In Rosslyn: WJLA Stays, Politico Implodes — In Rosslyn yesterday, there were two big pieces of local media news in the same building, on the same day. First, it was announced that Sinclair Broadcast Group signed a five-year, 100,000 square foot lease that will keep WJLA and NewsChannel 8 in the 1000/1100 Wilson Blvd twin towers. Later, it was revealed that Politico — which renewed its lease in the same complex in 2014 — would soon be losing CEO Jim VandeHei, chief political reporter Mike Allen and three senior executives. [Washington Business Journal, Huffington Post]
Arlington OKs Gondola Study Contribution — Arlington County will kick in $35,000 to study the feasibility of a gondola running from Rosslyn to Georgetown. Some County Board members expressed skepticism of the plan, though the county’s economic development director said it would at minimum give local hotels and tourism a boost. [Washington Post]
Apartment Complex Deemed Historic District — The Arlington County Board yesterday voted to designate Cambridge Courts — “a garden apartment complex built from rationed materials to house defense workers during World War II” — a local historic district. The apartment complex along Route 50 will now be protected from redevelopment. [Arlington County]
New Rules for Bus-Only Lanes — New rules have been approved for the Crystal City Potomac Yard Transitway. After it opens this spring, the transitway’s lanes in Crystal City will be designated bus-only during the morning and afternoon rush hours. Police will issue warning to drivers who violate the rules during the first 30 days, then will issue $200 fines to lane violators after that. [WTOP, Arlington County]
County Board Approves ‘Complete Streets’ Guidelines — The Arlington County Board has approved a set of guidelines intended to “help transform busy neighborhood streets into ‘Complete Streets’ – ones that will be safe for users of all ages and abilities whether they are walking, driving, cycling or using transit.” [Arlington County]
Flickr pool photo by J.D. Moore
The Arlington County Board on Thursday will consider joining a partnership to study the feasibility of a gondola running from Rosslyn to Georgetown.
County Manager Mark Schwartz is recommending approval of the multi-party partnership, which calls for Arlington County to contribute $40,000 to the study’s expected $250,000 cost.
Among the parties to the proposed Memorandum of Understanding are the Georgetown Business Improvement District, which first floated the gondola idea, along with the District of Columbia Dept. of Transportation, the Rosslyn Business Improvement District, Georgetown University and property owners JBG, Gould Properties and Vornado.
The Georgetown BID would be the biggest contributor to the study, with $75,000 pledged. The other parties, besides Arlington, are slated to contribute between $35,000 and $5,000.
County staff said that an aerial gondola system running above the Potomac could draw more visitors to Rosslyn and could help ease vehicle and pedestrian traffic on the congested Key Bridge. Georgetown is the largest employment center in the District without a Metro system — more than 22,000 people work there, including 10,000 at the university — and the walk from the Rosslyn Metro station across the bridge is about a kilometer, a chilly and windy 0.6 miles in the winter.
“A more efficient and reliable transit connection between Rosslyn and Georgetown would benefit both communities socially and economically,” county staff wrote.
The county’s Transportation Commission voted 6-3-2 in favor of the study. Opponents worried that “the primary purpose of a gondola would be for tourism rather than for transport.”
“The Commission is of multiple minds on this proposal,” wrote Transportation Commission Chair Chris Slatt in a letter to County Board Chair Libby Garvey. “There is a fear that the gondola proposal does not solve a real transportation need, and many commissioners fear that even contributing to a study will provide substantive fodder for transit-naysayers.”
The gondola study is expected to take seven months to complete and could be complete by October 2016.
Rendering via Georgetown BID
(Updated at 11:55 p.m.) Two suspects are in custody after leading Arlington County Police on a vehicle pursuit through the District of Columbia, following a shooting near the Pentagon City mall.
The alleged road rage incident happened around 3:10 p.m., at the 15th Street South exit of the mall’s parking lot. NBC 4 reported that a driver was having trouble using a credit card to exit from one of the gates. The driver was trying to get the car behind to let them reverse out, when someone in that car fired a gunshot in the air.
Witnesses called 911 and reported the shooting, describing the suspect vehicle as white in color with D.C. tags
A car matching the description given to police was spotted by an officer on I-395. That led to a pursuit across the 14th Street Bridge into D.C., near the National Mall, and back on I-395 before ending at 3rd and F Streets NW, near the Third Street Tunnel, where the suspects bailed out and took off running.
Arlington police, aided by D.C. police, were able to chase and apprehend both suspects, according to ACPD spokesman Lt. Kip Malcolm.
