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by ARLnow.com — April 15, 2013 at 10:20 pm 3,765 0

Boston Marathon logoEighty-two runners in the 2013 Boston Marathon listed their city of residence as Arlington, Va. Following today’s horrific bombing at the race’s finish line, we’re now starting to hear from some of those Arlington residents who ran the race and escaped the event unscathed.

Arlington resident Pam Howze traveled to Boston with her parents, husband (local political activist Alan Howze) and three children (ages 2, 5 and 7) for the race. Along with a cousin who lives in Boston, they were all at a “T” station about a half mile away from the finish line at the time of the blasts.

“We heard two explosions… we didn’t know what it was,” said Howze, 39, who finished the race with a time of 3:27. She crossed the finish line 30-45 minutes before the bombings.

“I’m happy we’re all safe,” she said. “I’m saddened for everyone who isn’t. It’s very upsetting.”

We asked Howze, who was reached via cell phone as the family drove back to Arlington, whether she would run the race again, in light of the bombing.

“Right now I’m not sure, but I probably would,” she said. “I don’t think I’d bring my whole family, though. ”

Some runners and loved ones of runners have taken to social media to say they’re okay.

“I finished at 3:37:39, and I was in the clothes-changing bus when we heard the two explosions and felt the shock waves,” said Jay Jacob Wind, 63, an Arlington Heights resident and prolific local marathon runner. “It was like 9-11, when the ground shook all the way from the Pentagon to my house three miles away. So I’m safe, but I’m saddened by this tragedy, and I share my sorrow with many millions of others.”

A full list of Arlington runners who registered for the race is available on Wind’s blog.

Taneen Carvell, an Arlington resident and training coach with Potomac River Running, “ran well and [is] safe,” according to the store’s Facebook page.

Reynolds Wilson, an Arlington resident and running enthusiast, crossed the finish line well before the bombings.

“He finished in 3:02 and unaware of the events until after the fact,” we’re told. “He and his family all okay.”

Among other local residents who ran the race are Cindy Walls, the cross country and track coach at Bishop O’Connell High School, and her daughter, Katie. In addition to being a coach, Cindy is also a grief counselor. Katie, who graduated from Bishop O’Connell in 2009, ran track in high school and college.

Neither woman finished the race, which was cut short by the bombings, but their 13 mile time, listed on the Boston Marathon website, suggests that it’s unlikely they would have been near the finish line at the time of the explosions. A school spokesman has not yet responded to an inquiry from ARLnow.com.

Update at 9:10 a.m. — Walls and her daughter were still running the course and did not even hear the blasts, but husband John Walls was across the street from one of the explosions and says he could “feel the heat and smell the sulphur,” according to the Sun Gazette.

Have you heard from an Arlington resident who ran the race or who was a spectator near the finish line? Email us at arlingtonnews [at] gmail.com or let us know in the comments.

by ARLnow.com — April 15, 2013 at 4:40 pm 0

Metro Transit Police at the Pentagon City Metro station on 4/15/13

(Updated at 6:30 p.m.) Metro Transit Police have stepped up patrols in response to this afternoon’s deadly explosions at the Boston Marathon.

“Metro Transit Police Chief Ronald Pavlik has ordered all day-shift patrol officers to remain on duty through this evening’s rush hour to increase the security posture of the transit system,” Metro said in a press release. “Metro is taking this step in an abundance of caution. There is no specific or credible threat against the Metro system at this time.”

“Customers are urged to report suspicious activity or unattended packages by calling Metro Transit Police at (202) 962-2121,” Metro said. “Metro Transit Police continue to monitor events in Boston and will take appropriate measures to heighten security.”

Outside the Pentagon City Metro this afternoon, two Metro Transit Police officers watched riders enter and exit the station. One had military-style rifle and the other had a police dog.

So far, Arlington County Police do not have specific plans to step up staffing levels or patrols, according to ACPD spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. Arlington’s bomb squad also has not made any staffing changes, according to fire department spokesman Capt. Gregg Karl.

Local residents who have friends and loved ones at the Boston Marathon, meanwhile, have been using the Facebook pages of local running stores like Pacers and Potomac River Running to keep track of their whereabouts and well-being.

Pentagon City Metro station Metro Transit Police at the Pentagon City Metro station on 4/15/13

by ARLnow.com — April 15, 2013 at 3:45 pm 440 0

(Updated at 5:00 p.m.) Construction is getting started on a new five-story condominium building and townhouse development on Walter Reed Drive.

The development, called Columbia Place, will consist of 14 two-bedroom, two-bath condominiums in a mid-rise building, and 8 single-family townhomes. Developer Evergreene Homes says the townhomes will be four stories, with two-car garages and rooftop terraces.

The development also includes nearly 3,000 square feet of retail space. It was approved by Arlington County in 2009.

Construction crews are now clearing the lot, near the intersection of Walter Reed Drive and 11th Street S., a block from Columbia Pike, following the demolition of a vacant single-family home at 1108 S. Edgewood Street.

