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Kaine, Dems to Host Gun Control ‘Planning Meeting,’ Town Hall

Sen. Tim Kaine has organized an “action planning meeting” in Arlington with gun violence advocates, victims’ families and faith leaders, the day before gun violence prevention marches are scheduled nationwide.

The event will be held at George Mason University’s Founders Hall on Friday (March 23) at 1 p.m. Per a press release, meeting attendees will “talk about the work they are doing in the community to promote safety reforms that make communities safer.”

The senator, according to the release, “is optimistic that the activism of students and parents who have spoken out all over the country has changed the dynamic of the gun violence prevention debate and could finally spur action in Congress.

Kaine’s event is scheduled a day before the national March For Our Lives anti-gun-violence rally on Saturday, March 24. Arlington Democrats are planning a weekend of events around it.

Among the events is a “Town Hall for Action on Commonsense Gun Safety Measures” held by the Arlington County Democratic Committee. It is scheduled to take place on Sunday, the day after the rally, at Faith Lutheran Church (3313 Arlington Boulevard) from 2-4 p.m.

Virginia Del. Chris Hurst (D-12) will be the keynote speaker, discussing his personal gun violence story.

The following speakers will also attend the town hall and “offer unique perspectives on the issue of gun violence and concrete action steps,” per a Facebook event listing.

  • Beth Arthur, Arlington Sheriff’s Office
  • Kris Brown, Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence
  • Karina de Leede, Arlington Student Activists
  • Chloe Fugel, Arlington Student Activists
  • Josh Horwitz, Coalition to Stop Gun Violence
  • Celia Slater, Moms Demand Action Arlington
  • Yasmine Taeb, Alumnus of Stoneman Douglas High School and current DNC member
  • Tannia Talento, Arlington School Board

Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe will be leading Arlington Democrats in the march on Saturday, starting on the Arlington side of the Memorial Bridge at 10:30 a.m., according to a press release from state Sen. Adam Ebbin’s office.

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Morning Notes

County Aims to Fix Boring Columbia Pike Architecture — “Arlington County Board members on Dec. 16 approved amendments to the county’s zoning ordinance that revamps existing regulations for Pike properties that are built under the Form-Based Code, a 15-year-old process that aims to speed the development timeline but has had the unintended consequence of rendering architectural creativity persona-non-grata on the Pike.” [InsideNova]

McAuliffe Proposes Metro Funding Plan — Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe is proposing a $150-million-per-year state funding plan for Metro. The plan includes using a portion of Northern Virginia’s regional transportation sales tax and increasing three other regional taxes. [WTOP]

Gutshall to Be Sworn In Today — Erik Gutshall, the newest Arlington County Board member, will be sworn in today at 5 p.m. at county headquarters in Courthouse. [InsideNova]

Pentagon Had UFO Office — The truth is out there, in Arlington —  at the Pentagon, specifically. It was revealed this past weekend that the Pentagon had a secretive program that investigated reports of Unidentified Flying Objects. The “Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Program” officially ended in the 2012. [Politico, Washington Post]

Phoenix House Renovation and Expansion — “On time and on budget – and without a dollar of government funding – Phoenix House Mid-Atlantic on Dec. 12 unveiled new and updated facilities in Arlington aimed at giving an extra boost to patients moving through the addiction-recovery process.” [InsideNova]

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Nestle to Announce Support for Anti-Child Hunger Initiative Alongside Va. First Lady at Oakridge

A top Nestle official will join Virginia First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe at Oakridge Elementary School on Friday to announce the company’s support for an anti-child hunger initiative.

Ahead of its move to Rosslyn, the company will announce its support for the No Kid Hungry campaign on Friday, December 15, a spokeswoman said.

Nestle’s USA CFO Steve Presley will announce the company’s support for the initiative alongside McAuliffe, who is described by the spokeswoman as a “longtime advocate of fighting childhood hunger.” The event is scheduled to take place from 8:20-9:40 a.m. at the school in the Arlington Ridge neighborhood near Crystal City.

McAuliffe is part of the No Kid Hungry initiative, alongside the Virginia Department of Health, the Virginia Department of Education and several corporate partners.

The public-private initiative aims to end child hunger in America by ensuring children have access to healthy food where they live and where they learn.

“Oakridge Elementary has implemented a breakfast program in partnership with No Kid Hungry that aims to provide children with a healthy, nutritious start to their day,” the spokeswoman said.

An Arlington Public Schools spokesman confirmed the visit, and said McAuliffe will show the officials from Nestle “how the school serves breakfast.”

