Nate Remnants Pushing Out — It has been a rainy and windy morning thanks to the remnants of what was once Hurricane Nate. The heaviest of the rain is over but it is expected to remain windy and humid during the day today, with a gale warning in effect until 6 p.m. for those on the water. [Twitter, Weather Channel]
Voter Registration Up This Cycle — Arlington County has processed twice the number of voter registration transactions between Labor Day and Oct. 6 this year as it did during the same period four years ago, according to elections chief Linda Lindberg. That suggests greater interest in this year’s statewide races for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general, though County Board and School Board races are also on the ballot. [InsideNova]
Arlington Schools Get Grant — Arlington is among the Virginia localities getting a grant for new school security equipment. Thomas Jefferson Middle School and Langston High School Continuation Program are together receiving $44,480 through the state program, put in place in the wake of the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary mass shooting in Connecticut. A total of $6 million is being divvied out to dozens of school systems, paying for “video monitoring systems, metal detectors, classroom locks, electronic-access controls, visitor-identification systems, direct communications links between schools and law enforcement agencies, and other security upgrades.” [Gov. Terry McAuliffe]
Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman
Whole Foods provided public notice that it “recently received information regarding unauthorized access of payment card information used at certain venues.”
The breach does not affect purchases within the regular Whole Foods grocery section, but rather at the taprooms and full-service restaurants inside some locations. Paper Horse, a ramen restaurant inside the Pentagon City Whole Foods, is one of the locations named in the security breach.
Whole Foods’ statement said it notified authorities and has launched an investigation. Customers who may have visited Paper Horse or one of the other affected locations listed online should monitor their credit card statements and contact their bank to report unauthorized charges.
Whole Foods also noted that its systems do not connect with those of its new parent company, Amazon, so purchases on Amazon.com are not involved.
Even though Arlington doesn’t have any large, centrally-located New Year’s Eve celebration — like New York City’s ball drop in Times Square — local police are getting ready for a busier than usual night on Saturday.
Scanner traffic indicates that today officers are stopping at businesses that are holding celebrations tomorrow night. Police are doing preemptive safety checks, asking management about things like how many people each business expects for its celebration and how many employees or additional security staff will be present.
There are no known, specific threats to public safety in Arlington, according to police spokesman Capt. Bruce Benson, but ACPD will have extra officers in the Clarendon area on Saturday evening. Extra officers will also be on duty throughout the county to patrol for drunk drivers.
“We really want everyone to enjoy the New Year celebration in Arlington,” says Benson. “We certainly have some great restaurants and bars and invite everyone to take advantage of them, but we also ask everyone to be responsible and get home safely. There is no excuse to drive drunk.”
Police encourage everyone to pay attention to the message of the half-police cruiser, half-taxi Chooser Cruiser, currently stationed in Clarendon: Take advantage of the many safe options available for post-party transportation or you might find yourself in the back of a police car. Some options include using a designated driver, a ride-sharing service like Uber or Lyft, the free SoberRide taxi program (1-800-200-TAXI), and the free Metrorail and Metrobus rides after midnight Saturday.
— ArlingtonCountyPD (@ArlingtonVaPD) December 30, 2016
Cemetery to Start Screening Visitors — Arlington National Cemetery will begin security screening of visitors and random inspection of vehicles in November. Visitors, particularly those in large groups, are being advised to allow extra time to go through screening. [Dept. of Defense]
Police: Dog Walker Stole from Residents — A dog walker who served clients in Arlington has been charged with stealing from them. Police say 34-year-old Margarita Denison and an accomplice stole valuables from watches to jewelry to baseball cards from homes in Arlington and Fairfax. Denison worked for the dog walking service Time for a Walk, which said it runs background checks and checks references but will be tightening security. [NBC Washington]
NPS Recommends Trail Projects in Arlington — Among the 18 regional trail-related projects recommended by a new National Park Service study are two in Arlington: connecting the Roosevelt Bridge path to the Mt. Vernon Trail, and improving safety at the so-called Intersection of Doom in Rosslyn. [Greater Greater Washington]
ACPD Lauded for Crisis Intervention — A father whose son spit and cursed at police as he was taken into custody in Arlington has written an op-ed to praise the Arlington County Police Department for its crisis intervention training. The father called police after his neurologically-disabled son got drunk and left the house. Officers could have hurt the son and threw him in jail, but instead used the minimum amount of force necessary and took him to a hospital, the man said. [Washington Post]
Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf
County Board Primary Voting Today — Arlington residents are heading to the polls today to vote in the Democratic County Board primary, choosing between incumbent Libby Garvey and challenger Erik Gutshall. Polls close at 7 p.m. [Arlington County]
More Security at Local Gay Bar — Freddie’s Beach Bar in Crystal City has tightened its security, banned backpacks and is now searching purses in the wake of the mass shooting at a gay club in Orlando. [NBC Washington]
Art Therapy Group Shutting Down — The 296 Project, which provided art therapy for veterans with PTSD, is closing down. On June 25, the group will be hosting a big art supply giveaway at its Crystal City studio. [Facebook]
Local Jewelry and Fashion List — Washingtonian Magazine has released a list of what it says are “the best places to shop in Arlington for local art, custom jewelry, and discounted designer fashion.” [Washingtonian]
With the new year, some Arlington residents are finding Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall’s recently-updated access policy also extends to the base’s bowling center.
