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ARLnow.com – Arlington, Va. Local News    
News, Views, Weather, Traffic and Events in Arlington, Virginia
Last updated: Thu, 14 Dec 2017 17:53:31 GMT

 Marble and Rye to Close at Year’s End on Columbia Pike Thu, 14 Dec 2017 21:45:11 +0000
A wood fire kitchen and whiskey bar on Columbia Pike will close at the end of the year, staff confirmed. Marble and Rye at 2501 Columbia Pike will close on...

A wood fire kitchen and whiskey bar on Columbia Pike will close at the end of the year, staff confirmed.

Marble and Rye at 2501 Columbia Pike will close on December 31. A staff member said it will shutter after Sunday brunch that day. Staff in the restaurant declined to comment on a reason for the closure.

It opened in late 2015 at the Penrose Square property, replacing RedRocks Neapolitan Bistro.

The menu features pasta, pizza and seafood dishes as well as sandwiches and burgers. It has more than 150 different whiskeys and whiskey-based cocktails, in addition to its wine and beer selection.

When it opened, Marble and Rye had been hailed as part of a growth of whiskey bars on Columbia Pike.

Events company Magnolia Open Mics will host its final open mic night at Marble and Rye this Sunday (December 17), in conjunction with the Songwriters Association of Washington. The event begins at 6 p.m., and includes a raffle.

 Pet Photos with Santa This Saturday in Virginia Square Thu, 14 Dec 2017 21:15:19 +0000
ARLnow is co-sponsoring Santa Paws, a holiday event this Saturday at Latitude Apartments in Virginia Square.

ARLnow is co-sponsoring Santa Paws, a holiday event this Saturday at Latitude Apartments in Virginia Square.

Bring your pup — or your cat — and enjoy pet photos with Santa, a grooming raffle courtesy of Puppy Luv, an apple cider bar and some ARL stickers (and potentially other fun, pet appropriate ARLnow stuff).

When: Saturday, December 16 from 1-3 p.m
Where: Latitude Apartments, 3601 Fairfax Drive

The event is free, but register here to reserve your spot.

This events supports the Animal Welfare League of Arlington, which cares for more than 2,000 animals each year. Latitude is accepting doggy donations at the event on behalf of AWLA. Check out their Christmas wish list for regularly used items that are in need at the shelter.

 The Right Note: Time to Start Making Your Resolutions? Thu, 14 Dec 2017 20:45:27 +0000
Those of us with kids in school are just one week away from the start of our break, but there is still a lot going on in the world of politics.

The Right Note is a weekly opinion column. The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.

Those of us with kids in school are just one week away from the start of our break, but there is still a lot going on in the world of politics.

Congress continues its work to finalize tax reform and spending bills. The County Board will meet two more times before saying goodbye to Jay Fisette.

Recounts are ongoing to finalize the November 7 election results for the General Assembly. And Governor-elect Ralph Northam is continuing his transition.

Let’s be honest. Most of us are much more worried about finishing, or starting, our Christmas shopping. After we take part in our holiday celebrations, we will move on to some reflection on the year gone by as well as to making those hopeful New Year’s resolutions, plans and goals.

Number one for many of us might be to put down our phone for 30 to 60 minutes more each day to have better personal interactions with family and friends. It might keep some out of pointless political arguments on Facebook. It might prevent you from tweeting something you later regret. Or maybe it will just help lay off the cat videos on YouTube.

For the elected leaders in Arlington, could you just one time acknowledge that holding tax rates the same does not mean you are not raising taxes.

Our county is really flush with taxpayer dollars for you to spend, so can you eliminate “shortfall” from your budget vocabulary? Or maybe could you resolve to not borrow money just because you can and maybe pay for things we can afford now.

For the General Assembly in Richmond, it looks like you will have one vote margins in both the House and Senate. Can you resolve to spend your time and political capital on the things that have the most impact on our everyday lives?

Transportation, education, and moves that help our economy grow so people can find well paid jobs that have healthcare benefits rather than relying on Medicaid or Obamacare would be a good place to start.

Last week the Progressive Voice, included this paragraph about positive leadership from our elected officials:

On a national level, perhaps not. But in Virginia and Arlington, we have an opportunity — an obligation, even — to lead in just that get-it-done way, despite the harmful policies some office-holders are pushing nationally. Democratic elected officials in Arlington hold the majority, Virginia’s new governor and newly-elected crop of state delegates have buoyed our spirits and options for problem-solving.

