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Sunset in Ballston, near ARLnow’s office (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

ARLnow and its sister sites celebrated another year of hard work, journalistic achievements and client service at our holiday party Monday night.

One change: the venue. Rather than eating and drinking at a local restaurant, as usual, we had beer, wine, soda and pizza in the common area of our coworking space in Ballston. It’s one example of the belt tightening underway over the past couple of months, amid a downturn in the economy and among media companies in particular.

Round after round of layoffs have been announced at U.S. media companies this fall, including at CNN, Buzzfeed, Tysons-based newspaper chain Gannett, and email newsletter company Morning Brew. The Washington Post is set to undergo more layoffs early next year, its publisher announced today, while Rosslyn-based tech publication Protocol shuttered last month.

ARLnow and our sister sites are no exception to the pain felt among advertising-supported news outlets. After a torrid start to the year, which brought about plans for additional hiring, our company’s revenue is down in the quarter to date.

Chart showing quarterly revenue change at ARLnow’s parent company from 2021 to 2022 (as of Dec. 14, 2022)

We started to see the slowdown, as did other media companies, in July. October and November were particularly bad months. The good news is that we’ve seen a pronounced recovery in December.

That does not mean we’re out of the woods by any means, however. Many are predicting a recession in 2023, though projections for how deep and prolonged it will be vary to a significant degree.

Despite the economic challenges, we have committed to our nine full-time employees that no layoffs are planned and we will do whatever is needed to avoid them. Instead, we have cut back on some technology expenses, non-essential spending and our freelance budget.

You can also expect to see ALXnow editor Vernon Miles helping out with ARLnow, to offset some of the freelance cuts.

We are fortunate to be operating in a market that is bolstered economically by federal spending and to have a loyal adverter base and a growing roster of paid members. Other local news outlets are not as lucky.

Still, we can use your support. If we can add 200 new ARLnow Press Club members (less than 0.1% of our monthly readership) between now and the end of the year we should be able to keep ARLnow’s freelance budget at current levels. If you’d like to support our reporting while getting an early look at the next day’s news, please consider subscribing.

The media business is always evolving, but now seems like a particularly volatile time. In the interest of transparency, we wanted to discuss some other factors that are affecting our business now and into the future.

Artificial intelligence and automation

We have spent much of the past year working on no-code automations that allow our editorial and business teams to operate more efficiently. For instance, most social media posts are now automated and we can publish events, announcements and other user-submitted content with a single click.

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Traffic camera locations and the image of a feed when it is out (via Arlington County)

Arlington maintains a sizable network of traffic cameras, but a significant portion of those cameras have been “temporarily unavailable” in recent weeks.

It’s a problem that the county county is promising to fix.

The publicly viewable feeds of conditions on Arlington’s main roads help with real-time reporting on breaking news of crashes or hazardous driving conditions, such as heavy snow. The feeds also allow residents to check conditions before heading out.

Arlington County has more than 200 traffic cameras trained on its roads. As of last weekend, at least two dozen were out. A few weeks ago, in Pentagon City and Crystal City alone, about 40% of cameras were out, according to public safety watcher Dave Statter.

Residents noted outages were an issue when the county moved the feeds from Trafficland.com to an in-house website back in 2015.

The outages have a variety of explanations, but the county is working on addressing them, according to the Dept. of Environmental Services.

“A camera feed can stop working for several reasons like equipment failure, communications issues, or planned construction,” spokesman Peter Golkin said. “Sometimes only a camera’s public feed is impacted while the internal feed continues. Although a single camera supplies both feeds, they can be independently impacted — especially in older analog cameras.”

Public feeds are produced by the DES Transportation Engineering & Operations (TE&O) Bureau. Feeds are also shared internally with the county’s emergency services agencies.

He said while TE&O’s first priority is maintaining the internal feeds that support critical county services, given limited staff and resources, the bureau is “still stepping up its checks of the public feeds.”

