Arlington, VA

Morning Notes

Labor Rule Violations Alleged at Temporary HQ2 Projects — “A union is charging that employers at six construction projects that will house Amazon employees or operations in Northern Virginia have evaded federal and state taxes by misclassifying workers, failing to carry workers’ compensation coverage and avoiding overtime pay.” [Washington Post]

Beyer Voting Yes on Impeachment — “The facts allow for no other interpretation: President Trump violated his oath of office to faithfully execute the laws. In order to cover up his offenses, he engaged in unprecedented obstruction of Congress’s oversight power and role as an equal branch of government.” [Press Release]

Voting Precinct Changes Planned — “Voters in two Arlington precincts will see their polling locations changed in 2020. Those in Overlee Knolls (Precinct 017) will move from the Reed School at 1644 North McKinley Road… Those in Rosslyn (Precinct 019) will move from 1911 Fort Myer Drive to the new H-B Woodlawn Secondary Program building.” [InsideNova]

How Arlington’s Streets Got Renamed — “If you harbor gripes that our county government gets too ambitious, consider an episode from the 1930s. In what probably ranks as the most disruptive Arlington project ever, our entire street grid was renamed.” [Falls Church News-Press]

Road Closures for Wreaths Across America — “The annual Wreaths Across America escort of handmade, balsam wreaths destined for Arlington National Cemetery will begin arriving in Arlington County on Friday… On Saturday, December 14th, several thousand volunteers will descend upon the Cemetery and help lay wreaths on every gravesite throughout the property beginning at 8 AM. The public can anticipate large crowds and heavy pedestrian traffic related to the event.” [Arlington County, YouTube]

Holiday Arts and Crafts Show in Crystal City This Weekend — “GRUMP is back for its 9th year, returning to The Shops at Crystal City at 2100 Crystal Drive. GRUMP Crystal City is where you can shop local from 50 exciting artists and makers and stop for a photo op with one of our many Yetis.” [Event Calendar]

Nearby: Police Warn of Abduction Attempt — “City of Falls Church Police are seeking a suspect in an attempted abduction… The suspect is wanted for questioning after he approached a juvenile outside of a grocery store and told the juvenile to leave with him. The suspect left when the juvenile’s mother returned.” [City of Falls Church]

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This column is written and sponsored by Arlington Arts/Arlington Cultural Affairs, a division of Arlington Economic Development.

The Arts are rooted in entrepreneurship. That’s why Arlington Arts has been a stalwart supporter of the GRUMP Holiday Art and Craft Show: an annual showcase featuring more than 50 vendors and the best in unique handmade gifts and treats!

Offered in partnership with the Crystal City BID, JBG Smith and Arlington Arts, it’s a great example of how Arlington County connects the business and creative sectors. In advance of this year’s event on Saturday, December 14, we chatted with co-creator Tina Henry-Barrus about the continued evolution of the nine-year-old seasonal show!

How did Grump come about?

Beth Baldwin and I became friends while selling our handmade stuff at various local arts and crafts shows. One show, Crafty Bastards, was in the early fall and I thought that the area needed a similar fair during the holidays. I called Beth and said, “Hey, wanna attempt a holiday show of our own?” You should always have a friend who will say yes to your weird ideas.

What’s with the name?

When I asked Beth if she wanted to put on a show with me, the word GRUMP popped into my head. She laughed when I said it, so I knew it would work. It wasn’t until the second year that we added the Yeti mascot. Kids started showing up to get their photo taken with the Yeti and would ask me “Where’s GRUMP?” So now GRUMP is both the name of our show and the name of our Yeti mascot.

How did the partnership with Arlington County take shape?

Beth Baldwin was an Artist in Residence at Artisphere and she worked with staff to move GRUMP there, where it blossomed over several years. Arlington Arts has been such a valuable cheerleader for us. We wouldn’t have made it to year 9 without them!

How do you describe GRUMP to a first-time attendee?

GRUMP isn’t your grandma’s craft show, but it also isn’t super hipster either. The indoor GRUMP show has 40-60 local vendors, 3 or 4 workshops to inspire you to make something, and many Yetis for photo ops. The Yeti is a really fun part of our event. Last year we had a Yeti Board Meeting that folks could watch. This year, the Yetis will judge an ornament-making contest, kind of like The Great British Baking Show.