I hope this was not a suggestion that only Democrats can solve problems. Not only would it not be true, but it would not be helpful in achieving the stated goal. Maybe we can all resolve to look for the good in our political opponents whenever possible and trust that we share the common goal of advocating for the best interests of the people even when we disagree on how to get there.

 Progressive Voice: A Progressive Agenda for Arlington – Part 2 Thu, 14 Dec 2017 20:15:53 +0000
In August, I wrote a column outlining positive progressive ideas for our County to keep Arlington a great place to live.

Progressive Voice is a weekly opinion column. The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the individual authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of their organizations or ARLnow.com.

By Matt de Ferranti

In August, I wrote a column outlining positive progressive ideas for our County to keep Arlington a great place to live.

In today’s column, I offer a second set of proposals to address our needs in transportation, for our parks and open space, and for energy efficiency policies to confront climate change.

For many Arlingtonians, location and accessible transportation brought us here. Generations came to Colonial Village or Lyon Park and stayed. Others remained in the County, but moved west from their apartments, condos, and homes along the Orange Line in Rosslyn or Ballston, or in Crystal City, or on Columbia Pike. To keep our transportation network strong, I suggest several actions.

A Dedicated Funding Stream for Metro: Metro has been at the heart of many decisions to move here. Because this service is indispensable for so many Arlingtonians and our economy, we should be steadfast in our commitment to a dedicated funding stream for Metro.

Data Driven, Common-Sense Transportation Decisions: As we make decisions on County transportation issues, such as improvements to bus service on Columbia Pike or Lee Highway, the relocation of the Virginia Rail Station stop near the Airport, and the balance between parking and bike lanes in Crystal City, we should base our decisions on data and common-sense analysis.

Arlington should also be willing to consider new ideas such as, for example, whether agreements with ride-services such as Lyft may be cost-effective on little used bus routes. We should always ask: What works and where are smart investments most needed?

Make Good on our Commitments to Columbia Pike Bus Service: Four years ago, we committed to improving bus service on Columbia Pike. Last month, the County Board approved funding to begin the work to make that happen. We should accelerate that work and look to off-board fares and multiple doors as ways to speed up the Pike’s bus service. Both would require investment and need further analysis, but neither implicates a dedicated lane and they show real potential.

Continue with I-66 Express Lanes, but Use Data to Adjust if Necessary: Tolls on I-66 have been controversial. Before we rush to judgment, let’s acknowledge that it is only in its first weeks. I agree with the The Washington Post‘s argument that we should stick with the toll system.

The funding for improvements that Arlington’s transportation system will receive through the toll revenue generated by the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission will include roads, bus service, and other multimodal transportation improvements. We need these improvements and should stick with the plan, while being ready to seek changes to the timing of rush hour, for example, if necessary.

The quality of our parks has been a hallmark of Arlington and a shared source of joy. From those who walk our trails, to bicyclists on the Loop, to the fields that so many Arlingtonians use to play their sport of choice, to open space in increasingly short supply, we care about our environment.

Balance All our Needs: Space is costly in Arlington, so we must invest wisely. The Public Spaces Master Plan (PSMP) currently under consideration has and will identify new needs and ideas, and will help clarify a big-picture sense of the competing needs we face – including lighted sports fields and the need for free open space.

Aquatics Center at Long Bridge Park: The County Board made the right decision late last month to fund a significantly more cost-effective proposal for a swimming facility and improvements at Long Bridge Park. Demand for a swimming facility has been widespread for a long time. Arlington voters have already approved the funding for construction via bond measures. We should fund operations for this facility that will benefit County residents for years to come.

Climate Change: Underlying our choices on open space and parks is a defining challenge of the 21st Century — climate change. Arlington’s energy plan was adopted in June 2013 to provide “a long-term vision for transforming how we generate, use, and distribute energy.” The plan calls for using locally generated alternative energy and energy efficiency to reduce greenhouse gases and the cost of energy. Its goal is a 75 percent lower carbon footprint by 2050. Significant progress has already been made. We should continue to work to meet our 2050 goal.

Conclusion

Arlington can and should be both fiscally sound and supportive of wise investments in transportation, parks and open space, and policies to address climate change.

Matt de Ferranti is a member of the Joint Facilities Advisory Commission, is Chair of the Budget Advisory Council to the Arlington School Board, and Vice Chair of the Housing Commission.

