Changes to the access policy at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall has some cyclists changing their routes and at least one abandoning bicycling to work altogether.
The new security policy, which started in February, affects cyclists who bike through base, which has been fairly common practice, especially for those along Columbia Pike and Route 50 seeking a safer route to D.C.
Previously, cyclists and other members of the public could enter the base through any of three gates just by going through a security check. Now, only the Hatfield Gate at Washington Blvd and 2nd Street N. remains accessible to non-Department of Defense visitors, and cyclists seeking a round trip route (mostly via the Wright Gate near the Iwo Jima memorial) to have to apply for a special 60-day pass.
The Automated Installation Entry (AIE) pass requires a a criminal records check and pass holders must reapply for it every 60 days in order to access the base.
Arlington County has made encouraging bicycling instead of driving a key transportation priority and has JBMHH routes listed on its bicycle maps. Given the significant inconvenience, however, some are reconsidering.
“At least one person I’ve spoken with is no longer biking into D.C. because the process of constantly renewing an AIE pass is too onerous and he feels the alternative routes are too dangerous or too long,” said Chris Slatt, president of the Penrose Neighborhood Association and a cycling advocate. “With this alternative off the table for non-federal employees, the County needs to make the Pike safe for cycling ASAP.”
Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall is updating its website to reflect changes for cyclists, said Sharon Walker, who works in the Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall public affairs department.
Application for the AIE pass must be delivered in person to the Visitor Control Center (Building 415) at the base and cannot be submitted online. Cyclists can also apply for a sponsored one-year pass, which requires a signature from someone who has a Department of Defense ID.
Lyon Park cyclist Jeff Hopp frequently bikes through the base and uses Wright Gate. When he went to turn his application for a sponsored pass in, there was a sign posted to the door saying the computer system was currently down and applications would not be processed until a new system was installed, he said.
Previously Hopp would only have to show his ID to enter through Wright Gate. Now when he bikes into D.C., he uses the recently-installed Route 50 trail, which he says is poorly marked and maintained.
“The problem with that trail is that there are no marked bike lanes on the side access road you have to ride on before/after you use that new trail… and the trail isn’t maintained at all it seems. There are small limbs, gravel, glass and overgrown vegetation on the edges,” Hopp said in an email.
His new route adds about five to 10 minutes to his total travel time, he said, adding that overall he was more confused than upset with the base access changes. Other Arlington residents say they’re displeased with the base’s new policy.
Gillian Burgess, chairman of the Arlington Bicycle Advisory Committee, said the lack of communication between the base and Arlington residents about the changes is disappointing.
New Gymnastics, Aquatics Fee Structure — In her FY 2016 budget, County Manager Barbara Donnellan is proposing a new fee structure for gymnastics and aquatics teams. The fees will recover “no more than 100 percent of direct costs,” and would be a savings of around 15 percent compared to the current fees. [Arlington County]
Tighter Security at Fort Myer — Some bicyclists are worried that tighter security measures put in place this week at Fort Myer will limit non-military personnel from accessing the base. Cyclists often use Fort Myer to travel safely between south Arlington and north Arlington without having to ride on Columbia Pike. Arlington County, meanwhile, has been working on some trail projects that would make north-to-south and south-to-north bike travel safer. [Greater Greater Washington]
Goldstein Announces School Board Run — Reid Goldstein has announced that he’s running for Arlington School Board. Goldstein, a “longtime Arlington schools, County and neighborhood advocate,” will seek the seat of the retiring Abby Raphael. “We must be honest and diligent stewards of our community’s money and trust as we work to preserve and improve the high quality of Arlington’s schools, even as enrollment increases,” Goldstein said in a press release.
