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Morning Notes

Two ART Routes End Today — ART Routes 54 and 92 will cease operations after the end of the day today. Per a press release: “The two routes were eliminated as part of Arlington County’s FY 2019 budget and to improve efficiency of ART service. Both bus routes perform below ART’s minimum service standards of 15 passengers per hour.” [Arlington Transit]

Arlington Cemetery Station to Close This Weekend — The Arlington Cemetery Metro station will be closed this weekend so workers can install cables “for cellular communication,” WMATA says. Shuttle buses will be available but the Blue Line will only run from Franconia-Springfield to National Airport. [DCist]

Windy Run Improvement Project Complete — “There will soon be an official ribbon cutting to celebrate the renovated Windy Run. And in the meantime, the trail and park have re-opened and can be enjoyed by Arlington residents.” [Arlington County]

Suspected DUI Hit and Run in Clarendon — A man was arrested after an alleged DUI hit and run in Clarendon yesterday evening. At least two vehicles were struck, though the suspect’s SUV appeared to have suffered the most damage. [Twitter]

Arlington is No. 2 on New Livability Ranking — “Arlington placed second in its size category in the updated AARP ‘Livability Index.’ Arlington ranked behind only Madison, Wisc., in the ranking for communities with populations between 100,000 and 500,000. The survey, updated for the first time since 2015, used more than 50 data sources to score communities on areas ranging from housing and transportation to social engagement.” [InsideNova]

Photo by @thelastfc

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Arlington Parks Ranked Fourth Nationally, Just Behind D.C. in Third

Arlington has the fourth-best park system in the entire country, just behind our neighbors across the Potomac, according to a new set of rankings from the Trust for Public Land.

The county climbed two spots in the California-based group’s rankings from a year ago, earning a “ParkScore” of 81.6 out of 100. D.C. was just slightly ahead of Arlington at 81.6. Minneapolis took the top spot nationally with a score of 84.2, with its twin city St. Paul, Minnesota placing second with 82.4.

The Trust for Public Land compiles the rankings based on four factors: the percentage of residents living within a 10-minute walk of a park, the percentage of a locality’s total area dedicated to parks, park spending per resident and the availability of popular park features.

Arlington scored well on all of those factors, according to Ali Hiple, program coordinator at the trust’s Center for City Park Excellence. She noted that the county ranked fourth overall two years ago as well, and she believes Arlington’s parks system should be a “point of pride” for the county.

“Parks contribute so much to a great quality of life,” Hiple told ARLnow. “They both help a city overall in beautifying the city and managing its stormwater, but they also offer chances for recreation. It’s about neighbors getting to spend time together.”

Hiple’s group found that 98 percent of Arlington residents live within a 10-minute walk of a park, compared to the 70 percent average nationally. Hiple noted that researchers use mapping software to study distances not simply “as the crow flies,” but they take into account potential obstacles between people and nearby parks as well.

“We’re measuring if it’s 10 minutes on foot, so that means it’s about walkability as well, which Arlington is certainly doing well on,” Hiple said.

Arlington also performed particularly well in the group’s survey of access to park amenities, with lots of restrooms and playgrounds available for residents, she added. The county also earned full marks from Hiple’s group for its spending on parks; the trust found that Arlington spends about $240 per resident on the park system.

Yet where the county fell the most behind D.C. is in the sheer acreage of park land available. The group found that 22 percent of D.C.’s land is reserved for parks, compared to 11 percent for Arlington.

“Arlington has semi-small parks well distributed throughout the county, but not those big chunks of park land,” Hiple said. “D.C. has things like Rock Creek Park that contribute to the acreage.”

But Hiple said the county has nothing to be ashamed of in falling behind D.C., another frequent top performer in the group’s annual rankings.

“They’re basically neck and neck, so we’re giving kudos to both systems,” Hiple said.

Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley

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Local Fitness Gurus React to Arlington’s Ranking as Fittest U.S. ‘City’

From Arlington’s vast array of workout options to the high levels of education and income among its residents, local fitness and health professionals believe there are plenty of likely reasons why Arlington was recently crowned as “America’s fittest city.”

The ranking was determined by the American College of Sports Medicine’s American Fitness Index and has made headlines across the country. In the report, Arlington was ranked the fittest city for “achieving a balance of both healthy behaviors and community infrastructure” as well as placing in the top 10 in 13 of the group’s 33 ranking indicators.

The report also found that 63.9 percent of Arlington residents are in “very good” or “excellent” health (compared to the report’s average of 51.9 percent), and that Arlington had lowest rate of smoking among its 99 peer cities at 5.9 percent.

Ginny Wright, founder and owner of BbG Fitness in Arlington, said she thinks income and education play a role in the county’s fitness ranking. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the median household income in Arlington is $108,706 and the average age is 34.1. Arlington also has the highest percentage of residents with a bachelor degree in the D.C. area, according to the county.

Scott Parker, local restauranteur and co-owner of soon-to-open studio Bash Boxing, believes there’s a direct connection between people getting educated and understanding the importance of fitness.

“There’s definitely a lot of people here that care about being fit,” he said.

But Wright also noticed that there has been a significant increase in fitness studios and other gym facilities since she launched BbG Fitness 15 years ago, giving people considerably more options than they once had.

“I had very little competition,” Wright said.

Chris Farley, owner of Pacers Running, estimated that there are 10 times the number of fitness studio options now since Pacers Running opened in 2004. But he also believes that the county’s bevy of trails has provided an accessible, scenic option for runners looking to get out of the gym — in all, the report found that Arlington has 49 miles of paved mixed-use trails.

Yet Kimberly Barbano, a trainer and instructor at Next Phase Studio, believes studios do more than simply give people options to work out. With instructors like herself on hand, she feels the county’s influx of studios has provided a valuable resource to Arlingtonians looking to get in shape.

“I think it’s really exciting and a testament to how hard the studios work,” Barbano said of the “fittest city” designation.

As an Arlingtonian for most of his life, Farley also believes people in the county simply have more driven personalities.

“Fitness really matters to people who live in Arlington,” he said. “They have the mindset.”

Dr. Reuben Varghese, the public health director at Arlington County, said Arlington’s ranking does not surprise him, as this is not the first report to award Arlington high health marks. But he cautioned that the fitness ranking only tells part of the story about the health of county residents.

“People are surprised that with life expectancy within a mile distance of Arlington between Rosslyn and the Buckingham area, there’s a 10-year difference of life expectancy,” he said. “So it’s very good news about the health behaviors overall are doing well. However, there are health disparities that do exist and so we need to remember we can always improve.”

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Morning Notes

Arlington Named Fittest ‘City’ in U.S. — “Arlington has been named the fittest city in America, according to the 2018 American Fitness Index ranking from the American College of Sports Medicine. The Northern Virginia jurisdiction eeked out a win over last year’s champ, Minneapolis, by just a half point, with an overall score of 77.7. Minneapolis came in second with a score of 77.2.” [Washingtonian, USA Today]

Person Rescued from High Water — Firefighters rescued someone trapped under a bridge by high water following last night’s storms. Around 9:30 p.m., firefighters responded to the 2800 block of S. Glebe Road for a possible water rescue along Four Mile Run. The victim was removed from the high water and evaluated by paramedics. [Twitter, Twitter]

Airport Noise Battle Rages On — “Residents in several Northwest Washington neighborhoods aren’t giving up their fight against airplane noise from flights at Reagan National Airport. They are asking for a rehearing of their case against the Federal Aviation Administration from a full panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.” [Washington Post]

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Morning Notes

Family Wants to See Relative Shot By Police — The family of Steven Best, who was shot by police last week after allegedly trying to ram a police cruiser with a van, says they have not been allowed to see him nor have they been given information on his condition. [WJLA]

