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by Chris Teale September 26, 2017 at 2:45 pm 0

A Pentagon City resident has launched a social media campaign against abandoned Costco shopping carts, which she says are a persistent “eyesore” for the neighborhood.

Sarah Wohl started posting from the @CartsOfPCArl Twitter account on September 20, after walking around the neighborhood with her husband and finding it “comical” to see so many. She has tweeted about two dozen photos of abandoned carts in the week since the account launched — showing carts near apartment buildings, next to parking meters and outside restaurants.

“I’ve lived in Pentagon City for a couple of years, and since I’ve moved there, there’s always been Costco shopping carts everywhere, and it is an eyesore as you walk around,” Wohl said. “They’ll be by cars, by apartment buildings and blocks away from Costco. They’re kind of everywhere.”

NBC Washington reported earlier this year on residents’ renewed efforts to improve matters, including writing to Costco and documenting the abandoned carts.

And past online petitions have urged Costco to “take responsibility” for the carts left behind by their shoppers.

“These abandoned shopping carts create safety hazards and bring the overall image of our community down,” reads one petition from four years ago. “Please assist me in making our community a better place that doesn’t have shopping carts littering parking lots, store fronts, streets and our local park.”

Wohl said things haven’t improved, and that the responsibility must be shared between Costco and those who shop there.

“I think it’s because people live around there and don’t want to drive to Costco, but you can’t really carry bags of stuff from Costco home, so it’s easier to just take a cart and bring it home and then it’s a pain to bring it back,” she said. “Or people that drive from elsewhere may just take the cart to their car, which they don’t park in the Costco parking lot because that’s always a headache and they leave it by wherever they park their car.”

So Wohl decided to shine a light on the problem in her own way, using humor to highlight the neighborhood issue.

“It started as a silly thing, just putting it on Twitter, but it’s part of a larger problem,” she said.

For residents, visitors and businesses alike, Wohl said the sight of so many abandoned carts damages the neighborhood’s character.

“I think it detracts from the community and detracts from Pentagon City and Crystal City, because it looks like an eyesore and it looks a little trashy having these carts everywhere,” Wohl said.

A Costco spokeswoman declined to comment.

Photos via Sarah Wohl (@CartsOfPCArl)

by ARLnow.com September 22, 2017 at 8:45 am 0

‘Hate Group’ Holding Conference in ArlingtonACT for America, which describes itself as the “nation’s largest non-profit, non-partisan, grassroots national security organization” — but which is described by the Southern Poverty Law Center as an anti-Muslim hate group — is holding its annual conference at the Crystal Gateway Marriott in Crystal City next weekend. Marriott is refusing calls to cancel the event, saying: “We are a hospitality company that provides public accommodations and function space. Acceptance of business does not indicate support or endorsement of any group or individual.” [Slate]

Private Middle School Opens in Arlington — A ribbon cutting was held earlier this week for the grand opening celebration of The Sycamore School, a new, private middle school in Arlington. “More than 80 percent of our inaugural students are coming from public school,  which tells me that our community is aching for smaller class options and more individualized learning,” said the school’s founder. [InsideNova]

Another Arcing Insulator Outside of Rosslyn — A track issue caused problems yet again between the Rosslyn and Foggy Bottom Metro stations this morning. The initial call for a possible arcing insulator went out around 5 a.m. Normal service on the Blue, Orange and Silver lines was restored around 7 a.m. [WJLA]

First Day of Fall — Grab your maple lattes, today is the autumnal equinox and the first day of astrological autumn. The equinox will happen just after 4 p.m. Eastern time. [Twitter, Capital Weather Gang]

Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley

by ARLnow.com September 20, 2017 at 8:30 am 0

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

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

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

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

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

by ARLnow.com September 19, 2017 at 8:00 am 0

Arlington Kicking Off Budget Process Early — Normally it is a conversation that starts later in the year, but for the upcoming Fiscal Year 2019 budget process Arlington County is holding “an earlier-than-ever-before series of roundtable discussions on budget priorities and challenges.” The first is scheduled to take place at Westover Library on Friday, Sept. 29. [Arlington County]

More Renovations for Crystal House — The second phase of an extensive renovation process at the massive, historic Crystal House apartment complex in Crystal City is complete: “Some of the amenities include two rooftop ‘sky decks’ with billiard tables, rooftop grilling and dining areas, and a fitness center with a yoga studio. There is also an Olympic-sized swimming pool, new lobbies with Wi-Fi, a clubroom, and a conference room.” [Curbed]

