Man Shot By Arlington Sheriff Worked for TV Show — Julian Dawkins, the 22-year-old man shot and killed by an off-duty Arlington deputy sheriff in Alexandria early Wednesday, worked as a shuttle bus driver for the PBS Newshour in Shirlington. He was also the cousin of Washington Mystics player Tierra Ruffin-Pratt. [NBC Washington]
Chamber’s ‘Best Business’ Awards — The Arlington Chamber of Commerce has handed out its 2013 Arlington’s Best Business awards. The winners were: John Marshall Bank (Business of the Year), Dante Consulting (Business of the Year), InfoLock Technologies (Technology Small Business of the Year), Minuteman Press Crystal City (Service Small Business of the Year), House of Steep (Retail Small Business of the Year), AHC Inc. (Non-Profit Small Business of the Year), BbG Fitness (Home-Based Business of the Year Award). [Sun Gazette]
Arlington Sells $77 Million in Bonds — Arlington County issued $77 million worth of bonds at an average interest rate of 3.6 percent on Tuesday. The bonds will help fund the acquisition of the office building at 2020 14th Street N, for use as a year-round homeless shelter and for county offices, and for the affordable housing redevelopment of Buckingham Village 3. [Arlington County]
Photo courtesy CG Liacouras
Update on 5/30/13 — Patterson has been charged with murder.
An Arlington County deputy sheriff is being interviewed by detectives regarding a shooting death in Alexandria overnight.
Around 12:45 a.m., Alexandria Police responded to reports of a person being shot in the 100 block of Lynhaven Drive, just south of Arlington and a block away from Potomac Yard.
Officers found the victim unresponsive. He was transported to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Detectives on the case are interviewing Arlington County Deputy Sheriff Craig Patterson, a 17-year veteran of the Sheriff’s Office and an Alexandria resident, who was involved in the shooting. The Arlington County Sheriff’s Office says it is cooperating with the investigation and is also doing its own internal investigation. Patterson, 44, has been placed on administrative leave while the case is ongoing.
Police have not said how Patterson, was involved, but according to scanner traffic the off-duty deputy said he shot a man who pulled a knife on him.
The victim has been identified as 22-year-old Alexandria resident Julian Dawkins. The medical examiner’s office will determine the cause of death during an autopsy.
Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call the Criminal Investigations Section of the Alexandria Police Department at 703-746-6711.
Hat tip to John Antonelli
Thousands of Armed Protesters Expected on July 4 — Pro-gun activists are planning an open carry protest march from Arlington National Cemetery, across the Memorial Bridge and into D.C. The protest, which is being organized on Facebook, is to take place on July 4. Participants are encouraged to march with loaded rifles slung across their backs. More than 2,000 have indicated their intention to participate in the “non-violent event.” [Huffington Post]
DJO Softball Finishes 24-1 — The elite Bishop O’Connell softball team has finished the regular season with a 24-1 record after consecutive victories against Yorktown and Paul VI. The nationally-ranked Knights will now advance to the playoffs. [Sun Gazette]
Too-Tall Parking Meters Being Replaced — A manufacturer of Arlington’s multi-space parking meters is replacing 16 meters that don’t meet current Americans with Disabilities Act requirements because they’re too tall. The replacements are being done at no cost to the county. [Arlington Mercury]
New Bus Shelters Vandalized in Arlandria — There has been a wave of vandalism directed toward new glass-paned bus shelters in the Arlandria section of Alexandria, adjacent to Arlington. [The Arlandrian]
Flickr pool photo by Maryva2
The GenOn Potomac River Generating Station, a 63-year-old coal-fired power plant on the Potomac River, north of Old Town Alexandria, permanently shut down this week. The plant closed after dogged efforts by local residents and environmental activists, who argued the 482-megawatt plant was harming local air quality and endangering residents.
The Washington Post called the plant the “largest single source of air pollution in the Washington region.” The plant’s smokestacks emitted fine particulate matter and sulfur dioxide, occasionally at levels that could temporarily harm sensitive individuals, according to a recent air quality study.
Jeff Harn, the Bureau Chief of Arlington’s Office of Sustainability and Environmental Management, said the plant’s closure is a positive development for local air quality.
“I think generally it’s a good thing,” he told ARLnow.com. “We sort of look at that plant as a regional source of air pollution. It affects the whole region. [The closure] would be beneficial, I’m sure.”
At a press conference on Monday, Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) said the closing of the plant will benefit the health of local residents.
“Today marks the conclusion of a long fought but well won victory for Northern Virginia residents and the health of citizens in the National Capital Region,” he said. “What once was the largest stationary source of air pollution in the metro area will be no more. With the extinction of this dinosaur, our air will be cleaner. As much as 600,000 fewer tons of carbon dioxide, 1.9 million lbs of nitrogen oxide, and 325,000 lbs of sulfur dioxide will be in the air we breathe.”
