Arlington, VA

A local non-profit is dedicating a garden in Courthouse in honor of the victims and survivors of gun violence.

The Arlington chapter of Moms Demand Action (MDA) is dedicating the garden on Friday (June 7) from 7-8:30 p.m. The event will begin with a rally at Courthouse Plaza (2100 Clarendon Blvd) and then proceed to the garden, where a formal dedication will take place.

“We’re planting hope and creating something hopeful,” said Celia Slater, who handles communications for MDA. “We’re planting to honor the people we love who’ve been killed. We plant seeds for lasting change.”

Speaking at the dedication will be Del. Rip Sullivan (D-48th), MDA lead Beth Fine, and Arlington Board Chair Christian Dorsey, who will be reading a proclamation from the Board.

Also speaking will be Carmen Lodato, whose mother was shot and killed in 2014 in her Alexandria home.

The dedication is part of The Plant Hope initiative of the annual National Gun Violence Awareness Day/Wear Orange event, which takes place each June to honor the more than 100 people who are killed daily by gun violence.

“It’s awful what happened in Virginia Beach,” said Slater, referring to last Friday’s shooting spree, in which a gunman killed 12 people at a Virginia Beach municipal building. “Everybody should be able to live and work without being afraid of being shot at your desk.”

Members of the public donated the initial flowers for the garden, which include sunflowers and other pollinator-friendly blossoms. Come fall, MDA will plant more flowers, with the hope of transforming the plot into a butterfly garden, Slater said.

Children, students and other volunteers painted hundreds of rocks, which will be placed around the garden.

“With so many school lockdowns, we wanted to make sure that we can show families and children that there are positive forces at work to end gun violence,” Slater said.

Photos courtesy of Moms Demand Action

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Courthouse Jewelers at Courthouse Plaza is now closed “permanently,” according to a tipster and online business listings.

The shop on 2200 Clarendon Blvd bought and sold jewelry and was known for its watch repairs.

“It was a venerable institution,” said the tipster. “Bet they changed thousands of watch batteries for county staff over the years.”

As of today (Thursday) the inside of the small shop is empty. The only light left on is the white, block-lettering sign on the awning outside.

The shop’s website also appears to have shuttered. Courthouse Jewelers’ owner could not be reached, the shop’s phone number has been disconnected and its Facebook page has been inactive since 2012.

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Arlington’s newest fitness studio Next Phase Fitness & Strength Training, has launched its Signature Circuit class of creative and effective weekly workouts that minimize members’ time while maximizing their effort to reach their personal goals.

The inspirational team of dedicated coaches of Courthouse’s Next Phase Studio guide members through a strategically designed program that rotates through six different phases built off the four modalities of strength: Power, Hypertrophy, Strength and Endurance. Each week combines two of these modalities into the phases you see below, to consistently keep your body guessing and drive results.

The efficient, no-wasted-time 50 minute workouts employ TRX straps, kettlebells, Versaclimbers and indoor sleds among other equipment drive strength progress in a challenging — but not daunting — workout to keep the body progressing and the mind stimulated.

  • The Endure Phase introduces heavyweight exercises to improve overall strength + lightweight exercises to build muscle endurance.
  • The Grit Phase emphasizes lightweight, explosive exercises + moderately weighted toning exercises.
  • The Contrast Phase adds different explosive movements + opposing, heavier exercise to improve power and continue to build strength.
  • The Elevate Phase focuses on toning + endurance work to stimulate the growth of lean muscle mass.
  • The Drive Phase offers more lightweight, explosive movements + endurance exercises in what NP calls their Cardio and Deload Week.
  • The Gains Phase is all about building muscle and combines heavier strength + moderate toning exercises to trigger strength gains while improving lean muscle tone.

Even if you have never trained like this before, the beauty of consistent change allows you to find which strength modality, or combination of two, is most effective on YOUR body — all without the steep costs of hiring a personal trainer to find out for you.

Next Phase Fitness & Strength Training offers a number of membership packages and class times to accommodate individual budgets and busy personal schedules. Personal training and customized corporate wellness programs are also available.

Contact Next Phase Studios, located at 14th and North Taft Street in Courthouse, at [email protected] or 703-229-3678. Try your first class for free here.

