Press Club
Trees in Arlington (staff photo)

A new program seeks to increase equity in Arlington by planting more trees in certain neighborhoods.

The local non-profit EcoAction Arlington announced that it’s starting the “Tree Canopy Equity Program” with the goal of raising $1.5 million to fund planting at least 2,500 trees over the next five years in local neighborhoods that have too few.

Insufficient tree canopy is closely tied to heat and temperature increases. The reason certain areas of Arlington are hotter than others, like the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor, is due in part to lack of trees, recent data shows.

“The neighborhoods most impacted by insufficient tree cover are communities with higher-than-average minority populations and communities with people living in poverty,” EcoAction Arlington said a press release. “The lack of trees has a real-world impact that can lead to poor physical and mental health outcomes, higher utility costs, and a lower quality of life.”

The ten civic associations and neighborhoods that the program will work with are below.

  • Arlington View
  • Aurora Highlands
  • Buckingham
  • Columbia Heights
  • Glebewood
  • Green Valley
  • John M. Langston Citizens Association (Halls Hill/High View Park)
  • Long Branch Creek
  • Penrose
  • Radnor/Fort Myer Heights

The current levels of tree cover in those neighborhoods is between 17% and 33%, according to EcoAction Arlington.

“The goal is to radically increase tree planting in the neighborhoods with the lowest tree cover to align with the average for other Arlington communities of approximately 40 percent,” the press release says.

EcoAction Arlington executive director Elenor Hodges tells ARLnow that that the group has already begun to plant more trees. That includes American hornbeams, pin oaks, river birch, sugarberry, American sycamore, swamp white oak, and American linden.

The program needs about $150,000 a year to cover operations, marketing, staffing, and the actual planting of trees, Hodges says, with each tree costing about $500 to plant.

Amazon, an inaugural sponsor, has already contributed $50,000. The goal is to raise $1.5 million from other corporate and individual donors, while also obtaining funding from Arlington’s existing Tree Canopy Fund Program. This initiative allows neighborhood groups, owners of private property and developments, and places of worship to apply to have native plants or trees planted on their property.

Residents in neighborhoods lacking sufficient tree canopy note that the the problem is often tied to the construction of large, new homes and not prioritizing trees while building.

“As we lose trees due to infill development of large homes on lots in our neighborhood, they need to be replaced and even expanded,” John M. Langston Citizens Association president Wilma Jones tells ARLnow. “We all know that trees give off oxygen and they reduce stormwater runoff.

Natasha Atkins has been a resident of Aurora Highlands for nearly four decades and has “watched with alarm” the number of trees lost to homebuilding projects.

“With the County’s zoning code, requiring only very small setbacks for residential housing, it is questionable whether there will be much of a tree canopy in the future in the single-family neighborhoods that are being redeveloped,” she says. “Trees are an afterthought in planning and zoning. They should really be a driver.”

Hodges concedes that planting 2,500 more trees over the next five years will only “make a dent” and it will take tens of thousands of trees for all these neighborhoods to reach the 40% tree canopy threshold.

But the Tree Canopy Equity Program is just as much about what one can do today as what one can do tomorrow, says Hodges.

“It’s about behavioral change and teaching people about the importance of having a sufficient tree canopy in Arlington,” she said.

0 Comments

A new series of county-sponsored walking tours will distill the history of Arlington’s bootleggers, rum runners, and whiskey raids during Prohibition.

The “Bootlegger’s Guide to the Parks” trains its focus on the era of Prohibition, a 13-year period when the manufacturing and sale of alcohol was illegal in the U.S. The walking tours begin at a county park before ending at a local brewery, bar, or distillery.

The first tour, which will meet up at Penrose Park, is scheduled for Friday, March 25. Another is scheduled in April, at Rocky Run Park, while a tour in May will meet at Benjamin Banneker Park. Registration opens on Wednesday (March 16) for all three.

