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by ARLnow.com November 3, 2017 at 9:30 am 0

Election Day is coming up on Tuesday and quite a few Arlington voters have already “headed to the polls” via absentee voting.

This year’s ballot includes an Arlington County Board race, School Board race, Virginia House of Delegates races and statewide races for attorney general, lieutenant governor and governor.

The gubernatorial race has been particularly pitched this year, with gobs of money spent by and on behalf of Republican Ed Gillespie and Democrat Ralph Northam (above).

Many Arlington residents have likely noticed a barrage of direct mail and local TV ads. But how closely have you, personally, been following the race?

by ARLnow.com November 2, 2017 at 10:00 am 0

Throughout the media world, a trend is emerging: more and more news outlets are asking readers to subscribe.

For the New York Times, turning readers into paid subscribers has helped the company buck industry trends and grow its revenue in the face of steep print advertising declines and an environment in which Google and Facebook capture the lion’s share of new digital advertising.

Here in Arlington, we are fortunate to have a great base of advertisers. Thanks to our advertisers, the ARLnow you see today is sustainable and here to stay.

However, we often hear from readers who want more. More long-form stories, more profiles of local community members doing good works, more investigations into neighborhood issues, more accountability and public-service journalism, etc. We do some of that now, but this kind of reporting takes a lot of time to produce and we are stretched thin as it is.

To do more is not possible for us as an exclusively advertising-supported business. It could be possible, however, if just a percent or two of our current readers are willing to subscribe to read it.

Here’s the idea we’re currently batting around:

  • Invest in increased long-form, enterprise and public-service reporting, but make most of it exclusively for subscribers.
  • Offer subscriptions for $8/mo or $80/year.
  • Beyond more news, include other goodies for subscribers like: a new weekly “insider” email newsletter, access to a private Facebook group with ARLnow staff, a quarterly subscriber happy hour, etc.

So what do you think? Would you be willing to pay a small monthly fee for more news about Arlington?

by ARLnow.com October 27, 2017 at 9:45 am 0

The National Park Service has denied a permit to erect a 45-foot statue of a naked, meditating woman on the National Mall near the Washington Monument.

The group behind the upcoming Catharsis on the Mall festival planned to transport R-Evolution, the statue created by artist Marco Cochrane, from San Francisco to the Mall at a cost of around $100,000.

The event is being held from Nov. 10-12.

Not that anyone has proposed it, but we were wondering whether Arlington might be a more welcoming place for the statue. If it were an option, would you support the statue being erected somewhere in Arlington?

by ARLnow.com October 19, 2017 at 8:30 am 0

We have a bit of a problem.

Not a big problem, but one that’s been fairly persistent over the past half dozen years we’ve operated our Arlington event calendar. It’s a two-fold issue that no amount of boldface type on our event submission page seems to solve.

First, even though the event calendar is clearly labeled as being for events in Arlington, we get loads of submissions for events in D.C., Alexandria, Falls Church and elsewhere. We do our best to screen those out and reject any events not in Arlington.

Second, event details have a way of changing after they’re submitted. Whether it’s a submission error or a case of the event being moved to a new time or venue, we regularly get requests to make changes to events (there is no way for those submitting events to edit them later).

Our official policy is that events with incorrect information are removed but the event organizer may re-submit the event afterward. A downside of that is that any links to the original event page would be broken, and it is a bit of extra work for the event submitter.

On the other hand, having our staff make changes upon request would be a drain on our resources and would serve to reward lackadaisical submitters who do not double check their information. Ideally, event information should never change, as the act of putting it on an event calendar means you’re telling our readers they should show up at that day and time and expect the event to take place as described. If such information frequently changes, it would discourage people from using and relying on the event calendar.

We’ve been mulling over changes to both policies for awhile, but wanted to ask you — our readers — about it first. Should we start allowing events outside of Arlington that may be of interest to ARLnow readers, and should we be more accommodating with event information change requests?

by ARLnow.com October 10, 2017 at 9:50 am 0

There has not been much breaking news in Arlington lately. For those who like to comment on stories with “Slow news day?” — yes, that has been accurate for a good portion of the past month.

