Average Lifespan in Arlington — Arlington and Fairfax county residents have a higher average lifespan than residents of D.C., Montgomery County and Prince George’s County, according to newly-released data. The average life expectancy in Arlington and Fairfax is 86, compared to a nationwide average of 78. [Washington Post]
Protesters Arrested Outside Pentagon — A total of 21 demonstrators were arrested during an anti-war protest outside of the Pentagon yesterday. According to Pentagon police, those who were arrested were attempting to block an employee entrance near the Pentagon transit center. [Patch]
African American History Book — Updated at 7 p.m. — Arlington County’s Historic Preservation Program has published a new, 59-page book about the history of African Americans in Arlington. The book includes the history of Calloway Cemetery. Since 1891 the cemetery, along Lee Highway, “has been the burial site for dozens of African Americans, including a slave who fought in the Union Army.” [WJLA]
Wardian’s Berlin Marathon Performance — Arlington resident Michael Wardian, 42, ran the Berlin Marathon over the weekend in 2:28:19. Wardian is currently on pace to run all five 2016 World Marathon Majors faster than anyone in history. [Twitter, Competitor]
Theater: ‘Man of La Mancha’ — The Arlington Players performance of ‘Man of La Mancha’ was “filled with exceptional performances and is quite inspiring,” writes a reviewer. “Don’t miss it.” The one-act performance is two hours with no intermission. [DC Metro Theater Arts, InsideNova]
Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf
The shots were fired during a fight between two groups outside the Doubletree hotel on Army Navy Drive in Pentagon City.
No one was hurt and so far no arrests have been made, according to police.
From the crime report:
DISCHARGE OF A FIREARM, 160925005, 300 block of S. Army Navy Drive. At approximately 1:00 a.m. on September 25, police were dispatched to the report of shots fired. The investigation revealed a physical confrontation between two groups had ensued and one male subject discharged a firearm several times into the air. The suspect is described as a black male, approximately 6’2″ tall and wearing a black cap, light blue shirt, and blue jeans. There were no injuries reported.
The Arlington County Board is expected to approve $555,000 in interior upgrades to the Aurora Hills Community Center and Library at its meeting this weekend.
The low-slung building, located at 735 18th Street S., near Pentagon City, houses both a library and a senior center. In explaining the need for upgrades, county staff said the center is “an aging facility.”
“The proposed renovation includes demolition of existing and construction of new office, storage rooms, kitchen, new ADA bathrooms, receptionist desk, circulation desk, new floor finishes, additional electrical and mechanical system upgrade,” county staff wrote. “The work will also include the restoration or repair of ceilings and walls in areas that are impacted by this interior renovation.”
Some programs at Aurora Hills will be moved to the Gunston Community Center during construction. The renovations were originally set to take place a bit later than currently scheduled, but were “accelerated” by the County Board, staff say.
The county staff report hints that the Aurora Hills center may eventually be torn down to make way for a new elementary school.
“The site was also identified during the Arlington Public Schools’ South Arlington Working Group process as a possible site for redevelopment in conjunction with Schools;” says the report. “The proposed improvements will provide operational and program value for a number of years until such time that the County and Schools choose to pursue a redevelopment.”
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
Emergency Exercise at the Pentagon — The Arlington County Fire Department will be joining other agencies for an full-scale training exercise at the Pentagon today. The simulated helicopter crash and mass casualty response exercise will take place at the Pentagon heliport along Washington Blvd from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. [WTOP]
Police Warn of IRS Scam Calls — Scammers posing as local law enforcement officers or IRS agents have been phoning Arlington residents recently. “These individuals accuse the victims of owing money to the IRS which must be paid immediately using iTunes gift cards, or other means,” according to a press release. “In some cases, scammers have deliberately falsified the information transmitted to the victim’s Caller ID display to disguise their identity as the non-emergency police line.” [Arlington County]
New Ad Displays Coming to Metro Stations — The Rosslyn, Ballston, Crystal City and Pentagon City Metro stations will be getting new digital displays that will play video advertisements targeted at transit riders. [Borderstan]
Rental House Includes Tiki Bar — A listing for a rental home in the Ashton Heights neighborhood includes a “new tiki bar” in the backyard and off-street parking for four cars. The 4 BR / 3 BA home is listed for $4,500 per month. [Real House Life of Arlington, Zillow]
Actress to Campaign for Hillary In Arlington — Bellamy Young, who plays the First Lady on ABC’s “Scandal,” will stop by Hillary Clinton’s Arlington field office in Dominion Hills next Saturday morning, as part of a series of campaign events in Northern Virginia.
