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Podcast: 9/11 First Responder Capt. Justin Tirelli

Justin Tirelli is currently an Arlington County Fire Department captain, but 17 years ago he was a rookie firefighter in the ACFD ranks.

On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, Tirelli was responding to a fire call in Rosslyn when American Airlines Flight 77 struck the west side of the Pentagon. As his engine company was diverted to join the massive and heroic emergency response to the terror attack, Tirelli and his fellow firefighters focused on the task at hand — not realizing that it would change them and the community they served forever.

In this special episode of the 26 Square Miles podcast, we talked with Tirelli about what it was like to be a first responder at the Pentagon on that fateful day.

Listen below or subscribe to the podcast on iTunesGoogle PlayStitcher or TuneIn.

Screenshots via @ReadyArlington

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USS Arlington Prepares for Second Overseas Deployment

The USS Arlington, named for the victims of the Sept. 11 terror attacks, is soon bound for its second overseas deployment.

The U.S. Navy vessel is currently at sea preparing for the deployment, away from its base at Naval Station Norfolk, according to a news release. The ship is one of three named for the victims of 9/11, and was commissioned back in 2013.

Members of the county’s Military and Veterans Affairs Committee visited the ship in Norfolk two weeks ago before it went out to sea, in order to meet with its commander, Navy Capt. Todd Marzano. According to the county,  “the group discussed opportunities for greater interaction with Arlingtonians, both virtual and in-person.”

They settled on forming a new partnership where a county school will “adopt” the ship, with students getting a chance to stay in regular communication with its crew. The group picked Oakridge Elementary School as the first school to participate in the program, and the county says “work is underway to plan the first activities.”

A small team of the ship’s crew members not set to be deployed also recently traveled to the county to run in this past Saturday’s Police, Fire & Sheriff 9/11 Memorial 5K.

The USS Arlington has a crew of 360 sailors, and is one of the Navy’s 11 San Antonio-class amphibious transport docks.

Photo via Facebook

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Morning Notes

Remembering 9/11 — Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine are planning to attend Arlington County’s Sept. 11 remembrance ceremony in Courthouse this morning. The event will feature a moment of silence at 9:37 a.m. The county’s emergency management agency, meanwhile, this morning posted audio of police radio traffic from immediately after American Airlines Flight 77 struck the west wall of the Pentagon. [Twitter]

Would HQ2 Be Good for Arlington? — Amazon could be an economic boon, or a gentrification disaster for lower-income renters — or both. Washingtonian asked a number of people, including Arlington Economic Development Director Victor Hoskins and former Arlington County Board candidate Melissa Bondi — who currently works in affordable housing policy — to weigh in. [Washingtonian]

Isabella Talks About Bankruptcy — Celebrity chef and restaurateur Mike Isabella says “bad press” — in other words, the “extraordinary” sexual harassment he and his executives are accused of — caused customers to stay away from his restaurants in droves, decimating revenue and sending his company into bankruptcy. Isabella’s trio of Ballston restaurants — Kapnos Taverna, Pepita and Yona — remain open but their long-term fate is unclear. [Washington Post]

Student Population Still Rising — “It won’t be official until the end of the month, but Arlington Public Schools is on track for another all-time high in student enrollment. School officials counted 27,522 students in seats when the school year began Sept. 4. While that is lower than a projection of 28,022 made in the spring, it represents a 2.2-percent increase from the first day of school a year ago.” [InsideNova]

Car-Free Diet in Spanish — Arlington’s long-running “Car-Free Diet” campaign is also in Spanish — “Dieta Cero-Auto.” The campaign recently produced a new video. [Twitter, YouTube]

Yorktown Rolls Over Wakefield — Yorktown scored a decisive win over Wakefield on the gridiron over the weekend, notching a score of 48-0. Both teams are now 1-1. In other high school football action over the weekend, Washington-Lee fell in double overtime against West Springfield, 28-21. [InsideNova, InsideNova]

Flickr pool photo by Jeff Reardon

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Morning Notes

Metro Trains Misrouted in Arlington — “It’s been a rough few days for Metro and its customers. Riders on a Springfield-bound Blue Line train ended up at the Court House station on the Orange and Silver lines on Tuesday morning after the train took the wrong route. It wasn’t the first time. On Monday, a Silver Line train ended up at the Arlington Cemetery station on the Blue Line.” [Washington Post, NBC Washington]

Another Heat Advisory — Arlington is again under a heat advisory today, from noon to 8 p.m. “The heat and humidity may cause heat stress during outdoor exertion or extended exposure,” forecasters warn. [Weather.gov]

Remembering 9/11 — Firefighters “started preparing for this year’s remembrance of September 11th by putting up flags on the I-66 overpasses and the tower at the Fire Training Academy.” [Twitter]

Flickr pool photo by Rob Pegoraro

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Video: Arlington Commemorates 9/11 Anniversary

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.”

