There are eight community gardens around Arlington, and each has a wait list. At the South Four Mile Run garden, however, one gardener is wondering why the county is allowing the high-demand plots to fall into a state of disrepair.
“I am a co-gardener of a garden plot in the Fort Barnard Community Gardens, [and] if my garden plot looked the way that many of the plots on South Four Mile Run do, my plot would be considered abandoned and the privileges to the plot would be revoked,” the man wrote in an email to a county official. He asked that his name not be used in this article.
“Nearly all of the plots are in violation of one or more of the County Community Garden Rules,” the gardener wrote. “I waited for 2 years to get a garden plot. To see residents [who] have garden plots neglect them and not use them to their full potential is frustrating.”
The man called the Four Mile Run garden an “eyesore” and said sent photos along to prove it. He said the photos show:
- “Many of the plots were never cut back and cleared for the winter. Vines and weeds have overtaken many of the plots and fences. In some cases the vines have grown beyond the boundaries of garden plots.”
- “Many of the gardeners have erected 6-8 ft wooden structures that are crudely constructed to grow vines on. Many of the structures have collapsed, are broken, or leaning.”
- “Trash such as empty buckets, jugs, milk crates, tarps, propped up carpets that are used for weed barriers, wheelbarrows, shoes, lumbar, broken chairs, bed frames, and PVC pipes are some of the items that litter the garden plots.”
- “The fences that create the boundaries for the community garden are in disrepair. Many of the rails are broken and laying on the ground. In one garden plot the fence has been pulled down because of the weight of the weedy vines growing on it.”
The county’s 200+ community garden plots are in high demand among apartment and condo dwellers who have a green thumb but no land to call their own. But Jamie Bartalon, the landscape and forestry supervisor for the county’s parks department, says that regulations only require the gardens to be cleaned up in time for the summer growing season.
According to a recording of air traffic control radio, the pilot of the 737 reported a left engine failure as a result of the bird strike. The plane landed safely at Dulles just before 8:00 a.m.
The bird strike caused a bit of a scare on the ground. D.C. Fire and EMS crews near the Potomac River were put on alert after reports came in of an aircraft in distress. The situation recalled the 2009 “Miracle on the Hudson” — when pilot Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger landed a US Airways jet on the Hudson River after both engines were disabled by a flock of birds.
Bird strikes are actually not uncommon at Reagan National.
Despite the use of systems designed to scare birds away from the runways and alert air traffic controllers to their presence, a total of 24 bird-related incidents were reported at Reagan National last year, according to an FAA database. Of those incidents, 21 were reported as birds striking an aircraft and 3 were birds simply found injured on or near runways. Five incidents involved large birds, which are more likely to cause damage to an aircraft fuselage or engine.
Among the incidents:
- On May 1, 2010, a US Airways 737 ingested a large vulture into its #1 engine on approach. No damage was reported and the plane landed safely.
- On July 28, a United Airlines Airbus 319 struck a large bird on takeoff. The flight continued on to Chicago, where bird remains were then cleaned off the plane’s nose. No damage was reported.
- On August 8, a regional jet struck a large osprey on takeoff. Minor damage to the landing gear door was reported, but the plane continued on to Albany, N.Y.
- On October 7, an injured bald eagle was found near a runway. Crews retrieved the bird and brought it to an animal hospital. No bird strike was reported.
County staff notified residents that they intended to restrict parking to one side Edgewood Street between 1st Road and 2nd Road after finding that some fire trucks are too wide to fit down the narrow street with cars parked on both sides. As we reported after the Feb. 12 board meeting, members of the board seemed sympathetic to the association’s request that the restrictions to be put on hold until the county and neighbors could come to a mutually agreeable solution.
In a letter to County Board Chairman Chris Zimmerman, LPCA President Natalie Roy makes it clear that the association views the parking question as an issue of county-wide importance. Roy says the group is worried about how the county plans to implement restrictions on other narrow streets.
“There are numerous streets similar to Edgewood in Arlington that are too narrow for a ladder truck – why single out Edgewood Street at this time?” she asks. “The parking policy should be reviewed immediately to arrive at a more objective, cohesive, defendable, and democratic approach to governing parking within the County.”
While acknowledging that Edgewood Street is indeed too narrow for a ladder truck to navigate, Roy suggested that the trucks may be less costly to change than the streets.
“To be clear, the LPCA is concerned about safety first,” Roy writes. “As opposed to re-engineering streets throughout the entire County, it might prove more cost-effective and less disruptive to explore acquisition of different emergency vehicle.”
See the full letter, after the jump.
Seventy degree temperatures and a tornado watch — sounds like spring, eh? Add this to the evidence: the Shamrock Shake has returned to McDonald’s.
The minty dessert has gotten a facelift since last year. All McDonald’s shakes now come in a clear McCafe cup with whipped cream and a cherry on top. And rather than a flat lime green color, the shake now appears to be a twisted green and white.
We’ve spotted the Shamrock Shake at McDonald’s restaurants in Crystal City and on Columbia Pike. Let us know in the comments if it’s at the McDonald’s closest to you.
Update at 12:50 p.m. — The tornado watch has been canceled.
Warm temperatures are going to give way to strong storms as a cold front moves through the region later today.
The National Weather Service just issued a Tornado Watch, warning that the storms could include tornadic activity. The watch is in effect until 4:00 p.m.
According to NBC 4, a person who was walking a moped across the Key Bridge was struck and killed by an SUV that then fled the scene. The officer was on the bridge investigating the accident when he was struck from behind by another vehicle.
The driver that hit the officer stayed on the scene and the SUV driver was later stopped in Maryland, NBC 4′s Tracee Wilkins reported. Both drivers are suspected of driving under the influence.
Initial reports suggest the officer briefly lost consciousness after being thrown into the striking vehicle’s windshield. He’s expected to be okay.
More Names Mentioned for Senate Seat — Is there a Democrat in Arlington County who’s active in local politics and who’s not thinking about running for the state Senate seat being vacated by the retiring Sen. Mary Margaret Whipple? Add Alan Howze, former Arlington County Democratic Committee chairman Peter Rousselot, county board member Jay Fisette and Del. Bob Brink to the five names we mentioned as possible candidates on Friday. [Sun Gazette, Washington Post]
Cava Still Hoping for Spring Opening — Construction has yet to begin on the new Cava restaurant on Clarendon Boulevard, but the owner of the upscale Greek restaurant still hopes to open by “late April or early May.” Cava currently has locations in Rockville and on Capitol Hill. [TBD]
Envirocab Still Wants to Expand – The general manager of Arlington-based Envirocab says the company is still hoping to expand. The county board rejected Envirocab’s request to add more cabs to its fleet of 50 hybrids in December. But the company says they don’t “even come close to covering the requests they get each weekend.” [WAMU]
Arlington Science Focus School Profiled — A local TV station takes a look at some of the unique learning methods at Arlington Science Focus school. [WUSA 9]