Arlington National Cemetery will brief Arlington residents next week on its plan to expand around the Air Force Memorial and realign the eastern end of Columbia Pike.
The “scoping meeting” is being held at the Sheraton hotel at 900 S. Orme Street from 5-9 p.m. on Wednesday, April 27.
The cemetery, which recently embarked on another expansion project, says it needs “additional space that is contiguous with the existing cemetery in order to maintain future operations beyond 2037.” It is planning a land swap with Arlington County and VDOT that will create burial space on either side of the Air Force Memorial, including on the former Navy Annex site.
“The cemetery has been working with the owners and operators of the adjacent road network, Arlington County and the Virginia Department of Transportation, to pursue a roadway realignment and land exchange agreement that will also support the short- and long-term multimodal transportation system for the Commonwealth of Virginia and Arlington County,” the cemetery said in a press release.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is working on an environmental assessment ahead of the project.
“The Environmental Assessment will evaluate the proposal to increase the cemetery’s contiguous acreage, realign roadways, and maximize burial space by utilizing an area adjacent to the existing cemetery (formerly known as the Navy Annex site) located south of the existing cemetery,” said the press release.
The Corps of Engineers has set up a web page to provide information about the project. The event next week will allow residents “to learn more about and provide comments on the proposed project.”
A new 9/11 Pentagon Memorial Visitor Education Center is also planned in conjunction with the project.
(Updated at 3:35 p.m.) Arlington Cemetery station was temporarily closed — and Blue Line service suspended — due to a reported fire on the track this afternoon.
Two separate fires were put out with a fire extinguisher, according to scanner traffic. Metro is advising riders to expect delays.
Blue Line: Train service RESTORED between Rosslyn and Pentagon stations with residual delays following earlier fire dept investigation.
— Metrorail Info (@Metrorailinfo) March 8, 2016
Blue Line: Service temporarily suspended btwn Rosslyn & Pentagon due to FD activity at Arl Cem. Use Yellow Line as alternate btwn DC & VA.
— Metrorail Info (@Metrorailinfo) March 8, 2016
Blue Line: Arlington Cemetery station is temporarily closed due to fire department activity. Shuttle bus service requested.
— Metrorail Info (@Metrorailinfo) March 8, 2016
Blue Line: Expect delays in both directions due to fire department activity at Arlington Cemetery.
— Metrorail Info (@Metrorailinfo) March 8, 2016
Home Values Jump 14 Percent — Arlington County saw a big bump in the sale price of homes, at least according to one data set from January. Long & Foster says the median price of a home sold in Arlington last month was $590,000, up 14 percent from one year prior. [WTOP]
Caps Hold Fundraiser for Young Cancer Victim — The Washington Capitals held a fundraiser at Don Tito in Clarendon on Friday for the family of a three-year-old girl who just died of an inoperable brain tumor. The family has more than $100,000 in medical bills to pay and hopes to also raise money for the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. [NBC Washington]
Problems Persist at Arlington National Cemetery — More than 5 years after major problems were revealed at Arlington National Cemetery, there’s word of new problems. The cemetery’s burial backlog has increased, it’s taking longer to get headstones approved and previously unenforced rules are now being enforced, frustrating some families, reports a local TV station. [WJLA]
Arlington Students Serving as White House Interns — Three college students who hail from Arlington are on the list of spring 2016 White House interns. The interns are: Jeremy Brown, who attends the University of Michigan; Ryan Cowdin, who attends George Washington University; and Caitlin O’Grady, who attends Pepperdine.
