H-B’s Rosslyn Home Has New Name — The new Rosslyn home for the H-B Woodlawn Secondary Program has a new name, after a School Board vote last night. The under-construction structure’s new name: The Heights Building. The vote came after the School Board voted to change the name of Washington-Lee to Washington-Liberty. [Twitter, Arlington Public Schools]
CPRO Gets New Interim Leader — “The Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization (CPRO) has named Karen Vasquez as its Interim Executive Director. Karen has spent the last fifteen years working in the field of economic development, creating compelling stories to help recruit and retain Fortune 500 companies, non-profits, hotels and more to Arlington, Virginia.” [CPRO]
Animal Welfare League Nabs Chicken — “AWLA’s 75th animal control case of our 75th year came in just a few days ago! We received a call about a chicken on 8th Rd S., and Officer Swetnam was able to catch the chicken, now affectionately called Henny Penny, and bring her back to the shelter. [Instagram]
Arlington Housing Costs Top D.C. ‘burbs — “Homes in Arlington had the highest per-square-foot costs across the Washington suburbs, according to new sales data, although most jurisdictions saw lower averages from a year before. Arlington’s per-square-foot cost of $435 led the pack but was down from $473 in 2017, according to figures reported Jan. 10.” [InsideNova]
Snow Coming This Weekend — Gas up the snowblowers: accumulating snow is likely this weekend. By county ordinance, all snowfall under 6 inches must be removed from sidewalks within 24 hours of the last flakes. That gets bumped up to 36 hours for 6 or more inches of snow. [Capital Weather Gang]
New ‘Best of Arlington’ List — The 2019 “Best of Arlington” list is in. Among food-related winners, Ambar was named Best Restaurant, Barley Mac was named Best for Date Night and Matt Hill of Liberty Tavern Group and Hungry was named Best Chef. [Arlington Magazine]
AWLA Dog Featured in People Magazine — “One of our AWLA alums, Lucy, is featured in People Magazine this week! Here’s the online article about her weight loss journey after being adopted — her owner helped her go from 26 lbs to 14 lbs.” [Twitter, People]
Case of the Disintegrating Coffee Cups — On four separate occasions, a Washington Business Journal reporter had a coffee cup from Compass Coffee in Rosslyn start to disintegrate and leak in her hand. The company says they were sent a bad batch of paper cups and are working to remove all of the faulty cups from their cafes. [Washington Business Journal]
Va. Legislature to Consider Housing Bills — “A new surge in development in parts of Northern Virginia could come next year under a proposal to overhaul 2016 proffer legislation in this year’s General Assembly… Another proposal would ban discrimination by local governments through land use decisions against low-income or other specific types of development.” [WTOP]
Power Issue at Ballston Metro Station — There are reports that power was out at the Ballston Metro station this morning, meaning no working elevators, escalators or fare kiosks, and only minimal lighting. [Twitter, Twitter]
The following feature article was written by Buzz McClain, a writer and communications professional who lives in Arlington. It was funded by our new Patreon community. Want to see more articles like this, exploring important local topics that don’t make our usual news coverage? Join and help fund additional local journalism in Arlington.
A feral cat is a cat that lives in the wild without human intervention, and Arlington has plenty of them.
Along with coyotes, foxes, rabbits — so many rabbits — turtles, snakes, and other fauna that share the county with humans, feral cats have established “colonies” throughout Arlington, some of which date back for generations.
At any given time there are some 200 to 250 feral cats in Arlington, with colonies ranging in size from two to three cats to more than a dozen. There seems to be a concentration of colonies around Columbia Pike and Carlin Springs Road and in the Nauck neighborhood, according to Anna Barrett, an animal services coordinator with the Animal Welfare League of Arlington, the private nonprofit organization that provides shelter and animal control services in the county.
Feral cats are easy to spot, she said. For one, they are unapproachable, so if they see you first, chances are they’ll run and hide. You can’t lure them to your hand or into a trap, not even with food. “They’re more like wildlife than a domestic cat,” she said.
They also may have a section of an ear removed. A clipped ear, Barrett said, is an indication that the cat has been trapped, neutered, inoculated for rabies and distemper, “ear-tipped” to indicate treatment, and returned to where it was found as part of the AWLA program of the same name: Trap-Neuter-Return. (See here for the feral cat program page of the AWLA website.)
AWLA personnel do not do the trapping, and they don’t accept feral cats as strays for adoption — they are not safe for the staff to handle. Feral cats cannot be domesticated, and handling them may lead to injury, to humans as well as cats.
