Law enforcement personnel from Arlington, neighboring jurisdictions and locales as far away as London gathered outside the Arlington County courthouse this morning for the county’s annual observance of Peace Officers Memorial Day.
Among those speaking at the ceremony were Police Chief Doug Scott, Sheriff Beth Arthur and County Board Chairman Walter Tejada. The ceremony honored the six Arlington officers who have been killed in the line of duty since 1935.
“Losing even one officer is too many,” said Chief Scott. Those who fell while in the service of Arlington County are:
- Special Police Officer Louis Shaw, killed on Dec. 6, 1935 when his vehicle was struck by a fuel tanker and burst into flames. A prisoner in the vehicle was also killed.
- Detective Russell Pettie, shot and killed on Jan. 20, 1954 while executing a search warrant.
- Officer Arthur Chorovich, fatally injured on Dec. 5, 1964 when his police motorcycle was struck by a vehicle.
- Officer Israel Gonzalez, shot and killed on Oct. 25, 1972 during a bank robbery in Crystal City.
- Officer George Pomraning, Jr., shot and killed on Sept. 2, 1973 while transporting a prisoner. The prisoner pulled a gun out of his boot while in the backseat of a police car and shot Pomraning several times.
- Officer John Buckley, shot and killed on April 15, 1977 during a bank robbery.
Also recognized were law enforcement officers who have died outside the line of duty over the past year.
The ceremony, part of National Police Week, included bagpipe music and the playing of Taps. The 1400 block of N. Courthouse Road was closed to traffic during the ceremony.
Arlington County will honor its 2013 Women of Vision award winners on Thursday.
Four women were selected to receive the annual award this year. Among them:
- Dr. Katharine Panfil — Former APS educator and principal of Key and Randolph Elementary schools, now retired.
- Denise Hart — Co-founder, The Leadership Foundry, which promotes the goal of more women serving on corporate boards in the Washington, D.C. area.
- Linda Denny — Former executive of for-profit and not-for-profit companies. Now a consultant and a member of the Board of Directors of the National Women’s History Museum.
- Angela Guzman — Director of Fundraising and Constituent Relations at Integrated Direct Marketing. She has also chaired a women’s health organization and helped launch a scholarship program.
“Each year, the Arlington County Commission on the Status of Women honors women recognized for their accomplishments and contributions to improving the lives and opportunities for Arlington residents, especially women,” the county said in a press release. “The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) works to advance initiatives and policies that empower women and serves as a community advocate and resource on the social and economic interests of all Arlington women. The CSW is an Arlington County Board advisory group and members are appointed by the County Board.”
The Women of Vision ceremony will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 7, at the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (4301 Wilson Blvd) in Ballston. Tickets are not required but a $25 donation to the Commission on the Status of Women.
Those interested in attending are asked to RSVP to Anna Maynard at email@example.com or 703-228-7096.
Arlington Small Business Saturday – This holiday weekend, in addition to today’s traditional Black Friday shopping bonanza, Arlington residents will be able to participate in “Arlington Small Business Saturday.” The day encourages Arlingtonians to shop and dine at small, local businesses this weekend. ”Your favorite retail, dining and online small businesses are participating and providing discounts or incentives on a variety of products and services,” according to organizers.
Retirement Ceremony for Therapy Dog – Bailey, a therapy dog at the Capital Hospice Halquist Center near Virginia Hospital Center, is retiring after 10 years of service to those who have life-limiting illnesses. A private retirement ceremony will be held for Bailey, a golden retriever, at the hospice center on Monday night. “Cider, special Goldrush brownies and dog treats will be served,” according to an online invitation.
Library Recovers from Database Crash — The electronic catalog and accounts system for Arlington Public Library and Arlington Public Schools is back up and running after crashing last Friday. “We are very pleased to report that our system is back online, along with research databases, and that most if not all data feared lost has been recovered and restored,” the library said on its web site. “Your privacy was never compromised. We are taking steps to prevent such an outage from happening again.” [Arlington Public Library]
Homeless Navy Vet Gets Apartment — Ernest Maas, a 61-year-old Navy veteran, is giving thanks this Thanksgiving weekend for the roof over his head. Maas got the keys to a new apartment in Arlington on Wednesday after spending the past three years homeless and living in the woods around Four Mile Run. The new apartment was coordinated by the Arlington Street People’s Assistance Network. [WJLA]
Arlington Hotels: Tax Us, Please — The Hotel General Managers’ Committee of the Arlington Chamber of Commerce and the Arlington Tourism Coalition are hoping to lobby the Virginia General Assembly to reinstate the county’s hotel tax surcharge. The 0.25 percent tax on hotel rooms in Arlington generated nearly $1 million per year that went to tourism promotion efforts. State lawmakers declined to renew the tax last year in retaliation for Arlington’s fight against HOT lanes on I-395. [Sun Gazette]
A ribbon cutting ceremony was held Friday afternoon for 1776 Wilson Boulevard, one of the county’s newest office buildings.
