Arlington Doctor Sentenced in Poisoning Case — Arlington doctor Sikander Imran was sentenced Friday to three years in prison, with 17 years suspended, for slipping pills into his pregnant girlfriend’s tea, causing her to lose the unborn baby. The now ex-girlfriend pleaded for leniency during the sentencing. [WJLA, New York Daily News]
Miniature Horses Could Be Allowed at Schools — “A new policy defining the rights and responsibility of those – students, staff or visitors – wishing to bring service animals into schools would allow for dogs and miniature horses… schools spokesman Frank Bellavia told the Sun Gazette there are no miniature horses used as service animals in the school system at the moment.” [InsideNova]
Powhatan Skate Park Renovations Approved — The Arlington County Board on Saturday unanimously approved a $1.87 million contract to overhaul the Powhatan Springs Skate Park, the only such park in Arlington. “This well-loved skate park is in need of a makeover to address crumbling concrete conditions,” said Chair Katie Cristol. “The result will be a safer park that both kids and adults in Arlington who are passionate about skateboarding, inline skating and BMX cycling can enjoy for years to come.” [Arlington County]
Residents Protest Amazon at County Board Meeting — Several public speakers at Saturday’s County Board meeting spoke out against the prospect of Amazon’s second headquarters coming to Arlington. They held signs saying “No Amazon” and decried the company’s “brutal working conditions” and “culture of toxic masculinity,” among other things. [Blue Virginia]
Walter Reed Drive Project Green Lit — “The Arlington County Board today approved a $1.8 million contract to A & M Concrete Corporation to improve bicycle and pedestrian connections on a short but critical segment of South Walter Reed Drive, between South Four Mile Run Drive and South Arlington Mill Drive. The project will provide safer connections between two of Arlington’s busiest trails: Washington & Old Dominion and Four Mile Run.” [Arlington County]
Trees Fall During Heavy Rain — A number of trees around the area fell late last week after a record-breaking stretch of heavy rain. Among the trees to topple was a large one that fell on a home on the 2100 block of N. Vernon Street and injured one person. [Twitter, Washington Post]
Lubber Run Farmers Market OKed — “Field to Table, Inc., an Arlington-based non-profit organization, won the County Board’s approval today to open the Lubber Run Farmer’s Market in the parking lot at Barrett Elementary School, 4401 Henderson Road. The market is expected to open in late May.” [Arlington County]
Nearby: Train Derailment in Alexandria — A large contingent of emergency personnel responded to the CSX tracks near Port City Brewing in Alexandria Saturday morning for a freight train that had derailed. About 30 cars came off the tracks but no injuries or hazardous spills were reported. [City of Alexandria, Twitter]
Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley
Crystal City’s McDonald’s is closed for renovations.
Signs posted at the restaurant located at 2620 Jefferson Davis Highway say only that the location is closed during construction, urging visitors to head to the McDonald’s locations along Columbia Pike instead. Construction materials litter the restaurant’s parking lot.
No one answered the phone number listed for the restaurant and construction fencing currently blocks off its parking lot. McDonald’s didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on how long the restaurant might be closed.
A tipster first notified ARLnow about the renovations this past Wednesday.
Photos by Alex Koma
Changes are coming soon to Dawson Terrace Park near Rosslyn now that the Arlington County Board has approved a $1.5 million construction contract.
Currently, there are two small courts at the park. These will be replaced by one larger, multi-use court the size of a high school basketball court.
Project illustrations show eight to 10 foot decorative fences installed on either side of the court, behind the basketball nets. Also included: new lighting and landscaping.
Design for the project began in the second quarter of 2016. Project construction is anticipated to begin in the second quarter of 2018 and wrap up by the end of the year.
A small field along 21st Road N. is not scheduled for any renovations in this plan, but stormwater management and ADA improvements are in the works.
The County Board voted unanimously to grant the park contract to D.C.’s Bennett Group at Saturday’s County Board meeting (April 21), according to a county press release. County staff had recommended that the contract be approved.
