(Updated at 2 p.m.) Two locals have died after contracting COVID-19, the first reported deaths from the disease in Arlington.
Arlington County announced the deaths Sunday afternoon. The victims were older and had “chronic medical conditions,” the county said.
“The first patient was a 72-year-old with chronic medical conditions, who had been ill with COVID-19 for a few weeks,” the county said in a press release. “The second was a 60-year-old with chronic medical conditions, identified with COVID-19 this past week. The close contacts of both patients have been identified.”
“We are saddened by the deaths of two Arlington County residents related to COVID-19. Our hearts go out to their loved ones,” Arlington Health District Director Dr. Reuben Varghese said in a statement. “These deaths, along with the increasing numbers of coronavirus cases we are seeing in the region, are a reminder that we all must be vigilant to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The health of our residents is our top priority and we know our residents and our community share that priority. We ask that everyone do their part to prevent germ spread: practice social distancing, wash your hands, and cover your coughs and sneezes.”
As of Sunday, there were 84 known cases of COVID-19 in Arlington, up from 26 seven days earlier. Statewide, there have been 890 reported cases, 112 hospitalizations, 22 deaths, and 10,609 people tested, according to the Virginia Dept. of Health.
Also today, the Fairfax Health District — which includes Fairfax County, City of Fairfax, City of Falls Church and towns within the county — reported 188 positive cases, including 32 new cases, and two deaths. As of Saturday, the District of Columbia has reported 342 positive cases and five deaths.
To slow the spread of the virus, Arlington County is advising residents to stay at home, frequently and thoroughly wash one’s hands, and avoid close contact with others. More from the county press release:
The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 can cause mild to more severe respiratory illness. Symptoms include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. Symptoms appear within 14 days of being exposed to an infectious person. COVID-19 spreads primarily through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
To decrease the potential for the virus to spread, the Arlington Health District recommends:
- Avoid non-essential travel and public gatherings, especially if you are an individual who is at increased risk for severe illness, including pregnant women, older adults and person of any age with underlying health conditions.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your elbow when you cough or sneeze. Immediately wash your hands if you used a tissue.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects or surfaces with an EPA approved agent effective against human coronaviruses and flu.
- Practice social distancing by staying six feet or more away from others.
- If you are mildly sick with a fever, stay home. If you need medical care, call your healthcare provider prior to going to their office. If it is an emergency, as always, call 911 immediately.
That’s according to new numbers from the Virginia Dept. of Health, which is now reporting 219 cases statewide and 3,337 people tested. Arlington has the third-highest number of positive COVID-19 tests in the state, after Fairfax County (31) and James City (32).
As of Friday afternoon, 173 people had been tested at Arlington’s new drive-through testing site, which opened on Wednesday on N. Quincy Street near Washington-Liberty High School. Officials from Virginia Hospital Center expected to conduct another 60 tests on Monday, having received a new shipment of tests on Friday.
Meanwhile, the Pentagon announced Sunday that a Defense Security Cooperation Agency worker has passed away after contracting COVID-19. As reported on March 9, the worker had spent time at the agency’s offices in Crystal City, leading to tenants in a pair of buildings being notified of the possible coronavirus exposure.
DOD announces death of Crystal City-based contractor, who worked at the Defense Security Cooperation Agency. #coronavirus: passed away on March 21, 2020. The individual had tested positive for COVID-19 and had been under medical treatment at a local hospital. @wusa9 pic.twitter.com/WHW5InRYq5
— Laura Geller TV (@LauraGellerTV) March 22, 2020
Also today (Sunday), Arlington Transit announced that it would be temporarily increasing service on one of its routes due to an unexpected rise in ridership.
“The ART 41 is seeing an increase in ridership this afternoon,” the local transit agency said. “We encourage social distancing on buses, so there will be an increase in frequency this afternoon to accommodate our passengers and keep everyone safe and healthy.”
