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by Chris Teale September 14, 2017 at 10:00 am 0

The Arlington County Sheriff’s Office should rethink its relationship with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, according to a leader at a criminal justice nonprofit.

Simon Sandoval-Moshenberg, legal director at the Falls Church-based Legal Aid Justice Center — which provides legal representation for low-income Virginians — said with President Donald Trump’s harder line on illegal immigration, Arlington and other jurisdictions should look again at how they work with ICE.

Under former President Barack Obama, he said, ICE was focused primarily on deporting illegal immigrants who are gang members and criminals. But now, according to Sandoval-Moshenberg, their orders appears to be broader as they seek to deport non-criminals as well.

Fellow panelist, Deputy Sheriff David Kidwell, said that Arlington is legally required to provide information on people under arrest electronically to Virginia State Police. VSP then shares that data with the FBI and ICE, among other law enforcement agencies.

If a person in jail is wanted by ICE for deportation and the Sheriff’s Office receives a request to hold onto them, it notifies ICE 48 hours before the person is released to come and collect them. But Sandoval-Moshenberg said that should change.

“I think there are a lot of assumptions and agreements under the old administration that need to be revisited given the new administration’s policies,” he said.

The pair were on a panel Wednesday night to discuss the impact of the changes in immigration law and enforcement as part of the Arlington Committee of 100’s monthly program at Marymount University.

Kidwell echoed County Manager Mark Schwartz’s statement earlier this year that Arlington cannot protect anyone from federal immigration enforcement. Instead, he said, Sheriff Beth Arthur has made the decision to “uphold the law.”

“She has decided once that request has been made [by ICE], to honor that request,” Kidwell said.

A third panelist, Laura Newton, director of Student Services at Arlington Public Schools, said APS will not require families or students to reveal their immigration status when they register. She added that families should not be afraid of sending their children to school.

“We need to make sure people know we are an open and welcoming county, and we will not stop anyone registering for school because of their legal status,” Newton said. She added that policy has not changed over the past several years, and APS has not received any complaints about it.

Still uncertain is the future of the approximately 800,000 people that will be affected when President Trump’s rescinding of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program starts to take effect in March. Trump is reported to be working on a deal with congressional Democrats to preserve DACA protections via legislation.

The decision, which affects people brought into the country illegally as children who were granted work permits and protection from deportation, was criticized by local members of Congress as well as the County Board.

Sandoval-Moshenberg estimated there are around 17,000 undocumented immigrants in Arlington. He said the dearth of affordable housing has meant the immigrant population has been slowly squeezed out. In 2000, 30 percent of Arlington residents were foreign-born, but in 2010, that figure went down to 20 percent.

“As the laws and policies have become more and more welcoming to immigrants and more and more friendly to immigrants, less and less are living here as fewer and fewer can afford to live here,” Sandoval-Moshenberg said. He said that ending DACA could mean more people go back into the shadows.

Both Kidwell and Newton said their agencies will not change their stances on illegal immigrants. Kidwell said sheriff’s deputies and police officers will not ask anyone under arrest about their immigration status, while Newton emphasized that APS mission to educate anyone and everyone who lives in Arlington.

“It’s not our place to judge the reasons why you are here,” she said. “Our job is to educate you.”

The Committee of 100 will discuss the impact of immigration policy and enforcement on private organizations and civic groups at its November meeting in the second of its two-part series on the issue. In October the group will hold a forum with local candidates for public office.

by ARLnow.com September 14, 2017 at 8:45 am 0

Arlington No. 6 on Highest-Income List — Arlington County is the No. 6 highest-income county in the country, according to the latest U.S. Census Bureau data. Three other local counties — Loudoun County, Howard County and Fairfax County — were Nos. 1, 2 and 3 respectively. D.C., meanwhile, was one of the only urban centers in the country to see a decline in its median household income. [Washington Post]

Local Oktoberfest List — A Reddit user has created a master list of local Oktoberfest celebrations and German restaurants. Among the events on the list is the annual Capitol City Brewing Oktoberfest in Shirlington, scheduled this year for Saturday, Sept. 30. [Google Docs, Reddit]

Arlington Ladies Auxiliary Van For Sale — For $3,500, you can be the proud owner of a 1967 Dodge van that once was used as the Arlington Professional Firefighters Association Ladies Auxiliary coffee wagon. [Craigslist]

