Valor Awards Recount Harrowing Moments — Saving a suicidal woman who was about to jump from the seventh floor of a parking garage. Saving the life of a man who had just been run over by an SUV twice. Smashing a car window in order to resuscitate the victim of a major crash on I-395. Those are a few of the acts of valor recognized at the Arlington Chamber of Commerce’s Valor Awards this week. [InsideNova, Arlington Chamber]
WaPo Questions Crystal City-Brooklyn Comparison — The Washington Post isn’t letting the New York Times get away with a quote that compared Crystal City to Brooklyn. The area’s hometown paper instead quoted a number of Twitter critics, one of whom called Crystal City a “Ballardian hellscape.” The Times story suggests that Crystal City — with its new restaurants, emerging tech scene, transportation improvements and community events — is experiencing something of a mini renaissance. [Washington Post]
Nauck Town Square Designs — Arlington County is seeking feedback on the draft design of the forthcoming Nauck Town Square park. The design includes a large sculpture of the word “FREED.” [Arlington County]
County Gets Adorable Letters — Arlington County gets adorable letters from children, who ask about things like raising backyard chickens and saving worms that might have gotten swept up as yard waste. [Arlington County]
Local Schools Rank High in Challenge Index — One Arlington high school and one high school program cracked the top 10 of the Washington Post’s local 2016 Challenge Index. Washington-Lee High School ranked No. 4 and the H-B Woodlawn Secondary Program ranked No. 7. The two other Arlington high schools — Yorktown and Wakefield — ranked No. 11 and 82 respectively. [Washington Post, Washington Post]
Larger Fire Station 8 Possible at Current Site — Arlington County is changing its tune when it comes to Fire Station 8. The county now says that it is possible to build a larger fire station on the current Fire Station 8 site. Before, the county had said the fire station would likely have to be relocated in order to build a larger, four-bay station. [InsideNova]
More on Crystal City BRT — The new Crystal City Potomac Yard Transitway, the region’s first bus rapid transit system, officially opened Sunday with the opening of the Crystal City portion of the busway. The transitway features bus-only lanes and stations with “substantial arched roofs and attractive wall panels.” [Greater Greater Washington]
More on Michael Wardian’s Marathon — Arlington resident and prolific marathoner Michael Wardian ran the Boston Marathon in 2:31:39 yesterday. It turns out he did so while wearing a GoPro camera. Having completed Boston, Wardian is planning to run the London Marathon on Sunday. [Hartford Courant]
Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf
Post Endorses Dorsey and Cristol — The Washington Post has endorsed Democrats Christian Dorsey and Katie Cristol in the race for Arlington County Board. The paper writes of the pair’s opponents: “Both are serious candidates and have attacked what they consider Arlington’s profligate spending… Yet neither has advanced convincing proposals to trim spending or explained why enlarging the stock of affordable housing should not be a priority in a place where the supply of it has diminished rapidly with gentrification.” [Washington Post]
County Board Push Poll Criticized — A “push poll” in the Arlington County Board race is being criticized after two residents say the caller asked misleading questions and didn’t disclose who had paid for it. Board candidate Michael McMenamin said he commissioned a poll but the script explicitly said that it was paid for by his campaign. [Washington Post]
Tour of New 1776 Offices — The newly-refurbished office of tech incubator 1776 in Crystal City is being debuted this week. The office includes a full kitchen, and the incubator is seeking two chefs to cook for its members. [Washington Business Journal]
Kaine Speaking at GMU Arlington Campus — Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) will give a speech on Congress and war powers at George Mason University’s Arlington campus tonight at 7 p.m. “Kaine has been a leading voice urging the Obama administration to seek a specific authorization for U.S. military action against ISIL while pressing his congressional colleagues to debate and vote on the mission – one he believes goes well beyond the legal scope and intent of existing authorizations from 2001 and 2002,” a press release notes.
