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By: Virginia State Police

February 8, 2024

RICHMOND – The Virginia State Police Fairfax and Culpeper Divisions will be conducting Operation DISS-rupt on all 76 miles of Interstate 66 in Virginia on Super Bowl weekend (February 10-12).   The traffic enforcement and educational safety initiative focuses on Distracted driving, Impaired driving, Speed compliance and Seat belt safety.  Preliminary data from Jan. 1, 2023, to Dec. 31, 2023, shows 839 persons died in traffic crashes on Virginia roadways.

“The weekend of the Super Bowl is an excellent time to ‘tackle’ bad driving behaviors,” said Lt. Col. Matt Hanley, director of the Virginia State Police Bureau of Field Operations. “Additional state troopers will be on patrol along the entire I-66 corridor to enhance highway safety for all motorists.  We ask Virginians to ‘DISS-rupt’ risky driving behaviors by focusing on the roads and by designating a sober driver, especially if your Super Bowl celebration includes alcohol.”

On Jan. 10-11, 2024, Virginia State Police conducted Operation DISS-rupt on 179 miles of Interstate 95 in Virginia.   State Troopers cited 120 drivers for reckless driving, 117 drivers for speeding, 33 drivers for violating Virginia’s “Hands Free” law, and 25 drivers and passengers for seatbelt violations (one improperly restrained child).  There were no fatal crashes along the interstate during the enforcement period.

Operation DISS-rupt targets the four key causes of fatal and serious injury crashes across Virginia’s interstate system. The operation’s goal is to achieve zero fatal crashes during designated enforcement periods and to reduce the total number of crashes on our interstates for the calendar year by 10%:

  • Ditch Distractions: Virginia has a “Hands-Free” law that prohibits a driver from holding a handheld personal communications device while driving. GPS and making phone calls are still legal, as long as the device is mounted and/or not in your hands.
  • Never Drive Impaired: Driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs is illegal in Virginia. Even buzzed driving is drunk driving. Always designate a sober driver or use public transportation or a ride-hailing service.
  • Comply with Speed Limits: Posted speed limits on Virginia interstates never exceed 70 mph. So, neither should your speed. Speed-related crashes claimed 441 lives in 2022 in Virginia. Simply, drive to save lives.
  • Seat Belt Safety: Virginia law requires all front seat occupants of motor vehicles be restrained, and any passenger from birth to 18 years old be properly restrained in an appropriate child safety seat or seat belt, no matter their seating position.

During the 2023 Super Bowl Sunday, 23 drivers were charged with Driving while Intoxicated by Virginia State Police Troopers statewide.

By: FBI Washington Field Office

February 6, 2024

Applications are now available online for the Washington Field Office’s (WFO) 2024 Citizens Academy, to be held May 1 to June 5 at the office’s headquarters in Washington, D.C.

The Citizens Academy program gives business, faith, civic, and community leaders an inside look at the FBI. Students gain insight into the structure and operation of the FBI, obtain an overview of the legal basis for the FBI’s jurisdiction, learn about the services the FBI provides, and even participate in firearms demonstrations and other practical problem-solving activities.

“The Citizens Academy is one of our most important community outreach events as it gives the people we serve a rare chance to see the FBI in action,” said Assistant Director in Charge David Sundberg. “Graduates will have a better understanding of how the Washington Field Office fulfills its mission and the breadth of its responsibilities. The Citizens Academy also leads to future opportunities to participate in crime prevention and youth education efforts that benefit our local communities.”

Applicants should be business, civic, faith, or community leaders; should be at least 21 years old; must live or work within WFO’s area of responsibility (Washington, D.C., and the following counties in Virginia: Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax, Fauquier, Manassas, Loudoun, and Prince William), and must pass a limited background assessment with fingerprinting. Non-U.S. citizens may participate.

