Vornado Scraps Development Proposals — Ahead of the closing of its merger with JBG, Vornado has indefinitely put on hold a number of development proposals, including: all but one building of its proposed RiverHouse development in Pentagon City; a revamp of the shops at 1750 Crystal Drive that was to include a new 12-screen multiplex; and a pair of retail pavilions at 2101 and 2201 Crystal Drive. [Washington Business Journal]
Arlington a ‘Best City’ to Go Car-Free — According to a new list in Forbes, Arlington County is one of the top 25 U.S. cities for one to live without a car. Arlington was also one of nine places whose walkable neighborhoods were profiled in the magazine. [Forbes]
Video of Apartment Fire — The weekend fire at the Serrano apartments on Columbia Pike was caught on video. The dramatic video shows firefighters arriving and starting to douse the flames with water. [Statter 911]
‘Taming of the Shrew’ Review — A review of Synetic Theater’s new production of Taming of the Shrew says the physical theater performance “speaks colorful volumes” despite the lack of dialogue. [Broadway World]
Leadership Change at Community Foundation — Arlington Community Foundation Executive Director Wanda Pierce is stepping down next month after eight years of leading the local nonprofit.
Flickr pool photo by Lisa Novak
The controversy over a sign posted by teachers at Yorktown High School has taken an even bigger national stage.
Yorktown senior John Piper was a guest on Tucker Carlson’s prime time show on Fox News last night, discussing why the seemingly innocuous sign was actually “political propaganda.”
Piper says he and his parents talked to to school administrators, the Arlington School Board and local radio station WMAL about why the signs are “obviously” political, especially given the current political climate. But after being told the signs would be coming down, Piper says administrators “changed their minds” and the signs remained.
Tipsters tell ARLnow.com that those inquiring about the decision to keep the signs were sent a letter to the School Board from a Yorktown physics teacher objecting to the removal (posted below, after the jump).
Carlson called the signs “the sneakiest type of propaganda… propaganda passing itself off as obvious observations.” He asked Piper if anyone at the school thinks that science “is not real.”
“No,” Piper replied, adding that he and fellow members of the Yorktown Republican club also believe in diversity despite implications to the contrary given their opposition to the signs.
A similar sign about conservative values — like the Second Amendment right to bear arms — would not be allowed at Yorktown, Piper guessed.
“There’s a serious double standard here,” Piper said. “Conservative values would not be accepted on the walls of the school, especially in the way they’re doing them. They would see through that easily.”
This is not the only sign controversy brewing at Yorktown. A Black Lives Matter banner at the school was removed late last week, according to a tipster. High school principals, we’re told, have been meeting “to set policy for putting signs up in the future.”
Update at 5:50 p.m. — On Tuesday afternoon, Yorktown principal Dr. Ray Pasi sent a letter to students and families regarding the sign issue.
The letter from the teacher regarding the “Patriots Know” signs, after the jump.
Arlington paved 89.4 lane miles of roadway in 2016, keeping up a pace that’s triple the rate seven years ago.
The county has been playing catch-up since anemic paving rates caused roads to deteriorate to an average Pavement Condition Index grade of 68.9 out of 100 in 2012.
In a 2016 year-in-review video, above, Arlington Water, Sewer and Streets Bureau Chief Harry Wang says his crews paved 9.2 percent of Arlington’s 974 lane miles of county-maintained roadway. Also last year, crews fixed some 7,300 potholes.
Despite relatively mild weather so far, pothole season is here and Wang said the county is “getting ready to stay on top of what’s being damaged by this winter.”
There’s no snow in the forecast — sorry to those with dreams of a white Christmas — but Arlington County says it’s ready for the next big snowfall, whenever it may come.
The county has released a video saying that its snow crews — 46 trucks and 92 drivers on staff — are prepared to plow neighborhood streets earlier when 6+ inches of snow is expected to fall.
That’s a change from before, when county snow crews would wait to plow neighborhood streets only after higher-traffic streets were cleared. That led to neighborhood streets icing over and becoming difficult to plow, and that led to complaints from residents who had to wait days until their streets were cleared.
The change, which will “send more plows into neighborhoods sooner,” was approved over the summer.
Arlington County has released its year-in-review video for 2016.
The annual video includes highlights of county-related goings on for the past year.
Actual important events and issues aside, here are some of the little things we learned from the video:
- There’s no hazing ritual for new County Board members.
- John Vihstadt is not offended by fellow Board members saying he is “lawyerly.”
- Rosslyn-based ABC 7 appears to have been the county’s TV station of choice during the 2016 blizzard.
- The blizzard happened on County Manager Mark Schwartz’s second week on the job and it was “a baptism by snow.”
- Libby Garvey admits that the new live streams of commission meetings can double as a sleep aid.
- The county has some sweet aerial footage of Arlington.
- Being a county ombudsman involves lots of hand shaking.
