Arlington County Police officers in riot gear could be seen defending the U.S. Capitol tonight in a new video.
The video (below) shows ACPD officers alongside Virginia State Police and D.C. Metropolitan Police in front of the Capitol, keeping back an angry pro-Trump crowd. The video-taker says it was taken around 5:40 p.m., just before a curfew took effect in D.C. and Arlington.
Later in the video, Metropolitan Police officers can be seen pushing back the crowd, to jeers. At one point, a man holding a large Confederate flag starts fighting with police and is taken to the ground by a group of baton-wielding D.C. officers.
The sight of riot gear-clad Arlington officers in the District is striking given the events of this past summer, when similarly-equipped Arlington officers — supporting U.S. Park Police outside the White House after a mutual aid request — were pulled from D.C. after being pressed into service clearing crowds for a presidential photo op.
(Updated at 5:05 p.m.) Arlington ambulances have been ordered to avoid transporting patients to hospitals in the District, amid ongoing chaos around the U.S. Capitol.
The broadcast went out on Arlington County Fire Department channels just before 3 p.m.
ARLnow is hearing that additional Arlington police officers are heading to D.C., perhaps as well as officers from other law enforcement agencies. Video shows and at least one witness reports numerous emergency vehicles heading into the District.
As of 3:25 p.m., a convoy of more than dozen Arlington police and fire department vehicles — some unmarked — could be seen heading down Washington Blvd in Clarendon.
Arlington County Police Department spokeswoman Ashley Savage declined to provide additional information about deployments today, beyond confirming her earlier statement that ACPD is assisting D.C. police under a mutual aid agreement.
“ACPD does not provide tactical information such as the number of officers deployed,” Savage said. “There has been no change to the deployment of officers to D.C. under the mutual aid agreement with the Metropolitan Police Department.”
The District has instituted a 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew. Arlington County Manager Mark Schwartz, via a spokeswoman, said Arlington has no plans for a curfew.
Just before 3:30 p.m., Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam said members of the Virginia National Guard and Virginia State Troopers will be sent to D.C., at the request of Mayor Muriel Bowser. Maryland’s National Guard is also being deployed.
Per the Mayor's request, I am sending members of the Virginia National Guard along with 200 Virginia State Troopers.
— Ralph Northam (@GovernorVA) January 6, 2021
Arlington’s congressman, Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.), tweeted just after 4 p.m. that he is “in a safe location” on Capitol Hill.
I am on Capitol Hill following USCP directions to stay in a safe location.
This is a dark and scary moment for our country, but these violent criminals attempting to overthrow our government will not win.
— Rep. Don Beyer (@RepDonBeyer) January 6, 2021
Businesses, including Safeway (in the District but not in Arlington or elsewhere) and the Arlington Community Federal Credit Union, are closing early due to the violence in the District. Metrorail service is ending early, at 8 p.m., while Metrobus and ART bus service is ending at 9 p.m., per the transit agencies.
As of 5 p.m., the Arlington County Board was discussing a possible response to security threats in closed session.
More via social media:
Lots of reinforcements from Virginia police agencies heading into DC. Most recent was @VSPPIO. #DCProtests #protest #CapitolBuilding #CapitolHill #police #CapitolAttack @ARLnowDOTcom @WTOPtraffic @WTOP pic.twitter.com/1E6TThxNrO
— Dave Statter (@STATter911) January 6, 2021
— Russell Imrie (@tweedyBard) January 6, 2021
— Julie Daniel (@thejuliedaniel) January 6, 2021
— Dave Statter (@STATter911) January 6, 2021
— Kalina Newman (@KalinaNewman) January 6, 2021
— Breaking News (@BreakingNews) January 6, 2021
Today, I'm ordering a citywide curfew for the District of Columbia from 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, January 6, until 6:00 a.m. on Thursday, January 7. pic.twitter.com/lp6Pt3DcYC
— Mayor Muriel Bowser (@MayorBowser) January 6, 2021
File photo (top). Matt Blitz contributed to this report.
(Updated at 1:45 p.m.) After two years of construction, the Arlington Memorial Bridge is completely open for drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists.
The 90-year-old bridge, which connects Arlington National Cemetery and the Lincoln Memorial, was renovated to save it from potentially closing for good in 2021. The $227 million rehabilitation project, one of the largest infrastructure projects in National Park Service history, will give the bridge another 75 years of service, officials said on Friday.
According to NPS, although the bridge is officially open, workers will continue putting final touches on the bridge and the Memorial Circle, replanting staging areas, completing small projects on the deck and installing bird netting.
In addition to the heavy infrastructure work on the bridge, a key Potomac River crossing, NPS repaved, improved crossings, added new signs and made the area easier and safer for drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists to navigate, officials said.
