Earthquake Drill Today — Virginia and a handful of other states will be participating in the Great SouthEast ShakeOut earthquake drill today at 10:20 a.m. [ShakeOut.org]
Sobering News on Office Vacancies — County officials are warning that Arlington’s office vacancy rate will remain relatively high for the foreseeable future. Optimistically, economic development officials believe that by “slowly and steadily” winning lease renewals and new tenants, the vacancy rate could decline to just past 15 percent, from the current 20 percent, within a few years. [InsideNova]
Arlington No. 8 on Marathon Training Rankings — Arlington County has ranked No. 8 on a list of the best places to train for a marathon. The county earned high marks for its parks, its walkability and its climate. [Competitor]
Most Popular College Applications — The three top schools in terms of the number of applications from the high school class of 2016 in Arlington were: 1. Virginia Commonwealth University, 2. University of Virginia and 3. Virginia Tech. [Arlington Magazine]
Arlington’s Commuter Efforts Lauded — “Arlington County Commuter Services (ACCS) is being recognized for weaving mobility into broader efforts to improve local quality of life and economic competitiveness. ACCS was named by the Association for Commuter Transportation as having the best transportation demand management (TDM) program among all large municipalities in the United States.” [Arlington County]
Photo courtesy Katie Pyzyk
Virginia is one of the states participating in the Great Southeast Shakeout this morning.
The shakeout is a multi-state earthquake drill, set to take place at 10:16 a.m. Residents are encouraged to “drop,” “cover” and “hold on” during the drill and during an actual earthquake.
Schools, businesses, community groups across the Commonwealth are expected to participate in the drill.
Taking place at 10:17 a.m., The Great Shakeout will drill participants on the proper precautions to take when an earthquake strikes. Even if an earthquake is mild, emergency management experts encourage people to drop to the floor, seek cover under a sturdy desk or table and hold on to the shelter until the shockwaves are complete.
The event is being coordinated nationally by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and in Virginia by the state Department of Emergency Management. Virginia’s population is especially encouraged to participate after the 5.8 magnitude Mid-Atlantic earthquake in August 2011, which caused minor damage around Arlington.
Almost 2 million people have registered in the southeast region of the Shakeout, which stretches from Maryland to Georgia, and more than 24 million in the U.S., Canada, Japan, Canada and Italy. Participants can register to join for their family, school, company or other group, and can get resources like drill manuals and flyers.
Image via Shakeout.org
The base will be participating in the Great SouthEast ShakeOut, a regional earthquake drill that’s to take place at 10:18 a.m. In addition to asking those on the base to “drop, cover and hold on,” JBM-HH will be testing its “Big Voice” public address system, which may be heard outside the base.
From a press release:
The ShakeOut is a regional earthquake drill in which participants simultaneously practice the recommended action during an earthquake. This action is known as “Drop, Cover, and Hold On”, which means to:
- DROP to the ground
- Take COVER by getting under a sturdy desk or table
- HOLD-ON to it until the shaking stops
In support of the great shakeout earthquake operation JBM-HH will conduct a test of the giant voice public address system. The test will be conducted on both the Fort McNair and Fort Myer/Henderson Hall portion of JBM-HH at 11 a.m. Residents on and immediately outside the installation can expect to hear the test.
Exactly one year ago, at 1:51 p.m. on August 23, 2011, a 5.8 magnitude earthquake hit Virginia and the D.C. area, a wholly unexpected jolt that sent residents and workers scurrying into the streets.
Damage from the earthquake was relatively minor. Loose items fell from store shelves. Some brick structures like chimneys were damaged. Walls cracked at historic Arlington House. The foundation at Arlington Fire Station No. 2 was damaged. The Thomas Jefferson Theater had to be closed for repairs.
In the immediate aftermath of the quake, cell phone service was overloaded by people calling loved ones. Numerous gas leaks are being reported and hundreds of Dominion customers in Arlington lost power. This website crashed and remained only periodically reachable for at least an hour. Office buildings closed for damage assessments, and highways were jammed with workers heading home early.
After the jump, some videos that were taken in Arlington during and after the earthquake.
The Curious Grape to Reopen — There will soon be two competing boutique wine and cheese stores in Shirlington. The Curious Grape, which moved out of its storefront in Shirlington Village earlier this year in order to make way for Cheesetique, just announced that it will be reopening next month in a larger storefront one block away. [Shirlington Village Blog]
Loyalty Oath for Va. GOP Primary — Voters who want to cast their ballot in the March 6 presidential primary in Virginia will be required to sign a loyalty oath. The Virginia Republican Party requested the pledge — which is perfectly legal under Virginia law — as a condition of participation in the primary. The pledge (of support for the eventual Republican presidential nominee) is intended to reduce the number of non-Republicans voting in the otherwise open primary. [Richmond Times-Dispatch]
Earthquake Still Affecting Local Theater Troupes — The temporary closure of the Thomas Jefferson Community Theater due to earthquake damage is still having repercussions in the local arts community. As a result of the closure, a planned Spring 2012 production of Cats has been postponed until 2013. Also, the county’s annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. tribute has been moved to Washington-Lee High School. [Sun Gazette]
You’d heard about damage to the Washington Monument after the 5.8 magnitude earthquake that hit the D.C. area in August. But you probably haven’t heard about the damage suffered by one of the most iconic, historic structures on the other side of the Potomac River.
Arlington House, the former home of Robert E. Lee, suffered significant damage during the quake. Large portions of the 200-year-old house, which overlooks the District from what is now Arlington National Cemetery, are now closed to the public as a result of the quake.
The house’s entire second floor is currently closed, along with a back hallway. We’re told that the quake shifted the structure’s back wall by a quarter of an inch, producing large cracks in the plaster. Though further inspections will be performed, it’s thought that the damage is primarily to the plaster, and not to the structure. Some hairline cracks in the wall as seen from the outside, however, may have been caused by the earthquake; it’s unclear how significant those cracks may be to the structural integrity of the house.
Arlington House was already in the midst of a multi-stage rehabilitation project when the earthquake hit. The National Park Service will try to add earthquake repairs to an existing contract to rehabilitate the home’s interior plaster and paint, according to a park ranger. The work likely wouldn’t be complete until the end of March, at the earliest, we’re told.
In addition to being a national memorial and a tourist destination, Arlington House also serves as the inspiration for the Arlington County seal.
Musical Moves to New Theater — The Arlington Players are moving next month’s production of Nine to the Kenmore Middle School auditorium. Earthquake damage was discovered earlier this month at the musical’s original venue, the Thomas Jefferson Community Theater. [Sun Gazette]
Roosevelt Island Access From D.C.? — Greater Greater Washington argues that ferry service or bridge should be established/built from the Georgetown waterfront to Roosevelt Island. Why? “Roosevelt Island is in the District of Columbia, yet DC residents have to travel through Virginia via or along a highway to get to this fantastic and wild resource.” [Greater Greater Washington]
Metro Cell Phone Upgrades Behind Schedule — Metro is well behind schedule in providing cell phone service to all 47 of its underground rail stations. The agency had promised to add service to the 27 stations currently without cell phone infrastructure by last fall, but now says it’s not sure when the cell phone companies will complete the work necessary to provide the service. [Washington Examiner]
Car Runs Into Apartment Building — A car ran into an apartment building on Lee Highway over the weekend. The impact punched a big hole in the side of the brick building, located at 4343 Lee Highway in Waverly Hills. [WUSA9]
Chorus Performances Relocated — The Potomac Harmony Chorus has announced that its 35th anniversary show, Melodies, Memories and Magic, will be relocated to the Washington-Lee High School Auditorium from the earthquake-damaged Thomas Jefferson Community Theater. The all-woman chorus is also seeking a new venue for its December holiday concert and sing-along. [Potomac Harmony Chorus]
Merrick Holds Cash Advantage — As of Aug. 31, Republican state Senate candidate had a nearly 9-to-1 campaign cash advantage over Democrat Barbara Favola, who had just emerged victorious from a bruising primary. [Sun Gazette]
Julia’s Empanadas Now Served at Boccato — Clarendon’s Boccato Gelato (2719 Wilson Blvd) started serving D.C.’s famous Julia’s Empanadas over the weekend. The expanding eatery is planning to start serving baguettes and pastries from Arlington bread delivery service LeoNora Bakery on Oct. 1. [Clarendon Culture, Twitter]
Photo courtesy David Johnson
The stage area of the theater was damaged during the 5.8 magnitude earthquake that shook the D.C. area on Aug. 23, school officials say. The theater is expected to remain closed to all school and cultural events until Feb. 2012, while the damage is repaired
Numerous plays and other cultural events will be disrupted as a result of the closure. Among the scheduled events at the theater this fall are The Arlington Players production of Nine and the Encore Stage production of Robinhood.
“We sincerely regret the impact that this situation is having on the school and community including the Arlington County Cultural Resources programs, but the safety and well-being of everyone in our schools and community are our first priority,” Assistant Superintendent for Facilities and Operations Clarence Stukes said in a statement.
See the rest of the school system’s press release, after the jump.
We spotted some apparent earthquake damage in the Country Club Manor section of N. Arlington that may be at risk of getting worse if winds from Hurricane Irene are high enough.
The chimney of a stately brick house suffered significant structural damage near the top of the home’s roof after Tuesday’s quake. No word on whether it will be repaired or secured by Saturday evening, when the effects of the hurricane are expected to be felt in the metro D.C. area.
Aftershock Felt Across Region — A 4.5 magnitude aftershock jolted some residents out of bed just after 1:00 last night. The epicenter of the aftershock was five miles south of Mineral, Virginia, epicenter of Tuesday’s 5.8 magnitude quake. [U.S. Geological Survey]
Arlington Was Krupicka’s Waterloo — In the three-way primary battle for the 30th District state Senate seat, Alexandria City Councilman Rob Krupicka picked up nearly half of the vote in his hometown. But he garnered a measly 14 percent of the vote in Arlington, allowing Del. Adam Ebbin to press his local advantage and claim victory. “Ignore Arlington at your peril,” says the Sun Gazette. Meanwhile, Krupicka says his political career may be over. [Sun Gazette, Del Ray Patch]
Design Proposal for Ft. Myer Heights Playground — The design for a new playground in Ft. Myer Heights includes “nature-themed playground apparatuses,” “two picnic tables and a barbecue” and “a sand play area with a non-potable water pump.” [Ode Street Tribune]
The quake reportedly damaged the elevator shaft at the Columbia Knoll condominium building at 5111 8th Road S. in Columbia Heights West. The building’s two main elevators were cordoned off last night and the county Fire Marshal was on the scene to assess the damage.
Other than the damaged elevator shaft, however, no other major structural damage has been reported in Arlington.
Post-Earthquake Safety Tips — Arlington County is advising residents to call a structural engineer if they find cracks in their brick facades or chimneys following yesterday’s earthquake. [Arlington County]
Favola/Areizaga-Soto Primary By the Numbers — Just over 10,000 people voted in yesterday’s 31st District state Senate primary between Barbara Favola and Jaime Areizaga-Soto, out of 133,577 active registered voters in the district. More than $538,500 had been spent on the race as of Aug. 10. In other words, candidates ended up spending more than $53 for every resident who bothered to cast a vote in the race.
Arlington Confusion — In case you were wondering, there are 21 different localities in the United States called ‘Arlington,’ in states like Texas, Massachusetts, South Dakota, Vermont and New York. [Falls Church News-Press]
Hotel Hosts ‘Top Dog’ Contest — The new Residence Inn Arlington Capital View in Crystal City is holding a contest to find a “doggie mascot” for the hotel. The winner of the contest will be selected at an event on Oct. 6 by a panel of judges including “Arlington County K-9 division, veterinarians, doggie trainers and… Fox 5 Anchor Steve Chenevey.” Entrants need to include a photo of their pooch, his or her name, age, breed and best trick, and a $25 donation to the Washington Humane Society. [Marketwire, Residence Inn]
Flickr pool photo by Divaknevil
Voting in Arlington is proceeding as normal, despite today’s earthquake.
All voting centers are open, according to county elections officials, but voting has been moved outside at the George Mason University voting center due to the university’s decision to close all of its buildings. Some voting centers were briefly evacuated after the quake, but polls will close at 7:00 p.m. as scheduled.
“We should be fine… there have been no reports of any issues at all,” said Arlington County Registrar Linda Lindberg. She noted that the only people calling to ask about keeping the polls open later have been the candidates themselves.
Lindberg said overall turnout is still estimated to be about 7 to 10 percent of active registered voters.
“Turnout is about what we’ve expected so far,” she said.
According to Lindberg, turnout is expected to be higher in the 31st state Senate District, the battleground of a contentious Democratic primary.