Arlington’s Little League Coach of the Year — Arlington Little League coach Larry Patent beat out 276 other coaches in the league to win the honor of Coach of the Year. “What makes Larry Patent special,” writes a reporter for TV station WUSA 9, “is that he coaches a team made up of players with mental and physical disabilities.” [WUSA 9]

County to Issue New Bonds — Arlington County is expected to sell tens of millions of dollars worth of revenue bonds next month. The bonds will fund the acquisition of the Buck property across from Washington-Lee High School, the “acquisition, design and construction of an office building at 2920 S. Glebe Road,” and “upgrades to the County’s Assessment and Collection system and Enterprise Payments System.” The bonds will also refinance older bonds and save up to $3.8 million. [Arlington County]

Jimmy Carter Can’t Help Local Office Market — Despite the protestations of a local civic activist, Arlington County officials say they cannot successfully sue the federal government over a 1970s-era executive order from President Jimmy Carter that gave D.C. and Arlington “priority in the location of federal agencies in the Washington area.” Federal offices have been moving out of Arlington for cheaper office space farther away from the District. [InsideNova]

Photo courtesy Joe Cashwell

by ARLnow.com September 18, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

County Board Approves Construction Contracts — At its meeting Saturday, the Arlington County Board approved a pair of contracts: a $2.5 million contract to build phase two of the Washington Blvd Trail project and a $6.6 million contract to remove an elevated roadway through part of Crystal City. [Arlington County]

Firefighters Save Kittens — “A passerby heard the kittens crying from a compost box and saw one of them with its neck stuck between the posts. The Good Samaritan flagged down a nearby firetruck and the firefighters were able to free the kittens. Animal Control was then called to the scene to help locate all of the kittens and bring them to safety.” [WJLA]

Lubber Run Community Center Design OKed — The County Board has given its approval to the conceptual design for the new Lubber Run Community Center and park, which will replace the original community center, built in 1956. The next steps in the $48 million project are for the design to be completed and the facility to be built. [Arlington County, InsideNova]

Arlington Company Raises $42 Million — Ballston-based Federated Wireless, which creates shared spectrum technology for the wireless industry, has raised $42 million in Series B investment. [VC News Daily]

‘Kayaktivists’ Protest Near Pentagon — A group of ‘kayaktivist’ protesters raised banners that said “Stop War on Planet” and “No Wars for Oil” in the Pentagon Lagoon, near the Pentagon and Columbia Marina, yesterday. [Facebook]

Victories for Yorktown, Wakefield — The Yorktown (3-0) and Wakefield (2-1) varsity football teams both won at home this weekend. Washington-Lee (0-3) lost and remains winless. [InsideNova]

Flickr pool photo by Jim Webster

by ARLnow.com September 15, 2017 at 11:35 am 0

An Indiana man walked into a Crystal City restaurant Wednesday night, wrapped his arm around the neck of a female diner and threatened her with a pair of scissors, police say.

The attack happened just before 5:30 p.m. on the 2200 block of Crystal Drive.

Police say the man was “in search of individuals that would acknowledge him” and “the incident occurred after the victim did not acknowledge the suspect.” The suspect was taken into custody after bystanders intervened, potentially saving the woman from being maimed.

Arlington County Police Department spokeswoman Ashley Savage described to ARLnow.com what happened:

After the suspect placed his arm around the victim’s neck and threatened her, a male witness approached the suspect from behind, bearhugged him and took him to the ground. Additional witnesses assisted in gaining control of the suspect, disarming him of the scissors and detaining him until police arrived and took the suspect into custody.

The immediate intervention by good Samaritans stopped an active threat against the victim and potentially saved her from serious injury.

More from an ACPD crime report:

MALICIOUS WOUNDING, 2017-09130224, 2200 block of Crystal Drive. At approximately 5:24 p.m. on September 13, police were dispatched to the report of a fight in progress. Upon arrival, it was determined that a male suspect entered a restaurant, approached a female victim, placed his arm around her neck and threatened her with a pair of scissors. Witnesses came to the side of the female victim, intervened and detained the suspect until police arrived. Neal Jesspace, 49, of Jamestown, IN was arrested and charged with Malicious Wounding. He was held on no bond.

by ARLnow.com September 12, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

Crystal City Development Plan Filed — Developer JBG Smith has filed a site plan application for what it’s calling “North District” — a multi-block redevelopment in Crystal City that will include a new movie theater, grocery store and Metro station entrance. The residential-heavy development is bounded by Crystal Drive, Route 1, 15th Street and 18th Street S. [Washington Business Journal]

