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Morning Notes

Power Outage at National Airport — Reagan National Airport went dark for several hours last night after a rare power failure. Emergency generators did kick in but only powered a portion of the airport’s systems. [NBC Washington, WTOP, Twitter]

More About Rosslyn’s Pop-Up Retail — “The Alcove, a 5,000-square foot storefront in Rosslyn’s Central Place opened last Wednesday with an activity-packed bang: think kombucha tastings, fabric-stamping, decoupage-making, and more… The Alcove was born when developer JBG Smith offered up one of their properties to the [Rosslyn] BID for a two-month period.” [Washingtonian]

Free Pet Adoptions This Weekend — Adoption fees will be waived at the Animal Welfare League of Arlington on Saturday as part of the annual “Clear the Shelters” event. [DCist]

Recess Changes at APS — “Many APS schools already provide at least 30 minutes of recess, and the new guidelines will help ensure consistency in recess time across all APS elementary schools… Unstructured play and physical activity are an important part of student learning and well-being, and we are pleased to provide this opportunity for our students.” [Arlington Public Schools]

Rep. Beyer on CNN — Arlington’s local congressman, Rep. Don Beyer (D), was interviewed on CNN’s Situation Room last night on the topic of President Trump stripping former CIA Director John Brennan of his security clearance. [Twitter]

Flickr pool photo by Tom Mockler

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Morning Notes

Family Surprised to Learn Pet Was a Snapping Turtle — “An Arlington family took in a box turtle to be the new family pet recently — only to find out that it was actually a snapping turtle. The Animal Welfare League of Arlington tweeted out a photo of the turtle, noting that their officers had seized the turtle from the unwitting family.” [Patch, Twitter]

APS Delays Release of Construction Cost Report — “Arlington residents will have to wait a little longer for an analysis of the reasons behind the high costs of school construction in the county. The audit committees of the County Board and School Board had been slated to meet Aug. 7 in a joint session to discuss a report by school-system auditor John Mickevice on school-construction costs. That meeting, however, was called off.” [InsideNova]

TSA Keeps Finding Guns in Carry-ons at DCA — Earlier this month, in two separate incidents, TSA agents at Reagan National Airport seized loaded handguns from two men trying to carry them onto planes. The guns were the seventh and eighth seized at the airport so far this year. The men are now facing weapons charges. [Patch]

Jail Holds Creative Writing Contest — A 26-year-old man who’s in jail on a heroin possession charge won the Arlington County lockup’s first-ever creative writing contest yesterday. His prize-winning poem, in part: “I dream about the future. I dream about the past. I dream about the mountains. I dream about the sea. I dream of all the places that I would rather be.” [NBC Washington]

InsideNova Not Available in Europe — More than 1,000 U.S. news websites are blocking users from Europe after the EU implemented strict new privacy regulations known as GDPR on May 25. Among the sites that are no longer accessible from Europe, as seen in this screen shot from last month: InsideNova, which publishes articles from the Arlington Sun Gazette newspaper. [Nieman Journalism Lab]

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JUST IN: Girl Believed to be Abducted from DCA Found Safe

The 12-year-old girl police believed was abducted from Reagan National Airport yesterday (Thursday) has been found safe.

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children says JinJing Ma was located today, after issuing an Amber Alert for her yesterday. Ma was “found in the New York City borough of Queens, safe and in the custody of her parents,” according to the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority.

State police issued the alert after learning a woman had led Ma into a car, after Ma arrived from New York as part of a Chinese tour group.

Photo courtesy of Virginia State Police

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UPDATED: Police Issue Amber Alert for Girl Allegedly Abducted from DCA

(Updated at 6 p.m.) Virginia State Police have issued an “Amber Alert” for a 12-year-old girl they believe was abducted from Reagan National Airport today (Thursday).

Police believe JinJing Ma is in “extreme danger” after a woman led her away from the arrivals area of the airport earlier today. Ma had just arrived from China as part of a tour group at the time of the alleged abduction.

