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El Pollo Rico (file photo)

Tennis legend Serena Williams was apparently served up some Peruvian chicken at Virginia Square’s El Pollo Rico this past weekend.

An Instagram story posted on Williams’ account on Sunday (July 31) afternoon shows her inside of the local Peruvian chicken spot on N. Kenmore Street getting served up a heaping portion of chicken and rice.

The IG story was first spotted and tweeted by local restaurant and bar influencer Barred in DC.

Williams is in town to support her equally-famous sister Venus, who is playing in the Citi Open in D.C. tonight. Serena surprised onlookers yesterday when she showed up on the Rock Creek Park courts to practice with her sister.

It’s unclear what lead her to El Pollo Rico, though Barred in DC guesses that her husband Alexis Ohanian (co-founder of Reddit and a UVA alum) may have had something to do with it.

ARLnow reached out to the restaurant this morning, but the manager there said he was unaware of the sports great stopping by. ARLnow also emailed owner Victor Solano but has yet to hear back as of publication.

Serena did some sightseeing in the District over the weekend as well, posting videos of her scootering around while checking out the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial in the rain. It appears that McLean resident Mark Ein, who runs the Citi Open, was also with her.

ARLnow has reached out to Ein and his representatives to see if perhaps he’s the one who suggested the well-known local spot, but also has yet to hear back.

This isn’t El Pollo Rico’s first brush with fame. The late Anthony Bourdain featured the restaurant on his Travel Channel show “No Reservations” back in 2009.

This unassuming Peruvian chicken eatery is located on a side street off of Fairfax Drive and in the back of a low-slung building. It opened in 1988 and has continued to be a popular spot since.

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An Arlington Little League team has made the state tournament, becoming one of few teams to have done so in Arlington history.

This past Fourth of July weekend, the Arlington Little League National 5070 All-Stars won the District 4 championship tournament, besting teams from across the region including Vienna and McLean. In Sunday’s championship game, the team of 14 players, ages 12 and 13 years old, defeated the Alexandria Little League All-Star team. They won by a score of 10 to 5.

The next step is the Virginia state tournament, to be held in Henrico just outside of Richmond, with their first game scheduled for this Friday. The coaches believe this is only the third team in Arlington Little League history to advance to states.

Both players and coaches told ARLnow that what made this team special was everyone’s dedication and buy-in.

“All 14 [players] bought into the team aspect of what’s best for the team as opposed to what’s best for them as an individual,” Manager Mark Nersasian told ARLnow. “We got contributions from top to bottom [of the roster].”

Thirteen-year-old Nate Moseley, who pitches and plays first base for the team and attends Dorothy Hamm Middle School, said that Nersasian and the other coaches often reiterate this concept.

“[The coaches] always tells us that we need players who play for the team name on the front, not the [last name] on the back,” he said.

That task was even more complicated by the fact the team has only been together for a few weeks. This is an all-star team, picked from more than 100 players across nine Arlington Little League teams. The team was selected, in large part, by their teammates and fellow Arlington Little Leaguers, with players voting on who they think should make up the squad. Coaches also contributed to the selection of the roster.

As expected, the players proved themselves to be some of the best ball players in Arlington. Assistant coach Keith Stone says the blended roster can sometimes be a challenge when dividing up playing time, but that wasn’t the case for this group of middle-school-aged athletes.

“Most of them were the best players on their regular team. They got brought to this [team] and they may only get to bat one time or barely get to play in the field. They all bought into the collective good for the team,” Stone said. “For 12 and 13-year-olds, that’s not always the easiest thing to do.”

This Arlington Little League team isn’t in the same age group as those that are on ESPN every year. This team is a little bit older, mostly comprised of 13-year-olds, as opposed to 10, 11, and 12-year-olds. Therefore, the Arlington Little League team plays on fields that are larger, have longer base paths, and pitch further away.

Dylan Stone, a shortstop and pitcher, has been playing baseball in Arlington since he was four years old. He’s now 13 and attends Williamsburg Middle School. What he loves most about playing in Arlington Little League is being able to “play with friends and the competition.”

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Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups, founders, and other local technology news. Monday Properties is proudly featuring 1515 Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn. 

Longtime Arlington resident Jay Hedley flew A-10 fighter jets for 12 years in the Maryland Air National Guard.

When flying missions, his plane would track and record what he could see in front of him, as well as the targeting of missiles using a heads-up display. He and other pilots would review the video footage together after flying a mission to debrief.

“So then the idea came,” he said, “why don’t we train athletes the same way we use technology like this from the jet?”

So he founded HeadVantage, which equips athletes with mini cameras and eye-tracking technology. The HeadVantage camera can be fitted under the bill of a baseball cap and track the eye movements of the wearer. It can also measure the diameter of the wearer’s pupils a hundred times per second, Hedley said.

Apart from tracking eye movements, the camera also records high-definition, stabilized video footage that can be streamed live and shown on TV.

“One way you can think of it is, where GoPro can’t go,” said Hedley, distinguishing HeadVantage from the popular action camera brand.

The HeadVantage camera is fitted into a pair of golf glasses (via SportsTech)

Because of the camera’s eye-tracking and streaming abilities, HeadVantage can provide unique content to sports fans, said Jenna Kurath, the head of Comcast NBCU SportsTech.

“To be able to see it from the perspective of the athlete, to get into the mind of the athlete through the eye-tracking of those split-second decisions that they’re making,” she said, “this is going to bring new fan-engagement content to the forefront.”

With this camera, sports commentators will be able to analyze an athlete’s performance from their viewpoint.

“Oftentimes our commentators will do the replay and say, ‘How did they do this?'” Kurath said. “Now this is the ability to kind of see it through the eyes of the athlete to really get a little bit more into their mind.”

Arlington-based HeadVantage was selected as part of Comcast NBCUniversal’s SportsTech Accelerator in 2022, a program that connected 10 startups with different program partners, such as NBC Sports, World Wrestling Entertainment and NASCAR. HeadVantage was chosen from among over 800 applicants around the world, according to a news release from NBCUniversal.

Since joining the program, HeadVantage has been prototyping the camera to be used in golf, fitting it in golfers’ glasses.

Instructors in NBC Sports’ golf shows, such as School of Golf‘s Martin Hall and others in the company’s subscribers-only GolfPass content, have used HeadVantage cameras, said Kurath, who also ran the startup program. The camera will be used in a few celebrity golf tournaments in the summer, she noted.

Founder Jay Hedley stands at the HeadVantage station at a Comcast NBCUniversal SportsTech Accelerator event (courtesy photo)

Hedley founded the startup in 2020, according to his LinkedIn page. Currently, his main customer is NBC Sports and his main goal for HeadVantage this year is to get the camera used in NBC golf coverage.

“I’d love to get embedded in NBC golf this year, maybe with baseball this year,” Hedley said, “So baseball and golf will be the two sports we’d focus on this year.”

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Morning Notes

Around Rosslyn before the storms (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Yorktown High Jumper Sets Record — “Led by two individual champions, the Yorktown Patriots finished third in the recent Virginia High School League’s Class 6 girls outdoor state track and field championships… The Patriots’ individual-event winners were Viktorie Klepetkova in the high jump for the second year in a row, but this time with a school and meet-record leap of 5-feet, 11-inches, and Anna Corcoran in the 800-meters.” [Sun Gazette]

Arlington on CBS Evening News — “The ‘walking school bus’ is helping both kids and senior citizens start the day off right. Once a week, seniors walk with students to school in Arlington, Virginia. Jan Crawford shares more.” [CBS News]

Born on Bridge, Straddled Still — “You’ve known folks born in Arlington, and you’ve known some born in D.C. But have you known anyone born in between? That is to say, born on Key Bridge? Paul Mclain, 65, recently retired as an academic assistant in the Duke University Slavic and Eurasian Studies Department, can claim such citizenship limbo. And it has caused him hassles as an adult.” [Falls Church News-Press]

Barrelling Through the I-395 Barrels — From Dave Statter: “Watch: Bad day for the barrels. At 9:40 this morning one driver decided to blaze their own trail right through them.” [Twitter]

It’s Monday — Humid and partly cloudy throughout the day. Storms possible later in the afternoon and overnight. High of 86 and low of 71. Sunrise at 5:44 am and sunset at 8:36 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Both the boys and girls Ultimate Frisbee teams from H-B Woodlawn and Washington-Liberty High School are set to compete in the high school national tournament today and tomorrow (Saturday).

The High School National Invite tournament is set to be held in Richmond. This is the first time the organizers Ultiworld and Competitive Ultimate Training have held the tournament since the pandemic, according to a news release.

For this year’s tournament, 16 boys teams and 15 girls teams are set to attend, according to its website. Over the weekend, the four teams from Arlington are set to play against other high school teams from New Jersey, Utah and Oregon among other states.

Currently, Washington-Liberty Open and H-B Woodlawn Open — which were both formerly boys teams but are open to any players — were ranked 14th and 16th respectively by Ultiworld in the boys division, while H-B Woodlawn Gxrls and Washington-Liberty Gxrls were ranked 19th and 20th respectively in the girls division, according to the latest power ranking list published.

https://twitter.com/HBVarsityGirls/status/1525462695683796993

Among the four Arlington teams, only Washington-Liberty Gxrls has not been to previous national tournaments. MJ Muskovitz, a senior and the team’s captain, said the invite was “a huge surprise.”

Since almost half of her team was new, Muskovitz thought they were still “trying to build up the base of play and recruit more players” for this year, she told ARLnow.

“I got to read out the email [from the organizer] that we got to the rest of the team, it was a huge shock because we did not expect to be going to nationals,” Muskovitz said.

As her team was still focused on strengthening team bonds and developing the new players’ fundamental skills such as throwing, the members’ expectations weren’t “necessarily too high,” Muskovitz said.

“We hope to gain a new experience for our players,” she said. “We’re also looking to push our team more into a national spotlight.”

On the other hand, Coach Jay Boyle of H-B Woodlawn’s boys team hoped his squad could “make the upper bracket.” Although he was not the coach at the time, H-B Woodlawn Open participated in the national tournament in 2018.

In preparing for the tournament, Boyle’s team has been lifting weights, training three days a week over the winter, in addition to reviewing video footage of other teams, he added. Throughout the season, the team has held practices five days a week at times.

“It’s exciting, we think that we deserve the spot, we think of ourselves as a team that is competitive nationally,” Boyle said.

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(Updated at 5:15 p.m.) The loud pop sound produced by a pickleball hitting a paddle has led to the closing of a popular court at Glebe Road Park.

A new pilot program that began last month at the North Arlington park is temporarily closing a stand-alone outdoor pickleball court through the majority of the spring and summer.

As a replacement, the tennis court next to it is now striped to create two additional pickleball courts. With the change, there are now two lighted multi-purpose tennis/pickleball courts and one lighted tennis court at Glebe Road Park. The park’s hours also have been adjusted, with the lights now shutting off at 10 p.m. instead of 11 p.m.

The reason for these changes is that the pop of pickleball — an increasingly popular sport — is bothersome some nearby neighbors in the Old Glebe community.

“One of the issues with pickleball is complaints of the popping noise the paddle makes when it hits the ball,” Martha Holland, a spokesperson for the Arlington Department of Parks and Recreation, tells ARLnow. “These concerns are not unique to Arlington but are prevalent in many communities nationwide. Many jurisdictions are grappling with finding the balance [given] the growth in pickleball.”

“These concerns were present before the COVID-19 pandemic,” Holland added. “However, the increase in play on the dedicated pickleball court at Glebe Road Park during COVID-19 has exacerbated the situation.”

The pilot program is set to run until September 6 and, at that point, the county will determine next steps.

“We will be checking in with the community (neighbors and court users) a couple times during the pilot to get feedback,” Holland wrote. “We hope to mitigate the sound issues by moving pickleball to the tennis courts.”

It’s no secret that pickleball’s popularity has surged over the last two years, due in part to it being a relatively low-impact social sport that allows players to stay within a relatively safe distance from one another.

This has, in turn led Arlington County to increase the number of courts available for pickleball.

But it also has caused some challenges. For one, there’s a limited number of available court space in the county. Back in November, county officials expressed some frustration that pickleball players were going rogue and unilaterally marking off pickleball boundaries on existing tennis and basketball courts.

At Glebe Road Park, the re-striping of a tennis court for pickleball hasn’t sat well with everyone vying for a share of that prime concrete real estate.

Helen White, part of the Arlington Pickleball Club‘s leadership team, says she’s heard from members that they’ve been “bullied” by tennis players when using the courts.

There is a county-run reservation system, allowing residents to book one of the tennis courts in 60 or 90 minute increments at $10 an hour. However, with many spots open, it’s unclear how much the system is actually utilized.

Then, there’s the noise of ball meeting paddle.

It was a single household that first brought a noise concerns to the county’s attention in August 2020, Arlington’s Director of Constituent Services Ben Aiken confirms to ARLnow. As time went on, though, more households complained to the county about the popping noise, Aiken says.

There was even talk of a petition, supposedly signed by about 20 households all living near the park on N. Old Glebe Road, though Aiken tells ARLnow that he has yet to receive a formal petition and is not aware of one circulating in the community.

ARLnow attempted to reach out to the homeowner who initially complained to the county, but they declined to speak for this story.

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Up the hill from John F. Kennedy’s grave and behind Arlington House on the western side of Arlington National Cemetery lies the purported inventor of America’s pastime.

The former Union Army General Abner Doubleday is interred in section 1, laid to permanent rest there nearly 130 years ago. He’s one of more than a hundred Union generals that are buried at Arlington National Cemetery. While it’s his accomplishments during the Civil War that led him here, history remembers Doubleday much more for his perceived contributions to the game of baseball.

“I’m a big baseball fan. When I was growing up in the 1960s, the common view among the public was that this guy named Doubleday invented it,” says George Dodge, former Arlington Historical Society president and author of a book about the history of Arlington National Cemetery. “But that’s largely been completely discredited.”

Doubleday, a New York native, had a lifetime full of military experience. He was an officer in the Mexican War, fought in the Seminole War, and actually commended the gunners that fired the Civil War’s first shots at Fort Sumter. During the Civil War, he also saw action at Antietam, Fredericksburg, Bull Run, and Gettysburg.

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It was at Gettysburg where Doubleday was given command of the corps, when another general was killed in action, that helped to secure high ground. This ultimately led to the Union’s victory at the famed battle and likely turned the tide of the war.

“He has to be given some credit for that and I don’t think he does,” says Dodge.

After the war, he worked to help formerly enslaved people transition to a life of freedom, secure patents for San Francisco’s cable car system, and led a religious group devoted to spiritualism. Doubleday died in 1893 in New Jersey.

But before all of that, he apparently — according to legend — invented baseball.

The story goes that, while living in Cooperstown, New York, in 1839, a 20-year-old Doubleday drew a diamond in the dust and declared this was for a new game he called “base ball.” Along with a 1871 request for baseball-like equipment, this was enough proof for some that Doubleday invented baseball.

And, for the better part of the 20th century, this narrative existed — and, to some extent, still to this day.

Over the last several decades, however, historians have proven that Doubleday likely didn’t invent baseball.

The tale of him drawing a diamond in the dust was only first recounted via letter in 1905, more than 60 years after the fact, to the Mills Commission, a group that had been tasked to determine the origins of the great American game of baseball.

The letter was written by a man named Abner Graves who claimed he was there that day, but Graves would have only been 5 years old at the time. Additionally, it was unlikely that Doubleday was even in Cooperstown at the time. He was a cadet at West Point in 1839 and, even if he had returned home to see family, his family had moved to another village.

“They were looking for even the flimsiest of proof that [baseball] originated here in the United States,” says Dodge.

The more likely reason that this myth exists is that Doubleday represented a home run candidate — a respected Union Army general buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

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Capitals practice at MedStar Capitals Iceplex (via Monumental Sports and Entertainment)

Oakridge Elementary will get to cheer on the Washington Capitals heading into the playoffs.

