It’s ARLnow’s 10th Anniversary — On this day 10 years ago ARLnow quietly published its first article. It has since grown to be Arlington’s local news publication of record, read by a majority of those who call our county home. Join us to celebrate this milestone tonight at Bronson Bierhall in Ballston (4100 Fairfax Drive) from 5-7 p.m. [Facebook]
County Board Approves Solar Farm Deal — “‘This is a groundbreaking partnership for the County,’ said County Board Chair Libby Garvey. ‘It will take us a long way toward our goal of 100 percent use of renewable sources for all electricity used in government operations by 2025.’ Arlington County is the first locality in the Commonwealth to enter into a power purchase agreement of this scale for off-site solar energy with an investor-owned utility company.” [Arlington County, Dominion Energy]
Local Pharmacies Selling Out of Surgical Masks — Preston’s Pharmacy at 5101 Lee Highway is sold out of surgical masks amid worries about the deadly coronavirus outbreak. The store “reported that people are calling, and coming in asking about surgical masks… they are having re-ordering issues from their supplier.” [WUSA 9]
Investors Buying Up Crystal City Properties — “In another indicator of how sought-after the real estate near Amazon’s HQ2 has become, even an NBA player with no ties to Greater Washington is an investor in the Crystal City market. Jeff Teague, a point guard for the Atlanta Hawks, bought a 935-square-foot apartment at 1200 Crystal Drive.” [Washington Business Journal]
Home Sales Way Down in Arlington — “Long & Foster Real Estate Inc. reports the median price of a home that sold in Arlington County in December was $649,000. That’s up 19% from the median selling price a year earlier. The number of sales in Arlington County was down 24% from a year ago, and, with only 148 homes on the market last month, active inventory was down 51%.” [WTOP]
Another Title for Local Girls Flag Football Team — “Congratulations to the [Arlington-based] Virginia Hurricanes 14U girls flag football team for winning the NFL Flag Football National Championship tournament at the NFL Pro Bowl event in Florida this past weekend. This is the second NFL Flag Girls National Championship title for the Hurricanes.” [Virginia Hurricanes]
Chamber Holds Hospitality Awards — “The Arlington Chamber of Commerce today honored 98 front-line workers in Arlington’s hospitality industry at the 16th Annual Hospitality Awards at the Key Bridge Marriott Hotel. These prestigious awards are presented each year to hospitality workers who deliver outstanding customer service, exhibit excellence in their roles, and continuously exceed their job descriptions.” [Arlington Chamber of Commerce]
More Arlington Real Estate Optimism — “According to a report released Wednesday by the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors and the George Mason University Center for Regional Analysis, the median home price in Arlington County is on track to spike 17.2 percent by the end of 2019.” [Washingtonian]
‘Rock the Row’ Starts Tonight — The United States Navy Band Country Current will perform tonight at Pentagon Row for the shopping center’s annual Rock the Row outdoor concert series. Concerts will be held every Thursday from 7-9 p.m. at the Pentagon Row plaza, through Aug. 1. [Pentagon Row]
Yorktown Girls Cap Off Stellar Soccer Season — “The Yorktown Patriots completed an unbeaten girls soccer season on June 8 at Hermitage High School near Richmond by winning the Virginia High School League’s Class 6 state-tournament championship.” [InsideNova, InsideNova]
W-L Crew Team Wins State Championship — “The Washington-Lee High School girls varsity eight won its first state championship in 30 years at the recent regatta at Sandy Run Regional Park in Occoquan.” [InsideNova]
‘Click It or Ticket’ Returning — “As the Memorial Day holiday approaches, Arlington County Police are reminding all drivers of the importance of seat belt use. This annual campaign is part of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) national Click It or Ticket high-visibility enforcement effort that runs from May 20 to June 2, 2019.” [Arlington County]
Millionth MAGA Hat Stored in Arlington — “The one-millionth official Make America Great Again hat ever made is currently locked away at President Donald Trump’s campaign headquarters in Arlington, Virginia.” [Breitbart]
Arlington Youth Soccer Team Wins Nat’l Tourney — The Arlington Soccer Association’s U16 Boys team won the US Youth Soccer National Championship in Frisco, Texas over the weekend. The big win “is the first USYS Championship in the club’s history” and “caps off Arlington’s most successful year in its almost 50-year history with the U14 Girls team also advancing to the National Championships,” according to the association. [PDF, US Youth Soccer]
Officials Prep for Decal Decision — “If County Board members in September decide to kill off Arlington tax decals that have been a fixture on local windshields for a half-century, the two elected officials who will be tasked with implementing the decision say they can make it happen. The question that still hangs in the air, though, is whether eliminating the decal will make it more likely scofflaws will get away with cheating the tax man.” [InsideNova]
Arlington Theaters: A Tourist Attraction? — Arlington’s theater scene “is bigger and better than ever,” according to Arlington’s tourism promotion agency. [Stay Arlington]
Survey: Keep ANC Open to Burials As Long As Possible — “The vast majority of respondents to a Department of Defense survey favor keeping Arlington National Cemetery operational for as long as possible, even if it means tightening up on those who are deemed eligible for burial there.” [InsideNova]
Arlington Babe Ruth Baseball’s eight-and-under travel team journeyed to Haymarket to compete for a state title last week, and they came home victorious.
