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ARLnow.com – Arlington, Va. Local News    
News, Views, Weather, Traffic and Events in Arlington, Virginia
Last updated: Tue, 22 May 2018 10:52:09 GMT

 Morning Notes Tue, 22 May 2018 15:05:40 +0000
DES Wants to Reunite Stuffed Bunny With Owner — The Arlington Dept. of Environmental Services is searching for the owner of a stuffed animal believed to have been accidentally thrown...

DES Wants to Reunite Stuffed Bunny With Owner — The Arlington Dept. of Environmental Services is searching for the owner of a stuffed animal believed to have been accidentally thrown away during Taste of Arlington on Sunday. “Let us know if someone is missing a good friend,” DES tweeted. [Twitter]

APS to Keep German, Japanese Classes — “Superintendent Patrick Murphy on May 17 confirmed the decision to keep German I, II and III and Japanese I, II and III, which had been slated for elimination due to low enrollment. The turnaround came after students and parents complained.” [InsideNova]

Flanagan-Watson Get Promotion — “Arlington County Manager Mark Schwartz has appointed Shannon Flanagan-Watson as deputy county manager, effective May 21, with oversight responsibility for Arlington Economic Development, Arlington Public Libraries, and a portion of the Department of Environmental Services, one of the County’s largest departments.” Flanagan-Watson has served as the county’s business ombudsman, working to help solve regulatory problems for Arlington businesses. [Arlington County]

Risk Warrant Bill Fails — A bill introduced by Del. Rip Sullivan (D-48) to create risk warrants — allowing law enforcement to confiscate the guns of troubled individuals if a court order is granted — failed in the Virginia legislature this session. [WVTF]

Patriots Win District Baseball Title — The Yorktown Patriots baseball team won the Liberty District high school tournament and title for the first time since 2012. [InsideNova]

Get Ready for Memorial Bridge Work — Major work to rehabilitate the aging Memorial Bridge is set to begin in September and will cause significant traffic impacts. The work “will require long-term lane closures and short-term detours, which will be disruptive to traffic and likely send vehicles to other Potomac River spans, tying those up more than usual, per the NPS. One of the sidewalks will also be closed ‘during much of the construction period.'” [Washington Business Journal]

Budget Limits May Limit New HS Amenities — “Those who descended on Saturday’s County Board meeting hoping to win support for more rather than fewer amenities in a potential fourth Arlington high school came away with no promises from board members. If anything, those elected officials who addressed the subject did so in an effort to – delicately – tamp down expectations.” [InsideNova]

Updating…

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

 ‘Numerous’ Tires Slashed and Cars Keyed in Rosslyn Area Tue, 22 May 2018 14:30:52 +0000
Arlington County Police are investigating a series of vehicle vandalisms in the Rosslyn area. The tire slashing and door keying spree took place between Thursday night and early Friday morning...

Arlington County Police are investigating a series of vehicle vandalisms in the Rosslyn area.

The tire slashing and door keying spree took place between Thursday night and early Friday morning last week.

More from an ACPD crime report:

DESTRUCTION OF PROPERTY (VEHICLE) (series), 2018-05180055/05180064/05180086, 1500 block of N. Colonial Terrace/ 1500 block of N. Colonial Court/ 1400 block of Clarendon Boulevard. At approximately 7:55 a.m. on May 19, police were dispatched to the report of a destruction of property to several vehicles. Upon arrival, it was determined that between approximately 5:45 p.m. on May 17 and approximately 5:03 a.m. on May 18, numerous parked vehicles in the area had their tires slashed and some of the vehicles were keyed. There is no suspect description. The investigation is ongoing.

Photo via Google Maps

 Tim Kaine Foresees Arlington’s Workforce Helping to Win HQ2 Tue, 22 May 2018 13:15:54 +0000
Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) negotiated his fair share of economic development deals back in his days as Virginia’s governor, and he thinks Arlington has an awfully strong chance to land...

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) negotiated his fair share of economic development deals back in his days as Virginia’s governor, and he thinks Arlington has an awfully strong chance to land Amazon’s vaunted second headquarters.

