Expensive Bike Parking Spaces — “Metro has spent nearly $20,000 per bike parking space at three bike facilities, the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) has found. Metro has spent over $5.9 million on the construction of 304 bike spaces at the three facilities… located at the College Park, East Falls Church and Vienna Metro stations.” [NBC 4]
Short Waits to Vote in Arlington — “Eager to avoid waiting in line while casting an early ballot? Try to avoid peak times and you should be fine. ‘Wait times are minimal,’ said county elections chief Gretchen Reinemeyer, with the exception of early morning and occasionally at lunchtime. Other than that, voters have been experiencing waits of 10 minutes or less, and ‘most people are just walking straight in to vote,’ she said.” [InsideNova]
Voters Flocking to Ballot Drop-Boxes — “Arlington has set up nine dropboxes for the secure collection of ballots at points across the county, representing another option for those who neither want to vote in person nor wish to trust the U.S. Postal Service with their ballots. That network has proved ‘very popular,’ Arlington elections chief Gretchen Reinemeyer said.” [InsideNova]
Biden Leads in New Va. Poll — “Former vice president Joe Biden leads President Trump 52 percent to 41 percent among likely Virginia voters, according to a new Washington Post-Schar School poll — roughly double Hillary Clinton’s margin of victory in the state in 2016. Biden’s advantage cuts across most demographic groups, with regional strength in the Northern Virginia suburbs and the Richmond area.” [Washington Post]
Local Nonprofit Featured on GMA — “Lights, camera, action! We had a wonderful experience filming with the Good Morning America team last week. The piece aired early this morning… We were thrilled by an unexpected and very generous gift from Amazon.com to help our residents weather the pandemic.” [Facebook, Vimeo]
Police Investigation Bill Signed into Law — “Gov. Northam has signed my bill (HB 5072) to empower the Atty Gen to conduct ‘pattern or practice’ investigations of police forces that appear to be violating constitutional rights, such as patterns of excessive force, illegal searches, or racially biased policing.” [@Lopez4VA/Twitter]
Pupatella Now Available for Delivery — “UBER EATS Now available at all locations – DC (Dupont Circle), both the Original Wilson Blvd spot and South Arlington, as well as Richmond too! We’ve partnered up with UberEats to bring you some of the best pizza around.” [@PupatellaPizza/Twitter]
Local Beer Biz Figure Dies — “Ben Tolkan, a popular figure in DC’s beer industry who was the subject of a Washingtonian feature story, died late Saturday night after a five-and-a half-year battle with cancer. He was 37.” Tolkan is survived by his wife, Abby, an Arlington County public school teacher. [Washingtonian]
Parent Group Calls Out APS — From the Black Parents of Arlington: “In addition to tracking incidents of racism, APS needs to implement mandatory anti-racism and implicit bias training for all teachers and staff throughout the system on a regular basis. Moreover, APS must begin to track incidents of racial and ethnic hostility and make these findings public. The time is now. We will no longer wait. Arlington’s Black children deserve better.” [Facebook]
Pizzeria to Open Next Month in Clarendon — “A storied Connecticut pizza shop is making one of its biggest moves, opening a new location in Arlington’s Clarendon neighborhood next month. Colony Grill is gearing up to debut Oct. 13 with a 5,200-square-foot space, taking over at 2800 Clarendon Blvd. for the Gallery Clarendon art installation pop-up that shuttered in February. The restaurant offers seating for 170 guests in three different areas.” [Washington Business Journal]
New Potomac Bridge Moving Forward — “With the state budget in tatters and commuter levels at record lows, now might hardly seem the right moment for Virginia to embark upon a $1.9 billion rail project. However, the recent conclusion of the Long Bridge’s environmental impact study has cleared the way for the commonwealth to do just that.” [Virginia Mercury]
Eagle Scout Project at Fire Station 5 — “A special project is taking shape to honor the victims of September 11th.