Airport police believe the woman led Ma into a white Infiniti SUV with New York license plates. Police say a man was driving the vehicle, but otherwise don’t have any details on his description.

State police describe Ma as having black hair and brown eyes, standing 4’11” and weighing 90 pounds. She was last seen wearing a white t-shirt, blue jeans and a black jacket.

The woman who led her away is described as an Asian woman with black hair, approximately 40 year old and wearing a black dress.

“[The abducted girl] received her passport just prior to checking in and left her group,” says the Amber Alert. “She met up with an unknown middle age Asian female, who assisted her in changing clothes. They then walked together to the arrivals area of the airport and disappeared out of camera view. Witness stated he may have seen same woman in NYC meet up with victim and hand her food.”

Police plan to release a video of the girl being led away later this evening.

Police are asking anyone with information to contact the Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority at 703-417-2400, or visit www.vaamberalert.com.

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More Severe Flooding on the GW Parkway Near DCA Unlikely, Park Service Says

There may be yet more rain in the forecast, fresh on the heels of last month’s persistent storms, but don’t expect to see the sort of flooding that trapped dozens of people in their cars on the GW Parkway two weeks back.

That’s the word from National Park Service officials, who believe the waves of water covering the parkway back on July 17 were more a fluke than anything else.

The flooding, which impacted a stretch of the road as it winds past Reagan National Airport, was severe enough to strand about 25 cars on the parkway until firefighters could get them to safety. But the NPS doesn’t see much it can do to prevent that sort of flooding from happening again, simply because parkway officials believe it was largely a result of the extraordinarily rapid rate of rainfall.

Jonathan Shafer, a NPS spokesman, noted that meteorologists recorded more than 2.6 inches of rain per hour falling at the airport that day.

“Maintenance staff from [the parkway] think the drainage system there was overwhelmed by the large amount of runoff,” Shafer told ARLnow via email.

Shafer added that parkway “[does not] believe this area has flooded due to rain in recent memory,” though water main breaks have occasionally caused some problems north of the airport.

Warren Stewart, a 22-year resident of Northern Virginia, agrees that he’s never seen the parkway look as it did two weeks ago. He was driving toward D.C. to pick his son up from school on July 17 when he saw what looked like “a creek coming down the road.”

“From my truck back, it was not flooded and the cars in front of me were,” Stewart said. “They were bailing water out of their cars with buckets… Water rose up as high as their tail lights, for some of them.”

The parkway hasn’t experienced anything like the mid-July flooding since then, even as rain has continued to pound the region. That’s why Shafer thinks the best solution to avoiding any similar scary situations on the parkway is for drivers to “exercise caution” getting on the road when storms pick up.

“Conditions can change fast, and it’s hard to predict when and how the weather might affect them,” he wrote.

Shafer says the park service is hard at work studying drainage and stormwater management improvements on other sections of the parkway, though construction is likely years away.

Photo via @ArlingtonVaFD

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Taxi Drivers Argue DCA Construction is ‘Destroying Our Business’

Construction-related changes at one Reagan National Airport arrivals terminal have local taxi drivers fuming, and they argue airport officials are ignoring their complaints while catering to ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft.

Dozens of drivers serving the airport have begun leading protests outside Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority meetings in Crystal City, with the most recent demonstration coming last week, in order to force attention on the issue.

Backed by the National Airport Taxi Drivers Association and progressive organizers with New Virginia Majority, the drivers are urging the airport to change how it’s managing construction work that’s necessitated lane closures at its arrivals area for Terminals B/C. With less curb space available, they say taxis are getting squeezed out by Uber and Lyft drivers, with cabs unable to leave their taxi stands in a timely fashion due to the increased traffic.

“That’s not good for passengers or drivers, because we’re just sitting there with the meter running for 10, 15 minutes at a time,” said Tibebu Ergete, a longtime taxi driver and one of the organizers of the protests. “This is destroying our business.”

Ergete estimates that some drivers have seen as much as a 40 percent dip in earnings as they increasingly jockey for curb space with rideshare drivers, though he would concede that taxis have seen ridership declines for years now as Uber and Lyft have gained popularity.