The county has already emerged as a prime contender for “HQ2” and the 50,000 jobs that could come with it, with two possible sites for the massive new development pitched by state officials to the tech company: one split between Crystal City and Alexandria’s Potomac Yard, and another in the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor.

County officials have been wrestling with the question of what Amazon’s arrival would mean for Arlington’s schools and transportation systems. But, in an interview Monday at a campaign stop at Crystal City coworking space Eastern Foundry, Kaine says he sees winning the HQ2 project as a potentially “transformative” one for the county.

Arlington is vying with other Northern Virginia localities (and D.C. itself) to lure the online retail giant to the area, but Kaine believes the county’s highly educated workforce could very well prove to be the deciding factor for Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.

“We tend to win competitions like this if the company is really looking at it as a long term thing,” Kaine told ARLnow. “If they’re looking at it as a short term deal, they may go with a better incentive package. If they’re looking at it as a long term thing, it’s about, ‘okay, where is the workforce going to be better?’ I would think this would be a long-term investment.”

Kaine admitted that Virginia and its localities might not be able to offer the same number of incentives as other places vying for HQ2 — for instance, Maryland lawmakers recently approved $8.5 billion in incentives for the company. But the senator believes Virginia economic development officials will be able to point to investments the state’s already made in its education system as an alternative to offering tax breaks or cash incentives.

“We’ve decided to try to spend resources on a really good higher ed system, really good K-12 schools,” Kaine said. “Other states put a lot of incentive money down, but they don’t have the same base. We might get outbid, but we’d say, ‘Oh, by the way, this is a long term decision. Look at our higher ed institutions, look at our schools.'”

For instance, Kaine noted that state lawmakers recently agreed to send roughly $25 million to Virginia Tech to manage a new cybersecurity training initiative in Northern Virginia.

“We didn’t put the money on the table to say, ‘This is for you Amazon,'” Kaine said. “But we’ll do some big workforce training thing in technology areas that would be good for somebody who might want to work for Amazon, but also good for somebody else.”

Kaine admits that the area’s lack of engineering or MBA programs that rank in the top five nationally could hurt Arlington’s chances, not to mention the area’s transportation challenges.

“If we were to get an infrastructure bill [in Congress], maybe we could start doing more and that would be helpful,” Kaine said. “We have a lot of strengths, but I’m sure the transportation gridlock and all the rest is something they’re going to be looking at too.”

Even those who support Arlington’s bid for HQ2 worry that Amazon bringing in tens of thousands of new residents could strain the area’s already clogged roads, not to mention the troubled Metro system. But should his predictions prove true, Kaine expects that county officials will find HQ2 to be well worth the trouble.

“I don’t know, if I was an Arlington [County Board member], how I’d view that tradeoff,” Kaine said. “But I just think big, innovative things that have the capacity to move us ahead, I’d rather have Virginia get them more than anything else.”

 Del Ray Place More Than 50% Sold Following Successful Condo Opening Mon, 21 May 2018 21:45:43 +0000
New, modern condos in Del Ray? It’s a rare opportunity. And it’s one that has home shoppers flocking to Del Ray Place, a new building rising up at 1800 Mount...

New, modern condos in Del Ray?

It’s a rare opportunity. And it’s one that has home shoppers flocking to Del Ray Place, a new building rising up at 1800 Mount Vernon Avenue in one of Alexandria’s most sought-after neighborhoods.

Just weeks after the Grand Opening of Del Ray Place, developer Brookfield Residential has announced that more than 50% of the residences have already sold.

Demand became clear during the Grand Opening event held recently at nearby Junction Bakery & Bistro. Hundreds of interested home shoppers formed a line outside the restaurant hoping to have first pick of residences.

Home shoppers acted quickly to claim select 2-bedroom and 1-bedroom residences. A good selection of modern 1-bedroom residences remain, perfect for first-time buyers and empty-nesters.

“We’re so excited to see how many people have jumped on this opportunity,” said Brookfield Residential Vice President of Sales & Marketing Gregg Hughes. “We’re proud of Del Ray Place and, at this rate, these condos will sell out quickly.”

