Garbage Truck Crash — Among a number of other potentially weather-related crashes this morning, a garbage truck ran into a utility pole on the 4600 block of 27th Street N., near Marymount University. Dominion crews responded to the scene for a report of downed power lines. No injuries were reported.
Four Mile Run Valley Meeting Cancelled — A meeting of the Four Mile Run Valley Working Group, scheduled for tonight, has been cancelled. The cancellation is due to county staff reviewing “key pieces of the 4MRV transportation analysis,” the county wrote. “Staff will provide an update on the process schedule and timeline at the next scheduled meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 6.” [Arlington County]
Lee Highway Planning Moving Forward — “Funded with two county grants, donations and sponsorships, the Lee Highway Alliance is now back on the front burner of Arlington’s planning agenda, said county board Chairman Katie Cristol, who promised forward movement in the next couple of months.” Meanwhile, businesses along Lee Highway are generally supportive of redevelopment, according to the alliance. [Falls Church News-Press]
ACFD Helps Battle Fairfax Fire — Arlington County firefighters assisted Fairfax County on an apartment fire near Tysons Corner early this morning. About 34 residents were displaced by the fire. [Twitter, Twitter]
Photo courtesy Dennis Dimick
Ice Training for ACFD Water Rescue Team — While you were enjoying your weekend, snug in your warm home amid 10 degree weather, the Arlington County Fire Department’s water rescue team was using a chainsaw to cut holes in the ice on the Potomac and then jumping in. [Washington Post]
Freezing Rain Still Expected Tonight — A Winter Weather Advisory remains in effect tonight, as forecasters expect freezing rain to fall this afternoon and potentially make for a very messy evening commute. [Capital Weather Gang, Twitter]
Civic Federation Seeking County Event Help — The Arlington County Civic Federation is asking county government to help make it more affordable for civic associations to hold events on county property. Currently, there are insurance requirements that eat into civic associations’ meager budgets. [InsideNova]
Metro Proposes Refunds for Delays — “Under the proposal, riders would receive an automatic credit on their SmarTrip card if their trip is delayed by 15 minutes or more. Staff will ask Metro’s board to approve the change this week… The refunds would only be given during the weekday rush period.” [NBC Washington]
Crystal City Startup Scores $3 Million — Stardog Union, a “Enterprise Knowledge Graph startup” based in Crystal City, has added $3 million to its Series A venture funding round. The funding will be used for “marketing, sales and speeding up product development.” [Technically DC]
Notable Local Runner Publishes Novel — “Arlington marathon champion Jay Jacob Wind has published his first novel, a techno-thriller entitled The Man Who Stole the Sun, available now on Amazon Kindle and hand-printed by mail-order. ‘It is the first marathon terror fiction novel, based on the Marine Corps Marathon though Washington, DC, since the very real Boston Marathon bombing nearly five years ago, in April, 2013,’ Wind said.” [PRNewswire]
Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman
Fresh off a rather delicate ring removal last week, the crew of ACFD’s Rescue 104 used their specialized tools to cut a ring from a woman’s finger yesterday morning.
Firefighters were called to the emergency room of Virginia Hospital Center on New Year’s Day for an elderly woman whose finger was swollen around her ring. Medical personnel were unable to slide it off, so Rescue 104 was called.
Firefighters used a grinding tool and shielding devices to remove the ring and save the woman’s finger without further injury, WTOP reported.
The Arlington County Fire Department tweeted a post-removal finger, which was approved for publication by the patient “for public awareness.”
Tools from Rescue 104 were used to remove a ring from a patients hand this morning. Never attempt to pull a ring off your finger forcefully, as it could cause a Ring Avulsion (Google for more info).
Patient approved photo release for public awareness. pic.twitter.com/nxNLNZj8od
— Arlington Fire (@ArlingtonVaFD) January 1, 2018
Frigid Weather Makes Firefighting More Difficult — The persistently cold weather may be responsible for a recent spike in structure fire calls. Meanwhile, the deep freeze is “taking [firefighters’] biggest weapon, water, and using it against them.” [WJLA]
Beyer Blasts Trump Tweet — Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) tweeted the following this morning in response to a tweet from President Trump: “Trump opens 2018 with calls for prosecution of his political enemies… Every Member of Congress swore an oath to defend the Constitution. Protecting rule of law must not be partisan.” [Twitter]
Grassley Tweets About Local TV — Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) is not a fan of the History Channel’s dearth of shows about history. He tweeted the following over the weekend after apparently watching public television channel WHUT: “Just watched history on An American Experience abt Thomas Edison the inventor Thx Comcast on Arlington Va Channel 19 DO U GET MESSAGE HISTORY CHANNEL???” [Twitter]
Pacers Owner Keeps Marathon Streak Alive — Yorktown High School alum, Pace the Nation host and Pacers Running owner Chris Farley has kept his two-decade streak of running a sub-three-hour marathon every year alive. He did so by completing a hastily-organized but official 26.2 mile course around Hains Point in 2:52:53 on Friday. [Washington Post]
ACFD Reminding Residents to Close the Door — The Arlington County Fire Department is reminding residents to sleep with their bedroom doors closed and to close doors behind them in the event of a fire, to help prevent flames from spreading. [Twitter]
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Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf
You often hear about the heroics of Arlington’s bravest when there’s a house fire or a bad car wreck. But you don’t hear about the little things — the “public service” calls to help vulnerable residents or the medical calls where people are in pain from all manner of cringeworthy afflictions.
