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Morning Notes

Columbus Day Closures — “Most Arlington Transit routes are closed, with the exception of routes 42, 45, 51, 55, 77 and 87, which will run on Saturday schedules. Parking meters won’t be enforced, but all other parking violations will be. The public schools will not hold classes; it’s a professional learning day for staff. Government offices and the public library are open.” [WTOP]

Local Yard Sale Funds Acts of Kindness — “Susan Thompson-Gaines is like a fairy godmother who magically appeared in Marjorie Gonzales’ life to help her conjure up a dress for the ball. ‘Just came out of nowhere,’ said Gonzales, who was in need of a homecoming dress… Thompson-Gaines uses every penny of her profits — more than $12,000 this year — to fund random acts of kindness throughout her community.” [CBS News, InspireMore]

Proposal for Better W-L Baseball Field — “This fall, Healy is working with director of student activities Carol Callaway on a project proposal that they hope to present to county officials in the coming weeks. His vision is of something similar to Waters Field, a multi-purpose artificial turf field that can host games for baseball and rectangular field sports and serves as a central hub in the Vienna community… ‘You could call it a total facelift,’ Healy said. ‘You name it, we need it. You can’t even stand up in the visitor dugout, and the press box is almost a safety hazard.'” [Nova Baseball Magazine]

GMU Groundbreaking Planned — “GMU plans to break ground on the nearly $250 million expansion of its Arlington campus in January. The primary addition to the Virginia Square campus will be the 360,500-square-foot home for the Institute for Digital Innovation (IDIA), its tech research hub, and the coming School of Computing… Bethesda-based Clark Construction will serve as general contractor on the project, which is scheduled to be complete by April 2025, with students moving in by July of that year.” [Washington Business Journal]

Changes Planned for GMU Plaza –“The ‘stay-the-course’ proposal will aim to make the large plaza fronting Fairfax Drive a more useful gathering space, perhaps with a café attached, while potentially adding a mid-level connection between Smith and Van Metre Halls to effectively combine them as one. That was the vision outlined by Gregory Janks, who has led the 18-month planning process for the three main Mason campuses.” [Sun Gazette]

New Art at Central Library — “Arlington residents and Library patrons are in for a visual treat when entering the second floor at Central Library. The newly installed artwork titled ‘North Lincoln Street, Arlington, Virginia’ by Arlington artist Jason Horowitz, features a playful, 360-degree view of a re-imagined Ballston neighborhood landscape.” [Arlington Public Library]

Marymount 5K Race on Wednesday — “Marymount University Doctor of Physical Therapy program hosted the first Marymount 5K in the spring of 2015… Join us in 2021 for the sixth annual Marymount 5K supporting the DPT Program’s foundational pillars of Global Perspective, Service to Others, and Intellectual Curiosity.” [Marymount University]

Nearby: Shooting in Arlandria — From Alan Henney: “500 blk of Four Mile Rd off Mt. Vernon Ave in the City of Alexandria. 15 yr-old boy shot in stomach taken to a trauma center in serious condition. Several suspects fled the scene on foot.” [Twitter, Twitter]

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Morning Notes

Opening Date Set for Aquatics Center — The new Long Bridge Park Aquatics and Fitness Center will open on Monday, Aug. 23, the Arlington Dept. of Parks and Recreation announced yesterday. [Twitter]

Local Org Resettling Afghan Refugees — “Besides Lutheran Social Services, the [Arlington-based] Ethiopian Community Development Council, the International Rescue Committee, and Catholic Charities do a lot of work to resettle Afghan [Special Immigrant Visa] holders in this area. Christy McCaw of African Community Center DC  Metro, the ECDC’s resettlement branch, says her organization needs leads on apartments that will rent to newcomers without proof of income.” [Washingtonian]

Broken Water Main Causes Pressure Problems — From the Arlington Dept. of Environmental Services yesterday: “A crew is stabilizing a broken water main that has caused pressure issues in the vicinity of Campbell Elementary School along S. Carlin Springs Road. Pressure should be returning to normal within the hour. Traffic diverted around work site. The break is on a 20-inch main. Greatest impact of pressure loss along Carlin Springs Rd from Rt 50 south to Columbia Pike and near the intersection of Wilson Blvd and George Mason.” [Twitter]

New W-L History Marker Under Consideration — “Four years after the installation of a marker celebrating the history of Washington-Lee High School was scotched by leaders of the county school system, a proposed revised marker – honoring the school now known as Washington-Liberty – is wending its way through the development process.” [Sun Gazette]

