The U.S. Army has decided against pursuing a land swap with Arlington County as part of its plan to expand Arlington National Cemetery.
Instead, the Army announced it will use all the former Navy Annex site along Columbia Pike for the cemetery’s expansion. It will also look to acquire about five acres of public land now owned by Arlington County and more than seven acres of state-owned public land.
Both sides agreed to the original swap in 2013, which would have provided the county with land south of a realigned Columbia Pike. The county had hoped to use that land for various public facilities.
“While we are disappointed that Arlington County will not receive any land in this area for county needs through a land exchange agreement, we are committed to working with the cemetery to support one of our nation’s most cherished and hallowed sites,” County Manager Mark Schwartz said in a statement.
County officials said they will negotiate for fair compensation for its land and for commemoration of Freedman’s Village, a camp for former slaves that was later subsumed by the cemetery, Pentagon and Navy Annex. They also promised that both Columbia Pike and Southgate Road will be realigned.
The planned expansion of the cemetery will create space for more than 25,000 new graves.
More from a county press release after the jump:
From 9 a.m. to noon, the Presidential Salute Battery Guns Platoon of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment — known as The Old Guard — will fire off 168 rounds from a dozen 75mm howitzers.
Each of the 12 teams operating a howitzer will fire seven rounds, spaced out at five-second intervals, then fire four separate 21-gun volleys spaced at three-second intervals for each round.
Those in the area should expect to hear loud noise during the exercise.
The battery will be set up in The Old Guard’s Regimental parking lot, close to the intersection of Arlington Blvd and N. Pershing Drive. They will be firing blank training rounds in the direction of Summerall Field, the base’s ceremonial field.
The platoon fires cannons at ceremonies to honor the President of the United States, for visiting foreign dignitaries, during official government ceremonies, regional celebrations and during military funerals.
Polling Place Changes in the Works — Thanks to population growth, Arlington may be adding new polling places in Clarendon and Pentagon City areas. A number of other polling place changes have also been proposed following the Nov. 8 election. [InsideNova]
A Tale of Two Bishops — The Diocese of Arlington’s retiring bishop, Paul Loverde, prioritized parishioners on the periphery, posits a profile. His incoming successor, Michael Burbidge, “hopes to heal division in society.” Burbidge is set to be installed today at a mass at Arlington’s St. Thomas More Cathedral. [Angelus News, Crux]
Shirlington Light-Up Night Cancelled — After being postponed last week, the Shirlington holiday light-up event rescheduled for tonight has been cancelled due to rain. [Facebook]
A Burial at Arlington — Arlington National Cemetery conducts nearly 7,000 burials per year. The recent burial of a Green Beret, Staff Sgt. Kevin McEnroe, was especially heart-wrenching. McEnroe, 30, was one of three Green Berets killed in a shooting outside an air base in Jordan, where they were reportedly training moderate Syrian rebels. [Stars and Stripes]
This coming Tuesday, the National Geographic channel will air an episode of its “No Man Left Behind” series featuring the heroic story of a Courthouse resident and former Army special forces soldier.
The story, as reported in this Washington Post article, takes place in Afghanistan’s infamous Shok Valley, as a group of Green Berets are lured into a trap and ambushed by enemy fighters.
“In 2008, while on a daring raid in Afghanistan, US Green Beret Sergeant First Class, Dillon Behr suffered two gunshot wounds, one to his right bicep and one to his right pelvis/hip, as well as severe abdominal injuries,” said show notes sent by a Nat Geo PR rep. “In No Man Left Behind, he shares the unbelievable story of survival, recalling how his team managed to hold off the enemy for seven hours, despite several of them being injured, until they finally evacuated the wounded and returned to safety.”
Behr and his fellow Green Berets recount their experience during the hour-long show.
“I felt this strange calm and I remember thinking this is it, this is the moment I’m going to die,” he said.
Per the show notes: “Behr was treated for his injuries at Walter Reed Medical Center, and has been living in the D.C. metro area ever since. He received a Master’s Degree from Georgetown University and currently works for a cyber security firm. Up until a few months ago, he also ran a non-profit cross-fit gym for injured soldiers at Walter Reed.”
The episode will air Tuesday, July 12 at 9 p.m. on the National Geographic Channel.
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.
Vincent Crapps, 24, is believed to have drowned after diving off cliffs on the Virginia side of the river. After an extended search and rescue effort, his body was found by Montgomery County (Md.) Police this afternoon.
Crapps was a member of the 3rd United States Infantry Regiment, better known as the “Old Guard.”
From a Montgomery County Police press release:
Detectives from the Montgomery County Police Major Crimes Division – Homicide and Sex Section are investigating a drowning that occurred on Saturday.
On Saturday, June 29, at approximately 5:30 p.m., Montgomery County Fire & Rescue received a call for a possible drowning of a 24-year-old male in the Potomac River near Bear Island. Montgomery County Fire & Rescue began a rescue mission. Montgomery County Police search and rescue officers responded to the area to provide assistance on land.