Jay Westcott contributed to this report
Arlington Man Dies in Pa. Ski Accident — “A skiing accident at an eastern Pennsylvania resort claimed the life of a Virginia man, authorities said. Matthew Rosenstein, 23, of Arlington, Virginia died Monday of multiple blunt force injuries, the Lehigh County coroner’s office said Wednesday.” [NBC 4]
Fairlington Among Most Competitive for Homebuyers — “Two locales in Greater Washington have cracked Redfin’s list of the most competitive neighborhoods for homebuyers in 2019 — one in Arlington and one in the District.” [Washington Business Journal, Redfin]
Free Drinks Today at a Local Starbucks — The Starbucks store at Market Common Clarendon (2690 Clarendon Blvd) will be giving away free tall espresso drinks from 1-2 p.m. today. [WUSA 9]
Arlington County is pledging to eliminate road deaths and serious traffic-related injuries — but it’s not yet clear how officials plan to accomplish that goal.
The Arlington County Board unanimously passed the “Vision Zero” resolution during its meeting Tuesday night that aims to bring the number of traffic casualties to zero. However, officials expect the details of the plan won’t be ready for another two years.
Now the county plans to gather public input on the proposal this fall, decide specific goals before January, and share a draft plan by next fall, per a county press release.
The final version of the Vision Zero plan isn’t likely to be completed before 2021.
County Board Chair Christian Dorsey noted that the number of accident-related deaths and injuries in Arlington remained steady for the past five years despite Arlington’s quickly growing population.
“But we can, and must, do better,” said Dorsey during the Tuesday meeting. “As our population continues to grow, and more cars, buses and bicycles share our streets, it is important that we work with the community toward the goal of completely eliminating deaths and serious injuries from traffic collisions.”
The resolution puts Arlington among network of governments, including neighboring jurisdictions like D.C., Alexandria and Montgomery County, which have passed similar “Vision Zero” promises to rethink traffic deaths as preventable, instead of inevitable.
However, advocates from New York to San Francisco have criticized officials for failing to live up to the goals in recent years. D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser has also faced pushback for raising traffic fines and increasing the number of speed cameras, but doing little to prevent a rising tide of deadly collisions.
In Arlington, two people were killed last year in crashes, versus six in 2017, and one in 2016. This is the about on par with Alexandria (five fatalities in 2018, and four in 2017) but much lower than in D.C. where 34 people were killed in 2018 alone.
Almost 60 people were reported to have been seriously injured in crashes in Arlington last year — a number that’s remained relatively steady since 2013.
As a condition of the newly-approved resolution, Arlington will publish regular reports on traffic fatalities and injuries, as well as an annual update on overall progress.
Officials in Arlington have discussed a Vision Zero resolution for years. Former Democratic County Board candidate Alan Howze promised to enact the pledge during his 2014 unsuccessful campaign for County Board.
This year, as the county updated the bicycle portion of Arlington’s Master Transportation Plan, officials said that they would put forth a formal Vision Zero proposal this summer.
Some took to social media to criticize the slow-moving process, including Chris Slatt, who chairs the Transportation Commission.
“After all this time I expected a plan, not a one-page resolution,” Slatt said.
So it's great that @ArlingtonVA just adopted a #VisionZero resolution, but I can't help but question…what took so long? Staff have been mulling this for like FIVE YEARS. After all this time I expected a plan, not a one-page resolution.
— Chris Slatt (@alongthepike) July 16, 2019
“For now, we celebrate and strategize,” replied Gillian Burgess, who chairs the county’s Bicycle Advisory Committee.
“We are making progress,” Burgess added. “This is a good step.”
File photo (top). Graphs via Arlington County.
Whitney passed away Wednesday, April 10, after being diagnosed with cancer last May, according to his business partner Chris Lefbom and his father Herbert “Bud” W. Whitney.
The restauranteur was behind some of Arlington’s most enduring watering holes, including Rhodeside Grill in Rosslyn, Ragtime in Courthouse and William Jeffrey’s Tavern on Columbia Pike. He also opened several restaurants in Falls Church.