“Arlington continues to upgrade and improve its parks, to make them both more accessible and more engaging,” County Board Chair Katie Cristol said in a statement. “These renovations will help ensure that Dawson Terrace will be a great park for everyone to use, for years to come.”
The three and a half acre park in the North Highland neighborhood is home to the Dawson-Bailey House, the second oldest home in the county, and site renderings include a decorative screen and plants that would form a buffer on the building’s eastern facade. In 2016, an archaeological dig at Dawson Terrace Park uncovered approximately 2,000 glass, ceramic, and glass objects from the 18th and 19th centuries.
Also at its Saturday meeting, the County Board approved the planting of over 1,000 trees in parks along Four Mile Run. The plantings are partially funded by a federal grant.
More from a county press release, after the jump.
Crystal City Tops HQ2 Poll — The combined Crystal City-Potomac Yard site is the most likely D.C. area landing spot for Amazon’s second headquarters, according to an online poll conducted by the Washington Business Journal. Meanwhile, D.C., Virginia and Maryland officials are teaming up to promote the region as the HQ2 search continues. Amazon fever has even entered the world of local business conferences: an event dubbed “HQmania” is scheduled to be held in Rosslyn next month. [Washington Business Journal, WAMU, DCA Live]
Rosslyn Lands Nonprofit HQ — “It’s been a good week for Rosslyn. First came the news that Gerber, a Nestle subsidiary, would relocate its headquarters and 150 jobs from New Jersey to 1812 N. Moore St. And Friday, we learn that a D.C.-based global nonprofit has decided to cross the Potomac into Arlington.” [Washington Business Journal]
ART Bus Stop Vandalized — Someone smashed two of the windows on an ART bus stop in the Long Branch Creek neighborhood late last week. [Twitter]
Arlington Man Charged With Statutory Rape — A 47-year-old Arlington man was arrested at his home last month and charged with the statutory rape of a minor in North Carolina. The man arranged meeting the minor in North Carolina via the messaging app Kik, which is popular with teens. [Fox 8]
Local Columbine Survivor Addresses Student Protesters — “Salli Garrigan was in music class when the sound of gunshots reverberated through the halls of her high school… Garrigan, now 35 and an Arlington resident, stood Friday before a crowd of D.C.-area students gathered on the U.S. Capitol lawn and told them when she was their age, she didn’t know how to make her voice heard.” [Washington Post]
Long Bridge Park Field Renovations Starting — Work is set to begin today on new turf for Long Bridge Park’s heavily-used Field No. 3. The field is expected to be closed for 45 days. [Arlington County]
Past and Present School Board Members Gather — On Thursday, the Arlington School Board held its last meeting at the Arlington Education Center building next to Washington-Lee High School. The board room and administrative offices are moving to the Syphax Education Center along Washington Blvd. To mark the last meeting, past and current School Board members members gathered for a photo. [Twitter]
Flickr pool photo by Duluoz Me
Fund Bets on Amazon HQ2 Coming to Crystal City — A New York-based asset manager is making a $10 million bet that Crystal City will be the location chosen for Amazon’s HQ2. The company cited a high concentration of millennials and housing in the area, as well as proximity to Metro stations, commuter rail and Reagan National Airport. [Bloomberg, ZeroHedge]
Chamber Wants Extended Parking Meter Hours Paused — “Leadership of the Arlington Chamber of Commerce wants the county government to hit the brakes on a proposal to increase parking-meter fees and extend the hours meters must be fed. In a letter to County Board Chairman Katie Cristol, Arlington Chamber president Kate Bates said the government failed to do proper outreach before proposing the alterations to existing policy.” [InsideNova]
Grumbles About Ballston Construction — “Like many who venture to the kingdom of Ballston, I am impatient for the never-ending renovations to be over. Tina Leone, CEO of the Ballston Business Improvement District, was happy to promise me that the rewards for us patrons of Arlington’s most central community will unfold in September–with staggered openings continuing through May 2019.” [Falls Church News-Press]
Average Single-Family Home Sale: $1 Million — The average sale price of a single-family home in Arlington in March was $1,066,368, up 6.9 percent from a year prior. [InsideNova]
Ribbon Cutting for Abingdon Renovations — A ribbon cutting ceremony is being held at 9:30 this morning to celebrate the recently-completed addition and renovations at Abingdon Elementary School in Fairlington. [Twitter]
Photo by Anna Merod
Cook Brothers Design/Build Remodeling doesn’t expect to be invited to every home renovation bid in Arlington, but as the No. 1 remodeler in Arlington, they can’t understand why they wouldn’t be at the kitchen table.