Hat tip to Breandan McDermott

by ARLnow.com — April 15, 2013 at 2:15 pm 1,208 0

Miguel Angel Pinedo-Valdivia (photo courtesy ACPD)Arlington police are seeking victims of a man they say is a sexual predator who preys on young Hispanic immigrants.

Miguel Angel Pinedo-Valdivia, 50, has been charged with Attempted Forcible Sodomy in connection with an incident on Thursday, April 11. Police say Pinedo-Valdivia, who has ties to residences in Arlington County and Maryland, picked up a 17-year-old boy outside a restaurant on the 4100 block of Columbia Pike, offering the boy potential work.

“The victim, being in the country only a few months, was tricked into a back seat of a vehicle thinking he had an offer of employment,” said Arlington County Police Department spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.

Pinedo-Valdivia drove his Mercedes sedan into Maryland, where he engaged in “aggressive sexual advances…. and inappropriate touching” of the boy, according to Sternbeck. The man then drove back into Arlington County, where he again tried to sexually assault the 17-year-old, Sternbeck said.

“After numerous unsuccessful attempts to sexually assault the victim, along with additional pleas to stop, the suspect then allowed the victim to exit the vehicle,” said Sternbeck.

Investigators believe Pinedo-Valdivia may have assaulted other young immigrants, and are asking for any victims to step forward.

“Information revealed in the investigation indicates that there are potentially other victims and police believe Pinedo-Valdivia could be targeting the Hispanic immigrant population,” police said in a press release. “Anyone who has information about this suspect or has information on additional victims is asked to call Detective Hermes Molina at 703.228.4208 or email investigations@arlingtonva.us. To report information anonymously, contact the Arlington County Crime Solvers at 866.411.TIPS (8477).”

by ARLnow.com — April 15, 2013 at 12:45 pm 2,195 0

Editor’s Note: This new sponsored column on pet safety is written by Terry Haas, a pet care professional. Terry owns Loyalty Pet Care and its Safety Furst division.

Dog in a car (photo by Terry Haas)Recently, a dog owner in Virginia left a store only to discover police and rescue personnel surrounding her car. The two dogs she had left in the car, parked in the shade with the windows cracked for about an hour, had died. In spite of her insistence that she had just “made a mistake — a huge mistake,” the dog owner was charged with two felony counts of animal cruelty.

She didn’t know her actions would cause her dogs harm, and unfortunately for many dogs, she’s not alone. According to Alice Burton, Chief of Animal Control Animal Welfare League of Arlington, it happens more often than you might think.

“We have 62 cases in our system where our Animal Control Officers responded to a call of a dog trapped in a hot car,” Burton said. “However, the number of times it is reported is higher (probably 80) because if the dog is not in distress (panting, barking) we do not respond, but will monitor the situation. Owners that leave their pet in the vehicle could be charged with Cruelty to Animals which is a Class 1 misdemeanor.”

On a warm, sunny or even an overcast day, the average normal-muzzle dog left to wait in a parked vehicle will be in respiratory distress in 10 minutes and dead in 20. A dog with a shorter muzzle (such as a Pug or Boston Terrier) will expire in even less time.

We all want to consider our dogs part of the family. We want to take them everywhere. But dogs differ from humans in ways that, if we aren’t careful, can result in tragic accidents.

Humans and some animals (horses, for example) sweat to cool themselves. Our type of sweating allows us to expend energy over long periods while maintaining safe body function. We have endurance. We can also acclimate to warming temperatures.

Although dogs have sweat glands, too, they’re not designed for cooling.  Dogs cool themselves by panting, which cools the mouth and tongue as well as the blood flowing through the head, an obviously inefficient process. They also get some extra support by finding good places to rest. They find cool surfaces to press against the thinly furred areas of their bodies.

Watch your dog when it’s hot. Outdoors, he’ll select a shady spot, maybe dig up some cool earth beneath the surface, and lie in that spot. Indoors, he’ll flop onto a cool tile floor.

A parked car collects sunlight like a solar cell. The temperature in the car rises rapidly, turning the interior into an oven. Dogs can’t say “let me out,” and we often misinterpret their body language and limitations. There is no cool earth or tile floor in a car, and the dog can’t open the door to go look for a cooler spot. As animal guardians, we need to educate ourselves on how to prevent these dangerous situations. Laws like Virginia’s are designed to help speed the education process along.

What might surprise you is that it doesn’t have to be a hot summer day to be deadly to take your dog along while you run errands. When it’s just 70 degrees outdoors, the interior of your car becomes dangerous. To help remember this, think of the “Canine Car Cutoff” — 40/70.

  • When it’s 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below outside, your dog DOES NOT ride along with you.
  • When it’s 70 degrees Fahrenheit or above outside, your dog DOES NOT ride along with you.
  • When it’s between 40 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s OKAY to take your dog on a ride-along where he might be unattended in your parked vehicle with access to water for short periods.

