Press Club

Morning Notes

Fall colors and the Jamestown Park tennis court (staff photo)

Arlington Has a New County Attorney — “Arlington County Board Selects MinhChau Corr as New County Attorney After conducting a nationwide search, the Arlington County Board has selected MinhChau Corr as the new County Attorney for Arlington County Government. As chief legal counsel to the Board, Ms. Corr will report directly to the County Board and lead an office of 14 attorneys and 3 paraprofessional staff.” [Arlington County]

New DCA Checkpoints Now Open — “New checkpoints opened Tuesday morning at Reagan National Airport, offering a speedier security process and what airport officials say is an upgraded experience befitting an airport that serves as a gateway to the nation’s capital. The checkpoints are one element of a $1 billion plan that marks the airport’s most significant upgrades since the opening of two new terminals in 1997.” [Washington Post]

Tomb Event Highlighted on Today Show — “Marking the 100th anniversary of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the American public is getting the chance to step forward and pay their respects for the very first time. TODAY’s Craig Melvin traveled to Arlington National Cemetery for NBC’s network-wide series ‘Those Who Serve.'” [Today Show]

Marine Corps Birthday Today — “On November 10, 2021, Marines across the globe will recognize and acknowledge 246 years of service to their country, the sacrifices made to defend democracy, and the Marine Corps’ enduring legacy as America’s premier fighting force. The Marine Corps’ annual tradition celebrates the establishment of the organization on November 10, 1775, by the Second Continental Congress.” [USMC]

A Monumental Maintenance TaskUpdated at 3 p.m. — A maintenance crew with safety harnesses was seen climbing the Air Force Memorial today and Tuesday. [Twitter, Twitter, Washington Post]

YHS Players Help VHC Nurses — “The Yorktown High School football team presented the nurses at Virginia Hospital Center with bouquets of discount cards to say thank you for their work during the pandemic and beyond. The cards include discounts to local businesses within the local community who sponsor the football program.” [Sun Gazette]

It’s Wednesday — Another great day is on tap. Today will start partly sunny, then gradually become sunnier, with a high near 68. Sunrise at 6:45 a.m. and sunset at 4:58 p.m. Tomorrow — Veterans Day — will be partly sunny, with a high near 67.

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Morning Notes

‘Innovation Studio’ Planned at HQ2 — “Amazon Web Services will open a new AWS Innovation Studio to collaborate on global solutions that leverage its cloud computing technologies to address issues such as housing insecurity, social justice, climate change, sustainability and health and education inequality. A first for AWS, the studio will launch at Amazon’s new HQ2 headquarters under construction in Arlington, Va.” [CRN]

First Responders Honor Fallen Marine — “ACPD and @ArlingtonVaFD paid our respects to USMC Sgt. Nicole Gee, who was tragically killed in action in Kabul, as her procession traveled through Arlington this evening. May we never forget her service and sacrifice.” [Twitter, Twitter]

Power Outage Near Rosslyn — “About 450 homes and businesses are without power in the Rosslyn area this morning. Initial reports suggest that residents heard a loud boom and firefighters subsequently found a very unlucky squirrel.” [Twitter]

Beyer Blasts GOP for Debt Limit Drama — “By filibustering legislation that would prevent a default, they are gambling with the full faith and credit of the United States. This is poor economic stewardship. The responsible course of action is to increase the debt ceiling to prevent a catastrophic default.” [Press Release]

APS Preparing for Collective Bargaining — “The push to give Arlington Public Schools’ staff collective-bargaining rights is expected to move another step forward in coming weeks. School Board members on Sept. 30 will review a draft list of budget priorities for next year to be handed to Superintendent Francisco Durán. Among the directives in the staff proposal: create a timeline for implementation of collective-bargaining, which until recently was banned for public-sector workers in local governments across Virginia.” [Sun Gazette]

It’s National Recovery Month — “September is celebrated as National Recovery Month with the purpose of educating communities about recovery from mental health, substance use, and co-occurring disorders; the effectiveness of treatment and recovery support services; and that recovery is possible. Arlington proudly stands alongside our recovery community.” [Arlington County]

Virginia Gubernatorial Debate — “Republican Glenn Youngkin and Democrat Terry McAuliffe outlined sharply different pictures of Virginia and visions for its future Tuesday in the second and final debate of this year’s race for governor. Youngkin, a former business executive, described a state racked with crime and struggling under a dying economy, then pledged to fix it by slashing taxes and beefing up law enforcement. McAuliffe took credit for creating a booming economy when he served as governor from 2014 to 2018.” [Washington Post]

Tuesday Morning’s Big Boom — “A big boom was reported across a wide swath of Fairfax County from Reston and Herndon to McLean around 10:40 a.m. on Tuesday, leaving many residents confused regarding the possible source. The sound was likely caused by loud thunder that accompanied a storm that was crossing the area at the time.” [FFXnow]

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Arlington police officers, sheriff’s deputies and firefighters paid tribute yesterday to Staff Sergeant Darin Taylor Hoover, a Marine from Utah who was among those killed in the Kabul airport bombing last month.

Local first responders saluted “as a symbolic gesture of gratitude” while Hoover’s procession was escorted around the Marine Corps War Memorial, en route from Dover Air Force Base to the Murphy Funeral Home near Ballston. The fallen Marine is being laid to rest today at Arlington National Cemetery.

Hoover’s family called the Utah native a hero who loved the Marine Corps and was beloved by his fellow Marines. He “was doing for others what they couldn’t do for themselves, and he made the ultimate sacrifice doing that,” his father told a local TV station.

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A group of Marines in their dress blue uniforms braved floodwaters along Columbia Pike to help a stranded motorist.

Video of the rescue has gone viral on TikTok, racking up more than 800,000 views as of this article’s publication. It appears to have taken place on Columbia Pike near the Pentagon on Thursday, amid a torrential downpour that flooded a number of roadways around Arlington.

The Marines, in their formal white pants and blue jackets, are seen getting out of a Marine Corps bus that’s stopped on the side of Columbia Pike, under a bridge carrying traffic on Washington Blvd. High standing water can be seen around the driver’s car.

“The Marines are going to help us?” she’s heard asking. “We just got stuck.”

The group trudges through the floodwaters and then is seen pushing the car to safety.

“Oh my God, this is the most American thing ever,” the driver says. “Thank you so much!”

In the comments on TikTok, the driver further expressed her gratitude.

“As an immigrant we don’t usually see these thing in the country I grew up in,” she wrote. “I am so grateful for the country and its Marines and military.”

It’s all in a day’s work for members of the Corps, said others in the comments.

“I am going to tell you right now, they LOVED helping you out,” one man wrote. “Cause this is what we Marines do.”

@vigi.boo

#themarines #unitedstatesofamerica #greateful #semperfi #thedaythemarineshelpedus #godblessamerica #usamarines #amen #beautiful #intimesofstress #hope

♬ People Help the People – Birdy

Hat tip to @theblueapple

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Morning Notes

Winning Lottery Ticket Sold in Crystal City — “A Maryland man walked away with the top prize in the Virginia Lottery’s Double Dollar Crossword, after the ticket from ann Arlington convenience store turned out to be a winner.
Silver Spring resident Elvis Umana Hernandez works in construction and carpentry. He recently bought the winning ticket worth $250,000 during a visit to the 7-Eleven at 1500 S. Fern St.” [Patch]

‘Walking Marine’ Walks Through Arlington — “Terry ‘The Walking Marine’ Sharpe has been walking through Arlington today and giving out toy soldiers to raise awareness of veteran suicide.” [Twitter]

Goldman Sachs Investing in Local Startup — “Arlington startup MotoRefi, whose platform aims to make refinancing car loans easier for consumers, is closing in on an eight-figure round involving a blue-chip investor. The company is poised to raise about $45 million in new funding, the lion’s share of which comes from Goldman Sachs, according to sources familiar with the deal.” [Washington Business Journal]

Catholic Diocese Lifts Restrictions — “The Catholic diocese in Arlington, Virginia, has lifted COVID-19 restrictions for masses and other activities. Bishop Michael Francis Burbidge said in a video message released Tuesday, ‘We can once again celebrate as a community, without the need for social distancing or capacity limits.’ People who are not vaccinated are ‘encouraged to wear a mask for the time being,’ the bishop said.” [WTOP]

ACFD Helps Battle Fairfax House Fire — “The Fairfax County and Arlington fire departments also responded to a house fire in the 7700 block of Virginia Lane in Falls Church last night. A cause and estimate of damages have not been announced yet, but the blaze did not result in any reported injuries.” [Tysons Reporter]

Affordable Housing Bill Takes Effect July 1 — “Thanks to HB 2046 from Del. Jeff Bourne, D-Richmond, beginning on July 1 localities across Virginia will no longer be allowed to deny building permits to projects ‘because the housing development contains or is expected to contain affordable housing units occupied or intended for occupancy by families or individuals with incomes at or below 80% of the median income of the area.'” [GGWash]

Reminder: We’re Taking The Day Off — ARLnow’s staff has been working hard during the pandemic and we’re getting the day off to enjoy a four-day Memorial Day weekend. As such, except in the event of breaking news, we will not be publishing today.

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

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Nilah Williamson, the Yorktown High School senior who was recently featured on Good Morning America for pursuing a pilot’s license before a driver’s license, will be attending the U.S. Naval Academy next fall.

Williamson said she wants to major in chemistry, a field that she is passionate about. After four years in labs, however, she plans to go to flight school, returning to the cockpit and trading in her goggles for a pilot’s uniform.

The teen said she hopes the pilot’s license that she is pursuing will give her a leg up in flight school.

You compete for a slot at flight school and you compete for an aircraft,” she said. “You have to be at the top of your class.” 

After passing her written test this September, Williamson started flight practice. She needs at least 40 hours of flight time, culminating in a cross-country flight, to earn her license.

“I wanted to use this time to actually do something and achieve a goal I have for myself,” said Williamson, who moved to Arlington with her family two summers ago.

After enrolling in Arlington Public Schools, she took aviation as an elective at the Arlington Career Center, which she credits with helping her get on-track toward her license. This spring, she plans to use Yorktown’s three-week senior experience — when students can pursue internships and career opportunities — to finish the bulk of her needed hours at the Navy Annapolis Flight Center.

Williamson said learning from home has helped her juggle practicing flying and driving — she still has yet to get her driver’s license — as well as school and her weekend job.

“I enjoy virtual learning so much,” she said. “I don’t really think I would’ve been this successful this school year without it being this way.”

She said this year has also given her time to reflect on her future.

“The pandemic made me realize I wanted to serve my country even more,” she said. “With all the events that happened I worked hard to see the good despite all the bad happening, that made me see that this country was worth fighting for.”

She said she is paying closer attention to current events in other countries, and feels more inspired to join the Marine Corps, whose mission is “to help people who can’t help themselves.”

Ultimately, Williamson said she wants to be a pilot in the Marine Corps, which blends her love for flying with the admiration she has long held for the women of the Marines.

“Seeing female Marines growing up, they were my super heroes — my Wonder Woman and Supergirl,” she said. “That’s what I’ve been striving for. That’s why I think I would strive there.”

Williamson has many family members who served or still serve in the military. Her father, Col. Ahmed Williamson, is an active-duty Marine, and she has cousins who were pilots in the Air Force and the Marines.

“Those values are embedded into who I am,” she said. 

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Patrick Moran, a 1990 Yorktown High School graduate, is reaching astronomical heights in his career.

Moran is one of two new pilots appointed by Virgin Galactic into its Pilot Corps on Oct. 27. He joined Jameel Janjua as one of eight pilots in the space flight program.

Virgin Galactic bills itself as “the world’s first commercial spaceline and vertically integrated aerospace company,” according to the company’s website.

A former fighter pilot, Moran will be part of the preparation for commercial service in a test pilot capacity. He and the Pilot Corps will eventually transition to being spaceship pilots, responsible for the commercial flying of passengers.

Moran and Janjua will train to fly SpaceShipTwo, what the company’s site refers to as “the world’s first passenger carrying spaceship to be built by a private company and operated in commercial service.” Moran will also be assigned other responsibilities while based at Spaceport America, New Mexico.

“I am excited to join this fantastic team of talented pioneers leading the charge for commercial space travel and now in the final stages of its flight test program,” the Arlington native said in a press release.

“As a flight instructor, I loved to take people flying in the F/A-18 for the first time, to see their huge smiles as they climbed out of the cockpit. I can’t wait to share the experience of going to space with our Future Astronauts and to see their reactions as they step out of the spaceship and describe their views of Earth from space.”

A 1995 graduate of the University of Virginia’s engineering school, Moran served as a pilot in the Marine Corps for 20 years before retiring in 2015 as a lieutenant colonel. He served in multiple roles while in the Marine Corps, including as a test pilot and test pilot school instructor, and also served as the lead government test pilot for Navy and Marine Corps variants of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

Moran currently lives in Henrico, Virgina, with his wife and son.

Photo (above) via NASA on Unsplash, (below) via Virgin Galactic

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If it looks, feels and smells like California during wildfire season outside — there’s a good explanation for why.

Amid sunny, warming weather, the air in Arlington has turned hazy with a distinct campfire smell. The smoke is coming from a controlled burn near Marine Corps Base Quantico, blown by prevailing winds over Arlington, D.C. and Fairfax County, among other D.C. area locales.

“The burn is expected to last 2 days,” noted Arlington County Police.

There have been reports of smoky conditions in both the southern and northern portions of the county.

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Morning Notes

Suspect and Murdered Wife Both Marines — “A woman found dead in [an Arlington] hotel room on Saturday and the man arrested in connection with her murder are both U.S. Marines… The two were seen earlier in the evening at the Marriott while attending their unit’s military ball to commemorate the Marine Corps’ 243rd birthday.” [Newsweek, Task and Purpose]

Arlingtonian Named ABC 7’s Hero of the Week — “In his dedication to the community, Aaron Codispoti switches gears constantly — in the truest sense of the word. He manages a team of more than a thousand people within the State Department, volunteers as an auxiliary police officer with Arlington County — often on bike patrol — and organizes blood drives twice a year.” [WJLA]

Crafthouse Going National — Ballston restaurant Crafthouse is taking its craft beer and elevated pub food formula national. The company, which also has locations in Fairfax and Reston, is preparing for rapid expansion via franchising. [Reston Now]

Local Entrepreneurs Mostly Looking Forward to Amazon — Though Amazon’s anticipated arrival in Crystal City could come with rent and hiring challenges, local entrepreneurs are mostly looking forward to the excitement and amenities the tech giant will bring to the area. [Forbes]

Amazon May Make Defense Hiring Harder — “If Amazon.com Inc. puts part of its second headquarters in Crystal City — as signs are pointing to this week — it could make defense hiring in the region even more competitive. The Seattle-based e-commerce and cloud computing company is already pursuing new deals in the defense and intelligence sectors, industry execs tell The Wall Street Journal, and an expanded presence in Greater Washington — home to thousands of government contractors — would put a strain on a market stretched by a dearth of workers holding proper security clearances.” [Washington Business Journal]

Police Looking for Driver Who Brandished Gun — Arlington County Police are investigating a road rage incident along Columbia Pike in which one driver “pulled over, exited his vehicle, and following a verbal dispute, allegedly brandished a firearm and threatened the other driver.” [Arlington County]

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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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Morning Notes

Frozen daffodil buds in the snow (Flickr pool photo by Lisa Novak)

Arlington Sports Hall of Fame Seeks Permanent Venue — There is an Arlington Sports Hall of Fame, but it does not have a permanent home. Boosters are seeking to change that, discussing a possible display in Arlington Central Library. [InsideNova]

Local Man Graduates Parris Island With Honors — Arlington native Allen M. Gibbs has graduated from Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island with honors. [Beaufort Gazette]

Police, Fire Departments Hold Book Drive — Starting Wednesday and running through April 30, Arlington police and firefighters will be holding a “For the Love of Reading” book drive, collecting specific books for elementary school students at Arlington Public Schools. Donation boxes are located at police headquarters in Courthouse and at local fire stations. [Arlington County]

Avalon Bay Donates to APAH — Arlington-based apartment, publicly traded building owner AvalonBay has made a $35,000 donation to the Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing. The company has raised $85,000 for APAH since 2015. [Yahoo Finance]

Flickr pool photo by Lisa Novak

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