The 2012 annual Arlington County Fire Department Recognition and Awards Program was held Thursday morning at Fire Station No. 5 in Crystal City. Below banners recognizing the station’s role in responding to the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001, and amid the periodic blare of the fire department dispatch loud speaker, nearly a dozen individual firefighters and paramedics and a dozen fire and EMS crews were recognized for their heroism in the line of duty.
Many of the awards given out on Thursday stemmed from two major incidents.
On Sept. 8, 2011, multiple Arlington rescue crews were dispatched as mutual aid to Fairfax County to assist with widespread flash flooding. Those crews performed daring swift water rescues as flood waters from Tropical Storm Lee trapped motorists in their vehicles.
For helping to rescue 12 individuals stranded in flood waters near I-495 and Telegraph Road, Engine 109 firefighters Corey Sherrill and Joaquin Ibarra received the fire department’s Gold Medal of Valor. For helping to rescue 14 individuals over the course of four hours during the flooding, Engine 107 firefighters Fabian Manino, Frank Rachal, Richard Quinn and Timothy Morgan received the Bronze Medal of Valor. Among those rescued by the firefighters were children, senior citizens and a woman who was eight months pregnant.
The other incident happened in Arlington in the early morning hours of June 1, 2011. Around 1:45 a.m., fire crews were dispatched to a house fire on the 5100 block of N. Carlin Springs Road. As firefighters arrived, a man ran out of the burning house and screamed that his wife was trapped on the second floor.
Responding to his pleas for help, firefighters Alexander Dimoff, Jacob Johnson and Battalion Chief S. Doug Insley climbed a ladder to a second story bedroom. Amid heavy smoke, Johnson found a woman lying unconscious on the floor near the bed. The three men were able to lift the woman and hand her off, through the window, into the arms of firefighters Chad Stamps and Mark Jaquays, at the top of the ladder. While still on the ladder, the two firefighters used their medical training to stabilize the patient — who was in respiratory arrest — and then brought her to the ground level where she was transported to a local hospital.
In a speech before the award presentation, County Board member Chris Zimmerman acknowledged that such dramatic incidents are relatively rare in Arlington, and that the firefighters who stand at the ready to risk their lives every day are heroes in their own right.
“You may not have saved a life this week, but you have saved 210,000 people every day from having to worry about it,” Zimmerman said. “And that’s something that’s… a great service to this community. For that, on behalf of the people of Arlington, I thank you.”
More photos, and a full list of the awards and citations issued this year, after the jump.
Building permit applications are in for Black Lime Mediterranean Cafe, which will be built on the ground floor of 2450 Crystal Drive, near Jimmy John’s. According to a menu on the restaurant’s website, customers will choose a base — either a pita, a salad bowl or a baked potato — then add a protein — chicken, steak, shrimp, falafel or grilled veggies — followed by a selection of toppings and sauces. Side dishes include eggplant fries, sweet potato fries, roasted veggies and chips and hummus.
Per the name of the restaurant, the website explains:
Black Lime is an authentic mediterranean spice, and it’s integral to our menu. Taste its flavor in our Grilled Black Lime Chicken, Home-made Black Lime Hummus and the Black Lime Aioli Sauce that will have you coming back for more. Black Lime is a flavor that is seldom found without a passport.
Though the restaurant has no official opening date planned, we expect it to open at some point this summer. In addition to opening in Crystal City, it appears that the Maryland-based owners are seeking to launch additional restaurant via franchising.
Arlington County has named its new top zoning enforcer, and it’s none other than the woman who has served in the position on a temporary basis since August 2011.
Norma Cozart has been acting Zoning Administrator for the county since shortly after Melinda Artman stepped down from the post last summer. Today Cozart, who has been with the county for 23 years, was named the permanent new Zoning Administrator.
“Norma has done an excellent job providing leadership to the Zoning Office in the interim,” Director of Community Planning, Housing and Development Robert Brosnan said in a statement. “I have all the confidence in the world that she will make an excellent Zoning Administrator.”
Cozart has helped the county formulate policies on a number of hot-button zoning topics, according to an Arlington County press release:
She participated in the formulation of County policies on complex issues such as infill/pipestem lots, signs and sidewalk cafes. She also advised on zoning issues for the development of the Mary Marshall Assisted Living Facility, Artisphere, Marriott Hotels at Courthouse and Potomac Yard, the Jordon (Peck Site), and others.
