ARLnow is ringing in the New Year with a look back at 2022 through our photo and story archives.
Our photographer, Jay Westcott, compiled a slideshow, above, to encapsulate the stories and moments that made 2022 memorable and remind us of the sights and seasonal shifts that make Arlington home.
After two years of living with Covid, the last 12 months held a continuing return to normalcy in tension with a deepening divide over how Arlington should look and function. On discussions of housing shortages, pedestrian fatalities and fluctuating crime rates, there is a sense that something needs to be done — exactly what remains the question.
The “Missing Middle” housing study and proposed zoning changes embodied this tension the most. While never cracking the Top 20 stories of 2022, the county’s incremental steps toward legalizing housing types such as duplexes, three-unit townhomes and buildings with up to six or eight units in districts zoned exclusively for single-family homes roiled the county.
Residents staged rallies for and against the proposed zoning changes, broke anecdotal Planning Commission meeting attendance records, booed and hollered in a County Board meeting, opined about the “Arlington Way” and ginned up more interest in the Arlington County Board race — one that ultimately went for incumbent Democrat Matt de Ferranti.
In response, the Arlington County Board added community engagement sessions and directed staff to make a number of changes to the proposal, which members later said address some community concerns.
High-profile crashes, including two pedestrian deaths, led residents and the County Board to demand more action on traffic safety. But with crash causes as diverse as alcohol, high speeds, unspecified medical emergencies and sun glare, could slower speeds, road treatments and education ever eliminate pedestrian deaths and serious injuries?
Questions also remain about how prosecutors and judges should serve criminal justice. We took a close look at competing assertions about whether reform efforts led by Arlington’s top prosecutor, Parisa Dehghani-Tafti, are tackling or enabling crime rates.
Still, Arlingtonians came together to mourn the loss of a man and a teenager who each left an indelible mark on their community.
Activist Kent Carter, who died protecting his girlfriend during a shooting on the island chain of Turks and Caicos, was remembered as a family man who led efforts to reform and establish community oversight of the police department. Washington-Liberty high school senior Braylon Meade, who died in a car crash involving a drunk teen, was remembered for leading his basketball team by example.
As evidenced in this year’s gallery, construction hummed along, as Washington-Liberty High School expanded, apartments were built and the first phase of Amazon’s second headquarters prepares to open next year.
Amid all this, the pandemic receded farther into the rear view window for many. Masks became optional in schools, county facilities and on Metro and airplanes earlier this year. Arlington County permanently closed its public vaccine clinic a week before Christmas and has shuttered testing sites.
Yesterday (Thursday), many of you said 2022 was better than 2021. We at ARLnow wish you an even better 2023.
Last December, we asked whether you thought 2022 would be a better year than 2021.
With over 1,300 votes, 64% of respondents predicted that yes, 2022 would be better. But was it?
After a year that started strong but then saw war in Europe, an economic downturn, devastating storms, a resurgence of flu and RSV, and — most recently — holiday travel woes — we’re wondering how you feel, personally, about the year.
Was it better for you, all things considered, or was it actually worse than 2021? Either way, here’s hoping for a better 2023!
Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow, Startup Monday is a weekly column that highlights Arlington-based startups, founders, and local tech news. Monday Properties is proudly featuring 1515 Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn.
From eco-friendly dog food to portable airplane cupholders, this year’s Startup Monday column has highlighted locals with bright ideas.
In 2022, we profiled startups and wrote about mergers, acquisitions, fundraising rounds and relocations. These companies spanned the industries of supply chain logistics to healthcare, data to cybersecurity, and commercial real estate to interior decorating.
But two themes of this year were go-getters with novel products — all coming out of Clarendon — and giving back.
Clarendon resident and fitness buff David Kolton launched Aviate, a line of flour, flakes and baking mixes made of the humble lupini. The high-fiber bean has more protein than meat and can be grown without irrigation, powering humans while reducing their environmental impact.
“I want to make something that’s not only something healthy people will appreciate, but is also something they can enjoy with their friends and family who don’t eat that way,” he said.
Clarendon resident Haley Russell founded Chippin, a company that sells dog treats and dog food made from crickets, an invasive species of fish called the silver carp and a CO2-sucking algae called spirulina.
“We created the first-of-its-kind dog food that solves for providing high-quality nutrition with a protein for dogs with allergies to beef and chicken and helps restore biodiversity in the Great Lakes while fishing for a fish we need to fish for,” she said.