Reginald Carroll, a 21-year-old D.C. resident, has been charged with willfully discharging a firearm in public and felony eluding. Calvin Pelzer, also 21 years old and from D.C., has been charged with discharging a firearm and obstruction of justice.
The suspects threw a gun out of the window during the vehicle pursuit, Malcolm said. It was recovered along I-395 near the GW Parkway.
Arlington County Police normally don’t engage in car chases, but department policy specifies that such pursuits are authorized for violent crimes involving firearms, “for the safety of the community,” according to Malcolm.
No one was reported injured in the shooting. As of early Friday evening, investigators were still looking for bullet casings and other evidence near the scene. They’re also trying to find other witnesses as well as the other driver involved, who fled after the shooting.
“The investigation is ongoing,” Malcolm said.
Senator Pays Tribute to Arlington Dad Who Died in China — Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) yesterday paid tribute on the Senate floor to an Arlington resident who died suddenly while on a business trip to China. Nathan Graham died of a “random infection,” Hatch said. He was 37 and a father of four. A former Senate staffer, Graham was born and raised in Utah and was a volunteer bishop in the Crystal City LDS church. Friends are raising money to help support Graham’s family. [Sen. Orrin Hatch, Facebook]
Support for Theater Troupe Blasted By Senator — Sen. James Lankford (R-Oklahoma) cited Crystal City physical theater company Synetic as an example of federal waste this month. Why? Because the National Endowment of the Arts has given the troupe a total of $61,000 since 2000 to, as Lankford characterized it, cut the English language out of Shakespeare productions. A local letter to the editor writer, meanwhile, says that a better example of federal waste is the fact that Oklahoma receives approximately $1.31 from the feds for every dollar it pays in taxes. [Washington Post]
Constitutional Officers Sworn In — Arlington’s five incumbent constitutional officers were all reelected by voters last month. The reelected county sheriff, clerk of the Circuit Court, treasurer, commissioner of the revenue and commonwealth’s attorney all took the oath of office yesterday, the first time all five positions were sworn in together since 2007. [InsideNova]
More Traffic Cameras, Higher Fines in D.C. — For those who drive to the District, get ready for more speed and red light cameras, lower speed limits and higher fines over the next two years. The traffic enforcement measures are part of Mayor Muriel Bowser’s “Vision Zero” plan for reducing loss of life from accidents on D.C. streets. [Washington Post]
Coast Guard Drill Today — The U.S Coast Guard is scheduled to conduct a drill in the Potomac between the 14th Street Bridge and the Memorial Bridge today, from noon to 2:30 p.m. Drill participants “will be using orange Coast Guard boats with flashing blue lights, simulating a fixed security zone around a simulated high value asset. There will be no live fire or blanks used during this training; this is only a tactics and maneuvering drill.”
Metro PD Looking for Suspicious Men — Metro Transit PD and other local police agencies are on the lookout for four men seen walking and acting suspiciously around the Pentagon Metro Station and the Pentagon reservation on Sunday. Investigators would like to determine the identity of the individuals in question. Update: police say the men have been found and are not suspected of criminal activity. [Twitter]
Drafthouse to Open D.C. Venue — The Arlington Cinema Drafthouse is branching out from Columbia Pike. The owners of the iconic theater have announced plans for an “arts space committed to comedy and our community” called the Drafthouse Comedy Theater at 1100 13th Street NW in downtown D.C. The venue is expected to open as soon as January. [Borderstan]
Millennials to Impact Local Housing Market — In Arlington, home ownership is unaffordable for most of the Millennial generation, but that doesn’t mean that younger people want to stay in rental apartments and group homes forever. Fully 91 percent of Millennials eventually want to own a home, higher than the rate for the overall population, according to a survey by the National Association of Realtors. [InsideNova]
Ballston As Arlington’s Downtown? — Local developer John Shooshan says an influx of tech companies and educational institutions, along with the just-approved redevelopment of Ballston Common Mall, will transform the Ballston community. “We think Ballston’s going to become the new downtown of Arlington,” Shooshan said. [Bisnow]
Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman
(Updated at 11:00 a.m.) Traffic backups caused by a barricade situation in downtown D.C. have spilled over into Arlington.
In Rosslyn, traffic on Lynn Street approaching the Key Bridge is backed up all the way to the Iwo Jima memorial.
The Memorial Bridge, Route 50, I-66 and I-395 are all slow and congested approaching the city, even at 10 a.m. Heavy traffic has also been reported on large portions of the GW Parkway and Washington Blvd near the Pentagon.
