(Updated at 12:00 p.m.) Non-profit organization Preservation Virginia has named Arlington National Cemetery to its list of the state’s most endangered sites.
Each year the group chooses historical sites it believes have become threatened due to neglect, insufficient funding, inappropriate development or public policies and procedures. The cemetery made the list due to the Millennium Project, an expansion project requiring the removal of trees on 12 wooded acres, and the removal of portions of the red sandstone Seneca Wall, which was constructed during the late 1800s.
Around 800 trees would be removed from the cemetery as part of the plan, although about 600 would be replanted. Preservation Virginia’s concerns surround not only the tree removal, but also the amount of soil being moved, the extent of the new retaining walls to be constructed and the road to be built across a stream that is “likely to irreparably alter the topography and run counter to the objectives of Congress.”
This isn’t the first complaint about the Millennium Project’s plan for tree removal. Arlington residents and members of citizens groups, such as the Arlington Urban Forestry Commission, have voiced displeasure with the plan. In March, a number of people spoke out against the tree removal during an open house at the site.
Preservation Virginia said the following in a written statement:
“Preservation Virginia respects the mission of Arlington National Cemetery to provide for military interments, but along with other partner preservation organizations believes that there is a better way to create additional burial space while also respecting the significant contributions of Arlington House Woods and the existing, historic boundary wall to this sacred place… Preservation Virginia urges the Army Corps of Engineers to revisit the Environmental Assessment and to seek an expansion alternative that respects the historic significance of Arlington Woods, protects its historic landscape, and provides for additional burial space.”
Preservation Virginia’s full list of endangered sites for 2013 can be found on its website.
Heavy Seas Alehouse to Open in Rosslyn — Baltimore brewer Heavy Seas plans to open a restaurant at the newly renovated 1501 Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn. So far, the existing Baltimore location is the only other Heavy Seas Alehouse besides the one planned for Rosslyn. The restaurant is expected to open by the end of this year. [Washington Business Journal]
Army Ten-Miler Registration to Begin — Registration for the Army Ten-Miler opens at midnight on Wednesday, May 15. This year, 35,000 spots will be available for the October 20 race, instead of 30,000. General admission entries sold out within nine hours last year. [Army Ten-Miler]
Local Eighth Grader Named State’s Top Female Orator — Swanson Middle School eighth grader Dorothee Mulumba won the Virginia State Oratorical Contest on May 4. In total, her scholarship winnings from the local, regional and state competitions add up to $3,000. [Sun Gazette]
McDonnell Signs Transportation Bill — On Monday, Gov. Bob McDonnell signed the transportation funding bill into law. The law cuts the state’s 17.5 cents per gallon gas tax and raises the state sales tax from 5 percent to 5.3 percent, in addition to adding a $64 registration fee for hybrid vehicles. [Washington Post]
Flickr pool photo by Mark C. White
(Updated at 9:20 a.m.) A car flipped on its roof near Shirlington on Sunday after colliding with a parked police car.
The incident happened on the 2800 block of S. Wakefield Street Sunday afternoon. According to police, an Acura TL heading eastbound on Wakefield Street struck two parked vehicles — a Ford Mustang and an Arlington police cruiser — before flipping over. It damaged a third vehicle after overturning.
The police car “sustained major damage” to its rear axle, according to Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.
The driver, identified as a 26-year-old Arlington man, was charged with reckless driving, driving with a revoked license and DUI. No injuries were reported.
Police say the suspect, Barry Fig, stole credit cards from equipment bags left unattended in unlocked locker rooms at Kettler. The bags belonged to recreational hockey players who were in the midst of games at the time of the thefts, police said.
“Barry Fig was captured on video at Kettler Capitals Ice Plex, walking around carrying an equipment bag and hockey stick,” said an Arlington County Police press release. “He entered unattended and unlocked locker rooms and would steal items from equipment bags.”
Fig later used the credit cards at retail stores, according to police. He was arrested in March and charged with five counts of felony credit card theft. He faces similar charges in Fairfax County.
Arlington County detectives are now seeking additional victims in the case.
“Information revealed in the investigation indicates that there are potentially other victims or persons with information regarding this subject,” police said in a press release. “Anyone who has information about this suspect is asked to call Detective James Stone at 703.228.4245 or email Jstone@arlingtonva.us. To report information anonymously, contact the Arlington County Crime Solvers at 866.411.TIPS (8477). ”
Public records indicate that Fig is 34 years old and lives in Montgomery County. He has coached a youth hockey team in Maryland and a private high school team in the District, according to news articles and an archived social media profile.
