Arlington, VA

Morning Notes

APS to Offer Coronavirus Testing — “Beginning the week of April 19, APS will begin providing free medical testing for students and staff who are symptomatic, or who have been exposed to COVID-19. Walk-up testing will be conducted after school hours with parent/guardian consent. Walk-up testing sites at Glebe Elementary, Kenmore Middle and Wakefield High Schools provide trained staff to assist in mid-nasal swab testing using the RT-PCR test after school hours.” [Arlington Public Schools]

New DCA Concourse Opening Next Week — “The shuttle buses will soon be relocated to Philadelphia. And the air stairs, no more. After nearly 25 years, officials at Reagan National Airport on Thursday unveiled a much-anticipated addition, a sleek 14-gate concourse that will mark the end of operations of the much-maligned Gate 35X. American Airlines will begin service Tuesday out of the new concourse.” [Washington Post, NBC 4, DCist]

New Concessions Coming to DCA — Timber Pizza Co. and Peet’s Coffee are among the new food and drink options coming to National Airport and its new concourse. [Twitter, Twitter]

Group Rallies for Affordable Housing –“I’m at a rally hosted by the ACE Collaborative, community organizers who work with Asian American residents in Arlington. They’re in [Pentagon City] this evening, asking the county to take steps to end displacement as rents rise. In the immediate term, the group is calling for the county to add $8 million to its housing grant program in the next budget.” [Twitter]

Car Fire on GW Parkway — “ACFD is on scene of a vehicle fire on the GW Parkway near Spout Run. The vehicle is fully engulfed in flames, per the first arriving firefighters.” [Twitter, Twitter]

Animal Control Saves Turtle — “We need to thank Officer Davis for helping this snapping turtle, who was trying to cross I-395 during rush hour. Thankfully, she was able to safely remove him, bring him to the shelter for a check-up, and then release him back into the wild where he belongs!” [Twitter]

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Morning Notes

Arlington Startup Founder Going to Prison — “An Arlington start-up that promised to help people root out schemes and scams in their own lives was, nearly from the start, a cash cow for the founder’s extravagant lifestyle, start-up CEO Daniel Boice acknowledged in Alexandria federal court Friday… ‘It would be difficult to describe the havoc you created by your fraudulent actions,’ Judge T.S. Ellis III said before sentencing Boice to eight years in prison. ‘It’s an egregious fraud.'” [Washington Post, Dept. of Justice]

Bad Crash on GW Parkway — “A car split in half after crashing into a tree near the First Overlook [of the] George Washington Memorial Parkway Sunday morning, U.S. Park Police confirms. The driver of the car was the only one in the vehicle and was immediately taken to a nearby hospital. U.S. Park Police say their injuries are non-life-threatening.” [WUSA 9, Twitter, Twitter]

Pro-Reopening Parents Blast APS Superintendent — “During the Monitoring Report from Dr. Durán to the School Board, we heard that due to “monumental logistical challenges,” APS will remain hybrid for the remainder of this academic year… Arlington Parents for Education urges the School Board to vote on an urgent and rapid return to school plan when they meet again next — or, if not, propose a vote of no confidence in Dr. Durán for failing to deliver such a plan.” [Press Release]

Group Wants to Save Whitlow’s Building — “As you have seen in the news, Whitlow’s is planning to relocate due to being unable to renegotiate their lease at 2854 Wilson Blvd. However, the building is for sale and presents an investment opportunity and chance to keep Whitlows at its historic location. This form is simply to gauge interest in being part of a group to purchase the building, and is not a commitment to forming any business arrangement, putting up capital, or the like.” [Google Forms, Twitter]

Early Voting Locations for Primary Set — “Members of the Arlington Electoral Board on March 25 approved plans for two satellite-early-voting centers to be used in the runup to the June 8 Democratic primary. Walter Reed and Madison community centers previously had been designated as the locations for early voting by the County Board. The March 25 action set days and hours they will be in operation, although refinements could still be made.” [Sun Gazette]

Local Gov. Candidate Wants to Nix Income Tax — “Could Virginia’s next governor be from Arlington? It’s a longshot, perhaps, but there’s at least one candidate in the running. Arlingtonian Peter Doran on March 24 made his pitch to the Arlington County Republican Committee, saying new thinking is needed if the GOP is to end its drought in statewide elections… Doran pitched the idea of eliminating Virginia’s state income tax.” [Sun Gazette]

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(Updated at 2:50 p.m.) A portion of the northbound GW Parkway will be closed for most of the day Saturday, as crews remove two vehicles that ran down embankments and crashed near the river.