File photo

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Governor Seeking to Roll Out Electric Vehicle Charging Network in Virginia

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced today a plan to fund a public electric vehicle charging network across the state.

McAuliffe’s administration has released a Request for Proposals for the network, which will be paid for with funds from a lawsuit settlement with Volkswagen, stemming from its emissions scandal.

The Commonwealth is seeking to expand the network of public fast charging stations across the state — there are currently only about 100 — to keep up with rising adoption of electric vehicles.

The RFP notes:

The average growth rate of EVs registered in Virginia from 2008 to 2016 is 35%. As of 2016, there were 4,058 EVs registered in Virginia. Assuming this historical growth rate continues, Virginia EV registrations are projected to reach 1.3 million by 2035.

More on the RFP, below, from a press release issued by the governor’s office.

Governor McAuliffe today announced the release of a Request for Proposal (RFP) to deploy an interconnected and statewide public electric vehicle charging network. The request is part of the Governor’s broader Electric Vehicle (EV) Initiative, which is aimed at driving infrastructure investments that will support an overall electric vehicle adoption rate of 15 percent by 2027, equal to approximately 1 million vehicles statewide. Funding, in the amount of $14 million, comes from Virginia’s portion of the Volkswagen settlement.

“Today’s announcement offers an exciting opportunity for the private sector to partner with the Commonwealth to drive greater deployment of electric vehicles in Virginia and I am pleased that we will be able to utilize funds from the Volkswagen settlement to support this project,” said Governor McAuliffe. “By providing the charging network citizens need to move quickly and at long distances throughout Virginia, we will make certain that electric vehicle travel in the Commonwealth is seamless. This infrastructure will also help us to reduce our collective carbon footprint and drive innovation in the new Virginia economy.”

As part of the Volkswagen settlement, which resulted from the use of emissions testing defeat devices in Volkswagen vehicles, Volkswagen is required to establish a nearly $3 billion environmental mitigation trust. Virginia is expected to receive $93.6 million from this trust, and the Commonwealth may spend a maximum of 15 percent on electric vehicle infrastructure.

“Expanding Virginia’s electric vehicle charging infrastructure will contribute to Virginia’s economic diversification by encouraging innovation in electric vehicle technology, making electric vehicle travel easier, and facilitating public-private partnerships throughout the Commonwealth,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Todd Haymore. “This targeted and rapid deployment of EV charging stations is designed to jump-start adoption and generate more private investment in EV technology in Virginia.”

In order to develop a robust network of electric vehicle charging stations along the most-traveled portions of the state, Virginia will designate the full 15 percent, representing approximately $14 million dollars, for electric vehicle infrastructure. The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, the lead agency for the Commonwealth, has issued a request for proposals for allocation of the full $14 million to establish an interconnected and statewide public electric vehicle charging network. Responses to the RFP are due by 2:00pm on Monday November 6, 2017.

“The Department of Environmental Quality, as lead agency on the Volkswagen settlement, is driving an innovative program to deploy electric vehicle infrastructure,” said Molly Ward, Secretary of Natural Resources. “The transportation sector is the largest contributor to nitrogen oxides (NOx) and carbon dioxide emissions, so this program will also help Virginia achieve our air quality and climate change goals.”

Today, Virginia’s Direct Current (DC) fast charging network for electric vehicles consists of 100 DC fast charging stations, underscoring a significant gap in infrastructure in the state.

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Virginia National Guard to Deploy to U.S. Virgin Islands for Hurricane Maria Relief

Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) announced today he will send 120 soldiers from the Virginia National Guard to the U.S. Virgin Islands to help with relief after Hurricane Maria.

The 120 soldiers are assigned to the Staunton-based 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, and will deploy in the next week to mission command headquarters. Up to 400 more will follow to conduct humanitarian assistance, clear roads and give out supplies to citizens.

It is the 10th time Virginia has coordinated an aid mission at the state level, not including efforts by religious and nonprofit organizations based in the Commonwealth.

The Category 5 storm destroyed homes and boats docked on the three islands. Four people were reported dead across the U.S. Virgin Islands; the power grid and other infrastructure was devastated and may take months to restore; and residents are in serious need of aid, which was slow to arrive after the hurricane passed.

“Virginia is ready to help communities facing the long road to recovery from the devastation wrought on their cities and towns by the recent hurricanes,” McAuliffe said in a statement. “Commonwealth officials, the Virginia National Guard, the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, and other agencies remain in close contact with our counterparts in Texas, Louisiana, Florida, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. We will continue to offer Virginia’s assistance for short and long-term recovery.”

