Arlington Murder Suspect Arrested — Jason Allen Johnson, wanted for the fatal shooting of 23-year-old Michael Gray at an Arlington house party in February, has been arrested. Fox 5 reports that Johnson was arrested in New York on unrelated charges. [Fox 5]
County Threatens Eminent Domain for Bus Parking Lot — Arlington County is threatening to use the power of eminent domain to acquire a property it is currently leasing for bus parking along I-395 near Shirlington. The County Board last night authorized an offer to buy the property, which is assessed at $20.5 million, but also authorized use of eminent domain to acquire the property if its purchase offer is unsuccessful. [Arlington County]
Auditor Plans to Tackle School Construction Costs — “The Arlington School Board’s internal auditor plans to take a crack at a vexing question: Why does it cost so much more to build a school in Arlington than elsewhere? Or does really cost that much more, after all?” [InsideNova]
ACPD Greets All-Law Enforcement Honor Flight — Officers from the Arlington County Police Department and other local law enforcement agencies often greet honor flights arriving at Reagan National Airport. Yesterday they greeted the first-ever honor flight of veterans who all later served as law enforcement officers. [Twitter, Twitter]
Endorsements for Gutshall, McCullough — Democratic Arlington County Board candidate Erik Gutshall has picked up the endorsement of the Sun Gazette newspaper. Independent progressive candidate Charles McCullough, meanwhile, has been endorsed by the Working Families Party. [InsideNova, InsideNova]
Flickr pool photo by Ameschen
Sun Gazette’s County Board Endorsement — The Arlington Sun Gazette newspaper has endorsed Erik Gutshall in the Democratic County Board caucuses, which are happening this week. At the same time, the paper urged readers to also consider Kim Klingler, thanks in part to her background on public safety issues. [InsideNova]
SoberRide Triples Cinco de Mayo Usage — Having switched from offering free taxi rides to free Lyft rides, the regional SoberRide anti-DUI program reported that its ridership on Cinco de Mayo tripled this year: 676 riders compared to 225 last year. [Washington Regional Alcohol Program]
Hurricane Hunters at DCA — Government officials and members of the public were on hand at Reagan National Airport yesterday to tour the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s hurricane hunter aircraft. Among those on hand were acting FEMA director Bob Fenton and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. The director of the National Hurricane Center called it “the biggest, baddest hurricane awareness tour stop we have ever had.” [Roll Call, Capital Weather Gang]
TV Station Visits Local School — WJLA (ABC 7) and meteorologist Brian van de Graaff broadcast live from Hoffman-Boston Elementary School, near Columbia Pike and I-395, yesterday as part of the station’s “lunchbox weather” program. [WJLA]
Activists Target FCC Chair’s Arlington Neighbors — In their fight to retain net neutrality policies, activists have been leaving advocacy materials for and knocking on the doors of FCC Chair Ajit Pai’s neighbors in Arlington. Pai has suggested such policies should be rolled back. [Silicon Beat, DSL Reports, Popular Resistance]
Arlington Water Quality Report Posted — The results of Arlington County’s annual water quality testing have been published online. Per a press release: “Based on sampling data taken throughout the year at our treatment plant and distribution system, the report confirms that Arlington’s high-quality drinking water meets and exceeds all federal and state requirements.” [Arlington County]
Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman
Sun Gazette Moving HQ to Falls Church — The Sun Gazette newspaper is moving its headquarters from McLean to the city of Falls Church. The paper, which has an Arlington edition and a McLean/Great Falls/Vienna/Oakton edition, has previously, under its current editor, had its headquarters in Dunn Loring, Alexandria and Springfield. [InsideNova]