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
With the smartphone game Pokemon Go achieving unprecedented popularity, some of the geographic locations of “PokeStops” — the real-world places where the game spawns new Pokemon for players to catch — are coming into question.
As ARLnow.com first reported yesterday, Arlington National Cemetery has asked visitors to refrain from playing the game, after several people were spotted playing at the cemetery and called out on social media. (Some of the graves themselves are PokeStops.)
That followed reports of people playing at the Holocaust Museum, where officials say they’re asking the game maker to remove the museum as a PokeStop.
In addition to the cemetery, there’s another potentially inappropriate PokeStop in Arlington. As a Twitter user pointed out yesterday evening, a marker at the Pentagon that serves as a memorial to the children who lost their lives in the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks is a designated PokeStop.
— LucyVanPelt (@LucyAppa) July 12, 2016
The center of the Pentagon is also a Pokemon “gym,” though that seems to raise more questions about Pentagon employees playing the game at work than it raises questions of appropriateness.
No word yet on whether game developer Niantic Labs plans to eventually remove “inappropriate” PokeStops like the Holocaust Museum or the Sept. 11 children’s marker. Such locations in the game were actually originally geotagged by users of another Niantic Labs game called Ingress.
A 25-year-old man from Burke, Virginia took photos of various landmarks in Arlington and D.C. for inclusion in a video that would encourage “lone wolf” terrorist attacks, according to federal prosecutors.
Haris Qamar has been charged with attempting to provide material support and resources to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, also known as ISIL or ISIS. He’s due in federal court in Alexandria this afternoon.
According to a press release, below, the Pentagon was among the targets suggested by Qamar, who had been previously tried to join ISIS but was prevented from doing so because his father took his passport.
Haris Qamar, 25, of Burke, was arrested this morning on charges of attempting to provide material support and resources to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), a designated foreign terrorist organization. Qamar is scheduled to have his initial appearance today in front of Magistrate Judge John F. Anderson at 2 p.m. at the federal courthouse in Alexandria.
According to the affidavit in support of the criminal complaint, on May 26, Qamar and FBI confidential witness (CW) discussed ISIL’s need of photos of possible targets in and around Washington, D.C., for use in a video that ISIL was purportedly making to encourage lone wolf attacks in the Washington, D.C., area. Qamar allegedly offered CW ideas of where to take these photographs, including the Pentagon and numerous landmarks in Arlington and Washington, D.C., which could be targeted for terrorist attacks. On June 3, a conversation was audio and video recorded when CW picked up Qamar in a vehicle and they drove to area landmarks on the list Qamar had developed. Qamar allegedly said “bye bye DC, stupid ass kufar, kill’em all”. Qamar and CW met again on June 10 and drove to a location in Arlington to take additional photos for the ISIL video.
The FBI first learned of Qamar as he operated over 60 variations of the Twitter handle “newerajihadi”, which Qamar used to express his support of ISIL and share videos and photos of extreme violence, including beheadings and mass shootings. For example, after terrorists murdered employees of the Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris in January 2015, Qamar tweeted his prayer for another similar attack with even more casualties.
According to the allegations, during numerous conversations with CW, Qamar expressed his interest and excitement in the extreme violence ISIL is known for. Qamar said he loved the bodies, blood and beheadings, and he recalled watching a video of a Kurdish individual being slaughtered, and liked the cracking sound made when the individual’s spinal cord was torn. On several occasions Qamar allegedly said he could slaughter someone and described how he would do it. Qamar also stated that he admired lone wolf attackers because they love Islam so much that they are willing to die as martyrs for Islam and in the same conversation, Qamar and CW allegedly discussed suicide bombings. CW said that he did not believe in suicide bombings, but Qamar allegedly responded “I believe in it 100 percent.”
On Sept. 11, 2015, terrorists connected with ISIL posted a “kill list” to the internet containing the names and addresses of U.S. military members. A few days later, Qamar allegedly told CW that the residences of several service members who appeared on the “kill list” were near Qamar’s own home, and that Qamar had observed undercover police cars near those residences. According to the affidavit, on Sept. 16, 2015, Qamar tweeted his prayer that Allah “give strength to the mujahideen to slaughter every single US military officer.”