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Work is wrapping up on improvements to one of Courthouse’s trickiest intersections, with some night paving set to close a few streets this week.

The county is putting the finishing touches on some changes to sidewalks and bus stops around the intersection of Wilson and Clarendon Boulevards, near the Courthouse Metro station. Starting last night (Tuesday), workers began paving the area and the county expects the work to last through Friday (Sept. 7).

Arlington officials are advising drivers to avoid the area where Clarendon Blvd meets N. Veitch Street and 15th Street N. during the paving, set to run from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. through the rest of the week.

Workers permanently closed the lane turning from Clarendon Blvd. to 15th Street N. in March, and have spent the ensuing months widening the sidewalks in the area and adding a new bus stop to accommodate additional Arlington Transit service in the area. The county hopes the project “will improve pedestrian safety, circulation and access in and around Courthouse Plaza,” per its website.

Construction was originally set to wrap up sometime this winter, but the county says it’s now “nearing completion, ahead of schedule.”

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Community leaders and activists will gather at Courthouse Plaza tonight (June 1) at 6:30 p.m. to mark National Gun Violence Awareness Day and Wear Orange Weekend.

Organized by Arlington members of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, the rally will feature speeches from local leaders and voter registration with Arlington NAACP volunteers.

“I see rallies like this as an opportunity to raise awareness, to think about the daily violence that happens that doesn’t make the newspapers, but is something that impacts all of us,” Beth Fine, the local lead for Moms Demand Action, told ARLnow.

The event is one of 19 that will take place throughout the state this weekend, according to the Virginia Moms Demand Action Facebook page, and is among more than 350 planned across the country.

Arlington County Board Vice Chair Christian Dorsey and School Board Chair Barbara Kanninen will both speak at the rally alongside Arlington Poet Laureate Katherine Young and student activists Karina de Leede and Chloe Fugle.

“I will be speaking about the School Board’s support for Wear Orange, our concern for the safety of our students and staff and the importance of student voices,” Kanninen said.

The Wear Orange movement began in 2013 when friends of 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton wore the color after Pendleton was shot and killed. Everytown for Gun Safety, a national organization that advocates against gun violence, began promoting the campaign nationally in 2015.

But Fine notes that the movement also has plenty of support locally, including from the County Board. In May, the Board declared June 1 National Gun Violence Awareness Day in Arlington, a decision that Fine believes “sets the right tone.”

“It’s important too that they know we are out there supporting people who are on board with this message,” she added.

Over 200 businesses in the Arlington area will also post fliers or offer specials to customers wearing orange this weekend, according to organizers. Alto Fumo, Ambar, Busboys & Poets, Cafe Pizzaiolo and New District Brewing Company are among the local businesses expected to run Wear Orange promotions this weekend.

Ultimately, Fine said community members who attend the rally should feel empowered to make change.

“I think what they should should come away [from] it with is the idea that they can actually effect change,” Fine said. “They will have some ideas as they leave about what they can do to make a difference.”

Photo via Facebook

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Morning Notes

Delays on Blue, Orange Lines Due to Person Struck — A person was struck by a train at the L’Enfant Metro station around 9:30 this morning. The incident is causing delays on the Blue and Orange lines, as service has been suspended between L’Enfant and Federal Center. Silver Line trains are operating between Wiehle and Ballston. [Twitter, Twitter, Washington Post]

Reminder: E-CARE Event This Weekend — Arlington County is holding its biannual Environmental Collection and Recycling Event (E-CARE) on Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. This time around the venue has changed; the recycling and hazardous household materials collection event is now being held at Yorktown High School (5200 Yorktown Blvd). [Arlington County]

Scott Disick Comes to Arlington, Disses ARLnowUpdated at 12:10 p.m. — Reality TV personality Scott Disick lorded over the grand opening ceremony for Sugar Factory in Pentagon City last night. About 100 people, mostly young women, showed up for the event, according to an ARLnow employee on the scene. Disick did interviews with local news outlets, but PR reps cut off the interviews and ushered Disick away just as our employee was next in line. [Twitter, Facebook, Daily Mail]