Arlington Combating Opioid Epidemic —  Arlington County is reminding residents that opioid addiction remains a significant problem in the county and around the U.S. “Opioid use and cases of overdosing continue to rise,” the county said, on a webpage that lists resources for those trying to overcome addiction. [Arlington County]

Mobility Lab Director Touts Success — “We calculated that on a typical workday, our services in Arlington County helped shed about 40,000 trips from vehicles into biking, walking, et cetera,” says the Managing Director of Arlington County’s Mobility Lab, in an interview. “That’s equivalent to seven lanes of urban highway.” [Arlington Magazine]

Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley

by Chris Teale September 13, 2017 at 4:45 pm 0

Its sightings last month left many baffled, and now, car company Ford has explained why and how it sent a “driverless” car through the streets of Courthouse and Clarendon.

In a Medium post today (Wednesday), John Shutko, Ford’s Human Factors Technical Specialist for Self-Driving Vehicles, said the company was working with Virginia Tech to test ways for driverless cars to more effectively show its intentions to pedestrians and other road users.

Ford joined with the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute to test the technology — an animated light bar in the windshield of the video — and to see how those around reacted when they saw a car with no one in the driver’s seat.

“Anyone who has crossed a busy street likely knows the informal language between pedestrians and drivers,” Shutko wrote. “A driver might wave her hand to indicate to the pedestrian it’s okay to cross, or a pedestrian could throw up his hand like a stop sign to signal he plans to cross first. But what happens in the future, when self-driving vehicles operate without drivers – and in some cases, without anyone even in the vehicle itself?”

After being first reported by ARLnow.com, and famously further investigated by NBC4 reporter Adam Tuss — who was startled to discover a person in a seat costume inside — VT admitted it was behind the driverless car.

Ford said people are put in the cars — and dressed as car seats — for safety reasons, as self-driving technology is still in the early stages of testing and development.

The vehicle, a Ford Transit Connect van, had a light bar on top of its windshield. The bar pulsed white light back and forth when yielding, blinked rapidly before accelerating after a stop, or stayed solid when driving normally.

“Virtual reality testing with customers shows it takes a couple of exposures to signals like these before people truly understand what they mean,” Chutko wrote. “It takes even longer for signals to become ingrained in people’s brains  –  second nature, if you will. Through our testing, we believe these signals have the chance to become an accepted visual language that helps address an important societal issue in how self-driving vehicles interact with humans.”

Ford said it has logged more than 150 hours and around 1,800 miles in its tests in dense urban areas. Chutko said the time is right to create an industry standard for autonomous vehicle communications and to start to educate the public.

by Chris Teale September 13, 2017 at 3:50 pm 0

Arlington County drivers will have been feeling the effects of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma at the pump, with gas prices spiking by up to 30 cents a gallon or more locally.

Harvey hit oil refineries throughout Texas, with about one-quarter of oil refining capacity on the Gulf Coast being temporarily shut down, according to AAA. And in Arlington and elsewhere in the U.S., prices have spiked as the refineries get back up and running and damage to their systems and pipelines is assessed.

As of Wednesday, prices at the Shell and Speedway stations near Clarendon were $2.69 a gallon for unleaded gas, up from the former price of around $2.30 a gallon.

Despite a spike of around $0.30 cents since the hurricanes, Virginia remains one of the least expensive states to buy gas, at just over $2.50 a gallon on average, according to GasBuddy.com.

“As in any national or local state of emergency, AAA expects gas prices to be held in check up and down the gasoline supply chain, including prices set by refiners, distributors and dealers unless there is a clearly justifiable reason for an increase,” Jeanette Casselano, a AAA spokeswoman, said.

AAA is also warning anyone looking to buy a car to be careful of buying a flood-damaged used car. When major storms trigger flooding, thousands of totaled cars are shipped out of the affected area and can end up on the used car market elsewhere in the country. As many as a million vehicles may have been submerged by Harvey, AAA said last week.

Sometimes, buyers can be unaware a car has been repaired after being damaged by floodwater. Cars are meticulously dried out, scoured and scrubbed, then the title is “washed,” where it is moved from state to state until it is branded as repairable. They are then sold on by what AAA described as “unscrupulous sellers and fly-by-night operators.”

