VT Says It Is Behind ‘Driverless’ Van — The “driverless” van seen driving around Clarendon over the past week was actually a Virginia Tech research project designed to record the “real world reactions” to a vehicle without a driver. However, there was a driver: a man dressed as a car seat. The mystery was solved in real time on Twitter yesterday and quickly went viral. [NBC Washington, Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, Twitter]
Retired Colonel Saved By Quick-Acting EMS Crew — Firefighters and EMS personnel from Arlington and Alexandria helped to save the life of a retired U.S. Army colonel who went into cardiac arrest in his home in Crystal City. The crew used defibrillators to revive him. [Facebook, WJLA]
(Updated at 3 p.m.) An under-construction replacement for the former Marymount University “Blue Goose” building in Ballston is on fire.
Firefighters are on the scene of a two-alarm apartment fire on the seventh floor of 1008 N. Glebe Road, according to scanner traffic. They’re reportedly having issues with water pressure in the building, though as of 2:55 p.m. the fire is said to have been extinguished. In addition to stairs, firefighters used a ladder truck to reach the apartment that was on fire.
Police have closed the southbound lanes and one northbound lane of N. Glebe Road between 11th Street and Fairfax Drive. Drivers should expect traffic impacts in the area.
The nearly-completed building, with more than 260 apartment units, was expected to be move-in ready this summer, according to the developer’s website.
— Shooshan Company (@ShooshanCompany) May 18, 2017
Construction is almost complete at Marymount University’s “Newside” building, and it has landed its first retail tenant.
Two buildings are under construction on the site: a nine-story office building and a 12-story, 267-unit residential building.
The former will be owned by Marymount University, with the university using six floors as office and educational space. The top three floors will be leased out as office space.
Between the two buildings, there will also be a 10,600-square-foot public plaza and pedestrian passageway.
Construction is expected to be completed this summer.
Update at 8:40 p.m. — Glebe Road remains closed in both directions. Multiple Dominion units continue to repair the downed wires. Police officers at the scene couldn’t say how much longer the road will be closed, but they guessed it could easily be another hour.
Earlier: Emergency crews have closed part of N. Glebe Road north of Marymount University due to a downed power wire.
Police and fire crews are on the scene and have shut down N. Glebe Road between Williamsburg Blvd and Dittmar Road.
— Arlington Fire (@ACFDPIO) April 11, 2017
Emergency crews are waiting for Dominion Virginia Power to repair the line.
A police spokesperson says responders are investigating a leaning tree at the scene. There’s no word yet on whether the tree may have caused the power lines to topple.
Earlier: Arlington County Police are investigating a report of a man with a gun on the Marymount University campus in north Arlington.
Those on campus are being told to “go to a secure location and await further information,” according to the university’s Twitter account.
“This is not a drill,” the tweet also notes. The university was scheduled to conduct a series of active shooter drills on campus starting this Thursday, Oct. 6.
Police are advising people to avoid the area while they look for the man.
ACPD is responding to a call reporting an Hispanic male in an unknown parking lot on campus with a gun. Go to secure location and wait furt
— Marymount University (@marymountu) October 3, 2016
This is not a drill – go to secure location and await further information.
— Marymount University (@marymountu) October 3, 2016
ACPD is on scene searching parking lots. Remain in secure location and await further information.
— Marymount University (@marymountu) October 3, 2016
Marymount University has evacuated due to report of an individual with a gun on campus. @ARLnowDOTcom
— James Wesolek (@sirjamesw) October 3, 2016
Police enroute to suspicious person call at @marymountu. Police have not confirmed the threat. Please avoid area while police investigate.
— ArlingtonCountyPD (@ArlingtonVaPD) October 3, 2016
Authorities continuing to search. Remain in secure location and await further information.
— Marymount University (@marymountu) October 3, 2016
Flickr pool photo (top) by Eric
Following last year’s demolition of Marymount University’s “Blue Goose” building in Ballston, construction is underway on the building’s replacement, which now has a new name.
The mixed-use development at 1000 N. Glebe Road is now being called “Newside.” Two buildings are under construction on the site, a nine-story office building and a 12-story, 267-unit residential building.
The nine-story building will be owned by Marymount University, with the university using six floors as office and educational space. The top three floors will be leased out as office space.
Along with the two buildings, there will also be a 10,600 square foot public plaza and pedestrian passageway in between them.
The Shooshan Company, the project’s developer, is optimistic about its potential.
“You’ve got this unique blend of all these uses in one spot,” said Kevin Shooshan, the company’s director of leasing and marketing. “There is going to be constant foot traffic every day of the week,” between Marymount students and customers of the on-site retail. “It gives kind of a new life to the site which is why we view it as the new side of Ballston, the new side of Marymount University.”
