Arlington, VA

Morning Notes

Arlington’s Name Change Centennial — “On Sept. 25, 1919, the Alexandria Gazette published a letter  from the Alexandria County Civic Federation proposing a name change for the County. The letter asserted that Alexandria County was “constantly confused with the City of Alexandria”… Proposed names included George Washington, Arlington, Pocahontas, and Alcova (ALexandria COunty VA).” [Arlington County, InsideNova]

Arlington Nat’l Considering Rule Changes — “Arlington National Cemetery is proposing new rules that would eliminate burial and inurnment eligibility for service members who die on active duty but not in combat, ending a custom that goes back to the cemetery’s founding in 1864. It is one of a series of tough new proposals, requested by the government, that seek to address Arlington’s fast-dwindling space.” [Washington Post]

WJLA May Go Off the Air for Some — Rosslyn-based TV station WJLA (ABC 7) may go dark starting Friday evening for DirecTV, U-verse and AT&T TV Now subscribers. The station’s parent company, Sinclair Broadcasting, is engaged in a heated carriage dispute with AT&T. [FierceVideo. Dallas Morning News]

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Morning Notes

Rosslyn Shooter Sentenced — “A man who worked as an investigator for conspiracy theorist Jack Burkman will serve nine years in prison for shooting and wounding his ex-boss” in a Rosslyn hotel parking garage. [Washington Post]

Marijuana Arrest Disparity — “African Americans were more than eight times more likely than whites to be arrested for marijuana crimes in Arlington from 2010-2016.” [Bacon’s Rebellion]

More on Long Bridge Plan — “New plans call to double the number of railroad tracks over the Potomac River between DC and Arlington, and to build a new pedestrian/bicycle bridge between Southwest Washington and Crystal City.” [Greater Greater Washington]

New Gym Coming to Arlington — “Blink Fitness is gearing up to expand into Northern Virginia with five new locations in Arlington, Alexandria and Fairfax. Northern Virginia-based Cove Fitness LLC inked the 10-year agreement with the New York fitness chain to bring gyms to the region that will create about 70 jobs and occupy 90,000 square feet.” [Washington Business Journal]

Crystal City Still in Spotlight — “I spent a day in Crystal City, Virginia — and it’s easy to see why Amazon picked it for its new HQ2 headquarters.” [Business Insider]

Most Elaborate Cubicle Xmas Decoration Ever? — At WJLA in Rosslyn, a TV director named Mason Herndon has converted his office cubicle into a log cabin complete with fake snow, a fake fireplace and Christmas lights. [Twitter]

Flickr pool photo by Tom Mockler

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Morning Notes

‘Life-Threatening’ Flooding Possible Throughout D.C. Region — The flash flood watch for Arlington continues through early Wednesday morning, with a “water hose in the sky” expected to blast the region with rain over the next two days. [Twitter, Washington Post]

Defense Spending Juices Hiring in Northern Virginia — From Arlington to D.C.’s more far-flung suburbs, the Trump administration has meant big business for contractors in Northern Virginia. Federal employment numbers may be shrinking, but the area added 12,800 jobs over the past year, including 5,700 federal contractors. [Washington Post]

NewsChannel 8 Gets a New Name — Arlington-based WJLA-TV is rebranding its sister station as “WJLA 24/7 News” starting today (Tuesday). The stations’ parent company, Sinclair Broadcasting, has attracted some intense scrutiny in recent months for its conservative bent, and its effort to buy up scores more local television stations. [Washington Business Journal]

John Vihstadt Earns Endorsement of County Firefighters’ Union — The County Board’s lone independent picked up his second endorsement from the Arlington Professional Firefighters and Paramedics Association. The union cited his work to fight for a raise in first responder pay rates in its decision to back him over Democrat Matt de Ferranti. [InsideNova]

Arlington Soccer Teams Head to Nationals — The county is sending both a boys and girls team to the U.S. Youth Soccer National Championships in Frisco, Texas today. [Twitter]

Nearby: Potomac Yard Death Investigation — Alexandria police are looking into a death on E. Reed Avenue, just across the city’s border with Arlington. The victim was an 82-year-old man, and police believe the death was suspicious. [WJLA]

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Morning Notes

Dorsey Upped to Voting Member on Metro Board — Arlington County Board member Christian Dorsey has been appointed as one of the two principal voting members of the WMATA Board of Directors from Virginia. He previously served on the Metro board in a non-voting alternate capacity. [Arlington County, Twitter]

