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Morning Notes

Shatner: Arlington E-Bike Rules ‘Barbaric’ — E-bike enthusiast and Priceline pitchman William Shatner, better known as Star Trek’s Captain James T. Kirk, said via Twitter yesterday — in response to a tweet from the sassy Arlington Dept. Environmental Services Twitter account — that Arlington’s prohibition on e-bikes on local trails is “barbaric.” [Twitter]

Kojo Coming to Crystal City — WAMU 88.5 is bringing the Kojo Nnamdi Show to Crystal City for “a town hall-style discussion about how local officials, businesses, and community members in Northern Virginia and the region are reacting to Amazon’s decision.” Those wishing to attend the taping can register online. [Kojo Nnamdi Show]

Upgrades for Ballston Senior Housing — “The Arlington County Board [Tuesday] approved a low-interest loan of $3.025 million in federal Community Development Block Grant funds to help renovate The Carlin, a 162-unit, 10-story building located at 4300 N. Carlin Springs Road. The Carlin serves low income elderly residents who are 55 years and older.” [Arlington County]

‘Arts District’ Near Crystal City? — “Even before the specter of Amazon’s second headquarters put stars in everyone’s eyes in Crystal City, Stratis Voutsas and Georgia Papadopoulos, managers of a trust that owns many buildings on the neighborhood’s ‘restaurant row,’ were dreaming up a plan to bring more people across U.S. Route 1 to the neighborhood… The trust wants to build an open-air park and plaza on a parking lot and site of a Greek restaurant the trust owns behind some of the 23rd Street restaurants. It would have artist spaces tucked below, facing onto 22nd Street.” [Washington Business Journal]

Amazon News Roundup — Amazon’s HQ2 search was about “selecting locations with specialized kinds of talent that meet certain needs,” and “Crystal City… puts Amazon closer to tech talent, but also to government leaders, cloud customers, and the U.S. Department of Defense.” Crystal City is built upon the former Abingdon Plantation and the new Amazon presence “affords us the opportunity to recognize and memorialize the lives of those enslaved there.” Meanwhile, a former JBG executive who left to help build a $3 billion development in Tampa is returning as the company prepares for Amazon’s arrival.

Nearby: New Wawa and New Restaurant — A new Wawa is coming to Vienna, making it the closest Northern Virginia location to Arlington for the beloved convenience store chain. And an acclaimed chef is planning to open a new Italian restaurant on N. Washington Street in the City of Falls Church.

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

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Morning Notes

Strangers Mourn Arlington Hero at Funeral — “I attended the funeral of a man I didn’t know. In the pew in front of me sat two women who also hadn’t met him. And in front them, in rows packed with people, there were others who knew nothing about Patricio Salazar’s love of sports or books or his ability to talk to anyone he met. They knew only how he had died: trying to help someone.” [Washington Post]

Cemetery Flyovers Planned Today — Two flyovers of Arlington National Cemetery are planned today, at 11:15 a.m. and 2:15 p.m., in conjunction with funerals at the cemetery. [Twitter, Twitter]

Rosslyn Circus Gets Poor Reviews — “The Holiday Inn in Rosslyn, Virginia, is a nondescript building that easily blends into the dull neighborhood of offices just outside of Washington. But for an hour on Thursday, November 1, the budget hotel felt like a dreamworld — an alternative universe of alternative facts.” [The Weekly Standard, Daily Beast, Periscope, Twitter]

Anti-DUI Event Cancelled — An anti-drunk driving community outreach event scheduled to take place in Clarendon tonight has been cancelled due to expected storms and downpours. The event was originally scheduled to take place the weekend before Halloween but was then postponed due to rain. [Twitter, Arlington County]

WMAL Broadcasting from Metro 29 — Radio station WMAL (105.9 FM) is broadcasting live from Metro 29 Diner on Lee Highway this morning. Among the guests stopping by for interviews are a cadre of Republicans: George Allen, U.S. Senate candidate Corey Stewart, and congressional candidates Thomas Oh and Barbara Comstock. [Twitter]

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DC 101 Halloween Event Coming to Clarendon Tomorrow

Long-time DC 101 morning man Elliot Segal is bringing his Elliot in the Morning Halloween Bash back to Clarendon tomorrow (Friday).