Today, following an extended joint operation, Montgomery County Fire & Rescue recovered the victim’s body in the water at approximately 2:25 p.m. Montgomery County Police search and rescue officers were on scene during these recovery efforts. The victim was pronounced deceased at the scene.
Montgomery County Police detectives are leading the investigation into the victim’s death. Investigation has revealed that the victim was diving off the cliffs on the Virginia side of the river when his friends noticed him go under the water and not surface. His friends called 911.
The victim has been identified as Vincent Crapps of the 3d United States Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard), stationed at Fort Myer, Virginia.
Fish and Wildlife Office to Leave Arlington — On the heels of the decision to move the National Science Foundation from Arlington to Alexandria, the General Services Administration is expected to announce soon that the Fish and Wildlife Service is leaving, as well. The Dept. of the Interior agency, which occupies three office buildings in Ballston, is “seeking a less expensive space option outside Arlington.” [Washington Business Journal]
Restaurant Fire in Crystal City — A fire broke out in the kitchen of Cafe Manna in Crystal City around 5:30 last night. The restaurant is located on the ground floor of the office building at 2345 Crystal Drive. A sprinkler system helped to extinguish the flames before they spread, but the restaurant suffered smoke and water damage.
Mary Marshall Scholars Announced — Arlington County has named the eight local high school students who will receive $1,500 college scholarships as part of the Mary Marshall scholarship program. The scholarships, awarded to those who are pursuing careers in public service, are named after former House of Delegates member Mary Marshall. [Arlington County]
Teen Battle of the Bands This Weekend — Artisphere (1101 Wilson Blvd) will host a teen battle of the bands competition on Saturday. The competition, from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m., will feature at least 8 local teen bands. The concert was organized by D.C.-area high school seniors as part of a month-long internship at Artisphere. Tickets are $5. [Artisphere]
Army Celebrates Birthday — Today (Friday) is the U.S. Army’s 238th birthday. The occasion will be marked with a wreath-laying ceremony from 2:30 to 3:00 p.m. at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery. [U.S. Army]
Flickr pool photo by Martin Humm
Heavy Seas Alehouse to Open in Rosslyn — Baltimore brewer Heavy Seas plans to open a restaurant at the newly renovated 1501 Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn. So far, the existing Baltimore location is the only other Heavy Seas Alehouse besides the one planned for Rosslyn. The restaurant is expected to open by the end of this year. [Washington Business Journal]
Army Ten-Miler Registration to Begin — Registration for the Army Ten-Miler opens at midnight on Wednesday, May 15. This year, 35,000 spots will be available for the October 20 race, instead of 30,000. General admission entries sold out within nine hours last year. [Army Ten-Miler]
Local Eighth Grader Named State’s Top Female Orator — Swanson Middle School eighth grader Dorothee Mulumba won the Virginia State Oratorical Contest on May 4. In total, her scholarship winnings from the local, regional and state competitions add up to $3,000. [Sun Gazette]
McDonnell Signs Transportation Bill — On Monday, Gov. Bob McDonnell signed the transportation funding bill into law. The law cuts the state’s 17.5 cents per gallon gas tax and raises the state sales tax from 5 percent to 5.3 percent, in addition to adding a $64 registration fee for hybrid vehicles. [Washington Post]
Flickr pool photo by Mark C. White
More on the Arlington Goat Prank — The Navy has confirmed that Bill the Goat, the U.S. Naval Academy mascot, was the goat that was found tied up in a median at the intersection of Army Navy Drive and S. Eads Street, near the Pentagon, this past weekend. The goat was “recovered Saturday morning in good condition.” The Army-Navy football game is Dec. 8 and a Navy spokeswoman noted: “Bill the Goat has been a part of our 10-game winning streak against Army, so we are glad to have him back before the big game next week.” [Navy Times]
Arlington GOP Counts Accomplishments — Even though Republican candidates did not win a single race in Arlington, members of the Arlington County Republican Committee are tallying some small victories. “We kept Arlington moving toward more common-sense policies,” said Matt Wavro, this year’s GOP County Board candidate. [Sun Gazette]
‘Shark Tank’ Charity Pitch Event — Twenty entrepreneurs from around Virginia will have a chance to pitch their business startup ideas to panel of business leaders and investors in Arlington this morning. The Shark Tank-like pitch competition will help raise money for charity. The event is taking place at the Ballston offices of Arlington Economic Development, but tickets are no longer available. [Eventbrite]
The race starts and ends near the Pentagon but the course also takes participants into the District. More than 30,000 runners are expected to participate. Runners and spectators are being encouraged to take Metro to get to the race.
From an ACPD press release:
The Arlington County Police Department will close several streets near the Pentagon on Sunday, October 21, 2012, for the 28th Annual Army 10-Miler race. The race begins at 8:00 a.m. on Route 110, crosses the Potomac River into the District of Columbia, returns to the Commonwealth via the I-395 HOV lane and ends in the Pentagon north parking lot.