“All we do is renovate homes in Arlington County,” says Steven Tinter, president and general manager. “We don’t do new homes, we don’t remodel homes in Maryland or D.C. or other places in Virginia.
“Arlington County is all we’ve done for 31 years. If you’re not talking to us, you’ll be missing out.”
Cook Brothers focuses on risk reduction, which is vital when it comes to one of the most expensive expenditures a homeowner will encounter.
“Lowest bid? That is not our goal,” Tinter says flatly. “We’re typically not going to be the least-cost provider. Our prices are very competitive but we definitely are going to be the least-risk provider. And we’re going to give homeowners the best value because of that.”
Cook Brothers is the No. 1 remodeler in Arlington based on the number of building permits issued since the year 2000, when the county began recording them electronically. Those nearly 300 permits outpaces the second place contractor, a national franchised company, by more than a third.
“Reducing risk” is not only important but necessary for Arlington homeowners. “Arlington homes are modest, but they’re expensive homes,” he says. And many of them are older, with residual quirks from previous builders. Cook Brothers’ experience in the area gives them an advantage when it comes to encountering challenges distinct to Arlington homes.
But no matter how good the plans look on the kitchen table, it’s the skilled craftsmen and women of Cook Brothers who do the work. Tinter says his 18-year-round employees have been with the company “on average, close to 10 years. In our industry, that’s remarkable and something we’re proud of. We retain people by treating them well. We’ve made a commitment to our people and it shows. And that’s how we keep our costs consistent.”
A group calling itself ‘Friends of Upton Hill’ has created a website to oppose a plan for a new ropes course and a new parking lot at Upton Hill Regional Park in Arlington.
Upton Hill park hosts a water park, a mini golf course, batting cages, and walking trails. NOVA Parks — the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority — plans on adding 33,000 square feet of asphalt to the park in the form of a entrance road and parking spaces, as well as a “high adventure course” and other amenities.
The project cost is estimated at $3 million, according to a November presentation.
The park’s “friends” wrote on the site that they believe NOVA Parks has been deficient in maintaining the mostly wooded park and that “trash and invasive species are taking over the forest.”
Preferring that the park authority shift its focus from bigger parking lots to forest restoration and facilities maintenance, the group quoted Joni Mitchell’s 1970 song Big Yellow Taxi, writing that “they paved paradise and put up a parking lot.”
“NOVA Parks should focus on restoring the forest, removing trash and invasives, and improving maintenance of the existing facilities — the water-park, miniature golf, batting cage, playground and picnic pavilion — to make for a more pleasant and attractive park experience,” the website says.
This past fall, however, a renewed effort to combat the invasive species was undertaken at the park, according to the Arlington Sun Gazette.
NOVA Parks representatives presented the Upton Hill plan to the Arlington County Board on Nov. 28. Paul Gilbert, the NOVA Parks executive director, asserted that the parking lot expansion would not “impact the natural resources.” He said that the ropes course, with sweeping views of Arlington, would be a marquee feature for park and for the county at large.
Gilbert noted that the existing parking lot is packed in the summer months. However, the Friends of Upton Hill website argued that the lot is nearly deserted during chillier months of the year.
“We started our group because NOVA Parks is more bent on paving over Upton Hill Park than preserving it as parkland,” wrote says the Friends of Upton Hill website. “In the Seven Corners area we need to keep and improve every existing square foot of green space rather than add yet another parking lot — particularly one that sits empty for three quarters of the year.”
