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by Katie Pyzyk — October 31, 2012 at 4:45 pm 2,548 29 Comments

(Updated at 6:50 p.m.) The local candidates for Congress and Arlington County Board are making their final pushes to woo voters in the six days left until Election Day (Nov. 6). The common theme: hitting the streets this weekend.

“A lot of people wait until the last week to tune in to make their decision. People in Arlington have busy lives and we want to give them an opportunity to check in if they haven’t checked in yet,” said Matt Wavro, Republican candidate for Arlington County Board. “We’re making a last minute push to get the message out as far as we can. We will be at Metro stations handing out literature and continue talking with voters in every form we can get to to make sure the message gets out. It’s a sprint to the finish line.”

One of Wavro’s opponents, Green Party candidate Audrey Clement, agreed that last minute campaigning could sway voters.

“I think there are a lot of disinterested voters out there who ordinarily wouldn’t vote but will this year, because the race between Obama and Romney is so close,” she said. “I’m counting on these voters to split their ticket and will be canvassing the county through the weekend.”

Libby Garvey, the Democratic candidate for County Board, continues to encourage voters to take advantage of early voting.

“We’re especially emphasizing in-person absentee voting this year — you never know if there will be a work crisis or family emergency on election day!” said Garvey.

Jason Howell, Independent candidate for Congress, said he and some volunteers will get out into the community throughout the weekend to meet voters.

“We are excited about our campaign heading into election day,” said Howell. “We have worked hard all year, campaigned the right way and we’re not done yet.”

Janet Murphy, Green Party candidate for Congress, expressed disappointment over the cancellation of her final planned campaign event yesterday (Tuesday) due to Superstorm Sandy.

Rep. Jim Moran (D) is confident in his ability to win re-election and is spending his final days assisting other Democrats.

“Our campaign is running strong down the final stretch. We feel very comfortable with our race, but it’s going down to the wire for the President and Governor Kaine. Our focus is on helping to again, turn Virginia blue,” said a spokesperson for the Moran campaign.

Rep. Moran has made efforts in recent days to move beyond a controversy involving his son. A video surfaced last week showing what appears to be Patrick Moran discussing how to cast fraudulent ballots; the video prompted Patrick Moran’s resignation and an investigation by the Arlington County Police Department. The Virginia State Board of Elections has since voted to involve Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli.

Patrick Murray, Republican candidate for Congress, believes Moran’s handling of the controversy is pertinent to the election.

“He [Moran] has missed votes at double the rate of all other members of Congress despite having the District nearest to Washington, D.C.,” said Murray. “He has been AWOL on sequestration solutions, and he has not even held a town hall meeting in almost 600 days. Now in the wake of this massive voter fraud scandal where there are two separate criminal investigations into his campaign, Moran has vanished.”

(A Moran spokesperson responds: “Rep. Moran has over a 97% voting record in the current Congress and held 8 open community forums this year.”)

Howell prefers to keep the focus off of the video controversy and instead on who is a more desirable candidate.

“The Patrick Moran I’ve met on the campaign trail is a good guy and as his father said, will learn from his mistakes. We all do,” said Howell. “What I expect your readers to do is evaluate me against a future with Jim Moran and decide whether in 2013, we can do better.”

(more…)

by Katie Pyzyk — October 31, 2012 at 3:30 pm 2,394 19 Comments

Capital Bikeshare is back in business following Superstorm Sandy, but cyclists are warned that hazardous conditions remain on the streets and trails.

Capital Bikeshare did not experience damage to any of its bicycles or docking stations, we’re told. The system did shut down for about 36 hours to prevent people from biking in dangerous conditions, and to protect the workers who have to travel around the metro area to re-distribute bikes where they’re needed.

The system began running again on Tuesday afternoon, and workers spent some time playing catch up on bike re-distribution.

Although larger obstacles such as fallen trees or downed wires still pose a problem for cyclists, BikeArlington’s Chris Eatough said such hazards are relatively easy to spot and shouldn’t take too many people by surprise. The lingering issue that might catch cyclists off guard is wet ground covered with slick leaves.

“The main thing we’ve heard and that I’ve noticed is slippery conditions. A lot of leaves came down along with everything else. They’ve come down so heavily saturated that in many cases they’re matted to the trails and roads,” Eatough said. “It’s definitely something to watch out for. That could take you off your bike before you even know what’s going on.”

Cyclists are reminded to control their speeds and use extra caution when turning. As always, cyclists should use a light when traveling in the dark. Eatough said the light is particularly important to have as darkness sets in earlier, especially with daylight saving time beginning on Sunday (November 4).