Review of Synetic’s ‘Sleeping Beauty’ — Crystal City-based physical theater company Synetic is performing its unique take on “Sleeping Beauty” through Jan. 8. It has received a laudatory review from Broadway World. “Every mimed motion, from a butterfly alighting on a hand to that fated spinning wheel wound, is flawlessly executed and transports audiences to a place beyond imagination,” the publication wrote. [Broadway World]
Children of Inmates Receive Gifts — The annual “Project Christmas Angel” initiative has distributed more than 1,100 gifts this year to nearly 400 children whose parents will be locked up in the Arlington County jail or in state prisons over the holidays. The project also supports kids who have a parent that was recently released from incarceration. [InsideNova]
Final ‘Around Arlington’ of 2016 — The final episode of the county-produced Around Arlington television segment features updates on the Four Mile Run Valley initiative, humanitarian award winners and plans for 2017. [YouTube]
Fire Station Open Houses — Arlington County’s ten fire stations will be hosting open houses on Saturday as part of Fire Prevention Week. The open houses will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will allow attendees of all ages to tour the stations, climb in the trucks, talk to firefighters and learn about fire safety. [Arlington County]
Sun Gazette Endorses Garvey — Incumbent Democratic Arlington County Board member Libby Garvey has won the endorsement of the Sun Gazette over independent challenger Audrey Clement. Garvey “is the only candidate on the ballot who has both a track record on the issues and in building coalitions to serve the public,” the newspaper says. [InsideNova]
Arlington Ranked No. 25 Bicycling City — Arlington County is the 25th-ranked “city” for bicycling in the country, according to Bicycling Magazine. Arlington offers robust bicycling infrastructure and does a good job of encouraging residents to get out of their cars and try biking to work instead, but it “consistent enforcement” of traffic laws to protect cyclists “remains an issue.” [Bicycling]
Is Aircraft Noise Getting Worse? — Washington Post columnist Petula Dvorak has taken up the issue of aircraft noise complaints in Arlington. Some residents say the noise has gotten worse recently, particularly with more helicopters and tilt-rotor V-22 Ospreys overhead. So far, the Dept. of Defense has not explained the purpose of the numerous Osprey flights. [Washington Post]
Amish Super PAC Has HQ in Clarendon — A political action committee that’s trying to convince the Amish to vote for Donald Trump this fall has its headquarters in Clarendon. [Quartz]
Arlington Honored as ‘Walk Friendly Community’ — Arlington has again been honored as a Gold-level Walk Friendly Community. Arlington is one of 15 communities nationwide to achieve the gold rating. [Arlington County]
‘Whimsical’ Old Victorian Farmhouse For Sale — A “whimsical” Queen Anne-style Victorian home that dates back to 1881 is on the market for $1.3 million. The home, in Arlington’s Waycroft-Woodlawn neighborhood, was the setting of a notable children’s novel, among other distinctions. [Washington Post]
InsideNova Implements New Ads? — InsideNova, the web home of the Arlington Sun Gazette, appears to be running 30 second video ads that cannot be closed with each new page view. That’s what ARLnow.com encountered this morning; it’s unclear if that is happening for every user. InsideNova content was previously placed behind a paywall, which has since been quietly removed. [InsideNova]
Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick
Woman Struck By Metrobus Files Suit — A woman who was struck and pinned under a Metrobus in Crystal City last month is suing WMATA for $25 million. The woman, who suffered a broken arm and crush injuries to her left leg, worked as a personal trainer and bartender. She’s still recovering in a hospital, according to the lawsuit. [Associated Press]
Rhodeside Grill Anniversary — Rhodeside Grill (1836 Wilson Blvd) is celebrating its 20th anniversary tonight. [ARLnow]
Letter Writer: Muslim Town Hall Was Partisan — A Muslim Town Hall at Arlington Central Library billed as a “non-partisan community event” included lots of criticism of Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, says an attendee who wrote to the Sun Gazette. [InsideNova]
Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf
Sun Gazette Endorses Cristol — After endorsing Michael McMenamin last week, the Sun Gazette is endorsing Katie Cristol for the second open Arlington County Board seat. The paper opined that Cristol had one of the worst campaign kickoffs in Arlington Democratic history, but “very few candidates in recent memory have improved so quickly.” [InsideNova]
Board Candidates Agree on Accessory Dwellings — The candidates for County Board reportedly agreed on one thing at a recent candidate forum: the need to loosen Arlington’s restrictive rules on accessory dwellings, “so that more seniors and young people could afford living in residential areas.” Accessory dwellings are sometimes called “granny flats,” “in-law apartments” or “backyard cottages.” Currently, Arlington approves the construction of no more than 28 accessory dwellings per year. [Falls Church News-Press]
GGW on County Board Race — The urbanist blog Greater Greater Washington has a breakdown of the Arlington County Board race and the stances of candidates on I-66, bike lanes, transit and development. [Greater Greater Washington]
Reminder: E-CARE This Weekend — Arlington County will hold its biannual E-CARE recycling event on Saturday. The event was rescheduled to take place on Halloween due to bad weather earlier this month. [ARLnow]
Walking for Lung Cancer Research — An Arlington woman is walking in a lung cancer fundraiser Sunday in memory of her sister, a nonsmoker and recent mother who died from the disease earlier this year. The event, “Breathe Deep D.C.,” is being held on the National Mall and is raising money for lung cancer research. [Patch]
Flickr pool photo by TheBeltWalk
Sun Gazette Endorses McMenamin — The Arlington Sun Gazette has endorsed independent County Board candidate Mike McMenamin. The newspaper says McMenamin is “by far the most seasoned and well-rounded candidate in the race.” [InsideNova]
Airport Workers Protest for Living Wage — Airport workers who make as little as $6.75 per hour held a protest at Reagan National Airport with the local 32BJ SEIU union on Wednesday. Among those attending the rally were wheelchair attendants, janitors, cabin cleaners and baggage handlers. The protest was part of a nationwide campaign for a $15 per hour minimum wage for airport workers. [Washington Post]
Candidate Night at Aurora Hills — The Aurora Highlands, Arlington Ridge and Crystal City civic associations are jointly sponsoring a candidates night for Arlington County Board hopefuls tonight. The forum will start at 7 p.m. at the Aurora Hills Community Center. Development, including the proposed redevelopment of the RiverHouse property in Pentagon City, is expected to be a hot topic. [ARCA]
Judy Blume Speaking in Arlington Tonight –Best-selling children’s and young adult novel author Judy Blume is speaking about her latest book at a free library-sponsored event in Arlington tonight. [ARLnow]
A Quick Note on Pageview Counts — As you might have noticed, we have eliminated pageview counts on most ARLnow articles. While this has been a feature for few years, recently it’s been buggy, slow to update and has frequently severely under-counted the actual number of views on an article. We’ll continue to show pageview counts to denote articles that are particularly “hot,” but take the numbers with a grain of salt.
The Sun Gazette’s parent company, Northern Virginia Media Services, says it activated a metered paywall on its Northern Virginia news site, InsideNova.com, on Dec. 1. Sun Gazette articles are published on the site.
The paywall is designed to force readers to complete a free registration after reading five articles per month, according to an announcement last week. After reading another ten in the course of a month, the site will require a $4.99 per month subscription.
“Many news sites have gone in this direction,” Northern Virginia Media Services COO Bruce Potter said in the announcement. “We are simply asking our heaviest users to contribute a little bit toward the cost of providing the outstanding content on which they rely every day.”
While the online subscription is described as a “minimal monthly fee,” it’s actually more expensive than another way to get online access: by subscribing to the Sun Gazette print edition. The company says a subscription to the weekly newspaper is $39 per year and includes full online access.
