Residents at the Arlington Mill Residences affordable housing complex could be set for free wireless internet access.
The Arlington County Board will consider a plan to offer the free service to tenants at 901 S. Dinwiddie Street as part of a new initiative called Arlington Digital Inclusion.
The initiative by the county’s Department of Technology Services and Department of Community Planning, Housing and Development, will use the county’s dedicated network of dark fiber to provide free broadband internet for three years.
“Currently, there are 122 committed affordable units at Arlington Mill Residences and 159 children are currently residing at the development,” county staff wrote in a report. “About half of all households (61) do not currently subscribe to an internet/data service. This program would provide free, in-unit high-speed Wi-Fi access to every unit. It would also help alleviate the cost of Internet/data service (which can range from $50-$75/month) for those households currently paying for the service.”
Staff said the initiative would particularly help the children that live there to close the “homework gap,” where students find it difficult to access online resources at home.
The total cost of the project over three years is just over $140,000, funded in part by $95,400 in grant money from the county through allocating Columbia Pike Tax Increment funds that help pay for affordable housing. The remaining cost of $44,809 is provided for free by service providers as what staff called a “goodwill contribution.”
The Board will vote on the plan at its meeting Saturday (December 16). Staff recommended approval.
Photo via Google Maps
ACFD Responds to Overturned Truck — Rescue crews responded to the intersection of George Mason Drive and 27th Street N., in the Yorktown neighborhood, just before 6:30 last night for a crash involving an overturned vehicle. At least two vehicles, including a minivan, and a pickup truck that overturned, were involved. [Twitter]
Apartment Fire in Ashton Heights — Firefighters quickly extinguished a small fire in the storage room of an apartment building in Ashton Heights yesterday afternoon. The fire happened on the 500 block of N. Piedmont Street and was “kept small by sprinklers.” [Twitter]
I-66 Tolls Not as Bad as You Might Think — According to VDOT, tolls on the first day of HOT lanes on I-66 were, on average, not too bad: “The average round-trip toll price was $14.50, with the average morning toll paid of $10.70 and average afternoon toll paid of $3.80. This average toll rate is lower than the estimated average toll rate of $17.00 round-trip discussed in 2015.” Also, Friday morning’s tolls were lower than those of previous days. [VDOT, Washington Post]
Kaspersky Closes Arlington Office — Russian cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Labs has closed its government sales office in Arlington as a result of the government banning use of Kaspersky antivirus software on federal computers. The company “came under tough US scrutiny after US officials became concerned about the company’s links to the Russian government.” [Buzzfeed]
Flickr pool photo by Michael Coffman
A new tool provides a map view of various projects being undertaken by Arlington County government.
Known as the “My Arlington — Projects Map,” it is a collaboration between several county departments. It shows projects in transportation, parks, water and utilities facilities and private development, as well as daily work being done.
More on how the tool works from a county press release:
- Projects can be filtered by type and status
- You can look up projects based on your address or civic association
- Addresses in and around Arlington produce the best results (some smaller-scale projects may not be included)
- Most projects are removed from the map once they’ve been complete for one year
- The map is updated several times a day
- It links people with more detailed project information already online
The tool does not include projects by the Virginia Department of Transportation, Washington Gas, Dominion Power, Arlington Public Schools, or other non-county government entities. In the future, more information will be added. Map data will also soon be viewable on the My Arlington mobile app.
County Board Approves Affordable Housing Loan — At its meeting last night, the Arlington County Board approved a loan that will help preserve the 294-unit Park Shirlington Apartments as affordable housing. The $6 million loan from the county’s Affordable Housing Investment Fund will allow a pair of developers to buy the complex, rehabilitate it and preserve as much affordable housing as possible. [Arlington County]
Ten Die in Va. Thanksgiving Weekend Crashes — “With overall traffic fatalities already on the increase, the 2017 Thanksgiving holiday weekend proved to be a deadly one… on Virginia’s highways. During the holiday… traffic crashes claimed the lives of eight drivers, one passenger and a pedestrian.” [Virginia State Police]
Video Shows Helicopter Search of Crane — A video, posted by a Pentagon City resident, shows the Fairfax County Police helicopter using its spotlight to search a construction crane Sunday night, as part of a death investigation that was still ongoing as of Monday evening. [YouTube]
FCC Chair Reports Harassing Signs — FCC chairman and Arlington resident Ajit Pai is again being targeted at his home by activists who oppose changes to net neutrality and media ownership rules. This time, signs outside Pai’s home have reportedly referenced his children. The Arlington County Republican Committee called the alleged harassment “disgusting.” [Washington Post, Twitter]
