Virginia Unemployment Rate Drops — Virginia’s unemployment rate has ticked down a tenth of a point to 3.7 percent. That’s the Commonwealth’s lowest unemployment rate since April 2008. [Virginian-Pilot, Twitter]
Crash Victim Remembered — Arlington resident William F. Schlesinger, who died after falling asleep and crashing his pickup truck on I-95 in North Carolina, is being remembered by friends. Schlesinger’s story generated additional headlines after his dog, who was traveling with him at the time, was found alive 10 days after the crash. [Fayetteville Observer]
‘Open Door Monday’ Today — The County Board might have already held its final meeting before its summer break, but there is one more “Open Door Monday” session on the schedule. Today a County Board member will be available to chat with residents on any topic, without an appointment, at the Aurora Hills Branch Library near Pentagon City. The next Open Door Monday will be held after Labor Day. [Arlington County]
Arlington Ridge Water Main Repairs — Arlington Ridge Road is partially blocked and several dozen water customers are without service this morning due to emergency water repairs. The repairs are expected to be complete by 4 p.m. [Twitter, Twitter]
Arlington County’s public libraries offer free access to online learning service Lynda, home to video tutorials on software, business, creatives skills, computer programming and more.
Now owned by Linkedin, Lynda offers more than 9,000 courses for use by individuals, schools and companies. Subscriptions start at $19.99 per month, but anyone with an Arlington library card can access it for free by setting up an account using their card number and PIN.
(On the library homepage there is also a link to the Lynda sign-in page that can be accessed by clicking on “Learning Tools” via the “Explore” tab.)
After an account is set up, users can fill in a profile and their interests, which enables Lynda to recommend relevant videos under its “My Interests” tab. Videos can also be found on the homepage or by using the search feature.
For those having trouble local library branches can provide assistance or you can call the Central Library for more information at 703-228-5959. The library offered an in-person tutorial on using Lynda Monday.
More Beds Likely at VHC — Virginia Hospital Center is likely to receive authorization to add more than 40 new beds. That’s less than its original request of 100 new beds, for which it received push-back. [InsideNova]
New Library App — Arlington Public Library has released a new app for iPhone and Android. Users can perform tasks including checking their accounts, searching the catalog, booking meeting rooms and checking operating hours. [Arlington County]
Kaine Staff to Hold Arlington Office Hours — Sen. Tim Kaine’s (D) staff will hold office hours at the Westover Library (1644 N. McKinley Road) on Thursday from 1-3 p.m. They will be available for one-on-one meetings with citizens to answer questions or address concerns. Those interested in speaking with a staff member are encouraged to make an appointment in advance, but walk-ins also are welcome. [Sen. Tim Kaine]
Arlington Sports Hall of Fame Seeks Permanent Venue — There is an Arlington Sports Hall of Fame, but it does not have a permanent home. Boosters are seeking to change that, discussing a possible display in Arlington Central Library. [InsideNova]
Local Man Graduates Parris Island With Honors — Arlington native Allen M. Gibbs has graduated from Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island with honors. [Beaufort Gazette]
Police, Fire Departments Hold Book Drive — Starting Wednesday and running through April 30, Arlington police and firefighters will be holding a “For the Love of Reading” book drive, collecting specific books for elementary school students at Arlington Public Schools. Donation boxes are located at police headquarters in Courthouse and at local fire stations. [Arlington County]
Avalon Bay Donates to APAH — Arlington-based apartment, publicly traded building owner AvalonBay has made a $35,000 donation to the Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing. The company has raised $85,000 for APAH since 2015. [Yahoo Finance]
Flickr pool photo by Lisa Novak
Metro Station Manager Arrested — A Metro station manager at the Pentagon has been arrested and charged with assaulting a fellow employee. The fight happened Wednesday afternoon inside the station manager’s kiosk, police say. [Washington Post]