A nomination form is available on the Community Outreach section of our website at https://www.fbi.gov/contact-us/field-offices/washingtondc/community-outreach. The form can also be accessed directly via https://forms.fbi.gov/fbi-citizens-academy-nomination-form-washington-field/view. Those applying for the academy for themselves, or nominating others, must complete the form and submit it according to the stated guidelines by February 29.

There is no cost to attend the academy, and individuals chosen through the selection process will be notified by email.

Questions can be directed to WFO’s Community Outreach team by email at [email protected].

By: JBG SMITH

February 6, 2024

BETHESDA, Md. (February 5, 2024) – JBG SMITH (NYSE: JBGS), a leading owner and developer of high-quality, mixed-use properties in the Washington, DC market, today announced Bar Colline – a new full-service restaurant concept from the Hilton Brothers’ H2 Collective – at The Grace and Reva (formerly known as 1900 Crystal Drive) in National Landing.

District-born hospitality entrepreneurs Eric and Ian Hilton are the innovative duo behind H2 Collective, the hospitality group that includes several restaurants, bars, and lounges located throughout the DC metro area. The Collective’s expansive portfolio includes a trio of French bistros recently included in Washingtonian’s Best 100 List (Chez Billy Sud, Cafe Colline, Parc de Ville), nightlife spots (El Rey, Players Club, American Ice Company), and the British-inspired Brighton at The Wharf.

Their new project, Bar Colline, is an elegant and dynamic interpretation of the beloved French bistro, Café Colline. Drawing inspiration from the energy and charm of Paris nightlife. Bar Colline invites guests to indulge in shareable plates paired with a selection of fun wines and inventive cocktails. The venue boasts an eclectic ambiance, a spacious bar, and a charming private dining room, perfect for hosting special celebrations or a group night out.

“We’re thrilled to welcome H2 Collective’s newest concept, Bar Colline, to the neighborhood and expect it to offer customers a unique and compelling reason to return again and again,” said Amy Rice, Senior Vice President of Retail Leasing at JBG SMITH. “In National Landing, we are focused on cultivating engaging places that create lively communities and exciting experiences, for both visitors and residents, and this means striking the perfect balance between entertainment, culinary, service, and essential retail.”

Bar Colline joins six other new street-level offerings at The Grace and Reva:

  • Bar Chinois, an industrial-chic haunt serving dumplings, shumai, and noodles recognized for its constantly evolving Chinese menu and signature French-inspired cocktail and wine program. Recent accolades include being listed in the Michelin Dining Guide USA and the Washington Post Fall Dining Guide;
  • Colada Shop, a popular DC-based cafe serving coffee, cocktails, and Cuban food;
  • Drybar, a national brand specializing in blowout services and hair styling as well as top-of-the-line tools, and hair-care products;
  • nailsaloon, a luxury, non-toxic nail salon and cocktail parlor – with four locations in the DMV – that delivers superior nail care in an indulgent, friendly, and hyper-clean environment;
  • Tatte Bakery & Café, a buzzy bakery and all-day café known for its housemade bread and pastries, coffee, and catering;
  • Van Leeuwen Ice Cream, a New York-based artisanal ice cream purveyor with a fresh and ever evolving variety of flavors, from vegan to peppermint stick, in pints and sandwiches.

The Grace and Reva include a total of 808 multifamily apartments and approximately 40,000 square feet of street-level retail. Reva, the southern tower, comprises 471 apartments across a 27-story building that is situated alongside The Grace, the 337-unit, 26-story northern building.

At the center of the two new mixed-use buildings, JBG SMITH has created a retail-lined, pedestrian-friendly street under year-round stringed lighting, which will serve as an activated connection between 18th and 20th Streets. The intersecting woonerf will be shared by pedestrians, bicyclists, and low speed motor vehicles and expand the options for outdoor dining, community activations, and neighborhood programming.

JBG SMITH is also including a number of neighborhood-oriented improvements that will benefit the entire community. These include enhanced streetscapes, a grand staircase connecting to public open space, public bike facilities, and more.