In the public’s mind, Prohibition has always conjured images of gangsters and criminal activity, making it a historical period ripe for movies and other popular entertainment. John McNair, a county park historian who is leading the tours, says that while we may associate the exploits that came with Prohibition with large metropolitan cities, Arlington had its fair share of dealings with illegal alcohol activity.

“We might consider these images of, say, Chicago or New York, but Prohibition was very real and very much on the table for people in Arlington County as well,” he says.

Even prior to Prohibition, several Arlington neighborhoods, like near the Key Bridge in Rosslyn, had earned reputations for attracting District residents who wanted to engage in vice. The reputation was well-earned, says McNair, with Arlington becoming a favorite place to grab a drink and play cards for many in the region.

While he doesn’t want to spoil too much about what the tours will cover, McNair says the March 25 event will focus upon the famed Thanksgiving whiskey raid of 1921.

On that day, federal agents joined up with police from across Virginia to raid four illegal distilling sites in Arlington.

“It took the eternity of the day. And at the end of which, they set state records for highest yield of [confiscated] whiskey products in Virginia,” says McNair. “While it made massive headlines at the time, the record would not stand for very long.”

Beyond the scandalous stories, McNair says the hope is that the programs bring in new audiences who want to learn about local history, parks, and public places. Telling stories about Prohibition in Arlington also opens up a window into what life was like here a century ago, during a very important time in America’s development.

“There were issues of suffrage, civil rights, the growing industry of war production that all became factors in how Prohibition plays out in Arlington,” McNair says.

Spots are limited on the walking tours and are open only to those 21 and over, due to a planned visit to a local bar. After all, how would be a Prohibition walking tour be complete without its own “raid” of a serving establishment?

0 Comments

Morning Notes

A deer and a fox in the rain, near the Arlington-Fairfax border (photo courtesy Marc Roth)

‘Kindness Yard Sale’ in Penrose — “Susan Thompson-Gaines wants to spread kindness. This weekend, she’s doing it through a big yard sale at her house. She says it’s hard to miss the home she shares with her husband, David — it’s the yellow house with purple trim at the corner of South Second and South Fillmore streets in Arlington… what makes this yard sale different is that the proceeds are all spent on acts of kindness.” [WTOP]

Flood Cleanup for Pike Businesses — From WUSA 9’s Matthew Torres: “A dental hygienist sent me this other video of the flash flooding in Columbia Pike in Arlington. Their business had to close today as they clean up the water that seeped through. Other businesses are having to do the same thing.” [Twitter]

More Vaccinations Added to State Stats — “Today, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) has incorporated vaccination data from jurisdictions in Maryland. Virginians who received vaccinations in Maryland that were not reported through the Virginia Immunization Information System are now included in the locality and statewide dashboards. The updated data reflects an increase in COVID-19 vaccine first dose rates of 0.33% Alexandria, 0.46% Arlington, and 0.39% Eastern Shore.” [Virginia Dept. of Health]

AFAC Gets Donation from Library Program –“Representatives of the Friends of the Arlington Public Library (FOAL), together with the Arlington Public Library and Arlington County Department of Technology Services, presented a check for $4,525 to the Arlington Food Assistance Center (AFAC). The donation represents the number of Library readers who successfully completed the 2021 Summer Reading Challenge. The Library’s popular Summer Reading program helps children avoid the ‘summer slide.'” [Arlington County]

Fmr. County Board Member Dies — “Jay Edwin Ricks, 88, passed away at home in Arlington, Virginia on July 18, 2021 due to complications of Parkinson’s Disease… In 1967, Jay was elected to the Arlington County Board where he served until 1971. During this time, he was active in transportation issues and Vice Chairman of Metro during the critical phase of planning the Metro system.” [Legacy]

Local Church Adapts to Pandemic — ‘As another wave of the pandemic comes at us, we are different as a congregation,’ said the Rev. Amanda Poppei, senior minister at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington, Virginia… Poppei’s congregation began hosting outdoor events in spring 2021, including a handbell parade to ring in Pride Month in June and a Flower Communion in May, which they intentionally designed as a multiplatform event.” [UUWorld]

0 Comments

The Penrose community helped save a wounded snapping turtle from being stuck in a window well last week.