More than 280 third through fifth grade students will participate in a pep rally at the Arlington Ridge school tomorrow (Friday), just days before teams begin facing off for the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The event, dubbed “Soar to the Playoffs,” is being organized by the Caps and sponsored by Boeing, which has its D.C. headquarters in nearby Crystal City. The event will run from noon to 1 p.m. and feature street hockey, as well as an appearance from Caps mascot Slapshot.

As the season winds down and playoff matchups are firming up, there’s news swirling around Alexander Ovechkin’s injury and ability to start in the playoffs. He sat out of Tuesday’s game against the New York Islanders. The team is set to play the Islanders again tonight at 7 p.m. on Long Island.

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Morning Notes

A Washington City Paper box sits by itself near a crosswalk in Ballston, after the announcement that the paper would be ending its print edition (staff photo)

Concern Growing for Missing Man — “Arlington County, Va., police are seeking help from the public in locating gay Pentagon City resident Shaun M. Spaulding, 39, who police say was last seen on the afternoon of March 15, 2022, at his residence by his roommate. Princess Melissa, Spaulding’s cousin, reached out to the LGBTQ community in a Facebook message last week urging anyone who may have seen Spaulding to contact the police.” [Washington Blade]

Arlingtonian on Jeopardy! Tonight — Tonight’s episode of the long-running TV quiz show is set to feature Kathleen Snyder, a government contractor from Arlington. [Jeopardy!]

Overturned Vehicle Last Night — From Dave Statter: “One car overturned at the intersection of S. Carlin Springs Road & Ardley Court. Person out of the car. #Police, fire & #EMS on scene.” [Twitter]

Misbehavior at Local Middle School — “Parents in Arlington are concerned after students were caught bringing weapons to a middle school and being inappropriate in the restrooms. They’ve been contacting FOX 5 about a number of incidents that have taken place at Swanson Middle School.” [Fox 5]

APS Homework Debate Rages — “Rarely have I received reaction to a column as vigorous — and as negative — as the flood of emails from teachers appalled by my opposition to a plan in Arlington, Va., to strike down traditional homework and grading systems.” [Washington Post]

New Coach for New Marymount Sport — “Roy Hill has been hired to be the head coach and start the men’s wrestling program at Marymount University. The first season for the Division III Saints will be the 2022-23 winter season… ‘Northern Virginia deserves to have a top-notch Division III option for the large number of quality wrestlers who want to get a quality education while being in the business hub of the nation,’ Hill said.” [Sun Gazette]

Video: Coyote Terrorizes Fox Family — From a reader: “A coyote came to my Arlington backyard to try to feast on my fox family who live under my shed. There’s a mama and a papa and four kits. The foxes did their best to lure him away for now. This happened Friday night. We hope he doesn’t come back.” [YouTube]

It’s Tuesday — Rain throughout the day. High of 62 and low of 48. Sunrise at 6:48 am and sunset at 7:37 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Morning Notes

A kite stuck up a tree in Rosslyn (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Another Malfunctioning Walk Signal — Just over a week after this, another reported crosswalk signal issue: “Instead of telling you when it’s safe to cross the street, the walk signs in Crystal City, VA are just repeating ‘CHANGE PASSWORD’. Something’s gone terribly wrong here.” [Twitter]

School Board Meeting Was Mostly Maskless — “For those playing the ‘how many Arlington School Board members will go mask-free at the first board meeting after requirements were lifted?’ home game, the winners were those who had put their money on four out of five. Board members David Priddy, Cristina Diaz-Torres, Reid Goldstein and chairman Barbara Kanninen were maskless at the March 10 meeting, as was Superintendent Francisco Durán. School Board member Mary Kadera kept her mask affixed.” [Sun Gazette]

Survey Work on GW Parkway — ” A $161 million ‘complete rehabilitation‘ of the northern section of the George Washington Memorial Parkway is being planned… Through Friday, March 18, there will be single-lane closures along the northern section of the George Washington Memorial Parkway for bridge surveys. Drivers should proceed with caution in these areas and consider using alternate routes, according to an NPS alert.” [WUSA 9]