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Morning Notes

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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County to Host Annual 9/11 Memorial Ceremony on Monday

Arlington County will remember the 184 victims of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks at a memorial ceremony on Monday morning.

The ceremony will begin at 9:30 a.m. on September 11 at Courthouse Plaza (2100 Clarendon Blvd), at the outdoor flagpoles above the Metro station.

A moment of silence will be observed at 9:37 a.m., marking the time that American Airlines Flight 77 flew into the Pentagon, where 184 people died. The silence will be followed by a playing of “Taps” and a lowering of the flag to half-staff.

The event will also feature a wreath-laying and the presentation of colors.

Capt. David Santini of the Arlington County Fire Department will give welcoming remarks, while local officials including County Manager Mark Schwartz, Fire Chief James Bonzano, Police Chief Jay Farr and Sheriff Beth Arthur will all attend. U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) is also set to be present at the commemorations.

Courtesy photo.

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Roads Will Close for 9/11 Memorial 5K Race

The annual Arlington Police, Fire & Sheriff Memorial 9/11 5K race is set for Saturday, September 9, and will result in a number of road closures near the Pentagon.

The race is scheduled to kick off at 6:30 p.m. at the DoubleTree hotel (300 Army Navy Drive) in Pentagon City. The race route follows Army Navy Drive, S. Joyce Street, Washington Blvd, looping around the Pentagon on Route 110 before returning to the finish line at the DoubleTree.

The following closures will be in effect, from the Arlington County Police Department:

From 3:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m.:

  • Army Navy Drive closed between 12th Street S. to S. Eads Street

From 5:45 p.m. until approximately 6:30 p.m.:

  • Westbound Army Navy Drive from S. Eads Street to S. Joyce Street (All streets crossing Army Navy Drive, including access to southbound I-395, will be closed for approximately 20 minutes)
  • S. Joyce Street from Army Navy Drive to Columbia Pike
  • Columbia Pike from the Pentagon South parking lot to S. Joyce Street
  • I-395 Northbound HOV exit to S. Eads Street

From 5:45 p.m. until approximately 8:00 p.m.:

  • Westbound Washington Blvd closed from Memorial Bridge to I-395
  • Southbound Route 110 closed from Rosslyn to 15th Street S.
  • Marshall Drive closed at Route 110
  • S. Eads Street closed from Army Navy Drive to 11th Street S.

The 5K was founded by three Arlington police officers: retired Capt. Matt Smith, Detective Dan Borriello and Sgt. Sean Bryson. All of the officers worked as first responders at the Pentagon after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.

After the attacks, the group was inspired by other police 5Ks that they had participated in and decided to start their own race.

Proceeds from the race are donated to three organizations that support law enforcement: the Pentagon Memorial FundProject Enduring Pride and the National Police Suicide Foundation. The goal is to raise $1 million over the course of 20 races. So far, the 5K has raised $650,000 in its first 15.

Registration is still open and is $40 for individuals.

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Arlington 9/11 5K Race Returns for 16th Year

Registration is open for the 16th annual Arlington Police, Fire & Sheriff 9/11 Memorial 5K, a race organized by the county’s first responders.

The race this year is taking place on Saturday, September 9. Registration is $40 and is open to teams and individuals.

The 5K was founded by three Arlington police officers: retired Capt. Matt Smith, Detective Dan Borriello and Sgt. Sean Bryson. All of the officers worked as first responders at the Pentagon after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.

After the attacks, the group was inspired by other police 5Ks that they had participated in and decided to start their own race.

“We started with mailing applications and sending letters to the police and fire chiefs,” said Bryson. “We really got a following.”

The race is scheduled to kick off at 6:30 p.m. at the DoubleTree hotel (300 Army Navy Drive) in Pentagon City. The race route follows Army Navy Drive, S. Joyce Street, Washington Blvd, looping around the Pentagon on Route 110 before returning to the DoubleTree, where there’s an after party featuring food and drink.

Proceeds from the race are donated to three organizations that support law enforcement: the Pentagon Memorial FundProject Enduring Pride and the National Police Suicide Foundation. The goal is to raise $1 million over the course of 20 races. So far, the 5K has raised $650,000 in its first 15.

“This is a moment to reflect and a moment to be together. That we never forgot what happened,” said Bryson.

Registration is open through race day. All registered runners will receive a long sleeve commemorative race shirt.

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Morning Notes

D.C. and Arlington: Tech Towns? — The Greater Washington area has ranked third on a major real estate firm’s list of “Tech Cities 1.0.” The area received high marks for its educated workforce and pace of startup growth. Arlington, meanwhile, is continuing to land tech firms from D.C. and Fairfax County, in part thanks to active outreach and an incentive program from Arlington Economic Development. State incentives helped keep Applied Predictive Technologies in Ballston; the firm has a new office and is now expanding and creating 350 jobs.

