County Board Approves Affordable Housing Loan — At its meeting last night, the Arlington County Board approved a loan that will help preserve the 294-unit Park Shirlington Apartments as affordable housing. The $6 million loan from the county’s Affordable Housing Investment Fund will allow a pair of developers to buy the complex, rehabilitate it and preserve as much affordable housing as possible. [Arlington County]
Ten Die in Va. Thanksgiving Weekend Crashes — “With overall traffic fatalities already on the increase, the 2017 Thanksgiving holiday weekend proved to be a deadly one… on Virginia’s highways. During the holiday… traffic crashes claimed the lives of eight drivers, one passenger and a pedestrian.” [Virginia State Police]
Video Shows Helicopter Search of Crane — A video, posted by a Pentagon City resident, shows the Fairfax County Police helicopter using its spotlight to search a construction crane Sunday night, as part of a death investigation that was still ongoing as of Monday evening. [YouTube]
FCC Chair Reports Harassing Signs — FCC chairman and Arlington resident Ajit Pai is again being targeted at his home by activists who oppose changes to net neutrality and media ownership rules. This time, signs outside Pai’s home have reportedly referenced his children. The Arlington County Republican Committee called the alleged harassment “disgusting.” [Washington Post, Twitter]
Education Tech Company Sets Up Clarendon Studios — “Higher education is getting the star treatment… in Clarendon. Headquartered in Lanham, Maryland, [education technology firm] 2U recently revamped the former Henninger Media space off Wilson Boulevard to create a satellite office with eight TV studios, where visiting professors can spend a whirlwind three to four days taping lectures and other multimedia course materials designed to supplement live classroom chats and streaming video.” [Arlington Magazine]
Flickr pool photo by Chris Guyton
More than a dozen people protested outside Harris Teeter in Ballston this morning (Monday), urging the grocery store to make it easier to access a form of emergency contraception.
Protestors gathered near the store at 600 N. Glebe Road just after 10 a.m. holding signs and chanting, urging the grocery store to put Plan B One Step on its shelves. Currently, customers must pick up a card on the shelf for Plan B and take it to either a pharmacist or store manager to redeem it.
Plan B is a time-sensitive medication to prevent unintended pregnancy when taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex, but the sooner it can be taken, the more effective it is.
The protest was organized by Reproaction, a direct action group formed two years ago to help increase access to abortion and reproductive justice: the right to parent, the right not to parent and the right to raise children in safe and healthy communities.
“For over four years, the FDA has authorized emergency contraception to be sold on the shelf to anyone regardless of age or gender,” Erin Matson, co-director of Reproaction, said. “You pick it up off the shelf the way you do Tylenol. What Harris Teeter does is asinine.”
For others protesting, it was a chance to stand up for the rights of immigrants and the LGBTQ community, who are able to access such contraception easier than other types requiring identification.
“Plan B is something we have fought for so we don’t have any barriers for it,” Alejandra Pablos of the Virginia Latina Advocacy Network said. “It’s very important when you think about all the immigrant people, the trans people from the LGBTQ community having Plan B accessible to you without ID, without that barrier is super important.”
And Shireen Shakouri, another protestor, said she came to protest after some difficult experiences in the grocery store.
“When I was younger, trawling through the aisle that had sexual health products, I was often followed,” she said. “I don’t need that policing now, I didn’t need it then and I’m here to speak out against it.
Matson said Monday’s action is part of a wider push against the grocery store’s policy, timed to coincide with Thanksgiving and Christmas.
“We’re kicking off our campaign to make HT put emergency contraception on the shelf where it belongs at the beginning of the holiday season on purpose,” she said. “This is a time when shoppers are busy and coming over here, and we wanted to make sure we got the word out and make this change happen.”
For its part, Harris Teeter said in a statement posted on news website Rewire last year that the product must be sold by a pharmacy associate or store manager, as they are certified under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.
