Update at 12 p.m. on 5/30 — The victim has been identified by state police as Craig A. Vanbrunt, 66, of Pendleton, Indiana. The crash remains under investigation.
Notes VSP: “The crash did NOT occur during the Rolling Thunder Ride. Mr. Vanbrunt was part of a group that had participated in the ride earlier in the day — but they had completed their participation and were headed out when the crash occurred.”
Earlier: A motorcyclist was killed Sunday afternoon in a crash on westbound I-66 near Rosslyn.
From Virginia State Police:
At 4:13 p.m. Sunday (May 29, 2016), Virginia State Police Trooper M.D. Hart responded to a single-vehicle crash in Arlington County. The crash occurred in the westbound lanes of I-66 at the 74 mile marker.
A group of motorcycles were traveling in the westbound lanes of I-66 when they came upon stopped traffic approaching the Rosslyn Tunnel. One of the motorcycles was unable to brake in time and lost control. The motorcycle crashed and its rider, who was wearing a helmet, fell from the bike.
The adult, male motorcyclist was transported to George Washington University Hospital, where he died later Sunday evening.
State police are still in the process of notifying his next of kin.
The crash remains under investigation.
The man grabbed the woman’s underwear, then fled the scene. A police dog attempted to track the suspect down but lost his scent.
From an Arlington County Police crime report:
SEXUAL BATTERY, 160525052, 3800 block of N. Fairfax Drive. At approximately 10:45 p.m., a female victim was walking down the street when an unknown male subject reached his hand underneath her dress and grabbed her underwear. The subject fled the scene on foot and a K9 track in the area was negative. The subject is described at a black male, 20-30 years old, approximately 6ft tall with an average build.
Also Wednesday evening, a 19-year-old Arlington man was charged with being drunk in public, having a fake ID and attempting to bribe the officer who was taking him to jail.
ATTEMPT TO COMMIT BRIBERY OF A LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER, 160525042, 4900 block of N. Lee Highway. At approximately 5:27 p.m., officers were dispatched to the report of an intoxicated male subject. When the officers arrived, the subject provided them with a false identification. During transport to booking, the subject became agitated and offered to pay the officer to allow him to leave without charges. Ryan McNulty, 19, of Arlington VA was charged with Attempt to Commit Bribery, Possession of a Fictitious license (x2), Provide False ID to Avoid Arrest, Underage Consumption of Alcohol and Drunk in Public.
W-L Soccer Advances to Semis — The Washington-Lee High School boys soccer team notched a 2-1 quarterfinal victory last night, to advance to the 6A North region semifinals next week. [Washington Post]
Dodgeball Tourney Next Weekend — For the second year in row, a pair of Yorktown High School students are organizing a free dodgeball tournament. The event, for ages 8 and up, will be held at Marymount University on Saturday, June 4. Proceeds from donations made by participants will be donated “to help support schools in need of better playground and physical education equipment.” [Arlington Dodgeball]
Arlington GOP Stops Short of Supporting Garvey — At a meeting on Wednesday, the chair of the Arlington County Republican Committee put the kibosh on a member’s proposal for Republican voters to support Democrat Libby Garvey in her County Board re-election effort. “We’re about Republican candidates,” said Jim Presswood. [InsideNova]
Simon will be taking over for Susie Warner, who was district director for former Rep. Jim Moran (and then for Beyer) since 1990. Warner is retiring as of Wednesday, June 1.
“We really looked hard for someone who was deeply embedded in the community,” said Beyer. “It’s tough to bring in someone who doesn’t know too much about the community, so finding Noah was like a godsend.”
Simon says he resigned from the School Board to care for his two kids.
“My schedule wasn’t fair to my kids who were 8 and 10 at the time,” said Simon. With his children now a bit older, Simon decided it was time to re-enter the workforce and, given his continued community involvement, he found a natural fit with Beyer’s office.
“Everyone that I have talked to since the news has come out about how he is going to start as our District Office Director has been full of praise, so I am really looking forward to working with him,” said Beyer.
(In the intervening years, Simon remained active in the community. He is currently the PTA president at Swanson Middle School, vice chair of the Dream Project board and a board member of Doorways for Women and Families.)
A district director typically handles specific constituent requests, for help with Social Security, pensions, visas, immigration or other issues.
Simon will be busy: so far in 2016, Beyer’s office has opened 546 individual constituent service cases. For all of last year, the office handled 1,179 cases.
