The county’s Emergency Winter Shelter (EWS) opens for the 2014-2015 season tomorrow (Saturday). This will be the final season for the EWS, as the permanent homeless shelter under construction in Courthouse is set to open in spring.
The EWS will be open for vulnerable residents every day from 4:00 p.m.-9:00 a.m., through March 31. Hours may be extended on especially cold days, which happened during last season’s cold snap. The temporary facility at 2049 15th Street N. accommodates up to 74 people and other nearby facilities can be used as overflow during severe weather.
Arlington County funds the EWS and it is operated by the nonprofit Arlington Street People’s Assistance Network (A-SPAN), under the supervision of the county’s Department of Human Services. It provides homeless residents with facilities for sleeping, eating, showering and doing laundry.
A-SPAN also will operate the new Homeless Services Center (2020 14th Street N.) when it opens, which is expected to be in April.
“We are anticipating a seamless transition,” said Department of Human Services spokesman Kurt Larrick. “A-SPAN will continue to be the service provider and they’ve demonstrated they are great at what they do.”
The goal for employees of the new Homeless Services Center is not only to house homeless residents, but also to identify and tackle the issues that drove a person to homelessness. County agencies and nonprofit partners will continue to provide resources such as employment training, financial management assistance, and treatment for mental health and substance abuse.
“We’ve got a head start on this even before the new center opens – it’s essentially the same approach we used for the recently completed 100 Homes Campaign,” said Larrick. “It’s the approach we use in our Permanent Supportive Housing Programs – where we get the housing piece in place and then ensure that people get the supports they need to maintain their housing.”
In February, the County Board approved a $6.6 million contract for the new Homeless Services Center, and construction began in April. Right now, workers are continuing to repair weather-damaged columns in the former open parking area under part of the second floor. This known issue was part of the contract. Once the building inspector approves the fixes, workers can removed the extra steel supports installed to carry building loads during repairs, and move on to the next phase. Construction is scheduled to wrap up in March, in time for the April opening.
When finished, the shelter will house 50 year round beds on the third floor, with room for an additional 25 beds during the winter. The second floor will have a kitchen and dining area, in addition to a day room and offices for counseling. Floors four through seven will be converted to county offices at a later date.
Construction updates will be posted online.
Historical Society Requests Heritage Center — The Arlington Historical Society formally requested including a heritage center in the the plan for redeveloping the Courthouse Square area. The organization said it could assist with developing such a facility, but could not foot the bill entirely on its own. [InsideNova]
Wizards’ Marcin Gortat Buys $1.6M Home in Arlington — Washington Wizards player Marcin Gortat has purchased one of the most expensive homes on the market in Arlington. He bought the 5-bedroom, 5.5-bathroom home for $1.6 million. The 4,008 square foot new house on N. Quebec Street should have plenty of room for the 6’11″ Gortat. [Curbed DC]
County Responds to Streetcar Criticism — The county has made a website addressing a number of concerns raised about the streetcar project, particularly how to avoid problems being experienced by the D.C. streetcar on H Street. The website lists its plans to alleviate some of the problems, like keeping traffic moving, while calling this “an opportunity for us to learn best practices.” [Arlington County]
Free Halloween Taxi Rides from SoberRide — The Washington Regional Alcohol Program’s 2014 SoberRide service is available tonight. Anyone enjoying some adult beverages can get a free taxi, up to a $30 fare, instead of trying to drive home. SoberRide begins today at 10:00 p.m. and runs through 4:00 a.m. Saturday. Call 1-800-200-TAXI. [Washington Regional Alcohol Program]
Daylight Saving Time Ends — Remember to set your clocks back one hour this weekend. Daylight Saving Time ends at 2:00 a.m. on Sunday. It’s also a good time to test your smoke detector.
Flickr pool photo by Wolfkann
Arlington County has approved a permit for the 2014 Clarendon Halloween Crawl, making it the first such event approved under the county’s new pub crawl guidelines.
The Halloween Crawl is set to take place on Saturday (November 1). It’s the first bar crawl permit issued since the County Board decided in July that bar crawls will be classified as “special events” and require a permit.
“As the County Board has said, our goal is to manage these events in a way that ensures the safety of participants and residents of the surrounding neighborhoods and reimburses the County for crawl-related expenses,” said County Manager Barbara Donnellan in a written statement.
