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
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.
Pics from tonight's Grant St fire. pic.twitter.com/sr2hPn3Dt7
— Arlington Fire (@ACFDPIO) March 6, 2017
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
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.
- David 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 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.
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
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
Senator Pays Tribute to Arlington Dad Who Died in China — Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) yesterday paid tribute on the Senate floor to an Arlington resident who died suddenly while on a business trip to China. Nathan Graham died of a “random infection,” Hatch said. He was 37 and a father of four. A former Senate staffer, Graham was born and raised in Utah and was a volunteer bishop in the Crystal City LDS church. Friends are raising money to help support Graham’s family. [Sen. Orrin Hatch, Facebook]
Support for Theater Troupe Blasted By Senator — Sen. James Lankford (R-Oklahoma) cited Crystal City physical theater company Synetic as an example of federal waste this month. Why? Because the National Endowment of the Arts has given the troupe a total of $61,000 since 2000 to, as Lankford characterized it, cut the English language out of Shakespeare productions. A local letter to the editor writer, meanwhile, says that a better example of federal waste is the fact that Oklahoma receives approximately $1.31 from the feds for every dollar it pays in taxes. [Washington Post]
Constitutional Officers Sworn In — Arlington’s five incumbent constitutional officers were all reelected by voters last month. The reelected county sheriff, clerk of the Circuit Court, treasurer, commissioner of the revenue and commonwealth’s attorney all took the oath of office yesterday, the first time all five positions were sworn in together since 2007. [InsideNova]
More Traffic Cameras, Higher Fines in D.C. — For those who drive to the District, get ready for more speed and red light cameras, lower speed limits and higher fines over the next two years. The traffic enforcement measures are part of Mayor Muriel Bowser’s “Vision Zero” plan for reducing loss of life from accidents on D.C. streets. [Washington Post]
Police and paramedics were called to Arlington’s Department of Human Services after a man collapsed and suffered an apparent cardiac arrest in a taxi.
The incident happened just after 2 p.m., outside the DHS building at 2100 Washington Blvd. The man — a 65 year old Arlington resident, according to scanner traffic — was in a Red Top Cab when the driver saw that he was suffering a medical emergency and pulled over.
“The driver noticed that [the passenger] was slumped over in between the seats,” said Arlington County Fire Department spokesman Alvin Guice.
The driver checked on the man and found that he didn’t have a pulse. Someone then ran to the DHS front desk and screamed “call 911,” according to a witness.
“We called 911 to respond to a building visitor who appeared to be in distress,” said DHS spokesman Kurt Larrick.
Passersby helped to pull the man out of the cab so they could render aid, the witness said. By the time paramedics arrived, someone was performing CPR on him. Medics took over and continued performing CPR as they rushed the man to Virginia Hospital Center, where doctors were unable to resuscitate him.
“Unfortunately, he was pronounced [deceased] at the hospital,” Guice said.
Water Meter Replacement Nearly Complete — An effort to replace outdated water meters in Arlington with more modern meter technology is nearly complete. The project, which began in 2007, is now 98 percent complete and is expected to wrap up by the end of the year. [InsideNova]
Emergency Preparedness Month — September is Emergency Preparedness Month in Arlington. This year’s theme, which is also the theme of National Preparedness Month: “Don’t Wait, Communicate. Make Your Emergency Plan Today.” [Arlington County]
Donations Sought for Funeral — Residents in the Barcroft neighborhood are raising money following the passing of a beloved neighbor. Abuelita Pacheco was “a ‘grandmother’ to many of the neighborhood kids… a lady full of joy and resilience, always willing to lend a hand to anyone who needed it.” Now, funds are being raised to cover the cost of a funeral and burial in Pacheco’s native Colombia. Her family is already facing financial hardship: Pacheco was grandmother to five, include three blind triplets. [Crowdrise]
Arlington Neighborhood College Enrollment — Applications for Arlington County’s Neighborhood College program are due Sept. 10. The program “provides the knowledge and skills necessary for residents from across the County to get involved in local issues that affect their day-to-day lives and the lives of their neighbors.” [Arlington County]
Metro Delays This Morning — There were delays on the Orange, Silver and Blue lines during the latter part of the AM rush hour this morning, due to “police activity” at the L’Enfant Plaza station in D.C. [Twitter]
Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley
Lenny B. Robinson, the Maryland man who captured national attention after he was pulled over in his “Batmobile” Lamborghini while dressed as the Caped Crusader, has died, according to the Washington Post.