A piece of steel from the World Trade Center was brought to the Arlington County Fire Department nearly ten years ago. Now, a local high school senior and aspiring Eagle Scout wants to transform the area into a place where people can gather.” [WUSA 9]
Arlington Man Jailed in Belarus — “A U.S. diplomat warns that her Belarusian American husband’s health is in ‘immediate danger’ following his late-July arrest by security forces of the authoritarian Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko. Vitali Shkliarov, a political analyst and dual citizen who worked on the presidential campaigns of both Barack Obama and Bernie Sanders, was detained while visiting his parents in his hometown of Gomel, Belarus, in the runup to the country’s Aug. 9 presidential elections.” [NPR]
County Reaffirms Fair Housing Commitment — “Arlington will continue to follow the federal government’s 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, despite the federal government’s July 2020 action to rescind that rule within the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the County Board said in a resolution approved at its September 15 Recessed Meeting.” [Arlington County]
Local Historian Dies — “It is our sad duty to announce the passing of beloved historian Ed Bearss, one of the legends of the battlefield preservation movement and a long-time member of the American Battlefield Trust board.” [National Parks Traveler, Twitter]
Western Smoke Causing Hazy Skies — “The local National Weather Service office pointed out today in its technical discussion that the smoke is caught in the jet stream and moving overhead around 20,000 to 25,000 feet high. Smoke from the historic fires out West now covers much of the country, and it is expected to continue to be an issue in the days ahead.” [Washington Post, Twitter]
Board Approves Road Project — “Arlington County Board members on Sept. 12 approved a contract worth up to $805,000 for improvements to the intersection of 18th Street North with North Glebe Road and North Wakefield Street, aimed at providing a better walking and biking experience for children and others headed to Glebe Elementary School.” [InsideNova. Arlington County]
Ret. Deputy Seeking Answer to 9/11 Mystery — “Nineteen years after the 9/11 attack at the Pentagon, a retired Arlington Sheriff’s deputy still doesn’t know if the badly injured man he pulled from the burning building survived. He doesn’t know his family or even his name — and Art Castellano still cries about it whenever something reminds him of that day. Now, WUSA9 is trying to help reunite the two men.” [WUSA 9]
Teacher Seeking Desk Donations — “Students across Northern Virginia are turning homes into classrooms, so Arlington art teacher Jeff Wilson decided to rally the community to help. Wilson posted a request online for people to donate their old desks to help students who are learning from home.” [WJLA]
Local Business Legend Dies — “Russell A. Hitt, who helped transform the family business into one of the nation’s largest and most successful general contracting firms, died Sunday at his Falls Church residence. The 85-year-old Arlington native is survived by his wife of 66 years, Joan; four children and 15 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren, many of whom now work at Hitt Contracting Inc.” [Washington Business Journal]
No, the FBI Didn’t Conduct a Raid in Rosslyn — “The FBI’s Washington field office says it did not raid the home of Arlington conspiracy theorist Jack Burkman, despite a Washington Post story that apparently took Burkman’s word that his home had been tossed by federal agents.” [Washingtonian, Daily Beast, Washington Post]
NORAD Exercises This Week — “We will conduct air defense exercise Falcon Virgo between midnight and 5:30 a.m. (ET) Sept.1-3 in the Washington, D.C. area. The exercise includes U.S. Air Force F-16 fighter aircraft, a U.S. Army C-12, a U.S. Coast Guard MH-65D helicopter, and a Civil Air Patrol Cessna 182T. Some portions of the exercise may involve flights at approximately 2,500 feet and may be visible from the ground.” [Facebook]
The Backstory Behind Chasin’ Tails — Cajun seafood restaurant Chasin’ Tails, in East Falls Church, along with Happy Endings Eatery in Rosslyn, are owned by two brothers who became globetrotting multi-millionaires by playing online poker. [Washingtonian]
Rosslyn Company to Be Acquired — “Arlington language learning company Rosetta Stone Inc. is being acquired by private equity-backed Cambium Learning Group Inc. for $792 million. The all-cash deal announced Monday values Rosetta Stone (NYSE: RST) at about $30 per share, about 87% higher than its closing price on July 16.” [Washington Business Journal]
Long-time Journalist Dies — “William R. Neikirk, an award-winning economics and political journalist who spent nearly 35 years with the Chicago Tribune and served as White House correspondent during the Clinton administration, died Aug. 27 at his home in Arlington, Va. He was 82. The cause was dementia and complications from the novel coronavirus.” [Washington Post]
Kanye on Va. Ballot — “Rapper Kanye West has qualified to appear on Virginia’s presidential ballot in November, according to state election officials. Elections officials confirmed Friday evening that West will appear on the ballot as an independent after verifying he submitted 5,000 petition signatures from Virginia voters.” [InsideNova]
Nearby: D.C. Offices Nearly Deserted — “Only 5 percent of office workers in downtown DC were in their workplaces at the end of July, according to a new report from the DowntownDC BID. Economic activity in downtown DC, it found, was 12 percent of what it was the year before.” [Washingtonian]
Colton Poythress, a 2018 Wakefield High School graduate and former varsity quarterback, died on last week at the age of 20.