More than a dozen protestors in Ballston calling on Harris Teeter to sell Plan B One Step emergency contraception on the shelf, not from a pharmacist. pic.twitter.com/9CXFVhFtJS
— Chris Teale (@chris_teale) November 20, 2017
County Board Approves Construction Contracts — At its meeting Saturday, the Arlington County Board approved a pair of contracts: a $2.5 million contract to build phase two of the Washington Blvd Trail project and a $6.6 million contract to remove an elevated roadway through part of Crystal City. [Arlington County]
Firefighters Save Kittens — “A passerby heard the kittens crying from a compost box and saw one of them with its neck stuck between the posts. The Good Samaritan flagged down a nearby firetruck and the firefighters were able to free the kittens. Animal Control was then called to the scene to help locate all of the kittens and bring them to safety.” [WJLA]
Lubber Run Community Center Design OKed — The County Board has given its approval to the conceptual design for the new Lubber Run Community Center and park, which will replace the original community center, built in 1956. The next steps in the $48 million project are for the design to be completed and the facility to be built. [Arlington County, InsideNova]
Arlington Company Raises $42 Million — Ballston-based Federated Wireless, which creates shared spectrum technology for the wireless industry, has raised $42 million in Series B investment. [VC News Daily]
‘Kayaktivists’ Protest Near Pentagon — A group of ‘kayaktivist’ protesters raised banners that said “Stop War on Planet” and “No Wars for Oil” in the Pentagon Lagoon, near the Pentagon and Columbia Marina, yesterday. [Facebook]
Victories for Yorktown, Wakefield — The Yorktown (3-0) and Wakefield (2-1) varsity football teams both won at home this weekend. Washington-Lee (0-3) lost and remains winless. [InsideNova]
Flickr pool photo by Jim Webster
More than 30 people protested Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ arrival on the Arlington campus of George Mason University on Thursday morning.
Protestors outside where she made her announcement accused her of “protecting rapists” and failing to protect the most vulnerable, and the survivors of sexual assault.
“After a week of disgusting announcements, this is going to be the worst of them,” said GMU graduate Rodrigo Velasquez, adding that there is “no legal or moral argument for rolling back protections for our most vulnerable.”
DeVos announced a plan to rethink the government’s enforcement of Title IX and federal regulations of sexual assault policies on college campuses. During her speech, per reporters inside, DeVos said she would implement a public comment period to gather feedback on it.
DeVos reportedly added that she would look to follow “due process” in enforcement of Title IX, and that the “era of rule by letter is over.” She said she would not change federal guidelines yet, nor the so-called “Dear Colleague” letter that gave colleges that receive federal money guidelines on how to report alleged sexual assaults, but it is under review.
Protestors carried signs attacking DeVos and President Trump, as well as sharing personal stories of sexual assault on college campuses. The crowd regularly broke out into chants of “Stand with survivors,” “Stop protecting rapists” and “Stop Betsy DeVos” throughout.
And when one protestor got word through social media that the protests could be heard in the auditorium where DeVos was speaking, enormous cheers, jeers and whistles broke out, as well as chants of “Can you hear us?”
Protestors promised that their fight is just beginning, and urged those looking on to speak in support of current regulations.
“We will not go back to a time when survivors go back into the shadows,” Velasquez said. “So let’s make sure Betsy DeVos hears this.”
The protestors dispersed around 1 p.m., after the conclusion of DeVos’ speech.
Video from the Betsy DeVos protests at GMU's Arlington campus earlier today pic.twitter.com/CI6Tq2M2CN
— Chris Teale (@chris_teale) September 7, 2017
The March to Confront White Supremacy was organized by local religious leaders and social justice advocates. It began in Charlottesville on August 28 , following the death of Heather Heyer while protesting a white supremacist rally in the city.
Marchers are set to arrive at Gateway Park (1300 Lee Highway) in Rosslyn at 3 p.m. today, then leave for the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial for a 4 p.m. rally.
Arlington police said there are no planned road closures to accommodate the march, though ACPD and Virginia State Police will monitor it. Organizers said the march has attracted nearly 1,000 people for its final stages from Fairfax into D.C.
Since beginning in Charlottesville, organizers said they have overcome “inclement weather and threats to stop the march from state police,” on a route that took them 118 miles through “the largely white and rural Virginia countryside.” Today, the march is encountering rainy weather as it arrives at its destination.
In addition to countering the message of the white supremacists who rallied in Charlottesville, march organizers say they are calling “for the removal of President Trump and all other elected officials who embolden and support white supremacists and the end of white supremacist public policies.”
— ArlingtonCountyPD (@ArlingtonVaPD) September 6, 2017
— Anna (@bbaannaann) September 6, 2017
Founded in February of this year, Indivisible Arlington describes itself as being part of a “grassroots movement… to resist the Trump agenda by pressuring Republican members of Congress to vote against that agenda and discouraging Democrats from going along with it.”
On this week’s 26 Square Miles podcast, we talked with two of its members, Gayle Fleming and Clara Bridges. Among the topics covered: the organization and its activities, the events in Charlottesville this past weekend, the words and actions of President Trump, the need to resist violence amid growing divisions in the country, and where the movement goes from here.
