Arlington, VA

Morning Notes

Water Main Break Near CourthouseUpdated at 8:10 a.m. — “Emergency Water Main Repairs: Crews working on a 3-inch main at 2000 N. Adams St. The area includes high-rise buildings and some 100 customers could be affected. Traffic is detoured around the work site.” [Twitter]

Gun, Drug Arrest at Pentagon City Metro — A man is facing a litany of gun and drug-related charges after being arrested by Metro Transit Police officers for alleged fare evasion at the Pentagon City station this past Thursday. [Twitter]

APS Hits Full Bus Driver Staffing — “The school year began with full staffing of drivers and bus attendants, who serve 18,000 eligible students over 154 routes, using 200 buses.” [InsideNova]

DCA Starbucks Closing Permanently — “Beginning on or about Monday, September 9, Starbucks on the Ticketing level of Terminal B/C will close to make way for construction of a steel-framed glass divider.” [Reagan National Airport]

New Permitting System Launches Today — “Arlington County is launching the first phase of Permit Arlington, a new online permitting system, on Sept. 9, 2019.” [Arlington County]

Nearby: Alexandria Metro Stations Reopening — “Alexandria Metrorail stations will reopen at 5 a.m. on September 9, with full service following Metro’s summer Platform Improvement Project. Metro closed all four Metrorail stations in Alexandria (as well as two in Fairfax County) for safety repairs on May 25.” [City of Alexandria]

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Spike likes playing frisbee, playing with a chew toy, and sniffing out explosive chemicals in Reagan National Airport.

The black labrador retriever is one of four — soon to be five — explosives detection canines patrolling the airport. This morning (Monday), Spike led a public demonstration at a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoint to show off his nose and teach the public about airport bomb dogs for National Dog Day.

Daniel La Rose, Spike’s handler, says the daily grind of ensuring the safety of the travelling public is made better for Spike by making sure every activity feels fun and rewarding.

“It has to be interesting for the dog,” La Rose said, “he needs to feel productive.”

Activities include searches throughout the airport, and sometimes aboard aircraft and checked baggage areas. A lot of the work is what La Rose calls “cutting the wake” — walking past crowds as the dog sniffs through the wafted scents, kind of like going through the wake of a boat.

The dogs smell in ingredients, Daniel La Rose said. A lot of lotions, makeup and perfumes share some chemical elements with explosives, so La Rose warned that passengers wearing heavy perfume for their plane trip may attract the attention of explosives dogs.

Spike needs frequent stimulation. La Rose said it looks easy, but the daily job is a lot of work finding ways to keep the dog constantly positive and active.

Sometimes the Spike will be taken through areas where dummies are planted for the dog to find, to keep him training and to earn playtime with La Rose. The dogs work for play, La Rose explained, not treats. Every day is a game of hide and seek, with a few minutes playing with a tennis ball or a loving pat on the head the reward for a job well done.

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Morning Notes

Arlington Companies in Inc. 5000 — “Inc. Magazine named 34 Arlington companies to its annual list of the nation’s 5,000 fastest-growing companies, the Inc. 5000, while five were part of the exclusive Inc. 500.” [Arlington Economic Development, InsideNova]

Predator or Victim of Injustice? — “On Monday, the Circuit Court in liberal Arlington County will be the scene of a heavy-handed morality play, with prosecutors seeking lifelong incarceration for a young gay man who has already paid an extraordinary price for youthful, nonviolent sexual indiscretions.” [Washington Post]

DCA Construction Update — “Floor framing is underway on a new concourse to replace #Gate35X that will offer new shopping and dining choices and 14 gates with direct jetbridge access to your flight.” [Twitter]

Focus on County’s Vehicle Maintenance Shop — “At 2700 S Taylor St., you’ll find Arlington’s Recycling Drop-Off Center, Earth Products Yard, Inert Materials and Scrap Metal Drop-Off Facility (get your free paper shredding!), Fire Training Academy, and more. It’s also home to the Equipment Division, a full-service vehicle maintenance and repair facility that operates 17 hours a day.” [Arlington County]