Poythress led the school’s football team to its first district championship in 40 years during his senior season, according to the Wakefield Chieftain student newspaper. He was also a pitcher for the varsity baseball team and helped to end a 20-season losing streak to Marshall High School in 2017.
Poythress wrote for the Chieftain for all four years of high school.
Family and friends reacted to Poythress’ Aug. 12 death on social media.
Cason Poythress, one of Colton’s three siblings and Wakefield’s graduating varsity quarterback, wrote “You’ve been my best friend for my entire life. You take care of everybody up there and I got everyone down here. I miss you more than anything right now but I know I have to stay strong to make you proud.”
View this post on Instagram
Hey Colt, we were supposed to go to school and play football together this week. I’m sorry you didn’t get the chance to get on the field again, but just know every time I step on that field it’s for you. You’ve been my best friend for my entire life. You take care of everybody up there and I got everyone down here . I miss you more than anything right now but I know I have to stay strong to make you proud. You’re in a better place now and I can’t wait to see you again. I love you Colton. ❤️
— Wakefield Athletics (@WakeAthletics) August 14, 2020
The Poythress family held a celebration of Colton’s life on Sunday in Crystal City.
— Marti Mefford (@meffedup) August 15, 2020
This is the second publicly-announced death of a local student last week. A Washington-Liberty student died suddenly of heart failure on Aug. 10.
Image via Twitter
Arlington lost two giants of local civic life in successive days last week.
Jim Pebley died after a battle with cancer on Tuesday, June 23. The day prior, George Keating died of a sudden heart attack.
The following obituary of Keating was written by former Arlington School Board member Elaine Furlow.
George Markey Keating, 71, a longtime civic activist in Arlington, Va., died suddenly of a heart attack on June 22, 2020. As a three-term president of the Waverly Hills Civic Association, Keating championed numerous neighborhood improvements, working closely with Arlington County officials and stakeholders. Most recently, after his retirement, he was tireless in his efforts to improve stormwater drainage in the most flood-prone areas of Arlington.
In 2018 and 2019, as reported by ARLnow.com, water was flooding cars and basements at record levels. When water was rushing down neighborhood streets, Keating helped document the situations and the despair that his neighbors felt. In the county manager’s Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) released this June, $50.8 million has been proposed for stormwater management bonds for consideration by the voters on November 3.
“On issues large and small, George was as gentlemanly as he was passionate about the future of Waverly Hills and the Lee Highway corridor,” said County Board member Katie Cristol. “When the neighborhood experienced historic flooding two years in a row, it was George who capably organized other residents to advocate for new public investments, and who worked diplomatically and analytically with County staff in developing projects.” Cristol said Keating’s passing “is a loss for the community, and those of us on the County Board will truly miss working with him.”
