Despite promising improved functionality, Arlington County’s new website launched last month remains riddled with broken links that are frustrating some residents.
Last month, Suzanne Smith Sundburg was preparing to make public comments at an upcoming Arlington County Planning Commission meeting. As someone who is a passionate about weighing in on local issues, she uses the county website often for research and updates on county happenings.
But, starting in mid-October when the new website launched, Sundburg started having issues accessing information through the county website. She’d click a link and it would take her to a dreaded “Page or Site Not Found” error message.
“I searched for something on Google and tried to click on several of the county links that popped up. All were broken,” Sundburg writes to ARLnow in an email about her troubles. “So I then went to the site to see if I could use a more direct method to find what I needed. No dice.”
The changeover to the new site caused links from both search engines and websites like ARLnow to break. As of last week, one link-checking website listed nearly 900,000 broken links to arlingtonva.us pages.
Arlington County launched its brand new website, complete with the county’s new logo, on Oct. 18. The intention was to improve the website’s security, performance, look and navigation.
“The County website is the first and sometimes only stop for important information about Arlington for many of our residents,” County Board Chair Matt de Ferranti said in a press release. “This upgrade will help ensure that the website is an easily accessible, safe, and reliable resource for our residents and businesses to engage with their government.”
For website users encountering broken links, however, that’s not yet the case.
Sundburg isn’t the only one who has noticed a number of dead-end links. ARLnow has received a tips in recent weeks from other users who have encountered broken links preventing them from accessing county webpages, documents and information, such as information on how to pay a parking ticket or the county’s Community Energy Plan.
“The Arlington County revised website is horribly broken, with links that don’t work,” said one anonymous tipster. “It’s a travesty.”
The Lyon Village Civic Association says it is still working with the county to update all the county links on its own website.
“We have asked the County webmaster to get these reestablished, some have, but not all,” it said in a recent post.
Last week, Sundburg wrote an open letter to county officials expressing her displeasure about this missing information.
“This revamp of the county website has been akin to the burning down of a library with half of the books still inside,” she wrote. “In this case, the ‘books’ still exist — the community simply has no access to them.”
County officials acknowledge the issues and say they’re working on it, noting the broken links are a result of issues migrating from the old site to the new site.
“The County is aware and actively working to resolve the issue of broken links on our new website, which launched last month,” county spokeswoman Jessica Baxter said. “Website migrations are highly iterative processes and we want to thank our residents and other website users for their patience during this time.”
Searching through Google for county webpages does result in a “higher prevalence” of broken links due to a “glitch,” she said.
“Our website provider, OpenCities, worked on resolving this glitch and we are beginning to see improved external search results to County webpages,” Baxter said.
Various county departments are prioritizing fixing broken links connected to current projects, plans, programs and services, since these are accessed most frequently, Baxter said.
“Our goal is to resolve as many of these broken links as possible by Thanksgiving,” she said. “An overall website clean-up is targeted to begin by the end of the year.”
Sundburg notes that, overall, county staff has tried to help and is “relieved” the link problems are being worked on, but she remains disappointed in so much older information remaining inaccessible.
“I understand prioritizing current items, that leaves out a significant portion of the site’s repository of documents,” she writes. “For those of us long in the tooth who have been around for decades, we have a greater knowledge base. But it’s not encyclopedic, and referring back to historical materials is frequently useful.”
On a gusty, very brisk fall evening, President Joe Biden once again visited Arlington to campaign for Terry McAuliffe.
“You don’t need to imagine how great a governor Terry McAuliffe will be because you know how great a governor he was,” Biden said, standing next to a basketball court at Virginia Highlands Park near Pentagon City.
With only a week until the general election and the former — and possibly future — governor clinging to a very narrow lead in polls over his Republican opponent Glenn Youngkin, it certainly is notable that Biden is making his second Arlington appearance alongside McAuliffe in three months.
“The fact that he’s doubled down on McAuliffe is either a great sign or an ominous sign, depending on which side of the aisle you fall on,” Arlington Heights resident Tony Yang mused as he stood in the security line waiting to enter the event.
After McAuliffe made his remarks, Biden walked on the stage just after 8 p.m. and spoke for about 17 minutes. He spoke of McAuliffe’s record of Democratic leadership, often comparing Youngkin to former President Trump, and vouching for the Build Back Better plan that he’s trying to get passed in Congress.
He even dropped a specific Arlington reference about the planned new rail bridge that would replace the 117-year-old Long Bridge.
Biden also cracked the same joke he did in July about McAuliffe possibly being First Lady Jill Biden’s boss, due to her being a professor at Northern Virginia Community College, part of the state’s community college system.
Afterwards, the president did a photo line with a number of elected officials and candidates, while also taking selfies with a number of attendees near the stage.
The crowd — estimated by the White House at 2,500 people — was somewhat subdued throughout the nearly hour and a half event, perhaps due to the wind gusts and temperatures dipping into the low 50s.
Security was somewhat tight, though that didn’t stop Biden’s remarks being interrupted at least three times by protestors relating to the Line 3 pipeline, citizenship, and another matter that wasn’t immediately clear.
Prior to the event and outside of the park, a few Youngkin supporters made their case for their candidate while someone waved a giant Trump flag. There were also several PETA protesters dressed in blow-up dinosaur costumes to criticize the National Institutes of Health and the Biden administration for conducting experiments on animals.
The Younkin supporters, including Arlington GOP Communications Director Matthew Hurtt, could be seen holding signs saying “Virginia Runs on Youngkin” and “More Like Terry McAwful.”
Besides Biden and McAuliffe, a who’s who of Virginia Democrats spoke Tuesday evening in support of the ticket: Senator Tim Kaine, Rep. Don Beyer, Virginia Speaker of the House Eileen Filler-Corn, lieutenant governor candidate Hala Ayala, Attorney General Mark Herring (who didn’t mention his lawsuit against Advanced Towing), current governor Ralph Northam, and Arlington County Board Chair Matt de Ferranti.
“Donald Trump is on the ballot next Tuesday,” said de Ferranti, also attaching Youngkin to Trump.
For some, having an event of this nature featuring a sitting U.S. president in their neighborhood was an experience that couldn’t be missed.
“It’s not a common thing that there’s a rally for a candidate you support is, literally, right by your house,” said Hania Basat, who lives in Pentagon City. “To have the president too, that’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
Shelly Quintanilla agreed. She lives in Pentagon City with her husband and two young sons, ages six and one. For her, this rally was a chance to show democracy in action.
“We were really excited for the learning opportunity for the kids,” she said. “It’s better than school to learn about the president, the government, and our chance to get involved.”
For others, though, seeing the president — who arrived and departed via motorcade over the 14th Street Bridge — wasn’t that big of a deal.
“We have senators, congressmen, and Al Gore. He used to live up [there],” said Jim Kohlmoos, referring to the former vice president’s one-time residence in the nearby Arlington Ridge neighborhood. “We’re pretty much used to all of this.”
The view when @POTUS drives by your home. President Biden on a campaign event in Arlington County. @WTOPtraffic @WTOP @DildineWTOP @ARLnowDOTcom @ArlingtonVaPD #police #politics #potus #395cam #STATcam pic.twitter.com/hq9FnXWKUg
— Dave Statter (@STATter911) October 27, 2021
Dropping nearly 40 feet from a platform above, a climber cut the ribbon on the “finest ropes course in the Mid-Atlantic.”
Located at Upton Hill Regional Park on Wilson Blvd in Arlington, Climb UPton was formally opened this morning at a ribbon cutting ceremony attended by local officials as well as those from the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority which operates the course.
“We gather to celebrate this magnificent cutting edge recreational ropes course… and one of the finest examples of regional and local collaboration,” said Cate Magennis Wyatt, chair of NOVA Parks board. “This is the finest ropes course in the Mid-Atlantic. That’s what you have given back to the citizens.”
Officials are touting this ropes course as the biggest and best in the area. With 90 elements and reaching nearly 40 feet high, the course is intended for beginners and those more advanced alike. It features three zip lines, a 40-foot controlled freefall, tunnels, an Everest ladder, and an observation deck.
The course also has a “parks theme,” hence the suspended picnic table that climbers can ostensibly sit and eat lunch at.
The course actually has been open for climbers since July, but the admissions building wasn’t finished until now due to “supply chain issues,” NOVA Parks Executive Director Paul Gilbert told ARLnow.
The ropes course is the major addition of the $4 million, at times contentious, renovation of Upton Hill Regional Park that was first presented to the Arlington County Board in late 2017.
There’s also a new playground at the bottom of the hill, parking improvements (including ADA-accessible parking on Wilson Blvd), more walking trails, a large underground cistern to capture stormwater as well as soon-to-be opened bathrooms and a picnic shelter next to the playground. The renovations were paid for with revenue bonds from the Virginia Resources Authority.
These additions join slow and fast pitch batting cages, Ocean Dunes Waterpark (which is currently closed for the season), and a 18-hole mini-golf course already at Upton Hill Regional Park.
A big reason that some residents and conservationists initially disapproved of the project was the plan to cut down more than a hundred trees to make room for the ropes course and parking lot improvements. Not only were some of those trees saved, but a new native hickory and oak forest was planted in the park, officials said.
“We brought in the right trees, the right shrubs, the right grasses to create the ultimate succession of forest to kind of jumpstart [the growth process],” Gilbert told ARLnow. “We don’t have to wait a hundred years for it to get there. We can grow it from the ground up.”
Chris Tighe, president of the Boulevard Manor Civic Association during much of the project’s development, said in remarks that this was a “testament” of how government, non-profits, and the community can come together to build something that works for all.
A man died Tuesday after being found unresponsive in the medical unit of the Arlington County jail, prompting a regional law enforcement investigation and statements from local leaders.
Clyde Spencer, 58, was rushed to Virginia Hospital Center, where he later died. He is the sixth inmate at the jail to die over the past six years.
The last reported inmate death, in October 2020, remains under investigation. A regional body called the Northern Virginia Critical Incident Response Team is now investigating Spencer’s death.
Arlington County Board Chair Matt de Ferranti, Commonwealth’s Attorney Parisa Dehghani-Tafti and Sheriff Beth Arthur — whose office runs the jail — all issued expressions of sympathy for Spencer’s family and support for the CIRT investigation in statements released Friday morning.
From a county press release:
Arlington County Board Chair Matt de Ferranti, along with the Sheriff and Commonwealth Attorney, issued the following statements today regarding the death investigation at the Arlington County Detention Facility earlier this week.
“Mr. Clyde Spencer passed away Tuesday at the Virginia Hospital Center after he was taken there when he was found unresponsive at the Arlington County Detention Facility. Our thoughts and sympathies are with Mr. Spencer’s family and friends in this time of loss,” said de Ferranti. “We support the decision to call for an independent investigation from the Northern Virginia Critical Incident Response Team (CIRT), a regional team that investigates deaths or serious injuries involving law enforcement officers in participating jurisdictions in Northern Virginia.”
“We offer our condolences to the Spencer family,” said Arlington County Sheriff Beth Arthur. “Incidents like these are taken very seriously by my office, and me personally. We will fully cooperate with the investigation.”
“My heart goes out to the families suffering from the loss of their loved ones,” said Commonwealth Attorney Parisa Dehghani-Tafti. “We are diligently working with the CIRT and the ACPD on these cases and hope the community and the families involved understand that we cannot reveal the content of the investigations, and the Virginia rule of professional conduct 3.6 prohibits me from commenting on a pending case.”
At the completion of a comprehensive, thorough, and impartial investigation, the CIRT will present the facts and evidence to the Commonwealth Attorney’s Office.
Shots Fired in Green Valley — “ACPD is investigating a shots fired incident in the 3200 block of 24th Street S. which occurred at approximately 8:14 p.m. No victims related to this incident have been located.” [ACPD, Twitter]
New Taco Ghost Kitchen — “Philadelphia-based Iron Chef alum Jose Garces is returning to DC with a delivery-only taco ghost kitchen, Buena Onda. The Baja-inspired taqueria, an offshoot of his brick-and-mortar Philly shop, will start running grilled fish tacos, guac, and “buena bowls” on Friday, September 24 from an Arlington kitchen.” [Washingtonian]
Another ACPD Departure — Adrienne Quigley, Arlington’s only female deputy police chief, retired from ACPD on Friday. Citing multiple sources, ARLnow previously reported that Quigley is expected to take a job at Amazon HQ2, amid an “exodus” from the department. [Twitter]
No APS Blue Ribbon Schools This Year — “One Fairfax County school was named among seven Virginia public schools honored as 2021 National Blue Ribbon Schools by the U.S. Department of Education, but the rest of Northern Virginia’s inner suburbs found themselves shut out… No Arlington, Alexandria, Falls Church or Loudoun public schools made the grade this year, although one Prince William County public school – Mary G. Porter Traditional – was honored.” [Sun Gazette]
Officers Visit PEP Program — From ACPD: “Corporal Smithgall and Recruit Officer Divincenzo spoke with PEP Program students at the Arlington Career Center today and also had the opportunity to compete in a push-up challenge! PEP is a community based program for supported work experience, supported travel training, and independent living training.” [Facebook]
Bayou Bakery Owner Featured on CNBC — David Guas, owner of Bayou Bakery in Courthouse, was featured on CNBC Thursday night for his Community Spoon initiative, which provides meals to Afghan refugees. Guas is a Cuban-American, whose father fled Cuba in the 1960s. This isn’t the first time local business owner has provided food to those in need; he previously provided meals to families in need during the pandemic and supplied meals to National Guard personnel at the Capitol earlier this year. [CNBC]
De Ferranti on WAMU’s Politics Hour – Arlington County Board Chair Matt de Ferranti was on “The Politics Hour with Kojo Nnamdi” on Friday. In the 16 minute conversation, de Ferranti talked about the county’s new logo, schools, the shrinking police force, the newly-adapted bag tax, housing, and his hunger task force. He also fielded questions about the proposed Rosslyn-Georgetown gondola, saying it was still premature to discuss, and the tightening Virginia governor’s race. The Board chair also revealed that he voted for Terry McAuliffe in the Democratic primary. [WAMU]
An Arlington County employee discovered “KKK” scrawled on a pillar in the parking garage below the county government’s Courthouse headquarters last week.
The employee, who is Black, found the message in the garage for the Ellen M. Bozman Government Center (2100 Clarendon Blvd) and reported the incident on Thursday morning to County Board members, County Manager Mark Schwartz, Chief Race and Equity Officer Samia Byrd and the Arlington branch of the NAACP, according to the local NAACP. The employee filed a police report yesterday (Monday).
The Arlington NAACP shared an excerpt from the email chain between the employee and the county that it said encapsulates how the incident harms more than just the individual who found it.
“It seems because I reported it, and because I happen to be Black, I am seen as a single victim,” the employee wrote to the county in an email, according to the NAACP. “I do not see myself in this way.”
In a statement to ARLnow, County Board Chair Matt de Ferranti condemned the message.
“It’s unfortunate and unacceptable to see racist graffiti anywhere in our community, let alone in our own parking garage,” de Ferranti said. “This garage is open to the public at all times and frequented by those using the businesses throughout the Courthouse neighborhood.”
Arlington’s Department of Environmental Services and property owner JBG Smith took steps to remove the writing from the pillar, he said.
“Our thanks go to the individual who reported it to us,” he added. “ACPD is also investigating, and we will have a more extensive response regarding the steps we have, are, and will be taking over the coming days.”
In a statement, the Arlington branch of the NAACP took a stronger stance, saying any county employee who parked in that garage was “victimized” by the message and emphasizing that this incident is not “graffiti.”
“Speech expressing hatred of a particular group of people is defined as ‘hate speech’ and is not ‘graffiti,'” the organization said. “The Arlington Branch NAACP condemns any form of hate speech and stands with the Black employees and any employee or citizen who reports hate speech.”
The NAACP asked county leadership to send a message to the county workforce that hate speech will not be tolerated anywhere.
“However, sadly, the County missed the opportunities to get in front of this and, as of Monday evening, four days later, still had not addressed these concerns with its employees,” it said.
Hateful messages have popped up elsewhere in Arlington in recent years.
“It’s OK to be white” was sprayed over a church’s racial justice sign last summer. “Heil Trump,” “KKK” and two swastikas were found on a dumpster two years ago — the same year racial and gender slurs were found on a building that serves people with developmental delays.
The full statement from the NAACP is below.
Fewer COVID-19 cases. Lower unemployment. Higher hotel occupancy rates. These and other signs point to Arlington County’s continued recovery, according to Board Chair Matt de Ferranti.
During the annual State of the County address, the chair said Arlington County is well on the road to economic recovery but it has a ways to go before it enters into a period of renewal. The event was hosted virtually yesterday morning (Tuesday) by the Arlington Chamber of Commerce, with a Q&A moderated by ARLnow founder Scott Brodbeck.
“We’re growing, but not as fast as at the start of 2020, before the pandemic, when our prospects seemed truly bright,” he said. “If we’re honest, recovery is not all we’re looking for at this moment. The state that we have not reached — that we must create — is renewal.”
Reaching renewal will mean supporting small businesses, working to eliminate inequities and increasing housing options, he said.
Recent data show the health of Arlington County residents has stabilized, with a 0.6% COVID-19 test positivity rate and about one case per day over the last two weeks. Unemployment is down, as well, from 7.2% this time last year to 3% today, he said. As vaccination rates rise, tourism is recovering, with hotel occupancy rates up to 40% from a low of 20%.
The county has also retained organizations with an Arlington footprint, including the State Department, while attracting new companies, from Microsoft to shipping company ZeBox‘s startup incubator. All along, Amazon continues to meet its occupancy and hiring goals while supporting businesses, he said, and will present its second phase of its HQ2 to the Board later this year.
Plus, new development is continuing.
“The County Board has approved numerous office and residential projects that will drive economic growth… and strengthen our economy in Arlington,” de Ferranti said. “We’re hearing from commercial real estate brokers that there is significant pent-up demand from [office] tenants who delayed real estate decisions in the pandemic. We expect to see these deals come forward in the fall of this year.”
Still, the office vacancy rate is a lingering concern for de Ferranti, who noted that it was 18.7% in the first quarter, up 2.1% from the same time last year.
“Part of the reason I sought this office was to bring down the vacancy rate so that we could invest in schools, housing, transit, transportation and the things that make Arlington a great place to live,” he said. “Our economic development projects show promise, our pipeline is strong, so I’m confident we can bring down the rate over the coming years.”
The county will need to engage with companies already here and those eyeing Arlington while adapting to 21st-century office needs through measures such as office-to-apartment conversions, he said.
“We saw before Amazon that there was a time when we got a touch complacent working on our office vacancy rate,” he said. “That’s no one’s fault but we do need to stay focused on it.”
While it’s mostly larger companies that help to fill Arlington’s office towers, small businesses in Arlington need help, de Ferranti said, so Arlington Economic Development is preparing a grant program using American Rescue Plan funds. It follows up on a similar program last year that helped 393 businesses.
The county still has work to do to fix bugs with the online permit system and improve the customer service experience for businesses — lessons learned from the roll-out of temporary outdoor seating areas, or TOSAs, the chair admitted.
After residents spoke out about poor living conditions at the Serrano Apartments, county officials and building owner AHC Inc. say they are committed to making changes.
“It is the highest priority I have right now, in part because we are in a different place with vaccines,” Board Chair Matt de Ferranti tells ARLnow. “This is a health and safety issue I will take responsibility for.”
AHC said it is working with county officials, Arlington’s Housing Commission and community organizations to ensure residents’ concerns are heard and addressed.
“Over the past few days, Serrano’s new management company Drucker & Falk has completed more than half of its 100% inspection of the property (except for the apartments where residents have not provided access) to document and remediate all identified issues through systemic improvements given Serrano’s age,” AHC spokeswoman Celia Slater said. “We are now moving forward with the repairs and encourage everyone to visit our website for updates about the steps we are taking to ensure that all Serrano residents have safe and healthy homes.”
Earlier this month, residents and community leaders told ARLnow about the dire state of some committed affordable apartment units at The Serrano (5535 Columbia Pike). Problems include rodents eating through food and leaving droppings, mold growing on walls and white dust permeating HVAC conductors.
Residents and advocates say they are glad the plight of those living in The Serrano is getting attention but are also frustrated at how many people and walkthroughs it took to get the county and AHC, an affordable housing nonprofit, to act.
The most recent walkthrough was last Friday, when about 40 people, including county officials, Del. Alfonso Lopez, as well as AHC and management representatives, looked at units and talked to residents.
“There were a lot of people there who were supposed to be there a long time ago,” community organizer Janeth Valenzuela said. “Finally, they could experience this with their own eyes and listen to families.”
Former School Board member Tannia Talento said she was frustrated to disrupt the lives of families once more, while not knowing if changes would actually happen.
Ashley Goff, a pastor with Arlington Presbyterian Church, was critical of AHC’s lack of responsiveness to an issue that was many months in the making.
“Look at all the people that had to turn out to get AHC to pay attention,” she said. “They were shamed into taking action, absolutely.”
(An Arlington NAACP newsletter from November, providing an update on its advocacy about conditions at the Serrano, said that the “exhausting battle by the tenants and their allies” — the NAACP and Virginians Organized for Interfaith Community Engagement (VOICE) — had been ongoing since at least the fall of 2019.)
Conditions provoke strong reactions
The Serrano has 196 committed affordable units and 84 market-rate units. After walking through about a dozen apartments, officials said the conditions were unacceptable and needed to be fixed, quickly.
“I long ago lived in a place that had a problem with rats and no one can actually relax in their home when they’re worried that there could be mice there,” de Ferranti said.
Some problems will be more difficult, but no less essential, to solve due to the building’s age, he said.
“The medium-term solution for holding AHC accountable is getting a clear and specific schedule of what must be done at the Serrano,” he said. “I could envision taking the form of a short, specific Memorandum of Understanding. That is a step over the coming month or two that we are likely to take.”
With COVID-19 cases trending down, vaccines being distributed and restrictions loosening, County Board Chair Matt de Ferranti says his focus is starting to shift toward Arlington’s economic and social recovery.
“There is more work to do on the pandemic but recovery has already begun,” he said.
And Arlington County, by his assessment, is in a fairly strong place financially — in some ways, he said it is in a better place than when numerous federal agencies and military offices decamped from Pentagon City and Crystal City starting around 2005.
Arlington will receive $23 million this year and next year through the federal American Rescue Plan, some of which will be used to return funding for affordable housing and hunger prevention programs that had been on the chopping block from the 2022 budget. The new budget, as passed, boosts spending by 3.5% despite the economic turmoil caused by the pandemic.
In addition, Amazon’s presence is contributing to Arlington’s stability. De Ferranti said the e-commerce giant’s arrival is and will continue attracting talent and businesses of all sizes, strengthening the county’s commercial office base. And, for now, the county has been spared from making incentive payments to Amazon.
The county’s incentive package for Amazon stipulated that Arlington would share a cut of the revenue generated from an increase in hotel stays if Amazon met its hiring goals. Since the economic impact of the coronavirus also included dramatically fewer hotel stays, Arlington has not been on the hook for these payments.
If any of these things weren’t true, de Ferranti said he “would be more worried about the fiscal outlook in 2023, 2024 and 2025.”
This moment — when the county’s financial outlook is strong but there’s still significant need in parts of the community — is exactly when the government needs to step in, he said. Keeping people who are at risk of eviction in their homes, fighting hunger and providing grants and loans to small businesses will have big economic returns later on, the chair said.
The county has learned a number of financial lessons from the coronavirus, de Ferranti noted. Arlington will need to invest more in public health staffing and is considering a rainy-day fund for future public health emergencies. When the American Rescue Plan funding dries up, the county may need to increase its support, through grants and loans, for small businesses as well as its investments in hunger and eviction prevention.
While the county has been focused on the pandemic response, it has held back on certain equity-focused work. Some community engagement in land-use changes to address Missing Middle housing was pushed back due to the pandemic, as have investments in multimodal transit and workforce development.
“Arlington is committed to equity, but it has been hard,” de Ferranti said.
And while Amazon is economically propping up the county in some ways, Arlington Public Schools’ budget will not be feeling the returns as directly. The county will need to do more work with the School Board and administration to address APS’s systemic budget deficits, he said.
Arlington County has the capacity to administer 14,000 vaccine doses per week, but has been getting at most 8,000 doses per week from the state.
That’s according to a letter sent to Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam from the Northern Virginia Regional Commission, which represents Arlington and other local government in the region. The letter asks the governor to send Northern Virginia localities more doses to quicken the pace of vaccinations.
“We have assembled the capacity to administer many more doses of coronavirus vaccine than we are currently administering,” the commission’s letter says. “With additional doses allocated to our health districts immediately, we can put that capacity to work to quickly assist the Commonwealth in achieving its vaccination and equity goals.”
The letter notes that Arlington has over 28,000 people who meet current Virginia’s Phase 1A and 1B guidelines waiting for their vaccinations to be scheduled. Meanwhile, the state announced last week that some health districts — including less populated areas where there is less vaccine demand — would begin transitioning to Phase 1C.
“Each of our health districts have waiting lists for vaccines for individuals in the 1A and 1B categories that far outstrip the supply we have received to date,” the letter says. “We stand ready to meet your expectation that everyone, even those who have not yet registered, will have a place in line six weeks from now, but we will need more doses immediately to make that reality.”
As of Tuesday morning, 24,690 people in Arlington — 10.4% of the county’s population — have been fully vaccinated, according to Virginia Dept. of Health data. In all, just under 67,000 doses have been administered in Arlington, at a trailing seven-day average rate of 1,372 doses per day. That figure includes doses administered by pharmacies and other private entities.
County Board Chair Matt de Ferranti said the county is also seeking more autonomy from the state to make decisions about vaccination priorities.
“We hope that the Governor will respond to the NVRC’s request to increase Northern Virginia’s vaccine supply, and to allow our Health Directors greater discretion to make decisions about how we administer the vaccine to our residents going forward,” de Ferranti said in a statement. “We have the capacity and the demonstrated commitment to vaccinating our community as quickly and equitably as possible.”
Arlington’s Congressman, Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.), also weighed in, tweeting his support Monday for more vaccine doses.
We need more vaccine doses in Northern Virginia. https://t.co/LmDM3B5lho
— Don Beyer (@DonBeyerVA) March 22, 2021
Police Searching for Missing Girl — “ACPD is seeking the public’s assistance locating 15 year old Javon… Described as a B/F, 5’7″, 195 lbs with long black and dark blue braids. She was wearing a tie-dye sweatshirt with ‘Myrtle Beach’ on the front, black joggers, crocs, and a white mask.” [Twitter]
MU Returning to ‘Fully In-Person’ in Fall — “Following multiple semesters of modified instruction due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Marymount University is pleased to announce its plans to reinstate a fully in-person academic delivery model starting in August for the upcoming fall semester, along with a return to a more ‘normal’ college experience for students in regards to resident life, athletics, campus activities and more.” [Press Release]
New Pike Restaurant Features Colorful Murals — “In late October, he did just that with the debut of Supreme Hot Pot in Arlington’s Columbia Heights neighborhood. He enlisted a group of friends to decorate the walls with murals of soup, dragons, fish and a zaftig lucky cat. Even from the street, the art attracts diners with its red and gold tones.” [Northern Virginia Magazine]
Middle School Sports Could Be Cut — “First, high-school sports in Arlington were shut down for months because of the pandemic, and now there is a chance middle-school athletics in the county could be eliminated because of budget cuts. A proposal included in Superintendent Francisco Durán’s 2021-22 school budget calls for the elimination of teacher stipends for extracurricular activities and athletics at the middle-school level.” [Sun Gazette]
Project Takes Local Couple Across U.S. — “Two Arlington County residents set out on a year long journey to see all 50 states and document it through art, photography via the 50 states project. That was before the pandemic temporarily stopped their plans in March 2020… what began as a project to see all 50 states turned into a study of before and after the impacts of 2020.” [WJLA]
Another Local Endorsement for McAuliffe — “Arlington County Board Chairman Matt de Ferranti has become one of the latest county elected officials endorsing Terry McAuliffe’s bid for governor. McAuliffe ‘has laid out clear plans to create a better future for all Virginians,’ de Ferranti said in a statement.” [Sun Gazette]
Responses to Violence in Atlanta — Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam released a statement yesterday, saying: “We are grieving with the Asian American community and all of the victims of the horrific shootings in Atlanta last night that took eight lives, six of whom were women of Asian descent. This is the latest in a series of heinous attacks against Asian Americans across this nation, but sadly these are not isolated events.” Arlington police, meanwhile, said there are “no known threats” in the county associated with the shooting. [Commonwealth of Virginia, Twitter]