Press Club

Morning Notes

Kayakers on the Potomac near Key Bridge (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Driver Crashes into Trooper’s Cruiser — A Virginia State Police trooper was radioing in a license plate during a traffic stop on I-395 near Shirlington when his cruiser was rear-ended. The trooper finished giving the tag number before telling the dispatcher about the crash. [Twitter]

Circulator Strike Continues — “The first day’s negotiations between a bus drivers union and the operator of D.C. Circulator since workers began striking were unsuccessful through Wednesday evening, increasing the prospects of a potentially lengthy outage of the city’s only public bus service.” [Washington Post]

Marymount Planning Child Care Center — “Marymount University is setting up a new child care center on campus in a renovation project that it said is designed to fill a critical, and deepening, local workforce need as those with young children return to the office. The Marymount Early Learning Academy for children aged 3 to 5 will open in the summer or fall of 2023, reviving the idea of an on-campus preschool that the university used to run in the 1990s before it closed down.” [Washington Business Journal]

Sexual Battery Incident in Pentagon City — “500 block of 12th Road S…. at approximately 11:40 p.m. on April 29th the male victim had entered into the elevator of a secure residential building when the unknown suspect followed behind him. The victim exited the elevator and walked down the hallway, during which the suspect grabbed his buttocks. The suspect then fled the scene.” [ACPD]

Air Force Colonel on Trial — “An official with the California National Guard charged with indecent exposure in Arlington in March is scheduled to go to trial in Arlington on July 18… the suspect entered the business and exposed himself to female victims, according to the ACPD.” [Patch]

Falls Church Lowers Property Tax Rate — “On Monday night, the Falls Church City Council approved a $112.8 million Fiscal Year 2023 (FY23) that invests in public schools, core government services, walkability and traffic calming, environmental sustainability, and more, all while reducing the real estate tax rate by 9 cents… To mitigate the 11 percent overall increase in real estate assessments, the adopted budget includes a decrease in the real estate tax to $1.23 per $100 of assessed value.” [City of Falls Church]

It’s Cinco de Mayo — Mostly cloudy, with a high of 67 and low of 56. Sunrise at 6:07 am and sunset at 8:06 pm. [Weather.gov]

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A new childcare center could be coming to a gutted restaurant space between Clarendon and Courthouse.

Ladybug Academy LLC is requesting county approval to convert about 4,391 square feet of vacant, ground-floor restaurant space at the corner of Wilson Blvd and N. Cleveland Street into a daycare and preschool. The space at 2500 Wilson Blvd was home to Minh Vietnamese Restaurant until 2016.

“The use at this location will fill a ground-floor commercial space that has been vacant for a number of years and the site has sufficient space on-site to support outdoor play and parking requirements,” a county report said.

Ladybug Academy LLC looks to be affiliated with a Ladybug Academy location in Merrifield.

This is the second daycare company to request to take over the space. Last August, ARLnow reported a music-based Montessori preschool program had filed to open a franchise location in the same spot, but that appears to have fallen through.

Ladybug Academy plans to employ up to 14 staff to care for up to 76 children. Kids will have access to an outdoor play area at the back of the property’s frontage on N. Cleveland Street, the report said.

A proposed play area for Ladybug Daycare (via Arlington County)

The hours of operation would be Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Drop-off will occur between 7:30-10 a.m. each morning, and pick-up will occur from 4-6 p.m. each evening.

Eight parking spaces in the surface lot and adjacent garage would be provided for staff and parent use. On-street parking available is also available in the area.

The County Board is set to hear the request during its meeting this Saturday.

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Arlington County Health Director Dr. Reuben Varghese in March 2020 (via Arlington County)

Local child care centers will have to stay the course with longer quarantine and isolation periods, says Arlington County’s Public Health Division.

