Update at 3:25 p.m. — The driver has successfully been rescued and is being transported to a local trauma center with serious injuries, per scanner traffic.
Earlier: Firefighters are working to rescue an injured driver after their car careened off the northbound GW Parkway and into a thick patch of woods, just north of Spout Run.
The vehicle is reported to be some 50 feet into the woods, on the embankment that leads down to the Potomac River. Firefighters had difficulty locating it after Arlington County’s dispatch center received a 911 call from the driver, who reported having a leg injury; the U.S. Park Police Eagle 1 helicopter helped to locate it, according to scanner traffic.
The driver is said to be conscious and alert as rescuers figure out the best way to get him or her to safety.
Fire boats from Alexandria and D.C. also in the area, ready to assist if rescuers need to bring the driver down to the river instead of up to the Parkway.
The northbound GW Parkway is closed in the area as a result of the emergency activity, according to an Arlington Alert. Google Maps shows heavy traffic on the GW Parkway backing up to the Roosevelt Bridge.
This is not the first time a car has driven well into the woods between the Parkway and the river. Earlier this year the Parkway was partially closed to allow for the removal of two crashed cars in the woods.
Map via Google Maps
(Updated at 1:45 p.m.) A man suffered injuries that are reported to be life-threatening after an on-the-job accident in the Old Glebe neighborhood.
Police and medics were dispatched to a large, under-construction home on the 4600 block of N. Dittmar Road around 1 p.m. Initial reports suggest a worker was carrying a ladder when it made contact with power lines, electrocuting him.
The man is being rushed to a local hospital by Arlington County Fire Department medics.
Police are now investigating the accident. A Dominion power crew is also being requested to the scene.
Blue and Orange Line Changes Today — “There will be no rail service between Rosslyn and Pentagon stations due to the ongoing investigation into Tuesday’s derailment between Rosslyn and Arlington Cemetery stations. Free shuttle buses will replace trains between Rosslyn, Arlington Cemetery, and Pentagon stations. Blue Line service will operate between Franconia-Springfield and Mt. Vernon Square stations only… Orange Line service will operate between Vienna and New Carrollton stations and Silver Line service will operate between Wiehle-Reston East and Largo Town Center stations, with single tracking between Clarendon and Foggy Bottom.” [WMATA]
Suspicious Object in Pentagon Parking Lot — From the Pentagon Force Protection Agency yesterday afternoon: “At approximately 6:30 a.m., a Pentagon Force Protection Agency (PFPA) Police unit on routine patrol in South parking when they observed a suspicious object. The area was immediately cordoned off, and vehicle and pedestrian traffic was blocked from the area. PFPA Hazardous Device Unit responded and the object was rendered safely at about 6:50 a.m. The all clear was given at 7:35 a.m… There is no threat to the Pentagon and surrounding area. The incident is under further investigation.” [Twitter, Twitter]
Arlingtonian Swims Around Manhattan — “What’s that popular phrase often given as the reason climbers attempt to scale Mount Everest: ‘Because it is there.’ That’s pretty much the same explanation Andie Nelson gave, in addition to being a new challenge, for successfully completing the 28.5-mile 20 Bridges Manhattan Swim around the famous New York City island-borough on Aug. 24. It was the first time the Arlington resident attempted the swim.” [Sun Gazette]
Pair Face Drug, Robbery Charges — “800 block of S. Frederick Street. At approximately 5:43 p.m. on October 10, police were dispatched to the report of a burglary just occurred. Based upon information provided by dispatch and witnesses in the area, a lookout was broadcast and two of the three suspects were located and taken into custody without incident. The investigation determined that the three known suspects allegedly forced entry into the victim’s apartment and physically assaulted her before stealing two cell phones and fleeing the scene on foot. During a search of the two suspects incident to arrest, items consistent with drug paraphernalia were recovered.” [ACPD]
Clarendon Road Closure Today — From the Arlington Dept. of Environmental Services: “Wednesday 9am – 1pm: Temporary closure of EB Washington Blvd between N Kirkwood and Wilson Blvd for roadway infrastructure. Expect detour at Kirkwood to 10th St North, then to Wilson. WB Washington Blvd open but expect delays.” [Twitter]