Arlington Doc Helping Refugees — “An Arlington doctor is not only battling the pandemic in Northern Virginia, but he also travels across international borders to help those in need. The current refugee crisis that began with Afghans in 2021, now includes Ukrainians facing a similar fate of displacement and an uncertain future. For three years before COVID-19 spread across the globe, Dr. Ali Karim helped build wells in Nigeria, aided orphans and women in Kabul, Afghanistan and filmed a documentary about his solo journey.” [WJLA]

Days Inn Redevelopment Update — “The plans to replace the Days Inn at 2201 Arlington Boulevard with 262 multi-family units and around 3,000 square feet of retail were filed with Arlington County last week. The eight-story project will also have surface and underground parking. STUDIOS Architecture designed the building.” [Urban Turf]

Social Sports Return to Crystal City — “Sand Volleyball is BACK in National Landing starting this May with a few fun new additions – Bocce and Corn Hole!” [Twitter]

Yes, It’s Getting Windier — “Our analysis of wind data shows that the strongest gusts have become more frequent recently. Last year featured more big wind gusts than any recent year, a trend that has continued into this year. Wind advisories, issued by the National Weather Service when gusts are expected to top 45 mph, have also been on the increase since the mid-2000s.” [Capital Weather Gang]

It’s Tuesday — Mostly cloudy throughout the day. High of 66 and low of 40. Sunrise at 7:21 am and sunset at 7:17 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Morning Notes

A military helicopter flies along the Potomac River and National Mall, as viewed from near the Netherlands Carillon (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Wet, Windy, Snowy Saturday on Tap — “A powerful storm system will cross the region Saturday. We are likely to see winds gusting over 50 mph Saturday, along with very low wind chills by Saturday night. We remain uncertain about snowfall, as the cold air will be chasing the precip — a wide range remains possible.” [Twitter, Capital Weather Gang]

Firefighters Union Wins Vote — “For the first time in more than FOUR DECADES — a public sector union will have the right to negotiate a contract with Arlington County. And it wasn’t just a win — it was a BLOWOUT.” [Facebook, Twitter]

PSA: Don’t Leave Keys Inside a Parked Car — An auto theft near Upton Hill park: “At approximately 12:40 a.m., a witness observed three unknown suspects rummaging through a vehicle. The witness yelled and the suspects fled the scene on foot. The suspects then entered into the victim’s car, located the keys inside and drove away from the area. The vehicle is described as gray in color, 2015 Honda CRV bearing VA license plate VKX2844.” [ACPD]

Marymount Adding Wrestling Teams — “Marymount University is moving forward on plans to add both Men’s and  Women’s Wrestling as varsity sports, expanding the institution’s athletic offerings to 22 different varsity-level teams. Men’s competition will begin in the 2022-23 academic year, as Marymount currently searches for a head coach who will begin recruiting for the program immediately. Women’s competition will debut during the 2023-24 academic year.” [Marymount University]

How Arlington Landed HQ2 — “If you’re interested in how Amazon could reshape our region, it’s worth understanding what our region had to build to land them. It’s an underdog story that starts with a small team of local business-improvement officials who had neither the clout nor the cash of most of their competitors. Instead, they figured out what Amazon was really looking for and quietly began the process of shaping a city to fit those needs.” [Northern Virginia Magazine]

An Irish Tale on a Local Stage — “Tis the time of the year that everyone wants to be Irish, if only for a wee while, and Encore Stage & Studio has joined the celebration of all things Eire with the world-premiere production of ‘Riley O’Brien and the Lost Leprechaun.’ While aimed at the younger set, the show is inventive in its conception and solid in its execution, making it a treat for all ages.” [Sun Gazette]

Fairfax County Local News — ARLnow’s latest sister site, FFXnow, is providing up-to-the-minute coverage of Fairfax County following its recent official launch. Sign up for the email newsletter or follow on Facebook or Twitter. [FFXnow]

It’s Friday — Sunny most of the day, then rain overnight. High of 59 and low of 37. Sunrise at 6:27 am and sunset at 6:13 pm. [Weather.gov]

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