County Board Approves Rosslyn Changes — At a relatively uneventful meeting on Saturday, the Arlington County Board approved a series of land use, transportation and zoning changes as part of the Western Rosslyn Area Plan. The changes will allow a new school and new development. [Arlington County]
Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf
Dominion Admits Culpability for Potomac Oil Spill — Last week’s mysterious oil spill that ran from the Roaches Run Waterfowl Sanctuary, down the Potomac past Reagan National Airport, came from a Dominion Power substation in Crystal City. The company is taking responsibility for the mineral oil spill, which killed 21 birds, mostly Canada geese, and prompted a large Coast Guard and Arlington County cleanup response. [Washington Post]
Loverde Issues Statement on Scalia’s Death — Diocese of Arlington Bishop Paul Loverde issued a statement on the passing of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia over the weekend. Loverde said “we are all deeply saddened” by Scalia’s unexpected death, lauding him as “a man so deeply rooted in his faith, so brilliant in the law and in jurisprudence, so clear and precise in his judicial statements, so wholly committed to his family, so engaging with colleagues and friends, often with great humor.” [Catholic Diocese of Arlington]
D.C. Denies St. Paddy’s Bar Crawls — The annual Shamrock Crawl bar crawl will be coming to Clarendon next month. Arlington police helped keep a lid on crime and rowdiness associated with the bar crawl last year. In the District, however, concerns about bad behavior prompted officials to deny permit applications for the D.C. version of the Shamrock Crawl and another St. Patrick’s Day-themed crawl. [Borderstan]
Garvey on Kojo Show — On Friday, Arlington County Board Chair Libby Garvey was a guest on the Kojo Nnamdi Politics Hour, which is broadcast on WAMU (88.5 FM). Garvey spoke to Nnamdi and NBC 4’s Tom Sherwood about the proposed widening of a portion of eastbound I-66, as well as related topics like Metro and transit. [YouTube]
W-L Shot Put Record Smashed — Washington-Lee High School junior Benedict Draghi has convincingly set a new school record for shot put. At a recent track meet, Draghi recorded a throw of 61 feet and 4.75 inches. The performance was good for first place at the meet and it blew away the school’s 50-year-old previous indoor shot put record by nearly 10 feet. [InsideNova]
Old Guard Offers Horses for Adoption — The Army’s Old Guard, based at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, is offering two caisson horses for adoption. The horses, Quincy and Kennedy, have served in military funerals and ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery for almost a decade. [WJLA]
Volunteers Remove Wreaths from Cemetery — Despite bone-chilling cold temperatures, on Saturday volunteers picked up tens of thousands of holiday wreaths that were placed on headstones at Arlington National Cemetery in December. The cleanup was postponed from January due to the blizzard. [WUSA 9]
Flickr pool photo by WolfpackWX
County Board Takes a Rare Snow Day — The Arlington County Board cancelled its Jan. 23 meeting due to the snow. Government officials can’t remember the last time a monthly meeting was called off on account of the weather. [InsideNova]
Snowfall Covers Graves at Arlington National Cemetery — Accumulating snow covered headstones at Arlington National Cemetery on Saturday. Army sentinels continued to guard the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier despite whiteout conditions. [Richmond Times-Dispatch]
Florida Teens Stuck in ‘Snowzilla’ — The monster blizzard stranded a group of Florida teenagers in Arlington all weekend. For many of them, it was their first real experience with snow. [WJLA]
Falls Church to Emulate Arlington’s Student Decal Competition — The treasurer of Falls Church will copy Arlington’s student vehicle decal competition. Falls Church students stand to win $750, with lesser prizes for second, third and fourth place. [InsideNova]
Digging Out — From walking to work to dealing with limited Metro service, here’s how the D.C. area has coped with the remnants of the snow. [Washington Post]
Quincy Park snowball fight photo courtesy of John Kua
This morning, dozens of bicyclists helped to escort the motorcade of a former Navy SEAL who was struck and killed by a car while riding his bike in Bethesda this summer.
Tim Holden was a Gulf War vet and retired from the Navy SEALs in 2001. He was killed on Aug. 28, as he was heading to visit his daughter in D.C., when a 22-year-old driver struck him from behind on a hilly stretch of Massachusetts Avenue.
Holden’s family invited fellow local cyclists to escort his motorcade from the Lincoln Memorial to Arlington National Cemetery, where he was buried this morning. Dozens showed up for the chilly ride around 7:30 this morning.