Yorktown Grad’s Music Video Goes Viral — Budding hip-hop artist Hovey Benjamin has tallied nearly 1.5 million YouTube views of his new, NSFW music video. Benjamin lived in Arlington and attended Yorktown High School and Virginia Commonwealth University before moving to Los Angeles and signing a record deal. [Real House Life of Arlington, Uproxx]
New Condo and Townhouse Sales Center — Sponsored — Learn about all of the newest and most well-appointed properties in Arlington and DC without the hassle of finding all the information for yourself. Stop by the Sales Center this Sunday from 2-4 p.m. to learn about amenities, features, floor plans, fees, available units, and everything else you could ever want to know about all the condo buildings in the area. Located at 1600 Wilson Blvd. [Keri Shull Team]
Dozens of Arlington Runners Competing in Boston — Seventy-six Arlington runners will be shipping up to Boston next month for the Boston Marathon, one of the sport’s most prestigious races. The field includes local running superstar Michael Wardian, who is also competing in this weekend’s Rock ‘n’ Roll D.C. Marathon. [InsideNova]
CERT Training Still Open — A few spaces are still available in Arlington’s Community Emergency Response Team spring training class. The eight-session, 26-hour course begins next week. [Arlington CERT]
Library Exhibit on Baltic WW2 Refugees — Arlington Public Library is hosting an exhibit through April 17 on Baltic refugees from World War II. “‘No Home To Go To’ is the story of people living in refugee camps and finding a home in a new land, as told through their memories, documents, photographs, and memorabilia,” according to the library website. [Arlington Public Library]
Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman
Skimmers Found on Gas Pumps — Arlington County Police are investigating credit card skimmers that were found on gas pumps at the Shell station on S. Four Mile Run Drive. [NBC Washington]
‘Project DAPS’ Now Online — An Arlington Public Library project to digitize records, photos and oral histories of the effort to desegregate schools in Arlington County went online last month. Arlington “defied the state” when the first black students began attending Stratford Junior High in January 1959, though it would take another 12 years before county schools were fully integrated. [WAMU]
Candidate Withdraws from Delegate Race — It’s the shortest local primary challenge in recent memory. Alexandria City School Board member Karen Graf, who announced on Feb. 6 that she was challenging Del. Mark Levine (D-45) for the Democratic nomination, has withdrawn from the race. Levine’s 45th House of Delegates district includes part of Arlington. [Alexandria News]
Some Still Skeptical of High Water Bills — “Ridiculous” is how one local civic association president described Arlington County’s conclusion that big spikes in water bills charged to some homeowners last year were not the result of systematic errors. [InsideNova]
New Vape Store in Ballston — “House of Vape, one of the fastest growing retail vape chains in the Mid-Atlantic region, has opened a new brick and mortar store in Arlington, Virginia, near the Ballston Metro station.” [PR Rocket]
Flickr pool photo by Lisa Novak
It’s Groundhog Day — Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow today, suggesting that we’re in for six more weeks of winter. The meteorological scolds at the Capital Weather Gang, however, think the prognosticating groundhog is wrong and that spring may arrive early. [Capital Weather Gang, Accuweather]
More Details on Nestlé Deal — Landing Nestlé is a huge win for Arlington County, for Rosslyn and for 1812 N. Moore Street owner Monday Properties, which stuck to its plan of keeping the skyscraper’s top floors empty as it awaited a big tenant. As part of the deal, Monday will put the company’s logo on two sides of the building, will nix a restaurant space to build a separate entrance for Nestlé’ employees, and will “more than double the size of the building’s wellness center to include space for spinning, yoga and pilates.” [Washington Business Journal]
Towing Bill Fails in Senate — A legislative effort to sandbag Arlington with state-mandated towing regulations that are friendlier to towing companies has failed in the state Senate. But a similar bill is still alive in the House of Delegates. [InsideNova]
