Arlington, VA

Morning Notes

Arlington, MoCo Hire Consultant — “Montgomery and Arlington counties have hired a consultant to develop alternatives to the flight paths at Reagan National Airport that have led to dramatic increases in noise complaints from residents across the region. ‘This will be a game changer,; said Ken Hartman… Montgomery County’s point person on the airplane noise issue.” [Washington Post]

Biden Breaks 100K Mark in Arlington — “It likely won’t be the highlight of his political career, but Joe Biden will go down in history as the first presidential candidate to win more than 100,000 votes in Arlington. Biden garnered 102,510 of them, according to unofficial tallies reported immediately after the election… Trump’s performance, both in total votes and in percentage of the vote, slightly outperformed his 2016 tally in Arlington.” [InsideNova]

What the School Bond Will Fund — “The $52.65 million will be used for the following projects: $24.3 million for planning and design to meet 10-year projected capacity needs at all school levels; $15.4 million for major infrastructure projects such as HVAC replacement for schools; $7.65 million for building refreshes and kitchen renovations at ATS, Key and McKinley; $5.30 million for security entrances at Taylor, Gunston, Jefferson, Williamsburg, Wakefield.” [Arlington Public Schools, InsideNova]

Firefighter Follows in Fallen Father’s Footsteps — “The son of a Washington, D.C. fallen firefighter is following in his dad’s footsteps. When Anthony Phillips Jr.’s father died in the line of duty on May 30, 1999, he never thought he would do that work that took the life of his father 21 years ago. But, never say never… Phillips just graduated from the Arlington Fire Academy Recruit Class 78.” [WJLA]

Some Fog This MorningUpdated at 8:55 a.m. — From a National Weather Service tweet last night: “Some patchy dense #fog is developing over portions of central and northern Virginia. Remain alert if traveling overnight, as visibility could quickly fall to a quarter mile or less.” A Dense Fog Advisory is in effect until 10 a.m. [Twitter, Twitter]

Nearby: Downtown D.C. in Trouble — “Now,empty streets are the norm. The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed the District’s once-thriving downtown area into a ghost town over the past nearly eight months… Downtown D.C.s’ economy has been crushed by the pandemic, though it has made a slight recovery since the BID issued its last report in July.” [DCist]

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A group of Arlington Public Schools parents has organized to vote ‘no’ on the $52.65 million school bond.

In recent days Vote No Arlington launched a last-minute online campaign against the county’s 2020 public school bond, to voice their frustration with how APS is handling the return to school.

“Right now is a very emotional time,” Vote No Arlington founding member and APS parent Geoff Olinde said. “People feel they are not being served well by APS, and this is one of the few avenues to get APS’s attention.”

The $52.65 million bond will be on the ballot on Nov. 3. According to APS, the bond would fund four major types of capital improvements, which range from increasing space to accommodate projected higher enrollment rates to renovating kitchens.

But Olinde said the middle of an economic downturn is not the right time to take on $52 million of additional debt that will burden taxpayers. Furthermore, enrollment projections went “out the window” due to COVID-19, and many children may stay in private schools, he said.

Olinde — who earlier this week was a guest on the Larry O’Connor show on WMAL radio — said he is far from being a political activist, but the breakdown in education due to COVID-19 motivated him to get involved. He said he has supported previous bonds, and would have supported one that was specifically to support schools reopening.

According to APS, this school bond does focus on the short term as well as longer-term capital needs.

“The 2020 School Bond funds will address immediate needs by providing best-practice security entrances to schools that do not yet have them, expanding kitchens to better serve more students, and upgrading older HVAC systems for healthier school environments,” according to the district.

Alexandra Bocian, who also has supported school bonds in the past, said now is the time to focus on returning kids to school, not brick-and-mortar improvements.

Voting ‘no’ is the only way her voice for reopening schools will be heard, she said. Bocian said teachers and parents who prefer virtual learning have a voice, but parents who want to return are not being heard. She also worries that a ‘yes’ vote would note get her children any closer to returning to school.

“I can talk until I’m blue in the face, but if I hit you in the pocketbook, maybe you’ll listen,” she said.