Still, he’d rather see rideshare customers shuttled off the premises to meet their drivers, who already have to stage in a nearby parking lot as they wait to accept rides.

“We’ve given [the MWAA] plenty of options to deal with the construction,” Ergete said. “But they won’t listen to us. They only put Uber’s interests first.”

Christina Saull, a spokeswoman for the MWAA, said airport officials are trying to balance the competing demands of everyone impacted by the construction, and said the “dialogue is ongoing” about how to improve arrival conditions. However, she would say that the MWAA does not see shuttling rideshare users elsewhere as a workable solution, arguing that “we don’t see that as providing good customer service for anyone.”

“We’ve considered everything they’ve suggested,” Saull said. “But we have to weigh a multitude of preferences in this case. We’re moving a large volume of traffic through a really small area.”

Uber spokesman Colin Tooze wrote in a statement that the construction means “the pickup experience at DCA is not an ideal one right now” but said his company in “regular dialogue” with the MWAA to ensure “ensure a smooth experience for riders and drivers.” Lyft spokeswoman Campbell Matthews wrote in a statement that “we are glad to work with officials at the airport on a pickup and drop off arrangement that works well for passengers, drivers and the airport.”

Saull also pointed out that taxi drivers already have double the curbside pickup space at the arrival terminal compared to rideshare drivers, and that the MWAA levies a higher fee on airport trips by Uber and Lyft than it does for taxis.

But Ergete believes the MWAA is still overly deferential to the companies, as demonstrated by the refusal by its Board of Directors to discuss these complaints at any of its meetings.

Saull is urging drivers and passengers alike to simply “hang with us until the middle of next year,” when construction work at National will move inside, and the arrival lanes will reopen. Yet Ergete fears the damage inflicted by the current setup may prove to be irreversible.

“Our concern is our future,” Ergete said. “If they destroy the taxi industry, what is going to happen to the public? What is going to happen to the drivers who have been there for 40, 50 years?”

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Morning Notes

Arlington Named Top Digital County Again — “Arlington County is the No. 1 digital county in the nation for a third straight year. The Center for Digital Government and National Association of Counties 2018 award recognizes Arlington for its best technology practices in areas of open government, transparency, public engagement, planning, cyber security and operations.” [Arlington County]

Robbery in Courthouse — Two men reportedly robbed the Dunkin’ Donuts on Wilson Blvd in Courthouse yesterday evening. The men demanded money and fled the scene with cash but did not display any weapons during the robbery, according to initial reports. [Twitter]

Kaine to Campaign in Arlington Today — Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) tonight “will host a ‘Neighbor to Neighbor’ community conversation in Arlington to engage Northern Virginia voters on the critical issues facing our country and take their questions.” The event is taking place at the Barcroft Park Picnic Shelter (4200 S. Four Mile Run Drive) at 6:30 p.m.

Britney Spears Touches Down in Arlington — Britney Spears arrived at Reagan National Airport ahead of the kick off of her summer tour. Photos and video show her walking through the terminal with a small entourage. [Daily Mail]

Arlington to Pay to Help Retain Federal Tenant — “Arlington taxpayers will be on the hook for nearly $8 million over 10 years to subsidize a lease that will retain the Office of Naval Research in the county. County Board members on July 14 are expected to approve an incentive package that will keep the federal agency in its current 314,000 square feet of office space in Ballston.” [InsideNova]

Suspect Hailed Cab After Pike Burglary — “A burglar made his getaway from a scene in Arlington by hailing a taxi, according to officials. The Arlington County Police Department said the burglar targeted a business in the 3100 block of Columbia Pike near the Westmont neighborhood at about 10:25 a.m. on Sunday.” [Fox 5 DC]

George Mason Drive Detour — A “small detour” will be in place this weekend on N. George Mason Drive “as crews above remove the old half still remaining from the soon-to-be-replaced Carlin Springs Road Bridge.” [Twitter]

