Arlington Man Dies in Texas Crash — “Early Sunday morning, police responded to a three-vehicle crash which resulted in a man’s death and an arrest of a 42-year-old woman… The driver involved in the head-on collision with Sanchez, identified as 33-year-old Eyob Demoze of Arlington, Virginia, died at the hospital.” [Fox 29]
TSA Catches Loaded Gun at DCA — “Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers caught an Arlington County, Virginia, man with a 9mm handgun loaded with seven bullets including one in the chamber at a Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport security checkpoint early this morning, Monday, Feb. 8.” [Press Release]
Historic Marker to Mark Fmr. Trolly Stop — “The Arlington Historical Affairs and Landmark Review Board has approved placement of a marker to denote the one-time ‘Livingstone Station’ on the Washington & Old Dominion Railway. The marker will be placed at Old Dominion Drive and 24th Street North, which was believed to be the location of the station. 24th Street originally was known as Livingston Ave.” [InsideNova]
Marymount Students Top Nat’l Contest — “Two Marymount University students achieved national recognition for video stories they created to illustrate how the resurgent civil rights activism of 2020 and the ongoing movement for racial equality has personally impacted them.” [Marymount University]
Syphax Descendant Holds History Talks — “His pandemic-era Zoom talks have included exploration of family patriarch William Syphax (circa 1773-1850), who bought his freedom in 1817 and set up a business next to the historic Carlyle House in Alexandria. This Syphax worked with a neighbor, Quaker pharmacist and abolitionist Edward Stabler, to save money to free the rest of his family.” [Falls Church News-Press]
Commuting Hazard This Morning? — From the Capital Weather Gang last night: “We can’t rule out some very light, spotty mixed precip before/around sunrise Tues. Slight chance of slick roads mainly N & W of Beltway.” [Twitter]
No APS Return Dates Yet — “Alexandria City Public Schools this week joined a flood of Northern Virginia school systems in setting firm timelines for reopening classrooms, vowing to welcome all students back for in-person learning by mid-March. But in Arlington, school officials aren’t committing to return dates just yet.” [Washington Post]
Summer School Appears Likely — “Gov. Ralph Northam on Friday will announce a plan to extend the school year into summer to allow students to catch up. The announcement will come during an 11 a.m. news conference, Northam said during a Thursday morning interview with Washington Post Live. No details have yet been released. ‘We’re working with our teachers, our school boards, our superintendents. It has to be a top priority,’ he said.” [InsideNova]
Karantonis Running for Reelection — “Although his announcement was temporarily derailed by a snafu too common in the Zoom era, Arlington County Board member Takis Karantonis on Feb. 3 formally kicked off his bid for re-election with comments before the Arlington County Democratic Committee.” [InsideNova]
Napoli Salumeria’s D.C. Location Closing — “The restaurant has decided not to renew their lease at their current location, so they are temporarily closing their Columbia Heights doors as they search for a new DC location. In the meantime, guests can still get the full Napoli Pasta Bar menu at Napoli Salumeria in Arlington starting next week (including dine-in). Napoli Pasta Bar will also offer free delivery for DC residents within a certain radius from Napoli Salumeria.” [PoPville]
Marymount Announces Commencement Speakers — “In mid-May, approximately 975 students will receive their degrees over the course of three days during Marymount University’s 70th annual commencement ceremonies. The newest graduates of the mission-based Catholic university will hear from three distinguished commencement speakers – influential Virginian James Dyke, Jr., entrepreneur and philanthropist Sheila Johnson and business leader Donald Graham.” [Marymount University]
Editorial: No Counterbalance Against Tax Increases — “The government’s Fiscal Affairs Advisory Commission effectively has been gelded; the Arlington County Civic Federation is trying to keep up but is not the budget-watching powerhouse it once was; the Arlington County Taxpayers Association effectively died with its leader, Tim Wise; and serious budget discussions almost never even come up within the intra-Democratic nomination contests that determine who will hold elected office.” [InsideNova]
Virginia May Abolish Death Penalty — “Virginia is poised to become the first state in the South to abolish the death penalty, a sign of ascendant liberal political power in a state that has executed more people since the 1970s than any other except Texas.” [New York Times]
(Updated at 10 a.m.) Despite the pandemic, and dozens of COVID-19 cases, Arlington-based Marymount University says the fall semester — conducted with a mix of in-person and virtual classes — was largely a success.
