Floats are getting prepped and beads are being gathered for Clarendon’s annual Mardi Gras parade next Tuesday, February 12.
Thousands of residents are expected to line Wilson Blvd from N. Barton Street to Washington Blvd, where the parade will travel starting at 8:00 p.m. Around 50 businesses, restaurants and organizations are slated to march in the parade.
Because of road closures and lack of parking, parade attendees are encouraged to use Metro. The Courthouse and Clarendon stations are located near the parade route.
Street parking in the area will be restricted. Motorists should be on the lookout for temporary “No Parking” signs. Illegally parked vehicles may be ticketed or towed. If your vehicle is towed from a public street, call 703-558-2222.
The following restrictions will be in effect:
- Wilson Boulevard will be closed from Veitch Street to Barton Street 6:45-9:30 p.m.
- Adams Street and Wayne Street will be closed between Clarendon Boulevard and Wilson Boulevard from 6:45-9:30 p.m.
- Wilson Boulevard will be closed from Barton Street to Irving Street from 7:45-9:30 p.m.
- Courthouse Road at N. 15th Street — Bayou Bakery will be hosting a block party from 5:00-8:00 p.m., with setup beginning at 3:00 p.m. and cleanup ending at 10:00 p.m.
Independent’s Day is a weekly opinion column by published on Wednesdays. The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.
In our area, Arlington, Virginia is known for many things; both serious and perhaps a little frivolous (thanks Remy).
To the world, Arlington is home to the Pentagon: the headquarters of the United States Department of Defense. As one of three crash sites on 9/11/2001, the Pentagon and our county share a unique history with New York City and Somerset, Pennsylvania. The USS New York (LPD-21) was commissioned on 11/2/2009 and the USS Somerset (LPD-25) was christened on 7/28/2012. This spring, Arlington will join those cities in commemorating the September 11th attacks when the USS Arlington (LPD-24) is commissioned.
The USS Arlington (LPD-24) is a San Antonio-class, amphibious transport dock built to host 800 Marines. These ships are meant to head a transformation and modernization of Navy ships to aid in Marine deployment. This particular vessel will be the third in the United States Navy to bear Arlington’s name but the first to travel throughout the world with steel taken from the crash site at the Pentagon.
Aboard the ship will be a tribute room to honor the lives lost due to the hijacking of American Airlines Flight 77. This ship’s sponsor is Mrs. Joyce Rumsfeld, wife of former Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld. At the 2011 christening, Mrs. Rumsfeld was quoted this way by a Mississippi blog:
“To me, this ship represents to full story of that day, the unimaginable followed by the courage, determination, focus and love of country that was demonstrated every day after 9/11,” Rumsfeld said. “It represents the first responders, the men and women working at the Pentagon, the families, the hard hats, the construction workers, doctors, nurses, hospital staff, volunteers, chaplains, residents of Arlington.”
Every person’s experience with 9/11 is personal. Like many I was at work when the attacks began. Some people were quiet, some people immediately started crying and some people started crying as the morning wore on. A couple of executives took charge and I remember one in particular admitting that he didn’t know whether it was safer to stay at work or head to the Metro. We each had a personal reaction to what happened that day and annually we are reminded of that experience; whether we want to be or not. This Navy ship provides one other way for us to share a uniquely local experience with the world.
Just before midnight on Tuesday (February 5), officers observed three individuals acting suspiciously around Wilson Blvd. and N. Monroe Street. Police say the men were walking around the area, looking into cars and loitering on the corner. They then reportedly entered a Jeep Wrangler and police followed the vehicle from a distance.
Police observed the vehicle cruising throughout the Ballston and Clarendon neighborhoods, making U-turns for no apparent reason. The vehicle then pulled into a parking spot at the Gold’s Gym near N. Pollard Street, where two of the men exited the vehicle and crossed the street. The officers stopped and continued to watch the subjects.
One of the suspects allegedly began following a lone man walking down the street. The victim turned around and the suspect then reportedly grabbed him, showed a gun and demanded money. Police say the second suspect punched the victim in the face several times until he fell to the ground. The victim handed over his wallet and cell phone to the attackers, who officers say fled in the Jeep.