Library Tells Story of Stratford Desegregation — Arlington Public Library is launching “a unique online exhibition and searchable database – built from thousands of photos, documents and recordings – surrounding the legal and moral battles that culminated with four courageous African American students taking their seats on Feb. 2, 1959 at Arlington’s Stratford Junior High School.” Dubbed “Project DAPS,” the collection will debut Feb. 25. [Arlington County, Project DAPS]
Catholic Diocese Launches New Website — The Catholic Diocese of Arlington has launched a new website. The new bishop, Bishop Michael Burbidge introduced the redesigned website in a video. [Catholic Diocese of Arlington, YouTube]
Arlington Men’s Club Turns 10 — Arlington has a “secretive and haphazardly organized” group called the Men’s Development Club. The club, formed 10 years ago, is basically an excuse for dads to get out of the house and drink beer with other dads. [Falls Church News-Press]
Photo courtesy Alexis Fedoroff
Beyer Won’t Participate in Inauguration — Don’t expect to see Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) at the inauguration of Donald Trump nor at any celebratory inaugural events. Beyer says he “will not be part of normalizing or legitimizing” president-elect Trump, whose “values and… actions are the antithesis of what I hold dear.” [Falls Church News-Press]
Cubs at the Pentagon City Ritz — The World Series-winning Chicago Cubs made the Pentagon City Ritz-Carlton their home base before meeting President Obama at the White House on Monday. The hotel is a popular destination for visiting sports teams. [Twitter]
Crash on I-395 — All but one lane of traffic was blocked on northbound I-395 yesterday following an afternoon crash near Shirlington. A police officer helped to calm down a dog who was in one of the cars involved in the crash. [Twitter, Twitter]
Arlington Group Will March in Inauguration — The Arlington-based Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) will march in Friday’s inaugural parade in D.C. The organization supports the families of fallen military service members. [WJLA]
Hot Start for Wakefield Girls — The Wakefield girls basketball team is off to an impressive 12-2 start this season. The team plays Falls Church tonight. [Washington Post]
Business Book Club at Library — Arlington Public Library has launched a Business Book Club “for adults interested in reading about business strategy, leadership and management.” The first meeting is scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 28 at Central Library. [InsideNova]
Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf
So many notable people died in 2016 that the losses have contributed to some Twitter users dubbing this the #WorstYearEver. Now the Arlington Public Library has compiled a list of its books, DVDs, and music files that users can borrow to find out what made some of these people stand out from the crowd.
The list is not comprehensive because the library does not own items relating to every single notable person who died this year. It does, however, include items related to 67 well-known authors, performers, activists, scientists, and public figures.
Some of the items on the list are:
- All You Need Is Ears by George Martin: An autobiography of the record producer and composer best known for his work with The Beatles.
- David Bowie: Starman by Paul Trynka: The book examines Bowie’s many artistic reinventions and broad influence on the entertainment world.
- Heimlich’s Maneuvers: My Seventy Years of Lifesaving Innovations by Henry J. Heimlich: An autobiography of the thoracic surgeon best known for inventing the technique to stop choking.
- Arnold Palmer: Memories, Stories, and Memorabilia by Arnold Palmer: An autobiography of the professional golfer who many consider the greatest player in the sport’s history.
- The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama by Gwen Ifill: The Peabody-Award winning journalist’s continuation of her long-time coverage of America’s race issues.
- I’m Your Man by Leonard Cohen (DVD): The documentary covers Cohen’s life and work and includes interviews with artists he inspired.
- Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope (DVD): The sci-fi film features Carrie Fisher in her iconic role as Princess Leia.
- Crazy Town: The Rob Ford Story by Robyn Doolittle: The biography covers the life of the controversial former Toronto mayor known for his drug- and alcohol-fueled antics.
- 40 Greatest Hits by Merle Haggard (eMusic): The music file includes songs spanning the country legend’s career.
