Arlington, VA

Morning Notes

GMU Arlington Building Renamed — “Founders Hall, one of two major academic buildings on George Mason University’s Arlington Campus, was officially renamed Van Metre Hall after Mason’s Board of Visitors approved the change at its Oct. 10 meeting. The board’s action recognizes the generosity of the Van Metre Companies, a major regional builder that donated 37 acres in Ashburn, Virginia, to the George Mason University Foundation.” [George Mason University]

Overturned Vehicle on Washington Blvd — Near the tail end of yesterday morning’s rush hour a vehicle flipped on its roof along Washington Blvd, between Route 50 and Clarendon. The westbound lanes of Washington Blvd were blocked for a period of time. One person suffered minor injuries. [Twitter]

County Ranks High for Resident Satisfaction — “According to Arlington’s recent Community Satisfaction Survey, 88 percent of residents surveyed are satisfied with the overall quality of County services, 38 percentage points above the national average… Arlington also rated significantly above the national average for overall quality of life — 86 percent compared with 75 percent.” [Arlington County]

Local Credit Union Merger — “Arlington Community Federal Credit Union (ACFCU) announced today the merger of ACFCU with the Queen of Peace Arlington Federal Credit Union (QPAFCU). The combined asset size is $325 million, with nearly 22,500 members.” The Queen of Peace Arlington FCU is located in a church in the northeast corner of the Nauck neighborhood, near the back entrance to Army Navy Country Club. [CUInsight]

Venture-Funded Company Moving to Rosslyn — “FELA, the financial education and literacy company, today announced its rebrand to LifeCents. The name LifeCents is also the company’s health and wellness app that inspires and empowers people to improve their financial health and well-being… The team will move to Rosslyn, VA, at the beginning of next year to accommodate its continued growth.” [BusinessWire via Potomac Tech Wire]

Arlington Has Nightlife Advantage Over Tysons — Despite worries about competition from Tysons among local economic development boosters, the Fairfax County community doesn’t yet have Arlington’s nighttime vibrancy. Said one Tysons bar owner: “A lot of people leave here. They’re done with their job at 6:30 or 7 p.m. and they go home. They don’t come back. If they want to go out, they go to Arlington.” [Tysons Reporter]

Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick

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The team behind ARLnow has a mission: to make local news more interesting, engaging and actionable for a new generation of digital-first news consumers in Arlington and in other dynamic, live-work communities.

In support of that mission, we’ve been getting ready to launch a new site for Tysons, McLean and Vienna later this month. But we’ve had a major setback and need to ask for your help to overcome it.

Last month we went to download a list of nearly 3,000 subscribers who had signed up via a Facebook ad that had been running since late spring. Our launch strategy was predicated on growing an initial subscriber base, primarily via a large investment in Facebook ads, and we had promised our advertisers that the site would launch with at least 3,000 subscribers.

To our dismay, only around 1,600 email addresses were included in the file we downloaded. Upon further research, we discovered that Facebook has a policy — not revealed when placing the ad — to only store subscriber email addresses for 90 days.

There were no notifications prior to almost half of our subscribers being purged and Facebook has refused to refund our money, restore the deleted email addresses or do anything, other than recommend that we submit a comment in a suggestion box for the ads product team. Even attempts to escalate the matter via Facebook’s local news outreach team were unsuccessful. A new ad campaign we tried to launch turned out to be prohibitively more expensive than the original.

So here we are, two weeks away from the launch of Tysons Reporter and there are 1,400 people who think they’ve subscribed to a new local news site but have no idea that they’ll never hear from us.

With the viability of Tysons Reporter and the future of our company on the line, we are now turning to our only hope to fix this mess: you.

Please, share this post on social media (yes, even on Facebook). Email people you know in Tysons, McLean and Vienna who might have subscribed. Tell Facebook to do a better job of serving its small business clients and supporting local news.

If you’ve signed up for Tysons Reporter via Facebook, please use the form below (or via this link) to re-subscribe. If you haven’t subscribed but want to, you can also use the form below.

Thank you!

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Morning Notes

Plants rising on the forest floor (Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick)

Arlington Man Found Dead in Canal — Police have identified the man found floating dead in the C&O Canal in Georgetown as 51-year-old Arlington resident Osbaldo Lemus Bernal. So far, his death has not been deemed suspicious. [DCist, Patch]

Gutshall Steps Up Campaign Against Garvey — Planning Commission member and County Board hopeful Erik Gutshall is stepping up the rhetoric against his Democratic primary opponent, County Board member Libby Garvey. Gutshall, in an email, called Garvey a “failed… career politician.” At an event last night he blasted her tenure on the School Board — saying she did not do enough to address the school system’s capacity crisis — and her alleged lack of effort in addressing transit issues along Columbia Pike, following the cancellation of the streetcar project. [InsideNova, Blue Virginia]

Gutshall Wins Straw Poll Landslide — Those attending Del. Alfonso Lopez’s (D) second annual straw poll event on Columbia Pike last night favored Erik Gutshall over Libby Garvey in a landslide. One could argue that the event was attended by a select group of Democrats pre-disposed to oppose Garvey, but Gutshall captured 88 percent of the vote to Garvey’s 12 percent. The straw poll also asked attendees about the School Board race (Nancy Van Doren – 46%, Tannia Talento – 35%, Michael Shea – 11%, Chaz Crismon – 7%) and the Democratic presidential nomination (Hillary Clinton – 77%, Bernie Sanders – 23%).