As a Black working mother of three children, Bocian said she knows what her children can obtain being educated face-to-face, as opposed to online — and said the current solution is not equitable. Instead, it favors wealthy families, who can afford small tutoring groups called “pods,” which can cost up to $2,000, and those where a parent or both parents are home to help their kids.

While countries like France are exempting schools from lockdown orders, APS is just beginning to figure out who returns to school and when, and that is also not equitable, Bocian said.

“How do you think those kids who are going to get to school feel versus those who don’t?” she said. “That causes an issue.”

The school bond is being supported by the Arlington County Democratic Committee. Supporters say the funding is needed to address important school needs.

More information on the planned use of the APS school bond is below.

The $52.65 million will be used for the following projects:

  • Planning and design to meet 10-year projected capacity needs at all school levels $24.3 million*
  • Major infrastructure projects such as HVAC replacement for schools $15.4 million*
  • Building refreshes and kitchen renovations at ATS, Key and McKinley $7.65 million
  • Security entrances at Taylor, Gunston, Jefferson, Williamsburg, Wakefield $5.30 million *Additional funds for these projects will be included in future Capital Improvement Plans
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Morning Notes

Boat Catches Fire Near Gravelly Point — “Update boat fire Gravelly Point. Vessel is well involved. #DCsBravest Fireboats in active attack on burning vessel. The 11 occupants are being transported to Fire/Police pier for evaluation.” [Twitter, Twitter]

Flags at Half Staff in Va., U.S. — “Per an order from @GovernorVA, the Virginia flag is to be lowered to half staff at all federal, state and local government facilities across Virginia in memory of U.S Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died Friday. Flags are to remain lowered until burial.” [Twitter, White House]

AMC Shirlington Temporarily Closed — The AMC Shirlington 7 theater appears to have suddenly, temporarily closed over the weekend. AMC’s website shows no planned showtimes at the theater. The reason for the closure was not given. The theater reopened on Aug. 27 at a reduced capacity after closing at the beginning of the pandemic. [Twitter]

Beyer Still Pushing for Rosslyn Boathouse — “The seemingly interminable planning process for a new boathouse facility in Rosslyn already has outlasted one of its champions in Congress, and while U.S. Rep. Don Beyer (D-8th) is not planning on departing any time soon, one wonders if it might outlast him, too. Not if Beyer has anything to say about it. ‘It’s moving very slowly, but it will be done,’ Beyer vowed.” [InsideNova]

Local Startup’s Return to Office Normalcy — “Phone2Action’s first step toward that elusive new normalcy appears to be going as planned. That’s the latest word from Jeb Ory, CEO and founder of the advocacy platform, who said those employee volunteers the company selected to be the first workers back into Phone2Action’s headquarters at 1500 Wilson Blvd. seem to adapting well to the workplace changes.” [Washington Business Journal]

County Board Approves New Bonds — From last week: “The Board [voted] to authorize the sale of up to $172.32 million in General Obligation Public Improvement Bonds for new projects and the refunding of existing bonds to lower interest rates and save taxpayer money.” [Arlington County]

Arrest Made in Eden Center Nightclub Homicide — “City of Falls Church Police identified Geovanny Alexander Mejia Castro as the homicide victim in the September 11, 2020 shooting at the Diva Lounge (6763 Wilson Blvd.). Mr. Castro, a security guard at the nightclub, died from multiple gunshot wounds.” [City of Falls Church]

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Morning Notes

Changes at Prosecutor’s Office — Arlington Commonwealth’s Attorney Parisa Dehghani-Tafti has announced a reorganization of her office to implement a “vertical prosecution” model. The new structure “requires that one prosecutor be assigned to each case from start to finish; it permits the assigned attorney to work early and closely with law enforcement, victims, witnesses, and defense attorneys.” The office has also recently stopped its courtroom involvement with certain types of minor traffic offenses. [Press Release, Twitter]

Man Pleads Guilty to Arlington Carjacking — “A Washington, D.C. man pleaded guilty today to his role in an armed robbery and carjacking that led to a high-speed police chase and resulted in injuries to two police officers. According to court documents, Jovan Doir Johnson, 30, together with another individual, obtained a stolen vehicle at gunpoint in Arlington and then used it to rob a 7-Eleven in Lorton.” [Dept. of Justice]