(Updated at 11:35 a.m.) A march from the National Rifle Association in Fairfax to the Dept. of Justice in D.C. is expected to make its way through Arlington tonight.
A rally for the Women’s March from #NRA2DOJ got underway Friday morning outside of NRA headquarters and around 11:30 a.m. marchers embarked on their 18 mile journey. The march is intended to “denounce the false and intimidating rhetoric of the NRA and send a clear message that our movement will proudly and bravely continue to strive for the respect of the civil and human rights of all people.”
The march is expected to reach Arlington in the late afternoon or early evening. It will head down Lee Highway before entering the District via Rosslyn and the Key Bridge.
While road closures are planned in D.C., police say that none are planned in Arlington, as marchers are expected to stay on sidewalks.
“Arlington County Police will be on scene and will monitor for any impacts,” said ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage.
The county’s Office of Emergency Management, however, said “there is a potential for traffic disruption” along the march route so drivers should “consider alternate routes.”
There are no planned road closures in Arlington County. It is anticipated that the march will remain on sidewalks until it reaches District.
— ArlingtonCountyPD (@ArlingtonVaPD) July 14, 2017
Photo (top) via Twitter
Widening of W&OD Trail Studied — The Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority is considering a proposal to widen the W&OD Trail in parts of Arlington, Falls Church and Fairfax County. The proposal also calls for separating pedestrians and cyclists along the widened portions of trail. [The Wash Cycle]
Stormy Weather Expected Over the Next 24 Hours — The remnants of Tropical Storm Cindy are expected to bring heavy rain and scattered storms to the area between now and Saturday morning. Most of the rain is expected to fall early Saturday. [Twitter, Capital Weather Gang]
Lawmakers Confronted at DCA — Protesters confronted lawmakers returning home to their districts at Reagan National Airport yesterday. They were protesting against the proposed GOP health care bill, holding signs like “don’t take away our healthcare” and “Medicaid matters.” [The Hill]
Middle School Students Burning Books — Yesterday, on the last day of middle school in Arlington, the fire department was called for a report of middle school students burning books in a field. An ACFD spokesperson could not be reached for additional information. [Twitter]
Last Day of School — High school is already out and the Class of 2017 has held its graduation ceremonies. Middle school ended yesterday. Today elementary students will have their last half-day before Arlington Public Schools is officially on summer break until Tuesday, Sept. 5. [Arlington Public Schools]
Sun Gazette’s County Board Endorsement — The Arlington Sun Gazette newspaper has endorsed Erik Gutshall in the Democratic County Board caucuses, which are happening this week. At the same time, the paper urged readers to also consider Kim Klingler, thanks in part to her background on public safety issues. [InsideNova]
SoberRide Triples Cinco de Mayo Usage — Having switched from offering free taxi rides to free Lyft rides, the regional SoberRide anti-DUI program reported that its ridership on Cinco de Mayo tripled this year: 676 riders compared to 225 last year. [Washington Regional Alcohol Program]
Hurricane Hunters at DCA — Government officials and members of the public were on hand at Reagan National Airport yesterday to tour the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s hurricane hunter aircraft. Among those on hand were acting FEMA director Bob Fenton and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. The director of the National Hurricane Center called it “the biggest, baddest hurricane awareness tour stop we have ever had.” [Roll Call, Capital Weather Gang]
TV Station Visits Local School — WJLA (ABC 7) and meteorologist Brian van de Graaff broadcast live from Hoffman-Boston Elementary School, near Columbia Pike and I-395, yesterday as part of the station’s “lunchbox weather” program. [WJLA]
Activists Target FCC Chair’s Arlington Neighbors — In their fight to retain net neutrality policies, activists have been leaving advocacy materials for and knocking on the doors of FCC Chair Ajit Pai’s neighbors in Arlington. Pai has suggested such policies should be rolled back. [Silicon Beat, DSL Reports, Popular Resistance]
Arlington Water Quality Report Posted — The results of Arlington County’s annual water quality testing have been published online. Per a press release: “Based on sampling data taken throughout the year at our treatment plant and distribution system, the report confirms that Arlington’s high-quality drinking water meets and exceeds all federal and state requirements.” [Arlington County]
Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman
Organizers of the “Save IOTA” campaign — local residents and IOTA regulars Harry Blackwood and Melissa Mannon — said the lack of public, detailed plans from the developer is making them nervous.