Chamber Backs Staff’s VRE Recommendation — The Arlington Chamber of Commerce says county staff is right to recommend the placement of a revamped Crystal City VRE station closer to Metro. The staff recommendation “best positions Crystal City and greater Arlington County as a regional multi-modal transit hub,” as compared to a placement option preferred by local condo residents who are concerned about train noise. [InsideNova]

DCA Noise Complaints — A total of 36,653 noise complaints were filed in 2016 regarding arrivals to and departures from Reagan National Airport, according to recently-released stats from the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority. The complaints were filed by 836 individuals in 762 households, including one individual who filed 17,273 noise complaints. [MWAA]

Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman

by Chris Teale September 8, 2017 at 1:45 pm 0

The Arlington Planning Commission recommended the County Board vote to further study two options for the new Crystal City Virginia Railway Express station, against the wishes of VRE and county staff.

The Commission voted 6-1-1 to support option Nos. 2 and 3 for the proposed new station at its meeting Thursday night. VRE and county staff wanted an endorsement of option No. 2 only.

The County Board will take up the matter at its September 16 or September 19 meetings.

Of the three options, option No. 1 would be closest to the current VRE platform, while option No. 2 would place the platform just south of the Crystal City Water Park and closer to the Crystal City Metro station.

Option No. 3 would be slightly further south than No. 2. The station would then connect to other areas of Crystal City through a combination of walkways and bridges. Residents believe option No. 3 may mitigate noise better than the other options.

Numerous opponents questioned the process, which has been led by VRE in consultation with the county. Sonali Soneji, VRE’s planning program administrator, and Tom Hickey, VRE’s chief development officer, both said choosing one option would have been preferable as it would have allowed for more detailed study.

But opponents said they have felt “railroaded” by staffers set on choosing option No. 2.

“The really sad part about this is that it became clear to us over the many months that this has been going on that the county staff had already made up their minds,” Carol Fuller of the Crystal City Civic Association told ARLnow before the hearing. “They knew which way they wanted to go.”

The desire for further study of two options was a key reason Commissioners voted for Nos. 2 and 3. James Lantelme voted against as he said he wanted the body to make a firm decision.

“I just don’t know yet. I need more analysis,” said Nancy Iacomini, explaining her reluctance to vote for one option alone.

VRE and county staff recommended option No. 2 as they said it connected best to the nearby Metro station and other transportation options like buses and bikes at the Crystal City Multimodal Center.

“It sounds to me, from what I can see, that the decision for option 2 is coming down exclusively to Metro and proximity to Metro,” said Natasha Atkins, president of the Aurora Highlands Civic Association, one of around 10 opponents to testify against the plan before the Planning Commission.

A number of stakeholders supported the plan in letters sent before the meeting, especially on the basis that it will help connect the VRE and Metro stations in Crystal City. Taylor Lawch of developer JBG Smith, which owns numerous nearby properties, testified that option No. 2 is “the only option that positions Crystal City and Arlington County to become a multi-modal transportation destination in the future.”

(more…)

by ARLnow.com September 7, 2017 at 4:45 pm 0

Online retail behemoth Amazon just announced that it is searching for a place to build a second headquarters, and Arlington officials say the county is tossing its hat in the ring.

Amazon is looking to build its “HQ2” in North America, in a metropolitan area with a population over 1 million and room to build up to 8 million square feet of transit-accessible office space in a pedestrian-friendly setting. The new headquarters is expected to come with $5 billion worth of investment and will create up to 50,000 jobs, with an average salary north of $100,000.

Other requirements include being within 30 miles of a population center and no more than 45 minutes away from an international airport.

Arlington, officials say, could fit the bill — and the county is planning to respond to Amazon’s request for proposals.

“Yes, we will be pursuing the opportunity,” said Arlington Economic Development spokeswoman Cara O’Donnell, adding that it is “too early to say which specific locations would be under consideration.”

One potential option is Arlington’s Crystal City neighborhood, which has a burgeoning tech scene and an existing plan to build up to 9.7 million square feet of office space, partially through the demolition of aging, vacant office buildings. It is also transit and highway accessible, within walking distance of Reagan National Airport and much of its office space is owned by one company.

Another option is Arlington’s millennial-heavy Rosslyn-Ballston corridor, along the Orange Line. Rosslyn recently scored Nestle’s U.S. headquarters and Ballston has been active in trying to attract tech companies and fill soon-to-be-vacated office space.

