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Morning Notes

Big Changes Proposed for Shirlington — “A proposal to re-imagine the streets of Shirlington is being put forward. Last July, the Arlington County Board approved mixed-use rezoning for nearly ten acres of the Village at Shirlington. Now, Federal Realty Investment Trust (FRIT) is putting forth a vision to transform the streetscape throughout the area… Campbell Avenue will be the focal point for these improvements, updated with patterned pavers and interactive sculptures.” [UrbanTurf]

Yorktown Soccer in State Final — “Somewhere in the mess of bodies, Patriots senior Gibson Lusk poked the ball into the net. It gave Yorktown a lead for good and punctuated the full turnaround of a game that started slow and sloppy for the Patriots. Now, they are headed to the Virginia Class 6 title game after a 3-1 victory Monday.” [Washington Post]

Huske Reacts to Olympic Qualification — “In her first on-camera interview since returning from Omaha, Torri talked with 7News sports anchor Scott Abraham about her incredible journey to the Olympic Games. ‘At first it was very overwhelming, I feel like it’s just so unbelievable that this would happen to me of all people,’ Huske told Abraham… ‘I never thought I would be in this position and it’s really weird to think that some little kid looks up to you.'” [WJLA]

Feds Off Hook, But ACPD Still Being Sued — “A federal judge has dismissed multiple claims filed by protesters and civil liberties groups after law enforcement forcefully cleared demonstrators from Lafayette Square Park ahead of Donald Trump’s infamous photo-op at St. John’s Episcopal Church last summer…. The judge did allow litigation to proceed against D.C.’s Metropolitan Police Department and Arlington County Police, however.” [DCist]

Amazon Donated Antiracism Books to APS — “The emails show Amazon employees reached out to Arlington Public Schools as part of ‘NeighborGood,’ a program to donate $100,000 to schools and other institutions that ’empower black voices and serve black communities.’ Despite Amazon’s offer to purchase Kindles or other equipment, Arlington Public Schools director of diversity and inclusion Arron Gregory requested copies of [Ibram X.] Kendi’s Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You. Amazon donated between 500-600 copies of the book to Wakefield High School and paid $10,000 to have Kendi’s coauthor Jason Reynolds address students.” [Washington Free Beacon]

Crystal City Metro Mural Finalists Selected — “Six visual artists have been chosen as finalists to paint a new mural at the Crystal City Metro Plaza, according to a release from the National Landing Business Improvement District (BID). The BID put a call out in May for individual artists or teams of artists to submit their credentials by June 1 so judges could determine if they had the experience and the chops to tackle the project.” [Patch, National Landing BID]

Memories of a Local Cicada Expert — “Ann thought of Allard recently because of one of his favorite subjects: the periodical cicada. She hadn’t realized he was an expert in Brood X. Then she found his 1937 paper in the American Naturalist journal. Ann posted her memories on Facebook’s ‘I grew up in Arlington, VA’ page and was surprised at how many other people from the neighborhood remembered the old scientist.” [Washington Post]

Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman

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Morning Notes

Bye Bye, Brood X — “Have you noticed dead cicadas on the ground, or that the bugs are not chorusing as loud as during past weeks? It’s because cicadas reached peak numbers last week in and around the D.C. area and are starting to die at a rapid rate. In some places, you may be smelling them as they rot away.” [Washington Post, Washingtonian]

Firefighters Awarded for Daring Rescue — “On October 31, 2020, Arlington County Fire Department units, including the technical rescue team, were dispatched to Windy Run Trail for an injured person. Communications reported that a female hiker had sustained injuries after falling approximately 30 to 40 feet down an embankment. Initial reports were unclear as to the exact location of the injured person.” [WJLA]

Arlington Man Sentenced for Fraud — “An Arlington businessman was sentenced today to 21 months in prison with three years of supervised release for making false statements to multiple federal agencies in order to fraudulently obtain multimillion-dollar government contracts, COVID-19 emergency relief loans, and undeserved military service benefits.” [Dept. of Justice]

Reminder: Pike Blues Fest This Weekend — “This year a hybrid three-day Columbia Pike Blues Festival Weekend (Friday to Sunday, June 18, 19 and 20) combines live-streaming concerts and ticketed outdoor performances that will get you back into your summer groove.” [ARLnow]

