Arlington, VA

Morning Notes

Early Morning Fracas in Va. Square — “At approximately 1:09 a.m. on February 24, police were dispatched to the report of a fight in progress. Upon arrival, it was determined that the suspect entered a business and allegedly began selecting merchandise. The victim refused the suspect service citing restrictions on the sales of alcohol during the overnight hours. The suspect and victim became engaged in a verbal dispute that escalated to a physical altercation, during which the victim was able to recover the merchandise. The suspect re-entered the business… at which point a witness intervened.” [ACPD]

Developers Selected for GMU Expansion — “George Mason University has picked a team of developers to manage the construction of the Amazon-induced expansion of its Arlington campus… The university hopes to finalize a development agreement with Edgemoor and Harrison Street by December and start construction by spring 2022. It plans to open the building by summer 2025. The Arlington campus, is located on Fairfax Drive just west of Clarendon.” [Washington Business Journal]

YHS Swimmer Breaks Two Nat’l Records — “US National Teamer Torri Huske made her mark on the final day of the 2021 VHSL Class 6 State meet, breaking two National High School records. Huske, a senior at Yorktown High School, began her meet by swimming a time of 1:53.73 in the 200 IM, chopping a tenth of a second off of Dagny Knutson’s National Public High School record of 1:53.82 that had stood since 2009.” [Swim Swam]

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Morning Notes

Arlington Spots with Great Fried Chicken — Washington Post food columnist Tim Carman lists three Arlington eateries among the seven serving some of the best fried chicken sandwiches in the D.C. area. The Arlington locations on the list are Queen Mother’s Fried Chicken, Etta Faye’s Fried Chicken, and Fuku. The latter two are “ghost kitchens,” available via delivery only. [Washington Post]

Regional Real Estate Record — “Average home-sales prices across Northern Virginia reached an all-time high in 2020, and total sales volume was second only to the pre-recession boom of 2005, as the market shrugged off COVID and the resulting government-imposed lockdown to see its first year-over-year sales increase since 2017.” [InsideNova]

DCA Still Struggling During Pandemic — “Only three states in the nation are faring as poorly in an aviation rebound as Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, according to new data. In December, the year-over-year passenger count at the airport was down 74.3 percent from December 2019, according to figures from the U.S. Transportation Security Administration.” [InsideNova]

Nearby: Atlantis Restaurant Closing — “After nearly 40 years in business, Atlantis Pizzeria and Family Restaurant will close on Jan. 24… The Greek and Mediterranean restaurant at 3648 King Street in the Bradlee Shopping Center has been open sporadically throughout the pandemic, and has only served carryout.” [ALXnow]

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Despite record-setting levels of early and mail-in voting, the final 2020 general election turnout in Arlington slightly underperformed that of 2016.

Last week’s election set a local record in terms of votes cast, but a rise in population and voter registration meant that the final turnout figure was a few points below the 82% turnout from 2016.

“In all, 131,518 voters, or about 79 percent of 166,416 registered voters, cast ballots on Nov. 3,” Arlington County revealed yesterday in a press release, after all the votes were tallied. “In 2016, turnout was 82 percent (122,023 of 148,032 registered voters).”

“Absentee turnout this year was record-breaking, with more than 108,394 Arlingtonians (65.1% turnout) casting their ballots by mail, drop box, or in person before Election Day,” the press release continues. “With so many Arlingtonians voting before Nov. 3, turnout remained light throughout Election Day, with only 23,124 people voting (14% turnout).”

Mail-in voting accounted for 29% turnout — just under 50,000 votes — an unprecedented number, albeit not unexpected this year due to the pandemic. In the end, now-president-elect Joe Biden prevailed in Virginia and in Arlington, with 80.6% of the county’s vote to 17.1% for President Donald Trump.

Although the general election did not set turnout records, about 45% of registered voters cast ballots in the March presidential primary, held just before the pandemic prompted widespread lockdowns, exceeding the primary turnout from 2016. Biden received 48.3% of the Democratic primary vote in Arlington, well exceeding that of Elizabeth Warren (20.0%) and Bernie Sanders (18.8%).

County officials say there were “no reports of significant technical issues” at the polls last week, noting that more than 750 election officers and about 100 high school students helped to staff the county’s 54 voting precincts and the central absentee vote counting center.

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(Updated at 3:50 p.m.) Almost two-thirds of active voters in Arlington have already voted.

That’s according to the latest totals released by Arlington County’s elections office, following the end of in-person early voting on Saturday.

As of Sunday, 104,988 votes had been cast in Arlington, according to the county: 45,108 via mail and 59,880 via in-person early voting. That represents about 63% of active voters, far exceeding the record-breaking, pre-Election Day turnout of the 2016 presidential election, during which 26,947 voted in-person early and about 10,000 cast mail-in ballots.

