GMU to Tweak Name of Scalia Law School — A week ago, after receiving $30 million in donations, George Mason University announced that it was naming its Arlington-based law school the “Antonin Scalia School of Law,” in honor of the late Supreme Court justice. The internet promptly went wild for the school’s would-be acronym: ASS Law or ASSoL. GMU noticed, and is now adjusting the name to the “Antonin Scalia Law School.” [Above the Law]
Porch Fire in High View Park — A small fire broke out yesterday on the porch of a house in the High View Park neighborhood, on the 2300 block of N. Dinwiddie Street, about two blocks from Fire Station No. 8. The fire marshal is investigating the incident. [Twitter]
County Live Streams First Commission Meeting — Arlington County live streamed a Planning Commission meeting for the first time Tuesday night. To re-live those 102 minutes of excitement, you can now view the meeting online, on-demand. [Arlington County]
Clarendon Farmers Market Returns Today — The Clarendon Farmers Market is back for the season today. The farmers market typically takes place next to the Metro station from 3-7 p.m. [Clarendon Alliance]
APS Open to Selling Naming Rights — There’s no indication that anyone has inquired about it, but the naming rights to Arlington’s high school football stadiums, gyms and theaters could be for sale for the right price. Arlington Public Schools says it would consider naming facilities after large donors. [InsideNova]
Rosslyn Startup Gets Big Investment — Rosslyn-based LiveSafe has received a $5.25 million investment from FedEx founder Fred Smith. LiveSafe describes itself as an “enterprise-class mobile safety communications platform.” [Commercial Appeal, PE Hub]
Flickr pool photo by Airamangel
A local TV news report from Clarendon took an ironic and not-safe-for-work turn Saturday night when a woman walked by and flashed the camera, live on the air.
Immediately after Goldberg began answering — “so far, Kimberly” — a woman walked by and flashed her breasts. The split-second moment was captured in this NSFW YouTube clip.
A bit flustered, Goldberg nonetheless continued his report, which highlighted how there were no major incidents and only nine minor arrests for drunken behavior during the bar crawl.
“So, anyway,” Goldberg said as the brief YouTube clip ended.
Hat tip to Keith Hall
It’s been a decade since its last public performance, but Arlington’s official song has now been recorded — and released on YouTube — for future generations.
The song is, well, a bit boring and dated, to be honest. But it is Arlington’s only official song and no one seems to eager to replace it.
The revival of the song has been spearheaded by county communications manager Peter Golkin. In December Golkin uploaded a scan of the sheet music — the first time the song has appeared on Arlington County’s website — and penned a press release recounting the County Board’s adoption of the song 45 years ago.
But back on the first Saturday morning of October 1970, a unanimous County Board deemed Ernest K. Emurian’s words and melody worthy of a place in Arlington’s official identity. Reasoning for such approval sits right there in the lyrics of the first verse: “[T]he songs of home are ones we really cherish/For home is the place we love the best.”
It was love in E flat and 4/4 time, consummated with a 10,000-copy print run funded by the Arlington Chamber of Commerce, prime sponsor for the song’s adoption.
The composer, the Reverend Ernest Emurian, was already a local institution, a beloved and prolific man. Pastor of Cherrydale United Methodist Church, he had lived in the County for seven years before attempting his anthem for Arlington. The inspiration was his long-held belief that “if a place is worth living in, it is worth singing about.”
Golkin’s research suggests the last time the song was performed was at the opening of an Arlington Historical Society exhibit on county constitutional offices, in 2006. “VIPs listened politely but made no attempt to emulate the singing Board of ’70,” Golkin quipped.
Before that the song had been performed off and on at the Arlington County Fair, but was otherwise fading out of the public consciousness. That is, until now.
Among those performing the song in the video above are three members of the original teen chorus that serenaded the County Board before the song’s adoption in 1970. Also performing: three generations of Arlington’s Dodge-Strehle family, County Board aide Liza Hodskins and “Our Man in Arlington” columnist Charlie Clark, who also wrote about the song in December.