National Airport Hits Passenger Record — Reagan National Airport set a new record for passenger traffic in 2014. Some 20.8 million passengers used Reagan last year, a 2 percent increase. With traffic decreasing at Dulles International, MWAA plans to share as much as $300 million in revenue from Reagan to Dulles over a 10 year span. [Washington Business Journal]
New Marine Corps Sergeant Major — Assuming they’re not deterred by the cold, the Marine Corps will hold a ceremony this morning at the Iwo Jima War Memorial, celebrating the appointment of Sgt. Maj. Ronald Green. Green will serve as the Corps’ 18th sergeant major, its highest enlisted rank. [Marine Corps Times]
Nick Anderson Leaving Arrowine — Former ARLnow.com “Beermonger” columnist Nick Anderson has announced that he is leaving Arrowine. Saturday will be his last day at the Lee Highway beer and wine store. [Arrowine]
Flickr pool photo by Alan Kotok
County Seeks Fraud Hotline Vendor — Arlington County has issued a request for proposals for a new fraud hotline. The hotline is intended to provide “a safe and confidential process for employees to report ethical issues anonymously through a third-party vendor and to be assured that their concerns are heard and dealt with.” [InsideNova]
Eden Center Tenants Sue Landlord — Tenants at the Eden Center in Falls Church are suing the shopping center’s landlord, saying that the building is crumbling due to poor maintenance and nothing is being done about it. [Washington Post]
Kudos for Barcroft — The $3 million ballpark at Barcroft Park, which was paid for and is used by George Washington University, has been named the top college baseball facility in the A-10 conference and the 68th-best college ballpark in the nation. [GW Sports]
1812 Overture Concert Tomorrow — The U.S. Army Band “Pershing’s Own” will be performing the famed 1812 Overture Saturday at 7:30 p.m. on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall. The concert will be held at Summerall Field and will feature cannon fire to accompany the classic Tchaikovsky composition. [Ode Street Tribune, U.S. Army Band]
JBMHH Firefighters Battle Arlington Blaze — Firefighters from Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, who often are dispatched on calls in Arlington County as part of a mutual aid agreement, helped to extinguish a fire at a Columbia Pike apartment complex last week. [DVIDS]
Photo courtesy Larry Bowring
(Updated at 5:50 p.m.) A strong thunderstorm ripped through Arlington during Monday’s evening rush hour, knocking down trees, knocking out power and injuring two soldiers on Fort Myer.
The soldiers were reportedly struck by lightning on or around Whipple Field on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall. They were reported to be conscious and alert — with non-life-threatening injuries — and were being tended to by Arlington firefighters and paramedics.
On N. Glebe Road just south of Ballston, a large tree was uprooted by the storm, bringing down power lines and crushing two parked cars. The power lines were live and one witness said the sparking wires “burned a hole through the pavement” below. No injuries were reported, but emergency crews have closed the southbound lanes of Glebe Road in the area of 4th Street N. as a result.
The lane closures on Glebe will stretch well into the night as repairs take place. The repair work and power pole replacement is expected to take 6-8 hours.
As of 5:50 p.m., Dominion was reporting 5,629 customers without power in Arlington County. The power outages have also impacted numerous traffic signals around the county. Dark traffic signals should be treated as a four-way stop.
Reporter Embeds with Clarendon Bar Crawl — Reporter Dan Zak embedded himself with revelers participating in the Cinco de MEGA-Crawl over the weekend. He found plenty of loud, opinionated young people — one of whom compared Clarendon to Brooklyn — but he apparently did not find any public urination, vomiting or destruction of property worth noting. [Washington Post]
Parents Rip Board on Autism Program Cut — Parents of children with autism swarmed the Arlington School Board’s budget meeting, angry with a proposed $270,000 cut to a program that provides assistants for autistic students and their teachers. [InsideNova, Fox 5]
Bracket Room Facing Backlash? — A backlash seems to be forming against so-called “female-friendly” restaurants. Some women say the designation is insulting. One such restaurant mentioned in an article about the backlash: Clarendon’s the Bracket Room, which has billed itself as a female-friendly sports bar. [The Week]
Preservation Arlington Mourns 2013 Losses — The group Preservation Arlington is lamenting the loss of 179 single-family homes lost in Arlington in 2013. The group is also marking the loss or impending loss of the Blue Goose building; part of the Arlington House Woods and Arlington National Cemetery’s Seneca sandstone perimeter wall; and a number of garden apartment buildings. [Preservation Arlington]
Ft. Myer Road Closed — Cyclists who bike on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall may be impacted by a road closure on the base. McNair Road is closed from Lee Avenue to Marshall Drive due to “road damage.” The closure is expected to be in place until Monday. [Facebook]
Flickr pool photo by Brian Allen
Yet another caregiver at a daycare center on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall has been charged with abusing children.