“When it came to community participation,” recalled Sandi Chesrown, vice-chair of Plan Lee Highway, “George didn’t just talk about helping–he immediately and tenaciously tackled whatever the issue, benefiting his Waverly Hills neighborhood and Lee Highway Alliance. We will always be grateful for George’s friendship and leadership.”
The five miles along Lee Highway in Arlington are soon to undergo redevelopment that combats climate change, strengthens housing and retail, and improves walkability and attractiveness of the corridor. The Lee Highway Alliance (LHA), a consortium of civic groups, business and property owners, and interested citizens, first started the work more than a decade ago. Keating was a member of LHA’s Community Advisory Committee (LHA CAC) and also a member of the Plan Lee Highway Community Forum.
He also helped to gain County Board approval for the Artis Senior Living project, which will add housing options for older residents who need assistance. Ginger Brown, LHA’s executive director, said, “George truly believed in housing for all ages and income levels.”
Tyler Wilson, past president of the Waverly Hills Civic Association, remarked, “Every successful community needs a few people with initiative, motivation and the energy to focus on the greater good and to create a sense of togetherness. George had all those qualities and more.”
Keating is survived by his wife Ellen, sons Owen and Brendan, and granddaughters Eleanor, Alice and Mercedes. He graduated from Georgetown University in 1971 and completed a Master’s degree in American Studies from the University of Minnesota.
Keating loved books and authors. He spent his career in publishing, first managing Canal Street Books in Georgetown and Brentano’s stores in Connecticut and New York. He joined Simon & Schuster in 1978 as a sales representative and rose to become the eastern divisional sales manager. He helped launch and promote a stream of authors including David McCullough, Doris Kearns Goodwin and Bob Woodward. After leaving S&S, he became director of sales and marketing at the Naval Institute Press, helping to revitalize its book publishing division. Keating retired in 2015.
Photo via Facebook
‘BLM’ on Fairlington Bridge Restored — Residents of the Fairlington area used ties to restore a Black Lives Matters message on the bridge over I-395 over the weekend. The letters “BLM” had previously been placed on the bridge’s fence but later removed by an unknown party. Also this weekend, below the BLM letters someone scrawled “Trump 2020,” but that was later covered and “Black Lives Matter” written over it in chalk. [Twitter]
ACPD Details De-Escalation Training — “In response to community questions, ACPD has created this fact sheet highlighting how we train officers to de-escalate incidents and safely resolve situations.” [Twitter]
Update to Jim Pebley Obit — Per an email from former county treasurer Frank O’Leary: “You will be pleased to hear that, due to the actions of former commanders of our County’s namesake ship, it appears that Commander Pebley’s ashes will be spread at sea by the USS ARLINGTON. This is a singular honor and reflects the high respect the Navy feels for Jim. Nothing less than he deserves. There is an old adage, ‘The Navy takes care of its own.’ Perhaps, the same can be said of Arlington.”
Candidates on the Arts — “Arlington County voters will go to the polls on July 7 to determine who will fill the County Board seat of the late Erik Gutshall. In order to help voters understand each candidate’s stand on the importance of arts and culture in the County, Embracing Arlington Arts sent out a questionnaire for the three candidates to complete covering several issues pertaining to the arts in Arlington.” [Press Release, Embracing Arlington Arts]
TTT Now Serving Unlimited Weekend Brunch — “There’s a new all-you-can eat brunch in town. TTT in Clarendon, which stands for Tacos, Tortas and Tequila, has joined its Street Guys Hospitality brethren, including beloved Ambar, in offering unlimited eats on weekend mornings.” [Northern Virginia Magazine]
Reminder: Metro Stations Back Open — “Metro plans to reopen the Clarendon and Virginia Square Metro stations in Arlington, starting Sunday.” [ARLnow]
Nearby: Fairfax Teachers Revolt — “A day after one of the nation’s largest school systems announced its proposal for fall learning, teachers within Fairfax County Public Schools rose in revolt and refused to teach in-person, as the plan demands, until officials revise their strategy.” [Washington Post]
Long-time Arlington civic activist Jim Pebley died earlier this week after a battle with cancer.