JBG SMITH’s ongoing placemaking efforts in National Landing have led the charge in creating meaningful places meant to connect communities and enhance the lives of those that live, work, or visit them. In the fall, JBG SMITH welcomed visitors to Water Park, a 1.6-acre dining destination comprising 11 different food and drink concepts, and Dining in the Park, a novel culinary experience set among more than an acre of greenery, housing renowned Seven Reasons’ chef Enrique Limardo’s new concept, Surreal.

By: Virginia State Police

December 20, 2023

As we approach the holidays and the end of 2023, Virginia State Police is asking Virginians to please drive safely in the coming days, so that everyone can safely reach their holiday destinations.   Preliminary data indicates that as of Dec. 20, 2023, 813 people have lost their lives on Virginia roadways this year.  That is 76 fewer traffic deaths than in 2022 as of this same date.

“This year, Virginia appears to have reversed the trend of increasing traffic deaths,” said Colonel Gary T. Settle, Superintendent of Virginia State Police.  “Fortunately, the 2023 Thanksgiving holiday weekend experienced a decrease of eight traffic deaths, from 19 to 11, on Virginia’s highways.  But that is still 11 too many. To prevent more tragedy from occurring on our roads during the coming holidays, we need all Virginians to buckle up, drive distraction free, comply with speed limits and always drive sober.”

In November, Mothers Against Drunk Driving® (MADD) launched its #ToGetThere Campaign, saying Americans face 21 million chances they or a loved one could face a drunk driver over the holidays (between Nov. 1 and Jan. 1).   According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 1,000 people died in drunk driving crashes nationwide in December 2021 (the most recent year data was available), which was the highest number since 2007. *

If you do plan to attend parties this holiday season, there are several options to be able to get home safely:

  1. Plan ahead. Designate a sober driver or call a friend, call family, call a cab or use public transportation.
  2. If you know someone who has been drinking – Do not let them drive. Arrange another safe way home.
  3. Remain alert for impaired drivers and do not hesitate to notify law enforcement by dialing #77 (hands free only or have a passenger call) to notify your nearest Virginia State Police Emergency Communications Center. Your actions could save someone’s life.

With increased traffic on Virginia roadways during the winter holiday season, Virginia State Police would also like to remind travelers of Virginia’s expanded “Move Over” law. The law now requires drivers to either move over a lane, or slow down, when passing any vehicle stopped along the side of the roadway, when that vehicle is displaying flashing emergency lights, hazard lights, warning signs or flares.

By: NAACP Arlington Branch

December 18, 2023

Arlington, Virginia – “The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (“NAACP”) has been made aware of egregious civil rights violations in the Arlington County Detention Facility,” stated Janette McCarthy Wallace, General Counsel of the NAACP.

Today, via written letter, the National General Counsel for the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization formally calls on the Department of Justice to conduct an independent pattern and practice investigation into the Arlington County Detention Facility.

Nine people have lost their lives at the Arlington County Detention Center in the last eight years with two of those deaths occurring within the last four months.  After deaths 6 and 7, former long time Sheriff Beth Arthur defended the culture at the jail saying they provide first class medical care, and the deaths are not negligent, despite state officials finding the same sheriff in violations of regulations.  Sheriff Arthur, who resigned early from her term in January of this year, then settled the wrongful death case for over a half million dollars and changed medical providers.  “After three additional deaths, a new medical provider, and not releasing the results of the investigations of prior deaths, there is no indicator that people are going to stop dying in the jail,” said NAACP Arlington Branch President Michael Hemminger.

The Arlington Branch of the NAACP wrote to the Civil Rights Division on March 15, 2022 detailing evidence of civil rights violations that disproportionately impact Black men and other men of color. The Arlington NAACP Letter requested that the Division investigate the patterns and practice in place at Arlington County Detention Facility, “so that arrest and detention does not equate to a death sentence in our community.”