Volunteer to Remove Trail Bumps — From Friends of the Mount Vernon Trail: “Tired of those bumps on the trail? Volunteer to help us fix them. Volunteer to fix the bumps near Memorial Bridge on 10/16.” [Twitter, Eventbrite]
Video Tour of Local Fire Station — From the Arlington County Fire Department: “Since COVID prevented us from opening up our fire stations to tours during fire prevention week, we hope our community enjoys this video tour of Fire Station 5 given by the members assigned there on C Shift.” [Twitter, YouTube]
Inner Ear Records Its Last Track — “For the neighbors who first pushed for an arts district, it’s a cruel consequence of their idea — particularly because they wanted to complement, not end, Zientara’s longtime presence on South Oakland Street… ‘Losing a small, yet significant, arts-related business is antithetical to this vision,’ Robin Stombler, acting president of the Green Valley Civic Association, wrote in a letter about Inner Ear to county lawmakers earlier this year.” [Washington Post]
ACFD Rescues Worker in Ballston — “Our Technical Rescue Team responded for an injured individual located several stories below street level. Utilizing a crane on-site for access, the team packaged the individual into a stokes basket to bring topside to an ambulance for transport to an area hospital.” [Twitter]
APS Hires New Head of HR — “The Arlington School Board has appointed Dr. Dashan Turner as the new Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources. Dr. Turner is currently the Superintendent of Colonial Beach Public Schools (CBPS). Dr. Turner brings 20 years of experience in education to Arlington Public Schools.” [Arlington Public Schools]
Route 29 Gets Its Own Print ‘Zine’ — “Arlington Arts and the Department of Community Planning, Housing and Development are pleased to announce the release of a zine that brings the history, stories, and character of Langston Boulevard to life through illustrations by artist Liz Nugent. Created as part of Plan Langston Boulevard, the zine also celebrates the corridor’s new name after John M. Langston.” [Arlington County]
Covid Cases Falling in Va. — “The surge of the Delta variant of COVID-19 is noticeably waning in Northern Virginia and the rest of the state, according to new data from the Virginia Department of Health. Average new daily cases reported in Northern Virginia are down about 12% in the past week, to a seven-day average of 413, although that is still more than double the average on Oct. 1, 2020, before any vaccine was available. Statewide, the seven-day average of new daily cases has fallen 14% in the past week.” [InsideNova]
Nearby: Seven Corners Ring Road? — There are few more self-evident testaments in Fairfax County to the shortsighted follies of 20th century land-use planning than Seven Corners… As part of a larger package of funding requests, the Board of Supervisors voted on Sept. 14 to authorize transportation staff to seek $94.8 million from the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority for the first phase of a “ring” road that will eventually connect the west side of Route 7 to Wilson Boulevard.” [Tysons Reporter]
APS Staff Vax Update — “Overall, 67 percent of all staff and 91 percent of instructional staff are fully vaccinated, and we are following up with all those who have not responded to the survey. This data will be compiled and finalized in early October. Regular testing is required for staff who are unvaccinated or did not respond to the survey.” [Arlington Public Schools]
Dog Reunited With Rescuers — “Arlington County firefighters were reunited with a dog they rescued from under a vehicle in August, according to a post on the fire department’s official Twitter account. Fire units responded on the evening of Aug. 9 for the report of a crash with injuries. Arriving on the scene, fire personnel determined that a dog named Sonny was trapped under a vehicle.” [Patch]
Photos from Wakefield vs. W-L — “In an intra-Arlington rivalry game, Wakefield High School defeated Washington-Liberty, 7-0, in varsity football action at W-L on Sept. 24, 2021. It was the fifth straight Wakefield victory over W-L in football competition.” [Sun Gazette]
Masseuse Misses Commute — “The pandemic changed my commute. It changed everything, of course. First, my commute vanished entirely when I stopped working at a clinic in Arlington, Va., as a massage therapist and instead focused on freelance writing from my home office. No more biking to work… Commutes aren’t generally pined for, but I missed the transformation that happened from door to door.” [Washington Post]
