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Morning Notes

Inner Ear Records Its Last Track — “For the neighbors who first pushed for an arts district, it’s a cruel consequence of their idea — particularly because they wanted to complement, not end, Zientara’s longtime presence on South Oakland Street… ‘Losing a small, yet significant, arts-related business is antithetical to this vision,’ Robin Stombler, acting president of the Green Valley Civic Association, wrote in a letter about Inner Ear to county lawmakers earlier this year.” [Washington Post]

ACFD Rescues Worker in Ballston — “Our Technical Rescue Team responded for an injured individual located several stories below street level. Utilizing a crane on-site for access, the team packaged the individual into a stokes basket to bring topside to an ambulance for transport to an area hospital.” [Twitter]

APS Hires New Head of HR — “The Arlington School Board has appointed Dr. Dashan Turner as the new Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources. Dr. Turner is currently the Superintendent of Colonial Beach Public Schools (CBPS). Dr. Turner brings 20 years of experience in education to Arlington Public Schools.” [Arlington Public Schools]

Route 29 Gets Its Own Print ‘Zine’ — “Arlington Arts and the Department of Community Planning, Housing and Development are pleased to announce the release of a zine that brings the history, stories, and character of Langston Boulevard to life through illustrations by artist Liz Nugent. Created as part of Plan Langston Boulevard, the zine also celebrates the corridor’s new name after John M. Langston.” [Arlington County]

Covid Cases Falling in Va. — “The surge of the Delta variant of COVID-19 is noticeably waning in Northern Virginia and the rest of the state, according to new data from the Virginia Department of Health. Average new daily cases reported in Northern Virginia are down about 12% in the past week, to a seven-day average of 413, although that is still more than double the average on Oct. 1, 2020, before any vaccine was available. Statewide, the seven-day average of new daily cases has fallen 14% in the past week.” [InsideNova]

Nearby: Seven Corners Ring Road? — There are few more self-evident testaments in Fairfax County to the shortsighted follies of 20th century land-use planning than Seven Corners… As part of a larger package of funding requests, the Board of Supervisors voted on Sept. 14 to authorize transportation staff to seek $94.8 million from the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority for the first phase of a “ring” road that will eventually connect the west side of Route 7 to Wilson Boulevard.” [Tysons Reporter]

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(Updated at 5 p.m.) A rescue operation is underway after reports of a worker dangling from scaffolding in Rosslyn.

The incident is happening at an office building near the Safeway store on the 1500 block of Wilson Blvd.

Initial reports suggest that the man is dangling from a safety harness and that firefighters are working to quickly rescue him with a ladder truck. Wilson Blvd is blocked at N. Oak Street as a result of the emergency activity.

As of 4:30 p.m., the man was reported have been successfully rescued and safely brought back down to ground level.

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Arlington firefighters conducted a rescue operation this morning in Virginia Square after someone fell seriously ill at a construction site.

The incident happened this morning around 8 a.m., near the intersection of Washington Blvd and N. Kirkwood Road, where a seven-story residential building is being constructed.

According to the fire department, the stricken individual was removed from the construction site and rushed to a local hospital in critical condition. No additional details were given about the nature of the medical emergency.

Washington Blvd was blocked in both directions as a result of the emergency response.

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Update at 6 p.m. — A damage path that cut through several Arlington neighborhoods was from an EF1 tornado, as just confirmed by the National Weather Service.

Earlier: The Arlington County Fire Department responded to “multiple calls for service” after a Tornado Warning was issued for parts of the county.

The fire department said shortly after 9 p.m. that it was swamped with calls and was “prioritizing life threatening emergencies.” Among the most serious calls were a man trapped after a tree fell on his house and an overturned vehicle near Columbia Pike.

“Calls for downed trees, stuck elevators and downed power lines are being addressed as units are available,” ACFD said on social media.

The National Weather Service says it will be surveying storm damage in Arlington to determine whether a tornado touched down.

“The National Weather Service will conduct a preliminary, first-look storm survey tonight in Arlington the District of Columbia and Prince George’s County,” NWS said in a statement. “We will perform a preliminary assessment to determine whether wind damage that occurred… was caused by a tornado or straight line winds.”

The final assessment is expected to be released on Friday.

The storm caused widespread damage and power outages in the county, mostly north of Route 50. As of 11:15 p.m., over 11,000 Dominion customers were still without power in Arlington, according to the power company.