Britain’s Prince Harry paid his respects to fallen U.S. servicemembers at Arlington National Cemetery this morning.
The prince, who served as a British Army helicopter pilot in Afghanistan, took a solemn tour of Section 60, the final resting place of many American military personnel who lost their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan. He then laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns in a full honors ceremony, before a large crowd of tourists and journalists.
Harry, who’s third in line to the British throne, also left a wreath in Section 60, with a handwritten note that read: “To my comrades-in-arms of the United States of America, who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in the cause of freedom.” It was signed “Captain Harry Wales.”
The visit to the cemetery will be followed by a trip to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center to visit wounded veterans. Harry will then continue his week-long visit to the United States, with stops in Colorado, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.
Additional photos from Prince Harry’s visit to Arlington National Cemetery can be found here.
The incident happened just before 7:00 a.m.
Police say the victim had been drinking all night and was making noise outside of a garden-style apartment building on the 4200 block of 2nd Road N. An angry resident came out and confronted the man about the noise, and a verbal altercation ensued, according to Arlington County Police Department spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.
During the argument, the resident pulled out a knife and stabbed the victim in the left torso, below the armpit, Sternbeck said.
The victim was transported to George Washington University Hospital and is expected to be okay. The suspect is in custody and is being interviewed by police.
Prince Harry Visits Arlington Nat’l Cemetery – Britain’s Prince Harry is visiting Arlington National Cemetery this morning as part of his two-day visit to the Washington area. The prince is expected to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns and to visit the burial area for military personnel killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. [NBC Washington]
Now Official: Whole Foods to Pentagon City — Whole Foods has made it official and signed a deal with Vornado to open a 37,000 square foot store in on the ground floor of a planned 700-unit apartment building in Pentagon City. The store will be the company’s second in Arlington, and is expected to open in 2017. [Washington Business Journal]
Wieners Added to Testicle Festival – The Fairfax County-based Top Dog food truck has been recruited to serve hot dogs at next weekend’s Montana State Society Testicle Festival in Virginia Square. Jed Link, an organizer of the event, called the combination of Rocky Mountain Oysters and hot dogs “a culinary reunion that’s guaranteed to entertain.”
Flickr pool photo by Martin Humm
(Updated at 4:30 p.m.) Lt. Col. Jeff Krusinski, the Air Force sexual assault prevention chief who’s accused of sexual battery in Crystal City, will face trial in July.
With his attorney by his side, a stone-faced Krusinski was arraigned in Arlington General District Court this afternoon. Defense attorney Sheryl Shane argued for a later trial date, citing the need to track down and talk to witnesses, but the judge denied the request, instead setting a trial date of Thursday, July 18.
When Krusinski exited the courthouse after today’s hearing, he was mobbed by reporters and photographers from local and national news outlets. Despite a barrage of questions from microphone-toting TV reporters, he said nothing as he got into the back seat of a dark-colored BMW, which quickly drove off.
Krusinski was removed from his post as head of the Air Force’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response program on Monday after ARLnow.com first reported that he had been arrested, accused of drunkenly grabbing the breasts and buttocks of a woman he didn’t know in a Crystal City parking lot.
The case became national headline news, leading to statements from Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and President Obama, and contributing to a renewed debate about how to deal with the widespread problem of sexual assault in the military.
The charge of sexual battery that Krusinski faces carries a maximum penalty of 12 months in prison and a $2,500 fine. Prosecutor Cari Steele, an Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney, declined to say whether she will seek the maximum sentence in the case.
(Updated at 3:50 p.m.) The number of homeless individuals in Arlington County increased 6 percent between 2012 and 2013, but the homeless population is still lower than it was in 2010, according to a newly-released study.
The annual Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments homelessness report revealed that the homeless count in Arlington increased from 451 in 2012 to 479 in 2013. During that same period, the Washington region saw a 2.4 percent decrease in its homeless population, led by a 22 percent drop in Alexandria, a 12 percent drop in Fairfax County, and a 1 percent drop in the District of Columbia.
Arlington’s homeless population had decreased the past two years, from a peak of 531 homeless individuals in 2010. This year, Arlington has the second highest homelessness ratio — 2.2 homeless persons per 1,000 residents — of any local jurisdiction except D.C., where there are 10.9 homeless persons per 1,000 residents.
Arlington’s latest homeless count was performed on January 30, 2013.
The rise in the local homeless population is happening despite Arlington’s 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness, which was first published in 2006. That plan includes supportive services and rental assistance for homeless individuals, and the opening of the new homeless shelter and services center in Courthouse.