Miss Arlington Takes State Crown — Miss Arlington, Emili McPhail, has been crowned Miss Virginia and will compete in the Miss America pageant. [WDBJ7]

Alex Trebek in Arlington — Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek stopped by the WJLA studios in Rosslyn on Friday for an interview with the station’s anchors and to help with the weather forecast. [WJLA]

VOA Profiles Choun’s County Board Run — The Voice of America’s Cambodian service followed up on Cambodian-American Chanda Choun’s run for Arlington County Board. Though Choun did not receive the Democratic nomination, he did over-perform the expectations of many. Despite the defeat, he also is encouraging “other non-traditional candidates to run to make local US elections more competitive.” [VOA Cambodia]

Lidl Faces U.S. Headwinds — German grocer Lidl, which established its American headquarters in Arlington near Crystal City, has had a rocky go of it as it tries to expand in the U.S. The company is adjusting its strategy after disappointing results from the stores it has opened thus far. [Philly Inquirer]

Six Achieve Eagle Scout Status — “Six members of Boy Scout Troop 638, affiliated with Little Falls Presbyterian Church, recently ascended to Eagle Scout during a ceremony held June 9 at the church. Recent Yorktown High School graduates Owen Gorman, Aubrey Bouchoux, Jack Durham, Tim Kent and Michael Mellett  and recent H-B Woodlawn Secondary Program graduate Ben Mundt were honored at the ceremony.” [InsideNova]

Photo courtesy @bethanyhardy

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Morning Notes

ACFD Battles Kitchen Fire — Arlington County firefighters last night extinguished a kitchen fire in an apartment building on the 1900 block of N. Calvert Street, just north of Lee Highway and east of Spout Run. No injuries were reported. [Twitter, Twitter]

Taylor P.E. Teacher Pleads to Drug Charge — A second former P.E. teacher at Taylor Elementary School has pleaded guilty to charges stemming from a drug bust in December. Michael Diaddigo, 28, will reportedly “serve 1 of a 12-months jail sentence if he follows probation, which includes a $500 fine and substance abuse treatment.” [Twitter]

Central Place Bus Tunnel Still Closed — “A bus tunnel in Rosslyn critical to many commuters — which Metro said more than a year ago would open in days — remains closed due to outstanding construction concerns, WTOP has learned.” [WTOP]

Lanes Closures in Crystal City Tonight — The lanes of certain roads around Crystal City will be closed for about two hours tonight to accommodate the first of the annual Crystal City 5K Friday races. [Arlington County]

Residential Parking Permit Applications — “It is now time to renew your Residential Permit Parking Program permits and passes for the new program fiscal year beginning July 1, 2018. Remember enforcement continues throughout the year, so new passes/permits must be displayed by July 1st, 2018.” [Arlington County]

Actor Says No to WJLA Interview — Amy Schumer has turned down an interview with Arlington-based TV station WJLA (ABC 7) because it is owned by Sinclair, the broadcast station owner under fire for making its anchors read a script denouncing “biased and false news” from other outlets. [Buzzfeed]

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Morning Notes

School Board Approves House Purchase — Despite the objections of some nearby residents, the Arlington School Board last week approved the $525,000 purchase of a home next to Glebe Elementary to provide better emergency vehicle access. “This was not a cohesive, inclusive process – it was done while people were on vacation,” said the head of a local civic association. [InsideNova]

Bat Invades WJLA in Rosslyn — An errant bat caused a commotion at the WJLA (ABC 7) newsroom in Rosslyn Tuesday morning. Eventually the flying mammal was caught by an employee and released outside. [Patch]

Priest Reveals KKK Past — A priest in the Diocese of Arlington revealed in the Arlington Catholic Herald that he was a former KKK member who burned crosses and did other hateful acts, before having a change of heart. Fr. William Aitcheson said he felt compelled to write about his conversion following the events in Charlottesville. [Washington Post]

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

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Morning Notes

It’s Bike and Walk to School Day — Expect additional pedestrians on local roads this morning as parents, students and teachers participate in Bike and Walk to School Day. [Twitter, Twitter]

