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ARLnow.com – Arlington, Va. Local News    
News, Views, Weather, Traffic and Events in Arlington, Virginia
Last updated: Thu, 23 May 2019 01:20:55 GMT

 Arlington Parks Maintain Fourth-Place National Ranking Wed, 22 May 2019 21:15:06 +0000
On the heels of being named the fittest “city” in America, Arlington has also earned a fourth-place ranking in parks from the Trust for Public Land (TPL). The national ranking...

On the heels of being named the fittest “city” in America, Arlington has also earned a fourth-place ranking in parks from the Trust for Public Land (TPL).

The national ranking has been fairly consistent for Arlington, while neighbor D.C. surpassed Minneapolis to take the first place spot. The “ParkScore” rankings rank the quality of the park system of the top 100 cities in the United States, including Arlington.

Arlington scored in the top percentiles for access, investment and amenities, though it scored fairly low in overall acreage.

The TPL noted in its report that 98 percent of Arlington residents live within a 10-minute walk of a park — exceeding the national average of 54 percent — and that park access was consistent across all income levels.

“Parks build community. Our mission is to promote wellness and vitality through dynamic programs and attractive public spaces. And it looks like we are right on track,” Jane Rudolph, Director of Arlington Dept. of Parks and Recreation, said in a statement. “Our public spaces, which include parks, playgrounds, trails, fields and nature and community centers, bestow a unique and irreplaceable benefit to everyone in Arlington. Our public spaces make us happier and healthier.”

The assessment noted that Arlington has a particularly high amount of basketball hoops — 7.8 per 10,000 people — and playgrounds — 4.4 per 10,000 people.

Arlington was commended for the amount the county spends on parks: $267.23 per resident.

But with 11 percent of Arlington’s land used for parks and recreation, the TPL noted this as being below the national median of 15 percent and D.C.’s 21 percent.

The TPL also pointed to locations across Arlington in need of a new park, mainly locations around the northwest periphery of the county.

 Arlington Pet of the Week: Apple Wed, 22 May 2019 20:30:59 +0000
This week’s honorary pet is Apple, an 11-year-old Golden Retriever who lives for people, according to her owner Lauren. Here’s what Lauren has to say about the sporty pup some...

This week’s honorary pet is Apple, an 11-year-old Golden Retriever who lives for people, according to her owner Lauren.

Here’s what Lauren has to say about the sporty pup some say is a good luck charm:

Apple joined our family when she was four, and has been a joyful addition ever since. Apple was born in Taiwan but was abandoned by her original owner. Fortunately for us and for her, a wonderful rescue group based in Delaware brought her to America so she could be adopted!

Apple is a fixture at local Arlington Babe Ruth and Arlington Little League baseball games. She loves hanging out at our local parks and getting lots of attention from the players and their families. Many players and teams have even said that Apple is a good luck charm!

Aside from watching baseball, Apple loves children, treats, snuggling, naps, and taking short walks around Lyon Village. Halloween is her favorite when she gets lots of visitors, even if she has to wear a silly costume!

Want your pet to be considered for the Arlington Pet of the Week? Email arlingtonnews@gmail.com with a 2-3 paragraph bio and at least 3-4 horizontally-oriented photos of your pet. Please don’t send vertical photos, they don’t fit in our photo galleries!

Each week’s winner receives a sample of dog or cat treats from our sponsor, Becky’s Pet Care, along with $100 in Becky’s Bucks. Becky’s Pet Care is the winner of six consecutive Angie’s List Super Service Awards, the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters’ 2013 Business of the Year and a proud supporter of the Arlington County Pawsitively Prepared Campaign.

Becky’s Pet Care provides professional dog walking and pet sitting in Arlington and all of Northern Virginia, as well as PetPrep training courses for Pet Care, CPR and emergency preparedness.

 County Board Denies Developer’s Request for Longer Construction Hours in Rosslyn Wed, 22 May 2019 19:30:57 +0000
Last night, the Arlington County Board denied developer Penzance permission to extend construction hours on a luxury condo project in Rosslyn. The Board unanimously rejected the request to add an...