The $33.5 million office building includes four floors of office space, 30,000 square feet of ground floor retail space, and 231 garage parking spaces. With environmental features like a green vegetated roof, solar panels, electric vehicle chargers and water use reduction systems, developer Skanska USA is seeking LEED Platinum sustainability certification.
The building is located in Rosslyn at the intersection with N. Quinn Street. The project included the construction of a new section of N. Quinn Street to connect Wilson Blvd to Clarendon Blvd.
Attendees at Friday’s ribbon cutting included representatives from Skanska USA, County Board members Jay Fisette and Chris Zimmerman, Rosslyn BID Executive Director Cecilia Cassidy, and George Contis, the doctor who sold the property to Skanska in 2010.
The building still being leased out, but confirmed tenants include CRDF Global and the National Association of Chain Drug Stores. Skanska has also established its new regional headquarters in the building.
The ceremony for the 17,000 square feet park, located at 2503 Columbia Pike, will be kick off at 4:00 today. The park features a tree-covered upper terrace with movable tables and chairs, an inner plaza with a water feature, small gardens, a sustainable storm water runoff bio-filtration and re-circulation system, and “Echo,” a large two-piece sculpture by Richard Deutsch (more information, below).
The park was designed by the prominent local design firm Oculus. A second phase of the project will include “a transit Super Stop in front of the square along Columbia Pike to support the current Pike Ride buses as well as future generations of transit.”
“With the completion of this first phase of the Penrose Square project, we are really beginning to feel and see the transformation of Columbia Pike,” Arlington County Board Chair Mary Hynes said in a statement. “A visionary group of residents came together to create this vibrant, public square that will serve as a welcoming place, where neighbors can come together to socialize, dine, relax and have fun.”
In a press release, county officials described in inspiration for the “Echo” sculpture.
As a member of Penrose Square’s landscape design team, Richard Deutsch created the interactive sculpture inspired by the Three Sisters Radio Towers, formerly located near Columbia Pike and Courthouse Road.
Built in 1913 by the Navy as cutting-edge technology, the towers broadcast the first trans-Atlantic radio signal in 1915, connecting Arlington with the Eiffel Tower. They also introduced regular broadcasts of time signals — important navigational aids for ships at sea. When National Airport opened in 1941 the towers posed an aviation hazard and were taken down.
Echo provides a modern interpretation of Arlington’s significant contribution to the history of communication. The concave elliptical parabolas carved into each monolith reflect and project sound, allowing words spoken into one stone to be heard by listeners at the other. California-based artist Deutsch designs sculpture and environments using stone, water, bronze, and stainless steel. Like Echo, much of his work is marked by an understanding of space and environment and an attention to social context and history.
All Arlington County courts, libraries, public schools, and administrative offices will be closed on Monday, Nov. 12.
The county’s three indoor swimming pools will be open under holiday hours. Metro and ART will be operating under a holiday schedule. Trash and leaf collection will proceed as normal.
Veterans Day became a U.S. holiday in 1919 to commemorate the end of World War I. The ceasefire that ended the war’s major hostilities took effect at 11:00 a.m. on 11/11/18.
The Veterans Day National Ceremony will take place at Arlington National Cemetery’s Memorial Amphitheater at 11:00 a.m. on Sunday.
Local veterans organizations will also be holding a Veterans Day ceremony on Sunday. From 1:00 to 1:30 p.m., there will be a remembrance ceremony at the Clarendon War Memorial at the intersection of Wilson, Clarendon and Washington Boulevards.
“Each year veterans from Arlington County’s Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion gather at the Clarendon War Memorial to remember local service members lost in past conflicts,” organizers said. The event will also remember an Arlington service member killed in action this year.
“There will be a special wreath presented in honor of Lance Corporal Niall Coti-Sears,” organizers said. “Lance Corporal Coti-Sears was killed in action in June of this year and is the first Arlingtonian to be lost in the Afghanistan war. Members of the public are encouraged to attend.”
Flickr pool photo by ameschen
A ribbon cutting ceremony has been scheduled to celebrate the completion of the new Glebe Road bridge over Route 50.