 Peter’s Take: Virginia Ethics and Transparency Reforms for 2018 Thu, 14 Dec 2017 19:45:40 +0000
Ralph Northam’s lopsided victory in Virginia’s 2017 gubernatorial election, and the huge increase in the numbers of Democratic delegates in the Virginia House (up from 34 to a minimum of 49), have substantially changed the political dynamics in Virginia state government.

Peter’s Take is a weekly opinion column. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.

Ralph Northam’s lopsided victory in Virginia’s 2017 gubernatorial election, and the huge increase in the numbers of Democratic delegates in the Virginia House (up from 34 to a minimum of 49), have substantially changed the political dynamics in Virginia state government.

It’s too soon to tell by exactly how much things have changed, but this recent conclusion by Del. Marcus Simon (D) strikes me as reasonable for 2018:

This is not the year for really progressive reforms, but for a move of the House back to the middle from so many years being stuck in the mud.

Delegate Simon noted that among the areas in which some positive gains could come are Virginia government ethics and transparency. Governor-elect Ralph Northam is on record that “Virginians deserve to know that their representatives are held to the highest standards of ethics.”

Newly-elected delegates, including Chris Hurst (D) and Danica Roem (D), already have expressed support for legislative initiatives on transparency.

Campaign Finance

For the last four years, Virginia Republican state legislators repeatedly blocked reforms which would have made it illegal to divert campaign donations for personal use:

While almost every other state and the federal government have figured out a way to make it illegal for politicians to use campaign funds for personal use, Virginia lawmakers said … the issue remains too complex for them to find a consensus.

In 2017, a bill sponsored by Simon that would have made this practice illegal was killed by an unrecorded voice vote in a legislative subcommittee. That substance and process needs to change:

  • Simon has again introduced his bill; it should be passed
  • All committee and subcommittee deliberations and votes should be live-streamed

Other Ethics Reforms

Former Gov. Bob McDonnell’s (R) 2014 conviction for having violated a federal bribery statute spurred grudging reforms to Virginia’s state ethics laws in the next legislative session. The highlight of a Virginia law enacted in 2015 was the creation of a $100 annual limit on gifts from lobbyists to any single public official.

After the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that McDonnell’s conduct did not violate federal criminal law, some Virginia legislators who never wanted to reform Virginia’s ethical practices in the first place started dropping hints that they would like to loosen things up again. Instead, the 2017 election results should lead to further strengthening of these laws.

States retain the power to decide whether politicians who do what McDonnell did should be:

  • excused for having done something that is just part of the normal political process (“they all do it”), or
  • subject to significant penalties for doing something that the public has decided is wrong

In the wake of the Supreme Court’s McDonnell decision, Delegate Simon again drew the right lesson,”the fact that he didn’t break any laws doesn’t mean that our ethics laws aren’t broken.”

Virginia should create a new, independent Ethics Review Commission with teeth, including subpoena and enforcement power. A large majority of other states, including Massachusetts, South Carolina, and Pennsylvania  have permanent ethics commissions.

Conclusion

Reforms in ethical practices and transparency are long overdue at every level of Virginia government. A welcome combination of energetic new delegates, joining seasoned leaders, should set the stage in 2018 for much-needed reforms in ethics and transparency.

 Four Arlington Metro Stations Now Have Free Wi-Fi Thu, 14 Dec 2017 18:45:59 +0000
Anyone looking to get online at some of Arlington County’s Metro stations can now do so using free Wi-Fi provided by Metro. As part of an expansion to 24 more...

Anyone looking to get online at some of Arlington County’s Metro stations can now do so using free Wi-Fi provided by Metro.

As part of an expansion to 24 more stations, users at Rosslyn, Clarendon, Courthouse, Crystal City will now be able to access the free wireless internet. Free Wi-Fi is now offered at 30 underground Metro stations throughout the system.

Metro said it expects that all other underground Metro stations — which includes the likes of Ballston, Virginia Square and Pentagon City — to have free Wi-Fi by mid-2018.

And for those riding Metrorail on New Year’s Eve, special late-night service will run until 2 a.m. for those returning from festivities. And in addition, track work will be suspended from 6 p.m. on New Year’s Eve through closing New Year’s Day.

