A multi-vehicle accident has been reported in the northbound lanes of the GW Parkway near Lady Bird Johnson Park. Arlington County firefighters and paramedics are on the scene.
Initial reports suggest a jogger may have been struck by one of the accident vehicles. Two people are reported to be injured, one critically.
Drivers should expect significant backups on the northbound GW Parkway approaching Memorial Bridge.
Nearly a dozen people have asked us what the repeated loud “booming” sound was in South Arlington this morning. Now we know the answer.
The 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment — also known as the Old Guard — was practicing firing canons.
“The Presidential Salute Battery was conducting synchronized firing training within Arlington National Cemetery from approximately 0700-0800,” said Staff Sgt. Matthew Coffee, from the Old Guard public affairs office. “The reason the training is conducted at that time is to not interfere with any funerals being conducted at open cemetery hours.”
Residents of Pentagon City, Aurora Highlands, Foxcroft Heights and Columbia Heights reported hearing the noise as early as 6:30 a.m. The sound was alternately described as a “pounding,” “banging,” “booming” or “explosion.”
Update on 4/19/11 — The 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment has issued a statement regarding the cannon training.
We thank ARLNow for the opportunity to post to its site. The 3rd US Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) is privileged to serve as the US Army’s premier memorial affairs and ceremonies and special events unit, to honor its fallen comrades, and to represent the Army and its values to the nation’s citizens and the world. As such, we conduct sustainment training to maintain the high standards expected of the Army and specifically conduct ceremonial salute howitzer training outside of Arlington National Cemetery’s normal hours of operation in order to not inconvenience the bereaved during supported funerals for the armed services. In coordination with Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, we will continue to strive to be good neighbors and to closely coordinate our training and operations with local authorities, and we will also continue take measures to ensure our Soldiers continue to demonstrate the Army values, particularly honor and respect.
Ruffino’s Spaghetti House (4763 Lee Highway) will tonight for the first time following months of renovations. An answering machine message says the restaurant will open at 4:00 p.m.
The new Clarendon location of BGR: The Burger Joint (3024 Wilson Blvd) is undergoing a final inspection today and hopes to open next week — perhaps as soon as Monday, if the inspection goes well. The restaurant’s interior is complete and employees are wrapping up preparations for the opening.
“I do plan to run for County Board as a Green,” said Audrey Clement, a state Green Party officer and a national Green Party committee member. “However, I have not yet set up a campaign committee and filed my paperwork with [State Board of Election]. So I am not officially a candidate [yet].”
Clement’s campaign platform focuses on spending, housing and environmental concerns. On her web site, Clement says she wants to “focus funds on essential community services” like libraries, public safety, schools and the safety net, while “halt[ing] spending on wasteful building projects that we cannot afford” like the Columbia Pike streetcar and the Long Bridge Park aquatic center. She also criticizes the use of county funds for the Artisphere.
Clement says she wants to preserve historic garden apartment complexes in the county and “create and fund a housing authority in Arlington that will help low and moderate income renters and consolidate the county’s housing programs under one umbrella.” She also supports banning non-biodegradable plastic bags in “all supermarkets and chain pharmacies” while banning Styrofoam containers in “all public facilities and fast food outlets”
In 2009, Clement filed a federal lawsuit against the widening of I-66 inside the Beltway. The suit was dismissed, but Clement says she would work to “block any further widening of I-66 highway in Arlington by suing VDOT and seeking the transfer of the $35 million in Federal highway funds to repair Arlington aging bridges and streets.”
Clement will face Democratic incumbents Walter Tejada and Mary Hynes in the fall. She may also have a shot at a third county board seat if Barbara Favola captures the Democratic nomination for the 31st District State Senate seat.
Public libraries, the Lubber Run Amphitheater and ‘safety net’ programs are a few of the budget priorities that will receive funding above and beyond the amount proposed in the county manager’s budget.
The County Board has allocated $258,000 to allow each branch library to stay open for an additional three hours per week. The funds will also support longer Sunday hours at the Shirlington and Columbia Pike libraries and allow the purchase of additional books and e-books.
The board is providing an additional $370,000 for park maintenance, Friday hours at the Lubber Run Community Center and for the restoration of seasonal programming at the shuttered Lubber Run Amphitheater. An additional allocation of $100,000 will fund early stages of restoring the amphitheater.
Safety net programs like housing, mental health and substance abuse treatment and community medical care will also benefit from the board’s budget adjustment.
