Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) announced today he will send 120 soldiers from the Virginia National Guard to the U.S. Virgin Islands to help with relief after Hurricane Maria.
The 120 soldiers are assigned to the Staunton-based 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, and will deploy in the next week to mission command headquarters. Up to 400 more will follow to conduct humanitarian assistance, clear roads and give out supplies to citizens.
It is the 10th time Virginia has coordinated an aid mission at the state level, not including efforts by religious and nonprofit organizations based in the Commonwealth.
The Category 5 storm destroyed homes and boats docked on the three islands. Four people were reported dead across the U.S. Virgin Islands; the power grid and other infrastructure was devastated and may take months to restore; and residents are in serious need of aid, which was slow to arrive after the hurricane passed.
“Virginia is ready to help communities facing the long road to recovery from the devastation wrought on their cities and towns by the recent hurricanes,” McAuliffe said in a statement. “Commonwealth officials, the Virginia National Guard, the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, and other agencies remain in close contact with our counterparts in Texas, Louisiana, Florida, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. We will continue to offer Virginia’s assistance for short and long-term recovery.”
More from a Governor’s Office press release after the jump:
Someone keyed the words “black bitch” onto a black man’s car on a block in Arlington’s Barcroft neighborhood, where some residents are up in arms about outsiders parking on their street.
The man, who works as a contractor at the Army National Guard Readiness Center (111 S. George Mason Drive), parked his car near the corner of S. Pershing Drive and 1st Street S. this past Thursday morning. When he arrived back at the car that afternoon, he found the words carved onto his driver’s side door and called police.
Officers photographed the car and dusted it for fingerprints. They also took “elimination prints” from the man and Evie Bernard, who carpools with him.
Bernard says she suspects the vandalism was actually targeted at her. She said some residents on the block have confronted her and other commuters about parking, even though it’s a public street and — unlike other nearby streets — not zoned for resident-only parking.
The prior Sunday, Bernard said, she had just returned from a brief vacation when a resident came out of his house and “started yelling and saying never to park there again.” The man, who was pointing his finger and “being very aggressive,” was soon joined by his wife and one of their children, who were all yelling at Bernard for parking in front of their house, she said.
“How would you feel if I parked in front of your house in Waldorf, Maryland?” one of them asked, according to Bernard’s account. The residents had somehow obtained Bernard’s name and apparently looked her up on Facebook, also referencing where she went on vacation and saying “I know where you work.” After about 5 minutes, Bernard drove away and then decided to call police.
“I was so upset that I got in my car and drove away,” she said. “I could only take so much… I was really upset. It was pretty much a nightmare.
Police took a report, Bernard said, but because her life was not threatened it was determined that no crime had occurred. An Arlington County Police Department spokeswoman corroborated that a report of verbal harassment had been filed.
Though Bernard initially suspected the people who confronted her — who are white — might have been responsible for the vandalism, police said today (Tuesday) that the residents have been eliminated as suspects.
Bernard and another Army National Guard contractor who contacted ARLnow.com said the parking issue is not likely to be solved anytime soon. Parking at the George Mason Drive campus is limited and most spots are reserved for employees; contractors are instructed to take transit or park on nearby streets.
While there were plenty of spots available on the 4400 block of 1st Street S. when an ARLnow reporter visited Monday afternoon, a resident said that there are times when the block is filled with cars, including many commuters. He said that residents have tried to apply for zoned parking, but a county parking study did not find enough commuter parking to meet the program threshold.
Earlier this month new zone parking applications were halted indefinitely, pending a review.
— OEM Arlington Co.Gov (@ReadyArlington) January 23, 2016
What happens when a fire truck gets stuck in the snow? They call in the Virginia National Guard.
— Arlington Fire (@ACFDPIO) January 23, 2016
A Virginia National Guard “tank hauler” recovery vehicle towed a fire engine that was stuck in the snow on the 1200 block of North Veitch Street around 3 p.m. this afternoon.
Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe called 535 National Guard personnel to active duty when he declared a state of emergency ahead of the snowstorm on Thursday.
According to scanner traffic, several emergency vehicles have asked for help digging out of the snow throughout the afternoon.
Castano and crew drove the cake down from their Hoboken, NJ bakery to the Army National Guard Readiness Center in Arlington. The New Jersey National Guard assisted in the transport and during the four hour drive.
Several months ago, a member of the New Jersey National Guard contacted Castano and asked about creating a cake for the birthday celebration. Despite being involved with “Cake Boss” and two other spin-off programs, Castano was eager to contribute to the event.
The two-foot by three-foot cake sports a replica of the Minuteman statue on top, a symbol Castano researched and decided should be a focal point of the cake.
“You know what,” said Castano, “we’ve got to put that in there. That’s the symbol of the National Guard.”
The Minuteman is made of chocolate, and like every other decoration on the cake, is edible. Along the sides, all the states and territories the National Guard serves are represented by patches made out of sugar.
More than 200 military and civilian employees of the National Guard Bureau and Army National Guard Readiness Center enjoyed the cake.
Photo courtesy Leisa Grant/National Guard Bureau