In a statement, John B. Townsend II, AAA Mid-Atlantic’s manager of public and government affairs, said:

“Use your five senses to detect telltale signs a vehicle has been flooded. Then use your sixth sense. Look for a waterline under the hood, undercarriage and bumpers; for mud and debris inside the cabin and trunk; for signs of rust, and for fogging inside the headlights and taillights. Use your sense of smell to detect the scent of disinfectants or cleansing agents used to cloak musty smells or mold or mildew. Touch the carpet or floor mats for residual traces of wetness or for signs that the carpets, seats and interiors were recently shampooed.

“Listen to the engine to check if it runs smoothly, or runs rough, or makes abnormal noises as it runs. Also listen to the sound system, to check if the electronics are working properly, because some mechanical and electronic components don’t survive flooding. Curiously, the term ‘lemon,’ a slang first used to describe a ‘worthless thing’ and then ‘a defective car,’ stems from a metaphor for ‘something that leaves a foul or bad taste in your mouth.’ That could happen to you if you buy a flood-damaged vehicle.

“Then rely upon your intuition, instincts, and ‘mother wit.’ Flooded cars are not always totaled and 50 percent are eventually resold. But most of all, use your common sense, and always purchase a vehicle history report or obtain a free VIN report for any vehicle suspected of having a watery past.”

by Chris Teale September 13, 2017 at 2:30 pm 0

A battle between residents and youth sports advocates will go before the Arlington County Board on Saturday (September 16) as Board members discuss adding lights to two synthetic turf fields.

County Manager Mark Schwartz announced in June he is recommending lights for the fields near Williamsburg Middle School and Discovery Elementary School in Rock Spring.

Schwartz recommended that the two fields be lit with shielded LED lights that could be dimmed during evening play, and that lights be left on no later than 9:45 p.m. Eighty-four lights would be installed on six 80-foot poles to light the fields.

And county staff is recommending the Board move his plan along, saying that it would allow for extended usage and neighbors’ worries can be mitigated.

Opponents say lights are incompatible with the residential neighborhood, would create more traffic and light pollution while damaging wildlife and trees.

And Saturday’s meeting could see neighborhood opponents come up against those in the youth sports community who say the lights will increase usage of the fields.

Neighbors of the fields delivered a petition with more than 550 signatures against lights on the fields to the County Board before Schwartz’s announcement. Several also sat on the Williamsburg Field Site Evaluation Work Group to study the effects of lights and propose options.

In their report, county staffers note that the group “did not come to a consensus” on lighting the fields.

“The neighborhood civic association has stressed going back to at least 2009 or before that, its intention to try to preserve the neighborhood in its natural condition, to minimize traffic, to protect wildlife habitat and the tree canopy,” Gail Harrison, a member of the work group and a neighborhood opponent of lighting the fields, said at the time of Schwartz’s announcement. “The proposal would be inconsistent with all of those neighborhood goals.”

But youth sports boosters said the lights will be necessary as participation has increased, and fields in Arlington are growing overcrowded and struggling to keep pace with demand. According to county data, youth participation in sports has increased by 56 percent in the past five years, from just over 15,000 in 2011 to just over 24,000 in 2017.

By sport, soccer, baseball, softball, flag football, lacrosse and ultimate Frisbee all saw large increases in participation from 2011 to 2016, according to an infographic sent by a coalition of local youth sports organizations.

Soccer leads the way with more than 16,000 who play in the county, followed by baseball with just over 4,000. Those in favor of the lights are likely to have a strong presence too on Saturday.

“I suspect Arlington Soccer Association will have folks there and I plan to be there for Arlington Babe Ruth [baseball], as all youth sports leagues face the same problem: increased participation… and a limited number of fields,” said George Thompson of the Arlington Babe Ruth baseball organization. “Lighting will add hundreds of hours of annual playing time for the teams that use these fields for practice and games.”

Schwartz’s plan is not yet permitted under the site’s current zoning, nor is funding available for the lights. Staff recommended the Board approve funding new lights as part of the FY 2019 capital budget, and that Schwartz initiate studies on amending the county’s Zoning Ordinance to permit light poles above their current limit of 68 feet. Staff also recommended amending the site’s use permit to allow light poles to be installed.

by ARLnow.com September 13, 2017 at 1:15 pm 0

A woman, wanted with a rap sheet, was arrested last week for a failed burglary along Columbia Pike.