Pebley was an early booster of ARLnow, providing advice and patiently explaining some of the ins-and-outs of how the county works in our first few months. We greatly appreciate his support, encouragement and wise counsel.
Kevin Reardon and former County Treasurer Frank O’Leary, who both worked with Pebley on the USS Arlington Community Alliance, penned the following obituary for their friend.
Jim Pebley passed away Tuesday afternoon, June 23rd in Wake Forest, North Carolina, after a heroic twenty-month battle with cancer. He was 69 years old. Commander James Pebley, USN completed his naval service while stationed at the Pentagon in the late 1980’s. He and his wife Cecile, also a retired naval commander, decided to reside in Arlington on 16th Street North. Jim immediately transferred his oath of service to his “Country” to service to his “County.”
Over the ensuing more than quarter century, Jim’s activities ranged from addressing the needs of Reagan National Airport, highway safety, ensuring pure drinking water, and innumerable other projects, including commissions such as: County Fiscal Affairs, Emergency Preparedness, and County Planning. He may have been best known for his involvement in “Backyards Not Barnyards,” a group that successfully fought off efforts to loosen restrictions on chicken-raising in Arlington.
Most importantly, he was a driving force in expressing citizen concerns and seeing that they were addressed by the County government. Jim, perhaps more than any other Arlingtonian, embodied and furthered the ideals and goals of the Arlington Civic Federation.
Politically, Jim was a loyal member of the Arlington County Republican Committee. His dedication to the well-being of Arlington County, however, transcended party politics. Jim never served as an elected official, but when he called upon elected officials, they listened attentively to what he had to say and often followed his advice. In 2017, he was honored by the County Board for his services in a public session.
In 2012, Jim was asked by the Navy League to Chair the local Commissioning Committee for the USS ARLINGTON. Our County’s namesake ship was being created to honor those who died at the Pentagon on 9-11 and those who so courageously responded to the crisis. (A girder from the Pentagon was incorporated into the ship’s keel.) Under Jim’s inspired leadership, our committee raised $438,000, far exceeding the needs of the Navy League. The excess funds were used primarily to create a “Tribute Room,” a small museum behind the bridge of the ship, reflecting the events at the Pentagon on 9-11. Since 2013, this very special room, unique to our ship, has been visited by guests at many ports of call and proclaims Arlington’s story to the world.
In 2013, Jim asked a number of us on the Committee to join with him in creating the USS ARLINGTON Community Alliance to maintain a continuing relationship between our community — our ship — its captain – and its crew. Since then we have built bridges between Arlington’s schools and our ship and hosted an annual 9-11 event (the ship’s schedule permitting) at Firehouse 5 where the public is invited to meet, greet, and have lunch with those who so honorably represent our community, while serving on our ship. Despite his moving to North Carolina in 2017 and his ensuing illness, Jim remained very active in all of this.
As a measure of his dedication, two weeks ago, Jim provided a generous contribution of $10,000 to the Arlington Historical Society to provide for the installation of a model of the USS ARLINGTON in the atrium of the Ellen M. Bozman Government Center, the site of our local government. (Those who wish to honor Jim’s memory may send their contribution to: The Arlington Historical Society, 9-11 Fund, P.O. Box 100402, Arlington, Virginia 22210-3402.)
There is so much more to say about Jim. He was wise, eternally positive and optimistic, charismatic, and extraordinarily generous both financially and in spirit. He was a great leader who always assumed responsibility for any mishap that might arise — even when it was not truly his fault. He never once complained about his illness or the excruciating pain it imposed. He fought the good fight to the end and we who knew and loved him will greatly miss him.
Jim had two final wishes. First, given the Coronavirus and the threat it poses at public gatherings, he wanted no memorial service. Second, he requested that his ashes be scattered at sea by the US Navy. Both these wishes will be granted. BRAVO ZULU! Commander – well done – and Godspeed.
