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]
Concealed Carry Permits Spike in Arlington — The number of applications for concealed-carry permits in Arlington has quadrupled in the past 8 years, and continued to spike. Last year the Circuit Court received 1,042 applications from whose who want to carry concealed weapons. This year the office is expecting nearly 1,600. [Sun Gazette]
Whipple Pens Pro-Streetcar Op-Ed — In an op-ed, former state Senator Mary Margaret Whipple compares the heated debate over the planned Columbia Pike and Crystal City streetcar systems to the debate over the construction of Metrorail through Arlington in the 1970s. “A small but vocal faction of our community claimed that the proposed Orange, Blue and Yellow lines were too expensive and risky and argued that we should just use buses instead,” Whipple writes. “After much deliberation, Arlington invested in rail.” [Washington Post]
New Gym for George Mason? — George Mason University’s Arlington campus currently lacks a fitness center for students. A plan to build a new gym, put in place after a student petition in 2011, has not moved forward because it was determined that the project would go over budget. The university is currently exploring options for either constructing a new fitness center or partnering with a nearby office building to use its gym. [Connect2Mason]
DCA Fight Attendants Protest Knife Decision — Flight attendants have been handing out flyers to passengers at Reagan National Airport, encouraging them to sign an online petition against a recent TSA decision that will allow small knives to be carried on to planes. [WAMU]
(Updated at 9:20 a.m.) Arlington commuters woke up to something of a surprise this morning: accumulated snowfall.
Arlington County says local roads are “slushy,” and its snow removal crews are in the “Phase 2” of snow removal — working to treat heavily-travelled roads.
“Commuters will encounter slushy conditions on area roads,” the county said in an Arlington Alert. “Use caution when approaching intersections and on/off ramps.”
Arlington Public Schools are not impacted by the snowfall; students are currently on spring break. But snow-covered roads perhaps played a factor led in a number of accidents in and around Arlington this morning.
Accidents have been reported on the northbound GW Parkway near Spout Run and Route 123. The second accident involved an overturned car and northbound traffic is reportedly blocked.
Meanwhile, a rollover accident happened earlier at Reagan National Airport.
A vehicle flipped over on the departures roadway, beyond Terminals B and C on the “return to the airport” ramp.
“[The] driver of the vehicle was transported to a local hospital,” said airport spokesman Robert Yingling. “No other occupants [and] no other vehicles [were] involved.”
The vehicle has since been removed and the road reopened.
Despite sunny skies and relatively mild temperatures this afternoon, forecasters have issued another reminder that the D.C. area will be blanketed with snow tomorrow.
The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Warning, upgrading the previous Winter Storm Watch. Forecasters say we’re likely to get 4-8 inches of snow tomorrow (Wednesday).
… WINTER STORM WARNING IN EFFECT FROM MIDNIGHT TONIGHT TO 3 AM EST THURSDAY…
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN BALTIMORE MD/WASHINGTON HAS ISSUED A WINTER STORM WARNING FOR SNOW… WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM MIDNIGHT TONIGHT TO 3 AM EST THURSDAY. THE WINTER STORM WATCH IS NO LONGER IN EFFECT.
* PRECIPITATION TYPE… SNOW.
* ACCUMULATIONS… 4 TO 8 INCHES WITH THE HIGHER AMOUNTS WEST OF INTERSTATE 95.
* TIMING… RAIN MIXING WITH AND CHANGING TO WET SNOW FROM SOUTHWEST TO NORTHEAST TONIGHT AND WEDNESDAY MORNING. SNOW MAY BE MODERATE TO HEAVY AT TIMES WEDNESDAY. SNOW TAPERS OFF WEDNESDAY NIGHT.
* TEMPERATURES… IN THE MID 30S.
* WINDS… NORTHEAST 15 TO 25 MPH. GUSTS UP TO 35 MPH WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON AND NIGHT.
* IMPACTS… SNOW COVERED ROADS WILL MAKE TRAVEL DIFFICULT. HEAVY WET SNOW AND GUSTY WINDS COULD LEAD TO POWER OUTAGES WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON AND NIGHT.
A WINTER STORM WARNING FOR HEAVY SNOW MEANS SEVERE WINTER WEATHER CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED OR OCCURRING. SIGNIFICANT AMOUNTS OF SNOW ARE FORECAST THAT WILL MAKE TRAVEL DANGEROUS. ONLY TRAVEL IN AN EMERGENCY. IF YOU MUST TRAVEL… KEEP AN EXTRA FLASHLIGHT… FOOD… AND WATER IN YOUR VEHICLE IN CASE OF AN EMERGENCY.
Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority says travelers should expect delays and cancellations over the next 36 hours or so.
Reagan National and Dulles International Airports are operating normally. An approaching winter storm is affecting flights to and from Chicago today. We anticipate winter weather will affect flight operations here on Wednesday, March 6. Check with directly with your airline to monitor the status of your flight and determine if flight rebooking is necessary.
Our airport snow removal personnel and equipment are prepared for the storm. We will update this page with further information when the winter weather arrives.
WMATA reports the closure is for NTSB-recommended track circuit module replacement, rail joint elimination, tie renewal and other various track improvements.
Both Blue and Yellow Line trains will operate in two segments. Blue Line trains will run between Crystal City and Largo Town Center, and between Braddock Road and Franconia-Springfield every 16 minutes from 7:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m., and every 20 minutes from 9:00 p.m. until system closing. Yellow Line trains will run between Crystal City and Mount Vernon Square, and between Braddock Road and Huntington every 16 minutes from 7:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m., and every 20 minutes from 9:00 p.m. until system closing.
There will be two routes of free shuttle buses replacing train service between Crystal City and Braddock Road. Express buses will operate between Crystal City and Braddock Road only. Local buses running between Crystal City and Braddock Road will serve Reagan National Airport. Customers using the shuttles should allow about 15 minutes of extra travel time.
The track work and closures will begin at 10:00 p.m. on Friday, March 1, and will continue through closing on Sunday, March 3. More information about track work throughout the system this weekend can be found on WMATA’s website.