Legislative Threat Helped Country Club Tax Deal — “The decision by two Arlington country clubs to take their case to the General Assembly helped get all parties to come together on a deal more expeditiously than otherwise might have been the case, the Arlington government’s top legal official said,” reports the Sun Gazette. Arlington clubs, meanwhile, “came away with most of what they were seeking in assessment reductions.” [InsideNova, Washington Post]

Local Sixth Graders Make Headlines — A fourth-period, sixth-grade class at Gunston Middle School is the May Class of WaPo’s KidsPost. [Washington Post]

Marymount Employee’s Boston Marathon Journey — Katie Sprinkel, a lab coordinator and adjunct professor at Arlington’s Marymount University, overcame knee and leg injuries — and a battle with breast cancer — to finish this year’s Boston Marathon. She was back at work the next day. [Marymount University]

Arlington Among Top Walkable Places — Arlington is No. 9 on a list of the most walkable communities in the country. The list was compiled by the travel site Expedia. [Viewfinder]

Major Metro Work Starting Next Summer — “There will be no service on Metro’s Blue and Yellow lines south of Reagan National Airport for 98 days beginning in May 2019, as the transit agency embarks on a platform rebuilding project spanning six stations, part of an effort to refurbish 20 station platforms over three years.” Arlington’s East Falls Church Metro station is also on the list of platforms to be rebuilt. [Washington Post, WMATA]

Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman

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Morning Notes

Arlington Among Top Cities for Recent Grads — According to rankings from the website Livability, Arlington is the No. 2 best place for recent college graduates. Champaign, Ill. was ranked No. 1 and Jersey City, N.J. ranked No. 3. [Livability]

Major Water Main Replacement Approved — “The Arlington County Board [on Saturday] approved a $1.9 million contract (including contingency) to Sagres Construction Corporation to replace a nearly century-old water main along South Arlington Ridge Road, between 23rd Street South and South Nash Street. The existing 8-inch water main was built in 1927 and has experienced frequent breaks in recent years.” [Arlington County]

Cemetery Investigates Suspicious Package — On Saturday Arlington National Cemetery’s main entrance was briefly closed to vehicles and pedestrians while a security team investigated a suspicious package in the Welcome Center. The package was determined to “pose no threat” and normal operations resumed at 4:50 p.m. [Twitter]

Yorktown Grad in NFL Draft — M.J. Stewart may be the first Yorktown High School grad selected in the NFL Draft: “The 6-foot, 205-pound defensive back, who played at the University of North Carolina the last four seasons and was a three-time all-Atlantic Coast Conference selection, has been projected to be chosen in the second or third round. The draft begins the night April 26 with first-round selections and last through April 28.” [InsideNova]

Heated Dispute Over Amazon Fire Stick — “Overheard on the scanner: Police responding to a man and a woman arguing over which person owns an Amazon Fire stick.” [Twitter]

Yarn Bomb Featured in Video — A new video shows the creation of the “yarn bomb” in Clarendon. In captions, it explains that a yarn bomb “is a type of graffiti or street art of knitted or crocheted yarn rather than paint or chalk.” [YouTube]

Flickr pool photo by Dave Bentley

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Arlington Named Nation’s Top Place for Runners

Arlington has been named the No. 1 best “city” for runners, according to new rankings from the website SmartAsset.

From the 2018 rankings:

Anyone who lives and runs in Arlington is probably aware of the large number of races in the city. According to our data, no city in the study has more races relative to population size than Arlington.

And if road races are not your speed, there are plenty of other ways to run in this city. It has top 10 scores for number of gyms per 10,000 residents and percent of residents who have park access.

The top 10 best cities for runners, according to the rankings, are:

  1. Arlington, Va.
  2. Minneapolis, Minn.
  3. Madison, Wis. (tie)
  4. San Francisco, Calif. (tie)
  5. Seattle, Wash.
  6. Pittsburgh, Pa.
  7. Washington, D.C.
  8. St. Paul, Minn.
  9. Boston, Mass.
  10. Denver, Colo.