After assembling a 3D printer, teaching himself how to use it, teaching himself how to resin cast, write a patent and register a trademark, Clarendon resident Seth LaPierre told us he is ready to launch the “Sip n’ Clip,” a cup holder for airplane seats.
“If you’re trying to create something, no one is going to pop up and help you,” he said. “Roll up your sleeves and get it done.”
His business donates part of its profits to organizations promoting security, empowerment and equality for women and girls. Here’s how other Arlington companies made a difference this year.
Rosslyn-based CyberVista, a cybersecurity workforce development company, made available two courses to participants in Black Girls Hack. The Alexandria-based nonprofit tackles lack of representation in STEM by training Black girls and women in STEM fields, with a focus on cybersecurity and executive suites.
“Our partnership with Black Girls Hack goes hand-in-hand with CyberVista’s goal to close the skills gap in cybersecurity by measuring and upskilling underrepresented groups of talent,” CyberVista CEO Simone Petrella said.
The Venture X coworking location (2300 Wilson Blvd) in Courthouse donated office space to give The Black Girl TRIBE a new headquarters. The organization, which this year received a $100,000 grant from Nike, educates and uplifts Black girls through mentoring and educational programs and leadership events.
“I was inspired by her mission, and support her doing important work she’s doing,” Venture X location owner Julie Felgar said. “It’s an equity issue: making sure young ladies from all ethnicities and from all walks of life can value themselves and see what the opportunities are for them out in the world.”
We also sat down with longtime Arlington resident and father Peter Kant, whose company Enabled Intelligence employs Americans with disabilities and veterans. The data and security company is redefining workplace inclusion while ensuring government agencies and contractors employ American citizens for security reasons.
“Some were bagging groceries but had a computer science degree from Radford University, and because of their neurodiversity, were not working anywhere else,” he said.
These Arlington creators and companies weathered a tough economic outlook with their concepts cracking contemporary problems. ARLnow will be back with Startup Monday columns in the new year to highlight more locals with big ideas and companies making names for themselves in tech, government contracting and beyond.
There are plenty of places to celebrate locally as the calendar flips to 2023.
After two years of subdued New Year’s Eve parties due to the pandemic, a number of Arlington restaurants are roaring back with events.
Below are some of the Arlington restaurants, bars and spaces where you can ring in the new year.
Mike and Christal Bramson opened B Live, one of Clarendon’s newest entertainment venues, opened in May. A ticket to the party gets you a drink ticket, a champagne toast, an hors d’oeuvres station and access to a photo booth. Live entertainment is provided by Klepto Radio.
Sixth Annual Wilson Wonderland New Year’s Eve
2915 Wilson Blvd
Time: 9 p.m.
Cost: Starting at $60
Taking place in the Wilson Hardware’s newly revamped million-dollar space, admission to the party includes “party favors” and two drink tickets. There will be a DJ, a light show and a ball drop as well.
Pamplona Prohibition New Year’s Eve
3100 Clarendon Blvd
Time: 8 p.m.
Pamplona, another Bramson nightlife venture in Clarendon, is hosting its sixth annual “prohibition party.” A ticket gets you three drink tickets, appetizers, party favors, a champagne toast and dancing.
New Year’s Eve with Tunnels End at the Renegade
3100 Clarendon Blvd
Time: 10 p.m.
Lyon Hall’s New Year’s Eve 2022
3100 Washington Blvd
Time: 9 p.m.
Cost: No cover.
Clarendon mainstay Lyon Hall hosts local jazz band Vanessa Ralls and the Berries for a New Year’s Eve concert. There will also be a holiday menu and drink specials.
Punch Bowl Social New Year’s Eve Celebration
4238 Wilson Blvd
Time: 9 p.m.
Cost: Starting at $10
General admission to the Ballston bar and entertainment venue on New Year’s Eve gets you live music from DJ and access to a photo booth. A VIP ticket at $50 gets light bites, a sectioned-off space, a midnight toast and “free activities” as well.
New Year’s Eve Masquerade Ball at Clarendon Ballroom
3185 Wilson Blvd
Time: 9 p.m.
Cost: Starting at $45
Clarendon Ballroom was also recently revamped and reopened over the summer. All three floors, including outdoors, will be open during the party. There will also be an ice luge, party favors, a photo booth, a champagne toast and live entertainment from several DJs.