Cyclists looking for the latest biking conditions, including those on the trails, can check in online with the Washington Area Bike Forum or follow BikeArlington’s Twitter feed.

by ARLnow.com — October 31, 2012 at 2:30 pm 6,935 53 Comments

(Update at 2:40 p.m.) A vehicle flipped on its side on westbound Washington Boulevard this afternoon.

The accident occurred just past noon between I-395 and Columbia Pike, near the scene of a wreck that happened last week. A red vehicle — a Ford minivan or SUV with D.C. tags — somehow flipped on its side on a downhill stretch of Washington Boulevard near the VDOT maintenance yard. Temporary jersey barriers were in place near where the accident took place, apparently for the Washington Blvd/Columbia Pike bridge project.

One occupant suffered a shoulder injury as a result of the single-vehicle accident, according to scanner traffic. A tractor trailer was stopped near the wreck, but had no apparent damage.

The stretch of Washington Boulevard was closed for about an hour but reopened around 1:15 p.m.

 

by Katie Pyzyk — October 31, 2012 at 1:30 pm 3,238 24 Comments

Police say a man with a gun robbed a worker at the Days Inn on the 2200 block of Arlington Blvd last night.

According to police, a man walked into the hotel lobby around 6:30 p.m. and pointed a gun at the desk worker while demanding she get on the ground. The suspect then went behind the desk and took an undisclosed amount of money from the cash register.

While the suspect was in the lobby, a customer entered the area and the suspect turned the gun on him, ordering him to the ground. The suspect then fled through a back door. Nobody sustained any physical injuries in the incident.

The suspect is described as a white man, around 5’10″ with a medium build. At the time of the robbery, he was wearing khaki pants, a dark jacket, a dark winter hat and a dark scarf that covered part of his face. The witnesses said he appeared to be in his 40s.

There are no pictures of the suspect because the hotel’s surveillance camera was not working at the time of the robbery. Besides the two victims, there were other people near the hotel lobby at the time of the incident, but they claim to have not heard or seen anything. According to Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck, those people were visiting from another country and had been drinking.

Anyone with information about the robbery or the suspect is asked to call the non-emergency line at 703-558-2222.

by Katie Pyzyk — October 31, 2012 at 12:00 pm 1,840 11 Comments

A 5K race to benefit a local preschool will wind its way along Arlington’s trails in a few weeks.

The Kinhaven School 5K and Fun Run will take place at 9:00 a.m. on Sunday, November 18. The event benefits Kinhaven School (4201-A N. Fairfax Drive), which is a parent run cooperative preschool founded in 1971.

The out-and-back course begins at Bluemont Park and takes runners west along the W&OD trail.

Ultramarathon champion Michael Wardian confirmed that he and his family will take part in the festivities, which include food, drinks and prizes. Participants receive a tech t-shirt and finisher ribbons made by the preschool students.

Registration is open online to the first 300 entrants, and the fee is $25 through today, increasing to $30 from tomorrow through race day. The fee will be $35 for on site registration the day of the race.

by Katie Pyzyk — October 31, 2012 at 11:00 am 2,480 9 Comments

When thinking of head-to-head competitions, the Central Library’s quiet atmosphere may not seem like the obvious choice. Unless, of course, it’s part of the library’s annual Arlington Puzzle Festival.

This Saturday, November 3, the festival returns for a second year of words, logic, numbers and thinking. The mind games run from 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. in the Central Library’s (1015 N. Quincy Street) auditorium.

Crossword puzzles are provided by New York Times puzzlemaster Will Shortz and sudoku puzzles will be provided by U.S. and world champion sudoku solver Thomas Snyder.

The event is free for Friends of the Arlington Public Library members. A donation is suggested for non-members.

There will be speakers throughout the day, including professional crossword puzzle writer Matt Gaffney, the crossword tournament begins at 10:00 a.m. and the sudoku tournament begins at 1:30 p.m. The full schedule of activities throughout the day is listed online.

Registration for the crossword and sudoku competitions is available online, and will also be available at the door on a first come, first served basis.

by ARLnow.com — October 31, 2012 at 10:05 am 3,816 53 Comments

Dominion has released a list of locations where power crews are expected work today in Arlington County.

The company plans to work on downed lines and blown transformers in more than 40 locations around the county.