But inevitably, breaking news does happen in Arlington. We are a county with some 230,000 residents, a major airport, rail lines, Metro tunnels, highways, bridges, a river, government offices and one of the world’s largest office buildings — things happen here.

We know that one thing readers like about us is that we are often the first to report breaking news. But our email subscribers are often slow to see that breaking news, since by design they only get an update once a day.

Also, those who like our Facebook page are subject to the whims of the Facebook algorithm, and might not be seeing breaking stories.

Today we’re wondering: should we offer an alternative? Should we start sending out breaking news alerts to email subscribers?

by ARLnow.com October 9, 2017 at 10:00 am 0

Today, Columbus Day, is a federal holiday, which means that a large portion of the local workforce has the day off.

Not everyone gets the day off work, of course. There are essential workers — cops, nurses, bus drivers, etc. — who work no matter what the holiday. Then there are organizations like ours, which swap Columbus Day with the day after Thanksgiving, thus trading today for a four-day Thanksgiving weekend, which many employees prefer. There also might be some who do not treat Columbus Day as a holiday out of principle.

But just how large a portion is off today? Who is enjoying a three day weekend, compared to those who are working?

Despite the fact that those bored at work are probably more likely to respond than those on vacation, let’s try to find an approximate measure for how many Arlingtonians have Columbus Day off.

by Katie Pyzyk October 6, 2017 at 9:30 am 0

Autumn might have officially arrived on September 22, but weather in the 80s and 90s since then has had some people still stuck in summer mode. Despite the weather roller coaster, some people are going full steam ahead into fall and embracing fall activities.

A number of events in Arlington over the coming weeks are fall-themed, such as Columbia Pike Fall Fest on Saturday or the Howl O’ Ween Walk to the Rescue on Sunday. But there are plenty of traditional fall activities you might enjoy that aren’t necessarily an organized event, such as looking at the changing colors of fall foliage or picking apples and pumpkins. Or maybe you’re a sports buff and at this time of year you most enjoy watching playoff baseball.

This morning we want to know: What is your favorite fall activity? Let us know in the comments about other fall activities you enjoy that we may not have listed.

by ARLnow.com September 29, 2017 at 9:35 am 0

If you frequent Clarendon or other highly-populated Arlington neighborhoods, you’ve likely encountered them: flourescent-vest-wearing young people stopping passersby to solicit support for the environment, civil liberties, or other causes and organizations.

They’re usually friendly, though persistent, working in teams to ensure no one walks by without a pitch. Even intensely looking down at one’s phone and/or wearing headphones does not seem to discourage many from approaching as you walk down the sidewalk gauntlet.

While a majority of Arlington residents may support their causes, the sidewalk signature collectors are seen by some as an annoyance, an obstacle to going about one’s daily business. If you walk around Clarendon often — say, picking up lunch or getting coffee or going to the bank — the forced brush-off routine can get tiresome when practiced multiple times per week.

Canvassing and signature solicitation appears to be perfectly legal in Arlington. One could argue that it’s an example of democracy in action. But should additional restrictions be imposed?

by ARLnow.com September 22, 2017 at 9:40 am 0

There is a literal north-south divide in Arlington: Route 50, as it runs from Fairfax County to Fort Myer.

But besides the difference in addresses, there is also a bit of a socioeconomic divide separating the two sides of the highway. Neighborhoods south of Route 50 tend to be less wealthy and more diverse than their counterparts in the northern reaches of Arlington.

Arlington’s north-south divide has been subject to quite a few think pieces over the years. One can argue that the inexorable upward march of property prices throughout Arlington has made the divide less pronounced, though it is still there.

Rather than add another think piece to the mix, today we were just wondering: in which half of Arlington do you live?

by ARLnow.com September 18, 2017 at 10:00 am 0

ARLnow is going to start experimenting with a slightly different approach to our local news coverage later this week, one that is intended increase the depth of some of our coverage while broadening the scope of the rest of our coverage.