Following the seventh death, a $10M wrongful death lawsuit was filed in Arlington County and the NAACP Arlington Branch called for a Department of Justice investigation into the detention center.  Today, we renew that call to avoid another preventable death.

“We are encouraged that the General Counsel has weighed in on these tragedies in our community. The NAACP will never be silenced in our pursuit of justice,” said Hemminger.  The NAACP is conducting its own investigation of the deaths in the jail and the organization will ensure that any civil rights violation(s) pertaining to conditions while in custody are met with due accountability and justice.

Founded in 1909 in response to the ongoing violence against Black people around the country, the NAACP is the largest and most pre-eminent civil rights organization in the nation.  Our mission is to achieve equity, political rights, and social inclusion by advancing policies and practices that expand human and civil rights, eliminate discrimination, and accelerate the well-being, education, and economic security of Black people and all persons of color.

By: Kalis Development Corporation

December 13, 2023

Today, Kalis Development Corporation’s Nicholas Kalis announced Mayer Smile Be Bright – leasing 1,781 square feet in its Williamsburg Shopping Center – will open January 2024. Mayer Smile Be Bright is located at 6500 Williamsburg Boulevard, Arlington, Virginia 22213. This dental practice will be headed by Dr. Kelly O. A. Mayer DDS. Mayer Smile Be Bright joins Seven Eleven, Deli Italiano, Commonwealth Restorations and many other tenants at this center.

Construction work was performed by YBM Construction Inc. headed by Ben Bashiri 301 370-4233.  Project Management was by Colin Chiarodo, MBA. The architects are Jayanan & Burney. Architectural & Interior Design. The landlord would like to thank Nora Eways Saa of Renaud Consulting who represented the landlord and Patty I. Brown, CCIM of Marathon Realty Group, Inc. who represented the tenant. Property owned by The Kalis Companies.

By: Marymount University

December 8, 2023

Artificial intelligence has rapidly expanded in both importance and scale over recent years, with concerns about its safe use and development even leading the White House to issue an executive order related to its ‘extraordinary potential for both promise and peril.’

In higher education specifically, supplemental grants have been fundamental to advancing research that focuses on artificial intelligence. This year, Marymount University was one of only 15 universities awarded with the National Institutes of Health’s AIM-AHEAD Program for AI Readiness (PAIR) grant, which will be implemented by Marymount’s Center for Optimal Aging. A team of three Marymount faculty and staff members — Dr. Nathan Green, Dr. Patricia Heyn and Dr. Diane Murphy — were instrumental in earning this grant.

“Our excitement stems from the potential impact this grant will have in propelling our research and engagement efforts forward at Marymount’s Center for Optimal Aging,” Dr. Heyn said. “This grant is not just a financial resource, but a catalyst that will enable us to expand our scientific innovation horizons and impact more lives positively.”

The AIM-AHEAD Program for AI Readiness seeks to leverage resources to jumpstart AI research for health equity, particularly within minority-serving institutions such as Marymount — the only four-year Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) in Virginia. It integrates artificial intelligence and health care for aging facilities across the U.S., particularly within underserved communities. Through the grant, Marymount will now be connected with critical AIM-AHEAD resources such as AI/health equity experts and grant-writing coaches to establish research labs that host cross-disciplinary teams for research projects and grant writing, as well as participate in a variety of sessions and training opportunities.

The Center for Optimal Aging was founded in 2021 as the first interdisciplinary research center at Marymount, dedicated to fulfilling a critical societal need by connecting and supporting aging-related service providers, community-based groups and professionals in identifying, implementing, evaluating and sustaining best practices to maximize the health and overall well-being of older adults. Since its founding, the Center has continued to gain momentum by receiving various grants, earning recognition from notable organizations and attending prominent conferences to showcase research.

“Receiving this grant is a monumental step for Marymount’s Center for Optimal Aging and Marymount University as a whole,” Dr. Heyn added. “Our ultimate goal is to establish the Center as a leading authority in AI aging-related research and practices, contributing significantly to the well-being of older adults.”