An additional $1.5 million will be added to the Affordable Housing Investment Fund, for a total FY 2012 contribution of $5.5 million. An additional $250,000 will be added for housing grants, the subject of a recent ARLnow.com poll. Service for those with serious emotional, mental and substance abuse problems will receive just over $500,000. Safety net non-profits like the Arlington Food Assistance Center, the Arlington Street People’s Assistance Network, Doorways and the Arlington Free Clinic will split an additional $420,000.
Public safety agencies will receive an extra $1 million under the new budget. The money will allow the police department to add several officers and to fund domestic violence support and the Gang Task Force. It will also fund a fire department battalion chief position and two sheriff’s office positions.
Other changes include additional ART bus service to the DHS building from western Columbia Heights, the planting of 300-400 trees around the county, and additional money to fund implementation of the Community Energy Plan and the Natural Resource Management plan.
The additional funding is possible despite the board’s commitment to hold the real estate tax rate steady. See more information about the County Board’s final budget, which is set for approval on Saturday.
According to department statistics, the crime rate — the number of reported crimes per resident — declined by 7.6 percent from 2009 to 2010. The raw number of reported crimes, meanwhile, fell 5.9 percent.
Robberies, aggravated assaults, burglaries, larcenies and vehicle thefts all declined last year. At 29 percent, vehicle thefts saw the greatest year-over-year decline.
The number of reported rapes in Arlington rose in 2010, however. There were 24 forcible rapes reported in 2010, compared to 15 in 2009 — a 60 percent increase. Detectives were able to close 87 percent of rape cases, the department said.
“I am pleased with the dedication of the officers and detectives in Arlington, and all that they have accomplished to make our county safer,” Police Chief Doug Scott said in a statement. “However, we continue to remind citizens to make smart decisions concerning their personal safety, because even one victim is one victim too many.”
The homeless population in Arlington fell by 13 percent from 2010 to 2011, according to a new study.
An annual count of the region’s homeless conducted by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments showed that region-wide, the homeless population rose by 2 percent to 11,988 as of January 2011. But the homeless population in Arlington declined from 531 to 461 during that same period, a drop of 13 percent.
The study found that there were 65 homeless families in Arlington, consisting of 81 adults and 112 children. Of the adults in homeless families, 38 percent are employed, according to the report.
Screen capture via YouTube
A hotel employee who lost an eye during a huge brawl at the DMV Music Awards in Crystal City last month is speaking out about his ordeal.
In a video produced by the Arlington County Police Department, the employee — “Antonio,” a bartender at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City — says he and his family are now in debt and struggling to get by on meager workman’s compensation payments. He has had two operations since the March 5 incident and expects to have at least one more to get a prosthetic eye. While in recovery, Antonio has been unable to bathe or care for himself, and relies on his wife and friends to accomplish everyday tasks.
“I used to work for three hotels… I don’t know” if I will ever work again, he said. “I cannot live this way.”
Police are asking anyone with information about the attack to contact Detective J. Donaggio at 703-228-4167 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Several photos of the woman who is alleged to have attacked Antonio are displayed at the end of the video.
Although NORAD regularly conducts exercises in the D.C. region, for some reason this one seemed louder than others. On Twitter, we heard from Bethesda, McLean and Arlington residents who all heard the jets and wondered what was going on.
The exercise was actually scheduled for the night before, according to a press release, but was delayed a day due to inclement weather.
Route 50 Interchange Project Nears — In March, we were told that the lane closure on westbound Route 50 would finally be lifted by around this time. That’s still yet to be seen, but some new closures are just around the corner. Dr. Gridlock reports that VDOT plans to start construction on a new Route 50/Courthouse Road/Fairfax Drive interchange next month, with nightly traffic disruptions. The $39 million project is expected to wrap up in Fall 2013. [Dr. Gridlock]
Arlington’s Fuel Bill Going Up — Arlington County could spend hundreds of thousands of additional dollars on gasoline this year, thanks to rising gas prices. The county’s vehicle fleet — which includes fuel-sipping Toyota Priuses — consumes about a million gallons of gas every year. [Washington Examiner]
Emergency Personnel Honored for Valor — The Arlington Chamber of Commerce held its 29th annual Valor Awards ceremony on Tuesday. The event honored police, sheriff, fire and EMS personnel whose selfless work has saved lives. Among those honored was Jason Hart and Mark Jaquays, who managed to save the life of a young man who was painting a house last summer when his ladder touched a power line. [Sun Gazette]
Real Estate Prices Up, Inventory Down -- The sale price of Arlington residential real estate surged last month. Condos and townhouses in particular were both up by double digit percentages. Also, real estate inventory was down significantly compared to 2010. [Arlington Real Estate News]
Flickr pool photo by Aaron Webb