A variety of volunteer opportunities exist throughout the county, but a few might be considered plain fun instead of work. One of them involves being an actor and another involves gardening. Check out the details below. More information about these opportunities and others can be found on the Volunteer Arlington website.
- Arlington’s Medical Reserve Corps seeks volunteers to be actors in an emergency response drill on Saturday, April 28. The drill will test the current point of dispensing plans for oral antibiotics given to the public in case of an aerosolized anthrax attack. No experience is necessary. Volunteers will receive an hour of training, then participate in the drill as actors for one hour. Contact Grelia Soliz at (703) 228-0711.
- Clarendon Presbyterian Church is looking for volunteers to be gardeners for its Plot Against Hunger program. Two plant beds are being built along the Jackson St side of the building to grow vegetables, which will be donated to the Arlington Food Assistance Center (AFAC). Help is needed for a variety of responsibilities that include set up, gardening and delivery of the food to AFAC. Volunteers will complete a short training session. Contact Gillian Burgess at (646) 284-8894.
- The USO of Metropolitan Washington seeks helpers at Ft. Myer. Volunteers will assist military service members, military dependents, military reservists, National Guard and military retirees who use the USO Lounge at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall. Volunteers will provide courteous service to guests while answering questions, managing DVD and video game check out, keeping the lounge neat, brewing coffee and replenishing snacks. Occasionally, volunteers will help with USO events in the Lounge. Volunteers must be at least 18 years old and have a valid U.S. identification. Access to a computer is preferred. Volunteers are required to attend an orientation. Contact Emily Urban at (703) 696-0958.
The military base announced a policy change today that will open up most recreation facilities there to non-Department of Defense federal employees. Among the facilities that federal workers can now take advantage of are the Fort Myer Bowling Center and the Fort Myer Officers’ Club. The club has a swimming pool, tennis and racquetball courts and fine dining facilities.
Federal workers don’t have to be an Officers’ Club member to use the facilities, but they will have to pay a non-member fee. Official government ID is required to access the facilities. The policy change announced today also allows federal employees to join the Officers’ Club, if they wish.
The fitness centers and child development center at Fort Myer will continue to be for DoD personnel only.
The Officers’ Club and the bowling center can be accessed through the Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall Hatfield Gate.
Ever wonder what the building being constructed across Route 50 from the Courthouse neighborhood is?
Dominion says they’re making good progress on the project, which includes the substation — located on the grounds of Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall — and a new 3.7 mile, 230,000 volt underground electrical transmission line. The company just wrapped up transmission line work along 10th Street between Wilson Boulevard in Clarendon and Route 50. It’s now working on the final phase of the project: running the remainder of the transmission line from the new substation to Marshall Drive and Route 110, near the Pentagon.
Work on the project is expected to be complete by the end of the year, according to Dominion spokeswoman Le-Ha Anderson. The new transmission line and substation will help support future growth in Arlington while improving the reliability of Dominion’s electrical service, according the company.
Death Penalty Sought for Torrez — Former Marine Jorge Torrez, who’s already serving a life sentence for raping and abducting an Arlington woman, is now facing a separate murder trial. Prosecutors say they’re seeking the death penalty for Torrez, who’s accused of murdering Navy petty officer Amanda Jean Snell in her barracks on Fort Myer in 2009. [WTOP]
Involuntary Bankruptcy for Market Tavern? — Creditors are trying to force newly-renovated Clarendon restaurant Market Tavern (formerly Harry’s Tap Room) into bankruptcy, claiming the eatery owes them at least $77,000 in unpaid debts. Owner Michael Sternberg says the proceedings won’t have an impact on the restaurant’s operations. [Washington Business Journal]
Elevation Burger Expanding — Arlington-based organic burger chain Elevation Burger is expanding. The restaurant now has 29 locations worldwide, but is planning to have 50 locations by the end of the year. The concept is proving especially popular in the Middle East. Meanwhile, the company is testing out two new burger toppings — hardwood smoked bacon and sauteed mushrooms — at its Arlington location (2447 North Harrison Street). [Nation's Restaurant News]
Historic Designation for Tiny Cemetery — A tiny, historic cemetery plot at 5000 Lee Highway, in the Hall’s Hill community, is getting some attention as Arlington County moves to designate it as a local historic district. The oldest grave in the 7,100 square foot cemetery is that of Margaret Hyson, who died in 1891 and was a former slave on the Hall’s Hill plantation. [Washington Post]
Rush Hour Accident on the Pike – A two-car accident on Columbia Pike, between S. Scott Street and S. Rolfe Street, caused some minor delays during last night’s rush hour. One woman, whose car was rear-ended, was brought to the hospital for reported back pain.
