Air Force Officer Found Not Guilty – Lt. Col. Jeff Krusinski, accused of groping a woman on a Crystal City sidewalk earlier this year, has been found not guilty by an Arlington County jury. Krusinski was the chief of the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response branch of the U.S. Air Force, and his arrest sparked a national conversation about sexual assault in the military. The charge against Krusinski was eventually changed to assault and battery, and Thursday afternoon, after a two-day trial, the jury found that prosecutors “did not present evidence to meet the threshold of reasonable doubt.” [NBC Washington, Washington Post]
Arlington Employees Playing Games on the Job? — An “ABC7 Watchdog investigation” found that employees of several Northern Virginia counties, including Arlington, are doing quite a bit of web browsing and gaming on the job. Arlington employees registered 13,106 hits on gaming sites — including 3,813 for the game Candy Crush and 2,593 for Words With Friends — on a single day in August. Arlington employees also visited YouTube about 3,800 times that day. [WJLA]
Wardian to Run Two Marathons in One Day — Prolific local marathon runner Michael Wardian is aiming to run two marathons in two different states in one day this weekend. Wardian plans on running the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Antonio marathon Sunday morning and the Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon Sunday afternoon. What’s more, his goal is to run each in less than 2 hours and 30 minutes. [Competitor]
Fees May Climb for DCA Taxi Pickups — It may cost a bit more to take a taxi from Reagan National Airport next year. The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority is considering a plan to raise the fees collected from taxi drivers that pick up passengers from DCA. The fee hike would raise about $1 million. If approved, the new rates could be in place by next summer. [Washington Post]
Photo courtesy Melissa Shoemaker
The displays will be built tonight (Friday) starting at 5:00 p.m. Competitors will have seven hours to construct the sculptures and they will be in DCA’s baggage claim levels in Terminals B and C until Saturday, Nov. 9.
After the displays are taken down, all of the canned goods will be donated to the Arlington Food Assistance Center. The sculpture competition is sponsored by the Northern Virginia chapter of the American Institute of Architects.
There will be seven sculptures built by seven teams of local architects. Members of the public are invited tonight to watch the teams build their pieces, which the AIA said “become more visually interesting as the night progresses.”
This is the 10th year of “Canstruction” in Northern Virginia. Last year’s competition was held at Ballston Common Mall.
Terminal A Revamp Underway at DCA — A $37 million renovation project at Reagan National Airport’s Terminal A is proceeding swiftly. The project isn’t adding a significant amount of extra space to the historic terminal, but it will make the existing space seem brighter and more open. Most of the work is expected to be complete by the holiday travel season. [Washington Post]
Pupatella Makes National Pizza Rankings — Bluemont’s Pupatella Neapolitan Pizzeria (5104 Wilson Blvd) serves one of the top 40 slices of pizza in the country, according to new rankings. Pupatella’s capricciosa pizza was ranked No. 36 on the list, as judged by the Daily Meal website. [Daily Mail]
Students Receive Scholarships at NAACP Banquet — Through a partnership with the Arlington NAACP, a new scholarship fund awarded $2,500/year college scholarships to four high-performing local students over the weekend. The scholarship fund allows the NAACP to “invest in our youth,” said the head of the Arlington branch of the organization. [Sun Gazette]
Beer and Wine Walks Return to Crystal City — Crystal City’s 1K wine and beer walks will return next month. The walks — which allow participants to sample various wines and beers while walking through Crystal City’s underground shopping center — will take place on Nov. 16 and 17. [Crystal City]
County Board Adopts Public Safety Radio Resolution — The Arlington County Board adopted a resolution yesterday (Tuesday) that calls on builders to install technology that allows better police and fire department communications in new buildings. Modern construction materials have made it difficult for first responders to receive radio signals in newer buildings. The Board’s non-binding resolution calls on builders to install in-building wireless systems to better transmit public radio signals. [Arlington County]
Disclosure: Crystal City BID is an ARLnow.com advertiser
Food and retail options at Reagan National Airport will soon take on a new look. The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) has launched a wide ranging food and retail development program for DCA and Dulles International Airport.
MWAA plans to redevelop about 95 percent of DCA’s concessions over a 30 month period. The revamp will occur in five phases, with construction on the first kicking off in the next few weeks. Customers can expect to see changes both before and after passing through security checkpoints.
“This allows us to take advantage of broader trends and designs in the industry to provide enhanced offerings for our passengers,” said MWAA spokesman Chris Paolino. “This is something that’s been in the works for quite some time.”
During the planning process, Paolino said MWAA researched airports around to the world to determine the best practices in the concessions industry, noting what works well at an airport and what does not. It also took into consideration feedback about what existing concessions customers like and what they would like to see added in the future.
As mentioned yesterday, well-known restaurants and stores such as Ben’s Chili Bowl, Legal Sea Foods, Pinkberry and Spanx will be added. Those phase one additions will be joined by others such as Brighton Collectibles, Lacoste and Vineyard Vines. Some existing restaurants and stores, such as Five Guys and Brooks Brothers, will remodel and/or expand. The 34 phase one offerings at DCA are expected to open sometime in the spring of 2014.