Board Approves CIP, Bond Referenda — “The Arlington County Board today voted unanimously to adopt a scaled-down $277.5 million one-year Capital Improvement Plan that focuses on continuing or completing projects already underway and beginning a 10-year program to improve the County’s stormwater infrastructure and flood resiliency… In a related action, the Board unanimously approved bond referenda totaling $144.454 million to be put before the voters on the November ballot.” [Arlington County, Washington Post]

Board to Hold Closed COVID Meeting — “Notice is hereby given that the County Board of Arlington Co., VA, on Thursday, July 23, 2020 at 5:30pm, or as soon thereafter as matters may be heard, in accordance with and for the purposes authorized by law will meet to discuss matters related to the County’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.” [Arlington County]

Pandemic May Cause Hunger Crisis — “Up to a quarter of a million people in the Washington area could be thrown into hunger because of the novel coronavirus pandemic, according to a report by the Capital Area Food Bank, even as the amount of donated food and the number of distribution sites plummet precipitously.” [Washington Post]

Flickr pool photo by Vincent

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Morning Notes

Police Mutual Aid Agreements Under Review — “The force Park Police officers have used against protesters could cost the agency its working relationship with some local police departments. In a statement to News4, Metropolitan Washington’s Council of Governments confirms it is now planning to review the regional mutual aid agreement which governs those relationships.” [NBC 4, Connection Newspapers]

Planning Commission to Restart Meetings — “After a layoff of four months, the Arlington Planning Commission soon will be back in business – albeit in ‘virtual’ format, at least for the time being. Having last met on March 11, the advisory panel will hold its first COVID-era gathering on July 6, catching up on a backlog of items but likely focused on matters headed for County Board consideration later in the month.” [InsideNova]

More Changes to Marathon Planned — “Our working solution is to break the 45th MCM up into 24 waves that will start over an expanded window of time on event morning. This plan will necessitate a smaller field of in-person participants. Those in the late waves will have less time to Beat the Bridge. Twelve minutes per mile is the best we can offer at this time. It possibly might have to go even lower.” [Marine Corps Marathon]

Four Bond Referenda Planned — “Arlington taxpayers would be asked to approve four bond referendums totaling just under $92 million in the November general election… More than half the total amount – $50.8 million – will be used to address stormwater-management issues. Additional bonds are being proposed for transportation and Metro ($30 million), infrastructure ($7.5 million) and parks ($3.6 million).” [InsideNova]

District Doughnut Promotion — “To celebrate the reopening of our Ballston Quarter store, we are treating you to extra doughnuts! From Friday, June 26th through Sunday, June 28th, the first 50 customers each day will receive a free doughnut with any purchase.” [Facebook]

Here’s Who Adopted Cupid the Cat — Cupid, an injured kitten brought to the Animal Welfare League of Arlington after being shot in the head with an arrow, has a new adoptive mother: NBC 4 meteorologist Lauryn Ricketts. Cupid made a recent appearance on the station’s morning weather report. [Instagram]

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Morning Notes

Resources to Assist Those in Need — Arlington County has created a list of food, financial and medical assistance that is available for neighbors in need during the coronavirus outbreak. [Arlington County]

Vihstadt Stands Up for Farmers Markets — “At Saturday’s County Board meeting, former board member John Vihstadt rapped the state government for lumping in farmers’ markets – of which Arlington has nearly a dozen operating throughout the week – with restaurants (which for the most part are now closed to dine-in service and in many cases are shuttered completely) rather than treating them as supermarkets (which remain open and running at full strength).” [InsideNova]

Giant Adjusting Store Hours — “Effective Friday, March 27, most Giant Food stores will adjust hours of operations to be open from 6:00 a.m.-10:00 p.m… The first hour of operations, 6:00-7:00 a.m. is reserved for senior citizens and immunocompromised individuals, including pregnant women and caregivers shopping for the immunocompromised, so that they may shop and practice safe social distancing.” [Press Release]

Va. Liquor Stores Limit Hours — “The Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority (ABC) will reduce operating hours at all of its stores statewide beginning Friday, March 27, due to the expanding nature of the COVID-19 outbreak… stores across the commonwealth will be open from noon to 7 p.m., seven days a week, starting Friday, March 27.” [Virginia ABC]