As this approach should result in more articles being published each day — if all goes well — we have the opportunity to cover a wider variety of topics.

Which of the following, in your opinion, should we do more of?

Have other ideas? Let us know in the comments section.

by ARLnow.com September 13, 2017 at 9:30 am 0

Apple announced its highly-anticipated new line of iPhones yesterday: the next-generation iPhone 8 and higher-end iPhone X.

The latter, with its facial recognition, advanced camera technology and “Super Retina” screen, reaches the $1,000 price mark, something that has raised the eyebrows of more than a few Apple critics.

Walk around Clarendon or other Arlington environs and it’s clear that the iPhone is king here, disproportionately more popular in Arlington than it is in other parts of the country, where Android has the market share lead.

Given that Arlington is an Apple town, we thought we’d see how many are planning to take the $1,000 iPhone X plunge.

Photo via Apple

by ARLnow.com September 12, 2017 at 10:00 am 0

Amazon, the giant online retailer/streaming video producer/cloud services provider, is searching North America for a second headquarters, and Arlington says it is submitting a proposal to put the county in the running.

The new headquarters, according to Amazon, will bring up to 50,000 well-paying jobs and $5 billion in investment to whichever city the company chooses. In return, Amazon is seeking enough space to build up to 8 million square feet of office in a concentrated area, and tax breaks and other economic incentives.

The Crystal City area and the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor fit the bill for many of the things Amazon is seeking, especially a talented workforce and transit connections, though the real estate is likely a bit more expensive than Amazon is hoping for.

Would you like to see Amazon come to one of those Arlington neighborhoods, with all the economic benefits that come with it, or would you prefer the company look elsewhere?

by ARLnow.com August 31, 2017 at 10:15 am 0

The unofficial end to summer is almost here. Not the calendar season, mind you, but the fun part of summer where schools are out, pools are open and vacations are taken.

Some Arlingtonians maximize their summer fun by taking long vacations abroad, to the beach or to visit family. Others keep their nose to the grindstone and take some vacation days here and there.

Just how much vacation did Arlington residents take between Memorial Day and Labor Day? Let’s find out.

by ARLnow.com August 11, 2017 at 10:15 am 0

As tensions with a nuclear-armed North Korea escalate, it may be prompting some who live here in the D.C. area to reflect on the threat of nuclear conflict.

While experts say nuclear war with North Korea is unlikely, and both the North Koreans and the United States continue to talk about deterrence rather than aggression, there is no denying that the nation’s capital is a prime target for anyone who wants to attack the U.S.

Even in the event of a conflict, North Korea’s intercontinental missiles would not be able to reach D.C., according to news reports. Still, given our proximity in Arlington to places like the White House, the U.S. Capitol, and the Pentagon, how worried are you — in the back of your mind — about nuclear warfare given the latest escalation in rhetoric?

Flickr pool photo by Michael Coffman

by ARLnow.com August 9, 2017 at 10:05 am 0

As noted this morning, Virginia has made it legal to test self-driving car technologies in the Commonwealth.

That policy is getting additional attention after a seemingly driverless van was spotted driving around Clarendon last week and, this week, was revealed to be a human-driven Virginia Tech research project.

While the mysterious van was not self-driving, automated vehicle testing is expected to take place in Northern Virginia, as we wrote last week.

VDOT and FHWA recently announced that Virginia Tech would be conducting automated vehicle testing along I-95, I-495, I-66, Route 50 and Route 29. The announcement did not mention testing on primary streets along Metro corridors, however WTOP reported in May that “self-driving cars already on Virginia roads, even if you don’t realize it.”

Self-driving vehicles have the potential to save thousands of lives each year by reducing human-caused crashes while also freeing up drivers to focus on other tasks during their daily commute. Such technology could also become an economic engine for the region, should Northern Virginia become a leader in the field.

On the other hand, testing a new technology in a heavily populated region certainly comes with risks. And many fear the unknown with self-driving cars: what if the tech has flaws and causes crashes?

What do you think of automated vehicle testing in Northern Virginia?

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