White Ford Bronco Profiled — Prolific local 90s cover band White Ford Bronco is the subject of a newspaper profile that dubs it the “undisputed king of D.C. cover bands.” The profile recounts that “at a recent concert at the Clarendon Ballroom, guys in button-down shirts and Birkenstocks pumped their fists to the chorus of ‘Mr. Jones.'” [Washington Post]

Metrobus Delays This Morning — Metrobus passengers reported delays and missed routes this morning, which WMATA says was the result of “bus operators reporting late to work as part of a collective labor action by their union.” [Twitter, WTOP]

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Morning Notes

Motorcycle Crash Closes Columbia Pike — Columbia Pike was closed in both directions for just over two hours this morning while police investigated a serious accident. A motorcycle reportedly crashed into a minivan between S. Frederick and Dinwiddie street, near the Arlington Mill Community Center. The motorcycle rider was seriously hurt and two people in the van were also taken to the hospital. [WJLA, Twitter]

Man Arrested for Threatening FCC Chair’s Family — A California man has been arrested and charged with sending emails that threatened to murder FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s family, over his support of the rollback of net neutrality rules. Pai has two children and lives in Arlington. Per an affidavit, one of the emails “listed the names and addresses of three preschools located in or around Arlington, Virginia, followed by the following sentence: ‘I will find your children and I will kill them.'” [Gizmodo, Washington Post]

Car Fire in Cherrydale — A car caught on fire in the garage of an apartment building in Cherrydale early this morning. No one was hurt. The cause of the fire is under investigation. [Twitter, Twitter]

Plane Evacuated on DCA Tarmac — “Passengers were forced to evacuate a United Airlines plane at Reagan National Airport on Sunday after smoke was reported in the cabin… The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority said that about 1 p.m. Sunday, Houston-bound flight 6122 was taxiing for takeoff when emergency crews were called for a report of smoke in the cabin. The plane’s emergency slides were deployed, and all passengers and crew members exited ‘without incident.'” [Washington Post, Fox News]

Lee Highway Planning to Move Forward? — “It’s been delayed, delayed and delayed some more. But, Arlington’s top elected official promises, the long-awaited study of development options along the Lee Highway corridor will be up and running by the end of the year.” [InsideNova]

Photo courtesy R. Johnson

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Reagan National Airport Closes Three Arrival Lanes, Offers Free Parking for Pick-Ups

Reagan National Airport is offering free parking for up to 60 minutes in terminal garages to help alleviate heavy traffic during a major construction project.

The parking will help accommodate travelers affected by the closure of three lanes outside the already-congested Arrivals section of Terminal B/C — a closure that is scheduled to begin today (June 21).

It will be “several months” before the closures end, and a construction advisory issued Tuesday encourages travelers to use Metrorail service to get to the airport. Police officers will also be present to help ease congestion during peak periods.

The lane closures are a step toward the construction of two new security checkpoints above the roadway, which will add eight new security lanes to the airport and alter the configuration of Terminal B/C to increase passenger access to shopping, dining and seating.

Project Journey, the $1 billion capital improvement project launched by the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority last March, aims to make Reagan National better equipped to serve the high volume of passengers it sees each year. Construction is expected to wrap up in 2021.

Photo via Twitter

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Morning Notes

Happy Trails to Barry TrotzArlington resident and Stanley Cup winning coach Barry Trotz is stepping down as head coach of the Washington Capitals. (A number of Caps coaches and players call Arlington home, given that the team’s home base is the Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Ballston.) [Washington Post, WJLA]

Crash Closes Departures Roadway at DCA — A vehicle crash and the subsequent cleanup effort closed the departure level roadway for an extended period of time yesterday. “A car with three occupants accidentally ended up on a jersey wall and rode along it for approximately 100 yards before coming back down,” an Arlington County Fire Department spokesman told ARLnow.com. “One occupant had minor injuries, but none were transported.” [Twitter, Twitter]