Drunk Man Calls 911 for Ride to Arlington — A drunk hotel guest in Vienna, Va. was arrested last week after twice calling 911 to request a ride to Arlington. [InsideNova]
Honoring War Dead at ANC — At the annual Memorial Day service in Arlington National Cemetery on Monday, President Obama said the country should “never stop trying to fully repay” Americans who have died in battle. It was the first Memorial Day in 14 years without a major American ground war — the U.S. combat mission in Afghanistan ended in December. Over the weekend, Boy Scouts and other volunteers placed some 88,000 roses on the graves at the cemetery. [Associated Press, Stars and Stripes]
Post Endorses Cristol, Fallon — The Washington Post’s Editorial Board has endorsed Katie Cristol and Peter Fallon in the upcoming Democratic Arlington County Board primary. The Post lauded Cristol’s “drive and intelligence” and Fallon’s “command of policy.” The political action committee that represents Arlington public school teachers, meanwhile, has endorsed Fallon and Christian Dorsey. [Washington Post, InsideNova]
County’s Bond Rating Reaffirmed — The three major credit rating agencies have reaffirmed Arlington’s triple-A bond rating, the highest rating possible. There are only 39 counties, including Arlington, that have a perfect triple-triple-A rating. “Retaining the County’s AAA ratings is critical to ensuring the absolute lowest interest rates on our General Obligation bonds,” County Manager Barbara Donnellan said in a press release. [Arlington County]
Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf
Civ Fed Considering Retail Plan Opposition — The Arlington County Civic Federation is considering opposing the county’s update of its retail action plan. “What problem are we trying to solve here?” asked the writer of a resolution that calls for the county to scrap the effort. [InsideNova]
WaPo Supports County Outreach Initiative — The Washington Post editorial board has penned an editorial in support of the new community outreach effort that Arlington County Board Chair Mary Hynes announced at the Board’s New Years Day meeting. [Washington Post]
Arthur Announces Reelection Bid — Arlington Sheriff Beth Arthur formally announced her bid for reelection at last night’s Arlington County Democratic Committee meeting. Arthur touted her role in making the Arlington County Detention Facility in Courthouse “one of the best jails in the country.” She also noted that her children, ages 3 and 6 when she first became sheriff, will be old enough to vote for her for the first time in November.
Stamos Running For Reelection — Commonwealth’s Attorney Theo Stamos also announced her reelection bid at Wednesday’s ACDC meeting. She cited her office’s drug addiction program for offenders and two recent murder convictions as notable successes.
Flickr pool photo by Mrs. Gemstone
Bond Chairs: Listen to Concerns — The co-chairs of the 2014 school bond committee warned Arlington School Board members that they should not take continued voter support for granted, despite the approval of a $105.8 million school bond earlier this month. The co-chairs told the Board that they should listen to voter concerns, including concerns about the cost of new school facilities. [InsideNova]
Post Tries ‘Divide’ Storyline Again — The Washington Post has published another article blaming a class and a racial divide between north and south Arlington on the cancellation of the Columbia Pike and Crystal City streetcar system. A letter to the editor writer, in response, asks if the divide is worth the ink. “Where is the problem… is anyone’s goal to make South Arlington as expensive as North Arlington so that only rich people can live there?” [Washington Post]
New eBooks at Library — You can now download “Catch 22” and “Team of Rivals” from the library. Arlington Public Library has added eBooks from publisher Simon & Schuster to its downloadable books collection. [Arlington Public Library]
Thanksgiving Eve Party in Clarendon — Clarendon Ballroom is hosting “Arlington’s biggest Thanksgiving Eve party” Wednesday night, starting at 8:00 p.m. The event will feature multiple DJs and “plenty of booze and fun to get you through a weekend with the family.” [Clarendon Nights]
Flick pool photo by Joseph Gruber
The Washington Post editorial board has given Republican-backed Independent John Vihstadt its endorsement for Tuesday’s Arlington County Board election.
