Arlington, VA

Morning Notes

VC Firms Eyeing Arlington, D.C. — “Two venture capital firms that have invested mostly in tech companies in the middle of the country are keeping their eye on Greater Washington in the wake of Amazon.com Inc.’s decision to place its second headquarters in Arlington.” [Washington Business Journal]

Owl Rescued from Middle School — “Last week, [the Animal Welfare League of Arlington] got a call from a local middle school that an owl was trapped in their boiler room. Officers Toussaint and White responded and were able to safely remove the owl.” [Facebook, Twitter]

Five-Vehicle Crash on Route 50 — At least two people were reported injured after a five-vehicle crash on Route 50 yesterday afternoon. [Twitter]

Wild Press Conference Near Rosslyn — “Pro-Trump operatives Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman… hosted a bizarre press conference in the driveway of Burkman’s Arlington, Va. home, while being frequently interrupted by noise from nearby garbage trucks.” [The Daily Beast]

Arlington Org Office Attacked in Kabul — The Kabul, Afghanistan office of Crystal City-based non-governmental organization Counterpart International was attacked yesterday. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the deadly terror attack. [CNN, Counterpart International]

Nearby: Silver Diner Coming to Alexandria — Silver Diner is seeking permission to open a new location at 4610 King Street, in a new development in the City of Alexandria, near Arlington’s Claremont and Fairlington neighborhoods. [Patch]

Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman

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Morning Notes

Arlington Man Nabbed for Gun at DCA — “The number of firearms caught by Transportation Security Administration officers at checkpoints at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) have increased at an alarming rate this year as TSA officers caught the ninth gun of the year yesterday, April 7.” [TSA]

Trustify Co-Founder Lands Federal Appointment — Once high-flying Arlington startup Trustify, which has shut down amid a flurry of lawsuits and accusations of malfeasance, has generated another headline, this time for its co-founder’s new job. Jennifer Mellon was appointed confidential assistant to Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chairman Neil Chatterjee, prompting questions from one energy industry publication. [E&E News]

Fire at Pike Apartment Building — “Units on scene 5500 blk of Columbia Pike for fire in trash compactor in high rise residential building. Fire is out, extinguished by sprinkler system. No extension. No injuries reported.” [Twitter]

Phoenix Bikes Rises — “With a newish executive director and a new space to call home, Phoenix Bikes will have a lot to celebrate at its upcoming ‘Makers’ Ball’ later in the month.” [InsideNova]

Photo courtesy Noah Kaufman

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Morning Notes

Wind Chill Advisory in Effect — A Wind Chill Advisory is in effect this morning due to a combination of gusty winds and bitterly cold temperatures. [Weather.gov]

MLK Day of Service — As of Friday, more than 850 people were signed up to volunteer for Arlington County’s MLK Day of Service today.

Rosslyn Building Sold — “Rosslyn’s Oakwood Arlington extended-stay apartments has changed hands for $70 million. Mapletree Investments, a Singapore real estate investment firm, has acquired the 184-unit property at 1550 Clarendon Blvd. from AvalonBay Communities Inc.” [Washington Business Journal]

Local Nonprofit Gets TV Donation — “Patricia Funegra founded La Cocina VA in Arlington as a way to create change through feeding, educating and empowering the community… FOX 5 and Easterns Automotive Group teamed up to help Funegra… with a $1,000 donation and all her students received new cast-ironed pots, recipe books and $50 gift cards.” [Fox 5]

Local Nonprofit Helping Puerto Rico — Wheels to Africa, which was founded by a 10-year-old Arlington boy in 2005 to send used bikes to Africa, is now sending used bikes to Puerto Rico to help residents still recovering from Hurricane Maria. The nonprofit’s founder has since gone to graduate from college and is now working in Arlington. [Washington Post]

County: Get a Flu Shot — “Flu season is officially underway. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that flu activity is ‘elevated’ as flu viruses circulate nationwide. Arlington healthcare officials are urging residents to take precautions and get vaccinated to help prevent the spread of flu.” [Arlington County]

Nearby: Kitten Lounge Coming to Georgetown — “What’s being called the first-in-America kitten-only place to rest, relax and interact with kittens between the ages of three-to-six months will open in early March, at 3109 M(eow) Street NW.” [WTOP]

Reduced Publishing Schedule Today — Due to the Martin Luther King Jr. Day federal holiday, ARLnow will be publishing on a limited schedule today. We’ll return with a full slate of local coverage tomorrow.