“Constituent service is most enjoyable for me.” Simon said. “I am very interested in conflict resolution, so my skills will transfer well. I am not coming in to fix broken things, because nothing is broken, I plan to keep things going.”
Plane Makes Emergency Landing at DCA — An American Airlines flight taking off from Reagan National Airport had to turn around and make an emergency landing after a bird struck and disabled one of its engines. The incident happened around noon on Tuesday. No one was hurt. [NBC Washington]
That’s a Lot of Parking Tickets — Arlington County issued some 109,000 parking citations last year. The two most ticketed spots in the county: the county-owned surface parking lot in Courthouse and the county-owned parking strip next to Northside Social. [WJLA]
Vihstadt Pens Statement of Support for Garvey — County Board member John Vihstadt (I) writes of Board chair Libby Garvey, who’s facing a challenge in the Democratic primary: “While we don’t agree on everything, she continues to be my ally on key priorities like championing open, accessible and transparent County government, adequate schools funding, robust transit solutions on the Pike and elsewhere, and streamlining our business processes.” [Libby Garvey]
GGW Endorses Gutshall — Urbanist blog Greater Greater Washington has endorsed Erik Gutshall, who’s challenging County Board chair Libby Garvey in the June 14 Democratic primary. Writes GGW: “Overall, Gutshall has demonstrated a strong grasp of the challenges facing Arlington and an ability to work with others to find solutions. Libby Garvey, his opponent, has not demonstrated these qualities.” [Greater Greater Washington]
Paving on Columbia Pike — Crews are repaving the westbound lanes of Columbia Pike between S. Glebe Road and S. George Mason Drive, through Friday. [Twitter]
Raising Funds to Help Baby Hear — An Arlington resident has launched an online fundraiser to help pay for travel expenses and medical expenses associated with his baby daughter’s participation in a clinical trial that will help her hear via an auditory brainstem implant. [GoFundMe]
Memorial Day Traffic to Peak Thursday — Heading out of town for Memorial Day? Try to avoid driving Thursday afternoon or evening, which is expected to have the worst traffic of the holiday period. A better time to leave is between 8 p.m. Thursday and 11 a.m. Friday. [Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments]
Ideas for Making Arlington More Bike Friendly — Chris Slatt, chair of the Arlington Transportation Commission, has 10 “big ideas” for making Arlington even more bicycle friendly. [Greater Greater Washington]
French Program at Wakefield Honored — Wakefield High School’s French program is one of 10 such programs in the country this year to receive the Exemplary Program Honors award from the American Association of Teachers of French. Enrollment in Wakefield’s French program has reportedly doubled since 2011. [WJLA]
Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman
ACPD says it recently started “a high-visibility underage drinking enforcement and education campaign designed to curb the use of fake IDs by underage individuals.” The campaign is targeting the busy Clarendon bar district on weekends.
“Over the last month or so, a number of fake IDs — originating from overseas online shops — have been turned into police by Clarendon businesses,” explained ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage. “This initiative was developed to address this issue.”
“This is a newer initiative but it’s been going on for about a month,” Savage continued. “We have a great working relationship with the business owners in Clarendon and this is just one more step we can take to continue to make Clarendon a safe area at night. The initiative will be going on this weekend… [and] will be part of the regular duties of the officers working our Clarendon detail on Friday and Saturday nights.”
Savage said the campaign includes enforcement, signboards placed around Clarendon and social media outreach. (The department will be live tweeting from Clarendon on Friday night.)
“We encourage people to enjoy the nightlife Arlington has to offer but do so responsibly – and that includes waiting until you reach the legal drinking age of 21,” said Savage.
The full press release issued by ACPD this afternoon is below.
The Arlington County Police Department will conduct a high-visibility underage drinking enforcement and education campaign designed to curb the use of fake IDs by underage individuals. These efforts aim to deter those underage individuals from abusing alcohol and driving while impaired.
According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, those under the legal drinking age are at a far greater risk of death in an alcohol-related crash than the overall population, despite the fact that they cannot legally purchase or publicly possess alcohol in any state. That’s why the Arlington County Police Department is reminding underage individuals to think before they drink; underage drinking comes with adult consequences.
Throughout the summer, officers will work with our Clarendon business partners to authenticate identification documents and identify fake IDs used by underage individuals to purchase alcohol and gain access to bars. Individuals using another person’s driver’s license, altering their own driver’s license or reproducing a fake ID may be charged with violation of Virginia Code §18.2-204.2 Possession of a false identification, a Class 2 Misdemeanor and punishable up to 6 months in jail and up to a $1,000 fine and/or Virginia Code §18.2-186.3 Identity Theft, a Class 1 Misdemeanor punishable up to 12 months in jail and up to a $2,550 fine.