From a National Park Service press release:

On Saturday, March 20, 2021, the National Park Service (NPS) will close both northbound lanes of the George Washington Memorial Parkway to remove two abandoned vehicles that are below the road near the Potomac River. The NPS expects to close the lanes between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. from Spout Run Parkway to Chain Bridge Road, VA 123.  The southbound lanes will remain open.  The NPS will also temporarily close parts of the Potomac Heritage Trail near the vehicles for up to half an hour at a time while the work is happening.

The first crash happened on June 7, 2020, when a sedan ended up near the banks of the Potomac after running down an embankment north of Windy Run. The driver suffered non-life-threatening injuries; he was able to get out of the smashed car and was transported to an ambulance via D.C. fire boat.

The sedan has remained where it came to rest, along the Potomac Heritage Trail, since then while officials mulled how to remove it.

The second crash, according to NPS, happened on January 25 near the first scenic overlook in Arlington. The driver of that car was also not seriously injured.

“Both accidents were unusual,” the Park Service said, though there have been other recent incidents involving vehicles that ran far off the Parkway.

On Jan. 12 two people were rescued after a crash in which two vehicles careened off the Parkway near I-395 and ended up in the Potomac. Three days later, another car ran off the road and over an embankment near the second scenic overlook in Arlington. Inside, first responders found the body of D.C. police officer Jeffrey Smith, who was hurt while clashing with rioters at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6; he was driving to work on Jan. 15 when he took his own life.

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Firefighters battled three separate brush fires along the GW Parkway during Monday evening’s commute.

The fires were first reported just before 6 p.m., and ultimately prompted a response of at least a half dozen units from the Arlington County, Montgomery County, and Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall fire departments.

“At approximately 5:50 p.m. the Arlington County Emergency Communications Center began receiving multiple calls for brush fires near the First Scenic Overlook extending north on GW Parkway,” said Taylor Blunt, Public Information Officer for the Arlington County Fire Department. “Our first unit arrived within four minutes and confirmed other fires to the north and requested additional units to the scene.”

Two of the brush fires were extinguished relatively quickly. The third was reported out around 6:45 p.m.

“At this stage, we do not know the cause of the fires,” Blunt said. “This incident serves as a reminder of the increased fire danger due to the recent dry and windy weather conditions. We again ask that everyone properly discard smoking materials and not have any open burns.”

A Red Flag Warning was in effect in Arlington and the region over the weekend, amid high winds and a lack of recent rainfall. Brush fires were reported in Loudoun County and Montgomery County on Sunday.

More on the GW Parkway fires, below, via social media.

Screenshot via @bramblerambles/Twitter

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Morning Notes

Another Snowstorm on the Way? — “Confidence is growing in a messy mix of wintry precipitation in the Washington region Thursday, the latest in a parade of wintry weather events since late January… Parts of the region could see significant amounts of snow and/or ice before a possible change to rain. The precipitation, which may be heavy at times, is likely to continue into Thursday night or very early Friday morning.” [Washington Post]

More Details on Pike CVS Development — “Last summer, the public caught wind of upcoming plans to redevelop the Fillmore Gardens Shopping Center on Columbia Pike in Arlington. Now… [a] rezoning application has been filed to apply Columbia Pike-specific zoning to the property at 2601 Columbia Pike (map) in order to deliver The Elliott, a six-story building with 248 apartments with a new CVS pharmacy and a grocery store on the ground floor.” [Urban Turf]

Equinox Isn’t Coming to Clarendon — “An affiliate of Regency Centers Corp. has sued an affiliate of upscale fitness chain Equinox for more than $20 million for allegedly pulling the plug on a planned location at the Market Common retail center… Clarendon Regency IV LLC sued Equinox Clarendon Inc. in U.S. District Court in Alexandria in mid-November for breaching the terms of its lease for space on the first and second floors of the nearly 68,500-square-foot building at 2801 Clarendon Blvd.” [Washington Business Journal]