From the stylish, innovative residences to the neighborhood’s color, character and access, Del Ray Place is condominium living reimagined for a contemporary urban lifestyle.

Each of the 49 residences is designed with a spacious floor-plan, modern finishes and voice-enabled Smart Home automation. Private balconies with neighborhood views are available with select residences.

Set on Mount Vernon Avenue, the “Main Street” of Del Ray, the building gives residents access to Del Ray’s signature shops and restaurants. It’s less than a mile from Braddock Road Metro Station and just a 10-minute drive from Old Town and a 15-minute drive from Washington, D.C.

Those interested in learning more about Del Ray Place can visit DelRayVA.com. They can also call 571-388-3000 or visit the Sales Gallery, open daily at 2312 Mount Vernon Avenue, Suite 208 in Alexandria.

 Flier for a White Supremacist Group Spotted in Clarendon Mon, 21 May 2018 21:00:46 +0000
Shana Silver says she was walking along Washington Blvd in Clarendon today (Monday) when she made a disturbing discovery: a flier advertising an Alexandria-based white supremacist group. She snapped a...

Shana Silver says she was walking along Washington Blvd in Clarendon today (Monday) when she made a disturbing discovery: a flier advertising an Alexandria-based white supremacist group.

She snapped a photo of the slip of paper, distributed by the group Identity Evropa, before promptly taking it down. The flier shows several tattooed white men with the text “Our Generation, Our Future, Our Last Chance” overlaid over the image, and Silver says it was posted near the pedestrian crossing to reach Northside Social.

“I know what neo-Nazi, white supremacist propaganda is when I see it,” Silver told ARLnow. “As a Jewish woman, I can’t let that go.”

Silver, who works for a D.C. nonprofit focused on battling systemic racism in the region, suspects that the flier must have been new, as it had plainly not been soaked by the rain plaguing Arlington for the last week. She says she hasn’t spotted other, similar fliers around Arlington, but she plans to take down any others she might encounter.

“It’s not surprising, but it is very upsetting and disappointing,” Silver said. “It’s really quite sad. You see it happening all over the country and all over the world, this resurgence of white supremacists. They feel like they’ve been emboldened in this political climate.”

Sam Harrington, a spokesman for Identity Evropa, wrote in an email that the group is “a movement for European Americans seeking to preserve our identity and restore the American nation.”

“People of European heritage are being replaced as a result of mass immigration and globalization, and we shouldn’t be expected to find this desirable,” Harrington wrote.

The group argues on its website that it does not believe in white supremacy, but both the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League categorize the organization as a white supremacist group. The SPLC also notes that one of its founders helped plan the infamous “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville last summer, marked by the death of a protester, allegedly at the hands of a man with white supremacist beliefs.

Harrington would not say whether the group has any members in Arlington.

“We’re a nationwide organization, and our members participate in peaceful activism and flyering everywhere,” Harrington wrote.

Photo via @SASilverLining

 Arlington Agenda: May 21-27 Mon, 21 May 2018 19:45:58 +0000
Arlington Agenda is a listing of interesting events for the week ahead in Arlington County. If you’d like to see your event featured, fill out the event submission form. Also,...

Arlington Agenda is a listing of interesting events for the week ahead in Arlington County. If you’d like to see your event featured, fill out the event submission form.

Also, be sure to check out our event calendar.

Wednesday, May 23

There’s No Place Like Home*
Lyon Park Community Center (414 N. Fillmore Street)
Time: 6-7:30 p.m.

This event, sponsored by the Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing, will bring together friends and neighbors who believe the size of a household’s paycheck shouldn’t prohibit families from having a safe and stable apartment. Tickets and more information available online at www.apah.org.

Graphic Design: Bad Branding
Connection Crystal City Library (2117 Crystal Plaza Arcade)
Time: 6:30-8:30 p.m.

Discover the common marketing mistakes most entrepreneurs make so you can visually create value for your audience. RSVP for an event reminder; attendance is first come, first served.