Although in-person early voting and supervised ballot drop-off has ended, those who still have outstanding mail-in ballots — nearly 6,000 residents, according to the county — can either place them in one of the Arlington’s 24-hour ballot drop boxes or drop them off at a local polling place on Election Day.

Polling places will be open from 6 a.m.-7 p.m. on Tuesday. All voters are being encouraged to wear a face covering.

To make sure things go smoothly at the polls, Arlington says it is deploying extra police patrols.

“The County is monitoring election-related activities to ensure that voters can get to the polls and exercise their right to vote in a safe and uninhibited manner,” the county said in a press release today. “[The] Arlington County Police Department will have increased patrols in the community, with polling place awareness, but will not have officers stationed at polling places.”

Arlington also reminded residents that Tuesday is an official county government holiday, meaning that metered parking will not be enforced.

Asked about possible delays in counting ballots on election night, Gretchen Reinemeyer, the county’s Director of Elections, suggested that the deluge of early and mail-in ballots shouldn’t slow things down here — as those ballots have already been counted.

“We consider a ballot is counted when it is read by a scanner. When you vote early, you insert your ballot into the scanner. It is counted at that point in time,” she told ARLnow today. “We’ve been processing mail ballots since early October.”

Reinemeyer noted, however, that election officials will not tabulate the results of the early votes until the polls close at 7 p.m.

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The upcoming election is setting up to be one for the record books in Arlington.

We’re around the halfway point between the start of early voting in September and Election Day on Nov. 3. Yet as of last night, 39,202 mail-in and early ballots had already been cast in Arlington, according to election officials.

That already exceeds the 37,869 mail-in and early ballots during the entire 2016 presidential general election.

“We’ve never seen volumes this high,” Gretchen Reinemeyer, Arlington’s Director of Elections, told ARLnow this morning. The ballots cast so far represent about 24% of active voters, she noted.

“In 2016, we received a total of 10,922 Mail Ballots and 26,947 voted early,” Reinemeyer said. “As of last night, we have received 20,852 Mail Ballots and 18,350 have voted early.”

The total number of votes cast in Arlington in the 2016 presidential general election was 121,339, a record that seems likely to fall this year given interest in the race and population growth in the county.

Arlington opened a new early voting location this year, in the former Wells Fargo bank (2200 Clarendon Blvd) near county government headquarters in Courthouse, in order to accommodate social distancing and long outdoor lines — which came to fruition on the first day of early voting. Four community centers will also open for early voting next Saturday, Oct. 17.

Yesterday the county also unveiled a secure, 24-hour ballot drop-off box in Courthouse, for those who might be concerned about their ballots being lost or delayed in the mail.

Reinemeyer said any voter who is not already registered should do so soon. Voter registration in Virginia for any given race closes 21 days before the election — in other words, this coming Tuesday for the 2020 general election.

“The most common question we’re getting is from voters who can’t get a DMV appointment,” Reinemeyer said. “You don’t need ID to register. They can drop their application in the mail or our drop box or stop by in person. We’re open Monday.”

As noted on the county elections website, Virginia residents can also register to vote online.

Voters who don’t want to show up to the polls in person, for fear of COVID-19 or otherwise, can request mail-in ballots through Oct. 23.

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Arlington’s own extreme endurance athlete Michael Wardian is comfortable on a treadmill. Comfortable enough to play Madden while running. Comfortable enough to do an interview while running. And, he hopes, comfortable enough to reclaim the 50K treadmill world record tomorrow.

Starting at 6 p.m. Saturday, Wardian says he’ll start running with an aim of breaking the 50K record (around 31 miles) in around two hours and 57 minutes.

For Wardian, it’s an attempt to take back a record he previously held, but one that he says has been broken a few times since quarantine started and more runners looking for records to beat have taken to treadmills. Wardian says he’s not worried.

“I’ve set a bunch of world records on the treadmill, I’m pretty confident,” Wardian said with a laugh. “There’s nothing you have to worry about other than picking your feet up.”

It would not be the first record Wardian, 45, has set during the pandemic. In April, he ran 262.52 miles in a loop around his neighborhood as part of a quarantine ultramarathon challenge.

Wardian said he enjoys the treadmill because it feels like the most “fair” kind of running, without other factors in the course that can give runners an advantage or disadvantage. He noted that at marathons people only usually see the runner at the start and the finish, but on a treadmill run they can watch him or her the whole time through the race.

“There’s going to be a live stream,” Wardian said. “We’ll send a link out later today and people can Zoom or they can go to my Facebook, Instagram or Twitter and can make requests during the run. I think it will be awesome. We’ll have announcers and people there going for other records.”

For aspiring treadmill runners, Wardian also offered a little advice.