Harn said the areas closest to the plant — parts of Alexandria, as well as parts of South Arlington and Crystal City — should see some air quality improvement as a result of the plant’s closure. D.C. should also benefit, he said, as prevailing winds often carried the plant’s emissions across the Potomac and into the District.
Since there is not much heavy industry in the area, Harn says most of the air pollution in the D.C. area is transportation-related — from sources like cars, buses and airplanes.
Flickr pool photo by Afagen
Route 1 Streetcar Compromise? – Arlington and Alexandria officials are considering a compromise that could end their reported impasse over the planned Route 1 streetcar project. Under the compromise, the streetcar line that starts in Crystal City would end at the new Potomac Yard Metro station in Alexandria, instead of at the Braddock Road Metro station, as originally proposed. [Connection Newspapers]
Cocaine Trafficking Ring Busted — Twenty-eight individuals have been arrested and charged with operating a cocaine trafficking ring in Northern Virginia. Five of those arrested are said to be Arlington residents. The Arlington County Police Department and other local agencies assisted the FBI in the investigation. [U.S. Attorney's Office]
Arlington, Alexandria Compete for Federal Funds — Alexandria’s planned transit corridor along Route 1 is competing with Arlington’s proposed Columbia Pike streetcar for a limited pool of federal transporation funds. Meanwhile, Alexandria officials are still upset that Arlington declined to help pay for a study that could have helped Alexandria obtain federal funding for the Route 1 transit project, which the two jurisdictions have been otherwise cooperating on. [Connection Newspapers]
Democratic School Board Slate Set — Incumbent Emma Violand-Sanchez and political newcomer Noah Simon have received the Democratic endorsement for Arlington County School Board, all but guaranteeing their election in November. [Sun Gazette]
Condo Building Sells Out in Weeks — A new condo building at 1221 N. Quinn Street, in the Radnor/Fort Myer Heights neighborhood, sold out of all 13 units in just a matter of weeks this past winter. [CityBiz List]
A report that Arlington backed out of an agreement with Alexandria to conduct an environmental assessment for the Route 1 transit corridor project is incorrect, according to a county government spokeswoman.
The two jurisdictions have been cooperating on a transit project that will bring bus rapid transit and, ultimately, a streetcar to the Route 1 corridor of Crystal City and Potomac Yard. But today Connection Newspapers reported that Alexandria officials were upset because Arlington supposedly withdrew from an agreement to pay $2.4 million of the $3.4 million cost of an environmental analysis.
In reality, says Arlington County spokeswoman Mary Curtius, the environmental analysis is currently underway and Arlington County is paying its $1.78 million share of the $3.56 million cost. The Arlington county manager and the Alexandria city manager signed an agreement to split the cost of the analysis in 2010, she said.
At issue, according to Curtius, is an “Alternatives Analysis” that was optional under the agreement.
“Arlington recently informed Alexandria that we do not intend to do an Alternatives Analysis,” Curtius told ARLnow.com. “Such an analysis is required in order to apply for federal small/new starts funding. Arlington does not intend to apply for such funding for Route 1. We are continuing to work with Alexandria on how to proceed in a way that enables Alexandria to apply for federal funding for its part of the transit project, should it choose to do so.”
In an apparent effort to dispute the report about rising tensions between the two jurisdictions, Arlington County Board Chair Mary Hynes and Alexandria Mayor William Euille have issued a joint statement regarding their transit partnership.
Arlington County and the City of Alexandria have been transit partners for more than 35 years. Together, we’ve ensured safe, efficient transit options for hundreds of thousands of people … every day.
Throughout our region’s history, federal and state transportation funding has been the backbone of supporting transit projects. Unfortunately, that landscape has changed dramatically in just the last few years, greatly impacting local transit planning across the country. All of us have to reassess transportation projects, determine how we can fund them, and make some tough strategic decisions.
The City of Alexandria has decided to focus its attention and its funding on the planned infill Metrorail station; this investment will benefit not only the City, but the entire region.
Arlington needs a streetcar system in Crystal City to support development there — and has funding available through a special tax district.
We are both committed to providing more transit options for people who live and work in the Route 1 corridor. Our strategies are not exactly the same at this point in time. We look forward to working together collaboratively as we continue to move people efficiently through our communities and the region.
