ARLnow Server Updates — For the security of our visitors, ARLnow.com is now being served exclusively via secure HTTPS. We’re still working out some kinks, so you might notice some bugs over the next week or two. For instance, despite hours of work over the weekend to try to fix it, photo galleries do not appear to be working on iOS devices like iPhones. Also, Disqus is still being served via HTTP. We appreciate your patience while we work to improve your user experience.
Hearings for Courthouse Plan — The Arlington County Board voted unanimously on Saturday to hold public hearings on a new sector plan for Courthouse. “This proposed update advances our vision for the Courthouse area, creating a people-oriented civic and cultural heart for Arlington,” County Board Chair Mary Hynes said in a statement. The hearings have been scheduled for September. [Arlington County]
New Group Champions Single-Family Neighborhoods — A new group, “Blue Ribbon Arlington,” has formed to advocate for single-family home neighborhoods. Initially, the group will focus on making Arlington a better place for seniors to “age in place.” Also, the group plans to address concerns about “edge” development around neighborhoods. [InsideNova]
Midsummer Night’s Dream Now Showing — A seasonally-appropriate production of Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream is now showing at Synetic Theater in Crystal City. The performances will run through Aug. 9. [DC Metro Theater Arts]
Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick
Water Main Repairs Continue — Emergency water main repairs that started last night are continuing on Washington Blvd at N. Kensington Street. Drivers should expect traffic impacts, particularly during the morning rush hour. [Twitter]
Beyer Blasts Proposed Metro Cut — A U.S. House committee has released a plan to cut federal funding of Metro for maintenance and safety upgrades in half next year. Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) blasted the plan, calling it “shortsighted” and saying it will “jeopardize rider safety [and] derail improvements to the system.” [NBC Washington]
Cherrydale Tea Shop Owner Profiled — Lyndsey DePalma, owner of House of Steep, is doing what she loves in running the Cherrydale tea shop. Despite the store exceeding financial expectations, however, DePalma is still “earning far less” than she did in her previous job as a human resources manager for PricewaterhouseCoopers. [Career 2.0]
County Manager Won’t Be Hired Until 2016 — The permanent successor for retiring Arlington County Board member Barbara Donnellan won’t be selected until 2016. The decision was made so that the two new, yet-to-be-elected County Board members replacing Walter Tejada and Mary Hynes have a chance to weigh in. In the meantime, Deputy County Manager Mark Schwartz will serve as acting County Manager after Donnellan retires on June 30. [InsideNova]
Rothstein to Bisnow — ARLnow reporter Ethan Rothstein will be leaving the site to report on commercial real estate for Bisnow. Rothstein’s last day is May 15. [Washingtonian]
Endorsements in School Board Race — Updated at 9:10 a.m. — School Board candidate Sharon Dorsey has picked up endorsements from Clerk of the Circuit Court Paul Ferguson, outgoing School Board member Abby Raphael and former School Board member Noah Simon. “Sharon Dorsey’s business and technology background along with her knowledge of education issues make her the right choice,” Ferguson said in a statement. Dorsey’s opponent in the race for the Democratic School Board endorsement, Reid Goldstein, has been endorsed by School Board member Nancy Van Doren, former state Senator Mary Margaret Whipple and County Board member Jay Fisette, among others.
ACPD Patrolling Trails — Auxiliary officers with the Arlington County Police Department will be increasingly patrolling trails around the county this spring, to help keep pedestrians and bicyclists safe. [InsideNova]
Arlington Transit Survey — Arlington County is conducting an online survey of residents as part of its update of Arlington’s Transit Development Plan. The 10-year-plan is intended to identify transit goals and prioritize improvements. This latest update will include recommendations for future transit on Columbia Pike. [SurveyMonkey]
Forums Shut Down — Due to an influx of uncontrollable spam and an unresolvable technical glitch with the latest version of WordPress, ARLnow.com has made the decision to shut down our message board indefinitely. Thank you to our forum participants for four years of vigorous community discussion.
Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman
LNN acquired Borderstan in March from Matt Rhoades and Luis Gomez, who co-founded the site in 2008. The company plans to relaunch Borderstan early this summer, carrying on the site’s community-based reporting in the Dupont Circle, Logan Circle and U Street neighborhoods. As part of its relaunch Borderstan will add Columbia Heights to its coverage area.