The county manager’s office confirmed that under the new regulations, Halloween Crawl organizer Project DC Events is required to reimburse the county for event-related personnel expenses, such as the need for extra police officers. The event organizers currently anticipate around 3,000 people will participate in the crawl, so the county assigned 30 police officers to the area. More police support will be requested should the number of event attendees increase. The county manager’s office estimates the police presence and potential EMT services will cost around $9,000-$15,000.
The county doesn’t foresee the need for additional trash collection services; instead, it’s moving up Clarendon’s regular Monday pickup to Sunday. Just like with the police estimate, more waste management services can be added if necessary.
It will likely take up to two weeks to calculate the final costs and then send Project DC Events a bill. Per the regulations, special events organizers must reimburse the county within 60 days of the issuance of an invoice.
“This is an Arlington-based company and we are very confident we will not have any issues with them,” said Assistant County Manager Wilfredo Calderon.
La Cote D’Or Cafe in East Falls Church (6876 Lee Highway) reopened last night, after having been closed for a day and a half due to damage from a break-in.
Cris Flores tells ARLnow.com that he was the manager on duty on Monday night. He said sometime after he closed up at 10:00 p.m. and before the first person came in on Tuesday at 7:30 a.m., vandals broke into the restaurant.
Flores said wine, liquor, beer and money were stolen from the establishment. The vandals also overturned tables, broke wine glasses and plates, removed food from the refrigerator and scattered it around, and broke wine bottles.
The restaurant closed on Tuesday for the police investigation and for clean-up. They remained closed during breakfast and lunch Wednesday to finish shampooing the carpet, but reopened in time for dinner. Flores estimates that the lost business from being closed, plus all the damage and theft, probably adds up to about a $10,000 loss for the restaurant.
“They did do a lot of damage in the place, it’s not that they just took the money,” said Flores. “But nobody was hurt. That’s the good part.”
Upon reopening for dinner on Wednesday, the restaurant posted a message to customers on its website:
Some of you may have heard about the incident that occurred after we closed on Monday, October 27th. Unfortunately, someone broke into La Cote D’Or and vandalized the establishment. We are happy to say that no one was hurt, and we are reopening tonight for dinner… We thank you very much for your continued support and patronage. We look forward to seeing you all again at your convenience.
The restaurant is open for regular business hours, starting today.
“We’re still trying to get the inventory back to normal, but we are back in business,” said Flores.
Police are investigating the break-in and have not yet named any suspects.
Photo via Google Maps
Patrick Henry Elementary Honored by State — Patrick Henry Elementary School was among 40 schools around the state honored by the Virginia Board of Education for improving the academic performance of economically disadvantaged students. It was named a Highly Distinguished School for exceeding both state and federal benchmarks two years in a row. [WJLA]
Arlington, Falls Church Have State’s Best Jobs Numbers – Arlington and Falls Church tied for the lowest jobless rate in Virginia last month. They both listed a 3.7 percent unemployment rate for September. Arlington’s unemployment rate had been at 4 percent in August. [InsideNova]
Dog Loose at Airport — Among the cases recently handled by the Animal Welfare League of Arlington was a dog loose on the property at Reagan National Airport. The pooch had been reported missing and was reunited with its owner. [Washington Post]
Bike Light and Arm Band Giveaway — All cyclists, runners and walkers who stop by the Crystal City exit of the Mount Vernon Trail tonight from 4:00-6:00 p.m. will receive a free bike light or LED arm/leg band, courtesy of the Crystal City BID. Limit one item per person, while supplies last.
Flickr pool photo by lifeinthedistrict
The achievement will be celebrated tonight at the annual Community Meeting on Homelessness. The public is welcome to attend the event, which will be held at the National Rural Electrical Cooperative Association (NRECA) Conference Center (4301 Wilson Blvd) from 7:00-8:30 p.m. John Harvey, Virginia Secretary of Veterans and Defense Affairs, will be the keynote speaker. He will talk about Virginia’s efforts to end veteran homelessness by the end of next year. Other speakers include County Board members and State Senator Barbara Favola.