Rowdy Suspect Tased on the Pike — “At approximately 1:00 p.m. on September 28, police were dispatched to the report of an individual screaming and throwing items inside a residential building. Upon arrival, officers heard loud banging from a residence and observed items thrown into the hallway. Officers made contact with the occupant who was acting erratically, disregarded verbal commands and charged towards the officers. A taser was deployed and the subject was taken into custody without incident.” [ACPD]
Yard Waste Issues in Fairfax Co. — “Fairfax County can’t hire enough trash/recycling drivers due to higher-paid jobs at Amazon and Fed Ex. The result – yard waste piling up on curbs.” [Annandale Blog, Twitter]
‘Innovation Studio’ Planned at HQ2 — “Amazon Web Services will open a new AWS Innovation Studio to collaborate on global solutions that leverage its cloud computing technologies to address issues such as housing insecurity, social justice, climate change, sustainability and health and education inequality. A first for AWS, the studio will launch at Amazon’s new HQ2 headquarters under construction in Arlington, Va.” [CRN]
First Responders Honor Fallen Marine — “ACPD and @ArlingtonVaFD paid our respects to USMC Sgt. Nicole Gee, who was tragically killed in action in Kabul, as her procession traveled through Arlington this evening. May we never forget her service and sacrifice.” [Twitter, Twitter]
Power Outage Near Rosslyn — “About 450 homes and businesses are without power in the Rosslyn area this morning. Initial reports suggest that residents heard a loud boom and firefighters subsequently found a very unlucky squirrel.” [Twitter]
Beyer Blasts GOP for Debt Limit Drama — “By filibustering legislation that would prevent a default, they are gambling with the full faith and credit of the United States. This is poor economic stewardship. The responsible course of action is to increase the debt ceiling to prevent a catastrophic default.” [Press Release]
APS Preparing for Collective Bargaining — “The push to give Arlington Public Schools’ staff collective-bargaining rights is expected to move another step forward in coming weeks. School Board members on Sept. 30 will review a draft list of budget priorities for next year to be handed to Superintendent Francisco Durán. Among the directives in the staff proposal: create a timeline for implementation of collective-bargaining, which until recently was banned for public-sector workers in local governments across Virginia.” [Sun Gazette]
It’s National Recovery Month — “September is celebrated as National Recovery Month with the purpose of educating communities about recovery from mental health, substance use, and co-occurring disorders; the effectiveness of treatment and recovery support services; and that recovery is possible. Arlington proudly stands alongside our recovery community.” [Arlington County]
Virginia Gubernatorial Debate — “Republican Glenn Youngkin and Democrat Terry McAuliffe outlined sharply different pictures of Virginia and visions for its future Tuesday in the second and final debate of this year’s race for governor. Youngkin, a former business executive, described a state racked with crime and struggling under a dying economy, then pledged to fix it by slashing taxes and beefing up law enforcement. McAuliffe took credit for creating a booming economy when he served as governor from 2014 to 2018.” [Washington Post]
Tuesday Morning’s Big Boom — “A big boom was reported across a wide swath of Fairfax County from Reston and Herndon to McLean around 10:40 a.m. on Tuesday, leaving many residents confused regarding the possible source. The sound was likely caused by loud thunder that accompanied a storm that was crossing the area at the time.” [FFXnow]
Tesla Dealership Coming to S. Glebe Road — ARLnow’s scoop from February is all but confirmed: “Tesla Inc. appears to be filling the high-end auto dealership void left by Maserati’s closure in South Arlington. The electric automaker will convert the former Maserati and Alfa Romeo dealership at 2710 S. Glebe Road into a 63,854-square-foot auto sales, delivery and vehicle service center, per plans obtained from Construction Journal. The work is expected to be fairly quick, starting in November and finishing up by January.” [Washington Business Journal]
Long Bridge Concert Tomorrow — “Join us, along with Arlington Parks & Recreation, Saturday, September 25 for the Long Bridge Aquatics & Fitness Center Community Celebration featuring a festive fall beer garden and live entertainment including Virginia native and HOT 99.5 Rising Artist Winner, Jerel Crockett beginning at 5 PM. The night will include a diverse lineup of some of the DMV’s hottest DJs, Farrah Flosscett and King Iven, as well as the rock/pop/funk band, Up All Night, playing all your favorite songs from the 80s, 90s, and today.” [National Landing]