Next Community Convo with Police Chief — “Join Chief Penn and members of ACPD at the next Community Conversations with the Chief to share your thoughts on the future of policing in Arlington! Our next conversation will take place on Friday from 10 AM to 12 PM at Metro 29 Diner located at 4711 Lee Highway.” [Twitter]

Huske Signs Sponsorship Deal — “2020 U.S. Olympic medalist [and Arlington resident] Torri Huske announced that she’s signed a swimwear deal with TYR on Friday, making her the third high-profile swimmer set to begin their freshman year of college to do so. Huske, 18, will join Stanford University in the upcoming collegiate season. Terms of the deal have not been made public.” [SwimSwam]

Youth Baseball Team’s Championship Run — “Overcoming four tournament losses, the 9-under Arlington Storm Black managed to finish second in the Babe Ruth World Series. The Storm lost in the ultimate title game of the baseball tournament in Jensen Beach, Fla., by a 7-3 score, to Florence, Ala. The meeting was the fourth between the teams in the competition. About 90 minutes earlier that same day, Arlington had previously routed Florence, 11-1, to force a playback game between the two teams in the championship round.” [Sun Gazette]

Reminder: N. Glebe Road Closure — “All lanes of N. Glebe Road between Military Road and Chain Bridge Road, in the northern tip of Arlington, [are now] closed for construction… The nine-day closure is the culmination of the $10 million rehabilitation project for the nearly 50-year-old bridge over Pimmit Run, just before Chain Bridge. Between Friday, Aug. 13 and Monday, Aug. 23, crews will work to replace the entire bridge deck and its underlying beams.” [ARLnow]

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Morning Notes

Mistargeted Alert Wakes Up Arlingtonians — Numerous Arlington residents from around the county erroneously received an emergency phone alert about a boil water advisory in Northeast D.C. around 2 a.m. Thursday morning. [Twitter]

Huske Talks About Olympic Experience — “By coming so close to winning an individual medal, then earning a second-place silver on a relay team, Torri Huske’s rated her recent swimming experience at the Summer Olympic Games as a success for the 2021 Yorktown High School graduate. ‘It was all a really good learning experience, and I took a lot away from the Games, like needing to work on the little things,’ Huske said. ‘The swimming was different that anything I had been to before because it was spread out over nine or 10 days. I’m very thankful for what I got to do.'” [Sun Gazette]

Amazon Pushes Back Office Return — “Amazon.com Inc. revised its back-to-office timeline again and told employees it wouldn’t resume regular in-person work until Jan. 3, according to an internal message viewed by the Business Journal. The company had set Sept. 7 as the official return date, after announcing it expected employees to be in the office at least three days per week.” [Washington Business Journal]

Youth Baseball Team in Nat’l Championship — “I write to congratulate our 9YO Arlington Storm Black team on finishing runner-up in the Cal Ripken World Series! No team in [Arlington Babe Ruth’s] 36-year history has had as successful a season… We could not be prouder.” [Twitter]

Crash Disrupts Traffic, Show on the Pike — “Crash in front of Arlington Cinema n Drafthouse. It’s delayed the start of tonight’s film.” [Twitter, Twitter]

ACPD Again Holding Community Police Academy — “The Arlington County Police Department is now accepting applications for the 25th Community Police Academy (CPA), formerly the Citizen’s Police Academy. The CPA is an educational program designed to create better understanding and communication between police and the community they serve.” [ACPD]

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Arlington Storm ballplayers meet U.S. Senator Tim Kaine (courtesy photo)

For the first time, a team of 9-year-old baseball players from the Arlington Babe Ruth League is going to the league’s version of the World Series.

The team, dubbed the Arlington Storm, is headed to Florida’s Treasure Coast today (Wednesday) to compete for the national title. The trip comes after winning the Virginia state championship and the Babe Ruth Southeast Regional Championship last week in Snow Hill, North Carolina.

“We’ve got some really good ball players, [and] they’re becoming really good teammates, most importantly,” said team captain Jeff Groharing, who is an attorney with the Department of Justice by day, and a baseball coach by morning (practice starts at 7:30 a.m. daily).

The boys will face several other teams from across the country in a series of games leading up to the championship on Thursday, Aug. 5.

“I’m burning up all my leave, but there’s no better way to spend it,” said Groharing, who says the kids have been having a whirlwind of a time since they won regionals.

After their victories the team received encouragement from Rep. Don Beyer and even visited the U.S. Capitol and met with Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine.

Getting attention from the Senators is neat for the boys,” Groharing said. “Both Senators Warner and Kaine seemed to enjoy spending time with the boys as well.”

Groharing started coaching the team when his son, who is on the team, was 7. He says parents love sending their kids to practice because they start their days early and learn values, such as teamwork and discipline.