More from a Governor’s Office press release after the jump:

Governor McAuliffe today has authorized the Virginia National Guard to send 120 soldiers to the U.S. Virgin Islands to join a multi-state, multi-agency response effort to recent hurricanes. The Commonwealth of Virginia continues to send needed supplies, personnel and expertise into the storm-ravaged areas to assist with recovery and give emergency managers on the ground a rest from the relentless demands of their jobs helping others deal with these catastrophic events.

An advance team arrived in the region on September 18, 2017, just before Hurricane Maria made landfall. The 120 soldiers authorized today are assigned to the Staunton-based 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, and will deploy in the next week as the mission command headquarters to synchronize the response and coordinate logistical support. Up to 400 additional soldiers are scheduled to follow soon after to conduct humanitarian assistance, clear roads, and distribute essential supplies to citizens. Virginia National Guard soldiers will be deployed on the ground by the U.S. Virgin Islands Governor Kenneth Mapp to get assistance where it is most needed.

“Virginia is ready to help communities facing the long road to recovery from the devastation wrought on their cities and towns by the recent hurricanes,” said Governor Terry McAuliffe. “Commonwealth officials, the Virginia National Guard, the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, and other agencies remain in close contact with our counterparts in Texas, Louisiana, Florida, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. We will continue to offer Virginia’s assistance for short and long-term recovery.”

Virginia has coordinated 10 missions of aid to these regions, not including countless assistance efforts coordinated by religious and non-profit organizations based in Virginia. The largest single mission is readying to deploy this week, including the hundreds of Virginia National Guard personnel deploying to the Virgin Islands to assist with the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria.

“The Commonwealth has been able to send needed personnel and supplies into impacted areas to make a difference in the recovery efforts and we will continue to do so for many days and even weeks to come as these impacted areas rebuild,” said Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian Moran. “The devastation to the southeastern parts of our country caused by these storms is of historical proportions.”

“We have been leaning forward and keeping a watchful eye on what has happened in Texas and Florida, and we have assembled a great team of professionals who want to get on the ground and start helping people in the Virgin Islands,” said Colonel Scott Smith, commander of the 116th. “We are conducting detailed planning to make sure we have the right skill sets and capabilities to provide assistance.”

Since Hurricane Harvey struck Texas last month, Virginia has been providing emergency management and response assistance across the southeastern portions of the nation.

Missions can be coordinated through federal partners such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), or through a cooperative agreement between states called the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC), through which impacted states can input their needs for assistance and other states can quickly mobilize resources to meet those needs. Logistics and financial reimbursement are then coordinated through the EMAC system.

“Virginia is active in providing expertise not only through state-to-state agreements with impacted areas, but also supporting federal response efforts,” said VDEM State Coordinator Dr. Jeff Stern. “These crews represent the highest level of tactical skills and expertise that make Virginia’s emergency management and response forces vital tools not only for Virginia’s resilience efforts, but also to assist on a national scale when disasters impact U.S. citizens.”

In late August, the Virginia National Guard sent approximately 40 soldiers and six helicopters to Texas to assist with Hurricane Harvey recovery operations, and after transporting medical personnel and supplies, they safely returned to Virginia in early September.

On September 18, a joint incident management team comprised of 15 individuals from across the Commonwealth deployed to assist with emergency operations center management in Monroe County, Florida (Florida Keys). The team will provide command and control support in the region through early October.

A Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) volunteer coordinator is currently working in Texas to assist with coordination of thousands of volunteers arriving in the area through non-profit and religious organizations. This mission is slated to continue through the end of September.

Roanoke’s 17-person Strike Team 6 deployed to Texas on August 30 and spent more than a week conducting water rescues of civilians trapped in the rising flood waters from Hurricane Harvey.

The 14-person Fairfax Task Force 1 deployed to Texas on a mission organized by the federal government to assist in swift water rescues of civilians from August 27 to September 6.

Virginia Beach Virginia Task Force 2 deployed to Texas to assist in federal government organized assistance, providing swift water rescue support through September 5.

A blended incident management team comprised of emergency managers from across the Commonwealth deployed to Texas from September 1 to September 9 to provide emergency management command and control support.

Virginia’s Task Force 2 from Virginia Beach deployed to Puerto Rico under a federal response effort to provide on-the-ground emergency response support for both Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria. Personnel originally deployed September 4 in anticipation of Irma, and 16 additional personnel were deployed on September 7 to address the devastation wrought by Hurricane Maria.