McAuliffe Under Investigation — Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) is being investigated by the FBI and the Justice Department for possible illegal campaign contributions. [CNN]
Board Accepting Feedback on Blue Ribbon Panel — The County Board’s so-called Blue Ribbon Panel was supposed to help the Board set county priorities without getting bogged down in bureaucracy and process. Instead, the panel’s implementation has been delayed and the county is now asking for public feedback on the panel and its charge. [Arlington County]
The Legacy of ACFD’s First Black Firefighters — The Halls Hill/High View Park community held an event this past weekend to honor the Arlington County Fire Department’s first black professional firefighters. Some members of the original group of 14 black firefighters to staff Arlington’s Fire Station No. 8 were on hand for the event. [InsideNova]
Don Rockwell Profiled — Don Rockwell, the mysterious proprietor of the influential Don Rockwell online restaurant forum, lives along Columbia Pike and dines out just about every day for lunch and dinner. At the end of the profile, Rockwell lists some of his favorite local restaurants and dishes. [Arlington Magazine]
Flickr pool photo by James L.
The power problem caused the traffic signal at the busy intersection of Lee Highway and Washington Blvd to start flashing, snarling traffic, and was also said to be responsible for numerous activated burglar and fire alarm calls in the area.
As of 4 p.m., there were just shy of 600 Dominion customers reported to be without power in Northern Virginia, mostly in Fairfax County.
The workers have faced eight months of delay in seeking a new contract with “modest” pay increases and a paid sick leave option, according to their union, the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LiUNA). The workers are employed by Davey Tree Expert Co. and Greenleaf Services Inc., which have contracts with the cemetery, LiUNA says.
The union issued the following press release this afternoon.
The men and women who care for the grounds of Arlington National Cemetery may strike the cemetery’s grounds-keeping contractor, following nearly eight months of delay in reaching a new contract agreement.
The 45 workers, members of Local 572 of the Laborers’ International Union of North America, are seeking three annual pay increases and the introduction of paid sick leave. The workers are jointly employed by Davey Tree Expert Co. and Greenleaf Services Inc.
“Members of our military have risked their lives to defend the rights and freedoms of our Constitution, including the freedom to join together in a union for common interests,” said Larry Doggette, Business Manager of Local 572 and a veteran of the U.S. Marines. “It is disgraceful that these fundamental rights and freedoms would be denied at our nation’s military cemetery during a holiday in honor of those have lost their lives in defense of freedom.”
In May 2015, the workers voted in favor of joining together in the union to negotiate for better wages and working conditions. The workers are seeking a boost from their approximately $13 per hour pay rate. They are also seeking sick leave; currently workers have no paid sick leave.
The union and the companies reached an agreement this year on most non-economic issues, and workers presented their pay and sick leave proposal in October 2015. The employers had promised a response, but repeatedly delayed and cancelled the last negotiating session scheduled for this month.
Under a recent executive order by President Obama, up to seven days of sick leave will be required by federal contractors in 2017. However, rather than enshrining the sick leave in a contract, the employers proposed that sick leave be consistent with the order.
“It may be that they are running out the clock, hoping for new president who might rescind the executive order,” Doggette said. “But workers voted for a union, they want a contract and their rights to one should be respected.” Doggette added, “We believe we could easily reach an agreement if the employers would negotiate.” Doggette said that any strike would likely begin before the Memorial Day holiday, and absent an agreement, continue through it.
LIUNA’s Mid-Atlantic Region includes more than 40,000 workers predominantly in the construction industry in Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, the District of Columbia, Virginia and North Carolina.
Flickr pool photo by Jeff Reardon
The incident happened just after 2 a.m., early Saturday morning, at Long Branch Elementary School on N. Fillmore Street in Lyon Park.
According to police, an officer patrolling the area noticed the men creeping around the school with flashlights and then going inside via an “unsecured” door. By the time the suspects left the school, with Apple iPad tablets in hand, more officers had arrived and they were taken into custody, said ACPD.