Update on Local Reality Show Contestant — “What is Bachelorette [contestant] Jason from Arlington up to right this very second? Well, last night he crossed the river into DC to host Zac Clark, his friend and fellow former Bachelorette contestant.” [Washingtonian]

Amazon Helping to Fund Housing — “Amazon will provide $125 million in financing to build or preserve an estimated 1,000 units of affordable housing on Metro-owned land in the D.C. region, the company announced Wednesday. The online retail giant, which stands to receive up to $750 million in cash grants from Virginia if it hires at least 37,850 workers at its new corporate headquarters in Arlington, says it will commit below-market loans, lines of credit, and grants to developers who have joint development agreements with WMATA.” [DCist, Washington Post]

Rent Still Below Pre-Pandemic Levels — “In the D.C. region, rents rose 20.1 percent from March 2020 to May 2021 in Fredericksburg, Va.; by 16.4 percent in Frederick, Md., and by 9.6 percent in Laurel, Md. But rents declined by 7.8 percent in D.C., year-over-year, by 10.5 percent in Chevy Chase, Md., and by 5.2 percent in Arlington, Va. Clearly, the flight to the suburbs meant increased rents in areas farther from D.C.” [Washington Post]

Fairfax County’s Namesake Questioned — “The [Fairfax County] seal is of a different time. Adopted seven decades ago, it bears a version of the coat of arms belonging to Thomas Fairfax, the sixth Lord Fairfax and a slaveholding British loyalist who once owned much of the land that makes up Fairfax County today. As neighboring counties and cities reexamine their logos and symbols, it seems like only a matter of time before Fairfax County faces its own questions.” [Tysons Reporter]

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The Animal Welfare League of Arlington is advising residents to remove their bird feeders while officials still try to figure out why birds across the region are getting sick and dying.

“We are asking Arlington Co (and DMV) residents to bring their bird feeders inside for the time being. Due to the unknown illness in local birds, we are looking to take as many precautions as possible to keep illnesses from spreading (and bird feeders can be a common source of illness),” reads the social media post from late last week.

Local authorities in Virginia, Maryland, D.C., and West Virginia remains stumped as to why so many birds have turned up dead in recent weeks. Reports from across the region cropped up in late May about birds littering local roads and sidewalks.

Additionally, these reports do not seem to be decreasing and are remaining steady, writes Megan Kirchgessner, State Wildlife Veterinarian with the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources, in an email to ARLnow.

Symptoms usually include the swelling of eyes, a crusty discharge, and neurological signs, according to a Virginia DWR statement from Friday (June 11).

One theory is that it’s related to the emergence of the cicadas and the use of insecticide. Another is that it’s a bacterial disease. But, as of now, there’s nothing conclusive.

“We have continued to send out specimens for further testing but have not received any conclusive test results,” writes AWLA Animal Control Chief Jennifer Toussaint in an email to ARLnow. “We will immediately alert the public once we know what is going on and are making these additional suggestions just to lessen the possibility of this illness spreading from bird to bird at this time.”

Kirchgessner is also asking residents to remove their bird feeders and baths.

“Although we are not able to confirm at this time that an infectious disease is the cause of this mortality event, we have recommended removal of bird feeders and baths to be on the safe side,” Kirchgessner writes to ARLnow. “Feeders congregate birds and will facilitate transmission of disease from sick to healthy birds.”

DWR’s statement additionally advises residents, if removing a feeder or bath is not possible, to clean it with a 10% bleach solution.

There are still no definitive lab results as to the cause, but “at least three wildlife health labs are involved so hopefully we will have results soon,” Kirchgessner notes.

The labs that are investigating include the USGS National Wildlife Health Center, the University of Georgia Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study, and the University of Pennsylvania Wildlife Futures Program.

Both AWLA and DWR are reminding residents to avoid handling the dead birds without gloves, to keep pets away from them, and to report incidents to either DWR or AWLA.

“We are very saddened by this ongoing issue and are hopeful for more finding soon,” said Toussaint. “These birds are federally protected for a reason, they are a national treasure and vital to our ecosystem.”