According to an ARLnow.com reader, civilians are no longer allowed to bowl on base, in leagues or otherwise, except in certain circumstance. He said he and his friends have been bowling on base for years without incident.
“I’m told the bowling leagues were decimated since many team members were civilians,” the tipster said.
Civilians who are not escorted by someone with a Department of Defense ID are not being allowed on base to bowl, unless they have a special access pass, Robert Joswiak from the JBMHH public affairs office confirmed.
Joswiak said the security policy has not changed since it was updated nearly a year ago. Last summer, the same policy caused a stir among local cyclists who could no longer ride through base without first applying for and receiving an Automated Installation Entry (AIE) pass.
“Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall takes every precaution to assure the safety and wellbeing of joint base residents, personnel and visitors,” Joswiak said. “Non-affiliated members of the public are being turned away — no matter their intent of entering the base, bowling center or otherwise — because they either do not have an DoD ID, or are not being escorted by someone with a DoD ID, or do not have an AIE.”
Civilians, cyclists and bowlers can apply for an AIE for base access. If they do so with the sponsorship of a family member or friend with a valid Department of Defense ID, the approved AIE could be valid for up to one year. A non-sponsored AIE pass is valid for 60 days with the option to reapply after that time is up.
Joswiak added all non-affiliated individuals — those without a DoD ID who are not being escorted by someone with a DoD ID — must have a valid reason to enter the base and are subject to vetting. It is likely members of the public will be turned away unless they are escorted or have an AIE.
Questions regarding this policy can be directed to 703-696-8968, Joswiak said.
Photos via JBMHH
Arlington County has plugged a vulnerability in its automated services system for homeowners, after the vulnerability was brought to officials’ attention by ARLnow.com and a local IT services provider.
The vulnerability was in a phone system and website used by the Arlington Dept. of Environmental Services to automate waste pickup scheduling and water service changes.
The phone system would allow a caller to enter either an account number or their address. When one entered an address, however, the system would then provide that homeowner’s name and account number.
With the account number, one could theoretically go online and shut off the home’s water service, or order a big pile of mulch to be delivered to their yard and billed to their account.
ARLnow.com tested the vulnerability and came one click away from sending a big mulch pile to the front yard of a national media personality who lives in Arlington. Through a spokeswoman, that individual declined to comment or be identified in this article.
Within a week of ARLnow.com notifying the county, the automated phone system had been taken offline — callers now only have the option of speaking to a customer service representative — and some account number fields were removed from online forms.
“Our approach is customer-focused and to make it convenient for residents to make service requests, order mulch and report problems through the County website or by telephone,” said Dept. of Environmental Services spokeswoman Jessica Baxter. “It is a philosophy our customers value based on their feedback.”
“To date, we have not had a problem with people misusing the system,” Baxter continued. “As with any system, we are always looking for ways to improve while balancing the needs of our customers. Thanks for bringing this matter to our attention.”
Alexander Chamandy, the founder of Arlington-based IT services firm Envescent, LLC, was the first to spot the vulnerability.
“I discovered this unauthorized information disclosure issue by accident when scheduling a curbside pickup with Arlington,” he said. “It was disconcerting that one’s account information, name, address and other details could be shared with an unauthorized party. Because identity theft and data breaches are on the rise I felt it was important to alert ARLnow.com and Arlington County.”
