Biden Visits Arlington for Vets Day — “President Joe Biden saluted the nation’s military veterans as ‘the spine of America’ on Thursday as he marked his first Veterans Day as president in a wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery.” [WTOP]
Wet Roads Leading to Crashes — From the Washington Weather Geeks: “Please be careful out there this morning! Multiple crashes have been reported in and around the region. Wet [leaves] on the roads will help cause more hazards this morning. Slow down!” [Twitter]
Jury Duty Reminder — “Juror questionnaires were mailed in the form of a postcard with a website link in early August to 35,000 randomly selected residents of Arlington County and Falls Church City. Not everyone was chosen to receive the questionnaire. If you did not receive a postcard, there is nothing you need to do. These Questionnaires are used to qualify residents for jury duty which begins January 1, 2022, and ends December 31, 2022.” [Arlington County]
‘Missing Middle’ Study Update — “The most recent update revealed community support for the housing affordability, diversity, and supply that missing middle housing would bring. Competing concerns from homeowners have arisen regarding flooding, tree loss, and strain on infrastructure; though ultimately, existing patterns of development mean these issues already exist under the status quo.” [GGWash]
‘Spirit of Community’ Honorees — “As Arlington Community Foundation marks three decades of service this fall, this year’s Spirit of Community will honor three extraordinary people who embody Arlington’s Spirit of Community, Advocacy, and Volunteerism. In addition to recognizing these three extraordinary individuals, the program will feature Arlington youth and business leaders who have stepped up to meet the historic challenges of the last two years in inspiring and innovative ways.” [Arlington Community Foundation]
Lots of Ladybugs Around Area — “Multicolored Asian lady beetles are swarming in large numbers across the Mid-Atlantic because of late fall warmth. Also called ladybird beetles, this type of ladybug smells bad, can bite you and, if you squish it, produces a messy, yellow stain. This is another invasive insect that has found a home in our area.” [Capital Weather Gang]
WaPo’s Winter Forecast — “Overall, temperatures should work out close to average. Snow lovers are unlikely to be pleased as we’re projecting below-average amounts for the fifth time in the past six winters. We do, however, think we’ll top last winter’s snow totals… Alexandria, Arlington and Prince George’s counties and the District: 8 to 14 inches.” [Capital Weather Gang]
It’s Friday — Today there will be rain and storms until about 10 a.m., then gradually clearing through this evening. Sunrise at 6:48 a.m. and sunset at 4:56 p.m. Tomorrow there will be a chance of showers between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., otherwise it will be mostly sunny and breezy, with gusts up to 23 mph. Sunday will be mostly sunny, with a high near 51.
Arlington Has a New County Attorney — “Arlington County Board Selects MinhChau Corr as New County Attorney After conducting a nationwide search, the Arlington County Board has selected MinhChau Corr as the new County Attorney for Arlington County Government. As chief legal counsel to the Board, Ms. Corr will report directly to the County Board and lead an office of 14 attorneys and 3 paraprofessional staff.” [Arlington County]
New DCA Checkpoints Now Open — “New checkpoints opened Tuesday morning at Reagan National Airport, offering a speedier security process and what airport officials say is an upgraded experience befitting an airport that serves as a gateway to the nation’s capital. The checkpoints are one element of a $1 billion plan that marks the airport’s most significant upgrades since the opening of two new terminals in 1997.” [Washington Post]
Tomb Event Highlighted on Today Show — “Marking the 100th anniversary of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the American public is getting the chance to step forward and pay their respects for the very first time. TODAY’s Craig Melvin traveled to Arlington National Cemetery for NBC’s network-wide series ‘Those Who Serve.'” [Today Show]
Marine Corps Birthday Today — “On November 10, 2021, Marines across the globe will recognize and acknowledge 246 years of service to their country, the sacrifices made to defend democracy, and the Marine Corps’ enduring legacy as America’s premier fighting force. The Marine Corps’ annual tradition celebrates the establishment of the organization on November 10, 1775, by the Second Continental Congress.” [USMC]
YHS Players Help VHC Nurses — “The Yorktown High School football team presented the nurses at Virginia Hospital Center with bouquets of discount cards to say thank you for their work during the pandemic and beyond. The cards include discounts to local businesses within the local community who sponsor the football program.” [Sun Gazette]
It’s Wednesday — Another great day is on tap. Today will start partly sunny, then gradually become sunnier, with a high near 68. Sunrise at 6:45 a.m. and sunset at 4:58 p.m. Tomorrow — Veterans Day — will be partly sunny, with a high near 67.