O’Donnell declined to say what Arlington’s pitch to Amazon will be, but the transit accessibility and skilled, young professional workforce is likely to be a selling point. Economic incentives and tax breaks from the county and the state will also undoubtedly be involved — Amazon has stated that will be a determining factor.

Competition for the new headquarters will be intense, as the winning jurisdiction will be instantly transformed into a formidable technology center. In the Washington region alone, D.C., Loudoun County and Prince George’s County have already indicated that they will also be pursuing Amazon.

File photo

by Chris Teale September 1, 2017 at 10:00 am 0

(Updated at 12:30 p.m.) A series of public meetings will be held next week to discuss a possible new pedestrian connection between Crystal City and Reagan National Airport.

The meetings are scheduled to take place Tuesday, September 5 on the 11th floor of 2011 Crystal Drive, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 6:30-8 p.m. Both meetings will have the same agenda, with staff from the Crystal City Business Improvement District looking to gather public feedback on the proposed pedestrian link.

RSVPs for either meeting are requested but not required.

“Imagine walking from Crystal City’s main street to the airport in just under 5 minutes,” the meetings’ event page says. “The CC2DCA Pedestrian Connection Feasibility Study that is investigating this possibility.”

Earlier this year, the BID issued a Request for Proposals asking for consultants to study a possible connection. The deadline for sending those proposals, which included the studying of optimal alignments, real estate, regulations, costs and necessary approvals, has since passed.

BID officials say a new pedestrian crossing would help leverage various transportation improvements in Crystal City, including the revamped VRE station and a proposed new Metro station entrance on Crystal Drive. Reagan National is also set for a $1 billion refresh, with construction there expected to conclude in 2021.

Anyone unable to attend in person can watch the presentation on Facebook Live at www.facebook.com/crystalcityva or send comments and feedback by email to [email protected].

Map via Google Maps

by Chris Teale August 31, 2017 at 11:15 am 0

A company that markets “As Seen on TV” products will come to Arlington next month to hear local inventors’ ideas on the next big thing.

Top Dog Direct will hold a “Speed Pitch” event at TechShop (2100-B Crystal Drive) in Crystal City on Monday, September 18 starting at 9:30 a.m.

The company is known for products like the Sobakawa Cloud PillowStream Clean stain remover, Tag Away skin tag remover, the Futzuki pain relieving reflexology mat.

The event will be held in conjunction with the Inventors Network of the Capital Area, a nonprofit that helps inventors of all experience levels network and share information.

Anyone who wants to pitch their ideas at the event must fill out and send an application form beforehand. The form asks for a short description of the product, and has the following requirements for the pitch itself:

  • Prototype or final product available to present
  • Consumer product
  • Reach a mass audience
  • Can retail from $9.99-39.99
  • Demonstrable
  • Easy to understand
  • New product that is not on the market
  • Short, two-minute pitch

Forms must be sent to [email protected], with the subject line, “Sept 18 Arlington, VA Pitch.” Top Dog will review applications and then select the contenders for the pitch-a-thon.

by Chris Teale August 22, 2017 at 1:45 pm 0

A fast-casual Middle Eastern restaurant replaced a former frozen yogurt store in Crystal City earlier this month.

Shawarma Gyros Xpress opened on August 12 at 2329 S. Eads Street. It replaced Froyo To Go between Kabob Palace and Sahara Cafe and across from a CVS in a shopping plaza close to Jefferson Davis Highway. The owners of Kabob Palace are also behind the new fast-casual eatery.

The new eatery offers sandwiches including chicken and beef shawarma, soups, salads and pies, as well as appetizers and desserts like baklava. It offers dine-in and takeout options, and has a large dining room towards the back as well as high-top tables near the front.

Hat-tip to C.H. McMillan

by ARLnow.com Sponsor August 22, 2017 at 8:00 am 0

In Crystal City, the month of September becomes SIPtember, with a series of events that brings the community together over fine wine, craft beers, and quality entertainment.

With today’s ARLnow Deal of the Day, tickets are 50 percent off for both the Sip & Salsa and Pups & Pilsners events. The first 50 guests at each of the September Fridays at the Fountain will also receive a special Happy Hour Deal.

Sip & Salsa discount code: [email protected]

Pups & Pilsners discount code: [email protected]

Fridays at the Fountain: First 50 mentions of this deal each week receive a special Happy Hour Deal!

More information on each event is below.