Neighborhood Battles to Save Tree — “Another development-preservation battle is gearing up in Arlington, this one focused on the fate of a dawn redwood on Ohio Street… A petition was recently initiated by Todd Murdock who lives several houses away from the tree. In a day the petition had 500 signatures and by June 10 the number of signatures had grown to more than 700.” [Arlington Connection]

Kaine on Housing Affordability, Amazon — U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) swung by Clarendon on Monday to speak at a forum on housing affordability. He believes localities like Arlington that are dealing with skyrocketing rents need help from the federal government, but he lamented that the Trump administration’s policies could be actively making the problem worse. Afterwards, he told a reporter that rush hour traffic may be a significant detriment to Northern Virginia’s bid for Amazon’s HQ2. [Twitter, Washington Business Journal]

Nearby: Wawa Coming to Georgetown — Rosslyn residents and workers may be able to walk — or take a gondola? — to the next D.C. Wawa. The convenience store chain plans to open in the former Restoration Hardware space on Wisconsin Avenue NW. [Washington Business Journal]

Photo courtesy @NineTiger

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County Funds New Study to Help Solve DCA Aircraft Noise Woes

(Updated at 11:45 a.m) Arlington is teaming up with some of its neighbors to the north to somehow find a solution to the persistent problem of aircraft noise generated by Reagan National Airport.

County Board members Libby Garvey and John Vihstadt announced last Friday (June 1) that Arlington and Montgomery County, Maryland have agreed to both chip in funds for a consultant to study the issue starting this year.

The Board members wrote in an email that the study’s goal is “to quantify the noise impacts on our community, to determine what specifically is driving the increase in those impacts in recent years and to identify and evaluate all actions that could reasonably be taken to reduce and mitigate them.”

“Despite what look like promising recommendations for operations south of the airport, the fact remains that we do not appear to be any closer to a solution today for those communities north of the airport than we were when this effort was initiated,” Garvey and Vihstadt wrote. “It is our hope that this study will result in concrete recommendations to achieve the county’s and the region’s goal of reducing aircraft noise where possible and to equitably share it where necessary.”

County leaders have been wrestling with the issue of aircraft noise for years now, particularly as National recorded a spike in air traffic in recent years. Nearby residents have become particularly perturbed by the noise as the airport adjusted flight patterns in accordance with the Federal Aviation Administration’s “NextGen” modernization initiative for the air traffic system in 2014.

“We continue to hear loud and clear from our residents that the noise impacts have worsened significantly since this action and have had a substantial negative impact on their quality of life,” Garvey and Vihstadt wrote.

Arlington and Montgomery County residents are not the only ones grappling with the issue. Some residential portions of Northwest D.C. have encountered an increase in noise since NextGen was implemented a few years ago, leading one District resident to file thousands of noise complaints over the course of one year.

The county has worked with the FAA on the issue since October 2015, through the “DCA Community Working Group,” and the Board members say they’ll send the results of this new study to that group once it’s wrapped up. They plan to update the community on a timetable for the study in the comings weeks, and work is set to kick off with the start of the new fiscal year on July 1.

Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) also recently proposed a series of amendments to the new FAA reauthorization bill to address the issue.

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Morning Notes

Fundraiser for Family in Need — Money is being raised online for an Arlington woman and her two school-aged sons after her husband — their dad — passed away from stomach cancer. The De Leon Ordonez family was very active with the Barrett Elementary School community, volunteering “countless hours of time and energy” to the school and the PTA. “Please donate to help them get back on their feet,” wrote Del. Patrick Hope. [YouCaring, Twitter]

Tenant-Landlord Guidelines Changed — “County Board members on May 22 approved revisions to the guidelines that developers either can or must follow – depending on the specific circumstance – if they are renovating residential properties and displacing tenants in the process. The revisions… will provide many tenants with more notice and, in some cases, higher relocation payments if they find themselves displaced.” [InsideNova]

Turtle Causes Flight Delay at DCA — A flight from Reagan National Airport to Chicago had its departure delayed a few minutes due to a turtle on the runway. [WUSA 9]