How is it different than other holiday shopping opportunities?

Our show is highly curated to not only our tastes but to the tastes of our shoppers. Yes, we know who they are! We also try to make sure our vendors are all really kind and lovely and fun to meet. Add in the workshops and Yeti photo ops and you have a really fun day.

What’s the best reaction you’ve ever had from a patron?

The patrons’ reactions to the Yetis never get old, but honestly, I mostly love the patrons who become vendors. The idea that our little idea encouraged someone to get creative and make something is really meaningful to us.

Find out how you’ll react when you attend GRUMP Holiday Art and Craft Show, on Saturday, December 14 from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. The event takes place at 2100-B Crystal Drive, Arlington VA 22202 (in the former TechShop venue). You can take the Metro to Crystal City and follow the signs to GRUMP, or drive and park in the garage for free.

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Morning Notes

School Shuffle Blowback Starts — “Alicia Rich, president of Key’s PTA, said she has been fielding texts and messages over WhatsApp from parents and staff members worried about the prospect of moving. ‘This issue is so huge for us,’ Rich said.
School system officials said they ‘urgently need’ the Key building as a neighborhood school because of the lack of space for students.” [Washington Post]

Arlington Office Market Improving — Arlington County landing Amazon HQ2, a selection announced one year ago this month, has helped move its office market in the right direction after years of struggles. The office vacancy rate in National Landing, the newly branded area comprising the Crystal City and Pentagon City neighborhoods, dropped from 19.6% in Q3 2018 to 16% as of Sept. 30, the lowest level since 2012, according to JLL.” [Bisnow]

Chamber Supports Keeping Dillon Rule — “Facing a possible Democratic majority in the General Assembly, @ArlVAChamber is standing firm in its support of the Dillon Rule. Why? A Dem majority could allow localities like Arlington to raise the minimum wage.” [Twitter, InsideNova]

Storms Don’t Deter Trick or Treaters — From a family that tracks the number of trick or treaters visiting their Arlington home: “Despite threatening weather and a tornado watch issued by the National Weather Service… 2019 was our second best year ever with 161 visitors, 13 goblins behind the all-time high of 174 visitors in 2016.” [Facebook]

ACPD Helps With Snakes, Too — “Sgt. Morrison proves he’s a jack of all trades! Yesterday he responded to a citizen assist call and helped safely relocate this snake.” [Twitter]

Opera Fans Plan Outreach Effort — “Reports of the demise of a certain musical genre are not just premature. They are just plain wrong, supporters say. ‘Clearly, opera is not a dying art – the music is still transcendent,’ said Paul Dolinsky, a board member of Opera Nova, which on Oct. 27 held its annual fund-raising brunch at Washington Golf & Country Club.” [InsideNova]

Local Teen Is Runner Up in Entrepreneurship Competition — “Ela Gokcigdem has good news to share about her ePearl noise-cancelling wireless earbuds. They were a big hit in the Big Apple… The 17-year-old senior at Wakefield High School in Arlington participated in the NFTE National Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge. More than two dozen competitors from around the country pitched their products to a panel of judges.” [WJLA]

Nearby: Road Closure Planned in Seven Corners — “The Wilson Boulevard (Route 613) bridge over Route 50 (Arlington Boulevard) will be closed from 9 p.m. Monday night, Nov. 4 to 5 a.m. Tuesday morning, Nov. 5 for bridge deck work, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation. Eastbound Wilson Boulevard traffic will be detoured via Route 7, Patrick Henry Drive, Route 50 and the westbound Route 50 service road back to Wilson Boulevard.” [VDOT]

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Morning Notes

Auditor Looking at Economic Development Funds — “Are economic-incentive funds provided to corporations by the Arlington County government being doled out in accordance with agreements? The county government’s auditor is going to take a look… The audit, already under way, will look only at whether terms of agreements are being complied with; overall effectiveness of the sometimes controversial economic-incentive policy ‘is not part of the scope.'” [InsideNova]