Government contractors, high profile associations, IT and technology companies are among the potential tenants that Avison Young, the company in charge of leasing office and business space, imagines for the top three floors of the Marymount building.
According to Shooshan, the development’s convenient location just off I-66, between Tysons Corner and D.C., along with its potential for rooftop signage that can be seen from the highway, gives it an advantage in the marketplace.
“It is the only new construction space available in the Ballston market,” he said. “In an era when many tenants are looking to reduce things and right-size their space, doing so in new construction — it’s the only opportunity in the Ballston market and it’s coming within the next year.”
“We’ve also been seeing some good activity from some national retailers,” he added.
At the moment, the excavation and concrete portion of the underground parking garages are complete and work is currently being done of the second floors of the buildings.
Construction is expected to be completed for both buildings around the second quarter of 2017.
The Marymount Farmers Market is expected to open on Saturday, May 21. It will take place in the university’s surface parking lot, at the intersection of N. Glebe Road and Old Dominion Drive, and will run on Saturdays from 9 a.m.-1 p.m., until Nov. 19.
Along with the use permit, the Board also approved a revision of the zoning ordinance allowing for an expansion of areas where open air markets will be allowed to take place.
Arlington currently has 11 open air markets approved throughout the county and until the revision, the markets were limited to fewer zoning classifications. They were also prohibited in residential zones.
Now, open air markets are allowed in residential zones after obtaining a special exception use permit. They will be allowed on any property along a major street that has an existing public, civic or institutional use such as a university or library.
“Arlingtonians love farmers markets,” Arlington County Board Chair Libby Garvey said in a press release. “It makes sense to allow these markets to open in neighborhoods, where people can walk to buy fresh, healthy, locally grown produce, meats and more — and enjoy seeing their neighbors while they are shopping.”
The market will launch on Saturday, May 21, according to its website. It will be held at Marymount’s surface parking lot at the intersection of N. Glebe Road and Old Dominion Drive, on Saturdays from 9 a.m.-1 p.m., through Nov. 19.
Free parking is available at Marymount’s Blue Garage.
The market, which was organized by local residents, is billing itself as the only farmers market in Arlington north of Lee Highway.
“Featuring a fresh, delicious, organic, and healthy variety of foods, the Marymount Farmers Market was created and developed by your North Arlington neighbors and Civic Associations in partnership under the Lee Highway Alliance,” the website notes. “It is hosted by Marymount University and managed by Field to Table.”
“The Marymount Farmers Market is a local producer-only market. Each of our vendors grows, bakes, roasts, cooks, or prepares all of their products within 125 miles of Arlington County. Produce is usually picked within a day or two of the market so it is as fresh as possible.”
Photo via Facebook
Noor Tagouri, a young Muslim journalist who rose to social media stardom as she pursues her dream of being the first hijab-wearing anchor on U.S. commercial television, will speak at Marymount University this Friday.
The talk, from 6-8 p.m. in Marymount’s Lee Center Atrium (2807 N. Glebe Road), is being hosted by the university’s Muslim Student Association. The event is free and the public is invited to attend.
From a Marymount press release:
The public is invited to hear Noor Tagouri, a popular millennial journalist, speak on the topic of “A Storyteller’s Keys to Success, Passions and Identity” during a dinner hosted by Marymount University’s Muslim Student Association from 6 to 8 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 26 in the Lee Center Atrium. The event is free.
Since launching the viral #letnoorshine campaign in 2012, Tagouri has become an associate journalist for CBS Radio in Washington, D.C., earned a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism from the University of Maryland at age 20, become a local news reporter in the D.C. metro area for CTV News and has traveled nationally and internationally as a motivational speaker.
Last year she told the Washington Post that her goal was to be the first anchor on U.S. commercial television to wear a hijab, the traditional headscarf worn by some Muslim women.
With a social media following of more than 200,000, Noor has gained both critical support for her efforts to break stereotypes and encouraged others to tackle their own potential in a multi-cultural society through weekly YouTube videos and other projects, the #journeywithnoor bracelet that promotes accomplishing goals and creating pen pals, social media discussion posts and one-on-one mentoring.
As a first generation Libyan-American, her passion for storytelling stems from the desire to expose cultural injustices and combat the challenges facing women on a global scale.