Kirwan’s Opens to Big Crowds — Mark Kirwan, owner of Samuel Beckett’s in Shirlington, may have another hit on his hands. His new bar, Kirwan’s on the Wharf in Southwest D.C., was packed last night before the Foo Fighters concert at the Anthem. [Facebook]

Courthouse Plaza Parking Lot Closed Sunday — The county’s Courthouse Plaza parking lot will be closed most of the day Sunday for the 2017 Animal Welfare League of Arlington Pints 4 Paws event. [Arlington County]

Marymount Makes USNWR Top Tier — “Marymount University is once again in the top tier among Regional Universities in the South in several categories, ranking 52nd overall in the 2018 edition of ‘Best Colleges’ by U.S. News & World Report.” [Marymount University]

AIRE Wins Regional Award — The Arlington Initiative to Rethink Energy was among this year’s recipients of the Climate and Energy Leadership Awards from the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments. AIRE’s Energy Lending Library “makes it easy to check out a thermal camera, a box of 10 different LED bulbs, energy meter, and Do-It-Yourself energy retrofit books through the library system free of charge,” notes COG. [Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments]

Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman

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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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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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Phones and internet are down at Arlington County’s offices at 2100 Clarendon Blvd after an electrical equipment failure this morning, meaning some government services are not available online.

The technical problems struck Courthouse Plaza just after 11 a.m., according to an anonymous tipster, and affect some operations including phones, the permitting website, online utility billing, the GIS mapping center and the library catalog and accounts system.

All other government offices are operating as normal, including the county’s emergency services.

A county spokeswoman said at 1:55 p.m. that service is now being restored “floor by floor” at the government building, but that outages could last for several more hours. Those trying to use some county online services may continue to be impacted.

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Courthouse Plaza at 2100 Clarendon Blvd

The Arlington County Board on Saturday is set to consider a lease renewal for county government headquarters at 2100 Clarendon Blvd in Courthouse.

Under the proposed agreement with property owner Vornado, according to a staff report, rent on the 235,000 square foot facility would actually go down, at least initially, though it would then rise 2.5 percent per year through the end of the lease in October 2033.

Starting in 2033, the county would have the option of renewing in five-year increments through 2062. Arlington, however, is also considering building its own headquarters nearby, to open before the end of the 15-year lease term.

More from the staff report:

The rent under the proposed lease Amendment will be substantially below the rent under the existing terms of the Lease. The current total rent under the existing Lease is approximately $11.2 million per year ($47.71 per square foot). In October, 2018 (immediately before the Amendment’s rent schedule takes effect), staff estimates that the total rent under the Lease will be approximately $11,500,000 per year ($48.95 per square foot) (charges for common-area maintenance and taxes must be estimated because they vary). Significantly, once the new rent takes effect in November, 2018, the total rent under the Amendment will start, and be reduced to, $9,867,354 per year ($42 per square foot), a savings of over $1.6 million per year.

The 15-year term of the Amendment is sufficient to give the County time to plan for and build a new administrative building at Courthouse Plaza if the County decides to do so. Based on the length of the term extension, staff believes it is now necessary to refurbish the County’s leased premises. The refurbishment would be paid for, in part, by the tenant improvement allowance provided by Landlord, the free rent, and the commission rebate (total = approximately $35.9 million). The scope and cost of any refurbishment will be determined by the County after a space utilization study.

In addition to a multi-million dollar office refurbishment, paid for by landlord and leasing agent concessions, under the lease renewal Arlington would gain the right to add a daycare facility to the building and to place an emergency generator on top of 2300 Clarendon Blvd, to serve the county’s Emergency Communications Center there.

County Manager Mark Schwartz is recommending the Board approve the lease renewal, given what the staff report describes as “fair and reasonable terms” offered by Vornado.

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Pop-up plaza in Courthouse A “pop-up plaza” has opened in Courthouse.

Put up in only two days near the Courthouse Plaza surface parking lot, workers cleaned up the area, painted the concrete, and added plants and furniture, transforming it into a public square similar to larger efforts done in places like New York’s Times Square.

Its purpose is to show the public what the entire parking lot might look like if it were to be transformed into a town square under the “Envision Courthouse Square” plan.

The plan calls for putting the parking underground, thus making way for a large, open green space and some new development.

 

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