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More Renovations Complete at High View Park

The second phase of renovations at High View Park are complete, ahead of a ribbon-cutting ceremony Saturday (October 14).

The park at 1945 N. Dinwiddie Street in the Langston-Brown neighborhood received new restrooms and storage, a new picnic area, a new entrance from N. Dinwiddie Street, new paving, steps and bleachers for the basketball courts, a regraded field and new lights, trees and plantings.

The ribbon-cutting on the improvements is scheduled for noon on Saturday.

The Arlington County Board approved the second round of improvements in June 2016. In 2014, the John M. Langston Citizens Association and neighbors of the park collaborated to create a design concept for the second stage of the improvements based on the feedback from online surveys.

The first stage of improvements — which included a new play equipment, picnic areas and a path to the park’s amphitheater — were completed in May 2013.

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Morning Notes

Metro train (Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley)

Gutshall Running for County Board — As predicted, business owner Erik Gutshall is running for County Board this year, seeking the seat being vacated by Jay Fisette. Gutshall says on his website that his candidacy will be announced at the Arlington County Democratic Committee meeting on Wednesday. Gutshall unsuccessfully challenged County Board member Libby Garvey in last year’s Democratic primary. [Erik Gutshall for County Board]

Oscars Flub Involved W-L Grad — Warren Beatty is back atop the national consciousness, after an envelope mix-up led to perhaps the worst mistake in Oscars history, with Beatty and Best Picture co-presenter Faye Dunaway at the center of the fiasco. As many long-time Arlingtonians remember, Beatty spent his teenage years in Arlington, reportedly living on N. Huntington Street. He graduated from Washington-Lee High School and, as noted in a yearbook photo, was a star football player and the senior class president. [InsideNova]

Arlington Elementary Schools Top Rankings — In new rankings of D.C. area public elementary schools, Arlington elementary schools tallied a sweep of all the top 10 spots. [NicheWashington Business Journal]

ACPD Trying Out Uber Lane — This past weekend in Clarendon, the Arlington County Police Department set up a designated rideshare pickup lane to improve safety for those using Uber and Lyft to get a ride home from the bars. The police department described the action as a “pilot program” that was the result of “creative problem solving.” [Twitter]

Arlington’s ‘Segregation Wall’ — A new historic marker notes the significance of a 1930s-era wall in north Arlington. The wall was built by white residents of the Waycroft-Woodlawn neighborhood to provide a physical barrier between them and the historically black Hall’s Hill (High View Park) neighborhood. [InsideNova]

Loan for Affordable Apartments Approved — The Arlington County Board on Saturday approved a $7.4 million loan to help build 125 new affordable apartments at the Berkeley on S. Glebe Road. Nonprofit developer AHC is expected to seek another loan for the redevelopment, from the county’s affordable housing fund, next fiscal year. [Arlington County]

Per-Student Spending to Rise — Under a new budget proposed by Arlington Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Patrick Murphy, per-student spending would rise 2.9 percent to $19,521. APS has been straining to keep up with rising enrollment, issuing bonds to build new schools and renovate others. [InsideNova]

Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley

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Morning Notes

Sunset over Four Mile Run in Shirlington

County Looking at Fire Station Alternatives — The Arlington County Board on Saturday approved an agreement with Arlington Public Schools that would allow it to build a temporary fire station on the grounds of the new H-B Woodlawn school in Rosslyn. However, in response to parent concerns the Board directed county staff to look into potential alternative locations. [InsideNova, Arlington County]

Couple: Snow Melter Fumes Contaminated Our House — A couple who lives near Bluemont Park says diesel fumes from a snow melter that the county was using about 40 yards from their home this past winter has contaminated the home. The county paid for the couple to live in a hotel while the snow melter was running, in the wake of January’s blizzard. Now the couple wants the county to pay for a thorough cleaning of the home. [Washington Post]

Henry Gate to Reopen — The Henry Gate along Route 50 at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall will reopen to military bicyclists and pedestrians on Aug. 1. Among other expected benefits, the gate is expected to serve military users of Uber and Lyft; the ride hailing services are not available on the base. [Mobility Lab]

Police Escort Ducklings Across Road — An ACPD officers and a couple of “alert citizens” helped a mother duck and her ducklings cross N. Stafford Street on Friday. [Twitter]