As of 10:00 a.m., 5,264 Dominion customers are still without power in Arlington. That’s down from more than 18,000 at the storm’s peak. The company says it plans to have all Superstorm Sandy-related outages restored by Thursday night.

Arlington County crews are continuing to clean up debris-covered streets and assess damage. The county expects damages in Arlington from Sandy “will be in the millions of dollars.”

Dominion is planning to work at the following locations today:

  • 10th St & N. Daniel St
  • 14th St west of N Longfellow St
  • 25th St east of Old Dominion Dr
  • 29th St N & Sycamore St
  • S. 12th St
  • 40th St south of 41st St
  • Carlyn Springs Rd & South 1st Pl
  • Columbia Pk & Buchanan St
  • Hayes St @ 23rd St
  • Lee Hwy & N Calvert St
  • Lee Hwy & N. Vermont St
  • Little Falls Rd & 26th St
  • 10th St & N Edgewood St
  • North 17th St & North Hartford St
  • N 19th St & Lexington
  • N 23 Rd St & N Fillmore St
  • N 25th St & N 26th Rd
  • N 5th St east of N Monroe St
  • N Barton St & 10th St
  • Yorktown Blvd & N Brandywine St
  • N Harrison St & 16th St
  • N Kennsington St & 35th Rd
  • N 25th Rd & N Kensington St
  • N Pollard St btwn Wilson Blvd & 6th St
  • N Quinn St & N 12th St
  • N Stuart St & N 25th St
  • N. Edison St & N. 38th St
  • N. Quincy St. & N. 18th S
  • N. Stafford St off Lee Hwy
  • N. West St & Washington Blvd
  • Patrick Henry Dr & Washington Blvd
  • N. Oakland St north of Old Domonion Dr
  • S 11th St & Frederick St
  • S 16th St & S Ives St
  • S 24th Rd
  • S 4th St & Illinois
  • S 4th St & Jefferson St
  • S Eads St south of 12th St
  • S Glebe Rd & S 3rd St
  • S. Shirlington Rd. south of 25th St
  • Washington Blvd & N Longfellow St
  • Westmoreland St & Williamsburg Blvd
  • Wilson Blvd & N Madison St

by ARLnow.com — October 31, 2012 at 9:00 am 2,109 20 Comments

Trick or Treating Tonight – So far, Arlington County has not placed any restrictions on trick or treating tonight in the wake of Superstorm Sandy. There’s no official trick or treating time in Arlington; children typically begin trick or treating shortly after sundown.

Halloween Safety Tips – WalkArlington has a number of helpful safety tips for parents whose children will be trick or treating tonight. Among them: Parents should make sure their trick-or-treaters are wearing bright colors or reflectors and have a costume that allows them to clearly see their surroundings. Parents should also review safety rules with children before they leave the house. [WalkArlington]

Reopening After Sandy — Arlington Public Schools will be open today, with the exception of Barcroft Elementary School, which is still without power. Arlington County government offices, libraries, courts, community centers, and nature centers will also be open, as will federal government offices.

SoberRide Still On — The SoberRide program, which provides a free cab ride (up to a $30 fare) for holiday revelers, is still on despite Sandy. It’s open to anyone in the greater D.C. area calling 1-800-200-TAXI between 10:00 tonight and 4:00 tomorrow morning. A planned SoberRide-related press event in Arlington, however, which was to unveil a new vehicle that would be used to discourage drunk driving, has been postponed until after Election Day (Nov. 6).

by Katie Pyzyk — October 30, 2012 at 5:30 pm 9,298 37 Comments

Humans aren’t the only ones suffering the effects of Superstorm Sandy. The storm apparently forced some beavers out of their habitats and into the streets of Pentagon City.

A few residents who live in a condo complex on S. Hayes Street were about to head out this morning when they were surprised by a wet, furry visitor.

The residents called animal control upon encountering the beaver scurrying from door to door. Desiree Lomer-Clarke said the animal control worker who came to the scene reported having to deal with two other beavers earlier this morning.

“Apparently their dam broke and they scattered from fear of drowning,” said Lomer-Clarke. “The other beavers were pushed towards bodies of water, but this one had to be trapped and released near its home.”

Arlington County naturalist Greg Zell said the animal sightings might indeed be weather related. The beavers may have chosen to leave if the pocket of air that’s typically present in their dens was compromised.

“It’s possible that high water could have driven them temporarily out of their homes,” Zell said. “It’s the first time I would have seen it in this area, but it’s certainly possible.”

Zell further explained that beavers ending up in a residential area is fairly unusual because they don’t seek out human interaction.