Last night, the Arlington County Board denied developer Penzance permission to extend construction hours on a luxury condo project in Rosslyn.

The Board unanimously rejected the request to add an extra hour of work in the mornings, allowing crews to start at 6 a.m. on weekdays and 8 a.m. on weekends, after dozens of residents testified about numerous problems they have already endured with the existing schedule.

Board member Katie Cristol introduced the motion denying the request during the Board’s Tuesday night meeting. While she appreciated Penzance’s desire to speed up its construction process, she couldn’t support “literally unprecedented” construction hours that would be, “an awfully extraordinary action given the resounding comments we’ve heard from the neighboring property owners.”

Cristol noted that the request would only shave a few weeks off the construction schedule, which is projected to wrap up in January 2020. Penzance is building a trio of high-rises on the 1500 block of Wilson Blvd — collectively dubbed The Highlands — with 884 luxury housing units and 40,000 square feet of retail space.

Dozens of residents of the Atrium Condominium building, which is located behind the development site, showed up to Tuesday’s meeting to voice their opposition to Penzance’s request.

“I apologize and thank the community on behalf of the county for what sounds like pure hell for some of you, and I can appreciate that that’s no fun,” said Board member Erik Gutshall, after listening to their testimony. “So stick with us. Nobody sell your unit. No one leave. We will get through this. It’s going to be a beautiful great place and I appreciate folks who can see past that.”

Susan Miller, a 30-year resident of the Atrium, said she has “never seen anything like the horror that this project has brought to this community that we are in,” citing noise and dust and dirt that permeate her balcony.

Another long time resident, Pendita Welch, said that the noise is so loud she has to take phone calls in her closet, and worried that vibrations could be causing her walls to crack.

“I live on the back of the building, and I am partially deaf,” said resident Kelly Davidson, who spoke through tears. “And I can tell you that the noise is loud enough, at nearly the top of the building, partially deaf, to wake me in a startle.”

Davidson told the Board she now has to take medication for frequent migraines.

“Dirt is part of what happens when we excavate and there’s no way we know of to control that,” said Penzance’s Senior Vice President Frank Poli.

Poli said that the goal of the longer construction times is to “expedite the completion of the excavation work” of the project by giving more time to dig up dirt and lay concrete. An attorney representing Penzance told the Board that once this phase is finished, trucks can move back on-site and free up 18th Street N.

Hiam Nawas said she’s lived in the Atrium for 10 years and invited the Board to come visit her apartment and experience it for themselves.

“We can’t open windows, if we do the dust is all over the place,” she said. “I wake up in the morning because of the noise of the construction trucks at 5:30 or 6 a.m.”

Cynthia Carabelli, vice president of the Board of Directors of the Atrium, said condo dwellers were “upset” about the prospect of more construction. Residents have already picked up trash from the construction crews, allowed trucks to use their driveway as a turn-around, and let Penzance install a camera on their roof, she said.

“We’re nice and we have put up with a lot,” said Carabelli.

Penzance’s request was originally on the consent agenda for the Board’s Saturday meeting,  a placement usually reserved for items expected to pass without debate. But on Saturday it was moved to Tuesday’s regular meeting to allow for it to be debated.

Board Chair Christian Dorsey said from the dais last night that the situation made him want to reconsider how the county communicates upcoming topics of discussion, noting, “It’s not great that we have a staff report that says, ‘No issues identified at this time,’ and then we have however many people showing up tonight with deeply detailed and emotional testimony.”

“That’s a fail,” he added. “We have to figure out how to fix that.”

Images 1 via Penzance, 2 via Google Maps

 Peter’s Take: Theo Stamos for Commonwealth’s Attorney Wed, 22 May 2019 18:30:19 +0000
Unlike Virginia State Senators or Delegates who make Virginia laws and policies, Virginia Commonwealth’s Attorneys must operate within the complex framework of hundreds of criminal laws and policies established in Richmond.

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.

I enthusiastically support incumbent Commonwealth’s Attorney Theo Stamos for the Democratic nomination in the June 11 primary.

What is the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s role?

