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Police on scene of a shots fired report, which turned out to be fireworks, at Washington-Liberty High School (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Two juvenile suspects are being charged with fire code violations after police say they set off fireworks at Washington-Liberty High School, prompting an active shooter panic.

Shortly before 8 a.m. Tuesday, Arlington’s emergency communications center received multiple 911 calls about shots being fired in the school. W-L was locked down and police responded en masse, conducting an extensive search of the school which only yielded evidence of fireworks.

Arlington police say two people under the age of 18 are now facing misdemeanor charges, including one found to be in possession of fireworks on school grounds.

“This remains an active criminal investigation,” the police department added.

More from an ACPD press release, below.

The Arlington County Police and Fire Departments are conducting a joint investigation after fireworks were located during an incident at Washington-Liberty High School.

At approximately 7:50 a.m. on July 19, police were dispatched to the report of a possible person with a gun at Washington-Liberty High School located at 1301 N. Stafford Street. Initial information reported to the Emergency Communications Center indicated possible shots were heard coming from a bathroom within the school. Responding officers entered the school, began a search of the building and located evidence of discharged fireworks. In the interest of public safety, the school was placed on lockdown as officers completed a thorough search of the building. The search concluded with no evidence of a shooting located and no injuries reported.

During the course of the investigation, officers developed a possible suspect description based on evidence located at the scene and witness interviews. The suspect was located and detained. A second individual was determined to be in possession of fireworks on school grounds. Petitions for both juveniles for misdemeanor violations of the Statewide Fire Prevention Code are pending.

This remains an active criminal investigation and anyone with information related to this incident is asked to contact the Arlington County Police Department’s Tip Line at 703-228-4180 or [email protected] Information may also be provided anonymously through the Arlington County Crime Solvers hotline at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).

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Fourth of July fireworks (Flickr pool photo by Michael Coffman)

Last night was basically a perfect night, weatherwise, to watch the July 4 fireworks over the nation’s capital.

Still, with the Air Force Memorial closed, Metro warning of delays, and the usual traffic headaches, perhaps going to watch the fireworks in person was not ideal for everyone.

This morning we’re wondering: how did you watch the fireworks (if at all).

Flickr pool photo by Michael Coffman

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A fireworks booth at the corner of Columbia Pike and Glebe Road (file photo)

The Arlington County Fire Department is sharing a few tips for those planning to using fireworks privately over the upcoming Independence Day weekend.

Only fireworks that emit flames or sparks within 12 feet and have a burning fuse of more than 1.5 inches long with a burning rate of more than four seconds are legal locally this year, according to the 2022 Consumer Fireworks Fact Sheet published by the county. The fireworks can not emit projectiles.

Fireworks that explode in any form or rise in the air, such as bottle rockets, are prohibited. Fireworks can not be used on public properties belonging to the county, state or the federal government.

Those who use, sell or distribute the illegal fireworks may receive a Class 1 misdemeanor charge, which carries a jail sentence of 12 months and $2,500 in fines, the fire department said.

A list of permissible consumer fireworks includes over 2,000 products which the public can purchase. The State Fire Marshal’s Office conducted field tests on the listed products to ensure their performance standards.

When using fireworks, the fire department cautioned folks to keep a minimum distance of 25 feet from other people and buildings, to only light one stick at a time and to move away after doing so. Fireworks users are also advised to only set them off in outdoor areas away from vehicles, according to the department.

Additionally, ACFD recommends only buying fireworks from local retail outlets that display a valid permit issued by the department’s Fire Prevention Office.

When the festivities are over, used fireworks should be submerged into a bucket of water to ensure they are extinguished before throwing them in the trash.

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Fourth of July fireworks from the Iwo Jima memorial in 2021 (Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf)

For the first time in a couple of years, Arlington is back to fully celebrating America’s Independence Day.

In both 2020 and 2021, the pandemic led to the canceling of a number of official July 4 events as well as many of the local holiday festivities.

But, for the most part, Independence Day events, parades, and firework shows are back this year in Arlington.

The fireworks on the National Mall are set to start shooting off at 9:09 p.m. on Monday, July 4 and there are plenty of local spots to watch them without heading to the District.

  • Gateway Park and the Key Bridge in Rosslyn are both popular viewing spots for viewing and will be open to the public. There’s no seating on the bridge, however.
  • Gravelly Point, just north of National Airport on the George Washington Parkway, is a National Park Service site and will also be open to the public. No “hard perimeter” or “physical security checkpoints” will be in place, a NPS spokesperson tells ARLnow, though certain areas may be roped off to help with crowd control.
  • Long Bridge Park in Crystal City will be open to the public for firework viewing. Arlington County police will be on hand “conducting road closures and providing safety and security” on-site, a county spokesperson tells ARLnow.
  • Marine Corps War Memorial (Iwo Jima) near Rosslyn is one of the most popular spots to watch fireworks outside of the National Mall. No “hard perimeter” or security checkpoints will be in place, though it might get crowded and certain areas could be roped off.
  • Mount Vernon Trail along the Potomac River near Roosevelt Island provides “uninterrupted views” of the District’s skyline. Though, the best views are on the trial which is only accessible for bikes and pedestrians.
  • Prospect Hill Park near Pentagon City is a small county park from which one can view the fireworks, though it is only a half-acre and mostly used by nearby residents.