That could mean multiple contingency plans for parents with kids in child care, who have already weathered holiday closures and winter-weather closures. (Many facilities follow the snow closure or delay lead of Arlington Public Schools, which was closed all week.)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shortened isolation and quarantine periods last month to five days for the general population. This week, the CDC announced it will be bringing its guidelines for K-12 schools in alignment with the shortened quarantine and isolation.

But the changes have been met with some criticism. The American Medical Association called them “confusing and counterproductive” and other medical providers have said they’re “reckless.”

There’s one place where the new quarantine and isolation guidelines won’t go into effect, save for fully vaccinated and boosted staff: Arlington’s child care settings.

That’s because Arlington’s littlest kids either should not wear a mask or do not wear them reliably, meaning the spread of the highly transmissible Omicron variant is highly likely in these settings, according to the public health division.

“A full 10-day isolation and quarantine period was recommended because of the difficulty to enforce mask wearing in such a young population (i.e. children under 2 years old should not wear a mask),” Public Health spokesman Ryan Hudson told ARLnow.

The interim guidance came out Wednesday, as Arlington and the Northern Virginia region continue to see high levels of COVID-19 transmission, and will be in effect until the CDC comes out with guidance specific to child care settings — which are known as places where kids pick up all kinds of germs.

“The CDC’s recent updates to shorten the isolation and quarantine period are for the general population, including K-12 school settings,” Hudson said. “In absence of specific guidance from the CDC regarding child care centers, Arlington County Public Health provided interim guidelines, subject to change based on updates from the CDC.”

One local child care provider that had started implementing the new CDC guidance acknowledged the flip-flop may cause disruption for families.

“We had been following the recent CDC 5 day isolation period, which we confirmed with [the Virginia] Department of Health last week,” the facility’s director wrote. “However, in light of the omicron variant and the current surge, Arlington County has recently announced interim guidelines for child care settings which we must follow. We understand that this recent change is frustrating but we are our trying our best to follow the policies, which do keep changing.”

Pre-pandemic child care was in short supply in Arlington, as it was in many parts of the country, in part because of a shortage of child care workers. The pandemic has exacerbated these realities and forced many parents, especially mothers, to quit their jobs.

Board Chair Katie Cristol, who has worked on a number of efforts to fight the local child care shortage, says she’s still learning about the new recommendations and the tensions that public health professionals and child care providers have to navigate right now.

But the biggest challenge facing child care providers during the pandemic remains staffing, which the guidelines could exacerbate.

“From my conversations with providers, their biggest challenges over the last year have been with staffing,” Cristol said. “I think this reflects the general upheaval in the labor market, as well as the ongoing difficulty of affording high-quality staff in a very low-margin business, and — at least anecdotally — the challenge of recruiting and retaining staff seems to be making it hard for some providers to expand hours or capacity as they try to adjust back to ‘normal’ after the first year of the pandemic.”

To boost child care employee recruitment during this time, the county has provided training and is working with the local Richmond delegation to pass legislation that would improve how benefits like retirement and health care get to employees.

“It remains a big challenge, for certain,” she said.

The county also supports centers through ongoing health consultations and informational resources, and has run targeted vaccination clinics for child care providers and employees, Cristol noted.

The new Arlington Public Health guidelines for local child care providers are below.

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Arlington County Board Chair Matt de Ferranti speaks during the Board’s Tuesday meeting on how to allocate federal funding (via Arlington County)

Pandemic recovery, childcare and criminal justice reform will be receiving millions in federal and county funds.

This week, the Arlington County Board voted to put federal COVID-19 relief funding and unspent county budget dollars toward these areas and other equity initiatives. Members also signaled the county’s commitment to these priorities by adopting them in their state legislative priority package.

On Tuesday, the Board allocated $29.5 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds for pandemic response and local assistance programs.

It also put more than $6 million in surplus from the 2020-21 budget, or “closeout” funds, toward retention bonuses and compensation of county employees, support for restorative justice initiatives, review of body worn footage cameras and a new position in the Sheriff’s Office.

“Our American Rescue Plan and closeout funding allocations focus on our continued responsibility to keep our community healthy and safe, providing funding for testing, vaccine support and COVID response,” County Board Chair Matt de Ferranti said. “We also are investing in mental health care through the Crisis Intervention Center and childcare, a critical issue that the pandemic has revealed as more pressing than ever, as well as transportation and our employees.”

Since the plans were introduced in October, the county added some line items to the ARPA and “closeout” spending plans. Two of particular note include money to establish a childcare capital fund and to hire a quality assurance employee for the Arlington County jail.

The Board left $2.4 million ARPA funds unallocated to meet any unforeseen needs determined in 2022, as well as $14.1 million in unallocated close-out funds to address financial pressures in upcoming 2022-2023 budget.

Direct pandemic response — such as testing site and vaccine clinic support — received $9 million while local programs, ranging from housing assistance to the expansion of the Crisis Intervention Center for behavioral health services, received $20.5 million.

New to the ARPA spending plan is $5 million to develop affordable childcare options, spearheaded by childcare champion and Board Vice-Chair Katie Cristol.

“ARPA federal guidelines highlight some of the uses for it: they include investment in new or expanded learning services, support for pandemic-impacted small businesses and support to disproportionately impacted populations and communities. One thing at the center of those three circles of the Venn diagram is childcare,” she said during the Board meeting on Tuesday. “This has emerged as one of the top needs during the pandemic.”

Board Vice-Chair Katie Cristol speaks about childcare during the Tuesday meeting (via Arlington County)

Arlington has increased the number of available childcare slots, but they are not affordable to those making 50% or less of the Area Median Income, she said.

The county would put the $5 million toward a new childcare capital fund to be accessed by providers and developers who agree to set aside some affordable spots on an ongoing basis in exchange for a one-time infusion of dollars.

The result would be permanently discounted childcare spots created at the time a provider signs a long-term lease or a developer receives approval to build a childcare center, she said.

Before Tuesday night, the Board had previously allocated $2 million in ARPA funds for small business support and $3.8 million for restoring libraries, community centers and other important community facing programs.

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(Updated 12:30 p.m.) A shuttered Vietnamese restaurant between Courthouse and Clarendon may be converted into a music-based childcare center.

Rock and Roll Daycare is requesting Arlington County approve child care as a use for the site, which comprises about 4,391 square feet of unused, ground-floor restaurant space at the corner of Wilson Blvd and N. Cleveland Street. Rock and Roll Daycare offers music-based Montessori instruction to infants, toddlers and preschool children, according to the company’s legal representation, land use lawyer Nick Cumings.

The company is eyeing the former location of Minh Vietnamese Restaurant, at the base of a five-story office building at 2500 Wilson Blvd. The building is lined with other ground-floor retail and has 189 parking spaces, wrote Cumings, from the firm Walsh Colucci, in a letter to the county dated February.

“The Applicant is a family-run daycare provider in Massachusetts that is seeking to establish its presence in the D.C. metropolitan area,” Cumings said. “Rock and Roll Daycare… provides a unique music and arts program, international cultural education, and self-directed learning programs tailored to each child.”

The pending franchise location in Arlington follows the opening of two others in the D.C. area, one in Alexandria and the other in Reston.

The daycare will provide five classrooms: one for preschoolers and two each for toddlers and infants, Cumings said. There will be eight to 10 staff members and up to 58 enrolled children. Classes will be held year-round, Monday through Friday, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

An outdoor play area about 995 square foot in size will be fenced in and contain play equipment, he said.

Approval “will bring a unique and much-desired child care option to Arlington County while continuing to activate the corner of Wilson Boulevard and North Cleveland Street,” Cumings said.

The request is one of five site plan applications that will be heard at a County Board meeting this fall. After the August recess ends, the County Board will begin meeting again on Saturday, Sept. 18, but a spokeswoman for the Department of Community Planning Housing and Development said she expects it will go before the board in October.