An email sent to a listed Friends of Upton Hill email address was not immediately returned.
County HQ Renovation Vote Delayed — The Arlington County Board last night agreed to defer consideration of renovations to county government headquarters until April. The Board will discuss the “‘opportunity costs’ for the $10 million in rent abatements that will fund part of the renovation project,” in the context of the current county budget discussions, according to Board Chair Katie Cristol. [Twitter]
Arlington Declines Amazon FOIA Request — A Freedom of Information Act request for more information about the county’s Amazon HQ2 bid, sent from the Washington Post’s Jonathan O’Connell, was denied on the grounds that the information was “exempt from disclosure.” At the County Board meeting this past weekend, several speakers called on the county to release more information about what it has offered Amazon. [Twitter, WTOP]
Letter: APS Should Revise Gym Shorts Policy — Eighth-grade students wrote a letter to the editor encouraging Arlington Public Schools to revise its policy on girls’ gym shorts. Per the letter: “The shorts we are required to wear by the school system cause many of us embarrassment because the wide, open legs allow others to see our undergarments, especially during floor exercises. Additionally, the current gym shorts are too big for petite girls.” [InsideNova]
Arlington TV Now in HD — “You can now watch Arlington TV (ATV), the County’s government cable channel, in high definition (HD) on Comcast Xfinity. From live County Board meetings to original programming about Arlington, viewers with HD sets can now watch the same programming on Channel 1085 on Comcast Xfinity’s HD tier.” [Arlington County]
Auditor Releases Report on ECC Overtime — Arlington County Auditor Chris Horton has released a report on overtime incurred by the county’s Emergency Communications Center, which handles 911 calls and dispatches first responders. The ECC’s overtime costs were about $1.4 million last year. Horton found that “a more efficient training process could result in greater staffing efficiency, and potentially reduce overtime expenses.” [Arlington County]
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.
School Walkouts Today — Student walkouts are planned at Arlington’s high schools today, part of a national demonstration against gun violence. The walkout is happening at 10 a.m., is expected to last 17 minutes, and is being treated as an excused absence by Arlington Public Schools. Middle schoolers at St. Thomas More Cathedral School in Arlington, meanwhile, have organized a 2:30 p.m. prayer service to honor the victims.
JBG Talks HQ2 in Quarterly Earnings — Property owner JBG Smith has stayed largely mum about its wooing of Amazon — until now. In its quarterly earnings report, JBG said it believes that its Crystal City properties are well-positioned to win the bid for Amazon’s second headquarters. The D.C. area’s tech prowess “combined with our blend of walkable places, in-place infrastructure and low-cost housing makes Crystal City a compelling location,” the company wrote. “Our holdings alone can accommodate Amazon’s entire long-term space requirement and we have a cost advantage over our competitors given the existing in-place parking and substantial infrastructure.” [Washington Business Journal]
Lobbyist Claims Attack at Local Hotel — Jack Burkman, a “conservative lobbyist known for his controversial positions” who in January told police he was pepper sprayed outside his house near Rosslyn, is alleging another attack. Burkman claims, in a press release, that he was “run down by a large, black SUV” last night while “working with an FBI whistleblower” at the Key Bridge Marriott in Rosslyn. [Twitter]
Two Charged in Murder of Arlington Man — Two suspected gang members from Maryland have been charged in the fatal stabbing of an Arlington resident in Oxon Hill, Md. on Feb. 25. [Town of Morningside]
Arlington House Closing for Rehab Project — Arlington House, the iconic historic mansion at Arlington National Cemetery that was formerly home to Gen. Robert E. Lee, “is closing to the public beginning Monday, March 19, so it can undergo a monthslong rehabilitation project… part of a $12.35 million restoration plan.” [WTOP]
National PTA Meeting in Arlington — The National Parent Teacher Association is holding its annual legislative conference at the Crystal Gateway Marriott in Crystal City this week. The conference runs from March 13-15 and kicked off yesterday with a keynote address by U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. [National PTA]
The final design of Yorktown High School modifications that will increase the building’s capacity to 2,189 seats is set to be approved at the Arlington School Board meeting on Thursday (March 8).