Thursday, May 24

Coming Home: Veterans & PTSD
John Lyon VFW Post 3150 (2116 19th Street N.)
Time: 5:30-7:30 p.m.

Dr. Harold Kudler, assistant deputy undersecretary of health for patient care services at the Department of Veterans Affairs will give a presentation, followed by a panel discussion.

Friday, May 25

Music Bingo Happy Hour
Mister Days Sports Rock Cafe (3100 Clarendon Blvd.)
Time: 4-9 p.m.

It’s Bingo with a twist as Mister Days tests your music knowledge. You have to figure out the song in 30 seconds and then match it to your bingo card. Get 5 in a row in any direction to win the game.

Saturday, May 26

Central Arlington History Tour
Clarendon Metro Station (3100 Wilson Blvd.)
Time: 9 a.m.-7 p.m.

Join an easy all-day walk of 10 to 12 miles touring historic points in central Arlington, including colonial, Civil War, trolley, and W&OD Railroad sites. Sponsored by the Center Hiking Club, and the cost is $2 for non-members.

Marymount Farmers Market
Marymount University (2807 N. Glebe Road)
Time: 9 a.m.-1 p.m.

The Marymount Farmers Market launches its third season. Free parking is available in the university’s Blue Garage off Yorktown Boulevard. Accessible Parking is available in the surface lot off Glebe Road.

Used Book Sale
Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington (4444 Arlington Blvd.)
Time: 11 a.m.-3 p.m.

Come for a wide selection of gently-used books. Fiction and non-fiction. The event will also run Sunday (May 27) from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

*Denotes featured (sponsored) event

 Boccato Gelato Planning to Leave Clarendon Location, Relocate Elsewhere Mon, 21 May 2018 18:45:14 +0000
After serving up frozen treats for the last decade along Wilson Blvd. in Clarendon, Boccato Gelato is now set to relocate. The gelato and espresso lounge posted a notice on...

After serving up frozen treats for the last decade along Wilson Blvd. in Clarendon, Boccato Gelato is now set to relocate.

The gelato and espresso lounge posted a notice on its front door and social media accounts Saturday (May 19) that it will soon be moving elsewhere, leaving 2719 Wilson Blvd. behind.

However, the restaurant’s managers wrote that “our future location is in the works.” They did not immediately respond to a request for comment on where they might be moving.

“While we were very lucky and blessed to have found this amazing spot in 2008, it has been quite a task and great challenge to keep up with the obligations of our lease,” Boccato’s staff wrote. “We would like to thank our landlord for giving us a chance to serve you in this wonderful location, and to all the employees of Arlington County for helping us get started and giving us the opportunity to introduce our business to the beloved town of Clarendon.”

The restaurant’s managers added that they have not yet decided on when their final day serving up scoops on Wilson Blvd. will be, and plan to post that information to their Facebook and Twitter accounts in due time.

The move will not affect the Cowork Cafe, however, which has operated out of Boccato for the last three years. The notice Boccato posted said that the Cowork Cafe has signed a new lease at the same space.

File photo

 Alfonso Lopez Says Anonymous Threats Convinced Him to Request Police Presence at Indivisible Meeting Mon, 21 May 2018 17:45:00 +0000
Del. Alfonso Lopez (D-49) says anonymous threats prompted him to request that police monitor a Indivisible Arlington town hall last weekend, and now he’s offering to meet with the pro-immigrant...

Del. Alfonso Lopez (D-49) says anonymous threats prompted him to request that police monitor a Indivisible Arlington town hall last weekend, and now he’s offering to meet with the pro-immigrant activists who confronted him at that gathering.

The question of who requested the involvement of Arlington County Police at the event, after some LaColectiVA activists asked some tough questions of Lopez on his ties to a contractor for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, has been on the minds of several meeting attendees and even other Democratic lawmakers in the days following the meeting.

The police who manage protection for state lawmakers — the Virginia Division of Capitol Police — told ARLnow last week that Lopez had indeed requested a police presence at the event, and Arlington County Police confirmed that they’d agreed to check in on the meeting, though they’re adamant that they were not actively monitoring it.

