Arlington, VA

Morning Notes

Coronavirus Case in Falls Church — “On Mar. 9, a U.S. Navy civilian employee at the US Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery (BUMED) in Falls Church, Virginia, tested ‘presumptive positive’ for the coronavirus (COVID-19)… The individual is currently at a hospital in Northern Virginia.” [U.S. Navy]

Northam Signs Arlington Tourism Tax Bill — “The governor’s signature on March 2 made it official – Arlington will now be able to impose a surtax on hotel stays, with the proceeds going to tourism promotion, in perpetuity. Gov. Northam signed legislation patroned by state Sen. Janet Howell (D-Fairfax-Arlington) removing the ‘sunset clause’ from existing legislation allowing Arlington to tack on an additional 0.25 percent to the 5-percent transient-occupancy tax imposed by the county government on those staying in hotels and motels.” [InsideNova]

Lawmakers Support Long Bridge Project — Virginia’s delegation to Congress “sent a letter to Secretary Chao in support of the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation’s (DRPT) application for an Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) grant for the Long Bridge Project.” [Press Release]

No Arlington Rep on Metro Board — “For the first time in recent memory, Arlington will have no representation on the board of directors of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), which operates the Metro system… The shifts came about due to the resignation from the WMATA board of Arlington County Board member Christian Dorsey, due to issues over reporting of campaign contributions during his 2019 re-election bid.” [InsideNova]

Beyer Gains a GOP Challenger — “On Friday, Mark Ellmore officially filed to seek the Republican nomination for Congress from Virginia’s Eighth District in 2020…. It is currently represented in Congress by Democratic Rep. Don Beyer.” [Falls Church News-Press]

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Morning Notes

Biden Wins Virginia — “Virginia voters have overwhelmingly given former Vice President Joe Biden a sizable win over Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in Tuesday’s primary election. According to unofficial state election returns, Biden has been called the winner of the state with 53.3 percent of what was a record primary turnout, and will capture the largest share of its 99 delegates.” [Patch, Washington Post]

Bernie Underperforms 2016 — In the two-way race between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders in 2016, Sanders captured 33% of the vote in Arlington. Yesterday, he received 19% of the vote, a close third to Elizabeth Warren at 20%.

FAA Taking Comments on DCA Noise — “After changing the routes for planes taking off from Reagan National Airport, in Arlington, Virginia, the Federal Aviation Administration is holding a public comment period. The comment period closes March 30. In an email, Libby Garvey, chair of the Arlington County Board, said that even if people in the community submitted earlier complaints, the FAA will not be officially considering them.” [WTOP]

Tafti Defends Changes at Prosecutor’s Office — “There’s this false critique that these reforms are making our communities less safe. We’ve been fed a story for decades that we have to incarcerate and have zero tolerance in order to be safe. More and more we are finding that harm reduction — for drug use, mental illness treatment, restorative justice — is more effective.” [Arlington Magazine]

Police: Two Arrested in Stolen Vehicle — “At approximately 2:40 p.m. on March 1, officers [in Pentagon City] were alerted to a license plate reader hit on a vehicle previously reported stolen out of Washington D.C. Officers observed two subjects walking away from the parked vehicle and conducted surveillance in the area. The subjects were taken into custody without incident as they returned to the vehicle… A search of the vehicle located suspected narcotics.” [Arlington County]

Chamber Cheers Tourism Tax Bill — “The Arlington Chamber of Commerce celebrates the General Assembly’s establishment of permanent funding for tourism promotion in Arlington. This 0.25 percent Transient Occupancy Tax surcharge on hotel rooms is used exclusively by Arlington Convention and Visitors Service… to grow travel and tourism in Arlington. Previously, the tax surcharge was enacted with a July 1, 2021 sunset” provision. [Arlington Chamber of Commerce]

Bill Could Boost N. Va. Metro Funding — “Northern Virginia localities could soon have the ability to spend more money on Metro service increases after state lawmakers approved a bill that tinkers with the dedicated funding agreement for the transit agency… Virginia’s total financial contribution to Metro can’t increase by more than 3% each year, a condition designed to impose fiscal discipline on the agency. The bill from Del. Vivian Watts, D-Annandale would exempt any costs associated with service increases from that cap.” [Washington Business Journal]