“I don’t think they realize how much of an accomplishment it is for them to get it this far,” he said.

Arlington was well-represented down in Florida last weekend by another youth sports team. The Arlington Soccer Association’s team of 15-year-old boys won the U.S. Youth Soccer National Championships on Sunday, and three players received individual awards, we are told.

https://twitter.com/vayouthsoccer/status/1419712632794370057

https://twitter.com/arlingtonsoccer/status/1419711801030332421

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Arlington County is asking residents how and when they use athletic fields.

The County’s Public Spaces Master Plan, adopted in April 2019, calls for a public survey every five years to garner feedback to determine how and when Arlingtonians use the available athletic fields.

The collected data will be used to update the permit process, availability of fields, and who has access when.

“We have a finite amount of park spaces,” Jerry Solomon, Community Engagement Manager for the Department of Parks and Recreation, writes to ARLnow in an email. “Our goal is to ensure we are using them as efficiently and effectively as possible. We need to determine if we are offering field spaces at times that people can best access them.”

Fields for adult soccer leagues, for example, are most needed outside of typical working hours. Baseball diamonds for Little League should be accessible when the players are, like on weekends or after school.

This survey will help make sure this is the case, plus provide additional data that may not be as self-explanatory.

The survey specifically asks about activity start and end times for different age groups as well, like if kids 9 and youngers should end their field use prior sundown on weekdays and who should have access to lighted fields.

In total, Arlington has 96 athletic fields — a mix of rectangular fields (35), diamond fields (42), and a combination of the two (19). That can be further broken down into lighted (37) and not lighted fields (59) as well as natural grass (80) and synthetic turf fields (16).

It probably doesn’t come as a surprise that the fields that have the most use on an individual basis are the lighted, synthetic turf fields. On average, each one of those fields gets more than 2,100 hours of play per year. This is compared to an average of 700 hours per non-lighted, natural grass field.

For years, which fields got lights has been a source of community contention.

Athletic field use in Arlington is often not a free-for-all or on a first-come, first-serve basis. Nearly all of the fields are either only accessible to permit holders or priority is given to permit holders.

Only six of the 96 athletic fields in Arlington are available as drop-in fields, or “community fields.” Even those, though, can be reserved for scheduled programs or practices.

That has drawn the ire of some residents, like those who live near Pentagon City and want to see one or both of the softball diamonds at Virginia Highlands Park opened up for community use.

There’s even a tiered priority system for the allocation of permits, which was first recommended in 2016 due to an “inequity” that existed in how fields were allocated.

Arlington Public Schools are given first priority, then county-organized non-profit youth sport leagues, then adult leagues, then for-profit sports leagues, and, finally, individual rentals or other organizations.

Some fields also have agreements with local universities for their use.

All of this, plus Arlington’s growing population, is resulting in heavy use and demand for athletic fields. According to the PSMP, the county could need an additional 11 rectangular and 2 diamond fields by 2035 to maintain the current levels of use and access.

The hope is that the survey and public feedback will allow for better, more efficient, and more fair use of the limited field space.

This survey will be open until the end of the month, says Solomon, at which point DPR will review and report findings to the Public Spaces Master Plan Implementation Committee in the spring.

There could be more opportunities to provide feedback come the spring and summer, Solomon noted.

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Morning Notes

Free T-Ball This Spring — “Arlington Babe Ruth (ABR) is now offering free T-Ball to boys and girls ages 4-6. ABR recognizes that young players will try multiple sports in order to see what sticks, so we’ve eliminated registration fees for the youngest players. The free ABR Blastball and T-Ball programs are excellent ways to introduce boys and girls to baseball, using simple drills, a soft ball and lightweight bats, and a fun-oriented approach that teaches the rules while building enjoyment for the game.” [Arlington Babe Ruth]

Most-Read Arlington Library Books — “These are the books Arlington readers turned to the most in 2020. Unsurprisingly, many top fiction titles were part of a series, and many top nonfiction titles reflect a yearning for social justice and a desire for human connection.” [Arlington Public Library]

Virtual Meetings Lead to More Participation — “The Electoral Board was actually in the midst of conducting a meeting in March when the county government began battening the hatches and closing facilities while the COVID crisis was taking hold. Its meetings since then have been conducted on an electronic platform. There is a plus side to that. ‘Attendance has certainly increased – it has more than tripled,’ county elections chief Gretchen Reinemeyer said.” [InsideNova]

GW Parkway Lane Change — “Years of side-swiping, rear-ending and near misses have prompted traffic pattern changes to crash-prone sections of the George Washington Memorial Parkway and Interstate 395. Northbound traffic on the George Washington Parkway is permanently narrowed into a single lane at the crosswalk near Memorial Bridge.” [WTOP]