Clarendon Ballroom Battles Alt-Right Blitz — After beating up on Arlington’s Dept. of Parks and Recreation earlier this month, the alt-right faction seeking to hold inauguration rallies and parties in Arlington has focused its attention on the Clarendon Ballroom. The Ballroom, one alt-right leader alleges, turned away their planned “DeploraBall” due to political pressure. The Ballroom, however, says the organizers never actually signed a contract. Since then, the Ballroom has been receiving “hundreds of slanderous, dangerous, vulgar and threatening posts and tweets,” along with threatening phone calls. [NBC Washington, Washington Post]
Library Director’s Christmas Playlist — Arlington Public Library Director Diane Kresh has released her annual “mix tape of seasonal favorites” on the library blog. This year’s list is a Spotify playlist that starts with Diana Krall’s rendition of “Let It Snow” and concludes, on a unique-to-2016 note, with “World Spins Madly On” by The Weepies. [Arlington Public Library]
Six Fired by Metro in EFC Derailment — Following an investigation, Metro has fired six track inspectors and supervisors and demoted several others in the wake of July’s East Falls Church train derailment. Additional firings are in the works. [WJLA]
Arlington Community Foundation Grants — The Arlington Community Foundation has approved grants to 26 local nonprofits and school, totally nearly $100,000. [Patch]
Garvey to Hold Book Discussion — Arlington County Board Chair Libby Garvey is launching a series of community book discussions on various topics. Tonight Garvey and School Board Chair Nancy Van Doren will discuss the best-selling book “Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School.” The discussion will take place at Arlington Central Library (1015 N. Quincy Street) from 7:30-9 p.m. [Facebook]
Beer Store, TechShop Collaborate for New Kegerator — Crystal City Wine Shop (220 20th Street S.) has teamed up with nearby TechShop to create a new kegerator. The custom-modified refrigerator allows the store to offer varieties of craft beer that aren’t available in bottles or cans. Customers can take the beer home in fillable cans known as crowlers. [Washington Business Journal]
Cosi Files for Bankruptcy — The Cosi chain of sandwich and salad restaurants has filed for bankruptcy and closed 40 percent of its locations. Among the closed stores: the Cosi in Courthouse. A rep for the company told us yesterday: “The decision to close this restaurant was based on its financial performance and market density. At this time, we do not have any plans to reopen this restaurant.” [Nation’s Restaurant News]
Flash Flood Watch Continues — Forecasters are expecting several more inches of rain to fall between now and Saturday. The potential for flash flooding along streams and low-lying areas remains and a Flash Flood Watch is still in effect. [Twitter, Twitter]
The Crystal City Shops shopping center at 2100 Crystal Drive hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony this morning for one of its newest tenants: an Arlington Public Library branch.
The temporary, pop-up library is located near TechShop, a high-tech workshop that’s popular with startups, students, hobbyists and tinkerers. Dubbed “The Connection,” the compact, one-room library has adopted a tech and tinkerer theme, with free WiFi internet, books about coding, puzzles and games for rent, and gadgets like GoPro cameras and iPads for online magazines.
There will be weekly programs like book clubs, a lecture series, storytelling for children and strategy gaming, according to the library.
“The Connection is a temporary pop-up project designed to integrate the Library into the daily lives of Arlington residents,” the library said in a media advisory. “The pop-up library will serve residents east of Route 1, which runs through Crystal City and poses a physical barrier to access for many people to the nearest community library.”
That nearest library — Aurora Hills, near Pentagon City — is also slated for interior renovations.
Today’s ribbon cutting was scheduled for 10 a.m. and, wasting no time for pomp and circumstance, the ribbon was cut at right 10:01 a.m. Attendees included local residents, representatives from property owner Vornado, Arlington County Manager Mark Schwartz, Arlington Public Library director Diane Kresh and other county officials.
The pop-up library is expected to be open at least until next summer, though it could remain open beyond that if it receives additional funding in next year’s budget. It is currently scheduled to be open 38 hours per week, Tuesday through Saturday.
The Arlington County Board is expected to approve $555,000 in interior upgrades to the Aurora Hills Community Center and Library at its meeting this weekend.
The low-slung building, located at 735 18th Street S., near Pentagon City, houses both a library and a senior center. In explaining the need for upgrades, county staff said the center is “an aging facility.”
“The proposed renovation includes demolition of existing and construction of new office, storage rooms, kitchen, new ADA bathrooms, receptionist desk, circulation desk, new floor finishes, additional electrical and mechanical system upgrade,” county staff wrote. “The work will also include the restoration or repair of ceilings and walls in areas that are impacted by this interior renovation.”
Some programs at Aurora Hills will be moved to the Gunston Community Center during construction. The renovations were originally set to take place a bit later than currently scheduled, but were “accelerated” by the County Board, staff say.
The county staff report hints that the Aurora Hills center may eventually be torn down to make way for a new elementary school.
“The site was also identified during the Arlington Public Schools’ South Arlington Working Group process as a possible site for redevelopment in conjunction with Schools;” says the report. “The proposed improvements will provide operational and program value for a number of years until such time that the County and Schools choose to pursue a redevelopment.”
A new “pop-up” library is coming to Arlington’s Crystal City neighborhood.
The Arlington County Board on Saturday approved an agreement with the Crystal City Shops that will allow the county to open the temporary library in a vacant retail space rent-free for at least nine months.
