Animal Shelter at Capacity — “Our dog kennels are at capacity (every single kennel is occupied)… but what about your home? That extra seat on your couch sure would be a lot cuter with a furry friend curled up on it.” [Animal Welfare League of Arlington, Fox 5]
Parents Peeved at Teacher Transfer — From an online petition with nearly 500 signatures: “Dr. Sharon Gaston has worked at Taylor Elementary school for 12 years as the lead reading specialist. For the past 11 years she was appointed under 2 different principals as their designee. This past school year she applied to be the principal and unfortunately was passed over. The new principal… is transferring her to a high school. Why? We want answers.” [Change.org]
APS Announces New Principals — “So happy and proud to announce that Ms. Frances Lee has been appointed as the next principal of Ashlawn Elementary! She is currently assistant principal of Escuela Key.” “At the April 28 School Board meeting, the School Board appointed Ms. Bridget Loft as the new Swanson principal. Her appointment is effective May 3.” [Twitter, Arlington Public Schools]
New Japanese Eatery at Mall Food Court — “Sarku Japan… The largest and most successful Japanese Quick Service Restaurant chain in the US is coming! Come celebrate the grand opening of Sarku Japan at Fashion Centre at Pentagon City. Sample their famous signature chicken teriyaki at the food court.” [Twitter]
Arlington Man Sentenced for Bias Attack — “A man from Arlington, Virginia, was found guilty and sentenced Friday for a hate crime attack on two Latino construction workers back in 2019. A judge sentenced Kurt Madsen, 53, to 540 days — nearly a year and a half — in jail, but suspended his term to time served as long as he completes two years of probation. Before his trial, Madsen spent 160 days in jail.” [WTOP, U.S. DOJ]
Police Memorial Ceremony Planned — “The annual Arlington County Peace Officers Memorial Day Ceremony will be held on Tuesday, May 10 at 8 a.m. at the Arlington County Justice Center, 1425 North Courthouse Road… The public is invited; the event also will be live streamed through the county government’s Facebook page.” [Sun Gazette]
Metro Starting to Buy Electric Buses — “New details of Metro’s Zero-Emission Bus Transition Plan, presented at this week’s meeting of the Board of Directors, outlines how the agency will transition to a zero-emission bus fleet including testing and evaluation, infrastructure and facility upgrades, and procurement efforts.” [WMATA]
It’s Monday — Partly cloudy throughout the day. High of 76 and low of 61. Sunrise at 6:10 am and sunset at 8:03 pm. [Weather.gov]
Another Vehicle Larceny Series — “28th Street S. at 26th Street S./28th Street S. at S. Lang Street. At approximately 9:05 a.m. on April 25, police were dispatched to multiple reports of destruction of property. During the course of the investigation, it was determined that the unknown suspect(s) broke the windows to five vehicles and rummaged through them. One victim reported having electronics stolen from their vehicle. There is no suspect(s) description.” [ACPD]
Update on Route 1 ‘Urban Boulevard’ Plan — “The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) will hold a virtual public information meeting Thursday, April 28 on a feasibility study identifying enhanced multimodal connectivity and accommodations along Route 1 (Richmond Highway) from 12th Street South to 23rd Street South to meet the changing transportation needs of the Crystal City and Pentagon City communities.” [VDOT]
More Wins for Yorktown Lax — “The defending state champion Yorktown High School boys lacrosse team improved to 7-2 with blowout victories over Herndon, 15-2, and Dominion, 17-5, for seven straight victories.” [Sun Gazette]
Regional Grant for Ballston Metro Entrance? — From Arlington’s Dept. of Environmental Services: “A new west entrance to the Ballston-MU Metrorail station is in the running. Let these fine folks know why their greenbacks would be well spent.” [Twitter, N. Va. Transportation Authority]
‘Empty the Shelters’ Event Next Week — “The Animal Welfare League of Arlington is participating in the Bissell Pet Foundation’s spring “Empty the Shelters” animal adoption event next week from May 2-8. More than 275 shelters in 45 states and Canada are participating in the week-long event. The Bissell Pet Foundation sponsors reduced adoption fees for $25 or less.” [Patch]
Warner Weighs in on Musk Buying Twitter — From Sen. Mark Warner: “Elon Musk must work in good faith to preserve Twitter’s necessary reforms to prevent the spread of misinformation.” [Twitter]
It’s Wednesday — Mostly sunny, with a few more clouds in the afternoon. High of 58 and low of 44. Sunrise at 6:16 am and sunset at 7:58 pm. [Weather.gov]
A fox with “neurological signs consistent with rabies” has been captured this morning in the Arlingwood neighborhood near Chain Bridge, officials say.