“Many public feeds have been restored in recent weeks,” Golkin said. “To avoid confusion, staff are looking at ways to differentiate long-term, planned outages from temporary outages on the public website.”

The outages compound another issue: the county’s policy of censoring public feeds during incidents — from minor crashes to major public safety incidents. Turning off the feeds makes real-time reporting more difficult for ARLnow and other news outelts.

Arlington says it controls what is relayed via traffic cameras during certain incidents to protect privacy.

“Arlington County upholds its values of transparency with public safety information beyond camera footage, including daily crime reports, press releases, emergency alerts, and EMS/fire event summaries,” the county said in a statement. “Camera access furthers our transparency but must be balanced with community privacy concerns.”

ARLnow was provided the following criteria that go into evaluating when to stop publicly broadcasting a traffic scene.

Cameras are diverted to protect:

  • Health information: This includes identifiers related to a potential patient, like their face, demographics, and health condition. This is all protected information until the person is determined to no longer be a patient, which occurs after they sign a refusal to be assessed or transported.
  • Law enforcement tactics and officer identity: The County protects the identities of law enforcement personnel who serve in plain clothes or undercover roles. Cameras may also be diverted during an active incident, such as an Emergency Response Team (ERT) response, to safeguard tactical information and ensure the safety of all present.
  • Victim and witness privacy: Victim and witness privacy protection is always central, but especially if there are juveniles present — something responders wouldn’t know for sure until arriving at a scene. The County also seeks to protect victim and family privacy and dignity by diverting footage in a medical incident, especially when next of kin must be notified of a significant event.

It’s unclear how much identifiable information can be obtained, however, given the relatively lower resolution of the feeds.

Traffic camera footage of Columbia Pike at S. Wayne Street (via Arlington County)

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The logo for ‘It’s Academic’ (via YouTube)

After 61 years with D.C.’s local NBC station, the teen quiz show “It’s Academic” has a new broadcast home: WETA-TV in Arlington.

And the inaugural episode on the public TV station will feature a team of three Arlington students from Washington-Liberty High School, who will face teams from Herndon High School and W.T. Woodson High School in Fairfax County.

As early as fall 2024, the show could be produced at the local PBS station’s headquarters in Shirlington, at 3939 Campbell Ave, which are currently being renovated. But for now — due to the pandemic — students are participating via Zoom.

For Senior Vice President and General Manager Miguel Monteverde, Jr., bringing the show to WETA was an obvious decision.

“It was a no-brainer,” he tells ARLnow. “There’s no show more local than one that features… 240 of frankly some of our brightest kids, our future leaders, in an education themed quiz show.”

The last few years have been rocky for the independently produced show, which has aired on WRC-TV (NBC 4) since it started in 1961 and holds the Guinness Book of World Records title for the longest-running TV quiz show.

“It’s Academic” was previously filmed in WRC-TV’s historic Studio A in upper Northwest D.C., near the American University campus, until renovations started on that building. The show then bounced around filming locations while still airing on NBC 4.

Then, the show lost its longtime sponsor Giant, which decided to focus on food-related philanthropy. Finally, the pandemic hit, and filming pivoted to Zoom.

Major funding for the show is now provided by McLean-based MITRE. And now, having a new broadcaster — and eventually a new filming location — provides “It’s Academic” with even more security, Monteverde says.

“I’m glad that all the stars were aligned and that we could work out a deal and keep that show going and bring it to the WETA audience,” he said.

For now, kids will still use Zoom to appear on the show, but as early as the spring, the show could be in-person at a yet-undetermined location.

“The kids are just as smart on Zoom as they are in the studio, but they’re eager for the show to be in the studio,” Monteverde said. “You’ve got the parents and family members in the seats, the team mascot. Schools will bring cheer squads. It’s a more visually interesting, festive experience.”

Washington-Liberty High School students on an episode of “It’s Academic” that premiered April 30, 2022 (via YouTube)

Although renovations to the WETA building could be finished next year, the studio won’t be ready for filming “It’s Academic” until the 2024-25 school year, he said.