Whitney was born in Tyler, Texas in 1958 and studied construction before finding a taste for the restaurant industry while working part-time at a barbecue joint in Lubbock, Texas, according to an obituary written by his father.
After moving to Arlington in 1988 as the local manager of the Black-Eyed Pea restaurant chain, Whitney delved into his first venture by buying eatery T.T. Reynolds in Fairfax. Then in 1994 he re-opened U Street’s Republic Gardens and later sold it. In 1994 he founded the Rhodeside Grill on 1836 Wilson Blvd which remains open today.
It was at Rhodeside Grill that he hired Adam Lubar and Lefbom as bartenders, later opening Ragtime (1345 N. Courthouse Road) together with them in 2001.
Whitney also partnered with three other Grill employees — Aimee Suyehiro, Stephen Scott, and Adam Roth — to open fine Italian dining spot Argia’s in Falls Church which closed after 18 years in September.’
One of Whitney’s most recent ventures was William Jeffrey’s Tavern at 2301 Columbia Pike, which he opened with business partners with Lubar and Lefbom in 2011. Previously, the trio opened Dogwood Tavern in Falls Church.
To Lubar and Lefbom Whitney was “a mentor, boss, manager, partner and friend to hundreds of restaurant employees over the years,” the two said in a Facebook post last week.
When he wasn’t helming his armada of restaurants, Whitney enjoyed boating on Lake Barcroft, practicing carpentry, and the Washington Nationals, Lefbom told ARLnow.
“He was scheduled to retire in July and didn’t quite make it,” Lefbom said. “I would’ve loved to see him relaxed in retirement with zero stress from the restaurant industry. He deserved it.”
Whitney lived in Arlington for the past 23 years and is survived by his wife Alica Lima-Whitney and two daughters Emma and Clara as well as his extended family: parents Herbert “Bud” W. Whitney and Elaine Whitney and sister Merrie Whitney of Richardson, Texas, brother David Whitney of Montrose, Colorado, and sister Laura Daly of Austin, Texas.
Rhodeside Grill, Ragtime and William Jeffrey’s Tavern were all closed for lunch today (Monday) to allow restaurant employees to “say goodbye to and celebrate the life of our friend, co-worker and boss,” according to social media posts.
A 64-year-old Arlington man was killed while riding his bike to work in D.C., according to the Metropolitan Police Department.
The crash occurred yesterday (Monday) morning on the 1200 block of Constitution Avenue NW. A driver in a dark sedan ran a red light at a high rate of speed, struck Thomas Hendricks Hollowell in the crosswalk and drove off without stopping, according to police.
Despite a quick response from police and passersby, Hollowell died from his injuries. NBC 4’s Adam Tuss reported that Hollowell rode his bike to work at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History every day.
Awful – yesterday’s hit and run on a cyclist at 12th and Constitution NW now a fatal. Co-workers told us Tom Hollowell rode his bike to the Natural History Museum for work every day @nbcwashington pic.twitter.com/bR97mbwRc7
— Adam Tuss (@AdamTuss) September 25, 2018
Co-workers of the cyclist who was hit and killed by a red light runner, according to police, suspected that was what happened. They say 12th and Constitution NW is notorious for red light running @nbcwashington pic.twitter.com/oOsnfzcwjn
— Adam Tuss (@AdamTuss) September 25, 2018
Image via Google Maps
Arlington Woman Killed in Freak Accident — Anne Viviani, an Arlington resident and world class triathlete, was killed when the car she was a passenger in struck a deer on I-85 in South Carolina Monday morning. Viviani, 68, was pronounced dead at the scene. [Greenville News]
Arlington Man Killed in Fiery Crash — A 32-year-old Arlington man, Antwuan Barnes, was killed early Sunday in Martinsburg, W. Va. Police say the driver of a car in which he was passenger tried to take a turn too fast and slid into a tree, shearing the vehicle in two and causing it to burst into flames. [Martinsburg Journal, MetroNews]
Fairlington Condo Association Rolls Out Trash Cans — The Fairlington Villages condo association has rolled out dozens of large black trash bins for residents to deposit their garbage. The move follows a series of raccoon attacks in north Fairlington and is intended to discourage the nocturnal critters from taking up residence. Following the roll out, the association suspended its raccoon trapping campaign. [Fairlington Villages]
Crystal City Building Wraps, Explained — Washington Post columnist John Kelly has an explanation for why property owner JBG Smith commissioned a series of four colorful building wraps to spruce up some of its older office buildings in Crystal City. Not mentioned in the article: that the neighborhood is a top contender for Amazon’s HQ2. [Washington Post]
Thousands Ticketed for Driving Slow in Left Lane — “Thousands of people have been fined since Virginia implemented a law setting penalties for driving too slowly in the left lane of a highway… from July 1, 2017, through April 3, more than 16,000 people were cited under various portions of the law.” [NBC Washington]
Late Night Hot Pot — Chinese hot pot restaurant Mala Tang has extended its hours until 2 a.m. Thursday through Sunday, according to a press release.