County staff worked with nonprofit organizations to find housing for the people selected for 100 Homes. The following programs allowed for the housing:
- Arlington County Permanent Supportive Housing — 63 housed
- Housing Grant or Housing choice voucher — 12 housed
- Veterans (Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing Voucher) — 11 housed
- Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing — 13 housed
- Mary Marshall Assisted Living Residence — 1 housed
“This is an important milestone in our efforts to prevent and end homelessness,” said County Board Chairman Jay Fisette. “It’s wonderful to see residents, nonprofit groups, faith-based organizations, the business community and County government coming together to make a difference in the lives of some of our most vulnerable neighbors.”
Of the 100 residents housed since the program launched in 2011, 93 continue to live in the housing. Many of them had been on the streets for years and had difficulty accessing and maintaining housing.
“The retention rate has been remarkable,” said Kathy Sibert, president and chief executive officer of Arlington Street People’s Assistance Network (A-SPAN). “The key to this success is the supportive services that come with the housing. Case managers have done an outstanding job working with the clients to address issues like managing finances, maximizing employment and benefits, and connecting with mental health and substance abuse services.”
Just because the 100 Homes Campaign reached its goal does not mean the push to end homelessness in Arlington is finished. There will be a new initiative announced at tonight’s public meeting, called “Zero: 2016.” Arlington is joining the nationwide effort to end veteran and chronic homelessness.
“The [100 Homes] legacy will live on,” said Arlington Department of Human Services spokesman Kurt Larrick. “We learned a lot during the campaign, and partnered with a lot of great nonprofits, and we are carrying forward a lot of the concepts we learned.”
The $23 million mansion at 201 Chain Bridge Road in Arlington was the scene of a possible home invasion robbery this morning.
The robbery is at least the second time the 23,000-square-foot, Mediterranean house overlooking the Potomac River has been broken into in the past seven months. This time, police were dispatched around 10:30 a.m. for a report of a burglary in progress, according to Arlington County Police Department spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.
Police arrived with a large response; more than two dozen vehicles were at the scene, blocking off one lane of Chain Bridge Road and occupying the entirety of the hilly driveway. Sternbeck said police took two subjects into custody and had multiple K-9 units sweeping the massive house to ensure no one else was on the property.
“This is a known residence to police,” Sternbeck said, referencing previous calls for “a variety of incidents,” including when valuable art was stolen from the home.
The mansion near the border with McLean belongs to Rodney P. Hunt, the former CEO of RS Information Systems who sold the I.T. company for $1.2 billion, he told ARLnow.com in April. The April incident was also allegedly perpetrated by two individuals, who made off with some crystal ware, Hunt said.
Sternbeck could not confirm if anything was taken from the house before police arrived. Hunt and another person were inside the home when the break-in occurred, Sternbeck said.
Donnellan said in a memorandum in July she would recommend issuing no new taxi licenses in the county. But when the Accessibility Subcommittee of the Transit Advisory Committee took up the issue in September, it found that there was a need the county had not adequately addressed.
“[The subcommittee] that the low level of taxi complaints reported in the 2014 Certificate Determination Report was not a meaningful measure to determine the amount of accessible taxis needed,” Donnellan’s memorandum, issued earlier this month, states. “Since taxi dispatchers are informing callers that a three-hour wait is required for an accessible taxicab ride, customers are unlikely to complain to the County or request a same-day accessible taxi trip in the future.”
All Access Taxi requested 60 accessible taxi licenses in the summer after Donnellan issued her initial recommendation. Donnellan revised her recommendation to allow All Access Taxi 30 accessible taxi licenses and 10 more licenses for Blue Top Cab, bringing the total number of accessible cabs in the county to 77. All Access CEO and Founder Julie Piché said that 30 is not the optimal number to serve the disabled population in Arlington.
“Sixty wheelchair accessible taxis in Arlington County would maximize service to this underserved population by providing 2 taxis per square mile,” Piché said in a press release. “This will allow the population of disabled individuals to receive spontaneous service for the first time in history. The days of having to call more than 24 hours ahead, or waiting over 3 hours for an accessible taxi after a spontaneous call will be a thing of the past with our 60 taxi accessible fleet.”
According to the county report, the need for accessible services is increasing in Arlington. Arlington’s STAR program and MetroAccess — two public paratransit services — have seen their registrations in Arlington increase 26 percent in the last two years, the memorandum states. Both services use cabs when they don’t have other vehicles available, and there have been more reported late pickups among Arlington STAR riders from March to June this year than during any period since March 2011.