Unlike Virginia State Senators or Delegates who make Virginia laws and policies, Virginia Commonwealth’s Attorneys must operate within the complex framework of hundreds of criminal laws and policies established in Richmond.

Under Virginia’s Constitution, our Commonwealth’s Attorney is the chief criminal trial attorney for Arlington County and the City of Falls Church, responsible for prosecuting a full range of criminal cases, ranging from driving under the influence to murder. The office has 17 attorneys, 11 support staff and 7 victim/witness specialists who work daily preparing and prosecuting cases.

How is our criminal justice system working?

Arlington is a public safety success story. Crime rates have been brought to record lows. And, we’ve reduced crime without filling up the Arlington County Detention Center (our jail). In Sheriff Beth Arthur’s recent endorsement of Stamos, Arthur notes that the Arlington jail has “an all-time-low population averaging 370 inmates a day.” Arlington also has diversionary programs that benefit drug addicts, the mentally ill and juveniles.

Why Theo Stamos is the best choice for Arlington

As the County’s top prosecutor, Stamos has a deep understanding of Virginia law and a wealth of local criminal trial experience. Our Commonwealth’s Attorney must appear in court nearly every day, where experience and institutional knowledge are key. When not in court, Stamos spends much of her day monitoring, advising and mentoring her line prosecutors on the many felony and other cases they handle.

Theo Stamos has already proven herself up to the task. She has literally tried every type of criminal case and has overseen the Arlington/Falls Church Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney for the past 8 years. An active member of the Arlington County Bar Association, the statewide Virginia State Bar Council, and committees on best practices for prosecutors, Stamos is also active in our community — a member of Arlington’s NAACP branch and a member of Organized Women Voters.

As our top prosecutor, Stamos reflects Arlington’s core community values. She is decent, honest, engaged, independent, and fair. As someone who has known and worked with Theo Stamos for many years, I can attest that she embodies all these qualities, including a dash of humor, humility, and humanity.

Criminal defense attorney David Deane (Stamos’s opponent in the 2011 Democratic primary for Commonwealth’s Attorney) recently published a letter of support:

My law practice takes me to many jurisdictions; her open-door policy is something other offices around the commonwealth should emulate. She is always willing to engage in a dialogue about a case and to truly listen when defense counsel from both the court-appointed and private bar approach her with issues.

Theo Stamos has worked tirelessly to improve the criminal justice system in Arlington for victims as well as those who stand accused:

  • Chairs Arlington’s Sexual Assault Response Team and works with Project PEACE to address domestic violence and sexual assault
  • Led the creation of a state-of-the-art, sexual assault and intimate partner violence protocol that serves as a model for the Commonwealth
  • Initiated Arlington’s adult diversionary Drug Court 7 years ago
  • Started the Second Chance diversionary program for juveniles
  • Helped launch Operation Safe Station, giving drug addicts a way to turn in their drugs and get treatment without fear of arrest and prosecution

Why Parisa Dehghani-Tafti is seeking the wrong job in the wrong place

Dehghani-Tafti has almost exclusively post-conviction appellate experience, but seeks a job requiring extensive trial experience.

The most up-voted comment to a recent ARLnow.com story also captures why Dehghani-Tafti is the wrong choice:

The Soros-supported Parisa Dehghani-Tafti seems to be running a campaign based on principles espoused by progressives on the national level, without realizing that she’s in the wrong jurisdiction. She wants to “reform” Arlington’s criminal justice system… Tafti seems to be trying to reform Ferguson, MO, by running for Commonwealth’s Attorney for Arlington and Falls Church. It doesn’t make sense. — oscar

Conclusion

Theo Stamos is a dedicated public servant with a proven record as a principled and progressive prosecutor. I wholeheartedly endorse her re-election. You can learn more about Stamos’ candidacy here.

Peter Rousselot previously served as Chair of the Fiscal Affairs Advisory Commission (FAAC) to the Arlington County Board and as Co-Chair of the Advisory Council on Instruction (ACI) to the Arlington School Board. He is also a former Chair of the Arlington County Democratic Committee (ACDC) and a former member of the Central Committee of the Democratic Party of Virginia (DPVA). He currently serves as a board member of the Together Virginia PAC-a political action committee dedicated to identifying, helping and advising Democratic candidates in rural Virginia.

