“Another bout of sleet and freezing rain is expected after 7 p.m., and the Virginia Department of Transportation urges motorists to be alert to changing road conditions in northern Virginia tonight,” VDOT said in a statement. “With rain, sleet, and freezing temperatures also forecasted for 4 a.m. tomorrow, drivers are asked to monitor forecasts carefully and postpone or limit travel during the morning rush.”
To help keep roadways clear, the agency has 1,600 trucks staging along Northern Virginia roadways.
By 3 p.m. today, about 1,600 trucks will begin staging along interstates and major roads throughout Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William counties for quick response.
Crews pre-treated trouble spots today on interstates 66, 95, 395, and 495—including bridges and ramps prone to freezing such as the Springfield interchange, I-66 at Route 29 and the Capital Beltway interchange at Route 1—with liquid magnesium chloride. Problem spots on other major roads, such as the Fairfax County Parkway and routes 1, 7, 28, 29, 50 and 123, were pre-treated with salt brine.
Although forecasters say tonight’s freezing rain should be light, they also caution that some slick spots could develop, particularly in the early morning hours. A separate threat of wintry weather on Tuesday night/Wednesday morning is expected to produce mostly rain in Arlington and the District, according to the Capital Weather Gang.
For several weeks, the newbies are subjected to a barrage of visits from police officers, who themselves are responding to complaints from local businesses. Most of the complaints are made when the trucks are in Rosslyn or Crystal City. In almost every case, an officer responds, checks the truck’s license and leaves after verifying the truck is licensed and not illegally parked.
We started paying attention to this trend in October, when the BBQ Bandidos truck was the target of police visits (see photo, left). In December, we felt compelled to write about the Bada Bing truck’s travails as it was inspected at least eight times.
Now, the Big Cheese truck is becoming a frequent destination for license-checking officers.
On Friday, while the truck was parked on North Lynn Street in Rosslyn, police were called to check its license.
“Showed him my permit and he was on his way. I love Arlington,” truck owner Patrick Rathbone tweeted at the time. Today, while the truck was serving customers in Crystal City, another call for police.
“The police checked my permits then moved but the yellow jacket [Crystal City Shops] security guys are lurking,” Rathbone wrote.
According to Arlington Police spokeswoman Det. Crystal Nosal, police must respond whenever they receive a complaint.
“Dispatchers are required to send officers out,” Nosal said. “We cannot pick and choose what calls we go to.”
Nosal also noted that the detective in charge of issuing vending licenses will often respond to specific complaints and will make random checks of food trucks he does not recognize.
As expected, the renewal of a hotel tax surcharge that is responsible for generating Arlington’s nearly $1 million per year tourism promotion budget was all-but-killed in a House subcommittee this morning. The bill, introduced by Arlington’s Del. Bob Brink (D), was passed by indefinitely — meaning the House version dead unless a member who voted against it changes his or her mind.
An identical bill introduced by Sen. Mary Margaret Whipple passed the Senate last week, however, meaning that the tax renewal will get another shot in House committee. It’s yet to be seen whether the outcome will be any different.
Other bills by Arlington lawmakers have met with mixed results.
Two bills introduced by Del. Brink have managed to pass the Republican-controlled House, however. The bills “address the irregularities discovered during the signature gathering process” for last year’s failed effort to change Arlington’s form of government.
One bill, HB 1646, calls for the name and address of a petition signature gatherer to be present on both sides of the petition form. The other bill, HB 1670, says that “a notary shall not perform any notarial act… that presents a conflict between his personal interest and his official duty.”
One bill passed unanimously, the other passed with only one ‘no’ vote. They will now be taken up by the Democratic-controlled state Senate.
Another Fairfax County Republican is taking a legislative swipe at Arlington.
Del. Dave Albo has introduced a bill, HB 1421, that would prevent Virginia localities from restricting “the enforcement of federal immigration laws to less than the full extent permitted by federal law.” Any locality that does not comply with the order would risk losing state funding.
Ablo admitted that the bill is “directly targeted at Arlington,” according to a quote attributed to Arlington Del. Patrick Hope (D) by the Blue Virginia blog. Last year Arlington attempted, unsuccessfully, to opt-out of the federal Secure Communities immigration program.
Both bills have been approved in subcommittee and are now up for a vote by the full Courts of Justice Committee. Hope is a member of the committee and voted against the immigration bills in subcommittee last week.
“These proposals basically fall into two categories: bills that will add an undue burden and unfunded mandate on business and law enforcement, and the rest are just a meaningless restatement of federal immigration law,” Hope said in a statement this morning. “But what they all have in common is they are message bills. And that message is very simple: if you are an illegal immigrant, we don’t want you in Virginia.”
“The politics of blame is on full display this week in Virginia’s Capitol. Immigrants are to blame for Virginia’s poor economy, high unemployment, overcrowding in schools, and every other problem facing our Commonwealth,” Hope added. “I’m surprised they didn’t blame immigrants for last week’s snowfall. It’s a ridiculous blame game and is just plain wrong.”