Local members of Congress — including Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, Reps. Don Beyer and Gerry Connolly and D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton — pushed for funding the project, after the discovery of corrosion led officials to close outer lanes and impose a weight limit.
In a joint statement issued Friday, the lawmakers said they worked to save the bridge because a closure would hurt their constituents.
“Memorial Bridge is now fully operational, and stands not only as a historic and functional monument, but also as a symbol of the kind of progress that is possible on rebuilding key transportation infrastructure through smart government investment,” they said in a statement.
Warner added that the project’s funding only came together as a result of a long-running, concerted effort among lawmakers and local officials.
“In 2015, we were warned that Memorial Bridge — a critical artery between Virginia and the nation’s capital — was literally falling apart,” said Sen. Warner. “Today’s reopening is a testament to years of work by the region’s congressional delegation, our local partners, and the National Park Service. Commuters can now rest easy knowing that this nearly 90-year-old landmark will carry them safely over the Potomac for years to come.”
The completed project preserves a national memorial to the sacrifices of veterans, U.S. Secretary of the Interior David L. Bernhardt said.
“The completion of this project marks one of the largest infrastructure projects in National Park Service history, which was done on time and on budget,” Bernhardt said. “I hope that all Americans are brought together to remember and honor our veterans every time they cross this bridge into the capital of our nation.”
Flickr pool photo (top) by Kevin Wolf, photo (bottom) courtesy of Office of Sen. Mark Warner
Arlington, MoCo Hire Consultant — “Montgomery and Arlington counties have hired a consultant to develop alternatives to the flight paths at Reagan National Airport that have led to dramatic increases in noise complaints from residents across the region. ‘This will be a game changer,; said Ken Hartman… Montgomery County’s point person on the airplane noise issue.” [Washington Post]
Biden Breaks 100K Mark in Arlington — “It likely won’t be the highlight of his political career, but Joe Biden will go down in history as the first presidential candidate to win more than 100,000 votes in Arlington. Biden garnered 102,510 of them, according to unofficial tallies reported immediately after the election… Trump’s performance, both in total votes and in percentage of the vote, slightly outperformed his 2016 tally in Arlington.” [InsideNova]
What the School Bond Will Fund — “The $52.65 million will be used for the following projects: $24.3 million for planning and design to meet 10-year projected capacity needs at all school levels; $15.4 million for major infrastructure projects such as HVAC replacement for schools; $7.65 million for building refreshes and kitchen renovations at ATS, Key and McKinley; $5.30 million for security entrances at Taylor, Gunston, Jefferson, Williamsburg, Wakefield.” [Arlington Public Schools, InsideNova]
Firefighter Follows in Fallen Father’s Footsteps — “The son of a Washington, D.C. fallen firefighter is following in his dad’s footsteps. When Anthony Phillips Jr.’s father died in the line of duty on May 30, 1999, he never thought he would do that work that took the life of his father 21 years ago. But, never say never… Phillips just graduated from the Arlington Fire Academy Recruit Class 78.” [WJLA]
Some Fog This Morning — Updated at 8:55 a.m. — From a National Weather Service tweet last night: “Some patchy dense #fog is developing over portions of central and northern Virginia. Remain alert if traveling overnight, as visibility could quickly fall to a quarter mile or less.” A Dense Fog Advisory is in effect until 10 a.m. [Twitter, Twitter]
Nearby: Downtown D.C. in Trouble — “Now,empty streets are the norm. The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed the District’s once-thriving downtown area into a ghost town over the past nearly eight months… Downtown D.C.s’ economy has been crushed by the pandemic, though it has made a slight recovery since the BID issued its last report in July.” [DCist]
Arlington Again Named Top Digital County — “Arlington today was named the No. 1 Digital County in the U.S. by the Center for Digital Government and National Association of Counties 2020 awards. This marks the fourth time Arlington has received the top spot for its 150,000-249,999 population category.” [Arlington County]
County Swamped With Would-Be Poll Workers — “Earlier this summer, some Washington-area election officials were warning of a possible shortage of volunteers to work the polls come November. But a recent surge in interest has left those same officials with a good problem to have… ‘We have too many right now, to be honest,’ says Eric Olsen, the deputy director of Arlington County’s Board of Elections.” [DCist]
Yard Waste Collection Resumes With Delays — “Due to heavy yard waste volumes associated with the resumption of curbside yard waste collection, some customers may see their yard waste carts delayed until the following day.” [Arlington County]
Turkey Trot 5K Goes Virtual — “Organizers of the annual Arlington Turkey Trot have opted for a ‘virtual’ format for 2020. Instead of running as a group on Thanksgiving morning, the hundreds of Turkey Trot participants are being asked to run on their own the weekend of Thanksgiving.” [InsideNova]