Va Nessa Taylor, 47, or Temple Hills, Md. has been charged with misdemeanor assault after military investigators found that she allegedly hit, pushed and withheld food from children between the ages of 18 months and two years. From a Department of Justice press release:
On Jan. 29, 2014, a CDC employee reported to a supervisor that Taylor had been observed withholding food from a two-year-old child during the facility’s lunch period. After this conduct was reported, officials investigated the allegations and conducted a thorough review of surveillance footage within the CDC. That investigation ultimately revealed four instances in which Taylor allegedly assaulted four children within her care by hitting and pushing the children. The children ranged in ages from 18 months to two years, and the observed conduct occurred from Nov. 26, 2013 to Jan. 29, 2014.
Based on the investigation, Taylor’s conduct did not appear to result in sustained physical injury to the children. Taylor was removed from her duties of supervising children on Jan. 30, 2014, immediately after her conduct was reported to the relevant authorities at JBM-HH.
The alleged assault happened at the Cody Child Development Center, the military’s largest daycare center, which serves the children of military and civilian families that work at the Pentagon, Myer-Henderson Hall and Ft. McNair.
It’s the third such incident of alleged abuse at the base in two years.
In October 2012 three childcare workers were charged with multiple counts of assault. In December 2012, nearly three dozen workers childcare workers were suspended after background checks revealed past criminal charges. In February 2013 the Cody CDC lost its accreditation after another childcare worker was accused of abuse after allegedly being observed hitting a child with a cushion.
About 50 members of the Army’s 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment delivered nearly 700 pounds of donated food to the Arlington Food Assistance Center this morning.
In case the donation wasn’t impressive enough, the soldiers delivered the food on foot, marching 4 miles from Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall to AFAC’s building in Shirlington with rucksacks on their backs.
The 3rd Infantry Regiment is also known as the Old Guard. The donation was made by the Old Guard’s 4th Battalion, which consists of ceremonial companies, a military police company, and the guards of the Tomb of the Unknowns, among others.
The food will be distributed ” to the 1,800 families that seek food from us each week,” according to AFAC communications manager Clare McIntyre.
Photos courtesy Clare McIntyre/AFAC
Bikeshare Supplier Files for Bankruptcy — Bixi, the Canadian company that makes the bikes and equipment utilized by the Capital Bikeshare system, has filed for bankruptcy. Alta Bicycle Share, which runs the Capital Bikeshare system says it’s focused on making sure the system continues to operate “without interruption.” [Washington Business Journal, Capital Bikeshare]
Hope to Enter Congressional Race — Del. Patrick Hope (D-47) is planning to run for the retiring Rep. Jim Moran’s congressional seat. He’s expected to make the announcement today. [Washington Post]
Rader Clinic Recovering from Flood Damage — The Rader Clinic at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall is back up and running after a “water accident” that caused flood damage yesterday. [Facebook]
Arlington Energy Plan Wins Award — Arlington County’s Community Energy Plan has been recognized by the American Planning Association with a “2014 National Planning Achievement Award in Environmental Planning.” [Arlington County]
ARLnow Reaches 20K Twitter Followers — In the midst of snow coverage this week, ARLnow.com reached its 20,000th Twitter follower. The follower count now stands at 20,085. [Twitter]
Flickr pool photo by Joseph Gruber
Officials at Joint Base Ft. Myer-Henderson Hall announced last week that yesterday, Monday, the trail, which runs from the Old Post Chapel to McNair Road’s intersection with Marshall Drive, would be closed.