Police say the suspect broke into a business on the 4600 block of Columbia Pike — home to a restaurant, a gas station, a market and an auto shop — but then “was unsuccessful in removing items.”

Police arrested her after responding to a call about a suspicious person around 1 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 7.

More from this week’s Arlington County Police Department crime report:

BURGLARY, 2017-09070016, 4600 block of Columbia Pike. At approximately 1:00 a.m. on September 7, officers responded to the report of a suspicious person. Upon arrival, officers located a female suspect on the property in possession of burglarous tools. During the course of the investigation, it was determined the suspect forced entry into the business but was unsuccessful in removing items. Talisha Braxton, 24, of no fixed address, was arrested and charged with Burglary, Possession of Burglarous Tools, Destruction of Property, Carrying a Concealed Weapon, and Fugitive from Justice. She was held on no bond.

The rest of this past week’s crime report highlights, after the jump.

(more…)

by Chris Teale September 13, 2017 at 11:00 am 0

Virginia Hospital Center (1701 N. George Mason Drive) is looking to add a major expansion on land it will acquire in a land-swap agreement with Arlington County.

Under a preliminary site plan filed with the county, VHC is proposing a more-than 230,000-square-foot, seven-story outpatient pavilion for walk-in patients.

The plans would also convert around 120,000 square feet of existing outpatient space to 101 hospital beds and build a 10-story parking garage with just over 2,000 spaces. Of those 10 stories, two would be below-grade. VHC would also make improvements to the streets around its campus so pedestrian facilities like sidewalks and crosswalks are better connected.

The extension to its campus would replace the county-owned Edison Center on the 1800 block of N. Edison Street, to the north of VHC’s main site. The Edison Center is currently home to some county offices and an Arlington County Refugee Services location.

The County Board voted in July that it wants to acquire the hospital’s property at 601 S. Carlin Springs Road and use the site on N. Edison Street as part of the purchase price.

A letter dated August 7 from land-use attorney Nan E. Walsh of the Walsh, Colucci, Lubeley & Walsh law firm that represents VHC said it has been undergoing a “comprehensive study” of its services with medical professionals as well as neighbors, and has determined it has to fill several gaps.

“These discussions have helped the applicant identify several critical needs which must be addressed as the hospital complex evolves and grows,” Walsh wrote. “These needs include, among others, adding new hospital beds, creating new spaces for hospital services and outpatient care, creating new parking and improving access to the hospital complex.”

In a further letter on June 16, Walsh said community members will benefit from the increased capacity for medical care and improved service for patients and visitors, as well as utility improvements, provided bicycle parking and a green building design, among others.

An amendment to the county’s overall General Land Use Plan will be required to integrate the Edison site into VHC, as well as rezoning the property, site plan and use permit amendments.

by Chris Teale September 12, 2017 at 4:30 pm 0

A report released Tuesday by Commonwealth’s Attorney Theo Stamos found that Arlington County Police officers were justified in shooting a man near I-395 in May and will not face charges.

Two officers, Steven Yanda and Matt Chattillion, shot 28-year-old Daniel George Boak of Centreville on May 17 around 4:30 p.m. after he struck Yanda with his black pickup truck. The officers were attempting a traffic stop at the highway’s Glebe Road exit.

“The totality of the circumstances confronting Officer Yanda and Officer Chattillion at that moment presented an imminent danger of serious injury or death to Officer Yanda and potentially a danger to others at the scene, thereby justifying the use of deadly force to defend Officer Yanda and others,” Stamos wrote.

Stamos’ report said that Boak did not comply with officers’ commands to show his hands when he stopped, and he instead accelerated into Yanda, pinned him against a white Toyota sedan in front with his car and continued to accelerate.

“I could feel pressure on my leg increasing,” Stamos quotes Yanda as saying in his statement to investigators. “He wasn’t just bumping me and then reversing. He continued to come forward. So, it seemed he was trying to injure or kill me. I feared for my life.”