Capitol Police Officer Died in Arlington — “Smith returned to the police clinic for a follow-up appointment Jan. 14 and was ordered back to work, a decision his wife now questions… Police found him in his cherished Ford Mustang, which had rolled over and down an embankment along the George Washington Memorial Parkway, near a scenic overlook on the Potomac River. He was the second police officer who had been at the riot to take his own life.” [Washington Post]

Reaction to Senate Trump Vote — Arlington’s Congressional delegation expressed disappointment with the acquittal of former President Trump in the Senate impeachment trial. Said Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.): “A bipartisan majority of Senators voted today to send a clear message to future presidents that conduct of this nature is impeachable, intolerable and disqualifying. When the history books on this moment are written, I believe that judgment will be clear.” [Blue Virginia]

Solving Arlington’s Hunger Problem — “The pandemic has made it harder for many Americans to feed their families. After the COVID-19 outbreak, Arlington’s Department of Human Services estimated nearly 16,000 residents needed food assistance. Now the Capital Area Food Bank estimates 26,000 are at risk of hunger in Arlington. County leaders have a plan to help.” [WJLA]

Southwest Air ‘Love’ Story at DCA — “And of course, there’s the inspiring story of Reecie and Imani. Reecie met Imani in 2018 after Imani requested that her plane return to the gate [at Reagan National Airport] before taking off. Imani was the maid of honor in her best friend’s wedding, but she was too nervous to fly.” [Twitter]

Jenna Bush’s Worst Date Happened in Arlington — “Hoda Kotb asked Jenna about her worst first date ever and boy, did the story deliver. ‘My worst first date involved the Secret Service, let’s just leave it at that,’ Jenna said, laughing…. She explained that they were in Arlington, Virginia, where her now-husband was living at the time. He had realized he was running out of fuel, so he tried to get to a corner gas station that was up a slight hill. ‘He started to go up the hill and then booooop, crash.'” [Today Show]

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

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Morning Notes

Planning Process for Pentagon City Underway — “Amazon.com Inc.’s vision for Pentagon City is decidedly futuristic, anchored by a helix-shaped building that looks straight out of a sci-fi novel. Arlington County’s existing plans that guide the neighborhood’s growth, meanwhile, date back to the days of disco… The open question is how much more development the tech giant will inspire.” [Washington Business Journal]

SUV Overturns on GW Parkway — From WTOP yesterday morning: “NB George Washington Pkwy before the Key Bridge, crash involves one on its side with the left lane only squeezing by.” [Twitter]

GMU to Partner with Local American Legion Post — “Realizing a need existed to help veterans and their families in similar situations, leaders at the law school established the Mason Veterans and Servicemembers Legal Clinic (M-VETS) in 2004…. A new partnership with American Legion Post 139, which will be standing up a new building in Arlington, will allow the clinic to further increase its impact.” [George Mason University]

New Apartment Building Opening — “AHC Inc., a leading developer of affordable housing in the Washington-Baltimore metro region, is pleased to introduce a new apartment community in Arlington, VA, called The Apex. Featuring a total of 256 apartments, the $100 million development has started to welcome its first residents and is currently accepting applications.” [Press Release]

Arlington Housing Remains Pricey — “The city of Falls Church in Virginia remains the most expensive housing market, by official jurisdiction, with a median price of $820,000 last month. But among larger jurisdictions, Virginia’s Arlington County remains the most expensive, at $600,000 last month.” [WTOP]

Instant-Runoff Voting Challenges — “Technical, legal and financial complexities likely will mean any start to ‘instant-runoff’ County Board voting in Arlington will be pushed back to 2022 at the soonest. ‘It’s not practical for this year. The earliest this could possibly be used is next year,’ said Arlington Electoral Board secretary Scott McGeary, summing things up during a Feb. 6 Electoral Board meeting.” [InsideNova]

Reminder: Blue Line Work Starts Tomorrow — “Metro’s entire Blue Line is being shut down for more than three months starting Saturday… platform reconstruction work [is] being performed at the Arlington Cemetery station.” [ARLnow]