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Morning Notes

Pentagon City Redevelopment on Pause — “Brookfield Properties has suspended plans to launch a major redevelopment of the Transportation Security Administration’s headquarters in Pentagon City once the federal agency moves to its new home in Springfield in mid- to late 2020… it’s a reflection of the new reality that Amazon’s HQ2 has created in the neighborhood.” [Washington Business Journal]

Vote on Add’l Speeding Fine This Weekend — “Currently, a ticket for going 10 mph over the speed limit in a residential zone is about $80. The additional fine would bring that ticket to $280. ‘People drive like maniacs around here. It’s about time they got some punishment,’ Arlington resident Jack Feegel said.” [NBC 4]

Arlington Resident Helps Return Lost Dog — “A lost dog was reunited with its owner thanks to a passing motorist, who noticed something unusual on their way to work, and a fellow driver farther along the road. Dashcam footage shows the unnamed motorist, from Arlington, Virginia, driving to their workplace in Silver Spring, Maryland, on January 13.” [Daily Mail]

ACFD Responds to Calls in Maryland — It’s rare for the Arlington County Fire Department to respond as mutual aid to an incident in Maryland, but it happened Wednesday morning, with several units dispatched to Prince George’s County. [Twitter, Twitter]

Arlington Tourism Tax May Be Made Permanent — “The Arlington County government looks ready to get a major present from the new Democratic majority in the General Assembly. The state Senate has passed and sent to the House of Delegates a measure that removes the sunset provision on Arlington’s authority to impose a 0.25-percent surcharge on hotel taxes to support tourism promotion.” [InsideNova]

Nearby: No Streetcar in Georgetown — “Plans to extend the DC Streetcar to Georgetown have been effectively scrapped. The District Department of Transportation is halting all work on the project ‘for the foreseeable future,’ according to documents submitted to the D.C. Council.” [WTOP]

Flickr pool photo by Rex Block

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Morning Notes

Purse Snatching Outside of Whole Foods Saturday — “The male suspect approached the victims near their vehicle and attempted to engage them in conversation before entering their vehicle. One victim confronted the suspect, who then threatened them, before attempting to steal a purse from the vehicle and flee. With the assistance of two bystanders, the suspect was stopped and the purse was recovered. The suspect was subsequently chased away from the area prior to police arrival.” [Arlington County, Twitter]

Arlington Man Dies in Route 7 Crash — “A 92-year-old man has died as a result of injuries from a crash that occurred around 3:30 p.m. on Sept. 24 in the 5600 block of Leesburg Pike. Donald Buzzell, 92, of Arlington, was operating a 1997 Mercury Marquis eastbound on Leesburg Pike when his vehicle hit two cars that were stopped in front of him, in traffic. The crash contributed to an additional three vehicles being hit.” [Fairfax County Police]

‘Pumpkin Patch’ Event in Ballston This Weekend — “Celebrate fall with a Pop-Up Pumpkin Patch at Ballston Quarter featuring live music, specialty drinks, crafts and of course, pumpkins! All pumpkins will be sold for $5 (cash only), with all proceeds going to Arlington Food Assistance Center. ” [Ballston Quarter]

N. Va. Atop State in Tourism — “Virginia’s tourism industry generated a record $26 billion in tourist spending in 2018 — and 40% of that, or $10.3 billion, was spent in Northern Virginia… Arlington County, Fairfax County and Loudoun County rank as the top three counties in Virginia for individual tourism spending.” [WTOP]

Winter Hours for Arlington National — Starting today, October 1, Arlington National Cemetery will close at 5 p.m. as part of its winter hours, which are in effect until the end of March. The Arlington Cemetery Metro station, meanwhile, will close at 7 p.m. during that time. [Twitter, Twitter]

ALXnow Launches Today — Our new Alexandria local news site, ALXnow, launches today at 8 a.m. Want to keep up with everything happening from Old Town to Potomac Yard to the West End? Follow ALXnow on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and sign up for our daily newsletter.