The Animal Welfare League of Arlington is warning residents, particularly those in the area where the fox was found, to keep pets inside or on a leash — and to keep those pets up to date on rabies and distemper vaccines. If people or their pets potentially came into contact with the fox, they’re being encouraged to call animal control.
More from an AWLA social media post:
*Notice to Arlington Co residents* – on April 26, 2022 at approximately 7:45am, Arlington County Animal Control responded to calls about a disoriented fox in the Arlingwood neighborhood near the 4100 blocks of 41 St and Randolph Street N, south-east of Chain Bridge Rd and George Washington Pkwy. The fox had neurological signs consistent with rabies, and was captured and removed by Animal Control. Rabies is a disease that people and animals can catch from the bite or scratch of infected animals. It is fatal if medical care is not given promptly. If you, your child, or your pet may have come into contact with this fox, please call Arlington County Animal Control at (703) 931-9241 immediately.
Residents are encouraged to: ensure pets are up to date on their rabies and distemper vaccines – keep dogs on a leash at all times and keep cats inside – do not approach or feed any wild animals – feed pets inside – remove wildlife attractants from yards, such as unsecured garbage cans, open containers of food, and compost.
Arlington County Animal Control is also urging residents to remain vigilant and to stay away from any animal that appears sick, lethargic, disoriented, or aggressive and call Animal Control immediately at (703) 931-9241. If you come across a deceased rabies-vector animal (including cats, dogs, foxes, raccoons, and groundhogs) in your yard or a public space, do not handle the animal and Animal Control immediately.
In February an “aggressive” fox that bit a toddler was captured by animal control in the Gulf Branch neighborhood, which is just down Military Road from Arlingwood. That fox was also thought to be rabid.
Earlier this month a rabid fox bit nine people on Capitol Hill before it was captured and euthanized. The fox’s kits were also euthanized.
More on the Weird Chime Sound — “Janae Bixby first heard the sound near Pentagon City, where I-395 and Glebe Road intersect, as she picked up her kid from daycare on Monday evening around 5. She described it as ‘some sort of clock or doorbell chime that you would hear — very digital.’ She assumed the noise was coming from the building and started heading home. But then, in her car ride home to the southern edge of the Del Ray neighborhood in Alexandria, she kept hearing it, again and again.” [DCist]
Parents Group Wants Smaller Class Sizes — “A group of parents in Arlington, Virginia, is urging the county’s board to allot additional funding to its school system in the next fiscal year’s budget. The group Arlington Parents for Education said in a letter to the board this week that more money should be provided so that class sizes can be smaller, teacher pay can be competitive with surrounding school districts and student mental health and learning loss can be addressed.” [WTOP]
TR Bridge Work Could Wrap Up in June — “A section of the Theodore Roosevelt Bridge that was closed abruptly for emergency repairs two months ago is likely to reopen to traffic in June, according to officials with the District Department of Transportation. Crews began work on the 58-year-old bridge after an early-February inspection found steel support beams had continued to deteriorate, prompting the closure of three middle lanes and restrictions on heavyweight vehicles.” [Washington Post]
Operator Shortage Behind Bus Delays — From MetroHero: “For most of the morning, only one #WMATA 16Y bus has been in service where at least 5 are supposed to be running right… Previously-unannounced operator shortage was the cause of poor 16Y service this morning.” [Twitter]
School Bus Crash Yesterday Afternoon — “A crash involving several vehicles including a school bus has snarled southbound traffic on S. Carlin Springs Road, near Campbell Elementary… No injuries have been reported and one lane of traffic is squeezing by the crash scene. This is the same stretch of road where a group of residents recently called for safety improvements. [Twitter]
Video: Adorable Baby Squirrel — From the Animal Welfare League of Arlington: “We’ve definitely got the cutest thing on the internet today! This baby squirrel came to us underweight and hungry, so after a snack she was transferred to a local wildlife rehabber who will care for her until she can be released back into the wild!” [Twitter]