Sip and Salsa – 11th Annual

September 10 from 2-6 p.m.
220 20th Street S.

The region’s longest running inside the beltway outdoor wine festival returns to Crystal City combining the tastes of Spanish and South American wines from Jaleo and the Crystal City Wine Shop with delicious foods from around the region. Free Salsa dancing lessons from The Salsa Room and live music round out the 11th annual event. General admission tickets (wine and food) are normally $20 and food tickets are $10 when purchased online – both are 50% off with today’s Daily Deal. Purchase tickets.

Pups and Pilsners – 6th Annual

September 17 from 2-6 p.m.
12th Street S. & Crystal Drive

Bring your friends – of both the two and four-legged variety – to the annual Pups and Pilsners outdoor beer festival in Crystal City. This dog-friendly festival features a beer garden with craft brews and offerings from local breweries and dog friendly attractions including a fenced dog run. Plan a picnic or grab a bite from a local Crystal City restaurant or on-site food truck. General admission tickets are normally $20 when purchased online, but only $10 with today’s Daily Deal. Purchase tickets.

Fridays at the Fountain

Every Friday through October from 5-9 p.m.
Across from 1750 Crystal Drive

Crystal City’s popular outdoor beer and wine garden continues with a special “beer takeover” by a different craft brewery each week throughout SIPtember including Three Notch’d, New District, Caboose Brewing Company, Devil’s Backbone Brewing Company, and Right Proper Brewing Company. Catch a great line-up of local live music on the Keolis Stage and take in the beautiful ambiance of the overhead LED lights and the Fountain. We, the Pizza will be onsite selling pizza, water, and soft drinks. Entry is free, but the first 50 customers to mention this ARLnow deal will receive a special Happy Hour Deal.

(more…)

by ARLnow.com August 21, 2017 at 8:00 am 0

Last-Minute Eclipse Glasses in Crystal City — PBS, which is based in Crystal City, will be giving out the remainder of its supply of eclipse glasses at the Crystal City Water Park this morning at 9 a.m. (Update: They’re all gone.) [Twitter]

W-L Grad Studying Eclipse — Arlington native Adriana Mitchell, a 19-year-old University of Arizona student and Washington-Lee High School graduate, will be studying this afternoon’s eclipse as part of “an unprecedented effort to help solve some of the mysteries surrounding our home star.” [University of Arizona]

Whitlow’s Also Hosting Viewing Party — In addition to the sold-out eclipse viewing party at Don Tito’s in Clarendon, Whitlow’s will be hosting a viewing event at its rooftop tiki bar, featuring “a limited number of eclipse glasses” and half-priced burgers. [Event Calendar]

Petition to Keep W-L Name Gains Support — An alumni petition calling for Washington-Lee High School to keep its name as-is, despite a push to remove Robert E. Lee’s last name and a School Board effort to consider name changes, has collected more than 700 signatures. “Washington-Lee has been part of the lives of Arlington school children since the 1920’s and has been one of the top high schools in the country throughout its existence,” the petition says. “To change the name of the school now is not reflective of W-L spirit nor W-L pride.” [Get Petition]

Wardian Still Good at Running, Humaning — Arlington’s own Michael Wardian is not only keeping up his impossible, superhuman distance running schedule, at the age of 43, but he’s also continuing to be a really nice guy in the process. [DelmarvaNow]

by ARLnow.com August 16, 2017 at 10:00 am 0

A man of short stature walked into a Crystal City office building, stole a purse, and almost immediately starting using the victim’s credit cards, according to police.

The Arlington County Police Department is investigating the burglary, which happened Monday at the Consumer Technology Association in Crystal City. The department released surveillance camera images of the suspect at ARLnow.com’s request.

“At approximately 2:30 p.m. on August 14, police were dispatched the 1900 block of S. Eads Street for the report of a grand larceny,” said ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage. “Upon arrival, the victim reported that between 11:30 a.m. and 1:15 p.m., her purse had been stolen from her cubicle and her credit cards had been fraudulently used.”

“During the investigation, several employees reported seeing a suspicious male subject in the building,” Savage continued. “The subject is described as a black male, between 40 and 50 years old, approximately 4 ft tall and weighing 130 lbs. He was wearing dark clothing at the time. The investigation is ongoing.”

An employee who works at the association said the man “walked right into our building and stole a purse from someone’s desk,” then “immediately began using her credit cards at a gas station on Route 1 and then later in D.C.”

“It is very frightening that someone is going around to different office buildings like this!” the employee said.

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