Board Funds Westover Apartment Purchase — The Arlington County Board on Saturday approved a $10.9 million loan that will allow the Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing to purchase 68 affordable but aging apartment units in the Westover neighborhood. Separately, an effort to designate Westover as a protected historic district, with the goal of preserving other affordable apartments, is continuing. Arlington’s Historic Affairs and Landmark Review Board will hold a key meeting on the topic in November. [Arlington County, InsideNova]
Outreach Planned for Bluemont Baseball Project — Following a raft of complaints and letters from nearby residents, county officials will be holding a community meeting Oct. 5 to discuss an approved contract to renovate one of the baseball fields at Bluemont Park. County Board members on Saturday chastised county staff for inadequate neighborhood outreach on the project prior to its July approval by the Board. [InsideNova]
Aurora Hills Community Center Upgrades OKed — As expected, the County Board has approved a $555,800 contract to upgrade the interior of the Aurora Hills Senior Center and Library. Separately, the Board also approved a $2.7 million utility undergrounding project for the intersection of Lee Highway and N. Glebe Road, which is slated for future streetscape improvements. [Arlington County]
Rodney Hunt Fighting Mansion Eviction — Once a wealthy information technology executive, Rodney Hunt was recently released from a jail sentence on drug charges and is now fighting the foreclosure auction sale of his $24 million mansion on Chain Bridge Road in Arlington. Over the past few months the sprawling home has been used to host “mansion parties,” one of which resulted in a drive-by shooting in McLean. [Washington Post]
High School Boundary Changes Coming Soon — Arlington Public Schools will be hosting a series of public outreach events next month as part of a boundary “refinement” process for the county’s high schools. The usually-contentious process of adjusting school boundaries will this time determine which students attend Arlington’s three comprehensive high schools: Wakefield, Washington-Lee and Yorktown. The changes will not affect current high school students. [Arlington Public Schools, InsideNova]
Local CVS Accused of Selling Expired Shakes — A CVS store on Columbia Pike is being accused of selling nutritional shakes that expired a year ago and made an elderly woman sick last month. In response to a TV station’s outreach, CVS promised to work with the store to make sure that it’s removing expired products from shelves. [WJLA]
Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley
A $720,000 project to renovate a baseball field in Bluemont Park, approved by the County Board in July, is now facing some community resistance.
A number of residents, along with the Boulevard Manor and Bluemont civic associations, have written letters to the Board asking them to reconsider their decision. The primary concern: a planned fence around the new field.
“Permanently fencing off over a quarter of the open field at Bluemont Park is a drastic action that deserves the full ‘Arlington Way’ treatment,” wrote Boulevard Manor Civic Association President Phil Klingelhofer.
“In violation of the ‘Arlington Way,’ the decision was made with no input from the community and was hidden on the County Board’s Consent Agenda with no notice… of the drastic change it proposed making to Bluemont Park,” Klingelhofer continued. “Our Civic Association first heard of a proposal to improve Bluemont field number 3 when we got a cryptic notice of a meeting to ‘learn about planned field renovations.'” (Links added.)
In a Board report published June 30, county staff said the new baseball field will include “sod, new irrigation, site circulation, fencing, backstops, bleachers, site furnishings, signage, ADA accessibility improvements, landscaping, and site drainage.” An included diagram details a “proposed” fence along with proposed bullpens and a proposed batting cage.
“Athletic field #3 is beyond reasonable maintenance and requires full renovation,” the report notes. Residents, however, say that a fenced-in baseball field — as opposed to the current open baseball field — reduces recreational options in the park.
“Irrespective of whether the process was sufficiently transparent, a bad plan is still a bad plan,” wrote Bluemont resident Suzanne Smith Sundburg. “The fencing and thus conversion of what is currently multipurpose, open-field parkland to a dedicated, single-sport field does a disservice to the many Boulevard Manor and Bluemont community residents as well as other residents who use this space for a variety of athletic and recreational activities. Passive, flexible, open-field space costs little to maintain and maximizes the use of the space.”