Parents were informed this morning of Annie Turner’s passing. The cause of death “is unknown at this time,” according to the email.
“This morning, a support team of administrators, psychologists, counselors, and social workers from Arlington Public Schools joined our Henry team to provide counseling and support to the staff and students,” the email noted. “Counselors will be available today and throughout the days ahead for those who need additional support with this news.”
Turner, who has degrees from the University of Virginia and George Mason University, first joined Arlington Public Schools as a physical education teacher at Jamestown Elementary in 1986, according to her school biography. She became principal of Patrick Henry in 2014.
Turner is married and enjoyed “vacationing, exercising and walking together and attending sporting events and concerts” with her husband, the biography said.
The letter to parents and school staff is below.
Dear Henry Students, Staff and Families:
It is with great sadness that we are writing to let you know that Annie Turner, principal of Patrick Henry Elementary School, died unexpectedly on Saturday morning. The exact cause is unknown at this time.
We know that this is a shock for everyone in our school and the community, and ask that you join us to remember and celebrate Annie’s life. On behalf of the Turner family, we also ask that you to respect their privacy during this difficult time as they grieve their sudden loss.
It is very difficult for all of us to face the death of anyone close to us. This morning, a support team of administrators, psychologists, counselors, and social workers from Arlington Public Schools joined our Henry team to provide counseling and support to the staff and students. Counselors will be available today and throughout the days ahead for those who need additional support with this news.
Your child may be coming home with questions and worries about this loss. Although we cannot predict how any child may react, we will work to be sensitive and aware of the common reactions experienced by grieving children. We also are enclosing some suggestions that may be helpful to you as you discuss Ms. Turner’s death in the days ahead. Please feel free to contact the school if you have an issue you would like to discuss.
I know you join us in extending our heartfelt sympathy to Annie Turner’s family. When we receive word about funeral arrangements, we will share the information with you. […]
Cameron Snyder, Assistant Principal
Dr. Patrick Murphy, Superintendent
The Yorktown High School student rushed to the hospital last Friday died Thursday night. An Arlington Public Schools spokesman confirmed the death.
Police remained at the high school on Friday after the student was found unresponsive in a bathroom at approximately 9 a.m. Initial reports indicated that the injuries were self-inflicted.
Outside the school, students have painted her name and a heart on a large stone, as a memorial.
The following is the letter sent to parents this morning from the school’s principal, Bridget Loft. The full name of the child has been redacted to protect her identity and give the family privacy.
Dear Yorktown Families:
It is with great sadness that I must inform you that one of our 12th grade students passed away last night. She was a valued member of our community who will be greatly missed by all of us. While we are not in a position to release any more details at this time, many students are learning about this through social media. To that end, we shared the news with the entire school this morning and also let students and staff know that counselors are available should they need to talk.
Our counselors and staff from the Department of Teaching and Learning are available to meet with students who need support in dealing with this news. We will also provide additional support for staff
All Yorktown counselors, staff from the Department of Teaching and Learning and the counseling teams from Washington-Lee High School and Wakefield High School have joined us to support our students. They will be available from 9 a.m.-noon on Saturday and throughout the coming week to talk with students who may need some added support.