The Air Force Memorial, another popular viewing spot, will be closed this year due to “safety and security concerns” related to the ongoing Arlington National Cemetery expansion project.

The View of DC observation deck on top of the CEB Tower at 1201 Wilson Blvd also will not be open this year for fireworks viewing, closing at 5 p.m. on July 4, an employee confirmed to ARLnow. In years past, residents were able to enter their names into a lottery to watch the show 31 floors up, but that isn’t the case this year.

The Washington Golf and Country Club off of N. Glebe Road is again set to have its own fireworks show, though it’s only open to members and their guests, we’re told.

For those looking to head downtown for the fireworks, Metrorail will be operating until midnight, with trains every 20 minutes on the Blue and Orange lines and every 15 minutes on the Yellow Line. Trains will arrive every 7 minutes at the downtown stations serviced by several lines.

Several Arlington communities and neighborhoods are back to holding parades and festive events this year as well:

With all of this going on, there will also be road closures including Arlington Memorial Bridge and Arlington Memorial Circle starting at 6 a.m. on July 4.

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Fourth of July fireworks, as seen from the Air Force Memorial (Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman)

One of the main fireworks viewing spots in Arlington will be closed on the Fourth of July this year.

The Air Force Memorial will be closed on July 4, then will reopen on July 5, due to “safety and security” concerns caused by the ongoing Arlington National Cemetery expansion project.

“While we recognize it has become an annual tradition for many visitors and local community members to view the fireworks and commemorate this patriotic day from the Air Force Memorial, this is an active construction site, which poses a significant safety and security risk,” said Karen Durham-Aguilera, Army National Military Cemeteries and Arlington National Cemetery Executive Director.

Construction along S. Joyce Street and Columbia Pike near the U.S. Air Force Memorial in April (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Those who usually go to the memorial may consider other Arlington fireworks viewing spots like Long Bridge Park, Rosslyn’s Gateway Park, the Marine Corps War Memorial or Gravelly Point.

The cemetery expansion project will add 38 acres of hallowed ground near the memorial, extending the life of the cemetery with 80,000 additional “burial opportunities.” The project will realign part of Columbia Pike, which is expected to be closed and rerouted early next year.

The full press release about the memorial closure is below.

Arlington National Cemetery (ANC), in collaboration with the Air Force District of Washington (AFDW), announced today they will close public access to the Southern Expansion portion of Arlington National Cemetery, which includes access to the Air Force Memorial, on July 4. The memorial will reopen to the public on July 5.

“While we recognize it has become an annual tradition for many visitors and local community members to view the fireworks and commemorate this patriotic day from the Air Force Memorial, this is an active construction site, which poses a significant safety and security risk. Our priority is to keep our visitors safe and allow them the time needed to make alternative plans this holiday,” said Karen Durham-Aguilera, Army National Military Cemeteries and Arlington National Cemetery Executive Director.

In past years, the grassy slopes around the land acquired by the cemetery from Arlington County and the Air Force Memorial have been a public gathering area for a few thousand people to view the 4th of July fireworks displays here in the National Capital Region.

“For years, the Air Force Memorial has offered an incredible backdrop to celebrate our Nation’s independence,” said Maj. Gen. Joel Jackson, Air Force District of Washington commander. “However, ongoing construction near the site in support of the Arlington National Cemetery’s Southern Expansion Project prevents us from safely hosting people during this year’s celebration.”

ANC and AFDW have been in close coordination with multiple agencies to include Arlington County Police, Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall (JBM-HH) Department of Emergency Services and the Pentagon Force Protection Agency to conduct a thorough safety and security assessment before making the decision to close this area to the public.

ANC’s Southern Expansion Project is the cemetery’s largest expansion to date and will add 38 acres and more than 80,000 burial opportunities. This project is designed to expand the life of the cemetery and allow the nation to honor our future generations for their sacrifices.

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Thought it was partially obscured by smoke near the end, Sunday’s Fourth of July fireworks on the National Mall dazzled.

In case you missed it, local photographers captured the scene from a number of angles, including from vistas in Arlington like the Iwo Jima memorial, Long Bridge Park, the Clarendon/Courthouse area, and the Crystal City/Pentagon City area.