Slight Dip in Apartment Rents — “The average rental rate for an Arlington unit over the past month was down 0.4 percent compared to the month before, according to figures reported Nov. 1 by Apartment List. Arlington’s rental rates averaged $2,032 for one-bedroom units and $2,460 for two-bedroom units. Arlington was one of 22 of the nation’s 100 largest urban areas to see pullbacks in rental rates over the month.” [Sun Gazette]
Federal Funds for Local Bridge? — From reporter Michael Lee Pope: “@RepDonBeyer #VA08 infrastructure projects requested: $9 million for renovating the bridge connecting Mount Vernon Avenue in #AlexandriaVA to Arlington Ridge Road in #ArlingtonVA” [Twitter]
Post Reviews Lyon Park Restaurant — “When not hawking food, she is a parking enforcement officer with the Arlington County Police Department… In September, she moved indoors when she took over El Fuego Peruvian Kitchen, an Arlington business that had already made the successful transition from street vendor to a bricks-and-mortar restaurant.” [Washington Post]
Wild Incident on Columbia Pike — “At approximately 9:30 a.m. on November 6, police were dispatched to the report of an assault just occurred and fire department units were also responding to investigate the smell of smoke and natural gas. Upon arrival inside the residential building, the suspect approached responding officers and began shouting. As the officers attempted to place the suspect into custody, he actively resisted and a brief struggle ensued before he was detained without further incident. The investigation determined that the suspect was allegedly acting irate and damaged the doors to multiple residential units.” [ACPD]
Parents Group Calls Out APS Calendar — “In prior years, APS aligned its calendar with neighboring (and vast) FCPS – an effort to support staff who worked and lived in different jurisdictions. This year’s calendar has a different start date and Spring Break than FCPS, and APS is off for five holidays when FCPS is not, which makes the schedule almost impossible for staff and working families to navigate.” [Arlington Parents for Education]
Rare Opening of Tomb Plaza — Updated at 9 a.m. — “Arlington National Cemetery will open up the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Plaza Tuesday and Wednesday to members of the public and allow visitors to lay flowers for the first time in almost 100 years. The privilege is typically reserved for members of ‘The Old Guard,’ sentinels in the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment who stand watch constantly at the Arlington National Cemetery landmark, officials say.” [NBC 4]
It’s Tuesday — Today will be near perfect, with sunny skies and a high of 72. Sunrise at 6:44 a.m. and sunset at 4:59 p.m. Tomorrow will be sunny, with a high near 67. [Weather.gov]
Flickr pool photo by Tom Mockler
APS Appoints New DEI Chief — “The School Board appointed Dr. Jason Ottley as the new Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer at its Oct. 28 School Board meeting. Dr. Ottley has been serving as Interim Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer since Sept. 1.” [Arlington Public Schools]
Ed Center Project Taking Longer — “The firm that has been overseeing construction at the former Arlington Education Center will get another funding bump, as the project lingers longer than expected and requires more oversight. School Board members on Oct. 28 were slated to be briefed on the plan to provide another $277,083 to McDonough Bolyard Peck, which is serving as construction manager adviser on the project. Final approval of the funding is slated for November.” [Sun Gazette]
Time to Compost Your Pumpkins — From Arlington’s Dept. of Environmental Services: “Reincarnation is real. Toss rotting pumpkins in the green curbside cart and they’ll come back to life as nutritious compost.” [Twitter]
Fewer Day Laborers at Shirlington Site — “The users, who live mostly on Columbia Pike and Alexandria, have shrunk to 10-20. ‘The outdoor site is no longer there, and it’s only a matter of time before jobs disappear from there,’ Tobar said.” [Falls Church News-Press]
ANC to Recreate 1921 Procession — “Arlington National Cemetery said Wednesday that it will host a public memorial procession and military flyover on Nov. 11 in honor of the 100th anniversary of the Tomb of Unknowns. The procession, which visitors can observe, will begin at the main entrance to the cemetery on Memorial Avenue near the welcome center.” [Washington Post]