Arlington GOP Ramps Up Outreach — “They are still on the lookout for local candidates, but the Arlington County Republican Committee also is working to connect with prospective supporters. ‘There are thousands of Republican voters who turn out on Election Day but who are otherwise unengaged with the Arlington GOP,’ party communications chair Matthew Hurtt said. ‘We can change that.'” [Sun Gazette]
FBI Warns of Moving Scam — “The FBI Washington Field Office is warning the public about increasingly prevalent moving fraud schemes and providing information about how to avoid being victimized by them. A typical moving fraud scheme begins when a customer is enticed into entering into a contract with a moving company to transport their household goods by offers of extremely low-cost estimates from a sales representative or broker.” [FBI]
It’s Friday — Partly cloudy throughout the day. High of 72 and low of 52. Sunrise at 6:23 am and sunset at 7:53 pm. [Weather.gov]
Amazon Hiring Update — “Amazon.com Inc. is one-fifth of the way to the minimum number jobs the company committed to fill at its second headquarters in Arlington, one of the tech giant’s top hiring locations. As of Wednesday, Amazon had hired 5,000 employees who are assigned to HQ2… It is a 1,500-employee uptick since the last announcement in November.” [Washington Business Journal, Amazon]
HQ2 Phase 2 Vote This Weekend — “Amazon’s proposal for the next phase of HQ2 construction, including the spiral-shaped Helix structure, is set to go before the Arlington County Board for a final vote on Saturday, April 23. The company wants to build three more HQ2 office buildings alongside a 350-foot tall, futuristic building it calls the ‘Helix’. The development would be built on a piece of property known as ‘PenPlace’, just off Army Navy Drive.” [WJLA]
Injured Crow Dies — From the Animal Welfare League of Arlington: “UPDATE: this morning the crow passed away peacefully at @BRWildlifeCtr. We are very grateful to them for doing everything they could to care for him. We are still looking for information regarding this active investigation.” [Twitter]
Fire Station 8 Demolition Nears — “Arlington County will begin demolishing the Fire Station 8 structure during the week of May 2 and expects to complete demolition by the week of June 20. The demolition of the fire station, at 4845 Langston Blvd., will be in preparation for construction of the long-awaited new fire station at the same site. Demolition work will take place from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.” [Patch]
Arlington Company’s Ukraine Donation — “Arlington defense contractor AeroVironment Inc. is donating more than 100 unmanned aircraft systems and training services to defense officials in Ukraine… the donation of the company’s Quantix Recon systems will provide Ukraine’s military with unmanned vehicles that can fly by enemy forces undetected and unaffected by radio frequency jammers to relay reconnaissance intel.” [Washington Business Journal]
It’s Thursday — Mostly cloudy throughout the day, with a slight chance of rain in the afternoon. High of 67 and low of 45. Sunrise at 6:24 am and sunset at 7:52 pm. [Weather.gov]
Arlington’s animal control office is trying to figure out who shot a crow with a blow dart in Fairlington this morning.
Several people in the neighborhood called police and the Animal Welfare League of Arlington (AWLA) around 11 a.m. this morning to report the incident. Animal control officers found a crow that had been critically injured by the dart, which was apparently shot from a blow gun.
The crow is now en route to a wildlife center for surgery, but it’s unclear whether it will survive, AWLA said. In a statement, below, the organization said shooting a crow is illegal under the Federal Migratory Bird Act and “will not be tolerated in Arlington County.”
The incident happened about three weeks after commercial property owners in nearby Shirlington started using an artificial fog to try to get a large murder of migratory crows to flock elsewhere. The wintering crows and their prodigious droppings on local sidewalks and vehicles are a long-standing issue in Shirlington, dating back to at least 2017.
More on this morning’s blow dart shooting and its aftermath, from AWLA, is below.
Today at approximately 11am, our officers and 911 Dispatch Center received multiple calls from the public about a crow that had been shot in a Fairlington neighborhood. Our animal control officers immediately responded and found a critically injured crow who had been shot with a blow-gun. Officers brought him back to AWLA for triage where they cut off the barb from the dart and applied basic wound care. One of our officers then began the drive to a wildlife center where the crow will undergo surgery to remove the dart. The officer is currently still on route to the center and unfortunately there is a chance the crow. may not survive the drive. Thankfully, our officers have checked the area and have not found any more injured animals.