Profile: HQ2’s People Person — “Despite being head of workforce development for Amazon.com Inc.’s second headquarters, Ardine Williams has yet to sit in on an interview with any potential HQ2 employees. While Amazon plans to have 400 workers in its Arlington offices by the end of this year, Williams appears much more focused on the 25,000 it looks to hire in the next decade.” [Washington Business Journal]

Photo courtesy @artsytatiana

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A new Capital Bikeshare station is slated to arrive at Reagan National Airport sometime next year, officials say.

County and airport officials say they’ve agreed on a site adjacent to a parking garage, near Terminal B, for the Bikeshare station. The plan is now awaiting final approval from the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT).

Officials scouted the location for its proximity to the Mt. Vernon Trail, which they hope will make connecting to the airport easier for cyclists.

“I know it’s been on the books since 2014 when I joined BikeArlington,” said Henry Dunbar, who heads the organization in charge of local Capital Bikeshare stations. “So it’s always been on the back burner, but we’re now really committed to it.”

Dunbar said Arlington is currently home to 92 Capital Bikeshare stations. The new station is part of Bike Arlington’s plan to add six more stations countywide, as well as a few dozen new bikes.

Funding for all the new stations comes from a 2014 grant from the Federal Highway Administration’s Federal Lands Access Program. Dunbar says VDOT needs to approve the final equipment purchases this year, which he hopes will allow construction to begin in 2020.

“The approvals for this project’s award are being worked through this month,” said VDOT spokeswoman Jenni McCord, who added that the state agency is working with eh county to ensure that the station complies with federal standards like environmental requirements.

The project already has the greenlight from the airport itself.

“We have been pursuing the establishment of a bike facility for quite some time,” said MWAA spokesman Robert Yingling. “The only thing left to do is establish an agreement on how the site is constructed.”

The airport has several racks for people to park privately-owned bikes. But some racks are currently inaccessible due to the on-going construction replacing the dreaded 35X gate and adding a new security screening area.

It’s not clear how many people would use the future Bikeshare station. Yingling pointed out many travelers have luggage which wouldn’t fit on a bike. But Dunbar is optimistic that light-packing travelers will want take advantage of a cheap commute that avoids the area’s frequent traffic headaches.

“There are also thousands of people who go to the airport every day who work there,” he said.

Yingling added that, “for most airports it’s not practical to have a bicycle station on campus.” But he noted DCA is special: the Arlington airport is located in an urban area, with connections to nearby trails.

“As far as I know, it’s the first one for a U.S. airport,” said Dunbar of the upcoming station.

Map via Google Maps/Bike Arlington

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A rally for airline workers rights drew hundreds to Reagan National Airport, including a number of Democratic presidential hopefuls.

Labor union UNITE HERE helped organize the rally in support of airport catering workers, who are planning a large-scale strike if their demands for better wages and benefits are not met. Presidential candidates Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio were among those on hand to support the workers, along with other labor unions and local officials.

“No one should have to choose between healthcare and paying the rent,” Warren called out amid cheers.

The Massachusetts senator’s speech on Tuesday echoed her support for more corporate regulations.

“Giant corporations believe if they just push hard enough the unions will just go away,” she said. Since entering the race in February, Warren has since risen in recent polls to second among the crowded field.

Tuesday’s crowd was equally loud for two-time presidential candidate Sanders, who was ushered to the podium among chants of “We Love Bernie!”

“At a time when corporate profits are a record-breaking level, our demands are simple,” said the senator, who rose to popularity for his stance on economic inequality. “Pay your workers a living wage and provide… affordable healthcare for your workers,” Sanders said.

Sanders noted workers in the D.C. area “cannot live on $10 hour” wages due to the rising costs of living and housing.