Nearby: D.C. Getting New Area Code — “D.C. has had one single area code — 202 — for more than 70 years. But it will soon be joined by a second area code… The nation’s capital is expected to run out of 202 phone numbers in the third quarter of 2022.” [WTOP]
NORAD Exercises This Week — “We will conduct air defense exercise Falcon Virgo between midnight and 5:30 a.m. (ET) Sept.1-3 in the Washington, D.C. area. The exercise includes U.S. Air Force F-16 fighter aircraft, a U.S. Army C-12, a U.S. Coast Guard MH-65D helicopter, and a Civil Air Patrol Cessna 182T. Some portions of the exercise may involve flights at approximately 2,500 feet and may be visible from the ground.” [Facebook]
The Backstory Behind Chasin’ Tails — Cajun seafood restaurant Chasin’ Tails, in East Falls Church, along with Happy Endings Eatery in Rosslyn, are owned by two brothers who became globetrotting multi-millionaires by playing online poker. [Washingtonian]
Rosslyn Company to Be Acquired — “Arlington language learning company Rosetta Stone Inc. is being acquired by private equity-backed Cambium Learning Group Inc. for $792 million. The all-cash deal announced Monday values Rosetta Stone (NYSE: RST) at about $30 per share, about 87% higher than its closing price on July 16.” [Washington Business Journal]
Long-time Journalist Dies — “William R. Neikirk, an award-winning economics and political journalist who spent nearly 35 years with the Chicago Tribune and served as White House correspondent during the Clinton administration, died Aug. 27 at his home in Arlington, Va. He was 82. The cause was dementia and complications from the novel coronavirus.” [Washington Post]
Kanye on Va. Ballot — “Rapper Kanye West has qualified to appear on Virginia’s presidential ballot in November, according to state election officials. Elections officials confirmed Friday evening that West will appear on the ballot as an independent after verifying he submitted 5,000 petition signatures from Virginia voters.” [InsideNova]
Nearby: D.C. Offices Nearly Deserted — “Only 5 percent of office workers in downtown DC were in their workplaces at the end of July, according to a new report from the DowntownDC BID. Economic activity in downtown DC, it found, was 12 percent of what it was the year before.” [Washingtonian]
Arlington County Police are investigating a robbery at the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City.
Initial reports suggest that multiple suspects stole items from the Superdry store in the mall, then fled in a vehicle by ramming one of the mall parking garage gates.
Police followed the vehicle over the 14th Street Bridge and into the District, where the driver crashed into another vehicle near the 12th Street ramp, and all five suspects — believed to be juveniles — ran off, according to scanner traffic. The Superdry merchandise was reportedly tossed into the water below by the fleeing suspects.
So far, there’s no word of any arrests.
(Updated at 1:15 p.m.) There’s good news and bad news when it comes to the coronavirus pandemic in Arlington.
The bad news is that the rate of new cases reached a fresh two-month high over the weekend. On Saturday, the seven-day trailing total of new cases reached 156, the highest point since June 2, as the county came down from the peak of its epidemic.
As of this morning, that seven-day total has dropped to 146, with 14 new cases reported overnight, according to Virginia Dept. of Health data.
Also over the weekend, the state as a whole hit a new peak in cases, with 1,307 new cases reported throughout Virginia on Saturday
In Alexandria, Arlington’s neighbor to the south, there are concerns about a virus resurgence.
The president of Inova Alexandria Hospital told our sister site ALXnow that hospital teams are “exhausted” and “burned out” from treating COVID-19 patients.
In Arlington, however, hospitalizations remain low. In fact, there has only been one new reported COVID-related hospitalization in the county over the past week. The cumulative total of hospitalizations — currently 437 — has risen by only 41 over the past two months.
In his latest weekly Facebook post, Virginia Hospital Center emergency room chief Mike Silverman said the hospital is not seeing the level of seriously ill patients it once did.
“Our data continues to look good. Our percent positive rate within the hospital remains low and the number of patients we’re evaluating who require our ‘COVID isolation’ status dropped to the lowest number this past week that we’ve seen in months,” he wrote. “We are caring for COVID patients every day, but I’m not seeing any indication this past week that makes me think next week will be a lot worse. Something to watch.”
There are concerns, however, that the seeds of a fall epidemic are being planted by young restaurant- and bar-goers.
Last week DCist reported that contact tracing in the District has revealed an “increasing number” of coronavirus patients had dined at restaurants. Ten percent had also recently traveled.
In Arlington over the weekend, social media was abuzz with images from Clarendon, where large crowds lined sidewalks waiting for entry into popular nightlife venues, like the outdoor beer garden The Lot, flouting a recently-passed emergency ordinance requiring more distance between those queuing up.