The Post said Vihstadt would be a “badly needed independent voice” on the otherwise all-Democratic, five-member County Board. Vihstadt was elected to the Board in April in a special election, when he defeated Democrat Alan Howze by a 57-to-41 percent margin.
Howze is again running against Vihstadt, and local prognosticators are predicting this race will be closer; former Arlington treasurer Francis O’Leary thinks Howze will win because of a greater turnout of Democratic “party line” voters. However, the Post writes, the issues that led voters to choose Vihstadt in April haven’t changed.
The editorial board writes:
… Many Democrats have accorded Mr. Vihstadt grudging respect as someone who formulates and presents his views intelligently; he is no tea party bomb thrower. Equally important, in our view, is his insistence that the county reevaluate other expensive projects, such as a proposal for a state-of-the-art aquatic center, which he regards as unaffordable.
Whether Mr. Vihstadt prevails or not, it’s important for Arlington to have the debate; without him, the board runs the risk of groupthink.
The Post writes that it supports the Columbia Pike streetcar, and praised Howze as “a very capable candidate,” but said Vihstadt’s “civil and cogent” arguments against the streetcar have earned him the chance to serve a four-year term. Vihstadt has also been endorsed by Arlington County firefighters for his commitment to public safety
In its editorial, the Post also endorses Barbara Kanninen over Audrey Clement for School Board, citing Kanninen’s experience working with children’s issues.
Lingering Campaign Signs Annoy Arlington Dems — Uncollected campaign signs from the June 10 Democratic congressional primary are irking local Democratic leadership. Arlington County Democratic Committee Chairman Kip Malinosky says the party has contacted certain candidates multiple times to let them know their signs were still cluttering up local medians. By Arlington ordinance, signs can only be removed by those who put them up. [InsideNova]
Blue Line Crunch Coming — When the Silver Line opens next month, the average headway for rush hour Blue Line trains will increase from 8.5 minutes to 12 minutes. Metro says Blue Line riders can consider taking buses instead of trains to, in some cases, speed up their trip. [PlanItMetro]
Sietsema Reviews Mazagan — Washington Post restaurant critic Tom Sietsema has reviewed Mazagan, the new Moroccan eatery and hookah bar on Columbia Pike, next to the Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse. Sietsema gave the restaurant 1.5 stars, saying the music was too loud and the dishes hit-or-miss. [Washington Post]
New Iwo Jima Bikeshare Station — A new Capital Bikeshare station near the Marine Corps War Memorial, also known as the Iwo Jima memorial, has been enjoying heavy use. The station can hold nineteen bikes but only three were parked there Wednesday morning. [Ode Street Tribune]
Gun Fact Check — New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg took aim at Virginia for being one of the top suppliers of guns used to commit crimes in his city. He called out the state for having weak gun laws. Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell’s office fought back, releasing a statement saying the state has some of the toughest gun laws in the country and its rates of crimes such as homicide and robbery are lower than in New York City. The New York Daily News checked out the claim, however, and found that Virginia has 3.9 killings for every 100,000 people. That’s compared to the state of New York — not just New York City — with 3.5 murders per 100,000 people. [New York Daily News]
Rabbits at Library — The library’s regular Paws to Read program is on hiatus in August. Instead of using dogs this month, one of the librarians suggested bringing in rabbits to join kids while they read. The librarian noted that the Muslim families she knows aren’t able to participate in the Paws to Read program because Islam discourages touching dogs. Three rabbits — Mocha, Copper and Apache — already took turns cuddling up with visitors at the Columbia Pike Branch Library. [Arlington Public Library]
Rabbit Population on the Rise — Arlington is one of the D.C. metro areas experiencing a rabbit boom. The county’s chief naturalist confirmed that there’s been a spike in most of Arlington’s neighborhoods. Because they typically don’t carry diseases or bother humans, the rabbit boom isn’t causing alarm. In fact, because the animals are prey for a number of other creatures, it’s believed their numbers will naturally come under control. [Washington Post]
