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Morning Notes

Family Surprised to Learn Pet Was a Snapping Turtle — “An Arlington family took in a box turtle to be the new family pet recently — only to find out that it was actually a snapping turtle. The Animal Welfare League of Arlington tweeted out a photo of the turtle, noting that their officers had seized the turtle from the unwitting family.” [Patch, Twitter]

APS Delays Release of Construction Cost Report — “Arlington residents will have to wait a little longer for an analysis of the reasons behind the high costs of school construction in the county. The audit committees of the County Board and School Board had been slated to meet Aug. 7 in a joint session to discuss a report by school-system auditor John Mickevice on school-construction costs. That meeting, however, was called off.” [InsideNova]

TSA Keeps Finding Guns in Carry-ons at DCA — Earlier this month, in two separate incidents, TSA agents at Reagan National Airport seized loaded handguns from two men trying to carry them onto planes. The guns were the seventh and eighth seized at the airport so far this year. The men are now facing weapons charges. [Patch]

Jail Holds Creative Writing Contest — A 26-year-old man who’s in jail on a heroin possession charge won the Arlington County lockup’s first-ever creative writing contest yesterday. His prize-winning poem, in part: “I dream about the future. I dream about the past. I dream about the mountains. I dream about the sea. I dream of all the places that I would rather be.” [NBC Washington]

InsideNova Not Available in Europe — More than 1,000 U.S. news websites are blocking users from Europe after the EU implemented strict new privacy regulations known as GDPR on May 25. Among the sites that are no longer accessible from Europe, as seen in this screen shot from last month: InsideNova, which publishes articles from the Arlington Sun Gazette newspaper. [Nieman Journalism Lab]

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International Soccer Skills Challenge Aims to Test Local Talent

(Updated 7/2 at 12:05 pm) Aspiring Arlington soccer stars will soon have the opportunity to show off their dribbling, shooting, juggling and passing skills.

Next Saturday (July 7) from 4-8 p.m., the International Champions Cup Skills Challenge comes to Williamsburg Middle School.

The competition is divided into male and female divisions, which are each broken up by age (U12, U16 and open). Competitors receive a 45-minute time slot to navigate a dribbling course, score goals, juggle for as long as possible and quickly complete difficult passes.

The top entrant in each category will receive two free tickets to the Aug. 4 Juventus v. Real Madrid ICC match at FedEx Field and be recognized on the field during halftime.

Those interested can register online. Participation is free.

Photo via Facebook

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New Rosslyn Observation Deck Holds Contest for First Tours of the Space

The owners of a new Rosslyn observation deck are holding a contest to give people the opportunity to catch a first glimpse of the views from the space at CEB Tower at Central Place before it officially opens this summer.

Four winners will be able bring up to four guests each to tour the observation deck, located at 1201 Wilson Blvd. Entry for the contest ends Thursday.

Views from the 12,000 square foot deck feature much of the Georgetown waterfront, the Washington Monument, the U.S. Capitol building and more. According to the Washington Post, the space — expected to be a major tourist attraction — will also offer fourteen 55-inch touch screens that will highlight local landmarks. There will also be a bar with light food options.

Once it officially opens, the deck will charge $21 for admission, with reduced rates for students, seniors, children and the military. Admission will be free for Arlington residents.

Photo courtesy of Rosslyn BID

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Arlington Encourages Participation in This Weekend’s Nature Challenge

Arlington County is encouraging residents to get outside this weekend and help spot plant and animal species as part of the global City Nature Challenge.

The contest pits communities around the world against each other to identify as many plant and animal species as possible within their borders from April 27-30. Those participating are encouraged to use the iNaturalist app, which allows users to upload photos of plants and animals for the rest of the community to help identify.

For this contest, Arlington is classified within the greater D.C. area, and any species identification made within the county will count toward that group. Last year, the region placed seventh out of more than 75 global cities in the City Nature Challenge.

As a part of the challenge, county naturalists held a free guided walk this morning, and they’ll hold another one this afternoon from 2-2:30 at Gulf Branch Nature Center. Tomorrow (April 21) participants can learn how to use the iNaturalist app from 10-11:30 a.m. at Gulf Branch Nature Center. The free training is recommended for any nature enthusiasts at least eight years of age.

File photo

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Online Voting Begins for Virginia License Plate Design Contest

The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles opened online voting today for a license plate design contest intended to help combat distracted driving.

Voters in the Take Action Against Distraction contest have a choice between eight license plate designs created by Virginia high school students. Each license plate aims to raise awareness about distracted driving, whether it be by texting or drivers failing to keep their eyes on the road.