Orange/Silver Line Delays — There were delays on the Orange and Silver lines this morning due to a disabled train at Virginia Square. The disabled train has since been cleared and trains are no longer single tracking around it. [Twitter]
Video: Don’t Put H-B Woodlawn in Reed School — A video created by members of the Westover community urges Arlington Public Schools to reject any proposal to relocate the H-B Woodlawn secondary program to the Reed School. [YouTube]
Design Tweaks for Courthouse Building — Developer Carr Properties has made several tweaks to the design of 2025 Clarendon Blvd, its proposed office building which will replace the Wendy’s in Courthouse. Responding to concerns from county planners, Carr has added a fourth retail bay and replaced most of the terra cotta in the facade with more glass and steel. [Washington Business Journal – WARNING: AUTO-PLAY VIDEO]
Health Violations at Arlington Restaurants — WUSA9 investigative reporter Russ Ptacek has set his sights on Arlington restaurants that have had food safety licenses revoked, including Mario’s Pizza, Aroma Indian Cuisine, Pedro & Vinny’s and Astor Mediterranean. In Virginia, restaurants get their violations cleared from the public database after getting a new license post-revocation. [WUSA9 – WARNING: AUTO-PLAY VIDEO]
Parking App for DCA — Starting Nov. 1, those parking at Reagan National Airport will be able to pay via a smartphone app. [MWAA]
Sun Gazette Carries Doomsday Ad — The Arlington Sun Gazette recently carried an ad for Disaster Retreat, a doomsday safe haven in central Virginia for “serious-minded families and executives.” The half-page ad was adjacent to a streetcar editorial and ads for window treatments and dog training. [Slate]
Rabbit Closing — Just days after telling ARLnow.com he had reduced hours to lunch only, the owner of Rabbit Salad and Grill (3035 Clarendon Blvd) in Clarendon has apparently decided to completely call it quits. The restaurant will close on Friday to make way for Fat Shorty’s, a beer and sausage restaurant. The new restaurant is expected to open in early April. [Washingtonian]
Carlee Becomes Charlotte City Manager — Former Arlington County Manager Ron Carlee has taken a new job as the city manager of Charlotte, NC. Carlee had worked for Arlington County for 29 years, but left in 2009 for a job with the International City/County Management Association. Carlee’s new salary is reported to be $290,000 per year, a 15 percent increase over his predecessor’s salary. [Charlotte Observer]
Chuck Todd to Give Marymount Commencement Address — Chuck Todd, Chief White House Correspondent for NBC News, will give Marymount University’s commencement address this spring. He’ll speak at D.A.R. Constitution Hall on May 19, the same day the University will award Todd the honorary degree Doctor of Humane Letters in recognition of his career in journalism.
Concern Over Unlicensed Cabs — County Board members voiced concerns about reports of unlicensed taxis operating in Arlington. They asked county staff to investigate the issue and report back. The Board oversees the county’s taxi business by allotting a fixed number of operating certificates and regulating fares. [Sun Gazette]
Sun Gazette Office Moving — Today is moving day for The Sun Gazette. The paper’s office is being relocated from Springfield to 6704 Old McLean Road in McLean. The move is intended to put advertising and newsroom offices in the heart of the paper’s coverage territory, which stretches from Arlington west to Great Falls and then south to Vienna and Oakton. [Sun Gazette]
GOP May Skip November Board Race — With a presidential election likely to bring Democrats out to the polls in droves, Republicans are saying, privately, that it’s likely they will not be running a candidate for County Board in November. Republican Mark Kelly received 43.5 percent of the vote to Democrat Libby Garvey’s 49.2 percent in yesterday’s historically low turnout special election. [Sun Gazette]
D.C. Premiere of H-B Grad’s Film Planned — Fresh off a big win at the Sundance Film Festival, “Fishing Without Nets” will be holding its Washington, D.C. premiere next month. The short film, created by H-B Woodlawn grad Cutter Hodierne, will be premiering at a “surprise location” on Saturday, April 21. Tickets are $15. [Eventbrite]
Sun Gazette Sold to Texas Company — The weekly Sun Gazette newspaper has been sold to HPR Hemlock LLC, a newspaper investment firm out of Fort Worth, Texas. A company executive says the Sun Gazette and its sister publication, Leesburg Today, will retain autonomy at the local level. The Sun Gazette had previously been owned by another Texas company, American Community Newspapers LLC, which declared bankruptcy in 2009. [Sun Gazette]
The Washington Post and the Arlington Sun Gazette both endorsed Favola yesterday, passing over her opponent, Republican Caren Merrick.
“Our inclination at the beginning of the race was to favor Merrick,” wrote the Sun Gazette. “But as the campaign progressed, we’ve been left wondering exactly what her core political philosophy is, and how she will put it into action, if elected, in Richmond.”
“Democrat Barbara Favola, a knowledgeable veteran of the Arlington County Board, would be effective in the Senate from Day 1 representing this district,” wrote the Washington Post. “Ms. Merrick, despite her valuable business experience, has offered no plausible alternative for tackling [traffic] gridlock.”
Merrick holds a substantial cash advantage over Favola, however. As of Sept. 30, Merrick had $140,076 in the bank, compared to Favola’s $62,612.
Favola and Merrick are scheduled to debate tonight at the Cherrydale Volunteer Fire Department (3900 Lee Highway). The debate is expected to begin around 7:30 p.m.