Bethesda Now is being purchased by Bethesda Magazine and will be folded into the magazine’s online daily news publication, Bethesda Beat. Bethesda Now editor Aaron Kraut will join Bethesda Beat editor Andrew Metcalf as part of an expansion of the publication.
“Since it launched in 2012 Bethesda Now has set a high standard for local news reporting,” said Steve Hull, editor and publisher of Bethesda Magazine. “With Andrew and Aaron teaming up, Bethesda Beat will be able to provide even more coverage of Bethesda and the surrounding towns.”
“Selling the site was a hard decision, but it was made easier knowing that we were selling to a locally owned, independent media company with a long tradition of service to the Bethesda community,” said Scott Brodbeck, founder of LNN. “The sale will help our company focus our growth and pursue new opportunities.”
Borderstan co-founders Gomez and Rhoades will assist with the site’s relaunch, serving as advisors to LNN’s editorial and sales staff.
“We are thrilled that Local News Now purchased and will relaunch Borderstan,” Gomez and Rhoades said jointly, in a statement. “Scott Brodbeck and his team will maintain our commitment to community news coverage.”
“We want to thank our contributors again for their dedication and hard work,” Gomez and Rhoades continued. “Finally, we are grateful for the support we received from the community and local businesses over the years. We’re looking forward to that support continuing as Borderstan emerges from its two-year hibernation with a full-time editor, its own office and plenty of new neighborhood stories to uncover.”
The acquisition of Borderstan follows LNN’s successful launch of Hill Now, which covers the Capitol Hill area of D.C., this past fall. LNN now has offices in the Rosslyn and Dupont Circle neighborhoods, plus journalists in Reston and on Capitol Hill, reflecting the company’s commitment to community news coverage in Northern Virginia and the District of Columbia.
In addition to the Borderstan relaunch, LNN will be embarking on a web development project this spring and summer that will optimize its websites for mobile viewing.
“Our mobile audience continues to grow, so we need to optimize our sites to better serve those readers,” Brodbeck said. “At the same time, we will be finding ways to serve our local advertisers with innovative, mobile-optimized solutions. The rise of mobile is both an opportunity and a threat to online publishers, who are worried that smaller screens will mean smaller ad dollars. We’re confident that we can capitalize on the opportunities – without resorting to the all-too-common interruptive mobile ads that annoy readers.”
Founded in 2010, Local News Now is an online publishing company that’s building a sustainable business model for online local news. With offices in Arlington, Va. and Washington, D.C., LNN publishes community-focused local news websites, including ARLnow.com (Arlington), HillNow.com (Capitol Hill) and RestonNow.com (Reston).
The Blue Line will be the recipient of the first of Metro’s next generation of trains next month.
The first 7000-series train is scheduled to enter passenger service on Tuesday, April 14, Metro announced today.
“The introduction of the first new train will be the most significant milestone to date for a project that has spanned nearly five years from approval and funding, through design and engineering, to testing and certification,” Metro said today, in a press release.
The brand new eight-car is expected to depart the Franconia-Springfield station shortly after 7:00 a.m. on April 14, serving Blue Line stations in Fairfax County, Alexandria, Arlington County, the District and Prince George’s County. The Blue Line has weathered service cuts since Metro began Silver Line service last summer.
The 7000 series will feature a blue-and-gray interior color scheme and “new technologies that are generations ahead of Metro’s current railcars.” Among the features riders can expect, as detailed by Metro:
- Stainless steel car body for increased durability
- 64 vinyl padded seats and seat-back hand grasps
- Six different station destination signs, including two dynamic LCD route maps and four video screens in each car
- LCD map displays to allow customers to easily track their location
- LED screens that provide current and upcoming station information
- Improved seats that provide more knee room and better lumbar support
- Wider aisles (34 inches verses 32 inches on older cars) to facilitate movement within the car
- Additional space near the doors for standees and wheelchairs
- Resilient nonslip flooring, rather than carpet
- High-tech automated public address systems
- Closed circuit cameras for added safety and security
- More reliable door systems using proven technology
- Added handholds in the door area and vertical poles added at each seat – for a total of 25% more linear feet of bars than in Metro’s 6000-series cars
- Enhanced lighting and privacy screens in the vestibule area
There are also a number of significant new safety features, as outlined in the Metro press release, excerpted after the jump.