A Boulevard Manor resident complained to the Board that the public process behind the field was lacking.
“The purpose of the poorly understood March meeting becomes all the more murky if county staff was presenting a fait accompli to whoever may have attended rather than soliciting real input about the merits of the project,” wrote Joshua Handler. “I ask that the County Board rescind its decision to build a permanent baseball diamond… until the project can be thoroughly vetted by the adjacent communities and its impacts on greenspace, the multipurpose use of the park, the quality of life of the surrounding neighborhoods and the park visitors’ experience.”
Sundburg also expressed concern about runoff from the field into the Chesapeake Bay — as well as a short connector trail that’s set to be built as part of the project. The trail is billed as a “safe route” for nearby Ashlawn Elementary.
My second concern is the “Safe Routes to School trail connector.” More pavement means more runoff. And calling this a “safe route” sounds like a really sick joke considering that a convicted sex offender has been living in the [neighborhood], just east of where this “safe” route connection is to be constructed. The man has completed his sentence and is free to roam about. Neighbors in this area have reported seeing him frequently walking on the nearby paths and in the parks, particularly at times when children are arriving home from school.
County staff and the County Board have worked hard to urbanize Arlington. With urbanization come some unpleasant realities — including more two-footed predators living among us. Encouraging Bluemont’s young children to walk along isolated paths and through parks to get to school is beyond belief.
The County Board will have its first meeting of the fall, following its August break, this coming Saturday.
An apparent dust devil disrupted a youth baseball game in Arlington Saturday afternoon.
The tornado-like weather phenomenon happened around 4 p.m. at Quincy Field, near Arlington Central Library, during an Arlington Babe Ruth baseball game, we’re told.
A witness said the whirlwind sent spectators and players scurrying for cover.
“Three twisters made their way down the third baseball line during a 13-year old Senior Babe Ruth baseball game,” said Harold Andersen. “At first it appeared to be a strong gust of wind but as lawn chairs and full bat bags were carried up into the sky… players, coaches and umpires went running to the dugouts.”
The dust devils eventually dissipated over the library, said Andersen. But seriously, we asked — did one really lift bat bags into the air?
“I actually had a lawn chair lifted out of my hands as I was protecting my face from the flying sand,” Andersen said. “I would swear at least two bat bags loaded with catcher’s gear flew into and over the backstop.”
He added: “One parent yelled out ‘we are not in Kansas any more.'”
Atlanta Braves outfielder Hector Olivera has been arrested and charged with assault and battery after a dispute with a woman at the team hotel in Pentagon City allegedly became physical.
The incident happened just before 7 a.m. today at the Ritz-Carlton at 1250 S. Hayes Street, next to Pentagon City mall.
Police say they were called to the hotel for a report of a woman having a dispute with a man. After they arrived officers found a woman with visible bruises, according to Arlington County Police spokeswoman Ashley Savage.
The woman was transported to Virginia Hospital Center for evaluation. Olivera, who is in town with the team for a series against the Washington Nationals, was taken into custody.
Late this afternoon Olivera went before an Arlington magistrate and was charged with assault and battery. His bond was set at $10,000.
Per standard Major League Baseball policy, Olivera has been placed on administrative leave, various outlets reported. Rosslyn-based WJLA first reported the story.
Here’s the statement from ACPD:
On April 13, 2016, at approximately 6:51 a.m., police responded to a dispute at the Ritz Carlton located in 1200 block of S. Hayes Street. A female victim alleged that a male suspect assaulted her. The female victim had visible bruising and was transported to Virginia Hospital Center with non-life threatening injuries. The male suspect remained on scene and was taken into custody. Hector Olivera, 31, of Miami, FL, was charged with assault and battery and bond was set at $10,000.