Presidential hopeful Bill de Blasio also received a warm welcome and led the crowd in chanting of “working people first!”

“I hear they made $15 billion in profits last year,” de Blasio said of recent airline earning reports. “Are are they sharing that?”

De Blasio, who has generated little enthusiasm for his campaign so far, ended his speech by touting his new “Bill of Rights for Working People.”

The catering workforce authorized the strike earlier in June, but airline workers must gain approval from the federal National Mediation Board for large-scale strikes due to the potential impact on travelers. Workers are seeking to reach a new collective bargaining agreement with the private companies who contract them to assemble the food for airlines: LSG Sky Chefs and Gate Gourmet.

The companies have said they cannot meet the demands for increased wages and benefits, telling the Huffington Post that could “more than double” their costs.

About a thousand union members in red shirts with slogans like “One Job Should Be Enough” gathered in Terminal A to hear the speakers. But it’s not the first time DCA has seen labor unrest. In 2016, service workers nearly went on strike for a $15 minimum wage.

“We’re going to fight like hell,” UNITE HERE president D. Taylor told the cheering crowd Tuesday night. “We’re going to kick the hell out of American [Airlines].”

Workers at several other airports nationwide are also asking for permission to strike, according to a map shared by the union.

Catering employees Tenai Stover and Eric Brightley, who said they prepare the food and beverages served on DCA and Dulles flights as part of their work at LSG Sky Chefs, each described to ARLnow difficulty making ends meet given the meager pay.

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Morning Notes

Labor Action Planned at DCA — Presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) is among those expected to participate in a rally and picket at Reagan National Airport this evening, in support of airline catering workers who are seeking better wages and healthcare options. [Unite Here]

Restaurant Coming to Apartment BuildingUpdate at 9:35 a.m. — Permit applications have been filed for a new restaurant that’s planned for the grounds of the recently-renovated Dominion Apartments at 333 S. Glebe Road. [Twitter]

Green Presidential Hopeful Visits Arlington — “The Arlington Greens recently welcomed one of their party’s presidential aspirants to the community. Dario Hunter, a member of the Youngstown (Ohio) School Board, participated in a roundtable discussion with Green Party members on July 16 at Central Library.” [InsideNova]

Author to Talk Hockey at Local Bookstore — “We’re bringing Sportsnet contributor and YouTube sensation Steve Dangle down to Washington, D.C. on Saturday, August 24, to sign copies of his hit book This Team is Ruining My Life (But I Love Them): How I Became a Professional Hockey Fan… One More Page Books, an independent bookstore in Arlington, Va. (which is run by Caps fans), will be hosting the signing from 2-4 p.m.” [Russian Machine Never Breaks]

Army Flying Secret Missions Over Region — “The Pentagon has revealed a few details about a secret Army mission that has Black Hawk helicopters flying missions over the Washington, D.C., area backed by active-duty and reserve soldiers. The mysterious classified operation was disclosed when the Army asked Congress for approval to shift funds to provide an extra $1.55 million for aircraft maintenance, air crews and travel in support of an ’emerging classified flight mission.'” [Bloomberg, PoPville]

Photo courtesy Clarendon Alliance/Instagram

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Morning Notes

(Updated on 07/22/19) Office Vacancy Rate Dropping — “The commercial vacancy rate in the County continues to improve. The vacancy rate as of the second quarter of 2019 stands at 16.6%, down nearly 5% from its historic high of 21% in 2015. Arlington Economic Development also announced it successfully closed 26 deals in FY 2019, representing 7.2 million square feet of office space and 43,000 jobs.” [Arlington County]

County Adopts New Bathroom Policy — “The Arlington County government has adopted what amounts to a […] policy for government-building restrooms and locker rooms. The policy, outlined to County Board members on July 16, will formally allow any individual to use a male or female restroom ‘that corresponds with gender identity or expression,’ county staff said.” [InsideNova]