Reports out of D.C. suggest a mentally unstable person, possibly armed with a high-powered rifle, is barricaded in a downtown office building. Police have closed a multiple block portion of downtown near the Farragut North Metro station to pedestrians and vehicles.
As of 11 a.m., the suspect was reported to be in custody.
Adams Morgan Day has been a D.C. area staple for almost four decades, but after last year’s logistical disputes, it seemed the festival would be postponed for a year.
A grass-roots community initiative then banded together to bring back the “East Coast’s Biggest Block Party.”
Spotluck works with eleven local restaurants in the heart of Adams Morgan, and joined in to liven up the day. The local dining app, along with Songbyrd Music Hall, will be sponsoring the Spotluck Stage, bringing a variety of local music acts to the festival from noon-6 p.m.
Enjoy delicious food, cultural demonstrations, an eclectic list of vendors and plenty of specials at local restaurants up and down the block. Check out the full Spotluck Stage lineup above!
Just a quick 15 minute metro or car ride away from Arlington, Adams Morgan is another neighborhood Spotluck is proud to support. So after a Spotluck lunch in Arlington on Sunday, head over to Adams Morgan Day to see what this grassroots festival is all about.
Click here for more information about Adams Morgan Day.
Location: Adams Morgan, D.C.; 18th Street and Columbia Road
Date: Sunday, September 13th
Time: 12-6 p.m.
About Spotluck: If you’ve ever had trouble figuring out where to eat in Arlington, we hear ya. We’re a small (but mighty) D.C. area startup that created an awesome free restaurant discovery app that lets you “spin” for discounts at great local spots every day. Don’t be hangry, download Spotluck for iPhone or Android to discover and save money at a local restaurant today.
This post was written and sponsored by Spotluck.
Why Car2Go Can’t Cross the Border — Car2Go car-sharing service is launching in Arlington on Sept. 19, but users won’t be able to drive from Arlington and park in D.C., or vice versa. The District, which also has Car2Go service, is worried about traffic congestion and a loss of parking spaces to Arlington Car2Go users. Arlington officials have also expressed concern about allowing D.C. users park on Arlington streets, but appear more receptive to opening the Car2Go border. [Washington Post]
Arlington Kid’s Letter Read on Tonight Show — As part of a “Kid Letters” segment last night, Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon read a letter from Caroline, who said she lives in Arlington. Caroline had a joke for Jimmy: “Which planet is God’s favorite planet? Saturn, because he put a ring on it.” Caroline also confessed that she has a crush on Fallon. [NBC]
APS Menus Now Online — Arlington Public Schools has put its breakfast and lunch menus online. The menus allow students and parents to review detailed nutritional information and to add funds to a prepaid meal account. Today, at Washington-Lee High School, students will have the choice of a 440 calorie chicken sandwich, a 324 calorie stuffed shell and breadstick meal, or a 304 calorie autumn fruit salad. APS also has a food-focused Twitter account. [Arlington Public Schools, Nutrislice, Twitter]
Nonprofits Moving from D.C. to Crystal City — Property owner Vornado has scored another new lease in Crystal City: the International Foundation for Electoral Systems. Thanks to lower office rental rates, and generous concessions, Vornado has been steadily winning nonprofit tenants and reducing its vacancy rate, which soared due to the loss of military agencies following the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure plan. [Washington Business Journal]
Dems Select Winning Chili — Del. Alfonso Lopez and his legislative assistant, Jason Stanford, were the big winners at Monday’s annual Arlington County Democratic Committee Labor Day Chili Cookoff. Stanford’s “Fighting 49th” chili featured ingredients from the Columbia Pike farmers market and a secret seasoning blend that was inspired by the staffer’s Louisiana roots. The chili cookoff was held this year at the Barcroft Community House, due to construction on the usual venue, the Lyon Park Community Center. [InsideNova]
Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick
Romo the dog, a long time beloved fixture of the Adams Morgan neighborhood in D.C., is settling into his new life in Arlington.
The 150 pound bull mastiff/pit bull mix became well known in D.C. for his habit of sleeping near an open window in owner Tiffany Scourby’s condo. Passersby took to the droopy dog, and a Facebook page and Twitter account dedicated to Romo soon sprang up.
Romo, along with Tiffany and her husband Peter Scourby, moved to the Forest Hills townhouse community in the Arlington Ridge neighborhood earlier this summer. So far, Peter says Romo has taken to his new life outside of the city.
“He’s enjoying the space more,” said Scourby. “We went from 1,000 square foot condo to 3,000 square feet.”
Although Scourby says there aren’t any windows in the new home with quite the foot traffic of Romo’s Adams Morgan haunt, the pooch has been given a bed by a window and has scoped out prime napping spots around his new home.
The couple says that like their dog, they are enjoying the newfound space Arlington affords.
“I’m a Virginia boy,” said Scourby. “I like the ‘burbs, and I wanted space. There’s a country club down the street, and I can see the Washington Monument from my house.”
Romo’s Facebook page has more than 3,000 likes and counting, and since moving the couple has discovered that some of their new neighbors are long-time Romo fans.
“When we first got here, a neighbor we hadn’t met yet said, ‘Oh my God, that looks like that Romo dog!,'” said Scourby. “When we told her it was him, she just screamed. Apparently she was one of his followers on Facebook.”
The move to Arlington won’t be the only change for Romo this summer. Peter says Tiffany is eight months pregnant and is due this September.
“[Romo’s] gonna have a little brother soon,” he said.
Photos via Facebook
Wounded Marine’s Golf Clubs Stolen — Retired Marine Lt. Col. Justin Constantine had a couple of his beloved, custom-made golf clubs stolen from Arlington’s Army Navy Country Club after accidentally leaving them at the driving range. Constantine was shot in the face by a sniper in Iraq in 2006. So far, one of the clubs has been returned while two remain missing. [Marine Corps Times]
Video: iPads in Use at APS — Arlington Public Schools has posted a new “#digitalAPS” video that shows iPads in use in a middle school science class. [Arlington Public Schools]
APS Community Engagement Juggling Act — Arlington Public Schools is planning a community engagement blitz as it seeks to keep up with rapidly rising school enrollment by building new schools. This comes in the wake of the County Board putting the brakes on a plan, unpopular with some residents, to build new elementary school next to Thomas Jefferson Middle School. APS is trying to juggle getting community consensus with the need to build new capacity quickly. [InsideNova]
Dremo’s Owner Dreams Up ‘BeerDisneyLand’ — The owner of the late, lamented Dr. Dremo’s in Rosslyn is proposing to build a two-acre “BeerDisneyLand” on D.C.’s Anacostia River waterfront near Navy Yard. [Hill Now]
Flickr pool by Kevin Wolf
Nancy Tinoza, an immigrant from Zimbabwe, was killed in the collision at about 3:12 a.m. on the 3400 block of Eastern Avenue NE, according to the Metropolitan Police Department. She was pronounced dead after being transported to the Washington Medical Center’s trauma center.
The driver of the car and another passenger were also hospitalized, and after officers interviewed the driver, Momodu Bello, they arrested him and charged him with second-degree murder.
According to the criminal complaint filed in D.C. Superior Court, Bello, a 35-year-old Fort Washington, Md. resident, was intoxicated and speeding on Eastern Avenue, which has a 25 mph speed limit. According to police, Bello said he had two beers and a shot of Hennessy at Club Mango in Bladensburg, Md., before driving, and “thought that the truck was moving.”
Bello was driving a Volkswagen Passat, which “submarined” under the truck during the collision. Tinoza suffered “massive blunt force trauma” to the head and was rendered unconscious.
“[A witness] saw the defendant had dragged [Tinoza] out of the vehicle by her arms and began shaking [her] violently when she did not respond to the defendant’s attempts to speak with her,” the complaint reads. “At one point, the defendant dropped the unconscious decedent, causing her head to strike the asphalt pavement.”
Bello was denied bond at an arraignment hearing yesterday, District of Columbia U.S. Attorney spokesman Bill Miller said in an email. His first preliminary hearing is on Friday.
Tinoza worked as a research assistant with the International Monetary Fund, according to her LinkedIn profile, and graduated from the College of Wooster in 2012 through the U.S. Student Achievers Program (USAP), which places international students in U.S. colleges. The program has set up a fundraising page to support her family in Zimbabwe — as of 1:30 p.m. the page has raised $8,483 of a $20,000 goal.
“We are saddened and devastated by this loss — she will be remembered for her kindness, energy, optimism and brilliance,” the USAP wrote on the fundraising page. “She was a role model to many, and full of promise and potential. She will be greatly missed by her family, friends, and all she has touched.”
Photo via Facebook
The D.C. council yesterday passed a bill that would decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana, but so far there are no plans to change marijuana laws or enforcement in Arlington.