Big Crash on GW Parkway — “A reader sends this photo of the earlier crash on the GW Parkway, near Key Bridge, in case anybody drives by later and wonders what happened to the wall.” [Twitter, Twitter]
The End is Near for an Old Home — “A demolition permit has been granted the owner of the 130-year-old Fellows-McGrath home at Washington Blvd. near Sycamore St. It’s disappointing to Tom Dickinson and other preservation activists who had filed an application to protect it… Manassas realtor Masum Kahn, who bought the house after eight months on the market to build modern homes, has not set a demolition schedule. Though he would consider selling ‘for the right price.'” [Falls Church News-Press]
Caps Player Honored by ACFD — “Earlier this month the ACFD presented @Capitals @GarnetHathaway with a citizens award for his charity known as #HathsHeroes. This charity has given so much to local first responders and we are extremely thankful to Mr. Hathaway for his work in the community.” [Twitter]
Oddity of Arlington Transit History — “The Rosslyn-Ballston corridor is a famous example of early transit-oriented development because of the Orange Line, but the area was home to an innovative transit experiment long before Metro. From 1936 through 1939, a streetcar-bus hybrid provided service from the City of Fairfax to Rosslyn and into DC.” [Greater Greater Washington]
Arrest in Seven Corners Sex Assault Case — “Patrick Michael Chaloupka, 38, of Woodbridge has been charged with additional felonies for another sexual assault that occurred at a Falls Church hotel. Officers responded to a hotel on Aug. 26 in the 6100 block of Arlington Boulevard for the report of an assault that occurred three days prior.” [Fairfax County Police Department]
Update on 9/24/21: We’re told that Dama is back open “with normal operations.”
Earlier: Firefighters are investigating a possible kitchen fire at Dama Pastry and Restaurant on Columbia Pike.
Units arrived on scene at the long-time Ethiopian eatery at 1503 Columbia Pike and found heavy smoke inside, which was billowing out of the building.
Kitchen staff told firefighters that the smoke was caused by a fire on the stove, which they put out using fire extinguishers, according to scanner traffic. No active fire was found by the time firefighters arrived; units are now being put back into service while others work to ventilate remaining smoke from the structure.
Columbia Pike is temporarily blocked between the Sheraton hotel and the Air Force Memorial due to the emergency response.
There’s no word yet on how long Dama might be closed after the fire. Typically, the local health department must approve the reopening after a fire.
Arrival traffic-cam video of @ArlingtonVaFD reporting smoke showing at a restaurant on Columbia Pike near the Air Force Memorial. @ARLnowDOTcom @wtop @wtoptraffic @VaDOTNOVA #firefighters #fires #traffic #vatraffic pic.twitter.com/0lkD1oOSAN
— Dave Statter (@STATter911) September 23, 2021
Arlington County firefighters are sounding the alarm on a possible exodus from the department over stagnating wages.
IAFF Local 2800, which represents the county’s professional firefighters and paramedics, warned in a press release Monday that without an increase in pay or a hazard pay program, there could be “high turnover rates over the next year” in the department.
“We haven’t seen a true pay raise in years and no cost-of-living adjustments to keep pace with inflation,” Brian Lynch, president of the Arlington County Professional Firefighters and Paramedics, in the release. “With the COVID-19 epidemic causing an increase in dangerous 911 calls over the past 18 months, we are doing more extremely hazardous work — and really getting paid less.”
The union is asking the county manager for a 6% cost-of-living pay increase, the reinstitution of a hazard pay program, and one year of earned merit increases.
Arlington County Professional Firefighters issued a press release warning that without salary adjustments, Arlington could see firefighter departures. https://t.co/JeJe9qUSMH @IAFFNewsDesk pic.twitter.com/AOMAAPZ1mk
— Arlington Professional Firefighters (@IAFF2800) September 20, 2021
The news comes one week after ARLnow reported that the police department is shrinking over salaries and burnout and as Arlington County begins deliberating its 2022-23 budget, including wages for county employees.
It also comes before Arlington’s public safety unions will be able to engage in collective bargaining with the county. The County Board voted to permit such negotiations this summer, but the first collective agreements are not expected to go into effect until the 2024 fiscal year.
Lynch tells ARLnow the fire department hasn’t reached the inflection point that the police department appears to be at quite yet, but he’s concerned it could. Over the last two years, pay for firefighters and paramedics has only increased by 1%, which doesn’t keep pace with inflation and cost-of-living increases. Consumer prices have gone up by 4.4% in the region over the last year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
There was a short-term hazard pay program in place at the beginning of the pandemic but it only lasted ten weeks, he said, adding that the union never got an official explanation for why the program ended.
County officials didn’t tell ARLnow exactly why either, only saying that the program was “designed to mirror other neighboring jurisdictions’ public safety programs.”
Lynch says that re-instituting one now would show firefighters and paramedics that they are valued.
“[It would] be a token of respect towards the folks that are putting themselves and their families out there,” says Lynch. “We’ve always had a risk of dying, but COVID puts our families at risk.”
Without these concessions or merit increases, county firefighters could opt to go to other jurisdictions or get out of the industry altogether, he says.
“We’ve lost a few people already… and it could get worse,” Lynch said. “Historically, people never left fire departments once they got in. It’s a very competitive job and people stayed. What we’ve seen change is their willingness to go to other industries.”
While the county could fill these positions with new recruits, there’s a price to that as well. The union estimates that it costs the county more than $175,000 to train a single firefighter-paramedic.
County officials dispute the notion that firefighters are looking to leave the department. ACFD says the opposite is true, according to its data.
Pentagon City Metro Elevator Update — From Arlington Transit: “On Sun., Sept. 19, the bus stop serving ART 42, 74, 84 & 87, Metrobus 7A & 22A, and Fairfax Connector 599 (AM) will temporarily be relocated south on S Hayes St. due construction of Pentagon City Metro second elevator.” [Twitter]
Huffpost Calls Arlington GOP Tweet ‘Racist’ — “In a racist tweet Monday that was promptly ratioed into the shame museum, the Arlington County Republican Committee in Virginia suggested that two Democratic congresswomen of color should retire and go work as lobbyists for the Taliban… ‘This tweet isn’t about race ― it’s about the Squad’s constant support for anti-American sentiment abroad,’ the Arlington GOP tweeted.” [Huffpost]
ACFD Responds to Courthouse Gas Leak — “Arlington County Fire and Rescue crews said a gas leak reported just before 10 a.m. Wednesday in the Courthouse area was fixed about an hour later.” [Patch, Twitter]
Local Nurse Lauded for Covid Candor — “An Arlington woman who continues going above and beyond to help her community throughout the pandemic is being nominated for a community hero award from her fellow neighbors.” [WJLA]
Arlington Students Make ‘Merit’ Semis — “Sixteen high school students from Arlington have been named 2022 National Merit Scholarship semifinalists, taking the first step in securing a scholarship in the competitive program.” [Patch, Arlington Public Schools]
Restaurant Recs for Those With Kids — “Going out with kids is complicated enough — finding dishes for picky eaters, hoping they will sit still long enough to finish their food and not terrorize other tables, praying you can relax for five minutes… These restaurants are going out of their way to create a welcoming, inclusive and safe dining environment for families, with outdoor dining and child-pleasing choices.” [Arlington Magazine]
(Updated at 5 p.m.) A rescue operation is underway after reports of a worker dangling from scaffolding in Rosslyn.
The incident is happening at an office building near the Safeway store on the 1500 block of Wilson Blvd.
Initial reports suggest that the man is dangling from a safety harness and that firefighters are working to quickly rescue him with a ladder truck. Wilson Blvd is blocked at N. Oak Street as a result of the emergency activity.
As of 4:30 p.m., the man was reported have been successfully rescued and safely brought back down to ground level.
#Update – crews successfully rescued one individual suspended in air by their safety line. Crews used a combination of rope rescue techniques and a ladder truck to bring the individual down. That person is being evaluated by EMS and crews are in the process of clearing the scene.
— Arlington Fire & EMS (@ArlingtonVaFD) September 15, 2021