The annual event is happening at Clarendon Ballroom (3185 Wilson Blvd), with doors opening at 6 p.m. and the party starting at 8 p.m. There’s a $10 cover before 9 p.m.

With that and other notable events planned, and with Halloween revelry starting up, the Arlington County Police Department was going to hold a “Halloween Anti-Drunk Driving Community Outreach Event” in Clarendon Friday evening. That, however, has been postponed due to expected rainy weather.

ACPD is now planning to hold an Election Day-themed anti-DUI event next Friday, Nov. 2, from 9-11 p.m.

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Morning Notes

Instant Runoff Bill Fails in Richmond — It appeared to be headed toward potential passage, but a bill to allow Arlington County to hold instant-runoff elections for County Board was referred to another committee on a 51-49 House of Delegates vote and is effectively dead for 2018. [InsideNova]

Arlington Denies Request for 911 Recording — “Arlington County has denied a request from the family of Bijan Ghaisar to release the 911 call made after a hit-and-run crash he was involved in, before a police chase ended with U.S. Park Police fatally shooting him.” [Covering the Corridor, WTOP]

ARLnow on Kojo — ARLnow founder Scott Brodbeck will discussing the state of local news on the Kojo Nnamdi Show today. The show airs at noon on WAMU 88.5 FM. [Kojo Nnamdi Show]

A-SPAN Celebrates Quarter Century — The Arlington Street People’s Assistance Network, which started as a grassroots effort to address local homelessness, recently marked its 25th anniversary with a fundraiser and celebration in Rosslyn. [InsideNova]

Email List Hits 10K — ARLnow’s email newsletter mailing list crossed the 10,000 mark on Monday. Thank you to all of our subscribers, who are receiving our headlines free of social media filters. (ARLnow’s Twitter account reached 40,000 followers in December and our newly-verified Facebook account is on the verge of 24,000.)

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

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Morning Notes

Dog and Owner Help Foil Purse Snatching — Mazel was a very good boy. The miniature bull terrier and his owner chased down a purse thief in Clarendon Tuesday evening, retrieving the purse and all of its contents. The thief remains at large but the purse owner is very grateful to get her belongings back prior to a planned vacation. [NBC Washington]

Arlington Woman Plows Into Falls Church Store — A 41-year-old woman from Arlington drove her car through the sliding doors of a Falls Church Rite Aid store this past weekend, damaging shopping carts and an interior wall. She was arrested and charged with DUI. [Falls Church News-Press]

Planet Money Looks at I-66 Tolling — NPR’s popular Planet Money podcast took a look at the sky-high tolls now in effect during certain times on I-66. There is “a beautiful, econ 101 logic behind a toll that spikes when demand spikes,” the podcast explains. [NPR]

White Christmas Looks Unlikely — The odds are low that the Washington area ends its recent draught of white Christmases next week. However, some snow on Christmas Day appears to be a possibility. [Capital Weather Gang, Twitter]

Flickr pool photo by Jim Webster

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Podcast: Sarah Fraser of Fox 5 and the Hey Frase Podcast

Sarah Fraser (photo via Instagram)Media personality Sarah Fraser has been on the D.C. radio and TV airwaves for a decade. What you might not know about her is that she is a Virginia Square resident and is active locally here in Arlington.

On this week’s 26 Square Miles podcast, we talked with Sarah about her podcast and new media ventures, about the business of broadcasting, and about Arlington restaurants from Oz to Crystal City Restaurant.

Listen below or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Google PlayStitcher or TuneIn.

Photo via Instagram. Find more information about the Crystal City SoFar Sounds concert mentioned in the podcast here.