County Urges Residents to Buy CO Alarms — Arlington County Chief Fire Marshal Daniel Fitch is urging residents to buy, install and maintain carbon monoxide alarms. The recommendation, in the form of a press release, came one day after five people died from carbon monoxide poisoning in Oxon Hill, Md. [Arlington County]
Route 1 Transit Corridor Tension – Arlington and Alexandria are at odds over the proposed transit corridor along Route 1, reports Michael Lee Pope. Arlington has, for some reason, backed off a promise to kick in $2.4 million for an environmental analysis for the project, according to Pope. [Arlington Connection]
United Exempts Foreign Service from New Pet Fees – Rep. Jim Moran is applauding a decision by United Airlines to exempt the cost of transporting pets overseas for the country’s more than 5,000 Foreign Service workers. Last month United announced new charges to transporting pets, but at the time exempted only military personnel. “The policy change could have added thousands of dollars in moving costs to Foreign Service personnel,” Moran’s office said in a press release.
No Drones Over Arlington — Despite a report that the Arlington County Police Department has been cleared by the FAA to operate drone aircraft, the department says they’re drone-free. “The Arlington Police Department cleared is in Arlington, TX,” said department spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. “ACPD has no plans [for] ever using drones.”
Eaglets Hatched? — Flickr pool photographer Philliefan99 says the eagles in the photo above are exhibiting behavior that suggests they have eaglets in their nest. The nest is located near Spout Run. [Flickr]
No Streetcar Stalemate, Arlington Says — There is no discord between Arlington and Alexandria when it comes to plans to build a streetcar line along the future Route 1 transit corridor, according to a joint statement issued by Arlington County Manager Barbara Donnellan and Alexandria City Manager Rashad Young. The statement was in response to an article that suggested diverging transit plans were causing tensions between the two jurisdictions. [City of Alexandria]
New Data on Remodeling Expenses in Arlington — Households in Arlington spend an average of $5,801 per year on remodeling expenses, well above the national average of $1,907 per year, according to new data from the National Association of Home Builders. Falls Church households, meanwhile, spend the most on remodeling of any southern jurisdiction: $6,099 per year. [Sun Gazette]
Flickr pool photo by Philliefan99
Civic Federation Budget Proposal — The Arlington County Civic Federation has unanimously approved its own vision for the county’s budget. The Civic Federation’s budget proposal would hold the current real estate tax rate steady, while providing more money for schools and public safety, funding an inspector general position and eliminating 16 long-vacant county government positions. The Civic Federation also voted 30-12 for a motion calling on the county to close Rosslyn’s Artisphere by the end of the year unless significant progress is made in turning around the struggling cultural center’s finances. [Sun Gazette]
Streetcar Stalemate with Alexandria — Arlington County’s plan to build a streetcar line from Crystal City to Potomac Yard is facing resistance from Alexandria. While Arlington has financing for the streetcar lined up, Alexandria says they don’t have the money for a streetcar line — and would like the planned Crystal City/Potomac Yard transit corridor to remain a bus rapid transit system for the foreseeable future. [WAMU]
Thousands Sign Up for Housing Aid — Arlington County opened up its waiting list for federal Section 8 housing assistance for one day, after keeping the list closed for the past seven years. In that one day the county received 5,300 pre-applications from those seeking rent assistance. [Patch]
Fund Set Up to House the Homeless — The Arlington Community Foundation has announced a $500,000 private gift that will allow it to create a new fund for the 100 Homes campaign against homelessness. With a $500,000 match from Arlington County, the $1 million public/private partnership will be “dedicated to housing Arlington’s most vulnerable citizens.” [Arlington Community Foundation]
Virginia Department of Transportation officials say they’re waiting for the results of a state police investigation into the death of Alexandria paramedic Joshua Weissman before deciding what to do about the gaps. As of today the investigation is “still ongoing,” according to Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller.
Weissman fell through one of the gaps while trying to reach a burning vehicle in the HOV lanes of I-395 on Feb. 8. He fell some 20 to 30 feet into the creek and was knocked unconscious, authorities said at the time. Weissman later succumbed to his injuries in the hospital.
From below, the two gaps are clearly visible between the mainline of northbound I-395, an HOV ramp, and the HOV lanes themselves. Beneath the gaps are the Four Mile Run bike trail, a rocky berm littered with debris from the homeless individuals who sleep under the bike trail, and a shallow section of Four Mile Run with a jagged concrete structure in the middle.
The gaps pose the biggest danger to police and firefighters, who often will reach an incident in the HOV lanes via the mainline of I-395. If the incident happens to be on the bridge, as it was in the case of the Feb. 8 car fire, those public safety personnel will have to either hurdle over the gap or walk around it, in order to reach the scene and come to the aid of the victims.
