun Gazette]

Update on Metro Woes — “While Metro aims to provide service consistent with the announced basic service plan through the rest of the week, customers should anticipate trains every 15-20 minutes on the Red Line and every 30-40 minutes on all other lines to account for any unplanned disruptions. There is currently no capacity to fill unforeseen gaps, which will result in longer wait times. Crews are working as quickly as possible to put more trains into service.” [WMATA]

County: Update Your Bookmarks — “With the launch of our new website, your favorite page or service has a new home! While we have redirect links for our most visited and discussed pages, we couldn’t do it for all 5,000+ pages. But the content you want is still there!” [Arlington County, Twitter]

Birds Banging into Arlington Windows — From the Animal Welfare League of Arlington: “We’re starting to see a lot of migratory birds come into the shelter, likely due to hitting windows as they fly. But we are here to help! This little Golden-Crowned Kinglet stayed with us overnight before heading off to a licensed rehabber this morning!” [Twitter]

IPO for Local Multinational Company — “Renewable energy storage firm Fluence Energy Inc said on Tuesday it is aiming to fetch a nearly $4 billion valuation in its U.S. initial public offering, as investor interest in such technologies soars alongside growing calls to limit climate change… Arlington, Virginia-based Fluence serves major utilities, developers, as well as commercial and industrial businesses, promising increased efficiency through its digital platform designed for renewables.” [Reuters]

Event to Mark Genocide Anniversary — “November 4, 2021 will mark exactly one year to the day that the Ethiopian & Eritrean regimes waged a devastating and ongoing genocide on the people of Tigray. You are welcome to visit our Arts & Photo Exhibition ‘Call It A Genocide’ which runs from November 5 to 7, 2021 at the ECDC in Arlington.” [Eventbrite]

Halloween Bike Ride for Families — “The Kidical Mass Arlington Halloween ride is BACK! Meet Sun 10/24 4pm at Zitkala’Sa (nee Clay) Park Costumes and decorations encouraged! Enjoy some pizza from our friends @TrekBikes Clarendon after the ride.” [Twitter, Facebook]

It’s Wednesday — ☀️ It’s another sunny day today, with a high near 76. West wind 5 to 7 mph. Sunrise at 7:23 a.m. and sunset at 6:22 p.m. Tomorrow is will be sunny, with a high near 78.

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The National Landing Oktoberfest is making a comeback next weekend in Crystal Cit.

The event will feature German beer and food and some more unique local traditions, like dog-themed events tied in with the event’s support for the Animal Welfare League of Arlington (AWLA).

The Oktoberfest is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 2 in the Lidl parking lot at the intersection of Crystal Drive and 33rd Street S. The event is free to attend, and drink purchases at the event will benefit AWLA. The event is scheduled to be held rain or shine, and tickets are non-refundable.

“From live bands and crisp German Lagers to a Barktoberfest dog-run for pup-friendly activities and a variety of games to entertain all ages, this event has a little something for everyone,” the National Landing Business Improvement District (BID), host of the event, said on the event’s website. “So, break out your lederhosen, and come enjoy the fall weather, as well as a variety of food trucks and vendors serving traditional (and not-so-traditional) German fare.”

The National Landing BID and the AWLA are co-hosting the event with local brewery New District Brewing.

Pre-registration is required and there is an attendance cap in place for the event. Attendees will also have to show proof of vaccination or a negative PCR test within the preceding 48 hours. Unvaccinated attendees and children under 12 will be required to wear a mask.

Photo via National Landing BID/Facebook

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Morning Notes

Firefighters Recount 9/11 Horror — “Arlington County firefighter Matthew Herrera was racing to a call for an apartment fire in Rosslyn, Virginia, 20 years ago, when his crew was rerouted. Their new destination: the Pentagon, for a report of a plane down in the area. It was Sept. 11, 2001. Herrera, now a captain, struggled to get through piles of debris inside the building, right where the plane had hit, to fight the blaze. ‘The first time I fell, I got up real quick and I remember (thinking), ‘I hope I’m not stepping on somebody.’ And I knew that I probably was,’ Herrera told WTOP.” [WTOP]

More Recollections of Sept. 11 — “What they encountered was catastrophic, unprecedented and unforgettable. ‘There was just one piece of the plane I could see,’ recalls Scott, who today holds the rank of Captain II with Arlington Fire/EMS. ‘It was the letter C, from American Airlines.’ Along with countless other responders, Scott spent hours working to suppress the fire raging on the Pentagon’s west side.” [Arlington Magazine, WJLA, NBC 4]