Police performed a traffic stop on the Jeep and took the suspects into custody without incident.
“The officers were observing from a safe distance and when the suspects engaged in the criminal act, they responded immediately,” said Arlington County Police Department spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. “The amount of time from when the criminal act occurred and the suspects fleeing the scene was just seconds. We were able to take them into custody a short distance away.”
The victim, who had been walking home and was nearly at his building, ran inside to call police, unaware that his alleged attackers had already been apprehended.
The three subjects have been charged with robbery. They are 32-year-old Oscar Alfredo Morant Nunez of Fairfax, 19-year-old Christopher Louise Songer of Woodbridge, and 18-year-old Elder Ramirez-Miranda of Vienna.
The victim did not need to be treated for injuries and his belongings were returned to him.
(Updated at 2:10 p.m.) The jury that convicted 25-year-old Javon Martin of robbery and first degree felony murder yesterday for the stabbing of Arlington resident Carl Diener recommends that Martin receive a 27 year sentence.
The jury had the option of recommending sentences up to life in prison for Martin. He is expected to be formally sentenced before Judge Louise DiMatteo in May.
Martin’s cousin and co-defendant, Roger Clark III, pleaded guilty to Diener’s murder last year and will be sentenced at some point in the future. The maximum sentence Clark could receive is 25 years in prison; he was offered a reduced sentence as part of a plea deal for testifying against Martin.
Arlington County sent out the following press release about Martin’s conviction and recommended sentence:
ARLINGTON, Va. – An Arlington County jury yesterday found Javon Martin guilty of murder and robbery for the December 29, 2009 homicide of Carl Diener. Following the guilty finding, the members of the jury recommended a 27 year sentence for Martin, 25, formerly of Washington, D.C. Formal sentencing by Judge Louise DiMatteo is scheduled for a later date.
Theophani K. Stamos, Arlington County Commonwealth’s Attorney and M. Douglas Scott, Arlington County’s Chief of Police made the announcement after the conclusion of the trial.
Diener, 57, a retired federal government employee and a well known and loved member of the Lyon Park community, was found by a passerby stabbed to death lying on the street in the 3200 block of N. 13th Street. As was his practice, he awoke early in the morning to open a local health and fitness club for members. As Mr. Diener was walking from his longtime home to the health and fitness club, he was brutally attacked and left to die.
“From that cold December morning when Mr. Diener’s body was found, the Arlington County Police Department never wavered in their determination to solve this murder, investing hundreds of hours in this investigation,” commented Chief Scott. As a result, murder charges were brought against Roger K. Clark III, 22, of Severn, Maryland, and Javon Martin in June of 2011. Clark pleaded guilty and is currently awaiting sentencing.
Following the trial, Commonwealth’s Attorney Stamos said, “We are extremely grateful to the jury — all of whom worked so hard to reach the right conclusion. Our prayers go out to Carl Diener’s family and hope they will find some comfort in knowing those responsible for his death were held accountable by this community.”
Arlington County Deputy Chief Daniel J. Murray, Commander of the Criminal Investigations Division added, “The Homicide Robbery Unit’s efforts and a strong partnership with the Arlington County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office have resulted in two dangerous individuals being removed from the streets. Unfortunately none of our efforts could ever bring Mr. Diener back and the Arlington community is much poorer for the loss of this great friend to everyone.”
Master Police Officer Rosa Ortiz was the lead detective and the case was prosecuted by Chief Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Molly Newton and Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney John Lynch.
Our Arlington Pet of the Week this week is Kona, a 6-year-old brindle American Pit Bull Terrier.
Kona resides in the Arlington Village neighborhood with owners Hilary and Ryan. Here’s what the couple had to say about their pooch.
Each day she gets so excited for her walks around the neighborhood, likes to go down to the creek that runs through an area with a nature trail and is always happy to see her friendly neighbor dogs! She enjoys laying out on the deck in the sun and loves the local dog park. Originally from Texas, she was the runt of her litter who has stayed true to her roots, she weighs in at only 50 pounds and hates rain and snow.