Honor for Wakefield Driving Teacher — “The Virginia Association for Driver Education and Traffic Safety has named Wakefield High School’s Tony Bentley the Behind the Wheel Teacher of the Year. The announcement was made at the state meeting, held online on Oct. 1, which featured 140 driver-education teachers and representatives from the Virginia Department of Education.” [Sun Gazette]
Staff of Rosslyn-Based Politico Unionizes — “The news staffs of Politico and E&E News went public Friday with the news that that they have formed a union. Around 80 percent of the newsrooms’ combined staffs are on board… Politico is based in Virginia, a right-to-work state, so employees will likely have the choice of whether or not to join if the union drive is successful.” [Washingtonian]
It’s Monday, Nov. 1 — The first day of November will be sunny, with a high near 60. Northwest wind 7 to 11 mph. Sunrise at 7:35 a.m. and sunset at 6:07 p.m. Tomorrow there will be a chance of showers. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 53.
Metro Service Still Affected by Derailment — “On Thursday, October 14, there will be no rail service between Rosslyn and Pentagon stations due to the ongoing investigation into Tuesday’s derailment. In addition, Orange and Silver line trains will single track between Clarendon and Foggy Bottom. Customers should expect delays in both directions. Free local shuttle buses will operate between Rosslyn, Arlington Cemetery, and Pentagon stations, with free express shuttles between Rosslyn and Pentagon stations.” [WMATA]
Portion of Train Removed from Tunnel — From NBC 4’s Adam Tuss: “Almost 24 hours after the Blue Line derailment — a section of the derailed train is on the move. Only 3 railcars here. We were told the 4th railcar was the one that derailed. There were 8 railcars total.” [Twitter]
Camera Truck to Drive Around Arlington — From Arlington’s Dept. of Environmental Services: “Starting [today]: A County contractor’s camera truck will be driving around Arlington for two weeks (weather permitting), gathering imagery and and GPS data exclusively for evaluation of roadway conditions. They come in peace for all mankind.” [Twitter]
Amazon to Fund Transit-Accessible Housing — “Amazon will fund a new grant program to help local governments and nonprofit developers pursue affordable projects near transit stations, directing $500,000 of its recently announced $2 billion Housing Equity Fund to this effort… said Arlington County Board member Christian Dorsey… ‘Providing this source of funding, that’s not going to need to be paid back, is really going to be the key in unlocking innovative projects to help meet our goals.'” [Washington Business Journal]
Anniversary Event at Tomb of the Unknowns — “When Arlington National Cemetery marks the 100th anniversary of the Tomb of the Unknowns next month, members of the public will be allowed to place flowers there for the first time, the cemetery said Tuesday… ‘This is a rare opportunity for the public to walk next to the Tomb … a privilege otherwise given only to the sentinels of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, ‘The Old Guard,” who stand watch over the site 24 hours a day, the cemetery said.” [Washington Post]
New DCA Security Checkpoints Unveiled — “The public got its first look Wednesday at the buildings that will be home to new security checkpoints set to open next month at Reagan National Airport — an upgrade that officials hope will speed screening times and ease congestion in time for the holiday travel season. The checkpoints are set to open Nov. 9 and will be housed in separate 50,000-square-foot buildings across from Terminals B and C.” [Washington Post]
Nearby: SROs Reinstated in Alexandria, For Now — “After significant outcry from a school system concerned about weapons in schools, the Alexandria City Council took a dramatic 4-3 vote around 1 a.m. this morning (Wednesday) to temporarily return school resource officers (SROs) to two middle schools and Alexandria City High School until the end of this school year.” [ALXnow]
(Updated at 11 p.m.) Arlington firefighters guided passengers to safety after a Metro train derailed near Rosslyn tonight.