Virginia’s Task Force 1 from Fairfax deployed to Alabama September 6 to provide immediate on the ground support following the impacts of Hurricane Irma.

The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation Restoration and Cleanup Strike Team deployed to Florida in late August to assist with on-the-ground cleanup efforts from Hurricane Irma.

How to Get Involved

To learn how to help those who have been affected by the recent natural disasters please visit http://www.vaemergency.gov/want-help-hurricane-victims-heres-right/

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Morning Notes

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

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Trump’s Decision to End DACA Program Criticized By Local Leaders

President Donald Trump’s decision to end a program that protected younger undocumented immigrants from deportation was sharply criticized by various Arlington leaders today.

Trump announced his administration would end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program in six months to give Congress time to act and find an alternative plan through legislation.

The program protects some children who were brought to the United States illegally by their parents from immediate deportation, and instead allows them a renewable two-year deferral and eligibility for a work permit. It is estimated that 800,000 people who arrived in the U.S. before the age of 16., also known as “Dreamers,” have been shielded from deportation by DACA.

Rep. Don Beyer (D), who represents Arlington in the U.S. House of Representatives as well as the cities of Alexandria and Falls Church and a portion of Fairfax County, criticized the decision as an “act of malice.”

“President Trump’s decision to end DACA and begin deporting our Dreamers betrays nearly one million young people who grew up with this country as their own and made so many contributions to it,” Beyer said in a statement. “This act of malice will tear apart hundreds of thousands of American families and inflict serious economic damage on the country. Congress has no choice but to act immediately, and it should begin consideration of the American Hope Act to protect Dreamers.”

Bishop Michael Burbidge, the leader of the Catholic Diocese of Arlington since December, said in a statement he is “disheartened” by the decision to end DACA:

I join my voice with those who are disheartened by the news that President Trump will rescind DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). Standing with my brother Bishops, I urge Congress and the President to enact legislation that will safeguard those currently protected by this important program.

While the issue of immigration is complicated — and our government has many considerations to balance in responding to the influx of those who seek safety, and personal and economic security in our country — offering special protection to those who only know the United States as home is a reasonable measure of compassion.

This news is undoubtedly troubling for the hundreds of thousands approved through DACA. I ask all Catholics and people of good will in the Diocese of Arlington to keep these individuals, as well as our government officials, in prayer. May we as a country be considerate of our neighbors and defend those whom we have offered protection and safe harbor.

U.S. Sens. Tim Kaine and Mark Warner (D-Va.) said Trump’s decision could have enormous economic repercussions too, and urged Congress to act quickly.

In a statement, Warner said:

The DACA program was a promise to protect certain children of undocumented immigrants, who came to this country through no fault of their own, so they could safely come out of the shadows, attain legal status and realize their full potential. Over the years, the DREAMers have shown us their true character–working hard to become this nation’s next generation of students, entrepreneurs, and military men and women.  And while Congress has a responsibility to enact comprehensive immigration reform that provides them with a fair path to citizenship, which the Senate passed in 2013, we cannot let the Trump Administration’s disgraceful anti-immigrant policies leave nearly 800,000 DREAMers in limbo. Going back on our word threatens their safety, harms our economy and speaks volumes about who we are as a country.

Kaine said in a statement:

President Trump has made a heartless decision to target hundreds of thousands of young people who were brought to the United States through no fault of their own, breaking his promise that these ‘incredible kids’ could ‘rest easy’ and putting them at risk for being torn away from their families. In Virginia, 12,000 of these Dreamers are neighbors, friends, and students who just want the opportunity to contribute to their communities and our economy. Today’s action will force DACA recipients back into the shadows and put them in danger of being deported from the only home they’ve ever known.  Congress should immediately pass the bipartisan DREAM Act to protect these kids and then find an agreement on long-overdue, comprehensive immigration reform.

And Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) criticized Trump for pandering to “extremists on the far right-wing of his party.” In a statement, McAuliffe also urged the President to work with Congress on comprehensive immigration reform:

President Trump’s decision to rescind DACA is a heartless attack on 800,000 young people who were brought here by their parents at a young age. It will plunge families, communities, businesses, and schools into terrible uncertainty for no reason other than to keep a political promise to extremists on the far right-wing of his party. DREAMers are our friends, neighbors, co-workers, students, fellow taxpayers and the people who serve in the military to protect us. An attack on them is an attack on the fabric of our nation.