Car on Fire on I-395 — A car caught fire on southbound I-395 near Boundary Channel around 9:30 last night. The car was fully-engulfed by the time firefighters arrived on scene. No injuries were reported
Sun Gazette: Thumbs Down to Board’s ‘Walmart’ Action — The County Board’s last-minute, unannounced vote at the end of its final meeting before the summer recess is getting a “thumbs down” in the opinion pages of the Sun Gazette. The Board voted to advertise hearings on a zoning ordinance amendment that would prevent large-format retailers like Walmart from building a store without prior Board approval. “County staff so far have been unable to explain what the rush is – they want to get this approved by the County Board later in the month – and exactly what problem they are trying to solve,” the paper opined. [Sun Gazette]
School Board Challenger Drops Out — Independent Green candidate for school board Andrea Ochoa has withdrawn from the race, according to Arlington elections officials. Incumbent Democrat Abby Raphael will now run unopposed.
Street Sign Mistakes — Typos happen, including on street signs in Arlington. Among the examples: “22rd Road,” “Chian Br. Road” and an unspecified misspelling of “school” on a parking sign. [Falls Church News-Press]
Photo courtesy of @cmags44
Jaime Areizaga-Soto has received the endorsement of Del. David Englin, a founding co-chair of the Virginia Progressive Caucus, while Barbara Favola received the endorsement of the Sun Gazette newspaper.
In its editorial, the Sun Gazette said that Favola provides “common-sense, middle-ground representation” as a County Board member, while Areizaga-Soto lacks experience.
“As newcomer Areizaga-Soto has no political track record to speak of, we can only judge him based on his platform and public pronouncements,” the paper said. “The talking points are all of the garden-variety ‘progressive’ kind that make many Northern Virginia Democrats largely irrelevant in Richmond’s corridors of power… Favola, on the other hand, does have a track record. It is hardly perfect, but it is strong enough to make her a decided favorite in our eyes.”
Englin, meanwhile, said he “can no longer remain silent” about the way he believes Areizaga-Soto has been treated by Democratic leaders.
As a progressive leader in the General Assembly, I generally do not endorse Democratic primary candidates in districts where I cannot vote, and I’ve been especially hesitant to comment on the 31st District Senate primary because my wife is a paid consultant for one of the candidates, Jaime Areizaga-Soto. However, my simmering anger at how my own party’s leaders in the Virginia Senate are handling this race has boiled over, and I can no longer remain silent.
Jaime Areizaga-Soto is a Georgetown and Stanford-educated attorney and a U.S. Army Reserve lieutenant colonel, whom President Obama appointed to a high-level position at the U.S. Agency for International Development. He served as a White House Fellow — one of our nation’s most prestigious programs for leadership and public service, whose alumni include distinguished Americans like Wesley Clark, Colin Powell, and Doris Kearns Goodwin. On top of all that, he’s an Eagle Scout who is fluent in four languages. Yet the retiring incumbent, who just months ago introduced Areizaga-Soto to her constituents as a valued policy adviser, now claims he was a mere intern in her office and accuses him of inflating his resume. Since when does a 41-year-old who is an accomplished attorney, a lieutenant colonel, an Obama Administration appointee, and a White House Fellow need to inflate his resume?
The most senior Democratic leaders in the Virginia Senate continue to attack and belittle Areizaga-Soto, who would be the first Latino elected to the Virginia Senate, because he has the nerve to seek his party’s nomination against their hand-picked choice. They are so incensed by his candidacy that they have spent tens of thousands of dollars to attack him that could otherwise be used to defend their tenuous Democratic majority. This smacks of an earlier era of “good old boy” Virginia Democratic politics that most of us soundly rejected long ago. I have nothing against the other candidate in this race, Barbara Favola, with whom I have enjoyed working on Arlington County issues over the years. But the seat she and Areizaga-Soto seek belongs to the people of the 31st District, not to party bosses or the retiring incumbent to bequeath to the successor of their choice.
I urge Democrats in Arlington, Fairfax, and Loudoun to vote for Jaime Areizaga-Soto for Senate on August 23rd, both because he will be a thoughtful, progressive champion for our entire community, and to send a message that the Democratic Party is still the open, inclusive party of good government we have worked so hard together to build.