Education Tech Company Sets Up Clarendon Studios — “Higher education is getting the star treatment… in Clarendon. Headquartered in Lanham, Maryland, [education technology firm] 2U recently revamped the former Henninger Media space off Wilson Boulevard to create a satellite office with eight TV studios, where visiting professors can spend a whirlwind three to four days taping lectures and other multimedia course materials designed to supplement live classroom chats and streaming video.” [Arlington Magazine]
Flickr pool photo by Chris Guyton
ACPD Helping Out in Puerto Rico — Arlington County Police officers are on the ground in hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico, directing traffic at critical intersections in areas without power. The officers were sent there as part of a national disaster mutual aid agreement. Local residents, meanwhile, have been expressing their appreciation for ACPD’s presence. [Twitter, Twitter, Twitter]
Blind Triplets Utilizing New Tech — The blind triplets who recently made history by all becoming Eagle Scouts are also among the early users of new Aira glasses. The technology, launched in April, uses camera-equipped glasses to allow a remote agent to narrate what they see in real time, thus providing additional autonomy for the wearer. [Washington Post]
School Board Members Ditch Ties — At Tuesday’s Arlington School Board meeting, the two male members of the Board “committed sartorial faux pas,” in the words of the Sun Gazette, by not wearing ties. [InsideNova]
Flickr pool photo by Chris Guyton
NAFTA Talks in Arlington — A round of talks among the U.S., Canada and Mexico about updating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is taking place in Arlington. “The Trump administration,” according to reports, “has presented a series of hard-line proposals that partners Canada and Mexico say will be tough to accept.” [CNBC]
Arlington Co. Makes New Acquisitions — Rosslyn-based tech company Higher Logic, which describes itself as “an industry leader in cloud-based community platforms,” has acquired a pair of marketing automation software companies, Informz and Real Magnet. Higher Logic now has over 340 employees and 2,600 customers, the company says. [Real Magnet]
Nearby: Alexandria Considering Nixing Water Park — The City of Alexandria is considering not renewing the lease of the Great Waves Waterpark along Cameron Run. Also, of particular concern to Arlington and other local jurisdictions, it is reportedly considering pulling out of the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority. [Washington Post]
Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley
Car Fire on 23rd Street N. — A car was engulfed in flames on 23rd Street N. near the Overlee pool last night just before 6:30 p.m. The fire department arrived on scene and quickly extinguished the fire. [Twitter]
Local Tech Firm Benefiting from Trump — Giant Oak, a low-profile data mining firm based in Clarendon, has been awarded nearly $3 million in contracts from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) since President Donald Trump took office. Most of the contracts are for “social media data analytics.” [Forbes]
Arlington On-Time Grad Rate Dips — “Arlington Public Schools’ on-time-graduation rate dipped slightly in 2017, remaining roughly on par with the state average, according to figures reported Sept. 27. The school system’s on-time-graduation rate of 90.8 percent was down from 91.1 percent a year before and the lowest since 2012.” [InsideNova]
No ‘Code Red’ Days This Year — Summer is over and the D.C. area got through it with no “code red” and fewer “code orange” low air quality days. “We’ve seen a dramatic improvement in the region’s air quality thanks to more than a decade of action and coordination at all levels of government,” said Hans Riemer, chair of the Metropolitan Washington Air Quality Committee. [MWCOG]
Road Closures for Shirlington Oktoberfest — Campbell Avenue and part of S. Randolph Street in Shirlington will be closed most of the day Saturday for the annual Shirlington Oktoberfest, which runs from noon to 7 p.m. [Arlington County]
County Awarded for Economic Development Efforts — “Arlington Economic Development (AED) has been honored with three Excellence in Economic Development Awards by the International Economic Development Council (IEDC). The awards were presented at a ceremony earlier this month during the IEDC Annual Conference in Toronto.” [Arlington County]
Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley
County Board Approves Construction Contracts — At its meeting Saturday, the Arlington County Board approved a pair of contracts: a $2.5 million contract to build phase two of the Washington Blvd Trail project and a $6.6 million contract to remove an elevated roadway through part of Crystal City. [Arlington County]
Firefighters Save Kittens — “A passerby heard the kittens crying from a compost box and saw one of them with its neck stuck between the posts. The Good Samaritan flagged down a nearby firetruck and the firefighters were able to free the kittens. Animal Control was then called to the scene to help locate all of the kittens and bring them to safety.” [WJLA]
Lubber Run Community Center Design OKed — The County Board has given its approval to the conceptual design for the new Lubber Run Community Center and park, which will replace the original community center, built in 1956. The next steps in the $48 million project are for the design to be completed and the facility to be built. [Arlington County, InsideNova]
Arlington Company Raises $42 Million — Ballston-based Federated Wireless, which creates shared spectrum technology for the wireless industry, has raised $42 million in Series B investment. [VC News Daily]
