Murray, facing a steep uphill battle in his fight to unseat incumbent Democratic congressman Jim Moran, will be joined by part-time Crystal City resident and one-time Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain at a private fundraiser in Alexandria next week.
Tickets for the fundraiser, which will be held Monday night, range from $250 to $2,400. Republican operative Charlie Black and former Ross Perot presidential campaign spokesperson Orson Swindle are among the bold-faced names on the guestlist.
Sen. McCain isn’t the only family member helping Murray. His younger brother, Joe McCain, was an early supporter of the campaign. At Murray’s primary victory party, AlexandriaNews.org quoted the younger McCain as shouting: “I’m so tired of losing! We’re going to win this one, I know it!”
On Saturday, the Nationals held a special ‘Heroes Day’ in remembrance of 9/11. The DC Fire Department was a major participant – DCFD firefighters were on hand, players wore specially-made DCFD hats with the Nationals logo in the center, and Nats general manager Mike Rizzo and catcher “Pudge” Rodriguez were recognized as Honorary DCFD Fire Chiefs.
But the Arlington County Fire Department — the first to arrive at the Pentagon on 9/11 — was not invited.
Fire Chief Jim Schwartz, who led the incident command at the Pentagon for 10 days after the attacks, says the department did not receive an invitation from the Nationals to participate in the ceremony. Nor, to his knowledge, did any of the numerous Maryland and Virginia fire departments that assisted Arlington on 9/11. Instead, Schwartz says he only received a flyer advertising discounted tickets for firefighters, after it was forwarded by a colleague at DC Fire.
“I’m definitely disappointed that there wasn’t more of an outreach on the part of the Nationals organization,” Schwartz said. “I assume they have a communication operation over there that ought to know the lay of the land, and I would put this on them for not reaching out and making some sort of formal invitation.”
He said that despite all the other events ACFD was involved with on Saturday, the department would not have had trouble finding firefighters interested in participating in the Nats’ ceremony.
Schwartz recalled a ceremony at a Redskins game two months after 9/11, which made a point of featuring numerous local fire departments.
“I know that we have taken great pains to acknowledge the assistance of all of those other fire departments,” Schwartz said, while noting that he did not fault the DC Fire Department for taking part in the ceremony by themselves.
“It’s not their job to do the outreach to other departments,” he said.
The Nationals have not returned a call seeking comment.
For most of the summer, the Westover Market’s beer garden served as a neighborhood meeting place where friends and neighbors could gather to drink a few beers, eat some food, and listen to a local musician play a few tunes. But now the music has stopped, and the big outdoor patio is limited (in terms of legal occupancy) to a measly nine customers.
The changes were mandated by the county’s zoning enforcement office, which acted upon noise complaints from two neighbors.
In terms of the music, Westover Market had neglected to apply for a live music permit before it started hosting performances. Such a permit requires county board approval. Market manager Devin Hicks says they have since applied for the permit, forking over most of the $1,200+ application fee in the process. The earliest the board could act on the application is November, at which point outdoor concerts are out of the question for all but the hardiest music fans.
In terms of the beer garden’s occupancy, it all comes down to the bathrooms. The market was built more than 50 years ago, and wasn’t configured with sit-down food service in mind. To get to the bathrooms, one must walk inside the store and through the back storage area. Rather unchivalrously, the ladies room is at the bottom of a dark, steep staircase. The gents room is further back on the ground floor, in the storage area. County regulations generally don’t allow such a setup, but the market had been granted waivers for an outdoor cafe for nine people. The 24-36 beer garden customers the market wants to host doesn’t fly with code enforcers, especially in light of the decidedly handicap-unfriendly ladies room.
Hicks says he’s been working with neighbors to find the right decibel level for the music. He says one older man who lives three blocks away has been the lone voice of protest against the concerts, which run from 6:00 to 10:00 p.m. In at least one instance, Hicks says, officers showed up at the beer garden after the man called police.
Hicks said he would like to have bathrooms that were compliant with regulations, but is hoping to be granted another waiver based on the age of the building. He has collected hundreds and petition signatures and hired Arlington zoning attorney Barnes Lawson (of recent dog mural fame) in his effort to get the county to relent.
The exit ramp is currently closed while medics attend to the occupants and as a tow truck attempts to clear the wreckage.
Traffic on I-395 does not appear to be affected.
The art/nightclub mash-up known as ArtJamz will be coming to Crystal City later this year.
The event will take place from Dec. 2-5, in the lobby of the building on 23rd Street that housed the G-40 street art ‘summit’ earlier this year. It will feature the same mixture of music, drinks and art creation that has drawn crowds at ArtJamz events in DC. However, the Crystal City event will be double the scale of previous ArtJamz — with 50 easels available for painting simultaneously.
Would-be artists — who reserve an easel ahead of time — are supplied with a canvas and paint, and then have four hours to create a piece of original art that they can take home.
The event, created by local artist Michael Clements, will also feature a specially-designated day for kids to create their own art.
In related news, the dates and location for the returning Crystal Couture fashion festival were revealed today. Crystal Couture will take place from Feb. 1-5 in the space used by the Crystal City Shops food court.
Half of Arlington’s ten Metro stations are experiencing elevator problems this morning.
Elevators are out in the Rosslyn, Courthouse, Ballston, Pentagon, and Crystal City stations.
One person became trapped in the Courthouse elevator this morning after it experienced some sort of mechanical problem. Paramedics were dispatched to the scene after it was reported that the individual inside was having trouble breathing, but he or she refused treatment upon being freed from the elevator.
Obama Marks 9/11 Anniversary at the Pentagon — On the ninth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, President Obama visited the Pentagon and called for tolerance and strength in the face of terrorism. More from Fox 5 and a transcript of the president’s speech from CBS News.
Arlington’s Fire Chief Remembers 9/11 — WTOP talked to Arlington Fire Chief Jim Schwartz, who was incident commander at the Pentagon on that fateful September day. “Every time I look at it, it still looks the same to me as it did that morning. I can still see the visions of the gash in the building, the column of smoke, the casualties laying out on the West Lawn,” Schwartz said.
More Teacher Diversity at APS – Arlington is trying to hire teachers who better reflect the student body’s racial make-up. Still, the 190 teachers hired for this year are 73 percent while, when the student body is only 48 percent white. More from the Sun Gazette.