Photo (1) courtesy of Erinn Shirley/Flickr

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Morning Notes

Report Details ACPD Actions at Lafayette Park — “The ACPD civil disturbance unit commander told us that ACPD officers were not equipped with chemical irritants other than rounds similar to pepper ball but said the ACPD did deploy inert smoke and a flash bang grenade on 16th Street during the clearing operation.” [Dept. of Interior, DCist]

Arlington Sit-ins Remembered With Art — “Sixty-one years ago this month, several Howard University students and allies walked into the People’s Drug Store on Lee Highway in Arlington. For the next two weeks, they participated in sit-ins to protest white-only lunch counters across the county. Now, there is a special exhibit and letter pressed cards to mark this moment of Arlington’s civil rights history.” [NBC 4]

Cicada Sundae at Local Ice Cream Shop — “Toby’s Homemade Ice Cream & Coffee in Arlington is offering a Cicada Sundae. Don’t worry. It’s not made with real cicadas. The frozen treat comes with one scoop each of chocolate, bittersweet chocolate and café au lait, topped with chocolate sprinkles, two red M&Ms and a waffle cone…  The waffle cones are fashioned to look like wings and the M&Ms as eyes.” [Patch, WTOP]

Del. Levine’s Farewell Message — From Del. Mark Levine, after falling short in his reelection bid and run for lieutenant governor: “I’ve had the honor of impacting positive change in the world in so many ways already through decades of activism, thousands of radio and tv shows, and dozens of laws. Whatever the future holds for me, I know I will never stop speaking out against injustice.” [Twitter]

Candidate Adds Military Rank to His Name — “Major Mike Webb, who has floated around the periphery of the Northern Virginia political scene for nearly the past decade, qualified for the School Board ballot. He will be the lone opposition to [Mary] Kadera, who last month won the Democratic endorsement over Miranda Turner… (‘Major’ was Webb’s military rank but now also is a formal part of his name, as he did requisite legal paperwork add it.)” [Sun Gazette]

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Morning Notes

Structure Fire Near Ballston — “Units located a detached structure on fire behind a house with minor extension to the house. The fire was quickly extinguished with no reports of injuries to firefighters or civilians. The fire remains under investigation by the Fire Marshal’s Office.” [Twitter, Twitter]

Plane Runs Off DCA Runway — “A Frontier Airlines plane slid off the end of the runway at Reagan National Airport Friday night. Flight 538 from Denver was arriving at the airport at about 10:30 p.m. when the incident happened, Micah Lillard of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority said.” [WTOP]

Apparent Drowning in Potomac — “Several agencies said they called off a search for a swimmer in the Potomac River near Fletcher’s Boathouse Sunday. D.C. Fire and EMS called the situation an apparent drowning… Shortly after 3 p.m., a witness reported seeing a person try to swim the river from the Virginia side and not resurface, the fire department said. D.C. Police fire boats and units from the Harbor station, Arlington Fire Department boats and a Maryland State Police helicopter were assisting in the search.” [NBC 4, Twitter]

Arlington Ridge Water Work — From the Arlington Dept. of Environmental Services: “Monday night – Tuesday morning: Water main maintenance work near S Arlington Ridge Road/Long Branch Creek could cause temporary low water pressure or service outages for nearby customers, 8pm to 8am.” [Twitter]

Sheriff Supports New Police Chief — From Arlington County Sheriff Beth Arthur: “Today, more than ever, police chiefs must commit to the principles of trust, accountability and transparency. I believe Andy [Penn] has demonstrated leadership in each of these areas and I look forward serving the Arlington community alongside him in his new role.” [Arlington County]

Mixed-Use Tower in Ballston for Sale — “The owners of Ballston’s tallest building are exploring its sale. Brandywine Realty Trust (NYSE: BDN) and the Shooshan Co., the developers behind 4040 Wilson Blvd., the final phase of the larger Liberty Center project, have put the $217 million tower on the market. The 23-story, 250-foot-tall building, completed last year, includes 225,000 square feet of office on the lower 10 floors topped by 250 apartments.” [Washington Business Journal]

Beyer Supports Fusion Power Research — “”If we do not pursue fusion energy, others will, and U.S. economic interests and influence will diminish as a result,” writes @RepDonBeyer in @sciam, arguing this energy tech can help the climate emergency and create #trillions of $$$ in economic growth.” [Twitter, Scientific American]

Newspaper Editor Attacked by Cicadas — From Sun Gazette Editor Scott McCaffrey’s blog: “The cicadas largely have left me alone, although two did get on my pants over the weekend and surreptitiously made it into Casa de Scotty… I gently removed those buggies and deposited them back outside so they could continue their search for love in what little time they have left on this earth. But yesterday, taking a midday walk around Falls Church, a more aggressive cicada flew right into the back of my shirt and started wriggling his (or her) way deeper in.” [Sun Gazette]

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The cicada invasion is nearing its peak in the D.C. area.