On Wednesday (June 23), The Animal Welfare League of Arlington received a call from a concerned citizen about a rather large turtle inside of a window well of a Penrose house on the 800 block of S. Wayne Street.

AWLA dispatched an officer, who removed the turtle and contacted the licensed Virginia rehabber Olivia Lobalbo of Animal Education and Rescue Organization. It was thought that the turtle was female and potentially a mother-to-be since they often only come on to land to lay eggs.

“The rehabber assessed the situation and stated that the turtle was likely laying eggs in the area and to place it nearby in a safe space,” Jen Toussaint, Chief of Animal Control for the AWLA, tells ARLnow.

They decided to allow the turtle to make its way back home. So, AWLA asked folks in the neighborhood to monitor the turtle and stay in touch with the organization.

Over the next few days, the likely mama turtle was seen (slowly) moving through multiple Penrose yards. Eventually, it made its way to the corner of 9th Street S. and S. Wayne Street, according to a post on Nextdoor. At that point, it became clear that action needed to be taken.

“She had gone through multiple yards but was heading in the direction of attempting to cross Columbia Pike and one person noted seeing some flies,” wrote Toussaint. “Flies can be a sign that something is wrong or there is an injury.”

An AWLA officer again came back out on Saturday (June 26), as did Lobalbo from AERO, who took the turtle into their care.

Later, upon inspecting, Lobalbo found the turtle had a hole in its shell and an infected wound.

“I realized that there is a little bit of tissue that grew over the hole in the shell, but underneath was very much infected, and not healing well at all,” Lobaldo writes to ARLnow. “I have done my best to debride it… which seems to been a huge benefit as she is feeling better already. I’ve even gotten her to eat!”

Lobaldo confirms that she expects the turtle to recover and be released back into the wild soon.

Snapping turtles are not uncommon in the area, Toussaint notes. However, this was the first time she can remember finding one stuck in a window well.

“Window wells can be very dangerous for small wildlife this time of year,” writes Toussaint. “We strongly encourage residents to have window well covers that prevent debris and small animals like bunnies and chipmunks and now turtles from falling in and being trapped.”

It was due to the Penrose community’s diligent monitoring of the wounded mother turtle, says Toussaint, that AWLA was able to get her the help she needed.

“Extend my thank you to the Penrose community and AERO for looking out for this little girl and helping us ensure her safety,” Toussaint writes. “Arlington is such an amazingly animal friendly community and it’s a pleasure to work here in service to our community’s wild neighbors!”

In recent months, AWLA has been called on a number of times to help out Arlington’s animal neighbors including birds, a baby fox, and a really old cat.

0 Comments

Armed suspects robbed the 7-Eleven store in Penrose early Sunday morning.

The robbery happened around 3:30 a.m., at the convenience store on the 2300 block of 2nd Street S.

Police say one man brandished a handgun and demanded the employee open the cash registers, before he and another suspect fled with cash in a Honda Odyssey minivan.

More from an Arlington County Police Department crime report, below.

ROBBERY, 2021-06200048, 2300 block of 2nd Street S. At approximately 3:39 a.m. on June 20, police were dispatched to the report of an armed robbery. Upon arrival, it was determined that the suspect vehicle, a gold Honda Odyssey, pulled up to the business and two male suspects exited and entered the business. Suspect One grabbed merchandise and approached the counter, with Suspect Two following behind. Suspect One then brandished a handgun and demanded the employee open the registers. The suspects then fled the scene with an undisclosed amount of cash. Suspect One is described as a Black male with a slim build, approximately 5’6″ tall, wearing a black hat, black mask, blue gloves, black pants, a gray vest and a gray hoodie. Suspect Two is described as a Black male, approximately 5’6″ tall, wearing a black hat, black mask, blue gloves, and a dark blue hoodie. The investigation is ongoing.