The full list of performers, in order from left to right, after the jump.
The Super Tuesday primaries are upon us. On Tuesday, voters in Virginia and almost a dozen other states will head to the polls to select a Republican and a Democratic presidential nominee.
Will Hilary Clinton remain the Democratic favorite? Will Donald Trump retain his unlikely status as the Republican frontrunnner?
On Feb. 16, polls and statistics guru elections guru Nate Silver sat down with prominent George Mason University professor Tyler Cowen, as part of the “Conversations with Tyler” series at GMU’s Arlington campus.
The Mercatus Center at GMU has posted video (above) and a transcript of the discussion. Here are some of Silver’s predictions and observations.
On Silver’s initial Trump skepticism:
I got a little frustrated, because a lot of people were saying, “Trump’s instantly going to evaporate in the polls.” If you go back and look at what we wrote, we said, “That could happen, but there are also a lot of candidates – Pat Buchanan, and so forth, Ron Paul, Rick Santorum – who will get 20, 25, 30-something percent of the electorate, and we have a high-floor, low-ceiling type of candidate.”
Lots of unusual candidates have done well in early polls. Lots of unusual candidates have won Iowa or New Hampshire, not usually both, but one or the other. It’s the ability to consolidate the field after that, by becoming the consensus choice of the party that’s been more unusual. That assumption still might prove to be true.
On Marco Rubio’s chances:
I’ve been a Rubio optimist for a while, on the theory that he is the only candidate who really has appeal to all the various sectors and constituencies within the GOP, which may be a fraying party, but still, he has the highest favorability ratings in the party.
On Ted Cruz and the price of rigid ideology in the general election:
You can see that there’s a price for extremism. Not a price that can’t be overcome, if we go into a big recession or if Clinton or Bernie has huge problems, but Cruz would probably cost you three or four points relative to the median generic Republican.
On Trump’s potential pivot to the center in a general election:
But the most basic problem is that in an election between Sanders and Trump or Clinton and Trump, everything is quite left of center. Trump, when he was thinking about running as an independent in 1999-2000, had an eccentric platform. It involved single-payer health care, a wealth tax. He was anti-immigration, even then, but pro-choice.
He said explicitly, “I’m not bound by any party, really. I’ll probably reconsider my stances if I become the Republican nominee.”
On Bernie Sanders’ Democratic base of support:
Sanders, we haven’t really seen. Can he win states that are not very white and very liberal? Maybe he can. Nevada seems to be pretty close. I’m just saying, we haven’t really received that much information that would make you update your priors about Sanders all that much.
On Michael Bloomberg potentially entering the race as an independent candidate:
Obviously, in some ways, the climate could be as fertile as ever for some type of third candidate running, but Bloomberg, I don’t know. Number one, I’m not sure he differentiates all that well from Clinton, with whom he has a lot in common policy-wise, and Trump, with which he’s kind of the same character.
What do Arlington’s newest County Board members hope to accomplish in their new positions, why did they run and how do they plan to increase Millennial and minority participation in county government?
The full video from the event, via Arlington Independent Media, is above. Below are some of insights from the evening’s program, which included an audience question-and-answer session at the end.
Why did you want to run for County Board?
Cristol: “I decided to run because I thought Arlington could use some new perspectives. Everyone deserves representation.”
What are you hoping to accomplish year one?
Dorsey: “We’ve got a nearly 20 percent [office] vacancy rate, so I’m trying to get it down to 10 percent. We need to see some progress, each percent we can get rid of means $3 million in tax revenue that doesn’t have to be raised. That’s an extreme focus in this first year.”
How do you better include the input of Millennials and minorities in county government?
Cistol: “You start by listening to them, hearing what they have to say the obstacles are. When you talk to folks in the communities, people are generally willing to talk about them.”
Thoughts on the widening of I-66?
Cristol: “We are disappointed, I think widening is bad for the communities. We have tons of data that shows that widening is not wise. We are going to look very closely at environmental research that is required as a pre-requisite before the construction begins.”