Photo courtesy Tom Mockler

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(Updated at 9:40 a.m.) Good Sweat, an indoor cycling studio, is set to open in Rosslyn’s Colonial Village Shopping Center in early 2019.

Alessandra Hashemi, the founder of Good Sweat, told ARLnow that she is aiming for a March opening.

More than 180 people helped Good Sweat raise roughly $26,000 in 21 days, surpassing the studio’s goal of $25,000 in 25 days, the company posted on Facebook on Oct. 21. The money will fund the opening next year at 1711 Wilson Blvd.

A portion of the money from the campaign was donated to Arlington Street People’s Assistance Network to sponsor its “Sixth Annual Happy Hour Benefiting Veterans” on Nov. 7, Hashemi said.

The studio plans to have metered bike and offer classes in the mornings throughout the week and in the evenings on weekdays, according to a brochure sent to ARLnow.

“I have been indoor cycling for over 10 years, and I have seen it all (the good, the bad, the underwhelming),” Hashemi, said in the brochure. “Indoor cycling classes can be cathartic if you have amazing coaches, music and motivation.”

The brochure says that a percentage of every purchase will get invested in the community by hosting subsidized rides for low-income individuals and donating to a different local nonprofit every month, including Urban Alliance, A-SPAN Doorways for Women and Families and Arlington Food Assistance Center.

Good Sweat held two pop-up events earlier this year — a yin yoga class in February and a body weight boot camp in August.

The studio is currently selling discounted packages, some of which include pre-opening access, ranging from one drop-in class to unlimited access for three months.

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“The Clothesline for Arlington Kids” has already given away 3,500 pieces of clothing to 140 school-aged children of low-income families since it opened in August.

The nonprofit’s co-founders, Ellen Moy and Ben Sessions, said they decided to start the nonprofit after Moy got frustrated about the lack of options to recycle the clothes outgrown or barely worn by her two boys, who attend Arlington Public Schools, within the community.

At the Clothesline (2704 N. Pershing Drive), parents and children can find high-quality clothing including brands like Ralph Lauren and Northface.

The clothes hang on the racks, sorted by item type, gender and age range. Moy and Sessions said they invested in racks and hangers to mimic a retail store and to save people from picking through bags of unsorted clothing — what Moy calls ” a big bin of ‘good luck.'”

Students living and attending school in Arlington from kindergarten to 12th grade are eligible if they either receive benefits from the free or reduced lunch program or have a referral from a school social worker, place of worship, the county’s Department of Human Services or a local social services organization. One out of three students in Arlington schools qualifies for the lunch program.

The Clothesline lets children acquire a new wardrobe twice a year. The switch to colder weather clothing happened in mid-October, so families picking out wardrobes now can come back in March, April and May for spring and summer attire.

The full package includes:

  • five tops, shirts or blouses
  • four pants, shorts or skirts
  • five pairs of new underwear
  • five pairs of new socks

Additionally, students can pick out one coat or jacket, a pair of shoes, formal wear and a dress, along with accessories as available. If they need more shirts than pants, they can swap within the allotted number.

“They have really fun clothes they get to choose from,” Moy said. “It’s really a thrill when a little girl comes in and she says, ‘Mom, can I have this dress?’ and the mom can say, ‘Yes, you can have that dress.’ Money is not a hindrance.”

Parents can call ahead if they need to pick out formal clothes or are looking for specific items in certain sizes.