More on Clarendon Drug Bust — One of the regular meetups for the alleged Clarendon drug ring was Whitlow’s on Wilson, where two of the suspects worked. “It was shocking, disappointing and frustrating to hear that any of this activity took place around our business and the neighborhood,” said Whitlow’s manager Jon Williams, noting that most other Clarendon bars were also named as areas of drug activity. [NBC Washington]

Two Park Renovations Approved — The County Board unanimously approved $1.65 million in upgrades to Bluemont Park and High View Park over the weekend. [Arlington County]

Board Approves Changes to Ballston Building — Originally proposed as an office building, the last building in the Founder’s Square project in Ballston will instead be built as a mixed use building, with a mix of retail, office and apartments. [Arlington County]

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County Board to Vote on Contract for High View Park Improvements

(Updated at 1:40 p.m.) The Arlington County Board is set to consider a contract for another round of improvements to High View Park’s neighborhood basketball courts and other recreational areas.

The County Board on Saturday is scheduled to vote on a $1.03 million contract for D.C.-based Bennett Group to make several improvements to the park.

The changes this time are expected to include a new North Dinwiddie Street entrance, picnic shelter, permeable paving and lighting, as well as new trees, irrigated fields, restrooms, storage facilities, bleachers and steps to the basketball courts.

In 2014, the John M. Langston Citizens Association and neighbors of the park collaborated to create a design concept for the second stage of the improvements based on the feedback from online surveys.

The first stage of improvements — which included a new play equipment, picnic areas and a path to the park’s amphitheater — were completed in May 2013.

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Morning Notes

Volleyball in Fairlington (Flickr pool photo by James L.)

McAuliffe Under Investigation — Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) is being investigated by the FBI and the Justice Department for possible illegal campaign contributions. [CNN]

Board Accepting Feedback on Blue Ribbon Panel — The County Board’s so-called Blue Ribbon Panel was supposed to help the Board set county priorities without getting bogged down in bureaucracy and process. Instead, the panel’s implementation has been delayed and the county is now asking for public feedback on the panel and its charge. [Arlington County]

The Legacy of ACFD’s First Black Firefighters — The Halls Hill/High View Park community held an event this past weekend to honor the Arlington County Fire Department’s first black professional firefighters. Some members of the original group of 14 black firefighters to staff Arlington’s Fire Station No. 8 were on hand for the event. [InsideNova]

Don Rockwell Profiled — Don Rockwell, the mysterious proprietor of the influential Don Rockwell online restaurant forum, lives along Columbia Pike and dines out just about every day for lunch and dinner. At the end of the profile, Rockwell lists some of his favorite local restaurants and dishes. [Arlington Magazine]

Rosslyn Tops for Bike to Work Day — The Rosslyn Bike to Work Day pit stop was utilized by 972 cyclists this year, making it the busiest pit stop in the D.C. region. [Twitter]

Flickr pool photo by James L.

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Morning Notes

Cardinal in the spring in Bon Air Park (Flickr pool photo by Airamangel)

GMU to Tweak Name of Scalia Law School — A week ago, after receiving $30 million in donations, George Mason University announced that it was naming its Arlington-based law school the “Antonin Scalia School of Law,” in honor of the late Supreme Court justice. The internet promptly went wild for the school’s would-be acronym: ASS Law or ASSoL. GMU noticed, and is now adjusting the name to the “Antonin Scalia Law School.” [Above the Law]

Porch Fire in High View Park — A small fire broke out yesterday on the porch of a house in the High View Park neighborhood, on the 2300 block of N. Dinwiddie Street, about two blocks from Fire Station No. 8. The fire marshal is investigating the incident. [Twitter]

County Live Streams First Commission Meeting — Arlington County live streamed a Planning Commission meeting for the first time Tuesday night. To re-live those 102 minutes of excitement, you can now view the meeting online, on-demand. [Arlington County]

Clarendon Farmers Market Returns Today — The Clarendon Farmers Market is back for the season today. The farmers market typically takes place next to the Metro station from 3-7 p.m. [Clarendon Alliance]

APS Open to Selling Naming Rights — There’s no indication that anyone has inquired about it, but the naming rights to Arlington’s high school football stadiums, gyms and theaters could be for sale for the right price. Arlington Public Schools says it would consider naming facilities after large donors. [InsideNova]

Rosslyn Startup Gets Big Investment — Rosslyn-based LiveSafe has received a $5.25 million investment from FedEx founder Fred Smith. LiveSafe describes itself as an “enterprise-class mobile safety communications platform.” [Commercial Appeal, PE Hub]

Flickr pool photo by Airamangel

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Power Outage Along Lee Highway Tonight

Dominion power outage map 3/22/16

More than 500 Dominion customers are without power at this hour due to a reported equipment problem.