Suspicious Letter at Fort Myer — “Joint Base Myer Henderson-Hall police and other agencies investigated a suspicious letter this afternoon that was delivered on the Fort Myer portion of the joint base. It was determined to not have any dangerous substance on or in it.” [Twitter]

Lauding Arlington’s Retiring Election Chief — “As her tenure as director of elections approaches its end, Linda Lindberg on June 18 was honored by Arlington County Board members for her service. Lindberg — who has served in Arlington’s elections office since 1994 and has been registrar since 2003 — has delivered ‘an outstanding career of public service,’ County Board Chairman Christian Dorsey said during a ceremony marking her tenure.” [InsideNova]

Arts Group Applauds Arts Plan — “Embracing Arlington Arts – an independent citizens group comprised of Arlington arts supporters – applauds the County Board for formally adopting Arlington’s Strategic Plan for the arts – “Enriching Lives” at their Board meeting [on] June 18. This well-researched plan brought together arts professionals, experts, stakeholders and citizens in its development.” [Press Release]

Arlington Developer Plans Senior Projects — “A multifamily developer is making a $200 million senior living play, with five such projects coming together under the company’s new Aspire brand, and potentially more on the way in the Mid-Atlantic. Arlington, Virginia-based Bonaventure has communities under construction or development across the commonwealth, in Alexandria, Woodbridge, Norfolk, Chesapeake and Richmond.” [Senior Housing News]

New Solar Co-op — “Neighbors in Arlington County (including Alexandria… and Fairfax County) have formed a solar co-op to save money and make going solar easier, with the help of nonprofit Solar United Neighbors. Arlington Initiative to Rethink Energy, EcoAction Arlington, and Virginia Clean Cities are sponsoring the co-op.” [Press Release]

Arlington Tech Co. Gets New CEO — Rosslyn-based Snag, “the country’s largest and fastest-growing platform for hourly work, announced today new changes to its executive leadership team. Mathieu Stevenson has been appointed Chief Executive Officer… Stevenson will lead the company forward, with Rosati’s active involvement, to realize Snag’s mission of revolutionizing how hourly workers and employers connect.” [Snag]

Flickr pool photo by Brian Irwin

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An Arlington waiter’s short film about life in the local restaurant industry is one of the contenders in a new diversity-focused film competition.

Isa Seyran’s Another Day is Over is now available for streaming on Amazon Prime Video as part of the All Voices Film Festival — an Amazon Prime short-film competition focusing on U.S. filmmakers from underrepresented backgrounds. The grand prize for the competition is $25,000.

The film looks at the lives of a handful of people connected by late shifts at a local restaurant. It focuses on their private conflicts and family interactions outside of the restaurant, like a young Salvadoran busboy who spurns his native language and culture.

“It is about the hard working mostly undocumented immigrants living in fear in the age of Trump,” Seyran said in an email to ARLnow.

Seyran said the story is hyper-local and celebrates the diversity of Arlington and Washington, D.C.

“I have been working in and around Washington’s restaurants for coming close to two decades now,” Seyran said. “We just wanted to tell a simple, honest and humble story about the people who work long days and long hours. Our film is a love letter to the restaurant industry.”

The film is streaming online until Monday, June 24.

“This film, for me, is simply an attempt to understand the times that we are going through and the society that we live in,” said Seyran.

Photo courtesy George Kolotov

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A new arts space, paid for in-part by Arlington County and run by George Mason University, is coming to Virginia Square.

The Latitude Arts Space is an art installation planned for the southeast corner of Latitude Apartments (3601-2625 N. Fairfax Drive). The site will be operated by the GMU College of Visual and Performing Arts.

The County Board is scheduled to vote this weekend on a $150,000 grant to partially fund interior construction at the project as part of the consent agenda. A county staff report said the goal of this and similar projects is to provide active, publicly accessible spaces that can be flexible in their programming with limited financial commitments from Arlington County.

When the site plan for Latitude Apartments was approved by the Arlington County Board in 2013, it included a provision for an arts space. The goal of the provision was to fulfill goals in the Virginia Square Sector Plan. The Latitude Apartments project was completed in 2016, after which Arlington Economic Development staff worked to help find a new tenant.

“The proposed grant is critical to realizing the opportunity to occupy the Latitude Arts Space with an active and appropriate use that Mason will be able to deliver,” the staff report said. “The grant funds from Arlington County to Mason will be used to offset costs of interior construction of the space and are essential in removing a hurdle for Mason to absorb this previously unbudgeted expense.”

The grant funding only accounts for 25-30 percent of the total interior construction costs, the rest of which will be covered by the property owner and the university.

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New District Brewing Company has announced that Valleyfest will return on Sept. 29, but in the meantime, there’s honeysuckles to pick and a North-South Arlington grudge match to settle.

The event is planned to be held on the street outside the brewery at 2709 S. Oakland Street. Entrance is free with community arts and music planned for the festival, along with food and dessert trucks. A “beer package” is also available for $22, good for three tickets to sample New District beers.

Valleyfest started in 2017 as a smaller festival but expanded in 2018 as a plan to replace Capitol City Brewing’s Oktoberfest after the brewpub closed.

New District founder Mike Katrivanos told ARLnow that much of the festival will be similar to last year, but with a heavier focus on artists.

“We are getting a lot more artists this year,” Katrivanos said. “Last year, we did this cool thing where we had an artist do a piece featuring tires from the auto shops nearby. She actually made the tires into art pieces like wavy walls set up throughout the festival.”

This year, Katrivanos said he’s hoping to have a metalworking artist display their work at the festival. An artist hasn’t been selected yet — that’s expected to happen happen in July — so if anyone knows any metalworking artists they’re encouraged to reach out to the brewery for some potential work.

In the meantime, Katrivanos said there are some Arlington-focused events and features at the brewery.

“We did a North-South Arlington collaboration beer with The Board Room up in North Arlington,” said Katrivanos. “We called it Crossing Route 50. The North Arlington crowd doesn’t want to cross Route 50, so we tried to build a bridge.”

The beer is a grapefruit IPA, which Katrivanos described as having the aroma of dank citrus and tropical notes from the hops.

The other event coming up is the honeysuckle harvest, where the brewery takes 30-50 volunteers on a road trip to pick honeysuckle from various parts of Virginia. Mostly the group visits farms and parks, where honeysuckle — an invasive species — is seen as a weed.

“We bring it back to the brewery here and brew a honeysuckle hefeweizen with the fresh flowers,” said Katrivanos. “It captures all the aromatics — captures the sweet flavor of the honeysuckle and reminds you of Virginia summer. That beer is one of our beers people know us by. We’re actively campaigning for that now and we’ll be picking honeysuckle.”

For anyone interested in a weekend honeysuckle road trip, Katrivanos said to contact Michael Sutherland at [email protected].

Photo via New District Brewing Company/Facebook

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Several road closures are planned for this weekend’s Arlington Festival of the Arts in Clarendon.

The 7th annual arts event runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday on the 3000 block of Washington Blvd. The free festival is set to feature handmade paintings, jewelry, ceramics, glassware and more creations from around 150 artists.

ACPD announced the event will prompt a number of road closures between 4 a.m. Saturday and 9 p.m. Sunday including:

  • Washington Blvd between 10th Street N. and Clarendon Blvd, except for one lane of traffic which will be open eastbound.
  • N. Highland St. between Washington Blvd and Clarendon Blvd.
  • 11th Street N. between N. Highland and N. Garfield Streets, except for delivery traffic.

Southbound N. Garfield Street will have eastbound left turns open to Washington Blvd, according to police, though additional road closures may be necessary. Police are encouraging attendees to take Metro or ride-hailing services, as parking will be limited.

Drivers should watch out for “No Parking” signs in Clarendon near the festival this weekend, according to ACPD.

Photos via Howard Alan Events

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A pair of local arts groups are planning a rally outside county government headquarters Tuesday to protest proposed budget cuts to some Arlington arts programs.

The rally, dubbed “A Celebration of the Arts in Arlington,” is set to take place at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, April 2, outside of the Ellen M. Bozman Government Center (2100 Clarendon Blvd) in Courthouse.