The trail is closing to accommodate the expansion of Arlington National Cemetery with its “Millennium Project.” Besides the closure of the trail, more than 700 trees are set to be removed for the cemetery expansion, a plan that rankled local activists when the expansion was discussed in March.
The $82 million expansion is expected to add in-ground and above ground burial locations, columbarium space, committal shelters and infrastructure to support it. It will take over a parcel of undeveloped land next to Ft. Myer. The expansion is needed, according to cemetery officials, because the cemetery could run out of burial space within 12 years.
A new jogging path to replace the closed one is expected to be constructed after the project’s completion in spring 2016.
Photo via Google Maps
Ft. Myer Alarm System Test Today — In conjunction with Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall Operations, the Department of State will test an alarm system on Summerall Field on the Fort Myer portion of the joint base at 2:30 p.m. today. Residents near the area can expect to hear high noise levels. For more information call 703-696-0573.
September Start Date for Ashlawn Addition Construction — A groundbreaking ceremony is planned for 5:30 p.m. on September 6 for construction on the addition to Ashlawn Elementary School. Construction on the three level addition is expected to take about two years. The new portion will add about 26,000 square feet to the existing 69,000 square foot school building, allowing the capacity to grow from 524 students to about 680. [Sun Gazette]
Grants for Non-profits — Arlington County is accepting grant proposals from non-profit organizations that help residents with physical and/or sensory disabilities. Projects should increase or maintain independence and community integration for residents with disabilities through empowerment focused services. The 2015-2016 Regional Grants to Disability Groups Application Packet can be found online. Grant proposals are due by September 30. [Arlington County]
Too Much Cash on Hand? — Is Arlington County’s nearly $300 million cash hoard excessive? Many county officials says the extra cash cushion is an example of good fiscal stewardship. County Treasurer Frank O’Leary, however, suggests the cash reserves are “causing us to pay more taxes than we should.” [Sun Gazette]
More Coverage for Girls’ Firefighting Camp — The Today Show broadcast a segment yesterday about the Arlington Girls’ Fire Camp. The unique camp has also been covered by CBS News, among other broadcast outlets. [Today Show]
Korean War Tribute at Twilight Tattoo — Last night’s Twilight Tattoo performance at Fort Myer featured a special tribute to the heroes of the Korean War. The high-energy performance commemorated the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Korean War Armistice and was hosted by Joseph Westphal, Under Secretary of the Army. [U.S. Army]
Dating Event for Ages 31-40 — Date Social, the Arlington-based dating startup, will be hosting a dating mixer for those ages 31-40 at Hard Times Cafe tonight, starting at 7:00. Tickets are $12. [Clarendon Nights]
Flickr pool photo by Ddimick
Vincent Crapps, 24, is believed to have drowned after diving off cliffs on the Virginia side of the river. After an extended search and rescue effort, his body was found by Montgomery County (Md.) Police this afternoon.
Crapps was a member of the 3rd United States Infantry Regiment, better known as the “Old Guard.”
From a Montgomery County Police press release:
Detectives from the Montgomery County Police Major Crimes Division – Homicide and Sex Section are investigating a drowning that occurred on Saturday.
On Saturday, June 29, at approximately 5:30 p.m., Montgomery County Fire & Rescue received a call for a possible drowning of a 24-year-old male in the Potomac River near Bear Island. Montgomery County Fire & Rescue began a rescue mission. Montgomery County Police search and rescue officers responded to the area to provide assistance on land.
