Arlington, VA

Local restaurateur Wilson Whitney, 60, has died of lung cancer, family and co-workers say.

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.

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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.

Image via Google Maps

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Morning Notes

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.

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The principal of Patrick Henry Elementary School died unexpectedly over the weekend.

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. […]

Sincerely,

Cameron Snyder, Assistant Principal
Dr. Patrick Murphy, Superintendent

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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.

Sincerely,

Bridget Loft

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.

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Morning Notes

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

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Morning Notes

Marymount Student Killed By JumperUpdated 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

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House fire in Aurora Highlands (photo via ACFD)

One person is dead and another is in critical condition after a fire in an Arlington home that had “hoarding conditions” inside, according to firefighters.

The fire was reported at a home on the 2600 block of S. Grant Street, in the Aurora Highlands neighborhood near Crystal City, around 9 p.m. Sunday.

“Units are dealing with hoarding conditions,” an Arlington County Fire Department spokesperson said as firefighting operations were still underway.

One person was brought out of the home, treated by medics and transported to Virginia Hospital Center. A second person was located in the home and later pronounced dead.

Update at 2:30 p.m. — Arlington County has released the following press release about the investigation into the house fire.

One person is dead and another critically injured after a house fire last night at 2623 S. Grant St.

Arlington County Fire Department (ACFD) crews arrived on the scene shortly before 9 p.m. to find dark smoke coming from all levels of the single-family home and flames on the first floor.

After neighbors reported that the two residents of the home were unaccounted for, crews had difficulty entering through the front door because of hazardous hoarding conditions inside.

Widespread clutter in the home not only delayed search, rescue and suppression efforts but was also found later to be a factor in spreading the flames.

Both victims were ultimately located on the first floor and removed from the home. The fire was brought under control in about 20 minutes.

An adult male was pronounced dead at the scene and an adult female was transported to the Virginia Hospital Center in critical condition with life-threatening injuries.

Some 60 firefighters responded to the blaze, including personnel from Alexandria Fire Department, Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall Fire Emergency Services and the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Fire and Rescue.

ACFD fire marshals are investigating the origin and cause of the blaze and have been unable to confirm the presence of any working smoke alarms in the home.

Smoke alarms provide vital early warnings, increasing time for escape and the chances of surviving a fire.

ACFD urges you to:

  • Install smoke alarms on every floor and in every bedroom of a home
  • Test alarms every month by pushing the test button
  • Change the batteries in alarms twice a year, at the beginning and end of daylight savings time
  • Replace all alarms every 10 years or according to the manufacturer’s instructions
  • Contact ACFD for assistance testing your smoke alarms or to request a free smoke alarm installation
  • Ensure every person in your home knows and practices a home escape plan: pay special attention to those needing help evacuating; have two ways out of every room; get low; close doors behind you; go to a family meeting place; and once outside, stay outside
  • Get help for hoarding situations: Arlington County has a Hoarding Task Force to assist in eliminating the hazards that stem from hoarding and to protect the community at large

The time to take steps to make a home safer is right now.

Photo via ACFD

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So many notable people died in 2016 that the losses have contributed to some Twitter users dubbing this the #WorstYearEver. Now the Arlington Public Library has compiled a list of its books, DVDs, and music files that users can borrow to find out what made some of these people stand out from the crowd.

The list is not comprehensive because the library does not own items relating to every single notable person who died this year. It does, however, include items related to 67 well-known authors, performers, activists, scientists, and public figures.

Some of the items on the list are:

  • All You Need Is Ears by George Martin: An autobiography of the record producer and composer best known for his work with The Beatles.
  • "Starman" by Paul TrynkaDavid Bowie: Starman by Paul Trynka: The book examines Bowie’s many artistic reinventions and broad influence on the entertainment world.
  • Heimlich’s Maneuvers: My Seventy Years of Lifesaving Innovations by Henry J. Heimlich: An autobiography of the thoracic surgeon best known for inventing the technique to stop choking.
  • Arnold Palmer: Memories, Stories, and Memorabilia by Arnold Palmer: An autobiography of the professional golfer who many consider the greatest player in the sport’s history.
  • The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama by Gwen Ifill: The Peabody-Award winning journalist’s continuation of her long-time coverage of America’s race issues.
  • "I'm Your Man" by Leonard CohenI’m Your Man by Leonard Cohen (DVD): The documentary covers Cohen’s life and work and includes interviews with artists he inspired.
  • Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope (DVD): The sci-fi film features Carrie Fisher in her iconic role as Princess Leia.
  • Crazy Town: The Rob Ford Story by Robyn Doolittle: The biography covers the life of the controversial former Toronto mayor known for his drug- and alcohol-fueled antics.
  • 40 Greatest Hits by Merle Haggard (eMusic): The music file includes songs spanning the country legend’s career.
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Morning Notes

Arlington Cinema Drafthouse sign at night in the fall (Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf)

Official: No Voter Fraud in Arlington — On Sunday president-elect Donald Trump tweeted an accusation of “serious voter fraud” in several states, including Virginia. In response, Arlington’s top election official said there were no reports of voter fraud in the county, which Trump lost by a wide margin. “I want to see the evidence as to what the allegations are,” said Linda Lindberg. [WJLA, Fox 5]

County and APS Budget Forum — Arlington County and Arlington Public Schools will be holding a joint budget forum tomorrow (Wednesday) from 6-8 p.m. at Wakefield High School. “During this forum, participants will have the opportunity to share their priorities and ideas on the 2018 budget,” said a press release. [Arlington County]

Local College Student Dies — Nicole Orttung, a National Merit Scholar who graduated from Yorktown High School, died last Tuesday. Orttung was a student at Columbia University, where she was “known for her dedication to social justice and bright personality.” [Legacy]

Advice from a Still-Grieving Husband — Neal Lawson, whose wife Jennifer was killed by a passing dump truck while she was putting her toddler into a car seat, is still two-and-a-half years later, “managing his own loss and grief while balancing the emotional needs and daily schedules of his growing children.” He recently offered some advice for others dealing with profound loss. [Washington Post]

Donation from 9/11 5K — The annual Arlington Police, Fire & Sheriff 9/11 Memorial 5K Race, which was held in September, helps to raise money for military and first responder charities. Among the donations from the race this year was a $21,000 donation to TAPS, which provides care to the survivors of fallen U.S. service members. [Twitter]

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

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Morning Notes

"Uh oh" (Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf)

Arlington School Administrator Dies — Kathleen Meagher, the director of secondary education for Arlington Public Schools, has died at the age of 53 as a result of a scuba diving accident. Meagher, who joined APS in 2014 after serving as a school administrator in Palo Alto, Calif., was vacationing with her partner in St. Kitts and Nevis, in the Caribbean. [Washington Post, Daily Democrat]

TSA May Stay in Arlington After All — A judge’s ruling has opened up the door to the Transportation Security Administration potentially keeping its headquarters in Arlington. The TSA is currently headquartered in Pentagon City, and was set to move to Alexandria, but may now be able to consider the Stafford Place complex in Ballston, from which the National Science Foundation is moving in 2017. [Washington Business Journal]

Difficult Primary for Poll Workers — Arlington County elections officials are preparing for what might be a challenging primary. With intense interest in the presidential primary, turnout is expected to be heavy. There are 13 Republicans and three Democrats that have qualified for their respective primaries. And a loyalty pledge that’s being mandated by the Republican Party of Virginia may cause confusion and animosity at the polls. [InsideNova]

Va. DMV to Allow Smiling, Sort Of — The Virginia Dept. of Motor Vehicles is lifting its ban on smiling in driver’s license photos, kind of. New rules will allow smiling, but only without showing teeth. [WJLA]

A Streetcar Named Regret in Fairfax Co. — A Fairfax County official is still lamenting Arlington’s cancellation of the Columbia Pike streetcar project. Supervisor Penelope Gross said the streetcar “was going to be important to maintain the viability of Skyline.” The streetcar was to run through the Skyline section of Fairfax County, improving prospects for the vacant and partially-vacant office buildings there. Fairfax County is currently trying to figure out what to do about so much vacant office space. [Washington Post]

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

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