But feral cat colony “caretakers,” and the occasional determined resident, manage to bring them in. That’s when the AWLA staff does the T-N-R and ear clip service. The feral cat colony caretaker who brought in the cat is responsible for returning them to where they were found, which is why it’s best for those unfamiliar with feral cat behavior to not even try.
In her eight years at the shelter, Barrett has seen a reduction in the feral cat population. “We feel the 200 to 250 number is greatly reduced from year’s past, in large part to the T-N-R program,” she said.
The T-N-R program, she added, “is not a perfect solution, but it goes with our humane approach to animals.”
The neutering would cost $300 to $400 per cat for a pet cat or kitten. The League pays for cats trapped in Arlington or in the City of Falls Church.
The cats, said Sandra M., choose her and not the other way around. And it’s been that way for going on eight years.
After her own cat died in 2010, an “outdoor” Siamese cat tentatively approached her at her home in South Arlington and Sandra M., a cat lover, fed it. (She would rather we did not use her full name or specify which neighborhood she lives in, for reasons that will become obvious.)
The cat was healthy but clearly did not have a home, nor did it seem to crave human companionship other than the occasional meal. Eight years later, the cat still comes for regular feeding but little else, along with some eight other cats.
They do not go into her house. Instead, they live nearby in the wild in what is known as a feral cat colony, one of many in Arlington, some of which date back for decades.
Sandra M. is a feral cat colony caretaker, an unofficial title given to a select few by the AWLA. But not everyone is enamored with having feral cats in their neighborhoods. Sandra M. reports several of her charges have been mistreated after being captured. Kittens and older cats have been poisoned.
“That’s something I just don’t understand,” she said. “I don’t understand why a human would do that.”
For Sandra M., the cat colony is a blessing. “They rescued me,” she said. “They’re like little children to me.”
If you see a cat you think is feral, Anna Barrett suggests contacting the AWLA office to report it. A feral cat colony caretaker may be able to have the cat serviced in the Trap-Neuter-Release program. Questions may be directed at [email protected] or by calling 703-931-9241, ext. 200.
Anyone looking for some extra company for the holidays in the form of a four-legged friend might want to swing by the Animal Welfare League of Arlington sometime in the next few days.
The AWLA is looking for foster parents willing to take in a shelter pet over Christmas and New Year’s, launching a “Home for the Holidays” drive this week.
From now through Sunday (Dec. 23), anyone willing to take in a dog or cat can visit the shelter at 2650 S. Arlington Mill Drive. Foster parents will be expected to care for their animals through Dec. 27, or can apply for an extension through Jan. 2.
AWLA will provide all basic supplies for foster pets, but anyone picking up a furry boarder will likely need to bring a leash or pet carrier.
The shelter asks that participants keep foster pets separate from any owned pets, and that any “foster cats/rabbits/guinea pigs are kept strictly indoors and foster dogs are not taken to dog parks,” AWLA wrote on its website.
Anyone who decides to adopt their foster pet will also receive $25 off AWLA’s adoption fee.
The shelter has full details available on its website.
Photo via @AWLAArlington
When Is Trick Or Treating in Arlington? — Wondering about tomorrow’s Halloween candy gathering? There are no official trick-or-treating hours in Arlington, but as in previous years you can expect to see the first little ghouls and goblins around 6 — sometimes a bit earlier — and the last door knocks should happen by 8 or 9 p.m.
Engagement Ring Found in Courthouse — “I found an engagement ring today on Wilson and N. Troy… Happy to reunite if owner can provide accurate description!” [Twitter]
ACPD Lieutenants to Split Settlement — “Lieutenants in the Arlington County Police Department will split a pot totaling $1.24 million and the county government would avoid the possibility of legal action under an agreement inked – without public notice – on Oct. 23. The agreement, tacked on without forewarning to the community at the end of a County Board meeting, brings the county government in line with changes in federal law regarding overtime payments through the Fair Labor Standards Act.” [InsideNova]
AWLA Fundraiser a Success — Via an email from the Animal Welfare League of Arlington: “We are thrilled to announce that $45,000 was raised for animals in need at our 3rd annual Pints4Paws Pet Fest! We are so grateful to the more than 800 guests that attended, and to all of the volunteers and sponsors that made this event possible. Thanks to you, we are going to be able to continue saving thousands of lives every year!”
Emergency Exercise at Fort Myer — Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hill “will conduct a Full Scale Exercise today, Oct. 30. Community notifications will be delivered until 4 p.m. by text, email, and loudspeaker.” [Twitter]
WhyHotel Coming to Columbia Pike — “WhyHotel has just signed a deal for its second project in Arlington. WhyHotel signed on with Orr Partners to operate temporary hotel rooms in 150 of the 366 units in the Centro Arlington development… [which] is replacing the former Food Star grocery store at the intersection of Columbia Pike and S. George Mason Drive.” [Bisnow]
New Scalia Statue at GMU Law School — “As debate raged on Capitol Hill over a Supreme Court nomination that could shape the court’s future for decades, five justices gathered Thursday at a law school just across the Potomac River for the unveiling of a statue honoring an icon from its recent past — the late justice Antonin Scalia.” [Washington Post]
Arlington Living Wage Calculator — According to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology living wage calculator, the income required to raise three kids in a household with two working adults in Arlington County is $92,480. [MIT]
Arlington Flyover Today — There is a flyover scheduled around 1:15 p.m. today in support of a funeral at Arlington National Cemetery. [Twitter]
Where to Find Singing WBJ Staffers — The Continental Beer Garden in Rosslyn and Westover Beer Garden in Westover are among the 15 best beer gardens in the D.C. area, according to the Washington Business Journal. The former is “a popular happy hour spot for WBJ staffers, who are known to sing along to the tunes playing on the outdoor speakers and share an order of pretzels and beer cheese dip.” [Washington Business Journal]
Arlington Pet Adoptions Up — “In 2017, we did a record number of adoptions for [the Animal Welfare League of Arlington], with 1,366 pets adopted. So far this year, we have already beaten that number, with 1,450 pets adopted.” [Twitter]
Halloween Stores Now Open — If you’re looking for a Halloween costume, there are three Spirit Halloween stores now open in the area, although none are in Arlington. For something closer to home, Total Fright in the Crystal City Shops (known as Total Party other times of the year) is also selling costumes and decorations. Meanwhile, a Christmas store is now open in Tysons. [Tysons Reporter]
A large snapping turtle gave a few South Arlington parkgoers a surprise today (Wednesday), and animal control officers ultimately had to step in to guide the reptile to safety.
Jennifer Toussaint, the county’s chief animal control officer, told ARLnow that her office received a call around noon that the large turtle was in the street at the intersection of Army Navy Drive and 28th Street S., just near Fraser Park.
She said an officer ultimately “safely moved the snapping turtle in the direction it was heading towards the stream adjacent to the brush line near the street,” which backs up to I-395.
Toussaint added that it’s hardly unusual for her office to receive calls about snapping turtles — animal control officers discovered someone keeping one as a pet just last month, a practice she strongly advises against — and the Arlington Ridge and Long Branch Creek neighborhoods seem to be particularly popular spots for the creatures.
“Snapping turtles mate from April [to] November and travel extensively on land when laying eggs and looking for [a] new habitat,” Toussaint wrote in an email. “Army Navy Drive [and]28th Street seems to be a very specifically popular areas for them, as we have yearly calls for service for snapping turtles in the roadway injured or needing assistance ranging back as far as 2013. Most of our snapping turtle calls in Arlington come in June [through] July.”
Justin Covert, one of the people to discover the turtle, added that his girlfriend discovered another turtle in the park earlier this month, even though he’d “never seen a turtle around these parts until now.”
Should the turtle sightings continue, Toussaint wants to warn people that the reptiles have “very flexible necks, sharp long claws, a strong jaw and can act defensive when handled.”
While animal control officers may be best-suited to move the creatures off roadways, she advises that it’s “inappropriate to pick them up by their tails,” if any turtle seems in danger.
“Their weight needs to be supported and dragging them can cause cuts that can get infected,” Toussaint wrote.
Photo courtesy of Justin Covert
Parking Changes Among Child Care Proposals — Changing onerous parking requirements for child care centers is going to be “on the list of proposed ordinance changes we’re introducing” at a community meeting next Monday, according to a tweet from Arlington County Board Chair Katie Cristol. [Twitter]
Smoke the Dog Dies — “Smoke, the Arlington, Virginia, dog with a bucket list, died this week, the Animal Welfare League of Arlington announced Friday. In July, Smoke captured a lot of hearts in the area when the Arlington shelter announced that he had terminal cancer and that they’d created a bucket list for him.” [WTOP]
Letter: Arlington Lacks Airbnb Enforcement — A letter to the editor argues that Arlington County has been ineffective in enforcement of a short-term rental ordinance passed in 2016. Per the letter: “Short-term rental industry websites showed more than 1,000 units advertised for short-term rent in Arlington as of early July, but only 72 residents had obtained permits, down from 86 in January.” [Washington Post]
Dems Make Money Via Mail — The top fundraising activity for the Arlington County Democratic Committee: sending hand-addressed and hand-stamped letters. [InsideNova]
Tree Falls on Chain Bridge Road — Chain Bridge Road was closed Sunday after a tree fell and took down utility lines, for at least the second time this year. The stretch of Chain Bridge Road in Arlington that was closed is home to the most expensive house in the D.C. area. [Twitter]
Photo courtesy Jeremy Galliani
Power Outage at National Airport — Reagan National Airport went dark for several hours last night after a rare power failure. Emergency generators did kick in but only powered a portion of the airport’s systems. [NBC Washington, WTOP, Twitter]
More About Rosslyn’s Pop-Up Retail — “The Alcove, a 5,000-square foot storefront in Rosslyn’s Central Place opened last Wednesday with an activity-packed bang: think kombucha tastings, fabric-stamping, decoupage-making, and more… The Alcove was born when developer JBG Smith offered up one of their properties to the [Rosslyn] BID for a two-month period.” [Washingtonian]
Free Pet Adoptions This Weekend — Adoption fees will be waived at the Animal Welfare League of Arlington on Saturday as part of the annual “Clear the Shelters” event. [DCist]
Recess Changes at APS — “Many APS schools already provide at least 30 minutes of recess, and the new guidelines will help ensure consistency in recess time across all APS elementary schools… Unstructured play and physical activity are an important part of student learning and well-being, and we are pleased to provide this opportunity for our students.” [Arlington Public Schools]
Rep. Beyer on CNN — Arlington’s local congressman, Rep. Don Beyer (D), was interviewed on CNN’s Situation Room last night on the topic of President Trump stripping former CIA Director John Brennan of his security clearance. [Twitter]
Flickr pool photo by Tom Mockler
Family Surprised to Learn Pet Was a Snapping Turtle — “An Arlington family took in a box turtle to be the new family pet recently — only to find out that it was actually a snapping turtle. The Animal Welfare League of Arlington tweeted out a photo of the turtle, noting that their officers had seized the turtle from the unwitting family.” [Patch, Twitter]
APS Delays Release of Construction Cost Report — “Arlington residents will have to wait a little longer for an analysis of the reasons behind the high costs of school construction in the county. The audit committees of the County Board and School Board had been slated to meet Aug. 7 in a joint session to discuss a report by school-system auditor John Mickevice on school-construction costs. That meeting, however, was called off.” [InsideNova]
TSA Keeps Finding Guns in Carry-ons at DCA — Earlier this month, in two separate incidents, TSA agents at Reagan National Airport seized loaded handguns from two men trying to carry them onto planes. The guns were the seventh and eighth seized at the airport so far this year. The men are now facing weapons charges. [Patch]
Jail Holds Creative Writing Contest — A 26-year-old man who’s in jail on a heroin possession charge won the Arlington County lockup’s first-ever creative writing contest yesterday. His prize-winning poem, in part: “I dream about the future. I dream about the past. I dream about the mountains. I dream about the sea. I dream of all the places that I would rather be.” [NBC Washington]
InsideNova Not Available in Europe — More than 1,000 U.S. news websites are blocking users from Europe after the EU implemented strict new privacy regulations known as GDPR on May 25. Among the sites that are no longer accessible from Europe, as seen in this screen shot from last month: InsideNova, which publishes articles from the Arlington Sun Gazette newspaper. [Nieman Journalism Lab]
U.S. Olympic skier Gus Kenworthy traveled to Arlington this past Sunday to adopt a puppy he first met during the Winter Games earlier this year.
The heartwarming moment at the Animal Welfare League of Arlington in Shirlington was captured on video by Humane Society International, which worked with Kenworthy to rescue the puppy — now named “Birdie” — and 90 other dogs from a dog meat farm in South Korea.
“At the time, the newborn Birdie was too young to travel with the other rescued dogs,” HSI said in a press release. “Once old enough, she and two of her siblings traveled to AWLA, one of HSI’s many shelter partners around the world, where Gus adopted her.”
“In March 2018, Gus adopted Beemo, who had been rescued from the same dog meat farm,” the press release also notes. “Sadly, Beemo died in May from a heart condition. Gus’s adoption of Birdie honors the memory of Beemo: she is named after one of Beemo’s favorite pastimes — bird-watching.”
Kenworthy and AWLA both recently wrote about the adoption on social media.
Flash Flood Watch Today — Arlington and much of the region is again under a Flash Flood Watch today and through early Saturday. Heavy rains expected during the day and evening may cause flash flooding, forecasters say. [Twitter, Weather.gov]
Smoke the Dog Visits Nats Park — Smoke, the Arlington shelter dog with terminal cancer who’s become an internet star for his quest to check off his “bucket list,” had quite a Thursday. The hound got to visit home plate at Nationals Park yesterday, and also got to go home to a new adoptive dog mom. [WJLA]
Arlington Unemployment Rate Still Lowest in Va. — “Despite a second month in a row of upticks, Arlington’s unemployment rate in June remained the envy of Virginia’s 132 other cities and counties. With 150,837 county residents in the civilian workforce and 3,393 looking for jobs, Arlington’s non-seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate of 2.2 percent in June was lowest in the commonwealth.” [InsideNova]
Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf
The Animal Welfare League of Arlington cares for over 2,000 animals each year, and uses plenty of supplies in the process.
To support AWLA, the Arlington County Fire Department will aim to accumulate 650 pounds of pet supplies in its third annual “Operation FirePaws” drive, which runs from tomorrow (Aug. 1) through Aug. 31.
Community members can drop off non-perishable items from AWLA’s wishlist between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. to donation bins located at the front entrance of every Arlington County fire station.
AWLA asks that donations not include homemade treats, Milk Bones or other boxed hard treats. Desired donation items include canned food, collars and toys.
Photo via ACFD
Amazon Hiring Local ‘Economic Development Manager’ — Amazon is hiring for a new position of economic development manager in the D.C. area, though the company says the position is not connected to its HQ2 search. Per the Business Journal: “Responsibilities would include working on site selection, ‘new corporate initiatives, site expansion plans and requirements,’ and working with ‘state and community economic development, workforce and labor, taxation, and other key government agency officials, as well as chambers of commerce, utilities, and other key public/private stakeholder groups.'” [Washington Business Journal, Amazon]
New Food Hall Coming to Rosslyn — The team behind Chasin’ Tails seafood restaurant in East Falls Church is planning a new 5,000-square-foot Asian food hall, dubbed “Happy Endings Eatery,” at Rosslyn’s Central Place complex. Among the expected offerings will be Vietnamese food like summer rolls, noodle bowls and banh mi sandwiches; bubble teas; and Vietnamese coffee. [Washington Business Journal]
GW Parkway Traffic Woes — The kickoff of a new construction project caused bumper-to-bumper traffic on the GW Parkway yesterday. The project to repair the bridge over Windy Run is taking away one lane in each direction. Work is expected to last through early fall. [WJLA]
Free Food in Rosslyn Today — To celebrate the opening of its new U.S. headquarters in Rosslyn, Nestlé is planning to give away free food, drinks and ice cream at Central Place Plaza from 10:30 a.m.-2 p.m. today. [Twitter]
Dying Dog Becomes Internet Star — “The saying goes: ‘Every dog has his day.’ That day has come for Smoke the hound, now featured in a viral video as he scratches off items on his bucket list. Smoke recently arrived at the Animal Welfare League of Arlington with terminal cancer. Now, the animal shelter is making every moment count.” [WJLA]
Photo courtesy Jeremy Galliani
Fireworks Law in Arlington — “In Arlington County, fireworks that are projectiles, explode, emit flames or sparks to a distance greater than twelve (12) feet are prohibited.” [NBC Washington]
Three Elected Dems Back De Ferranti — County Board Chair Katie Cristol, Commissioner of Revenue Ingrid Morroy and Sheriff Beth Arthur have endorsed fellow Democrat Matt de Ferrani in his challenge of incumbent County Board member John Vihstadt. Vihstadt, who is again running as an independent, has the endorsement of a trio of Democratic elected officials: County Board member Libby Garvey, Commonwealth’s Attorney Theo Stamos and Treasurer Carla de la Pava. [InsideNova]
AWLA Saves Fawn — An Animal Welfare League of Arlington animal control officer rescued a young deer from a roadway over the weekend, sending the fawn to a wildlife rehabber to recover. [Twitter]
Photo courtesy Craig Fingar