Both fired into the vehicle and struck Boak four times: in the head, neck chest and forearm. Another officer who arrived on scene then placed the car into reverse to free his colleague. Boak was pronounced dead at Virginia Hospital Center at approximately 5:30 p.m. that same day, after the officers attempted CPR.

Stamos said the officers’ statements on the incident were consistent, as well as the statements from civilians in cars nearby. Stamos added that video from Yanda’s in-car camera and from a balcony overlooking the exit show him trapped between the two cars.

A blood sample found that Boak had traces of cocaine, morphine and heroin in his bloodstream, as well as a zip lock baggie in his car containing a small amount of cocaine and a glass-tube smoking device that contained cocaine residue. Stamos also noted that Boak’s family members said he had a heroin addiction and “problems with authority.”

by Chris Teale September 12, 2017 at 3:30 pm 0

Arlington County is set to add a new section of bicycle and pedestrian trail along Washington Blvd.

The Arlington County Board is scheduled this weekend to consider a plan for the second phase of the trail, running north along Washington Blvd from Towers Park — near Columbia Pike — to 2nd Street S. It will then link with the first phase of the trail along Washington Blvd, between Arlington Blvd and S. Walter Reed Drive.

The project proposes to construct a 10-foot wide paved trail on the western side of Washington Blvd. The trail will be mostly located in the road’s existing right-of-way, but also runs through the U.S. Navy Supply Facility (701 S. Courthouse Road) and Towers Park.

County staff moved the northern section of the trail onto the shoulder of Washington Blvd to reduce the need to build retaining walls and reduce the number of trees to be cut down. Under the current plan, about 84 trees would be removed and as many as 160 replanted after the project is complete.

“The project will serve as a valuable link in the overall trail network as it provides a north-south trail between the Columbia Pike (Towers Park) area and the Arlington Blvd Trail,” county staff wrote in a report endorsing the plan. “Recent improvements to the trails along Arlington Blvd will now be more accessible via this new Washington Blvd trail.”

In a letter to the County Board on September 6, Penrose Neighborhood Association president Maria “Pete” Durgan said members “wholeheartedly support” the project.

The county budgeted just over $2.1 million for the project, with just over $420,000 as contingent in case of change orders. Construction is expected to begin this winter and wrap up late next year.

by Chris Teale September 12, 2017 at 1:15 pm 0

It’s been an anxious couple of weeks for one Arlington resident who had three family members in the path of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

Pat Shapiro, who lives in the Leeway Overlee neighborhood, has one son, Josh, in Houston; another son, Aaron, living in Miami; and her 89-year-old mother is a resident of Naples, Fla. All three were impacted to some degree.

“It’s like we’re a hurricane magnet,” said Shapiro, a 10-year library assistant at an Arlington public library.

Harvey slammed Texas and Louisiana in the United States, leaving more than 300,000 people without power, killing more than 60 people and causing billions of dollars in damage.

The still-active although weakened Irma hammered Florida, and has caused flooding as far north as Charleston, S.C. and Savannah, Ga. More than 2.6 million homes were without power at one stage in Florida.

Shapiro’s 65th birthday celebrations on August 25 meant Josh was in Arlington when Hurricane Harvey started to batter Houston, and forced him to stay put for a week. Unfortunately, Josh had just closed on a house in Houston the week before. When he returned, it was ruined by flood damage.

Thankfully, Shapiro said he had not moved in any of his furniture or other personal belongings, but the house itself needed to be gutted, and he cannot move in for between nine months and a year while it is repaired.

Josh needed to get to work when he returned to his home in Houston and rip out all the units and floorboards and also drill holes in the walls to let out moisture. And after his real estate agent, who lives nearby, posted on Facebook that he needed help, a group of volunteers intervened.

“He said all of a sudden, at 9:30 a.m., all these trucks and cars pull up and a group of about 30 people walked in his house and said, ‘We’re here to help,'” Shapiro said. “They worked until 9:30 p.m., they ripped out all the floors, they helped him get the carpet out, they helped him put holes in the walls because it had to start drying. He was flabbergasted.”

Shapiro’s other son, Aaron, escaped the worst of the storm. His condo building in the Brickell neighborhood of Miami managed to keep its power on, after management said they would be turning off the elevators and air conditioning and locking the doors to prepare for Hurricane Irma.