Sun Gazette’s County Board Endorsement — The Arlington Sun Gazette newspaper has endorsed Erik Gutshall in the Democratic County Board caucuses, which are happening this week. At the same time, the paper urged readers to also consider Kim Klingler, thanks in part to her background on public safety issues. [InsideNova]

SoberRide Triples Cinco de Mayo Usage — Having switched from offering free taxi rides to free Lyft rides, the regional SoberRide anti-DUI program reported that its ridership on Cinco de Mayo tripled this year: 676 riders compared to 225 last year. [Washington Regional Alcohol Program]

Hurricane Hunters at DCA — Government officials and members of the public were on hand at Reagan National Airport yesterday to tour the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s hurricane hunter aircraft. Among those on hand were acting FEMA director Bob Fenton and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. The director of the National Hurricane Center called it “the biggest, baddest hurricane awareness tour stop we have ever had.” [Roll Call, Capital Weather Gang]

TV Station Visits Local School — WJLA (ABC 7) and meteorologist Brian van de Graaff broadcast live from Hoffman-Boston Elementary School, near Columbia Pike and I-395, yesterday as part of the station’s “lunchbox weather” program. [WJLA]

Activists Target FCC Chair’s Arlington Neighbors — In their fight to retain net neutrality policies, activists have been leaving advocacy materials for and knocking on the doors of FCC Chair Ajit Pai’s neighbors in Arlington. Pai has suggested such policies should be rolled back. [Silicon Beat, DSL Reports, Popular Resistance]

Arlington Water Quality Report Posted — The results of Arlington County’s annual water quality testing have been published online. Per a press release: “Based on sampling data taken throughout the year at our treatment plant and distribution system, the report confirms that Arlington’s high-quality drinking water meets and exceeds all federal and state requirements.” [Arlington County]

Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman

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WJLA anchor Autria Godfrey (photo via Twitter)

Autria Godfrey, a morning news anchor on WJLA (ABC 7), was charged with trespassing and being drunk in public last month in Clarendon.

The incident happened early Saturday morning, on Feb. 18, at Clarendon Grill (1101 N. Highland Street).

From Arlington County Police Department spokeswoman Ashley Savage:

“At approximately 12:45 AM on February 18, officers working a detail in Clarendon responded to the 1100 block of N. Highland Street for the report of a disturbance at a restaurant. The restaurant manager advised arriving officers that a female subject had allegedly started an altercation inside the establishment and they no longer wanted her on the property. Restaurant employees escorted the female subject off the property where she was advised by police that she would be arrested for trespassing if she returned that evening. The female subject left the immediate area with friends.

At approximately 1:24 AM, officers were advised that the female subject had returned to the property. Responding officers arrived on scene and observed the female subject inside the restaurant. Autria Godfrey, 33, was arrested and charged with trespassing and drunk in public.”

As reported by FTVLive, a TV news trade publication, Godfrey was suspended and taken off the air last week by station owner Sinclair. She was back on the air this week.

Godfrey was arraigned Feb. 24 and is due back in court on May 19.

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China Garden restaurant is terminating its lease, a permit application on this week’s County Board agenda suggests.

The long-time Chinese restaurant, at 1100 Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn, is perhaps best known for its weekend dim sum lunches.

Monday Properties, owner of the 1000-1100 Wilson Blvd twin towers, is requesting County Board permission to convert the 10,000 square foot retail space currently occupied by the restaurant into new television studios.

The permit application does not name the soon-to-be “former restaurant” but its location on the mezzanine level of the building and floor plan match that of China Garden.

“As of the date of this application, one of the retail tenants located in the mezzanine level of the building has decided to terminate its lease and to vacate the property,” an attorney for the building owner said in a letter to the county. “In the Applicant’s experience, retail space on the mezzanine level has proven difficult to lease, given its separation from the pedestrian realm on the street level. As such, the Applicant proposes to convert the former retail space into two new television studios and associated support facilities.”

The application also does not name the tenant that will be using the new studios, but the building is home to television station WJLA and NewsChannel 8. Station owner Sinclair renewed its lease in the building this summer.

County staff are recommending the Board approve the application.

A China Garden employee said today that the restaurant’s manager would not be available for comment until Friday.

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(Updated at 11:15 a.m.) The big TV screen and news ticker at the entrance to the WJLA (ABC 7) offices in Rosslyn have been quietly removed.