Additionally, the affidavit alleges that on Sept. 25, 2015, Qamar told CW that he tried to join the ISIL in 2014, but that his parents prevented him from going by controlling his passport. Qamar allegedly said that his parents threatened to notify law enforcement authorities and said that he fought with his father and called his father a traitor to Islam. According to the allegations, on Nov. 18, 2015, CW asked Qamar if his father gave him back his passport would he go and join ISIL, and in response, Qamar said if that happened, “I’m done, I leave.”
Qamar faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison if convicted. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; and Paul M. Abbate, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Division, made the announcement after the charges were unsealed. Assistant U.S. Attorney Gordon D. Kromberg is prosecuting the case with assistance from the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section.
Residents Supportive of Cemetery Expansion Plan — The military held a meeting yesterday to reveal preliminary plans to expand Arlington National Cemetery and realign Columbia Pike. Local residents were generally supportive of the plan and the need to expand the cemetery. [Washington Post]
Arlington Woman Turns 100 — The Sunrise senior living community in Arlington has celebrated the 100th birthday of a resident, Kathleen Hanawalt. Hanawalt celebrated the event with her daughter-in-law and two grandsons. Hanawalt’s husband died in 1969. [InsideNova]
Endorsements for Gutshall, Talento — Arlington County Board challenger Erik Gutshall has picked up a trio of endorsements from state lawmakers. State Sen. Adam Ebbin, Del. Alfonso Lopez and Del. Rip Sullivan have endorsed Gutshall in his primary challenge against County Board Chair Libby Garvey. Meanwhile, School Board candidate Tannia Talento has received the endorsement of School Board member Reid Goldstein. [Blue Virginia, InsideNova]
Sexual Assault Awareness Event at the Pentagon — All branches of the military were represented at a recent event to raise awareness of and combat sexual assault in the military. “Walk-a-Lap for a Survivor” was held in the Pentagon courtyard on April 20. Also participating in the event were members of Arlington-based Doorways for Women and Families. [Pentagram]
Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf
Shirlington Tree Lighting Rescheduled — Due to rain, the Shirlington tree lighting event scheduled for tonight has been rescheduled. The holiday event is now set for Monday, Dec. 7 from 6-8:30 p.m. [Facebook]
Yona Now Open in Ballston — New ramen restaurant Yona opened for lunch yesterday in Ballston, attracting a “packed house” for $15 bowls of ramen. The restaurant, at 4000 Wilson Blvd, plans to start serving dinner on Friday. [Yona, Twitter]
Pothole Attracts Attention of Pentagon Police — A pothole on a stretch of roadway near the Pentagon attracted the attention of security forces after at least three cars became disabled due to running over it. Pentagon police are sent to investigate any time a vehicle stops on the site of the highway in view of the building. In 2010 a man fired shots at the Pentagon from his car on the side of I-395. [WTOP]
Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf
The grassy patch of land that runs along Columbia Pike and Washington Blvd by the Pentagon is slated to be home to the new 9/11 Pentagon Memorial Visitor Education Center by 2020.
“The Pentagon is the only 9/11 attack site without a visitor center or museum to explain the historic significance of what happened on that day. Among the 500,000+ visitors who come to the Memorial each year, few know how different this location is from all others in Washington, D.C.,” said James Laychak, the president of the Pentagon Memorial Fund, in a press release.
“The 9/11 Pentagon Visitor Education Center site is in a dramatic location, right where the attack of 9/11 took place and adjacent to the 9/11 Pentagon Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery and Air Force Memorial… This thoughtful arrangement creates a powerful backdrop to heighten the experience for visitors as they arrive at the 9/11 Pentagon Visitor Education Center,” the Pentagon Memorial Fund said on its website.
The organization is currently looking for sponsors to help it reach a goal of $75 million for the visitor education center.
Once the center is completed, visitors will be able to learn more about the Sept. 11 events and the significance of the Pentagon Memorial through exhibits created from artifacts and content donated by the FBI, National Geographic, the Transportation Security Administration and National Museum of American History, among others.