What can you do to serve communities along Columbia Pike that have felt neglected since the cancellation of the streetcar project?
Dorsey: “These equity issues are decades long. I don’t see any Board preference in North Arlington. If we get the economic engines humming we have have a lot of potential. There’s also things that we can do to make South Arlington neighborhoods more appealing to investors.”
There are a lot of examples of local restaurants and businesses closing, even as many open. Is there anything the county can do about that?
Dorsey: “It’s our responsibility to make sure small businesses are able to thrive, instead of just recruiting the big ones. Going back to affordability, a reason small businesses aren’t able to thrive is because [owners] don’t have the money to.”
Thank you to our participants and to Mad Rose Tavern for hosting us. Details about the March ARLnow Presents event, which will be held in Crystal City and will focus on Arlington’s burgeoning tech scene, will be released soon.
Quotes compiled by Justin Funkhouser.
It was hard enough for many Arlington residents to leave their house during last weekend’s blizzard — literally, two-plus feet of snow blocked many doors from opening — so imagine how hard it was to run a restaurant during the storm.
On Tuesday night, at ARLnow Presents: Running a Restaurant in Arlington, several prominent Arlington restaurant owners told attendees how they pulled it off.
Scott Parker, co-owner of A-Town and Don Tito, said his company paid for staff members to stay in nearby hotels — the Hilton in Ballston and the Holiday Inn in Courthouse — so they could get to and from work safely.
“We booked a big block of rooms in both of those… it was a big slumber party with all of our staff,” Parker said. “We were worried that if we sent people home and they fought through the storm on Friday night, they would then have to fight through it again to get back to work on Saturday, and that wasn’t really fair.”
Mark Fedorchak, co-owner of Liberty Tavern, Northside Social and Lyon Hall, said he and his team managed to keep Liberty Tavern open all weekend courtesy of an employee with a big SUV.
“We had one staff member with an ’85 Ford Bronco with huge wheels, that was able to go around and pick people up and take them back home all weekend long,” Fedorchak said.
Tim Ma, chef and proprietor of Water and Wall in Virginia Square, opened the restaurant on Sunday with only two staff members: his general manager and a server.
“I was able to get out of my house but the rest of my staff wasn’t,” said Ma, who was a 2015 “Culinary Rising Star of the Year” Rammy Award nominee. “I went into the kitchen, no dishwasher and no cook, and cooked the entire day by myself. We ran the entire day, with decent business, by ourselves.”
The next ARLnow Presents event, featuring new County Board members Katie Cristol and Christian Dorsey, will be held at Mad Rose Tavern (3100 Clarendon Blvd) on Feb. 10.
County Moves to ‘Phase 4’ of Snow Cleanup — With all residential streets passable, Arlington County has moved to “Phase 4” of its snow removal operation. “Phase 4 will focus on clean up, widening primary and secondary routes, as well as addressing trouble spots in residential areas,” the county said. “Widening and hauling snow from major corridors will continue at night when it is safest — we will do our best to minimize disruption, but please expect some noise.” [Arlington County]
Heavy Traffic Again This Morning — Pretty much the entire stretch of northbound I-395 was a parking lot this morning, as the D.C. area continued to get back to work following this past weekend’s blizzard. Other traffic problem spots include eastbound Route 50, which was backed up starting around Courthouse, Washington Blvd around the Pentagon, and the southbound GW Parkway, which slowed near the first overlook.
McMenamin Digs Out Maywood Neighbors — One Arlington neighborhood that was particularly slow to be plowed after the blizzard was Maywood, along Lee Highway. Residents pitched in to clear the streets, including former independent County Board candidate Mike McMenamin, who “brought out his powerful snowblower and carved out walkways, driveways and helped clear a path for an Uber driver whose Chevy Suburban got stuck at the height of the storm.” [Washington Post]
Video: Marymount Swimmers Train in Florida — Want to think warm thoughts after this morning’s icy commute? Here’s a video of Arlington-based Marymount University’s swim team taking a recent training trip to Key West. [YouTube]
Photo courtesy Valerie Crotty
— Ben Celestino (@bencelestino) January 24, 2016
— Michael Peloquin (@mmp7700) January 23, 2016
Want to relive the snowstorm? Two new time-lapse videos from ARLNow readers show the effects of “Snowzilla” as it blanketed the area this weekend.
