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Morning Notes

Arlington Losing Big Office Tenant — “BAE Systems Inc. is moving its headquarters to Falls Church as part of a consolidation of its Northern Virginia office space… The move will also further ding Arlington County’s office vacancy rate, which at the end of 2017 was 20.6 percent.” [Washington Business Journal]

Hazmat Situation at Kaiser Permanente — Arlington County firefighters responded to a hazardous materials incident at Kaiser Permanente in Falls Church yesterday. Five people were evaluated by medics and, of them, two were transported to the hospital. [WJLA, Twitter, Twitter]

Red Top Development Groundbreaking Nears — “The Shooshan Co. has teamed up with Trammell Crow Residential on the first phase of its planned Red Top Cab site redevelopment in Clarendon, with groundbreaking slated for early next year. The partners closed Sept. 29 on their acquisition from The Red Top Cab Co. founder Neal Nichols of several parcels along Irving and Hudson streets for a listed consideration amount of nearly $28.2 million, according to Arlington County’s Recorder of Deeds.” [Washington Business Journal]

RIP Lance Newman and Tim Wise — Two notable Arlingtonians have died: “Tim Wise, the longtime president of the Arlington County Taxpayers Association, died Friday in Fredericksburg after a 10-month battle with cancer and heart trouble… Lance Newman, one of four black students who in February 1959 began attending a previously all-white middle school in Arlington… had died after a short illness.” [InsideNova]

ACSO Launches Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign — “Breast cancer hits close to home for the Arlington County Sheriff’s Office, which has launched a campaign to raise awareness about early detection and preventative care. Over the last six years, two employees at the county’s sheriff’s office have been diagnosed with breast cancer.” [WUSA 9]

Forum Planned to Discuss Accessory Dwellings — “A forum looking at current regulations related to accessory-dwelling units in Arlington will be held on Monday, Oct. 15 at 7 p.m. at Central Library. Speakers will discuss how changes made to the county’s housing ordinances in 2017 impact the regulatory process, and will look at whether further changes are needed.” [InsideNova]

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Morning Notes

Pentagon Ricin Case Update — “Letters sent to the White House and the Pentagon did not contain a finished form of ricin, law enforcement officials said Wednesday, but did contain a primitive form or precursor… A man was arrested in Logan, Utah, on Wednesday in connection with [the] suspicious letters.” [NBC News, NBC News]

Candidates Call for Speedier Lee Highway Planning — “Indications are pointing to redevelopment of significant portions of the Lee Highway corridor through Arlington beginning to gather steam. But is the Arlington County government going to be left behind as the process grinds on? The two candidates for County Board say the local government needs to get moving on its efforts to lead a comprehensive effort in helping plan the corridor’s future.” [InsideNova]

GMU ‘No Scooter Zone’ Nixed — George Mason University “recognizes the popularity of the scooters, so it is softening the message, [spokesman Buzz] McClain said. ‘I think the ‘no scooter zone’ sign got the attention of a lot of people, a little exclamatory. So we’re gonna tone down the messaging and say, ‘park the scooters over by the bikes,’ and that’s it.'” [NBC Washington]

Bistro 1521 Reviewed — Washington Post food critic Tim Carman gave a mostly positive review to Bistro 1521, the Filipino restaurant on N. Glebe Road in Ballston. [Washington Post]

Tonight: Family Film Showing in Clarendon — “Join Market Common Clarendon each Thursday in October starting at 6:30 p.m. for a FREE family-friendly movie on The Loop! Pre-movie fun begins at 4:30 with face painting and balloon twisting and free popcorn and candy from 6-8 p.m.” [ARLnow Events]

Teachers Endorse Kanninen, de Ferranti — The Arlington Education Association PAC has endorsed Democratic candidate Matt de Ferranti for Arlington County Board and incumbent Barbara Kanninen for School Board. The PAC represents Arlington teachers. [Twitter, Twitter, Arlington Education Association]

Domestic Violence Awareness Month Kickoff — “Project PEACE is hosting Kate Ranta, a local domestic and gun violence survivor… for a community conversation about sex, violence and the Arlington community. The event takes place [on] Thursday, October 4 [at] 6:30 p.m., at the Walter Reed Community Center.” [Press Release]

Arlington’s Pros and Cons Compared to Tysons — “‘Arlington has old office spaces with bad floor plans,’ said [GMU Professor Stephen] Fuller. ‘That’s sending people out to Tysons, which has newer office space… [But] when Amazon was looking at Northern Virginia, they were looking at Crystal City, not Tysons. Tysons just doesn’t offer lifestyle that they’re looking for.'” [Tysons Reporter]

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BREAKING: Deadly Poison Reportedly Found in Packages at Pentagon

(Updated at 1:50 p.m.) At least two packages in a mail processing center at the Pentagon could contain the deadly poison ricin, according to news reports.