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Morning Notes

Rainy night (Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf)

High School Boundary Change Petition — Matthew Herrity, the Washington-Lee student who penned a widely-shared open letter to the School Board regarding its recent high school boundary change decision, has now started an online petition. The petition, which calls for increasing diversity at Arlington’s high schools, has more than 1,000 signatures. [Change.org]

Community Center, Gymnastics Contracts Approved — At its meeting on Saturday the Arlington County Board approved a $3.9 million contract to plan and design a new four-story Lubber Run Community Center, with a gymnasium, playgrounds, offices and underground parking. In response to heavy program demand, the Board also approved a $1.7 million addition of a second gymnastics area at the Barcroft Sports and Fitness Center. [Arlington County]

Ebbin on Trump and Other Topics — “Trump is making me nostalgic for Reagan,” said state Sen. Adam Ebbin (D) during a wide-ranging interview on the Kojo Nnamdi Show Friday. Ebbin also discussed casino gambling, with the opening of the new MGM casino in National Harbor, and Confederate monuments in Alexandria, among other topics. [Kojo Nnamdi Show]

D.C. Police Misconduct Story Has Arlington Connection — There’s an Arlington connection to one of the misconduct allegations against Sgt. Jessica Hawkins, the head of the D.C. police Lesbian, Gay Bisexual and Transgender Liaison unit. Hawkins reportedly took two underage summer interns to Freddie’s, the LGBT bar in Crystal City, and laughed about one using a fake ID. She’s now facing possible disciplinary action for that and for allegedly showing the interns a homemade sex tape on her phone. [Fox 5, Fox 5]

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

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Morning Notes

Smiling backyard deer (Flickr pool photo by Wolfkann)

New Restaurants Coming to Rosslyn — A bunch of new restaurants and a cafe are coming to Rosslyn as part of the under-construction Central Place project. Fast casual eateries Sweetgreen, Nando’s Peri-Peri and The Little Beet are signing deals with developer JBG. A Compass Coffee is also set to open and negotiations are reportedly underway with Cava Grill. [Washington Business Journal]

Sidewalk Cafe for Pike Beer Garden — The Arlington County Board last night approved a use permit that will allow the future beer garden at the corner of Columbia Pike and Walter Reed Drive to operate a 32-seat outdoor cafe. The outdoor seating will “enliven the restaurant space and provide greater activity on this corner” of Columbia Pike, county staff wrote. County Board members expressed enthusiasm for the business, from the owner of nearby Twisted Vines, with Jay Fisette calling it “a fabulous use for this site.” [Arlington County]

Neighborhood Conservation Projects Approved — Last night the County Board approved $4.7 million in funding for six neighborhood conservation projects. The projects include a neighborhood sign for the recently-renamed Arlington Mill neighborhood; street improvement projects in Yorktown, Waverly Hills and Lyon Park; new LED streetlights in Arlington Heights; and a vegetation and sidewalk project in Boulevard Manor. [Arlington County]

Guas Appears on ‘Chopped Junior’ — Chef David Guas of Bayou Bakery in Courthouse was back on national TV last night, starring as a judge on the Food Network show “Chopped Junior.” [Patch]

WERA Anniversary Nears — Arlington’s own community radio station WERA will be celebrating its first anniversary in just over two months. The low-power FM station is “having an impact,” with some ninety producers generating local programming. Fundraising for the station, however, has been sluggish. [InsideNova]

Fmr. Sen. Warner to Endorse Clinton — At an event in Alexandria this morning, five-term former U.S. Sen. John Warner (R-Va.) is expected to endorse the presidential ticket of Hillary Clinton and Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.). It will be the first time Warner has endorsed a Democrat for president. [Politico]

Flickr pool photo by Wolfkann

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County Board Candidates Debate on Kojo Show

With the Arlington County Board primary fast approaching, Democratic candidates Libby Garvey and Erik Gutshall took to the airwaves in their final debate before voters head to the polls on Tuesday.

The candidates went on Kojo Nnamdi’s WAMU-FM radio show, The Politics Hour, Friday afternoon.