Parade Now Scheduled for March 10 — The Clarendon Mardi Gras Parade has a new make-up date. After being postponed due to snow last month, the parade was originally rescheduled for St. Patrick’s Day, March 17. However, “the Arlington County Special Events Committee determined that ACPD resources would be over-stretched were the parade to be held on that date,” according to a press release. “A poll of the Parade Participants led to the decision to reschedule for March 10.” [Clarendon Alliance]
Urban Chicken Issue May Be Clucked — Those who want to raise chickens in their backyards in Arlington are losing their last ally on the County Board. It was Chris Zimmerman, who left the Board early last year, and Walter Tejada, who’s retiring at the end of this year, who were the primary supporters of urban hen raising in Arlington. As for those seeking the two available County Board seats this year, per County Board member John Vihstadt: “Any attempt to introduce poultry into the 2015 campaign would quickly lay an egg.” [InsideNova]
Christian Dorsey Officially Announces Candidacy — Christian Dorsey has officially announced his candidacy for County Board. In doing so, he also announced endorsements from Del. Patrick Hope, Schools Board member Abby Raphael and Commissioner of Revenue Ingrid Morroy. “We must become an engine of innovation to provide maximum value for the resources our taxpayers provide,” Dorsey said in his announcement. “Many of our taxpayers are facing stagnating wages… We must attract investment so that our growth is sustainable and includes opportunities for all.” [Christian Dorsey]
Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick
Tejada, a Democrat, made the announcement on his Facebook page this afternoon. He thanked his supporters and promised that “a more comprehensive statement will be forthcoming.”
An advocate for diversity, affordable housing and Latino issues, Tejada has served on the Board since 2003. He said that he intends to serve out his current term through the end of the year.
At least four — probably more — Democrats are expected to announce their intention to run for County Board in the coming weeks, with many announcements expected to happen at February’s Arlington County Democratic Committee meeting. County Board Chair Mary Hynes is also up for reelection this year — she has not yet said whether she intends to run.
Tejada’s full announcement is below.
Amigos/Friends, I want to let you know that I have decided not to run for reelection to the Arlington County Board. I want to THANK ALL OF YOU as well, regardless if you live in Arlington or not, as your support has always been and will always be important to me. Please also know that I’ll continue involved in the causes I believe in specially helping our community.Here is the statement I sent to the Chair of the Arlington Democratic Committee:
Kip Malinosky, Chair
Arlington County Democratic Committee
It has been and continues to be an enormous privilege to serve in elected office and I’m very proud that during my tenure, Arlington has been recognized time and again as one of the best run governments and one of the best communities in the country. After proudly serving the Arlington community for twelve years on the County Board, I have decided not to seek the Democratic nomination for another term.
Serving on the County Board has allowed me the opportunity to tackle a broad range of issues that have strengthened our community. It has also been a real privilege and honor to seek ways to empower low income, minority and immigrant residents in Arlington, the region, the state, and across the country, and to encourage their participation in our society. I remain committed to all of Arlington, in particular ensuring that the least privileged are heard, protecting our safety net, fighting for affordable housing, and providing a voice for many who frequently go voiceless. I have enjoyed upholding these core values, and will continue to do so in the future.
A more comprehensive statement will be forthcoming, but for now I wanted to let you know of my intentions. Unfortunately I will not be able to attend the February ACDC monthly meeting, but look forward to addressing the committee in the future, perhaps at the March meeting.
At the moment I do not anticipate a need for a special election for my seat as I’m planning on fully serving my current term through December 2015.
I am, and always will be, grateful to the Arlington County Democratic Committee and to the Arlington community for their support. While on the County Board I’ve tried to serve as an unapologetic progressive, and will look forward in another capacity to always continuing to support those Democratic values. Please feel free to share this message as appropriate.
J. Walter Tejada
Foo Fighters Release Arlington-Produced Track — The Foo Fighters have released a new track, “The Feast and the Famine,” which was recorded at Inner Ear Studio in Arlington. The recording session will be featured on tonight’s episode of HBO’s Foo Fighters documentary series. [Pitchfork]
Arlington Recognized as ‘Smart Community’ — Arlington County has been recognized as one of the world’s Smart 21 Communities of 2015. It’s one of four U.S. localities to receive the honor this year. [WTOP]
Nixon: Arlington’s Favorite Top-of-the-Ticket Candidate — Arlington may be deep blue now, but it hasn’t always been a Democratic stronghold. Richard Nixon holds the honor of winning the Arlington vote more times than any other candidate on a presidential ticket. Arlington voted for Nixon five times, as a vice presidential candidate in 1952 and 1956, and as a presidential candidate in 1960, 1968 and 1972. [InsideNova]
HillNow.com Launches — ARLnow.com has a new sister site, Hill Now, which covers local news in the Capitol Hill neighborhood and around D.C.’s Ward 6. Hill Now launched this week and held a launch party Wednesday at Capitol Lounge. [Hill Now]
Local News Now, the publisher of ARLnow.com, is announcing several key strategic hires today as it continues to build a sustainable future for local online news.