One police official tells ARLnow.com said the gaps are “really not a problem in daylight” but can be especially dangerous at night. There are other gaps between lanes along I-395, including in the area of S. Joyce Street in Pentagon City, the official said, adding that he’s personally aware of at least two close calls involving officers nearly falling through the gaps.
Arlington County Fire Chief James Schwartz says that placing a grate between the spans may help eliminate the danger.
“It seemed to me that something like a grating… might be a cheap and adequate solution to that problem,” Schwartz said. He added, though, that it “makes sense” for state police to conclude the investigation before ”rushing out to do something that in the end might not be a complete solution.”
Update at 4:35 p.m. — The flooding has cleared up and all lanes have reopened, according to Dr. Gridlock.
Route 1 is closed just south of Potomac Yard in Alexandria due to flooding in the roadway.
High water and mud spilled onto the roadway from an adjacent construction site, a tipster tells us. Earlier rains have since stopped, but so far no word as to how much longer Route 1 will remain shut down.
Traffic is reportedly being rerouted onto Potomac Avenue, which runs behind Potomac Yard and into Crystal City.
Photo courtesy David Hyde
Flags in Arlington are flying at half-staff today in honor of Alexandria paramedic Joshua Weissman.
Weissman died last week after falling 20-30 feet from I-395 while responding to a vehicle fire near Shirlington. Yesterday Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell authorized flags in Alexandria and Arlington to fly at half-staff in Weissman’s memory.
Family, friends, fellow firefighters and the public are mourning Weissman’s death at funeral services in Alexandria this afternoon. Some 2,000 people and 200 fire vehicles are expected to take part in the funeral procession and services, which have shut down several busy streets around the city and prompted an early dismissal from Alexandria schools.
Update at 7:30 p.m. on 2/9/12 — The victim, paramedic Joshua Weissman, has succumbed to his injuries.
(Updated at 12:30 p.m.) An Alexandria paramedic fell about 30 feet from I-395 into Four Mile Run while responding to a call near Shirlington tonight.
Just before 6:30 p.m. emergency crews were called to I-395 near Shirlington Circle for two separate incidents: a three-vehicle crash in the northbound lanes and a vehicle fire in the HOV lanes, according to Virginia State Police
An Alexandria paramedic responding to the call stopped in the northbound lanes, alongside the HOV lanes, in an effort to reach the burning vehicle. We’re told the paramedic somehow fell through a small gap between the guardrails, between the northbound lanes and the HOV lanes, and landed in the creek. The gap is visible in the photos above.
The medic has been identified by police as 33-year-old Joshua Weissman, a seven year veteran.
Rescuers from Arlington and Alexandria were able to reach Weissman and extricate him from the water. CPR was performed, according to fire radio traffic. He was taken downstream to S. Cleveland Street and then transported via ambulance to Washington Hospital Center with what Thiel described as critical injuries. Authorities initially wanted to airlift the Weissman to the hospital, but were not able to due to the rainy weather, we’re told.
The northbound HOV lanes of I-395 were shut down for an extended period of time during and after the incident. As of 10:30 p.m., three lanes of northbound I-395 remained closed and traffic before the scene was still heavy.
The vehicle fire, meanwhile severely snarled traffic on southbound I-395 during the latter part of the evening rush hour. All HOV lanes were closed for at least a half hour during the fire response.
As of Thursday afternoon, Weissman was still in the hospital with life-threatening injuries. Virginia State Police say they’re continuing to investigate the accident.
Photo (above, right) via Google Maps
Happy Hanukkah! — The Jewish holiday of Hanukkah starts at sunset tonight. Also known as the Festival of Lights, Hanukkah runs through Wednesday, Dec. 28.
Barcroft Construction Enters Phase Two — The initial demolition phase of the construction of a new baseball field in Barcroft Park has concluded. Crews are now moving on to the field’s construction phase. Work on the $3 million project, which is being paid for by George Washington University, is expected to wrap up in Spring 2012. The field will be used by GW’s baseball team but will also be available for public use. [GW Sports]
Bill Would Make Parties Pay for Primaries — Taxpayers currently pick up the tab for the cost of running primary elections in Virginia, but that could change if a piece of proposed legislation passes the General Assembly this year. The bill would make political parties pay for primary elections, but would also give parties the option of holding caucuses. It costs about $50,000 to run a primary election in Arlington. [Sun Gazette]
Large Arlandria Development Approved — A major residential development is being undertaken just across the Arlington border. Over the weekend, the Alexandria City Council approved a new six-story, 478-unit apartment complex in the Arlandria section of the city. The apartment building — dubbed Arlandria Center — will replace a strip shopping center, but will include 53,000 square feet of ground floor retail space. It is part of an effort to redevelop a portion of the “village center” of Mount Vernon Avenue. [Washington Post]