Prosecutor: Black Asked for Help Killing Wife — At a bond hearing Monday, prosecutors said that David Black asked a friend to help kill his wife in a classic case of domestic violence. Black was denied bond and will remain in jail, charged with killing his estranged wife Bonnie Black in their home near Pentagon City. The trial is set for Feb. 29. [WUSA 9]
One of the Worst Traffic Bottlenecks — Arlington has one of the worst traffic bottlenecks in the country, according to the American Highway Users Alliance. I-395 between Washington Blvd and the GW Parkway ranked No. 26 on the list, wasting 1.1 million hours and 322,600 gallons of fuel annually. [WTOP]
TSA HQ Move May Be Delayed — The Transportation Security Administration’s headquarters may be staying in Pentagon City past 2017 after all. A judge has halted the TSA’s move to Alexandria in response to a protest of the lease bidding process by a losing bidder. [Government Executive]
Arlington GOP May Ditch Office — In order to save money, the Arlington County Republican Committee is considering giving up the $1,100 per month office it rents in the Dominion Arms apartment building. [InsideNova]
See Something, Type Something — Arlington County’s website has a “Homeland Security Tip Form,” for reporting “suspicious activity that may be related to terrorism” in Arlington. [Arlington County]
Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley
New Gymnastics, Aquatics Fee Structure — In her FY 2016 budget, County Manager Barbara Donnellan is proposing a new fee structure for gymnastics and aquatics teams. The fees will recover “no more than 100 percent of direct costs,” and would be a savings of around 15 percent compared to the current fees. [Arlington County]
Tighter Security at Fort Myer — Some bicyclists are worried that tighter security measures put in place this week at Fort Myer will limit non-military personnel from accessing the base. Cyclists often use Fort Myer to travel safely between south Arlington and north Arlington without having to ride on Columbia Pike. Arlington County, meanwhile, has been working on some trail projects that would make north-to-south and south-to-north bike travel safer. [Greater Greater Washington]
Goldstein Announces School Board Run — Reid Goldstein has announced that he’s running for Arlington School Board. Goldstein, a “longtime Arlington schools, County and neighborhood advocate,” will seek the seat of the retiring Abby Raphael. “We must be honest and diligent stewards of our community’s money and trust as we work to preserve and improve the high quality of Arlington’s schools, even as enrollment increases,” Goldstein said in a press release.
National Airport Hits Passenger Record — Reagan National Airport set a new record for passenger traffic in 2014. Some 20.8 million passengers used Reagan last year, a 2 percent increase. With traffic decreasing at Dulles International, MWAA plans to share as much as $300 million in revenue from Reagan to Dulles over a 10 year span. [Washington Business Journal]
New Marine Corps Sergeant Major — Assuming they’re not deterred by the cold, the Marine Corps will hold a ceremony this morning at the Iwo Jima War Memorial, celebrating the appointment of Sgt. Maj. Ronald Green. Green will serve as the Corps’ 18th sergeant major, its highest enlisted rank. [Marine Corps Times]
Nick Anderson Leaving Arrowine — Former ARLnow.com “Beermonger” columnist Nick Anderson has announced that he is leaving Arrowine. Saturday will be his last day at the Lee Highway beer and wine store. [Arrowine]
Flickr pool photo by Alan Kotok
New Security Measures at Schools — This school year, Arlington Public Schools has three additional police officers assigned as school resource officers at elementary schools. The school system has also added 30 new video cameras in secondary schools, which can be viewed by the county’s 911 call center and by school resource officers. [Washington Post]
Stamos Back in the ACDC Fold — Arlington Commonwealth’s Attorney Theo Stamos has apparently been welcomed back into the good graces of the Arlington County Democratic Committee. Stamos voluntarily stepped down from the committee after she endorsed independent candidate John Vihstadt over Democrat Alan Howze. [InsideNova]
Bracket Room to Celebrate Anniversary — Contrary to the pessimistic predictions of its critics, Clarendon sports bar The Bracket Room is about to celebrate its one year anniversary and seems to be thriving. Former Bachelorette cast member Chris Bukowski opened the bar, at 1210 N. Garfield Street, on Sept. 5, 2013. Bracket Room is planning a birthday party on Saturday, Sept. 6. [Clarendon Nights]
Flickr pool photo by Wolfkann
Foreign intelligence agencies often recruit spies and double agents within the American government by targeting federal employees in financial distress. Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) says the passage of a bill in the House of Representatives today will prevent those intelligence agencies from finding financially-troubled feds with only a few clicks of the mouse.
Moran applauded the passage of bill S. 3625, which will delay certain provisions of the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act from taking effect. The provisions would have required automatic online posting of the financial disclosure forms of 28,000 senior federal employees (GS-15 and SES level). The forms could reveal information about employees’ stock portfolio, real estate investments, and retirement funds.