Car Break-ins Around Arlington Ridge — “2300 block of S. Arlington Ridge Road / 1200 block of Oakcrest Road. At approximately 9:52 a.m. on September 3, police were dispatched to the report of multiple larcenies from auto. The investigation determined that between 10:30 p.m. on September 2 and 9:52 a.m. on September 3, the unknown suspect(s) entered approximately four vehicles and rummaged through them. A variety of tools and personal items were reported stolen from the victim vehicles.” [ACPD]

First Hurricane Dog Adopted at AWLA — From the Animal Welfare League of Arlington: “Over the weekend, the first of our Louisiana dogs was adopted! We think Milo is very happy with his new family . More of the dogs from Louisiana will be available in the coming days/weeks so keep an eye on our website!” [Twitter]

Yorktown Football Undefeated So Far — “When it come to his team’s execution on offense, Bruce Hanson is hard to please. The longtime head coach of the Yorktown Patriots has a 2-0 football team already this fall that has scored 19 and 43 points in each of those high-school contests. Yet Hanson isn’t satisfied with what he says is sloppy and uneven performances, including during Yorktown’s 43-17 blowout of visiting Wilson on Sept. 2.” [Sun Gazette]

A Capital Problem Along Route 50 — “@VaDOTNOVA: Please fix the capitalization error on this sign. Should read ’14th Street,’ not ’14Th Street.’ Has annoyed me for years. On WB Arlington Blvd (US 50) near the Marine Corps Memorial.” [Twitter]

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Morning Notes

Apartment Rents Bounce Back — “It took a little while, but average rents for Arlington apartments have now shot past pre-pandemic levels, according to new data. With median rent prices of $2,013 for a one-bedroom unit and $2,437 for two bedrooms, Arlington is among 92 of the nation’s 100 largest urban communities that has seen rents return to, or exceed, levels of March 2020, when the pandemic hit.” [Sun Gazette]

Ballston Resident Creates Bourbon Brand — “I Bourbon is one Arlingtonian’s ode to this classic American whiskey. Now, if he could just get it on store shelves.” [Washington Business Journal]

Reston to Crystal City Bus Proposed — “One of two projects proposed by Fairfax County, the new express bus service would connect Fairfax Connector’s Reston South Park and Ride lot with key employment destinations in Arlington County, including the Pentagon and Pentagon City and ending in Crystal City. The county is seeking $5.1 million to cover two years of operating costs for the service as well as the purchase of six buses.” [Reston Now]

AWLA Takes in Louisiana Pets — “A special delivery arrived Wednesday afternoon at Manassas Regional Airport: a plane carrying more than 100 pets that were evacuated from the Louisiana hurricane zone ahead of Ida’s arrival earlier this week. As the plane landed, rescue organizations from throughout the D.C. area were standing by to take the animals in. ‘There were mostly dogs, but also a few cats in the mix,’ said Samantha Snow with the Animal Welfare League of Arlington.” [WJLA]

Student Housing May Become Hotel — “Marymount University is moving to convert some of its recently acquired student housing in Ballston into hotel rooms, giving its hospitality program a boost in the process. The Arlington university filed documents with county planners Tuesday seeking permission to convert as much as half of the 267-unit residential building at 1008 N. Glebe Road into a hotel. Marymount has operated the building, dubbed The Rixey, as housing for students, faculty and staff since buying it back in 2019.” [Washington Business Journal]

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Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups, founders, and other local technology news. Monday Properties is proudly featuring 1515 Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn. 

An Arlington couple is launching an app that allows dog owners to find pet-friendly places and swipe right on puppy pals for their pooches.

Pals is an app for dog owners to connect quickly to discover dog-friendly places,” said co-founder Caroline Carini. “We make it easy for you to find other dogs in your area looking to meet, play, run, walk, swim and so much more.”

She and her partner Zachary Feldman, who have their own story meeting on an app, now live in Ballston. They got the idea in January, started developing the app in April, and registered their company in July.

The couple, who met on a dating app, will be launching their dog app at Oakland Park (3705 Wilson Blvd) near Ballston on Thursday, Sept. 9. They will collect donations for the Animal Welfare League of Arlington, and there will be dog paraphernalia giveaways from local businesses.

Pals App founders with app renderings (courtesy of Caroline Carini)

She and her boyfriend don’t own dogs now, but both had beloved family dogs growing up. The germ for the idea came from conversations they’ve had about what resources they’d like for their future dogs.