 Pentagon Bus and Slug Lane Reconfigurations Completed Wed, 22 May 2019 17:30:07 +0000
After over a year of work, the new bus and slug lanes are finally open at the Pentagon’s south parking lot. Yesterday (Tuesday), the new configuration opened with bus-only travel...

After over a year of work, the new bus and slug lanes are finally open at the Pentagon’s south parking lot.

Yesterday (Tuesday), the new configuration opened with bus-only travel lanes, reconfigured commuter lanes and slug lanes — lanes designed for High-Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) carpooling.

The new, dedicated bus loop is designed to distance passenger vehicles and buses to make the lot safer and increase mobility.

“The changes to the South Parking Lot are going to have a positive impact on the thousands of commuters traveling to and from the Pentagon Reservation each day,” said Susan Shaw, megaprojects director for the Virginia Department of Transportation, in a press release. “This important feature of the 395 Express Lanes project reinforces VDOT‘s commitment to support travel choices and alternative travel modes throughout our roadway network in Northern Virginia.”

An average of 25,000 employees use the Pentagon lots, with more than 1,800 buses and 3,400 “sluggers” passing through the lot each day, according to the press release.

Other improvements include new pedestrian sidewalks, new signage, and new lighting.

Image via National Capital Planning Commission

 Snag Work: Filling Arlington Shifts and Taking Names Wed, 22 May 2019 16:45:27 +0000
Snag Work helps connects local businesses with quality on-demand workers, and helps the underemployed pick up shifts.

When you manage a business you deal with your fair share of unexpected callouts and short-staffed shifts. You’ve probably even filled in and covered shifts yourself (a.k.a. the last thing you ever want to do).

That’s where Snag Work comes in. It’s a service that connects local businesses with quality on-demand workers, while helping NOVA’s underemployed pick up the shifts they need to supplement their incomes.

With Snag Work, you get instant access to fully vetted workers who fill shifts and get your schedule back on track. Everything’s covered from background checks and recruiting, to workers’ comp and liability insurance. Since our workers are W2 employees, that means you save on the operational costs of hiring and onboarding new workers. Simply post your shift and get back to business — we’ll handle the rest.

It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3.

1. Shift Posted: We share your shifts with our network of trained workers.

2. Shift Filled: The average shift is filled within minutes.

3. Shift Covered: We handle everything — including worker pay.

Snag Work helps power a variety of industries throughout NOVA including restaurant, retail and hospitality businesses. It’s time for you to get back to business and join the growing network of companies who are filling their shifts with Snag Work.

Keep updated with Snag Work on Facebook and follow along on Instagram @snagwork.

 Small Biz Focus: Business Appreciation Month Recap Wed, 22 May 2019 16:00:49 +0000
Earlier this month we introduced Arlington Economic Development's (AED) business engagement program and reviewed the many activities that will be taking place in May for Business Appreciation Month

This article was written by Marian Marquez, Director for Global Markets & Retention at Arlington Economic Development.

Earlier this month we introduced Arlington Economic Development’s (AED) business engagement program and reviewed the many activities that will be taking place in May for Business Appreciation Month.

A number of these efforts have focused on shining a light on local companies with ceremonies, and we have been so pleased to see the many Arlington businesses who have been honored with prestigious awards and recognition this month.

Each year, the Virginia Chamber of Commerce holds its Fantastic 50 Awards, honoring the fifty fastest-growing companies for their entrepreneurial success and contribution to Virginia’s economic vitality. At this year’s awards ceremony, 22% of the winners were Arlington companies, including the winner of the prestigious Vanguard Award for service, which went to U.Group (formerly ByteCubed).

We were not surprised to see many of these names, as we have watched these companies blaze trails in recent years to win many local, state and national awards. For example, Enterprise Knowledge, a first time Fantastic 50 winner, has won Arlington’s Fast Four award and many others since then, as have Convoke, Eagle Hill Consulting and ByteCubed.