Power outages in Arlington as of 10 p.m. (via Dominion)

Among the reported incidents first responders were dispatched to tonight were a tree down on a house with a man trapped on 16th Street N., several blocks from Washington-Liberty High School; an overturned vehicle on Washington Blvd north of Columbia Pike; and a tree on a car on Route 50 and N. Fillmore Street.

The person pinned in the house by the fallen tree has been rescued and brought to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, the fire department said. Two other people were reportedly in the house at the time but made it out okay, according to scanner traffic.

Two people were reported to have suffered significant injuries in the crash involving an overturned vehicle on Washington Blvd, near the Columbia Pike exit ramp. The crash happened around the same time as the storm struck. The two injured people were transported via ambulance to a local trauma center.

There were numerous other reports of trees, light poles and utility lines down, including at:

  • N. Kirkwood Road and 13th Street N.
  • Washington Blvd and Route 50
  • N. George Mason Drive and 22nd Street N.
  • N. Utah Street and 20th Street N.
  • N. Buchanan Street and 22nd Road N.
  • N. Upton Street and 20th Road N.
  • Columbia Pike and S. Adams Street
  • McKinley Road and 9th Road N.
  • N. Illinois Street and 22nd Street S.
  • N. Highland Street and Key Blvd
  • 21st Street N. and N. Nottingham Street
  • Spout Run Parkway at Lorcom Lane
  • 1500 block of S. Clark Street

The likely tornado path, based on weather radar and damage reports, would have taken it east from the Falls Church area, to the Waverly Hills neighborhood and the area around Washington-Liberty High School, and finally over into central portions of the District including the National Mall and Nationals Park.

Residents are being encouraged to stay home or take “extreme caution” if out tonight due to the storm damage.

The urgent alerts for the Tornado Warning sounded just before 9 p.m. as a line of strong storms approached. Arlington was also currently under a Severe Thunderstorm Warning and a Flash Flood Warning.

The original warning, from the National Weather Service:

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN STERLING VIRGINIA HAS ISSUED A

* TORNADO WARNING…

* UNTIL 930 PM EDT.

* AT 858 PM EDT, A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO WAS LOCATED OVER BALLSTON, OR OVER ARLINGTON, MOVING EAST AT 35 MPH.

HAZARD…TORNADO.

SOURCE…RADAR INDICATED ROTATION.

IMPACT…FOR THOSE IN THE DIRECT PATH OF A TORNADO TOUCHDOWN, FLYING DEBRIS WILL BE DANGEROUS TO THOSE CAUGHT WITHOUT SHELTER. DAMAGE TO ROOFS, SIDING, AND WINDOWS MAY OCCUR. MOBILE HOMES MAY BE DAMAGED OR DESTROYED. TREE DAMAGE IS LIKELY.

* THIS DANGEROUS STORM WILL BE NEAR… CRYSTAL CITY AROUND 905 PM EDT. NATIONALS PARK, REAGAN NATIONAL AIRPORT, GALLAUDET UNIVERSITY, ANACOSTIA AND US CAPITOL AROUND 910 PM EDT.

Video footage from around the time of the warning shows dark clouds bearing down on the county as very strong winds whip up, and the shadowy outline of what looks somewhat like a funnel cloud.

As of 9:40 p.m., the National Weather Service said the worst of the storms were over, a welcome contrast to the dire warnings earlier.

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Morning Notes

Bye Bye, Brood X — “Have you noticed dead cicadas on the ground, or that the bugs are not chorusing as loud as during past weeks? It’s because cicadas reached peak numbers last week in and around the D.C. area and are starting to die at a rapid rate. In some places, you may be smelling them as they rot away.” [Washington Post, Washingtonian]

Firefighters Awarded for Daring Rescue — “On October 31, 2020, Arlington County Fire Department units, including the technical rescue team, were dispatched to Windy Run Trail for an injured person. Communications reported that a female hiker had sustained injuries after falling approximately 30 to 40 feet down an embankment. Initial reports were unclear as to the exact location of the injured person.” [WJLA]

Arlington Man Sentenced for Fraud — “An Arlington businessman was sentenced today to 21 months in prison with three years of supervised release for making false statements to multiple federal agencies in order to fraudulently obtain multimillion-dollar government contracts, COVID-19 emergency relief loans, and undeserved military service benefits.” [Dept. of Justice]