Sylvia Louise Jenkins was born in D.C. in 1936 and made a mark on the area through her faith, her volunteer work, and her family.
She lived in the District most of her life, but passed away in Arlington the Sunday before last, one of numerous assisted living facility residents in Arlington to succumb to the coronavirus.
“I would like to share her story, as she was such a remarkable woman and touched many lives,” LeVale Jenkins, her grandson, told ARLnow. “My grandmother… used her voice and influence to inspire many.”
Sylvia died at Virginia Hospital Center on April 19 from complications from COVID-19, which she contracted while a resident of the memory care section of Brookdale Senior Living in Virginia Square, Jenkins said.
Jenkins described, as others have, a significant outbreak at the facility.
“Upon our last knowledge, there were seven deaths of residents from Brookdale related to the coronavirus,” Jenkins said. “There were nine other residents from the memory care section that tested positive, as well as staff and others who have either tested positive, recovered from the virus, and/or have pending results.”
Nationally and locally, assisted living facilities have been hit particularly hard by the virus. Arlington has six reported outbreaks in long-term care facilities, though the county has thus far not publicly revealed additional information about the outbreaks, citing concerns about privacy and creating “a false sense of security if people think there are more cases in a certain part of the Arlington Health District than in others.”
As of Wednesday, 32 people in Arlington have passed away from COVID-19.
Jenkins says Sylvia, a native Washingtonian, “was an extraordinary woman of God” who will be dearly missed by friends and her large, loving family, including a great-great grandson.
The full obituary is below.
Sylvia Louise Jenkins, 83, was born June 4, 1936 in Washington, DC. She was widely revered as Mother Jenkins and personified every aspect of a virtuous woman. She was a notable wife and the crown jewel to her beloved husband of sixty-one years, Deacon Kenneth Jenkins, Sr. Deacon and Mother Jenkins continued in a partnership of unity, love and worship until June 25, 2019 when he preceded her in death. She was never bashful in her declaration that one eventful day she would meet her Heavenly Father. On April 19, 2020, she departed this life to receive her long awaited heavenly reward.
Mother Sylvia Jenkins left an indelible mark on many lives as she plainly shared the depth of her spiritual journey of trials, triumphs, victories and the relentless joy that inspired her daily devotion to Jesus Christ. She had a missionary ministry and used her voice and influence as a source of strength, prayer and inspiration. She was known to uplift, counsel, spiritually motivate and compel countless people to discover the joy, peace and comfort of knowing Jesus Christ. Her spiritual journey began, March 17, 1966, over fifty-four years ago, when she described being baptized and experiencing one of the most miraculous and joyous encounters of the Holy Ghost. Her husband and children joined Bible Way Temple through the ministry of the late Bishop Smallwood Williams. This spiritual experience led to her many years of dedicated service across many clubs and ministries at Bible Way Temple.
In 1982, along with her husband and family, she joined the Holy Temple Churches of Christ, where for over thirty-five years, she worked in numerous auxiliaries, serving as a Senior Missionary, President of the New Members, Junior Church teacher, Assistant Director of Vacation Bible School and Advisor to the Usher Board. She was most proud of her unrelenting work with the churches newest members. She spent countless hours inspiring many members of the church. Graceful, elegant, and guided by wisdom, Mother Jenkins opened her hands to those in need and was an avid counselor to many. She was the 911 emergency telephone number for many to call, and a trusted source for prayer and spiritual guidance. She was an inspirational writer, musical directress, and even formed a musical group of her children and grandchildren that performed in churches and venues under her direction. She was artistic, and loved drawing, writing, singing and cooking. She was a devoted and faithful mother who nurtured divine life in her children and left a life-lasting imprint on them. She relished all of her grandchildren and made each one feel individually special. She was an extraordinary woman of God who sacrificed her vocation to assume the noblest role as the matriarch of the family.