Today’s decision will not make America great again – it will damage our economy, make us less safe and even further diminish our nation’s standing as a leader on the world stage. As the Governor of a state where DREAMers make a significant contribution, I urge President Trump to reconsider this terrible decision and work with congress to pass real immigration reform that will bring these young people out of the shadows for good.

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Morning Notes

Advanced Towing Lobbied Hard for Bill — Advanced Towing spent $10,000 on lobbyists and made a $1,500 donation to state Sen. Barbara Favola while successfully pushing for a state bill to override Arlington’s second-signature towing requirement. Supporters of the bill say it passed and McAuliffe ultimately signed it because it had the support of the business community. Advanced is one of the largest towing companies in Northern Virginia and has drawn the ire of many local residents for its ruthless efficiency at trespass towing from private lots. [NBC Washington]

Russian Military Jet Flies Over Arlington — Yesterday an unarmed Russian military jet flew over the Pentagon, CIA headquarters, and the U.S. Capitol “as part of a longstanding treaty that allows the militaries of the United States and Russia to observe the other from the air.” [CNN, Axios]

Arlington Still Hiring Teachers — Arlington Public Schools is still hiring teachers for the upcoming school year. “A total of 280 full- and part-time contract positions were unfilled as of Aug. 1… as the school system continues to process applicants,” the Sun Gazette reported. [InsideNova]

Uber, Lyft Make Mark on Local Restaurant Biz — Although readers were skeptical in a poll late last year, the Washington City Paper reports that Uber and Lyft are having a significant impact on the local restaurant industry, drawing customers from a wider area geographically than would have visited before the ride hailing services existed. It’s also bringing more customers to hot non-Metro-accessible restaurants. And it’s not just hipster-y D.C. restaurants drawing customers from around the region: Lyft said Clarendon’s Don Tito was its most visited bar in the D.C. area in 2016. [Washington City Paper]

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395 Express Lanes Project Breaks Ground

The project to extend the Interstate 395 Express Lanes from Fairfax County through Alexandria and Arlington to the D.C. line celebrated its ground-breaking ceremony this morning.

The toll lanes will be extended for eight miles north from Turkeycock Run near Edsall Road to the vicinity of Eads Street in Arlington, near the Pentagon.

The Virginia Department of Transportation partnered with toll road manager Transurban and contractors AECOM Engineering Company and Lane Construction to deliver the project. Construction is now underway and scheduled for completion in fall 2019.

The project will add a third reversible HOT lane on I-395, accessible for free by vehicles with three or more occupants and an E-ZPass Flex transponder, or for a toll by all others.

The lanes will generate funding for other transportation options in the region. Using toll money, Transurban will pay $15 million each year to local jurisdictions to help them pay for improvements. Among other projects, the south parking lot at the Pentagon is set for an overhaul, as are several nearby bridges.

The ceremony, atop a Pentagon City parking garage, marked the official start of construction. Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) was joined by Virginia Transportation Secretary Aubrey Layne and elected officials from across the area, including Arlington County Board chair Jay Fisette and fellow Board member Libby Garvey.

Layne said such partnerships between state government, local agencies and federal stakeholders have been crucial to move the project along, heralded as the largest in the United States.

“We knew what the construction was going to be, but it took collaboration and trust to get this project underway,” Layne said.

McAuliffe hailed the project for solving a “major headache for so many commuters going into and out of the District, and going to and from our great Pentagon.”

He added that as Virginia’s population continues to grow — with people attracted by its low taxes, strong business environment and other amenities like breweries and wineries, McAuliffe said — projects to improve congestion on the Commonwealth’s roads are vital.

“This is finally going to be solved, and this is going to be a game-changer for residents of Northern Virginia,” McAuliffe said.

For its part, Transurban promised to be good partners throughout construction and beyond.

Jennifer Aument, Transurban’s group general manager for North America, said workers are committed to the safety of all road users during work, and urged drivers in the area to avoid distractions, wear their seatbelt and watch their speed around the construction zone.

Aument also said Transurban would be a “good neighbor” and work with nearby neighborhoods to minimize any other disruptions.

“Now, we’ll get to work,” she said.

Work has already got underway in the existing I-395 high-occupancy toll lanes. On Monday, August 7, VDOT announced full night-time closures of the lanes in both directions from the southbound HOV exit ramp near Boundary Channel Drive to the northbound exit ramp from the 95 Express Lanes near Edsall Road.

And weather-permitting, some southbound regular lanes of I-395 will be closed overnight this week between Duke Street and Edsall Road. VDOT advised drivers to travel safely and pay attention to signs posted on the road.