LNN has hired Andrea Swalec, previously a reporter and editor at the local news website DNAinfo New York, to be the company’s new editorial director. Andrea will help support and oversee LNN’s three current sites — ARLnow.com, BethesdaNow.com and RestonNow.com — and will take the lead in launching the company’s new Capitol Hill site, HillNow.com. A tentative launch date of Oct. 20 has been set for Hill Now.
Andrea previously worked at NBC Local Integrated Media and contributed to The Current Newspapers — including Voice of the Hill, formerly a weekly newspaper covering Capitol Hill — and the New York Times blog The Local.
The addition of Andrea to the LNN team will help the company continue to grow while maintaining high editorial standards and our hyper-focus on local communities. LNN now employs five full-time journalists, in addition to a growing roster of freelance contributors.
On the sales side, over the past month LNN has signed agreements with two advertising sales contractors in Reston and Bethesda. The contractors will work with LNN’s full-time sales director to boost sales while providing advertising clients with friendly, highly-personalized, locally-based service.
“There are no better sales advocates for our local news websites than those who live and work in the communities that we cover,” said LNN founder Scott Brodbeck.
Meanwhile, work is wrapping up on a significant site redesign for the LNN network. Initially launched at the end of August, the redesign is intended to improve the user experience across LNN sites, boost readability on mobile devices, and add additional revenue-generating opportunities. The site was designed by D.C.-based design firm Brave UX and coded by 10up, a premier WordPress development firm that counts FiveThirtyEight, TechCrunch and Entertainment Weekly among its credits.
“These moves represent a significant investment in the future of the company and a vote of confidence for the profitability of well-run local, independent online news operations,” said Brodbeck. “As we continue to experience sales growth, we are reinvesting that revenue in journalism, human capital and technology. We look forward to continuing to find ways to better serve our existing local communities while looking for opportunities to serve other communities with our unique brand of interesting, relevant and timely local news coverage.”
After the launch of HillNow.com, LNN has a fifth D.C. area site launch in the pipeline, tentatively targeted for mid-2015. The exact location of that site is yet to be announced.
Founded in 2010, Local News Now is based in the Rosslyn area of Arlington, Va. The company has six full-time employees in Virginia and Maryland, in addition to two sales contractors and several part-time, freelance reporters.
Crumbs Could Reopen — The shuttered Crumbs Bakeshop in Clarendon could reopen, after the bankrupt cupcake company was purchased by a new owner. Fischer Enterprises has yet to reveal which of Crumbs’ 48 stores will reopen. [Washington Business Journal]
Arlington’s Naturalist Blogs on the Side — Frustrated with “days filled with meetings and paperwork” after he started working as the natural resources manager for Arlington’s Dept. of Parks and Recreation, Alonso Abugattas founded an educational blog and Facebook group called Capital Naturalist. The blog has a loyal following among readers and respect from fellow naturalists. [Washington Post]
Transportation Among Reasons Politico Stayed — The president of Monday Properties, the major Rosslyn property owner, says political publication Politico decided to renew its office lease in Rosslyn largely because of “superior transit options and greater concentration of housing and retail.” [Washington City Paper]
Changes Coming to ARLnow — ARLnow.com is expected to roll out a website redesign this afternoon. The site may experience brief downtime during the transition. Readers should also expect various menu and visual changes immediately after the transition.