The redevelopment plan released today estimates each restaurant will be under construction for about four months and stores will take a little more than two months. MWAA will do its best to stagger construction so not all of the food and retail will be under construction at the same time.
“We want to maintain as many dining and shopping opportunities as possible for passengers while this is being done,” Paolino said. “We’ll try to limit the inconvenience as much as possible.”
MWAA plans to put out regular updates about which concessions are under construction and which will open soon. Customers can get updates on the Reagan Food and Shops website or via the DCA Twitter feed.
Ben’s Chili Bowl Coming to DCA — Just a week after announcing the opening of a new location in Rosslyn, the owners of the iconic Ben’s Chili Bowl in D.C. say they’ll open a location at Reagan National Airport next year. It’s part of an effort by the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority to revamp the concessions offerings at local airports. Legal Sea Foods and Pinkberry will join Ben’s, along with a Spanx outlet. [Washington Post]
Panhandler Helps Solve Missing Dog Mystery — A long-time Arlington panhandler has helped a local woman solve the mystery of her missing dog. Laurie Nakamoto had searched for her missing dog, Ms. Winter, since July and it led her to Glen Hilbrand, who has staked out a median near the East Falls Church Metro for about 18 years. Hilbrand had seen Nakamoto’s deceased dog in the road, and removed it so cars wouldn’t continue to run over it. Nakamoto says it gave her a sense of closure to hear from Hilbrand what happened to her pet. Hilbrand attended the memorial service Nakamoto held for her dog. [Washington Post]
Doorways for Women and Families Raises $180,000 — At its 35th Anniversary Brighter Futures Breakfast last week, Doorways for Women and Families raised $180,000. Doorways helps local people affected by domestic violence and homelessness. Since opening its first emergency shelter in 1982, Doorways has provided shelter for more than 3,200 women, men and children.
(Updated at 4:10 p.m.) Work on the Metrorail system this weekend will affect all of the lines that travel through Arlington, including shutting down the Reagan National Airport and Crystal City stations. Disruptions begin at 10:00 p.m. on Friday, September 13, and continue through closing on Sunday, September 15.
Blue line trains will operate at regular weekend intervals (every 12 minutes during daytime hours, and every 15-20 minutes at other times) in two segments: between Largo Town Center and Pentagon City, and between Franconia-Springfield and Braddock Road. Yellow Line trains will also operate at normal weekend intervals in two segments: between Mt. Vernon Sauare and Pentagon City, and between Huntington and Braddock Road.
Customers on the Blue and Yellow lines will need to take free shuttle buses between Pentagon City and Braddock Road while the two stations are closed. Express buses will operate non-stop between Braddock Road and Pentagon City. Customers should add up to 15 minutes of travel time. Local buses will operate between Braddock Road and Pentagon City, making intermediate stops at Reagan National Airport and Crystal City stations. Customers should add up to 20 minutes of travel time.
Riders should note that there are also alterations to the times for final trains. The last Yellow Line train from Huntington to Braddock Road will depart 22 minutes earlier than normal to allow for shuttle bus connections. It will depart at 2:12 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights, and at 11:12 p.m. on Sunday. The last Blue Line train from Franconia-Springfield to Braddock Road will also depart 22 minutes earlier, at 2:07 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights and at 11:07 p.m. on Sunday.
WMATA says the closures are due to crews replacing junction boxes and performing various maintenance and rehabilitation tasks.
Due to work in the District, customers riding the Orange Line this weekend should expect trains to come at 20 minute intervals.
More information about all of the work on the Metrorail system this weekend can be found on WMATA’s website.
Single Family Home Prices Rise — The average sale price of a single family home in Arlington rose above $850,000 in July, to $853,572, a 5.1 percent increase from one year prior. Townhouse and condominium prices, meanwhile, dropped 0.6 and 3.3 percent respectively. [Sun Gazette]
‘Boot Camp’ for Dogs, Owners — An Arlington-based business, the Thank Dog Bootcamp, was featured on ABC7′s Good Morning Washington program. The bootcamps, which take place in Bluemont and Quincy parks, are for both dogs and their owners, offering “a grueling workout for you… and an obedience lesson for your dog.” [WJLA]
Feds, Va. Sue Over US Airways-American Merger — Virginia has joined a federal lawsuit to block the merger of US Airways and American Airlines. The merger would create the world’s largest airline, and would have implications for those flying out of Reagan National Airport. Together, US Airways and American hold 69 percent of terminal slots at DCA. [Washington Business Journal]
Photo courtesy Anthony Russo
The car flipped around 3:00 p.m. as a result of an accident with at least one other vehicle. Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Police re-opened the parkway to traffic at 4:20 p.m.
The car is the second to overturn in Arlington Wednesday, following an SUV that flipped after a collision in Cherrydale Wednesday morning.