More warm weather this week will send more cicadas up from the ground and onto trees, fences and sidewalks. We have perhaps another month or so of cicadas making noise, mating, and laying eggs before things start to calm down.

And yes, given the appetite of birds and other local wildlife for the winged delicacies, that will also mean more half-eaten zombie cicadas roaming around between now and the beginning of July.

Given that we’re near the peak, we’re wondering how your expectations for Brood X compare to the reality of the number of cicadas around town at this point.

More? Less? Let us know in the poll below.

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Morning Notes

Photographer Taking Silly Cicada Snaps —  “Oxana Ware is a talented photographer based out of North Arlington, but along with her business side, she likes to have fun and be a little silly at times. That’s why it just seemed right to her when she decided to have a full photoshoot with cicadas, complete with handmade props.” [WJLA]

County Marking Sit-In Anniversary With Art — “It was delayed a year due to the pandemic, but a commemoration marking the 1960 civil-rights sit-ins in Arlington is now beginning. The Arlington County government had planned to mark the 60th anniversary of sit-ins at Arlington lunch counters with special programming on the Arlington Art Truck, using prints by artist Amos Paul Kennedy Jr. to immerse the public in the experience, in 2020. But the effort was a victim of the pandemic – until now.” [Sun Gazette]

Arlington-Based Axios Making Moves — Digital news outlet Axios, based in Clarendon, is launching local news publications in a number of cities this year, including Washington. It is also reportedly in discussions to be acquired by a German news conglomerate. [Washington Post, Marketwatch]

Masks Coming Off For APS Athletes — “It looks like Arlington school officials have abandoned their masks-on policy for most athletes while engaged in competition.” [Sun Gazette]

ACFD Assists with Potomac Search — “Person seen going into Potomac River & not resurfacing… [After a search involving D.C., Arlington and other water rescue teams, medics] transported an adult female in critical life threatening condition. Law enforcement will investigate the circumstances.” [Twitter, Twitter]

Secretary Pete at DCA This Afternoon — “U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg and Mary Kay Henry, International President of the two million-member Service Employees International Union (SEIU) will host an immigration roundtable discussion with 32BJ SEIU’s airport workers at National Airport (DCA).” [Press Release]

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Morning Notes

‘Click It or Ticket’ Campaign Underway — ” The Arlington County Police Department is reminding drivers about the lifesaving benefits of wearing a seat belt, during the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) national Click It or Ticket campaign. The high-visibility national seat belt campaign, which coincides with the Memorial Day holiday, runs from May 24 to June 6.” [Arlington County]

Historic Home on Lee Highway for Sale — “Arlington County has less than 50 locally designated historic districts. Of those, 13 are single-family houses and only 10 of them are privately owned. Recently one of the privately owned historic houses came on the market for the first time in 25 years. The Eastman-Fenwick House is a Victorian frame house in the Queen Anne style that was designed by and built for Albert Prescott Eastman in 1876.” [Washington Post]

Local Company Growing Fast — “A dual-headquartered tech startup known for helping brands optimize their sales on Amazon is celebrating a significant growth milestone this week as it enters its 11th year in business. Amify, which is co-headquartered in Cincinnati and Arlington, Va., has reached an annual run rate of $100 million in gross merchandise value, or GMV, for its customers in terms of goods sold, officials said in a Thursday release. That represents a 600% increase in GMV under management over the past year.” [Cincy Inno]

Cemetery Lifting Some Covid Restrictions — “The leaders of Arlington National Cemetery announced that starting Monday, they will no longer limit the number of people gathered at a gravesite. The change comes as the D.C. region lifted many COVID-19 restrictions this weekend.” [Fox 5]

For Some Locals, Cicadas are Free Snacks — “Since the protein-rich cicadas aren’t poisonous, adventurous humans can eat them as well. A cookbook called Cicada-Licious includes recipes for cicada pizza, tacos and cookies. Brian Schwatken in Arlington, Virginia, fried some cicada nymphs with butter, garlic and onions. ‘They are tender, have kind of a nutty taste and are really good,’ he said.” [Voice of America]

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Enjoy the relative quiet outside while you can.