For fireworks aficionados, the countdown to next year’s Independence Day show now begins. July 4 will fall on a Monday in 2022.

Flickr pool photos by Kevin Wolf

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Fourth of July fireworks, as seen from Long Bridge Park (photo via Arlington County Department of Parks and Recreation)

Arlington County is closing some roads and services in observance of Independence Day.

Since the Fourth of July falls on a Sunday this year, county facilities and services will close or operate on holiday schedules on Monday. Libraries and indoor parks and recreation centers will be closed Sunday and Monday, and the county will not enforce parking meter limits either day.

Courts and state DMV offices will also be closed on Monday.

Arlington Transit will run buses along a few of its routes on Sunday schedules on both Sunday and Monday, but otherwise, bus service will not be available. Trash, recycling and yard waste collection, by contrast, will operate as usual on Monday.

The road closures, meanwhile, “are designed to facilitate the safe passage of large crowds for the Independence Day events and fireworks,” according to a county press release.

There will be a display at the National Mall this year, but, like last year Arlington will have no formal viewing events. Crowds will likely gather at the usual spots: the Iwo Jima memorial, the Air Force Memorial, Long Bridge Park, Rosslyn Gateway Park and Key Bridge, for example.

“Motorists should expect significant delays, particularly leading up to and after the fireworks display,” said the press release. “The Arlington County Police Department is reminding drivers that stopping or standing in a lane of traffic to observe the fireworks is illegal and violators may be issued a citation.”

Street parking near the Iwo Jima memorial, Long Bridge Park and the Air Force Memorial will be restricted, according to the release, which advises attendees to use Metro.

The following roadways will be closed to accommodate the festivities, per ACPD:

Route 50 – Near Rosslyn – 3:30 to 11:00 PM Closure

  • Exit Ramp from Westbound Route 50 to N. Lynn Street (Rosslyn exit)
  • Exit Ramp from Eastbound Route 50 to N. Meade Street (Rosslyn exit)

US Marine Corps War Memorial – 3:30 PM to 11:00 PM Closure

  • N. Meade Street at Marshall Drive
  • Exit Ramp from N. Meade Street to Route 50 Eastbound
  • Route 110 South onto Marshall Drive
  • N. Meade Street near the Route 50 Ramps

Radnor/Fort Myer Heights – Near the US Marine Corps War Memorial – 3:30 PM to 11:00 PM Closure

  • Ramp from Arlington Boulevard East to N. Rhodes/Rolfe/Queen Street (Emergency Vehicles Only)
  • N. Rhodes Street and Arlington Boulevard Access Road (Emergency Vehicles Only)
  • N. Rhodes Street and N. 14th Street (Local Traffic Only)
  • N. Nash Street and Arlington Boulevard Access Road
  • Arlington Boulevard Access and N. Meade Street
  • N. Nash Street and N. 14th Street
  • N. Meade Street and N. 14th Street

Foxcroft Heights – Near the Air Force Memorial – 4:30 PM to 11:00 PM Closure

  • Columbia Pike in both directions at S. Oak Street
  • The exit from Westbound Washington Boulevard to Eastbound Columbia Pike/S. Orme Street
  • Columbia Pike and S. Joyce Street
  • Southgate Road and S. Oak Street
  • Columbia Pike and Southgate Road
  • Columbia Pike and S. Ode Street

From 6 a.m. to midnight, Memorial Bridge and Memorial Circle to and including Lincoln Memorial Circle will be closed, according to the National Park Service.

The following roadways may be subject to closures, according to ACPD’s release:

Route 50 East – Near Courthouse

  • Route 50 East exit for 10th Street (All Eastbound traffic)
  • N. 10th Street and N. Wayne Street
  • N. Courthouse Road and the ramp for Route 50 East
  • N. Courthouse Road and N. Barton Street

Long Bridge Park

  • Long Bridge Drive at Boundary Channel Drive
  • Long Bridge and S. 12th Street
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July 4 fireworks as seen from Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall (Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman)

It’s hard to believe, but the Fourth of July is just around the corner.

Fireworks viewing on the National Mall is a go this year. Like last year, there’s no formal viewing event in Arlington, but expect crowds to congregate at the usual spots, like the Iwo Jima memorial, Key Bridge, the Air Force Memorial, Rosslyn Gateway Park  and Long Bridge Park.

After more than a year of a pandemic, however, some folks may be more apt to stay closer to home.

What are your fireworks viewing plans?