“Beavers are generally going to move away from people,” said Zell. “They eat sticks and twigs so they’re not attracted to people’s food and trash. This sounds like they were just homeless and cruising around.”

Because they avoid humans, there have been rare occasions when beavers have attacked a person or pet that came too close their dens and was deemed a threat. Zell recommends that anyone who encounters a beaver tries to avoid it, as with all wild animals. He said making loud noises, such as clapping, is often enough to send a beaver on its way.

The displaced beavers were not acting in an erratic manner to suggest they would have rabies — as happened twice this summer during beaver attacks in Fairfax County — so they were released near their homes.

As the area’s water levels return to normal, Zell said the beavers that wandered Pentagon City should be able to once again inhabit their dens. If the dens were damaged or destroyed by the storm, the animals should adjust easily to a new habitat.

“Beavers are very adaptable, they tolerate cold very well. They have a thick layer of fur and fat,” Zell said. “They’ll just find another place to go.”

Photo by Robert Dogan

by ARLnow.com — October 30, 2012 at 4:45 pm 5,181 39 Comments

While most hunkered down in their homes to weather Superstorm Sandy last night, the wind and the rain didn’t slow down a thief (or thieves) in Arlington Forest.

A resident on the 4700 block of Arlington Boulevard came out of her house this morning to inspect damage from Sandy, but instead of finding storm damage she found her car up on a jack and two wheels missing. The criminal(s) left two of the Scion coupe’s wheels on, but took those on the driver’s side. The lugnuts were scattered about under the car.

Police were called and investigated the incident, but were doubtful about finding finger prints at the scene given all the rain from Sandy. A mail carrier said he recently saw at least one other such wheel theft in the neighborhood.

 

by Katie Pyzyk — October 30, 2012 at 3:55 pm 3,103 44 Comments

Update at 5:55 p.m. — All Arlington Public Schools (except Barcroft Elementary) will open on time tomorrow (Wednesday). “Parents are asked to be patient as buses may need to work around road closures in some parts of the county, causing delays on some routes,” said school spokesman Frank Bellavia.

All county government offices, libraries, courts, community centers, and nature centers will also be open.

Roads are gradually being cleared, dark homes are lighting up and residents are attempting to return to a sense of normalcy following Superstorm Sandy.

Currently, Dominion’s outage map shows 14,645 Arlington customers without power. The company promises to have crews working around the clock until power is restored. It’s hoping to complete its restoration efforts by Thursday night.

The federal government will be open for business tomorrow, according to the Office of Personnel Management, which will mean increased traffic on neighborhood streets that are still littered with storm debris.

Metro has resumed bus and train service and is slowly getting all lines back up to normal operation. Trains are running on a Sunday schedule. ART buses also resumed service this afternoon on routes 41 and 51. There may be delays if there is debris in the roads along the routes.

The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority reports that Reagan National Airport fared well and didn’t experience any damage or flooding. Most flights are still cancelled today but there are a few taking off and arriving. Travelers are urged to check with their airlines directly for information about flights before going to the airport. MWAA will provide updates via Twitter as more flights begin to take off.

Early voters can go to Courthouse Plaza until 7:00 p.m. for in-person absentee voting. For now, the Barcroft and Madison locations remain closed, but the county hopes they can open tomorrow in addition to the Courthouse location. More information about absentee voting can be found online.

Trash and recycling services, including brush and leaf collection, will resume Wednesday. Monday/Tuesday pickups have been rescheduled for Wednesday, and Wednesday/Thursday pickups have been rescheduled for Friday. Storm debris removal can be requested online or by calling 703-228-6570. The normal requirement for brush to be less than 18 inches in diameter will be waived.

The county notes that an additional 2,000 people signed up for the Arlington Alert system during the storm, bringing the number of total subscribers to more than 50,000. The system provides emergency information updates via email or text message. Anyone interested in receiving alerts during the storm cleanup and for future public safety events can sign up online.

by ARLnow.com — October 30, 2012 at 2:20 pm 9,015 8 Comments

Whether it was due to a loss of power or downed trees, thousands of Arlington residents have felt the effects of Superstorm Sandy. Marco Delmar and his family are definitely among them.

Delmar might initially be dubbed unlucky because a tree fell into his home. However, upon further inspection he and his family could actually fall into the “incredibly lucky” category, considering all four are still alive to tell the story.