“Right now, we’re in such early stages of the process that all we can really do is express concern about it and ask for more information,” Blackwood said.
A community meeting to discuss the redevelopment of a group of buildings on the 2800 block of Clarendon and Wilson Blvds by Regency Centers has been rescheduled from March 29 to May 10.
Eric Davidson, spokesman for Regency Centers, said the delay is because the firm has new renderings and video materials for the project, which includes IOTA’s current location.
“We just got some new visuals we want to get ready so we can tell the story of what we want to do here more clearly and get more community feedback on this project,” Davidson told ARLnow.com Wednesday morning.
The campaign brought more than 70 supporters to a meeting of the Clarendon/Courthouse Civic Association, where those present heard a presentation from Regency Centers vice president of investments Devin Corini.
And at that meeting, Mannon said, Corini emphasized that the company wants to keep IOTA in place. But organizers said those assurances are not enough to calm their fears.
“He [Corini] said some nice things about how they don’t want IOTA to go away, they want to work with the community and want them to stay,” Mannon said. “We like that sentiment, we just haven’t seen that proven in their actions yet. That’s very frustrating.”
Mannon and Blackwood said the petitions are just a first step, and they plan to continue to mobilize as the site plan moves through the county’s approvals process. The pair added they are seeking a private meeting with Regency Centers representatives to discuss the plans, but have been unsuccessful so far in scheduling one.
They said they have engaged not only local residents but those in the local music community, who all want to make sure the building and its mission are preserved.
“You have all these regulars and musicians and people who listen to music speaking from this very emotional place,” Blackwood said. “They have a lot of emotional attachment and affection for a building and a place and a location.”
The redevelopment plan, first reported by ARLnow.com, would tear down IOTA’s existing building at 2832 Wilson Blvd. In response, a “Save IOTA” Facebook page has been created and flyers are being distributed around Clarendon, encouraging supporters to attend a Clarendon-Courthouse Civic Association meeting on Thursday, Feb. 23.
Organizers say they want to block the redevelopment, which requires approval from the Arlington County Board.
A spokesman for Market Common Clarendon owner Regency Centers, however, says that it is working to ensure that IOTA — a staple of the local live music scene — remains open.
“Keeping IOTA has always been part of our plans,” said Eric Davidson, communication manager for the Florida-based company.
“We’ve been aware of IOTA’s importance to the community since before we bought the property,” said Davidson. “There’s no reason [to run the campaign.] If they want to show up and show their support for IOTA, that’s great, but we don’t plan on closing it.”
Regency has been “been doing what we can” to work with IOTA owner Jane Negrey Inge, according to Davidson, but he declined to specify how IOTA might remain open during the proposed demolition. A community meeting regarding the plans is being scheduled for March 29 at 2801 Clarendon Blvd from 6-9 p.m., he said.
Photo via Facebook
First Board Meeting With New Rule — Saturday will be the Arlington County Board’s first meeting with a new public participation rule. Whereas members of the public could previously request that any “consent agenda” item be pulled and discussed individually at the next Board meeting, the new rule requires at least one Board member to concur with the action. [InsideNova]
A Note on InsideNova Links — The desktop version of InsideNova’s website features popup ads and multiple autoplay videos with the audio on. It is not recommended for users in quiet environments or with older computers that may slow down or crash as a result of the videos and ads.