Other vital statistics about Arlington’s homeless population from the MWCOG study include:
- Arlington has 70 homeless families, comprised of 88 adults and 123 kids
- There are 14 homeless veterans in Arlington, down from 24 in 2012
- There were 198 homeless individuals placed in permanent housing in fiscal year 2012
- There were 49 disabled homeless individuals placed in permanent supportive housing in fiscal year 2012
- The number of “chronically homeless” individuals is down from 175 in 2012 to 156 in 2013
- The numbers of homeless individuals classified with chronic substance abuse problems and severe mental illness are 99 and 45, respectively
“The great news is in the County’s success with chronically homeless individuals, where we went from 175 to 156,” said Arlington Dept. of Human Services spokesman Kurt Larrick, in an email sent Thursday afternoon. “These are the people living on the street who are at risk of dying if they don’t get help. This is the target population for our 100 Homes initiative, and we are really pleased with the results to date of getting these Arlingtonians off the street and into stable housing.”
“The Point-in-Time is one lens for looking at the state of homelessness and it gives us some good information,” Larrick continued. “We have other lenses that provide more depth and breadth. What they are showing us is that moving people quickly into housing and providing necessary supports is what results in the best outcomes. Programs like Permanent Supportive Housing and Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing use this strategy. And that will be a key strategy at the new Homeless Services Center when it opens in late 2014. With its year-round beds and on-site services, the new center will greatly enhance our ability to get people on the path to stable housing.”
Arraignment for Air Force Officer — Lt. Col. Jeffrey Krusinski, the airman who was removed from his post as head of the Air Force’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response program after being accused of sexual battery in Crystal City, is scheduled to be arraigned this afternoon in an Arlington County courtroom. While the Arlington Commonwealth’s Attorney office is prosecuting the case, the Air Force has the option of bringing its own case against Krusinski. [Associated Press]
CivFed Opposes Tree Removal at Cemetery — The Arlington County Civic Federation voted Tuesday to oppose a plan to remove 800 trees at Arlington National Cemetery in order to make way for about 30,000 in-ground burial spots and niche spaces. The resolution asks Arlington’s congressional delegation to sponsor legislation to stop the plan and asks the County Board to officially support the legislation. [Sun Gazette]
Four Students Earn Nat’l Merit Scholarships — Four Arlington students have been awarded National Merit Scholarships. The students receiving the $2,500 scholarships are: Ariel Bobbett and Elizabeth Roy of Washington-Lee High School, Nicole Orttung of Yorktown High School, and Robert C. Wharton of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology. [Arlington Public Schools]
Day One of School Board Caucus — The first day of the Arlington County Democratic Committee endorsement caucus for School Board will take place tonight from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. at Drew Model Elementary School (3500 23rd Street S.). The second day of party voting will take place on Saturday. Incumbent James Lander is facing off against challenger Barbara Kanninen for the Democratic endorsement. [Arlington Democrats]
Flickr pool photo by Wolfkann
A new Arlington County profile has been released for 2013, and it shows a significant uptick in projected population growth, thanks in part to development along Columbia Pike.
Arlington’s population, currently estimated at 212,900, is projected to surpass 250,000 by 2030. The population will hit 258,800 in 2030, according to the latest projection from Arlington’s planning division. That’s up 5 percent from last year’s projection of 246,500.
The increase, according to county demographer Elizabeth Rodgers, is largely due to the fact that the Columbia Pike Neighborhoods Plan, approved in July 2012, was incorporated into the projection. The plan calls for the Pike to be transformed into a more populated, urban and walkable community, with 10,000 new housing units added by 2040.
With the Columbia Pike plan incorporated into the projection, the county’s population is expected to hit 276,100 by 2040.
Employment in Arlington, meanwhile, is projected to increase to 308,000 jobs in 2040, up from the current level of 228,700 jobs.
According to the profile, 40,671 Arlington residents live and work in Arlington. Another 47,226 residents work in the District of Columbia. But that’s less than the number of Fairfax County residents who work in Arlington, which stands at 48,242.
Other vital statistics can be found in the 2013 Arlington County Profile.
Graph via Arlington County
A Falls Church woman has been arrested and charged with obtaining more than $28,000 in public assistance from Arlington County thanks to forged documents, according police.