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Morning Notes

Still No Back to School Date Set — From Arlington Public Schools Superintendent Francisco Durán: “Return dates for additional student groups have not been set yet… I am committed to making these transitions as soon as it is safe enough to do so — looking not only at the health metrics, but all available information regarding health and safety, mitigation, instruction and operations — knowing that there are risks in every scenario.” [Arlington Public Schools]

N. Va. Leaders Call for Vaccine Changes — “A coalition of local governments in Northern Virginia is calling on Gov. Ralph Northam to streamline the release of COVID-19 vaccine doses and provide more transparency and equity into the process. The letter signed by 14 local government leaders was sent by the Northern Virginia Regional Commission to Northam on Sunday.” [InsideNova, Twitter]

More Buzz for Local Fried Chicken Sandwich — “A local chef is getting a lot of attention for his fried chicken sandwich… Rock Harper is the owner and chef of Queen Mother’s restaurant in Arlington, Virginia. ‘To fry chicken better than me you gotta be a woman, at least 67, and have a lace apron, if you don’t at least meet that criteria you can’t deal with me,’ Harper says.” [WJLA]

Car Flips on GW Parkway — From Tuesday afternoon: “ACFD is on scene with a crash involving an overturned vehicle on the northbound GW Parkway near Key Bridge. An additional ambulance has been requested to the scene.” [Twitter]

New Arlington Police Recruit Class — “ACPD’s 23 recruit officers in Session 144 at the Northern Virginia Criminal Justice Training Academy started their journey to become police officers today with the commencement of classes. Best of luck Session 144!” [Twitter]

Preservation of Rouse Estate Still a Long Shot — “Even if Arlington government leaders get behind the effort – and that remains a big ‘if’ – efforts by preservationists to save the Rouse estate on Wilson Boulevard from the wrecking ball may simply run out of time. ‘What you have going on is a race,’ County Attorney Stephen MacIsaac told County Board members on Jan. 23, a race between owners of the estate demanding the county government approve a demolition permit on the one hand, and preservationists seeking to have the site designated a local historic district on the other.” [InsideNova]

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Morning Notes

Free T-Ball This Spring — “Arlington Babe Ruth (ABR) is now offering free T-Ball to boys and girls ages 4-6. ABR recognizes that young players will try multiple sports in order to see what sticks, so we’ve eliminated registration fees for the youngest players. The free ABR Blastball and T-Ball programs are excellent ways to introduce boys and girls to baseball, using simple drills, a soft ball and lightweight bats, and a fun-oriented approach that teaches the rules while building enjoyment for the game.” [Arlington Babe Ruth]

Most-Read Arlington Library Books — “These are the books Arlington readers turned to the most in 2020. Unsurprisingly, many top fiction titles were part of a series, and many top nonfiction titles reflect a yearning for social justice and a desire for human connection.” [Arlington Public Library]

Virtual Meetings Lead to More Participation — “The Electoral Board was actually in the midst of conducting a meeting in March when the county government began battening the hatches and closing facilities while the COVID crisis was taking hold. Its meetings since then have been conducted on an electronic platform. There is a plus side to that. ‘Attendance has certainly increased – it has more than tripled,’ county elections chief Gretchen Reinemeyer said.” [InsideNova]

GW Parkway Lane Change — “Years of side-swiping, rear-ending and near misses have prompted traffic pattern changes to crash-prone sections of the George Washington Memorial Parkway and Interstate 395. Northbound traffic on the George Washington Parkway is permanently narrowed into a single lane at the crosswalk near Memorial Bridge.” [WTOP]

New Year Video from Arlington Children’s Chorus — “Watch this video of a song we wrote and performed that we did to bring some good cheer to the local community this holiday season… After all our festive activities were cancelled, writing a song trying to capture a little bit of the spirit of the season was a way to let our children’s voices be heard. It’s been amazing how much joy has blossomed from such a difficult situation!” [YouTube]

Distinction for Arlington Biotech Firm — “[Arlington-based] Kerecis is the fastest growing company in the regenerative-tissue market in the United States according to SmartTRAK Business Intelligence, which compared industry-sales and market-share data for 3Q 2020 to 3Q 2019.” [Kerecis]

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(Updated at 11:15 p.m.) A multi-vehicle crash has temporarily blocked all lanes of the GW Parkway in Arlington.