The following roads in Arlington will be impacted:
- Route 110 between Rosslyn and Crystal City will be closed in both directions at 5:00 a.m. (motorists should use the George Washington Memorial Parkway as an alternative.)
- I-395 HOV northbound from Crystal City to the 14th Street Bridge will be closed at 6:00 a.m.
- S. Eads Street from Army Navy Drive into the Pentagon and northbound I-395 HOV lanes will be closed at 5:00 a.m.
- I-395 southbound HOV exit to S. Eads Street and the Pentagon south parking lot will be closed at 5:00 a.m.
All of the roads should be reopened by noon.
In addition, access to the Pentagon north parking lot will be restricted to “Authorized Vehicles Only” from 4:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Parking for Pentagon employees and Pentagon Memorial patrons will be available in the south parking lot via Columbia Pike and S. Fern Street.
Runners, spectators and support personnel are encouraged to use Metro, as parking is limited. The Pentagon and Pentagon City stations on the Blue and Yellow Lines are located within walking distance of the start and finish lines.
The 5K race is being held to benefit Travis Mills, an Army staff sergeant who lost all four limbs to an IED in Afghanistan earlier this year. Registration for the race — $35 for individuals — is still open.
The race will start at 8:30 a.m. at the corner of S. Randolph and S. Quincy Streets in Shirlington Village.
In order to facilitate the race, the Arlington County Police Department will be shutting down a number of streets from about 8:00 to 9:00 a.m. Among them:
- Westbound Four Mile Run Drive between Walter Reed Drive and George Mason Drive
- Northbound Walter Reed Drive between Arlington Mill Drive and Four Mile Run Drive
- Arlington Mill Drive between Walter Reed Drive and S. Quincy Street
- All of the roads immediately surrounding Shirlington Village
Street parking will also be restricted in the area. Cars parked in areas marked as temporary ‘no parking’ will be ticketed or towed.
Although the term “gulag” typically evokes images of Soviet forced labor camps, a former member of the U.S. Army will be speaking in Arlington about how she believes the term could apply to an American entity — Guantanamo Bay.
The Amnesty International NOVA Cluster is hosting a discussion led by Lt. Col. Lorraine Barlett, titled “Guantanamo: An American Gulag.” Lt. Col. Barlett recently retired from the Army after 27 years of service with the Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Corps., and served as counsel for a long-term prisoner incarcerated at Guantanamo.
Although closing Guantanamo was one of President Obama’s goals, the prison is still open and continues to fuel political disputes. Lt. Col. Barlett will speak on her views of the prison and its implications for U.S. and international law.
Those interested in attending the discussion should meet at the Central Library auditorium (1015 N. Quincy Street) at 7:00 p.m. on Monday, September 10. Refreshments will be provided for attendees.
Could New Theater Become a Financial Drain? — As a condition of its site plan for a new nine-story office building on the site of the old Arlington Funeral Home in Virginia Square, developer Crimson Partners agreed to build a new $3.7 million black box theater inside the building, at the request of the county. But given the financial problems at Artisphere, some are questioning whether the theater will be a financial “black hole” for Arlington County. [Arlington Connection]
Army Celebrates Birthday — The U.S. Army is celebrating its 237th birthday today. On June 14, 1775, in the midst of the Revolutionary War, the Continental Congress authorized the creation of the Continental Army. To mark the occasion, Army Secretary John McHugh will participate in a wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery at 9:30 this morning. [Associated Press]
Mary Marshall Scholarship Recipients To Be Honored — The seven 2012 recipients of the county’s Mary Marshall Memorial Scholarships will be recognized at this Saturday’s County Board meeting. “These young people epitomize the civic spirit of Arlington — just as Mary Marshall did during her decades of service to our community,” County Board Chair Mary Hynes said of the recipients. [Arlington County]
The drills are scheduled to take place between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 15 and Friday, Feb. 17. They will be conducted on the northern portion of Summerall Field on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, according to base spokesman Stephen Satkowski.
The drills involve firing blanks from the Presidential Salute Battery’s anti-tank guns. Nearby residents may hear the boom of cannon fire during the drills, as they did on several occasions last year.
Next week’s drills are being described as rehearsals in preparation for the Presidential Salute Battery’s participation in the Presidents’ Day ceremonies at Mount Vernon on Feb. 20. Residents may call the Old Guard’s public affairs office at 703-696-4183 for more information.
Last fall, McKinney was accused of hitting a man with his car along S. Eads Street in Pentagon City, following an argument. Police say the man, whom McKinney had picked up in a slug line, demanded to be let out of the car after McKinney started speeding and driving erratically on the highway. McKinney pulled off at Pentagon City and let the man out, but then struck him with his car, police said.
WTOP reports that an Arlington County Circuit Court judge sentenced McKinney to a year in prison on each charge, but suspended most of the sentence and credited McKinney for time served.