Photo via MWAA
DJO Senior Hurt in Spanish Train Wreck — Christina Cordoba, a rising senior at Bishop O’Connell High School, is in stable condition with a broken leg after surviving a deadly train derailment in Spain. The derailment killed nearly 80 people, including Cordoba’s mother, Ana-Maria Cordoba, who worked for the Catholic Diocese of Arlington. Cordoba’s father, Philippe, was also injured and is in stable condition. [WTOP, CBS News]
Security Breach at DCA — Nearly two dozen deactivated security badges of former Reagan National Airport employees have not been turned back in, raising serious security concerns. Already, one former employee was arrested for using his deactivated badge to get onto an airplane, according to prosecutors. [NBC Washington]
Virginia Suicides Hit High Mark — Virginia residents are three times more likely to die from suicide than homicide, according to a new report that also found that suicides in the Commonwealth hit a 13-year high in 2011. [Associated Press]
GOP Chief Wants More Community Involvement — The Arlington County Republican Committee is not fielding a candidate for County Board, School Board or House of Delegates this year. Committee chairman Charles Hokanson says the party needs candidates that are deeply involved in the Arlington community if it wants to have a shot at winning a local race. [Sun Gazette]
Photo by Audrey Batcheller
In May, the airport served 1.88 million passengers, breaking the previous record of 1.85 million passengers set in August 2012. The May passenger figure represented a 9 percent increase from one year prior, according to the Sun Gazette.
The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority said the increase in passengers was “largely driven by service additions on US Airways, JetBlue Airways, Alaska Airlines and new carriers Southwest Airlines and Virgin America beginning domestic service.”
Around 3:45 p.m., Delta Airlines flight 1763, bound for Minneapolis, left the taxiway pavement while taxiing to the runway, according to airport spokesman Christopher Paolino. The plane’s right side landing gear then became stuck in the turf.
No one was injured during the incident, and all passengers were offloaded, returned to the terminal and rebooked on different flights.
“The airport’s main runway remained open and landings and departures continued while airport personnel worked to free the aircraft,” Paolino said. “The plane was pulled free at approximately 7:15 p.m.”
Photo courtesy @vtspaeth
Board Approves New Hotel — On Saturday, the Arlington County Board approved a new 168-room hotel on the former Colony House furniture site at 1700 Lee Highway. As part of the site plan approval, developer B.F. Saul agreed to make a $510,000 contribution to the county’s affordable housing fund, $62,546 to the utility undergrounding fund, $75,000 to the public art fund and $70,000 to pay for a widened sidewalk on a portion of N. Quinn Street. [Arlington County]
Diener Murder Case In-Depth — Writer Kris Coronado takes an in-depth look at how Arlington County police cracked the Carl Diener murder case, including how a hunch and DNA evidence played a pivotal role, and how one of the suspects rapped about the case against him. [Arlington Magazine]
County Floodplain Maps Updated — Arlington County has updated its floodplain maps for the first time since 1982. The new maps “reflect the best available data on flood risks,” removing 230 land parcels from the 100-year floodplain while adding 81 parcels. [Arlington County]
Airfare Drops at DCA — The average roundtrip airfare at Reagan National Airport was $370 in 2012. That’s down 4.6 percent from a year prior and down 20.1 percent compared to the year 2000. [Sun Gazette]
AHC Seniors Headed to College — All 11 high school seniors in the AHC Inc. Teen Program graduated this year and are going to college. “Many are the first in their family to achieve this milestone,” said Celia Slater, communications director for the Arlington-based affordable housing developer. “Together, the group earned more than $20,000 in scholarships”. The students’ families are from 9 different countries. [AHC Inc.]
Flickr pool photo by Ddimick
The incident happened just before 9:00 a.m. Police responded to the station for a report of suspicious activity — a man seen walking around on the track bed. Power was briefly taken down to the station’s “third rail” as a precaution. The man eventually climbed back up to the platform.
Police questioned the man and it turned out that that he had hopped down to the tracks to retrieve a farecard he accidentally dropped, according to WMATA spokesman Dan Stesssel. The man was not injured and there was no malicious intent. Power was restored and trains were not delayed.
Stessel said the man’s actions were “incredibly ill advised.” If you drop something on the tracks, he said, don’t take matters into your own hands — contact a station manager.
“If you drop something on the tracks, the station manager can help you,” said Stessel. “The station managers have special equipment that can be used to safely retrieve an item without leaving the platform. Entering the track bed puts you at risk of electrocution (you don’t even have to touch the third rail for power to transfer) or getting struck by a train.”
Flickr photo by John Pastor
Victoria Kong, 83, was found deceased around 2:00 p.m. just south of Gravelly Point, about 30 feet from the Mt. Vernon Trail, according to U.S. Park Police spokesman Sgt. Paul Brooks. Her body was found by a Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority search and rescue team, Brooks said, in a wooded area north of the airport.
Brooks was unable to release any other information about what might have happened.
“This is an ongoing investigation,” he said.
Elderly Woman Missing from Airport — An 83-year-old woman with memory problems went missing from Reagan National Airport on Friday. Victoria Kong was last seen by a surveillance camera walking north on the Mt. Vernon Trail. [NBC Washington]
African-American Students Honored – Ninety-one African and African-American students from Arlington have been honored for academic achievement. The awards were issued by the Civic Coalition for Minority Affairs at its 21st annual ceremony. [Sun Gazette]