In 2016, distracted driving caused thousands of crashes and claimed 175 lives in Virginia, according to one report.

Voting will be open through March 20, and the winner will be awarded $1,000, courtesy of AAA Mid-Atlantic, the contest’s co-sponsor. Users can vote once every 24 hours.

“We’re so proud of the winners and their excellent license plate designs,” said Martha Meade, spokeswoman for AAA Mid-Atlantic, in a press release. “AAA Mid-Atlantic is proud to partner with DMV for this effort to bring distracted driving issues to the forefront.”

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Morning Notes

Murder of Crows Pooping All Over Shirlington — A large contingent of crows have taken up residence in Shirlington, and locals are getting fed up with cars and sidewalks being covered in bird doo-doo. [WTOP, NBC Washington]

Design Contest for 2019 ‘I Voted’ Sticker — “In an effort to gin up voter enthusiasm during what is expected to be a slow 2019, Arlington election officials… plan to hold a competition to design a logo for next year’s election.” [InsideNova]

Arlington No. 3 on ‘Best Counties’ List — A new list of “best counties” in the U.S. ranks Falls Church — a city — No. 1 while Arlington is No. 3 and Fairfax is No. 6. The list was compiled by the website 24/7 Wall Street. [WTOP]

Mitten Given the Boot By Grand Rapids — The city of Grand Rapids, Michigan is restarting its search for a new city manager after an outcry from residents and interest groups. Arlington Deputy County Manager Carol Mitten was among the three finalists for the job to speak at a community forum, prior to the city announcing the restart. [Fox 17, MLive]

Police Recruiting for Student Safety Patrol Camp — “The Arlington County Police Department’s School Resource Officer Unit is currently accepting applications to the Summer Safety Patrol Camp. This weeklong camp is offered to incoming 4th and 5th grade students who want to participate in safety patrols during the upcoming 2018-2019 academic year.” [Arlington County]

More on Market Common Redevelopment Approval — The redevelopment of a portion of Market Common Clarendon will widen a narrow sidewalk that was the source of resident complaints, among other community benefits. Arlington County Board member Christian Dorsey hopes the project can help “bring a little funkiness back into Clarendon.” [Arlington Connection]

Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman

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Vehicle Decal Design Competition Winner Announced

Arlington County’s 2018-2019 vehicle decals will have a drawing of its skyline behind blossoming cherry trees.

At the Arlington County Board’s meeting Tuesday (January 30), Treasurer Carla de la Pava announced that Schuyler Workmaster, a junior at Bishop O’Connell High School, won first place in the annual design competition over three other finalists.

Workmaster, in her third year as a finalist, said she chose to draw the design as she was inspired by the county’s mix of urban and natural settings.

“I chose to do this because it shows both the urban and nature aspect of Arlington,” she said at the meeting before her win was announced. “It just comes together in both pieces, and works together to create beauty. I think it represents Arlington because it’s very diverse, but it comes together to form something beautiful.”

Workmaster’s work was chosen among design finalists from three fellow student competitors: last year’s winner Amy Kohan, a junior at Wakefield High School; Washington-Lee junior Tom Bolles; and Yorktown High School junior Maddy Heinemann. Workmaster will receive a $750 cash prize from the Arlington Community Federal Credit Union and her design will be displayed on approximately 160,000 vehicles starting later this year.

A record 3,619 votes were cast in the competition, a figure de la Pava said is up 11 percent from last year. She said the interest in voting in the contest is huge across the county.

“The part that really tickles me is that it comes from all areas of Arlington,” de la Pava said. “All the nooks and crannies except for [Arlington National Cemetery]… it really represents how widespread the interest is in voting for this decal.”

Students are instructed to produce a design that represents Arlington. This year’s competition was widened to include anything that they felt represented World War I and the county’s participation in the war.

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Morning Notes

Arlington Chamber Seeking State Help — Possibly in response to the push for housing conservation districts, “the Arlington Chamber of Commerce is asking the General Assembly to ‘serve as a backstop and a safeguard’ against overreach by localities on planning and zoning matters.” [InsideNova]

Reminder: SmarTrip Change Next Week — As of Monday, Metro riders will no longer be able to run a negative balance on their SmarTrip cards. [WMATA]

‘Meet the Chair’ Scheduled — Arlington residents will be able to meet newly-minted Arlington County Board Chair Katie Cristol on the evening of Jan. 18, when the Leadership Center for Excellence holds its annual Meet the Chair event. [Leadership Center for Excellence]