Reminder: Pike Blues Fest This Weekend — “This year a hybrid three-day Columbia Pike Blues Festival Weekend (Friday to Sunday, June 18, 19 and 20) combines live-streaming concerts and ticketed outdoor performances that will get you back into your summer groove.” [ARLnow]

Update on Local Reality Show Contestant — “What is Bachelorette [contestant] Jason from Arlington up to right this very second? Well, last night he crossed the river into DC to host Zac Clark, his friend and fellow former Bachelorette contestant.” [Washingtonian]

Amazon Helping to Fund Housing — “Amazon will provide $125 million in financing to build or preserve an estimated 1,000 units of affordable housing on Metro-owned land in the D.C. region, the company announced Wednesday. The online retail giant, which stands to receive up to $750 million in cash grants from Virginia if it hires at least 37,850 workers at its new corporate headquarters in Arlington, says it will commit below-market loans, lines of credit, and grants to developers who have joint development agreements with WMATA.” [DCist, Washington Post]

Rent Still Below Pre-Pandemic Levels — “In the D.C. region, rents rose 20.1 percent from March 2020 to May 2021 in Fredericksburg, Va.; by 16.4 percent in Frederick, Md., and by 9.6 percent in Laurel, Md. But rents declined by 7.8 percent in D.C., year-over-year, by 10.5 percent in Chevy Chase, Md., and by 5.2 percent in Arlington, Va. Clearly, the flight to the suburbs meant increased rents in areas farther from D.C.” [Washington Post]

Fairfax County’s Namesake Questioned — “The [Fairfax County] seal is of a different time. Adopted seven decades ago, it bears a version of the coat of arms belonging to Thomas Fairfax, the sixth Lord Fairfax and a slaveholding British loyalist who once owned much of the land that makes up Fairfax County today. As neighboring counties and cities reexamine their logos and symbols, it seems like only a matter of time before Fairfax County faces its own questions.” [Tysons Reporter]

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(Updated at 2:15 p.m.) One person was hospitalized after a crash that sent one vehicle careening off the road and onto its side near Yorktown High School this morning.

The two-vehicle crash happened around 7:15 a.m. at the intersection of Yorktown Blvd and N. Harrison Street, about two blocks from the high school.

“Units quickly arrived on scene and found a 2 vehicle crash with 1 vehicle off the roadway, on its side,” said Lt. Nate Hiner, a spokesman for the Arlington County Fire Department.

“Crews found that there was one patient trapped in the vehicle on its side and went to work stabilizing and extricating a single patient from that vehicle,” Hiner said. “That patient was quickly removed from vehicle and transported to an area hospital with minor injuries.”

There’s no word as to what led to the crash.

Photo courtesy Ed L.

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Morning Notes

Photographer Taking Silly Cicada Snaps —  “Oxana Ware is a talented photographer based out of North Arlington, but along with her business side, she likes to have fun and be a little silly at times. That’s why it just seemed right to her when she decided to have a full photoshoot with cicadas, complete with handmade props.” [WJLA]

County Marking Sit-In Anniversary With Art — “It was delayed a year due to the pandemic, but a commemoration marking the 1960 civil-rights sit-ins in Arlington is now beginning. The Arlington County government had planned to mark the 60th anniversary of sit-ins at Arlington lunch counters with special programming on the Arlington Art Truck, using prints by artist Amos Paul Kennedy Jr. to immerse the public in the experience, in 2020. But the effort was a victim of the pandemic – until now.” [Sun Gazette]

Arlington-Based Axios Making Moves — Digital news outlet Axios, based in Clarendon, is launching local news publications in a number of cities this year, including Washington. It is also reportedly in discussions to be acquired by a German news conglomerate. [Washington Post, Marketwatch]

Masks Coming Off For APS Athletes — “It looks like Arlington school officials have abandoned their masks-on policy for most athletes while engaged in competition.” [Sun Gazette]

ACFD Assists with Potomac Search — “Person seen going into Potomac River & not resurfacing… [After a search involving D.C., Arlington and other water rescue teams, medics] transported an adult female in critical life threatening condition. Law enforcement will investigate the circumstances.” [Twitter, Twitter]

Secretary Pete at DCA This Afternoon — “U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg and Mary Kay Henry, International President of the two million-member Service Employees International Union (SEIU) will host an immigration roundtable discussion with 32BJ SEIU’s airport workers at National Airport (DCA).” [Press Release]

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(Updated at 9:55 p.m.) The Arlington County Fire Department doesn’t just untangle flags from national monuments. It also rescues parakeets that have flown the coop.

