Arlington, VA

ARLnow Weekend Discussion

With County Board meetings, budget news, and plenty of other things going on, it was a busy week in Arlington.

Expect more of the same next week, with County Board budget sessions instead.

Here are the ARLnow stories that received the most reads over the past five days:

  1. Va. Rolls Back Some Restrictions on Dining, Outdoor Gatherings
  2. Metro Asking Public To Weigh In On Cuts, Including Closing Several Arlington Stations
  3. Arlington Safeway Stores Are Offering Vaccine Appointments
  4. Queen Mother’s Fried Chicken is Thriving in Arlington
  5. Ask Eli: Condo Smoking Bill Passes in Virginia
  6. Work Underway on First Phase of Ballston Harris Teeter Development
  7. Virginia State Police Chased a Suspect Through Arlington Last Night
  8. Car Theft Suspect Apprehended After Chase, Crash
  9. Morning Poll: Which Pandemic Restaurant Closure Hits the Hardest?
  10. Arlington Man Sentenced to Nearly 13 Years in Prison for Trafficking Fentanyl

Feel free to discuss those articles, or anything else of local interest, in the comments. Have a great (albeit rainy) weekend!

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A crash in the East Falls Church neighborhood last night closed a portion of busy Lee Highway for an extended period of time.

The crash happened around 7:45 p.m. Thursday, a couple of blocks east of the Lee Highway and Washington Blvd intersection. A driver in a sedan appears to have run off the road, smashed through a brick wall and damaged a utility pole.

“Upon arrival, officers located a single vehicle crash into a utility pole,” Arlington County Police Department spokeswoman Ashley Savage tells ARLnow. The driver was transported to an area hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Lee Highway was closed between Washington Boulevard and N. Sycamore Street and Dominion Energy responded to complete repairs.”

The crash knocked out power to a portion of the surrounding area. An exact cause of the crash was not given.

Utility work dragged on into the night, but all lanes were reopened by this morning, according to Arlington Alert.

Photo via Danny Shaw

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A number of Gunston Middle School students appeared on national TV yesterday.

The students went on air Thursday during the fourth hour of NBC’s Today Show to ask questions of former NASA astronaut Dr. Mae Jemison, the first Black woman to go into space.

The students asked how to become an astronaut, what it was like in space, and about how difficult it was for Jemison to break racial barriers in her career path.

Arlington Public Schools spokesman Frank Bellavia tells ARLnow that a parent helped to coordinate the appearance for nearly a dozen Gunston students.

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Morning Notes

Early Morning Fracas in Va. Square — “At approximately 1:09 a.m. on February 24, police were dispatched to the report of a fight in progress. Upon arrival, it was determined that the suspect entered a business and allegedly began selecting merchandise. The victim refused the suspect service citing restrictions on the sales of alcohol during the overnight hours. The suspect and victim became engaged in a verbal dispute that escalated to a physical altercation, during which the victim was able to recover the merchandise. The suspect re-entered the business… at which point a witness intervened.” [ACPD]

Developers Selected for GMU Expansion — “George Mason University has picked a team of developers to manage the construction of the Amazon-induced expansion of its Arlington campus… The university hopes to finalize a development agreement with Edgemoor and Harrison Street by December and start construction by spring 2022. It plans to open the building by summer 2025. The Arlington campus, is located on Fairfax Drive just west of Clarendon.” [Washington Business Journal]

YHS Swimmer Breaks Two Nat’l Records — “US National Teamer Torri Huske made her mark on the final day of the 2021 VHSL Class 6 State meet, breaking two National High School records. Huske, a senior at Yorktown High School, began her meet by swimming a time of 1:53.73 in the 200 IM, chopping a tenth of a second off of Dagny Knutson’s National Public High School record of 1:53.82 that had stood since 2009.” [Swim Swam]

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No more than once a year, we survey our readers to help set the direction for how ARLnow will evolve and continue serving the community.

Today we’re releasing our new 2021 ARLnow Reader Survey.

The survey asks about how we’re doing, how we can improve, and what potential new features we can add. It’s critically important that a critical mass of readers take the survey.

The survey should only take about 5 minutes to fill out. We would greatly appreciate it if you would take the time and provide your feedback.