Radnor/Fort Myer Heights Profiled — WaPo has published another profile of an Arlington neighborhood and this time around it’s the Radnor/Fort Myer Heights neighborhood, just south of the Rosslyn and Courthouse Metro stations. The neighborhood’s civic association president said the neighborhood is “concerned about increased density” from development, “want it reasonable” and “open to affordable housing and diversity.” [Washington Post]

County May Hold Discussion of School Construction Costs — “Members of the [Arlington County] government’s audit committee are seeking to hold a summertime discussion of the high costs of Arlington school construction, hoping to piggyback on a report due out in coming weeks from the school system’s auditor. The audit committee has ‘made overtures’ to school officials about holding a joint community forum – date and place still undetermined – to discuss the findings of the report.” [InsideNova]

Ribbon Cutting for New Crystal City Office — Helicopter manufacturer Bell has opened a new office — its “Advanced Vertical Lift Center” — in Crystal City. A ribbon cutting was reportedly held yesterday. The new office “is designed for the company’s military customers, partners and policy makers to ‘interact with technology that is defining the future of vertical lift.'” [Rotor & Wing]

Photo courtesy Jeremy Galliani

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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]

Courtesy photo

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Two Lanes Closing At National Airport Arrivals Roadway

Two left lanes along Reagan National Airport’s terminals B and C arrivals lower-level roadway will be closed through April, effective next Wednesday (March 21).

Lane shifts will block private vehicle passenger pickup lanes along much of the median. Congestion is expected at peak times, though the lane closures and construction will be around the clock. Per a construction site map, passengers arriving with American Airlines, JetBlue, United Airlines, Virgin America, Alaska Airlines, and Delta Air Lines will be affected.

The lane closures will allow for the roadway excavation and heavy equipment foundation drilling that will allow construction crews “to make foundations for new columns” to support new security checkpoints. The billion-dollar airport renovation project, dubbed Project Journey, will also bring a new 14-gate concourse to the airport and an American Airlines members lounge.

Access to ticketing and check-in at Door 2 will be closed for several months starting Monday, March 19, and Door 5 will be closed beginning on Monday, March 26. Passengers will still be able to enter the terminal via doors 1, 3, 4, and 6.

To alleviate some of the congestion from the lane closures, terminal garages will be allowing up to an hour of free parking, though a Project Journey lane closure press release advises passengers to take Metro. Police officers will be stationed near the construction area, directing traffic through the work zone.

Photo courtesy of Project Journey/Reagan National.

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Morning Notes

Sexual Assault Suspect Was Maintenance Worker — The man arrested and charged with sexually assaulting a woman in her apartment in Rosslyn last year worked as a maintenance worker for an apartment building in D.C. Police say he posed as a maintenance worker in the Rosslyn building to get the victim to open her door, before forcing his way into the apartment. [NBC Washington]

New Uber Pickup at DCA — “If you are planning to take an Uber, Lyft or other ride-share service from Reagan National Airport, you’ll need to head to a new spot to be picked up. Airport officials have moved the pick up zone to the ticketing level (upstairs) at Terminals B and C.” [Washington Post]

Spotted: M.J. Stewart at NFL Combine — Former Yorktown football star M.J. Stewart, who was also a standout defensive back at the University of North Carolina, was among those working out at the NFL Scouting Combine over the past week. [Twitter]

Rosslyn Hyatt Sold — The Hyatt Centric hotel in Rosslyn has been sold to a subsidiary of publicly-traded hotel operator Sotherly Hotels for $79.7 million. The hotel was recently renovated. [Seeking Alpha]

LiveSafe Helping to Keep SXSW Safe — The South by Southwest festival is utilizing the mobile safety app produced by Arlington-based LiveSafe to help with event security this year. SXSW kicks off on Friday in Austin, Texas. [DC Inno]

Nearby: Alexandria Residents Oppose Beer Garden — “Residents of a townhouse development next to a proposed beer garden in Del Ray are opposing the business, saying it will create ‘noise and safety issues’ and ‘negatively affect our community.'” [Washington Business Journal]

Flickr pool photo by Duluoz Me

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