This Monday, May 28, more than 100 volunteers from Memorial Day Flowers will hand out more than 50,000 roses at the cemetery. Visitors are given two roses, one to place on a grave, and one to take home in remembrance.
All of the flowers are donated by farmers throughout Ecuador. The idea was initiated by Ramiro Peñaherrera of Flowers for Kids. He’s part Ecuadorean and has family members buried at Arlington National Cemetery. Being that Ecuador is one of the largest rose producers in the world, he set out to get farmers there to donate roses for the cause.
“Hopefully in the future we will cover every grave site in Arlington, which I think is about 250,000,” said Nicholas Richwine, who does marketing for Memorial Day Flowers.
In addition to the roses, more than 1,000 bouquets from California will be given to American Gold Star Mothers, Inc., an organization of mothers who lost sons or daughters who were serving their country. Once volunteers place the bouquets on the individual graves, a photo is sent to each mother.
This year, the flower program expanded to other areas of the country, although Arlington is still considered the cornerstone location. More than 90 florists in 26 states have asked to participate in the commemorative program. They receive 400 roses to distribute, along with information about the program, at their local cemeteries or Memorial Day events.
Volunteers will hand out roses at Arlington National Cemetery from 8:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. on Monday. The two main stations are in front of the visitors center and in section 60, which is the burial ground for those killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Richwine adds that although the rose stations will be obvious, visitors will not see banners or other sources identifying Memorial Day Flowers. He said the goal of being at the ceremony is not to draw attention to the organization itself.
“These roses have been donated just to remember those who have fallen,” said Richwine.
Anyone interested in donating or volunteering should contact Memorial Day Flowers through its website.
At its meeting yesterday, May 22, the board voted unanimously to approve a rezoning and use permit for the property. The site, located at the southwest corner of Columbia Pike and Glebe Road, will be turned into a multi-family residential complex.
The plan includes construction of a six-story building with 245 apartments, 44 townhouses, 12 stacked flats and retail space on the ground floor. Renderings of the buildings were released in January. The development will be split into two blocks by a new road that has yet to be constructed.
Although the development is based on the Columbia Pike Form-Based Code, it required approval of a special use permit because the property exceeds 40,000 square feet.
“The Form-Based Code is beginning to make a real difference in the look and feel of Columbia Pike,” said Arlington County Board Chair Mary Hynes. “With this, the seventh Form-Based Code project approved by the Board for the Pike, our community’s vision of a revitalized, more vibrant, walkable Pike is becoming reality.”
Efforts will be made to be environmentally sensitive during construction, but the developer will not seek LEED sustainability certification. It was explained that as part of the Form-Based Code guidelines, LEED certification is not required in order to keep construction costs low. Board member Jay Fisette didn’t like that concept.
“I believe that as our standards change we need to simultaneously look at changing the Form-Based Code standards as it applies to that area,” Fisette said.
County staff reached out to residents in the neighborhood during the planning process to get feedback on the site plan. The overall response was positive, according to the county, although some concerns were raised about disruptions due to construction and potentially hazardous traffic patterns. Board members spent time addressing both topics.
As currently designed, residents of the complex won’t be able to make a left on Columbia Pike or Glebe Road. Some worry that problems that could arise from drivers making U-turns in order to go north on Glebe Road or west on Columbia Pike. The Board agreed that further investigation into safety and traffic patterns is necessary, and instructed county staff to tackle the issue.
Of lesser importance is the formal naming of the street that will be constructed through the property. It is supposed to start with an “L” and have two syllables, per county regulations. Some have begun tentatively calling it “Lincoln Street.”
Board member Chris Zimmerman said adhering to naming regulations sometimes seems absurd in an area where streets don’t follow an easy grid design. He suggested not naming the new road Lincoln to avoid confusion with the North Arlington street of the same name. Hynes agreed, but pointed out there’s plenty of time for discussion because the name doesn’t have to be assigned until the street is built.
(Updated at 4:30 p.m.) In preparation for Memorial Day, there’s a place in Arlington that might be worth a look — and it’s not Arlington National Cemetery.
Thousands pass by it daily, but many don’t realize that the large, stone structure flanked by cannons across from Clarendon Ballroom (and near the Clarendon Metro station) is actually a war memorial. It was put up by the American Legion and honors Arlington citizens who died in combat, up through Vietnam.
Of particular interest to historians is the World War I plaque on the side of the memorial, facing the intersection of Washington, Wilson and Clarendon Boulevards. Note that the last two names are separated from the others and have the distinction of “colored” listed in parentheses.
County historians say this highlights the racial tensions at the time the plaque was made. However, a local resident with knowledge of the memorial’s history, who requested not to be named, says it wasn’t necessarily a sign of racial tensions. He said it’s simply representative of “how life was at that time.” There’s been debate over changing it, but the decision was made to leave the plaque as is.
The plaque has remained this way during the memorial’s multiple moves. The original location was at Wilson Blvd and Highland Street, then Clarendon Circle, then Courthouse. It was brought back to Clarendon in 1986 and has been there ever since.
The memorial was first erected in the early 1930s.
An Arlington woman woke up this morning to find a .45 caliber bullet in her living room.
This incident happened on N. Bedford Street in the Lyon Park neighborhood. A resident of a townhouse called police around 9:00 a.m. after finding that a bullet — likely a stray bullet — had punched through the front of her house and had come to rest on the living room floor. Only the woman and her husband were at home at the time, according to Arlington County police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.
Detectives were called in and were able to determine the trajectory of the bullet, but have so far been unable to figure out where exactly it came from.
“It could have come from numerous places in a pretty large radius,” Sternbeck said.