Photo courtesy Donna Gouse
Doughnut Truck Comes to Arlington — A new food truck devoted to doughnuts has hit the streets of Arlington. The truck, from the Penn Quarter eatery Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken, is so far only selling doughnuts and coffee. It plans to stop in Rosslyn, Clarendon and Ballston. [Washingtonian]
Fundraising for Hot Car Mom — A local couple is trying to raise $50,000 for the legal defense of Zoraida Magali Conde Hernandez, the mother accused of accidentally leaving her 8-month-old son in a car for 6 hours on a hot day, leading to his death. The couple says they were “heartbroken” for Hernandez, who is facing a charge of felony child neglect. [Patch]
Flashback: Arlington’s Last Chicken Debate — It turns out this is not the first time that there has been a strong debate in Arlington about urban hen raising. Late in 1945, after the end of World War II, Arlington was preparing to reinstitute an urban chicken ban that had been dropped during the war. The renewed restrictions “drew public debate and strong views on both sides.” [Sun Gazette]
Republican Running for Moran’s Seat — Republican Micah Edmond says he’s planning to run for the Congressional seat of the retiring Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.). Edmond has previously worked in banking, defense policy and as a Marine Corps officer. [National Review]
Pyzyk Poached by Arlington County — ARLnow.com freelance reporter Katie Pyzyk has accepted a full-time position with Arlington County. Pyzyk, who joined us in 2011 and who holds the crown for our most-viewed story of all time, will be a spokeswoman for the Dept. of Community Planning, Housing and Development. We wish Katie the all best in her new position.
ARLbiz will be published weekly and will be geared toward local entrepreneurs and business professionals. It will provide concise original reporting on local business matters and links to other outlets’ Arlington-related business articles, all in one place.
There will also be weekly commentary from local business, nonprofit and government leaders.
“Despite the recent slowdown in the commercial real estate market, Arlington remains a thriving business center,” said Scott Brodbeck, publisher of ARLnow.com. “We’re looking forward to launching an editorially-independent business publication that focuses only on Arlington, bringing vital business intelligence to local business owners and professionals.”
ARLbiz will be published only as an email newsletter, starting in January 2014. Subscriptions are free. To subscribe now, use the form below or click this link.
(All fields are required.)
There’s a new addition to our Arlington real estate section.
Our technology partners are still working out a couple of kinks (for instance, the 12-month view of price decreases appears to have incomplete data) but for the most part the page provides an interesting and useful look at market trends by analyzing real estate listings in the county.
According to current listings, the average price for a home in Arlington is $695,155, while the median price is $549,900. The number of listings is on a seasonal downswing, as is average price per square foot.
Among neighborhoods indexed in the listings, Rock Spring has the highest average sale price ($1,524,500) while Columbia Heights West had the lowest ($225,493).
Serving the Reston (Va.) community, Reston Now is helmed by Karen Goff, a long-time Reston resident who most recently worked as a local editor for Patch.com. Before transitioning to digital journalism, Goff was a feature writer and sports reporter for the Washington Times, and a metro reporter for the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel.
“I am so excited to work with Local News Now,” Goff said. “In my more than three years with Patch I learned how valuable hyperlocal news is to communities. Reston has really embraced online, up-to-the-minute news, and working with a locally-owned company will give residents the voice and outlet they need.”
“Reston deserves a local news source that’s focused solely on what’s going on Reston,” said Scott Brodbeck, founder of Local News Now. “We’ll be reporting on the stories that impact the daily lives of Reston residents — everything from restaurant openings to local government, development, schools, crime and the Silver Line.”
As a local, independent online news publisher, Local News Now is devoted to building a sustainable future for local journalism in the D.C. area. We believe in quality coverage of local communities by talented local journalists, supported by affordable, effective advertising and marketing services for local businesses and organizations.
Ethan Rothstein comes to ARLnow.com from Leesburg Today, a weekly newspaper in Leesburg, where he covered the Town of Leesburg and high school sports. He has broken stories on controversial developments, investigated local transit issues and covered elections from town council to the 2012 presidential campaign.
Previously, he covered education and sports for the Delaware Wave and Delaware Coast Press, based in Bethany Beach, Del. Ethan is a graduate of the University of Maryland’s Merrill School of Journalism, where he studied print journalism.
You might have already seen Ethan’s byline — his first day was July 1. Working alongside editor Scott Brodbeck in ARLnow.com’s Rosslyn office, Ethan is the site’s first full-time reporter. Katie Pyzyk will continue contributing to the site as a part-time reporter.
“This hire is an investment in community journalism in Arlington,” said Brodbeck, who is also the site’s publisher. “It will allow us to expand the breadth and depth of our news coverage.”
“While there are hundreds of local, independent online news websites across the country, ARLnow.com is one of the few that has the resources to hire full-time editorial staff while remaining profitable,” Brodbeck continued. “For that we thank our advertising clients and our tens of thousands of loyal readers.”