The Post reports that Robinson died after apparently being struck by a car on I-70 Sunday night, after his Batmobile broke down.
Robinson delighted children and adults alike in Arlington two years ago, when he dropped by the Arlington YMCA at 3422 13th Street N. to warn kids about the danger of poison and toxic household items. He was also spotted cruising the streets of Arlington and hanging out in Clarendon after the event.
Robinson was in his early 50s.
Photos courtesy Eddie Paylor Photography
Police responded to the 4800 block of Rock Spring Road just before 6:00 p.m. for reports of an accident at a residential construction site. Subcontractors at the site had been removing large trees from the property and were using a backhoe to load huge sections of the trees onto a flatbed truck.
The 30-year-old victim had been trying to secure the tree sections onto the truck when a log weighing in excess of a ton rolled off the flatbed and crushed him. Police say the two other workers at the site did not see the accident, but heard a large noise and rushed to assist the victim. The other workers managed to remove the log, but the victim is believed to have died instantly. Police and medics pronounced the man dead upon arriving at the scene.
The victim’s two co-workers remained on scene and provided statements to police. The site manager, owner of the trucking company and an OSHA representative all responded to the scene as well. The victim’s family has been notified.
“There was no reason to believe there was any suspicious activity, it just appears to be an absolutely tragic incident,” said Arlington County Police Department spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.
Two Arlington residents and an Alexandria resident were killed in a crash in southwest Virginia Tuesday evening.
The crash happened around 6:20 p.m. in the southbound lanes of I-81 in Washington County, Va. From Virginia State Police:
A tractor-trailer traveling south on I-81 experienced a flat tire and pulled off onto the right shoulder to inspect the tire. As the tractor-trailer driver and passenger were walking back to the cab of the truck, a southbound Toyota Avalon ran off the left side of I-81. The driver of the Toyota overcorrected causing the car to slid sideways into the rear of the tractor-trailer.
The Toyota’s male driver, Abenezer D. Thewdros, 19, of Arlington, Va., and two male passengers, Abel N. Ayele, 19, of Arlington, Va., and Alemu S. Ameha, 25, of Alexandria, Va., all died at the scene. A third male passenger, Arketsadik Yilma, 19, of Alexandria, Va., was flown by Virginia State Police Med-Flight helicopter to Bristol Regional Medical Center for treatment of serious injuries.
Neither the tractor-trailer driver nor his passenger was injured.
The crash remains under investigation. Alcohol does not appear to have been a factor in the crash.
Southbound lanes were re-opened to traffic at approximately 9:30 p.m.
The incident happened just past 8:00 p.m. According to Metro, the man was “apparently trespassing” on the tracks when he was struck by an inbound train approaching Arlington Cemetery.
“Security camera footage shows [the] subject intentionally walk onto the trackbed,” Metro Transit Police said via Twitter.
The man is dead and his body is between the tracks and a fence, according to scanner traffic. The striking train is still on scene with 80-100 people on board, firefighters reported.
The Blue Line is single-tracking and trains are running every 20 minutes as a result of the incident, Metro says. The agency is advising riders to use the Yellow Line as an alternate between D.C. and Virginia.
A former Arlington County Police officer who gained much recognition for being depicted in a famous Norman Rockwell painting has passed away.
Richard Clemens was born in New York City and spent much of his career as a Massachusetts state trooper. Rockwell, who was Clemens’ neighbor, asked the trooper to pose for the 1958 painting with an 8-year-old boy. It shows an officer counseling a young boy who wants to leave home, and was featured on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post. It’s a well known painting in the law enforcement community, and can often be found in police stations across the country.
Before moving to Massachusetts, Clemens was a police officer in Arlington from July 1952 through August 1953. Records show his address as having been in the Long Branch Creek neighborhood.
Clemens retired from the Massachusetts State Police as a detective. He accrued awards throughout his career, including one for outstanding police service.
Most recently, Clemens lived in New York state. That’s where his funeral will be held tomorrow.