Some of the topics covered included the capacity crunch in county schools, affordable housing and the ongoing battle with aircraft noise.

The full debate can be viewed above. Here are some highlights:

Garvey on what she wants voters to know about her time serving Arlington 

“I think over the past 20 years I’ve done a pretty good job serving Arlington. Fifteen years on the School Board help make our schools among the best in the country. And in my 4 years on the County Board I’ve done quite a bit to make our government more responsive and more transparent. One of the things we just started to do was video streaming our work sessions. Up until then if you wanted to watch the board actually getting work done at work sessions, you had to sit in the room and that was hard for a lot of people to do.”

Gutshall on why he’s running

“I’m running because I think I’m better qualified to make sure that we are meeting the challenges that we face today with solutions for tomorrow.

We’ve got to make long-term strategic investments. We have a capacity crisis in our school that’s in our sixth year and we still don’t have a plan for getting out in front of rising student enrollment. We have to make sure that we’re making investments in our transportation infrastructure and we’re dragging our feet in moving forward with the capital improvement plan for doing that.

We’ve got a major issue in Arlington County of housing affordability. It’s the issue that’s going to define our time, our day. We are not moving forward in the way that we need to and the way that I believe Arlingtonians want to in order to make sure that the middle class does not get squeezed out of Arlington.”

Garvey on her long-term plan for handling the school issue

“My long-term plan is to be supporting the School Board. I’ve been on the County Board for four years. That’s really the School Board’s job to come forward to us with plans.

I will say that little over a year ago, the School Board came to the County Board asking to build a school on the Thomas Jefferson site. Four of my colleagues unfortunately thought that it needed more of a community process. I was the one vote to go ahead and move forward with that. A year later, the whole board moved to move forward and we lost a whole year in the process. I have always been supportive of moving our schools forward and getting the work done.”

Gutshall on balancing the seat numbers with the growing student population

“I would hope it wouldn’t wait until I took office on January 1 to move forward with the implementation of the Community Facilities Study. Moving forward, what we need to do is we need to make sure that we’re having a conversation with the School Board and we’re going to miss the opportunity on this CIP now. We need to move forward on laying out a comprehensive plan where all seats, elementary, high school, middle school, all neighborhoods, north, south, east and west are accountable.”

Gutshall on housing and development

“What we have here is a problem that’s created by our success. Everybody wants to be here, that’s a good thing. Rising property values, that’s a good thing. But we need to make sure that we are keeping an eye on what we can do for the problem and risk of squeezing out the middle class. What I’ve been talking about is what’s called the missing middle: the idea where you have medium density, not the high rise density of our Metro corridors and not the low density in our single family neighborhoods, but in between that, the missing middle for example along Lee Highway and Glebe Road and other major arterials served by transit where right now you might see a lot of old strip malls, used car lots, basically underutilized land.

We can look at our zoning ordinances. We can open up opportunities for developers to come in and create different housing choices for young families just starting out, for seniors who want to age in the community.”

Garvey on housing and development

“I don’t think there is a disagreement. We adopted an affordable housing master plan last year and we’re working on implementing that. I was just at the groundbreaking yesterday for Columbia Hills, which is a project that will have 229 affordable units when it is complete. We’ve been moving forward on that.

Recently, when our staff asked us about implementing the plan, they said they wanted to move forward on accessory dwelling units, brand new flats. The Board actually said no, that’s not what we need to concentrate on. We need to concentrate on our zoning and what we can do to preserve the existing affordable housing that we have. In the area of Westover right now, there are a number of buildings that are affordable and they’re getting bought up and turned into townhouses, that’s our concern.

We need to look at rezoning and we need to look at ways of encouraging our partners who build affordable housing to be able to purchase them and keep them. I am totally committed to this. I talk about an economic ladder which I think any healthy community has and it has the bottom rungs all the way to the top for both housing and living. You need to support that ladder.