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Morning Notes

Fireworks Safety Demonstration — From the Arlington County Fire Department: “We want everyone to have a safe and enjoyable 4th of July by following some of these safety tips.” [Twitter, Twitter]

Undefeated Yorktown in Lacrosse State Final — “Yorktown will play at Battlefield in Haymarket after the Bobcats beat Cosby, 6-4, in the other Class 6 semifinal Tuesday… For Yorktown, the first steps toward Saturday’s state final were laid before this year’s players were born, and over 21 years the Patriots toiled and waited until they could play in a state semifinal.” [Washington Post]

Streaming Show at Signature Theatre — “The Signature Theater in Arlington, Va., is presenting an energetic full production of the revue ‘After Midnight,’ which ran on Broadway in 2013. Christopher Jackson (“Hamilton”) leads the cast through a whirlwind of jazzy Cotton Club-era songs, held together by Langston Hughes texts. The show has many pleasures, like the heavenly vocal harmonies in ‘Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea’ and a timely reminder that tap is exhilarating.” [New York Times]

Marymount Partnering With Netflix — “The world’s leading streaming entertainment service and a global leader in education technology are expanding their partnership and bringing Marymount University into the fold as they work to increase diversity in tech fields. Starting this August, Netflix and 2U, Inc., will offer three for-credit, fully online tech boot camps in Data Science, Java Engineering and UX/UI to Marymount undergraduates, all at no cost to accepted students.” [Press Release]

Ballston-Based AvalonBay Now Accepting Credit Cards — “AvalonBay residents will receive an invitation for the Bilt Mastercard, an extension of Bilt Rewards and the first credit card that allows users to pay their rent with no annual fee and without burdening the building owner with ongoing fees. With the card, AvalonBay residents can also earn points on non-rent purchases, enabling them to maximize rewards potential.” [BusinessWire]

Flickr pool photo by Bekah Richards

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The spectacular fireworks display that unexpectedly capped off the 90-minute “Celebrating America” special on Inauguration Day had some extra oomph for local viewers.

While those in Arlington and across the nation watched the musical tribute on TV, many in the D.C. area could actually hear or see the fireworks from their homes.

And it wasn’t just the usual suspects whose homes overlook the Potomac. As the Capital Weather Gang reported, a weather phenomenon known as an inversion allowed people relatively far from the National Mall to hear the fireworks rumble.

The temperature inversion “‘caps’ the atmosphere, preventing cooler surface air from rising. It also helps turn the lower atmosphere into an echo chamber, allowing sound waves to propagate across long distances,” CWG wrote. “A firework-induced rumbling was heard as far away as Silver Spring, Huntington, Bethesda and Hyattsville.”

We know of at least one family in Reston who also said they could hear it.

Such weather phenomena, however, are fickle, and while someone 15 miles away might have heard it, there were no doubt parts of Arlington that were perfectly quiet.

So this morning we’re wondering: did you hear the fireworks Wednesday night?

Flickr pool photo by David Giambarresi

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Morning Notes

Arlington Streetcar Anniversary — Today is the sixth anniversary of the cancellation of the Columbia Pike and Crystal City streetcar project. [ARLnow]

APS Still Planning for In-Person School — “Some have asked why we are proceeding at this time given the latest health metrics. It is important that we gather the information schools need to plan now, so that they have the time to prepare for possible transitions in January. Delaying the process would mean that we would not be ready to open our schools for more students, should we determine it is safe enough to do so.” [Arlington Public Schools]

More Taco Rocks on the Way — “Chef Mike Cordero and his sons, Nick and Anthony, are bringing a second Taco Rock location to Northern Virginia with plans to expand the brand to a chain of up to a dozen restaurants. Cordero and his restaurant group, Macnac Group, will deliver a 2,500-square-foot fast-casual taqueria and tequila bar at 6548 Little River Turnpike in the Pinecrest Plaza shopping center that will replicate the Rosslyn store that opened its doors in October 2019.” [Washington Business Journal]

Fireworks Banned on Public Property — “The use of personal fireworks is now officially verboten on publicly owned property in Arlington. The policy change was tucked away in a broader County Board action Nov. 14 that updates for the first time in three years the Arlington County Fire Prevention Code.” [InsideNova]

County to Implement Restorative Justice — “The Arlington County Board today accepted the Restorative Arlington Strategic Plan, which provides a framework for the County to adopt restorative justice practices in our public schools, legal system, and community settings. Arlington expects to receive a $75,000 grant award from the Annie E. Casey Foundation to help implement the plan.” [Arlington County]

Back to Normal at DCA May Take Years — “Officials at the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority believe it will take years for air traffic to return to pre-pandemic levels — at least until 2024, according to its proposed 2021 budget. MWAA said it expects airlines at its two airports, Reagan National and Dulles International, will finish the year with about 7.4 million passengers put on planes, a significant drop from the 24.3 million in 2019.” [Washington Business Journal]

Nearby: New &Pizza in Seven Corners — “Looks like 7 Corners area of Falls Church is getting an @andpizza — a fun, new addition to the neighborhood.” [@jstrelitz/Twitter]

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