The new taxi license recommendation will go before the county’s Transportation Commission on Thursday, and hopes to see a larger number approved by the County Board when the matter goes before them in December. If approved, accessible cabs will make up 9.3 percent of the county’s taxi fleet, up from the current level of 4.7 percent.
Photos courtesy All Access Taxi
Decal Competition Underway — The annual competition for high school students to design the county’s new vehicle decal has begun. Entries for the 2015-2016 decal are accepted until December 1. [InsideNova, Arlington County]
DIY Network Casting Call — DIY Network is accepting applications from residents of the D.C. metro region for its show “I Want That.” It is not a renovation program, but rather focuses on the best and newest home and garden products. Homeowners within a 30 minute drive from downtown D.C. will be considered. [DIY Network]
Business Conference for Latina Entrepreneurs — The Shirlington Employment and Education Center will host a Latino Women’s Business Development Conference next Saturday, November 8. The goal is to find Latino women interested in starting their own businesses and connecting them with resources to succeed. The program primarily will be in Spanish. [InsideNova]
Flickr pool photo by Nathan Jones
The man was in the 3300 block of 13th Street N. around 2:05 a.m. on Saturday when he was apparently approached by three strangers. The three men robbed the victim of his watch while showing a gun, according to the police crime report.
Several bystanders allegedly intervened, but they didn’t stay at the scene until police arrived.
Police describe the three suspects as black males, between 5’9″ and 5’11″, with medium builds. One suspect was wearing a red hoodie at the time of the incident and the other two were wearing black hoodies.
Anyone with information about the incident should call the police non-emergency number at 703-558-2222. To report information anonymously, contact the Arlington County Crime Solvers at 866-411-TIPS (8477).
The victim had just visited his girlfriend in the 800 block of S. Frederick Street. Around 6:45 p.m., three teenagers reportedly attacked the man without provocation, stabbing him multiple times in the upper body. Police say the victim’s girlfriend witnessed the attack but was not hurt.
The victim sustained significant injuries and was taken to Fairfax Inova Hospital.
Police have released the following suspect descriptions:
- Suspect one — Teenage Hispanic male, approximately 5’4″ tall and 165 lbs. He was wearing dark clothing and had a blue bandana covering his face.
- Suspect two — Teenage Hispanic male, approximately 5’10″ tall and 200 lbs. He was wearing dark clothing with grey sweatpants and had a black bandana covering his face.
- Suspect three — Teenage Hispanic male, approximately 5’4″ tall and 165 lbs. He was wearing dark clothing and also had a black bandana covering his face.
Anyone with information about the incident should call the police non-emergency number at 703-588-2222. To report information anonymously, contact the Arlington County Crime Solvers at 866-411-TIPS (8477).”
Leaf bag collection begins on Monday (November 3) and will run through Friday, January 9. Bags are collected on the next business day after your regular trash collection day. This includes holidays, except for Christmas and New Year’s Day.
Biodegradable paper leaf bags are available at most hardware stores, or can be used if left over from previous collections. Limited quantities also are available for free at the following community centers:
- Aurora Hills Community Center, 735 18th Street South, 703-228-5715
- Courthouse Plaza Information Desk, 2100 Clarendon Blvd., 703-228-3000
- Lee Community Center and Park, 5722 Lee Highway, 703-228-0552
- Long Branch Nature Center, 625 S. Carlin Springs Road, 703-228-6535
- Lubber Run Community Center, 300 N. Park Drive, 703-228-4712
- Madison Community Center and Park, 3829 N. Stafford Street, 703-228-5310
- Solid Waste Bureau, 4300 29th Street South, 703-228-6570
- Thomas Jefferson Community Center, 3501 2nd Street South, 703-228-5920
Residents are asked to follow some guidelines for leaf bag collection:
- Remove dirt, stones, litter and other debris from your leaves.
- Place leaves only in biodegradable paper leaf bags because the bags will be made into mulch along with the leaves. Do not use plastic bags.
- Close the bags by folding the top down.
- Place your bags at the curb by 6:30 a.m., one business day after your trash day.
Vacuum leaf collection begins on November 10 and runs Monday through Saturday until December 19, except for Thanksgiving. Each civic association will receive two passes — one in November and one in December — and signs will be posted throughout the neighborhood three to seven days in advance. The full schedule is available online.