She said the goal of Pals is to turn the moment when dogs “stop and sniff” each other into a conversation where owners find each other on Pals.

“It’s a safe platform to find connections, find dogs you can meet up with, and build relationship with dog owners and dogs,” she said.

Pals also has bandanas for dogs to wear, which Carini said markets the app while reassuring owners meeting up for the first time.

Carini envisions Pals as a one stop shop for people wanting their dogs to socialize with similar dogs in pet-friendly areas, without joining every meetup group or Googling every community event or welcoming spot.

“There’s so much out there now, it’s almost overwhelming,” she said. “The goal would be to have it at your fingertips.”

To get it started, Carini and her partner have added the local dog parks and a few restaurants and bars, but the map will be mostly populated by user submissions.

“Users can add custom locations, if there’s a cool hidden park or spot that’s not technically on Google Maps,” she said.

Since Arlington’s their home, the D.C. area will be the first region for the app — which is lucky given how dog-friendly it is, she said.

Yelp rated Arlington the most dog-friendly place in the nation in 2018, and Arlington had the 10th most dog parks per 100,000 residents in the nation in 2019, according to the Trust for Public Land.

In the future, the couple plans to expand to other cities and launch a” pals plus” subscription, which will give users access to advanced filters for breed size, gender, favorite activities and personality traits.

“If you’re a paid user, the algorithm would provide closer matches to fit your needs,” Carini said.

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Morning Notes

Kitten Rescued from Van — ” Caroline Elpers, a deputy animal control officer with Arlington County, responded to a call from a woman on Aug. 15. The woman said she was walking her dog and she’d heard the mewing of a cat coming from the inside of a van parked on the street. ‘Initially, the call stated that the cat was in the van,’ Elpers said, who arrived on the scene around 10 a.m. ‘Once I got there, it was apparent that the cat was underneath the van, running under and into the engine.'” [Patch]

Pandemic Doesn’t Stop Tax Collection — “Over the past year, staff of the Arlington treasurer’s office has been tasked with collecting $997 million in taxes due on real estate and personal property (both vehicles and business property). To date, more than $995 million of it is in hand. Treasurer Carla de la Pava on Aug. 16 confirmed to the Sun Gazette that the county’s tax-delinquency rate for the past year stood at 0.18 percent, a near-record.” [Sun Gazette]

New Faregates Coming to Local Metro Stations — “Work is also underway to replace the faregates at 13 additional stations, with new faregates being phased in as they are completed and ready for service. Eastern Market and Forest Glen are expected to be completed within the next week. That will be followed by the completion of Friendship Heights, Crystal City, Capitol South, the north entrance of Union Station, Arlington Cemetery, National Airport, and Addison Road in the coming weeks.” [WMATA]

New Pro-People Coalition Launches — “The National Landing Business Improvement District (BID) partnered with local stakeholders today to launch the ‘People Before Cars’ Coalition to unite area organizations around shared priorities to create a safer and more accessible transportation network in National Landing.” [Press Release]

N. Va. Gov’ts Welcome Afghan Refugees — “The Northern Virginia Regional Commission… issued a statement regarding regional refugee resettlement on Tuesday. ‘Citizens of Northern Virginia are following with great concern and compassion the evacuation of Afghan refugees by the brave men and women of our Armed Forces and civilian agencies,’ the statement read. ‘We welcome our new neighbors and wish them much success as they transition to a new life here in the region and across the United States.'” [Prince William Times, Twitter]

N. Va. School System Goes Virtual Only — “Rappahannock County Public Schools on Monday announced that the schools will switch to virtual learning for the remainder of the week while officials work to create a new system to mitigate spread of COVID-19 as the virus has created a flurry of cases within the schools since the academic year began… Officials said a high number of flu cases reported in the schools was also taken into account when deciding the closure.” [InsideNova]

Flickr pool photo by Tom Mockler

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Bird in the tree (Staff Photo by Jay Westcott)

Whatever was sickening and killing local birds earlier in the summer seems to be subsiding and it’s now safe to put bird feeders back out, according to both local and state officials.

“As far as I am aware, we have not taken in or received any calls about said birds in several weeks,” writes Animal Welfare League of Arlington (AWLA) spokesperson Chelsea Jones writes ARLnow. “At this point, it is safe to put bird feeders back out, but we definitely encourage everyone to wash their birdfeeders regularly.”

A press release this morning from the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources echoes that.