Exotic Pet Ban Vote Delayed — The Arlington County Board is expected to delay its consideration of a new exotic pet ban until the fall. The proposal has garnered strong reactions from both sides of the issue, including from the D.C.-based Animal Welfare Institute, which is urging the Board to approve the ban. [InsideNova]

Pentagon 9/11 Memorial Gets Architect — Denver-based Fentress Architects has been selected as the designer of the $75 million 9/11 Pentagon Memorial Visitor Education Center. The center will be built near the intersection of Washington Blvd and Columbia Pike, which is set to be realigned as part of an expansion of Arlington National Cemetery.  [Washington Business Journal]

DJO Standout in Running for National Recognition — Bishop O’Connell High School softball standout Kathryn Sandercock is in the running for USA Today’s ALL-USA High School Softball Player of the Year. She is currently second in an online poll. Sandercock was also just named to the 2017 Spring All-Met first team. Other Arlington high school students named to the first team All-Met in their sports include three boys soccer and one girls soccer player. [USA Today]

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

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Pentagon 9/11 Memorial Visitor Center Renderings on Display at Mall

Renderings of the planned 9/11 Pentagon Memorial Visitor Education Center are up at the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City mall.

The renderings, located next to the elevator bank in the food court area, show the vision for the gleaming center, with a wall of glass allowing visitors to see the side of the Pentagon that was struck by Flight 77 on 9/11/2001.

The visitor center is set to be built within the highway cloverleaf at the junction of Columbia Pike and Washington Blvd, within easy walking distance of the existing Pentagon Memorial.

At last check, the visitor center was expected to be built by 2020.

The mall display encourages shoppers to donate to the project. The Pentagon Memorial Fund is asking for special individual donation of $90.11 to help build the center.

More on the project, from the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial website:

The Pentagon is the only 9/11 attack site without a visitor center or museum to explain the historic significance of the site. Among the hundreds of thousands of visitors to the Memorial each year, few know that this memorial is different from all others in Washington, DC in that it is located where the event took place. Research showed that there is a unique teachable moment at the Memorial to explain the events on 9/11; the stories of the victims and heroes; the role of the Department of Defense and Pentagon; and how the United States and governments around the world are working to help prevent another 9/11.

With the guidance of the project’s official education partner, National Geographic, the 9/11 Pentagon Memorial Visitor Education Center’s interactive exhibits and education programs will give visitors a sense of the broad impact of the tragedy from a variety of perspectives. Stories of the courage and resilient spirit demonstrated by Pentagon employees, first responders and residents of the area will be shared throughout the exhibits…

There will be a multi-media interactive exhibit space, a Children’s Education Area, a Reflection Area, conference and meeting rooms, an Auditorium, and a Sky Terrace.

The 9/11 Pentagon Memorial Visitor Education Center site is in a dramatic location, right where the attack of 9/11 took place and adjacent to the 9/11 Pentagon Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery, and Air Force Memorial. Its orientation corresponds to the path of Flight 77. This thoughtful arrangement creates a powerful backdrop to heighten the experience for visitors as they arrive at the 9/11 Pentagon Memorial Visitor Education Center.

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Morning Notes

Arlington Cinema Drafthouse sign at night in the fall (Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf)

Official: No Voter Fraud in Arlington — On Sunday president-elect Donald Trump tweeted an accusation of “serious voter fraud” in several states, including Virginia. In response, Arlington’s top election official said there were no reports of voter fraud in the county, which Trump lost by a wide margin. “I want to see the evidence as to what the allegations are,” said Linda Lindberg. [WJLA, Fox 5]

County and APS Budget Forum — Arlington County and Arlington Public Schools will be holding a joint budget forum tomorrow (Wednesday) from 6-8 p.m. at Wakefield High School. “During this forum, participants will have the opportunity to share their priorities and ideas on the 2018 budget,” said a press release. [Arlington County]

Local College Student Dies — Nicole Orttung, a National Merit Scholar who graduated from Yorktown High School, died last Tuesday. Orttung was a student at Columbia University, where she was “known for her dedication to social justice and bright personality.” [Legacy]

Advice from a Still-Grieving Husband — Neal Lawson, whose wife Jennifer was killed by a passing dump truck while she was putting her toddler into a car seat, is still two-and-a-half years later, “managing his own loss and grief while balancing the emotional needs and daily schedules of his growing children.” He recently offered some advice for others dealing with profound loss. [Washington Post]

Donation from 9/11 5K — The annual Arlington Police, Fire & Sheriff 9/11 Memorial 5K Race, which was held in September, helps to raise money for military and first responder charities. Among the donations from the race this year was a $21,000 donation to TAPS, which provides care to the survivors of fallen U.S. service members. [Twitter]

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

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Man Charged with Deflowering 9/11 Wreath

Arlington 9/11 memorial wreath-laying ceremony on Sept. 11, 2016 (screen capture via Facebook)A man has been charged with vandalizing the wreath placed during Arlington’s 9/11 memorial ceremony.