GW Gets Donation for Baseball Clubhouse — George Washington University has received an anonymous $2 million gift that will fund a new proposed clubhouse at Tucker Field in Arlington’s Barcroft Park. The clubhouse will feature “on-site locker facilities, indoor practice space with batting cages and pitching tunnels, meeting rooms and a sports medicine area.” [GW Sports]
Teen’s Hair Lit on Fire at Inauguration — A 17-year-old Arlington girl’s hair was lit on fire at an inauguration protest in D.C. It happened on Inauguration Day, near the National Archives, as the girl posed in front of protesters while wearing pro-Trump apparel. [Buzzfeed]
Clement, Roosevelt to Run for Office — Independent Audrey Clement has filed to run again for Arlington County Board this year. Meanwhile, 24-year-old Army veteran Adam Roosevelt, a Republican, is challenging Del. Alfonso Lopez (D). [InsideNova, InsideNova]
D.C. Area Snow Drought — Will we see any significant snowfall this winter? It’s looking increasingly bleak for snow lovers, with only a few flurries in the forecast during what should be our peak snow period. [Washington Post]
Per Student Spending Questioned — Arlington Public Schools is again being questioned about why it has the highest per-student costs — $18,957 — of any suburban D.C. jurisdiction. Fairfax County, the largest school system in the state, has a per-student cost of $14,432. [InsideNova]
Woman’s Tireless TSA Protest — Alyssa Bermudez, a former Army staff sergeant and Bronze Star recipient, has been tirelessly protesting in front of Transportation Security Administration headquarters in Pentagon City, claiming that she was sexually harassed and fired for complaining about it. Other complaints and a lawsuit point to an alleged culture of harassment within the agency. [Washington Post]
ACPD Officers Meet Shaq — NBA great Shaquille O’Neal visited with D.C. area police yesterday on Capitol Hill to raise awareness of the dangers of driving while under the influence of drugs. Several ACPD officers were photographed with the 7’1″ O’Neal. [Twitter, Twitter]
LiveSafe Launches Navy Pilot Program — Arlington-based startup LiveSafe has launched a six-month pilot program with a big client: the U.S. Navy. LiveSafe’s app will be used by sailors in Hampton Roads, Va. and in Rota, Spain “in an effort to prevent sexual assaults and combat other destructive behaviors before they happen.” [Stars and Stripes]
Arlington Man Tweets Hillary Sightings — Arlingtonian Adam Parkhomenko, a long-time Hillary Clinton aide and booster, is helping grieving Democrats by turning the former presidential candidate into a “wandering folk hero.” He’s doing so via a social media account that keeps track of photos of Clinton “in the wild” since she lost the election. [Vanity Fair]
Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman
Supreme Court justices and protesters have both come to Arlington’s Virginia Square neighborhood for a dedication ceremony for George Mason University’s newly-named Antonin Scalia Law School.
The ceremony started at 11 a.m. at the law school, located at 3301 Fairfax Drive. Police have closed N. Kirkwood Road as a security measure.
The school was named for the late Supreme Court justice after GMU received $30 million in donation pledges. In addition to the six Supreme Court justices expected to attend this morning, members of the Scalia family are also on hand for the dedication.
The protesters say they’re demonstrating against the university’s decision to put “donor interests before those of its students and faculty.”
— Christopher J Scalia (@cjscalia) October 6, 2016
According to the program, all the justices are guests except for the Chief and Ginsburg. Kagan–Scalia's hunting buddy–will give remarks.
— Ariane de Vogue (@Arianedevogue) October 6, 2016
Six Supreme Court justices at dedication of Antonin Scalia Law School in northern Virginia. Not Roberts or Ginsburg. #SCOTUS
— Richard Wolf (@richardjwolf) October 6, 2016
Impressive turnout for dedication of Antonin Scalia Law School. Judges and justices galore. pic.twitter.com/OISe773zTf
— Richard Wolf (@richardjwolf) October 6, 2016
Gun Store Has New Owner — Lyon Park gun store Nova Armory has reportedly been sold to one of its employees. Shawn Poulin, the store’s manager, says he is now also its majority owner. The previous owner, Dennis Pratte, at one point claimed that the store was actually owned by his 16-year-old daughter. Poulin says the store is profitable and he plans to expand it to a second floor, “with a showroom to feature rifles, tactical gear and an expanded clothing line.” [Washington Post]
New Bishop for Arlington — Updated at 9:25 a.m. — The Catholic Diocese of Arlington is getting a new bishop. Bishop Michael Burbidge, 59, is transferring to Arlington from Raleigh, N.C. Burbridge is scheduled to be installed as bishop on Dec. 6, replacing current bishop Paul Loverde, 76. Some local Catholics have been pushing for a new bishop who will take the diocese in a different direction than Loverde, a traditionalist who decried the Supreme Court’s decision on same-sex marriage. Burbridge was critical of North Carolina’s HB2 “bathroom” law, which was seen as anti-LGBT, though he was also against an anti-discrimination ordinance in Charlotte that HB2 was intended to undo. [Fox 5, InsideNova]
The Evolution of Ballston — GGW takes a look at the past, present and future of Ballston. The article notes that Ballston was once the end of the Orange Line and that ridership at the station fell in the 1980s when the line was extended to Vienna. [Greater Greater Washington]
Immigrant Women to Protest at DCA — Immigrant women and labor union allies are planning a protest at Reagan National Airport today. They’ll be protesting the treatment of immigrant women who work at the airport, claiming poor working conditions for immigrant mothers in particular. [Patch]
Flickr pool photo by ksrjghkegkdhgkk