County to Help Hospital with Bond Sale — “Continuing a 42-year tradition of collaboration, the Arlington County government will assist Virginia Hospital Center in issuing bonds to support new construction. County Board members on March 21 authorized the government’s Industrial Development Authority, or IDA, to issue up to $300 million in tax-exempt revenue bonds to support the effort.” [InsideNova]

Local Catholic Schools Embrace Distance Learning — “The Catholic Diocese of Arlington’s Office of Catholic Schools announced the successful stand-up of distance learning in all 41 parish schools and high schools in the Diocese. Distance learning is now in place, offering interactive, personalized instruction to students through the remainder of the academic year.” [Press Release]

Local Leaders Urge Rent Leniency — “There are new calls for landlords to freeze [rent] payments to help mitigate the economic fallout of the pandemic… ‘We need them to show compassion on the front end, and we’ll work to make sure they’re made whole on the back end,’ said Arlington County Board member Christian Dorsey.” [Washington Business Journal]

Tomb Sentinels Are Still Guarding — “There is a sacred duty not even a pandemic can stop: a rite of continuity still carried out in Arlington National Cemetery even as much of the country shuts down. The sentinels who guard the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier recently marked more than 30,000 days of constant watch over the remains of unidentified U.S. service members — a streak persisting through the pandemic.” [WUSA 9]

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Morning Notes

Effort Returns $68K to Arlington Residents — Staff from the Virginia Dept. of the Treasury were on hand at county government headquarters in Courthouse earlier this month to encourage those coming to pay their local taxes at the deadline to see if they have any unclaimed cash or property being held by the state. In all, the officials were able to return about $68,000 to people who stopped by. [InsideNova]

Population Growth Outstripping New Housing — A potential major worry should Amazon bring its HQ2 to the D.C. area is what it will do to the cost of housing. The region has fallen significantly short of housing production since 2010, according to a new report: “While the inner region’s population increased 7 percent, the number of housing units increased only 3 percent.” [Urban Institute]

County Defends Using Bonds for Artificial Turf — Despite suggestions otherwise, Arlington County Board members said Saturday that the county only uses bonds to fund artificial turf project when the lifespan of the bond equals or is less than the expected lifespan of the turf. [InsideNova]

Signature Partners with Yale — “[Signature Theatre] announced Monday a pioneering partnership to bolster musical-theater writing talent at the college level — a fairly underdeveloped avenue for professional American theaters. With financial backing from longtime Signature supporters Ted and Mary Jo Shen… Signature will produce one graduating Yale senior’s musical-in-progress annually in a three-week workshop, beginning next summer.” [Washington Post]

Mea Culpa — Yesterday, ARLnow sent a promotional email for a townhouse community with the pithy subject line, “So many reasons to move to Chantilly, VA.” While we didn’t get any complaints, this subject line does not reflect our commitment to serving the Arlington community and sending it as-is was a mistake for which we apologize.

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Morning Notes

Bond Referenda Total Almost $250 Million — “Arlington voters in November will be asked to pass judgment on four bond referenda totaling just under a quarter-billion dollars, under a proposal slated for County Board approval on July 14… The bond package now on the table includes $103 million for schools; $75.57 million for transportation; $37.015 million for community infrastructure; and $29.33 million for parks and recreation.” [InsideNova]

Virginia Ranks High As Pro-Business State — CNBC has listed Virginia as the No. 4 top state for business in the U.S. Texas was ranked No. 1. Virginia was ranked seventh by CNBC in 2017. [Virginia.gov]

Conspiracy Theorists Denounce Conspiracy Theory — Yesterday, lobbyist and conspiracy theorist Jack Burkman held a press conference at a Rosslyn hotel to reveal a mystery witness who supposedly heard government agents bragging about their role in the murder of DNC staffer Seth Rich. The press conference did not go as planned and has since been denounced by many who believe Rich’s murder is a political conspiracy — just not the conspiracy outlined by the “witness.” [Daily Beast, Twitter, Gateway Pundit]

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Morning Notes

Arlington Rocks the Red — It was lit in Arlington during last night’s Stanley Cup Finals — literally. In Rosslyn, a swath of red and the words “ALL CAPS” was projected onto a prominent office building. In Ballston, the lights atop another office building were switched to red. [Twitter, Twitter]