One such incident occurred last night.
A rescue company was called to Virginia Hospital Center around 10:45 p.m. to assist with the removal of a ring that was around a man’s genitals. The ring was causing “extreme swelling” and medical personnel were unable to get it off on their own, according to scanner traffic.
The jewelry was removed and the patient was in “good condition” following the removal, but a fire department spokesman brushed it off as all in a day’s work.
“It’s nothing exciting,” said Capt. Ben O’Bryant. “Our Rescues have tools for getting body parts out of machinery and other things so when the ER can’t get a ring off, they call Rescue 104 to help them out.”
Arlington County’s bomb squad investigated a suspicious package near Reagan National Airport early Thursday afternoon.
The suspicious package was located in the arrivals area, near Baggage Claim 9. Traffic in the area was temporarily halted while the bomb squad investigated.
The package has since been determined to not be hazardous and the area around it reopened.
Out of an abundance of caution, Police investigated and cleared a suspicious bag near Baggage Claim 9. Airport operations were unimpacted and all areas of the arrivals level have been reopened.
— Reagan Airport (@Reagan_Airport) December 28, 2017
ACFD Responds to Overturned Truck — Rescue crews responded to the intersection of George Mason Drive and 27th Street N., in the Yorktown neighborhood, just before 6:30 last night for a crash involving an overturned vehicle. At least two vehicles, including a minivan, and a pickup truck that overturned, were involved. [Twitter]
Apartment Fire in Ashton Heights — Firefighters quickly extinguished a small fire in the storage room of an apartment building in Ashton Heights yesterday afternoon. The fire happened on the 500 block of N. Piedmont Street and was “kept small by sprinklers.” [Twitter]
I-66 Tolls Not as Bad as You Might Think — According to VDOT, tolls on the first day of HOT lanes on I-66 were, on average, not too bad: “The average round-trip toll price was $14.50, with the average morning toll paid of $10.70 and average afternoon toll paid of $3.80. This average toll rate is lower than the estimated average toll rate of $17.00 round-trip discussed in 2015.” Also, Friday morning’s tolls were lower than those of previous days. [VDOT, Washington Post]
Kaspersky Closes Arlington Office — Russian cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Labs has closed its government sales office in Arlington as a result of the government banning use of Kaspersky antivirus software on federal computers. The company “came under tough US scrutiny after US officials became concerned about the company’s links to the Russian government.” [Buzzfeed]
Flickr pool photo by Michael Coffman
A fire on the eve of Thanksgiving has damaged well-known local restaurant Caribbean Grill.
The fire broke out around 11 p.m. inside the restaurant at 5183 Lee Highway, according to fire officials. It was “caused by hot coals that fell out of [a] grill on to combustibles nearby.”
A large fire response was dispatched, but the fire was quickly extinguished and only minor damage — including smoke damage — was reported. No one was injured. The restaurant filled with smoke and firefighters remained on scene to ventilate the structure afterward.
— Arlington Fire (@ArlingtonVaFD) November 23, 2017
A few more pics from tonight’s restaurant fire. No injuries. Fire Marshals are investigating. pic.twitter.com/EK2qXxyjBh
— Arlington Fire (@ArlingtonVaFD) November 23, 2017
Wednesday night was a busy night for the Arlington County Fire Department. Around 7 p.m. last night, firefighters battled a brush fire in the woods on the 3000 block of N. Quincy Street, in the Dover Crystal neighborhood.
A fire department spokesman estimated that the fire, which was extinguished without incident, scorched about 400 square feet of woodlands.