One of the many things we also need to look at which the government can do is not just housing. People who are having trouble affording their housing are also having trouble affording transportation and childcare and I think we need to make Arlington affordable for living and I’m also working on trying to find more ways to support childcare and improve transit so people can get around without a car.”

Gutshall on airplane noise

“We do have a citizens advisory commission on that and I think they work very hard. We are in constant negotiations with the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority and its about regional compromise and making sure that the community is heard but we understand the economic importance of the airports.”

Garvey on airplane noise

 “I’ve held a couple of community meetings to get the information out there there. That actually prompted MWAA to start a meeting. One of the things that’s helped is that we cut back on the MD-80s. They were the worst, they’re flying some of them out of National but we’d like to cut them way back. They make a lot of noise and this is a huge issue. It will take a while.”

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WERA Goes Retro With Radio Drama

press-release-photo2

In a throwback to the times of serial radio dramas, Arlington’s new low-power radio station, WERA 96.7 FM, has signed a deal to begin airing The Hawk Chronicles starting Sunday, June 5.

The Hawk Chronicles is a science-fiction radio drama produced on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. It tells the story of a Baltimore detective who finds herself involved in intergalactic travel to solve crimes in space.

“We are excited about including The Hawk Chronicles in our weekly programming here at WERA-LP 96.7 FM,” said Paul LeValley, executive director of Arlington Independent Media. “It is in keeping with our mission to offer artistically diverse and quality programming to the Arlington community, and we’re excited to have it.”

Steve Long, writer and producer of The Hawk Chronicles, commented on the process of making the show.

“We borrow from the art form of old time radio drama but use today’s production technology to create the series,” he said. “The show is science-fiction complete with sound effects, and we have technical consultants who read each script to verify continuity and scientific feasibility. This, along with exciting storylines and interesting characters, make for great listening entertainment for people of all ages.”

WERA-LP 96.7 has a broadcast area that includes all of Arlington and parts of Washington, D.C. It features local-centric programming and is Arlington’s only local radio station.

The Hawk Chronicles is in its third season and has been airing for the last year and a half on Maryland station WCEM 1240 AM.

“It’s been amazing to witness the evolution of the show,” said Kirsten Strohmer, voice actor for lead female character Detective Kate Hawk. “Our local Eastern Shore listeners, who have been very supportive, still will have access to continuing episodes of the third season, but now we additionally can broadcast the show with a completely different audience from the beginning of season one.”

Photo courtesy Kirsten Strohmer

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Morning Notes

View of 23rd Street in Crystal City, from the top of an office building

Groundbreaking for Hotel Project — Developer B.F. Saul broke ground yesterday on a new hotel project. A 10-story Homewood Suites hotel will be replacing the former Colony House Furniture store at 1700 Lee Highway near Rosslyn. Demolition of the store is now proceeding, five years after it closed its doors. [Washington Business Journal]

Kojo Controversy Defused — Arlington County Board candidate Erik Gutshall wasn’t happy with the choice of political operative Ben Tribbett as a call-in guest for a Kojo Nnamdi Show segment on the County Board race — and the candidate made his feelings known via Twitter. Tribbett had done some paid polling work for incumbent Libby Garvey earlier this year, Gutshall pointed out. In the end, Gutshall himself joined the segment as a call-in guest, along with Tribbett and ARLnow.com editor Scott Brodbeck. [Storify]

Arlington Posting FOIA Responses Online — Arlington County is now releasing its responses to Freedom of Information Act requests online, for all to see. The first posted response is documents and emails related to NOVA Armory. Said County Manager Mark Schwartz: “My overarching goal is to increase government transparency. This is one simple way that we can share information that we have already collected… which already has some interest from the community.” [Arlington County]

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Morning Notes

A fox in the snow in Arlington (Flickr pool photo by WolfpackWX)

Dominion Admits Culpability for Potomac Oil Spill — Last week’s mysterious oil spill that ran from the Roaches Run Waterfowl Sanctuary, down the Potomac past Reagan National Airport, came from a Dominion Power substation in Crystal City. The company is taking responsibility for the mineral oil spill, which killed 21 birds, mostly Canada geese, and prompted a large Coast Guard and Arlington County cleanup response. [Washington Post]