County Moves to ‘Phase 4’ of Snow Cleanup — With all residential streets passable, Arlington County has moved to “Phase 4” of its snow removal operation. “Phase 4 will focus on clean up, widening primary and secondary routes, as well as addressing trouble spots in residential areas,” the county said. “Widening and hauling snow from major corridors will continue at night when it is safest — we will do our best to minimize disruption, but please expect some noise.” [Arlington County]
Heavy Traffic Again This Morning — Pretty much the entire stretch of northbound I-395 was a parking lot this morning, as the D.C. area continued to get back to work following this past weekend’s blizzard. Other traffic problem spots include eastbound Route 50, which was backed up starting around Courthouse, Washington Blvd around the Pentagon, and the southbound GW Parkway, which slowed near the first overlook.
McMenamin Digs Out Maywood Neighbors — One Arlington neighborhood that was particularly slow to be plowed after the blizzard was Maywood, along Lee Highway. Residents pitched in to clear the streets, including former independent County Board candidate Mike McMenamin, who “brought out his powerful snowblower and carved out walkways, driveways and helped clear a path for an Uber driver whose Chevy Suburban got stuck at the height of the storm.” [Washington Post]
Video: Marymount Swimmers Train in Florida — Want to think warm thoughts after this morning’s icy commute? Here’s a video of Arlington-based Marymount University’s swim team taking a recent training trip to Key West. [YouTube]
Photo courtesy Valerie Crotty
Price Dip for Orange Line Homes in 2016? — Houses and condos along the Orange Line in Arlington’s 22201 Zip code appreciated in value by double digits this year. But a dip in prices around the Clarendon and Ballston areas may be ahead in 2016, according to an analytics firm. [Washington Post]
Marymount Farmers Market Proposed — A farmers market has been proposed for Marymount University. This weekend, the Arlington County Board is expected to defer consideration of a use permit for the market until February due to “zoning-related issues.” [Arlington County, InsideNova]
Foggy Morning in Arlington — Updated at 10:50 a.m. — D.C. and much of Northern Virginia, including Arlington, are under a dense fog advisory through 1 p.m. Earlier this morning, the FAA was reporting departure delays between 31 and 45 minutes at Reagan National Airport due to low clouds. [Twitter]
Flickr pool photo by Doug Duvall
Dems Vote For Redskins Team Name Change — The Arlington County Democratic Committee voted Wednesday to officially call on Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder to change the team’s “offensive” name. Some Democrats opposed the vote, suggesting that “nobody would take the resolution particularly seriously.” [InsideNova]
New Trend: Karaoke Leagues — Team karaoke leagues and costumed karaoke competitions are all the rage in Arlington, D.C. and New York City, according to a Wall Street Journal trend piece. [Wall Street Journal]
Kudos for Local Chinese Restaurant — Peter Chang’s restaurant in the Lee-Harrison Shopping Center is “the best neighborhood Chinese restaurant in Washington,” according to food critic Tom Sietsema. [Washington Post]
Marymount Tree Lighting Ceremony — The public is invited to attend Marymount University’s annual Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony tonight. The ceremony will take place in front of Marymount’s Lodge building starting at 6 p.m. and will feature music from the Randolph Elementary School Choir.
Arlington Tech Co. Raises $4 Million — Rosslyn-based LiveSafe has raised $4 million in a new venture round. The company makes mobile campus safety software for universities, large companies and government agencies. [DC Inno, Washington Business Journal]
Winners of Startup Competition Announced — Arlington County has announced the winners of the U.S. round of the Dongsheng/AC Bridge Entrepreneur Competition. The global competition is a partnership between Arlington Economic Development and China-focused investment company Dao Ventures. [Arlington County]
New Patch for 74-Year-Old Marathon Runner — Retired Marine Al Richmond, who at the age of 74 recently completed his 40th Marine Corps Marathon, has been presented with a special patch at a ceremony at his Arlington home. Richmond said he plans to keep running and improve on this year’s performance. [CBS Local]
Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf
School Board Candidates Not Ruling Parkland Out — Two candidates for Arlington School Board say they aren’t ruling anything out — including use of parkland — for the building of new schools. Independent Green-endorsed candidate Brooklyn Kinlay said it would “be a tragedy” to use parkland. Reid Goldstein, who has the Democratic endorsement, said the school system is “not moving fast enough” to address the school capacity issue. [InsideNova]
Ray’s Company Files for Bankruptcy — A company affiliated with the popular Ray’s the Steaks and Ray’s Hell Burger restaurants in Arlington has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The restaurants’ operations are reportedly not affected. [Washington Business Journal]
Marymount Tops Diversity List — Marymount University ranks No. 1 for ethnic diversity among regional universities in the South, according to the new 2016 “Best Colleges” rankings from U.S. News and World Report. “It’s all part of our ongoing commitment to creating a culture of engagement that fosters intellectual curiosity, service to others and a global perspective in our students,” said Marymount President Matthew Shank. [Marymount University]
New Civic Association Forms — Arlington has a new civic association. The Arlington County Civic Federation has added the new Shirlington Civic Association as a member. Also, the Columbia Heights West Civic Association has changed its name to the Arlington Mill Civic Association. [InsideNova]
Newspaper Columnist Denied Lemonade — “Our Man in Arlington” columnist Charlie Clark received questionable service after ordering a 50-cent lemonade from a children’s lemonade stand near Virginia Hospital Center last week. [Falls Church News-Press]
Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley
When Nathaniel Valenti, 20, missed his first day of classes at Marymount University this year, he had a good excuse — he was fighting wildfires.