The visitor center will help tell the stories of both the victims and survivors of the Pentagon attack and inform visitors about the U.S. response to the attacks. It will also offer walking audio tours.
“Tens of thousands of children and students come to the memorial each year and few know why this memorial is different from all others in Washington, D.C. in that it is located where the event took place. Many of those are eighth-graders on class trips that are too young to have experienced the tragedy of Sept. 11. We do not want to miss out on these teachable moments,” the Pentagon Memorial Fund said.
The visitor center is expected to open in 2019 or 2020, according to a spokesman.
Columbia Pike is slated to be realigned as part of a land swap between Arlington County and the military that will allow for Arlington National Cemetery to be expanded around the planned 9/11 visitor center.
Suspicious Vehicle Investigation at Pentagon — An SUV hopped a curb and ran into a pole at the Pentagon’s south parking lot Sunday morning. All three occupants of the vehicle were reportedly sleeping when police arrived, but then tried to drive away. Arlington’s bomb squad helped to check out the vehicle, which was deemed suspicious due to loose wires seen hanging out of it. [MyFoxDC, ABC News]
Va. Advances Potential I-395 Express Lane Plan — Virginia transportation officials are getting closer to announcing a plan to extend the I-95 Express Lanes up through I-395. Arlington officials previously filed suit to block a similar state plan to convert the I-395 HOV lanes to High Occupancy Toll lanes. [WTOP]
APS Students Named National Merit Semifinalists — Ten Arlington Public Schools students have been named semifinalists in the National Merit Scholarship Competition. [Arlington Public Schools]
Arlington to Seek Route 1 Name Change — Arlington County plans to seek permission from the state to change the name of Jefferson Davis Highway in Arlington, according to County Board Chair Mary Hynes. However, one local state lawmaker says it’s highly unlikely that the Republican-controlled state legislature would okay the removal of Confederate leaders from local road names. [Washington Post]
Woman Dies in GW Parkway Wreck — A woman died early Sunday morning in a single-vehicle crash on the GW Parkway. The crash happened after the woman drove off the southbound side of the parkway, between Route 123 and Spout Run, and struck a tree. [WJLA]
Candlelight Vigil for Wakefield Student — A candlelight vigil is planned tonight for Lucas Guajardo, the Wakefield High School student who died Friday. The vigil is being organized by students and is planned to take place at 7:30 p.m. on the George Mason Drive side of the school. A GoFundMe account has been set up to help Guajardo’s family with funeral expenses. The junior, who was a running back on the Warriors’ football team, was found dead by his older brother Friday afternoon after an apparent suicide. [Twitter, GoFundMe]
Suicide’s Lasting Impact on Survivors — Bryan Price, a former Arlington Sheriff’s Deputy, shot and killed himself on May 17. His wife found Bryan’s body and says his decision to end his own life has torn her family apart. “If he had any clue what this would put us through… I honestly don’t think he could have done it,” Tara Price told a local TV station. [WHSV]
Multiple roads will be closed in Arlington this weekend due to a 9/11 memorial race, a triathlon and festivals.
The 14th annual Arlington Police, Fire and Sheriff 9/11 Memorial 5K Race on Saturday will shut down some streets around the Pentagon.
The race takes runners around the Pentagon, starting from the DoubleTree Hotel in Pentagon City (300 Army Navy Drive) down Army Navy Drive, around Columbia Pike and on Route 110 back to the DoubleTree.
Online registration is closed, but the race is holding in-person registration for $50 on Sept. 10 and 11 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the plaza next to Arlington Police headquarters (1425 N. Courthouse Road). On race day, Sept. 12, runners can sign up from noon to 5 p.m. at the DoubleTree. All participants get a commemorative shirt and post-race refreshments at the DoubleTree.
For the race, both directions of Army Navy Drive between 12th Street S. and S. Eads Street will be closed from about 3-8 p.m.
The following roads are also closed between 5:45-6:30 p.m.:
- Westbound Army Navy Drive between S. Eads Street to S. Joyce Street
- S. Joyce Street from Army Navy Drive to Columbia Pike
- Columbia Pike from Pentagon South Parking to S. Joyce Street
- The northbound I-395 HOV exit to S. Eads Street
All roads that cross Army Navy Drive will be closed for approximately 20 minutes.
The following roads will be closed between 5:45-8 p.m.:
- Westbound Washington Blvd from Memorial Bridge to I-395
- Southbound Jefferson Davis Highway from Rosslyn to 15th Street S.
- Marshall Drive at Jefferson Davis Highway
- S. Eads Street from Army Navy Drive to 11th Street S.
Street parking will also be limited in Crystal City during the race.
In addition to the 9/11 Memorial 5K, there are two festivals shutting down roads on Saturday. The Prio Bangla Street Festival in South Arlington will close 9th Street S. from Walter Reed Drive to S. Highlands Street from 8 a.m. to midnight.
The Rosslyn Jazz Festival in Gateway Park (1300 Lee Highway) will close southbound N. Fort Myer Drive between east and westbound Lee Highway from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. There will be detours from on westbound Lee Highway and south on N. Scott and N. Veitch Streets for cars coming from Key Bridge. Heavy pedestrian traffic is expected between 2-10 p.m., according to ACPD.
On Sunday, roads in Pentagon City will be closed again, this time for the Nation’s Triathlon. The I-395 HOV lanes from the 14th Street Bridge in D.C. to the HOV overpass at S. Fern Street will be closed from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. to allow triathletes to complete the bike leg of the race.
Yesterday, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority began work on improving the bus bays at the Pentagon, according to WMATA spokesman Richard Jordan.
Jordan said that the bus bay improvements, which include expanding pedestrian walkways and replacing the pavement with concrete, are the largest component of the transit center renovations, which are intended to move pedestrians more efficiently and make the bus bays more comfortable. Jordan said the project also aimed to improve traffic circulation, access and security, although he was unable to speak to specifics.
Both WMATA and Arlington Transit buses serving the Pentagon will be rerouted beginning Thursday (June 18), said Jordan.
ART spokesman Steve Yaffe said delays are currently expected to be less than five minutes.
According to a service update on ART’s website, ART buses 42, 87 and 92 will enter the Pentagon reservation as usual but will exit via S. Fern Street. Again according to the update, the two bus stops between S. Fern and S. Eads Street will be closed for the duration of the construction; an alternate stop has been set up at the corner of S. Fern and Army Navy Drive.
WMATA buses will also experience delays due to rerouting, but there are no planned changes to where the buses stop.
“[The construction] isn’t going to affect where riders get on and off the bus,” said Jordan.
During morning and evening rush hour times, police will be at the Pentagon to direct buses to their detours. During all other times of the day, flaggers will be present to indicate where the buses should go.
WMATA has listed all affected routes on their website and encourages commuters to plan for slightly longer traveling times.
Part of a $58.8 million TIGER grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation is funding the project. According to Jordan, construction is expected to last about two months and should be completed sometime in August or September.
Fmr. Pentagon Police Chief Dies — Richard Keevill, the former chief of the Pentagon Force Protection Agency, died Saturday. Keevill served as chief of the Pentagon police agency from 2004 to 2013. Prior to that, he served with the Marines in Vietnam and later was the 1st Sergeant in charge of the Virginia State Police station on Columbia Pike. On Sept. 11, 2001, he ran into the still-burning Pentagon several times to search for survivors. Keevill died of natural causes. His funeral is planned for Saturday. [Facebook]
Redevelopment May Close Carpool — Developer Penzance and real estate investor Lionstone are working to close a deal to acquire and redevelop the Carpool property in Ballston. The long-time Arlington bar was previously slated to be redeveloped eight years ago but those plans fell through in part due to the recession. [Washington Business Journal]
Another Landlord Spat for Ray’s Owner — Ray’s Hell Burger Michael Landrum has gotten into another landlord-tenant dispute, this time with the owner of a building in D.C. that’s set to house his new restaurant, tentatively called Steaks in the City. Landrum was kicked out of his Ray’s Hell Burger locations in Rosslyn in 2013 following a dispute with his then-landlord. [Eater]
Christmas Beer Event in Courthouse — Fire Works Pizza (2350 Clarendon Blvd) in Courthouse will be hosting a tap takeover dubbed the 12 Beers of Christmas tonight. Starting at 5:00 p.m., the restaurant will offer holiday beers from St. Bernardus, Port City, Great Lakes and other brewers. The event is open to the public. [Fire Works Pizza]
Flickr pool photo by Joseph Gruber. Disclosure: Fire Works Pizza is an ARLnow.com advertiser.