The event will be held Wednesday morning near Thomas Jefferson Middle School, just to the southeast side of the 100-foot-long bridge. Among those expected to ribbon cutting are County Board Chair Mary Hynes, state Sen. Barbara Favola, Del. Patrick Hope, and officials from VDOT, which oversaw the project.
The $6 million project replaced the once crumbling bridge with a wider, more structurally-sound span. Construction began last summer and is expected to wrap up today. The project resulted in frequent lane closures on Glebe Road which often backed up traffic in the area.
The new bridge features a northbound turn lane onto Route 50, a 17-foot shared use path and 11-foot sidewalk on either side of the span, decorative green wrought-iron fencing and new LED lighting.
U.S. Secretary of Education and Arlington resident Arne Duncan was on hand Friday to personally present Arlington Traditional School (855 N. Edison Street) with one of the Department of Education’s top honors: the designation of Blue Ribbon School.
The elementary school was named a 2012 Blue Ribbon School — one of only 269 schools in the country and one of seven elementary schools in Virginia this year — based on its “overall academic excellence.”
Duncan presented the Blue Ribbon School award to ATS Principal Holly Hawthorne at a school-wide assembly Friday morning. Also in attendance were Rep. Jim Moran (D), School Board Vice Chair Sally Baird, School Board member Abby Raphael, County Board member Libby Garvey, State Sen. Barbara Favola (D), Del. Patrick Hope (D) and State Board of Education President and former Arlington School Board member Dave Foster.
Arlington Public Schools issued the following press release (excerpted) about the recognition.
“This is a tremendous honor for us. Great schools don’t happen by chance, they happen by design,” said Hawthorne. “We know the quality of the education at ATS is the result of the efforts of our talented and dedicated teachers, our hard-working and focused students, and our involved and caring parents. The strong partnerships ATS has forged with families and the community help foster each child’s whole development. Students leave ATS with the skills and attitudes of lifelong learners, prepared to become caring and contributing citizens.”
This is the second time in eight years that ATS has been recognized as a Blue Ribbon School.
“I want to congratulate the entire ATS community on receiving this prestigious honor,” said Superintendent Dr. Pat Murphy. “This recognition rewards the time that teachers spend each day making sure that their students have the tools to help them succeed in the classroom. It recognizes the time that students put into learning as well as the time that parents spend supporting their child’s education. The staff at ATS is to be recognized for building a strong foundation for its students to learn and grow.”
Since 1982, the U.S. Department of Education’s National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has honored America’s most successful public and private elementary, middle, and high schools. The National Blue Ribbon Schools award honors schools where students perform at very high levels or where significant improvements are being made in students’ levels of achievement. The award acknowledges and validates the hard work of students, staff members, families, and communities in reaching high levels of student achievement.
The US Department of Education will honor all of the nation’s 2012 National Blue Ribbon Schools during a conference and awards ceremony November 12-13 in Washington, D.C. A list of the 2012 National Blue Ribbon Schools and more information on the Blue Ribbon award is available at www.ed.gov/nationalblueribbonschools.
Video from today’s ceremony is available online at http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/25243604.
Photo courtesy Frank Bellavia / Arlington Public Schools
Thirteen new Arlington County police officers were sworn in this afternoon at Kenmore Middle School.
The recruits — eight male, five female — pledged an oath and were given their badges. The ceremony followed the recruits’ graduation from a regional police academy. They will now undergo nearly half a year of field training before becoming full officers.
The ceremony included a speech from Arlington County Police Chief M. Douglas Scott. The swearing in was conducted by Arlington Clerk of the Circuit Court Paul Ferguson. Loved ones of the new officers helped to pin the badges on their uniforms while other friends and family members in the audience applauded.
After the swearing in, the event continued with a ceremony for 12 police department members who have received promotions.
Also recognized was Officer Ronald Grannis, who received the Departmental Purple Star after being seriously injured in a crash with an impaired driver on July 20, 2011. Grannis “spent over a month in the hospital and has battled through over ten surgeries while continuing to fight to return to full duty,” according to police.
The charity Segs4Vets arranged to give the vehicles to the wounded warriors, many of whom are amputees. Some of the Segways are specially outfitted to accommodate individual disabilities, such as having a built-in seat for when the user becomes too tired to stand.
Jerry Kerr started the organization in September 2005. He had broken his neck in 1998 and was paralyzed from the neck down. Although he has some movement now, he was told he would never be able to walk again. That prompted him to devote time to investigating what technologies were available to allow him to become more mobile.
“When I became permanently disabled, when I realized that my world had changed forever, I started to learn about what we had, how I was going to get around, how I could interact in society again,” said Kerr.
Kerr has particular interest in technology that aids people, but doesn’t draw attention to their disabilities. When the Segway came out, he found it fit the bill.