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Morning Notes

Arlington 9/11 Remembrance Ceremony — “The County’s wreath-laying ceremony will begin at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 11, at the Bozman Government Center. A moment of silence will be held at 9:37 a.m., the moment when the plane struck the Pentagon and 184 lives were lost.” [Arlington County, Press Release]

Stabbing in Boulevard Manor — “ACPD responded to a domestic violence incident in which a woman was reported stabbed in a home in the Boulevard Manor neighborhood around 11:30 a.m. [Tuesday]. She’s expected to be okay. Police are not releasing additional details, to protect the victim’s identity, per spokeswoman.” [Twitter]

ACPD Considering Ring Doorbell Partnership — “The Arlington County Police Department appears likely to become the fourth Greater Washington law enforcement agency to sign a partnership with Ring Inc., a doorbell-camera company owned by Amazon.com Inc., despite internal concerns over privacy and racial profiling.” [Washington Business Journal]

Marymount Jumps in Rankings — “Great news — Marymount has jumped more than 20 spots in the rankings for top Regional Universities in the South, according to the 2020 Best Colleges Rankings from @usnews!” [Marymount University, Twitter]

Arlington Visitor Spending Keeps Rising — “Arlington visitors spent a record $3.4 billion in 2018, a 4.3 percent increase over 2017, according to the U.S. Travel Association. Arlington has led Virginia counties in visitor spending since 2009. Tourism generated nearly $94 million in local tax receipts, benefiting County programs and services, as well as state tax receipts of nearly $127 million.” [Arlington County]

Rosslyn Neighbor Drama Does Federal — “A former analyst for the FBI admitted Tuesday to copying the private emails of a conservative conspiracy theorist and sharing them with his superiors while his wife offered them to the press… Tolson, who has left the FBI, agreed to forfeit two phones and two computers and avoid contact with Burkman, his neighbor in Arlington. He was released on bond until sentencing on Dec. 20.” [Washington Post]

Hoskins Wants ‘Innovation Campus’ in Fairfax — “As one of the lead negotiators involved in bringing Amazon.com Inc. to Arlington County, Victor Hoskins also helped Alexandria land Virginia Tech’s new ‘Innovation Campus’ — and now that he’s changed jobs, he wants to help Fairfax County do the same.” [Washington Business Journal]

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(Updated at 9:45 p.m.) The View of DC, the observation deck on the 31st floor of Central Place Tower in Rosslyn, appears to be closing to ticketed guests.

On the venue’s website, tickets are only available through Friday, July 26. A somewhat cryptic message on the website (below) suggests that the observation deck will “pivot” to being primarily a private event venue.

As we continue to improve operations at The View of DC to offer an elevated and exceptional experience, we have also been carefully evaluating and analyzing our performance for our guests. As a result of that analysis, we will be transitioning The View of DC to serve Arlington County residents and their guests and after-hours events attendees. We believe this will allow us to better serve Arlington County residents and to better leverage The View of DC as a point of civic pride and the go-to event venue in the region.

We will honor all group and advance sales admissions tickets through Friday, July 26, 2019 and pivot to a full-service special event venue immediately thereafter.

Reached be phone today, an employee said staff had not been told the plans but were scheduled to have a 3 p.m. meeting to discuss the changes.

It’s unclear when Arlington residents will be able to access the observation deck after July 26. The county’s site plan for Central Place Tower — formerly known as CEB Tower — specifies that “a minimum of 2 days of every week… as well as the 4th of July, the Observation Deck will be open to Arlington residents free of charge.”

Before the observation deck opened, hopes were high that it would be a major tourism draw for Rosslyn. It is “the tallest destination inside the Beltway that is open to the public — until the Washington Monument reopens,” according to the Washington Business Journal.

While online reviews of The View of DC are largely positive, with praise for the venue’s staff and the views, complaints abound about the price of admission. For non-Arlington residents, tickets are up to $22.

When the tower, part of the Central Place development next to the Rosslyn Metro station, was first approved in 2007, the developer envisioned a more modest admission fee.