“As of mid-August, reports of sick and dead birds have declined in many jurisdictions, and the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR) is lifting its previous recommendation to cease feeding birds in affected areas,” reads the release.

If choosing to put out a feeder or a bird bath, DWR asks that they be cleaned once a week and disinfected with a 10% bleach solution.

Back in June, authorities advised residents to remove their bird feeders as a precautionary measure.

Despite this good news, the mystery still remains on what exactly was causing birds to get sick and die throughout Northern Virginia, D.C., and parts of Maryland.

The mysterious illness seemingly coincided with the emergency of the Brood X cicadas, but Virginia DWR also said that “no definitive cause(s) of illness or death have been determined” at this time. There was no mention of cicadas in the DWR press release.

DWR has ruled out a number of potential causes, though, including salmonella, chlamydia, avian influenza virus, West Nile virus, herpesviruses, and coronavirus. Toxicology tests have also been negative for heavy metals, common pesticides, and herbicides. Other diagnostic tests are ongoing, the release notes.

In May, reports from across the region came into authorities about birds suffering from eye issues including swelling, crusting, and discharging that was potentially leading to blindness. Along with other neurological symptoms, this caused a significant number of even healthy juvenile birds to die. AWLA set up an online form, asking residents to report dead birds.

The issue was of great concern to authorities and naturalists across the area.

“We are very saddened by this ongoing issue and are hopeful for more finding soon,” AWLA Animal Control Chief Jennifer Toussaint told ARLnow back in June. “These birds are federally protected for a reason, they are a national treasure and vital to our ecosystem.”

While whatever was happening impacted much of Northern Virginia, reports of bird deaths were the highest in Fairfax and Arlington counties. This is what made this particular occurrence rare.

“Bird mortality events are not uncommon,” reads DWR’s release. “Several aspects make this particular event unique, including the specific age and species of the affected birds, the extensive geographic scope, the duration of reported mortalities, and the fact that the initial reports were received from an urban area.”

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Morning Notes

Some Automatic Ped Signals Ending — “The County will be rolling back automatic pedestrian phase activations at several signalized intersections across Arlington. This measure was enacted in 2020 in response to low traffic volumes due to the COVID-19 pandemic and to minimize the need to press push buttons to trigger the pedestrian phase at a signal. This initiative was accompanied by ‘Do Not Push’ signage posted at various intersections.” [Arlington County, Twitter]

Mostly Back to Usual for School Buses — “APS will operate with normal bus capacity and follow normal procedures. Properly fitted masks are required for everyone on school buses and inside schools. There will be no temperature checks or verification of health screening completion upon arrival at the bus or school. Families will continue to receive the daily Qualtrics Symptom Screener as a reminder to complete health screening with their children prior to arrival at the bus, and to check temperatures daily. Please keep students home if they are sick.” [Arlington Public Schools]

Armed Robbery of Phone in Penrose — “The victim and suspect connected online regarding the sale of a cellphone. When the male victim arrived at the agreed upon location, he approached the two suspects and asked if he could see the cellphone prior to purchasing. Suspect One reached into his backpack, brandished a firearm and demanded the victim give him all of his money while Suspect Two brandished a knife. The victim gave the suspects an undisclosed amount of cash and the two fled the scene on bikes.” [ACPD]

AWLA Caring for Cat Hit By Car — “Last week, Gomez was hit by a car and needs eye removal surgery, a weight -gain diet and monitoring for neurological symptoms. You can make sure Gomez, and more pets like him, get the lifesaving care they need by donating.” [Twitter]

County Mulls Joining Sports Event Consortium — “Should Arlington government leaders wish to join an emerging regional consortium aimed at jointly promoting sports facilities in Northern Virginia, they’d be welcome to do so, officials with the new group said. In return, Arlington officials said they would be interested in being part of the effort down the road, if opportunities present themselves.” [Sun Gazette]

Free Cuts for Kids at Local Barbershop — “Moore’s Barber Shop in Arlington is part of the initiative, ‘Kuts For Kids,’ with Building Blocks Mentoring Program… giving kids free back-to-school haircuts.” [Fox 5]

Segment Draws Customer from a Distance — From barber James Moore: “Yesterday, @fox5dc @gwenfox5dc did a story at the barbershop. A man 70 miles away saw it and came in for a haircut today. My new friend Mike gave me tomatoes, peppers, apricot preserve and a FD patch for our ‘good deeds.’ It was so cool!” [Twitter]

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