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Arlington Ranked as Most Dog Friendly Spot in the Nation

With its bevy of parks and outdoor eateries, Arlington ranks as the most dog friendly place in the country, according to a new analysis from Yelp.

The reviews website placed the county number one in its new set of rankings, released Friday to mark National Dog Day, ahead of cities like Tampa, Florida and West Hollywood, California.

Yelp’s analysts came up with the rankings by examining its internal traffic data on pages for parks and businesses.

“To compile this list, we scored cities based on the percentage of page views in the ‘Active’ categories that are for dog parks, percentage of page views in the ‘Pets’ categories that are for dog walkers, and the percentage of businesses in the restaurants, bars, coffee, hotels and beaches categories for which we had data on whether they indicated they allowed dogs,” Yelp’s Jordan Bantista wrote in a blog post.

Yelp specifically singled out Ambar in Clarendon, Celtic House on Columbia Pike and The Paramount Cafe in Crystal City as reviewed restaurants that might of of interest to dog owners.

The site only ranked two cities for each state to ensure geographic diversity on the list. (Arlington is, of course, technically a county, though it is often included in lists of cities as a census-designated place.)

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Arlington’s Park Amenities Earn More High Marks

Arlington is earning more high marks for its high-quality parks, this time winning the spotlight for its large number of amenities like playgrounds and nature centers.

A new report from the Trust for Public Land released today (Wednesday) ranked the county eighth in the country among large localities when it comes to park acreage per 1,000 residents. With 1,767 acres of parks in the county’s 26 square miles, Arlington has about 7.75 acres of parks for every 1,000 people, better than major cities like San Francisco and New York.

Those high marks mirror previous studies by the California-based group, which is leading an advocacy effort to ensure that everyone living in a city is within a 10-minute walk of a park. The Trust for Public Land previously ranked Arlington fourth in the country for its park system by evaluating a variety of different metrics.

But this time around, the group also studied the number of recreational amenities available in the county’s parks to provide an even more granular view of where Arlington stands. In all, the researchers awarded the county six top 10 marks for its distribution of various amenities.

With a total of three nature centers to serve its roughly 228,000 residents, the county ranked fourth in the nation. Arlington’s 99 playgrounds, good for 4.3 playgrounds per 10,000 residents, was also good enough to tie the county for sixth overall.

The county’s 87 tennis courts ranked seventh nationally, while its 12 pickleball courts placed ninth. Similarly, Arlington’s eight community gardens and 301 garden plots also ranked ninth.

Finally, the county picked up a 10th place ranking for its number of dog parks, with eight in total.

D.C. also ranked quite highly in the group’s rankings once more — the District placed first in the nation in park acreage per 1,000 residents, and earned five other top 10 marks.

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Arlington Companies Listed Among Fastest Growing in U.S.

A new ranking of the fastest growing privately-held companies in the United States by Inc. magazine includes 34 Arlington-based businesses.

The Arlington companies operate in fields like IT management, government services and engineering, and grew by percents ranging from 59 to 2,573.

Indev, a government services company with a focus on the transportation sector, grew 2,418 percent to be the second-highest ranked Arlington company on the list of 5,000, coming in at 178th overall.

“I’d say our success is really based upon being really focused as a small business,” said Brett Albro, a partner at the company. “We knew the transportation market was going to be our market… [and] we were really true to our strategy.”

See all of the Arlington companies to make the list below:

167. Stealth-ISS Group

178. Indev

183. ByteCubed

239. Capitol Bridge

376. Strategic Alliance Business Group

435. Sehlke Consulting

677. GreenZone Solutions

768. AM

772. Green Powered Technology

793. The Fila Group

865. Changeis

948. MJ Seats

1061. GRIMM

1253. Mobile Posse

1289. Enterprise Knowledge

1307. SecureStrux

1383. IDS International Government Services

1556. Metis Solutions

1704. 540.co

1708. Higher Logic

1812. NEOSTEK

1891. ThreatConnect

2024. Fonteva

2032. OpenWater Software

2090. infoLock Technologies

2302. Global Defense

3273. DRT Strategies

3381. Toffler Associates

3613. Qmulos

3706. Fors Marsh Group

3795. Segue Technologies

4232. RSDCGROUP

4782. Humanproof

4975. Storyblocks

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New Study Names Arlington Schools Tops in the State

Arlington has the top public school system in the state and ranks within the top 100 in the entire country, according to a new study.

The education research firm Niche awarded Arlington Public Schools an “A+” in its new ranking of school systems released today (Thursday), and named the county the 86th best public school system in the country.

Niche ranks schools based not only data like test scores, but also takes parent, teacher and student reviews into consideration in calculating its grades. The firm gave APS “A+” marks in all of its categories but one, from “academics” to “health and safety.” The lone category where Arlington merely received an “A” was “diversity.”

The school system also ranked tops in the state for the firm’s “best places to teach” ranking, owing to the county’s 12:1 student to teacher ratio and its average staffer salary of just over $89,000.

Loudoun County schools placed second overall in Niche’s rankings, followed by Albemarle County, just outside Charlottesville in third. Falls Church City and Fairfax County rounded out the top five.

Arlington’s high schools also did well in Niche’s ranking of the top public schools in the D.C. region. Washington-Lee High School came in at 13th overall, Yorktown at 21st and Wakefield at 44th.

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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]

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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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