“As the applicant estimates an annual operating cost of approximately $1.5 million… an admission fee would be charged for entry to pay for operating expenses,” the original site plan said. “The applicant estimates that a future admission charge would be approximately $3.00 in order to be revenue-neutral.”

Legends, the hospitality company behind One World Observatory at the World Trade Center in New York City and OUE Skyspace in Los Angeles, manages The View of DC, which also features various exhibits and a rooftop Champagne bar.

Photo via View of DC/Facebook

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Arlington County has a plan to lure in fitness-lovering tourists with retro sports ads.

The County Board is considering accepting $10,000 in state funds for a marketing campaign designed to attract exercise enthusiasts to Arlington, as the state celebrates the 50th anniversary of the “Virginia Is for Lovers” slogan.

staff report to the Board said the Arlington Convention and Visitors Service (ACVS) will use the money to promote sports tourism in the county:

The goal is to attract travelers from at least 50 miles away to stay in Arlington hotels on vacation. Centered on the fall race season and major Arlington-based events like the Army Ten-Miler and Marine Corps Marathon, ACVS’s initiative will appeal to fitness-focused leisure travelers through retro, 1969-style visuals and sports accessories, along with creative storytelling via blogs, videos and national social-media influencers.

The item is included in the Board’s agenda for its meeting this Saturday.

If approved, the county would accept $10,000 from the Virginia Tourism Corporation and apply the funds to the Arlington’s Economic Development Commission.

“This fall, ACVS will use the grant funds to collaborate with local fitness and neighborhood organizations to fuse Virginia’s ’50 Years of Love’ campaign with the idea that ‘Arlington is for Fitness Lovers,'” said the report.

The report also noted the county’s 2018 ranking as the fittest American “city” — a title it won again this week.

Photo via Arlington Sports Hall of Fame

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Morning Notes

Lidl Opens Store at Arlington HQ — “Arlington finally has its first Lidl grocery store — it just happens to be pint-sized… the company took a little more than 1,000 square feet it was using as storage on the ground floor of its HQ to open Lidl Express, a convenience-sized store with a variety of convenience store staples and fresh food.” [Washington Business Journal]

Lee Highway Group Wants More Funding — “The Lee Highway Alliance is seeking what its president calls a modest increase in funding from the county government. But the budget proposed by County Manager Mark Schwartz is heading in the other direction.” [InsideNova]

Crystal City Condo Aiming for Record Sale — “With Amazon’s HQ2 on the way, the seller of Penthouse 3S at the Crystal Gateway Condominiums believes the time is right to go for a record… While $2 million might sound like a hefty number, DeHart stresses that inside DC limits, buyers pay nearly twice as much for Potomac views.” [Washingtonian]

Former ACPD Captain in the News — “The former police chief of Portsmouth, Va.” — Tonya Chapman, a former Arlington County Police captain and the first black woman to lead a municipal police department in Virginia — “says she was forced out by city leaders over resistance to her attempts to overhaul a department riven by racial tension.” [Washington Post]

Instagrammable Arlington Spots — Arlington tourism booster StayArlington has compiled a list of Instagram-friendly locations in the county. [StayArlington]

Nearby: Halal Butchery Approved — “A retail halal butcher shop that slaughters chickens on-site will be allowed to open in a small industrial area of Alexandria, despite strong opposition from nearby business owners and their patrons.” [Washington Post, Patch]

Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley

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Morning Notes

Amazon’s Offices Will Be Dog-Friendly — Amazon’s new “HQ2” offices in the Crystal City area will be dog-friendly, its head of economic development said at an event yesterday. Property owner JBG Smith wooed Amazon, in part, by making sure there were lots of dogs around during Amazon’s visit to the area. [Bisnow]

HQ2 Still Not a Certainty — “While there aren’t any signs Amazon.com Inc. plans to walk away from National Landing after abandoning Long Island City, the company’s future landlord and development partner warned Tuesday that HQ2 is still just an agreement in principle, not a done deal.” [Washington Business Journal]