“Parents don’t have the time to shop and go all over town, so this is a nice one-stop shopping for their kids,” Moy said, adding that she and the volunteers keep tabs on who needs what and will let families know when requested clothing becomes available.

All of the shopping happens by appointment only, which gives Sessions and Moy a chance to prepare inventory based off of children’s ages and sizes. The store is open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Volunteers help inspect the clothing multiple times, Moy said. No ripped, stained, torn or overly worn clothes are allowed. Clothing that doesn’t make the cut gets donated to places like H&M and Goodwill.

Once approved, the clothes get washed and steamed before they go on the rack. “We don’t want them wearing something that looks weird or has a huge stain on it,” Sessions said. “We want to get them into clothes that look exactly like their peers and help them focus on their classwork.”

Sessions, who has a background in finance, takes care of the business side. Moy used her 15 years of clothing retail experience to create simple and inexpensive store decor, which features green painted walls based on the color scheme of their logo, which she said a friend designed.

“People like to shop here,” Sessions said. “The idea is not only to provide a place for kids to get clothing but also to provide a place that really values the families that are coming in by providing a really nice place for them to shop.”

The Clothesline accepts items year-round and stores off-season clothing in boxes for the next switch. People can drop off new and gently used clothing in the donation bins in the front of the store on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Moy and Sessions said the support from the Arlington community has been a “heartwarming experience” — from Girl Scout Troops and churches helping them collect clothes to the bevy of volunteers who have helped staff the program.

So far, they have relied on more than 200 volunteers since they started collecting clothing last year, with usually one to eight volunteers helping out on any given day, they said.

“Arlington is a very generous community, so we’ve been very fortunate,” Moy said.

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Morning Notes

First Incumbent Voted Out in 21st Century — Democrats had few negative things to say about County Board member John Vihstadt during the past few months of campaigning, but voters nonetheless decided to vote him out of office last night, a relatively rare event in Arlington. Per the Sun Gazette: “The last County Board incumbent to be defeated for re-election was Mike Lane, a Republican who in the spring of 1999 won a special election for the seat of Al Eisenberg (who took a post in the Clinton administration) but later that year was defeated by Democrat Charles Monroe.” [InsideNova]

O’Leary Nailed It — Former Arlington County Treasurer (and amatuer election prognosticator) Frank O’Leary was spot on on his analysis of how yesterday’s local voting would shake out. O’Leary “opined that if the Arlington electorate was so large that 100,000 votes were cast for County Board, Democrat Matt de Ferranti would win with about 53 percent of the vote. Presto: Arlington voters indeed cast just over 100,000 votes in that race, and de Ferranti ended up with 53 percent, according to unofficial results.” [InsideNova]

Other Reasons Why Crystal City is Good for Amazon — Should Amazon announce Crystal City as the destination for a major new office campus — despite the disappearance of an event tent that seemed like it might be intended for such an announcement — there are a number of reasons why the neighborhood likely won over Amazon execs. One reason not as widely discussed: Crystal City is already a high-density, mixed-use neighborhood with a relatively small residential population and a long-term plan for more density. In other words, it’s a big green light for Amazon to build out the HQ2 of its dreams, without having to worry much about the NIMBYism that might delay plans elsewhere. [Brookings]

Progress on the Pike for IdidoIdido’s Coffee Social House is getting closer to its opening along the Columbia Pike corridor. This week the cafe filed a Virginia ABC permit application to serve beer and wine.

Questions About Local Nonprofit — A new report is questioning why Bethesda-based nonprofit Alley Cat Allies felt the need to buy two residential properties in Arlington. [Chronicle of Philanthropy]

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Local nonprofit Project Knitwell will celebrate World Wide Knit in Public Day this Saturday (June 9) with an event in the “The Loop” at Market Common Clarendon.

From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., community members can join Project Knitwell volunteers to learn how to knit, enter a raffle and experience the wellness benefits of knitting in person.