Young Caps Fan Provides All the Luck — Parker Matthews, a 7-year-old Arlington resident, kept finding four leaf clovers on the ground during the Washington Capitals’ playoff and championship run. She would display the lucky keepsakes in front of the TV during games. [NBC Washington]

Celebrations Around Arlington — The scene last night after the Caps won the Stanley Cup in Game 5 was one of jubilation throughout Arlington. In some parts of the county, homemade fireworks were going off. In Clarendon, fans cheered in the streets while a fire truck used its horn to lead the crowd in a chant of “let’s go Caps.” [Twitter, Twitter]

Where to Buy Caps Stanley Cup Gear — The team store at the Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Ballston could have Stanley Cup championship merchandise as soon as Saturday, though the exact timing is unclear. [Twitter]

In Less Exciting News — “Rising interest rates already are impacting the amount Arlington County taxpayers will have to shell out for bond-approved capital projects in coming years. But county-government officials hailed the recent 2.99-percent interest rate received on sale of $153 million in municipal debt as a testament to the government’s rock-solid credit rating.” [InsideNova, Arlington County]

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Morning Notes

Nauck Town Square Project Progressing  — “There seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel for the Nauck Town Square project, which aims to turn a barren (though iconic) strip of land into a true community gathering place… If all goes as planned, a construction contract will be inked in 2018, with completion a year later.” [InsideNova]

History: Arlington’s Three Sisters — Arlington County was home to the second-tallest human-made structure in the world after the Eiffel Tower: one of the “Three Sisters” U.S. Navy radio towers that once stood along Columbia Pike. [Arlington Magazine]

Mall Raising Money for Breast Cancer Research — This month the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City will be raising money for breast cancer research by offering discount cards to shoppers who make a $5 donation to the Susan G. Komen organization. The mall will also be holding meet and greets with the Susan G. Komen D.C. chapter and on Oct. 21 will be offering free pink cookies and pink lemonade. [Simon]

Arlington Issues New Bonds — Arlington County successfully sold $58 million in new bonds this week at an average 3.24 percent interest rate. “This sale allows the County to finance two important land acquisitions, while also saving the County $3.8 million of future debt service by refinancing existing bonds at lower rates,” County Manager Mark Schwartz said in a press release. [Arlington County]

Photo courtesy James Mahony

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Morning Notes

Arlington Kicking Off Budget Process Early — Normally it is a conversation that starts later in the year, but for the upcoming Fiscal Year 2019 budget process Arlington County is holding “an earlier-than-ever-before series of roundtable discussions on budget priorities and challenges.” The first is scheduled to take place at Westover Library on Friday, Sept. 29. [Arlington County]

More Renovations for Crystal House — The second phase of an extensive renovation process at the massive, historic Crystal House apartment complex in Crystal City is complete: “Some of the amenities include two rooftop ‘sky decks’ with billiard tables, rooftop grilling and dining areas, and a fitness center with a yoga studio. There is also an Olympic-sized swimming pool, new lobbies with Wi-Fi, a clubroom, and a conference room.” [Curbed]

Arlington’s Little League Coach of the Year — Arlington Little League coach Larry Patent beat out 276 other coaches in the league to win the honor of Coach of the Year. “What makes Larry Patent special,” writes a reporter for TV station WUSA 9, “is that he coaches a team made up of players with mental and physical disabilities.” [WUSA 9]

County to Issue New Bonds — Arlington County is expected to sell tens of millions of dollars worth of revenue bonds next month. The bonds will fund the acquisition of the Buck property across from Washington-Lee High School, the “acquisition, design and construction of an office building at 2920 S. Glebe Road,” and “upgrades to the County’s Assessment and Collection system and Enterprise Payments System.” The bonds will also refinance older bonds and save up to $3.8 million. [Arlington County]

Jimmy Carter Can’t Help Local Office Market — Despite the protestations of a local civic activist, Arlington County officials say they cannot successfully sue the federal government over a 1970s-era executive order from President Jimmy Carter that gave D.C. and Arlington “priority in the location of federal agencies in the Washington area.” Federal offices have been moving out of Arlington for cheaper office space farther away from the District. [InsideNova]

Photo courtesy Joe Cashwell

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