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Morning Notes

Road Closed Due to Downed Tree — Williamsburg Blvd is closed at N. Westmoreland Street due to a tree that fell overnight and took down several utility lines with it. Arlington’s emergency management office says the closure “may last through evening rush hour.” [Twitter]

Reminder: DUI Checkpoint Tonight — The Arlington County Police Department will conduct a sobriety checkpoint in an undisclosed location tonight. “Officers will stop all vehicles passing through the checkpoint and ask to see the licenses of drivers. Any driver suspected of operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol will be directed to a safe area off the roadway for further observation.” [Arlington County]

Metro Could Become Larger Financial Burden — “Metro expects to turn to state and local governments across the region to cover the costs of pay raises for workers an arbitration panel ordered last week, but the Metro Board chairman is warning of a more significant fiscal ‘ticking time bomb’ just over the horizon.” [WTOP]

Annual CivFed Candidate Forum Scheduled — “The unofficial kickoff to Arlington’s fall election season begins on Tuesday, Sept. 4, when the Arlington County Civic Federation holds its annual candidate forum. Candidates for 8th District U.S. House of Representatives, County Board and School Board have been invited to participate.” [InsideNova]

Basketball Player Punched at Gym — A man who plays professional basketball for LaVar Ball’s Junior Basketball Association says he was sucker punched while playing a pickup game at a Crystal City gym. [Fox 5]

One Hurt in Lee Highway Apartment Fire — A resident of a Lee Highway apartment building suffered burn injuries after a fire broke out in an apartment kitchen Wednesday morning. The fire was out by the time firefighters arrived on the scene. [Patch]

Flickr pool photo by Arlington VA

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Police Roll Out Pink BMW to Fight Drunk Driving in Arlington

The Arlington County Police Department revealed a new tool today (Monday) to discourage drunk driving as the region gears up to celebrate the Fourth of July: a bright pink BMW.

The “SoberRide Vehicle,” developed in partnership with the Washington Regional Alcohol Program and ride-hailing service Lyft, is a redesigned 2004 BMW 330ci, seized following a drug conviction. Wrapped partially in eye-catching pink, courtesy of Lyft, the vehicle will be on display at community events and areas with nightlife to remind Arlington residents not to drive under the influence.

The vehicle complements the Washington Regional Alcohol Program’s SoberRide campaign, which will offer up to 1,500 free Lyft rides on Independence Day.

Riders will be able to request a free ride home worth up to $15 from 7 p.m. to 4 a.m. by using a Lyft promo code that will be posted to the SoberRide website 5 p.m. Wednesday.

WRAP’s SoberRide program has previously provided free rides home to area residents on holidays like St. Patrick’s DayCinco de Mayo and Halloween. Last year, 513 people in the Washington metropolitan area used the Independence Day SoberRide promotion, according to WRAP president Kurt Erickson.

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Morning Notes

Two ART Routes End Today — ART Routes 54 and 92 will cease operations after the end of the day today. Per a press release: “The two routes were eliminated as part of Arlington County’s FY 2019 budget and to improve efficiency of ART service. Both bus routes perform below ART’s minimum service standards of 15 passengers per hour.” [Arlington Transit]

Arlington Cemetery Station to Close This Weekend — The Arlington Cemetery Metro station will be closed this weekend so workers can install cables “for cellular communication,” WMATA says. Shuttle buses will be available but the Blue Line will only run from Franconia-Springfield to National Airport. [DCist]

Windy Run Improvement Project Complete — “There will soon be an official ribbon cutting to celebrate the renovated Windy Run. And in the meantime, the trail and park have re-opened and can be enjoyed by Arlington residents.” [Arlington County]

Suspected DUI Hit and Run in Clarendon — A man was arrested after an alleged DUI hit and run in Clarendon yesterday evening. At least two vehicles were struck, though the suspect’s SUV appeared to have suffered the most damage. [Twitter]

Arlington is No. 2 on New Livability Ranking — “Arlington placed second in its size category in the updated AARP ‘Livability Index.’ Arlington ranked behind only Madison, Wisc., in the ranking for communities with populations between 100,000 and 500,000. The survey, updated for the first time since 2015, used more than 50 data sources to score communities on areas ranging from housing and transportation to social engagement.” [InsideNova]