Another video that Youtube user Josh Wagner shot from his apartment in Pentagon City shows the monster storm’s progression between Friday at 2 p.m. and Sunday at 8 a.m.
The pace of road paving in Arlington has more than tripled in the past five years, according to newly-released stats.
A new county-produced video (above) states that Arlington paved 91 lane miles of roadway in 2015. That’s up from 25 lane miles paved in 2009 and 30 lane miles paved in 2010.
Arlington County made “significant investments in road paving in 2015,” the video says, calling it “a banner year for roadwork.” The total cost of the paving program last year: $13 million.
The previously lethargic pace of road paving, combined with a number of unusually harsh winters, led to complaints from residents that Arlington’s roads were in poor shape, especially for a county that prides itself on providing a high level of government services.
The tide started to turn with the adoption of the FY 2013-2022 Capital Improvement Plan, which called for paving at least 72 lane miles per year to put the county back on an engineer-recommended 15 year paving cycle. Arlington has a total of 974 lane miles of county-maintained roadway.
In 2015, Arlington County paved portions of a number of major local roads, including Crystal Drive, Columbia Pike, Washington Blvd near Lee Hwy, and Army Navy Drive. The county was also especially proactive about filling potholes last year, filling 12,100 compared to the previous five-year average of 6,600 per year.
Mike Moon, Deputy Director of Operations for Arlington’s Dept. of Environmental Services, touted the county’s paving progress.
“The 91 lane miles we paved in 2015 was a doubling of our effort compared to 2012,” Moon said. “It was a significant effort and we’re really pleased with how the paving program went this year.”
The proof is in the pudding! Parks with game winner! 42-41 over Marshall – Boom! pic.twitter.com/OO4C5vqvWZ
— Wakefield Athletics (@WakeAthletics) January 13, 2016
A three-point shot with time expiring gave the Wakefield boys varsity basketball team the win at home over Marshall last night.
Trailing 35-41 with 3:28 to go, the Warriors’ defense stepped up and the team battled back to 39-41. With just seconds on the clock, Deng Nhial received an inbound pass and then fired it to Halil Parks, who was standing just beyond the three point line.
Parks drained the three with a jump shot for the game-winner, sending teammates and fans storming onto the court to celebrate the victory.
Arlington County released its year end video this week, highlighting how the community has progressed over the last twelve months.
The video, titled “Our Path Forward,” begins with County Board members reflecting on a difficult 2014 and being able overcome various challenges — unspoken but implied: the cancellation of Arlington’s planned streetcar project.
“Last year, we had some distractions,” said Jay Fisette. “We had a lot of angst in the community.”
Libby Garvey shared concerns over whether the Board could effectively address those tensions this year.
“There were a number of challenges facing us,” she said. “Can we properly manage change? That was a reasonable concern and definitely a challenge.”
One of the most prominent of those is housing. In the video, Board members cited the recent approval of the redevelopment of Arlington Presbyterian Church into affordable housing and the opening of the Homeless Services Center as major improvements in that category.
“Being there for the opening of that center was one of the highlights, by far,” Walter Tejada said in the video. “Frankly, if there’s a community in the United States of America that has a chance of ending homelessness, Arlington is it.”
The video also highlighted public-private and public-public collaborations the County established in the last year, including the Ballston mall renovations those that are still developing, like the land sale or swap with Virginia Center Hospital.
“It is all about partnership and how we can work together in a cooperative and synergistic fashion,” John Vihstadt said. “The County Board and the School Board are also working much more collaboratively than they have in the past.”
“That process was the epitome of what we can do and do well as a community,” Fisette said.
(Updated at 4 p.m.) Once one of Arlington’s top 5 intersections for collisions — particularly those involving pedestrians and cyclists — the “Intersection of Doom” in Rosslyn now isn’t even in the top 25.