“We are pleased to offer extended hours on Metrorail during New Year’s Eve as a service to our customers who will be ringing in the New Year,” Metro general manager/CEO Paul Wiedefeld said in a statement. “I also want to thank our employees who will be working to provide the public with a safe and responsible option to get around.”

 Report: Office Rent on Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn Highest in Northern Virginia Thu, 14 Dec 2017 17:45:26 +0000
Northern Virginia office space is most expensive to rent on Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn, according to a study. Commercial real estate firm JLL found that rents on the street in...

Northern Virginia office space is most expensive to rent on Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn, according to a study.

Commercial real estate firm JLL found that rents on the street in Rosslyn average between $56 and $65 per square foot, and that those rents are increasing.

The study found that average rent increase is due to new high-end “trophy class” offices coming online, as well as the unobstructed views of Washington, D.C. and the Potomac River. Those “trophy” offices include top amenities, good views of their surroundings and are connected to transit options like Metro and bus routes.

“The new trophy buildings not only deliver high-end modern office space, but will help transform Rosslyn from a sleepy 9-5 business district into a vibrant live-work-play neighborhood,” Michael Hartnett, senior research manager in JLL’s Northern Virginia office, said in a statement.

Across the region, average rents on office space remain high even as jurisdictions battle with a high vacancy rate. Arlington County’s office vacancy rate is just over 17 percent, even with the likes of Nestle moving to Rosslyn.

“Despite the U.S. office market posting 81 million square feet of net absorption the past 24 months and posting rent growth of 8.2 percent, the Metro D.C. market has posted nearly 700,000 square feet of occupancy losses and a rent decline of 6.9 percent,” John Sikaitis, managing director of research at JLL, said in a statement. “In this challenging market, there are an equal mix of winners and losers and on the demand side, these nuanced high-priced corridors at the intersection of Main and Main have attracted the most demand and been some of the more resilient segments of the market.”

Photo via Monday Properties

 Healthy Paws: Fur-baby It’s Cold Outside Thu, 14 Dec 2017 16:45:02 +0000
Winter is finally here and we cannot stress enough the importance of keeping pets in a warm, protected environment this time of year. So, for this week’s post, we’re reminding everyone about some winter weather tips for our canine and feline companions.

Healthy Paws

Editor’s Note: Healthy Paws is a column sponsored and written by the owners of Clarendon Animal Care, a full-service, general practice veterinary clinic and winner of a 2017 Arlington Chamber of Commerce Best Business Award. The clinic is located 3000 10th Street N., Suite B. and can be reached at 703-997-9776.

Winter is finally here and we cannot stress enough the importance of keeping pets in a warm, protected environment this time of year. So, for this week’s post, we’re reminding everyone about some winter weather tips for our canine and feline companions. Because, even though our four-legged family members have fur, they too are susceptible to frostbite and hypothermia (low body temperature) and other winter-related ailments.

What is frostbite?

Frostbite occurs when damage to the skin and underlying tissues caused by exposure to extremely cold agents and weather occurs. Sub-freezing temperatures cause constriction/narrowing of blood vessels, which after long periods of time, reduces blood flow to certain parts of the body, especially the extremities. Together, the nearly freezing temperature and reduction of blood flow can result in severe injury to the exposed tissues. This is how frostbite develops in our furry friend’s paws, ears and tails (body parts farthest from the heart and most susceptible to becoming cold). Keep in mind young animals outdoors, or those in poor body condition, are at greater risk.

  • Signs/symptoms of frostbite
    • Often, mild cold injury to the extremities may go undetected (toe tips, ear tips, tail tips) until changes to the skin are noted, sometimes days later
    • Acutely affected animals may have pale gray or bluish areas of skin that are cool to the touch
    • Body parts may be numb, overly sensitive to touch or painful
    • As the affected areas of the body thaw, the tissues may become red or swollen and painful
    • Skin may blister or ulcerate
    • Days after the frostbite has occurred, tissues may appear shrunken and discolored and may begin to slough if the tissue becomes necrotic or dies
    • Days to weeks after injury, hair loss and sloughing may occur
  • What to do if your pet is suffering from hypothermia (and at risk for frostbite)
    • Remove any snow from in between the paws pads
    • Dry your pet off if their hair coat is wet or damp
    • Wrap your pet in a blanket or towel and contact your primary veterinarian, or the closest emergency hospital for further care and diagnostics
  • Prevention
    • No matter how thick-coated your furry friend is, no pet should be left outside for long periods of time in below-freezing weather.

