The large number of nearly simultaneous retirements is the result of changes to Arlington County’s retirement health benefits that, according to a fire official, prompted some 200 county employees to retire at the same time.
The fire personnel honored this morning had a combined 477 years of experience. It’s a loss that’s being felt across the department, despite the recent addition of large new recruit classes.
“Never before have so many of our leaders and mentors transitioned into retirement at the same time,” a video honoring the retirees said. “We will continue to hold the traditions you have set forth.”
With 30 to 38 years of experience, some of today’s retirees count both the Sept. 11 attack on the Pentagon and the Air Florida Flight 90 crash among the major incidents they’ve responded to as Arlington firefighters.
“This group of people has contributed so much, they have left such a legacy, that the organization is extremely strong and will survive without them being here every day,” said Fire Chief James Schwartz. “Their spirit will remain, their contributions — what they have shared with us over the course of their career — will remain… Thank you very much for everything you’ve done for us and this county.”
More photos, after the jump.
The winner of this year’s vehicle decal design contest was announced at this afternoon’s County Board meeting. Out of a group of four design finalists, a decal with a photo of the Pentagon memorial received the most votes.
The decal, entitled “Silent Memories,” was designed by Jeppe Callander, an exchange student from Norway who’s attending Wakefield High School. Callander said he originally took the photo of the memorial to show his mother.
Arlington residents cast nearly 2,000 votes cast in the annual contest. About 155,000 decals will be mailed to vehicle owners this summer.
The work planned for High View Park (1945 N. Dinwiddie Street) includes renovating the worn-out playground and picnic areas and improving access to those with disabilities. The $628,082 project will add a large kid’s play structure with swings, a boulder and a climbing wall, as well as a sand play area with swings, a water spigot and a play structure for younger children.
Another $83,637 will be used for the following projects:
- Landscaping at the I-395 ramp/Arlington Ridge Road intersection
- Invasive plant removal at Zachary Taylor Park
- Improvements to the entrance to the Shirlington Community Canine Area
- Invasive plant removal at the Bluemont Park Trail entrance and a park information kiosk
- New benches and picnic tables at the old Westover Library site
- Discovery play area at Long Branch Nature Center, plus invasive plant removal
- Bike rack, two benches, recycling can, two bat houses and educational signage at Prospect Hill Park
- Spanish translation of Buckingham Village history sign at Henry Wright Park
- Adding boulders near the Fort Scott Park parking lot
Update at 4:35 p.m. — The leak has been stopped. Police are reportedly preparing to reopen the southbound lanes of Glebe Road.
Update at 3:55 p.m. — From Arlington Alerts: “Both north and southbound Glebe Rd will be closed between N. Pershing Dr and N. Piedmont St through evening rush hour due to an outside gas leak. Please Avoid traveling in the area if possible.”
All lanes of Glebe Road are closed near N. Pershing Drive due to a gas main rupture.
Traffic is backed up in the area as police redirect traffic. Crews from Washington Gas are on the scene digging up part of Glebe Road in an effort to repair what’s said to be a 3 inch gas line.
Arlington County says Glebe Road is expected to remain closed for an “extended time” — possibly several more hours.
This is the second time this month that Glebe Road has been closed due to a gas leak. On Jan. 6 the busy commuter artery was closed for part of the evening rush hour after contruction crews accidentally ruptured a gas line at Glebe Road and N. Piedmont Street, two blocks away from today’s incident.
A Yogiberry frozen yogurt store will be replacing the shuttered Maggie Moo’s ice cream shop at Pentagon Row.
“Coming soon” signs are up in the windows of the store. Interior construction is either underway or imminent, as workers could be seen entering the store today.
The change from ice cream to frozen yogurt is a bit of deja vu — in 2010 a Yogiberry location opened in Shirlington Village, in another shuttered Maggie Moo’s storefront. Shirlington Village and Pentagon Row are both owned by Federal Realty Investment Trust.
Arlington will host the second annual Northern Virginia Housing Expo this year.
The event features dozens of exhibits “showcasing both homeownership and rental opportunities and resources throughout Northern Virginia.” There are also free workshops that will help prepare attendees for renting or buying a home.
The housing expo is produced by the Fairfax-based nonprofit AHOME, in cooperation with the Virginia Housing Development Authority and numerous Northern Virginia localities, including Arlington, Alexandria, Fairfax, Loudoun and Falls Church.
The expo is being held at Washington-Lee High School (1301 N. Stafford Street) between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 24. The inaugural expo was held at Alexandria’s T.C. Williams High School last June.
Denise Marshall Roller, 48, is facing 11 felony charges including embezzlement, forgery and conducting unlawful financial transactions. The Fredericksburg, Va. resident worked as the fair’s event manager between 2005 and 2011, under a Memorandum of Understanding between Arlington County (her employer) and the nonprofit that runs the fair.
According to court records, Marshall Roller is expected to enter a plea in Arlington County Circuit Court on Tuesday, Jan. 31. She was indicted by a grand jury in September and was originally slated to stand trial on Monday, Jan. 23.
Photo courtesy Arlington County Sheriff’s Office
Fmr. CIA Officer Charged — Former CIA officer and current Arlington resident John Kiriakou, 47, was charged yesterday with repeatedly leaking classified information to journalists. Kiriakou is best known for his 2007 interview with ABC News in which he described the waterboarding of Abu Zubaydah, a suspected al-Qaeda operative. [Washington Post]
Cigarette Tax Bill Dies in General Assembly — A bill proposed by Del. Patrick Hope (D) that would have raised Virginia’s cigarette tax from 30 cents to the national average of $1.45 has died a quick and unsurprising death in a House of Delegates subcommittee. [Sun Gazette]
Senator’s Arlington Condo for Sale — Florida Sen. Bill Nelson (D) has put his swanky Arlington condo up for sale in advance of his reelection campaign. The condo, which is reportedly on the market for nearly $2 million, is located in the Radnor/Fort Myer Heights neighborhood and overlooks the Iwo Jima memorial. [US News & World Report]