“This is why we put so much time and emphasis on teaching tolerance and harmonious coexistence with wildlife. When groups, associations, or organizations teach intolerance for living things, our native wildlife pays the price.” ~ Jennifer Toussaint, Chief of Animal Control.
Crows are protected under the Federal Migratory Bird Act. This type of activity is illegal and will not be tolerated in Arlington County. We are asking that anyone who may have seen any related activity in the area over the past 8-12 hours to please call our Animal Control team at (703) 931-9241.
Arlington residents – we need your help finding information regarding a crow that was shot with a blow-gun in Fairlington this morning. pic.twitter.com/tq6f5ofPqM
— AWLArlington, VA (@AWLAArlington) April 19, 2022
(Updated at 11:40 a.m.) Coyote sightings are not uncommon in Arlington, but it’s also not every day that a coyote gets stuck in someone’s yard.
The Animal Welfare League of Arlington says its animal control officers were able to free a coyote that recently became stuck between two fences.
In a social media post, AWLA said the frightened coyote was able to run away unharmed after being being freed.
When two local residents went out to see what their dogs were both barking at near their fence line, they were NOT expecting to find a coyote stuck in between their fences! Thankfully, they called us right away and Officer Elpers was able to safely maneuver him out and he ran away unharmed. While residents don’t spot coyotes often in Arlington, they are naturalized to the area. If you catch a glimpse of a coyote in your neighborhood, there’s no need to be alarmed, but you can always give us a call if you spot an animal that is injured or in distress!
The coyote incident happened south of Clarendon, well away from Arlington’s more wooded areas.
“It was on the border of the Lyon Park and Ashton Heights neighborhoods,” AWLA spokeswoman Chelsea Jones tells ARLnow.
Each night this week, an artificial fog will roll through the Village at Shirlington.
Its purpose is to get a murder of crows, which once again wintered in Arlington — doing their business near the Shirlington businesses — to leave and not return when roosting begins again in October.
The descent of crows on Shirlington for the winter is an annual occurrence going back to at least 2017 and leading to a bombardment of droppings on cars, mailboxes, trash cans, sidewalks, patios and tables.
This year, Federal Realty Investment Trust, which owns the retail center at 2700 S. Quincy Street, is trying a new way to deter the persistent perchers and their prolific pooping.
“Federal Realty has partnered with a wildlife management company to implement a Passive Deterrent System to mitigate the nuisance issues and community property damage caused by large flocks of roosting crows,” a spokeswoman for FRIT said. “This system deploys a fog to targeted areas within the tree canopy. This is a humane and non-lethal means to relocate these specific large flocks of crows.”
The fog was first released this past Monday and will be emitted every evening from 7:30-9:30 p.m. until this coming Monday.
More information from FRIT was distributed to residents of a nearby apartment complex and obtained by ARLnow.
The fog “has been a successful approach for several communities, companies and agencies, including the FBI Headquarters, Miami International Airport and the Smithsonian,” FRIT told local residents. “We feel very confident that this process will be an effective strategy to relocate the roosting birds on [the] property and discourage them from returning to roost in the future.”
The fogging has raised concerns for Diva Crows, an organization in Northern Virginia that cares for injured crows and ravens. The Animal Welfare League of Arlington, which handles animal control for the county, meanwhile, is keeping tabs on the situation to see if the fog causes an increase in injured or dead crows.
Sam Sparks, who works for Diva Crows, says this fog is made of a vaporized chemical called methyl anthranilate.
The chemical — which produces a grape odor — irritates the pain receptors associated with birds’ senses of taste and smell, according to one bird repellent company.
“There are two separate concerns,” Sparks says. “One is human exposure to the pesticide, for which there are limited studies on the toxicity to mammals. People have the right to know that they will be exposed to this for the next seven consecutive days that the fog will be deployed.”
Sparks added that this is “baby season” for wild birds, and the deterrent could lead parents to abandon their fledgling offspring, leading to dead baby crows littering Shirlington sidewalks.