As of 11:55 p.m., 541 Dominion customers were in the dark. The outage is centered around the High View Park neighborhood, along the Lee Highway corridor.

At the outage’s peak, more than 1,000 Dominion customers lost their electricity.

The power company says it hopes to have the problem fixed and power restored by 2 a.m.

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UPDATED: Police Investigating Woman’s Death Near Virginia Hospital Center

(Updated at 5:10 p.m.) Arlington County Police and the county fire marshal are investigating the death of a woman in the High View Park neighborhood.

The 69-year-old woman’s son found her dead from in the kitchen of her home on 18th Street N., near Virginia Hospital Center, said Arlington County Police spokeswoman Ashley Savage. Three people, including the woman and her son, live in the home, she said.

Authorities were initially investigating a report of an explosion in the kitchen, according to scanner traffic. An explosion has since been ruled out, Savage said, but there was some sort of a fire inside the home.

The stove burners were on when the woman was first found but police have not determined whether she died from an accident, from natural causes or otherwise, Savage said. At this time foul play is not suspected, she added, nor is there believed to be any sort of gas leak in the area.

“There’s no threat to the public,” said Savage, “but this is an active investigation.”

A fire truck was dispatched to the home to assist with ventilation, Savage confirmed. The street has been closed to traffic by police, though neighbors are being allowed to walk to their homes.

Property records show that the couple who owns the home has owned it for at least 23 years.

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Morning Notes

Construction worker stands on a beam

School Board Candidates Sound Off — The two candidates for the Democratic endorsement for Arlington School Board, Reid Goldstein and Sharon Dorsey, formally announced their candidacies last week, making the case to fellow Democrats for why they should be on the board. The Democratic School Board caucuses will be held in May. [InsideNova]

Arlington Explains Salt ShortageUpdated at 1:15 p.m. — Arlington County officials are explaining last week’s road salt shortage. County officials say a 4,000 ton order for salt placed by the county on Jan. 19 was never filled, due to high demand for salt among eastern seaboard states that have been buried by heavy snowfall this winter. The county was expecting a 2,000 ton salt delivery from Pittsburgh Friday evening. An Arlington official explained the shortage but did not apologize for it, as earlier reported, according to a county spokeswoman. [WTOP]

100 Montaditos Files for Bankruptcy — The company that owns 100 Montaditos, the Spanish mini-sandwich restaurant in Rosslyn, has filed for bankruptcy. No word yet on whether the restaurant or its other chain locations, in Florida, will remain open. [Miami Herald]

Barbershop Owner Profiled — Jim Moore, the owner of Moore’s Barber Shop on Lee Highway in the High View Park neighborhood, is profiled in an article that also chronicles the shop’s 55 year history. [Arlington Connection]

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Man Wanted for Firing Gun at Ex’s Home

Arlington County police logoA D.C. man is wanted for a shooting in Arlington’s High View Park neighborhood.

Police say 23-year-old Jeffrey Gaskins showed up to his ex-girlfriend’s house on the 1900 block of N. Culpeper Street around 9:35 p.m. this past Sunday. He tried to kick in the front door, police said, and when that didn’t work he went to the back of the home, took out a gun and allegedly fired four shots at the house.

The ex-girlfriend, her two young children and an adult male were inside the home at the time but were uninjured. The man fled the scene after firing the shots and remains at large, according to a crime report.

“Warrants for four counts of attempted malicious shooting, shooting into an occupied dwelling, attempted burglary with the intent to commit murder, use of a firearm in commission of a felony and misdemeanor assault were issued” for Gaskins, police said.

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UPDATED: Police Investigating Possible Homicide in Hall’s Hill

 

Update on 8/8/12 — ACPD has confirmed that they’re investigating the deaths as a double homicide.

(Updated at 2:55 p.m.) Police are investigating another possible homicide, this time in the Hall’s Hill/High View Park neighborhood.