Bezos to Buy Washington Post — Jeff Bezos, the owner of Amazon.com, has agreed to buy the Washington Post for $250 million in cash. The sale is expected to be completed within 60 days. Employees at the Post were reportedly shocked by the deal. [Poynter Institute]
Sietsema Skewers La Tagliatella — Washington Post food critic Tom Sietsema has delivered a devastating half-star review of La Tagliatella, the European-based Italian restaurant chain that recently opened in Clarendon and is planning to open in Shirlington. The restaurant “makes a strong case for hazard pay for restaurant critics,” Sietsema wrote, and future locations (like Shirlington) “have my condolences.” In a subsequent online chat, Sietsema said that La Tagliatella was several notches below the Falls Church Olive Garden in terms of the overall dining experience. [Washington Post]
AAA Predicts Lower Gas Prices — Gas prices in Virginia will fall 6 cents after July 1 thanks to the bipartisan transportation package that passed the state legislature this year, AAA predicts. Another byproduct of the legislation: the state sales tax in Northern Virginia will rise from 5 to 6 percent. [Sun Gazette]
Forum on Transportation Projects — Arlington’s Transportation Commission will hold a public forum next week to review projects under consideration for funding by the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority. Projects proposed by Arlington County include the Columbia Pike Multimodal Improvement Project, the Crystal City Multimodal Center, ART fleet expansion (Silver/Blue Line mitigation), and a new Boundary Channel Drive interchange. [Arlington County]
The Washington City Paper reports that Post publisher Katharine Weymouth told a real estate conference this morning that the struggling company would like the new office to be “cheap, and near the Capitol, near the courthouses,” in a building “that’s a little bit lighter, a little more air.”
The ideal option for the paper might be right here in Arlington. Thanks to easy access to I-395, Crystal City and Rosslyn are about 10 minutes from the Capitol via cab or personal vehicle, except during rush hour.
Both locations are also Metro accessible. Crystal City is 5 Metro stops away from Capitol South station via the Yellow and Orange/Blue lines, and Rosslyn is 9 stops away, without a transfer, via the Orange/Blue lines. Both are 6 stops away from Judiciary Square, with a transfer to the Red Line.
Office rent in Crystal City and Rosslyn is inexpensive compared to D.C.’s Central Business District (CBD), where the Post is currently located (in an aging, monolithic building at 1150 15th Street NW). The average asking rate for office space in Crystal City is $39.43 per square foot, compared to $50.97 in the Washington CBD. The average asking rate in Rosslyn, which hasn’t been hit as hard by BRAC closures as Crystal City, is $42.32.
Outside of D.C.’s CBD, the NoMa and Capitol Riverfront submarkets might be desirable for the Post, but both are more expensive than Arlington, with average asking rates of $45.27 and $43.15 respectively.
Thanks to a vacancy rate of 21.8 percent in Crystal City and 16.4 percent in Rosslyn, the Post should have plenty of light and airy offices to choose from. Plus, offices that are currently under construction could be customized to the paper’s needs. Such buildings include 1812 N. Moore Street in Rosslyn, soon to be the tallest building in the D.C. area, or the renovated 1400 Crystal Drive in Crystal City.
Construction could begin on Arlington’s largest office building by floor space, 1900 Crystal Drive in Crystal City, should it secure an anchor tenant like the Post.
A spokeswoman for the Rossyln Business Improvement District says the organization does not know if the Post is looking at potential offices in Rosslyn, but says the neighborhood would be a good fit for the 135-year-old institution.
“Rosslyn would a perfect location for The Washington Post, given its close location to Washington, D.C,” said Lisa Rabasca, the BID’s Director of Communications and herself a former newspaper reporter. “It is a quick cab or metro ride to Capitol Hill, the White House, and other major D.C. locations.”