“Like a lot of things, it takes a lot of practice,” Wardian said. “A big part is just knowing where all the buttons are and changing the inclines. If you are running, you may want to put it at one percent grade because it mimics being outside. I also recommend changing the incline if you’re on a long run so your feet don’t hit at the same place every time.”

Photo courtesy Michael Wardian

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Morning Notes

New Trail Bridge Work Progressing — “Bridge girder installation is occurring this week during daytime hours for the new Washington & Old Dominion Trail Bridge over Route 29 (Lee Highway) in Arlington. This work is taking place west of Lee Highway, and will not impact roadway or trail users. Work will continue the week of Oct. 28, and will require nighttime hours and an additional trail detour.” [Press Release]

Chick-fil-A to Blame for Blocked Bike Lane? — Delivery drivers picking up orders from Chick-fil-A in Crystal City may be at least partially to blame for frequent bike lane blockages along Crystal Drive. [Twitter]

Netherlands Carillon to Get ‘Grand’ Upgrade — “The National Park Service (NPS) and the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands today celebrated the start of a project to restore the Netherlands Carillon and add three bells to elevate its status to ‘grand carillon.'” [Press Release]

E-CARE Sets New Record — This past Saturday’s E-CARE recycling event recorded record turnout, as Arlington residents showed up en masse to drop of tons of old bikes, scrap metal and household hazardous materials. [Twitter]

Yorktown Golfer Wins State Championship — “He was the last player to tee off in the round, then at the end of the 18-hole competition, Benjamin Newfield was standing No. 1 on the leaderboard. The Yorktown High School freshman carded a 4-under-par 35-33-68 on Oct. 14 to win the Virginia High School League’s Class 6 individual state golf championship by one stroke.” [InsideNova]

Ceremony for New Elementary School — “This past weekend, the APS and [Fleet Elementary] communities celebrated the opening of the new school with ribbon cutting and fall festival.” [Twitter]

Woodbridge Development Claims HQ2 Proximity — “The radius of Northern Virginia buyers citing Amazon HQ2 in their plans continues to expand, with a developer in Woodbridge now citing the tech giant as a catalyst for a large-scale shopping center redevelopment.” [Bisnow]

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Morning Notes

New Grocery Store for Crystal City — “D.C.-based Dweck Properties is pitching a nearly 16,000-square-foot ‘urban format grocery store’ for the base of its Crystal Plaza apartments, according to plans filed with Arlington County this summer. Dweck is hoping to add roughly 38,000 square feet of retail to a plaza in front of the apartments, located at 2111 Richmond Highway.” [Washington Business Journal]

New Record High at DCA — “Washington is experiencing a beastly hot October day, unlike anything it has previously observed. The city exceeded its hottest October temperature ever previously observed, hitting 98 degrees, surpassing the mark of 96 degrees set on Oct. 5, 1941.” [Washington Post]

WaPo Interviews Dog About Hot Day — “Skippy, a golden retriever from Arlington, said: ‘I haven’t relieved myself outside in months. A dog of my standing cannot relieve himself in these offensively hot conditions.’ Skippy’s owner, Bill, rolled his eyes and confirmed this before heading back downstairs to scrub the carpet.” [Washington Post]

Joint Arlington-Alexandria Meeting — “In a rare joint meeting of top Alexandria and Arlington officials, the two communities laid the foundation for a closer collaboration on affordable housing… Despite the lofty goals for collaboration, little was decided in what amounted to a lengthy icebreaker between the two governing bodies.” [ALXnow]

Opening at Crystal City Art Gallery — “The Gallery Underground’s focus gallery theme this month is Chaos in which the artists strive to capture the feeling of instability and chaos. In addition to the focus gallery, we’re celebrating the opening of the newest Fotowalk Gallery.” [Crystal City]

Septuagenarian Still Playing Hockey in Ballston –“Paul Mason, 76-years-old, knows that age is just a number. WUSA9 caught up with him at the Medstar Capitals Iceplex, playing in a pick-up game with others who were many decades his junior.” [WUSA 9]

Press Conference in Rosslyn Area Driveway — Attorney and oft-discredited conspiracy theorist Jack Burkman is planning to hold a press conference in the driveway of his home near Rosslyn this afternoon to present new, thus-far uncorroborated allegations against Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren. [Twitter]

Photo courtesy Dennis Dimick

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Morning Notes

Latest Flood Stats — “As of Tuesday morning, the Department of Environmental Services had received 151 calls about damage to private property, storm drain backups, indoor flooding and roadway flooding; The County also investigated more than 30 drainage complaints.” [Arlington County]

Record-Setting Rain Rate — “The 3.30 [inches of rain] recorded between 8:52-9:52 a.m [at Reagan National Airport] was Washington, D.C.’s highest hourly precip report in records dating back to 1936.” [Twitter]