“We want to spread the word that working with your hands and knitting and making something can have health benefits,” Project Knitwell Executive Director Michelle Maynard told ARLnow. “The science is starting to catch up with what knitters and other crafters already know.”

World Wide Knit in Public Day launched in 2005 with 25 events around the world, according to its website. Last year, “there were at least a thousand, if not more of these events in 54 different countries,” Maynard said.

This event is Project Knitwell’s first in recognition of World Wide Knit in Public Day, and it joins a long list of programs the nonprofit has offered since its founding in 2010. Volunteers have taught knitting to patients and families at the Virginia Hospital Center, in after-school programs for at-risk youth and through summer programs for children and young adults with cancer.

Project Knitwell communicated with businesses located at Market Common and beyond to help put together a raffle basket and several prize bundles, Maynard said. The basket and bundles consist of items for knitters and non-knitters alike, including a $50 gift certificate to the Cheesecake Factory, hand-crafted needle point protectors and a number of yarns.

Raffle tickets will be $10 each or four for $20. The first 24 attendees will also receive a free cupcake from Williams-Sonoma, Maynard said. The event’s Facebook page recommends that attendees take the Metro to avoid road closures due to the Armed Forces Cycling Classic.

For first-time knitters, Maynard said she hopes the event demonstrates that knitting is fun.

“It’s something that is a great way to pass the time, whether you’re on public transportation or in a hospital waiting room,” Maynard said, “It’s a great alternative to [being on] your screen, and [instead] doing something with your hands that involves a rhythmic almost meditative aspect to it.”

File photo

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Three Arlington women will be honored by the Arlington Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) at the 32nd annual Women of Vision award ceremony on June 26.

Local artist Sushmita Mazumdar will be recognized for her success in business, after she launched “Homemade Storybooks” in 2007, through which she sells personally crafted editions of original stories that are often drawn from her own life. Five years later, Mazumar founded Studio PAUSE, which provides a space for community members to engage in art and storytelling, sometimes concurrently.

Adrienne Griffen, founder and executive director of the nonprofit Postpartum Support Virginia, will be recognized for her work to support new mothers and their healthcare providers as they navigate postpartum depression.

Founded in 2009, PSVA provides resources including peer-led support groups, books and websites and training sessions, according to its website. When she experienced difficulties finding help after one of her children was born, Griffen became determined to help other women avoid similar challenges.

The group also plans to recognize Lauren Stienstra, senior manager for research and policy at the Arlington County Department of Public Safety, Communications and Emergency Management, for her work in government.

Stienstra launched HERicane Arlington in 2017, a program that “empowers women to pursue careers and leadership roles in emergency management,” according to its website. HERicane participants attend a weeklong summer camp and subsequently receive opportunities to volunteer, intern and engage with continued learning activities.

CSW selects honorees based on a system of point values, wherein successful candidates earn up to sixteen points — one point for residency in Arlington, five for the scope of their activity and 10 for their impact.

Other CSW initiatives include advocacy against sexual, domestic and street harassment, promoting state legislation that protects women’s social and economic interests and hosting educational workshops.

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Morning Notes

Flood Watch Continues Today — The National Weather Service has continued the Flood Watch until Saturday morning. Today’s weather is expected to be cool temperatures and near constant drizzle with bouts of heavy rain. [WTOP, National Weather Service, Capital Weather Gang]

Soggy Bike to Work Day — Despite the rain, today’s Bike to Work Day is proceeding as planned, with multiple stops throughout Arlington. Attendance is down but as a result those who are braving the elements have shorter lines and more opportunities for grabbing free food, t-shirts and other swag. [Twitter, Twitter, Twitter]

March of Dimes Moving to Crystal City — “The March of Dimes has reached a deal to shift its headquarters from New York to Arlington County, where it plans to move to new space in Crystal City come January 2019…. [The nonprofit] has signed a lease with JBG Smith Properties for about 28,000 square feet at 1550 Crystal Drive.” [Washington Business Journal]

Photo courtesy Jeremy Galliani

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Almost three years to the day since the cancellation of the Columbia Pike streetcar project, the nonprofit behind revitalizing the Pike and its neighborhoods believes it is on the right path.

The Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization received extra funding in April when the Arlington County Board approved its FY 2018 budget, and CPRO president John Snyder said the money has already helped.

He said the extra funds are helping pay more CPRO staff as full-time employees rather than part-time, and has also provided an extra staff member in the county’s Solid Waste Bureau within the Department of Environmental Services to pick up litter, empty trash cans and keep the area tidy.

“It’s been a big boost, and I think we’re going to see some more visible changes as we’re able to really execute on some of the things that we’ve wanted to do for a while but haven’t had the resources to do,” Snyder said.

Being able to employ more full-time staff means CPRO can support more events, Snyder said, including the soon-to-relaunch Arlington Mill Farmers Market in addition to the market already at Pike Park. (CPRO also puts on the annual Columbia Pike Blues Festival.)

He also pointed to this summer’s outdoor movie screenings at the Arlington Mill Community Center and Penrose Square, which were about much more than watching movies.

“Last summer we had a big increase in our movie nights and really advertised them a lot,” Snyder said. “So we got pretty big crowds at both Arlington Mill and Penrose Square, and that’s not just about the movies. They’re all 1980s movies that probably everybody has already seen, but it’s about getting together as a neighborhood.”

And to encourage more businesses to move onto the Pike, Snyder said CPRO will partner with Arlington Economic Development on a market study of the potential customers who live near the Pike and demographics. That way, businesses would have more of an idea of their customer base before moving in.

“[If] some business is thinking, ‘Gee, would I like to relocate to the Pike?’ we can give them some concrete data that would tell them what the demographics are like, what the buying power is, to help them make those decisions,” Snyder said. “It will also perhaps help us guide policies so we know what are things that would help the businesses.”

With new projects coming online soon, like the “Columbia Pike Village Center” anchored by a Harris Teeter grocery store in place of Food Star, as well as a condo building next to S. Buchanan Street, Snyder said it will be imperative for the planned “Premium Transit Network” of buses to work as planned.

The network is slated to open in 2019 after delays, albeit not in dedicated lanes, and Snyder said if it can encourage more transit usage on the Pike, it could be a success.

“I think it can help, particularly if we make sure that we’re going at regular six-minute intervals all through the week,” he said. “One of the most consistent traffic days on the Pike is Saturday. If we make sure that we’ve got the transit coming by on a reliable six-minute interval so that people can really just walk to the stop, use it, walk back home, I think it’ll start getting a lot of that sort of business.”

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Morning Notes

Middle School Redistricting on Tap — Following a number of meetings and other processes designed to solicit public feedback, the Arlington School Board is expected to approve new middle school boundaries in December, to take effect for the 2019-2020 school year when a sixth county middle school is set to open. Past school boundary change processes have often proved controversial. [InsideNova]

Four Mile Run Restoration Project Complete — Local elected officials and community activists celebrated the completion of the Four Mile Run Restoration Project on Saturday. The project, which was years in the making, revitalized the shoreline of Four Mile Run from just south of I-395 to the Potomac and included trail improvements and public art. [Arlington County, WTOP]

New Beneficiaries for Turkey Trot — The annual Arlington Turkey Trot 5K has some new nonprofit beneficiaries. Organized by Christ Church of Arlington, the race will no longer benefit Doorways for Women and Families — “in light of Doorways’ projected success to meet its current goal to raise $10 million to strengthen and expand its services” — and will this year benefit Offender Aid and Restoration and Christian group Young Life of South Arlington. That’s in addition to repeat beneficiaries AFAC, A-SPAN, Arlington Thrive and Bridges to Independence. [Arlington Turkey Trot]

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