By: Congressman Don Beyer

December 7, 2023

December 7, 2023 (Alexandria, VA) – Congressman Don Beyer (D-VA) issued the following statement today announcing that he will seek reelection to a sixth term as U.S. Representative for Virginia’s 8th Congressional District:

“I am seeking reelection to Congress to carry forward our work on building a stronger and more equitable economy, to be the most powerful voice and vote against climate change that I can, and to fight for my Northern Virginia constituents. I will also do all I can in 2024 to help retake the majority in the House, elect Hakeem Jeffries Speaker, and prevent would-be dictator Donald Trump from getting anywhere near the White House ever again.

“There is so much work ahead of us, including delivering world class constituent services, passing new reforms to prevent gun violence, lowering costs for the American people, delivering guaranteed paid family and medical leave to every American worker, and much more. If elected to a sixth term I will strive to be the most effective advocate I can be for progress and positive results. I am humbled by the trust Northern Virginians have placed in me as their elected Representative since 2014, and it is my great honor to serve them.”

To learn more about Congressman Beyer’s record of leadership or to get involved in his campaign, visit FriendsOfDonBeyer.com.

By: Arlington Food Assistance Center

November 27, 2023

The Arlington Food Assistance Center (AFAC), a nonprofit organization with a mission to address long term food insecurity in Arlington County and Northern Virginia, served a record number of 3,807 families in need of food assistance during their Thanksgiving “Chicken Week.” The week of November 13-18, 2023, AFAC gave out 3,579 whole chicken roasters in addition to their weekly grocery distribution to ease the burden of added financial costs on neighbors in need leading up to the holiday season.

While these numbers are an all-time high for AFAC, the milestone number did not come as a shock. Steadily increasing numbers have been the norm since the same time last year. In 2022, AFAC served 2,900 families during their distribution the week preceding Thanksgiving. The consistent rise of 50 to 100 new families coming to their doors every month underscores the persistent need for food assistance in Arlington County and the surrounding areas.

In the past, AFAC provided whole turkeys the week leading up to Thanksgiving. However, this year they made the switch to giving out whole chicken roasters. This decision allows the food bank to now allocate a significant amount of the extra funds that would’ve gone to purchasing turkeys on other essential food items as well as address the cultural needs of AFAC’s diverse client population.

Chief Executive Officer of AFAC, Charles Meng, expressed gratitude for the steadfast support from the community and emphasized the collective effort required to address the ongoing challenges of food insecurity. “The record breaking week and the steady increase in families seeking assistance emphasizes the critical need for ongoing local support,” Meng stated. “We are grateful for the generosity of our donors, volunteers, and partners who enable us to make a direct impact on the lives of those facing food insecurity in our community.”

AFAC remains dedicated to its mission of creating a community where all individuals have dignified access to nutritious food supply. For more information about AFAC and to learn how to contribute, please visit www.afac.org.

ABOUT AFAC: The Arlington Food Assistance Center (AFAC) is an independent, community-based non-profit food pantry that provides dignified access to nutritious supplemental groceries to neighbors in need. Over 3,300 families are coming to AFAC each week at 21 distribution sites throughout Arlington County, Alexandria, and Falls Church to access fresh and healthy supplemental groceries, freeing up tightly stretched funds for child and health care, rent, and other financial demands. For more information, visit www.afac.org and follow @afacfeeds on social media.

By: Neighbors for Neighborhoods

November 16, 2023

Today, Judge David Schell set the date for a five-day trial, commencing July 8, 2024 trial date in the case against the Arlington County Board seeking to invalidate Missing Middle Housing/Expanded Housing Options (EHO) zoning.

In his October 19 ruling, Judge Schell denied the County’s efforts to have the case dismissed, stating repeatedly that the plaintiffs – 10 Arlington homeowners – had alleged direct violations of Virginia law in the County’s process of adopting EHO zoning.