Once Kerr discovered how much his life had improved through the use of a Segway, he got the idea to give one to an injured person returning from Iraq or Afghanistan, and the program has blossomed since then.
The Arlington County Police Department helps out Segs4Vets by providing training to the recipients, many of them coming from Walter Reed Medical Center. This allows the users to learn about the vehicles and get on them right away instead of having to wait for the once-a-year training sessions held in Washington D.C., San Antonio and San Diego.
“It originally started because they needed a place to store the Segways, and ACPD was interested in storing some of them,” said ACPD Retired Captain David Herbstreit. “Out of that, we saw an opportunity to go ahead and step into it a little deeper.”
Herbstreit is one of the founding members of the partnership between ACPD and Segs4Vets. Now, there are nearly two dozen participants in the ACPD. Lt. Mark Belanger is one of them. He’s been assisting for about nine months and has trained 18 Segway recipients, along with their spouses and other family members.
“It’s important that there’s a local group they can turn to,” said Belanger. “It’s nice to get someplace close, they don’t have to wait a year.”
Retired Staff Sgt. Robert Canine is one of the many who traveled from across the country to be at the ceremony. He received his Segway in the fall of 2010, and now volunteers with Segs4Vets.
Canine lost both legs below the knee from an injury he sustained in May 2009 in Baghdad, Iraq. He explained that an armor-penetrating explosive device hit the vehicle he was in, and he feels lucky to be alive.
Canine went through physical therapy at Walter Reed Medical Center for a year and half. He couldn’t walk well on his new prosthetics, but received his Segway within months of returning home. Canine says it’s been a huge boost to his mobility and allowed him to get around outside.
“I could keep up with my son on his bike, I could walk the dog,” said Canine. “It just felt good to be able to do something.”
The 2012 annual Arlington County Fire Department Recognition and Awards Program was held Thursday morning at Fire Station No. 5 in Crystal City. Below banners recognizing the station’s role in responding to the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001, and amid the periodic blare of the fire department dispatch loud speaker, nearly a dozen individual firefighters and paramedics and a dozen fire and EMS crews were recognized for their heroism in the line of duty.
Many of the awards given out on Thursday stemmed from two major incidents.
On Sept. 8, 2011, multiple Arlington rescue crews were dispatched as mutual aid to Fairfax County to assist with widespread flash flooding. Those crews performed daring swift water rescues as flood waters from Tropical Storm Lee trapped motorists in their vehicles.
For helping to rescue 12 individuals stranded in flood waters near I-495 and Telegraph Road, Engine 109 firefighters Corey Sherrill and Joaquin Ibarra received the fire department’s Gold Medal of Valor. For helping to rescue 14 individuals over the course of four hours during the flooding, Engine 107 firefighters Fabian Manino, Frank Rachal, Richard Quinn and Timothy Morgan received the Bronze Medal of Valor. Among those rescued by the firefighters were children, senior citizens and a woman who was eight months pregnant.
The other incident happened in Arlington in the early morning hours of June 1, 2011. Around 1:45 a.m., fire crews were dispatched to a house fire on the 5100 block of N. Carlin Springs Road. As firefighters arrived, a man ran out of the burning house and screamed that his wife was trapped on the second floor.
Responding to his pleas for help, firefighters Alexander Dimoff, Jacob Johnson and Battalion Chief S. Doug Insley climbed a ladder to a second story bedroom. Amid heavy smoke, Johnson found a woman lying unconscious on the floor near the bed. The three men were able to lift the woman and hand her off, through the window, into the arms of firefighters Chad Stamps and Mark Jaquays, at the top of the ladder. While still on the ladder, the two firefighters used their medical training to stabilize the patient — who was in respiratory arrest — and then brought her to the ground level where she was transported to a local hospital.
In a speech before the award presentation, County Board member Chris Zimmerman acknowledged that such dramatic incidents are relatively rare in Arlington, and that the firefighters who stand at the ready to risk their lives every day are heroes in their own right.
“You may not have saved a life this week, but you have saved 210,000 people every day from having to worry about it,” Zimmerman said. “And that’s something that’s… a great service to this community. For that, on behalf of the people of Arlington, I thank you.”
More photos, and a full list of the awards and citations issued this year, after the jump.
Employers and individuals who make a difference in the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities received special recognition from the county on Tuesday at a Proclamation Ceremony.
Those honored have helped people with disabilities participate in community activities, in addition to obtaining job skills and employment.
Families, friends, educators, employers and others packed the atrium at the National Science Foundation in Ballston to honor the two individuals and three employers.