Organizers Encore Stage & Studio and Embracing Arlington Arts are protesting what the latter group says are “draconian cuts” of about $500,000 to arts programs including:

  • Closure of the Scene Shop
  • Closure of the Costume Lab
  • Elimination of the Facilities Manager
  • Elimination, in one year, of the Facilities Technology Services Director
  • Elimination of the Audio Production Specialist
  • Elimination of Supervisor of the After-Hours Building Engineers position
  • Elimination of the Mobile Stage
  • A $70,000 (1/3 of the total grant budget) cut to arts grant budget

A petition against the cuts, which would mostly affect theatrical productions, has gathered more than 2,750 signatures.

The rally is planned to coincide with the County Board’s public budget hearing at 7 p.m.

“Many of Arlington’s performing arts groups will be showcasing their talents and expressing their opposition to the proposed arts budget cuts,” says a press release about the rally before the hearing. “The community is invited to join the festivities and share stories about the positive impact of the arts in Arlington.”

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Morning Notes

Amazon Talking to Unions — “Amazon.com Inc., JBG Smith Properties Inc. and union representatives in the D.C. region have met a few times in the last six weeks to discuss benefits and wages for the workers who will build HQ2 in Pentagon City.” [Washington Business Journal]

Changes Coming to Arlandria? — “For decades, developers have eyed Arlandria, the working-class neighborhood near Reagan National Airport where a transplanted Hispanic culture flourishes amid Northern Virginia’s upscale condominiums… Now, crime is down, the economy is humming, and Amazon is moving in virtually next door, with plans to hire thousands of well-paid workers, who’ll be in search of easy commutes.” [Washington Post]

Local Strategist Sued by U.S. Rep Raising Funds — Political strategist and Arlington resident Liz Mair is being sued by Rep. Devin Nunes, in a bizarre defamation suit that also names Twitter and two parody Twitter accounts as defendants. Mair is raising money for her legal defense. [Donorbox, Twitter]

Op-Ed: Nix Arlington Arts Cuts — “If the 2020 budget that Arlington County Manager Mark Schwartz submitted to the County Board is implemented, it will prove to be devastating to the Arlington arts community.” [Washington Post]

Arlingtonians Help Save Bird — A pair of Arlington residents, including former Arlington Outdoor Lab executive director Neil Heinekamp, “came to the rescue of a distressed bird” found on a nature trail in The Villages, Florida.  [InsideNova]

Kitchen Fire in N. Arlington High Rise — “Units called to 4300 blk of Lorcom Lane for oven fire on 6th floor of a residential high rise. Fire is out with minor extension to surrounding cabinets. Crews working to ventilate smoke and scaling back response.” [Twitter]

Nearby: Halal Butchery Controversy Continues — “Letter-writer compares proposed halal butchery in Alexandria to *slave auctions*: this is the same brutality…’ Even by the standards of Alexandria micro-controversies, the rhetoric around this thing is remarkable.” [Alexandria Times, Twitter]

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Morning Notes

Seven Corners Suspicious DeathUpdated at 10:25 a.m. — Fairfax County Police are investigating a “suspicious death” on the 6100 block of Arlington Blvd in Seven Corners, near the Arlington border. That block is home to the Willston Centre shopping center, a McDonald’s, a hotel and a number of commercial offices. [Twitter, Twitter]

What’s Up With the ‘Psychedelic Tower?’ — “You’ve probably seen the tower if you’ve ever driven across the 14th Street Bridge… It’s a hexagonal, granite structure that sits about a third of the way down the bridge, closer to the Virginia side. By day, it doesn’t look like much. But by night, its windows light up like a gigantic kaleidoscope.” [WAMU]

New Pike Library Remains a Goal — “Arlington government leaders haven’t given up their quest to add a new library branch on the western end of Columbia Pike. But unless an unbeatable opportunity presents itself, a new facility is not going to happen immediately.” [InsideNova]

Arts Cuts Highlighted in TV ReportProposed budget cuts to the county’s scene shop, costume shop and technical services provided to local theater companies “would really destroy the arts community,” advocates told NBC 4 in a segment that aired last night. [NBC Washington]

Nearby: Seven Corners Office Buildings Purchased — “BoundTrain Real Estate has purchased the two commercial office towers located at 6400 and 6402 Arlington Boulevard in Falls Church for more than $38 million. The two 13-story buildings in the Seven Corners commercial district include more than 410,000 square feet of commercial space.” [Falls Church News-Press]

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