Loverde Issues Statement on Scalia’s Death — Diocese of Arlington Bishop Paul Loverde issued a statement on the passing of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia over the weekend. Loverde said “we are all deeply saddened” by Scalia’s unexpected death, lauding him as “a man so deeply rooted in his faith, so brilliant in the law and in jurisprudence, so clear and precise in his judicial statements, so wholly committed to his family, so engaging with colleagues and friends, often with great humor.” [Catholic Diocese of Arlington]

D.C. Denies St. Paddy’s Bar Crawls — The annual Shamrock Crawl bar crawl will be coming to Clarendon next month. Arlington police helped keep a lid on crime and rowdiness associated with the bar crawl last year. In the District, however, concerns about bad behavior prompted officials to deny permit applications for the D.C. version of the Shamrock Crawl and another St. Patrick’s Day-themed crawl. [Borderstan]

Garvey on Kojo Show — On Friday, Arlington County Board Chair Libby Garvey was a guest on the Kojo Nnamdi Politics Hour, which is broadcast on WAMU (88.5 FM). Garvey spoke to Nnamdi and NBC 4’s Tom Sherwood about the proposed widening of a portion of eastbound I-66, as well as related topics like Metro and transit. [YouTube]

W-L Shot Put Record Smashed — Washington-Lee High School junior Benedict Draghi has convincingly set a new school record for shot put. At a recent track meet, Draghi recorded a throw of 61 feet and 4.75 inches. The performance was good for first place at the meet and it blew away the school’s 50-year-old previous indoor shot put record by nearly 10 feet. [InsideNova]

Old Guard Offers Horses for Adoption — The Army’s Old Guard, based at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, is offering two caisson horses for adoption. The horses, Quincy and Kennedy, have served in military funerals and ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery for almost a decade. [WJLA]

Volunteers Remove Wreaths from Cemetery — Despite bone-chilling cold temperatures, on Saturday volunteers picked up tens of thousands of holiday wreaths that were placed on headstones at Arlington National Cemetery in December. The cleanup was postponed from January due to the blizzard. [WUSA 9]

Flickr pool photo by WolfpackWX

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Community Radio Station WERA to Launch Dec. 6

WERA Control Room (Courtesy of Paul LeValley:AIM)

(Updated at 4:32 p.m.) Arlington Independent Media is asking for residents’ ears starting at 6 p.m. on Dec. 6, the exact moment when the organization’s low power FM station will hit the airways.

WERA 96.7 FM is an AIM project with a focus to air programming for the local community, by the local community.

“We would really like to reach out to all of Arlington’s communities and have widespread participation,” AIM Executive Director Paul LeValley said. “We’re working to ensure the programming is compelling, and we hope people will be open minded about giving us a shot.”

As a public radio platform, the station’s funding will come from listener and member contributions, as well as local business underwriting.

According to Andrew Rosenberg, member of the AIM Board of Directors and the station’s Program Advisory and Review Council (PARC), the primary means for keeping residents so closely involved has little to do with money.

“We want to create a service that fills a need in the area so people know this is their station,” he said. “My greatest hope is that we become a real fixture for the community.”

Rosenberg said in recent months members on the project team have worked throughout the Arlington community to start putting together a program schedule.wera-logo-75

Though the schedule itself will be a work in progress as the station grows, Rosenberg said they’ve received several proposals for programs of all varieties. Some of these include:

  • music programming (disc jockey, world beat, ska, music collection shows, etc.)
  • local news and events
  • world news summaries
  • documentary
  • school news summaries
  • call-in discussions
  • content from independent public radio producers

In the beginning, WERA will also air programs sourced from other public radio outlets, if their content is relevant to Arlington listeners. However, Rosenberg said he hoped that over time community programming will displace these.

“We’ll be very much in touch with what the community wants to hear,” he said. “We’ll also be taking proposals on a rolling basis and changing up shows to keep things interesting.”