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(Updated 5 p.m.) Arlington Children’s Center, a childcare facility that has operated in a county-owned building for 30 years, will close temporarily at the end of August.

Doors to the facility at 1915 N. Uhle Street, near Courthouse, will shut on Aug. 31, when the contract expires between Arlington County and the company operating the program, AA Daycare, according to Arlington County spokeswoman Jennifer K. Smith. The two could not reach an agreement to extend the contract ahead of major renovations slated for January 2022, she said.

AA Daycare has managed the program, which enrolled children of Arlington residents and county employees, for the last 17 years, according to owner Anna Wodzynska.

“This is a dramatic situation for all of us,” she said in an email to parents.

According to a letter to parents from the county, shared with ARLnow, the county and AA Daycare were negotiating an extension up until a week before the news of the closure. Parents were notified of the changing situation last Wednesday.

Parents tell ARLnow they are under immense pressure to find an alternative while childcare is in such high demand. One said this “is a herculean task given that most daycare centers in the area have waitlists of at least 6-9 months. If the county is serious about solving the childcare shortage issue, this decision is baffling.”

AA Daycare was notified about the planned renovations to the space, which has not been updated in 30 years, in January 2020, Smith said.

“We offered alternative space to AA Daycare to continue operations for the period of planned construction,” she said. “This offer, along with an option to extend the contract, was declined.”

Parents said they had heard about the upcoming renovations early last year. The county letter to parents said the planned improvements include reconfiguring the space to meet current standards for daycare and to reach compliance with the Americans with Disability Act, as well as an interior refresh.

“We started at ACC in January 2020 when our daughter was 4.5 months old,” said one mother. “Shortly after starting, I do remember receiving a flyer from the center detailing that, at some time, work would need to be done on the building… But it was not worrisome at the time, and it was certainly not presented in a way that the center would unexpectedly close forcing families to find new care within 6 weeks.”

Smith acknowledged the parents’ frustrations.

“We recognize this is short notice and have offered to assist parents as best we can — this was not the outcome we wanted,” she said.

Wodzynska, meanwhile, has assured parents that their children who are two-and-a-half years old and older will have a spot in a sister facility in Ballston, at 3850 Wilson Blvd. She said the transition “will be as smooth as possible,” with some staff transferring to BCC.

“The only consolation is that less than 2 miles away from ACC, we own another beautiful daycare called Ballston Children’s Center and we have space for all our children that are 2.5 years and older,” she wrote in the letter. “Unfortunately, BCC is not licensed for younger children, so we will not be able to enroll our youngest children.”

She declined to comment further on the closure.

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Ed Talk is a biweekly opinion column. The views expressed are solely the author’s.

School divisions and local governments in the region and across the country are providing child care while students are learning online.

These programs recognize that many parents cannot work from home and that low-income students in particular benefit from the adult supervision, help with technology, and food provided.

For example, Fairfax County Public Schools provides full-day child care at 37 school sites with fees based on income that are as low as $80 per month. Loudoun County is offering child care at 11 elementary schools and two additional sites for a fee, with a 50% discount for students enrolled in the Free and Reduced Meals program. The City of San Francisco has 50 sites providing free child care to 700 students, with space for up to 2,000 students.

Here in Arlington, no Arlington Public Schools (APS) sites or Arlington County Government sites have opened for child care during the pandemic.

County officials are studying the issue.

“The County has been exploring multiple options for care for school-aged children with APS and non-profit partners, with the initial priority being at-risk children,” according to a statement that Deputy County Manager Michelle Cowan recently provided to ARLnow.

One option is a program to begin in October that would provide child care free of charge for 50 children, ages 4-11, at one APS location.

During the last school year, 4,402 Arlington elementary school students were eligible for free or reduced price meals, according to the Virginia Department of Education. The need for child care is much greater than 50 students.

Arlington officials should quickly assess how many spaces are needed for child care and expand availability for low-income children. Such an assessment is underway in Alexandria, which has created the Alexandria Emergency Child Care Collaborative.