“When we’re able to finally get the show in the new WETA studios in a couple of years, it will start to look a little different,” he said. “It’ll still be the quiz show format, but it’ll be in a new studio, so we have an opportunity to give it a fresh look.”

Monteverde approached the producers of “It’s Academic” about switching homes to add to the station’s stock of local shows. He says WETA is investing in local programming to distinguish itself from streaming services and cable television.

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(Updated at 5:10 p.m.) Clarendon-based Axios is now officially part of Atlanta-based cable operator and media conglomerate Cox Enterprises.

The $525 million sale of the five-year-old, newsletter-centric online news company — a seismic event in the media industry — closed on Sept. 1, according to Axios’ Dan Primack, less than a month after it was first announced.

The company grew rapidly after its January 2017 founding by Jim VandeHei, Mike Allen and Roy Schwartz, former stars of Rosslyn-based Politico, which itself was recently acquired.

Just a year after its launch Axios graduated from a co-working space on a lower floor of 3100 Clarendon Blvd to snazzy new digs on a top floor. In 2020, after establishing itself as a prolific publisher of scoops in the worlds of U.S. politics, dealmaking, media and other topics, it set its sight on an unlikely expansion opportunity: local news.

Axios acquired the local news website Charlotte Agenda in December 2020 for a reported $5 million, rebranding it Axios Charlotte and enlisting its co-founder, Ted Williams, to help lead the rapid expansion of Axios Local.

Not even two years later, Axios Local now has 24 local newsletters across the country, operated by two-to-three person local teams that do a mix of original reporting and curation of other local news sources. The Axios D.C. newsletter launched about a year ago.

Local news, of course, is a difficult business. Newspapers are in rapid decline, with revenue down 60% and overall employment down 70% since the mid-2000s. TV stations, which generate much of their revenue from local news, may be at or near a peak before revenue starts to decline. Cox sold a majority stake in its TV station group to a private equity company in late 2019 and sold off stations in 12 markets earlier this year.

Axios is among a newer generation of online-only local news publishers that have not yet matched the journalistic firepower of local newspapers in their pre-internet heyday, when the printed paper was the go-to route into the homes for local advertisers, from department store inserts to “help wanted” classifieds.

Google, Facebook, Craigslist, Angie’s List, Yelp and any number of other online resources have since given advertisers more ways to reach local consumers, leading to a decades-long bleeding of revenue away from local newspapers and what had been their distribution-based monopoly on customer attention.

Into the breach have stepped Axios and its fast-growing local newsletter competitor 6AM City, as well as earlier local-news-at-scale efforts like Patch and more localized, independent online-only publications like ARLnow (plus sister sites ALXnow and FFXnow).

There are currently more than 700 independent local news startups in the U.S. and Canada, according to Local Independent Online News Publishers, a trade group that ARLnow helped to found. While a handful of online news ventures have grown to rival the size of local newspapers — the nonprofit Texas Tribune has more than 50 journalists — none so far have achieved anything approaching nationwide ubiquity.

Axios is seeking to be the first.

“Our goal of 100 cities is in reach,” Axios Local publisher Nick Johnston told Poynter’s Rick Edmonds in August. “I have a list of 384 metropolitan areas in my office, and we cross them off one by one.”

It was those kind of grand local ambitions that drew the 124-year-old, privately-held Cox Enterprises — which dates back to 1898, when its founder purchased the Dayton Daily News in Ohio — to Axios.

From CNBC:

The company ramped up talks to buy Axios several months ago, intrigued by the company’s push into local journalism, VandeHei said in an interview. […]

While some current investors weren’t interested in adding more capital, Cox felt confident in the leadership’s ability to monetize local journalism at scale with a lean digital-first approach, said Cox Enterprises Chief Financial Officer Dallas Clement in an interview.

“Cox became an investor in Axios last year and has a lengthy history of supporting local news,” Axios spokesperson Lauren Shiplett told ARLnow last month. “Cox’s leadership has publicly expressed its excitement about Axios Local’s rapid growth as well as the strength of our national platform.”