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Governor: Trustify Planning to Add 184 Jobs in Arlington

A Crystal City-based startup is planning to add 184 jobs here as part of an expansion, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced Monday.

Trustify, which moved into new offices overlooking Long Bridge Park earlier this year, is planning to spend just over $1 million on building and equipment costs associated with the expansion. The 184 jobs are expected to be added over a period of three years, according to Virginia Economic Development Partnership.

A VEDP spokeswoman said Trustify will be eligible for nearly $120,000 in state reimbursement for job recruitment and training.

Trustify is a sort of “Uber-for-PIs,” using the internet to connect businesses and consumers with trained private investigators. It makes money by taking a cut of the hourly fee charged to customers.

In a press release, McAuliffe and other officials, including Arlington County Board Chair Jay Fisette and state Sen. Adam Ebbin, heaped praise on Trustify for its rapid expansion.

“Trustify’s impressive growth in a short amount of time is a strong example of what high-tech, entrepreneurial companies can accomplish in the Commonwealth,” said the governor. “Arlington County and the Northern Virginia region are home to a dynamic IT industry… We are proud to have this innovative business in the Commonwealth contributing to the new Virginia economy, and look forward to Trustify’s continued success.”

Trustify President Jennifer Mellon, in turn, lauded Arlington County as a place to do business.

“We decided on Arlington, Virginia for many reasons,” Mellon said. “The community here in Arlington is a fantastic place in which to work and commute. Arlington provides employers and employees many benefits and advantages that are not available in other areas and communities. We believe the DC Metro area, in general, is a beacon of inclusive innovation with some of the best percentages of women and diversity in tech compared to the rest of the country. We have transportation, office, and community options and benefits that made this area the clear choice for Trustify.”

Trustify says it raised $6.6 million in new funding this year, according to the Washington Business Journal. With that funding the company hopes to grow and capture more of the U.S. private investigations market. Figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics suggest that Trustify is after at least a $1.5 billion dollar market; there are some 28,500 private investigators nationwide making an average annual wage of around $53,500 a year, according to the BLS.

By the numbers, the company is one of the hottest tech startups in Arlington, but it is not without its critics. It has a very vocal, persistent critic in Glen Hellman, a local tech scene commentator and strategist who also goes by the nickname “Mr. Cranky.”

Hellman ripped what he characterized as an uncritical Washington Business Journal article on the governor’s Trustify announcement, despite being mentioned in that very article.

“It’s a good thing Washington Business Journal doesn’t have a sports page because they’d be writing headlines about every kid who ever received a participation trophy for being the bench warmer on the worst team in the lowest league of some minor 3rd grade soccer team,” Hellman said in an incendiary blog post this morning. “I believe the reason Trustify puts out these press releases is to counter any bad press they receive, to push down the SEO of negative stories and obfuscate… the truth in order to raise money from poor unsuspecting widows and orphans.”

The full press release from the governor’s office, after the jump.

Governor Terry McAuliffe today announced that Trustify, an IT startup that connects clients to trained private investigators, will invest $1.04 million to expand its operation in Arlington County creating 184 new jobs.

“Trustify’s impressive growth in a short amount of time is a strong example of what high-tech, entrepreneurial companies can accomplish in the Commonwealth,” said Governor McAuliffe. “Arlington County and the Northern Virginia region are home to a dynamic IT industry, including cutting-edge degree programs that support a steady pipeline of talent for both established and emerging technology companies. We are proud to have this innovative business in the Commonwealth contributing to the new Virginia economy, and look forward to Trustify’s continued success.”

Trustify, founded in 2015, is the first technology platform to connect clients across the United States to the only nationwide network of highly trained, vetted private investigators. The company was founded on the premise that it would have a social mission, be fully data-driven, and built by the most talented and diverse team in the industry. Trustify values itself as a different kind of technology startup and works to make a true difference in the community.

“Trustify truly hit the ground running in Arlington County, and we’re excited to see the company’s rapid success,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Todd Haymore. “With one of the largest, most diverse tech workforces in the nation, Virginia is a world-class center for the IT sector, which also fosters our startup culture. Trustify’s unique and impactful mission will continue to attract top-notch talent and provide Virginians with jobs of the 21st century.”

“We decided on Arlington, Virginia for many reasons,” said Trustify Founder and President Jennifer Mellon. “The community here in Arlington is a fantastic place in which to work and commute. Arlington provides employers and employees many benefits and advantages that are not available in other areas and communities. We believe the DC Metro area, in general, is a beacon of inclusive innovation with some of the best percentages of women and diversity in tech compared to the rest of the country. We have transportation, office, and community options and benefits that made this area the clear choice for Trustify.”