“Rosslyn is already a media hub with three other large media companies — POLITICO, Washington Business Journal, and WJLA/ABC 7 and NewsChannel 8,” Rabasca continued. “We would welcome the addition of The Washington Post.”
“They’re obviously an institution that’s finding ways to reinvent themselves and look at their business… we would love to be a strategic element in such a reinvention,” she said. “They’re really thoughtful about their costs and the environment their employees work in, and Crystal City would have a lot to offer in that regard.”
Fox said she also has not heard anything about the Post looking at Crystal City. A Washington Post spokeswoman declined to comment on the company’s headquarters search.
If the Post were to move to Arlington, it wouldn’t be the paper’s first office here. For about a decade starting in 2000, the company’s internet staff — responsible for washingtonpost.com and other websites — was based in a 80,000 square foot office at 1515 N. Courthouse Road in Courthouse. The staff was later merged into the Post‘s D.C. office.
Disclosure: The Crystal City and Rosslyn BIDs are ARLnow.com advertisers.
The Washington Post is out with a list of the “40 dishes Washingtonians shouldn’t live without in 2013,” and apparently the region can live without most food in Arlington.
Of the 40 restaurants and dishes, the Margherita DOC pizza at Pupatella (5104 Wilson Blvd) was the only Arlington original to make the list.
Also on the list was the Kufta sandwich at Astor Mediterranean, a D.C. restaurant that has a satellite location in Arlington at 2300 N. Pershing Drive.
Alexandria and Falls Church each tallied two restaurants on the list, which was compiled partially via suggestions from Twitter using the “#40Eats” hashtag. The vast majority of the list featured restaurants in the District.
Home Sales Up, Prices Down — October home sales in Arlington were up 45 percent by volume, year over year, but prices were down. The average home price decreased to $542,941 from $562,217 in October 2011, which was partially attributed to a larger proportion of rowhouse and townhouse sales in relation to detached single-family homes. [Sun Gazette]
‘Incredible Edible Book Contest’ — On Dec. 1, the Cherrydale Branch Library will hold an “Incredible Edible Book Contest.” Contestants will create something edible to represent a book title, scoring points for cleverness and originality. The entries will be judged by a panel that will include Justin Stegall of Bakeshop and David Guas of Bayou Bakery. [Arlington Public Library]
Arlington Teacher on Date Lab — Jose Fuentes — a teacher at Key Elementary School, we’re told — was set up on a date as part of the Washington Post’s weekly Date Lab feature. Unfortunately, his date was “not really a Clarendon person” and the dinner at Eventide did not lead to a second date. [Washington Post]
Flickr pool photo by Maryva2
Career Fair Coming Next Week — Registration is now open for the second annual Arlington Employment Center Fall Career Fair. The career fair will allow job hunters to “meet with over 50 area top employers with jobs in IT, administration, education, construction, banking, retail, healthcare, transportation and more.” It will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 23, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at George Mason University’s Founders Hall (3351 Fairfax Drive). Registration is free. [Arlington County]
Liberty Tavern Makes Fall Dining Guide — Clarendon’s Liberty Tavern is the sole Arlington entrant on food critic Tom Sietsema’s 2012 Fall Dining Guide. The guide lists 40 of Sietsema’s favorite restaurants around the region. [Washington Post]
Elevation Burger Still Expanding — Arlington-based Elevation Burger is celebrating the opening of its 30th store. The burger chain’s main corporate office is located in Ballston and an Elevation Burger restaurant is located at 2447 N. Harrison Street, in the Lee-Harrison Shopping Center. [Restaurant News]
Flickr pool photo by Mark C. White
The Washington Post reports that Reagan National Airport, which has recently been adding new flights, is becoming more crowded and less convenient.
In July, there were 75,465 more passengers passing through the airport than the same month one year prior — an increase that has led to longer security lines, according to the Post.
But from a passenger perspective, is the airport really “strained” by the increase, as the article suggests?