She was preceded in death by her beloved husband, Kenneth Jenkins, Sr.; parents, Virginia Liu and Douglas Vance; brother, Clifton Lean. She leaves to forever cherish in her loving memory, her children; Sherrell Jenkins, Valerie Falade, Kenneth Jenkins, Jr. (Yvette), Vincent Jenkins (Lori), Michelle Mungo (Jamal) and Marisa Jenkins; brother, Wendell Liu; many grandchildren, great grandchildren, a great-great grandson, and a host of other family members and friends.
Another Sewage Release in Four Mile Run — “Avoid contact with Four Mile Run Creek downstream of 7th St S until further notice due to a sanitary sewage release. County Water/Sewer/Streets is responding.” [Twitter]
ACFD Rolls Out New Medic Unit — “As we progress through the COVID-19 pandemic, ACFD continues to adjust our response to ensure the best service and safety for our community. Yesterday we deployed a new resource that will provide rapid on-scene assessment to identify non-critical patients with potential or confirmed #COVID related complaints.” [Facebook, NBC 4]
Former Police Chief Dies — “On Friday, April 17, 2020, retired Chief of Police William K. ‘Smokey’ Stover passed away of natural causes. He was 89 years old… Chief Stover was known for his integrity, character and straight talk, no-nonsense style.” [Arlington County]
Hotel Heart Turns to Hope — “If you’ve driven the 14th Street Bridge from DC to Virginia over the past few weeks, you’ve seen it: a giant illuminated heart on a Crystal City building… Thursday night, the hotel broadcast a new message: ‘HOPE.'” [Washingtonian]
YHS Dad Photographing Seniors — “Matt Mendelsohn’s Instagram feed is a veritable who’s who, featuring portraits of Stephen Hawking, Ray Charles, Nicole Kidman, Bill Clinton, Chris Rock and countless other famous figures… Now he’s set an ambitious goal amid the backdrop of the COVID-19 crisis: to photograph every member of Yorktown High School’s Class of 2020.” [Arlington Magazine]
(Updated at 11:40 a.m.) Former Arlington County Board member Erik Gutshall has died after a battle with brain cancer.
Gutshall’s wife Renee made the sad announcement on Facebook Thursday night.
It is with a broken heart that I share this news…. today the sweetest, most amazing man has lost his battle with brain cancer. It was only 8 weeks ago that Erik Gutshall received this diagnosis, leaving us too quickly but peacefully today surrounded in love by his family.
April 28, 1970 – April 16, 2020
We’ll share information about a memorial service once we’re beyond the current COVID-19 crisis.
Gutshall was first elected to the Board in November 2017, after serving on the county’s Planning Commission and Transportation Commission.
“Mr. Gutshall has supported strong public engagement and thoughtful planning to ensure that private development contributes to residents’ quality of life and that any potential negative impacts of development are mitigated,” according to his official county biography.
Flags outside county government headquarters in Courthouse will fly half-mast for seven days in tribute to Gutshall, the county said Friday in a press release that also included tributes from his colleagues.
“Erik was a visionary when it came to our community,” said Board Member Katie Cristol. “He understood how every neighborhood plan, park and bus route affected people’s lives and connected us to one another as fellow citizens. I feel so fortunate to have learned from and worked with Erik as a colleague and a friend and am devastated by the loss of an extraordinary Arlingtonian.”
As a County Board member, Gutshall served on the board of the Virginia Association of Counties and on the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments’ Air Quality Committee.
Gutshall was a graduate of James Madison University and received a master’s degree from George Washington University. He was also the owner of a small local business, Clarendon Home Services, and the father of three daughters.
Earlier this year, Gutshall outlined his priorities for Arlington in 2020. He said that this was a year for Arlington to “level up” with the continued arrival of Amazon’s HQ2, a “pivotal, definitive event” in the county’s history. With it, however, would come challenges — like housing affordability — that need to be addressed for the benefit of all residents, he said.
“Today is proof that even a distant future will one day come to pass,” Gutshall said, in conclusion. “I’m honored to work on this next level with my amazing colleagues, talented Manager and his brilliant staff, and the passionate citizens who I know care about this community as much as each of us.”