The rankings took into account “number of races per 10,000 residents, walkability, safety, housing cost as a percent of income, gyms per 10,000 residents, percent of a city covered by parkland and percent of residents with access to a park.”

Image via SmartAsset

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Morning Notes

Overnight House Fire in Rock Spring — The Arlington County Fire Department battled a blaze in the basement of a home in the Rock Spring neighborhood early this morning. One occupant of the home was brought to the hospital for treatment of smoke inhalation. [Twitter]

ACFD Battles Falls Church Fire — Arlington and Fairfax County firefighters battled a two-alarm house fire in Falls Church early Sunday morning. The home’s occupant was able to get out but was transported to the hospital. The house, which had “hazardous hoarding conditions” inside, it believed to be a total loss. [City of Falls Church, Falls Church News-Press]

Warner Blasts ‘Dark Underbelly of Social Media’ — Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) went on NBC’s Meet the Press over the weekend and addressed the topic of Facebook’s privacy issues and alleged Russian election interference. “I think the whole industry has been reluctant to accept the fact that we’re seeing the dark underbelly of social media, and how it can be manipulated,” Warner said, adding: “frankly, Mr. Zuckerberg needs to come and testify.” [YouTube]

Arlington on ‘Healthiest Communities’ Rankings — Arlington County ranked No. 31 on U.S. News and World Report’s new Healthiest Communities rankings. Neighboring Falls Church ranked No. 1 while the City of Fairfax ranked No. 6 and Loudoun County ranked No. 10. [WTOPU.S. News]

County Recognizes Businesses for Transportation Programs — “The Arlington County Board honored 19 local businesses and properties for their dedication to providing sustainable transportation to employees and tenants, as part of the Champions program. The program… motivates businesses, multi-family residential communities, commercial properties and schools to recognize the impact they can make on reducing traffic congestion in Arlington County.” [Arlington County]

Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman

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Arlington No. 3 on New ‘Best Cities for Millennials’ List

(Updated at 2:40 p.m.) In news that should be music to the county officials’ ears as they court Amazon, Arlington County is among the top 3 best places in the U.S. for millennials, according to new rankings compiled by Niche.com.

Arlington is third behind San Francisco (#2) and Cambridge, Mass. (#1). The Boston area is also among Amazon’s top 20 potential HQ2 destinations.

The county bested Amazon’s home city, Seattle (#4), along with D.C. (#5) and Berkeley, Calif. (#6), according to the rankings, which take into account things like the percentage of residents ages 25-34; access to coffee shops, restaurants and bars; diversity; walkability; higher education rate; and cost of living.

Niche also just announced that Arlington is its No. 5 “best city to live in America,” after Ann Arbor, Mich. (#1), Naperville, Ill. (#2), Berkeley (#3) and Plano, Texas (#4).

Those rankings “explore 15,000+ cities, towns, and neighborhoods nationwide based on cost of living, public schools, safety, jobs, local amenities, and more,” according to Niche.

Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley

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Arlington Ranks No. 3 for Residents Born Out of State

It is true: the vast majority of Arlington residents moved here from somewhere else.

Arlington County is third in a list of places where most people were born out of state, bested only by two major retirement destinations.

A Bloomberg columnist posted the list, from U.S. Census data, yesterday.

Only 18.8 percent of Arlington’s residents were born in Virginia, according to the data. Among cities and places with more than 65,000 residents, Arlington is only outranked by Kissimmee, Florida, with 17.8 percent born in state, and The Villages, Florida, with 3 percent born in state.

Alexandria and Silver Spring were also near the top of the list, each with 20.2 percent of residents born in-state.