A maintenance worker found two men dead in the living room of an apartment on the 1900 block of N. Culpeper Street, after a family member had called because they hadn’t seen the resident for awhile, according to Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. A television was on in the apartment and blood could be seen, but no weapon was found, Sternbeck said.

Detectives are investigating the incident as a possible homicide or double homicide, though so far police are only officially saying the deaths are “suspicious.” The deceased men have been identified by police as Keefe Spriggs, 59, of Arlington, and Carl Moten, 31, of no fixed address.

The men are acquaintances and the apartment belongs to Spriggs, Sternbeck said. Asked whether a killer is still on the loose, Sternbeck was vague.

“We do believe it’s an isolated incident,” he said. “We are very early in this investigation. The detectives that are working the case will be processing the scene, interviewing all the neighbors [and] last known contacts of these individuals.”

Several people, including a woman believed to be Spriggs’ sister, have already been interviewed by detectives on the scene.

This could be the third homicide in Arlington in as many weeks. On July 24, a woman was killed in a murder-suicide near Fairlington. On July 27, a jewelry store owner was killed during an armed robbery on Columbia Pike. A 53-year-old D.C. man was charged with murder last week for the latter crime.

Prior to July, there had not been a homicide in Arlington since March 14, 2010.

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Improvements Coming to Nine County Parks

(Updated at 2:30 p.m.) Arlington County will renovate High View Park and will make improvements to eight other parks following County Board approval of the projects over the weekend.

The work planned for High View Park (1945 N. Dinwiddie Street) includes renovating the worn-out playground and picnic areas and improving access to those with disabilities. The $628,082 project will add a large kid’s play structure with swings, a boulder and a climbing wall, as well as a sand play area with swings, a water spigot and a play structure for younger children.

Another $83,637 will be used for the following projects:

  • Landscaping at the I-395 ramp/Arlington Ridge Road intersection
  • Invasive plant removal at Zachary Taylor Park
  • Improvements to the entrance to the Shirlington Community Canine Area
  • Invasive plant removal at the Bluemont Park Trail entrance and a park information kiosk
  • New benches and picnic tables at the old Westover Library site
  • Discovery play area at Long Branch Nature Center, plus invasive plant removal
  • Bike rack, two benches, recycling can, two bat houses and educational signage at Prospect Hill Park
  • Spanish translation of Buckingham Village history sign at Henry Wright Park
  • Adding boulders near the Fort Scott Park parking lot
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Bunny Boom in Arlington

The rabbit population is on the rise in Arlington.

A resident of the High View Park neighborhood, just north of Virginia Hospital Center, tells us that neighbors have been buzzing with talk of a bunny boom.

“I’ve noticed something odd in Arlington this summer and the more I talk to other residents the more aware I become that this is happening all over the county (at least north Arlington, anyway). Namely, there has been an explosion in the rabbit population this year,” he writes. “I’m used to bunny sightings being a very rare thing, but this year I keep seeing them on a regular basis. I’m spotting rabbits more frequently than I have spotted squirrels.”

Those observations are backed up by Arlington County Parks spokesman Nathan Spillman, who confirms that naturalists have observed a rapidly increasing rabbit population.

“It is indeed a boom year for rabbits in the county,” Spillman said, “Rabbit populations here are cyclical and about every seven or eight years you see a large spike in the population followed by a relatively steep (and quick) decrease as the boom attracts predators like foxes and hawks which bring the population down… It’s likely the decline will start to become noticeable as early as this November,”

According to a just-released inventory of wildlife in Arlington, the rabbit population in Arlington (made up mostly of Eastern Cottontails, pictured) typically moves in cycles with the population of its primary predator, the fox. That’s consistent with anecdotal evidence cited by Sean, our tipstser.

“[A relative] who lives near Marymount University mentioned that she has seen dead foxes on the road numerous times and speculated that the loss of these predators might have resulted in the rabbit increase,” Sean wrote. “That seems to tie in with this article about the loss of predators in general.”

The population boom may not be limited to Arlington. Earlier this month, a Washington City Paper article declared that “bunnies are everywhere” in parts of Montgomery County and Northwest D.C.

“The manicured lawns of Chevy Chase are covered with rabbit families munching away on annuals and woody plants in the early morning,” a member of a neighborhood listserv is quoted as writing. “Early runs in various neighborhoods sometime remind me of Watership Down or the ‘tribbles’ in one of those Star Trek episodes.”

Photo via Wikipedia

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