Update at 4:05 p.m. – In a brief phone interview this afternoon, Albo refused to say that his bill is “targeting” Arlington, but he did say that Arlington’s effort to opt out of the Secure Communities program motivated him to introduce HB 1421.
Albo added that his goal is to expel every illegal alien from the state.
“In a perfect world, I would like to be able to kick out every single person who’s an illegal alien in Virginia,” Albo said, adding that doing so is difficult because “you can’t do it in a way that affects citizens and legal immigrants.”
Brgr:Shack serves 100% natural grass fed beef burgers in a light-filled, modernist setting across from the Ballston Metro at 4215 Fairfax Drive.
In addition to nine types of burgers, the restaurant serves fresh cut french fries, sweet potato fries, two types of salads, seven types of beer, shakes, ice cream and — coming soon — cupcakes.
(For those keeping score, burgers, salads, beer and cupcakes make up four of the six Arlington food groups. Only froyo and pizza are missing.)
Come spring, the restaurant is expected to start opening the garage door shown in the photos.
The 76-minute power outage forced restaurants like Fireworks in Courthouse to close for the night, while it drove business to other establishments where the lights stayed on, like Adams Corner and Spider Kelly’s.
Dominion spokesperson Le-Ha Anderson said 9,500 customers were affected by the outage, which occurred when a piece of equipment failed at the company’s substation at 3245 Wilson Boulevard.
One Twitter user reported: “I was at Northside [Social] when the transformer blew right behind the building. Big flash + bang, lots of smoke in the street.”
“Crews swiftly replaced it and we had all customers restored quickly,” Anderson said.
Arlington Preschool Makes Headlines — Claremont Elementary’s Montessori preschool program is receiving lots of attention for its decision to suspend a three-year-old who has “difficulty making it to the toilet on time.” The Wall Street Journal opines: “Potty training poses a tough challenge for dual working-parents.” [Washington Post]
Virginia Primary Will Be Held in August — Virginia’s primary date has been pushed back to Aug. 23 to allow more time for the state to complete its contentious redistricting process. Normally, primaries are held on the second Tuesday in June. [Washington Post]
Cuccinelli Suing Bank on Behalf of Arlington Retirement Fund — Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli is suing the Bank of New York Mellon Corp., accusing the financial giant of ripping off several state retirement systems, including the Arlington County Employees’ Retirement System Fund. The complaint alleges that BNY Mellon overcharged for foreign exchange transactions. [Wall Street Journal]
Draft Beer at the Clarendon Whole Foods — You can now get 32- or 64-ounce growlers filled up with draft beer at the Clarendon Whole Foods. Recently, the selection included Avery Brown Ale, Lagunitas IPA and Eggenberg Pils. Sorry, Whole Foods diners, “sales are for takeout only.” [Patch]
Transportation Group Calls Out Arlington – The pro-HOT lanes Northern Virginia Transportation Alliance is taking a dig at the county in response to our article about the anti-Arlington budget amendments proposed by Fairfax Republican Del. Tim Hugo. Says the NVTA: “It is unfortunate that the Arlington Board’s actions could cause Arlington citizens and businesses to lose state revenue and potentially pay even higher taxes. However… Bad Decisions Can Have Bad Consequences.” [NVTA]
A new restaurant called “Wilson Tavern” is coming to 2403 Wilson Boulevard in Courthouse, according to a state liquor license application filed earlier this week.
That’s news to Danny McFadden, owner of Kitty O’Shea’s, which is the current occupant of 2403 Wilson Boulevard.
“That’s the first I’ve heard of it,” a befuddled McFadden said when reached by phone this afternoon. McFadden said his lease is up in 2015 and he has no plans to leave. The pub was named D.C.’s Best Irish Bar last year by the Washington City Paper.
The application for Wilson Tavern was filed by a company called 2403 Wilson Blvd LLC. According to the Virginia State Corporation Commission, the registered agent for the company is Raymond Schupp, the building’s landlord. Schupp’s development company lists the building in its list of commercial properties.
So far, Schupp has not responded to requests for comment. McFadden says he’s worried that Kitty O’Shea’s may be getting the boot.
“I’ve gone through crap [with the landlord] for three years,” he said. “He’s got a track record of rolling over small guys.”
“I’ve got to call my attorney,” McFadden said, before ending the brief conversation.
“I just came home to find the crows are pecking at what looks like a decapitated deer head in my backyard,” the woman said in an email to the Waycroft-Woodlawn email listserv. “I don’t know what I am supposed to do… I REALLY don’t want to pick it up… it may have some disease. I have never seen a deer in our neighbourhood before. And where is the rest of the poor thing?”
The woman ended up reporting it to animal control officers with the Animal Welfare League of Arlington. An officer quickly arrived and indeed found part of a deer’s head lying in the grass.
“It was in a pretty rank state of decomposition,” said AWLA Executive Director Neil Trent, adding that “there’s no evidence of how it got there, or of any foul play.”
Trent said animal carcasses are discovered “fairly regularly” in the county, but they’re usually found on the sides of roads, not in people’s backyards.