Two weeks ago, only about 13% of ARLnow poll respondents reported having seen a cicada so far this spring. That’s rapidly changing.

All around Arlington, locals are reporting cicada sightings. From Fairlington to Columbia Pike to Ballston to Westover to Lyon Village to the Rosslyn area, members of Brood X are emerging from their dirt homes of the past 17 years in rising numbers.

According to the Capital Weather Gang, the awakening is suddenly happening throughout the D.C. area. And there’s a lot more to come.

On Capital Weather Gang’s Twitter feed, we’ve received dozens of reports of the insects in Northern Virginia, Maryland and the District.

Monday morning brought a sudden increase in sightings after only isolated reports of early cicadas in the past one to two weeks. The emergence was somewhat unexpected given the lower-than-normal temperatures since Friday.

Despite the surge of reports, the insects haven’t crawled out of their holes everywhere, and a more massive swarm still awaits.

Below are some of the cicada sightings reported to ARLnow on social media.

Read More

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Get ready: the massive, every-seventeen-year generation of cicadas known as Brood X is about to emerge from the soil in Arlington and the D.C. area.

According to the Capital Weather Gang, the emergence is expected to kick into high gear over the next two weeks.

We’ve analyzed soil temperatures and the weather projections and, in our first-ever cicada forecast, predict a noticeable emergence of cicadas next week, starting as soon as between May 3 and 6. Then they should arrive in large numbers by the beginning of the following week, between May 10 and 12.

The swarm and the attendant cacophony of buzzy mating calls is expected to stretch into June.

Though the real action is predicted to start next week, there are already reports of cicadas sightings around the area.

Soon enough, cicada encounters will be unavoidable. But today we’re wondering how many readers have spotted the early birds.

Photo courtesy Fred Cochard

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Morning Notes

Feds: Comfort Inn Hosted Gun Cache — “Members of the Oath Keepers paramilitary group likely stored weapons at a hotel in Arlington, Virginia, as part of their plan to have an armed rapid-response force during the January 6 insurrection, federal prosecutors said. The new details flesh out previous accusations from prosecutors that members of the Oath Keepers assembled a ‘quick reaction force,’ or QRF, in Virginia that could deploy into the nation’s capital if needed.” [CNN, Politico]

Nature Centers Reopen — “Another sign things are returning to a semblance of normalcy, albeit slowly (this is Arlington, after all): The Gulf Branch and Long Branch nature centers, operated by the county government, have reopened. Hours and exhibitions are limited, but this marks the first time in nearly 13 months that Arlington residents have had consistent access to the nature centers.” [Sun Gazette]

Shirlington’s Past and Present — “This pet-friendly community five miles southwest of the District and adjacent to Highway 395 started off as a 27-acre former shopping center. Shirlington was one of the first strip malls in the country when it opened in 1944. For a while, it had the largest shopping center in the area and originally was named Chernerville, after automobile dealer Joseph Cherner, but the name didn’t stick. Instead, it was renamed Shirlington, a blending of Shirley Highway (395) and Arlington.” [Washington Post]

Amazon Not Abandoning Office Work — “As vaccines become more available, most companies may start to expect their workers back in the office and allow for just one or two days of teleworking a week — and Amazon is likely to be among them… That’s good news for many of the businesses and jurisdictions expected to benefit from the 25,000 to 37,850 employees Amazon has said it will bring to the D.C. region as it continues to build out its HQ2 campus in Arlington.” [Washington Business Journal]

Local Company Donates to African School — “Washington Workplace, an award-winning commercial office furniture dealer in Arlington, teamed up with Business Furniture Installations and a nonprofit alumni association to donate unused office furniture to Pioneer Middle School in Senegal, in West Africa.” [Press Release]

Letter Writer: Don’t Hate on the Cicadas — “The message of the havoc wreaked on young trees and shrubs, and the month of constant shrill buzzing has sent home an idea of impending doom… Although the ominous message of cicada arrival is likely still in your head – and I can’t argue that cicadas aren’t a nuisance – I ask you to remember that they do have a role in our ecosystem and a purpose on our planet.” [Sun Gazette]

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