‘Kayaktivists’ Protest Near Pentagon — A group of ‘kayaktivist’ protesters raised banners that said “Stop War on Planet” and “No Wars for Oil” in the Pentagon Lagoon, near the Pentagon and Columbia Marina, yesterday. [Facebook]
Victories for Yorktown, Wakefield — The Yorktown (3-0) and Wakefield (2-1) varsity football teams both won at home this weekend. Washington-Lee (0-3) lost and remains winless. [InsideNova]
Flickr pool photo by Jim Webster
Arlington Nonprofit Gets State Grant — “Governor Terry McAuliffe today announced a $175,000 grant to La Cocina VA, a nonprofit workforce development organization in Arlington County, to enhance its culinary skills training facility, create a business plan training course, and develop a small business competition.” [Gov. Terry McAuliffe]
Actual Driverless Car in Arlington — Moving beyond vans with people dressed as car seats, an actual driverless car has now taken to the streets within Arlington County. An autonomous vehicle developed by Carnegie Mellon University drove itself around Ft. Myer yesterday as part of the military base’s Industry Day event. [Facebook]
Nestle Buys Blue Bottle — Nestle, which is still moving into its new U.S. headquarters in Rosslyn, has bought Oakland, Ca.-based hipster coffee brand Blue Bottle. Could that mean that a Blue Bottle location in Arlington is around the corner? Possibly, but the company already has a location across the river in Georgetown. [Washington Business Journal, Nestle]
Arlington Gets Gigabit Internet — Comcast announced earlier this week that “it has launched a new Internet service in Arlington that will deliver speeds up to 1 Gigabit-per-second (Gbps) to residential and business customers.” According to a press release, “these speeds will be among the fastest and most widely available,” utilizing DOCSIS 3.1 technology. The cost of the service is $79.99 a month with a one-year contract or $104.95 a month without.
Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman
Lost Dog Reunited With Owner — A dog that disappeared under mysterious circumstances is back at home this morning, her owner says, after the man who picked her up as she was wandering around North Arlington saw a sign with the dog’s photo and dialed the phone number on it. [Facebook]
County Lauded for Digital Prowess — Arlington has been named one of the “top 5 counties for digital government” by StateTech magazine. The county was lauded for “embracing open data and transparency” in decision making and citizen outreach. [StateTech]
Death at Belvedere Condos — A man reportedly jumped to his death at the Belvedere Condominiums near Rosslyn on Friday. The complex’s pool and pool deck were closed Friday as police investigated the incident.
Priest Who Admitted KKK Past Still Venerated Confederacy — A priest in the Catholic Diocese of Arlington might not have been totally forthcoming when he admitted and renounced his KKK activity as a young man. Even after becoming a priest, in the early 2000s, Rev. William Aitcheson “was a ‘fervent advocate of the Confederacy’ who would joke about ‘Saint Robert E. Lee’ in homilies at the church,” one former student of his recalled. [Washington Post, Washington Post]
Nearby: Two Men Jump From Aqueduct Bridge — One man is dead and another in grave condition after both jumped from the Aqueduct Bridge in Georgetown, near the Key Bridge, into the Potomac River. A friend of the men said they were hanging out on the bridge when one decided to jump, then the other jumped in to save him. Boats and and a helicopter were used as part of the subsequent rescue operation. [NBC Washington]
As noted this morning, Virginia has made it legal to test self-driving car technologies in the Commonwealth.
That policy is getting additional attention after a seemingly driverless van was spotted driving around Clarendon last week and, this week, was revealed to be a human-driven Virginia Tech research project.
While the mysterious van was not self-driving, automated vehicle testing is expected to take place in Northern Virginia, as we wrote last week.
VDOT and FHWA recently announced that Virginia Tech would be conducting automated vehicle testing along I-95, I-495, I-66, Route 50 and Route 29. The announcement did not mention testing on primary streets along Metro corridors, however WTOP reported in May that “self-driving cars already on Virginia roads, even if you don’t realize it.”
Self-driving vehicles have the potential to save thousands of lives each year by reducing human-caused crashes while also freeing up drivers to focus on other tasks during their daily commute. Such technology could also become an economic engine for the region, should Northern Virginia become a leader in the field.
On the other hand, testing a new technology in a heavily populated region certainly comes with risks. And many fear the unknown with self-driving cars: what if the tech has flaws and causes crashes?
What do you think of automated vehicle testing in Northern Virginia?
The McDonald’s on Arlington’s western end of Columbia Pike has reopened after a renovation.
The fast food restaurant at 5005 Columbia Pike closed on June 20 for the refit, and reopened to the public on this past Monday, a spokeswoman said, with updated decor and fixtures and the addition of some new ordering technology.
During the closure, workers added self-service kiosks for customers to place their orders electronically. A spokeswoman said that technology has been rolled out in more than 2,500 McDonald’s restaurants, which includes the recently-opened one at Central Place in Rosslyn.
The restaurant also introduced table service as part of the revamp, which a spokeswoman said “provides a more relaxing and custom dining experience.”