The need for child care is driven not only by increased demand with students learning at home, but also by reduced supply caused by the closure of many private day care facilities due to the pandemic. Arlington County’s interactive map of private child care centers shows those that are closed and how few slots are available in the ones that remain open. Tuition charged at many private facilities are cost-prohibitive for low-income families.

There are many challenges to opening new child care facilities. These include identifying appropriate locations, staffing, and transportation; addressing licensing requirements and the health and safety of the participants; establishing eligibility requirements; and funding.

Other jurisdictions have addressed these challenges and have opened child care facilities for those most in need.

The need will continue, even as APS begins to bring students back to school for some in-person learning. The APS plan provides for some students with disabilities to return to school in October; additional students in November; and all students who chose a hybrid learning model starting in December. But the hybrid model has students learning from home more than they are at school. Child care still will be needed as this phased return to school is implemented.

Arlington County’s Child Care Initiative (CCI) was created in 2017, bringing together those in the public and private sectors with a goal to improve the affordability, availability, and quality of child care, recognizing that child care “is a key component of a thriving, diverse community.”

A fall 2019 CCI report notes that changes have been made to zoning ordinances and that “red tape” has been reduced, to help meet the CCI’s goals.

Addressing the need for child care as a result of the pandemic should be a top priority. CCI, Arlington County government, and APS need to continue to cut through red tape, work together, and provide quality child care for Arlington’s low-income families.

Abby Raphael served on the Arlington School Board from 2008-2015, including two terms as Chair. She also led the Washington Area Boards of Education for two years. Currently she co-chairs the Destination 2027 Steering Committee, is a member of the Board of the Arlington YMCA, and works with Project Peace, the Community Progress Network, and Second Chance.

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Arlington Public Schools says any in-person return to classrooms will be phased, bringing back certain student groups before others.

That was revealed in a School Talk message sent to APS families on Tuesday. Officials also announced plans to help connect working families in need of childcare during remote schooling with local options.

The email, sent by Superintendent Francisco Durán, said students with disabilities would be the first to return once APS determines that it’s safe to resume some in-person instruction. Students in Pre-K through 3rd grade, as well as English Learner students, would phase in next, followed by all other students who opt in to the hybrid model of two in-person instruction days per week.

To decide when a hybrid model can safely begin, APS is looking at metrics like family and employee preferences, global availability of PPE and custodial supplies, and COVID-19 health metrics at local to national levels, according to APS spokesman Frank Bellavia.

“As we prepare for distance learning, I want to reiterate that we remain in close contact with state health officials and the Arlington County Public Health Division to monitor health data and evaluate opportunities to gradually phase in hybrid, in-person instruction,” Durán wrote. “I will notify you well in advance as plans progress and circumstances change.”

The letter also said Arlington County’s Department of Human Services (DHS) has identified 328 available slots in childcare centers and family day care homes located throughout the county.

These facilities are not affiliated with APS and families would have to pay to send their children there. The department is currently looking for additional slots and ways to expand options for low-income families.

“APS is providing childcare for staff only in our buildings. We are not providing childcare for families in our facilities,” Bellavia said. “Instead, APS is working with Arlington County to identify current childcare centers and in-home childcare facilities that can accommodate additional children.”

DHS is working for a way to prioritize children and families with the highest need when filling these slots, according to Bellavia.

More from Durán’s letter:

We know childcare is a major challenge for working families. We are working with the County to make some options available. The Department of Human Services has been working to expand availability among existing childcare providers, encouraging closed centers to reopen, and helping potential providers overcome obstacles such as licensing and land use processes. Through this work, DHS has identified more than 300 available slots through existing providers, based on numbers reported at the end of July:

  • Childcare Centers (63 total): 32 currently open with approximately 145 slots available
  • Family Day Care Homes (120 total): 109 currently open with approximately 183 slots available

More than 20 of these providers have indicated interest in expanding their hours and age ranges to accommodate school-aged children. DHS is supporting those efforts and creating a process to prioritize available slots to support children and families with the highest need. We are also working with the YMCA and other local non-profits and to expand options for low-income families. More details and how families can access these childcare options will be communicated through APS and the County as this work progresses.