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Former Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam answers reporters’ questions at Amazon announcement in Pentagon City in 2018 (file photo)

Proposed legislation from Del. Alfonso Lopez that would support local journalism has withered away without bipartisan support.

HB 1217 would have provided up to $5 million annually in income tax credits to eligible news outlets that employ local journalists and up to $10 million annually in income tax credits to businesses that advertise with these outlets.

The newspaper industry has seen a slow decline over the last two decades — as documented on CBS’s 60 Minutes this past Sunday.

The decay of local newspapers is driven in large part by a loss in advertising revenue as classifieds have moved to services like Craigslist and other ads have migrated online to Facebook, Google and other large platforms. In recent years, hedge funds and private equity firms have further squeezed local news by acquiring hundreds of newspapers and slashing costs — which has boosted profitability but led to additional layoffs.

In the past year, however, there’s been a push to enact federal policy to stop this trend, and the activity at the federal level has sparked state-level bills.

Lopez’s bill died this legislative session during a finance subcommittee meeting, with six Republicans voting against it and three Democrats voting for it. While the Arlington Democrat said the objections didn’t seem related to spending, he didn’t offer further theories about why it failed.

Lopez said he intends to keep applying pressure until this measure is adopted.

“I think we need local journalists to keep our constituents informed of what’s happening at the local level,” he tells ARLnow. “I’m going to bring this bill back every year until it becomes a law in the Commonwealth.”

The bill makes business sense because it would encourage ad revenue, which pays the salaries of local journalists, according to Lopez. It’s also good for democracy, he said, as areas without local coverage tend to have more government and small business corruption and see lower local election turnout.

Virginia Press Association Executive Director Betsy Edwards says it’s unfortunate the bill was killed.

“VPA supported this bill because it would have helped local newspapers through income tax credits,” she said. “While we did not work with Delegate Lopez in drafting this bill — we support what he was trying to do to help local news.”

Lopez modeled his bill on the federal Local Journalism Sustainability Act (LJSA), included in President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better Act, which effectively died when Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) withdrew his support.

The LJSA was the fruit of advocacy by the Rebuild Local News coalition, coordinated by Steve Waldman, the founder of Report for America, a nonprofit that places journalists in local newsrooms.

“It became clear to me that, in addition to improved business models and greater philanthropy, the crisis is so severe, and the threat to democracy so urgent, that we needed better public policy,” he tells ARLnow.

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Board Chair Katie Cristol during the Tuesday, Feb. 15 County Board meeting (via Arlington County)

(Updated 3:45 p.m. on 2/22/22) A typo in a recent public hearing notice has had some larger consequences for Arlington County.

The error — an incorrect date printed on posters around town — also sparked a County Board discussion yesterday (Tuesday) about finding more effective ways to communicate with residents about upcoming hearings and projects.

This is a recurring conversation for Board members, who have now critiqued the county engagement processes for being neither penetrative nor inclusive enough.

Currently, the county posts signs at and near near the sites of future land-use projects, per its zoning ordinances. It also prints advertisements in the Washington Times newspaper to meet state public notice laws.

The fliers posted this time around bore the wrong date: Feb. 19, or this Saturday, instead of Feb. 12, when the County Board actually met.

As a result, most of the hearing items impacted — including plans for a church moving to Ballston, a new daycare coming near Clarendon and a private school opening in a church near Crystal City — will be rescheduled for a meeting on Saturday, March 19.

A hearing for the Marbella Apartments, a forthcoming affordable housing project near Rosslyn, will be heard at a special meeting on Monday, Feb. 28 at 6:30 p.m. so that the project can meet an early March deadline to receive tax credits from Virginia Housing.

Those who spoke at the Saturday meeting will have their comments entered and don’t need to return, officials said.

“Unfortunately, [for] this error — which anyone can make an error like that — we didn’t have redundancy, which is something we’re going to address immediately,” County Manager Mark Schwartz said. “We’re going to be immediately improving our process to address this.”

Only one person reviewed the dates before the printed placards went out, he said. The newspaper advertisement, meanwhile, had the correct date, but County Board members mused about whether putting legal notices in the Washington Times, a conservative daily newspaper with a circulation around 50,000 in the D.C. area, is effective.

“This invites the question of not just ‘What went wrong here?’ but ‘What could go better in the future?'” Board Vice Chair Christian Dorsey said. “Many have long decried our practice of advertising in the Washington Times, given its relatively low circulation in the county. While it meets the legal requirements, it doesn’t necessarily meet the spirit of broad notice.”

In Arlington, Board Chair Katie Cristol said, the challenge is that the county can choose broad circulation and additional expense with the Washington Post or low prices with the Washington Times.

She said she “would love” to advertise with an online news source, but state law mandates that such notices be placed in print publications.

“We have at least one of those where a lot of Arlingtonians get their news,” Cristol said. “We are constrained by state code from doing that — and some very effective lobbying from what I understand is the Virginia print industry, which is very interested in keeping that requirement the same.”

Virginia Press Association Executive Director Betsy Edwards says the current system “works very well for the majority of the citizens of the Commonwealth.”

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Morning Notes

Hanukkah Safety Reminders — “Happy Hanukkah from the ACFD. During this special time, please remember a few safety tips. 1 – Battery powered candles are a safer choice to open-flame candles. 2 – Never leave lit candles unattended. 3 – Keep lit candles away from items that can easily catch fire.” [Twitter]

Trail Detours Start Tomorrow — From the Arlington Dept. of Environmental Services: “Wednesday – Friday: Expect marked detours along Lucky Run Trail due to maintenance work, weather-permitting.” [Twitter]

Road Closures for 5K Race — “The Arthritis Foundation Jingle Bell 5k Run/Walk for Arthritis will be held on Saturday, December 4, 2021. The Arlington County Police Department will conduct the following road closure from approximately 6:30 a.m. until 11:00 a.m. to accommodate the event: S. Joyce Street, between 15th Street S. and Army Navy Drive.” [ACPD]

Drama at Rosslyn-Based Politico — “Politico is known for its wildly popular Playbook newsletter, its vast reporting talent pool, and its success as the most widely recognized Beltway-centric publication. But behind the flashy exterior, billion-dollar sale, and massive draw of their star reporters lies a series of burgeoning newsroom conflicts. From personnel issues, including complaints about internal ‘woke police,’ to a divisive unionization drive, to increasing competition in the profitable D.C. newsletter space, tensions appear to be growing.” [Daily Beast]

Mild Start to December on Tap — “NOAA’s 6-10 [day], 8-14 [day] and 3-4 [week] outlooks all toasty for large parts of the Lower 48. Not a great look for big winter storms or sustained cold although confidence in mild pattern decreases by mid-December.” [Twitter, Capital Weather Gang]

Spotted This Morning: FlurriesUpdated at 8:50 a.m. — We spotted very light snow falling in North Arlington around 8 a.m. today. The local National Weather Service office says these were the first flakes of the season and more flurries are possible this morning. [Twitter]

It’s Tuesday — Today will be partly sunny, with a high near 49. South wind 6 to 8 mph. Sunrise at 7:07 a.m. and sunset at 4:46 p.m. Tomorrow there is a chance of showers after 1 p.m., but otherwise it will be partly sunny, with a high near 50. [Weather.gov]

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Rosslyn-based media company Politico is being acquired by the German publishing conglomerate Axel Springer.

The deal is worth around $1 billion, according to initial reports as the news broke this morning.

Politico was founded in 2007 in Rosslyn, in the same office tower at 1000 Wilson Blvd as its former sister outlet, local ABC station WJLA. The station was sold in 2013.

Axel Springer says the addition of Politico to its U.S. digital media holdings, including Insider (formerly Business Insider) and Morning Brew, will add to its growing reach.

Politico started out as primarily a Capitol Hill newspaper, competing with the likes of The Hill (which also recently sold) and Roll Call — complete with newspaper boxes offering free copies around Arlington and D.C. Metro stations — but has since grown a large, mainstream audience for its online political coverage. It also generates substantial revenue from a high-end subscription service called Politico Pro.

Arlington is home to a number of other media companies, including Washington Business Journal, Graham Holdings, Salem Radio Network, Washington Free Beacon and Townhall Media, all in Rosslyn.

Politico co-founder Jim VandeHei, along with colleagues Mike Allen and Roy Schwartz, broke with owner Robert Allbritton in 2016 and founded a competing publication, Axios, which is based in Clarendon. PBS has its headquarters in Crystal City, while local public broadcasting station WETA, along with the PBS Newshour, which it produces, are based in Shirlington. ARLnow and its sister sites ALXnow, Tysons Reporter and Reston Now are based in Ballston.

Axios, meanwhile, has previously been discussed as a possible acquisition target for Axel Springer.

More on the sale of Politico, below, from a press release.

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Arlington County Board Communications Manager Mary Curtius was a journalist when the reporters wrote drunk and sometimes edited sober, and when the editors ashed their cigarettes on reporters’ desks if they were lucky.

She started writing when “cut-and-paste” literally meant cutting sections of type out and sticking paragraphs together with rubber cement glue.

“We probably went home high every day, we were inhaling so much rubber cement,” she said. (On that note, the photographers, stuck in dark rooms all day, were probably loopy from the developer and fixer chemicals.)

Curtius reported from Los Angeles, Jerusalem and Capitol Hill. She was the Middle East bureau chief for the Boston Globe and Christian Science Monitor. She covered Congress for the LA Times and before that was the paper’s National Security Editor. To have more time with her kids, she switched tracks 11 years ago and started handling communications for Arlington County.

Today is Curtius’ last day as Communications Manager for the County Board before she retires. After five decades of working — she started cleaning homes at 13 — she says she looks forward to visiting friends and family now that she is fully vaccinated, traveling and volunteering. And rest. She looks forward to rest.

“I don’t think there are a lot of people who can say they never had a bad job and never got to do anything fun,” she said. “I’m lucky. I’m really lucky. It’s been a great ride.”

And sometimes, the ride was dangerous. She remembers taking a road trip out of Jerusalem with two male reporters, and when she got into the car, she saw they were working through a bottle of whisky. The two polished it off over the five-hour drive.

“It was completely terrifying,” she said. “That was how they lived… I was always ‘the good girl.'”

She had to be, to get ahead in a male-dominated field.

But her distinguished journalism career took a toll on her family life. So Curtius joined the county 11 years ago to be home more with her kids. During her tenure, Curtius said the changing media landscape and the dawn of social media caused her job to morph too. She has been part of a few major crises — Snowmageddon and the Derecho storm and now the coronavirus — and has helped Arlington prepare for Amazon’s arrival.

“It was a great job,” she said. “It’s a great county — God’s truth — it’s a great county. It was an amazing experience to be doing something that directly related to my community.”

Curtius remembers spending 18 months documenting how Arlington transformed from a sleepy town to a bedroom community for Pentagon workers to a bustling metropolitan area. She found all the Board members and county managers who were still alive and put together plans in the 60s and 70s to accommodate the Metro and concentrate development around stations.

“That video captured the ‘Greatest Generation’ — people who had these ideas and laid the foundation of modern Arlington,” she said. “I really enjoyed meeting those people. Almost all of them are dead now.”

Over the last decade, she said local media coverage has waned. Before joining the County Board in 2006, she said TV stations would set up cameras to get clips from County Board meetings. No longer, except for major news like Amazon’s arrival.

“It seems incredible to think about that,” she said.

Since then, the Washington Post has pulled back on local coverage, and there are not as many news outlets focused on county government — the Sun Gazette and present company excluded, she added.

“Of course, it is happening across the country,” she said. “It’s really distressing, just as a reporter, that there’s not a lot of local coverage.”

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Morning Notes

Cristol Recovering from Surgery — County Board member Katie Cristol was absent from this week’s Board meeting. She is on medical leave after surgery to treat Graves’ disease, she said. [Twitter]

Axios Makes Local News Moves — Clarendon-based media company Axios has purchased North Carolina-based Charlotte Agenda as it makes a push into local news. [New York Times]

Board Balks at Preservation Request — “Efforts to place the 9-acre Rouse estate at the corner of Wilson Boulevard and North McKinley Road into a local historic district appear to have pushed the property owner to move forward with the ‘nuclear option‘… And, county officials say, there is not much they can do to prevent it. ‘Our hands are pretty much tied,’ County Board Chairman Libby Garvey said Dec. 12, effectively rebuffing a request that the county government take stronger actions.” [InsideNova]

Board Responds to Reopening Request — “A request that Arlington County Board members use their influence – whether through sweet-talking or something more forceful – to get county schools back up and running fell largely on deaf ears Dec. 12. Board members said they were working with their School Board counterparts, but had no power to force a reopening of schools that have been shuttered since last March.” [InsideNova]

Local Nonprofit Expands Aid — “Since April of this year [Arlington] Thrive has provided more than $5 million is assistance to 1,300 families and individuals, a dramatic increase from the $805,000 Thrive provided to families and individuals during the same period last year. Typical requests to Arlington Thrive used to be for one or two months rent but since the pandemic now extend to six or seven months.” [Press Release]

Church Continues Drive-Thru Donations — “Clarendon Presbyterian Church recently announced that it will continue holding monthly Drive-thru Food and Toiletry Collections to support our neighbors who are experiencing homelessness. Since the first Collection in June through the most recent one in December, the community donated the equivalent of 756 brown paper bags of groceries – an estimated value of $30,000.” [Press Release]

Northam Proposes State Budget — “Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) on Wednesday proposed a state budget that would restore some spending frozen earlier this year amid uncertainty around the coronavirus pandemic, updating a spending document that the General Assembly just finished tinkering with last month.” [Washington Post]

Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman

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Morning Notes

Death of WeLive? — “WeWork is exploring ending its push into communal living, according to people with knowledge of the matter. The New York-based office-sharing company is working with an adviser and holding talks about handing over operations of its WeLive location in Crystal City, near Washington D.C.” [Bloomberg]

No Fair This Summer? — “Whether the Arlington County Fair will be held as scheduled in August, and how it might change due to the impacts of COVID-19, remain an open question. ‘We continue to closely monitor the evolving situation and are committed to following the facts and recommendations provided by public-health officials,’ organizers of the fair said.” [InsideNova]

School Decision Expected by July 4 — “Arlington students, parents and teachers should know by the 4th of July what the county school system’s plan is for re-starting classes in the fall. In-person classroom instruction ‘is the goal we want to get to,’ new Superintendent Francisco Durán told School Board members on June 4, but he was not ready to commit to having students back in class when the school year begins Aug. 31.” [InsideNova]

Gyms CrossFit Weigh in on Founder’s Comments — Since the founder of CrossFit posted a controversial tweet, CrossFit gyms across the country — including in Arlington — have been posting statements to distance themselves from him. Greg Glassman has since resigned as the CEO of CrossFit. [Instagram, Instagram]

Local Nordstrom Stores Reopening Tomorrow — “Arlington residents hoping for a little retail therapy will soon have their desires granted, at least as far as one local clothing chain is concerned. The Nordstrom and Nordstrom Rack stores in Pentagon City will reopen for customers on Thursday, according to a company release.” [Patch]

Axios Covering Fees for Protesting Employees — “Arlington County-based digital media company Axios distributed a companywide email stating that it would cover bail or medical bills for employees who have participated in recent protests associated with the police killing of George Floyd, The New York Times first reported Tuesday.” [Virginia Business]

Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman

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