“In what has been perhaps the most challenging semester for U.S. higher educational institutions in recent memory, Marymount University has successfully navigated the Fall 2020 academic semester as planned without any disruptions to its hybrid learning format or in-person living,” the university said.
Marymount says that it had 86 positive cases of COVID-19 among its students, faculty and staff — around 4,000 people — between mid-August and mid-December. That’s about a 2.2% infection rate among the school community during that time.
By comparison, Arlington’s overall population of around 230,000 recorded 4,329 positive cases from Aug. 15 to Dec. 15, a 1.9% infection rate.
The university said it was able to contain a cluster of infections on campus in October with the help of targeted testing and Arlington’s Public Health Department.
According to Marymount, only six of the 86 positive cases were among staff members and none of those staff members were subsequently hospitalization. Additionally, the university says that no infections were traced back to a classroom setting.
Marymount conducted in-person classes for most of the semester, but held classes, exams and other course requirements after Thanksgiving break online.
“In my view, especially for a university located in the populous Washington, D.C., metro area, this is a success story worth sharing – and it’s thanks to all of our community members for understanding their roles in keeping each other safe,” Marymount President Dr. Irma Becerra said in a press release. “Our low rate of infection and continuous operations throughout the fall speak volumes in support of our preparation and determination to fulfill our mission — to provide a high-quality academic experience that opens doors for students and helps them grow personally and professionally.”
The university spent around $2 million preparing for the fall semester, the Washington Business Journal reported in September. Marymount received slightly over that amount from the CARES Act, but reportedly dedicated those funds to student financial aid and refunds.
Marymount, which has campuses along N. Glebe Road in Ballston and in residential North Arlington, is planning to begin spring classes on January 19, “with the hybrid class format continuing for the foreseeable future.”
“In order to begin the semester in a safe and secure manner, the University intends to test all student residents, student athletes, commuters registered for in-person classes, faculty who teach in-person classes and identified staff members for COVID-19 prior to the start of classes,” the university said. “In addition, Marymount is working on a campus plan for vaccination whenever it becomes available to higher educational institutions.”
Polls Are Open — After a record-setting run-up to the 2020 presidential election, it’s Election Day and polls are now open. Polling places in Arlington are open until 7 p.m. County government is closed today so metered parking will not be enforced. There are two local races: Audrey Clement (I) challenging incumbent Libby Garvey (D) for Arlington County Board, and Cristina Diaz-Torres, David Priddy and Symone Walker vying for two open Schools Board seats. [Arlington County]
Other Races on the Ballot — Two of Arlington’s members of Congress — Democrats Rep. Don Beyer and Sen. Mark Warner — are facing Republican challengers: Jeff Jordan and, in the Senate race, Daniel Gade. Both Jordan and Gade are retired Army officers. Also on the ballot are a pair of proposed changes to the Virginia constitution, and five county bond referenda, including one facing some organized opposition. [Arlington County]
Changes to Potomac Yard Development — “Six months after pivoting from office to residential, ZMA Development is aiming to go slightly smaller at Potomac Yard. The latest plans filed with Arlington County have reduced the number of residential units from 620 to 488 units planned at the Landbay C-East site at Potomac Avenue between 29th and 33rd Streets S (map). The two-phase development, now dubbed Hazel National Landing, also has added a 50 foot-wide ‘pedestrian passageway.'” [UrbanTurf]
Marymount Adding Softball — “Dr. Irma Becerra, President of Marymount University, has announced the addition of softball as a varsity sport, with competition set to begin during the Spring 2022 semester.” [Press Release]