The 8U team, Storm, clinched the championship in their age group with an undefeated run through the tournament, including a 13-12 victory over a Fluvanna County team in the final game.
The team will represent the state of Virginia in the Babe Ruth Southeast Regional Tournament, set to kick off in Ocala, Florida this coming Wednesday (July 18).
Three other Arlington Babe Ruth travel teams also participated in state tournaments last week in the 9U, 10U and 11U age groups.
Photo courtesy George Thompson
Maybe girls really do run the world — or at least, perhaps, world finals.
An all-girls group of problems solvers from Glebe Elementary School is heading to the 2018 Odyssey of the Mind world finals next month after becoming state champions on April 14 in Newport News, Va.
The competition pushes students to work creatively as a team to “create original solutions to… divergent problems,” according to the competition’s website. This year’s theme is “emoji, speak for yourself.”
Seven girls — Buse Arici, Maddie Brown, Audrey Ferguson, Nora Johnson, Zella Mantler, Katie Martin, and Kaitlyn Nowinski — comprise the state championship-winning team.
Getting seven children to work together as a team takes a lot of effort, and the school estimates that the girls have dedicated more than 100 hours toward their competition submission.
The pursuit of problem solving — in their case, finding a way to communicate the story of a forgotten emoji without speaking, by just using emojis — led the seven girls to build “a texting machine that prints a message” and two emoji machines. In the process, they learned to use 3D printers, Adobe Illustrator and power tools to design their prototypes and their own costumes.
The silence stipulation alone will be quite the challenge for the group, a lively and talkative bunch whose excitement bubbled over into constant eruptions of euphoria while meeting with ARLnow at their elementary school on Wednesday (April 25).
The program was first brought to the school in 2015, and the team is the first from Glebe to win at Odyssey’s regional and state competition, according to Arlington Public Schools.
The world finals, hosted at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa, will pit the nine- and 10-year-old girls against about 850 teams from 25 countries. According to the competition’s website, tens of thousands of students are anticipated to descend on little Ames, population just over 66,000, from May 23-26.
Getting the team to the competition will also prove challenging, and the girls have set up a fundraising campaign to raise money for their transportation and other expenses. The overall goal is $17,000, the girls said, but the fundraising webpage’s goal is much lower, at $6,000.
The team will be hosting other fundraising efforts, like a bake sale, to raise the remaining funds.
Photo courtesy of Arlington Public Schools
Arlington residents Zoheir El-Eita and Sam Jenson flew to Arizona early this morning, after carefully packing 60-75 pounds of steel armor and stowing away their weapons into their checked luggage.
The two medieval steel fighters are set to compete this weekend at the Armored Combat League’s National Championship in Lake Havasu City, Ariz., and a little finesse is necessary to get their gear across the country. Jensen, 27, studied up on exactly what he could and could not bring on board the flight, and weighed everything ahead of time.
The pair won’t be the only ones with a packing problem; the competition, from March 9-11, brings 49 fighters from across the country to “execute real medieval combat techniques to earn a spot in an international arena” while wearing medieval armor and using medieval weapons, according to a championship press release. They’ll be fighting with the Atlantic First Swords, a mid-Atlantic regional team.
Tournament play consists of one-on-one fights, three-on-three fights, five-on-five fights, and an “ultimate rush” fight of 16-on-16.
“Oh gosh, how do I describe it?” Jensen laughed before diving into an explanation of tournament technicalities. The overall goal is to fight the other team into submission, according to Jensen, by either “hitting someone so hard that they don’t feel like standing up any more or forcibly throwing them to the ground.”
Points are scored when players win a round, and a team needs 11 points to win. Rounds can last anywhere from 20 seconds to eight minutes, and the most rounds that Jensen has ever undertaken at once was either 23 or 24, but that isn’t normal.
“A man with 260 pounds of mass at a fairly quick rate will knock most people down,” said Jensen, so these melee rounds tend to last a minute.
The teams follow almost the same rules from French tournaments in the 1300s, with modern modifications for safety.
“I’d say we’re playing it a bit safer than the 14th century French were,” he added.
Successful steel fighters are chosen to represent the United States at an international championship in May in Scone, Scotland, about 45 miles north of Edinburgh.
While some of the local steel fighters may have discovered the sport through attending Renaissance fairs, Jensen was introduced by a friend living across the country who invited him to a tournament outside of Philadelphia.
Jensen was quickly hooked, and a month later he was getting his “butt kicked, but was absolutely hooked” and quit his pack a day smoking habit to get in better shape. He had been working odd jobs, at one point as a bouncer at D.C.’s Madhatter tavern, but nothing had been clicking.
“I was at a point in my life where, it’s cliche, but I was feeling listless,” he said. “I didn’t have a hobby or a passion, but I thought that this could be it.”
“If anything, I wish I’d found it sooner.”
Though he’s currently studying accounting and finance at Northern Virginia Community College, he meets every Tuesday and Thursday to train at Ashburn’s Silver Eagle Group Shooting Range with his usual, seven member team, the DC Juggernauts.
Jensen doesn’t think he’ll make it to the international tournament in Scotland, but that isn’t what’s important to him. The friendships made and the feelings of camaraderie and competition are enough for him — and he isn’t even sure if there is a physical prize to be won, anyway.
DHS Official Charged With Beating Wife in Arlington — A “senior career official with the Department of Homeland Security who… handles a ‘high volume’ of classified information in his role as an intelligence briefer,” served jail time after a 2016 incident in Arlington in which he was charged with assaulting his wife, breaking two ribs and causing bruising around her neck. [Washington Post]
Anti-DUI Event at Shamrock Crawl Tomorrow — The Arlington County Police Department will hold a St. Patrick’s Day-themed anti-DUI event dubbed “Don’t Press Your Luck” in Clarendon tomorrow (Saturday). The event will coincide with the planned Shamrock Crawl bar crawl. [Arlington County]
More on Wakefield’s Championship Run — But for a great defensive play by Varina, the Wakefield High School boys basketball team might have emerged victorious from yesterday’s state championship game in Richmond. [Washington Post]
Arlington to Co-Star in Travel Video — Arlington County has received grant funding that will help pay for its share of a new Virginia tourism video that will also feature Charlottesville and Albemarle County, Loudoun County, Richmond and Staunton. [Arlington County]
Long Branch Creek Profiled — “A mostly residential section of south Arlington, Long Branch Creek is a diverse community where almost 75 percent of residents are renters. In addition, there are condominium buildings, townhouses, duplexes and one single-family home.” [Washington Post]
Fire Station History to Be Recognized — Last month Arlington County Manager Mark Schwartz established a “Fire Station No. 8 History and Legacy (FS8HL) Working Group,” to record and celebrate the history of the first Arlington fire station staffed by African Americans. [Arlington County]
Kanninen Gets Democratic School Board Nod — “An Arlington County Democratic Committee School Board caucus? Fuggedaboutit. Incumbent School Board Chairman Barbara Kanninen was the lone candidate to file to run in the caucus, which had been slated for several days in May. With no opposition bubbling up, the caucus was nixed.” [InsideNova]
Flickr pool photo by Rex Block
Update at 5:55 p.m. — Despite leading for much of the game, Wakefield ended up falling just short to Varina, 64-60.
We love our boys. They just lost 64-60, Varina. We are 2nd place in the State Championship. The boys have to be part of the ceremony. Takes strength to fix your face and take that trophy. pic.twitter.com/t8FGX2nu0b
— Wakefield Chieftain (@wakefieldchief) March 8, 2018
— Wakefield Athletics (@WakeAthletics) March 8, 2018
Game didn’t end the way we wanted but could not be prouder of this team. They played hard and represented us well.
— Chris Willmore (@principalWHS) March 8, 2018
Earlier: The Wakefield High School boys basketball team is currently fighting for a state championship.
If the Warriors prevail over the Varina Blue Devils, it would be the team’s first championship in 57 years, according to the Sun Gazette.
The game, which started at 4 p.m., is being played at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond. At halftime, Wakefield was winning 31-23.
En route the Richmond, the team’s buses received a police escort. For fans who could not make the trip to Richmond, the game is being streamed live online (for a fee) and is being shown at the Crystal City Sports Pub (523 23rd Street S.)
The @WakeAthletics Men’s Basketball Team is headed to Richmond for the VHSL Title Game this afternoon. Good luck #WarriorNation, and thank you for the police escort @ArlingtonVaPD! @WHSHappenings #APSisAwesome pic.twitter.com/OE1OqVoztW
— Arlington Schools (@APSVirginia) March 8, 2018
— Wakefield Athletics (@WakeAthletics) March 8, 2018
Teamwork. Love. Family. 46-42, Wakefield at end of 3rd. 8 minutes between us and State Championship! pic.twitter.com/aMnCyD1qd1
— Wakefield Chieftain (@wakefieldchief) March 8, 2018