The Virginia Economic Development Partnership will support Trustify’s new job creation through its Virginia Jobs Investment Program (VJIP). VJIP provides consultative services and funding to companies creating new jobs or experiencing technological change to support employee training activities. As a business incentive supporting economic development, VJIP reduces the human resource costs of new and expanding companies. VJIP is state-funded, demonstrating Virginia’s commitment to enhancing job opportunities for its citizens.

“Trustify’s rapid expansion in Arlington is nothing less than extraordinary,” said Jay Fisette, Chair of the Arlington County Board. “We are thrilled to have the company as a partner in Arlington’s business community and believe our top-notch workforce will well serve the company as it continues to thrive.”

“Trustify’s growth is a testament to Northern Virginia’s burgeoning role as the nerve center for innovation and technology in the Mid-Atlantic region,” said Senator Adam Ebbin. “By expanding into Crystal City, Trustify has positioned itself to leverage Arlington’s world-class talent, highly educated workforce, and welcoming community toward future success in implementing its innovative business model.”

“I want to thank Trustify for expanding its business and making critical investments in Arlington,”said Delegate Rip Sullivan. “We were thrilled when this innovative company chose Crystal City for its new headquarters, and its further commitment to the region is more proof that Arlington continues to be a great place to start and grow a company thanks to its pro-business environment, highly skilled workforce, and strong infrastructure.”

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Arlington Receives FEMA Grant For Terrorist Attack Preparation

Arlington County will receive more than $1 million in federal grant money to prepare for future terrorist attacks, Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) announced last week.

Arlington, home to the Pentagon and other key government and military offices, will receive just over $1.2 million from the Program to Prepare Communities for Complex Coordinated Terrorist Attacks grant program, administered through the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

A total of $35.9 million was allocated nationwide, of which Virginia received $3.8 million.

The Virginia Department of Emergency Management will receive just over $2 million, and the Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority will receive just over $595,000. MWAA is responsible for managing Reagan National Airport in the county as well as Dulles International Airport and the Dulles Toll Road.

VDEM will administer the money and coordinate a project to help enhance security and building safety to prepare for, prevent and respond to terrorist attacks. The agency will conduct an analysis alongside local and regional partners like Arlington’s Office of Emergency Management and its police and fire departments, to determine gaps in preparedness. Local first responders then will receive customized training to fill the gaps.

“Given our strategic location as a part of the national capital region, and our wide array of assets, including military infrastructure, we are at risk of experiencing these types of attacks and incidents,” said Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) in a statement. “FEMA clearly recognized that risk and has awarded Virginia nearly 10 percent of the total funding allocated nationwide to develop programs and capabilities that will enhance public safety across the Commonwealth.”

Spokespeople for Arlington’s police and fire departments had no further details at this stage on how the money will be spent.

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Local Elected Officials Condemn Alexandria Shootings

(Updated at 4:05 p.m.) After gunfire left several people wounded early this morning in Alexandria, local leaders condemned the violence and said their thoughts are with the victims.

The gunman, later identified as James T. Hodgkinson III, 66, of Illinois, opened fire in Eugene Simpson Stadium Park in the Del Ray neighborhood of the city just after 7 a.m.

Among the wounded were U.S. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.), two Capitol Police officers and other staffers. Hodgkinson died after a shootout with police.

Scalise was one of a number of people practicing at the field ahead of tomorrow night’s Congressional Baseball Game at Nationals Park.

Soon after the incident, local Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.), who represents Alexandria and Arlington in the House of Representatives, called the news “horrifying.”

“This morning’s tragic shooting in my hometown of Alexandria is horrifying,” Beyer said in a statement. “I am in close contact with city officials and am immensely grateful for the bravery of the first responders in Alexandria, as well as the U.S. Capitol Police. I am praying for the recovery of Congressman Scalise, Representative Williams’ staffer and the two Capitol Police officers who we understand from news reports were all injured.”

Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) expressed similar distress at the shootings, which are being investigated by the FBI among other agencies.

Dorothy and I are shocked and deeply saddened by this horrible act of violence against members of congress, law enforcement and other innocent people who were simply enjoying an early morning baseball practice. We are praying for swift recoveries for those who were injured and we are thankful for the bravery and quick action of U.S. Capitol Police and local first responders to stop the attacker and treat those who were wounded. Virginia public safety officials are coordinating with local responders and we will continue to monitor this situation and make every resource available.