(more…)

by ARLnow.com — April 15, 2013 at 11:20 am 5,535 0

Arlington County Police Department badgeTwo owners of an Alexandria daycare business were arrested outside the Weenie Beenie in Shirlington last week, accused of the reckless endangerment of children.

Around 9:00 a.m. on Thursday, police received several calls for a vehicle containing numerous young children who were not in proper children’s car seats. Police pulled the vehicle over as it was leaving the Weenie Beenie parking lot on the 2600 block of Shirlington Road, according to Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.

Inside the 2004 Ford Explorer, officers found seven children, ages 5 months to 3 years, and, according to police, “none of them were buckled in with any type of safety restraints.” One child was on the lap of a woman in the front passenger seat, four were in the back seat, and two were in the rear cargo area, Sternbeck said.

Two Alexandria women — Betty Ross, 34, and Cassandra Lewis, 37 — were arrested and charged with seven counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Ross and Lewis, who own a home-based daycare business in Alexandria, were released on a summons.

“None of the children were physically injured, and all of the children were returned to their parents,” according to the ACPD crime report.

by Michael Doyle — April 15, 2013 at 10:05 am 1,753 0

Female firefighters (via Arlington County)An innovative summer camp could spark new career ambitions among high school-aged girls in Arlington who feel up for a challenge. Long term, it could also help the Arlington County Fire Department meet its goal of recruiting more female firefighters.

The Girls’ Fire Camp, a free overnight camp scheduled for July 12-14, is designed to give girls aged 13 to 16 a taste of the firefighter’s life. Participants will work out, run drills and learn skills — all under the close supervision of ACFD staff. The department’s recruiting officer, Capt. Brandon D. Jones, described the camp as a “fun-filled weekend” in which high school students will “learn how to stay in great shape” while performing basic firefighting and emergency medical tasks.

“The department hopes to make a long-term connection with the participants,” Jones said. “After they attend this camp, some may be inspired to continue their ambition to become a Firefighter/EMT in the future.”

Female firefighters (via Arlington County)Though Arlington was the first fire department in the country to hire a female professional firefighter, in 1974, it has struggled like other departments nationwide to recruit women for the traditionally male profession.  Currently, females comprise about 9 percent of the 300-plus member Arlington department.  Nationwide, only about 6 percent of firefighters are women.

As recruiters get more creative in their quest for diversity, fire camps for high school girls have proliferated. Since the Tucson Fire Department joined with the neighboring Northwest Fire/Rescue District to open its inaugural Camp Fury  for girls in 2009, other jurisdictions have followed suit. The Ashland Fire Department in Massachusetts runs a Camp Bailout, the New Hampshire State Fire Academy runs a Camp Fully Involved and the Utica Fire Academy in New York offers the Phoenix Firecamp.

Female firefighters (via Arlington County)“The camp is a really great idea,” said Capt. Anne Marsh, an EMS supervisor and 15-year veteran of the Arlington department. “We want our department to represent the general population. So many people come into the fire department as part of a family legacy, and women have simply not had as many role models to follow.”

Campers will spend the two nights, with chaperones, at Marymount University. During the days, they will participate in activities that include physical training, a fire extinguisher class, hose drills and an aerial ladder demonstration. They will tour the Arlington fire stations and, treat of treats, dine with the on-duty crews.

“The idea is to put the possibility of becoming a firefighter on the front burner for them,” said Arlington firefighter/paramedic Jennifer Slade, a seven-year veteran of the department, “but we’re also trying to incorporate fun into it, so it’s not just learning.”

“Even if they don’t go into the field,” Slade added, “hopefully they will talk to their friends about how much fun they had.”

The camp is limited to 16 participants, who must fill out an application that includes an essay. Those interested can call 703-228-0098 or visit the camp’s web page for more information.

Photos via Arlington County. Michael Doyle is a journalist and Arlington resident. He is a member of the Cherrydale Volunteer Fire Department.

by ARLnow.com — April 15, 2013 at 9:11 am 1,013 0

A man reading in a park on a spring day

Memorial Bridge in Need of Renovations — The 81-year-old Arlington Memorial Bridge, which was once a functioning drawbridge, is in urgent need of repairs. The repairs could cost as much as $250 million and close the span for three months. [Washington Post]

Free Stuff on Tax Day — Among other Tax Day offers around town today, April 15,  California Tortilla is offering free chips and queso to anyone who comes in and uses the secret code “1040.” The restaurant has locations in Courthouse and Crystal City. If you’ve procrastinated and need some free tax advice, check out our three Q&A sessions with local tax pro Bobby Grohs.

Recognizing Arlington’s ECC Staff — Arlington County is recognizing National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week, which runs April 14-20, and lauding the work of the county’s Emergency Communications Center staff — the men and women you talk to when you dial 911. “We commend these professionals on their tireless efforts to support emergency responders and to provide critical services to the citizens of our nation,” the county said in a press release. [Arlington County]

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