New Year Video from Arlington Children’s Chorus — “Watch this video of a song we wrote and performed that we did to bring some good cheer to the local community this holiday season… After all our festive activities were cancelled, writing a song trying to capture a little bit of the spirit of the season was a way to let our children’s voices be heard. It’s been amazing how much joy has blossomed from such a difficult situation!” [YouTube]

Distinction for Arlington Biotech Firm — “[Arlington-based] Kerecis is the fastest growing company in the regenerative-tissue market in the United States according to SmartTRAK Business Intelligence, which compared industry-sales and market-share data for 3Q 2020 to 3Q 2019.” [Kerecis]

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Morning Notes

Lovings Might Not Want Name Used for Road — “The problem with these efforts [to rename Lee Highway as “Loving Avenue”] is that the surviving family has strong feelings about these efforts, statues, renaming of roads etc. They do not want this and the attention it brings. We in Caroline [County] try to be sensitive to their wishes and how they view these efforts and the Loving story. I would like nothing better than to see her remembered in this way, but must defer to the wishes of the family.” [Falls Church News-Press]

Barcroft Field Getting Video Screen — “Tucker Field at Barcroft Park will have an enhanced look for the 2021 season, as it was announced on Friday, Dec. 16 that construction has begun on a new videoboard to be used by the GW Baseball program. The project, entirely privately funded, was made possible due to a lead gift from Joe and Leslie Barmakian, parents of current GW student-athlete and baseball team member, Steve Barmakian.” [GW Sports]

Jail COVID Tests Only Find One Case — “In partnership with the Arlington County Public Health Department and the Virginia National Guard, the Arlington County Sheriff’s Office tested 196 inmates and 274 deputies, civilians and contractors for COVID-19. There was only one staff member who tested positive among the 470 people tested.” [Arlington County]

Beyer Proposes New COVID Research Funding — “Rep. Don Beyer this week introduced the COVID-19 Long Haulers Act, which would authorize and fund research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PICORI) to benefit so-called “long haulers,” people who experience long term effects of COVID-19 infections.” [Press Release]

Funding Available for Overdue Utility Bills — “Arlingtonians who are having trouble paying their water and sewer bills due to pandemic-related economic hardship may be eligible to have their bills paid through the County’s new Utility Relief program. The application deadline is January 15. The program is funded through a $383,338  state coronavirus relief grant accepted by the County Board at its Tuesday, Dec. 15 Recessed Meeting.” [Arlington County]

Strong Leasing for New Ballston Building — “I’m expecting revenue to increase next year because of [B.F. Saul]’s new project called The Waycroft delivered earlier this year. The project comprises 491 apartment units and 60,000 square feet of retail space in Arlington, Virginia, as mentioned in the business update. Around 353, or 72% of available units, are leased.” [Seeking Alpha]

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Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnowStartup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups and their founders, plus other local technology happenings. Monday Properties remains firmly committed to the health, safety and well-being of its employees, tenants and community. This week, Monday Properties is proudly featuring 1000 and 1100 Wilson (The Rosslyn Tower).

As the Washington Nationals play ball without fans in the stands, the team is turning to Arlington startup Hungry to bring the ballpark dining experience to homes.

If a Washington Nationals game just wouldn’t be the same for you without a hot dog, ballpark peanuts or other baseball cuisine, the new Best Ballpark Bites program may be a homerun. It aims to deliver gameday meals to those watching the games safely from their livings rooms.

“The Nationals want to bring the ballpark experience to you in the comfort and safety of your home,” the Nationals said in a press release. “Introducing Best Ballpark Bites Delivered, featuring classic gameday meals.”

The partnership is part of a continued shift towards no-contact deliveries during the pandemic, according to Hungry’s website. The Ballston-based company also was able to recently secure over $20 million in funding from donors like comedian Kevin Hart and former Whole Foods co-CEO Walter Robb.

The packages come in three optional sets:

  • Enzo’s Pizza Pack — featuring a hand-tossed pepperoni pizza to bake at home, Old Bay dry rub and Buffalo wings, a pasta salad, two packages of cracker jacks and three Cokes
  • Backyard Grill Pack — Two Hebrew Nationals Hot Dogs to be reheated at home, an Italian sausage and bratwurst to be grilled at home along with their respective condiments, tortilla chips, nacho dip, chili, Cracker Jacks and three Cokes
  • Tacos and Nachos Pack — Nine chicken and black bean tacos, “NAT-cho” chips, corn salad, Cracker Jacks and three Cokes

All packs are $75 and designed to serve 2-3 people with contactless deliveries.