Dancer’s Video Features New Local Art Wall — A local dancer used Crystal City’s new art wall along 23rd Street as the backdrop for a psychedelic music video. [YouTube]

Registration Open for Rosslyn Social Event — Registration is now open for City Social, Rosslyn’s annual meeting. The event, on May 11, is open to residents and will be attended by a number of Rosslyn movers and shakers. In addition to live music and giveaways, attendees at this year’s City Social will be able to enjoy wine, beer and a bourbon bar from Barley Mac, which is preparing to open in the former Red, Hot & Blue space on Wilson Blvd. [Rosslyn BID]

Wegman’s Inches Closer to Arlington — Arlington’s favorite unattainable grocery store obsession will soon be closer than ever. Wegman’s is reportedly planning to open a store in Tysons Corner in 2019. [Washington Business Journal]

Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick

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Morning Notes

View of D.C., the 14th Street Bridge and the Yellow Line bridge on the Potomac

Sen. Kaine Speaks to RAFOM — Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) spoke to the Radnor – Fort Myer Heights Civic Association, near Rosslyn, on Monday. The meeting was RAFOM’s 15th anniversary. Kaine spoke about budget issues, defense issues, foreign policy issues, and broad issues of working together politically. He said that “we as a nation are in a period of significant soul searching.” [Ode Street Tribune]

Pedro and Vinny’s Makes ‘Best Burrito’ Bracket — Pedro and Vinny’s, the acclaimed burrito stand at 2599 Columbia Pike, has made the south region bracket in data website Five Thirty Eight’s methodical search for America’s Best Burrito. Five Thirty Eight founder Nate Silver “felt strongly” that Pedro and Vinny’s should be on the list since it had the second-highest VORB (Value Over Replacement Burrito) score in the south. [Five Thirty Eight]

Tysons Wants to Be Arlington — Fairfax County officials are trying to emulate Clarendon and Ballston in remaking Tysons Corner into a vibrant, walkable, transit-accessible community. The plan is getting a boost from the expected summer opening of the Silver Line, for which Metro has added 460 new employees in recent weeks. [Citylab, Reston Now]

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Morning Notes

Santa in front of No Place Like Home & Covet (5140 Wilson Blvd)

Silver Line Could Shift Economic Development — As Metro’s Silver Line nears completion, there’s speculation it could prompt an economic development competition between Arlington and Fairfax County. Fairfax officials are already crediting the new line with bringing in at least one new business — Intelsat, an international satellite system provider. Gerald Gordon, the head of the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority, said the transformation of Tysons Corner will put it on a level playing field with the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor as far as attracting businesses. [Sun Gazette]

Polar Bear Sports Registration — United Social Sports is expanding its typical offerings of “bar sports” — such as cornhole, shuffleboard and skeeball — to include Polar Bear soccer leagues this winter. The leagues are for die hard players who wish to continue playing outdoors throughout the winter on a soccer field at Long Bridge Park. Registration is available online for the league, which offers weekly games on Sundays or Tuesdays. Games start the week of January 13. [United Social Sports]

McDonnell Offers Budget Amendments — Governor Bob McDonnell appeared before Virginia’s General Assembly on Monday to pitch a series of both cuts and spending increases for the state’s two-year, $85 billion budget. The increases would ease the burden on cities and counties that have been dealing with substantial funding cuts in recent years, by about $45 million. McDonnell is still cautious due to Virginia’s potential to take a hit if Congress can’t come to an agreement to avoid the year-end fiscal cliff. [Associated Press]

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What started out 25 years ago as a small neighborhood eatery in North Arlington is blossoming into a full-fledged local chain.

Lost Dog Café, which last year added a South Arlington location on Columbia Pike, is close to signing a lease for a storefront on Colshire Drive in McLean. And they’re not stopping there.

Lost Dog’s expansion is being undertaken not by the owners of the original restaurant, but by four friends who used to work there as teenagers.

Wes Clough, Mike Danner, Jim Barnes  and Mike Barnes are all graduates of Yorktown High School. Their devotion to Lost Dog Café started at age 16, when they started working there as drivers.

That dedication carried over through college, office jobs and marriages, and came full circle when Lost Dog owners Pam McAlwee and Ross Underwood gave their blessing for the friends to start the restaurant’s first franchise.

The Columbia Pike location, across the street from Arlington Cinema ‘N’ Drafthouse, opened in May 2009. McAlwee and Underwood donated the franchise fee to their charity, the Lost Dog and Cat Rescue Foundation.

The new venture has been a success, winning awards and gaining customers at a pace well exceeding the friends’ expectations. Even this past weekend, during the height of Snowmageddon, the restaurant was packed.

Part of the success, says co-owner Jim Barnes, can be attributed to Lost Dog’s focus on serving customers. During the snow storm, Barnes personally delivered phone-in orders in his Jeep Wrangler.

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