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Morning Notes

More on Axios Staying in Arlington — Media startup Axios, which just inked a 10 year lease in Clarendon, is getting a $60,000 performance-based “Gazelle Grant” from Arlington County. It is the fourth company to receive the economic development grant, joining Stardog, VideoBlocks and Phone2Action. “Axios is an excellent example of a Gazelle tech company here in Arlington — fast-growing and a leader in Arlington’s robust media industry,” County Board Chair Jay Fisette said in a statement. “Axios’ decision to remain here in Arlington as it grows and expands is the true purpose behind the Gazelle incentive program and demonstrates how Arlington’s assets are truly paying off. We are thrilled to continue to work with Axios as a partner in our business community.”

County Giving Away Free Snow Shovel — Updated at 11 a.m. — As part of a social media promotion, the Arlington County Dept. of Environment Services is giving away a free snow shovel, courtesy of Twins Ace Hardware in Courthouse, to one lucky winner who “describe[s] to us [on Twitter] or on DES Facebook your favorite phase of Arlington snow treatment and why.” [Twitter]

Public Invited to Gutshall Swearing-In — “The public is invited to join the Arlington County Board on Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2017 for the swearing-in of Board Member-elect Erik Gutshall… The ceremony will begin at 5 p.m., and will be followed by a reception outside the Board Room, Room 307 in the County Office Building, 2100 Clarendon Blvd., Arlington, VA, 22201.” [Arlington County]

Flickr pool photo by Eric

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Clarendon Veterans Day Ceremony Planned for Saturday

Arlington County will commemorate Veterans Day at the American Legion War Memorial in Clarendon Central Park on Saturday morning.

The event is set to begin at 11 a.m. at the park between Clarendon and Wilson Blvds, above the Clarendon Metro station. It will include the presentation of colors and remarks from local officials.

VFW Post 3150 will conduct the ceremony, which is beginning earlier than in previous years.

Courtesy photo

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Blind Triplets Make History With Eagle Scout Recognitions

(Updated 12 p.m.) As elementary school students, blind triplets Leo, Nick and Steven Cantos were bullied, had few friends and no role models.

But that changed when, at the age of 10, blind attorney and Crystal City resident Ollie Cantos became their mentor after learning about them through a friend at church. He legally adopted them two years ago, and turned their lives around.

“I didn’t have friends, my brothers were the only people, that was it,” Nick Cantos said. “I was essentially shut in for seven years, and I was a violent kid. I got into fights with people, because I was being bullied in school. It ended up getting so bad that I wanted to end [my life]. Dad really saved my life.”

A ceremony on Wednesday night marked how far they have come, having also graduated from Wakefield High School earlier this year. At The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Alexandria, the brothers became the first ever blind triplets to be honored as Eagle Scouts in the history of Boy Scouts of America.

To become Eagle Scouts, the highest honor in scouting, candidates must complete a slew of assignments, including tasks like first aid, knot-tying, leadership and orientation. It also requires community service, and six months or more spent in leadership positions at their troop.

Each also had to lead a community service project. Steven Cantos collected school supplies for low-income schoolchildren for nonprofit Aspire! Afterschool. He already volunteered with the organization, which helps children improve their reading, and had intended to collect enough supplies for 90 students.

When the supply drive was over, he had collected enough for 130 students.

“They go in and help kids read in a more advanced way, since they feel that reading is the first thing that kids need to learn, and then they learn other things if they can read better,” Steven Cantos said. “The project stemmed from the fact that I’d already volunteered a bit of time to them, so I wanted to give some more time… I decided that education is important, so let’s give them school supplies.”

Leo Cantos collected blood and blankets for INOVA Fairfax Hospital, a children’s hospital where he spent a month re-learning how to walk. He finished with 88 units of blood and 77 blankets, all donated by local people he had recruited.

“I wanted to give back to the kids, because I saw the kids there and I saw how they were not doing too well,” Leo Cantos said. “I wanted to give them a better experience, kind of like the one I had in the hospital but extended to them as well.”

And Nick Cantos collected donations of hygiene supplies for nonprofit Doorways for Women and Families, which helps people out of homelessness and away from domestic violence and sexual assault. He collected about $2,000 worth of supplies to donate to the organization.

“It took a lot of planning, it took a lot of work and papers,” Nick Cantos said. “The craziest part was seeing all my scout friends and leaders and brothers helping me to do this, and me managing this thing.”

And while they could have gotten extended time to complete their requirements to be Eagle Scouts due to their blindness, they chose not to. Ollie Cantos said that decision was made to show that being blind does not need to be a hindrance.

“We were absolutely intent on not asking for any extensions,” he said. “It wasn’t what we wanted to do. I wanted the boys to learn a lesson, a positive lesson, that we keep saying blindness is just a disability and it’s not really a big deal, so if it’s not a big deal, why do we need to make an exception? That’s just us.”

One of the biggest challenges for the brothers was the swimming requirement, as none of them had spent much time in the water before.

But in the summer of 2014, they were all able to dive in, swim to a target with the aid of voice assistance and then swim back. All the while, they were cheered on by their fellow scouts and leaders at poolside.

“As I observed this moment, I thought to myself, ‘There’s no stopping them,'” said Scott Blakeslee, a former leader at the church and scout troop, in a speech. “More than that, I knew that you were going to continue to grow into wonderful, capable men of God. I hope you can take that experience as you go forward.”

With the brothers now graduated from high school, they will go to Boston in about six months to learn further life skills so they can become more independent.

All three have ambitions to go to college. Steven wants to study political science, go to law school and study copyright law and intellectual property rights; Nick wants to study marketing and go into the real estate industry; and Leo wants to study political science also before specializing in cyber law and working to make technology accessible to all.

With all they have achieved already, U.S. Labor Secretary Alex Acosta, who worked with Ollie Cantos at the U.S. Department of Justice, said their futures look bright.

“There is no stopping you, and a large part of that is you, but a greater part of that is your family,” said Acosta, who was among the crowd of around 100 family members, Scouts and well-wishers at the ceremony.

“It’s you and your brothers and your dad together that show each other what courage is and what hard work is, and I have to say there is no stopping you, because you have done everything and you continue to do everything.”

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Morning Notes

Badaro’s Big Plans — As we reported yesterday, a fast-casual Lebanese restaurant called Badaro is opening in the former NKD Pizza space in Virginia Square. According to Eater, restaurateur Jay Zein hopes to open the Badaro by December 1. “From there,” reports the website, “he says he’ll install a second location around Arlington, Virginia, by summer 2018 and ‘then expand beyond that.'” [Eater]

Fleet Elementary Time Capsule — Students, school administrators and county officials were on hand yesterday to fill a time capsule at the under-construction Alice West Fleet Elementary School, next to Thomas Jefferson Middle School. [Twitter]

Roads Next in Line for Changes at DCA — With a $1 billion expansion project underway at Reagan National Airport, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority is now looking at DCA’s network of roadways as the next thing in line for upgrades. [InsideNova]

Arlington Resident Climbs Mt. Kilimanjaro — Arlington resident Janene Corrado has climbed to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Corrado’s fundraising quest started when her father was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma in 2011. [Arlington Catholic Herald]

Amazon Key Coming to D.C. Area — Amazon is planning to launch a service called Amazon Key that would electronically grant delivery drivers access to your home to securely deliver packages. The service “is exclusively for Prime members in select cities and surrounding areas,” including the D.C. area. [PoPville]

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Morning Notes

Residents Irked at App-Directed Traffic — Residents who live just west of Crystal City are upset that map apps like Waze keep directing cut-through traffic down S. Fern Street as an alternative to S. Eads Street or Route 1. A resident who spoke at Saturday’s County Board meeting said her complaints to Arlington County staff have not resulted in any action. [InsideNova]

Army Ten-Miler to Close Roads Next Month — A number of roads around Crystal City and Pentagon City will close on Sunday, Oct. 8 for the annual Army Ten-Miler race. [Arlington County]

Lions Club Scrambling to Find Xmas Tree Lot — The South Arlington Lions Club is not even sure they’ll be able to hold their annual Christmas tree sale in South Arlington this year. The club’s usual location in the parking lot of the former Food Star is under construction and the club just learned that county land is off-limits to nonprofit fundraising. [InsideNova]

Colorado Has Its Own Serial Pooper — A bizarre situation that’s drawing comparisons to Arlington’s own serial pooper of 2016 is playing out in Colorado. Residents in Colorado Springs say a female jogger has been repeatedly, unapologetically defecating in their neighborhood. [Deadspin, Washington Post]

Nauck Leaders Lauded — A pair of community stalwarts were honored by the Nauck Civic Association in a ceremony this past weekend. “Wanda Pierce was lauded for her tenure leading the Arlington Community Foundation,” while “Cleveland ‘Bubby’ James Jr., another longtime resident, was honored for his work with the youth and young adults of Nauck and the entire county.” [InsideNova]

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Video: Arlington Commemorates 9/11 Anniversary

Arlington County remember the nearly 3,000 people killed 16 years ago today (Monday) in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

Fire Chief James Bonzano, Police Chief Jay Farr and Sheriff Beth Arthur laid a wreath at the flagpole in Courthouse Plaza to remember the dead, including the 184 victims who died when American Airlines Flight 77 flew into the Pentagon. A moment of silence at 9:37 a.m. — marking when the plane flew into the Pentagon — was followed by a playing of “Taps” and a lowering of the flag to half-staff.

Flanked by his Arlington County Board colleagues as well as Virginia General Assembly representatives, Rep. Don Beyer (D) and U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), County Board chair Jay Fisette recalled in his remarks how Arlingtonians came together that day, and in the days and weeks after. Fisette was also chair of the Board in 2001.

“The initial shock was followed by compassion, by patriotism, by resolve,” he said.

This year’s commemoration came just months after Corporal Harvey Snook’s name was added to the county’s Peace Officers Memorial for police officers killed in the line of duty. Snook died in January 2016 from cancer he contracted from responding to the Pentagon. He spent a week there, collecting evidence and the remains of some of the people killed.

To further commemorate the anniversary, Arlington County’s poet laureate Katherine Young released a new poem this weekend, entitled “Hazmat.”

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County to Host Annual 9/11 Memorial Ceremony on Monday

Arlington County will remember the 184 victims of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks at a memorial ceremony on Monday morning.

The ceremony will begin at 9:30 a.m. on September 11 at Courthouse Plaza (2100 Clarendon Blvd), at the outdoor flagpoles above the Metro station.

A moment of silence will be observed at 9:37 a.m., marking the time that American Airlines Flight 77 flew into the Pentagon, where 184 people died. The silence will be followed by a playing of “Taps” and a lowering of the flag to half-staff.

The event will also feature a wreath-laying and the presentation of colors.

Capt. David Santini of the Arlington County Fire Department will give welcoming remarks, while local officials including County Manager Mark Schwartz, Fire Chief James Bonzano, Police Chief Jay Farr and Sheriff Beth Arthur will all attend. U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) is also set to be present at the commemorations.

Courtesy photo.

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‘Bill Of Rights Eagle’ Unveiled At GMU’s Scalia Law School

More than 100 dignitaries, students, faculty and staff braved blustery conditions Monday for the unveiling of the Bill of Rights Eagle outside the Antonin Scalia Law School on George Mason University’s Arlington campus.

Cast in bronze by sculptor Greg Wyatt, the 4,300-pound eagle has a seven-foot wingspan and was dedicated as part of the university’s Law Day celebrations.

It shows an American eagle standing on top of the Bill of Rights, protecting them with its enormous wings. In an interview after the ceremony, Wyatt said it was symbolic of standing against oppression and for freedom.

“It’s a permanent memorial to free speech and artistic practice, unlimited by your format and materials,” he said. “It’s something you want to pass from one generation to the next.”

Wyatt initially presented the statue in plaster in the U.S. Senate’s Russell Office Building in 1989, before it moved two years later to the southwest corner of the courtyard at Harvard University, near Dudley House.

After five years outside Dudley House, it moved to the courtyard by Harvard’s Winthrop House, just outside the suite where former President John F. Kennedy lived and studied. A renovation in that area forced it to return to Wyatt’s studio, then the law school was recommended for its new home.

And while university officials said the move was not because of namesake George Mason IV’s role as the author of the Bill of Rights, it is fitting nonetheless.

“I think Harvard Yard was an okay place for the Bill of Rights Eagle. I think the U.S. Senate was a better place,” said GMU president Angel Cabrera. “But I cannot think of a better place for the eagle than the law school that carries the name of the author of the Bill of Rights.”

“I just get chills,” said law school dean Henry Butler. “Here we are at the university named for the father of the Bill of Rights, being given an eagle named for the Bill of Rights.”

Wyatt has designed two other similar eagles on display in the U.S.: one with a three-foot wingspan on the campus of Vanderbilt University in Tennessee and another with an 18-foot wingspan in the north courtyard of the State Department in the District, installed in 2000.

He said his research involved learning about how eagles are put together, from their bone structure to feather count and where their joints are.

“That kind of research is expected,” Wyatt said. “What’s not expected is adding something to the nation’s symbol. What that means in this instance is the idea that our freedom of speech and production and artists are showcase for the benefits of the constitutional rule of law under which all of us derive these precious freedoms.”

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Closures, Clarendon Ceremony Planned for Veterans Day

Veterans Day ceremony in Clarendon (photo courtesy Peter Golkin)

Government offices, courts, libraries and schools in Arlington County will be closed Friday for the Veterans Day holiday.

Parking meters won’t be enforced and ART buses will operate on a Saturday schedule. County-run pools will be open and trash and recycling collection will proceed as normal, however.

On Friday at 1 p.m., an annual Veterans Day ceremony will be held in Clarendon.

Via Arlington County:

Arlington American Legion Post 139 is holding a ceremony at 1 p.m. at the War Memorial in Clarendon Central Park at Clarendon Blvd. and Wilson Blvd. The ceremony will honor current service members and all veterans and remember those we have lost. There will be a special recognition of the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War honoring Vietnam era veterans.

Photo courtesy Peter Golkin

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Dedication Ceremony Underway for GMU Scalia Law School

Supreme Court justices and protesters have both come to Arlington’s Virginia Square neighborhood for a dedication ceremony for George Mason University’s newly-named Antonin Scalia Law School.

The ceremony started at 11 a.m. at the law school, located at 3301 Fairfax Drive. Police have closed N. Kirkwood Road as a security measure.

The school was named for the late Supreme Court justice after GMU received $30 million in donation pledges. In addition to the six Supreme Court justices expected to attend this morning, members of the Scalia family are also on hand for the dedication.

The protesters say they’re demonstrating against the university’s decision to put “donor interests before those of its students and faculty.”

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Photos: Peace Officers Memorial Day in Arlington

Arlington County paid its annual tribute to fallen law enforcement officers this morning.

The county’s observance of Peace Officers Memorial Day took place at 8 a.m., in the Arlington County Justice Center Plaza at 1425 N. Courthouse Road. The six Arlington County Police Department officers who have died in the line of duty were remembered during the ceremony, as was a seventh officer who died after suffering a heart attack and falling to his death in the 1920s.

Among those participating in the ceremony was the son of Officer George Pomraning, who was shot to death at the age of 26 while bringing a prisoner to jail on Sept. 2, 1973. Pomraning’s son, who was born around the time of his father’s death, wiped tears from his face after placing a rose in his honor next to the police memorial statue.

Other event participants included Police Chief Jay Farr, Sheriff Beth Arthur, County Board Chair Libby Garvey and County Manager Mark Schwartz. There were also representatives from the Alexandria Police Department, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Police Department and other local law enforcement agencies.

The memorial ceremony coincides with National Police Week, which brings law enforcement officers from around the country and around the world together in the D.C. area. Police motorcades running down local highways, as well as to and from the airport, are a common sight in Arlington before and during the week-long event, which officially starts on May 15.

Among the pre-Police Week activities, several Arlington County officers took part in a cross-state Law Enforcement United bike ride that arrived at the Iwo Jima memorial near Rosslyn yesterday afternoon.

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2015 Arlington 40 Under 40 Class to Be Recognized

40 Under 40 logoThis year’s Leadership Arlington 40 Under 40 honorees will be recognized at a luncheon today.

The event is intended to recognize “40 emerging leaders under the age of 40 who demonstrate impact personally and/or professionally through their exceptional leadership in the D.C. metropolitan region.”