New Year’s Blowout at WHINO
4238 Wilson Blvd
Time: 10 p.m.
WHINO, a restaurant and art gallery that opened at Ballston Quarter in June 2021, is hosting a party with two DJs as well as a countdown to and champagne toast at midnight.
Smokecraft’s Fire & Ice New Year’s Eve 2023
1051 N. Highland Street
Time: 8 p.m.
Cost: Starting at $125
This two-year-old barbeque joint in Clarendon will have a buffet for New Year’s. A ticket grants access to the buffet plus an open bar and a $25 gift card to be used in 2023.
ARLnow is ringing in the New Year with a look back at 2021 through our photo archives.
We compiled a slideshow to encapsulate this year and recall some of the stories and moments that made 2021 memorable.
This year, Arlingtonians celebrated local heroes, pushed for and saw cultural changes and said goodbye to venerable institutions — all against the backdrop of the ongoing pandemic.
Arlington removed vestiges of Robert E. Lee’s legacy, renaming Route 29 Langston Blvd and replacing the county logo depicting his house with one that ARLnow readers helped bring about. Teens protested how public school administrators handle complaints of sexual assault while bus drivers demonstrated for better pay and treatment. Locals picked up free cannabis seeds after private use was legalized.
But 2021 was the end of an era for some beloved Arlington institutions: Inner Ear Studios, the recording studio for Minor Threat and Fugazi; Clarendon watering hole Whitlow’s on Wilson; the Highlander Motel; and a few (arguably) historic estates.
Amid all that, the pandemic continued to run its course. After a chaotic start, the county helped to administer the vaccine to tens of thousands of residents. Locals started eating out again, kids returned for in-person school, and there was optimism about a return to normalcy over the summer — until that faded with the Delta variant and, now, Omicron.
With that we’ll step aside for the long weekend and see you back here on Monday, in 2022. Happy New Year, Arlington!
By most accounts, 2020 was a tough year. Despite hopes for better, 2021 certainly had its rough moments, too.
The pandemic is still here and, at least in terms of new cases from the latest variant, remains well underway. The stock market it up for the year, but the last half of 2021 hasn’t been kind to many investors amid inflation and stretched supply chains. And the country still appears to be inexorably divided politically, as was put on full display this past January.
There are hopeful signs for next year: maybe, just maybe, the pandemic ends and enters an endemic phase, while the economy looks fundamentally strong and there’s always hope that what unites us turns out to be stronger than that which divides us.
We had lots of hope for 2021 and the dawning of the Covid vaccination era, but reality and new variants intruded on dreams of a full return to normalcy. Perhaps 2022 will be different. Or more of the same.
What do you think? Are you optimistic that the new year will be better than 2021?
Nearly all county operations and services, including COVID-19 testing sites and vaccine clinics, are set to be closed during the Christmas and New Years holidays.
County government offices, courts, community centers, and libraries, will all be closed on Friday, Dec. 24 (Christmas Eve), Saturday, Dec. 25 (Christmas Day), Friday, Dec. 31 (New Year’s Eve), and Saturday, Jan. 1 (New Year’s Day).
The new Long Bridge Aquatics Center will reopen on Sunday, Jan. 2, though other community centers will remain closed that day.
For those looking for a booster shoot, county COVID-19 vaccine clinics will be closed Dec. 24 through Dec. 26 and Dec. 31 through Jan. 3.
The three Curative testing sites in Arlington will also be closed Dec. 24, Dec. 25, and Jan. 1 — and will close early at 2 p.m. on Dec. 31, even as lines to get tested remain long amid the current surger in Covid cases.
The sites will be open normal hours (9 a.m. to 7 p.m.) on Dec. 26 and Jan. 2, however.
Arlington Public Schools closed on Monday, Dec. 20 for the winter holiday break. The school system is currently set to reopen for classes Monday, Jan 3.
Trash, recycling, and yard waste collection will happen as scheduled on Dec. 24 and Dec. 31,
As for some good news, parking meters will not be enforced on Dec. 24, Dec. 25, Dec. 31, and Jan. 1.
WMATA and ART buses are also revising schedules for the holidays. On Christmas Eve, Metrorail is operating from 7 a.m. to 12 a.m., scaling back by three hours from a normal Friday. Metrobus will be operating on a Sunday schedule. Metrorail is reducing service by an hour on Christmas Day while keeping a normal Saturday schedule.