The crash happened near the scenic overlooks on the parkway. Initial reports suggest that one of the vehicles involved crashed into a tree in the median, and that firefighters had to extricate an occupant of the vehicle who was trapped inside.

One patient is being transported to the trauma center at George Washington University Hospital, according to scanner traffic.

The parkway is expected to remain at least partially blocked for much of the evening due to due downed trees.

Map via Google Maps

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(Updated at 5:30 p.m.) Flooding has been reported in parts of Arlington, AlexandriaD.C. and Montgomery County after a period of very heavy rain.

In Arlington, the deluge left high water on Route 110, prompting police to close the highway between Rosslyn and the Pentagon. Standing water was also reported on Columbia Pike near the Pentagon.

Flooding was also reported on the GW Parkway, near the airport.

As of 5 p.m., both Route 110 and the GW Parkway were reported to be back open.

The Flash Flood Warning was issued earlier this afternoon, and was in effect until 4:30 p.m. More from the National Weather Service:

140 PM EDT THU SEP 10 2020

…FLASH FLOOD WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 430 PM EDT THIS AFTERNOON FOR SOUTHEASTERN MONTGOMERY, NORTHWESTERN PRINCE GEORGES,  SOUTHEASTERN ARLINGTON AND SOUTHEASTERN FAIRFAX COUNTIES AND THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA AND THE CITY OF ALEXANDRIA…

AT 140 PM EDT, DOPPLER RADAR INDICATED THUNDERSTORMS PRODUCING HEAVY RAIN ACROSS THE WARNED AREA. BETWEEN 1 AND 2 INCHES OF RAIN HAVE FALLEN. FLASH FLOODING IS ONGOING OR EXPECTED TO BEGIN SHORTLY.

HAZARD…LIFE THREATENING FLASH FLOODING. THUNDERSTORMS PRODUCING FLASH FLOODING.

SOURCE…DOPPLER RADAR.

IMPACT…LIFE THREATENING FLASH FLOODING OF CREEKS AND STREAMS, URBAN AREAS, HIGHWAYS, STREETS AND UNDERPASSES.

ADDITIONAL RAINFALL AMOUNTS OF 1 TO 2 INCHES ARE POSSIBLE IN THE WARNED AREA.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

TURN AROUND, DON’T DROWN WHEN ENCOUNTERING FLOODED ROADS. MOST FLOOD DEATHS OCCUR IN VEHICLES.

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The National Park Service has a 3,000 pound problem: a car that ran so far off the GW Parkway that it wound up near the banks of the Potomac River.

The crash happened the afternoon of Sunday, June 7, just north of Windy Run in Arlington County.

Arlington firefighters, along with the D.C. police Harbor Patrol Unit, the D.C. fire boat and the U.S. Park Police helicopter responded to the crash scene after a report of a vehicle travelling in the northbound lanes that went over an embankment.

“Upon our arrival our incident commanders established a unified command with all agencies and our personnel located the vehicle near the water’s edge, approximately 60 feet down the embankment,” ACFD spokesman Capt. Justin Tirelli told ARLnow earlier this month.

“The driver had already extricated himself from the vehicle and we confirmed that he was the only occupant of the vehicle,” Tirelli continued. “ACFD medical personnel treated the patient and transferred care from the Virginia shoreline to the DCFD fire boat, where he was transported with non-life threatening injuries to a waiting ambulance on the D.C. shoreline.”

Hikers on the rocky Potomac Heritage Trail have since been encountering the startling sight of the crashed car, not knowing for sure whether anyone is inside.

“I was hiking the Potomac Heritage Trail this weekend and there is a car down there that was not there a few weeks ago,” local resident Melissa Mathews said in an email to ARLnow earlier this week. “It must have been driven off of the GW Parkway that runs (far, far) above the trail. The car has been tagged by either insurance or police so I assume there is no body inside.”

The crashed vehicle is located on national parkland, within the confines of the George Washington Memorial Parkway.

U.S. Park Police spokesman Sgt. Eduardo Delgado tells ARLnow that the car will be removed, but authorities are still trying to figure out how to do that, exactly.

“The National Park Service is still trying to determine the best course of action for the vehicle’s removal,” Delgado said.

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