A train became disabled in a tunnel between the Rosslyn and Arlington Cemetery stations around 5 p.m. after at least one of the cars derailed. Some 400 passengers were estimated to be on the train, which went dark after third rail power was cut ahead of the rescue operation, while a light haze of smoke or dust was reported in the tunnel.
At least three passengers received some degree of medical attention, including one apparently suffering a panic attack, according to initial reports. There are no reports of anyone with significant injuries, but one person was transported via ambulance to a local hospital in stable condition, according to the Arlington County Fire Department.
#Final – 1 patient transported from the scene to an area hospital in stable condition. Units are in the process of clearing the scene.
— Arlington Fire & EMS (@ArlingtonVaFD) October 13, 2021
Early in the response, rescuers worked to access the train and its passengers via a hatch near the Iwo Jima memorial, closing a ramp along Route 50. Passengers were later evacuated from the train and walked down the track in groups to the Arlington Cemetery station.
The first of the evacuated passengers could be seen leaving the station on a live TV broadcast shortly before 7 p.m. As of 8 p.m., all passengers had been evacuated.
The Arlington Cemetery station is closed and Metro service on the Blue Line is likely to be interrupted for a significant amount of time as a result of the incident. Service changes will remain in effect on Wednesday.
A large emergency response filled Memorial Drive, outside the cemetery, alongside news crews and shuttle buses that ferried passengers back to another station to complete their journey.
The National Transportation Safety Board says it will investigate the derailment.
Stranded passengers posted photos and video on social media before and after being led down the tracks.
— Mary Kate (@justplainmk) October 12, 2021
— Mary Kate (@justplainmk) October 12, 2021
— Mary Kate (@justplainmk) October 12, 2021
Off train but still in tunnel pic.twitter.com/H1acmRcxw2
— idotter88 (@idotter88) October 12, 2021
Fundraiser for Former Restaurant Employee — “My name is Dante. I’m the general manager at the Green Pig Bistro in Arlington. Recently we had a tragedy in our green pig family. One of our former employees, Myra died in child birth. Her husband, Rolando, is also a former employee. We are… [raising] money to help this single father out.” [GoFundMe]
First for Tomb of the Unknown Soldier — “A historic first happened at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier on Friday. The Tomb at Arlington National Cemetery has been guarded continuously for the past 84 years… On October 1, for the first time ever, there was an all-woman shift change.” [WUSA 9]
Designers Weigh in on New County Logo — “I think if you think of it as a logo, it has some pretty obvious shortcomings in that it doesn’t say much about Arlington except as part of the larger region. It’s more of a reasonable mark for the DMV than it is for Arlington itself. It would be nice if they could’ve had something about Arlington to feature there. On the other hand, Arlington being part of the DMV might be what’s most interesting about it.” [Washingtonian]
Rent Keeps Rising in Arlington — “Median apartment-rental rates across Arlington continue their post-COVID rebound and are the highest in the Washington region, but the rate of growth over the past month was slightly below the national average. With a median cost of $2,061 for a one-bedroom apartment and $2,495 for a two-bedroom unit, the median price for Arlington rentals over the preceding month was up 1.9 percent.” [Sun Gazette]
Arlington Jobless Rate Dropping — “Arlington’s jobless rate in August dropped to 3 percent, according to new data, as the county and region continue to wriggle free of the economic grip of COVID… The August data… showed 145,095 Arlington residents employed in the civilian workforce and 4,549 looking for jobs. The resulting 3-percent rate was down from 3.4 percent in July, and a healthy drop from the 5.2-percent rate recorded in August 2020.” [Sun Gazette]
Seeking Police Oversight Board Members — “The Arlington County Board is now seeking applications from residents interested in serving as part of the County’s new Community Oversight Board (COB) that will have independent oversight and help to increase transparency and collaboration with the Arlington County Police Department. This volunteer COB will work directly with an accompanying Independent Policing Auditor, who will be hired at a later date.” [Arlington County]
Arlington police officers, sheriff’s deputies and firefighters paid tribute yesterday to Staff Sergeant Darin Taylor Hoover, a Marine from Utah who was among those killed in the Kabul airport bombing last month.