A select number of ART bus routes will operate on a Sunday schedule on Christmas Day, with the rest not operating.
New Year’s Eve will be different than in years past, with Metrorail staying open only until 1 a.m. as opposed to 2 a.m. Metrobus will operate on a Sunday schedule on that day and, on New Year’s Day, Metrorail will close an hour earlier than a normal Saturday.
ART buses will run its normal route schedule on New Year’s Eve, but a Sunday schedule on New Year’s Day.
A fracas at a local hotel on New Year’s Day prompted a large police response early Friday morning.
The incident happened during some sort of New Year’s Eve party at the Embassy Suites hotel in Crystal City, on the 1300 block of Richmond Highway. Police responded after a report of a fight, and encountered “a large crowd in the lobby of the building and multiple fights in progress throughout the hotel.”
A 21-year-old Dumfries resident was subsequently arrested for allegedly having a concealed gun without a permit.
From an Arlington County Police Department crime report:
WEAPONS VIOLATION, 2021-01010006, 1300 block of Richmond Highway. At approximately 12:30 a.m. on January 1, police were dispatched to the report of a fight. Upon arrival, officers located a large crowd in the lobby of the building and multiple fights in progress throughout the hotel. While dispersing the crowds, officers made an observation consistent with that of a concealed weapon on the male suspect’s waistband and made contact with the individual. It was subsequently determined that he was in possession of a concealed firearm without a valid permit. Martine Neal, 21, of Dumfries, Va., was arrested and charged with Carrying a Concealed Weapon and held on an unsecured bond.
At the same location, nearly two hours later, police responded after two people were reportedly attacked “by a group of approximately ten male suspects.” From ACPD:
ASSAULT BY MOB, 2021-01010038, 1300 block of Richmond Highway. At approximately 2:18 a.m. on January 1, police were dispatched to the report of a fight in progress. Upon arrival, it was determined a verbal dispute occurred between parties inside a hotel room. As the two victims attempted to have the other party leave the room, they were assaulted by a group of approximately ten male suspects. The suspects fled the area prior to police arrival. Both victims suffered minor injuries and were transported by medics to an area hospital for treatment. There is no suspect descriptions. The investigation is ongoing.
Also in today’s ACPD crime report, a woman who was cleaning a room in a business had to break a window with a chair in order to flee a man who allegedly locked the door, took off his pants and touched her inappropriately.
The name of the business was not specified, but it happened on the 3300 block of Lee Highway, which is home to the Inns of Virginia hotel and several other businesses.
ABDUCTION WITH INTENT TO DEFILE, 2021-01020061, 3300 block of Lee Highway. At approximately 10:20 a.m. on January 2, police were dispatched to the report of an assault just occurred. Arriving officers located the suspect exiting a room and took him into custody without incident. The investigation determined that the victim was cleaning a vacant room within a business when the male suspect allegedly entered the room and locked the door behind him. The victim then attempted to unlock the door, however, the suspect got between her and the door and re-latched it. The victim attempted to unlock the door several more times unsuccessfully. The suspect began to touch the victim inappropriately, then removed his pants, at which time the victim was able to break a window to an exterior hallway outside with a chair and escape the room. She sustained minor injuries during the incident. Khalil Martin, 27, of Washington, D.C. was arrested and charged with Abduction with Intent to Defile, Burglary with Intent to Commit Larceny/Assault & Battery, Sexual Battery, and Drunk in Public. He was held on no bond.