The D.C. bill, which is expected to be signed by Mayor Vincent Gray, would make the possession of less than an ounce of marijuana a civil offense punishable by a $25 fine. Under the District’s current laws marijuana possession is a crime, punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.
In Virginia, state law makes marijuana possession a crime punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a $500 fine for a first offense, and up to a year in jail and a $2,500 fine for subsequent offenses. There are no proposals in the Virginia General Assembly this year to change that, and police in Arlington County say they have no plans to change the way they enforce the law.
The decriminalization of pot in the District “will have no effect on our policies or procedures,” Arlington County Police Department spokesman Dustin Sternbeck tells ARLnow.com. “We will continue to enforce all laws in the same manner we currently do.”
In other words, District residents who bring marijuana into Virginia shouldn’t expect any leniency from police, despite the fact that an infraction that could cost less than a parking ticket in D.C. is punishable by jail time in the Commonwealth.
In 2012, Del. David Englin (D), who represented part of Arlington, proposed studying whether Virginia ABC stores should sell marijuana. Englin’s measure failed in committee.
Expect to see a large tethered balloon over Arlington National Cemetery tomorrow afternoon.
The balloon will be flying over the cemetery between noon and 7:00 p.m. to “to help conduct a height study of Washington, D.C.,” according to Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall spokesman Stephen Satkowski.
The aerial photography company that’s coordinating the balloon, Falls Church-based Digital Design & Imaging Service Inc., was unable to answer any questions about the project, and referred us to a New York-based architecture firm, which so far hasn’t responded to a request for comment.
The Arlington County Board last night voted to extend the one-hour parking limit for food trucks by another hour.
Food trucks will now be able to serve customers on local streets for up to two hours. They will not, however, be able to stay longer than the time allocated by the meter zone they’re parked in.
The previous one-hour limit had led to complaints and even legal challenges from food truck owners who argued that an hour doesn’t give them enough time to serve hungry customers in busy parts of the county where parking is at a premium.
“The extension of the vending time better reflects typical lunch hours and more closely aligns with the metered parking zones in Arlington,” the county said in a press release. “More than 90 percent of metered parking spaces within Arlington’s metro station areas are regulated for two or more hours.”
In voting unanimously for the change, Board members said food trucks are increasingly integral part of the community.
“Street vending has become a growing part of the retail scene in Arlington,” said County Board Chair Walter Tejada. “These changes, by giving vendors flexibility and ensuring consistent enforcement, provide balance and clarity for all of Arlington’s businesses that serve customers.”
Doug Maheu, Arlington County Director of the Food Truck Association of Metropolitan Washington and owner of the Doug Food Dude food truck, said in a statement that food truck owners are largely pleased with the change, but would have liked even more time to vend.
Although the members of Metropolitan Washington Food Truck Association would not consider these amendments perfect, we do understand that they are a work in progress. We look forward to participating in future conversations with Arlington County as well as other stake holders on crafting equitable vending regulations. We applaud the Arlington County Board for moving forward to make Arlington a thriving diverse business community.
Maheu said food truck owners will continue to ask for four hour “block permits” that would allow even more vending time. As for the possibility of an influx of food trucks from D.C. to Arlington, should the District enact strict food truck regulations that have been proposed by Mayor Vincent Gray, Maheu said he’s not overly concerned.
“I believe that the market will take care of competition as it always done,” he said.
Maheu said he’s aware of 3 or 4 D.C. food trucks that have applied for permits to serve customers in Arlington, but added that he didn’t believe those applications were made in response to D.C.’s proposed regulations.
‘Concentration of Poverty’ at APS? — Some parents say Arlington Public Schools have designed school boundaries to concentrate lower-income students in south Arlington schools. At least one parent is hoping the school system creates a rule in which “no school would be able deviate from the district-wide percentage of poverty by more or less than 10 points.” [WAMU]
District Taco Expanding — District Taco, which opened its first brick-and-mortar restaurant in Arlington, is continuing to expand in the District. The restaurant has signed a lease and will be opening a second D.C. location on Capitol Hill. [Washington Post]
Snow in the Forecast Today — Forecasters say there’s a roughly 30 percent chance Arlington could see around 1 inch of snow tonight. If not accumulating snow, there’s about a 60 percent chance of seeing a few snowflakes. [Capital Weather Gang]
Fire at Crystal Plaza Apartments — Updated at 10:05 a.m. — A small laundry room fire broke out in the basement of the Crystal Plaza apartments (2111 Jefferson Davis Hwy) in Crystal City this morning. Firefighters quickly extinguished the blaze and are now working to clear a significant amount of smoke from the building.