From this week’s Arlington County crime report:
FORGERY OF PUBLIC RECORDS & FALSE STATEMENTS AND REPRESENTATIONS,05/01/13, 2100 block of N. Washington Boulevard. Between October 2010 and April 2013, a subject obtained approximately $28,121 of public assistance from Arlington County by forging documents and providing false statements in regards to residency, welfare status and medical diagnosis. April Dugard, 35, of Falls Church, VA was arrested and charged with Forgery of Public Records and Making False Statement and Representations. She was issued an unsecured bond.
“The individual was using forged physicians’ notes to certify a medical condition, and forged school forms,” said Arlington Department of Human Services (DHS) spokesman Kurt Larrick. “The forgeries were were pretty sophisticated.”
“We take fraud seriously, and have effective safeguards to prevent it,” Larrick continued. “When it does occur, we always take appropriate measures, which can include restitution and prosecution.”
Larrick was unable to elaborate on the accusations, explaining that DHS “can’t really say much about a case that is in the legal system.”
The rest of the crime report, after the jump. All suspects are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law.
The new Modell’s Sporting Goods store in Pentagon City is expected to open for business tomorrow morning.
The store, in the former Borders book store space at the Pentagon Centre shopping center (1201 S. Hayes Street), says it will open its doors at 9:00 a.m. and offer “great prizes,” “exciting giveaways for early bird shoppers,” and “crazy deals.”
As part of a four-day grand opening event, Modell’s will host “meet and greets” with two local professional athletes. Washington Nationals pitcher Gio Gonzalez is scheduled to be at the store on Thursday from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m., and Washington Nationals linebacker Brian Orakpo is scheduled from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. on Sunday.
As we reported last month, this will be the first Arlington location for New York City-based Modell’s, which was founded in 1889. The company operates more than 150 stores along the East Coast, including existing locations in Fairfax County, Montgomery County and the District of Columbia.
Trash cans have been removed from the Iwo Jima memorial and a number of other National Park Service properties in the area, including Netherlands Carillon, Roosevelt Island, LBJ Memorial Grove, and the Roaches Run waterfowl sanctuary.
The trash cans were removed following the Boston Marathon bombing — when there were incorrect rumors of the bombs being placed in trash cans — but the timing is coincidental. The removal was actually done as part of a larger “Trash Free Park” campaign, and timed to coincide with Earth Day.
“It is a solid waste management strategy of removing trash receptacles from all or sections of a park,” NPS’ George Washington Memorial Parkway branch wrote in a fact sheet last month. “Visitors are expected to carry out the refuse they generate and dispose of it properly at home or at another appropriate destination.”
National and local parks around the country have been getting rid of trash cans as a way to save money and discourage visitors from generating trash at parks to begin with. According to NPS, benefits of a “trash free park” include:
- Fostering a partnership between visitors and the park by encouraging people to take an active role in maintaining a trash-free park.
- Encouraging people to adopt a carry in, carry out Leave No Trace principle.
- Encouraging people to reduce, reuse, and recycle.
- Reducing odors in the picnic area.
- Increasing visitor safety by reducing the number of stinging insects, rodents, and other wildlife in the picnic area.
- Allowing staff time and funds spent on trash collection to be applied to other projects and improvements within the park. (These projects include facility and grounds maintenance, and resource preservation.)
- Reducing the amount of litter in the park.
- Establishing a commitment to park sustainability and responsible park use that will carry on to future generations.
When Fairfax County considered going trash free at county parks in 2010, the annual savings was estimated at $1.8 million.
Not everybody thinks it’s a good idea, though. Some say it’s confusing visitors and resulting in trash being left on the ground, including one recent visitor to the Iwo Jima memorial.
“I watched a war veteran (as indicated by his baseball hat) look for a garbage can to place his empty coffee cup… not finding one he placed it next to another discarded coffee cup,” local resident Lindsey Paola said in an email to ARLnow.com.
Rosslyn to Lose ‘Tallest Building’ Crown — Rosslyn may eventually lose its distinction as the home of the tallest building in the D.C. region. The under-construction 1812 N. Moore Street office building in Rosslyn will soon claim the ‘tallest building’ crown, but a planned tower in Alexandria and a proposed skyscraper in Tysons will be taller. [Greater Greater Washington]
Bicycle ‘Hibernation’ is Over — The number of bicyclists on local trails is spiking as the weather becomes warmer. Bike Arlington says of the seasonal ridership spike: “Winter hibernation for Arlingtonian riders is over.” [Bike Arlington]
Books for ‘Mummy’ — Just in time for Mother’s Day, Arlington Public Library is out with some suggested reading and viewing on the topic of “mummies.” [Arlington Public Library]
Flickr pool photo by J.D. Moore