Old Guard Horses Used For Soldier Therapy — Fort Myer’s Caisson Platoon, the horses that bring the caskets of fallen heroes to their final resting place at Arlington National Cemetery, are also being used to rehabilitate soldiers suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. [Examiner.com]
Arlington Defends Streetcar Project — In response to a Washington Post editorial that suggested the Columbia Pike/Crystal City streetcar project should be delayed, Arlington County has sent reporters a link to an explanation of why it’s planning to build the more than $140 million streetcar line. The county has also pushed back on the Post’s suggestion that streetcar funds could be redirected to add capacity to public schools — insisting that the funds come from a tax that can only be used for transportation projects. [Arlington County]
Centenarian Recalls Old Arlington — Martha Ann Miller, who turns 100 on Aug. 6, recounts the changes that have taken place in Arlington over the 74 years she has lived her. [Sun Gazette]
Late Night For Harry Potter Fans — Hundreds of die-hard Harry Potter fans attended midnight and 3:00 a.m. screenings of the last film in the series — Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 — at the Regal Ballston Common cinema last night.
Artisphere Reduces Burden on Tenants — The County Board voted this week to simplify the 15-page legal document that potential tenants of the Artisphere must use if they want to put on a show or hold an event. [Washington Examiner]
Fort Myer Organist Retires — Robert Schaaf has retired after 45 years as the organist at Fort Myer’s Chapel. Schaaf, a Penrose resident, has performed at memorial services for fallen military personnel, Challenger and Columbia astronauts, Supreme Court justices, first ladies and 9/11 victims, among others. [Sun Gazette]
Barbara Favola “Green” Mailer Not Recycled — A mailer sent by Barbara Favola’s state Senate campaign, touting her role in “protecting our environment,” was apparently not printed on recycled paper, according to a political blogger who has endorsed Favola’s opponent. [Blue Virginia]
Photo courtesy Jason Gooljar
Residents who live near Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall should expect to hear some loud noises coming from the base over the next 24 hours or so.
The base will be using its public address system — dubbed “The Big Voice” — as part of a training exercise. The PA system will broadcast periodic “announcements” between now and about 2:00 p.m. tomorrow.
Anyone driving onto the base tomorrow morning is also advised to expect some traffic issues.
Federal prosecutors say Torrez is responsible for the 2009 death of Amanda Snell, a 20-year-old Navy intelligence specialist who was found dead in her Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall barracks two years ago.
Torrez is currently serving five consecutive life sentences for the abduction of two Arlington women and the abduction and brutal rape of another in February 2010. Arlington prosecutor Theo Stamos called Torrez a “predator” during his sentencing. Now he’s being charged with first degree murder in Snell’s death.
“Today, we are charging Jorge Torrez with murdering a young Navy Petty Officer in her barracks,” U.S. Attorney Neil MacBride said in a statement. “This indictment is the result of extreme dedication by NCIS and the Arlington County Police Department to follow every lead possible to bring the person responsible for Amanda’s murder to justice.”
Snell’s mother told the Washington Examiner that she is hoping the case will provide some closure.
“I’m waiting until this is all over and I actually find out why,” Cynthia Snell told the paper.
Torrez has also been linked via DNA to a 2005 double homicide outside Chicago, but has yet to be charged in the case.
Wright Gate Reopening — Fort Myer’s Wright Gate, used by local bicyclists and pedestrians, will reopen on Monday. The gate, located at N. Meade Street and Marshall Drive, closed for repairs in March. Starting Monday, it will be open from 5:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. daily. Henry Gate, at Arlington Blvd and Pershing Drive, will revert to its normal hours: 6:00 to 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 to 6:00 p.m.
State Senate Race Could Get Interesting — Could a well-funded Republican candidate defeat a Democrat this fall in the race for Arlington’s newly-redrawn 31st state Senate district? Sun Gazette Editor Scott McCaffrey thinks so. [Sun Gazette]
Creepy Encounter on Orange Line – A woman says a man pressed up against her in an inappropriate manner on an Orange Line train between Court House and Ballston stations. [Unsuck DC Metro]
It will now be a lot harder to hear “Reveille” and “Tattoo” being played outside of Ft. Myer.
For the past two or three weeks, bugle music from the base could be heard clearly from more than a mile away, thanks to a new public address system. According to the following press release from the base’s public affairs office, the PA system has been fixed.
Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall recently upgraded its early warning and emergency mass notification sound system to a new “giant voice” sound system. The same sound system is also used to sound the military tradition of daily bugle calls, which include Reveille at 6:30 a.m., Retreat at 5:00 p.m., Tattoo at 10:00 p.m., and Taps at 11:00 p.m. While working to adjust the sound levels, it was discovered that the volume had inadvertently been left on the highest level, which had prompted many complaints from neighboring communities primarily to the north of the installation.
The volume has now been lowered to a more acceptable level and will only be raised in emergency situations. Continued adjustments to the sound system will be made to ensure the installation’s emergency notification requirements are met without disrupting neighbors.
The installation’s Command has expressed its appreciation to all neighbors for their patience as the installation worked through the adjustments of the new system and respectfully regrets any inconvenience.
If you’ve been waking up in the morning to the sound of bugler playing Reveille, don’t worry, you’re not the only one.
We received the following tips this morning:
On the northeast side of the 27/244 (Washington blvd/Columbia pike) intersection, there is a bugle that plays. I don’t know whether it’s coming from the Arlington National Cemetery or from the baracks down by the Air Force memorial, but I think they upgraded their loudspeaker in the past month because when they play reveille at 6:30am, that baby is loud. The evening bugle calls are much more subdued
Hi – I live in Colonial Village on Wilson Blvd and for the past few days, since Thanksgiving, I have been awakened by loud bugle music at 6:30 am. It sounds like it is coming from the direction of Fort Myer. Any idea if this is a new thing? Will it continue? I’ve not heard it before and am wondering how the sound travels so far.
The wake-up call is indeed coming from Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall (a.k.a. Fort Myer), which just installed a new public address system.
Base spokesperson Sharon Walker says they’re aware of the problem and working to fix it.
“The commander has said ‘it’s too loud, turn it down,’” she said. “They’re trying to adjust it.”
Walker noted that in years prior residents may have noticed the music get louder as leaves — a natural sound dampener — fall from the trees. However, she said, the increase in volume this year is indeed the result of the new PA system and will be taken care of.
An Arlington County hazardous materials team has been dispatched to Fort Myer to investigate a white powder that reportedly fell out of a package mailed to the base.
The building that houses the installation’s personnel office has been evacuated while hazmat crews determine whether the substance could be harmful.
Initial reports suggest that the package contains spices mailed from a family member to someone stationed at the base.
Update at 4:00 p.m. — The substance is not harmful. The scene is being cleared.
Paving Update — Now that the section of Wilson Blvd near Whitlow’s is paved with smooth blacktop, workers are focusing on Washington Blvd. As of Sunday afternoon, one lane between North Highland Street and Pershing Drive was torn up, awaiting fresh asphalt. TBD reports that the repaving of Washington Blvd will stretch into next week.
Flames Seen From Plane Engine — The Associated Press reports that flames were seen coming from the engine of a US Airways plane landing at Reagan National Airport. The captain of the flight from Charlotte, N.C. declared an emergency but landed without incident. No flames were seen after it landed.
‘Old Guard’ Returns from Iraq — Soldiers from the Fort Myer-based Old Guard arrived back home Saturday night after serving one year in Iraq. More than 120 soldiers from the historic regiment, best known for its ceremonial duties at Arlington National Ceremony and the White House, provided security at an Iraqi prison. More from WUSA9.
Students Return to Marymount U – The familiar sight of parents helping their children move into the dorms returned to Marymount University over the weekend. The school’s incoming class includes a record 440 freshman and a record 335 transfer students. More from the Sun Gazette.
The first break occurred around 7:30 this morning at South Courthouse Road and 2nd Street. Water from the break flooded the intersection and nearby Washington Boulevard, snarling rush hour traffic.
Arlington County crews just finished repairing the break and patching up the road. Now, they’re beginning to work on a second break that occurred at South Wayne Street and 2nd Street. Drivers should expect road and lane closures in the area. The repairs should wrap up around 10:00 tonight.
We’re told the second break happened during the repair of the first break. Both breaks, a county employee said, were the result of blown valves.
The water main is thought to date back to the 1960s.
Residents in the area should expect reduced water pressure and possible sediment in the water. To be safe, those with low water pressure should either boil the water or wait for repairs to be completed.
Update on 5/11 — A county spokesperson says the fire was “electrical in nature” but an exact cause won’t be determined for another week or so.
An ART bus caught fire on Pershing Drive near Ft. Myer around 6:15 tonight. We’re told the intense flames were extinguished by 6:30, but not before causing some major traffic backups. There were no passengers on the bus and the driver managed to escape safely before the bus was fully engulfed. Special thanks to the tipster who sent us this dramatic video.