Now, in his first public comments since the May 12 meeting at Arlington Central Library, Lopez told ARLnow in a prepared statement that he’s been notifying the Capitol Police about any public event he’s attended since last December. He chalks that up to “unwanted anonymous threats,” echoing claims he made at the meeting that some members of LaColectiVA had crossed a line when protesting his consulting work for the ICE contractor.

“Since the Indivisible Legislators’ Forum was widely publicized on social media my office followed protocol and alerted Colonel Pike’s [the chief of the Capitol Police] office,” Lopez wrote. “I have subsequently learned that an Arlington police officer came to the event before it began. The officer was alerted that his presence was not necessary and he left. In the middle of the Indivisible meeting a second officer arrived. He stated that he was there because he had been contacted by library security because of the noise. He spoke to the crowd briefly. The officer was told this presence was not needed and he also left.”

The arrival of that second officer prompted consternation among the crowd of activists, and a new round of shouting after the meeting had initially quieted down after a tense beginning. Indivisible Arlington has even since apologized for the presence of law enforcement at the event, and LaColectiVA’s leaders wrote in a statement this weekend that the police presence at the event amounts to “the criminalization of people of color.”

Nelson Lopez, a LaColectiVA organizer who attended the meeting, has been adamant that his group has never threatened Lopez in any way, and the group reiterated in its Saturday (May 19) statement that the delegate’s claims are “outright lies.”

LaColectiVA’s activists have been particularly frustrated that they feel like Lopez has ignored their requests to engage with them on the issue — Lopez reported on disclosure forms that the Immigration Centers of America, which runs an ICE detention center in Central Virginia,  paid him $5,000 in 2014 and $10,000 in 2015 and 2016. He’s repeatedly stressed that he is barred from discussing that consulting work by a nondisclosure agreement.

However, in a letter to LaColectiVA’s leadership that Lopez provided to ARLnow, he points out that he’s met repeatedly with the group to discuss their concerns. He also offered to do so once again, “to discuss your concerns and ways that we can move forward on our areas of mutual interest.”

Yet Nelson Lopez noted that the delegate wants the meeting to be private and only with members of LaColectiVA’s leadership, which he feels would not satisfy the group’s efforts to encourage more public engagement on the issue.

“We have told him that the meeting needs to be public so that he can speak to the whole community, not just us,” he said.

 Legal Insider: Workers in the Gig Economy Start to Get Employment Rights Mon, 21 May 2018 16:45:56 +0000
A substantial portion of the workforce has flocked to new types of gig employment. These employees classification as contractors may be starting to change due to a recent decision from the Supreme Court of California.

This is a sponsored column by attorneys John Berry and Kimberly Berry of Berry & Berry, PLLC, an employment and labor law firm located in Northern Virginia that specializes in federal employee, security clearance, retirement and private sector employee matters.

By John V. Berry, Esq.

A substantial portion of the workforce has flocked to new types of employment, such as working for Uber, Lyft, GrubHub, TaskRabbit and others.

These employees have largely been classified by employers as contractors, instead of regular employees, to avoid paying their employment taxes and providing benefits. However, this may be starting to change with a recent decision from California.

“Gig” or “New economy” workers, such as drivers for popular driving services like Uber and Lyft, appear to be seeing a shift in their employment status under a new decision from the Supreme Court of California.

The case will make it significantly more difficult for companies in California to classify these drivers as independent contractors and avoid paying them wages and benefits as required by state law and may start a trend in other states, like Virginia.

Court Issues ABC Test

The California Supreme Court ruled in favor of workers for a document delivery service company, called Dynamex Operations West, who were seeking employment status.

The drivers for the delivery service brought their case to court several years ago, arguing that they were required to wear the company’s uniform and display its logo, while providing their own vehicles and incurring all the costs associated with the deliveries.