Also in the latest Arlington crime report, a Reston man was arrested and charged with assaulting police after an incident early Thursday morning on 23rd Street S. in Crystal City.

From ACPD:

ASSAULT & BATTERY ON POLICE, 2021-06170010, 400 block of 23rd Street S. At approximately 12:50 a.m. on June 17, police were dispatched to the report of a disorderly male inside a restaurant. Upon arrival, the responding officer made contact with the intoxicated suspect who was yelling at patrons and employees. The officer directed the suspect to leave and attempted to issue him a banning notice at the request of the property manager but the suspect refused to comply and continued to act disorderly. As the officer attempted to place the suspect under arrest for public intoxication, he resisted and shoved and hit the officer before fleeing the scene on foot. A foot pursuit was initiated, however, the suspect was not immediately located. Officers located the suspect inside his vehicle nearby and directed him to stop and exit the vehicle. The suspect then reversed out of his parking spot and attempted to drive away. Officers were able to stop him from exiting and he was taken into custody. Seth Hauter, 28, of Reston, VA, was arrested and charged with Assault and Battery on Law Enforcement, Drunk in Public, Obstruction of Justice and Driving Under the Influence.

A large fire department response is on scene of a house fire in Arlington’s Penrose neighborhood.

The blaze broke out shortly after 9 a.m. on the 400 block of S. Barton Street, not far from one of the entrances to Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall.

Initial reports suggest that firefighters arriving on scene found a relatively small but smoky fire in the basement of a home. Firefighters are now working to ensure that the fire has been completely extinguished and everyone made it out of the house okay.

So far no injuries have been reported.

File photo

0 Comments

A man accused of burglarizing homes in the Penrose neighborhood, and in one instance touching a woman inappropriately during a break-in, has been arrested.

The arrest happened around 1 a.m. this morning in the Penrose neighborhood. Police say they were staking out the area around Friday’s sexual battery incident, on the 2500 block of Arlington Blvd, when officers “observed the suspect acting suspiciously as he entered the backyard of residences.”

“While additional units responded to assist with the investigation, the suspect entered his vehicle and attempted to flee the scene,” Arlington County Police said in a press release Tuesday afternoon. “A traffic stop was initiated, and the suspect was taken into custody without incident. During a canvas of the scene, officers located several window screens which had been cut and removed from the frames to include at the address of the original incident.”

“Alijah Hall, 26, of Waldorf, MD, was arrested and charged with Burglary: Break and Enter at Night with Intent to Commit a Felony or Larceny and Possession of Burglarious Tools,” police said. “He is being held without bond in the Arlington County Detention Facility.”

The press release added that “anyone with information related to this incident is asked to contact Detective J. McGrath at 703-228-4244 or [email protected].”

“Information may also be provided to the Arlington County Police Tip Line at [email protected] or anonymously through the Arlington County Crime Solvers hotline at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477),” said ACPD.

Photo courtesy Arlington County Police Department

0 Comments

A man climbed into a woman’s home via a window, walked into her bedroom and touched her inappropriately last night, police say.

The incident happened around 12:30 a.m. on the 2500 block of Arlington Blvd, in Arlington’s Penrose neighborhood.

The Fairfax County Police helicopter was brought in to search for the suspect, who fled after the woman screamed. An Arlington Alert was sent to residents regarding the police activity.

The suspect remains at large. More below, from an Arlington County Police Department press release.

The Arlington County Police Department’s Special Victims Unit is investigating a sexual battery which occurred during a residential burglary in the Penrose Neighborhood.

At approximately 12:33 a.m. on December 11, police were dispatched to the 2500 block of Arlington Boulevard for the report of trouble unknown. Upon arrival, it was determined an unknown suspect entered the victim’s residence through a window. The victim was awoken to the suspect entering her bedroom where he proceeded to touch her inappropriately. The victim screamed, prompting the suspect to flee from the residence. Responding officers established a perimeter, canvased the area and an aerial search was conducted by the Fairfax County Police Helicopter Unit. The search returned with negative results.