Around 8:00 p.m. on Monday, the family had just finished dinner and left the dining room when a huge tree slammed into their house on the 2800 block of 2nd Road N. in Lyon Park. Delmar and his wife escaped unharmed, along with their children, ages 12 and 17. (A 21 year-old daughter was away at college at the time.)

“We had just remarked, ‘I’m glad we have this really good insurance company,’” Delmar said with a chuckle. “And sure enough, we ended up about a half an hour later having to call them.”

From the inside, when the tree struck, the family heard a loud crashing sound and could see the plaster falling around them. But they didn’t realize how badly the house had been crushed until they left the house — via the basement, the only way out — and examined the damage from outside. Once they surveyed the mess, the family members felt even luckier to all walk away without a scratch.

“The house is just dirt put together, we’ll build another one,” Delmar said. “I was just thrilled that everyone was fine.”

Delmar said the house was built in the 1920s and he has lived there since 1966. He had a neighbor who worked at the Pentagon and looked up the home in historic records. The neighbor discovered that many of the trees surrounding the house were planted around the time of the Civil War, including the one that crashed into the house.

“You know, my parents owned this house so I bought it when they passed away,” Delmar said. “It was always one of their greatest fears, one of these huge trees would fall.”

Delmar, who is a record producer for Recording Arts, also has a studio in his home and has yet to examine how much of his work may have been affected by the damage. He plans to rent a small place for the family to stay while the house is rebuilt.

Although one of the most severe examples of tree damage from Sandy, Delmar’s case was not the only one in Arlington. Dozens of trees fell in neighborhoods including Bluemont, Waverly Hills, Ballston, Arlington Forest and Aurora Hills (see photos below), some bringing down power lines and utility poles. More reports continue to come in as residents assess damage in their yards and surrounding neighborhoods.

County workers are joining Dominion crews in inspecting hazards and attending to them as quickly as possible.

Photos below by ARLnow.com and various contributors. Contributed photos by photographers as noted.

by ARLnow.com — October 30, 2012 at 1:05 pm 8,735 0

A woman died this morning after jumping from the Columbia Pike bridge over Four Mile Run.

Several witnesses saw the woman jump, around 10:30 a.m. She landed on a paved section of the Four Mile Run Trail and was pronounced dead on the scene.

Arlington County Police are investigating the incident as a suicide. The woman was in her 30s and was known to have mental health problems, said police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.

If you or someone you know is experiencing thoughts of suicide, help is a phone call away. Call CrisisLink at 703-527-4077.

by Katie Pyzyk — October 30, 2012 at 12:11 pm 2,396 4 Comments

Arlington residents are attempting to get their lives back to normal following Sandy, and that includes celebrating Halloween tomorrow (Wednesday) evening.

So far, the county is not putting any restrictions on trick or treating. County staff is urging parents, however, to use their best judgment to keep children out of harm’s way in neighborhoods particularly hard hit by the storm.

“We all hope that the weather will improve quickly and that we can all get back to normal as quickly as possible,” said Arlington County Director of Communications Diana Sun. “I sincerely hope that there are no disappointments for all the young people looking forward to tomorrow evening.”

Although crews are hard at work to repair downed power lines and clear fallen trees, there may still be debris scattered along sidewalks tomorrow. Parents should be cognizant of such hazards, especially as it gets dark. Other dangers to watch for include slippery leaves and unstable, rain-soaked ground.

Unfortunately for dog owners, the Dog Trick or Treat event planned for tonight in Shirlington has been cancelled. A representative for Dogma Bakery said there’s a possibility the event will be re-scheduled for Thursday and those interested should check the event’s Facebook page for updates.

by Katie Pyzyk — October 30, 2012 at 10:35 am 8,967 56 Comments

An elderly man is dead after becoming trapped during a fire in his apartment in the 2900 block of S. Buchanan Street in Fairlington.

According to Arlington County Fire Department spokesman Capt. Gregg Karl, smoke was coming from the top level apartment when crews arrived on the scene. Capt. Karl said because the investigation has just begun, it’s unclear exactly what started the fire and whether the man died from burns or smoke inhalation.

According to a law enforcement source, the fire is not considered suspicious. The victim was reportedly a hoarder and clutter prevented him from escaping from his apartment when the fire broke out. We’re told he was the only person in the apartment at the time and was found dead on the scene when rescue crews arrived. Nobody in any neighboring units was hurt.

About 10 residents have been displaced from their apartments while the investigation is underway, according to Capt. Karl. They are being allowed to seek shelter at the Fairlington Community Center until they receive word about being able to head back to their apartments.

Courtesy photo (top)

 

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