The county will pay nearly $1,900 per month for maintenance and utilities and incur one-time costs of $60,000 for a connection to the county’s fiber optic network and about $113,000 to renovate the space. The funds have already been allocated in the county’s Fiscal Year 2017 budget.
With the “pop-up” library open, those who live and work in Crystal City will be able to walk to a library without having to cross busy Route 1. The nearest library is the Aurora Hills branch near the Pentagon City mall.
“We chose Crystal City as the first neighborhood to experiment with a pop-up library both because we have found that Route 1, which runs through Crystal City, poses a physical barrier to access for many people to the nearest community library, and because people in the neighborhood expressed interest in the approach,” Library Director Diane Kresh said in a press release (below).
Taking an innovative approach to meeting patrons where they live and work, Arlington Public Library plans to open a temporary “pop-up” library this September in Crystal City.
Library Director Diane Kresh sees the pop-up facility as a low-cost way to push library services into more neighborhoods and introduce people of all ages to the wide scope of what the County’s public library system has to offer. In addition, the Crystal City pop-up branch is expected to help enliven the Crystal City Shops.
“We chose Crystal City as the first neighborhood to experiment with a pop-up library both because we have found that Route 1, which runs through Crystal City, poses a physical barrier to access for many people to the nearest community library, and because people in the neighborhood expressed interest in the approach,” Kresh said.
Dubbed “The Connection: Crystal City,” the pop-up will be a compelling location for checking out books, accessing the internet, holding community meetings and attending workshops.
The County Board approved a lease this month with CESC Plaza Limited Partnership for 1,222 sq. ft. of space inside the building located at 2100 Crystal Drive, within Crystal City Shops at 2100, 2117 Crystal Plaza Arcade.
The pop-up library staff will hold community discussions this summer to learn more about what types of services people would like offered within the constraints of space, time and budget, Kresh said.
The County’s nine-month lease may be renewed on a month-to-month basis. One-time funding for the pop-up library was approved in the adopted Fiscal Year 2017 budget.
Although the space is being offered to the County rent-free, the County will pay a monthly fee for its share of common area maintenance expenses, real estate taxes and electricity associated with the shopping center. That share is estimated to be $1,603 a month for maintenance, $176 for real estate taxes and $100 for electricity. The County expects to spend about $113,000 to renovate the space. Kresh notes that many of the features the County will install – carpeting, shelving and furniture – will be reused elsewhere by the County after the lease is terminated. The County also will spend $60,000 to install fiber and conduit to connect the pop-up library to the County fiber optic network, ConnectArlington.
The Arlington Food Assistance Center is looking for volunteers to help with everything from bagging to food drives and more. Teens above the age of 14 (or under 14 with parental supervision) are welcome to help out.
If you are at least 13, you and a parent can volunteer at So Others Might Eat in D.C. This organization runs food drives and dining rooms that provide food to the homeless.
Arlington Science Focus School needs help shelving books in the library from July 11 until August 12. This can include working a single day from 8:30-11:30 a.m., or signing up for more than one day of work.
The Falls Church Volunteer Fire Department needs both administrative assistants and firefighters or EMTs. For those who lack the stomach or physical ability to participate in emergency operations, working as an administrative member entails record keeping, fund raising, and other support functions. For those who live for excitement, being an operational volunteer means being prepared to put out fires and save lives.
Back on My Feet, a nonprofit that’s fighting homelessness through running, is co-sponsoring the Crystal City Twilighter 5K race on Saturday, July 23. Volunteers are needed to help with the bag drop and to man water stops along the course.
The Playtime Project needs volunteers to play games, read books, and create art projects with homeless children while their mothers participate in skills workshops. Volunteers must make a two hour weekly commitment for at least six months.
D.C. Central Kitchen needs volunteers to help turn 3,000 pounds of food each day into 5,000 balanced meals for homeless residents of the District.
Every Saturday and Sunday, the Arlington-based Lost Dog and Cat Rescue Foundation needs dog and cat handlers for adoption events. More volunteer opportunities are available through Lost Dog as well.
There are also some positions that require volunteers be at least 21 years old.
This includes being a CrisisLink Hotline volunteer, a job which requires empathy and a commitment of 50 hours of training and 150 hours of service. Volunteers can earn college credit and receive letters of recommendation.
More volunteer opportunities can be found through the Volunteer Arlington website.