Thank you, Arlington!

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An “emergency utility repair” at Arlington’s sewage treatment plant led to a sewage release into Four Mile Run.

The sewage release happened this morning at the plant on S. Glebe Road. County officials are warning people to avoid the stream between S. Arlington Ridge Road and the Potomac.

“The public is advised to stay away from the affected water and to keep pets away until further notice,” Arlington County said in a press release. “Stream water can contain microorganisms that can make people sick, whether the stream is located in an urban area or in the middle of a forest. Even after the discharge is naturally flushed from the streams, the County’s normal precautions for safe use of streams apply.”

Crews are working to repair the unspecified issue at the plant. As a result of the work, a portion of S. Glebe Road is closed at S. Eads Street.

“An estimated completion time for the repair is unknown at this time,” the county said.

Separately, just before 9:15 a.m., a crash also blocked a lane of S. Glebe Road near S. Arlington Ridge Road, after an SUV reportedly careened into a utility pole.

Update at 1:30 p.m. — All lanes of S. Glebe Road have reopened, the county says.

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Morning Notes

Track Team Denied Trip to State Tourney — “High-school track and field competitors from across the commonwealth’s largest jurisdictions will descend on Virginia Beach March 1 for the Virginia High School League’s Class 6 boys and girls indoor state-championship meets. But Arlington athletes will not be among them. County school leaders have denied permission for teams to make the trip, citing health concerns about the ongoing high level of COVID infection in that part of Virginia and other factors.” [InsideNova]

County Employees Getting Vaccinated — “Arlington government leaders have decided that the entire county-government workforce qualifies as essential for ‘continuity of government,’ which bumps them ahead of several other groups as well as the general public in COVID-vaccination priority. County-government officials last week confirmed to the Sun Gazette that its entire workforce will be part of Virginia’s ‘Group 1b,’ placing them ahead of approximately 50 percent of the state’s population.” [Sun Gazette]

HQ2 Sparks Park Debate — “[Nearby residents] worry even the large parks Amazon is promising will feel more like playgrounds for the company’s workers than community assets, pressing Arlington County officials to invest and ensure public ownership of green space in the area. And in a section of Arlington where some neighborhood groups have raised persistent complaints about a lack of community parks over the years, the issue seems certain to dominate debates about development for the foreseeable future.” [Washington Business Journal]

Local Food Biz Profiled — From the Ballston Business Improvement District: “After years of learning and cooking with their families, Andrea and Bryant created Bee J’s Cookies in April 2020 to share their gift with others.” [Twitter]

Arlington Org Helped Thousands with Food Needs — “AHC Inc., a premier provider of affordable housing communities in metro D.C., sprang into action last spring to help residents suffering from the effects of the pandemic. In 2020, AHC’s Resident Services team with support from the property management arm, AHC Management, has provided substantial food and financial assistance to more than 3,000 families in Maryland and Virginia.” [AHC Inc.]

‘Cyber Flashing’ Bill Killed — “Fear not, creepy Virginia dudes — you can still legally send an unsolicited picture of your genitals to people. For now, at least. A bill that would ban cyber-flashing in Virginia was killed last Wednesday. Cyber-flashing is when someone sends unsolicited explicit photos to another person, and the bill proposed to make it a misdemeanor.” [Washingtonian, Virginia Mercury]

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(Updated at 11 a.m.) A car chase sped through a number of South Arlington neighborhoods Tuesday evening.

The chase happened around dusk, and went through Shirlington, Green Valley, and neighborhoods along Columbia Pike. It ended with an arrest at the intersection of 8th Street S. and S. Harrison Street, in the Arlington Mill neighborhood, according to local public safety watcher Dave Statter.

Virginia State Police troopers chased the suspect and were assisted in their subsequent investigation by Arlington County police, according to ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage.

A VSP spokeswoman confirmed last night that “no law enforcement were injured and the suspect is in custody.” This morning, state police issued the following press release about the incident.