Local first responders saluted “as a symbolic gesture of gratitude” while Hoover’s procession was escorted around the Marine Corps War Memorial, en route from Dover Air Force Base to the Murphy Funeral Home near Ballston. The fallen Marine is being laid to rest today at Arlington National Cemetery.
Hoover’s family called the Utah native a hero who loved the Marine Corps and was beloved by his fellow Marines. He “was doing for others what they couldn’t do for themselves, and he made the ultimate sacrifice doing that,” his father told a local TV station.
Today, ACPD assisted with an escort for SSgt Darin T. Hoover, USMC (KIA Kabul). As a symbolic gesture of gratitude for SSgt. Hoover, he was escorted around the Iwo Jima Memorial as @ArlingtonVaFD, @acso_va and other public safety agencies honored his service and sacrifice. pic.twitter.com/HSflZ6VFnu
— ArlingtonCountyPD (@ArlingtonVaPD) September 20, 2021
This afternoon ACFD, @ArlingtonVaPD, @acso_va, and other public safety agencies paid our respects to SSgt Darin T. Hoover, USMC (KIA Kabul). As a symbolic gesture of gratitude for SSgt. Hoover, he was escorted around the Iwo Jima Memorial. pic.twitter.com/hEenxA1qzs
— Arlington Fire & EMS (@ArlingtonVaFD) September 20, 2021
The Arlington National Cemetery Defense Access Roads (ANC DAR) Project will realign Columbia Pike from east of S. Oak Street to Washington Blvd (Route 27). It will also modify the S. Joyce Street intersection, change the Columbia Pike and Washington Blvd interchange, and replace Southgate Road with an added segment of S. Nash Street.
Because of this, and as of early last month, parking is now permanently prohibited on Southgate Road between S. Oak Street and Columbia Pike.
Construction is expected to start in the early fall and be completed within four years, by summer of 2025, a Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) spokesperson tells ARLnow. This timeline is slightly pushed back from what’s listed on the FHWA project page.
The project will also add a new sidewalk and a shared-use trail, improve bicycle facilities, add street lighting, and put utility lines underground. FHWA’s project page also notes that the work done will be consistent with Arlington County Master Transportation Plan and Columbia Pike Multimodal Street Improvements Project. No residents will be displaced, though construction may bring added noise and traffic disruptions to the nearby Foxcroft Heights neighborhood.
All of this is being done to accommodate a 70 acre southern expansion of Arlington National Cemetery. It will add about 60,00 burial sites, including an above-ground columbarium, which will allow the cemetery to continue burials through the 2050s. The expansion will also bring the Air Force Memorial within cemetery grounds.
This project, particularly the modification of the Columbia Pike and Washington Blvd interchange, will also provide space for the 9/11 Pentagon Memorial Visitor Education Center. Construction on that is expected to start late 2023 with a completion set for two years later.
While this realignment project has been long awaited, it hasn’t happened without some proverbial bumps in the road. Initially, the Army proposed a land exchange agreement with the county where the federal government would acquire the land from the county that was needed for the expansion. In exchange, the county would get “all land south of a realigned Columbia Pike to meet a variety of public facility needs.”
But, in 2017, the Army decided against the land exchange agreement, leaving the county “disappointed.”
Then, last summer, the federal government filed a civil suit to claim through eminent domain nine acres of land from Arlington County. The feds offered the county $10 for the land, but Arlington County Attorney Steve MacIsaac told DCist/WAMU in November 2020 that wasn’t going to cut it.
However, in January 2021, the Arlington County Board unanimously approved an agreement with the state, the Army, and the U.S. Department of Transportation that essentially provided the needed land in exchange for the feds paying for nearly all of the $60 million project. The county is only responsible for $500,000 to design a multi-use trail along Washington Blvd.
(Updated 8/27/21) The long-planned 9/11 Pentagon Memorial Visitor Education Center is aiming for a September 2025 opening, executive director Jim Laychak tells ARLnow.