It may also not drive them away for good, as crows are adaptable and have to be outsmarted through variable and unpredictable deterrence strategies.
AWLA spokeswoman Chelsea Jones said the animal control agency became aware of the deterrent efforts after receiving several complaints from citizens and business owners about the volume of bird poop.
“We have spoken with the property managers to offer other humane deterrent methods, and have also been in contact with local and state agencies,” Jones said. “This is a legal deterrent method and we have been assured that there is no risk to human or wildlife health.”
Around this time, crows are set to begin their migration, so residents should see a natural, temporary decrease in the local crow population “very soon,” Jones said.
“We have not found any deceased or injured crows thus far, but our Animal Control team continues to monitor the situation,” she said.
Police Holding St. Paddy’s Event — “On Friday, March 18 from 8-10 p.m., join officers on N. Hudson Street at Wilson Boulevard in Clarendon for the Don’t Press Your Luck anti-drunk driving event. This event is free and open to the public and is designed to highlight the effect alcohol has on motor skills.” [ACPD]
Sub Suspended for Russia Rant — “Arlington Public Schools has suspended a substitute teacher who, during a Spanish class, expressed approval of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine and urged students to read Russian-run propaganda outlets. The substitute, John Stanton, 65, made the comments during an eighth-grade Spanish lesson on Friday at Swanson Middle School.” [Washington Post]
How to Help Ukraine — “Arlington and Ivano-Frankivsk were formally declared sister cities on March 4, 2011… The Arlington Sister City Association has identified the following trusted organizations as providing a variety of services to the Ukrainian people. Please consider helping our friends during this difficult time.” [Arlington County]
Local Foster Dog Delivers — From the Animal Welfare League of Arlington: “If you order through UberEats, keep an eye out – Orlando might be your delivery-dog! Orlando loves joining his foster mom on delivery runs, and always sings along to the songs on the radio. We give him a 5-star rating!” [Twitter]
‘Freedom Convoy’ May Be Coming — “The U.S. protesters inspired by the self-styled ‘Freedom Convoy’ that occupied downtown Ottawa for weeks headed out from Southern California last week for a cross-country trip to the D.C. region. They plan to arrive this weekend, and Virginia State Police describes the convoy as a “still-fluid situation.” [Washington Post]
It’s Friday — Clear throughout the day. High of 46 and low of 26. Sunrise at 6:37 am and sunset at 6:06 pm. [Weather.gov]
If you thought the Pentagon chicken was impressive, wait until you hear about the Pentagon courtyard bunny.
In what might be the world’s fluffiest and most adorable infiltration of a secure military installation, a bunny was recently spotted hopping around in the 5.1 acre outdoor courtyard at the center of the headquarters of the U.S. Dept. of Defense, ARLnow has learned.
There is no official confirmation of the bunny’s existence — the DoD said it does not keep tabs on small, harmless animals in the courtyard — but we have obtained photographic evidence, above, and an eyewitness account.
“I just wanted to highlight that while the Pentagon Chicken is receiving its 15 minutes of fame, the Pentagon Bunny actually successfully infiltrated the Pentagon,” a tipster tells ARLnow. “It is currently living peacefully somewhere in the Pentagon’s courtyard, a location that is likely the most heavily guarded rabbit burrow on the planet… that is until the restaurant in the Courtyard decides to have an extremely locally sourced courtyard-to-table special.”
Given that it is outdoors and has plenty of trees and people eating meals, the courtyard is naturally a hangout spot for birds, which can simply fly in. It’s unclear how a bunny would have hopped into a place surrounded by five rings of some of the most secure office space on earth, though there are some theories.
“Aside from birds I have not seen any other wildlife. That is why I thought the rabbit was so notable,” the tipster said. “A bunch of us were trying to figure out how the rabbit made it into the courtyard since there are no obvious points of entry. The current hypothesis is that the bunny was carried into the courtyard by the hawks that were nesting in one of the trees and dropped before it was fed to the offspring.”
A Pentagon spokesperson sent an appropriately non-specific response to ARLnow’s inquiry about the small mammal that’s apparently living inside the courtyard’s five walls.