The junior criminal justice major from Dover, Delaware, spent 14 days as a part-time federal employee, getting close to the big fires that have been raging in the west all summer. One fire he helped to contain had burned 8,700 acres near Toston, Montana.
“The first night we were holding the line and there were trees torching 20 or 30 feet away from me,” Valenti said. “That’s when the entire tree just goes up in flames, with really high flames and intense heat.”
That became a normal sight for him.
After completing a 40-hour firefighting course at West Virginia University last summer, Valenti spent the end of this summer enduring thick smoke and 90-degree weather while in firefighting gear, including a helmet, goggles and fire-retardant clothing.
Valenti had no firefighting experience before this summer, but he did have a role model in the profession. His father, Michael Valenti, is the state forester of Delaware and has been fighting fires in the western states most summers since 1998. This summer, the younger Valenti went with his dad, who was the chief of their 20-man crew.
“I was very happy the planets aligned so that we could do this together,” the elder Valenti said.
The group slept in tents as far as 15 miles from the flames, to avoid the smoke. Each morning they drove as close as they could before hiking to the fire lines. They didn’t leave the fireground all day, so everyone, including rookie Valenti, carried 25-pound packs that included an emergency fire shelter, food and more than a gallon of water.
“Once you go out for the day, you can’t get water anywhere else,” Valenti said. “So in addition to what you carry, you drink a lot in the morning and in the evening.”
Although he was new to firefighting, Valenti is not new to camping and being outdoors. He has gone on extended 14-day backpacking and trips with his Boy Scout troops. Valenti, his three brothers and father are all Eagle Scouts.
Michael Valenti said this has been an exceptionally bad year for wildfires and the need for firefighters is high. He urged anyone who is interested to go to their state’s department of forestry for more information on how to get involved.
One person he doesn’t have to convince is his son.
“Growing up on the East Coast I never really understood the impact these fires can have on communities and towns — even entire states,” Nathaniel Valenti said. “I was glad to be able to go out there and make a difference. Whenever we had a reason to be in towns, people would come out and thank us. Hopefully, I’ll be able to do it again next year.”
The volleyball coach at Marymount University knows a thing or two about the sport. Off the court, he’s a professional player, himself.
This summer, coach Hudson Bates will compete in pro beach volleyball tournaments in Seattle, Los Angeles and Chicago, according to a university press release. In between competitions, Bates will also be gearing up for the next volleyball season at Marymount.
“It keeps me busy,” Bates said. “I usually go from playing in a beach tournament over the weekend to recruiting at an indoor club tournament during the week.”
Bates is the university’s first men’s volleyball coach. The program was started three years ago and Bates was hired a month before the first season started.
“We had to scramble to put a roster together from nothing,” he said. “They called us the Bad News Bears. But I got hooked up with a couple of players. We found a few who were already here who had played in high school. We even had a few who had never played before.”
The first year, the team ended with a 9-20 record. Last year, they went 14-20, but this year Bates has high hopes, he said.
“Getting those wins is just like a drug,” he said. “It keeps you going back for more.”
Bates started off as an indoor volleyball player, playing in college at George Mason University. After graduation, he spent two years as an assistant coach for the school, while also training with the USA National Team. Bates has also played professional volleyball in Puerto Rico and Qatar.
Back and knee pain forced him off of the indoor court and outdoors onto the beach.
“Now I like playing on the nice, soft sand,” he said.
Despite the pain from playing indoors, Bates will often demonstrate moves for his players and join them in practice. This helps the players to learn, said Tomasz Ksiazkiewicz, a junior volleyball player at Marymount.
“We always talk about leading by example and Coach Bates always lives up to that rule,” Ksiazkiewicz said. “I have never seen him take days off either at the gym, court, or his office. If you see him around he’s always working on something or helping others out.”