An Arlington Public Schools spokesman said 135 of the school’s 800 students were out, after about 85 were absent yesterday (Wednesday).
The spokesman said that while it sounded like a “typical [stomach] bug that makes its way around this time of year,” he said he could not be sure that all the absences were related to it.
Multiple anonymous tipsters reported the spread of the illness through the school at 1030 N. McKinley Road in Madison Manor.
The School Health Bureau within the county’s Department of Health sent a letter to parents warning of an “increase in reported symptoms of gastrointestinal illness,” and urging parents to make sure children wash their hands and stay home if they develop vomiting or diarrhea.
Parents throughout APS can expect to receive a letter soon about winter illnesses in the community, which the spokesman said is “typically sent each December to our families as a reminder.”
The School Health Bureau’s letter to McKinley parents is after the jump.
With a rare solar eclipse set for Monday afternoon, Arlington is preparing for this once-in-a-lifetime event.
The moon is set to pass in front of the sun at around 1:17 p.m. Monday. Its peak is projected to be at 2:42 p.m., when 80 percent of the sun will be hidden, while the eclipse is expected to end at 4:01 p.m.
On Monday morning, ambassadors from the Rosslyn Business Improvement District will be at the Rosslyn Metro station handing out 200 pairs of free eclipse glasses while stocks last.
From 8:15 a.m. onwards, anyone wanting to pick up a pair needs to show that they “like” the Rosslyn BID’s page on Facebook from their smartphone.
The Connection pop-up library in Crystal City (2100 Crystal Drive in the Crystal City Shops) gave out hundreds of free glasses with which to watch the eclipse, supplied by PBS. The free glasses proved to be popular and the supply quickly ran out.
Clarendon restaurant Don Tito will host its rooftop eclipse viewing party from noon onwards on Monday, with the event now sold out. The watering hole at 3165 Wilson Blvd will offer what it described as “eclipse-inspired refreshments” and taco specials for the occasion.
And for anyone hoping to watch the eclipse, the county’s Public Health Division has some advice to avoid spectators’ eyes being permanently burned by part of the sun’s light:
- At no point in the Washington, DC area will anyone be able to safely view the eclipse without using special-purpose solar filters, such as eclipse sunglasses or hand-held solar viewers. Homemade filters or ordinary sunglasses — even very dark ones- – are NOT safe for looking at the sun.
- Looking at the sun without eclipse glasses or solar viewers can permanently burn the retina of the eye. The retina is the inside back layer of your eye which converts light into pictures that your brain uses to interpret what is going on around you.
- An alternative method for safe viewing of the partially eclipsed Sun is pinhole projection. NASA offers a guide for making your own pinhole projector.
- As always, children should always be supervised when using solar filters and pinhole projectors.
- A solar eclipse is one of nature’s most awe-inspiring spectacles. By following these simple rules, you can safely enjoy this incredible event now and have great memories for years to come.
- For further recommendations on how to safely enjoy the solar eclipse, go to:
- For reputable vendors of solar filters and viewers, the American Astronomical Society has a list of reputable vendors at https://eclipse.aas.org/resources/solar-filters.
Updated at 6:20 p.m. — A dog that authorities initially feared had died of rabies, potentially exposing the deadly disease to pets and people who visited a Cherrydale veterinary office, was not rabid according to the Centers for Disease Control. In a press release (below) the county says anyone who started rabies vaccinations should stop.
The Washington, D.C. Department of Health (DOH) learned today from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (DCC) that a bulldog that initially tested positive for rabies was in fact NOT rabid. The update came after public health officials in the District of Columbia and in Arlington already had alerted the public and reached out to those who may have come in contact with the dog.
“Once the initial rabies test was positive, we had to act quickly to inform the public and to begin treatment of anyone exposed. Rabies, left untreated, is fatal. We are relieved that the CDC test confirmed that the bulldog, was not, in fact, rabid and that the public was not at risk.”
After conducting its own test of the dog, DOH sent the test sample to the CDC for confirmation, a routine step when there are questions about the results. In this case, the dog had been vaccinated for rabies and was not known to have had exposure to the deadly disease. The CDC results were NEGATIVE. The dog did not have rabies.