In the Dynamex case, the court instituted what it called the ABC test to determine whether workers should be considered employees or contractors using new and specific criteria.The new test presumes individuals are employees unless the company proves the following three criteria used to classify the individual as an independent contractor:

  • The worker is free from the control and direction of the hirer in connection with the performance of the work, both under the contract for the performance of such work and in fact;
  • The worker performs work that is outside the usual course of the hiring entity’s business; and
  • The worker is customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, or business of the same nature as the work performed for the hiring entity.

It is believed that this decision will have a significant impact on companies that use independent contractors, such as Uber/Lyft, Amazon, Instacart, GrubHub and TaskRabbit. Notably, the decision could require such employers to apply this “ABC test” to their drivers and couriers, representing a change in the regular tests that typically apply to these types of employers.

Some other state courts have also begun adopting this new ABC test to determine employee status in light of changes to the types of employment in the new economy.

Conclusion

When facing employment issues it is important to have the assistance and advice of counsel. If you need assistance with an employment issue, please contact our office at 703-668-0070 or at www.berrylegal.com to schedule a consultation. Please also visit and like us on our Facebook page.

 Veteran-Owned, Arlington-Based Startup Helps Military Families Find Homes Mon, 21 May 2018 15:45:08 +0000
Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow.com, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups and their founders, plus other local technology happenings. The Ground Floor, Monday’s office space for young companies...

Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow.com, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups and their founders, plus other local technology happenings. The Ground Floor, Monday’s office space for young companies in Rosslyn, is now open. The Metro-accessible space features a 5,000-square-foot common area that includes a kitchen, lounge area, collaborative meeting spaces, and a stage for formal presentations.

In the span of 20 years, Ken Robbins, one of the co-founders of Millie, moved 12 times with his wife during his career in the Army.

One time Robbins moved from Arlington to Germany and then back to Arlington in just a year and a half. From all that moving, Robbins wished the military provided more information about the places he was moving to, on subjects like commuting, schools and the cost of rentals.

“The military moves about half a million people every year and they don’t provide a lot in terms of resources,” Robbins said. “They provide the moving truck, but it’s up for the family to decide where they’re going to live, rent, buy.”

Robbins’ wife is also a real estate agent in Arlington and she and Robbins collectively realized there wasn’t a country-wide network of veteran and military spouse real estate agents. Thus began the creation of Millie, an online marketplace that informs military families about their new homes.

Currently, Millie has 400 pages of content about 35 housing markets, which covers about 75 percent of the active duty military population, Robbins said. To make money, the Arlington-based startup has two features — AgentHero and Scout.

AgentHero is a service where Millie connects veterans and their spouses to real estate agents near their relocations. Millie receives a referral fee if the real estate agent closes on a deal. Robbins added that Millie only refers real estate agents that are veterans or military spouses, that have been in the business for at least five years and are in the top 15 to 20 percent of their market. Millie is currently working with roughly 700 real estate agents across the country.

Scout is a service that allows families to request a military spouse to check out a home or rental and its neighborhood for a rate typically between $50 to $75. This service is particularly for families who can’t afford to scope out a new potential home themselves, Robbins added.

Of the estimated 60,000 page views to Millie’s website, only about 1,000 people have used the services, Robbins said.

“Not everybody that consumes our content necessarily uses one of our services, and we’re completely ok with that,” he said. “That was part of the reason we built it was we wanted to help educate military families and reduce the stress especially on the military spouse so we recognize not all of them will turn into customers.”

Within the next 60 days, Millie may add a third stream for revenue by creating a content subscription page for real estate agents looking to learn more about how to better serve veterans and military families. Robbins said most people don’t realize that veterans comprise nearly 20 percent of the home buying market in the country, and this new subscription page could be a good resource for realtors looking to better understand that market.

“Most real estate agents, or a lot of them, don’t know how to speak to speak to the military community, or maybe they don’t understand what they’re going through,” Robbins said.

All of Millie’s employees are military spouses and Robbins is proud that he has found a way to serve the military community while also running a for-profit enterprise.

“Too often in the military community everything is about volunteering and non-profits and there’s a certain role for that, that’s great,” he said. “But it’s also important for us that we empower military spouses and give them the ability to earn money for their family.”

Photos courtesy Millie