Per the plan, at least six classrooms will be created by converting a computer lab, a computer alcove, and several teacher work rooms. A copy room will turn into a new “teacher collaboration space,” and other teacher work space and offices will also be reconfigured.
Existing storage will be turned into bicycle storage, and charging stations will be added throughout the school, including in the cafeteria and atrium. The current gym lockers will be replaced.
The larger seating capacity comes weeks after the proposed Arlington Public Schools budget was announced with class size increases.
The project’s estimated $4 million cost will be funded by the capital reserve, according to School Board documents.
Arlington Construction Management is now Alair Homes Arlington. While the company’s name is new, its values remain the same.
Alair Homes Arlington specializes in residential construction for people in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area. Home projects range from renovating a bathroom to building an entirely new abode.
Check out the before and after photos from one recent Alair project, above.
Because of the company’s reputation in the industry, they’re able to score discounts from vendors, which they pass along to budget-conscious clients. The idea is to build better and save more.
Alair Homes Arlington also works to eliminate any unexpected surprises. Before entering an agreement, projects are fully scoped, priced and validated. Alair’s unique Client Control approach to construction – which it uses for every project — gives homeowners the certainty they deserve before their project actually ever begins.
“It was the first time in my life working with a contractor that not only everything on my written list was addressed in the proposal, but all the things that we verbally talked about were itemized and listed out as well–we were just blown away,” said homeowner Kim, in a testimonial video.
Once the project is underway, clients use an online portal to manage costs, schedule payments, make selections, and more. The portal is also a way to communicate project managers, who receive ongoing training on a weekly and monthly basis.
“There’s a quality aspect as well and that was delivered, which is a very delicate and difficult balance to do,” Kim said. “From an overall standpoint when you’re talking about wanting a project to be delivered that’s on time, on budget, and meets your quality expectations, Alair Homes does a great job and will definitely be able to meet that for you.”
Please contact me at [email protected] if interested in joining us for a home building seminar we are presenting in partnership with Keri Shull Team.
The preceding was sponsored by Alair Homes Arlington.
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
With the addition of new experience-oriented tenants, Ballston Quarter is billing itself as “one of the largest experiential and entertainment hubs in the D.C. area.”
The center is bucking its identity as a mall as construction continues on what was once the Ballston Common Mall. Set to open this fall, Ballston Quarter has already announced hip food options in its 18-restaurant food hall and a marquee entertainment tenant in the planned 25,000 square foot Punch Bowl Social.
This morning, mall owner Forest City announced a handful of new tenants, including:
- 5 Wits — “A live-action entertainment venue that immerses visitors in realistic, hands-on experiences, similar to escape rooms…”
- Cookology — A “recreational culinary school” that “offers professionally taught, hands-on cooking classes for adults and kids… perfect venue for families, date nights or corporate outings.”
- Nook — “A modern indoor play and learning space for young families” that is moving from its current Lee Highway location.
Those are also in addition to the existing Regal Cinemas and Sport&Health club, which are undergoing multi-million dollar renovations.
More from a Forest City press release, after the jump.
A historic pharmacy in Nauck is closed, reportedly for renovations.
A sign on the door of Green Valley Pharmacy at 2415 Shirlington Road said it “will reopen in the near future” once work is done. A reader said it has been closed since the end of last year.
The pharmacy earned local designation as an Arlington Historic District in 2013, after a request by longtime owner Dr. Leonard Muse.
“When Green Valley Pharmacy opened, no other pharmacies in Arlington welcomed the black community,” county staff wrote. “Typically, black customers had to use rear entrances and were not treated well with their medical prescriptions. Green Valley served both black and white customers, and it was especially popular for its dine-in food counter, where breakfast, lunch, dinner and an abundance of ice cream desserts were served. In the early days, an order of two hot dogs cost just 25 cents.”
But Muse died in August at the age of 94 after operating the pharmacy since 1952.