The suspect is described as a male, approximately 6’0″ tall with an average build. He was wearing all dark clothing, a ski mask and gloves at the time of the incident.

This remains an active criminal investigation and anyone with information related to this incident is asked to contact Detective J. McGrath at 703-228-4244 or [email protected] Information may also be provided to the Arlington County Police Tip Line at [email protected] or anonymously through the Arlington County Crime Solvers hotline at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).

0 Comments

Firefighters battled a house fire in the Penrose neighborhood this morning.

The fire was reported around 11 a.m., on the second floor of a duplex on the 300 block of S. Courthouse Road.

Firefighters from nearby Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall arrived on scene and quickly doused the flames. Arlington County firefighters searched the home and set up fans to remove the smoke from inside.

No injuries were reported, according to ACFD. S. Courthouse Road remains closed in the area due to the emergency response.

0 Comments

(Updated at 3 p.m.) Arlington had an unusual occurrence this morning: two drivers in two separate parts of the county struck parked cars, flipping their vehicles over, within 5-10 minutes of each other.

The first incident happened on N. Danville Street, in the Lyon Village neighborhood near Clarendon. The driver of a white Toyota sideswiped a parked SUV, flipping the sedan on its side.

By the time ARLnow arrived on the scene, a crowd of neighbors had gathered and a tow crew had already placed the car back on all four wheels. No injuries were reported.

Minutes later, police and firefighters were called to the 200 block of S. Barton Street, in the Penrose neighborhood, for another overturned vehicle.

This time, a young male driver of a black Jeep sideswiped a parked vehicle, flipping the Jeep on its roof.

The driver was able to get out but was in a daze, a neighbor said. He was transported to a local hospital after initially refusing medical treatment, we’re told.

Police closed both sections of road while the wrecks were cleaned up. Officers could be heard remarking at the uncanny timing of the two crashes.

0 Comments

Morning Notes

Utility Pole Catches Fire in Penrose — “100 blk S Wise St, Power pole fire. Area structures may experience power disruptions as the power company addresses the issue. Initial fire crews had to wait for ⁦@DominionEnergy⁩ to arrive to take down power, after which they could extinguish the fire.” [@ArlingtonVaFD/Twitter]

Robbery from Clarendon 7-Eleven — ” At approximately 4:46 a.m. on June 7, police were dispatched to the report of an armed robbery. Upon arrival, it was determined that the suspect entered a business, approached the counter and stole a jar containing an undisclosed amount of cash. The suspect attempted to flee, however, the victim ran after him and the suspect produced a knife and hammer and struck the victim. During the altercation, the jar fell and shattered. The suspect fled in a green Nissan pick-up truck.” [Arlington County]

Library Material for Confronting Racism — “We have compiled a list of books, movies, podcasts, articles, and organizations where you can learn more about structural racism in the United States, how to engage with and act against anti-black racism, and what you can do to eradicate systematic racism and fight for justice in your community.” [Arlington Public Library]

Local Mail Carrier Dies from Coronavirus — ” An Arlington community is mourning the loss of its beloved mailman who died over the weekend from COVID-19 complications. Jesus Collazos suffered a stroke about a month ago that was caused by the coronavirus. Collazos was 67-years-old and and was most looking forward to being a grandfather to his three grandchildren.” [WDVM]

Evictions in Va. Temporarily Halted — “The state’s Supreme Court issued the ban Monday following a request from Gov. Ralph Northam. It extends previous orders that had put a hold on evictions, but expired last month. Under the new rule, even renters who have been threatened with eviction but have not been served a formal notice cannot be legally removed from their homes until June 28 at the earliest.” [DCist]

0 Comments
×

Subscribe to our mailing list