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Morning Notes

ACFD Black History Month Tweets — The Arlington County Fire Department has been recounting the history of black firefighters in Arlington in commemoration of Black History Month. There were several African-American volunteer fire departments in the county during the first half of the 20th century, serving neighborhoods like Hall’s Hill and “Hell’s Bottom,” which was cleared to make way for the Pentagon during World War II. [Twitter, Twitter]

ARLnow Wins ‘Amazon Thirsty Thursday’ Recognition — Our scoop that an internal Amazon website devoted to its “HQ2” search steered thousands of visits to a two-month-old ARLnow article, has earned us the distinction of being named the “winner” of Washingtonian’s “Amazon Thirsty Thursday” weekly feature. Our article pointing out that Amazon has an office in Arlington was apparently the icing on the thirsty cake. [Washingtonian]

Arlington Among Top Places for Women in Tech — Arlington is tied with St. Paul, Minnesota as the No. 6 best place in the U.S. for women in tech. The District ranks No. 1. [WTOP]

Shamrock Shake Sighting — The Shamrock Shake is back at McDonald’s. We spotted it on the menu at a Lee Highway McD’s yesterday. Some locations have gotten the shake, a harbinger of spring, earlier than others, according to social media reports. [Fox News, Twitter]

Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman

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Morning Notes

Pentagon City Metro Tunnel Now Open — At long last, the pedestrian tunnel from the corner of S. Hayes Street and 12th Street S. to the Pentagon City Metro station has opened. [Twitter]

Firefighters Push for RaiseIAFF Local 2800, which represents Arlington firefighters and paramedics, is pushing for a raise in this year’s county budget process. The group says Arlington’s compensation for public safety employees “is at the bottom of the DMV.” [Twitter]

Chamber Concerned With 4MRV Initiative — The Arlington Chamber of Commerce has written a letter to the County Board expressing concerns with the Four Mile Run Valley Initiative and possible changes to or acquisition of the light industrial properties along Four Mile Run Drive. [Arlington Chamber]

Growing Up Black in Arlington — From 1950 to 1962, growing up black in Arlington meant facing segregation and racism at every turn, and not feeling safe venturing out of the largely self-contained confines of a historically African-American neighborhood like Hall’s Hill. [Falls Church News-Press]

Arlington Startup Raises $3 Million — What started as a way for the owner of conveyor belt sushi chain Wasabi Sushi to streamline his accounting is now a venture-funded startup. Arlington-based MarginEdge has raised $3 million to go national with its restaurant management software. [Washington Business Journal]

Axios Makes ‘Most Innovative’ List Fast-growing Clarendon-based media startup Axios has been named one of the top 10 most innovative media companies of 2018. [Fast Company]

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Morning Notes

Murder of Crows Pooping All Over Shirlington — A large contingent of crows have taken up residence in Shirlington, and locals are getting fed up with cars and sidewalks being covered in bird doo-doo. [WTOP, NBC Washington]

Design Contest for 2019 ‘I Voted’ Sticker — “In an effort to gin up voter enthusiasm during what is expected to be a slow 2019, Arlington election officials… plan to hold a competition to design a logo for next year’s election.” [InsideNova]

Arlington No. 3 on ‘Best Counties’ List — A new list of “best counties” in the U.S. ranks Falls Church — a city — No. 1 while Arlington is No. 3 and Fairfax is No. 6. The list was compiled by the website 24/7 Wall Street. [WTOP]

Mitten Given the Boot By Grand Rapids — The city of Grand Rapids, Michigan is restarting its search for a new city manager after an outcry from residents and interest groups. Arlington Deputy County Manager Carol Mitten was among the three finalists for the job to speak at a community forum, prior to the city announcing the restart. [Fox 17, MLive]

Police Recruiting for Student Safety Patrol Camp — “The Arlington County Police Department’s School Resource Officer Unit is currently accepting applications to the Summer Safety Patrol Camp. This weeklong camp is offered to incoming 4th and 5th grade students who want to participate in safety patrols during the upcoming 2018-2019 academic year.” [Arlington County]

More on Market Common Redevelopment Approval — The redevelopment of a portion of Market Common Clarendon will widen a narrow sidewalk that was the source of resident complaints, among other community benefits. Arlington County Board member Christian Dorsey hopes the project can help “bring a little funkiness back into Clarendon.” [Arlington Connection]

Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman

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Morning Notes

Puerto Rico Pets Coming to Arlington for Adoption — Dogs and cats from Puerto Rico, which is still recovering from Hurricane Maria, were flown from the island to the D.C. area over the weekend by Arlington-based Lucky Dog Animal Rescue. The pets arrived via van convoy to a hero’s welcome in Shirlington and are now up for adoption. [Washington Post]

Arlington Among ‘Best Places to Live’ — City ranker Livability.com is out with its 2018 “Top 100 Best Places To Live” list and Arlington has placed No. 35, one spot below Pittsburgh and one above Asheville, N.C. Arlington previously ranked No. 3 on the list. [Livability]

Lower Property Value Rise Will Cause Budget Challenges — “The year-over-year increase in real-estate assessments throughout Arlington came in lower than government officials had expected, which may cause problems for County Board members trying to avoid either tax increases or budget cuts.” [InsideNova]

More on Key Bridge Marriott Sale — The new owners of the Key Bridge Marriott in Rosslyn may benefit from the previous owner’s application to the FAA to construct buildings up to 470 feet tall on the property, which overlooks Georgetown and the Potomac River. The FAA application is “an indication it was setting the stage for the site’s redevelopment.” [Washington Business Journal]

Betsy Franz Leaves Leadership Center — Leadership Center for Excellence (formerly Leadership Arlington) founding President and CEO Betsy Frantz is leaving the organization in April to become President of the Virginia Hospital Center Health System Foundation. Liz Nohra, the COO of LCE, will take over as Acting President and CEO. [Leadership Center for Excellence]

Eviction Notice for TechShop in Crystal City — “A Jan. 18 eviction notice from the Arlington County sheriff’s department now hangs in the storefront of the maker space chain’s Crystal City location. The notice comes more than a month after San Jose, California-based TechShop announced it would file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection and then, a few weeks later, disclosed in early December it was reaching a deal to be acquired.” [Washington Business Journal]

County to Connect Building Owners and Investors for Sustainability — “All systems are ‘go’ for Arlington’s new ‘C-PACE’ program, a first-in-Virginia public-private partnership to provide affordable, long-term financing to improve energy or water efficiency of commercial buildings.” [Arlington County]

Reminder: Use Salt in Moderation — Prior to this morning’s rain, Arlington’s Dept. of Environmental Services tweeted a reminder to residents to avoid excess application of salt during freezing weather. “Use only as much as needed and no more to melt ice because this will wash into our watershed,” DES said. [Twitter]

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

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Morning Notes

APS Named Best School System in Va. — Arlington Public Schools is the best public school system in Virginia, according to a new set of state-by-state rankings. APS received an A+ rating for academics, diversity and teachers, and an A rating for health and safety. [Business Insider]

DES Scrambles to Deal With Water Main Breaks — Staff from Arlington’s Dept. of Environmental Services had their hands full again over the holiday weekend, dealing with numerous water main breaks in various parts of the county. “A number of Arlington residents experienced low pressure/no water issues” as a result of the breaks, DES said. At least one significant break, along Wilson Blvd in the Bluemont neighborhood, is still being repaired as of Tuesday morning. [Facebook, Twitter]

Marymount Grad Helps Save Family — A Marymount University graduate, now a law enforcement officer in North Carolina, helped to rescue a family from a house fire last month. [The Pilot]

Bill Could Allow Instant Runoff Elections — A bill proposed by Del. Patrick Hope, currently under consideration in the Virginia General Assembly, would allow the Arlington County Board to mandate instant-runoff voting in local races. [InsideNova]

Nearby: Old Town Church Now a Basilica — “The Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship declared St. Mary Church in Alexandria a minor basilica, Bishop Michael F. Burbidge announced to parishioners during Mass [on] Jan. 14.” [Arlington Catholic Herald, Twitter]

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

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