For those short-coated pets, this is a perfect time of the year to play dress-up with the pet winter sweaters and coats. Some pets may also benefit from booties to protect their feet. It’s best to have a few options since wet clothing can actually be more detrimental to the body, so after coming from outside, remove or change your pet’s winter gear.

Other winter preparation/safety tips

A warm vehicle engine can be an appealing heat source for outdoor and feral cats as well as wildlife — but that can lead to some pretty disastrous consequences. Check underneath your car, bang on the hood, and honk the horn before starting the engine to encourage wanna-be hitchhikers to abandon their roost under the hood.

Pay special attention to your pets feet. Ice melt and collections of snow/ice can be very irritating and cause inflammation and pain between the toes. Booties, pad wax and cleaning between toes after coming inside can be very helpful to prevent irritation and to prevent/remove potential toxins (such as antifreeze).

Speaking of antifreeze — even small amounts can be deadly! It’s sweet (like sugar) and so many pets will ingest it — however it can cause severe, acute kidney failure, seizures and death. Be sure to clean any spills (no matter how small) immediately.

Many pets become lost in winter because snow and ice can hide recognizable scents that might normally help your pet find his/her way back home. Make sure your pet has a well-fitting collar with up-to-date identification and contact information. A microchip is a more permanent means of identification, but it’s critical that you keep the registration up to date. Prepare a disaster/emergency kit and prepare your pet in your plans. Make sure to stock up on food, water, prescription medications in the event of a weather emergency that may leave you stranded into house.

And if it’s too cold for you outside — it’s probably too cold for the fur-family as well!

 Free Resident Wi-Fi Coming to Arlington Mill Residences Thu, 14 Dec 2017 15:45:43 +0000
Residents at the Arlington Mill Residences affordable housing complex could be set for free wireless internet access. The Arlington County Board will consider a plan to offer the free service...

Residents at the Arlington Mill Residences affordable housing complex could be set for free wireless internet access.

The Arlington County Board will consider a plan to offer the free service to tenants at 901 S. Dinwiddie Street as part of a new initiative called Arlington Digital Inclusion.

The initiative by the county’s Department of Technology Services and Department of Community Planning, Housing and Development, will use the county’s dedicated network of dark fiber to provide free broadband internet for three years.

“Currently, there are 122 committed affordable units at Arlington Mill Residences and 159 children are currently residing at the development,” county staff wrote in a report. “About half of all households (61) do not currently subscribe to an internet/data service. This program would provide free, in-unit high-speed Wi-Fi access to every unit. It would also help alleviate the cost of Internet/data service (which can range from $50-$75/month) for those households currently paying for the service.”

Staff said the initiative would particularly help the children that live there to close the “homework gap,” where students find it difficult to access online resources at home.

The total cost of the project over three years is just over $140,000, funded in part by $95,400 in grant money from the county through allocating Columbia Pike Tax Increment funds that help pay for affordable housing. The remaining cost of $44,809 is provided for free by service providers as what staff called a “goodwill contribution.”

The Board will vote on the plan at its meeting Saturday (December 16). Staff recommended approval.

Photo via Google Maps

 Board to Vote on Buying Aurora Highlands Property for Park Use Thu, 14 Dec 2017 14:45:26 +0000
The Arlington County Board will consider a plan to buy vacant property in Aurora Highlands to create space for new parkland in the neighborhood. The Board is set to spend...

The Arlington County Board will consider a plan to buy vacant property in Aurora Highlands to create space for new parkland in the neighborhood.

The Board is set to spend $1.23 million to buy a bungalow at 905 20th Street S. and the adjacent lot, which is vacant. Someone rents the house, but earlier this month agreed with its owner to terminate the lease on February 1, 2018, with no rent due for January. The property’s assessed 2017 value is $1.068 million.

Under a plan put forward by county staff, the house would be demolished and the driveway removed to make room for a quarter-acre public park at the intersection of 20th Street S. and S. Ives Street.

“The acquisition of the property would create an opportunity to increase park land in the densely-populated Pentagon City area,” staff wrote in a report. “The approximately [quarter-acre] new park could be used to provide the kind of casual use space residents in the area have been asking for — a park that is open and available for a range of casual uses such as having a picnic, throwing a Frisbee, laying out on a blanket, reading or having small social gatherings.”

Members of the Aurora Highlands Civic Association told the county about the opportunity buy the lot.

Photo via Google Maps