The new school year is set to start online only, on Tuesday, Sept. 8. In July, Durán said he hoped to start transitioning students back in-person instruction in October.

Staff photo by Jay Westcott

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(Updated at 4:10 p.m.) Lauren Harris and Portia Moore were best friends growing up and both ended up launching preschool programs in Arlington. Their experiences highlight some of the differences between North and South Arlington and the county’s deep economic divisions.

Harris is the CEO and Executive Director of Little Ambassadors’ Academy, which has three locations in Arlington along Lee Highway. Moore owns STEM Preschool, which has locations in Fairlington and Capitol Hill in D.C.

“Arlington definitely has a high demand for quality preschools,” Harris said. “I think Portia and I both try to fill that void. The reality of the situation in Arlington is that there are more kids than there are preschool slots… It’s hard to find quality childcare, and harder to find one close to where you live and have that community feel.”

Moore said both of their programs are also very localized to their respective areas.

“It’s about the neighborhoods,” Moore said. “Lauren has the north side locked down. I chose to go to Fairlington because it’s such an amazing family community.”

Moore said it’s also an industry where it’s not unusual for the majority of providers to be people of color. Moore said she likes the diversity of her staff and community, while for Harris that’s a more difficult goal to achieve in North Arlington.

“Arlington is diverse, but on my side of Arlington, it’s significantly less diverse,” Harris said. “My staff are sometimes the only people of color that these children interact with. But I don’t think that we specifically put out that we’re a Black business. We’re preschool owners; we happen to be Black and we happen to be women, but we don’t think of ourselves as Black women-owned. We do great things for the community and we happen to be Black women.”

For Moore, the K-12 schools the children in Fairlington will go into tend to be more diverse.

“For my schools, they all go to other schools where there are all types of diversity and nationalities,” Moore said.

Moore moved to Arlington from Texas when she was ten and said she developed friends here across all sorts of nationality and racial lines. She said there’s a drive towards diversity in the county, but one that sometimes clashes with parents who moved into neighborhoods hoping their students would go to school perceived as being better than others.

“I know Arlington has been trying its best to have different boundaries, so there’s always a fight for integration,” Moore said, “I get the parent’s point too. I paid for a neighborhood I want my children to go there. However, it’s also important for integration, for times like this, for children to have a different mindset and meet someone you may not see in your neighborhood.”

Harris said roughly 97% percent of her school’s population is White. The majority of her students wind up going to Nottingham Elementary School, the student body of which is only 0.4% Black, according to APS data.

“My daughter is the only person of color in her Pre-K classroom,” Harris said. “Absolutely, while we do hope to bring diversity, we bring it to our staff and through our culture that we give and the lessons we teach our children.”

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(Updated at 4:15 p.m.) A residential development in Clarendon originally approved in 2015 may be nearing fruition.

The Arlington County Board previously approved a 580-unit, mixed-use development project in western Clarendon in October 2015. Set to replace the former Red Top Cab headquarters and dispatch center, and a pair of small commercial buildings, the development has shown few signs of progress since then.

That may be about to change. The KinderCare daycare center, located in one of the buildings to be replaced in the first of two planned construction phases, informed parents last week that it would be closing in June.

“Today I have some sad news to share: our center will close on June 5,” the center’s director wrote in a Feb. 20 letter. “As some of you may know, our center has been on short term leases for the last few years due to a new development project awaiting approval with the city. We recently learned that the project is moving forward.”

The letter went on to suggest that no replacement is currently planned for the center.