The incident happened in Courthouse just after 11 a.m. on Sunday, shortly after the ceremony.

Police say 51-year-old Charles Harris removed flowers from the wreath and left the petals on the sidewalk. He was charged with the crimes of Injuring a Memorial and Drunk in Public.

From an Arlington County Police crime report:

INJURING A MEMORIAL, 160911022, 1500 block of N. Courthouse Road. At approximately 11:16 a.m. on September 11, police were dispatched to the report of a subject destroying the 9/11 Memorial Wreath used during the County’s September 11 Observance. Upon arrival, officers observed the subject removing flowers from the wreath and discarding petals on the sidewalk. Charles Harris, 51, of No Fixed Address was arrested and charged with Injuring a Memorial and Drunk In Public. He was held on a $1,000 secured bond.

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Morning Notes

American flag in Rosslyn (Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf)

Remembering 9/11 at the Pentagon — President Obama attended a memorial service at the Pentagon Sunday morning. Some 800 friends and family members of victims of the Pentagon attacks were in attendance at the private 15th anniversary event. [Los Angeles Times, NBC 4]

Arlington Remembers 9/11 — Local remembrance ceremonies were held in Arlington for the 9/11 anniversary, including an annual wreath-laying ceremony outside county government headquarters at Courthouse Square and, on Saturday, an event at Fire Station No. 5, the closest Arlington County fire station to the Pentagon — whose firefighters were among the first to arrive on scene at the burning Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001. The latter event featured crew members of the USS Arlington. [Facebook, InsideNova]

Arlington Has Priciest Homes in N. Va. — The median sales price of homes in Arlington is $453 per square foot. That’s the highest in Northern Virginia. Falls Church is second-highest, at $417 per square foot. [Falls Church News-Press]

Note About Morning Notes — You might notice that the URL of this post is /morning-notes-1500/, reflecting that this is the 1,500th post published with the headline “Morning Notes.” Technically, however, this is Morning Notes post No. 1,515. About 1 percent of the time we either press publish before filling out the headline or have a slight misspelling (it’s the first post we publish in the morning, c’mon) — even though the error is quickly corrected, the erroneous URL has to stay as-is.

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

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Morning Notes

A man carries barstools away from Hard Times Cafe in Clarendon while workers remove the awnings

Average Paycheck Decreases — The average weekly paycheck in Arlington was $1,734 in the first quarter of 2016, down 0.2 percent compared to one year prior. Nationally, however, the average paycheck was down 0.5 percent. Arlington ranked in the top 10 of U.S. counties with the highest pay. [InsideNova]

New Media Venture Based in Clarendon — Politico co-founder Jim VandeHei’s next media venture is headquartered in Arlington. VandeHei, along with Politico’s Mike Allen and the publication’s former Chief Revenue Officer, are among those helping to found the venture, which has reportedly secured $10 million in financing and is said to be “a media outlet targeting corporate executives and other professionals with a mix of business and political news.” While Politico remains in Rosslyn, VandeHei’s new venture is based in MakeOffices in Clarendon. [Wall Street Journal]

Porn Discussion at DJO — Last night Bishop O’Connell High School hosted a public discussion, aimed at parents and teens, about “the effects of pornography on teenagers.” Today the founder of the website The Porn Effect will address DJO students and “present the reality behind pornography to the entire student body.” [Catholic Diocese of Arlington]

First Responders Cup This Weekend — The annual First Responders Cup fastpitch softball tournament will take place in Arlington this weekend. Among the participants, one team from Salem, Va. is paying tribute by wearing the name of fallen firefighters on the back of their jerseys. The players, who also wrote letters to the families of the firefighters, will be visiting Arlington’s Fire Station No. 5 near Pentagon City today. [WDBJ]

New Website for Chamber — The Arlington Chamber of Commerce has launched a redesigned website. [Arlington Chamber]

AHC Seeking Volunteer MentorsUpdated at 2:15 p.m. — Affordable housing organization AHC Inc. is seeking volunteers to serve as mentors and tutors for middle- and high school students. Before the start of the school year, AHC provided backpacks filled with school supplies to more than 900 low-income, school-aged children living in its apartment communities. “Along with scores of generous individuals, several local organizations donated funds or supplies, including Arlington County Community Outreach, BM Smith, Boeing, The Reading Connection, and the Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington,” AHC noted in a press release. [AHC Inc.]

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