Anyone who began rabies vaccinations based on the initial test results is NOT AT RISK of rabies and should stop the vaccination series. It will not cause harm to stop the series.
Arlington residents who have questions should call (703) 228-5200 Option #1 and ask for the Nurse of the Day during business hours (Monday – Friday 8:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M.) After hours call, (703) 228-5645 and leave a message with your name and phone number and your call will be returned within 2 hours.
Earlier: Arlington County’s health department is trying to find those who might have had contact with a bulldog that has died of rabies.
The bulldog was brought to the Cherrydale Veterinary Clinic (4038 Lee Hwy) the morning of Saturday, July 8 and the afternoon of Friday, July 14, the county said in a press release. The county has been working with the clinic to identify and get in touch with those who might have had physical contact with the dog.
County Backtracks on Uber Story — Arlington County is in the early stages of considering a plan to replace low-ridership ART service with some sort of partnership with ridesharing services, like Uber. However, the county is backtracking on an official’s statement that the service would be subsidized. “A recent press account quoted a County staff person as saying, incorrectly, that we will be subsidizing this service,” said County Manager Mark Schwartz. “No such decision has been made at this preliminary stage of analysis.” [Arlington County]
Advisory Group: Change Name of Jeff Davis Highway — An advisory group appointed by the City of Alexandria has recommended changing the name of Jefferson Davis Highway. Alexandria’s “Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Confederate Memorials and Street Names” says the Confederate president’s name should be removed from Route 1 in the city. [Patch]
Ultimate Frisbee Vote — Arlington Public Schools is now the first school system in Virginia to make ultimate frisbee an official school sport. The Arlington School Board voted Thursday night to implement ultimate as a sport in middle and high schools, on an initial countywide budget of $90,000. [WTOP]
New ART Bus Route Launching Monday — The new ART 54 bus route will begin serving Dominion Hills, Madison Manor and East Falls Church on Monday. The new bus will run every 24 minutes on weekdays, during the morning and evening rush hours. [Arlington Transit]
Medicine Dispensing Exercise — Arlington residents are being encouraged to participate in the county health department’s mass medication dispensing exercise on Saturday. Volunteers are needed to form a crowd seeking medication (the county will be dispensing two types of candy during the exercise.) [ARLnow]
United Bank Purchasing Cardinal Bank — Two regional banks are coming together to form what may be the “most dominant community bank” in the D.C. area. United Bank, which has four Arlington branches, is purchasing Cardinal Bank, which has five Arlington branches. [Washington Business Journal]
Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick
It’s almost mosquito season in the D.C. area and Arlington County says it is “continuing to monitor” the potential danger from the Zika virus.
In a new county-produced video, Dr. Reuben Varghese, Chief of Arlington’s Public Health Division, said that there are no Zika-infected mosquitos in Arlington, but there have been travel-associated cases of Zika in the region.
Arlington County has an online “mosquito information center” that advises residents who want to protect themselves from mosquitos to drain standing water, dress in long sleeves and pants, stay indoors during dawn and dusk, and use mosquito repellent containing DEET.
Citing an “imminent health hazard,” the county’s health department has closed the following: Maki of Japan, McDonald’s, Popeyes, Panera Bread, Great Wraps and Which Wich.
“Public Health is aware of the situation and will work with the establishments to help get them up and running when it is safe to do so,” said Arlington County Dept. of Human Services spokesman Kurt Larrick.
Several other restaurants in the mall’s food court were unaffected by the sewage issue and remain open.
(Updated at 2:35 p.m.) Several restaurants in the food court at the Pentagon City Mall are closed as the mall undergoes repairs to its sewer system today.
The hours-long repairs caused mall management to shut off the water. As a result, Arlington County Public Health closed the food court earlier today, the agency announced.
Among the businesses closed as of 1:00 p.m. were Taco Bell, Chipotle and McDonald’s, but Panda Express, Panera Bread and Popeye’s were open. Post-holiday shoppers had to wait in long lines to buy meals at the restaurants that remained open.
“The County continues to monitor the situation and will take additional action if necessary,” a county media alert stated.
According to Arlington’s Director of Public Health Dr. Reuben Varghese, the mall is reporting they have turned the water back on, which means restaurants that have running water are now allowed to operate. Varghese said health department staff is “on the way” to the mall to confirm the water is running.
The mall is currently undergoing renovations that will change the design of the food court and add tens of thousands of square feet for new shops and restaurants.
At least 20 students went to the school clinic Friday because of nausea or vomiting, according to Arlington Dept. of Human Services spokesman Kurt Larrick.
Officials say they’re investigating whether the illness was caused by norovirus, and whether the virus might have spread due to a bathroom that was not cleaned properly.
Photo via APS
Orange/Silver Line Delays — There were delays on the Orange and Silver lines this morning due to a disabled train at Virginia Square. The disabled train has since been cleared and trains are no longer single tracking around it. [Twitter]
Video: Don’t Put H-B Woodlawn in Reed School — A video created by members of the Westover community urges Arlington Public Schools to reject any proposal to relocate the H-B Woodlawn secondary program to the Reed School. [YouTube]
Design Tweaks for Courthouse Building — Developer Carr Properties has made several tweaks to the design of 2025 Clarendon Blvd, its proposed office building which will replace the Wendy’s in Courthouse. Responding to concerns from county planners, Carr has added a fourth retail bay and replaced most of the terra cotta in the facade with more glass and steel. [Washington Business Journal – WARNING: AUTO-PLAY VIDEO]
Health Violations at Arlington Restaurants — WUSA9 investigative reporter Russ Ptacek has set his sights on Arlington restaurants that have had food safety licenses revoked, including Mario’s Pizza, Aroma Indian Cuisine, Pedro & Vinny’s and Astor Mediterranean. In Virginia, restaurants get their violations cleared from the public database after getting a new license post-revocation. [WUSA9 – WARNING: AUTO-PLAY VIDEO]
Parking App for DCA — Starting Nov. 1, those parking at Reagan National Airport will be able to pay via a smartphone app. [MWAA]
Sun Gazette Carries Doomsday Ad — The Arlington Sun Gazette recently carried an ad for Disaster Retreat, a doomsday safe haven in central Virginia for “serious-minded families and executives.” The half-page ad was adjacent to a streetcar editorial and ads for window treatments and dog training. [Slate]
Pedro and Vinny’s, the popular burrito stand in the CVS parking lot at 2599 Columbia Pike, is closed indefinitely after having its health license revoked.
The restaurant opened in 2011 in what was once an Ollie’s Trolley. It has since served hungry Pike residents, Pentagon employees, and even members of Congress. Earlier this month it was included in the prestigious Five Thirty Eight Burrito Bracket.
Arlington County Dept. of Human Services spokesman Kurt Larrick says the health department placed Pedro and Vinny’s on a one-year probation in February due to repeated food safety violations that “significantly increased the risk of foodborne illness.”
The violations were mostly centered around improper food holding temperatures: the cheese and sour cream were too warm in the refrigerator and the chicken and beef were not hot enough in the countertop well, according to health inspection records. As part of the probation, the restaurant was informed that its food service license would be revoked if they were found not in compliance again, according to Larrick.
Yesterday (Wednesday), an inspector again found “improper hot and cold holding temperatures,” Larrick said. The license was immediately revoked and Pedro and Vinny’s was closed.
Last night, handwritten signs posted on the restaurant’s doors stated that it was “closed for a few days due [to] a kitchen problem.” Larrick said that Pedro and Vinny’s may submit an application for a new license, but will “need to meet all applicable requirements of… Arlington County Code” in order to receive it.
Measles Patient Traipsed Around Arlington — Virginia health officials have released a list of businesses patronized by a person who has since been confirmed to have a case of measles. Three North Arlington businesses are on the list. Officials are trying to determine who might have been exposed to the disease. [Virginia Department of Health]
Beyer Calls for Carbon Tax — Democratic congressional candidate Don Beyer has released a third TV ad, in which he addresses the issue of climate change and calls for the imposition of a carbon tax. Beyer is the owner of several local car dealerships. [Washington Post]
ACPD Detective Recognized — An Arlington County police detective has been honored by Virginia State Police for his role in fighting auto theft. Detective Scott Whalin’s investigation of the theft of a Dodge Charger from Pentagon City mall resulted in the arrest of two suspects whose fingerprints were allegedly found on numerous other stolen vehicles. A total of 65 cases were closed as a result of Whalin’s two arrests. [Arlington County]
Flickr pool photo by Cameron Manuel
The restaurant reopened Wednesday morning with temporary A/C units, District Taco owner Osiris Hoil said in an email. The county’s health department told the restaurant to close Tuesday after it was determined that food was being stored in an environment that was too warm.
“The A/C was a contributing factor, but not the reason for closure,” said Department of Human Services spokesman Kurt Larrick. “With the A/C not working, the refrigerator was overburdened and wasn’t able to keep the food cool enough.”
Hoil said he had already submitted plans to the county for approval to install a permanent replacement for the air conditioning unit. Temperatures reached 96 degrees Tuesday afternoon in Arlington, according to Weather.com.
“We couldn’t work and it was not safe for our food to be exposed in the restaurant,” Hoil said in an email. “So we had to transfer everything at our commissary where we have the toritos (taco stands) because we do have a lot of refrigeration there.”
During Wednesday’s lunch rush, the previous day’s shutdown did not seem to have an adverse effect. The restaurant crowded and warm, as the temporary A/C units struggled to keep the crowded space cool.
The restaurant was closed yesterday after a county food inspector discovered that the restaurant did not have any hot water, according to Michael Peter of the Arlington County Dept. of Human Services.
“The restaurant was closed by one of our food inspectors due to an imminent health risk,” Peter told ARLnow.com. “It was reported and confirmed that Union Jack’s had no hot water in the restaurant.”
“With no hot water, there is no way to properly clean and sanitize utensils and dishes,” he continued. “In addition, with no hot water, employees are less likely to wash their hands properly as they engage in food preparation.”
Red “Notice of Food Establishment Closing” signs were posted on the doors of the restaurant, located within Ballston Common Mall. So far, the restaurant has not reopened.
“The Arlington County food inspector left instructions for Union Jack’s to contact her once hot water was running again and she would immediately come to confirm and lift the closure order,” Peter said. “As of 11:18AM, no contact had been made.”
Courtesy photo (bottom)
Arlington’s Public Health Division has reversed course and will now allow restaurants to have “dog friendly” outdoor dining areas. As recently as November, the health department was reminding restaurants that no pets — except for service animals — were allowed in any dining area, inside or outside.
Now, restaurants can apply for a variance that would allow dogs in outdoor dining areas.
“Restaurants that wish to allow dogs in their outdoor dining areas now have an administrative process they can initiate to request a code variance,” Arlington’s Public Health Director, Reuben Varghese, said in a statement. “To receive a variance, a restaurant will have to comply with a set of safeguards designed to minimize risks to the dining public.”
“The change is in response to community requests,” the health department said in a press release. “With proper safeguards, restaurants can protect their customers’ health and safety in the presence of dogs.”
“Safeguards include requiring dogs to be leashed and not allowing them on seats and tables, restricting food and drink preparation from the outside dining area, and requiring signs to inform diners they are in a ‘Dog Friendly Area,'” said the press release. “Compliance would be evaluated as part of the routine restaurant inspection process.”
Photo via Arlington County
The stickers were mailed out on Nov. 26 as part of an ongoing Arlington health department initiative to remind restaurants that it’s against county code for animals to be in “areas where food is prepared, cooked or served,” according to Arlington County Department of Human Services spokesman Kurt Larrick.
Restaurants are not required to post the stickers, but a number of eateries, like Sawatdee Thai (2250 Clarendon Blvd), pictured, have already displayed them prominently for customers entering the establishment.
Larrick says the “no pets” rule applies to sidewalk cafes, too.
“The code applies to indoor and outdoor settings,” he said. “With the growth in outdoor dining in the County over the last year or so it seemed like a timely reminder. We started work on the signs this summer but it just took a while to get them done.”
The stickers note, however, that service animals, like seeing eye dogs, are exempt from the regulations. As for why your favorite fluffy friend is a no-no at restaurants, Larrick says it comes down to health concerns.
“The presence of animals would create a risk of people getting sick due to fecal contamination,” he said.