Autonomous Vehicles in Ballston? — “In collaboration with the Ballston Business Improvement District, [a Virginia Tech] research team is seeking current public attitudes towards [self-driving vehicles] in Ballston through an online survey.” [Virginia Tech]

Arlington Gets ‘Love’ Tourism Grant — “The Arlington Convention and Visitors Service (ACVS) announced today that it has received a $10,000 grant from the Virginia Tourism Corporation (VTC) ’50 Years of Love’ grant fund. ’50 Years of Love’ is part of VTC’s efforts to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Virginia is for Lovers tourism slogan.” [Arlington County]

Marymount Names New Provost — “Marymount is pleased to announce that the search process for its new provost has drawn to a successful conclusion. From a distinguished national pool, the University has selected Hesham El-Rewini, Ph.D., P.E. as the newest member of the Marymount team.” [Marymount University]

Beyer on Bryce — Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) quoted Star Wars upon new of now-former Washington Nationals slugger Bryce Harper signing with the Phillies: “I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. I fear something terrible has happened.” [Twitter]

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Morning Notes

Medical Emergency at Yorktown — A student suffered a serious medical emergency at Yorktown High School this morning. Police and medics rushed to the scene, CPR was performed and the student was reportedly revived. He was taken to a local hospital.

Arlington Tourism Website Wins Award — “The Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International… on Jan. 22 presented the Arlington Convention and Visitors Service (ACVS) with a 2018 Adrian Award for the StayArlington tourism website.” [Arlington County]

Best Bowls of Soup in Rosslyn — A new list exhaustively details “where to go for a good bowl of soup” in Rosslyn, “because it’s everybody’s favorite cold-weather lunch.” [Rosslyn BID]

Gymnastics Competition at W-L — “The annual Barbara Reinwald Invitational girls high-school gymnastics meet was held Jan. 19 at Washington-Lee High School. The high-school meet, which has been held for decades, included 11 teams and was won by the host Washington-Lee Blue team.” [InsideNova]

Chef Geoff Winning Happy Hour Fight — Chef Geoff Tracy is poised to withdraw his lawsuit against the Commonwealth of Virginia, which seeks to overturn restrictions on advertising happy hour specials and prices, after the state legislature overwhelmingly passed bills that would remove those and other happy hour restrictions. [Tysons Reporter]

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Morning Notes

Crews Pre-Treating Roads — Arlington County crews are pre-treating arterial streets with brine ahead of expected snow this weekend. The forecast currently calls for “light to moderate snowfall,” with perhaps 3-4 inches of accumulation. [Twitter, Capital Weather Gang]

Long-Time Resident Marries in Family’s Cemetery —  Austin Thomas, an 11th generation Arlingtonian, wed real estate agent Justin Kafka last summer in the rose garden of Arlington’s Columbia Gardens Cemetery, which Thomas’ family owns. [Arlington Magazine]

County Unveils New Visitors Guide — “The Arlington Convention and Visitors Service introduced the 2019 Arlington Visitors Guide, Meeting Planner Guide and tear-off pad map Tuesday, distributing initial supplies to attractions as well as the County’s 45 hotels and residential buildings in several neighborhoods. With a sleek, magazine-style cover featuring Arlington’s newest attraction, The Observation Deck at CEB Tower, the guides highlight ‘The New View from Arlington.'” [Arlington County]

‘Meet the Chair’ Event Next Week — “Leadership Center for Excellence in conjunction with co-host George Mason University, and supporting partner, Arlington Chamber of Commerce, will hold its annual Meet the Chair event on Thursday, January 17” from 6:30-8 p.m. at GMU Founders Hall at 3351 Fairfax Drive. “This free event will be one of the first opportunities for community members to connect with newly elected Arlington County Board Chair, Christian Dorsey.” [Leadership Center for Excellence]

Dorsey Elected COG Vice Chair — “Arlington County Board Chair Christian Dorsey today was elected vice chair of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) Board of Directors. COG, an independent, non-profit association, brings together 300 elected officials from 24 local governments, the Maryland and Virginia state legislatures, and the U.S. Congress to develop solutions to regional challenges.” [Arlington County]

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

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