Today, following an extended joint operation, Montgomery County Fire & Rescue recovered the victim’s body in the water at approximately 2:25 p.m. Montgomery County Police search and rescue officers were on scene during these recovery efforts. The victim was pronounced deceased at the scene.
Montgomery County Police detectives are leading the investigation into the victim’s death. Investigation has revealed that the victim was diving off the cliffs on the Virginia side of the river when his friends noticed him go under the water and not surface. His friends called 911.
The victim has been identified as Vincent Crapps of the 3d United States Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard), stationed at Fort Myer, Virginia.
The Twilight Tattoo performance at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall tonight will be moved indoors and expanded due to rain and large expected crowds
There will now be two performances — one at 6:00 p.m., and one at 7:30 p.m. — and those performances will take place inside Conmy Hall. The latter will be held in honor of Arlington Neighborhood Day.
Twilight Tattoo is described as “an hour-long military pageant featuring soldiers from the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) and the U.S. Army Band ‘Pershing’s Own.'”
From JBMHH Community Relations Officer Leah Rubalcaba:
Please be advised of a change in tonight’s (May 8) performance of the Military District of Washington’s Twilight Tattoo at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, being hosted in honor of Arlington Neighborhood Day. It will be moved indoors to Conmy Hall due to [rain] and the fact the Summerall Field grounds are saturated. Also, due to the large number of groups expected at tonight’s performance, the Military District of Washington will have two performances of the Twilight Tattoo — one at 6:00 p.m. and one at 7:30 p.m. The Twilight Tattoo performance being held in honor of Arlington Neighborhood Day will be the 7:30 p.m. performance. The show is one hour in length — so it will end at 8:30 p.m. We hope to see many of our Arlington Neighbors at tonight’s 7:30 p.m. show. Please plan to arrive at Conmy Hall shortly after 7:00 p.m.
APS to Benefit from State STEM Funding — Arlington Public Schools will be getting a boost from the Virginia Department of Education’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) grants. A $247,000 grant to George Mason University will provide support to 90 educators in seven school districts, including Arlington. Additionally, a $250,000 grant shared by four colleges and universities will support 76 teachers in 45 school districts, including Arlington. [Sun Gazette]
Public Hearing for School Boundary Changes — On Wednesday, the Arlington School Board will host a public hearing on the recommendations for boundary changes. Last month, Arlington Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Patrick Murphy presented his recommendations for boundary changes. The hearing will take place at the Education Center (1426 N. Quincy Street) at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday (April 3).
JBM-HH Works with County to Reduce Use of Energy — The Directorate of Public Works at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall (JBM-HH) has been working with Arlington County to share information about energy use and conservation. Although the two entities aren’t sharing policy yet, they’re sharing information about a community plan to reduce the use of energy. [U.S. Army]
JBMHH’s Wright Gate, at Marshall Drive and Meade Street, will now close to visitors at 6:00 p.m., seven days a week. (It still opens at 5:00 a.m.) Previously, visitors were allowed to use the gate until 11:00 p.m.
Now, only Department of Defense ID card holders will be able to access the gate through 11:00 p.m.
Additionally, two JBMHH gate are now officially, permanently closed: Henry Gate, at Route 50 and N. Pershing Drive, and the Henderson Hall Annex Gate, on Southgate Road.
Currently, only two gates are open 24/7 to visitors and DoD personnel: the Henderson Hall Main Gate at the intersection of S. Orme Street and Southgate Road, and the Hatfield Gate, at Washington Blvd and 2nd Street S.
The changes are expected to impact bike commuters, who sometimes commute through Wright Gate and JBMHH as a safer, less traffic-filled way to get home at night.
JBMHH personnel say the changes were necessitated by a money-saving congressional mandate, which required the base to use military police or federal civilian security guards at installation gates. Previously, the gates were patrolled by private security guards.
“This action has resulted in fewer personnel to man the gates,” said JBMHH spokeswoman Leah Rubalcaba.