A grand re-opening ceremony is planned from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday (Aug. 5), and will include face painting, games, food and drink and music by local Spanish language radio station El Zol.
Complaint Begets No Parking Signs Begets Complaints — Residents of a dead-end street in the Woodmont neighborhood are complaining after Arlington took eight street parking spaces away, and WaPo is on it. The no parking signs went up in response to a resident’s complaint about the street being too narrow. [Washington Post]
Driverless Van Update — Who or what is behind the driverless van spotted cruising around Clarendon yesterday evening? We still don’t know for sure, but a Virginia Tech spokeswoman offered “no comment” this morning in response to our inquiry. [ARLnow]
Route 110 Lane Closures — “Route 110 at the Route 27 interchange and local ramps will have nighttime closures from Monday, Aug. 7 to Thursday, Aug. 24 in order to install bridge beams, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation.” [VDOT]
Yelp Says Nope to Arlington — Online review site Yelp has leased 52,000 square feet of office space near the Verizon Center in D.C. for a new East Coast hub. The company was also considering office space in Rosslyn but, despite its CEO’s Arlington connection, decided against it. [Washington Business Journal]
Photo courtesy Ed S.
Honeygrow, a healthy fast-casual eatery that serves custom salads and stir-fry dishes, has started to incorporate virtual reality when training its new employees in Arlington.
“The company is expanding so much but we still want to keep our core values,” said a spokeswoman for Honeygrow, which opened its Pentagon City mall location in 2016.
Honeygrow uses virtual reality for training to ensure that each new employee learns the company’s core values, which can be left in the dust once businesses undergo rapid expansion. Honeygrow’s first location opened in 2012 in Philadelphia but the company has grown so quickly that by the end of 2017, Honeygrow will have expanded to approximately 25 stores, spanning from Boston to Chicago and as far south as Pentagon City, which is one of two locations in the D.C. area
“This [virtual reality] has enabled us to be able to consistently train everybody,” said Brennagh Tourigney, a district manager for Honeygrow.
The virtual reality program was launched in May 2017. Honeygrow’s founder and CEO, Justin Rosenberg, was inspired to use virtual reality at his company when he received a cardboard virtual reality with his Sunday New York Times.
“It engages the team members,” said Tourigney. “This kind of keeps people excited, it sets us apart from our competitors.”
The virtual reality training does not replace hands-on training, but is an additional component. On orientation day, new workers are given the goggles and taken on a tour of a typical Honeygrow restaurant.
The video teaches trainees what the different roles of the workers are: they watch somebody make a salad, they observe a “noodler” carefully prepare noodles so they are a Goldilocks-approved “just right” — not too hard or too soft — and they see how cashiers ensure each order was correctly made. The video even has an interactive part when the goggles take trainees into the Honeygrow refrigerator.
Trainees are taught how to place food in the refrigerator, as foods served raw always go on the top. They must then use a clicker to place the different meats in correct order on the shelves and cannot go on to the next part of the video until they put fish on the top shelf, then beef, then pork and finally, chicken on the bottom shelf.
“I’ve never been in a working kitchen before, but I understand it is a very tough environment so this is a great way to assimilate new hires into a fast-paced kitchen environment, where a million things are going on at once,” said the spokeswoman.
The video was filmed in Honeygrow’s Cherry Hill location in New Jersey. Not a single person featured in the video was an actor, but were employees. Rosenberg introduces the video and gives closing remarks at the end.
“Because it’s led by our CEO and founder, it’s a great way to bring people into the community. You really feel like you’re part of the Honeygrow family from the minute you start,” said the spokeswoman.
A local YouTube personality waited at a red light near Virginia Hospital Center for 20 minutes earlier this week, and posted his experience to his channel.
Angelo, who describes himself as the creative director of the FlyingOverTr0ut channel, says he makes “sketches, commercial parodies, music videos, short films, drama, 9 hour videos of me sleeping, unauthorized T-Mobile commercials, and videos about my easily confused Greek mom.”
But a video posted July 18 shows him having a more troubling experience. It shows Angelo waiting at a red light at the intersection of Washington Blvd and N. George Mason Drive in Waycroft-Woodlawn for more than 20 minutes.
A timer in the bottom-right corner shows he waited 20 minutes and 30 seconds for the light to change at approximately 2:30 a.m.
The full video is below, although be warned there is strong language and it may not be suitable for viewing at work.
— Mike Lewan (@mlewan3) July 21, 2017
And for those with slightly less time to spare, Angelo posted an edited version of what he describes as his “expose of this intersection,” edited by fellow YouTube user gr18vidz14kidz.
A spokesman for the county’s Department of Environmental Services said they responded to his inquiry on Twitter, and that crews “improved the signal timing this week and will continue to monitor the timing at the intersection.”
Photo via Google Maps.