After evacuating his building, Aaron stayed with a friend in the nearby city of Coral Gables, where they lost power and saw significant wind damage to trees. The pair then were preparing to go out and do rescue work once the storm had subsided.

Across the state in Naples, Shapiro’s 89-year-old mother was put under mandatory evacuation orders from her home, just three blocks from the Gulf of Mexico. Her house, too, escaped the worst of the storm, although she had to move locations twice. She first went to Tallahassee, then went further north into North Carolina to stay with Shapiro’s sister after Irma’s path shifted.

Shapiro said that other friends of hers in the Naples area who stayed put had to take emergency shelter due to the high winds.

“They said it was very scary,” Shapiro said. “They said the winds were horrible, and they ended up spending the night in a closet they were so scared, because the wind was so bad.”

The experience left Shapiro worried for her family’s safety, but grateful that nothing worse happened to anyone.

“It was very nerve-wracking,” she said. “[It’s] been a one-two-three whammy. First the Houston thing, which I was terribly worried about, then this hurricane [Irma]. But all in all, my family came through in such good shape compared to so many others.”

Photo No. 1 via Flickr user Antti Lipponen, photos No. 2 and No. 3 via Flickr user Jill Carlson, photo No. 4 via Flickr user Coast Guard News.

by Chris Teale September 12, 2017 at 11:00 am 0

The University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business could expand into two upper floors of a Rosslyn office building.

Under plans before the Arlington County Board for its Saturday (September 16) meeting, building owner Monday Properties wants to convert existing office space at 1100 Wilson Blvd on the 30th and 31st floors to educational use. Just over 39,000 square feet of space would be converted.

“The renovated space will feature classrooms, multi-purpose spaces and supporting office space,” a staff report on the project reads. The report recommends the Board adopt the plans.

Per the application, the 30th floor would get three classrooms, a boardroom, a multi-purpose room, space for catering, conference rooms and break-out areas. The 31st floor would host two tiered classrooms — with auditorium-style seating for lectures, large discussions and the like — as well as a flat classroom and 12 case rooms for small meetings.

The report notes that the Darden School is the “anticipated tenant,” and that classes will be held at the site during off-peak hours and weekends to reduce strain on the building’s parking.

The school already hosts regional staff offices in the building, and provides executive MBA classes at 1000 Wilson Blvd and 1919 N. Lynn Street. It expanded into the D.C. area last year.

County staff said the nearby Radnor/Fort Myer Heights Civic Association president did not raise any objections to the plan, while the North Rosslyn Civic Association did not send any comments before the staff report was published. Staff from the Rosslyn Business Improvement District wrote in support of the proposal.

Disclosure: Monday Properties is an ARLnow.com advertiser. Photo via Google Maps.

by ARLnow.com September 12, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

Crystal City Development Plan Filed — Developer JBG Smith has filed a site plan application for what it’s calling “North District” — a multi-block redevelopment in Crystal City that will include a new movie theater, grocery store and Metro station entrance. The residential-heavy development is bounded by Crystal Drive, Route 1, 15th Street and 18th Street S. [Washington Business Journal]

Chamber Backs Staff’s VRE Recommendation — The Arlington Chamber of Commerce says county staff is right to recommend the placement of a revamped Crystal City VRE station closer to Metro. The staff recommendation “best positions Crystal City and greater Arlington County as a regional multi-modal transit hub,” as compared to a placement option preferred by local condo residents who are concerned about train noise. [InsideNova]

DCA Noise Complaints — A total of 36,653 noise complaints were filed in 2016 regarding arrivals to and departures from Reagan National Airport, according to recently-released stats from the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority. The complaints were filed by 836 individuals in 762 households, including one individual who filed 17,273 noise complaints. [MWAA]

Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman

by Chris Teale September 11, 2017 at 4:30 pm 0

Arlington County remember the nearly 3,000 people killed 16 years ago today (Monday) in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

Fire Chief James Bonzano, Police Chief Jay Farr and Sheriff Beth Arthur laid a wreath at the flagpole in Courthouse Plaza to remember the dead, including the 184 victims who died when American Airlines Flight 77 flew into the Pentagon. A moment of silence at 9:37 a.m. — marking when the plane flew into the Pentagon — was followed by a playing of “Taps” and a lowering of the flag to half-staff.