New Public Access TV Series — “Months after their senior year in high school did a 180 degree turn from what they envisioned nearly a year ago for senior year rites, a group of students from Arlington launched the Gen Z Diaries: Senior Edition.” [Press Release]
Nearby: A Woke Retirement Home — Residents of the Goodwin House senior living community in Bailey’s Crossroads, home to a number of former Arlingtonians who were engaged in civic activism, have been busy getting out the vote and supporting the Black Lives Matter movement during the pandemic. [Washingtonian]
Coronavirus Outbreak at Marymount — A COVID-19 outbreak has been reported at Marymount University in Arlington. “Initially, cases were identified over Columbus Day weekend and we’ve seen a decline in the total number of cases since October 21,” university spokesman Nicholas Munson told Patch. “To date over the more than two-week period, 31 students have tested positive.” [Patch]
New Charges Against Arlington Resident — “Prosecutors in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, on Tuesday unveiled 15 felony charges against a pair of right-wing operatives over a recent robocall aimed at discouraging minority voters from casting their ballots by mail, similar to an indictment filed earlier this month by authorities in Michigan… The Ohio robocall claimed to be the work of the 1599 Project, an outfit that Burkman and Wohl run out of Burkman’s home in Arlington, Virginia.” [StateScoop]
Missing Middle Housing Event Tonight — “The Missing Middle Housing Study will explore how new housing types could help address Arlington’s shortfall in housing supply and gaps in housing choices. All members of the community are invited to virtually attend the study’s kick off” from 7-9 p.m. tonight. [Arlington County]
Home Sale Prices Still Going Up — “The housing market in Arlington County, Virginia, is not cooling off, with sales and prices showing among the biggest gains in the nation in September. The median price of what sold in Arlington County last month was $710,000. That’s the highest county-level median price in Northern Virginia, and up 21% from last September.” [WTOP]
Library Pumpkin Decorating Winners — “We are thrilled to have received 42 pumpkin submissions for our first virtual Pumpkin Decorating Contest! It was hard to choose the winners, as we adored so many. Thank you for submitting, attending the virtual decorating programs and carving out fun with the folks at the library!” [Arlington Public Library]
Local Lawyer Pens New Novel — “By day, Jim Irving is a sixty-something, buttoned-up attorney, a partner in a prestigious Northern Virginia law firm. By night, he is a writer tapping into his past experiences as a private eye and criminal lawyer. In his debut novel, Friends Like These: A Joth Proctor Fixer Mystery, the first in a planned trilogy, Irving draws heavily on his Arlington environs in crafting the adventures of his protagonist.” [Washington Independent Review of Books]
Rosslyn Outdoor Coworking Space Update — “Arlingtonians have about a month left to enjoy outdoor office space provided by the Rosslyn Business Improvement District (BID). The space, dubbed O2, was created after the pandemic pushed employees out of their cubicles and into their home offices… Reservations are free of charge and can be made on the O2 website. Masks are required for entry and tables are six feet apart.” [WDVM]
Restaurant Closes in Pentagon City — “Sad to report that A-Deli at @PentagonRow has gone out of business. Mr. Kapoor and his wife are great people. I hope they can rebound in a new venture.” [@CartChaos22202/Twitter]
Another Hazy Day on Tap — “It will be another day without much in the way of cloudiness. With at least some smoke likely to be in the air once again, highs will be held back somewhat, as readings will mainly reach the low and mid-70s.” [Capital Weather Gang]
Some COVID Tests Come With Steep Price — “When Lisa Robertson sought coronavirus testing for her college athlete daughter, a pediatrician recommended a small, independent pharmacy in Arlington, Virginia. Preston’s Pharmacy charged $35 to take a nasal swab specimen and sent it off to a lab, Principle Diagnostics, for quick results. The lab billed her insurance company $864 – more than eight times what the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services reimburses for COVID-19 test.” [USA Today]
GOP Congressional Candidate Presses Case — “If you’re going to go down anyway, you might as well go down swinging. That seems to be the feeling of Jeff Jordan, the Republican nominee attempting to unseat U.S. Rep. Don Beyer (D-8th)… Jordan used a debate sponsored by the Arlington County Civic Federation to press his political philosophy. ‘I have fought socialism and tyranny my entire life,’ he told the online audience.” [InsideNova]
Marymount Rises in Rankings — “For the third consecutive year, Marymount University has risen in U.S. News & World Report’s Best Colleges Rankings. After jumping more than 20 spots in last year’s list, Marymount is once again moving up among the Best Regional Universities in the South – now ranked at No. 31 in the region” [Press Release]
‘Space Jam’ Outdoors Tomorrow in Ballston — “Ballston Exchange will be hosting three separate movie nights on the Paseo in between 4201 and 4121 Wilson Blvd. One ticket is required for each group of four or less. Ticket includes a 6’x6′ feet picnic blanket and a $10 gift card to a Ballston Exchange retailer.” [Eventbrite]
Alexandria Architectural Board Disses Arlington — “‘They’re very nice buildings, but they don’t belong in Old Town,’ BAR member Lynn Neihardt said during the Sept. 2 meeting. ‘We’re getting buildings that don’t reflect the Old Town context at all under the guise of providing affordable housing… The buildings to me speak Ballston, Crystal City, but not Old Town.’ BAR member Christine Sennott underlined that point in saying: ‘This is Ballston. We don’t want to be Ballston.'” [Washington Business Journal]
School Year Starts Today — “While the start of this year will certainly look and feel different than previous years, we are all excited to welcome students back for distance learning and to start connecting and building relationships in new ways. Our first days of school will be focused on helping students get to know their teachers and classmates and creating new routines.” [Arlington Public Schools]
Many Still Uncounted by Census — “To have a complete understanding of our community, everyone needs to be counted. Currently, Arlington stands at a 75.2% self-response rate, meaning that a significant portion – almost one-fourth – of the County still needs to be counted.” [Arlington County]
Overturned Vehicle on Route 50 — “[On Saturday] crews freed a driver from an overturned vehicle on Route 50 near Abingdon St. The patient was transported to a trauma center with non-life threatening injuries.” [@ArlingtonVaFD/Twitter]
Why Marymount Is Back in Person — “There are a number of schools that are going entirely online… That’s not what the students wanted, Becerra told the Washington Business Journal. A university-conducted survey found that the majority of students said they felt like they didn’t learn as well remotely as they did in person.” [Washington Business Journal]
Local Nonprofits to Merge — “Bridges to Independence, a Northern Virginia provider of housing and vital services for at risk families and individuals, today announced its intent to merge with the Bonder and Amanda Johnson Community Development Corporation (BAJCDC), a community-based non-profit with a mission to address the health, education, financial empowerment and social service needs of people living in Arlington’s Green Valley neighborhood.” [Press Release]
Rosslyn Firm Makes Acquisition — “Innovative Discovery (ID), a trusted partner for law firms, corporations, and government agencies that provides service, guidance, and consultation throughout the information lifecycle, is pleased to announce that it has acquired Integro, a leading provider of information governance and content services solutions.” [Innovative Discovery via Potomac Tech Wire]
Amazon Adding New Jobs in Seattle Area — “Amazon is adding 10k jobs in the Seattle region, aka HQ1. Unclear what this means, if anything, for HQ2 in Arlington. At last check, Amazon was sticking to its original plan of 25k jobs and a second construction phase for another 2m square feet of office.” [@ARLnowDOTcom/Twitter]
Photo courtesy @ArlDuder/Twitter
Labor Day Closures — “Arlington County Government offices, courts, libraries & facilities will be closed on Monday, Sept. 7, 2020 for Labor Day.” Trash will be collected but parking meters will not be enforced. [Arlington County]
Library Buildings Remain Closed — “Even as neighboring Fairfax County is approaching the two-month mark for its reopened library system, Arlington officials appear in no rush to bring their library system more than marginally back to life. That means that while Arlington patrons will continue to have the chance to check out books online and pick them up at a central repository, they remain barred from visiting branches or wandering the stacks.” [InsideNova]
Bluemont BLM Protest Continues — “Father, in his red scooter, and son first rolled down the bike path to this corner in Arlington, Va., just after George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis police custody on May 25. They’ve been back most weekdays since, more than 60 times so far, as demonstrators in Louisville and Atlanta marched for justice for Black Americans killed at the hands of police and protests surged following the police shooting of Jacob Blake last month in Kenosha, Wis.” [Washington Post]
Deep Dive Into New Bridge — “The preferred alternative would add a new two-track rail bridge north of the Long Bridge while retaining the existing bridge without modifications. The plan would cost approximately $1.9 billion. The existing span would retain its CSX ownership, and the new span would be Virginia’s.” [Greater Greater Washington]
MU Extends President’s Contract — “Marymount University’s Board of Trustees unanimously voted to extend the contract of President Irma Becerra by an additional five years to 2026. This action comes one year earlier than expected, as Board members felt strongly that due to Dr. Becerra’s significant accomplishments during her tenure, it was important to ensure her continued association with Marymount on a more accelerated timeline.” [Press Release]
Trump Boat Parade Planned — “A boat parade is planned in support of President Trump on Sunday on the Potomac River. According to a Facebook post from an entity known as “Liberty Rally,” boaters will gather just before 1 PM in the Wilson Bridge no-wake zone and then proceed up the Potomac.” [Washingtonian]
Kanye Booted from Ballot — “A Richmond Circuit Court Judge has ruled that rapper Kanye West will be removed from the ballot as a presidential candidate in Virginia. The decision came after an attorney representing the plaintiffs in the case and Attorney General Mark Herring accused the West camp of acting fraudulently to get on the ballot.” [NBC 12]
Va. Booze Biz is Booming — “The Virginia Alcohol Beverage Control Authority announced Wednesday retail sales of $1.2 billion in fiscal 2020 — a nearly $120 million increase from the previous year and the second year in a row the liquor monopoly surpassed $1 billion in sales.” [Richmond Times-Dispatch]
Marymount University students in Arlington are going back to class today.
The start of the fall semester for Marymount comes amid a backdrop of coronavirus outbreaks disrupting the start of school at other colleges and universities. UNC Chapel Hill and Notre Dame have shifted to online classes after outbreaks there; college outbreaks have been reported in at least 19 states, according to CNN.
Marymount, which counts nursing among its major degree programs, says that it is taking appropriate health precautions to keep students and staff safe. Among them: mask and distancing requirements, and on-campus testing and contact tracing. The school is also offering a combination of in-person and remote classes, as well as hybrids of the two.
A smaller Catholic university with campuses along N. Glebe Road in Ballston and in residential North Arlington, and a student enrollment of just over 3,300, Marymount also lacks the Greek life — fraternities and sororities — blamed for outbreaks at other schools.
The school’s move-in period last week, meanwhile, was staggered “to maximize social distancing.”
Thank you to all of our Marymount students and staff for demonstrating how to be "Safe Saints" during Welcome Week and fall move-in!
— Marymount University (@marymountu) August 21, 2020
More from a Marymount press release:
After a staggered move-in process throughout the week to maximize social distancing, Marymount University’s fall semester will begin on Monday with the first day of classes. Since May, the institution has been proactive in preparations for the return of on-campus operations, face-to-face classes and student residential living.
“As we have strived to create a safe and inviting campus for all, the focus on the collective health, wellness and safety of everyone in the Marymount community has been our top priority,” said Dr. Irma Becerra, President of Marymount University. “Now, we must all work together to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 – our collective health and safety is a shared responsibility.”
Marymount’s plan for fall reopening, “Saints Reunite,” was officially approved by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) in July, and follows guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Forward Virginia Reopening Blueprint, Arlington County Public Health Division (ACPHD), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and other governing bodies and professional organizations.
Below are brief summaries of key policies and protocols designed to protect the Marymount community:
Hybrid Class Model
Marymount is offering four distinct modes of instruction – face-to-face delivery with more space between students and an increased number of class sections; hybrid delivery that combines in-person and online instruction; remote delivery that allows students to participate from a distance simultaneously; and online delivery that allows participation from a distance at their convenience.
Plans to maximize social distancing across the University include a new visitor tracking process; partitions added to open service areas; occupancy limits in areas such as study rooms, lounges and residential laundry spaces; and changes to dining services that include extended hours with reduced seating density and suspension of buffet-style functions.
Face Covering Requirement
All students, staff, faculty and visitors on Marymount’s campuses must wear face coverings at all times, except when alone in an office/dormitory room (if positioned six feet or more away from the door) or if an exception is granted.
Marymount conducts manual conduct tracing for students, staff and faculty. Steps to mitigate spread are taken – for students, a Student Health Services (SHS) case manager is in daily contact to monitor symptoms, while employees are able to seek care from either SHS or their primary care physician.
All University members must complete the #CampusClear symptom tracker every day. Smartphone users can download the app from the Apple App Store or Google Play, or it can be accessed online through this link. Everyone is also encouraged to download and use the COVIDWISE app, which helps Virginia track cases and exposure.
Marymount offers on-site testing through SHS, currently with results sent to local labs. Beginning in late September, rapid (15 minute) testing will be offered by SHS for community members who either have COVID-19 symptoms or have had a known or suspected recent exposure to a positive case.
Virtual County Fair Starts Today at Noon — “August 14-16, the Arlington County Fair will be hosting a variety of LIVE events on our Facebook page (via Facebook Live) to share the magic of the Fair even during unsure times. Check out our exciting schedule that includes fan favorites and some brand-new fun.” [Facebook]
County Considering More Early Voting Locations — “Arlington County Board members will hold a special session Aug. 25 to act on a request from county election officials doubling the number of ‘satellite’ early-voting centers across the county this fall. In addition to Madison and Walter Reed community centers, which had been used for early voting in recent presidential elections, the Electoral Board aims to add the Aurora Hills Community Center and Langston-Brown Community Center.” [InsideNova]
Local Movie Theaters to Open Soon — “Arlington’s two AMC Theatres are set to reopen on Aug. 27: AMC Courthouse Plaza 8 [and] AMC Shirlington 7… the movie theater chain said guests will pay just 15 cents per movie on that day.” [Patch]
Inside PBS NewsHour HQ in Arlington — Updated at 9:40 a.m. — From a magazine feature written pre-pandemic: “This is how PBS NewsHour happens every weekday: with a 9:45 a.m. meeting that feels, already, like midday. Each morning, some 30 people fit into a tight conference room in a low-slung brick building on the outskirts of Shirlington to discuss what the longtime public television fixture will air that evening at 6 p.m.” [Northern Virginia Magazine]
Fundraiser for Local Fitness Instructor — “Chris Green is one of the DMV’s finest fitness instructors. A Lululemon and South Block ambassador, he is a coach and mentor to so many… He recently ruptured his Achilles and has an incredibly long and tough journey ahead. As if COVID hadn’t impacted fitness professionals enough, throw this in the mix and it’s a double, even triple whammy.” [Community Post]
Marymount Ditches SAT/ACT Requirement — “Beginning with applicants for the Fall 2021 semester, Marymount University will adopt a complete test-optional policy for submission of SAT and ACT scores. This decision builds off of the University’s longstanding commitment to a holistic review of applications, as Marymount has been test-optional for select students for a number of years already.” [Press Release]