Among the 11 Arlington awardees were some repeat Fantastic 50 winners, including Firebird AST, Eagle Hill, Neostek and Convoke. Firebird also won a prestigious SECAF award the very same evening.

Last week at AED’s Arlington Premiere, we turned our attention to our legacy businesses and honored three of Arlington’s longest-standing retail businesses with a Legacy Award, presented by Arlington County Board Chair, Christian Dorsey. Each of these businesses has been operating in Arlington for 35+ years, which is no small feat in our competitive market.

The 2019 Legacy Awards went to Papillon Cycles, a bike shop located on Columbia Pike for 35 years; Heidelberg Pastry Shoppe, located in Arlington for 44 years; and Crystal Boutique which has been serving clients in Crystal City for 49 years!

It was truly an honor to recognize these legacy business owners who have kept their businesses in Arlington through thick and thin; we truly appreciate the impact they have had on our community.

There is more to come in the final days of Business Appreciation Month; this week AED is hosting seven Arlington startups at Virginia’s booth at Collision, North America’s fastest-growing tech conference.

We also have a great line up of companies vying for the Arlington Chamber’s Best Business Awards tonight. Last, but not least, follow us on Twitter for the rest of this month to learn some fun facts about Arlington businesses, both legacy and nascent.

 Meridian Pint Plans to Open in Dominion Hills Tomorrow Wed, 22 May 2019 15:00:57 +0000
One month after it served its last beer in D.C.’s Columbia Heights neighborhood, Meridian Pint is planning to open its new location in the Dominion Hills shopping plaza tomorrow. For owner John...

One month after it served its last beer in D.C.’s Columbia Heights neighborhood, Meridian Pint is planning to open its new location in the Dominion Hills shopping plaza tomorrow.

For owner John Andrade, the move brings his new bar — at 6035 Wilson Blvd — a little closer to home. Andrade is from the neighborhood and many of the wait staff are hired from the nearby neighborhoods.

“I live a quarter-mile away and my daughter goes to Ashlawn,” Andrade said. “I know the neighborhood, and I’ve gotten to understand the void for folks here for craft beer.”

Andrade said oversaturation and competition with a new wave of breweries having their own bars forced Meridian Pint out of D.C., but added that the move is also an opportunity to rebuild the small community bar scene.

“There is a focus on D.C. or even Clarendon or Ballston for beers, but the neighborhoods are neglected,” Andrade said.

A sign at the front says the restaurant will be called Dominion Pint, but Andrade said there was a legal challenge to the name so the bar is sticking with Meridian Pint. The restaurant has been holding a series of soft openings for neighbors and other invitees this week, but the official public opening is Thursday.

It will be the sixth restaurant Andrade has opened, including those no longer operating. Andrade also runs three other D.C. restaurants: Brookland PintRosario’s Tacos & Tequila in Adams Morgan, and Smoke & Barrel in Adams Morgan.

Andrade said the focus of Meridian Pint will be on American grilled food and craft beer — both local and national brands. In addition to beers, Andrade said he’s focusing on the restaurant’s homemade ice cream.

Jace Gonnerman, the beer program director for Meridian Pint, said his goal is to maintain a careful balance of obscure and approachable beers.

In addition to the obscure and higher-end craft beers, Gonnerman said he’s happy to have two more affordable brews for the opening: Narragansett Lager and Genesee Cream Ale.

“We want to have a beer for everyone,” Gonnerman said. “We want something for the community, but also the latest and greatest for aficionados.”

 County Board Votes to Move Rosslyn Boathouse Project Forward Wed, 22 May 2019 14:00:55 +0000
The Arlington County Board voted last night to advance long-awaited plans for a new public boathouse in Rosslyn. Members unanimously voted to allow County Manager Mark Schwartz to sign an...

The Arlington County Board voted last night to advance long-awaited plans for a new public boathouse in Rosslyn.

Members unanimously voted to allow County Manager Mark Schwartz to sign an agreement with the National Park Service, which will allow the federal agency to end its environmental assessment of the project and kick off the design phase.