In an Op-Ed in the Federal Times, Moran wrote:
Under the proposed online system our enemies around the world might be able to search thousands of records with a single keystroke — anonymously exploiting an easily accessible database to search for subtle differences in financial disclosures.
If analyzed closely, these differences might betray the identity of members of the intelligence community, while simultaneously providing information to our enemies as to which employees might be struggling financially — a known criteria used by foreign intelligence services to target individuals for espionage.
The bill, which will now head to the president’s desk following today’s voice vote in the House, will delay the online reporting provisions for senior federal employees from taking effect until Dec. 8. It also requires a study of “issues raised by website publication of financial disclosure forms” by the National Academy of Public Administration.
Earlier this month, a federal judge blocked enforcement of the STOCK Act until Oct. 31, after the American Civil Liberties Union argued that posting employees’ financial information is a violation of their privacy.
The full press release from Rep. Moran’s office, after the jump.
Photo courtesy Andrew Clegg
According to a leading jobs website for those with security clearances, the average security-cleared employee in the Washington region earned $97,838 in 2011.
ClearanceJobs.com says that figure represents a 4 percent increase from one year ago. By comparison, the national average security-cleared salary was $76,152 in 2011. According to the website’s survey, there was no pay gap between men and women working in the same position.
Though average salaries may be high, security-cleared workers are increasingly worried about the future. The survey — of 11,000 security-cleared professionals — indicated that 43 percent were afraid of the loss of contract funding, 40 percent were afraid of increased work loads as a result of staff cuts, 38 percent were afraid of their position being eliminated, and 31 percent worried about their position being relocated, perhaps as a result of BRAC.
Passenger Protests, Midwest Weather Could Cause Airport Delays — Flying out of Dulles or Reagan National Airport today could be a challenge. On the busiest travel day of the Thanksgiving holiday, thousands of passengers are planning a nationwide, grassroots revolt against the TSA’s use of full-body scanners. Instead of going through the machines, they will protest by insisting on a time-consuming pat-down. That, combined with a storm system in the upper Midwest could cause delays. So far, however, flights at DCA and IAD are on time. More from the Washington Post.
Crystal City Renaissance Hotel To Open in March — A new LEED-certified Renaissance Hotel is coming to the quickly-developing area south of Crystal City and north of Potomac Yard. The hotel, located at 2800 South Potomac Avenue, is expected to open in March 2011. Rooms will initially start at $299 per night, according to HotelChatter.com.
Wilson’s on Whitlow’s is “Coming Soon” — TBD has photos of Wilson’s on Whitlow’s, the new Tiki bar above Whitlow’s on Wilson. Owner Greg Cahill says the bar’s opening is “coming soon,” pending county permits. Place your bets in the comments section on what will come first: the area’s first snowfall or the opening of Whitlow’s rooftop bar. More from TBD.
Flickr pool photo by BrianMKA
Rep. Jim Moran couldn’t give a hoot about the controversial “naked” body scans and saucy pat-downs now in place at America’s airports.
The recently re-elected congressman told TBD’s NewsTalk that he supports measures to make air travel safer, even if they’re invasive or embarrassing.
“I could care less whether somebody feels me up or somebody sees what I look like without my clothes… I think it’s something you just have to live with.”
Do you agree?
Lyon Hall Opening by Mid-April — Lyon Hall manager Andrew Limberg tells the Washington Post that they’ve passed their inspections and expect to open within two weeks. Writes WaPo’s Julia Beizer: “Let’s give it up for Arlington, right? Crazy stuff happening over there.” More from today’s Going Out Gurus chat (near the bottom).
Pentagon Security Heightened — The Pentagon police agency will step up its screening of visitors and will conduct more random checks of employees, according to the Associated Press. The Pentagon Force Protection Agency will also improve communication protocols at its command center. The new security measures follow last month’s shooting outside the Pentagon Metro station.
Arlington Volunteer Blog Launched — The Community Volunteer Network has launched a new blog. CVN is a social network that brings 20- and 30-somethings together through community service in Arlington.
Bike Show Planned for April 8 — Not-for-profit bike shop Phoenix Bikes is holding a bike show one week from today in Ballston. The third-annual show will feature an art show, a silent auction, a raffle for free bikes donated by local shops, food, and speeches by local movers and shakers in the bike world. More from People-Powered Arlington.