The electronic displays, which helped with Rosslyn’s “Manhattan on the Potomac” vibe, were recently taken down by Monday Properties, which owns the gleaming 1100 Wilson Blvd tower (and its twin tower at 1000 Wilson Blvd).

A spokeswoman described the removal as “temporary.”

“For the WJLA news ticker, the decision to temporarily remove the news ticker from outside of 1100 Wilson Boulevard was solely based on Monday’s desire to improve the outdated technology that supported the service,” the spokeswoman said in an email. “They’re in the process of evaluating new technology providers to help ensure such a service provides the utmost convenience and value to the community.”

No word yet on when new displays may be installed. WJLA just signed a new lease that should keep the television station at 1100 Wilson Blvd for at least another 15 years.

The Arlington County Board originally approved the replacement of the screen in 2012, but voted against WJLA and Monday’s request to devote part of the screen to sponsor messages. Near the end of its twelve-year lifespan, the screen only displayed a weather map because it was incapable of displaying WJLA’s high definition broadcast.

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The WJLA building in RosslynTelevision station WJLA (ABC 7) will remain in Rosslyn after its owner, Sinclair Broadcasting, signed a new 15 year lease.

Monday Properties, which owns the 1000/1100 Wilson Blvd “twin towers” in which WJLA is based, first announced the 100,000 square foot lease renewal on Tuesday.

The renewal helps to maintain Rosslyn as something of a media hub, home to WJLA, Politico, Washington Business Journal, Graham Holdings, Salem Radio Network News, Washington Free Beacon and New Media Strategies.

More from a press release:

Sinclair Television Group, Inc is renewing its over 100,000 square foot lease at 1000 Wilson Boulevard and 1100 Wilson Boulevard until 2031. The Towers is one of 10 buildings owned and operated by Monday Properties throughout Rosslyn and the greater metropolitan area.

“Over the past several years, we have been running an extensive search in the Metro D.C. area with the goal of selecting a long-term real estate solution that meets our future business objectives.  As we looked at our options, which included building a new, standalone facility, we kept coming back to the Towers,” said Del Parks, Senior VP and Chief Technology Officer of Sinclair Television Group, Inc.  “With its expansive building infrastructure and operational flexibility, we are able to execute our growing platform in Rosslyn most efficiently.”

“It’s clear that Rosslyn’s ongoing transformation offers a robust and diverse array of businesses, retailers and housing options which are critical for our employees’ overall workplace and social requirements,” Dan Mellon, General Manager of Sinclair’s WJLA and News Channel 8, which will occupy part of the space. “The Towers proximity to Northern Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C., also provides our employees the ability to cover stories quickly, from a location that is free from transportation inefficiencies.”

Sinclair’s decision to re-commit to Rosslyn builds on its extensive occupancy history at the Towers, where its landmark media companies, WJLA and News Channel 8 (acquired by Sinclair in July 2014) have been long-term tenants. Sinclair’s 15 year lease will be accompanied by an extensive infrastructure investment to suit their unique business needs, which includes vital connectivity to the Washington D.C. area.

With the renewal of their lease, Sinclair has joined a growing ‘media hub’ trend in Rosslyn, which has an impressive roster that includes Politico, Washington Business Journal, Graham Holdings, Salem Communications, Washington Free Beacon and New Media Strategies.

“When we did our initial short-term renewal with Sinclair earlier this year, we did so hoping that we would provide Sinclair the time necessary to fully vet their real estate search which included the Towers.  Over the past couple of months, we have worked collaboratively with the Sinclair team to formalize a comprehensive lease renewal structure that enables them to firmly achieve their firm’s new programming endeavors.  As companies increasingly look to pursue first-rate amenities, easy accessibility and a business-friendly environment, the Rosslyn submarket continues its upward trend of being a location that firms look to in attracting and retaining high quality employee talent.” said Tim Helmig, President and Chief Operating Officer of Monday Properties. “We’re pleased that Sinclair will remain a tenant of Monday Properties, enjoying the unparalleled amenities and lifestyle opportunities Rosslyn has to offer.”

Including the Sinclair transaction, Monday Properties has executed over 345,000 square feet of new and renewal leases in 2016 in its portfolio as Rosslyn continues its impressive, upward absorption trend this year, joining other recent high profile transactions with global consulting group, Grant Thornton, PriceWaterhouseCooopers, Eastern Foundry, CalAtlantic Group (Ryland Homes) and Silicon Valley Bank, to name a few.

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