Cheesetique to Open in Ballston — Cheese-and-wine shop Cheesetique has signed a lease for the former Pizza Vinoteca space at 800 N. Glebe Road in Ballston. It’s Alexandria-based Cheesetique’s third location and its second in Arlington. Cheesetique opened in Shirlington in 2011. [Washington Business Journal]
Snow Forum Tonight — Amid a driving rainstorm, Arlington County will hold a public forum to gather feedback on its post-blizzard snow removal efforts. The forum is taking place starting at 7 p.m. in the cafeteria of Key Elementary (2300 Key Blvd). Arlington received more than 3,000 responses to an online questionnaire about snow removal, most from the 22207 ZIP code and 46 percent saying they were dissatisfied. [Arlington County]
More on Snow Feedback — At the County Board meeting Tuesday afternoon, County Manager Mark Schwartz said many residents expected to see a plow on their neighborhood street within a day or two of the historic storm. “There seems to be a disconnect between people’s expectations and our resources,” he said. “We simply don’t have the resources to do that.”
Palette 22 Up and Running in Shirlington — Art-themed street food restaurant Palette 22 opened its doors on Monday. Defying those dubious about its theme and small plate offerings, Palette 22 was busy when ARLnow.com walked by Monday night. (The other two busy Shirlington restaurants Monday: Busboys and Poets and Guapo’s.) At 6,000 square feet, Palette 22 will have to keep packing them in even after the opening hype dies down. [Washington Post]
Hillary Clinton Event in Courthouse Tonight — Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign will be holding an event in Courthouse tonight with women’s health advocate Cecile Richards, the president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund. “Richards will talk about what’s at stake for women in this election and highlight Hillary Clinton’s proven record of standing up for women’s access to affordable reproductive health care regardless of income, race, or ZIP code,” said a press release. The event is taking place at Arlington Rooftop Bar & Grill (2424 Wilson Blvd) starting at 7 p.m.
Changes to Library Fines Proposed — Under a proposed change, Arlington Public Library’s daily fine structure for overdue materials would change — from 20 cents for children’s materials, 30 cents for adult written books and $1 for DVDs — to a flat 30 cents per day for everything. The flat rate structure would be similar to that of Fairfax County’s libraries and is expected to be a wash financially. [InsideNova]
Baseball Teams Joust at Barcroft Field — During a rain delay yesterday at Barcroft Field, the George Washington University baseball team and their opponents from Delaware State had a bit of a jousting duel, video of which was posted online. [WJLA]
Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf
Board Candidates on Bad Decisions — The Democratic candidates for Arlington County Board on Wednesday were asked to name a recent County Board decision they disagreed with. James Lander said he disagreed with the decision to cancel the streetcar. Andrew Schneider said “citizens were owed more of a process” on the streetcar decision. Katie Cristol cited the decision not to fund an extra firefighter to staff certain fire equipment. Christian Dorsey cited the decision to delay building an elementary school next to Thomas Jefferson Middle School. Bruce Wiljanen said he wasn’t happy with the development plan for Rosslyn Highlands Park. Peter Fallon disagreed with the redevelopment of the Bergmann’s dry cleaning site on Lee Highway. [InsideNova]
ACFCU Named ‘Credit Union of the Year’ — Arlington Community Federal Credit Union, an ARLnow.com advertiser, has been named “Federal Credit Union of the Year” by the Arlington-based National Association of Federal Credit Unions. ACFCU was bestowed the honor for credit unions with assets of $250 million or less.
Babe Ruth Baseball to Celebrate Anniversary — Arlington Babe Ruth (ABR) Baseball will celebrate its 30th anniversary on May 17. Reportedly the longest-running youth baseball program in the county, ABR will mark the occasion with a “Family Fun Day” for baseball families from 2:00-5:00 p.m. in Barcroft Park.
Peter Chang Fast Casual Restaurant in Arlington — Chef Peter Chang, who has a large following in Northern Virginia, is in lease negotiations for the Oriental Gourmet space at 2503 N. Harrison Street. Chang hopes to open Peter Chang Wok, envisioned as a fast casual Chinese restaurant. Chang only plans to make “a few cosmetic changes” to Oriental Gourmet, which is still open, after taking over the lease. [Washington Post]
Cherrydale Plan Passes — Cherrydale has a new Neighborhood Conservation plan. The plan, approved by the County Board on Tuesday, calls for protecting trees, ensuring sidewalks are wide enough for strollers and those with disabilities, timely utility maintenance, more daycare opportunities and infrastructure for residents to age in place. [Arlington County]
Top County Staff Gets Raise — The Arlington County Board on Tuesday voted to give a 3.4 percent raise to the three county employees it’s permitted by law to hire directly: County Manager Barbara Donnellan, County Attorney Stephen MacIsaac and Clerk to the County Board Hope Halleck. The annual salary for Donnellan — who’s in charge of the county government and its more than 3,800 employees — will increase to $269,742. [InsideNova]
Abundance of Busted Pipes — This week Arlington County firefighters have responded to a steady stream of calls for busted water pipes in buildings around the county. “Please make sure you know where your water shut off is in case it happens to you,” the fire department tweeted. [Twitter]
Abingdon Street House Fire — Firefighters extinguished a small fire in the basement of a home on the 100 block of N. Abingdon Street on Wednesday morning. One person had to flee the home, reportedly while only wearing shorts and a t-shirt, but no injuries were reported. [Twitter]
Court Ruling May Cost Arlington Millions — A ruling by the Virginia Supreme Court on a tax dispute in Arlington County may cost Arlington and other Virginia localities millions of dollars in lost business license tax revenue. The court ruled that companies with offices in multiple states may deduct certain out-of-state earnings from their license tax. [Washington Post]
GW Baseball Blanks Georgetown — In a chilly game at Arlington’s Barcroft Park that we previewed Wednesday, the George Washington University baseball team defeated Georgetown in a 3-0 shutout. [GW Sports]
Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick
Because Tucker Field at Barcroft Park is artificial turf, with the exception of the pitching mound, batter’s box and bullpen, the team has been able to practice outdoors most days, and has already played two home games; a win and a loss against the New Jersey Institute of Technology.
Many youth baseball players remember especially cold days as especially painful, with balls hit off the end of the bat resulting in hands stinging with pain for several minutes. But for serious college athletes, the cold is roundly ignored.
“It’s all a mental thing,” graduate student and fifth-year pitcher Craig LeJeune said in a phone interview today. “We’ve just got to wear a lot more shirts and undershirts. Once you get out there and warm up, you just go out there and play like it’s any other day.”
The Colonials’ third game is today at 2:30 p.m. against Georgetown University, at Barcroft Park. In between their two season-opening games against NJIT, the Colonials have had three games cancelled and two, against Georgetown and the University of Virginia, postponed.
The cancelled games have not meant that the Colonials have gotten a break. They have had some indoor practices, but most of their work has been outdoors, including when the field is still covered in snow.
“The biggest thing we like to do is keep it high-energy and high-tempo so the cold doesn’t really affect us,” assistant coach and recruiting coordinator Dave Lorber said. “If you’re doing the right things and running an efficient practice, the cold is not something you’re even thinking about.”
After hosting Georgetown tomorrow, Tucker Field will be the site of a three-game series against Niagara University this weekend. The Colonials start play against Atlantic 10 opponents March 20 with a trio of games against St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia.
LeJeune said this year’s goal is to qualify for the A-10 tournament, played at Barcroft Park for the first time May 20-24.
“We want to make that [tournament] and defend the Tuck,” he said.
Wardian Featured in Runners World — Prolific ultramarathon runner and Arlington resident Michael Wardian was the subject of a full-page spread in the latest Runners World magazine. Wardian, 40, holds the record for fastest marathon dressed as a superhero, fastest marathon with a stroller and fastest marathon on a treadmill. He was photographed on the Potomac Heritage Trail, where he regularly goes on morning runs with his puppy, Rosie. [PDF]
Candidates Question School Costs — School Board candidates Barbara Kanninen and Audrey Clement both said that there are ways to contain costs at Arlington Public Schools. Clement said the school system should consider increasing class sizes, while Kanninen said she was concerned about the cost of technology initiatives. [InsideNova]
GW’s Barcroft Park Field to Be Named — George Washington University will name the field its baseball team plays at Barcroft Park after a major donor. The field recently underwent a $3 million renovation. It will be named after Avram “Ave” Tucker, a former GW baseball player and the owner of a financial firm, who is making a $2 million donation to the school. The newly-christened “Tucker Field” will be dedicated in a ceremony Saturday morning. [George Washington University]
Orthopaedic Center to Open in Clarendon — The Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Center of Falls Church has announced that it has opened a second office, at 1307 N. Highland Street in Clarendon.
Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley
Decision Lens Gets $6.5 Million — Arlington-based software company Decision Lens has received $6.5 million in investment. The company has 71 employees and serves 80 customers. [Reuters]
Arlington Youth Baseball Team Wins State Title — The Arlington Senior Babe Ruth 15-Under All Stars have captured a state championship. The team will now compete in the Southeastern Regional Tournament, which starts tomorrow near Richmond. [InsideNova]
(Updated at 1:00 p.m.) The spring sports season is over for all but the elite teams, like Washington-Lee boys soccer and Yorktown boys lacrosse, which are still hoping to raise more banners in their gyms.
The Generals’ boys soccer team is in the midst of one of its best seasons ever, sporting an undefeated 16-0 record with three ties. It took home the Liberty Conference 6 championship last week and continues its march to the state tournament at home against Stonewall Jackson tomorrow night.
Washington-Lee girls soccer (10-3) also took home the Conference 6 title, defeating Yorktown before losing in the opening round of Region 6A North action, 4-2, to Centreville last night. The Patriots soccer squads both lost just three times this season, and their years wrapped up in similarly heartbreaking fashion: both squads lost in double-overtime last night in the opening round of the regional tournament, the boys to Centreville and the girls to Robinson Secondary School.
Wakefield’s boys soccer team is still playing after turning around what could have been a disappointing season. The Warriors were the runner-ups in the Conference 13 tournament after losing six straight games before the tournament began. They play Leesburg’s Tuscarora in Region 5A North action tomorrow night to try to keep their improbable postseason alive.
Yorktown’s boys lacrosse team, after losing to state powerhouse Langley in the conference champion, secured a huge win last night in the opening round of the regional tournament, blowing by Oakton 12-5. They’ll face South County at a neutral field, Robert E. Lee High School in Springfield, tonight at 7:00 p.m. The Patriots girls lacrosse team — also a Conference 6 runner-up — saw its season come to an end last night at the hands of Robinson, 22-12.
Washington-Lee baseball, despite going just 11-11 in the regular season, managed to make a deep run in its conference tournament and qualify for regional play. Arlington’s only remaining baseball team in action will hope to keep its season alive at 3:30 p.m. tomorrow in Chantilly.
Wakefield’s softball team is also still alive after a 10-9 season and a 15-1 loss to eventual conference champion Marshall in the Conference 13 semifinals. Their season continues on the road in regional tournament play tomorrow at 6:00 p.m. against Massaponax.
After the jump, the records and results for Wakefield, W-L and Yorktown’s major varsity team sports. (more…)
Currently, the county collects fees from all leagues that use county fields — for youth, it’s $8 per resident and $20 for non-residents. It’s $100 per team per season for adults — but there is no dedicated funding stream for the improvement of baseball and softball fields. The fees have, to this point, been used to fund the replacement of soccer and other rectangle fields with artificial turf.
If approved, the Field Fund would be segregated, and fees collected from using diamond fields would be reserved just for those fields. In addition, staff is asking the Board to dedicate $85,000 in seed funding for the field improvements.