The men, both Arlington residents in their early 20s, were charged with burglary and grand larceny. From the ACPD crime report:
BURGLARY, 160521007, unit block of N. Fillmore Street. At approximately 2:10 a.m. on May 21, an officer working in the area observed suspicious persons. He observed the individuals shining flashlights towards the school and enter through an unsecured door. Officers confronted the individuals upon their exit from the school. The suspects fled but were ultimately apprehended and determined to be in possession of Apple Ipads. Dvonte Medious-Jackson, 21, of Arlington VA, was charged with burglary and grand larceny. James Minor, 22, of Arlington VA, was charged with burglary and grand larceny.
Van Doren, Talento Win Dem Endorsement — Tannia Talento and incumbent Nancy Van Doren convincingly won the Democratic endorsement caucus for School Board last week. Talento and Van Doren were the most-endorsed candidates in the race. They will now move on to the November general election. [InsideNova]
Female WW2 Pilots Gain Burial Rights at ANC — Bipartisan legislation signed by President Obama has granted Women Airforce Service Pilots, who served during World War II, formal burial rights at Arlington National Cemetery. Those rights were revoked due to a Dept. of Defense legal finding and policy change last year. [Voice of America]
After months — maybe even years — of constant “harassment” from an anonymous neighbor, North Highlands resident Mary McCutcheon had enough, as did the rest of the community.
On Thursday, McCutcheon organized a neighborhood meeting in front of her house — in the small community just north of Rosslyn — to discuss a neighbor who was constantly calling Arlington County to report supposed violations of zoning codes in local yards. It was enough of an issue that even County Board Chair Libby Garvey showed up.
“The county enforces some of the property maintenance and zoning codes in response to complaints and almost never in a proactive way,” McCutcheon told ARLnow.com. “This wouldn’t be bad except it effectively deputizes the small number of complain-o-holics around town with a great deal of power.”
Over the last couple of years, McCutcheon has constantly battled Arlington County over her plants. The owner of three properties in the neighborhood, she has received numerous violation notices as a result of complaint-driven code enforcement. In a letter to the editor sent to ARLnow in 2014, McCutcheon described in detail an instance in which an Arlington County inspector deemed her in violation of a weed-related ordinance following a complaint.
And she’s not alone. Someone, it seems, does not like the aesthetics of other nearby properties, either. And neighbors are fed up with it.
“Finally there is a critical mass of people who have been complained about,” she said, of the meet. “We have approached the County Manager and the County Board and the higher-ups in zoning and code enforcement.””
Some 20 neighborhood residents attended the meeting, along with Garvey and the county’s new Resident Ombudsman, Robert Sharpe.
At the meeting, McCutcheon displayed the offending items including her overgrown rose bushes, a fence surrounding the property and a small library she kept in front of her home.
“I think that complaint-driven code enforcement has so many inherent evils that we must put an end to it,” said McCutcheon. “We must have codes in this county that are enforceable and will be enforced and are worthy of being enforced, otherwise rewrite them. When code is enforced capriciously like this, I hope the county stops accepting this type of complaint.”
Garvey seemed sympathetic, agreeing that the code should have room for interpretation in situations where the perceived violation is not a threat to safety or other people’s property.
“There are situations where things should apply where they shouldn’t and there ought to be a way to exercise judgment,” said Garvey. “This property is beautiful but it doesn’t fit the narrow definitions of what we have had. I’m not sure what the solution is because I can’t say we’re not going to enforce our code but maybe there is a way of giving the code a little judgment or some situational awareness.”
McCutcheon was not the only one there who experienced the passive aggressive wrath of an anonymous resident.
One resident mentioned an incident where her babysitter received an threatening letter from an anonymous source due to her parking her car in the wrong location. The letter contained profanity and other threats and it was signed “The County Board.”
McCutcheon claimed the harassment began after she took down a white mulberry tree that was on public land near her house. The white mulberry is known to be an invasive species, crowding out native species. After removing the tree, McCutcheon says that a particular neighbor immediately became hostile, claiming that the tree was the only thing blocking his view of townhouses in front.
After the initial event, she described how this neighbor — a particularly grumpy British man — would become increasingly aggressive and rude to her in later encounters on the street. Soon after, she began receiving calls from county officials about the complaints, which she assumed came from the same person.
“One time I was walking my dogs and he was walking backwards just to scream at me. I was so scared I wrote a letter to Adult Protective Services but I never sent it,” said McCutcheon.
Other residents shared their own experiences, suggesting that the prickly Brit was the source of the complaints.
While she was describing the chronology of events, the neighbor in question exited his house and quickly became upset with the gathered group. He also began aggressively questioning the presence of a reporter, an ARLnow.com intern, and threatened to call the police after another resident tried to intervene.