Yesterday evening the fire department received a “public service” call for a prized sun parakeet that was stuck in a tree. The bird’s owner was out on a walk with her avian companion when “the bird was spooked by a dog and flew into a tree and did not come down,” ACFD spokesman Taylor Blunt tells ARLnow. She called the fire department after running out of options for getting the bird down.

The crew of Truck 106 responded and used the fire engine’s ladder to gently grab the bird from its perch above a house, bringing it back to its grateful owner.

“As firefighters, we never know what our day will be like!” the fire department said on social media this morning. “Happy to help.”

“This was an interesting run for us,” Blunt added.

The bird rescue happened around the same time as other ACFD crews were battling an apartment fire on the 1300 block of N. Pierce Street in the Radnor/Fort Myer Heights neighborhood, near Rosslyn. No injuries were reported as a result of the fire.

Photo courtesy ACFD

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A relatively slow snow day for public safety personnel got busier this afternoon after a pair of significant emergency incidents occurred within 15 minutes of one another.

First, firefighters responded to the grounds of Missionhurst, a church facility near Marymount University, for a report of a 12-year-old who had suffered a head injury after sledding into a tree. The call was soon upgraded from a standard injury response to a technical rescue due to the terrain.

“At 1:59 p.m. we received a 911 call for a child that struck a tree while sledding at 4651 25th St N.,” said Arlington County Fire Department spokesperson Taylor Blunt. “Initial crews arrived within four minutes and requested the technical rescue team due to the patient’s location at the bottom of a snowy hill.”

“Crews provided initial treatment and used a haul system to move the immobilized patient up the hill to an ambulance,” Blunt continued. “The patient was transported to a local trauma center with non-life threatening injuries.”

Soon thereafter came another significant incident: someone at a gym in the Arlington Ridge Shopping Center near Crystal City had reportedly severed two fingers after getting them caught in exercise equipment.

“At 2:13 p.m. we received a 911 call at 2955 S. Glebe Road for a patient suffering from a partial amputation to their hand,” Blunt said. “Crews arrived within four minutes and provided bleeding control techniques to stabilize the injury. The patient was transported to a local trauma center in stable condition.”

The address corresponds to that of a Gold’s Gym and a chiropractic and physical therapy office.

File photo

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(Updated at 11 p.m.) Two vehicles careened off the GW Parkway and into the Potomac River near I-395 earlier tonight.

The incident happened shortly before 8:30 p.m. First responders on the ground and in boats rushed to the scene and rescued at least of the victims. Two men were brought to local hospitals in stable condition, according to the Arlington and D.C. fire departments.

U.S. Park Police is investigating the incident; so far there’s no word as to how it happened.

Both vehicles — one of which is fully submerged  while the other is partially submerged on the riverbank — are expected to be pulled out of the water overnight.

Photo via Arlington County Fire Department

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(Updated at 4:25 p.m.) Two women were rescued by firefighters this afternoon in dramatic fashion, after a gas leak was discovered in their home along Columbia Pike.

The rescues happened shortly before 3:30 p.m., after police were called to the house at the intersection of the Pike and S. Rolfe Street for a welfare check.

“Officers were conducting a check on the welfare. When they made entry to the residence they smelled gas, and called for the fire department,” said Arlington County Police Department spokeswoman Ashley Savage. “Two adult females have been transported to local hospitals.”

Initial reports suggest that firefighters searching the house found the victims inside suffering from possible carbon monoxide poisoning. They were pulled outside and treated before being rushed to the hospital.

Eastbound Columbia Pike was blocked near the intersection with S. Rolfe Street during the incident. The Pike has since reopened, though S. Rolfe Street remains closed.

The house has been ventilated and police are now investigating the incident. Washington Gas crews are also on scene, investigating the leak.

So far there’s no word yet on the condition of the two victims.

A neighbor tells ARLnow that “two lovely [older] ladies” live in the home.

“God, I hope they are okay,” said the neighbor, who did not provide her name.

Matt Blitz contributed to this report. Map via Google Maps.

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