Five people were transported to local hospitals. Arlington County Fire Department medics and the U.S. Park Police helicopter assisted Alexandria in helping to transport the wounded.

Alexandria City Public Schools went on a lock-in, with class proceeding as normal but outside doors locked and students kept inside. Alexandria Mayor Allison Silberberg said she was “shocked by such an incident in our peaceful community.”

Those traveling on the U.S. Route 1 corridor during this evening’s rush hour could experience delays due to the ongoing investigation.

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Local Leaders Condemn Trump’s Paris Climate Agreement Withdrawal

Minutes after President Trump announced his decision to abandon the Paris Climate Agreement, Virginia elected officials began to share their disapproval.

Trump said his decision to withdraw from the pact, signed by 195 nations, would help preserve American jobs and avoid placing heavy burdens on the country’s taxpayers.

Rep. Don Beyer (D), who represents Arlington in the House of Representatives, highlighted how Trump’s decision to withdraw will negatively impact the United States’ foreign relationships.

“Trump’s decision will be a self-inflicted wound on our allies’ trust in American leadership,” Beyer wrote in a statement alongside fellow members of the House Safe Climate Caucus. “The Paris Agreement was a vision reflecting decisive action, hope, ingenuity, and the ideals with which we would define our country’s place in the world. Withdrawal from that agreement represents a triumph of ignorance, nativism and political pandering, and the message it sends to other countries will be disastrous for the relationships which have built and sustained our prosperity.”

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) released a statement condemning the president’s decision. He wrote that despite the withdrawal, Virginia will continue to do its part to fight climate change.

“The President’s dangerous action today will have a devastating impact on our environment, our economy, and our health,” McAuliffe said. “The United States economy is dependent on leadership in the world, yet the President seems inclined to sit back and let other nations pass us by. Climate change is a threat to our way of life. If President Trump refuses to lead the response, Virginia will.”

McAuliffe also detailed how his own actions have differed from Trump’s. He wrote how in early May, he signed an order to reduce carbon emissions in the Commonwealth.

U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) said the president’s choice goes against the country’s history of scientific innovation.

“The President seems to think that the U.S. commitment to cut about [one quarter] of our carbon pollution by 2025 is beyond the grasp of the country that won World War II and put men on the moon,” Kaine said in a statement.

Kaine added that he wants to be able to tell his future grandchildren that the US met the environmental challenge “head-on and triumphed over it, not shrank and cowered from it.”

U.S. Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) called the president’s announcement a “rejection of settled science.” He also highlighted how this historical decision will impact Virginians in the future.

“It poses a direct threat to Virginia’s environment, economy and way of life,” Warner wrote in a statement.

But Kaine managed a few optimistic words amid the swirl of pessimism and condemnation.

“I am confident that our nation’s optimistic, can-do spirit will eventually prevail over this short-sighted dereliction of America’s leadership role,” he said.

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Governor to Attend Pro-Choice Event in Clarendon Tomorrow

Terry McAuliffe campaigns at Washington-Lee High SchoolVirginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe is scheduled to be in Clarendon tomorrow night for the seventh annual NARAL Virginia “Power of Choice” event.

The gala and awards presentation will honor “those who have made an outstanding impact” on NARAL’s “work to protect and advance reproductive freedom in Virginia.”

The event is taking place at Clarendon Ballroom (3185 Wilson Boulevard) and is also expected to be attended by Attorney General Mark Herring and Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam, who is currently running for governor.

Tickets for the event range from $40 for students to $150 for general admission. Sponsorships of the gala range from $500-5,000.

File photo

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Morning Notes

McAuliffe Visits New District Brewing — Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D-Va.) made a “quick stop” at New District Brewing near Shirlington yesterday, touring the brewery and posing for photos. [Twitter, Twitter]

Caps Continue Playoff Fan Activities — For their Round 2 playoff matchup against the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Capitals are continuing a series of fan activities, including free yoga classes and viewings of team practices, at Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Ballston. [Washington Capitals]

County Gets Planning Award — Arlington County is one of a dozen recipients of the American Planning Association’s Gold 2017 National Planning Achievement Award. “County government and the community have together built Arlington into one of the nation’s best places to live, work or play,” County Board Chair Jay Fisette said in a statement. [Arlington County]

APS Pushes Solar Power — “Clearing a legal hurdle that may affect other Virginia school systems, Arlington Public Schools has created a new type of purchasing authority so it may enter into power purchase agreements (PPAs) for solar power.” [Blue Virginia]

Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick

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