A video announcement with updated designs, plans, and visuals for the education center that will be located along the soon-to-be-realigned Columbia Pike will be unveiled in the coming weeks and prior to the 20th anniversary of 9/11, Laychak says.
The website and provided renderings currently shows a sleek, modern design with exhibits, “interactive biographies” of those who died at the Pentagon on 9/11, a rooftop terrace, ample parking, and a family gallery.
Construction on the anticipated companion to the 9/11 Pentagon Memorial is expected to start within two years.
“September 2023, we could start construction and, in two years from that, we will be open,” says Laychak, who also oversaw the building of the nearby memorial. “It’s about a two year construction [phase].”
However, that timeline isn’t set and and is dependent on the completion of the Arlington National Cemetery Defense Access Roads Project. That project will realign Columbia Pike, modify the S. Joyce Street intersection, and shift the Columbia Pike and Washington Blvd. interchange. This is all being done to allow for Arlington National Cemetery to expand.
“The site where we are going to build is on that whole grassy area where the gas station used to be,” says Laychak. “It’s got a cloverleaf there and… that needs to change to a parallel on and off ramp… to Washington Blvd. So, all of that needs to happen first.”
Construction on the road realignment was originally slated to start in “summer 2021,” according to the U.S. Department of Transportation website, but work hasn’t begun yet.
ARLnow has reached out to the department about an updated timeline for the project but has yet to hear back as of publication.
The Pentagon Memorial opened to the public in 2008, but the 9/11 Pentagon Memorial Visitor Education Center wasn’t announced until late September 2015. It will sit on land owned by Arlington National Cemetery.
“The 9/11 Pentagon Visitor Education Center site is in a dramatic location,” the museum’s website said back in 2015. “Right where the attack of 9/11 took place and adjacent to the 9/11 Pentagon Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery and Air Force Memorial.”
In 2016, renderings were displayed at the Pentagon City mall. Initially, it was expected to be completed by 2020 but that didn’t happen due to the project needing to wait for the ANC expansion and roads projects to take shape, says Laychak.
The last few years have mostly been filled with completing the architecture design, raising money, and reassembling a board of directors that now includes Sean Connaughton, a former Virginia transportation secretary.
The project has raised about $5 million, which was used to complete the design of the education center and exhibits. Overall, it will need to raise another $80 million, which Laychak estimates will be a split between federal appropriations (much like what was the case for the memorial) and private funds. The executive team is in the midst of a capital campaign to raise those funds.
Laychak believes the addition of the education center, along with the expansion of the cemetery and the roads project, will transform the 9/11 Pentagon Memorial into a “destination location.” It will also make the memorial much easier to get to, he says, since right now it can be a bit of a maze of a walk through parking lots, concrete barriers, and closed access points.
‘Flags In’ at Arlington Nat’l Cemetery — “At 2:00pm EST, @USArmyOldGuard will enter @ArlingtonNatl and continue our tradition of placing an American flag at every gravesite throughout our Nation’s most hallowed grounds. Stay tuned for updates as we honor those that have served and sacrificed for our freedom.” [Twitter]
Former Sen. John Warner Dies — “John W. Warner, the five-term U.S. senator from Virginia who helped plan the nation’s 1976 bicentennial celebrations, played a central role in military affairs and gained respect on both sides of the political aisle for his diligence, consensus-building and independence, died May 24 at his home in Alexandria, Va. He was 94.” [Washington Post, Gov. Ralph Northam]
StarKist Moving Somewhere in N. Va. — “StarKist Co. plans to close its Pittsburgh headquarters office and relocate to Northern Virginia, the company said this week. Known for its cartoon mascot Charlie the Tuna, StarKist said in a statement that the headquarters in Pittsburgh will close at the end of March 2022… The company did not disclose where in Northern Virginia its new headquarters will be.” [Patch]
Memorial Day Closures — Updated at 8:55 a.m. — “Arlington County Government offices and services are operating on modified schedules for Memorial Day, May 31.” [Arlington County]