Department of Defense officials have told local and national news outlets that the packages were addressed to Defense Secretary James Mattis and Admiral John Richarson, but never made it inside the Pentagon itself. The mail center is located on the building’s campus, but not inside the Pentagon.

The FBI will take the lead in the investigation, officials told reporters. No word yet on how much of the poison was discovered, or if anyone came in contact with it.

File photo

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Morning Notes

Amazon Could Change Conversation — If Amazon were to establish its second headquarters in the D.C. area, it could have wide-ranging effects, including tightening the commercial real estate market and easing antitrust pressures on the company. Writes the Economist: “Having 50,000 employees going to the same country clubs and putting children in the same schools as government officials is a shrewd strategy if Amazon wants to fend off government attacks.” [Washington Business Journal, The Economist]

One Hospitalized During Hazmat Incident — An employee at a catering business was hospitalized after a reported chemical spill at a warehouse along Four Mile Run Drive. [Twitter]

Principal on Leave at Nottingham — Nottingham Elementary School Principal Mary Beth Pelosky is “currently on leave” and former Arlington Public Schools administrator Connie Skelton is taking over as acting principal, according to an email to parents from APS Superintendent Patrick Murphy. No explanation was given for Pelosky’s sudden departure.

No More Early Cherry Blossom Bloom — Initially expected to happen later this week, the peak cherry blossom bloom is, due to cold weather, now expected to occur at the end of March and possibly the beginning of April. [Capital Weather Gang, WTOP]

APS May Take Advantage of Recess Law Change — “The chairman of Arlington’s School Board appears optimistic about a change in state law that will permit school districts to squeeze more recess into the existing school day.” [InsideNova]

Photo via @thelastfc

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BREAKING: Hazmat Situation at Marine Corps Headquarters

Update at 2:45 p.m. — The base’s public affairs office released the following statement Wednesday.

The Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall Feb. 27 incident where 11 personnel began feeling ill after a letter was opened on the Marine Corps side of the base remains under investigation.

NCIS and the FBI are conducting the joint investigation.

The three Marines who were transported for additional medical evaluations were released from the hospital at approximately 10 p.m. last night.

This office will continue to provide updates as they become available.

Earlier: Firefighters, paramedics and law enforcement responded to Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall Tuesday afternoon for a hazmat situation involving an unknown substance that was mailed to the base.

Firefighters were first called to Henderson Hall, the headquarters of the U.S. Marine Corps, just after 4:30 p.m. for a hazmat incident. Ft. Myer, Arlington County and Alexandria firefighters and hazmat units were dispatched to the scene, as was an “EMS task force” that is usually dispatched to mass casualty incidents.

Initial reports suggest that a certified letter was opened in one of the buildings and that it contained some sort of potentially hazardous substance, prompting an evacuation of the building and the deployment of an emergency decontamination station.

Eleven people were treated for symptoms and three were transported to the hospital in stable condition, according to the Arlington County Fire Department. Symptoms included a nose bleed and a burning sensation, according to initial reports.

A Marine Corps official released a statement saying that the victims were Marines.

“An envelope containing an unknown substance was received, today, aboard Joint Base Ft. Myer-Henderson Hall,” the statement said. “Personnel in the affected building took immediate preventative measures by evacuating the building. Base officials are coordinating with local hazmat teams and the FBI. Several Marines are receiving medical care as a result of this incident.”

Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) said via Twitter that he is “closely following the situation.”

With the help of the local hazmat teams “the building was screened and cleared, and the letter was removed,” the Marine Corps said late Tuesday. The FBI and Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) are now conducting a joint investigation.

National news media, including major television networks, gathered outside of the base in Arlington’s Foxcroft Heights neighborhood to report on the story. A press conference to be held outside the base was later cancelled. No reason was given for the cancellation.

During the incident police closed off the road near the entrance to Henderson Hall, at the intersection of S. Orme Street and Southgate Road.

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Truck Pulls Down Power Lines, Causes Outage in Seven Corners

Power is out in parts of Seven Corners after a truck brought down power lines behind the Eden Center in Falls Church.

The incident happened around 2:30 p.m. in the rear of the shopping center. Two utility poles were snapped in half as a result of the collision.

At one point, nearly 2,500 Dominion customers were without power in the area, including in parts of Arlington County. As of 3:30 p.m. Dominion was no longer reporting any outages in Arlington.

The Arlington County Fire Department responded to the scene for sparking power lines and a spill of mineral oil from the transformers. ACFD has since turned over the scene to Dominion, which will be cleaning up the spill, according to scanner traffic.

Some traffic signals in Seven Corners may be affected by the outages, according to Fairfax County Police.

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Report: Pipe Repair Method Used in County Could Pose Health Risks

A method of repairing water pipes, utilized by Arlington County, could be exposing residents and workers to health risks, according to new research.

A report out of Purdue University in Indiana found that the procedure, called cured-in-place pipe repair (CIPP), can emit harmful chemicals into the air, which sometimes are visible as plumes of smoke. Those nearby could then be exposed.

The research found evidence of hazardous air pollutants — chemicals that disrupt the body’s endocrine system and can cause tumors, birth defects and other developmental disorders.

Arlington uses CIPP, also known as pipe relining, to fix sanitary sewer pipes. It involves inserting a fabric tube filled with resin into a damaged pipe and curing it in place with hot water, pressurized steam, or sometimes with ultraviolet light. The result is a new plastic pipe manufactured inside the damaged one that is just as strong.

There have been several reported instances of the odors produced by the relining work prompting calls to the Arlington County Fire Department. Last year ACFD’s hazmat team responded to a Chinese restaurant in Falls Church after reports of an “unusual odor in the bathroom,” which was later determined to have been caused by relining work. In 2010, “numerous” residents of a North Arlington neighborhood called to report “a pervasive chemical odor,” also during relining work.

Andrew Whelton, an assistant professor in Purdue University’s Lyles School of Civil Engineering and the Environmental and Ecological Engineering program, led a team of researchers who conducted a study at seven steam-cured CIPP installations in Indiana and California.

“CIPP is the most popular water-pipe rehabilitation technology in the United States,” Whelton said in a statement. “Short- and long-term health impacts caused by chemical mixture exposures should be immediately investigated. Workers are a vulnerable population, and understanding exposures and health impacts to the general public is also needed.”

A spokeswoman for the county’s Department of Environmental Services said in an email that staff stays up to date on new research about its repair methods.

“The County is committed to ensuring the safety of its residents, workers and contractors,” spokeswoman Jessica Baxter wrote in an email. “CIPP (Cured-in-place pipe) is a national industry practice that is performed throughout the country and world to reline pipes. As new studies and findings come to light, the industry and the National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety will need to determine if additional protection mitigation steps are needed — and we, as well as our contractors, will monitor this for any needed changes.”

Researchers said workers must better protect themselves from any harmful chemicals that are emitted, and local health officials must conduct full investigations when they receive reports of unusual odors or illnesses near CIPP sites. Baxter said the county already provides plenty of information to residents near such work.

“When the County plans work to reline a section of sanitary sewer pipe, residents whose homes are directly connected to the pipe receive a notice prior to the work explaining the process and how to prevent fumes from entering their homes,” Baxter said. “The County also has a list of recommendations for homeowners on our website.”

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UPDATED: Hazmat Incident at GMU Law School in Va. Square

Update at 6:45 p.m. — The fire department has cleared the scene and all lanes of Fairfax Drive are back open.

The Arlington County Fire Department is investigating a hazmat incident at George Mason University’s law school in Virginia Square.

The incident happened on the third floor of the law school building, at 3301 Fairfax Drive, and involves a suspicious envelope containing a “powdery substance,” according to fire department spokesman Lt. Jeff Crooke. One person who opened the envelope is being evaluated but is not believed be suffering any medical issues at this time.

Police have blocked the westbound lanes of Fairfax Drive due to the emergency response.

The law school was recently renamed the Antonin Scalia Law School, after the late Supreme Court justice.

Map via Google Maps

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Nothing Hazardous Found During Hazmat Situation at W-L

Arlington County firefighters, including the hazmat team, responded to Washington-Lee High School this morning after air monitoring alarms indicated a possible refrigerant leak in the school’s boiler room.

ACFD was dispatched to W-L around 10:45 a.m. Firefighters investigated the alarms for more than an hour before concluding that there were no hazards, a fire department spokesman said.

The boiler room was ventilated during the incident response, but the school was not evacuated and no injuries were reported.

In the end, it was a malfunctioning alarm, not a hazardous leak, that caused the incident, said APS spokeswoman Jennifer Harris.

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UPDATED: Irritating Odor Prompts Hazmat Response at Ft. Myer

Arlington County fire truck(Updated at 1:29 p.m.) Hazmat teams rushed to the scene after reports of an irritating odor and possible chemical leak at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall earlier this morning.

The incident occurred in the basement of a barracks building on the 400 block of Sheridan Ave. sometime around 10:00 a.m. today.

Reports of a “a foul smell and complaints of eyes being irritated” led to the incident, according to a statement from the military base.

“The source of the odor has been determined to be a chemical reaction between various unknown supplies in a storage supply closet,” the statement continued. “All indications are that this is not terrorist or criminal related.”

Despite earlier reports of a “hydrogen cyanide leak,” the odor actually came from overheated radio batteries, according to the Arlington County Fire Department.

The building was evacuated and crews evaluated at least seven people onsite. Nobody was taken to the hospital following the incident, however.

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Morning Notes

Rosie the Riveter event at the Netherlands Carillon (courtesy Valerie Crotty)

Hazmat Incident, Arrests on I-66 — Two people were arrested on drug charges Saturday after their SUV broke down on I-66 and police found a suspicious liquid in and a suspicious smell coming from the vehicle. Lanes of westbound I-66 were shut down while a hazmat team investigated the substance. [WUSA, NBC 4]

Man Arrested for Sexual Assault on Orange Line Train — A man allegedly exposed himself and then tried to force a woman to perform a sex act on an Orange Line train Monday afternoon. The incident happened as the train was approaching the Dunn Loring station, but the man was reportedly arrested in Arlington and held at the county jail. [WTOP]

APS Still Searching for More Space — Arlington Public Schools officials have been busy trying to add more high school seats as a student capacity crunch continues and is expected to get worse at the top grade levels. For now, APS appears to be focused on adding seats at existing high schools and adding additional capacity through new high school programs, like the just-launched Arlington Tech program, as opposed to opening a fourth comprehensive high school. [InsideNova]

Photo (above) of Rosie the Riveter event at the Netherlands Carillon courtesy Valerie Crotty

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Fuel Spill Prompts Hazmat Response on I-395

Hazmat response on SB I-395

Hazmat teams are on the scene of a fuel spill on southbound I-395 between Shirlington and King Street.

Nearly 50 gallons of fuel have spilled from a ruptured tractor trailer fuel tank, according to scanner traffic. Firefighters are trying to contain the leak.

All but two lanes of the main line of I-395 are blocked due to the emergency response. The ramp from Shirlington Circle to southbound I-395 is being closed.

Update at 4:30 p.m. — Firefighters managed to contain the spill in about 30-45 minutes. Before the lane closures were lifted, southbound traffic was backed up to the area around the Pentagon.

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County Officials Investigating Yellow Substance in Part of Four Mile Run

Update at 8:15 p.m. — “We traced the discoloration to an active construction site, which is the likely source,” said Arlington DES spokeswoman Jessica Baxter. “A light-colored sediment had discharged from the site and into the storm drain system.”

Why did this stretch of Four Mile Run turn yellow?

That’s a question officials with Arlington County’s Dept. of Environmental Services are trying to answer.

The Arlington County Fire Department was called to investigate a yellow substance in a portion of the stream behind The Brittany condominium complex at 4500 S Four Mile Run Drive around 2:35 p.m. this afternoon.

Though the firefighters concluded the mysterious discoloration is not hazardous, the substance has county officials scratching their heads.

“We don’t know how long it had been there,” said DES staffer Mark Wisdom. “We can’t make a determination until we can find the source.”

Wisdom said he planned to search for discarded paint cans or other substances near the creek.

Photos and additional reporting by Lindsay Smith

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BREAKING: ACFD Battling Small Warehouse Fire Near Shirlington

(Updated at 2:30 p.m.) Arlington County and Alexandria firefighters are battling a small fire in a warehouse near Shirlington.

Initial reports suggest that a fire started in an area of the warehouse used for painting and then spread to the roof. One person was treated by medics for burns to his or her hands.

A rapid fire response task force was dispatched to the scene, in addition to a hazmat unit for a reported paint or chemical spill. Photos show signs for the party rental business DC Rental in the area of the warehouse where firefighters are operating.

The warehouse, at 2615 S. Shirlington Road, is located near I-395 in the Nauck neighborhood. Drivers should expect lane closures near the scene on S. Shirlington Road.

As of 2:30 p.m., the fire was reported out and firefighters were ventilating the building.

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Hazmat Team Investigating ‘Unusual Odor in the Bathroom’ of Chinese Restaurant

Arlington responds to suspected hazmat at Crystal Plaza Apartments, Dec. 8, 2014An Arlington County Fire Department hazmat team has been called to a Chinese restaurant in Falls Church for a report of an “unusual odor in the bathroom,” according to scanner traffic.

The incident was reported just after 11:30 a.m. at the Happy Family restaurant at 301 S. Washington Street.

Initial reports suggest that the odor is the result of pipe relining in the area.

File photo

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