Funds will be assigned to projects following recommendations from Parks and Recreation staff and the county’s Sports Commission. The County Board is expected to vote on the plan this weekend.
Beauty Pageant in Crystal City — The annual Miss United States beauty pageant is taking place at Synetic Theater in Crystal City today and tomorrow (Saturday). Single women between the ages of 20 and 29 come from 55 states and U.S. territories to compete in the pageant. [Miss United States]
Marymount Launching Baseball Program — Arlington’s Marymount University is launching a baseball program, with a team composed largely of freshmen from Northern Virginia high schools. The team will play at Bishop O’Connell High School’s baseball field. [Washington Post]
County Still Reviewing Streetcar Finance Options — Arlington County officials are still trying to decide on their preferred funding mechanism for the Columbia Pike streetcar project. The streetcar could be built and in operation as early as 2017. [Sun Gazette]
Yelp Details ‘Yuppie’ Concentration in Clarendon — The business review site Yelp has published a map that shows the concentration of certain words in reviews. In the D.C. area, the word “yuppie” has the highest concentration in Clarendon. It also shows up to a lesser degree in Ballston, Courthouse and the Columbia Pike town center area. [Yelp]
Flickr pool photo by Ddimick
Yorktown Baseball Sets Record — Yorktown High School’s baseball team has finished the regular reason undefeated in the National District. With 14 victories, the Patriots set a National District record for wins in a single season. [Sun Gazette]
Crystal City BRT Named — The Bus Rapid Transit system that will serve Crystal City and Potomac Yard next year will be named “Metro Way” and will feature a blue bus design. The buses will travel from Pentagon City to Alexandria, and will run every 6 minutes during the rush hour. [Greater Greater Washington]
USS Arlington Fundraising $100K Short of Goal — So far, more than $390,000 has been donated or is expected to be pledged for a 9/11 “tribute room” on the USS Arlington. That leaves the ship’s commissioning committee more than $100,000 short of its $500,000 goal, however. Fundraising is continuing and committee member Frank O’Leary says he is “hoping to crack $400,000 this month.”
A grand opening was held for the newly renovated Barcroft Baseball Field #6 over the weekend.
The field’s $3 million renovation was paid for by George Washington University. Under an agreement with Arlington County, the school’s baseball team will be able to call the field home for the next 20 years, while the public will still be able to use the renovated facility when it’s not otherwise reserved for GW games or practices.
The new artificial turf field was open for GW’s baseball season last year, but major renovations — including the 500-seat grandstands, heated press box, concession stands, permanent dugouts, GW Colonials-branded entry plaza and reconfigured parking lot — were still under construction during and after the season.
Among those taking part in a ribbon-cutting and first pitch ceremony on Saturday were Arlington County Board Chair Walter Tejada, GW President Steven Knapp and GW Athletic Director Patrick Nero. GW played Quinnipiac after the grand opening festivities, but lost 4-2.
In addition to serving as a home for the GW baseball team, Field #6 will provide Arlington’s recreational youth baseball leagues “with a near major-league experience,” the county said on its website. GW and Arlington County officials say the long-awaited renovations will provide a big boost to the school’s baseball program and to recreational baseball in Arlington.
“Having played baseball at this university, I can speak firsthand about the incredible strides that have been made from where GW Baseball used to call home to this immaculate facility that ranks among the best in the region and in our conference,” GW Head Coach Gregg Ritchie said in a statement. “For all of the ballplayers that have come through GW over the years, Barcroft Park should serve as a nod of thanks for paving the way.”
“This is a great day for baseball in Arlington,” said Tejada. “Through our very successful partnership with GW, Arlington now has its first turf baseball diamond. I want to thank GW baseball for working with us for nearly two decades in what has become a great partnership with our community. We look forward to enjoying many years of great play on this field by both the Colonials and Arlington baseball leagues.”