A search of the neighborhood this morning did not turn up any clues, but police are looking into a report of a gunshot heard near the 2700 block of Washington Boulevard around 1:00 this morning. The man who called in the gunshot was reportedly intoxicated, and at the time officers were unable to locate anybody else who had heard the shot.
Police are asking anybody with information about the incident to call the Arlington non-emergency line at 703-558-2222.
Billed as “the Washington area’s biggest free creative arts event,” Artomatic is the collective, unjuried work of more than 1,300 artists, spread across 10 floors of a former Department of Defense office building at 1851 S. Bell Street.
The sheer scale of Artomatic is mind-boggling: 5,000+ pieces of art (much of it for sale by the artists) in 380,000 square feet of office space. There are also more than 300 planned performances by more than 750 performers on 6 separate stages. Some 80,000 visitors are expected over the festival’s five week run, and they will have 3 cafes at which to buy food and drink. Artomatic is made possible by sponsors and an estimated 27,325 volunteer hours, much of which is put in by the artists themselves.
The most recent Artomatic was held in 2009 in the District. The event was last held in Crystal City in 2007.
“We are thrilled to welcome Artomatic back to Crystal City,” Crystal City BID President Angela Fox said in a statement. “We know that the artists and the audiences will have their biggest and best Artomatic experience ever.”
Arlington County Board Chair Mary Hynes said the event’s return to Crystal City is an important step in the continued rebranding of the neighborhood.
“People are going to discover this is a great place to be,” Hynes said.
Special exhibits and events this year include PostSecret post cards, the Washington Post’s Peeps diorama contest finalists, the Zombie Prom, Box Racing, body paint shows, and a “no-holds-barred Art in Fashion Show.”
Artomatic runs through Saturday, June 23. It’s open to the public from noon to 10:00 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays, noon to 1:00 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and noon to 5:00 p.m. on Sundays. The festival is closed on Mondays and Tuesday.
A list of concerts, workshops, tastings, readings and other activities being held at Artomatic is available on the festival’s website.
Disclosure: Crystal City BID is an ARLnow.com advertiser.
This is the third time Arlington has done a Resident Satisfaction Survey; the first took place in 2004, with another in 2008. The county uses the results to target areas for improvement, and to figure out the public resources residents find most beneficial.
This year’s results showed that overall satisfaction with county services increased to 89 percent, up from 87 percent in 2008. Satisfaction with overall quality of life in Arlington increased from 87 percent in 2008 to 92 percent this year.
Some areas for improvement were also identified by the survey. By a wide margin, maintenance of county streets and management of traffic flow were identified by respondents as areas that are “most important for the County to improve.”
Other trouble areas where the county hopes to improve include quality of human services, management of smart growth practices, preserving affordable housing, preserving nature areas and enforcing traffic laws. There was also a lower satisfaction rating this year for the hours of library operation, which county staff hopes will be solved by an already-funded increase in library hours starting in July.
When compared against other communities of similar size Arlington came out 32 percentage points above the national average for satisfaction with county services.
“I’m pleased with the results of the survey. It shows we are clearly moving in the right direction — and that we need to continue to invest in our streets and infrastructure,” County Manager Barbara Donnellan said in a statement. “Having objective data from the community on where we are doing well and where we need to improve is critical to our work.”
The survey was conducted in April by ETC Institute, and information was gathered via phone, internet and mail. More than 1,300 households participated. Full results are available online.
An Alternative Analysis/Environmental Analysis (AA/EA) was performed as part of the Columbia Pike Transit Initiative, which addresses transit along the five mile corridor from the Pentagon City area to the Skyline area in Fairfax. It’s the plan that includes the controversial streetcar system, now believed to cost between $242 million and $261 million.
The AA/EA looked at four alternatives and analyzed how each would satisfy the community’s need for improved transit, and how each would affect the environment. One of the options was a “No Build Alternative,” which is designed to provide a baseline comparison to the other ideas. Two of the other plans involve beefing up bus operations, and the final is the streetcar option.
Arlington and Fairfax had to devise the AA/EA in order to qualify for federal funding, per the Federal Transit Administration. The documents are available for review on the Columbia Pike Transit Initiative website, and comments can be left there as well. Comments can also be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Public input will be accepted through Thursday, June 21. In addition to providing comments online, there will be an informational public meeting at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, June 6, at Patrick Henry Elementary School (701 S. Highland Street), where feedback will also be accepted.
Court Rules Against Doggie Daycare Mural — A federal appeals court has determined that Arlington County did not violate a business owner’s free speech by forcing her to cover up a mural that county code interpreted as a commercial sign. Wag More Dogs owner Kim Houghton had argued — unsuccessfully — that the mural was artwork and the county’s action violated her First Amendment rights. [Associated Press]
‘Leek American Bistro’ Coming to Ballston — A new American-style bistro is coming to Ballston. “Leek American Bistro” will feature “upscale” dishes in a casual atmosphere. Chef/owner Nathan Spittal says the new eatery, located in the former Thai Terrace space at 801 N. Quincy Street, will focus on locally-sourced ingredients and locally-sourced beer and wine. Spittal is the former owner of the BBQ Banditos food truck. [Washington Business Journal]
Board Approved Clarendon Metro Improvements — The Arlington County Board last night approved a $765,000 contract to transform the small park area around the Clarendon Metro station into a “more active, accessible, multi-use plaza.” Planned improvements include landscaping, paving, covered bike parking, seating walls and movable tables and chairs. [Arlington County]
Arlington Business Hall of Fame Inductees — Three men were inducted into the Arlington Business Hall of Fame during a ceremony yesterday morning, May 22. The ceremony also included the Arlington Chamber of Commerce’s annual ABBIEs business award presentation. [Sun Gazette, Arlington Mercury]
Flickr pool photo by Divaknevil