The woman’s house is located between I-66 and Washington Boulevard, just a couple of blocks away from Ballston. Trent said one possible explanation would be that the deer was hit and killed on the highway, and part of its remains were carried off by a scavenger, which dropped it in the yard.
We’re not sure when it closed — no one is answering the phone, unsurprisingly — but the store’s signs have already been taken down. A number of people could be seen inside the store today, apparently cleaning out the remaining video inventory.
The store was one of Blockbuster’s larger locations, and was noted for having a sizable video selection.
Blockbuster Inc. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in September. It expects to close many of its 3,000 stores and focus more heavily on its rental-by-mail and digital businesses, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Hope says that his bill has the support of medical organizations, the ACLU, Planned Parenthood and the National Religious Campaign Against Torture, among others. Ten other states have passed similar legislation.
“Shackling pregnant women is dangerous and inhumane. Excessively restraining prisoners and detainees during pregnancy increases their chances of accidentally tripping or falling, and harming their pregnancies,” Hope said in a statement. “During labor and postpartum recovery, shackling can interfere with appropriate medical care and can be detrimental to the health of the woman and her newborn child.”
The bill, HB 1488, is set to be considered by a House of Delegates subcommittee today.
See the press release from Hope’s office after the jump.
A woman, believed to be homeless, was found dead in front of Ballston Common Mall this morning, Arlington Police spokeswoman Det. Crystal Nosal confirms.
The deceased woman was found on the stairs outside Macy’s, in the alleyway between the mall and a Chipotle restaurant. Police are on the scene investigating.
Update at 4:40 p.m. — Police have released the following statement about the incident.
ARLINGTON, VA. – The Arlington County Police Department’s Homicide/Robbery Unit is investigating the death of a woman discovered this morning.
At approximately 9:49 a.m., police and medic units were called to the 4300 block of Wilson Boulevard for an unresponsive person. Upon arrival, it was apparent that the person was deceased. The victim is an adult female, who was possibly homeless. The investigation is on going, and more details will be released when available.
Anyone who has information about this incident is asked to call the Arlington County Police Department Tip Line at 703 228-4242, or Detective Alan Lowrey at (703) 228-4199.
Want to learn how to help your neighbors, co-workers or family in an emergency? If so, Arlington will be offering free emergency response training in March.
The training is part of the county’s Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program.
Recent news and weather headlines illustrate the importance of being prepared for and able to respond to all kinds of emergencies. That’s what Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training is all about. This eight-session course, sponsored by the Arlington County Citizen Corps Council, Office of Emergency Management (OEM) and Fire Department (ACFD), covers disaster preparedness, disaster medical operations, light search and rescue, team organization, disaster psychology, fire suppression and terrorism. It follows a FEMA/DHS curriculum being used around the globe.
To-date, over 480 individuals have completed CERT training in Arlington County. It is open to Arlington residents – and those who work in the County but reside elsewhere — who are at least 18 years of age (16 if accompanied by at least one parent) and able to participate in all aspects of the training, some of which requires lifting and carrying. The training is free, but participants are expected to acquire certain supplies themselves, many of which you probably already have on-hand. All classes meet at the Arlington County Fire Department (ACFD) Training Academy in Shirlington and are taught by ACFD and OEM staff and CERT members. Neighboring jurisdictions also offer CERT training for their residents.
Some complete this training simply to be safer in their own homes and workplaces. Others choose to complete additional requirements necessary to become active members of neighborhood teams trained to assist in major disasters. All help make Arlington County a safer place to live, work and play!
Spring CERT classes are scheduled to begin on March 16 and 22 and there are seats available in both that will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Advance registration is required. If you’d like additional information or would like to sign up, please contact the program’s volunteer coordinator, Cynthia Kellams, at ArlingtonCERT@aol.com.
(Updated at 9:25 a.m.) The northbound lanes of Sycamore Street are closed near I-66 and the East Falls Church Metro due to a vehicle collision, authorities said this morning.
Four people were injured in the three-vehicle collision.
It was the second crash at the intersection in nearly two weeks. See a photo of the earlier accident here.
Power Outage Update — There are more than 2,100 Dominion customers still without power in Arlington. That’s down from 16,700 at the height of the storm. Dominion is receiving some favorable comparisons to Pepco from the Washington Post. The Post notes that Dominion called in out of town power crews early, while Pepco did not.
Arlington Delegates Have Bills Killed in House — Bills that would increase Virginia’s cigarette tax, lower the mandatory retirement age for judges and impose a 5-cent tax on plastic bags have all been killed in the House of Delegates, after being proposed by Arlington-based lawmakers. [Sun Gazette]
Library to Get Solar Panels — Thanks to a $300,000 federal grant, the Arlington Central Library will be getting 60-kilowatts worth of solar panels installed on its roof by this summer. [TBD]
Counting of Pedestrians Continues — Arlington is counting pedestrians and cyclists on local trails using an automated, database-driven system. Check out the sneak peak of some of the data that’s being recorded. [Commuter Page Blog]
Photo courtesy Lindsay W.