- “Planning is our bread and butter” — Jay Fisette.
- The new Ballston Quarter mall is going to be pretty cool and is going to “transform” Ballston.
- You can rent thermal cameras at the library.
Also from the video, we were told that the Fire Station 8 decision was “the essence of public engagement;” that 600 units committed affordable housing were approved, preserved or extended in 2016; that Arlington “functionally ended veteran homelessness” in the county and that a major theme of 2017 will be the county’s commitment to being “welcoming and inclusive.”
Windy, Dry Conditions = Fire Danger — The National Weather Service is warning of an elevated fire danger today due to windy conditions, with gusts up to 45 miles per hour, combined with dry vegetation. [Weather Channel]
Tree Fire in South Arlington — In what was likely a wind-fueled fire, several trees caught fire Saturday evening on the 600 block of 29th Street S., near Crystal City. Firefighters from Arlington and Alexandria were able to bring the fire under control within 10-15 minutes. [Twitter, Twitter]
Opinion Piece: Think Bigger Than Bus Parking — An op-ed published in the Washington Post criticizes the possible school bus facility proposed for land that the county is acquiring across from Washington-Lee High School, next to I-66. “This is not a NIMBY issue,” writes the author, a nearby resident. “But before taking the path of least resistance and plopping a bus garage into a residential neighborhood, Arlington should carefully consider its options and ‘think big.'” [Washington Post]
Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley
Thanksgiving Travel in D.C. Area — More than 1 million D.C. area residents are expected to leave town for Thanksgiving, and 9 out of 10 of them will be traveling by car. The worst day and time for traffic in the region is expected to be next Tuesday afternoon. [Washington Post]
Arlingtonians Spend Big for the Holidays — The average Arlington household is expected to spend $1,741 celebrating the holidays, according to a new survey. That’s the highest expected holiday spending in the region and the 13th highest in the U.S. [InsideNova]
GMU Renames Building in Arlington — George Mason University’s Metropolitan Building in Virginia Square has been renamed for one of the school’s Nobel Prize laureates. The building will be renamed Vernon Smith Hall in a ceremony tomorrow (Friday). The university-owned building, at 3434 Washington Blvd, also houses the new Virginia DMV office. [George Mason University]
Beer Coming to Donut Shop — It’s a combination that would make Homer Simpson drool. Sugar Shack Donuts on Columbia Pike has applied for a Virginia ABC permit to serve beer. The application was filed Nov. 7. No word yet on how soon the store may be offering cold brews to pair with its donuts.
Good Stuff Eatery Opening at DCA — Burger restaurant Good Stuff Eatery is opening a new location today in Arlington: specifically, at Terminal B of Reagan National Airport. [Good Stuff Eatery]
Students Win Video Contest — “A team of students from the Arlington Career Center has won the fifth annual student video challenge sponsored by the Virginia School Boards Association (VSBA), taking home the top prize for the fourth year in a row.” [Arlington Public Schools]
Arlington County’s vacuum trucks will start collecting leaves from the side of the road next week.
The county’s annual vacuum leaf collection begins on Monday, Nov. 7 and runs through Friday, Dec. 16. The trucks will make two passes through each Arlington neighborhood during the leaf collection period; signs will be posted in neighborhoods a few days before each pass.
Avoid placing piles of leaves too close to parked cars or storm sewers, officials advise.
Previously there was also a defined period for leaf bag collection. That’s now moot since the county began collecting yard waste year-round. Leaves still must be placed in paper bags, which are currently available for pickup, free of charge, at eight county locations.
Each year Arlington collects about 50,000 cubic yards of leaves.
Next up on the special collection schedule: the annual Christmas tree collection, which will take place from Jan. 2-13, 2017.
Arlington County recently announced that it had completed a $4 million project to upgrade the Minor Hill Reservoir.
Located in the Williamsburg neighborhood of north Arlington, the reservoir can hold up to 24 million gallons — a day and a half of water consumption in the county. The upgrades have a number of benefits, including improved reliability and fresher water for Arlington residents.
Arlington County’s TV channel recently covered the project’s completion in its Street Beat segment, above.
Bridges maintained by Arlington County are “generally in good shape.”
That’s according to Ramzi Awwad, the county’s Engineering Bureau Chief, in a county-produced “Street Beat” video segment (above).
Talking about bridge inspections that are currently underway in Arlington, Awwad said that routine inspections and maintenance help to keep overall infrastructure costs down.
“Our bridges are generally in good shape,” said Awwad. “Because that’s the case, we can focus on performing minor repairs before they become major problems. As bridge condition deteriorates further and further, the cost to make the repairs increases exponentially, so we want to make sure we get ahead of everything while we still can.”
Arlington Public Schools and the Arlington County Police Department are reminding students, parents and drivers to watch out for one another on the roads as a new school year starts.