Alcohol orders are also included but will require the recipient to present ID on delivery. In addition to online ordering, the press release says orders can be placed via 1-888-8HUNGRY or emailing [email protected]. Orders have to be placed by midnight the day before the game for night games.

According to Hungry’s website, orders will include a free Nats bobblehead for a limited time.

Flickr photo by Stephen Yates

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Arlington’s youth baseball and softball leagues, much like the major professional sports leagues, are going on an immediate hiatus.

“In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the diamond sports leagues in Arlington have suspended indefinitely all activities including practices, games, coaching clinics, and team meetings until further notice,” the local leagues said in a statement sent to ARLnow.

“The announcements by Arlington Babe Ruth (ABR), Arlington Senior Babe Ruth (ASBR), Arlington Little League (ALL) and Arlington Girls Softball Association (AGSA) were made on Thursday night following multiple conversations among league officials and with Arlington Department of Parks and Recreation,” the statement continued. “The leagues were gearing up for the start of the 2020 season with pre-season practices scheduled to commence on Saturday morning. Bats and balls will have to wait at least a few weeks until the public health emergency is sufficiently contained.”

“ABR is taking this action for the personal safety of our players, families, and volunteers, and for the interest of public health in our community,” Arlington Babe Ruth President JP Cooney said in a letter to parents. “We will always be guided by the best interests of our players and families, and we abide by our commitment to being a responsible leader-organization in the Arlington community.”

The four leagues “are continually evaluating the situation and plan to resume sports activities only when it is safe to do so,” noted the statement. So far, there have been two confirmed cases of coronavirus in Arlington. Earlier today the Arlington Soccer Association also announced that it is suspending operations.

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Arlington Travel Baseball (ATB) is a 501(c)3 non-profit youth baseball organization that provides an opportunity for players ages 9-14U to acquire superior skills through higher levels of competition.

ATB is seeking head and assistant coaches who have a passion for the game and want to join a “winning” team. Ideally, we are in search of former college baseball players who want to teach the game they grew up playing.

Coaches will be compensated a competitive wage and required to pass a background check. Coaching experience is a plus but not required and training is available as needed. Coaches will report to the Director of Player Development, who will set team goals and assist with practice plans and specific skills development.

Typical responsibilities include:

  • Manage the day to day field activities of the team. Teaching relevant skills, tactics and techniques
  • Arrive on time and have a practice plan for each practice
  • Lead the team at all regular season, playoff and tournament games
  • Coach in a positive manner (Coaches will have coach of conduct form)
  • Communicate with Team General Manager with administrative needs of team
  • Prepare the players for the physical and mental challenges of competitive baseball
  • Identify player strengths and weaknesses and provide progress reports at end of summer season
  • Attend annual tryouts in July

If you’re interested or know someone who might be please contact us at [email protected] or call 703-801-6297.

An Arlington man looks so much like Washington Nationals ace Max Scherzer that he had to be escorted by the police during the team’s World Series parade on Saturday.

Kevin Kramer, who’s lived in Arlington for the last 20 years, had his first fan interaction four years ago in an ALDI grocery store.

“They were shouting ‘Max, Max,’ and asked me to throw the first pitch for their charity baseball team,” Kramer said. “That’s when I realized, oh my god, this person really thinks I’m Max Scherzer.”

Over the next few years, people at Nationals Park would approach him for the occasional selfie or ask him why he wasn’t out on the dugout during games.

Then this year, the Nationals entered the National League Championship Series and “things started to get really crazy.”

Kramer, who’s never met Scherzer in person, attended Game 3 of the NCLS, where he says he was mobbed by fans. Once the team made it to the World Series, he took things one step further with a single blue contact lens to match Scherzer’s distinctively-hued eyes.

“This is all for fun,” said Kramer, who runs an Instagram account, @notmaxscherzer. “I don’t set out to look like him, I’m not an impersonator. I think because the Nats have become so popular, people really want to believe that I am him.”

A videographer accompanied Kramer to Saturday’s parade to capture the scene. As expected, dozens of fans quickly mobbed Kramer, wondering why he wasn’t up on a parade bus celebrating with the team. As a result, D.C. police had to escort them through the streets.

Someday soon, he said, he hopes to transform all of this into a documentary.

“There’s a fascinating psychology behind this,” Kramer said. “For example, a lot more women will ask me for an ID or ask personal questions only Scherzer could answer. Men, on the other hand, just want to take a photo and go.”

For now, he’s hoping to capitalize on the coincidence by booking appearances, including “ad campaigns, parties, or whatever.”

Photos via Timur Tugberk/Designing the District

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