“I know this news may be unexpected and difficult to hear… Please know that all of us at KinderCare will do everything we can to support you and your child and to make this transition as stress-free as possible,” the letter says. “Since 2017, we’ve been diligently exploring all additional options for centers in the area… we are continuing to seek out additional child care solutions for families in Arlington.”

Facing a relatively tight turnaround for finding new childcare arrangements, some parents are incensed.

“This is incredibly short notice in an area that commands 6 months+ of wait lists for daycare services,” one parent told ARLnow. “Our understanding is that the teachers and director were blindsided as well.”

KinderCare is planning a town hall meeting for parents Tuesday night. The company says it will assist the center’s staff in finding new positions, potentially at other KinderCare centers in the D.C. area.

There’s no word on when developer Shooshan might be kicking off construction on the project, the first phase of which will also replace the Red Top Cab dispatch center. A company representative did not respond to several emails from ARLnow.

Shooshan is currently wrapping up construction of 4040 Wilson Blvd, the tallest building in Ballston and future home of VIDA Fitness, The Salt Line restaurant and the corporate headquarters of AvalonBay.

A host of new development in Clarendon is on the way, prompting county planners to reexamine the circa-2006 plan for the neighborhood.

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Morning Notes

Dorsey Steps Down from Transportation Board — “The Arlington County Board forced member Christian Dorsey to step down from a second transit board Saturday over a campaign donation from Metro’s largest union, and he apologized for misleading statements he made last month suggesting that he had already returned the money. Dorsey (D), who was reelected to the board in November, said he has sent back the $10,000 donation to the Amalgamated Transit Union and agreed to resign from the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission.” [Washington Post]

Thousands Attend Buttigieg Rally — Nearly 10,000 people attended Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg’s campaign rally at Washington-Liberty High School yesterday afternoon. [Twitter, TwitterThe Pete Channel]

Klobuchar Had High Profile Local Landlord — “Chuck Todd — who helped moderate Wednesday night’s Democratic debate — is likely more familiar with one candidate than any other. He was Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s landlord, sources exclusively told Page Six. Klobuchar and her husband, lawyer John Bessler, rented a 3-bedroom home owned by Todd in Arlington, Virginia, sources said.” [Page Six]

Firm Floats Less Parking for HQ2-Adjacent Park — “The green space adjacent to the first pair of Amazon.com Inc. HQ2 towers could be so much grander if it weren’t for some redundant on-street parking. That is what New York-based James Corner Field Operations, the urban design and landscape architecture firm Amazon has enlisted to mold Metropolitan Park’s open space, said Thursday night during the first step of the park master planning process… the site has roughly 50 on-street parking spaces, but there is a significant number, about 350, of underused below-ground spaces.” [Washington Business Journal]

Iwo Jima Restoration Is Complete — “This Sunday, Feb. 23, marks 75 years since brave Marines raised the American flag over Mount Suribachi on Iwo Jima. The U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial, which depicts the historic moment, has been completely rehabilitated… The rehabilitation of the sculpture and surrounding parkland, the specially designed onsite exhibits and the new videos were made possible through a generous $5.37 million donation.” [Press Release]

Board Approves Child Care Funding, Park Contract — “The Arlington County Board today approved a contract with Crown Construction Service, Inc. to upgrade heavily-used Edison Park with new playgrounds and other amenities… [and] accepted a $200,000 donation to fund high-quality child care for low-income Arlington families, the first such donation to the Arlington Community Foundation’s  (ACF) Shared Prosperity initiative from a private corporation.” [Arlington County, Arlington County]

‘Ball Cap Bandit’ Sentenced — “An Arlington man was sentenced today to five years in prison for robbing two Falls Church pawn shops of nearly $800,000 in jewelry and watches. According to court documents, in July 2014, Budder Khan, 30, entered Route 50 Gold and Jewelry Exchange, forced the store’s employees to the ground using what appeared to be a real firearm, smashed the business’s glass display cases, and took jewelry and watches worth over $650,000.” [Press Release]

Flickr pool photo by Phil

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