Despite worries about the crowds, many experts say outdoor activities in general are considerably safer than indoor activities, including dining.
“We have very little evidence of outdoor transmission. It’s not zero — there are definitely cases reported — but it’s much, much lower than inside,” Gretchen Snoeyenbos Newman, an infectious-disease physician at the University of Washington, told the Washington Post in June.
(Updated at 4:55 p.m.) A large group of demonstrators blocked the outbound 14th Street Bridge between D.C. and Arlington during the evening rush hour.
Protesters were sitting down across the main southbound bridge span, according to D.C. police, but then started marching towards Arlington. The group — said to number in the hundreds — previously marched from the area around the Jefferson Memorial, according to scanner traffic.
Arlington County fire department medics were dispatched to the bridge at the request of Virginia State Police for a report of a protester who is dehydrated.
Drivers should expect delays in the area, though the outbound HOV lanes remained open. Police are on scene monitoring the demonstration.
Public safety watchdog Dave Statter broadcast live video of the protest, which as of 4:35 p.m. appeared to be winding down. Demonstrators, holding signs and flags, could be seen marching back toward D.C. Lanes reopened at 4:50 p.m.
Group Sit-Down in progress on Outbound 14th St Bridge [Main Span] towards Arlington, VA
— DC Police Traffic (@DCPoliceTraffic) July 6, 2020
#Alert: Crews have been dispatched to the 14th Street Bridge (I-395 SB) for a medical emergency related to ongoing protest activity on the bridge. Expect significant traffic delays.
— Arlington Fire (@ArlingtonVaFD) July 6, 2020
D.C. Now More Expensive Than Arlington — “D.C. has bumped Arlington County, Virginia, from the top of the most-expensive area jurisdictions by county for median home-selling prices — at least for the month of May. Long & Foster reports the median price of a home that sold in the District in May was $656,000, 10% more than May of last year. The median price of a home that sold in Arlington County was $646,000, up 4%.” [WTOP]
Lower Census Response Rate Than 2010 — “In 2010, 74% of Arlington households filled out their Census form and returned it by mail, which was the only option at the time. In 2020, despite being able to fill out the Census online, by phone and by mail, Arlington’s self-response rate is hovering at just over 70%.” [Arlington County]
Missing: BLM Banner — Someone took a Black Lives Matter banner that had been hanging on a pedestrian bridge over Route 50, and its creator wants it back. [Twitter]
JBG Wants to Improve VRE Station Plan — “JBG Smith Properties could soon play a key role in a second major transportation improvement project in Crystal City, performing design work to beef up plans for a new Virginia Railway Express station there. The developer is advancing a plan to manage the construction of a second entrance for the nearby Crystal City Metro station, and this work on the VRE designs would be closely tied to that effort.” [Washington Business Journal]
Another Unique Feat for Wardian — Arlington ultramarathon runner Michael Wardian ran 62.3 miles to every District Taco in the D.C. area, eating tacos along the way. [Instagram]
(Updated at 11:05 a.m.) A combination of hot days and pandemic closures has sent people flocking to the banks of the Potomac River near Chain Bridge.
On both the Virginia and D.C./Maryland sides of the river, people are fishing, picnicking, hanging out and, in some cases, swimming. The last one of those is a major danger, authorities say, as is accidental falls into the river.
First responders from D.C., Arlington and federal agencies have conducted rescue operations along the Potomac several times over the past few months.
In March, a man suffering a medical emergency was airlifted from rocky terrain on the Virginia side, just north of Chain Bridge. In May, a search and rescue operation turned into a recovery operation after a 67-year-old man fell into the river and died. On Tuesday, another search — this time, a man is presumed dead after swimming in the river, going under and not resurfacing.
On Wednesday, D.C. Fire and Rescue posted on social media, urging people to avoid the waters of the Potomac.
“The Potomac River around Chain Bridge is treacherous and deceiving,” the fire department tweeted. “DO NOT swim anywhere in this area. If you are on the shoreline, stay a safe distance from the water. A fall into the river can quickly turn fatal.”
Over this past weekend, National Park Service employees could be seen watching over the crowds from Chain Bridge. On Wednesday, U.S. Coast Guard personnel were spotted talking and showing maps to river-goers near the bridge.
One local resident told ARLnow this morning that even more needs to be done.
“Arlington and D.C. need to start policing along the river banks,” the resident said via email. “My family and I walk down to the river most nights and the trash, fires and illegal cast nets are increasing daily. It’s become a nightly party down on the river banks.”
“I grew up in Arlington and have always walked the banks. I’ve never seen anything like what’s going on now,” the resident continued. “Police need to patrol the area, like they used to. The only time you see police down there is when someone falls in…. It’s dangerous and I don’t want anyone else to die.”
Jay Westcott contributed to this report