NY Man Arrested for NYE Gunfire — “The Arlington County Police Department’s Homicide/Robbery Unit is investigating the discharge of a firearm which occurred in the Rosslyn area on the morning of January 1, 2021. At approximately 1:48 a.m., police were dispatched to the report of a person with a gun in the 1500 block of Clarendon Boulevard… officers observed the suspect on the sidewalk holding a firearm as they arrived on scene. The suspect was compliant and taken into custody without incident.” [ACPD]
First Arlington Baby of 2021 — “What a way to ring in the #newyear! Welcome to the world, Mohamed! Our first [Virginia Hospital Center] #newborn of #2021 was born at 1:18 am this morning. Congratulations to the family, and thank you for letting us celebrate the new year with your bundle of joy!” [Twitter]
Parent Files Suit Against APS — “An Arlington Public Schools parent wants his daughter back in class so badly, he plans to file a lawsuit against the district. ‘We started the fundraising today, and we’ve already gotten a lot of great contributions from fellow parents,’ Russell Laird told Fox 5 Wednesday, referring to a GoFundMe campaign launched in an effort to raise $10,000 that would be used to sue Arlington Public Schools.” [Fox 5]
Nat’l Landing Touts Transpo Projects — “National Landing, the renamed neighborhood of Crystal City-Pentagon City-Potomac Yards in Arlington and Alexandria, will become the country’s most connected urban center sometime in the next decade, its business boosters say. Eight major transportation projects are underway in the area, with the aim of turning what is often seen as a busy pass-through into a truly urban neighborhood where residents, office workers and visitors have easy access to local and regional amenities as well as long-distance travel.” [Washington Post]
Local Nonprofit Sees Surge in Aid — “The financial assistance nonprofit Arlington Thrive is helping four times as many people as families are devastated by COVID-19. ‘I was never thinking this would happen in America. I was working hard. I was working three jobs. I lost all three jobs,’ one client, a cook, waiter and ride-share driver, told News4’s Pat Collins.” [NBC 4]
Bikeshare Station Work — “Pardon our dust! In Jan & Feb, some @bikeshare stations in Crystal City, Pentagon City, & Potomac Yard will be replaced, expanded, moved, or removed and may be OFFLINE for a few hours or days.” [Twitter]
Reminder: Bus Changes in Effect — “Riders on the Arlington, Virginia, bus system will once again have to pay fares and enter the bus through the front door starting on Sunday. Arlington County said that both practices were suspended by Arlington Transit (ART) last March, but fares can now be paid by either using the SmarTrip card, SmarTrip app or by exact change at the fare box, while plastic glass barriers have been installed to protect the drivers at the front of the bus.” [WTOP]
DCA Expansion to Open Mid-2021 — “The 230,000-square-foot concourse on the north side of Reagan National Airport looks ready for passengers. The exterior walls are up. The roof is on. The terrazzo floor is almost in. And 11 of the 14 new jet bridges are being installed… The concourse is slated to open in July, but plans are in the works to do a ‘soft opening’ ahead of that date. An announcement is expected early next year.” [Washington Post]
Local Homeless Org Seeking Donations — “An organization in Arlington who helps the homeless now needs your help. Bridges to Independence in Arlington is a family shelter that has had to reduce the number of people they help due to COVID, but the need for help remains high. ‘We’ve served at least 22 new families since the pandemic and we are expecting an increase going into the new year,’ Whitfield said. [WJLA]
County Board to Meet with CivFed — “Immediately following the Jan. 4 organizational meeting of the Arlington County Board, the five members will hold an online gathering with the Arlington County Civic Federation. The 90-minute confab is designed as the opportunity for elected officials to expound on their priorities for the coming year, and for Civic Federation delegates to give feedback to pre-screened questions and, if time is available, questions from the floor.” [InsideNova]
It’s New Year’s Eve — ARLnow hopes you and yours have a happy new year. We are on a limited publishing schedule today; our news coverage will return in full on Monday. County offices and facilities, meanwhile, will be closed tomorrow, on New Year’s Day.
Seven Arlington residents have died of COVID-19 complications since last Wednesday, according to Virginia Dept. of Health data.
As of this morning, VDH reported 181 cumulative COVID-related fatalities, up from 174 on Dec. 23 — an average of one per day. Sixteen new hospitalizations were also reported during that time.
Arlington’s seven-day trailing average of new coronavirus cases currently stands at 80.6 cases per day, after reaching a pandemic record of just over 100 cases per day on Christmas day. The cumulative total of local cases since early March is now 8,786, according to VDH.
With many people planning New Year’s Eve get togethers despite the pandemic, Arlington County this week encouraged residents to take precautions.
“If you are celebrating the New Year with people outside your household, make sure you follow steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19: Wear a mask; Stay at least 6 feet apart; Avoid crowds and poorly ventilated indoor spaces; Wash your hands; Stay home if you are sick,” the county said, echoing Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.
“Consider other activities to celebrate New Year’s, including virtual celebrations with loved ones, a New Year’s party for the people you live with or picking up a special meal from a local restaurant to share with your household,” the county said.