During the September hearing that led to that ruling, Arlington’s County Attorney argued that the judiciary should not question the County Board’s actions in adopting EHO zoning and that the lawsuit was “improper” and “a subversion of the democratic process.”

Arlingtonians for Upzoning Transparency (AFUT) wrote to the County Board asking it to disavow the County Attorney’s statement. Instead, Board Chair Christian Dorsey doubled down in a November 3 response to AFUT, stating that the Board’s EHO decision “is wholly within the purview of the local legislative body, which has the constitutional authority to make county-wide land use decisions, revisions, and repeals if necessary. It is our position that the Judiciary should not substitute its judgment for decision-making expressly reserved for the local legislative body.”

Judge Schell also ruled on October 19 that the plaintiffs’ rights will be affected by the ruling in this case and, therefore, have standing to sue the County. The Judge stated that when the plaintiffs’ property was rezoned from single-family to multi-family, “the nature of their ownership was changed.” He further stated that it “is difficult to understand how a property owner whose property has been rezoned would somehow not have standing” to challenge the rezoning.

Today, the County notified the Court that is will seek an interlocutory appeal of the Judge’s standing ruling and a January 11 hearing date was set. The plaintiffs’ attorney, Gifford Hampshire, indicated that he will oppose the County’s effort for an appeal at this stage of the litigation. If Judge Schell grants the County’s motion after the hearing, the County then would request that the Virginia Court of Appeals consider the standing issue. The Court of Appeals has discretion whether or not to accept the case on standing.

Dan Creedon, speaking for Neighbors for Neighborhoods Litigation Fund, LLC, stated today: “The County’s hubris in claiming that the courts don’t have a role in reviewing EHO zoning is astonishing.” He added, “But now that a trial date has been set, and maybe reality is setting in, the County is seeking an appeal that could delay the trial and add tremendous expense to the litigation.”

For more information: [email protected]

By: Amazon

November 7, 2023

Arlington leaders at Amazon HQ2 veterans event (courtesy Amazon)

Arlington, VA – In honor of Veterans Day, more than 30 of Amazon’s operation sites around the U.S. and the company’s headquarters in King County, Washington, and Arlington County, Virginia will participate in Operation Green Light for Veterans from November 6 – 12. Amazon is proud to be an official partner of Operation Green Light for Veterans, which aims to raise awareness of the challenges that veterans and military families face, and the resources available to them at the county, state, and federal levels.

Amazon’s employee affinity group, Warriors at Amazon, includes current and former active military personnel, their families, and the Amazon employees who support them. This group provides members with a professional network, organizes community outreach programs, and assists veterans during their transition into civilian life within Amazon. Warriors at Amazon hosted a reception at HQ2 to celebrate and acknowledge Operation Green Light for Veterans. Attendees networked with Amazonians from the military community and heard remarks from John Quintas, Amazon’s Director of Military Affairs, Arlington County Board Chair Christian Dorsey, and representatives from the National Association of Counties.

By shining a green light this November, we will let veterans and military family members at Amazon and in our communities know that they are seen, appreciated, and supported. Additionally, the campaign will encourage counties to support veterans year-round by purchasing supplies from veteran-owned businesses in a dedicated Amazon Business storefront.

“We are proud to continue our partnership with the National Association of Counties and encourage organizations across the country to join us in support of our veterans,” said John Quintas, Director of Inclusive Communities at Amazon and retired Air Force General. “At Amazon, we value the unique skills and experience that the military community brings to our company. With more than 50,000 veterans and military spouses working with us around the globe, and a pledge to hire 100,000 veterans and military spouses by next year, we are committed to helping veterans transition into roles in the private sector.”

The National Association of Counties (NACo) and its affiliate, the National Association of County Veterans Service Officers (NACVSO) once again invite the nation’s 3,069 counties, parishes and boroughs to show support for veterans by participating in Operation Green Light for Veterans, lighting county buildings and landmarks in green.

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