“From time to time there may be various species of animals on the reservation that make it to the Center Courtyard,” said Sue Gough, Department of Defense spokesperson. “We normally do not intervene unless the animals create a hazard to building occupants, or the animal is at risk from our activities. In those situations, we will try to have it leave on its own accord, or capture it and release it to the environment where it is distanced from our activities (e.g., land adjacent to Boundary Channel).”
Pressed about this particular bunny, the official word from the DoD — which is a bit busy at the moment — is that they’re not sure.
“We don’t track individual wildlife unless there is a safety hazard to building occupants or the animal,” Gough said.
The Pentagon chicken, on the other hand, attracted national media attention after the Animal Welfare League of Arlington revealed that it had taken custody of the rogue poultry at the request of the DoD, after it was found wandering around a secure area outside of the building.
The chicken went viral on social media, now has its own t-shirt line, and even earned a Jimmy Fallon-sung ballad on the Tonight Show.
The Animal Welfare League of Arlington is bucking the results of a study suggesting the county has a deer problem.
Arlington County hired a consultant last spring to count the local deer population using drones. The company published a report in September saying that parts of Arlington had populations of 20-39 deer per square mile in certain places, exceeding what’s considered healthy (between 5 and 15 deer per square mile).
In a statement released Monday, AWLA, which oversees animal control for Arlington County, disputed the idea that the local deer population reaches unhealthy levels and urged the county to adopt a “practical, humane, and sustainable deer management plan” that doesn’t place too much focus on the numbers.
“From our extensive work in humane wildlife management, we know from experience that the issue is not the number of deer but rather the conflicts we have with them,” AWLA President & CEO Samuel Wolbert and Chief of Animal Control Jennifer Toussaint said.
The joint statement comes as county staff prepare to incorporate this data into a broader look at what steps Arlington needs to take, if any, to maintain a healthy white-tailed deer population.
Wolbert and Toussaint say there’s “scientific basis” for the claim that 5-15 deer per square mile is healthy, arguing no single count of deer qualifies as over-population.
“The fact is, determining a ‘healthy carrying capacity’ is a political judgement that is not rooted in biology: some communities, and even areas within a community, will be able to sustain different numbers of deer based on multiple factors, like type and quality of food and cover,” they said. “There is no one ‘magic’ number that any community should have. Saying Arlington County, with 13 deer per square mile, has too many deer is a political determination and not based on the environment in which the deer are located.”
AWLA leaders say complaints about deer may have precipitated this survey, but of all the calls and online reports their animal control division receives related to wildlife, relatively few involve deer.
Since November 2020, when it launched an online reporting system, AWLA has received over 650 wildlife concerns, and of those, 17 (3%) related to deer. Meanwhile, in 2021, 131 calls of the 2,733 calls for service related to wildlife (or 5%) were deer-related — and the most common concern was about the health of orphaned fawns.
“If there truly were ‘too many deer’ we, as the County’s wildlife experts, would have more deer-related complaints or issues arising from deer — which is simply not the case,” Wolbert and Toussaint said.
As for the argument that deer contribute to the destruction of the forest understory, cited in the report, AWLA leaders argue that deers are unfairly blamed for the impacts of other factors.
“It’s easy to blame deer for any forestry growth woes, when the reality is that forests are affected by many factors: insect damage, disease, pollutants (like harsh fertilizers), invasive species, increased foot traffic, climate and weather extremes, over-development… and deer,” Wolbert and Toussaint write.
In response, Arlington County Department of Parks and Recreation said the survey was just the first step in determining whether Arlington needs to more actively manage deer. Next, the county will hire a professional wildlife consultant to interpret this data and gather additional information to determine if and how deer are impacting the natural landscape, said DPR spokeswoman Susan Kalish.
All this information will guide a public engagement process that will culminate with a presentation to the County Board this summer.
“Deer are necessary aspects of wildlife with important ecological functions when in balance with the surrounding habitat,” Kalish said. “Arlington takes its role as a steward of wildlife and its natural lands seriously.”
Arlington County recently funded a deer survey to establish a count of our white-tailed deer population. The results of this survey suggest that Arlington County has a “deer problem”…but we disagree. Read our President & Chief ACO's statement here: https://t.co/eFH9tuSHOc pic.twitter.com/0F4W3i7SL1
— AWLArlington, VA (@AWLAArlington) February 7, 2022