As Zoning Administrator, Cozart will be responsible for interpreting the regulations within the county’s zoning ordinance, including “[which] buildings may be constructed on lots, the placements and height of structures, the land uses and density of development permitted the number of parking spaces required, the size and placement of sign, and other land use regulations.” She’ll be responsible for leading a team of 23 zoning staff members, who work with residents and businesses on zoning regulation issues.
If the past five special elections are a guide, Democrats will need to muster about 10,000 votes to win tomorrow’s County Board special election.
Clement received 9,728 votes in the 2011 November general election, when she was the sole challenger to Mary Hynes and Walter Tejada, who both ended up winning reelection. Kelly received 20,570 votes to Democratic incumbent Chris Zimmerman’s 32,894 votes in November 2010. Special elections, however, tend to attract far fewer voters.
As detailed in an email from Arlington County Treasurer and amateur election statistician Frank O’Leary (see table, above), the turnout for special elections has ranged between 18,000 and 22,000 over the past 22 years, compared to the more than 57,000 votes cast in the 2010 County Board election. In two of those special elections — 1993 and 1999 — low turnout helped to propel a Republican to victory over a Democrat.
O’Leary thinks tomorrow may see near-record low turnout, thanks in part to voter fatigue. Democrats voted in a primary in August, a general election in November, a caucus in January, and are now being asked to go to the polls yet again. Plus, there’s the issue of party unity.
“Some may still be nursing grudges as a result of the five dimensional recent Democratic primary (which evidenced a dismal turnout, even allowing for winter weather),” O’Leary noted. That opens up the opportunity for Clement or Kelly to pull out a surprise victory, if either can get enough voters to the polls.
Since 1990, no Democrat has received fewer than 9,143 votes in a County Board special election. At the same time, no Republican (or third party) has received more than 9,788 votes. As such, 10,000 may be the magic number for any of the three candidates.
It appears that the new state liquor store at 2940 Columbia Pike is getting closer to opening.
The recognizable ABC logo has been placed on the store’s window, and a surprisingly large expanse of shelving can be seen inside the store. Virginia ABC officials, however, say an official opening date has not been chosen yet.
The store is located next to Lost Dog Cafe, along the Pike’s central business district.
Critics of the Columbia Pike streetcar have been pushing the idea of articulated buses as a cheaper and more flexible alternative to streetcar service.
Specifically, some critics have been citing the streetcar-like bus in the video above — which is currently in use in Las Vegas — as a way to get the increased capacity of streetcars while making bus travel more attractive to non-riders. The bus offers prepaid, level platform boarding — which makes loading and unloading passengers quicker and easier — plus a quiet and smooth ride. Since it runs on tires rather than a track, it also has the ability to get around accidents or any other obstruction.
Articulated buses are an option being studied for the Columbia Pike corridor, but a streetcar does have advantages that supporters say a bus cannot match. A streetcar line, supporters say, can attract transit-oriented development and promote economic growth. Plus, rail transit seems to have a psychological advantage over bus transit — in general, more people would be willing to ride a streetcar than they would a bus.
The cost of articulated bus service on Columbia Pike is estimated at $53 million, compared to the estimated $250 million cost of a five-mile streetcar line.
Faith-Based Advocates Seek More Affordable Housing — A coalition of local churches and community advocates is asking Arlington County to quadruple the amount of tax support it devotes to affordable housing. At a large gathering on Saturday, Virginians Organized for Interfaith Community Engagement (VOICE) also expressed support for Arlington refocusing its affordable housing efforts to benefit those in the lowest income brackets. [Sun Gazette]
New Metrobus Service Coming — To help make up for a forthcoming service change that will mean six additional minutes of waiting time for trains between the Pentagon and Rosslyn, Metro is expanding bus service between Crystal City and Rosslyn. [Dr. Gridlock]
Freeze Watch Tonight — The National Weather Service has issued a freeze watch for tonight. Gardeners should take extra precautions to protect plants should temperatures dip below 32 degrees as forecast. [Capital Weather Gang]
Arlington Educators Honored — Updated at 10:10 a.m. – Patrick Henry Elementary School principal Dr. Lisa Piehota and Wakefield High School teacher Dr. Laurrell Wiersma have been named the Arlington Public Schools principal and teacher of the year. In addition, Drs. Piehota and Wiersma have been honored with the Distinguished Educational Leadership and Agnes Meyer Outstanding Teacher awards by the Washington Post. A total of 39 teachers and principals from throughout the region were honored by the Post.
Photo courtesy Derek Heiss