Safety improvements at the intersection have dramatically reduced accidents at the intersection of Lynn Street and Lee Highway, said Larry Marcus, the county’s head of transportation engineering, in a new county-produced video.
The county faced a challenge with the intersection: how to design quick and relatively inexpensive improvements at an intersection where 1,700 bicyclists per day try to cross a street also being crossed by 600 vehicles per hour exiting I-66.
“The obvious thing to do is separate these movements,” Marcus said.
Bicyclists and pedestrians now get a 10 second head start to start crossing Lynn Street while the traffic exiting I-66 waits at a red light with an illuminated no right turn signal. Pedestrians and cyclists then get a don’t cross signal while traffic turning right onto Lynn Street clears out.
Those relatively simple “operational improvements,” along with traffic enforcement and a public education campaign by Arlington County police, have dropped the intersection out of the county’s top 25 most crash-prone, Marcus says.
Despite the improvement, Marcus said the county is getting ready to begin a planning process for a more permanent solution to pedestrian-car conflicts at the intersection.
“There’s certainly an opportunity to build something,” he said.
Remy Munasifi, the maestro behind the timeless Arlington Rap, has a new music video that’s sure to attract some attention.
Rather than parodying Arlington and its many brown flip flops and Starbucks, Remy has this time turned his comic crosshairs on Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.
Borrowing the hook from Drake’s “Started From the Bottom,” Remy skewers Trump’s statement at a Today Show town hall event this week: “It has not been easy for me… I started off in Brooklyn, my father gave me a small loan of a million dollars.”
Throughout the video Remy juxtaposes Trump’s “I’m really rich” braggadocio with images of his failed business ventures.
Remy produced the music video for ReasonTV, which is part of the libertarian think tank Reason Foundation. Reason has been critical of Trump’s brand of politics, particularly his anti-immigration stances.
Clarendon filmmaker Mike Kravinsky is back with a new movie.
“Geographically Desirable” tells the story of Nicole, a TV news reporter whose life is turned upside down after she inherits a house in a small town and a dog from her recently deceased uncle. As she gets to know the town and its inhabitants, Nicole has to decide between the big city and small town lives.
“She gets to experience something other than the life of news. She lives and breathes this stuff,” Kravinsky said.
While Nicole will have to decide between the two lives, audiences members may not know which one she chooses. Kravinsky purposely chose to have an open ending for the movie.
“My thoughts were both lifestyles are good as long as there is balance,” he said.
Kravinsky is no stranger to the late nights that come with TV news. An editor with ABC News for 29 years, it would be fair to say that he lived and breathed the “life of news.” He decided to take a buyout in 2010 and turned to filmmaking. He released a web video-series in 2011 about a middle-aged man deciding what to do after being fired.
“This is sort of my second career,” he said.
While Kravinsky’s ABC career taught him how to use different camera equipment, he said creating and editing a film was completely different.
“People think if you can edit [for news], you can edit [for film], and that’s not true,” Kravinsky said.
Changing from a facts-only news mindset to a more creative one was also a challenge, he said. In news, reporters are telling someone else’s story, but when it comes to filmmaking, the creators have a chance to tell their own, he added.
“With writing fiction, every character is you in some way,” he said. “And every character’s experience comes from your own. It’s nice in a way because the story is some version of you and how you see life. I guess that’s the best way to describe it.”
New Homeless Shelter to Open Next Month? — Months delayed, Arlington’s new year-round homeless shelter is getting closer to opening. The facility in Courthouse, located across the street from police headquarters, is now expected to open by late September or early October. [InsideNova]
Orange Line Delays Reported — Passengers are reporting delays of 10-20 minutes on the Orange Line this morning. Metro says inbound trains are indeed delayed from Vienna. No problems have been reported with Silver Line trains so far. [Twitter]
County Producing International Tourist Videos — Arlington County is working with the group Brand USA to produce tourism videos aimed at international visitors. Filming took place around various Arlington landmarks last month. [InsideNova]
Flickr pool photo by Mark White