Arlington Independent MediaThe community station will broadcast out of AIM’s current building at 2701-C Wilson Blvd near Clarendon.

To celebrate, the station is also hosting a party from 3 to 8 p.m. on the launch day in the WERA control room . There will be refreshments, hors d’oeuvres and drinks provided. The family-friendly event is free open to the public, though all attendees should expect to get involved.

“We’re making this participatory because that’s the whole idea behind community radio,” LeValley said.

In addition to demonstrations of the equipment and facilities, guests can rehearse and record a radio drama, share a short story, or participate in a sing-along to “This Land is Your Land.” These recordings will be some of the first segments to go on the air shortly after the ribbon cutting at 6 p.m.

“The more people, the better,” LeValley added. “We would love to have the whole community come and help us launch.”

Photo courtesy of Paul LaValley/AIM

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Morning Notes

Ballston (Flickr pool photo by Arlington VA)

Investigation into Marine’s Death at Base — The military is investigating the death of a 22-year-old Marine at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall. Cpl. Jon Gee was reportedly found unresponsive in his room on the base Saturday afternoon, after a night out at “a rave in the District.” [Washington Post]

Rousselot Blasts Lack of Pike Transit Plan — The fact that Arlington County has no transit plan yet for Columbia Pike, after the cancellation of the streetcar last year, is frustrating to Peter Rousselot, who helped to lead the charge against the streetcar. “I think it is a failure of management,” he told WAMU. “The answer on the Pike that our group presented all along… was a regional Bus Rapid Transit system, or BRT, involving Arlington, Alexandria, and Fairfax County.” [WAMU]

Tour of New Elementary School — Arlington Public Schools led members of the media on a tour of the new Discovery Elementary School on Thursday. Located next to Williamsburg Middle School, it’s the county’s first new primary school in over a decade. Discovery is designed to be a “net zero” consumer of energy thanks to renewable energy features. [WTOP, Katch]

GMU ‘Welcome Fair’ Today — George Mason University’s Arlington campus is holding a “Welcome Fair” for students between 5:30 and 8 p.m. today. [Twitter]

Library Helps With Business Plans — Arlington Public Library helped the owners of Clarendon Animal Care, an ARLnow.com advertiser, create a business plan and launch their business. The library has a business services librarian and number of resources for entrepreneurs, including access to a premium database that compiles demographic data by ZIP code. [Twitter]

More on Arlington Radio Station — WERA, Arlington’s new community radio station, hopes to launch by December. The station will cost Arlington Independent Media, best known as the nonprofit behind Arlington’s local cable access channel, about $400,000. [Arlington Connection]

Flickr pool photo by Arlington VA

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UPDATED: Arlington’s Police Radio Channels Went Down Today

Radio antennas in South Arlington at sunsetUpdate at 3:55 p.m. — Police radio channels appear to be back up and working properly.

Earlier: The Arlington County Police Department is currently using backup radio channels from neighboring jurisdictions due to technical problems.

Police started noticing issues with radio interference Monday night, according to Arlington Office of Emergency Management spokesman John Crawford.

This morning, as radio traffic increased, that interference got bad enough on the primary police channels for Arlington to implement its backup radio plan for the police department.

ACPD is currently “borrowing” a channel from Alexandria and Fairfax County for dispatches and communication. There has been no interruption in police service as a result of the switch, Crawford said.

“That’s the beauty of this radio system, it’s so robust that we all have spare radio channels that we can grab when needed and you never miss a beat,” said Crawford. “We haven’t lost anything.”

A contractor is currently working to resolve the problem and hopes to have the police radio channels back up by the end of the day, according to Crawford. The cause of the interference is believed to either be an illegal radio amplifier somewhere in the county or atmospheric interference.

The Arlington County Fire Department is still using its main radio channels without any issues.

Crawford said there have been other, recent instances of Arlington and other locales switching over to cross-jurisdictional backup channels without interruption.

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