At approximately 6:13 p.m. Tuesday (Feb. 23), a Virginia State Police trooper attempted to initiate a traffic stop on a Buick sedan traveling south on I-395 near Exit 8A in Arlington County. The trooper had observed the Buick making multiple unsafe lane changes in/around southbound traffic and had its rear license plate improperly displayed. When the trooper activated his vehicle’s emergency lights and siren, the Buick refused to stop. A pursuit was initiated when the Buick sped away at a high rate of speed.

The Buick exited I-395 at Exit 7/Glebe Road. State police troopers were able to maneuver their vehicles around the Buick to contain it. That’s when the Buick rammed one of the trooper’s vehicles. As the vehicles continued onto 8th Street in Arlington, the Buick rammed additional state police vehicles. Both times, the driver of the Buick lost control and the Buick ran off the road. The Buick ended up striking a fence and three parked vehicles during those instances before finally coming to a stop.

The driver of the Buick, Aaron B. Connelley, 41, of Washington, D.C., refused to exit the vehicle, despite repeated verbal commands from the troopers to do so. The driver was finally taken into custody.

Connelley was charged with one felony count of eluding police, possession of a Schedule I/II narcotic and various other traffic offenses related to the pursuit. The incident remains under investigation.

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Morning Notes

Rosslyn Dog Park Now Open — “Thanks to the support of the Rosslyn Business Improvement District and R-DOGS, there’s a new interim dog park on the western side of Gateway Park. Now that’s something to bark about!” [Arlington County, Instagram]

Arlingtonian Confirmed as U.N. Ambassador — “The Senate voted 78-20 on Tuesday to confirm Linda Thomas-Greenfield as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.” The long-time Arlington resident “has promised to restore the U.S. role as a defender of human rights and will look to repair multilateral relationships that fractured under former President Trump.” [Axios]

Crashes on I-395 Yesterday Morning — From the Arlington County Fire Department: “The units from Station 9C ran a three vehicle accident early this morning on 395NB. Upon arrival, they discovered a trapped patient who was quickly extricated. Two patients were treated and transported with non-life threatening injuries.” [Twitter, WUSA 9]

YHS Students to Continue Athletics in College — “A dozen Yorktown High School athletes participated in recent college signing ceremonies to continue their playing careers at the next level.” [InsideNova]

Local Woman Sickened By New Puppy — “An Arlington mother and daughter are warning those interested in purchasing a new pet about a disease called campylobacter. Audrey Glitt was thrilled when her mother, Katrina Metzler, brought home a new puppy named Fernweh as a surprise — but shortly after the dog’s arrival, the excitement quickly faded to worry. ‘I think it was about, a week later after we had gotten her, I started getting really sick and I couldn’t get out of bed,’ said Glitt.” [WDVM]

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(Updated at 5:10 p.m.) Several Safeway stores in Arlington are offering COVID-19 vaccine appointments in Arlington, amid high demand for vaccinations.

The appointments are available for those ages 65 and up only.

Safeway stores in Arlington that appeared on the company’s vaccine appointment website as of 1 p.m. include the locations at 2500 N. Harrison Street, 3713 Lee Highway in Cherrydale, and 5101 Wilson Blvd in Bluemont. Stores in McLean, Falls Church and D.C. area also listed.

As of publication time, appointments were available for the second week in March. Appointment slots in previous weeks had been already been filled.

“Three of our Arlington stores will begin administering COVID-19 vaccines tomorrow,” a company spokeswoman confirmed to ARLnow Tuesday evening. “At this time, the allocated doses are very limited.”

Safeway is part of a federal vaccination program for national pharmacy chains and networks. CVS, another partner in the federal vaccination program, started offering appointments in Arlington earlier this month but its appointment website says CVS locations across Virginia are all fully booked.

Walgreens stores in Virginia are expected to start vaccinations soon, after the company gets its first shipment of nearly a half-million vaccine doses on Thursday.

Arlington County started taking appointments for those ages 65-74 on Friday, Feb. 12, after previously only vaccinating certain frontline workers and those ages 75 and up.

As of Tuesday morning, the county crossed the 10,000 mark for those fully vaccinated with two vaccine shots. A total of 31,553 vaccine doses have been administered in Arlington, and 10,157 people have been fully vaccinated, according to the Virginia Dept. of Health.

Hat tip to @DMVVaccine

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