Human Remains Found Near GW Parkway — Human remains, in a skull, have reportedly been found near the GW Parkway and Reagan National Airport, in the same area where a D.C. cadaver dog was hurt earlier this week, prompting a medevac flight. The dog is now recovering from serious injuries. U.S. Park Police are investigating the source of the remains. [Fox 5, Washington PostWTOP]

New Provost, Plans for Marymount — “Marymount is proud to welcome the university’s new Provost, Hesham El-Rewini, Ph.D., P.E., who officially begins his duties on campus this week… ‘We have bold plans for the future of Marymount as we strive to become an elite Catholic institution that is nationally recognized for innovation,’ said Dr. Irma Becerra, President of Marymount University.” [Marymount University]

GoFundMe for Westover Residents — A GoFundMe campaign has been launched to benefit residents of Westover whose homes were damaged by flash flooding last week. So far more than $8,000 has been raised. [GoFundMe]

Big Crane Assisting With DCA Project — “A 250 ft. crane is being used to lift and put steel into place for a new 14-gate concourse that will replace Gate 35X” at Reagan National Airport. [Twitter]

Pentagon City Apartment Sold for Big Bucks — “Dweck Properties Inc. has picked up another multifamily property in Pentagon City, not far from where Amazon.com Inc. is settling into its second home. A Dweck affiliate paid $117 million July 9 for the Park at Pentagon Row, a 299-unit apartment building at 801 15th St. S.” [Washington Business Journal]

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

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Morning Notes

What To Do If Your Car Flooded — “If your car was one of the many trapped by floodwaters on or below street level Monday, you should resist the urge to start it up once the waters recede… The best option, Townsend said, is to tow the vehicle to a reputable mechanic who can certify whether there is any damage to the many electronic components in modern cars and trucks.” [Washington Post]

ACPD Helps Out Flooded Family — “After learning about an Arlington family whose apartment flooded during today’s storm, the Outreach Team activated and donated toys to the children! The family is receiving additional assistance and will soon move into a new unit.” [Twitter]

TSA Stops Man With Loaded Gun at DCA — “An Arlington, Virginia, resident was cited by police after Transportation Security Administration officers detected a loaded handgun in the man’s carry-on bag at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) on Sunday, July 7. It was the 11th gun that TSA officers have detected at the airport so far this year.” [Press Release]

Injury Investigation in Clarendon — On Monday morning, before the flooding, numerous police and fire department units responded to a condominium building at 1021 N. Garfield Street in Clarendon for a report of a man injured under suspicious circumstances. “The male was transported to an area hospital with non-life threatening injuries. No evidence of a crime was located during the investigation,” an Arlington County police spokeswoman told ARLnow. “Police continue to investigate how the subject sustained the injury.” [Twitter]

Arlington 11th Grader Wins at Chess Tourney — “Sam Schenck, an 11th-grader at H-B Woodlawn Secondary Program, defeated Langley High School 11th-grader Isaac Chiu in a dramatic last-round game to win the K-12 competition of the 2019 Arlington Scholastic Open chess competition, held June 8 at Yorktown High School.” [InsideNova]

Amazon Visits Gov. Northam — “Today we met with @GovernorVa for an update on the first phase of #HQ2 plans. We thank the Commonwealth for our continued partnership and for providing a business-friendly environment as we build the future together.” [Twitter]

Monday Readership Stats — On Monday, just over 71,000 people visited ARLnow, mostly to keep up to date about the flood emergency. That’s nearly a third of the population of Arlington. Thank you for reading and making us your go-to local news source, we’re proud to serve the community!

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Those flying in and out of Reagan National Airport on Thursday may have their travel disrupted by the July 4 festivities in D.C.

The Federal Aviation Administration announced this morning that non-emergency flight operations at DCA will be suspended from 6:15-7:45 p.m. due to military flyovers and from 9-9:45 p.m. due to fireworks.