Holden was 64. He is survived by his wife and five daughters.
The 22-year-old Maryland man who struck him will not face criminal charges.
Gates open to the public at 8 a.m. Saturday and an opening ceremony is planned at 9. The wreath laying is expected to begin at 10 a.m., followed by a closing ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at noon.
Metro says it will be operating on a normal weekend schedule Saturday morning, but all Blue Line trains — which service the Arlington Cemetery station — will be eight cars long in order to accommodate as many riders as possible.
“Arlington Cemetery Station is one of the smallest on the Metrorail system and can be expected to become crowded before and after the event,” Metro said on its website. “During peak crowding times, Arlington Cemetery escalators may be configured as ‘exit only’ before the event and ‘entry only’ after the event. Customers traveling in the reverse direction will be directed to station elevators.”
Metro riders should consider getting off at the Rosslyn station, from which Arlington National Cemetery is “a short walk to the south,” the transit agency suggested. Free shuttle buses will also be provided from the Pentagon Metro station to the cemetery.
Flickr pool photo by Jeff Reardon
APS Sweeps Top 16 of Best Elementary School List — The top sixteen schools on a new list of the best public elementary schools in Virginia are all Arlington public schools. Moreover, 19 of the top 20 are Arlington schools. [Niche]
Deal on Historic Designation for Stratford Nears — The Arlington County Board, School Board and NAACP appear close to striking a deal for the historic preservation of the Stratford building, the current home of H-B Woodlawn and a future middle school. Stratford was one of the was the first public school in Virginia to integrate, in 1959. Meanwhile, the Arlington Civic Federation is debating whether the middle school should retain the “Stratford” name, which pays tribute to the plantation where Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee was born. [InsideNova]
Group Reaches Cemetery Wreath Goal — The group that places wreaths on the graves at Arlington National Cemetery around the holidays has met its fundraising goal thanks to last-minute donations. Just a few days ago Wreaths Across America was 30,000 wreaths short of its goal of placing wreaths on each of the cemetery’s 230,000 headstones. [WTOP]
Garvey Back in Black at ACDC — Arlington County Board member Libby Garvey has formally been welcomed back into the good graces of the Arlington County Democratic Committee, more than a year after she endorsed Republican-turned-Independent John Vihstadt in his successful bid for County Board. Garvey is up for reelection next year and there are rumors that she will face a Democratic primary challenge. [InsideNova]
Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf
Wreath Shortfall Projected for Cemetery — Wreaths Across America projects it will be 30,000 short of its goal of 230,000 wreaths to place on graves at Arlington National Cemetery this year. The organization is hoping more donors step up before its fundraising deadline tomorrow. [Fox News]
Arlington Ranks No. 2 for Roommates — Among major U.S. localities, Arlington ranks No. 2 for having the highest percentage of adults living with roommates. According to the website, 23 percent of 18-39 year olds in Arlington live with a roommate. That compares to 21 percent for the No. 4 city, Washington, D.C. [Priceonomics via Greater Greater Washington]
Barbershop Chorus to Sing at Metro Stations — The Arlingtones, a barbershop chorus, will be performing barbershop music at three local Orange Line Metro stations this month. [InsideNova]
Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf
Marine Corps Birthday — Its the Marine Corps’ 240th birthday today. On Thursday, the Corps’ birthday will be celebrated by hundreds of Marines participating in a group run from the Pentagon to the Marine Corps War Memorial, prompting rolling closures on Route 110 between 10 and 11 a.m. [AL.com]
Owner Not Worried About Vacant Rosslyn Office Tower — Monday Properties, the owner of the 1812 N. Moore Street office tower in Rosslyn (and an ARLnow.com advertiser), says they’re not worried that the two-year-old building is still vacant. Monday CEO Anthony Westreich says the company and lender Goldman Sachs are “confident” about the future of Rosslyn and patient as they search for a large anchor tenant. [Bisnow]