While at home, Kona enjoys playing hockey with her dad and has an extensive toy collection to choose from. Kona is a loyal friend, a super cuddler, a big kisser and most of all, our best friend. Despite judgment on her breed, she’s always been the happiest dog and makes friends with anyone that comes her way.
The Arlington Pet of the Week is sponsored by Dogma Bakery, which has locations at The Village at Shirlington (2772 S. Arlington Mill Drive) and the Lee Harrison Shopping Center (2445 N. Harrison Street).
Want your pet to be considered to be the Arlington Pet of the Week? Email [email protected] Each week’s winner receives either a $25 Dogma gift card or a prize from another pet-related business.
On Monday (February 4) just before 8:00 p.m., police say the woman left her home and was walking in the 3800 block of N. 9th Street in Virginia Square when a man approached her. He allegedly grabbed her and held a box cutter to her throat while demanding money and a cell phone.
Police say the woman told the man she didn’t have any money, and the attacker then led her about half a block away where a second man was standing. The men then reportedly took the victim’s cell phone and fled on foot.
The first subject is described as a black male, 6’0” tall and 160 pounds. At the time of the crime, the subject was described as wearing a ski mask, grey winter jacket, light jeans and was brandishing a grey box cutter. The second subject is described as a black male, 5’10” tall and 200 pounds. He was said to have a round face and beard, and was wearing a white hat, royal blue jacket with an orange bottom, dark jeans and white shoes.
Anyone with information about the suspects or this crime is asked to call the police non-emergency number at 703-558-2222.
From fires to health scares to severe storms, emergencies can occur at any time and being prepared is key. Arlington County is offering free classes to train residents how to help themselves and others if an emergency occurs.
The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training began 10 years ago in Arlington and 575 residents have completed the program in that time. The hands-on training covers topics such as disaster preparedness, disaster medical operations, light search and rescue, team organization, disaster psychology, fire suppression and terrorism.
One example of what CERT members do was evident last June during the derecho. Members assisted the community in various capacities immediately following the storm, often as points of contact when calls weren’t getting through to 911.
“We had people strategically posted at fire stations to dispatch the right help to where it was needed,” said Arlington County Office of Emergency Management Director Jack Brown. “The community response teams, CERT, they really stepped up to the plate.”
There are two training sessions scheduled for next month, one beginning on March 7 and the other on March 12. Each session includes eight classes which will meet on six weeknights and two Saturdays. All classes meet at the Arlington County Fire Department Training Academy in Shirlington and are taught by ACFD and Office of Emergency Management staff, as well as active duty CERT members.
Advance registration is required to participate in the classes, and there are still some spots left for the March training. Those interested should email the program’s volunteer coordinator, Cynthia Kellams, at [email protected] Participants must be Arlington residents who are at least 18 years old.
Additional Funding Request for New Elementary School Plan — On Thursday (Febraury 7), School Board members will be asked to approve additional funding for the architectural firm working on the new school on the Williamsburg Middle School campus. The project has gone over its expected three month time frame because of resident concerns voiced during the process of devising a concept design, so nearly $121,000 is being requested to compensate the firm for its additional two months of work. [Sun Gazette]
Move to Establish Virginia Currency — A measure advanced in the Virginia House of Delegates that could bring the state closer to adopting its own currency. Del. Robert G. Marshall proposed the idea three years ago of studying whether the state should adopt its own currency to protect it from what he believes is an out of control banking system. Although states do not have the constitutional authority to print money, Marshall suggested a loophole may exist allowing states to make silver and gold coins. [Washington Post]
Residents Concerned About Traffic Crossover — In a letter to the editor, a resident tells the Sun Gazette about safety fears regarding a traffic median on S. Walter Reed Drive. Residents of the Concord Mews Condominium say they have contacted the county about the placement and size of the median, which they say has caused many near collisions. [Sun Gazette]
Flickr pool photo by wolfkann