President Trump has pushed for an Independence Day celebration “like no other” this year, and his “Salute to America” will feature demonstrations of American military might, an extended fireworks display and a presidential address.

The fireworks and flyovers — of the Navy’s Blue Angels, Air Force One and other military aircraft — will necessitate keeping commercial airliners out of the National Airport flight path for more than two hours over two no-fly periods Thursday night.

“Please check with your airline for flight information,” the FAA said.

That’s not the only disruption at the airport for the Fourth. Due to construction at DCA, those hoping to watch the fireworks from nearby Gravelly Point will not be able to get there from the airport this year.

Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman

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Morning Notes

Another Water Main Break in Courthouse — “Emergency Water Main Repairs: Crews working on a 6-inch valve leak at 1315 N Barton St. Traffic is detoured around the work site. At least one high-rise building is affected.” [Twitter]

Business Owners Planning for HQ2 — “Dawson and Bayne said Highline is ‘a happy-hour machine’ during the week, thanks to the office buildings that surround it. But business late at night and on weekends isn’t as steady. The impending arrival of Amazon, however, is causing the business partners to rethink Highline’s concept.” [WTOP]

Break-in at Overlee Pool — “At least seven community pools were the targets of theft or vandalism late Sunday into Monday, according to police and pool managers. The crime spree spanned Fairfax and Arlington counties, yet police have not been able to connect all seven cases to the same set of suspects.” [Fox 5]

Workers Striking at DCAUpdated at 9:25 a.m. — “Several union workers for two major airlines are on strike outside of Reagan National Airport on Thursday. The workers are employed by the Delta contractor Eulen Airport. Roughly six employees protesting tell ABC7 they are not being treated fairly by their contractors and are calling for better working conditions with some claiming they don’t receive lunch breaks.” [WJLA]

Levine Challenger Fails to Qualify for Ballot — “He had an opponent, then he didn’t. And as a result, Del. Mark Levine (D-45th) is home free in the Nov. 5 general election.” [InsideNova]

Nearby: Falls Church Mayor on Tax Deduction Changes — “Mayor P. David Tarter testified yesterday before the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Select Revenue Measures about the impact of the cap on the deductibility of state and local tax (SALT) on federal returns… ‘[The SALT deduction cap] means that tax dollars that could have gone to the city are now going to the federal government, and there is less money available for essential local services like schools, police, and fire protection.'” [City of Falls Church]

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Morning Notes

Overturned Vehicle on GW Parkway — “The northbound George Washington Parkway was closed [past Key Bridge] during Tuesday morning’s rush hour after a vehicle overturned, authorities said… The southbound side of the parkway was also affected.” [Washington Post]

Transgender Policy Discussion at School Board Meeting — “Students, parents and advocates packed the [Arlington school] board meeting to loudly back [a transgender non-discrimination] plan, waving miniature LGBT and transgender pride flags to signal agreement with the nearly three dozen speakers who proclaimed support… Supporters on Tuesday vastly outnumbered those who turned out to protest the plans.” [Washington Post]

Good Samaritan Murder Trial — “The Good Samaritan who intervened to try to stop a sexual assault in Arlington last fall was beaten so badly it was impossible to tell what killed him, a medical examiner testified Monday.” [Washington Post]

Feds Giving Grant to DCA — “Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and Washington Dulles International both will see millions in funding from the FAA for improvements. DCA is slated to get $4,921,500 in funding.” [WUSA 9, Press Release]

ACFD Chief Battalion Honored — “Chief Wesley was recognized at the event for being the #first #AfricanAmericanWoman Battalion Chief not only in @ArlingtonVA but also the entire Northern Virginia region.” [Twitter]

Amazon HQ2 Jobs Update — There are currently 63 positions listed on Amazon’s HQ2 jobs page, many of them technical. Recently listed job titles include “Region Build Technical Program Manager,” “Full Stack Software Development Engineer” and “Systems Development Manager, Cloud Computing Operations.” [Amazon]

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