Lifetime Achievement Awards were presented to Julia DeLeon, an instructional aide in Arlington Public Schools, and Sharon Raimo, CEO of St. Coletta of Greater Washington, Inc.
“Julia DeLeon and Sharon Raimo have dedicated their careers to helping children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” said Arlington County Board Chair Mary Hynes. “They embody the Arlington vision of inclusiveness, wherein ‘each person is important.’”
The three local employers who were honored for their long-term commitments to hiring people with disabilities are Revolution Cycles, Northrup Grumman Corporation and Joint Base Myer/Henderson Hall and Commissary. Hynes said she hopes these employers serve as a reminder to everyone in the community that people with disabilities can benefit the workforce.
“Employment often facilitates meaningful and wider community integration,” said Hynes. “It can lead to increased self-esteem and a higher status in one’s own family and social group. Higher income can lead to increased independence and participation in the community. This is as true for employees with intellectual and developmental disabilities as it is for all of us.”
The ceremony was part of March’s month-long celebration of what the county dubbed “Including People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Month.”
Carolyn Cook, Angela Fox, Anita Friedman and Kathleen Sibert were chosen by the Arlington County Commission on the Status of Women for their contributions to improving the lives of women and girls in Arlington. They will be honored at a ceremony and reception next Tuesday.
At the event, County Manager Barbara Donnellan will moderate a roundtable discussion on women’s education and empowerment.
The ceremony is open to the public and although reservations are not necessary, anyone interested in attending the event at the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (4301 Wilson Blvd) on March 6 can RSVP to Dgates@arlingtonva.us by this Friday, March 2. The evening begins with a reception at 6:30 p.m. followed by the program at 7 p.m. A $25 donation is requested to support CSW.
Here’s the County’s more detailed descriptions of the winners:
- Carolyn Cook is recognized in the Business category for her work empowering girls and women through mentoring, developing the Our Whole Lives curriculum, implementing CampHers, advocating for a women’s heritage train, and volunteerism with the ERA Campaign Network.
- Angela Fox is recognized in the Nonprofit category for her work teaching and training the next generation of women leaders, mentoring girls interested in science and technology, working with young mothers in County schools, hosting networking events for women in the workplace, and working with the Women in Green Forum and the Crystal City Business Improvement District.
- Anita Friedman, chief of the Economic Independence Division of County’s Department of Human Services, is recognized in the government category for her work, together with Arlington Street People’s Assistance Network (A-SPAN), on the 100,000 Homes for 100,000 Homeless Campaign.
- Kathleen Sibert is recognized in the Nonprofit category for her efforts to expand the work of A-SPAN, as it ensures that the unique needs of women are addressed with a dedicated floor, nursing services, and more women in key leadership positions. She is also recognized for her collaboration on the 100,000 Homes for 100,000 Homeless Campaign.
The large number of nearly simultaneous retirements is the result of changes to Arlington County’s retirement health benefits that, according to a fire official, prompted some 200 county employees to retire at the same time.
The fire personnel honored this morning had a combined 477 years of experience. It’s a loss that’s being felt across the department, despite the recent addition of large new recruit classes.
“Never before have so many of our leaders and mentors transitioned into retirement at the same time,” a video honoring the retirees said. “We will continue to hold the traditions you have set forth.”
With 30 to 38 years of experience, some of today’s retirees count both the Sept. 11 attack on the Pentagon and the Air Florida Flight 90 crash among the major incidents they’ve responded to as Arlington firefighters.
“This group of people has contributed so much, they have left such a legacy, that the organization is extremely strong and will survive without them being here every day,” said Fire Chief James Schwartz. “Their spirit will remain, their contributions — what they have shared with us over the course of their career — will remain… Thank you very much for everything you’ve done for us and this county.”
More photos, after the jump.
On Saturday morning more than 100,000 wreaths will arrive at Arlington National Cemetery. The wreaths will each be placed next to grave markers at the cemetery by teams of volunteers, and will remain there through the end of January.
It’s the biggest holiday wreath-laying yet, with more than three times more wreaths than last year. The wreaths are all funded by donations and shipped via tractor trailer from the Worcester Wreath Company in eastern Maine.
The wreaths will arrive at 7:45 a.m., when a parade of trucks reaches Arlington National Cemetery’s main entrance. That will be followed by an opening ceremony at the Memorial Amphitheater at 8:30 a.m., a helicopter flyby at 8:45 a.m., and the massive volunteer wreath-laying effort through 1:00 p.m. There will also be wreath-laying ceremonies at the Kennedy gravesite, the USS Maine mast and the Tomb of the Unknowns.
DoD photo via Wikimedia