Yesterday APS released a new Public Service Announcement video, above, featuring Superintendent Patrick Murphy, Police Chief Jay Farr and School Resource Officer Supervisor Lt. Susan Noack.
Among other things, the video reminds parents to practice safe walking with their kids and reminds drivers that it’s never okay to pass a school bus with its stop arm out.
The first day of school for the vast majority of APS students is a week from today — Tuesday, Sept. 6. Barcroft Elementary Students, however, are already back at school; their first day was Aug. 1.
The triviality of cable news is the latest target of Arlington’s foremost libertarian satirical rapper, Remy Munasifi.
Remy, together with his colleagues at Reason TV, has released a new music video entitled “This is CNN.” The auteur of the timeless “Arlington Rap” skewers CNN in the video, making the point that in the era of clickbait and social media navel-gazing, news of actual international consequence is taking a backseat to petty controversies and zero-calorie election tidbits.
While CNN is singled out in the video, above, fellow cable nets MSNBC and Fox News are also implicated by unspoken association.
“Cover the news, shake up the ranks,” Remy implores. “Rome is engulfed and we’re sitting here fiddling.”
More on Randolph Principal Controversy — Some Randolph Elementary parents are still upset that the school’s well-liked principal has been removed with little explanation and demoted to assistant principal at Abingdon Elementary. [Washington Post]
Aerial View of Arlington — Arlington County has created a video of aerial footage of Arlington, shot during a recent ride on the U.S. Park Police Eagle 1 helicopter. [Facebook]
‘Dog Days of Summer’ Donations — Rosslyn eatery Bistro 360 is donating 25 percent of sales from a special “Dog Days of Summer” menu to the Animal Welfare League of Arlington and Homeward Trails Animal Rescue. [Facebook]
Late Civic Activist Celebrated — The Nauck community will hold a special celebration of the life of the late civic activist John Robinson this coming Saturday. Robinson, who died in 2010, fought against racism, against injustice and for education, and was the publisher of the Green Valley News for more than 40 years. [InsideNova]
Suspicious Package at Ballston Metro — Updated at 9:15 a.m. — Metro Transit Police investigated a suspicious package at an elevator entrance to the Ballston Metro station this morning. The entrance was blocked off with police tape for a period of time.
Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley
A panel of futurists and technologists made their predictions for Arlington’s future in a video released this week on the heels of the county receiving recognition as the top “digital county” of its size in the nation.
Due to the District’s building height restrictions, the panelists predicted increased urbanization is coming.
“I think that Arlington is uniquely positioned to be an urban center around a city that has height restrictions around its buildings,” said Shawn DuBrevac, chief economist for the Computer Technology Association. “We globally have this push towards urbanization. It will happen in an interesting way in the D.C. metro area because you can’t build skyscrapers in Washington, D.C. They’ll start to show up in Arlington and in other places.”
The panelists also noted that as the county becomes more digitized, more data will become available to analyze. That includes data gleaned from communication platforms, including social media and messaging apps.
“I don’t think the public square is physical. We’re on the cusp of virtual reality,” said Cheryl Foil, principal of Kiddar Capital’s tech ventures. “People right now are using Snapchat and other messengers. What’s great about that is when it’s not in person, it’s already digital, it’s already data. You can measure and analyze it.”
The futurists and technologists said community leaders can take the data they get to make decisions to improve residents’ lives. For example, Capital Bikeshare stations and retail outlets could have better locations based on street traffic data.
But brick-and-mortar retailers will face increasing competition from online retailers, the panelists predicted. Today, about 7 percent of purchases are made online. By 2050, DuBrevac sees that number increased to 40-60 percent, something he attributes computers making purchases without any human input.
“The retail environment that we visit today will not be the retail environment we need 40-50 years from now,” he said. “The infrastructure that we have will need to shift as we move towards these types of environments. The digitization of retail is going to change everything I do today in my home, in my building, how I walk, where I go to, the shops that I visit, all that could change.”
A video of the predictions and other discussions can be found above. The first part of the discussion can be viewed here.
Yorktown Neighborhood Profiled — Schools and a sense of community are two of the biggest attraction to the north Arlington neighborhood of Yorktown. Safety is another plus: there were no burglaries or robberies reported in the neighborhood in the past 12 years. [Washington Post]
County Still Seeking Private Money for Aquatics Center — Arlington County is still looking for private partners and sponsorships before moving forward on construction of the Long Bridge Park aquatics center. It’s unclear if additional private money would be used to expand the center or reduce the estimated $40-44 million in taxpayer funding. Even without additional money, park bonds already approved by voters are expected to fully fund construction. [InsideNova]
Rosslyn Metro Express Guy Featured — The Express newspaper distributor who works at the Rosslyn Metro station was featured in a “happy news” video on the Facebook page of Seattle television station KING. [Facebook]
Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley