Fairlington to Trap Raccoons — Following two well-publicized raccoon attacks in the past week, the Fairlington Villages condo association is taking action. In a letter to residents, the association says its Board of Directors has “authorized management to engage a wild animal control contractor to begin a program of trapping raccoons on the property.”
County Moves Forward on Fairfax Drive Ownership — “Arlington County wants to own State Route 237 (Fairfax Drive/10th St. North) from roughly Ballston to Courthouse. The County Board voted at its July 18, 2017 meeting to request that the Commonwealth transfer ownership of the stretch of road to Arlington.” [Arlington County]
Arlington Mulls Lee Highway Ownership — Now that it owns Columbia Pike and is requesting ownership of Fairfax Drive, should Arlington also consider asking VDOT for ownership of Lee Highway? “It’s an intriguing idea,” said one County Board member. [InsideNova]
Darbys Dish on Their Split — Even friends of Real Housewives of Potomac castmates Ashley and Michael Darby might not have suspected that the couple had split up before revealing it on a RHOP reunion show. The pair, who jointly own Oz restaurant in Clarendon, “still spend time together socially” but as of February both have separate apartments in Arlington. [Bravo]
Road Closures for 5K Race in Crystal City — The annual Crystal City Twilighter 5K race will shut down parts of Crystal Drive, Long Bridge Drive and other adjacent roads Saturday night. [Arlington County]
Photo courtesy “ARLnow Reader”
A week after a woman was attacked by a raccoon, requiring 87 stitches, another attack happened in Fairlington this morning, according to the Animal Welfare League of Arlington.
The incident happened on the 4800 block of 28th Street S., AWLA said. That’s the same block as yet another raccoon attack last year.
On a neighborhood Facebook page, the victim’s wife said he was attacked after walking out of his house and, unlike the last week’s attack, no pets were involved.
“One bit him on the leg and the other attempted to get in the house,” the woman said. “Rabies shots required and X-ray of fingers.”
Another neighbor said the attack happened just before 6 a.m.
Animal control officers were unable to locate the raccoons involved in the attack, according to Chief Animal Control Officer Jennifer Toussaint. AWLA is stepping up its response to the attacks, she said via email.
We are actively working on a multifaceted approach to reducing the risk to the public as well as preventing future incidents as quickly as possible. We have reached out to the neighboring animal control agency to quicken potential response times to future incidents. We have contacted a biologist with the VA State Department of Game and Inland Fisheries to access raccoon population management and discuss the most recent incidents and attacks. Animal control formally presented to the Fairlington Villages community and property management last year, with the assistance of the Humane Society of the United States-Urban Wildlife Management, to consider alternative trash policies and other precautionary measures to aid in preventing these types of incidents from occurring while reducing the raccoon population.
It is important that the community stay alert, and that they remove any attractants around their properties including–standing water, trash, and bird feeders. Dogs and domestic pets should be kept inside or on leash at all times. Do not feed or approach any wild, stray, or feral animals, even if they appear friendly or injured. Please make sure your dogs and cats are up-to-date on their rabies vaccinations.
Animal control requests that any sightings of raccoons out in the common areas of this community or encroaching on the property in any way be reported immediately at 703-931-9241. Raccoons are known to be carriers of rabies as well as other diseases so any interaction with them (person or pet) should be reported immediately to Arlington County Animal Control. Animal Control is reachable directly 24/7-365 days a year at 703-931-9241.
On the neighborhood Facebook page, a few residents have started calling for the raccoons to be trapped and relocated or shot, though both are illegal. Others say the neighborhood’s condominium associations should reconsider their trash policies.
The attack happened Wednesday night as the woman was on her patio with her dog. A neighbor described the woman “screaming and flailing around,” then “spraying down the blood stains on her patio” the next day, with a bandaged foot and arm.
This latest incident follows two other bloody raccoon attacks last year, which set a Facebook page for Fairlington residents abuzz. Now, residents are calling Fairlington’s trash policies into question.
Rather than using trash cans, condo association rules call for Fairlington residents to put trash bags out in front of their buildings in the mornings, for pick up 6 days a week. The trash is picked up later in the morning, but often after birds, squirrels and other critters (rarely raccoons, which are nocturnal) start clawing at the food inside the bags, spreading the contents on the ground. And that’s not to mention the times when residents heading out of town or simply flaunting condo rules will put trash out at night, an almost sure-fire way to ensure wildlife gets to it before the trash collectors.
“The Arlington Animal Welfare League says they will not attempt to remove the raccoon because there is an underlying problem in our neighborhood related to the trash,” said a neighbor of the woman who was attacked last week, in a widely-discussed Facebook post. “No other part of Arlington has as many raccoons as our lovely Fairlington. To address the problem, the Head of Animal Control suggested closed trash cans that could still be picked up daily, and could be tasteful and wooden and raccoon proof.”
“I think this is something we should advocate for,” the neighbor continued. “Until the trash situation is sorted out, the raccoon population will remain high, most likely leading to more attacks.”
In a letter from the Fairlington Villages condominium association, one of several in the larger Fairlington neighborhood, general manager Colin Horner blamed habitat loss and said residents should not feed birds nor feed their pets outside.
“Wild animals are very bold these days. This is because their territories are shrinking,” Horner wrote. “Wooded areas where wildlife resides are being destroyed to make way for human expansion. As a result, animals are being forced out into the open to search for food and lodging.”
Horner urged residents to only put out trash between 6-9 a.m., saying that “the availability of food from trash left out overnight has been singled out as a primary cause for the increase in the raccoon population,” but added that “a review of the trash policy is a current item on the Board agenda.”
The Animal Welfare League of Arlington, meanwhile, said it is “actively managing this case.”
“Animal control officers were unable to the locate the suspect raccoon,” said Chief Animal Control Officer Jennifer Toussaint. “We are actively managing this case and ask that anyone with direct knowledge relating to this incident or anyone who sees a raccoon acting abnormally or coming close to residences in this area contact animal control immediately at 703-931-9241.”
Photo (top) courtesy Lilia Ward via Facebook
(Updated 2 p.m.) Some changes are coming to several Metrobus routes through Arlington County next year, as the county prepares for the Columbia Pike “Premium Transit Network.”
At a work session with the Arlington County Board on Thursday, county staff put forward a plan that would end seven lines that run through Arlington in FY 2019, which begins on July 1, 2018, and save the county $5.8 million:
- The 4A between Seven Corners and Rosslyn
- The 16B, E and P along Columbia Pike
- The 16G, H, K along Columbia Pike
A spokesman for the county’s Department of Environmental Services said the changes along the Pike would help make way for the so-called “Premium Transit Network,” which is projected to cost $6.9 million and launch next summer after delays. The various routes would be consolidated under that network, which the spokesman said would “result in more bus service in the county, not less.”
The new bus system was put together after the Columbia Pike Streetcar project was cancelled in 2014, with Board members at the time promising a system that would be just as good, if not better.
To try and lessen the impact of the service cuts, staff proposed improving the frequency and hours of the 4B that largely overlaps the 4A, and similar efforts for the 16A on Columbia Pike. Those improvements would cost just under $850,000.
The 4B would then be discontinued as a Metrobus route in FY 2020, saving the county $1.7 million, and made an ART route.
The 16X service from Columbia Pike to Federal Triangle in D.C. via the Pentagon would have its hours improved, at a cost of $3.2 million to county coffers. The 15K and 15L routes between the East Falls Church and Rosslyn Metro stations would also be realigned.
All told, the various service reductions and increases will cost the county just over $2.6 million more in its Metrobus subsidy, bringing that figure to $40.5 million in FY 2019.
The possibility also exists that the 22A, B and C routes through Barcroft and South Fairlington could be converted into locally-run ART routes. That would save $2.4 million in the county’s Metrobus subsidy, but would require funds to be made available through ART instead.
Cuts had been planned for FY 2018 under the county’s Transit Development Plan approved last year, but were pushed off to FY 2019. The county did not cut any Metrobus routes for FY 2018, and improved the frequency of the 2A route between the Ballston and Dunn Loring Metro stations.
That came in part due to funding from the Virginia Department of Transportation’s “Transform 66” project to widen I-66 from the Dulles Connector Road to the Fairfax Drive exit in Ballston.
Metro staff will analyze the actual costs and savings from the various changes, and bring forward a proposal to the agency’s board of directors. The board would then take public comment on any proposed changes region-wide before making a decision next year.
Image via county staff presentation
A Fairlington woman is honoring the anniversary of her sister’s passing in a unique way.
Jennifer Pearce lost her sister Nicole seven years ago in a car crash caused by drowsy driving. The driver of the car Nicole was in fell asleep and ran off the side of the road in West Virginia. Nicole, who was wearing her seat belt, died in the hospital.
To honor her memory, Pearce — along with family and friends — hid over a hundred smiley-face painted rocks around Fairlington last night, and hundreds more around the D.C. area and beyond.
Pearce says raising awareness about drowsy driving has become a life mission.
“We have been very proactive about trying to get awareness awareness, my family will go to 95 and different rest stops and hand out coffee,” said Pearce. “I started doing this because the days just suck. My sister was such a bright and shiny happy person and it was so counter intuitive to try and live that way when your heart was broken.”
According to a study by the Governors Highway Safety Association, there are an estimated 6,400 deaths per year from people nodding off while driving, with more than 50 percent of drowsy driving crashes involving drivers who are 25 years old or younger.
For the past four years, Jennifer has given away small tokens on her sister’s birthday.
“We started with filling up mylar balloons and we would just hand them out to strangers. Smiley faces were her thing and it’s become sort of a holiday that’s brought back her spirit.”
She gave away smiley face balloons because smiley faces were Nicole’s favorite. This year she’s doing something different and has painted about 700 smiley face rocks that have been hidden all over the D.C. area — “and way beyond including Paris, South America and many other states and cities,” she said in a Facebook post.
Many were placed throughout north and south Fairlington, where Pearce lives.
“I hid a hundred rocks in Fairlington, I tried to hide some that were a little easier for kids, there were some I randomly put on car door handles, I hid some in the crevices of tree bases and near the pools, the tennis courts, the dog park, they’re kind of everywhere,” said Pearce.
“My staff is out at the zoo today and we’re going to Georgetown for lunch so they’ll be there. Whoever finds them, what they do with them or why they might need them that day is totally between them and the universe.”
If you happen to come across one of the smiley face rocks, comment on Nicole’s Facebook post with a picture of it.
More information about Nicole and the impact of drowsy driving can be found on a website created in her memory.
But Arlington now has something much classier: French Bread Squirrel.
This ambitious squirrel was spotted in Fairlington this morning, deftly scaling a fence and jumping onto a tree, all while hanging on to a piece of French bread about twice its size.
After the video stopped rolling the squirrel cleverly hid its prize in the tree branches and retreated to a safe distance to watch for any would-be bread thieves.
The video quickly became a sensation after we posted it on our Facebook page.
“Here in Arlington, our squirrels like a nice French baguette,” said one commenter. “That’s how we roll in A-Town.”
Fairlington Named ‘Top Value Neighborhood’ — Fairlington and Shirlington are together the No. 3 “top value neighborhood” in the D.C. area, according to real estate website Trulia. No. 1 is University Park in Maryland and No. 2. is Kingman Park in D.C. [Curbed]
Market-Rate Affordable Housing Disappearing — In 2000 there were 19,740 homes in Arlington affordable to those making 60 percent of Area Median Income. That dropped by 86 percent, to 2,780 units, by the end of 2016. [Washington Business Journal]
Police Focused on Opioid Abuse — Yesterday the Arlington County Police Department “participated in a discussion on regional law enforcement efforts aimed at reducing the growing heroin/opiate epidemic.” There are at least three addiction treatment facilities in Arlington and ACPD “strongly encourages substances users and their family members to seek assistance.” [Arlington County]
Native Plants Return Thanks to Management of Invasives — “Native plants are on the comeback trail in Arlington – particularly along the W&OD Trail in Bluemont and Glencarlyn parks. Last month Dominion Energy mowed green space beneath powerlines along the trail, helping the County manage invasive plants like Japanese honeysuckle and multiflora rose.” [Arlington County]
Local Girl Featured on Today Show — Ellie McGinn, the 8-year-old Fairlington resident who’s battling a rare, degenerative disease, was featured on the Today Show on Tuesday. Ellie and her parents have been raising awareness and funds to search for a cure. [Today Show]
Tree Down on Glebe Road — A tree fell across N. Glebe Road this morning, blocking traffic between Chain Bridge and Military Road. Crews were able to clear the fallen tree and reopen the road by 7 a.m. [Twitter, Twitter]
Safety Changes for School Buses — Some Arlington school buses will be retrofitted over the summer with a brake interlock device, which prevents the parking brake from being disengaged before the brake pedal is pressed. The safety measure is being mandated statewide by the Virginia Department of Education. [InsideNova]
Car Break-in Spree Over Weekend — Yet another series of car break-ins was reported over the weekend. Police say more than 20 mostly unlocked vehicles were broken into. Police are reminding residents to lock their cars and to remove valuables from plain sight. [Twitter]
Dozens of homes in Fairlington are without water pressure this afternoon due to a water main break.
The break was first reported this morning along S. Abingdon Street, between 30th and 31st Street S. Arlington County crews are on scene making repairs, with water service expected to be restored by 8 p.m.
Only one lane of traffic is getting by the work on S. Abingdon Street, according to Arlington Alerts.
Last year Arlington Dept. of Environmental Services crews repaired 203 water main breaks in the county, the department said in a tweet, shortly before tweeting about the Fairlington incident.
Repairs expected to be complete by 8 pm, barring complications. Water service for 50-100 customers will be affected. #VaTraffic (end)
— Arlington DES (@ArlingtonDES) May 23, 2017
— Arlington DES (@ArlingtonDES) May 23, 2017
The suspect — or suspects — stole airbags from the “at least five” vehicles, which, according to a police spokeswoman, were all Hondas and Acuras.
The thefts were centered around 29th Street S., between S. Buchanan and Columbus Streets, and were reported to police Tuesday morning.
More from the crime report:
LARCENY FROM AUTO(Series), 2017-05170092, 4800 block of S. 29th Street. At approximately 9:06 a.m. on May 16, officers responded to the report of a series of larcenies from auto. Upon arrival, it was determined at least five vehicles were entered and airbags were stolen. There is no subject(s) description.
The rest of the weekly crime report, after the jump.
The projects have been advanced by a county committee via Arlington’s Neighborhood Conservation Program, which encourages neighborhoods to apply for funding for various types of local improvements.
The projects set for approval are:
- A new neighborhood sign for Long Branch Creek ($12,500)
- Street improvements and new streetlights along 31st Street S. in Fairlington, between S. Randolph and Woodrow Streets ($1.7 million)
- New streetlights on S. Oak, Ode and Orme Streets in Foxcroft Heights ($562,704)
- Intersection improvements along 2nd Street S. at S. Wayne, Uhle and Wise Streets in Penrose ($1.6 million)
- Street improvements along N. George Mason Drive between 11th Street N. and I-66 in Waycroft-Woodlawn ($1.4 million)
The County Board is expected to vote on the Neighborhood Conservation projects at its Saturday meeting. The measure also includes an additional $200,000 for the county’s “Missing Link Program,” which funds the construction of small stretches of new sidewalk to connect existing sidewalks.
Neighborhoods across the county are getting ready for Neighborhood Day, set to take place Saturday and feature a wide range of events and activities.
The day looks to bring together neighbors to strengthen bonds on blocks and across the county.
This year’s events are:
Jennie Dean Park Historical Markers Unveiling Ceremony
At noon, the park’s new historical markers will be unveiled, followed by a tour of Arlington Food Assistance Center’s new office at 2708 S Nelson Street.
Seventh Annual Turtle Trot 5K Race
A chip-timed 5K race at Bluemont Park on a certified course. The race begins at 10 a.m.
International Migratory Bird Day Festival
From 9-11 a.m., celebrate International Migratory Bird Day by learning about migratory birds such as hummingbirds and osprey with hands-on activities, games, crafts, bird walks and more. Meet at Lacey Woods Park Picnic Shelter, 1200 N. George Mason Drive.
Tuckahoe Home and Garden Tour
The self-guided Tuckahoe Home & Garden Tour showcases recently renovated Arlington homes that solve common space and design challenges through creative remodeling.
Fairlington Home and Garden Tour
Tour a variety of renovated homes and gardens in Fairlington Village. Tickets are $10 each and can be purchased in advance or on the day.
Remove Invasive Plants
Increase native species diversity by helping with the return of ferns and wildflowers, and the animals that depend on them, in areas once covered in destructive invasive plants. The Gulf Branch Nature Center will host the event from 2-4 p.m.
Tara-Leeway Heights Community Day
From 1-3 p.m. at Big Walnut Park, the Tara-Leeway Heights community will host an event complete with food vendors, games and more.
LBCCA Celebration and Movie Night Series Kick-Off
The Long Branch Creek Civic Association will bring the community together to celebrate from 5-9 p.m. at Troy Park. The event will include a moon bounce, games and activities, potluck dinner, snacks, beverages and an outdoor movie screening.
Ashton Heights Neighborhood Yard Sale
From 8 a.m.-noon, visit the Ashton Heights neighborhood for a community-wide yard sale.
(Updated at 9:30 p.m.) A large swath of South Arlington is experiencing low or no water pressure due to “several” water main breaks.
One major break happened on S. Dinwiddie Street, near the Arlington Mill Community Center, Monday evening.
As of 7 p.m., water was gushing from a buckle in the road, sending a torrent of water through an apartment parking lot and down to S. Arlington Mill Road below, where it was pooling, just above Four Mile Run. Tow crews, meanwhile, were moving cars from the side of Dinwiddie Street to give water crews room to work.
Police have closed a portion of Dinwiddie Street between Columbia Pike and 8th Road S. The community center closed just after 7:20 p.m. due to the water main break.
Residents of the Fairlington, Barcroft, Nauck and Columbia Forest neighborhoods have all been reporting widespread water pressure issues.
Officials say there are several water main breaks along the Columbia Pike corridor being attended to by county crews. An Arlington Dept. of Environmental Services sent ARLnow.com the following statement just after 7:30 p.m.
We learned within the past hour of several water main breaks in the Columbia Pike corridor and we’re receiving reports of low water pressure in portions of South Arlington. Crews have been dispatched and are working to fix the issue. Due to high call volume, our 24-hour emergency line, 703-228-6555, is down. At this time, I don’t have an estimated completion time or the number of impacted residents.
As of 8:30 p.m., water pressure had returned to near-normal in at least some areas.
— Dennis Dimick (@ddimick) April 25, 2017
UPDATE: A large water main break has been identified & isolated as the cause for multiple water pressure issues this evening (cont)
— Arlington DES (@ArlingtonDES) April 25, 2017
Est. time of completion is undetermined at this time. Water pressure should be back to normal for customers who were impacted. (cont)
— Arlington DES (@ArlingtonDES) April 25, 2017
If your water pressure is not back to normal by 10:00pm, please call 703-228-6555. (End)
— Arlington DES (@ArlingtonDES) April 25, 2017
(Updated at 10 a.m.) Despite some recent arrests, more than 200 vehicles have been broken into so far this year in Arlington, and the criminals do not appear to be slowing down.
According to Arlington police, there were 209 “larceny from auto” reports taken from Jan. 1 to April 3. Most of those crimes were likely preventable, requiring only that the owner of the vehicle lock their doors.
“The majority of our thefts from vehicles are from unlocked cars,” said Arlington County Police Department spokeswoman Ashley Savage. “Our investigations and witness accounts reveal that in the majority of cases, suspect(s) are seen walking up a street and trying door handles. They enter a vehicle that opens and bypass a vehicle that does not.”
“Locking your vehicle’s doors and removing valuables increases the likelihood that the suspect(s) will move on,” Savage added.
The latest series of car break-ins was reported in Fairlington yesterday morning. Officers located eight vehicles that had been entered and rummaged through.
“At approximately 8:05 a.m., police responded to the 4700 block of 30th Street S. for the report of items thrown about the ground,” Savage said. “The initial investigation suggests that the vehicles were unlocked. The investigation is ongoing.”
In addition to the public service announcement flyer above, ACPD has also issued the following tips for residents.
1. No matter if you park on a public street, in a driveway or garage take all valuables out of your vehicle. This includes keys, key fobs, purses, cash, credit cards and electronics. Don’t forget the valet key that comes with some vehicles.
2. Lock your doors and pull on the door handle to verify it’s locked. If a thief can get into a vehicle, they can also have access to a garage door opener and can gain access to your home. Always ensure the door between your garage and home is locked.
3. Call police if you see people looking into vehicles. The telltale sign that this has occurred in your neighborhood are open doors with the interior dome lights on. If you don’t see the perpetrator(s) but suspect some vehicles have been entered, call the non-emergency number at 703-558-2222. If you see a suspect in your vehicle, DO NOT APPROACH THEM and call 911 immediately.
Senators Tour Proposed Cemetery Expansion — The Army gave a group of U.S. senators a tour of a proposed expansion area for Arlington National Cemetery yesterday. The expansion, around the Air Force Memorial, would create space for 40,000 to 60,000 gravesites while requiring a realignment of Columbia Pike. Military officials are hoping to open the expansion by 2023 but a land swap with Arlington County and Virginia has still not been completed. [Stars and Stripes]
Arlington Man Killed in D.C. — An Arlington resident, 31-year-old Antwan Jones, was shot to death Tuesday afternoon while sitting in an BMW in Southeast D.C. A second man was injured in the shooting. [Washington Post]
History of Fairlington — Eighteen years ago yesterday Fairlington was added to the National Register of Historic Places. George Washington once owned land in the neighborhood, in the southwest corner of Arlington. It was also home to Civil War fortifications and a horse farm before being cleared to make way for 3,449 units of government housing for defense workers during World War II. [Facebook]
Midwestern Gothic Trailer — Signature Theater has released a cinematic trailer for its new “world premiere thriller with a musical twist,” Midwestern Gothic. The production runs through April 30. [YouTube]
HireEd Conference Coming to GMU — Sponsored — Graham Holdings Chair Donald Graham will be the keynote speaker at an event that will bring together entrepreneurs, business leaders, educators and nonprofits to discuss strategies to place students and graduates in jobs at all levels and solutions for businesses recruiting talent. It’s taking place Wednesday, April 5, 8 a.m.-1 p.m. at George Mason University Founders Hall, 3351 Fairfax Drive. Registration is free for students and $25 for general admission. [Arlington Economic Development]
Photo courtesy Fred Cochard