#Breaking: Engine 103 & FM 113 were on scene of a brush fire in the 3000 block of N Quincy St. The 🔥 was extinguished & there was no extension into any dwellings. #AlwaysHere4U pic.twitter.com/NdZKvZyfG9
— Arlington Fire (@ArlingtonVaFD) November 23, 2017
Lost Hikers Found Near Chain Bridge — Two men who had apparently been hiking along the Potomac River got lost and had to call emergency dispatchers after one of them fell and hurt himself. The call came in around 2:30 a.m. this morning. Arlington, Fairfax County, D.C. and U.S. Park Police units helped to search for the men — Fairfax used its police helicopter — and eventually they were found and transported to the hospital. [WUSA 9]
Video: ACFD Responds to FC Vehicle Fire — A minivan caught on fire in Falls Church over the weekend and a camera was rolling as Arlington County firefighters arrived to extinguish the blaze. [Twitter]
Holiday Decorations Going Up — Around Clarendon yesterday — and perhaps in other parts of the county as well — lights, window paintings and other festive decorations were being put up in anticipation of the holiday season. [Instagram]
Arlington Mill Gym Floor Installed — The new gym floor has been installed and is ready to use at the Arlington Mill Community Center. The gym’s previous floor had to be removed due to water damage stemming from a March snow storm. [Twitter]
County Announces Human Rights Award Winners — Among the recipients of Arlington County’s 2017 James B. Hunter Award winners are: Signature Theatre’s Eric Schaeffer; the Building Bridges community initiative; Saint George’s Episcopal Church and its refugee advocacy; Café Sazón and its support of immigrant rights; and Freddie’s Beach Bar in Crystal City, which is considered the only gay bar in Northern Virginia. [Arlington County]
Reporter Accused of Unwanted Advances in Local Bar — New York Times reporter Glenn Thrush has been suspended following accusations that during his time at Arlington-based Politico, he made unwanted sexual advances at young, female colleagues while drinking at a Rosslyn bar. [Vox]
H-B Woodlawn Secondary Program students were evacuated earlier today (Thursday) after a small fire in a science lab.
The Arlington County Fire Department responded to the school at 4100 Vacation Lane just after 12 p.m. An Arlington Public Schools spokesman said some paper caught on fire during an experiment in the lab.
The fire was quickly put out by the teacher before firefighters arrived, with students evacuated as a precaution. A fire department spokesman said firefighters monitored the air and checked for hazards, but no issues were found. The smoke cleared naturally, the spokesman said.
There were no injuries and there was only minor damage to the equipment being used. Students returned to classes soon after.
— Arlington Fire (@ArlingtonVaFD) October 26, 2017
From approximately 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., the northbound lanes of S. George Mason Drive will be closed between Columbia Pike and Arlington Blvd (Route 50) to accommodate the exercise.
“Realistic training is critical to enhancing the police department’s capabilities to serve and protect the community to the best of our ability,” organizers wrote. “Those traveling in the area can expect to see an increase in public safety presence but are reminded that this is a training exercise only.”
Two Arlington Men Finish in MCM Top 3 — Arlington residents Desta Morkama and Kieran O’Connor finished first and third, respectively, in the 42nd Marine Corps Marathon yesterday. Al Richmond, the last remaining “Groundpounder” who has run every MCM since it started, kept his streak alive with a 6:48.35 finish. The race, which begins and ends in Arlington, had its start delayed by 10 minutes due to a suspicious package investigation. [RunWashington, Washington Post, NBC Washington]
No Major Incidents at MCM — Other than the short starting delay, no major incidents were reported at this year’s Marine Corps Marathon. Within the county, Arlington law enforcement and the fire department maintained a heavy presence along the course, along with Virginia State Police and other agencies. Arlington school buses were parked at key intersections to prevent anyone from driving onto the course. [Twitter, Facebook, Twitter]
Pedestrian Killed on Memorial Bridge — The Arlington Memorial Bridge was closed for more than three hours Saturday morning after a 47-year-old man was struck and killed by a car on the bridge. The driver remained on scene. Police are seeking additional information about the crash from witnesses. [NBC Washington]
Board Approves Library Renovation Project — Arlington Central Library will be getting $1.7 million in renovations, thanks in large part to a private donation. The Arlington County Board approved the project at its Saturday meeting. Per a press release, the plans include “new meeting rooms, an updated ‘tech-central’ area and a multi-purpose maker lab, a community-based space where people can share knowledge and tools to create together.” [Arlington County]
Roosevelt Memorial Anniversary Event — The National Park Service is holding a family-friendly event on Sunday, Oct. 29 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the dedication of the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial on Roosevelt Island. The event will feature food including fried chicken and Indian pudding; an address from the former president’s great-grandson, Tweed Roosevelt; a Teddy Roosevelt re-enactor; and a “Teddy Bear story time.” Shuttles will be available from the Pentagon parking lot. [InsideNova]
Library to Launch New Digital Collection — “Arlington Public Library will launch a new digital collection of Arlington women and their achievements in March 2018. The Center for Local History’s (CLH) Community Archives contains many collections pertaining to women’s history and consequently the history of Arlington County.” [Arlington County]
(Updated at 5:10 p.m.) The Arlington County Fire Department is celebrating Fire Prevention Week with its second department-wide open house this Saturday (October 14).