Flanked by his Arlington County Board colleagues as well as Virginia General Assembly representatives, Rep. Don Beyer (D) and U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), County Board chair Jay Fisette recalled in his remarks how Arlingtonians came together that day, and in the days and weeks after. Fisette was also chair of the Board in 2001.

“The initial shock was followed by compassion, by patriotism, by resolve,” he said.

This year’s commemoration came just months after Corporal Harvey Snook’s name was added to the county’s Peace Officers Memorial for police officers killed in the line of duty. Snook died in January 2016 from cancer he contracted from responding to the Pentagon. He spent a week there, collecting evidence and the remains of some of the people killed.

To further commemorate the anniversary, Arlington County’s poet laureate Katherine Young released a new poem this weekend, entitled “Hazmat.”

by Chris Teale September 11, 2017 at 10:15 am 0

Tourists spent more than $3 billion in Arlington County last year, supported more than 25,000 jobs and produced over $200 million in local and state tax revenues, all record highs.

According to figures released by the U.S. Travel Association, tourism in the county generated $3.12 billion in 2016, up 2 percent from the previous year. Arlington continued to lead all Virginia counties in visitor spending, as it has since 2009.

“Tourism continues to be an incredibly vibrant sector in Arlington’s economy,” Arlington County Board chair Jay Fisette said in a statement. “Through jobs, spending at Arlington businesses and tax revenues that support local schools and services, tourism will always be a key to our economic growth.”

The 2016 tourism data is based on spending by visitors from inside the United States, from trips taken 50 miles or more away from home.

“These excellent results are a testament to the strength of our hospitality community and its longstanding collaboration with the County in marketing Arlington to potential visitors,” Arlington Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Kate Bates said in a statement. “We are proud of the exceptional work of our hotels, whose dedication to top quality service continues to attract more visitors to our area.”

Victor Hoskins, director of Arlington Economic Development, said support from the County Board and Chamber for increased investment in tourism promotion has been crucial.

“It has dramatically expanded our ability to showcase Arlington and its businesses to meeting planners, consumers, tour operators and journalists – domestically and around the globe,” Hoskins said in a statement.

Flickr pool photo by Starbuck77

by ARLnow.com September 11, 2017 at 9:30 am 0

Sixteenth 9/11 Anniversary — A flag was unfurled at the Pentagon this morning as the nation marked the 16th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks. President Donald Trump, Defense Secretary James Mattis and Joint Chiefs chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford were among those expected to attend a ceremony at the Pentagon, honoring the 184 people killed in the attack there. Arlington County also hosted its own remembrance ceremony and is posting recollections from Sept. 11, 2001 on social media. [ABC News, Twitter, Twitter]

Another Police-Impersonation Phone Scam — Local residents are again getting calls from a scammer claiming to be a law enforcement officer, demanding a fine be paid over the phone. As a reminder, police never call on the phone to collect fines. [Twitter]

Arlington 9/11 5K Recap — The 2017 Arlington Police, Fire and Sheriff 9/11 Memorial 5K was held in Pentagon City on Saturday evening amid perfect September weather. Among those on hand to address the crowd were Police Chief Jay Farr, County Board Chair Jay Fisette and former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore. Spotted among the runners: former White House press secretary Sean Spicer, who was wearing a Navy t-shirt and was all smiles after the race as the occasional group of fellow runners asked to take a photo with him. [Facebook, Chronotrack]

Park Service May Revamp MVT Boardwalk — As part of a larger improvement project for Theodore Roosevelt Island and the TR Bridge, the National Park Service is considering rehabilitating the nearby, aging boardwalk bridge along the Mount Vernon Trail, which carries bike and pedestrian traffic. [The Wash Cycle]

County Holds Transportation ‘Pop Up’ Event — “Arlington Transportation Partners, the County’s business-to-business transportation outreach organization, held its very first ‘Our Shared Street’ Pop Up festival recently at Arlington Mill Community Center. The late August gathering brought together residents of Columbia Pike with local businesses to highlight Arlingtonians’ many transportation options.” [Arlington County]

GW Parkway Crash — Earlier this morning, northbound traffic on the George Washington Memorial Parkway was temporarily blocked near the TR Bridge following a multi-vehicle crash. [Washington Post]

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