Board Chair Christian Dorsey said the vote “sets the stage” for the next steps in the process, which will be “subject to further testing and analysis.”

The current design plans call for a 14,000-square-foot boathouse and a 300-foot-long dock along with lockers and bathrooms in another building with parking and road access.

Prior to the vote, several residents expressed concerns that building on the proposed site at 1101 Lee Highway would lead to trees being cut down, among other environmental impacts that NPS also initially feared. Three residents asked why Gravelly Point could not be considered as an alternative location, but officials did not directly respond to the question.

Board member Erik Gutshall said the future design process will wrestle with many of those details, so there was no reason not to move forward with the “broad brush” of the project Tuesday night.

Some residents also expressed concern that the boathouse could “turn Key Bridge into a traffic nightmare during rush hour,” as independent County Board candidate Audrey Clement put it.

Environmental & Energy Conservation Commission member Claire O’Dea said the commission did not have an official recommendation to offer, but that “because of the likelihood of significant environmental impact” the group urged the County Board to involve all stakeholders throughout the development process.

Erik Meyers, Arlington resident and president of the Arlington Boathouse Foundation, said the foundation has brainstormed ways to build the boathouse “to sit as lightly as possible on the land and with respect to the river.” He added that signing the agreement would help “a community that has been long separated from its historic shoreline.”

Another resident said she’s travelled to the Georgetown boathouse for the last 12 years to row and would welcome a facility on the Virginia side of the Potomac.

“It would be fantastic to have facilities in Rosslyn,” she said. “It gives Arlington County residents and high school rowing programs closer and safer access to the river.”

The county has been in talks to build the boathouse for over 20 years. NPS’ environmental assessment began in 2012 but stalled soon after before being revived in 2016.

Images via Arlington County

 Beyer Calls for Trump’s Impeachment Wed, 22 May 2019 13:00:45 +0000
Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) has become the first member of Virginia’s Congressional delegation to call for the impeachment of President Donald Trump. Beyer made the announcement Tuesday. It is the first...

Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) has become the first member of Virginia’s Congressional delegation to call for the impeachment of President Donald Trump.

Beyer made the announcement Tuesday. It is the first time he has publicly called for an impeachment inquiry.

The congressman issued the following statement Tuesday evening.

The time has come for the House of Representatives to open an impeachment inquiry into the conduct of President Trump.

Endorsing such a course is not easy, and I do not do so lightly, but I believe that the President has left Congress no other option but to pursue it. When I came to Congress I swore an oath “to defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.”

President Trump has shown utter contempt for the Constitution from the moment he took office, but we are now faced with evidence of actions that strongly resemble high crimes and misdemeanors. The behavior repeatedly identified in the redacted Mueller Report meets every standard for the classification of ‘obstruction of justice’ of which I am aware. He has compounded that fact by engaging in escalating, illegal stonewalling of Congress as my colleagues and I have attempted to engage in oversight, a primary responsibility of the legislative branch under the Constitution.

We are aware of other potential crimes committed by this President, including tax fraud and violations of campaign finance laws, both alleged under oath by his former attorney. Congress must investigate these allegations to determine their veracity, but the President’s illegal cover-up, most recently evidenced by his preventing the Secretary of the Treasury and the former White House Counsel from honoring Congressional subpoenas, leaves us little recourse to do so.

From the first time I was asked about impeachment I have always said that I believed that such a serious action must be fully justified by the facts, must be done with great care, and it must have bipartisan support. I believe the facts fully justify an impeachment inquiry, and I have every confidence in the ability of Chairman Nadler, the House Judiciary Committee, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s ability to pursue one if they decide it is the proper course. Congressman Amash’s brave public statement makes support for an impeachment inquiry bipartisan, and I have privately spoken to other Republicans who believe he is right but are unwilling to say so publicly.

The most important consideration for me in evaluating whether this course of action is correct has been the views of my constituents. Their belief in the need to launch an impeachment inquiry — as expressed to me in calls, letters, and conversations — has grown to a crescendo in recent weeks. I believe that my constituents are right, and I support the initiation of an impeachment inquiry to examine evidence of criminal acts committed by President Trump.