SoberRide New Year’s Record — A record 1,225 people used the free safe ride service SoberRide on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Thanks to its new partnership with Lyft, SoberRide’s organizer says it “has removed well more than two times as many would-be drunk drivers from Greater Washington’s roadways as compared with the previous year.” [PDF]

District Taco Continues to Expand — Five Guys may be given a run for its money as the most successful Arlington-born restaurant chain. District Taco is now opening a location in the Center City section of Philadelphia. [Eater]

Snow Shovel Contest Winner — “This is Susan. She won our snow shovel, writing that her favorite phase of snow treatment/removal is Phase 1. Brine makes her giddy. Susan’s old shovel is from Nebraska and cracking. Way to go, Susan.” [Twitter]

Photo courtesy @BoccatoGelatos

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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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Morning Notes

‘Great Chocolate Race’ Cancelled — “The Great Chocolate Race, originally scheduled to take place in Rosslyn on Saturday, December 9, 2017, has been canceled due to circumstances outside the control of Arlington County and its Police Department. Runners who signed up to participate are advised not to respond to the area as planned.” [Arlington County]

Tax Bill Could Boost N. Va. Over D.C. — The GOP tax bill currently making its way through Congress could make Arlington and Northern Virginia a significantly more attractive a place to live for higher-income residents, tax-wise, than D.C. That is due to the proposed elimination of state and local tax deductions. [D.C. Policy Center]

Decal Design Finalists Revealed — Four finalists have been chosen in the Arlington County treasurer’s annual vehicle decal design contest for high school students. The potential designs for the 2018-2019 decal include ball players atop a goalpost, a depiction of Arlington’s skyline with blossoming cherry trees in the foreground, a ferris wheel from the county fair and the Cherrydale War Memorial. [InsideNova, InsideNova]

Flickr pool photo by Bekah Richards

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Bayou Bakery to Host Doughnut and Beignet Eating Contest

Bayou Bakery, Coffee Bar & Eatery in Courthouse will host a doughnut and beignet eating contest Sunday to coincide with the NFL game between the Washington Redskins and New Orleans Saints.

Nine participants will compete at halftime of the game, which kicks off at 1 p.m. on November 19, in the “Beignet and Brown-Butter Doughnut Eating Contest.”

Bayou chef and New Orleans native David Guas will be putting on the competition alongside District Doughnut chef Christine Schaefer.

Competitors will be asked to take on 10 beignets — a pastry made from deep-fried choux pastry — and 10 doughnuts each, and the one to get through all 20 the quickest will win $150 cash.

Anyone wishing to compete should arrive by 12:30 p.m. Admission is free, and the contest is free. Bayou Bakery is located at 1515 N. Courthouse Road.

More from a press release, after the jump.

What’s more American than football, and a little competition? In the spirit of the highly anticipated Washington Redskins vs. New Orleans Saints game on November 19, 2017, at 1 PM, New Orleans native, Chef David Guas, of Bayou Bakery, Coffee Bar & Eatery, along with his friend, Chef Christine Schaefer, of DistrictDoughnut are bringing on the ultimate, friendly rivalry: A Beignet and Brown-Butter Doughnut Eating Contest.

Here’s how it’ll go down: Football fans will head to Bayou Bakery, Coffee Bar & Eatery in Arlington, VA, to cheer on their favorite team while watching the out-of-town game on the big screen. Admission is FREE, the contest is FREE, and Dome Foam (Draft Abita Beer), NOLA Swinger and Gator-aide Cocktails, and Game-Day Dishes are $5 each.

But the “real” pro-players will be on the playing field during halftime. When you say “football,” we say, “Let’s eat!” Nine participants will be given the opportunity to “tackle” a sum of 20 beignets and doughnuts. Strategy is key – Guas and Schaefer encourage dunking the delicacies to increase speed by swallowing easily, so keeping with tradition Café Au Lait and Milk will be provided on the side. The one person out of the 9 to “Brees” through it, and scarf down all 20 in the fastest amount of time, will take home the grand prize – $150 cash!

No sore losers here, though – all nine participants will head home with two $20 gift cards – one from Bayou, and the other from District Doughnut ($40 total) … that is, provided each contender can handle the fried feast!

Competitors should arrive by 12:30PM when the sign-up begins, because it’s first come, first serve, and will be limited to 9 participants in total.

Whether you’re there to watch, there to bring on the heat, or both – chances are, this will be a game day you won’t regret! May the best guzzler (and football team) win!

P.S. Just saying – is there a home team advantage? Ha!

Courtesy photo

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Annual Decal Design Competition Now Open

Arlington County high school students can now submit designs for the county’s 14th annual Decal Design Competition.