Sharpe arrived soon after, temporarily defusing the situation as he took the man aside to discuss the issue.
After speaking with the man, Sharpe recommended that for the short term, McCutcheon comply with the directives to trim her rose bushes in order to avoid further conflict while the county comes up with a more permanent solution.
The mystery, however, deepened after the meeting adjourned.
In a later email, McCutcheon notified ARLnow that after speaking with Sharpe, it was confirmed that the neighbor was not, in fact, the source of the complaints.
“[He] is still a nasty man,” McCutcheon said. “But it is someone else who is complaining.”
(Updated at 12:50 p.m.) An SUV smashed through the front of the Hallmark store at the Bradlee Shopping Center near Fairlington around noon today.
Firefighters from Arlington County were dispatched to assist Alexandria units on scene, but no injuries and no serious structural damage was reported. The area was closed off to shoppers while crews worked to remove the SUV from its final resting spot, most of the way into the store.
The store is located at 3670 King Street in Alexandria, near the center of the strip mall shopping center.
1st arriving on car in bld. No injuries no serious structural damage. pic.twitter.com/O3E5AokcdS
— Robert Dubé (@AFDChief200) May 20, 2016
Tow truck starting to pull vehicle from building at Bradlee Shopping Center. Area opening up soon! pic.twitter.com/H7idqUm4YO
— Alexandria Police (@AlexandriaVAPD) May 20, 2016
County Manager Mark Schwartz presented his proposed FY 2017-26 Capital Improvement Plan earlier this week. The County Board will now hold a series of work sessions and public hearings before final adoption of the plan and the November slate of bond referenda by the Board on July 19.
The CIP includes $177 million of proposed bond referenda for November, for the following projects:
Metro and Transportation – $59 million
- Metro – fulfilling our ongoing commitment – $30 million, a 31 percent increase from the 2014 referenda ($23 million).
- Paving – maintaining our roads – $24 million a 27 percent increase over the last CIP
Parks and Recreation – $19 million
- Maintenance capital of $12 million;
- Land acquisition of $3 million a 50 percent increase over the prior CIP
Government Facilities – $70 million
- Design for Fire Station 8 (Completion of the Fire Station 8 Task Force work will inform a construction referenda request in 2018)
- Facilities Maintenance capital — $11 million
- Construction of Lubber Run Community Center – $46 million
- Barcroft Gymnastics Expansion – $3 million
Community Conservation – $17 million
- Continued support of Neighborhood Conservation – $12 million
- Construction of the Nauck Town Square – $5 million
Joint County Schools – $12 million
- Parking structure at Thomas Jefferson site
Schwartz’s plan is notable both for what it contains and what it doesn’t contain. For one, the plan asks for no additional funds for the proposed, scaled-down Long Bridge Park aquatics and fitness center.
The plan is being billed as a balance of new capital spending projects and maintenance that stays within the limits needed to preserve Arlington’s AAA bond rating, at a time when Arlington Public Schools is in the midst of major construction projects to keep up with rising enrollment. The CIP assumes annual county revenue growth of 2-3 percent, which officials say is a conservative projection.
This is the first Capital Improvement Plan since the cancelation of the Columbia Pike/Crystal City streetcar project. The plan “reallocates money from the cancelled project into a premium [bus] transit network for Columbia Pike that eventually will offer a one-ride trip from the west end of the Pike to Potomac Yard.”
“Our priorities are clear,” Schwartz said in a press release. “We will fund a premium transit network for Columbia Pike that will bring many of the benefits of a streetcar, at less cost, to that heavily traveled corridor. We include substantial funding for Schools capacity needs and the Superintendent’s proposed CIP priorities. We also will address our community’s growing need for recreational facilities and open space by replacing the aging Lubber Run Community Center and moving forward with the Long Bridge Park Aquatics and Fitness Center and surrounding 10 acres of parkland within existing funding. We also will fund the design of a new fire station to replace Lee Highway’s obsolete Fire Station No. 8.”
“The proposed CIP is a 4.4 percent increase over the FY 15-FY 24 Adopted CIP of $2.7 billion,” the press release notes.
“It includes more than $1.3 billion in funding for transportation over the next 10 years. Some of that money would be used to expand the County’s successful Arlington Transit (ART) bus system, adding 25 buses to the 65-bus fleet by FY 2022. Another $421 million is proposed for water-sewer infrastructure funding over the next 10 years. Also included is funding to acquire the Buck property, on N. Quincy Street, and $6 million to build an on-line payment portal and supporting systems.”