Flooded Scooters Removed from Service — “Bird, Jump, and Lime, three of the city’s five operators, told The Verge that their employees were actively engaged in removing scooters from the flooded areas.” [The Verge]

ACPD Crime Map Goes Down — “ACPD is aware of system issues with the Online Community Crime Map and is working with the third-party vendor, LexisNexis, to resolve the issue. If you are looking for information regarding crime in your neighborhood, please view the Daily Crime Report.” [Twitter]

D.C. Office Vacancy Rises as N. Va. Declines — “Office vacancy is reaching new heights in the District as new supply continues to outpace demand, but market conditions are much better for landlords in neighboring Northern Virginia.” [Bisnow]

Trailers to Take Out Tree — “In a community where the destruction of even a single tree can mobilize residents, there may be another skirmish in the offing on July 13. That’s the date that Arlington County Board members will be asked to approve the placement of new portable (‘relocatable’) classrooms on the campus Arlington Traditional School, designed to ease overcrowding.” [InsideNova]

Ballston Office Building Sold — “The first building developed in Ballston’s Liberty Center complex has just traded hands.  Carr Properties sold the One Liberty Center office building at 875 North Randolph St. to USAA Real Estate, the JLL brokerage team announced Monday. Property records show the sale closed June 26 for about $153M.” [Bisnow]

Flickr pool photo by Lisa Novak

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Morning Notes

Lidl Opens Store at Arlington HQ — “Arlington finally has its first Lidl grocery store — it just happens to be pint-sized… the company took a little more than 1,000 square feet it was using as storage on the ground floor of its HQ to open Lidl Express, a convenience-sized store with a variety of convenience store staples and fresh food.” [Washington Business Journal]

Lee Highway Group Wants More Funding — “The Lee Highway Alliance is seeking what its president calls a modest increase in funding from the county government. But the budget proposed by County Manager Mark Schwartz is heading in the other direction.” [InsideNova]

Crystal City Condo Aiming for Record Sale — “With Amazon’s HQ2 on the way, the seller of Penthouse 3S at the Crystal Gateway Condominiums believes the time is right to go for a record… While $2 million might sound like a hefty number, DeHart stresses that inside DC limits, buyers pay nearly twice as much for Potomac views.” [Washingtonian]

Former ACPD Captain in the News — “The former police chief of Portsmouth, Va.” — Tonya Chapman, a former Arlington County Police captain and the first black woman to lead a municipal police department in Virginia — “says she was forced out by city leaders over resistance to her attempts to overhaul a department riven by racial tension.” [Washington Post]

Instagrammable Arlington Spots — Arlington tourism booster StayArlington has compiled a list of Instagram-friendly locations in the county. [StayArlington]

Nearby: Halal Butchery Approved — “A retail halal butcher shop that slaughters chickens on-site will be allowed to open in a small industrial area of Alexandria, despite strong opposition from nearby business owners and their patrons.” [Washington Post, Patch]

Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley

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Morning Notes

New APS Verification System — “For the 2019-20 school year, Arlington Public Schools will implement a new annual online verification process for updating and maintaining accurate student information. This will replace the First Day Packet students used to receive on the first day of school.” [Arlington Public Schools]

Garvey: Board Should Get Full-Time Pay — From Arlington County Board member Libby Garvey, who has previously spoken out about the issue: “To expect 5 Board members to hold outside jobs to supplement our $55k salary while maintaining Arlington’s presence in the region and the Board’s connection to the multitude of civic associations, commissions, and organizations we have is, I believe, unreasonable and not healthy for our County.” [Libby Garvey, Blue Virginia]

Border Wall May Cost Local Projects — Arlington may lose out on more than $50 million in military construction projects — including a road project and Pentagon exterior and security upgrades — if the money is diverted to President Trump’s southern border wall project. In all, nearly a half billion dollars worth of projects are at risk in Virginia. [WUSA 9]

Cyclist Struck in Shirlington — “ACFD on scene of a cyclist struck by a vehicle at the intersection of Shirlington Road at Arlington Mill, in Shirlington. Victim is being transported to a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, per scanner. Several lanes blocked.” [Twitter]

Wardian Does it Again — “Running from south to north, Michael Wardian of Arlington, Virginia has set an FKT on the 631-mile (1,009K) Israel National Trail of 10 days, 16 hours and 36 minutes (unofficially). That’s like running a 100K race every day for 10 days.” [Trail Running]

Ride Hailing Service for Kids Comes to Arlington — “A California transportation service is looking to make life easier for Greater Washington families — by driving their kids. Los Angeles-based HopSkipDrive Inc., whose service chauffeurs kids between school and other activities much like a family-friendly Uber or Lyft, is launching in the D.C. area, now live in Fairfax, Arlington and Alexandria.” [Washington Business Journal]

Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley

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