Understanding death, especially the death of a peer, can be a very difficult experience. For that reason, we hope that you will listen to your son or daughter and talk with them about their feelings and reactions to this tragedy. We are taking every step we can to be responsive to the needs of our students and their families. Please keep us informed if there are ways we can further support your child.
Our thoughts and deepest sympathies are with her family and friends during this difficult time. If we can be of further assistance, please feel free to call the school office at 703-228-5400.
If you or someone you know is in immediate danger of self-harm, call 911 or the Department of Human Services’ emergency services line at 703-228-5160. CrisisLink also has a 24-hour crisis hotline at 703-527-4077 or 800-SUICIDE, or text 703-940-0888.
Market Common Redevelopment Approved — The Arlington County Board last night approved a plan to redevelop a portion of Market Common Clarendon. The project is described as “a major renovation and expansion of a commercial-retail block in the heart of Clarendon,” which will preserve the A&R Engravers building and widen the Wilson Boulevard sidewalk at Edgewood Street. [Arlington County]
Gondola Idea Not Dead Yet — “A gondola connecting Georgetown and Rosslyn adjacent to the Key Bridge is still in the works,” with those on the D.C. side of the Potomac continuing to work on it despite Arlington’s public reticence. However, the project now faces an exceedingly complex Environmental Impact Study. [Washington Business Journal]
Man Shot and Killed in Philly IDed — A local man who was shot and killed by an off-duty police officer in South Philadelphia after allegedly deliberately striking a pedestrian with his car has been identified. Per the Philadelphia Inquirer: “Khalil Lawal, of the 100 block of South Frederick Street in Arlington, Va., was shot early Monday morning by the officer in the face, torso, and legs, police said.” [Philly.com]
Mitten Under Consideration for Michigan Job — Arlington Deputy County Manager Carol Mitten is among three candidates under consideration for the job of City Manager in Grand Rapids, Michigan. [Grand Rapids Business Journal]
Ship’s Hatch Under New Ownership — Long-time military gift store Ship’s Hatch has been sold to a new owner. Founder Mary Beth Cox, 73, is retiring after more than three decades of running the store in the Crystal City Shops. [Washington Post]
Flickr pool photo by GM and MB
Marymount Student Killed By Jumper — Updated at 1:50 p.m. — A 22-year-old Marymount University graduate student was killed Saturday when a 12-year-old boy leapt from an overpass onto her car as she was driving down I-66 in Fairfax County. The boy was last reported to have survived but with life-threatening injuries. [NBC Washington, Twitter]
Food Hall Coming to Rosslyn — The restaurateurs behind Pamplona and Bar Bao in Clarendon are reportedly planning to open a new food hall in Rosslyn, above the new McDonald’s. The trendy food hall concept usually consists of “several different operators offering food from counters around a communal seating area.” [Washington Business Journal]
Drug Take-Back Day a Success in Arlington — Local law enforcement collected hundreds of pounds of prescription drugs in Arlington over the weekend. “The public safely disposed of 741 pounds of potentially dangerous unused, unwanted or expired medication during… Prescription Drug Take-Back Day,” Arlington County Police spokeswoman Ashley Savage told ARLnow. “This exceeded the spring Drug Take-Back Day in which 562 pounds were collected.” [Twitter]
Drug Problem at Yorktown HS — “Bridget Loft, Yorktown’s new principal, took the doors off the bathrooms at school because students were using bathrooms to deal or use drugs. One of the most popular and easily disguised items of drug use, is the juul, a highly concentrated nicotine vaporizer… [which] can be refilled with marijuana, tobacco, or a substance of the student’s own invention. Youths often plug them into their school-issued laptops to charge them in class.” [Arlington Connection]
40 Under 40 Announced — The Leadership Center for Excellence has announced its annual Arlington 40 Under 40 honorees. The honoree luncheon is scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 30 at Army Navy Country Club. [Leadership Center of Excellence]
Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman