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Morning Notes

Woman Pleads Guilty to Oxycodone Conspiracy — A former medical assistant at doctor’s offices in Arlington and Alexandria has pleaded guilty “for her role in leading a conspiracy to distribute oxycodone,” according to federal prosecutors. “From 2011 through December 2017, [Louise] Edwards stole blank prescription pads and electronically-generated fraudulent prescriptions using a medical recordkeeping system… Edwards facilitated the fraudulent filling of at least 353 prescriptions, totaling 42,360 pills of 30 milligram oxycodone.” [Alexandria News, Patch]

Elected Officials Support Striking Workers — Local elected officials, including Arlington County Board Chair Katie Cristol and state Sen. Barbara Favola, are scheduled to meet this morning with Didlake Inc. employees who work at the Army National Guard Readiness Center on S. George Mason Drive. The employees are on strike after the company refused to recognize their vote to join a union.

Thousands Attend RFK Memorial at ANC — Thousands of people attended a ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery yesterday marking the 50th anniversary of the death of Robert F. Kennedy. Speakers at the memorial included Rep. John Lewis, Parkland school shooting survivor Emma Gonzalez, and former President Bill Clinton. Country music star Kenny Chesney played a rendition of “This Land is Your Land.” [Associated Press]

Meeting Space Coming to Rosslyn — “Meeting and event space provider Convene has inked a deal to open a new location high atop the CEB Tower at Central Place in Rosslyn, where it plans to join the building’s namesake tenant as early as October. The New York-based company has signed a 14.5-year sublease for 35,000 square feet from Gartner Inc., CEB’s parent company, at 1201 Wilson Blvd.” [Washington Business Journal]

Sun Gazette Endorses de Ferranti — The Arlington Sun Gazette has endorsed Matt de Ferranti in the Democratic Arlington County Board primary, which will be held this coming Tuesday. However, the paper has little good to say about him, instead opining that he and fellow candidate Chanda Choun lack “deep roots in the community and, we fear, each has yet to develop an ingrained grasp of local issues to provide a viable challenge to the very plugged-in incumbent [John Vihstadt].” [InsideNova, InsideNova]

Photo via @ArlingtonVaFD

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Police, County Leaders Pause to Remember Arlington’s Seven Fallen Officers

Seven Arlington County police officers have died in the line of duty over the last 83 years, and county law enforcement and civic leaders took a few moments to remember their sacrifice Friday (May 11).

The county held its annual observance of Peace Officers Memorial Day at the Arlington County Justice Center Plaza (1425 N. Courthouse Road), inviting dozens of law enforcement officers and Arlington leaders to pay tribute to fallen officers across the country.

Participants in the ceremony offered wreaths and roses at the county’s monument to its officers who have died on the job, with a special observance for Corporal Harvey Snook, who died of cancer he contracted while working in recovery efforts at the Pentagon in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The son of Officer George Pomraning, who was shot to death while bringing a prisoner to jail on Sept. 2, 1973, also attended the ceremony.

County Police Chief M. Jay Farr urged attendees to consider what more they can do to prevent the killing of police, putting a particular focus on one of the leading causes of line of duty deaths: gun violence.

“Many officers who are shot are dealing with people who are not of sound mind,” Farr said. “We all need to think about what we can do to address this growing national mental health crisis.”

Yet Craig Floyd, CEO of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, suggested that the country as a whole was making some progress in that area. He pointed out that the 129 officers to died on the job in 2017 represented the second-smallest figure since 1959.

“We’ve done a lot, but we have a long way to go,” Floyd said.

The county ceremony coincides with the start of National Police Week, a series of events around D.C. from May 13-19 to honor fallen officers. A full schedule of events is available online.

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County Removes Confederate Memorial Near Bluemont Park

Arlington County officials have removed a Confederate plaque marking the location of a lookout during the Civil War after discovering the stone memorial was placed without the county’s permission.

The bicentennial marker and a red oak tree were placed by the Arlington chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy at the intersection of N. Arlington Mill Drive and Wilson Boulevard near the Bluemont Park’s parking lot.

“There are no records that it was placed with our permission,” said Katie Cristol, chairwoman of the Arlington County Board. “Now, county government is trying to get in touch with the owners.”

In August last year, following violence at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, an Arlington resident petitioned the Board to remove the memorial, to challenge individuals and organizations that seek to “make statues and symbols their battlefields.” Officials then discovered it was placed without county permission.

The marker read:

This Red Oak and stone were placed here as a Bicentennial Memorial to the men in gray who served on Upton Hill

County staff said it’s unclear when the memorial was erected. A Washington Post article published in 1979 indicates it was placed in 1976 to commemorate a Confederate outpost.

The United Daughters of the Confederacy declined a request for comment on Thursday.

Another historical marker, about a clash between Confederate and Union soldiers near the removed marker, was damaged in a car accident, Cristol said.

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Video: Arlington Commemorates 9/11 Anniversary

Arlington County remember the nearly 3,000 people killed 16 years ago today (Monday) in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

Fire Chief James Bonzano, Police Chief Jay Farr and Sheriff Beth Arthur laid a wreath at the flagpole in Courthouse Plaza to remember the dead, including the 184 victims who died when American Airlines Flight 77 flew into the Pentagon. A moment of silence at 9:37 a.m. — marking when the plane flew into the Pentagon — was followed by a playing of “Taps” and a lowering of the flag to half-staff.

Flanked by his Arlington County Board colleagues as well as Virginia General Assembly representatives, Rep. Don Beyer (D) and U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), County Board chair Jay Fisette recalled in his remarks how Arlingtonians came together that day, and in the days and weeks after. Fisette was also chair of the Board in 2001.

“The initial shock was followed by compassion, by patriotism, by resolve,” he said.

This year’s commemoration came just months after Corporal Harvey Snook’s name was added to the county’s Peace Officers Memorial for police officers killed in the line of duty. Snook died in January 2016 from cancer he contracted from responding to the Pentagon. He spent a week there, collecting evidence and the remains of some of the people killed.

To further commemorate the anniversary, Arlington County’s poet laureate Katherine Young released a new poem this weekend, entitled “Hazmat.”

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Morning Notes

Sixteenth 9/11 Anniversary — A flag was unfurled at the Pentagon this morning as the nation marked the 16th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks. President Donald Trump, Defense Secretary James Mattis and Joint Chiefs chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford were among those expected to attend a ceremony at the Pentagon, honoring the 184 people killed in the attack there. Arlington County also hosted its own remembrance ceremony and is posting recollections from Sept. 11, 2001 on social media. [ABC News, Twitter, Twitter]

Another Police-Impersonation Phone Scam — Local residents are again getting calls from a scammer claiming to be a law enforcement officer, demanding a fine be paid over the phone. As a reminder, police never call on the phone to collect fines. [Twitter]

Arlington 9/11 5K Recap — The 2017 Arlington Police, Fire and Sheriff 9/11 Memorial 5K was held in Pentagon City on Saturday evening amid perfect September weather. Among those on hand to address the crowd were Police Chief Jay Farr, County Board Chair Jay Fisette and former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore. Spotted among the runners: former White House press secretary Sean Spicer, who was wearing a Navy t-shirt and was all smiles after the race as the occasional group of fellow runners asked to take a photo with him. [Facebook, Chronotrack]

Park Service May Revamp MVT Boardwalk — As part of a larger improvement project for Theodore Roosevelt Island and the TR Bridge, the National Park Service is considering rehabilitating the nearby, aging boardwalk bridge along the Mount Vernon Trail, which carries bike and pedestrian traffic. [The Wash Cycle]

County Holds Transportation ‘Pop Up’ Event — “Arlington Transportation Partners, the County’s business-to-business transportation outreach organization, held its very first ‘Our Shared Street’ Pop Up festival recently at Arlington Mill Community Center. The late August gathering brought together residents of Columbia Pike with local businesses to highlight Arlingtonians’ many transportation options.” [Arlington County]

GW Parkway Crash — Earlier this morning, northbound traffic on the George Washington Memorial Parkway was temporarily blocked near the TR Bridge following a multi-vehicle crash. [Washington Post]

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County to Host Annual 9/11 Memorial Ceremony on Monday

Arlington County will remember the 184 victims of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks at a memorial ceremony on Monday morning.

The ceremony will begin at 9:30 a.m. on September 11 at Courthouse Plaza (2100 Clarendon Blvd), at the outdoor flagpoles above the Metro station.

A moment of silence will be observed at 9:37 a.m., marking the time that American Airlines Flight 77 flew into the Pentagon, where 184 people died. The silence will be followed by a playing of “Taps” and a lowering of the flag to half-staff.

The event will also feature a wreath-laying and the presentation of colors.

Capt. David Santini of the Arlington County Fire Department will give welcoming remarks, while local officials including County Manager Mark Schwartz, Fire Chief James Bonzano, Police Chief Jay Farr and Sheriff Beth Arthur will all attend. U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) is also set to be present at the commemorations.

Courtesy photo.

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Roads Will Close for 9/11 Memorial 5K Race

The annual Arlington Police, Fire & Sheriff Memorial 9/11 5K race is set for Saturday, September 9, and will result in a number of road closures near the Pentagon.

The race is scheduled to kick off at 6:30 p.m. at the DoubleTree hotel (300 Army Navy Drive) in Pentagon City. The race route follows Army Navy Drive, S. Joyce Street, Washington Blvd, looping around the Pentagon on Route 110 before returning to the finish line at the DoubleTree.

The following closures will be in effect, from the Arlington County Police Department:

From 3:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m.:

  • Army Navy Drive closed between 12th Street S. to S. Eads Street

From 5:45 p.m. until approximately 6:30 p.m.:

  • Westbound Army Navy Drive from S. Eads Street to S. Joyce Street (All streets crossing Army Navy Drive, including access to southbound I-395, will be closed for approximately 20 minutes)
  • S. Joyce Street from Army Navy Drive to Columbia Pike
  • Columbia Pike from the Pentagon South parking lot to S. Joyce Street
  • I-395 Northbound HOV exit to S. Eads Street

From 5:45 p.m. until approximately 8:00 p.m.:

  • Westbound Washington Blvd closed from Memorial Bridge to I-395
  • Southbound Route 110 closed from Rosslyn to 15th Street S.
  • Marshall Drive closed at Route 110
  • S. Eads Street closed from Army Navy Drive to 11th Street S.

The 5K was founded by three Arlington police officers: retired Capt. Matt Smith, Detective Dan Borriello and Sgt. Sean Bryson. All of the officers worked as first responders at the Pentagon after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.

After the attacks, the group was inspired by other police 5Ks that they had participated in and decided to start their own race.

Proceeds from the race are donated to three organizations that support law enforcement: the Pentagon Memorial FundProject Enduring Pride and the National Police Suicide Foundation. The goal is to raise $1 million over the course of 20 races. So far, the 5K has raised $650,000 in its first 15.

Registration is still open and is $40 for individuals.

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Arlington 9/11 5K Race Returns for 16th Year

Registration is open for the 16th annual Arlington Police, Fire & Sheriff 9/11 Memorial 5K, a race organized by the county’s first responders.

The race this year is taking place on Saturday, September 9. Registration is $40 and is open to teams and individuals.

The 5K was founded by three Arlington police officers: retired Capt. Matt Smith, Detective Dan Borriello and Sgt. Sean Bryson. All of the officers worked as first responders at the Pentagon after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.

After the attacks, the group was inspired by other police 5Ks that they had participated in and decided to start their own race.

“We started with mailing applications and sending letters to the police and fire chiefs,” said Bryson. “We really got a following.”

The race is scheduled to kick off at 6:30 p.m. at the DoubleTree hotel (300 Army Navy Drive) in Pentagon City. The race route follows Army Navy Drive, S. Joyce Street, Washington Blvd, looping around the Pentagon on Route 110 before returning to the DoubleTree, where there’s an after party featuring food and drink.

Proceeds from the race are donated to three organizations that support law enforcement: the Pentagon Memorial FundProject Enduring Pride and the National Police Suicide Foundation. The goal is to raise $1 million over the course of 20 races. So far, the 5K has raised $650,000 in its first 15.

“This is a moment to reflect and a moment to be together. That we never forgot what happened,” said Bryson.

Registration is open through race day. All registered runners will receive a long sleeve commemorative race shirt.

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Peace Officers Ceremony Adds Seventh ACPD Officer to Memorial Wall

(Updated at 10:15 a.m.) Arlington’s Peace Officers Memorial Day ceremony this morning added a new name to its memorial for police officers killed in the line of duty: the county’s seventh and its first since 1977.

Corporal Harvey Snook, an Army veteran, died in January 2016 from cancer he contracted from responding to the Pentagon after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Snook spent a week at the Pentagon after a plane crashed into its western side at 9:37 a.m. that day, collecting evidence and the remains of some of the 189 people killed.

Snook’s plaque was unveiled at the memorial outside Arlington police headquarters in Courthouse, with more than 200 people present, including law enforcement officials from around the county and the region, U.S. Park Police and representatives from the Metropolitan Police in London.

His plaque was the first to be added to the memorial since it was dedicated in 2005.

Arlington Police Chief Jay Farr paid tribute to Snook’s lively personality, which persisted even after he was diagnosed with cancer in 2014, and said his response at the Pentagon on 9/11 “encompassed who he was.”

“Harvey was the kind of guy who brought joy to this job,” Farr said. “He brought joy to it every day.”

The ceremony included bagpipers playing “Amazing Grace,” readings from police and county officials, and a flyover by the Fairfax County Police helicopter. During the ceremony, a dispatcher from the county’s Emergency Communications Center read a tribute to Snook over a police radio channel and announced that Snook — identified by his ACPD unit number, 884 — had ended his tour of duty.

“In valor, there is hope,” the dispatcher said.

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Morning Notes

American flag in Rosslyn (Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf)

Remembering 9/11 at the Pentagon — President Obama attended a memorial service at the Pentagon Sunday morning. Some 800 friends and family members of victims of the Pentagon attacks were in attendance at the private 15th anniversary event. [Los Angeles Times, NBC 4]

Arlington Remembers 9/11 — Local remembrance ceremonies were held in Arlington for the 9/11 anniversary, including an annual wreath-laying ceremony outside county government headquarters at Courthouse Square and, on Saturday, an event at Fire Station No. 5, the closest Arlington County fire station to the Pentagon — whose firefighters were among the first to arrive on scene at the burning Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001. The latter event featured crew members of the USS Arlington. [Facebook, InsideNova]

Arlington Has Priciest Homes in N. Va. — The median sales price of homes in Arlington is $453 per square foot. That’s the highest in Northern Virginia. Falls Church is second-highest, at $417 per square foot. [Falls Church News-Press]

Note About Morning Notes — You might notice that the URL of this post is /morning-notes-1500/, reflecting that this is the 1,500th post published with the headline “Morning Notes.” Technically, however, this is Morning Notes post No. 1,515. About 1 percent of the time we either press publish before filling out the headline or have a slight misspelling (it’s the first post we publish in the morning, c’mon) — even though the error is quickly corrected, the erroneous URL has to stay as-is.

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

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Morning Notes

Ballston (photo courtesy Noah Kaufman)

NAACP Wants War Memorial Plaque Changed — The Arlington chapter of the NAACP wants a plaque on the war memorial in Clarendon updated. The plaque lists Arlingtonians killed in World War I, but separates two “colored” military members from the rest of the local war dead. The NAACP says it would like to get the plaque removed and replaced. “We owe it to those who fought and died,” said local NAACP president Karen Nightengale. [InsideNova]

Two Restaurant Chains Coming to Arlington — Two regional franchise operators have signed agreements that will bring two expanding restaurant chains to Arlington. A former Domino’s Pizza franchisee is planning to open an Arlington location of Wisconsin-based Toppers Pizza, in addition to locations elsewhere in Northern Virginia. Meanwhile a Five Guys franchisee says it will be opening 10 Newk’s Eatery locations in Arlington and Fairfax counties. The Mississippi-based soup, salad, sandwich and pizza chain is big in the Southeast U.S., with more than 100 locations in 13 states and an aggressive expansion plan. [WTOP, Washington Business Journal]

Arlington Hotels Hacked — Two Arlington hotels have reportedly had their payment systems compromised by hackers. HEI Hotels and Resorts says malware was found on its systems at 20 hotels, including the Le Meridien in Rosslyn and the Sheraton Pentagon City on Columbia Pike. The hack potentially exposed the credit card information of hotel guests and customers. [Associated Press]

Pokemon Go at the Pentagon — Department of Defense officials have put the kibosh on DoD employees playing Pokemon Go on government phones, citing concerns about the game tracking the movement of its employees. The DoD has also reportedly told Pentagon employees to only play the game outside of the building. A Pokemon “gym” inside the Pentagon has been removed. [The Guardian, Twitter]

Bethesda Man Bought $1 Million Lottery Ticket in Arlington — The $1 million-winning Powerball ticket that was sold at a Ballston 7-Eleven store last month was sold to a Bethesda resident. Larry Elpiner says he plans to “share his winnings with family and friends,” in addition to paying for his daughter’s college education. [WUSA 9]

Photo courtesy Noah Kaufman

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Morning Poll: Should War Memorial Plaque Be Changed?

Local leaders are considering a new plaque for Arlington’s World War I memorial in Clarendon.

As reported by the Sun Gazette, the 1930s-era memorial has a plaque with a dozen names of local war dead. Two of the names are presented away from the others — and include the extra label “colored.”

It’s unclear if Arlington can legally make changes to the memorial, under state law. Ideally, what do you think should be done?

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Photos: Peace Officers Memorial Day in Arlington

Arlington County paid its annual tribute to fallen law enforcement officers this morning.

The county’s observance of Peace Officers Memorial Day took place at 8 a.m., in the Arlington County Justice Center Plaza at 1425 N. Courthouse Road. The six Arlington County Police Department officers who have died in the line of duty were remembered during the ceremony, as was a seventh officer who died after suffering a heart attack and falling to his death in the 1920s.

Among those participating in the ceremony was the son of Officer George Pomraning, who was shot to death at the age of 26 while bringing a prisoner to jail on Sept. 2, 1973. Pomraning’s son, who was born around the time of his father’s death, wiped tears from his face after placing a rose in his honor next to the police memorial statue.

Other event participants included Police Chief Jay Farr, Sheriff Beth Arthur, County Board Chair Libby Garvey and County Manager Mark Schwartz. There were also representatives from the Alexandria Police Department, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Police Department and other local law enforcement agencies.

The memorial ceremony coincides with National Police Week, which brings law enforcement officers from around the country and around the world together in the D.C. area. Police motorcades running down local highways, as well as to and from the airport, are a common sight in Arlington before and during the week-long event, which officially starts on May 15.

Among the pre-Police Week activities, several Arlington County officers took part in a cross-state Law Enforcement United bike ride that arrived at the Iwo Jima memorial near Rosslyn yesterday afternoon.

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Race to Be Held in Honor of Arlington Mom Killed By Truck

The Lawsons (Courtesy of the Jennifer Bush-Lawson Foundation)A foundation created in honor of Jennifer Lawson, the Arlington mom who was struck and killed by a dump truck in front of Nottingham Elementary School, is holding a race in her memory.

The inaugural Jennifer Bush-Lawson Foundation Memorial 5K and Family Fun Day will be held on Saturday, Nov. 21 at the Knights of Columbus at 5115 Little Falls Road, the same road on which Lawson was hit last year.

The 5K starts at 8 a.m., followed by the kids run at 9:30 a.m. After the races, the foundation will hold a family fun day, with music, food trucks and a beer garden. There will also be kids activities, including face painting, a moon bounce and balloon animals.

Registration for the race is still open. It costs $40 to run the 5K and $10 to participate in the kids run. All proceeds go to the Jennifer Bush-Lawson Foundation, a memorial fund started by Lawson’s husband Neal to help provide pre- and postnatal care for families in need of financial assistance.

Lawson died on February 24, 2014, after being struck by a dump truck while loading her two-year-old daughter into her minivan. Her two sons were in class, across the street at Nottingham Elementary. After her death, a family friend created a memorial fund to help the family. He aimed to raise $5,000 and ended up raising more than $17,000.

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North Arlington Church to Honor Lives Lost to Gun Violence With T-Shirt Memorial

Gun violence memorial at First Presbyterian ChurchThere will be 155 t-shirts on display on the lawn outside of the Rock Spring Congregational United Church of Christ starting Sunday, a memorial to those lost to gun violence in the D.C. area.

Each t-shirt represents a victim of gun violence in the District, Maryland and Northern Virginia in 2014. Each will have a name, age and date of death on it.

“The display is set up to encourage people to walk among the shirts and reflect on those victims and their loved ones,” Rev. Kathy Dwyer said.

The T-Shirt Memorial to the Lost will remain in place from Oct. 11-24. It’s part of a project led by Heeding God’s Call, an organization that advocates for “common sense” gun laws. The church has asked its members to help it set up the display after morning services this Sunday.

“It seems like every time we turn around there’s another act of senseless violence,” Dwyer said.

There will be 75 white shirts for D.C., 23 yellow shirts for Northern Virginia and 57 blue shirts for Maryland. Outside of the District, the victims are from places like Arlington County, Alexandria, Culpepper and Woodbridge in Virginia and Laurel, Ellicott City, Columbia and Gaithersburg, Maryland. Baltimore, which has a high rate of gun violence, is not included.

This is the second time the t-shirt memorial has been erected in Arlington, Dwyer said. First Presbyterian Church held the memorial last year. This year there are 11 fewer shirts.

Dwyer will discuss gun violence as part of her sermons on Sunday, Oct. 18 at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. Members of the congregation have told Dwyer they want to do more than pray for a solution to gun violence, she said, a call that sparked the church to hold the memorial.

“[We see people] really reacting to the violence we see with more violence, and we want to be part of a different path,” she said.

The church has included national issues in sermons and discussions before. The church previously had talks about the intertwining of race and religion, which concluded this past Sunday.

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