Photo by @thelastfc

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Morning Notes

Eligibility Changes Proposed for Cemetery — “With Arlington National Cemetery set to run out of space in the coming years, restrictions on who can be buried there need to be considered, officials said Thursday.” [WTOP, Army Times]

Emergency Metro Repairs Next Weekend — Emergency repairs will mean reduced service on Metro’s Silver Line and some changes to Blue Line service next weekend, during St. Patrick’s Day and peak cherry blossom season. [Fox 5]

ACPD Conducts DUI Education Event — To discourage driving under the influence, Arlington County Police and the Washington Regional Alcohol Program conducted an anti-drunk driving event during Saturday’s Shamrock Crawl. Among other activities, attendees were invited to try to shoot basketballs into trash bins while wearing impaired vision goggles. [WTOP, Twitter]

Video Project Keeps Iota’s Memory Alive — A video series called The Iota Chair is “an oral history project on Facebook with musicians who frequented Iota Club & Cafe,” which closed last year. [Northern Virginia Magazine]

Local Journalist Pens History Book — “Arlington resident Michael Doyle recounts the life and times of a 19th century morality crusader who campaigned against an infamous ‘free-love’ commune, in a new book entitled ‘The Ministers’ War: John W. Mears, the Oneida Community and the Crusade for Public Morality.'” [Amazon]

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Morning Notes

DHS Official Charged With Beating Wife in Arlington — A “senior career official with the Department of Homeland Security who… handles a ‘high volume’ of classified information in his role as an intelligence briefer,” served jail time after a 2016 incident in Arlington in which he was charged with assaulting his wife, breaking two ribs and causing bruising around her neck. [Washington Post]

Anti-DUI Event at Shamrock Crawl Tomorrow — The Arlington County Police Department will hold a St. Patrick’s Day-themed anti-DUI event dubbed “Don’t Press Your Luck” in Clarendon tomorrow (Saturday). The event will coincide with the planned Shamrock Crawl bar crawl. [Arlington County]

More on Wakefield’s Championship Run — But for a great defensive play by Varina, the Wakefield High School boys basketball team might have emerged victorious from yesterday’s state championship game in Richmond. [Washington Post]

Arlington to Co-Star in Travel Video — Arlington County has received grant funding that will help pay for its share of a new Virginia tourism video that will also feature Charlottesville and Albemarle County, Loudoun County, Richmond and Staunton. [Arlington County]

Long Branch Creek Profiled — “A mostly residential section of south Arlington, Long Branch Creek is a diverse community where almost 75 percent of residents are renters. In addition, there are condominium buildings, townhouses, duplexes and one single-family home.” [Washington Post]

Fire Station History to Be Recognized — Last month Arlington County Manager Mark Schwartz established a “Fire Station No. 8 History and Legacy (FS8HL) Working Group,” to record and celebrate the history of the first Arlington fire station staffed by African Americans. [Arlington County]

Kanninen Gets Democratic School Board Nod — “An Arlington County Democratic Committee School Board caucus? Fuggedaboutit. Incumbent School Board Chairman Barbara Kanninen was the lone candidate to file to run in the caucus, which had been slated for several days in May. With no opposition bubbling up, the caucus was nixed.” [InsideNova]

Flickr pool photo by Rex Block

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Morning Notes

Former Clarendon Walgreens Building Purchased — JPMorgan Chase has bought the building that housed the former Walgreens in Clarendon for $25 million, perhaps for a new bank branch. [Washington Business Journal]

Local Man Shot and Killed in Philly — An Arlington man who “appeared to be intentionally trying to run down people” with his car was shot and killed by an off-duty police officer in South Philadelphia. The shooting is under investigation. [WPVI]

More Details on Arlington Vehicle Decals — “The 2017-18 Arlington car-tax decal may come with a new feature: personalization. The county treasurer’s office is working on a plan that would add each vehicle’s year, make and model onto the new decals, which will start being distributed over the summer.” [InsideNova]

ACPD Launches Super Bowl Sobriety Campaign — “The Arlington County Police Department and law enforcement agencies across the country are huddling up with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for a special Fans Don’t Let Fans Drive Drunk reminder to urge football fans across the nation not to drop the ball on this issue.” [Arlington County]

VHC Named Top Hospital for Nurses — Virginia Hospital Center is the top hospital for nurses in Virginia, according to new rankings from a nursing website. [Nurse.org]

Signs Up for Nestle in Rosslyn — A Nestle sign is now up on the company’s new headquarters at 1812 N. Moore Street in Rosslyn. [Twitter]

State Senate OKs Arlington Hotel Tax Bill — The Virginia state Senate has passed a bill to authorize Arlington to impose a 0.25 percent hotel tax surcharge, to fund tourism promotion. The county’s current authority to collect the surcharge expires July 1. [InsideNova]

Robert Parry Obituary — “Robert Parry, an investigative journalist who was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 1985 for his Associated Press exclusives about the CIA’s production of an assassination manual for Nicaraguan rebels, died Jan. 27 in Arlington, Va. He was 68.” [Washington Post, Consortiumnews]

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Morning Notes

Truck Crash Closes I-395 Lanes — A truck crash on southbound I-395 today closed as many as three lanes during the morning rush hour. [Washington Post, Twitter]

Stepped Up Drunk Driving Enforcement — During the holidays, from Dec. 13-31, Arlington County Police will be increasing DUI patrols as part of the national Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over enforcement campaign. [Arlington County]

Step Forward in Plan for Second Rosslyn Station — “Metro officials are taking a small but symbolic step in their hope of someday building a second station in Rosslyn. On Thursday, the Metro board is expected to approve an application to the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority to request $2 million in grant money that would help the agency study ways to increase capacity on the Blue, Orange and Silver lines in Northern Virginia.” [Washington Post]

More on Freddie’s Award — The Arlington Human Rights Commission is scheduled to present their 2017 Human Rights Awards today. Among the winners was Crystal City staple Freddie’s Beach Bar. Owner Freddie Lutz said of the award: “I’m just extremely honored having grown up in Arlington County and went from elementary school to high school in Arlington County to be recognized in this way.” [Washington Blade]

Grumbles About Delivery Trucks on the Pike — Delivery trucks often park on Columbia Pike, blocking one of two, including during rush hour. Frustration over delivery trucks parking on the Pike led one resident to tweet a short video illustrating the issue. [Twitter]

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Police to Conduct Sobriety Checkpoint Saturday

The Arlington County Police Department will conduct a sobriety checkpoint on Saturday at an undisclosed location in the county.

The checkpoint is part of a federal anti-drunk driving campaign. Officers will stop all vehicles at the checkpoint and ask to see drivers’ licenses.

Anyone suspected of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol will be tested.

The last such announced checkpoint in Arlington took place in June.

More from an ACPD press release:

On Saturday, September 30th, 2017, the Arlington County Police Department will conduct a sobriety checkpoint.  These enforcement efforts are in support of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) national program to end drunk driving that focuses on combining high-visibility enforcement with heightened public awareness through advertising and publicity.

Officers will stop all vehicles passing through the checkpoint and ask to see the licenses of drivers.  Any driver suspected of operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol will be directed to a safe area off the roadway for further observation and possible testing for intoxication.

The maximum penalty in Virginia for the first conviction for driving under the influence is 12 months in jail, a $2,500 fine and a 12-month suspension of driving privileges.

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ACPD to Conduct Sobriety Checkpoint Friday

The Arlington County Police Department will conduct a sobriety checkpoint at an as-yet undisclosed location in the county.

The checkpoint is being conducted with the support of a federal anti-drunk driving campaign.

The last announced DUI checkpoint in Arlington happened this past September.

More from an ACPD press release:

On Friday, June 23, 2017, the Arlington County Police Department will conduct a sobriety checkpoint. This enforcement effort is in support of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) National campaign to combat drunk driving by combining high-visibility enforcement with heightened public awareness through advertising and publicity.

Officers will stop all vehicles passing through the checkpoint and ask to see the licenses of drivers. Any driver suspected of operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol will be directed to a safe area off the roadway for further observation and possible testing for intoxication.

The maximum penalty in Virginia for the first conviction for driving under the influence is 12 months in jail, a $2,500 fine and a 12-month suspension of driving privileges.

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Police: McLean Resident Suspected of DUI Kicked, Scratched Officers

A McLean woman arrested on suspicion of DUI is now facing additional charges after police say she became combative while being checked into the county jail.

The alleged incident happened in the booking room of the Arlington County Detention Facility in Courthouse early Monday morning.

Marilyn McBay, 38, “assaulted an officer and deputy by scratching both on the face and kicking the officer in the chest,” according to police.

More from an Arlington County Police Department crime report:

ASSAULT & BATTERY ON POLICE, 2017-04240008, 1400 block of N. Courthouse Road. At approximately 12:25 a.m. on April 24, an officer on routine patrol conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle being driven on a flat tire in the 1300 block of N. Stafford Street. The driver of the vehicle was arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence and was transported to the Arlington County Detention Facility for booking. While in booking, the suspect allegedly became combative and assaulted an officer and deputy by scratching both on the face and kicking the officer in the chest. Marilyn McBay, 38, of McLean, VA was charged with Assault and Battery on Police (x2), Driving Under the Influence, and Refusal of Breath/Blood Test. She was held without bail.

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Police to Lead Anti-DUI Effort On St. Patrick’s Day Weekend

Police DUI event St Patricks DayArlington police will be out in force next weekend during the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, reminding revelers not to drink and drive.

The interactive “Don’t Press Your Luck” event will highlight the impact alcohol has on motor skills, and is free. It will be hosted at the intersection of N. Hudson Street and Wilson Boulevard in Clarendon starting at 3 p.m. on Saturday, March 18.

Police will close Hudson Street from Wilson Boulevard to 13th Street N. from noon until 9 p.m. to accommodate the event. Temporary “No Parking” signs will be up, and illegally parked motorists could be ticketed or towed.

The event is part of a push by local police to remind partygoers of the dangers of drink-driving. According to data from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, between 2011 and 2015, 252 people died in car crashes during the St. Patrick’s Day holiday in the United States.

Earlier this week, ride-hailing app Lyft announced it will partner with SoberRide to provide free and safe transportation home during the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in the D.C. region.

In addition to next week’s event, tonight (Friday) Arlington County Police will be trying out another initiative aimed at Clarendon bar-goers: blocking off some of the parking spots on Clarendon Blvd to create a pickup zone for Uber and Lyft riders.

From ACPD:

On Friday, March 10, 2017 the Arlington County Police Department is conducting a pilot program in Clarendon providing a designated rideshare pickup location. Motorists should be on the lookout for temporary no parking signs in the 3100 block of Wilson Boulevard beginning at approximately 11:00 p.m. Illegally parked vehicles may be ticketed or towed. If your vehicle is towed from a public street, call 703-558-2222.

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Morning Notes

A lineman working on power lines (Flickr pool photo by Alan Kotok)

High Water Bills Prompt Questions — A number of Arlington residents say their quarterly water bills for the summer and fall spiked to inconceivably high levels, in some cases in excess of $2,000. The county government, however, says no systemic billing issues have been found and blames the high bills on hot and dry weather combined with homeowners irrigating their yards. [InsideNova]

News Photog Saved By Arlington Medic — WUSA9 photographer Dion Wiggins suffered a massive heart attack while shooting video of traffic along I-395 last month. It was an Arlington County paramedic, Chris Abrahams, who together with firefighter Jason Griffith revived Wiggins from cardiac arrest, stabilized him and transported him to George Washington University Hospital. Wiggins is now back at home and on the road to recovery. [WUSA9]

ACPD: Don’t DUI After the Super Bowl — Super Bowl Sunday is two days away and the Arlington County Police Department is reminding residents to designate a driver for the big game. The Super Bowl is one of the biggest days of the year for DUI, with a third of all U.S. traffic deaths due to drunk drivers. [Arlington County]

D.C. Metro Work This Weekend — Major scheduled track work will close six downtown D.C. Metro stations along the Blue, Orange and Silver lines this weekend. The Blue and Orange lines will be split in two and the Silver line will end at Ballston. “Customers traveling between Virginia and DC are encouraged to use the Yellow Line, if possible,” Metro says. [WMATA]

Kudos for Sheriff’s Office — “The Arlington County Sheriff’s Office has been awarded reaccreditation by the American Correctional Association Commission (ACA), whose standards are the national benchmark for the effective operation of correctional facilities in the United States.” [Arlington County]

WHS Swimmers in Regionals — “With three Wakefield swimmers heading off to regionals — the most in recent history — the Wakefield community is overflowing with enthusiasm and excitement in anticipation of a splashing victory.” [Wakefield Chieftain]

Obit: Mel Labat — Long-time Arlington tennis coach Mel Labat passed away last week. A memorial service will be held tomorrow (Saturday). A scholarship fund has been established, with the proceeds going to the Arlington Youth Tennis Program. [YMCA, Legacy]

Flickr pool photo by Alan Kotok

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ACPD to Conduct Extra DUI Patrols During the Holidays

Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over imageArlington County Police are conducting additional DUI patrols during the holiday season.

The DUI enforcement campaign started Sunday and will run through Jan. 3. It coincides, in part, with the SoberRide free taxi service that’s currently in effect.

From an ACPD press release:

Due to the increase in drunk-driving-related fatalities around the holidays each year, law enforcement agencies across America will be actively searching for and arresting drunk drivers from December 18, 2016 to January 3, 2017. During the 2015 Christmas holiday period (6 p.m. December 24th – 5:59 a.m. December 28th), the nation lost 34 lives per day in drunk driving crashes–a total of 120 deaths over 3.5 days.

If you plan on drinking this holiday season, hand the keys over to someone else – a sober friend, a taxi, a ride share driver or public transportation. Washington Regional Alcohol Program’s 2016 Holiday SoberRide program is offering free taxi rides home from 10:00 pm to 6:00 am nightly from Friday, December 16 through Sunday, January 1, 2017. To receive a free cab ride home (up to a $30.00 fare), call 800-200-8294 (TAXI). Or, try NHTSA’s SaferRide mobile app, which allows users to call a taxi or a friend by identifying their location so they can be picked up. The app is available at http://ow.ly/RWs3S for Android and http://ow.ly/RWs8h for iPhone users.

As part of the national Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over enforcement campaign period, police will be increasing the number of patrols, setting up roadblocks and using local media to reach out to all drivers. If you’re drinking and driving, Arlington County Police Department will stop you.

If you see a drunk driver on the road, call the police right away. If someone you know is about to drive after drinking, take their keys and help them get home safely.

Please follow these tips to keep the holidays safe and happy:

  • Even one drink can impair your judgment and increase the risk of getting arrested for driving drunk–or worse, the risk of having a crash.
  • If you will be drinking, do not plan on driving. Plan ahead; designate a sober driver before the party begins.
  • If you have been drinking, do not drive. Call a taxi, phone a sober friend or family member, use public transportation, request a ride sharing application or call SoberRide.

Remember, driving after drinking should never be an option. Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.

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Police: Repeat DUI Offender Crashes into ACPD Vehicle While Drunk

Police car (file photo)A man with a record of DUI convictions crashed into the back of an Arlington County Police vehicle early Saturday morning, according to police, sending him and two officers to the hospital.

The wreck happened on northbound I-395, approaching the Pentagon, just after 12:30 a.m.

Police say Julio Cesar Marcia Castro, a 27-year-old Maryland resident, crashed into a police SUV that was pulled over on an unrelated traffic stop. Luckily, no one was inside the police vehicle at the time of the crash.

Castro had to be extricated from his vehicle by paramedics and was transported to the trauma center at George Washington University Hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Two officers were treated and released at Virginia Hospital Center for injuries from flying debris.

“During the course of the investigation, officers determined that the driver of the suspect vehicle was under the influence of alcohol,” police said in a crime report. “Julio Cesar Marcia Castro, 27, of Fort Washington MD, was arrested and charged with driving under the influence (3+ offense or 2+ felony offense), driving with a suspended license, and driving with DUI suspended license (3+ offense in 10 years).”

Castro is still in police custody in D.C., awaiting extradition back to the Virginia, said ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage.

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Police: Drunk Woman Steals Car, Crashes It Seconds Later

A drunk woman stole a car in Crystal City but then crashed it three blocks down the road, police say.

The incident happened around 11 a.m. on Sunday. It started, police say, when a woman “entered an unoccupied but running vehicle” on the 2200 block of S. Clark Street.

“The owner of the vehicle approached the suspect, but the suspect refused to exit and fled the scene in the vehicle,” according to an Arlington County Police crime report. “The female suspect then struck a vehicle stopped at a red light in the 1900 block of S. Clark Street.”

The woman was treated for non-life-threatening injuries at Virginia Hospital Center, then charged with grand larceny auto, driving under the influence and reckless driving, according to the crime report.

Photos courtesy Doug Wendt

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