Arlington, VA

Morning Notes

Merlene Accuses Favola of Sexism — “Normally, Democratic debates in deep-blue Arlington are wonky, congenial, staid, even boring affairs, where the candidates at least pretend to be cordial to each other. And tonight’s 31st State Senate district Democratic debate, between incumbent Sen. Barbara Favola and challenger Nicole Merlene, largely held to that model for the entire debate… until the closing statements, when basically all hell broke loose.” [Blue Virginia, PDF]

Metro Closure This Weekend — “[On] May 4 and 5, Metro will be closed south of Reagan National Airport– six stations in all. Trains will be replaced by free shuttle buses at Braddock Road, King St-Old Town, Eisenhower Ave, Huntington, Van Dorn Street and Franconia-Springfield.” [WUSA 9]

Arlington and Amazon Emails Revealed — “Arlington County officials worked closely with Amazon.com Inc. to present a good public relations strategy in the weeks leading to their passage of the company’s $23 million incentive package, emails obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request show. The emails indicate some county officials were trying to develop a cozy relationship and wanted to help Amazon navigate challenges and smooth over some criticism.” [Washington Business Journal]

Arlington Man Donates Flag Tie to New U.S. Citizen — Arlington resident Marc Johnson was trying to sell a patriotic American flag tie on Ebay after cleaning out his closet, but ended up donating it to the would-be buyer when he learned that the buyer was planning to wear the tie to his swearing-in ceremony to become an American citizen. [Washington Post]

Arlington Sheriff’s Office Turning 150 — “The 150th anniversary of establishment of the Arlington County Sheriff’s Office will be commemorated on May 7 as part of National Correctional Employees Week. The Arlington Sheriff’s Office was established at a time when Arlington (then known as Alexandria County) was being separated from the town (now city) of Alexandria and into its own self-governing locality.” [InsideNova]

History of Harry W. Gray House — “On this day in Arlington history: May 1, 1881 Harry W. Gray and his family move into their house. He and his family took years to build it and it is the only one of its kind for miles… The house remains a sturdy structure, its longevity a testament to Gray’s workmanship.” [Facebook]

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Morning Notes

Arlington Diocese Releases List of Accused Priests — “Virginia’s two Catholic dioceses on Wednesday released lists of clergy who officials say were deemed ‘credibly accused’ of sexually abusing youth… The Diocese of Arlington, which covers the northeastern corner of Virginia, released a list of 16 names.” [Washington Post, Diocese of Arlington]

ACPD Restaurant Initiative Deemed a Success — “Arlington County, Virginia, is trying to fight drunken driving, and its method may prove to be a model for the nation.” [WTOP]

Cristol Quoted in the New Yorker — “‘We have an agenda that is about equity and anti-racist goals, and I don’t think he can effectively lead on it,’ [Arlington County Board member Katie Cristol] said, referring to the governor. As for Fairfax, she said, she had thought, after the first allegation, that ‘there might be a way forward for him to recognize harm done’ and stay in office. After the second, it seemed clear to her that there was an indefensible pattern of behavior.” [The New Yorker]

Arlington Man Arrested for 2016 Rape — “Alexandria Police have arrested a man who they say abducted and raped a lifeguard in broad daylight from a pool on South Pickett Street in 2016.” [Fox 5]

Hope’s Assisted-Living Bill Passes — “The derecho that came through Arlington several years ago inspired me to bring this bill and work to make sure, at a minimum, prospective residents knew whether their assisted living facility had a generator in case of loss of power.” [InsideNova, Twitter]

Sheriff’s Office Helping With Scholarships — “The Arlington County Sheriff’s Office is helping the Virginia Sheriffs’ Institute raise college scholarship funds for Virginia residents majoring in criminal justice.” [Arlington County]

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Morning Notes

Arlington Dems Weary of Richmond Scandals — “With a political crisis of unprecedented proportions swirling at the statewide level, Arlington Democrats are reacting at perhaps the only pace available to them – one day, and one step, at a time. ‘We will get through this,’ a visibly weary Jill Caiazzo, chair of the Arlington County Democratic Committee, said at the organization’s monthly meeting on Feb. 6.” [InsideNova]

Dems to Hold Caucus for School Board — The Arlington County Democratic Committee will hold a “firehouse caucus” over the course of three days in June to determine the party’s endorsement for School Board. [Arlington Democrats]

Sheriff Arthur Running for Reelection — “Arlington Sheriff Beth Arthur on Feb. 7 kicked off a bid for re-election, touting successful partnerships her office has forged with other government agencies and the community at large. ‘I hope that I can count on you,’ Arthur told the Arlington County Democratic Committee as she launched a bid to retain the office she has held for the past 18 years.” [InsideNova]

Arlington’s (Sometimes) Hidden Gems — “In Arlington, we’re lucky to be home to 10 of ‘the oldest federal monuments.’ Those 40 oft-overlooked boundary stones were laid back in 1791 to mark borders of the spanking new District of Columbia.” [Falls Church News-Press]

How to Walk from Crystal City to DCA — “Reagan National airport is about 1,800 feet from Amazon’s new Crystal City headquarters… that’s not to say it’s an easy stroll: Train tracks, busy roads, and other obstacles separate a walker from DCA. Eventually, a pedestrian bridge could make the journey less fraught, but in the meantime, we gave one route a try.” [Washingtonian]

Lunar New Year Event This Weekend — The Eden Center in Falls Church is holding a Lunar New Year event Sunday “with a lion dance, entertainers, balloon sculptures, face painting and ‘other surprises and giveaways.'” [Tysons Reporter]

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

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Incarcerated mothers and fathers can celebrate the holidays with their children next week as part of events hosted by the Arlington County Sheriff’s Office.

Incarcerated parents must meet certain requirements for the opportunity to have dinner with their children and make themed crafts.

The recently released holiday movie “The Grinch” served as the inspiration for this year’s theme.

“The events aim to foster positive relationships between parents and children and lessen the effects of separation,” a county press release said.

The events will take place from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Arlington County Detention Facility (1435 N. Courthouse Road). The fathers-only event takes place on Monday (Dec. 10), followed by the mothers-only event on Tuesday (Dec. 11).

The Sheriff’s Office plans to host similar events when summer comes along, according to the press release.

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Morning Notes

Police Investigate Stabbing Near Alexandria BorderUpdated at 2:45 p.m. — Arlington County Police are investigating a stabbing that happened last night at S. Arlington Ridge Road and S. Glebe Road. The incident, which started when the victim asked for help finding a ride, was initially believed to be a shooting, but was later determined to be “the result of a sharp weapon.” The victim was found with non-life threatening wounds just across the border in Alexandria. [Twitter, ACPD]

Major Redevelopment in Rosslyn — The Dittmar Co. has filed a preliminary site plan to redevelop the Holiday Inn hotel in Rosslyn, building 26- and 38-story towers housing 490 apartments and 327 hotel rooms. The proposal includes a 6,000 square foot event space on the top floor of the taller tower and the demolition of a skybridge crossing Fort Myer Drive. [Washington Business Journal]

Leonsis Says Build the Gondola — In a joint WaPo op-ed, Caps and Wizards owner Ted Leonsis, JBG Smith CEO Matt Kelly and former GOP Congressman Tom Davis say the proposed Georgetown-Rosslyn gondola would be a “forward-looking and innovative” investment in our transportation infrastructure. [Washington Post]

Local CEO Buys Rosslyn Buildings — “Affiliates belonging to Cogent Communications Holdings Inc. CEO Dave Schaeffer, one of the region’s highest-paid chief executives, have acquired a pair of Rosslyn office buildings (1550 and 1560 Wilson Blvd) recently renovated to include upgraded common-area space and a new boutique boxing-oriented fitness facility.” [Washington Business Journal]

Sheriff’s Office Raises Money for Prostate Cancer — The Arlington County Sheriff’s Office helped to raise money for prostate cancer treatment at Virginia Hospital Center during the month of November via its “Beards with a Badge initiative.” [Virginia Hospital Center, WJLA]

November Sets Weather Record — Last month was the wettest November on record for the Washington area. It was also the second-wettest meteorological fall on record for the area, according to the National Weather Service. [Twitter]

Police Searching for Missing Man Last Seen in Georgetown — Police are still looking for David Stern, a D.C. accountant last seen at Dixie Liquor on M Street in Georgetown. The 29-year-old, who is engaged to be married, hasn’t been seen since buying a bottle of Crown Royal at the store this past Tuesday. [Fox 5]

Photo courtesy @wwwchris

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Morning Notes

Arlington Losing Big Office Tenant — “BAE Systems Inc. is moving its headquarters to Falls Church as part of a consolidation of its Northern Virginia office space… The move will also further ding Arlington County’s office vacancy rate, which at the end of 2017 was 20.6 percent.” [Washington Business Journal]

Hazmat Situation at Kaiser Permanente — Arlington County firefighters responded to a hazardous materials incident at Kaiser Permanente in Falls Church yesterday. Five people were evaluated by medics and, of them, two were transported to the hospital. [WJLA, Twitter, Twitter]

Red Top Development Groundbreaking Nears — “The Shooshan Co. has teamed up with Trammell Crow Residential on the first phase of its planned Red Top Cab site redevelopment in Clarendon, with groundbreaking slated for early next year. The partners closed Sept. 29 on their acquisition from The Red Top Cab Co. founder Neal Nichols of several parcels along Irving and Hudson streets for a listed consideration amount of nearly $28.2 million, according to Arlington County’s Recorder of Deeds.” [Washington Business Journal]

RIP Lance Newman and Tim Wise — Two notable Arlingtonians have died: “Tim Wise, the longtime president of the Arlington County Taxpayers Association, died Friday in Fredericksburg after a 10-month battle with cancer and heart trouble… Lance Newman, one of four black students who in February 1959 began attending a previously all-white middle school in Arlington… had died after a short illness.” [InsideNova]

ACSO Launches Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign — “Breast cancer hits close to home for the Arlington County Sheriff’s Office, which has launched a campaign to raise awareness about early detection and preventative care. Over the last six years, two employees at the county’s sheriff’s office have been diagnosed with breast cancer.” [WUSA 9]

Forum Planned to Discuss Accessory Dwellings — “A forum looking at current regulations related to accessory-dwelling units in Arlington will be held on Monday, Oct. 15 at 7 p.m. at Central Library. Speakers will discuss how changes made to the county’s housing ordinances in 2017 impact the regulatory process, and will look at whether further changes are needed.” [InsideNova]

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An Arlington man is now behind bars after he allegedly struck a sheriff’s deputy and was subsequently subdued with a Taser.

County sheriff’s office spokeswoman Maj. Susie Doyel says deputies were working to evict 53-year-old Vincent Moody from his home along the 1000 block of S. Queen Street when he “became combative.” Moody then “struck a deputy in the face” and was tasered by the deputies, Doyel said.

He’s now facing charges of obstruction and assault on a law enforcement officer, with a hearing in Arlington General District Court set for Oct. 24.

Moody is being held at the county detention center without bond.

More highlights from the past week of county crime reports, including some we’ve already reported, are below.

BURGLARY (late), 2018-09250202, 2500 block of S. Lynn Street. At approximately 6:07 p.m. on September 25, police responded to the report of a burglary. Upon arrival, it was determined that between 4:45 p.m. on September 24 and 5:00 p.m. on September 25, an unknown suspect(s) gained entry to a residence and stole an undisclosed amount of cash. There is no suspect description(s). The investigation is ongoing.

BURGLARY (late), 2018-09240148, 1600 block of N. Oak Street. At approximately 4:44 p.m. on September 24, police responded to the late report of breaking and entering. Upon arrival, it was determined that between 3:00 p.m. on September 10 and 4:44 p.m. on September 24, an unknown suspect(s) gained entry to the victim’s residence and stole items of value. There is no suspect description(s). The investigation is ongoing.

HOME INVASION ROBBERY, 2018-09220044, 4700 block of 33rd Street N. At approximately 3:17 a.m. on September 22, police were dispatched to the report of a panic alarm. Upon arrival, it was determined that as the homeowner returned to the residence, an unknown suspect brandishing a firearm forced his way inside with two additional suspects. The suspects restrained the residents, assaulted the male victim and made threats of bodily harm to the two additional victims. The suspects stole items of value before fleeing the scene in a silver vehicle. The victims did not require medical treatment. The suspects are described as three black males, wearing dark clothing and white gloves. The investigation is ongoing.

MALICIOUS WOUNDING, 2018-09200132, 2000 block of S. Kenmore Street. At approximately 2:03 p.m. on September 20, police were dispatched to the report of trouble unknown. Upon arrival, it was determined that one victim became engaged in a verbal dispute with two suspects inside a business. The victim then exited the business and got into a vehicle with two additional victims. As the victims began to drive away, the suspects approached the vehicle and the dispute escalated. One suspect brandished a firearm and shot at the vehicle occupied by the victims. The suspects then fled the scene on foot. One of the victims suffered minor injuries and was treated on-scene by medics. The investigation is ongoing.

Photo courtesy Arlington County Sheriff’s Office

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The Arlington County Sheriff’s Office will recognize winners of an Inmate Creative Writing Contest this Monday (Aug. 13), after judges reviewed 98 entries in fiction, non-fiction and poetry categories.

The awards ceremony will be held at the Arlington County Detention Facility (1435 N. Courthouse Road), and inmates who place first through third in each category will have the opportunity to read their writing aloud.

Arlington Magazine Editor Jenny Sullivan and Arlington Poet Laureate Katherine E. Young were among the judges to review the entries, which consisted of 82 poems, six works of fiction and 10 pieces of non-fiction.

A nonprofit program within the Del Ray Community Partnership sponsored the contest, per a county media alert. Inmates submitted their work over the course of the month of July.

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The Arlington County Board on Saturday unanimously passed a $1.276 billion balanced budget that includes a number of fee increases but no real estate tax rate hike.

The FY 2019 budget notably restores $70,000 in funding for Arlington Independent Media — County Manager Mark Schwartz proposed cutting about $90,000 in county funds for the community TV and radio broadcaster — after AIM collected more than 1,300 online petition signatures against the cut. The Board also boosted first responder pay, particularly starting pay which police and firefighter associations say is low and hurting recruitment, by $1.6 million above the manager’s recommendation, which already included a pay boost.

Funding the increased spending is the reallocation of $2.5 million from proposed renovations to the county government headquarters in Courthouse and the freezing of 16 vacant public safety positions.

Per the manager’s recommendations, the budget also increases parking meter rates and extends metered hours until 8 p.m., while increasing utility taxes, household waste fees and various departmental fees.

“The Board largely accepted the $8.4 million in spending reductions, $6.6 million in fee and tax increases and $5.5 million in funding realignments recommended by the County Manager in his proposed budget,” notes a county press release, below. County Board Chair Katie Cristol called the adopted budget “sustainably progressive.”

County funding for Arlington Public Schools will top the $500 million mark, as the school system continues to face pressures from enrollment growth and the opening of new schools. Metro, meanwhile, will receive a 3 percent increase in funding, receiving $73.1 million from the county’s coffers and state transit aid earmarked for Arlington.

In addition to AIM and first responders, the Board nixed the following cuts proposed by Schwartz, according to the markup record:

  • $620,000 for the Affordable Housing Investment Fund
  • $365,000 for Lee Highway planning and $25,000 for the Lee Highway Alliance
  • $40,000 for the Legal Aid Justice Center, which serves immigrants
  • $200,000 for a body scanner at the county jail
  • $50,000 for the Arlington County Fair
  • $20,000 for community shredding events
  • $40,000 for the Arlington Neighborhood College program
  • $184,000 for a youth mental health therapist

Among the proposed cuts not restored: the elimination of the printed Citizen newsletter, the elimination of two ART bus routes, the elimination of Arlington’s poet laureate and a $555,000 cut to the Arlington Initiative to Rethink Energy residential rebate program.

The latter drew some pushback from Board members.

“The cuts that we’re doing this year to AIRE — nobody’s going to die, there’s nothing fundamentally that any of us are going to lose sleep over or should be ashamed of,” said Erik Gutshall. “But while people don’t die, our planet is dying, its ability to sustain our life at least.”

“In future budgets, while we’re going to continue to make tough choices, we’re not going to let our commitment to the environment fall behind,” he added.

Despite the disagreements, the Board was unanimous in its vote on the budget, which Board members praised for prioritizing key areas while avoiding a tax rate increase. (The tax burden on the average homeowner will still increase by $296.)

“Despite the reductions, there are investments our community can be proud of in this budget,” Cristol said in a statement. “We prioritized funding our public schools, especially teachers, and investing in our workforce, especially public safety personnel. We preserved our social safety net and sustained funding for affordable housing and core services.”

“I see this budget really as a transition from the way we’ve been doing things to the way we’ll need to do things going forward,” said Libby Garvey. “This community has pretty much gotten used to having as much money as we need to do what we want to do. This year it’s starting to change. It’s likely to be even harder in the future with the stresses we have moving forward. I think it’s a good transition to what we’ll be doing moving forward.”

“What I think we’ve done is really weatherize our fiscal house for the inclement weather ahead,” echoed John Vihstadt. “It’s only going to get tougher as we move forward, but we took some important steps here that, while not greeted uniformly favorably, were necessary to be done.”

Arlington Independent Media and public safety associations, meanwhile, expressed gratitude for the additional funding.

Arlington County’s press release about the budget, after the jump.

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The Arlington County Police Department and Sheriff’s Office will take part in National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day tomorrow (Saturday).

In partnership with the Drug Enforcement Administration, county residents can safely dispose of expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs. The service is free and anonymous, with no questions asked.

Drugs will be collected at the following sites from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.:

  • Fire Station 1 (500 S. Glebe Road)
  • Fire Station 5 (1750 S. Hayes Street)
  • Fire Station 8 (4845 Lee Highway)
  • Fire Station 9 (1900 S. Walter Reed Drive)
  • Pentagon parking lot between S. Fern Street and S. Eads Street (551 Army Navy Drive)

The DEA cannot accept liquids, needles or sharp objects. Only pills or patches will be accepted.

More from an ACPD press release:

Last April Americans turned in 450 tons (900,000 pounds) of prescription drugs at almost 5,500 sites operated by the DEA and more than 4,200 of its state and local law enforcement partners.  Overall, in its 13 previous Take Back events, DEA and its partners have taken in over 8.1 million pounds–more than 4,050 tons–of pills.

This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue.  Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs.  Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. In addition, Americans are now advised that their usual methods for disposing of unused medicines–flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash–both pose potential safety and health hazards.

If residents are unable to participate in this event, please visit the Arlington County website for information on how to prepare unwanted medications for disposal. For additional information about the October 28 Take Back Day Event, please visit the DEA Diversion website.

Image via Wikimedia Commons

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The Arlington County Police Department has gotten national and international attention after a video of its officers performing a synchronized swimming routine went viral.

The video, to advertise the third annual Police, Fire and Sheriff Block Party on August 26, has put the department in the spotlight, with the likes of ABC’s Good Morning America and World News Tonight showing it to a national audience.

Department spokeswoman Ashley Savage said all four major networks — NBC, ABC, CBS and FOX — all reached out to ask for permission to use the video, with ABC’s national Facebook post receiving more than 1.8 million views.

There have also been attempts to recreate the routine, too, from local news anchors in Texas, while police departments even further afield in places like Australia and the United Kingdom have given the video international exposure.

In a radio interview with WFTL in South Florida, Sgt. Damon Washington, one of the officers who throws themselves in the pool in full uniform to perform, said the department never planned to go viral. Instead, he said, they just wanted to engage local people in their work.

“In all honesty, we didn’t do this to go viral,” Washington said. “Me and our guys really care about the community we serve. It’s one of our initiatives, and one of the [Police Chief Jay Farr’s] initiatives is community engagement.”

Washington said the department gave the pool video, and the series of other light-hearted videos promoting the block party, its full support.

The department released another video today (below) to advertise the block party. This time, officers and firefighters are shown enjoying themselves while washing cars. Attendees can get a voucher for a free car wash after taking a distracted driving course, one of the many activities at the block party.

“We’re a very talented group up here in Arlington County,” Washington said.

The block party will take place on August 26 from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. at Kenmore Middle School (200 S. Carlin Springs Road). The event is free and will be geared towards families.

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