Among the trailblazers on this year’s 40 Under 40 list are:

  • John Vihstadt campaign manager Eric Brescia
  • County Board member-elect Katie Cristol
  • House of Steep founder and Arlington Economic Development commissioner Lyndsey DePalma
  • Liberty Tavern, Lyon Hall and Northside Social co-owner Mark Fedorchak
  • Arlington Food Assistance Center operations director Koube Ngaaje
  • LiveSafe founder Shy Pahlevani
  • Land use attorney Evan Pritchard
  • Arlington Dept. of Parks and Recreation director Jane Rudolph
  • Shooshan Company leasing director Kevin Shooshan

The luncheon will take place from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. today at Army Navy Country Club.

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Photos: Peace Officers Memorial Day

Arlington County held its annual observance of Peace Officers Memorial Day this morning.

The ceremony took place at 8:00 p.m. in the plaza between police headquarters and the county jail. Arlington police officers and sheriff’s deputies were joined by county officials and law enforcement personnel from surrounding jurisdictions in remembering the six Arlington County police officers who lost their lives in the line of duty.

Those officers are:

Among those who spoke at the ceremony were County Board Vice Chairman Mary Hynes, Sheriff Beth Arthur, Arlington County Civic Federation President Michael McMenamin, and Virginia Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian Moran.

“Taps” was performed by members of the police department and sheriff’s office. “Amazing Grace” was also performed, by bagpipers from the Arlington County Police Department and the U.S. Border Patrol Pipe and Drum Band.

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Morning Notes

Cherry Blossoms (Flickr pool photo by Nathan Jones)

New Restaurants Coming to Rosslyn — At least three new restaurant concepts are reportedly coming to Rosslyn. The restaurants will be opening on the ground floor of the Sedona/Slate apartment building and office buildings at 1100 and 1501 Wilson Blvd, according to speakers at a Bisnow conference in Rosslyn yesterday morning. Little is known about the restaurants — so far, property owners aren’t naming names — but one rumor relayed to ARLnow.com is that one of the restaurants will feature a Top Chef contestant as its head chef. [Bisnow]

Vihstadt Swearing-In Set for Friday — The swearing-in of new Arlington County Board member John Vihstadt will take place at 3:30 p.m. on Friday. The ceremony will be aired live on Arlington TV (Comcast 25 / Verizon 40). [Arlington County]

Other Localities Are Also Having Transit Debates — Arlington County isn’t the only community having a debate over a large transit project, like the planned Columbia Pike streetcar line. Streetcar critics are also active in Cincinnati, where a 3.6 mile, $133 million streetcar line is under construction. In Nashville, meanwhile, opposition to a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line has spilled over to the state Senate. [Greater Greater Washington]

Yorktown Boys Soccer Moves Up in Rankings — The boys soccer team at Yorktown High School is now ranked No. 6 in the region after opening the season with a 5-1 record. [Washington Post]

Rosslyn McDonald’s Demolition Scheduled — The demolition of the now-closed McDonald’s restaurant near the Rosslyn Metro station is scheduled to begin on Monday, April 21. Demolition work is expected to take 7-10 days. [Rosslyn BID]

Flickr pool photo by Nathan Jones

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Morning Notes

Sunset over Rosslyn and the Potomac River, as seen from a Yellow Line Metro train

Prayer Vigil for Navy Yard Victims — St. George’s Episcopal Church in Virginia Square will be holding a 40 minute prayer vigil and candle lighting for victims of the Navy Yard mass shooting tonight. [ARLnow Events]

Va. Is Test State for Gun Data Sharing — Virginia is a test state for a nationally-linked system that will share information on guns used in crimes across law enforcement agencies. The system is intended to skirt federal law that prevents the sharing of federal gun trace information. As of Monday, twenty-five Virginia law enforcement agencies had signed on to the program. The Arlington County Police Department was not on that list. [Richmond Times-Dispatch]

Dedication for New Wakefield HS — A dedication ceremony will be held for the new Wakefield High School on Sunday. Students, staff and community members are invited to the ceremony, which starts at 1:30 p.m. It will be followed by tours of the school, an opening ceremony for Wakefield’s new aquatics center, and an aquatics center open house. [Arlington Public Schools]

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