School Board Argues H-B Woodlawn Cost — Some Arlington School Board members are worried that a $100 million proposal for a new building in Rosslyn for the H-B Woodlawn Secondary Program would be a budget buster. Superintendent Patrick Murphy has proposed options for bringing down the cost to $85 million, but other School Board members are arguing that such a proposal sacrifices long term good for short term savings. [InsideNova]
Human Rights Award Winners — Arlington County has announced the winners of its 2015 James B. Hunter Human Rights Award. The winners are: immigrant advocate Leni Gonzalez, Catholic charity Hogar Immigrant Services, Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic Church and the Nauck Civic Association. [Arlington County]
Maureen O’Hara Buried at ANC — Actress Maureen O’Hara was buried at Arlington National Cemetery on Monday. O’Hara, who died last month at the age of 95, was laid to rest alongside her husband, an Air Force brigadier general. [WTOP]
Winter Weather Forecast — NBC 4 chief meteorologist Doug Kammerer says Arlington and D.C. should expect 20-25 inches of snow this winter. Kammerer predicts that December will be unseasonably warm, while January and especially February will be colder than average, with a large snow storm expected in February. [NBC Washington]
Flickr pool photo by Joseph Gruber
Arlington Inmate Dies — A 48-year-old convict died early Saturday morning in the Arlington County Detention Facility in Courthouse. The man, who had a “history of medical issues,” was found unresponsive in his cell and rushed to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead. [Arlington County]
More Sequestration Could Hit Virginia Hard — Virginia, and in particular Northern Virginia, is bracing for more sequestration cuts to the Defense Department, which are set to take effect in five weeks. Virginia’s two U.S. Senators are pushing for new budget legislation to replace the sequester. [Washington Post]
Cemetery Superintendent Removed — One year after taking the position, Arlington National Cemetery superintendent Jack E. Lechner has been given the boot. The Army says Lechner’s job performance was unsatisfactory. [Washington Post]
DAK Chicken Opens in Shirlington — DAK Chicken, a Korean-style chicken restaurant, welcomed customers on Friday for its soft opening. In addition to chicken wings the new Shirlington eatery offers other Korean and Asian-fusion dishes like kimchi, bulgogi and ramen. [Northern Virginia Magazine, Facebook]
Arlington Company Makes Fortune List — Courthouse-based Opower has made Fortune Magazine’s inaugural “Change The World” list. Opower is ranked No. 45 on the list of 51 companies “that have made a sizable impact on major global social or environmental problems as part of their competitive strategy.” How long Opower remains in Arlington remains a question: the company is currently considering a move to the District. [Fortune]
(Updated at 5:00 p.m.) Arlington County and VDOT are considering building a bus maintenance facility on the east end of Columbia Pike, according to Sen. John McCain (R-AZ).
The powerful Arizona Senator sent a letter to Secretary of the Army John McHugh on Wednesday urging him to oppose a planned realignment of Columbia Pike that’s being sought by the county. McCain said the alignment would allow construction of the bus facility but would reduce the number of potential interment spaces available to Arlington National Cemetery as it expands to include the former Navy Annex site.
“We should instead pursue an alignment that maximizes the number of interment sites and places restrictions on the remaining property that ensure whatever is built reflects the solemnity of this national cemetery,” McCain wrote. “It would be shameful to have to tell the family of a fallen American hero that there is no space available at Arlington National Cemetery, because rather than expand its grounds, Arlington County and the Virginia Department of Transportation decided to build a bus maintenance facility.”
Brian Stout, the county’s federal government liaison, said late Friday afternoon that a bus facility is just one use that’s being considered for the land along a realigned Columbia Pike. There are no concrete plans for such a facility, and a formal planning process will not begin until the land swap takes place, he said.
An Arlington County heritage center and parking for the Air Force Memorial are among the other potential uses for the land, said Stout.