Residents are asked to follow some guidelines to prepare for vacuum collection:
- Rake your leaves to the curb.
- Don’t put leaves in roads more than seven days in advance of your scheduled vacuum leaf collection. It blocks traffic, limits street parking and is a fire hazard.
- Pile your leaves away from storm drains, water meter covers, low wires and parked cars.
- Remove stones, litter, branches and other debris from your leaves to prevent equipment damage and worker injuries.
- Don’t place leaves in plastic bags or trash carts.
- Never park your car on leaf piles. It’s a fire hazard.
More information is available on the county’s website.
Orange/Silver Line Delays — There were delays on the Orange and Silver lines this morning due to a disabled train at Virginia Square. The disabled train has since been cleared and trains are no longer single tracking around it. [Twitter]
Video: Don’t Put H-B Woodlawn in Reed School — A video created by members of the Westover community urges Arlington Public Schools to reject any proposal to relocate the H-B Woodlawn secondary program to the Reed School. [YouTube]
Design Tweaks for Courthouse Building — Developer Carr Properties has made several tweaks to the design of 2025 Clarendon Blvd, its proposed office building which will replace the Wendy’s in Courthouse. Responding to concerns from county planners, Carr has added a fourth retail bay and replaced most of the terra cotta in the facade with more glass and steel. [Washington Business Journal - WARNING: AUTO-PLAY VIDEO]
Health Violations at Arlington Restaurants — WUSA9 investigative reporter Russ Ptacek has set his sights on Arlington restaurants that have had food safety licenses revoked, including Mario’s Pizza, Aroma Indian Cuisine, Pedro & Vinny’s and Astor Mediterranean. In Virginia, restaurants get their violations cleared from the public database after getting a new license post-revocation. [WUSA9 - WARNING: AUTO-PLAY VIDEO]
Parking App for DCA — Starting Nov. 1, those parking at Reagan National Airport will be able to pay via a smartphone app. [MWAA]
Sun Gazette Carries Doomsday Ad – The Arlington Sun Gazette recently carried an ad for Disaster Retreat, a doomsday safe haven in central Virginia for “serious-minded families and executives.” The half-page ad was adjacent to a streetcar editorial and ads for window treatments and dog training. [Slate]
The group Arlingtonians for Sensible Transit (AST) is responding to the county’s stated benefits of the Arlington streetcar project with a set of ads claiming a streetcar “doesn’t make any sense.”
The four ads posted on the group’s “Myth Busters Page” focus on streetcar capacity, dedicated lanes and comparisons to buses and Metro. They feature a woman and man talking about why the county says residents would benefit from a streetcar, with most of the clips ending on the man stating, “That doesn’t make any sense.”
“Streetcar supporters have tried to mislead the public into thinking that streetcars on Columbia Pike would be just like Metro, and that only streetcars have the capacity to handle ridership growth. Supporters also argue that bus rapid transit (BRT) cannot be a transit upgrade on the Pike because BRT requires a dedicated lane,” said Peter Rousselot, a leader of AST and an ARLnow.com opinion columnist. “AST’s new ads feature two AST supporters who explain succinctly why these claims by streetcar supporters are false and make no sense.”
Over the summer, the county released several videos explaining “Why Streetcar.” Last month, the County Board approved a $26 million preliminary design and engineering contract for the streetcar project. That’s 5.4 percent of the estimated $481 million total project cost.
Prosecutors say police began investigating Ogregory Hamilton after receiving a tip that the firefighter was dealing drugs. Earlier this year, police also received a tip that the Dumfries resident intended to sell cocaine near Carpool in Ballston on April 17. Detectives staked out the area and observed Hamilton arrive and park at the designated spot for the planned deal.
Police ended up detaining Hamilton and found cocaine inside the trunk during a search of his vehicle, according to a statement of facts entered as part of the plea. Police also searched his home and found a digital scale and baggies commonly used for packaging drugs. The baggies reportedly also had a white, powdery residue that appeared to be cocaine.
There is no indication that Hamilton dealt cocaine on county time or used any county resources to carry out any transactions, according to prosecutors. He pleaded guilty to a lower charge of cocaine possession earlier this month.
Hamilton’s sentencing is set for January 30, 2015.