The winning design will appear on the 2018-19 decal that will be displayed on more than 160,000 vehicles registered in Arlington.

Wakefield High School sophomore Amy Kohan won the 2017-18 competition earlier this year with an image of the David M. Brown Planetarium next to Washington-Lee High School. Kohan’s effort, entitled “Arlington Sees Stars,” was one of a record 235 designs submitted.

Entrants are asked to submit designs that represent “the vibrant community that is Arlington,” according to an announcement from the Arlington Treasurer’s Office. The top four finalists will be selected by a panel of citizens.

The four finalists’ designs will be displayed at the main branch of the Arlington Community Federal Credit Union (4121 Wilson Blvd) in December and January. The finalists will present their designs to the Arlington County Board and a winner will be announced at a Board meeting in early 2018.

“The competition gives students the opportunity to utilize their design skills in a real-world application, as well as participate in the workings of their local government,” the announcement reads. “The winner and runners-up will have a unique accomplishment to highlight on their resumés and college applications.”

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Arlington Relaunching Competition for Startups This Month

Startup Arlington logoArlington Economic Development is once again “calling all techies” for a chance to win investment capital, temporary office space and lots of recognition.

AED is currently accepting applications for its second Startup Arlington competition. The contest, which last occurred in 2015, is part of the county’s ongoing effort to bring startups to the area.

Oppleo Security, a cybersecurity company from Montana, won the first Startup Arlington competition.

This year’s competition is nearly identical to the first, said AED spokeswoman Cara O’Donnell. Companies that apply by Jan. 31 stand to win three months of lodging at WhyHotel/The Bartlet and incubator space at 1776 “with access to expert mentorship and a powerful network to help the company grow,” according to the competition’s website. The winning company will also receive a $25,000 investment from Kiddar Capital.

Each applicant chosen as a finalist will be required to submit a 90-second video that demonstrates why their company should be chosen by a panel of judges and members of the voting public. Voting takes place between Feb. 21 and Feb. 28, according to the county.

But there’s a catch: Applicants can’t be residents of D.C.; Prince William, Fairfax, Loudoun or Arlington counties in Virginia; or Prince George’s and Montgomery counties in Maryland, according to Startup Arlington’s rules.

“We’re hopeful for a wide pool of applicants,” O’Donnell said. “We launched the competition at this year’s CES to reach a large audience.”

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Finalists Chosen for Arlington County Vehicle Decal Contest

The four finalists have been chosen for Arlington’s 13th annual Vehicle Decal Design Competition.

The contest, organized by the county Treasurer’s Office, received 235 submissions from Arlington high school students this year. It was narrowed down to the finalists, above, by a panel of local residents.

Arlington County residents can now vote (once) for their favorite through Monday, Jan. 16. Voting is taking place online and via mail.

The winner will be announced at a County Board meeting on Jan. 31, according to the Treasurer’s Office, and that design will then grace the windshields of 160,000 windshields from 2017-2018.

The winner will also get $750, while the runners-up gets $500 from the Arlington Community Federal Credit Union.

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Morning Notes

Supermoon (Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf)

Thanksgiving Travel in D.C. Area — More than 1 million D.C. area residents are expected to leave town for Thanksgiving, and 9 out of 10 of them will be traveling by car. The worst day and time for traffic in the region is expected to be next Tuesday afternoon. [Washington Post]

Arlingtonians Spend Big for the Holidays — The average Arlington household is expected to spend $1,741 celebrating the holidays, according to a new survey. That’s the highest expected holiday spending in the region and the 13th highest in the U.S. [InsideNova]

GMU Renames Building in Arlington — George Mason University’s Metropolitan Building in Virginia Square has been renamed for one of the school’s Nobel Prize laureates. The building will be renamed Vernon Smith Hall in a ceremony tomorrow (Friday). The university-owned building, at 3434 Washington Blvd, also houses the new Virginia DMV office. [George Mason University]

Beer Coming to Donut Shop — It’s a combination that would make Homer Simpson drool. Sugar Shack Donuts on Columbia Pike has applied for a Virginia ABC permit to serve beer. The application was filed Nov. 7. No word yet on how soon the store may be offering cold brews to pair with its donuts.

Good Stuff Eatery Opening at DCA — Burger restaurant Good Stuff Eatery is opening a new location today in Arlington: specifically, at Terminal B of Reagan National Airport. [Good Stuff Eatery]

Students Win Video Contest — “A team of students from the Arlington Career Center has won the fifth annual student video challenge sponsored by the Virginia School Boards Association (VSBA), taking home the top prize for the fourth year in a row.” [Arlington Public Schools]

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

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