Stout said Arlington County, VDOT and the U.S. Army reached a “verbal agreement” on July 16, outlining a swap that would give the Army 38 acres of interment space for Arlington National Cemetery north of a realigned Columbia Pike.
According to Stout, that that represents a 250 percent increase in burial space provided to the cemetery compared to space that would be available without a land swap. The swap would reduce the footprint of the road network from 23 to 9 acres, and would provide Arlington County with 7.5 acres of land south of the Pike for county use, Stout said.
Stout said it’s incorrect to say that the county is “planning” to build a bus facility on the land, though it is a potential use. He denied that discussion of a bus facility has “stalled” talks with the Army, as McCain claims.
Earlier this year the Arlington County Board approved a $14.2 million project to expand and enhance its Arlington Transit bus facility along S. Eads Street and Route 1. Construction on the project is expected to begin this month and last 18 months.
Despite the large investment, the county notes on the project page that an additional ART facility is needed, especially in order to enhance bus service on Columbia Pike in the wake of the cancellation of the Pike streetcar project.
“The new bus facility will not be large enough to fully house the existing ART fleet, or current plans for fleet expansion, nor will it accommodate additional buses that may be necessary to enhance bus service along Columbia Pike and Crystal City-Pentagon City,” the county says. “Where to add bus maintenance and parking space is one of many County needs being examined by the Community Facilities Study, a broad-based, year-long planning effort launched in January 2015 by the Arlington County Board and the Arlington School Board.”
The full letter from Sen. McCain, after the jump.
Flickr pool photo (bottom) by Jeff Reardon
The cemetery announced the closure via Twitter around 2:30 p.m. Just after 3:00, the bomb squad gave the “all clear,” indicating the suspicious package was not hazardous. The cemetery reopened just before 3:30 p.m.
Arlington County Police and U.S. Park Police set up road closures around the cemetery’s main entrance during the incident.
Booing at Meeting About I-66 Tolling — VDOT representatives were booed by residents at a meeting about the plan to convert I-66 to high occupancy toll lanes inside the Beltway. VDOT wants to have the tolling in place by 2017. In addition to residents, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority is skeptical of the plan, worried that it may discourage travel at Dulles International Airport. [InsideNova, WTOP]
Opera Troupe Leaving Arlington — Forced to find a new home due to the closure of Artisphere in Rosslyn, the opera troupe UrbanArias will perform at the Atlas Performing Arts Center on H Street NE in D.C. during its 2015-2016 season. [InsideNova]
Barbie Doll Convention Held in Crystal City — More than 1,000 collectors descended on Crystal City for the 2015 National Barbie Doll Collectors Convention last week. The event included auditions for a Barbie-themed Broadway production. [Daily Mail]
Marine Completes Hand-Cycle Journey to Arlington — Double amputee Marine veteran Toran Gaal completed his cross-country ride to Arlington National Cemetery this past weekend. Gaal made the more than 3,000 mile journey, which raised money for other wounded Marines, on a hand-cycle. [NBC Washington, Stars and Stripes]
Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick
For much of this summer, combat-injured Marine veteran and double-amputee Toran Gaal has been on a cross-country cycling trip to Arlington.
On June 1, Gaal set off from San Diego on his “Ride Across America,” an almost 4,000 mile trek which he will complete entirely on a hand-cycle.
Gaal embarked on the journey to raise money and awareness for the Semper Fi Fund, the charity that helped him recover after he was severely injured in an IED explosion in Afghanistan in 2011. Following the explosion, Gaal was comatose for two months and lost both legs and part of his hip.
“[The Semper Fi Fund] is doing so much good for every branch,” said Gaal. “I wanted to pay it forward to the next generation.”
Gaal will have been on the road for 65 days by the time he’s expected to arrive in Arlington this Sunday, Aug. 2. He will have stopped in close to 50 other towns and cities along the way. At the end of his ride, he will place a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery.
Brian Riley, fellow combat-injured Marine veteran, is accompanying Gaal on the road in a support vehicle.
Photo via www.hisshoesmove.com