All 10 county fire stations will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and have activities and information on fire safety. Visitors can also climb the trucks, tour the stations and meet crews on duty.
For Fire Prevention Week, which began on Monday, ACFD had the slogan “Every Second Counts: Plan 2 Ways Out!” to remind residents to plan a quick escape after their smoke alarm sounds. (Incidentally earlier this week a man nearly died in a house fire in Ashton Heights.)
ACFD had the following advice for homeowners to stay safe in a fire.
- “Draw a map of your home with all members of your household, marking two exits from each room and a path to the outside from each exit.”
- “Practice your home fire drill twice a year. Conduct one at night and one during the day with everyone in your home and practice using different ways out.”
- “Teach children how to escape on their own in case you can’t help them.”
- “Make sure the number of your home is clearly marked on the outside and easy for the fire department to find.”
- “Close doors behind you as you leave to slow the spread of smoke, heat and flames.”
- “Once you get outside, stay outside. Never go back inside a burning building.”
Arson Not Suspected in Ashton Heights Blaze — The house fire that critically injured an occupant of a house on N. Ivy Street in Ashton Heights “doesn’t appear to be malicious,” says the Arlington County Fire Department. The blaze caused about $300,000 in damage to the home. [Twitter]
Homes in Arlington Get Pricier — “A total of 237 properties went to closing in September, up 8.7 percent from the 218 transactions a year before… With the increase in sales came a nearly identical hike in average sales price, which was up 8.8 percent to $640,441.” [InsideNova]
Police: Arlington Woman Left Stroller in Middle of Road — “A 19-year-old Arlington woman was arrested on Sunday after she allegedly left an infant in a stroller in the middle of the road in Woodbridge while she bit and assaulted an acquaintance during an argument.” [Prince William Times]
Lidl Struggling to Break Into U.S. Market — Lidl, the German grocery chain with its U.S. headquarters in Crystal City, is reportedly pulling out of a lease deal in Prince George’s County, Md. as it struggles to gain market share in the U.S. [Washington Business Journal]
Lost Dog Taking in Shelter Pets from Puerto Rico — The Arlington-based Lost Dog and Cat Rescue Foundation is among the local organizations taking in shelter pets from hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico. [WJLA]
Grohl References ‘Mario’s Pizza’ at D.C. Show — Northern Virginia native Dave Grohl said “we’re all going to Mario’s Pizza” while wrapping up a Foo Fighters performance at The Anthem in D.C. last night. The band will headline the venue’s grand opening tonight. [Twitter]
— ArlingtonVA (@ArlingtonVA) October 10, 2017
Funding for schools, Metro and public safety officials weigh heavily as Arlington County’s initial budget conversations continue.
In an infographic released yesterday (Tuesday) ahead of more public roundtables to discuss the FY 2019 budget, county staff highlighted how the county spends its money and the challenges ahead.
According to the data, the biggest expense in the county’s operating budget is Arlington Public Schools, which is allocated $490.2 million by the county, or 39 percent of its budget. Human services and public safety are second and third, around $140 million each, or 11 percent.
Among the challenges ahead, staff said APS enrollment has grown by 850 students a year for the last five years, and it takes up almost all of the $510 million raised from real estate taxes on homes, condos and apartments.
And with Metro needing more money and an office vacancy rate of 17.8 percent, which keeps commercial real estate revenue down, county leaders are expecting some tight fiscal times and hard budgetary decisions.
A number of groups will be looking to influence county leaders’ thinking during the budget discussion. Among them is IAFF Local 2800, the Arlington Professional Firefighters and Paramedics Association.
In a tweet Tuesday, the group said firefighters, paramedics and police officers need a market adjustment to their salaries — a pay rise to keep up with inflation and the rising cost of living — to “remain competitive.” The last adjustment was in 2013.
According to figures provided to ARLnow.com by IAFF Local 2800, starting pay for county firefighters is 20 percent below the regional average and only $2 more per hour than the county’s minimum wage.
Since the last “market adjustment,” the group said, inflation in the region is up almost 5 percent, the cost of family HMO health insurance for county employees has increased over 45 percent, and the cost for HMO coverage for retirees and their spouses has increased over 55 percent.
Local 2800 added that new firefighters will earn 12 percent less per hour over a 20-year career compared to their peers in Fairfax, Prince William, Prince George’s and Montgomery Counties, the City of Alexandria and D.C.
“Arlington invests a tremendous amount of money in hiring, training and developing its firefighters,” said Brian Lynch, President of Local 2800. “Every time a firefighter leaves the department for another opportunity or does not complete their probationary period, we consider this a loss of an investment in human capital. If the department’s physical capital, vehicles, tools etc. were being lost the way we are losing our people, it would be considered common sense to try to stop the losses. There is not only a moral imperative to fairly compensate those who risk their lives to protect the community, there is also a fiscal imperative.”