Press Club

Morning Notes

Squirrel defeating a bird feeder (Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf)

Planning for Fmr. Inner Ear Site — “Arlington Cultural Affairs is working with public art and placemaking firm Graham Projects to design a future arts space at 2700 S. Nelson Street/2701 S. Oakland Street in Green Valley, and we are looking for your inspiration and input. A flexible, outdoor open space is planned for the site, which will be designed following the planned demolition of the existing building this fall. In the meantime, we want YOUR thoughts and ideas!” [Arlington County]

Big Money for Growing Local Company — “Arlington’s Federated Wireless Inc. has raised an additional $14 million in a second closing of its latest round of funding — bringing the raise’s total to $72 million — as it looks to augment the private wireless market.” [Washington Business Journal]

Refugee Wins Reprieve in Court — “In a brief ruling from the bench that surprised both sides with its speed, Circuit Court Judge William T. Newman Jr. in December declared Khoy’s plea vacated. Khoy reached for her lawyer’s arm in disbelief. Was the nightmare really over?” [Washington Post]

Events to Mark Civic Association Anniversary — “The John M. Langston Citizens Association will celebrate the 85th Anniversary of the organization with a series of events during the weekend of May 13th through 15th. The Opening Program on Friday, May 13th at the Langston-Brown Community Center will feature recognition of the 28 plaintiffs from the Thompson v. Arlington School Board 1958 court case who were denied entrance to white schools, when the Stratford Four… were admitted on February 2, 1959.” [HallsHill.com]

SoberRide for Cinco de Mayo — “Offered by the nonprofit Washington Regional Alcohol Program (WRAP), the 2022 Cinco de Mayo SoberRide® program will be in operation beginning at 4:00 p.m. on Thursday, May 5th (Cinco de Mayo) and operate until 4:00 a.m. on Friday, May 6th as a way to keep local roads safe from impaired drivers during this traditionally high-risk period.” [WRAP]

Circulator Strike Planned — “Fed up with a lack of progress in contract talks and unfair labor practices, the bus drivers for the DC Circulator, employed by RATP Dev, will be on strike tomorrow morning, Tuesday, May 3rd and will stay out until an agreement is reached.” [ATU Local 689]

It’s Tuesday — Partly sunny during the day, then a chance of showers and thunderstorms, mainly after 8 p.m. High of 75 and low of 56. Sunrise at 6:09 am and sunset at 8:04 pm. [Weather.gov]

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

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Morning Notes

Some remaining snow on a Courthouse sidewalk (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

DCA Has One of TSA’s ‘Top 10 Catches’ of 2021 — “On March 6, 2021, TSA officers at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) stopped a traveler carrying a well-worn, heavy-duty, wooden-handled machete. Officers noted the blade showed significant wear, as if it had seen a lot of use.” [Patch]

Arlington Apartment Rentals Rebound — “After falling 13 percent in 2020 as the pandemic roared in, median apartment rents in Arlington were up a tidy 16.8 percent in 2021, according to new data, leaving renters paying more now than they did before the COVID crisis started.” [Sun Gazette]

Hundreds Use SoberRide Over Holidays — “While the count was impacted by the ongoing pandemic, 461 individuals in the Washington region availed themselves of a SoberRide free ride home during the holiday period, the sponsoring organization said on Jan. 6.” [Sun Gazette]

State Police Give Arlington Company Kudos — “The state police said a trooper waved a group of men from CG Remodeling Services of Arlington driving by to ask for a shovel, and instead ‘they all jumped out of their trucks and dug the motorist out in minutes and got them safely on their way again.'” [WJLA]

County Board Names Commission Leaders — The delegations to the advisory boards, which range from groups on transportation to housing to economic development, will run through the end of 2022. [Sun Gazette]

It’s Tuesday — Today will be sunny, with a high near 28. Northwest wind 5 to 10 mph. Sunrise at 7:26 a.m. and sunset at 5:06 p.m. Tomorrow will be sunny and a bit warmer, with a high near 43 and south wind 7 to 11 mph, with gusts as high as 20 mph. [Weather.gov]

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ACPD SoberRide (Photo courtesy of Washington Regional Alcohol Program)

(Updated, 10/29/21, 10:10 a.m.) There will be free Lyft rides in Arlington and across the region this Halloween weekend.

The Washington Regional Alcohol Program (WRAP) is again partnering with the rideshare company for the SoberRide program to provide free rides this upcoming Saturday (Oct. 30) night to prevent drunk and impaired driving.

Starting at 10 p.m., residents ages 21 and older will be able to order a Lyft ride up to $15 using a promo code that will be posted on SoberRide’s website. The rides will be available for the first 1,500 people who enter the code and until 4 a.m. the next day.

The service is being provided as “a way to keep local roads safe from impaired drivers during this traditionally high-risk holiday,” according to a press release.

Between 2015 and 2019, there were 126 drunk-driving fatalities nationwide on Halloween night, according to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. That accounts for more than a third of all motor vehicles fatalities on Halloween night. Sixty-two percent of those deaths were adults between the ages of 21 and 34.

In 2019, more than 1,200 people in the D.C. area utilized SoberRide and got a free ride during the Halloween weekend (the program was canceled last year due to the pandemic).

Additionally, the Arlington County Police Department event that was previously scheduled for Friday night (Oct. 29), has been “postponed” due to inclement weather.

The interactive anti-drunk driving event” was a partnership between Arlington County Police Department and WRAP for an “at the intersection of Wilson Blvd and N. Hudson Street at 8 p.m.

“The event includes an interactive component to highlight the impact alcohol has on motor skills, a pledge to take a sober ride home and distribution of educational materials,” ACPD spokesperson Ashley Savage said.

Representatives from WRAP were also going to be there prompting the message that “buzzed driving is drunk driving.”

“All drunk driving incidents are 100-percent preventable, WRAP’s teaming-up with the Arlington County Police Department to highlight the impact alcohol can have on motor skills including driving is prevention-defined,” WRAP President Kurt Gregory Erickson said. “The goals of this week’s collaborative anti-drunk driving event are to showcase said impact, convince Halloween celebrants to plan ahead as to how they’ll safely get home at the end of an evening when alcohol was involved and to increase awareness of alternatives to drunk driving like WRAP’s Halloween SoberRide campaign.”

Over the last six years — 2015 to 2020 — there have been 14 total crashes in Arlington on Halloween night, with four being alcohol-related, according to ACPD. During that time there have been eight driving under the influence (DUI) arrests on Halloween.

“The Arlington County Police Department is reminding the community that nothing is scarier on Halloween night than an impaired driver,” said the department.

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Morning Notes

Free Cinco de Mayo Rides — “Offered by the nonprofit Washington Regional Alcohol Program (WRAP), the 2021 Cinco de Mayo SoberRide program will be in operation beginning at 4:00 pm this Wednesday, May 5, 2021 (Cinco de Mayo) and operate until 2:00 am on Thursday, May 6, 2021 as a way to keep local roads safe from impaired drivers during this traditionally high-risk holiday.” [Press Release]

Extra ACPD Traffic Enforcement — From the Arlington County Police Department: “As part of the regional Council of Governments StreetSmart campaign, officers conducted high visibility speed enforcement along Lee Highway today. With warmer weather upon us, there is increased pedestrian and cyclist traffic in the County. Remember to slow down, obey posted speed limits and remain alert for other travelers.” [Facebook]

School Board Hopefuls On Math Controversy — “With the Virginia Department of Education under attack – fairly or unfairly – for what critics say is an attempt to dumb down math instruction across the commonwealth, the two candidates for the Democratic endorsement for Arlington School Board gave state officials neither a rousing endorsement nor a ringing denunciation in a recent forum.” [Sun Gazette]

Critic Praises Local Restaurant — “Every once in a while, a restaurant comes along that checks off so many boxes, you wonder if it had taken a poll of diners’ wishes. Right now, that restaurant is a place in Arlington that combines a warm welcome with good food in a spot that locals might recall as a former paint store or a chocolate factory… Ruthie’s All-Day.” [Washington Post]

Covid Concerns for Local With India Ties — “Singh, a 28-year-old consultant, walked her dog in her Arlington, Va., neighborhood where people lined up to get inside a rooftop tiki bar and a group pedaled by on a party bike, drinking beer. She returned to her apartment and stayed up until 2 a.m. scouring Instagram for phone numbers of Indians who might have oxygen and getting no replies to a flurry of messages. Singh is among thousands of Americans struggling to help Indian relatives survive a catastrophic coronavirus surge that has caused the health care system to collapse.” [New India Times]

Nearby: Fairfax Co. Lowers Tax Rate — “Fairfax County adopted a budget Tuesday that lowers the residential property tax rate… the tax rate drops by a penny to $1.14 per $100 of assessed value. Prince William County officials also recently shaved a penny from their tax rate, now at $1.115 per $100 of assessed value. Loudoun County lowered its rate by 5 .5 cents, to $0.98 per $100 of assessed value, while Arlington County froze its rate at $1.013 per $100 of assessed value.” [Washington Post]

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Going to a bar or a party to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day during a pandemic might not be the best idea, but drinking and driving is an even worse idea.

To help prevent the latter, the D.C. area SoberRide program will be offering free Lyft rides from 4 p.m. today to 2 a.m. tomorrow.

The free rides will be available on the Lyft app via a promo code that will be revealed on the SoberRide website at 3 p.m.

If you have already been vaccinated and want to head out for a pint or two today, there are a number of options for celebrating at Arlington’s Irish pubs. Due to capacity restrictions, however, there may be long waits or reservations required at some venues.

More from a SoberRide press release, below.

While stating unequivocally that “we’re all safer at home” this St. Patrick’s Day during the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, a local nonprofit organization today announced that – as a “necessary safety net” to this week’s high-risk, high-alcohol consumption period — free safe rides will be offered to would-be drunk drivers throughout the Washington-metropolitan area on St. Patrick’s Day.

Offered by the nonprofit Washington Regional Alcohol Program (WRAP), the 2021 St. Patrick’s Day SoberRide® program will be in operation beginning at 4:00 pm this Wednesday, March 17, 2021 (St. Patrick’s Day) and operate until 2:00 am on Thursday, March 18, 2021 as a way to keep local roads safe from impaired drivers during this traditionally high-risk holiday.

“While we’re all safer at home, we are also a public safety organization which regularly looks to mitigate risk,” said Kurt Erickson, WRAP’s President. “We therefore urge all Greater Washington area residents to respect public health restrictions this St. Patrick’s Day. However, if persons do venture out and alcohol is involved, we are all benefited from the safety net role which the region’s SoberRide program plays to remove drunk drivers from area roadways.”

During SoberRide’s hours of operation this St. Patrick’s Day, area residents age 21 and older celebrating with alcohol may download the Lyft app to their phones, then enter a SoberRide® code in the app’s “Promo” section to receive their no cost (up to $15) safe transportation home. The St. Patrick’s Day SoberRide® promo code will be posted at 3:00 pm on March 17th on www.SoberRide.com.

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Morning Notes

Beyer on Impeachment Vote — “Voting for these articles of impeachment is the only moral course of action, the only way to honor our oath of office. I have no doubt that the votes I cast today will stand the test of time.” [Press Release]

Car2go Bye Bye — “Share Now, the German company that manages the car rental company until recently known as Car2Go, has announced it will exit the North American market effective February 29, 2020… There are currently 150,694 users in D.C., according to a company official who isn’t authorized to speak on the record.” [DCist, Share Now]

Volunteers Read to Babies in NICU — “Studies show private neonatal intensive care unit rooms can be too quiet, with premature babies not getting enough sound and stimulation, so Virginia Hospital Center uses trained volunteers to read popular children’s books to its tiniest patients when their parents can’t be there.” [NBC 4]

Free Lyft Rides Starting TomorrowUpdated at 9 a.m. — “A regional nonprofit is again planning to offer free rides through Lyft to help keep drunk drivers off Alexandria streets during the holidays. Starting on Dec. 20, the Washington Regional Alcohol Program (WRAP) will offer its annual Holiday SoberRide program nightly from 10 p.m.-4 a.m., until Jan. 1.” [ALXnow]

Water Main Break in Bluemont — Updated at 9 a.m. — “Emergency Water Main Repairs: Crews working on a leaking 6-inch valve at 5650 4th St N. Some 100 water customers could be affected. Traffic is diverted around the work site. Estimated time of completion: no later than 7pm.” [Twitter]

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The Arlington County Police Department is hosting an anti-drunk driving event this week ahead of this year’s Halloween celebrations.

Tomorrow (Friday) police officers will kick off the event highlighting what alcohol does to motor skills at 8 p.m., at the intersection of N. Hudson Street and Wilson Boulevard in Clarendon.

To make room for the event, ACPD is planning to close N. Hudson Street from Wilson Boulevard to 13th Street N. between 7-11 p.m. Friday night and post temporary no-parking signs in the area.

“The Arlington County Police Department is reminding citizens that nothing is scarier on Halloween night than an impaired driver,” the county wrote on its website. “Don’t let drunk driving haunt your celebrations — if you plan to drink, designate a sober driver, whether it’s a friend, relative, taxi, rideshare or public transportation.”

The most recent data available from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) indicates that 158 people were killed by drunk drivers on Halloween between 2013 and 2017. About half of those deaths included the drivers themselves, but the federal agency notes that three pedestrians were also killed in 2017.

One way Halloween party goers can secure a designated driver is through the Washington Regional Alcohol Program’s annual Sober Ride program, which is offering coupons for a Lyft home this weekend.

The coupons codes will be posted on the nonprofit’s website this Saturday, October 26 at 9 p.m. Lyft users can use the codes to knock $15 off the price of a ride home between Saturday at 10 p.m. and Sunday at 4 a.m.

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(Updated at 1 p.m.) There are a number of ways to celebrate America’s independence in Arlington this year.

This year’s federal firework show on the National Mall was moved because of President Trump’s “Salute to America” rally at the Lincoln Memorial from 6:30-7:30 p.m., which will likely include a speech, military flyovers, and protestors.

The national fireworks display will blast off from West Potomac Park instead. It is scheduled to run from 9:07-9:27 p.m. and will be visible from most places across the Potomac that Arlington residents are used to.

If the president’s planned Fourth of July rally in the District isn’t for you, here are some places in Arlington to watch the show:

  • Long Bridge Park, which is open for viewers but no longer hosting a large, county-sponsored extravaganza due to cost-cutting measures. The county is cautioning people to make time to go through security checkpoints on Thursday, July 4, and to be prepared for crowding due to ongoing construction closing the north end of the park’s esplanade. Attendees to the Long Bridge Park festivities are not allowed to bring food, spiked chairs, or fireworks of their own on the field, per the county’s website.
  • The View of DC observation deck at CEB Tower (1201 Wilson Blvd) in Rosslyn is hosting a fireworks viewing event 31 floors up. Those who want to attend can enter their name in a lottery for tickets.
  • Gateway Park in Rosslyn is hosting its usual, popular viewing.
  • Gravelly Point is another popular viewing spot, though parking may be limited.
  • U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial near Rosslyn has a sweeping vantage of the monuments, the river and the fireworks..
  • Key Bridge also offers picturesque views for those who don’t mind standing during the show.
  • The Air Force Memorial which will host a free concert by the The United States Air Force Concert Band and Singing Sergeants at 8 p.m. before the fireworks.
  • The Washington Golf & Country Club also confirmed to ARLnow that it is again hosting its own fireworks this year, but won’t have any seating on the golf course due to the ongoing renovations.

Several neighborhoods are also hosting parades for those who prefer to eschew the crowds at fireworks, including:

The Arlington County Fire Department is asking residents who plan to light their own fireworks or have their cookouts to follow these safety tips for fire and injury prevention.

SoberRide will continue its holiday tradition of offering free Lyft rides to prevent drunk driving. The organization said 746 people in the Greater Washington area used the service during Fourth of July last year.

Users can check the SoberRide website on Thursday, July 4 at 6 p.m. for the promotion code that will give free rides between 7 p.m Thursday and 2 a.m. Friday.

Photo via John Sonderman/Flickr pool

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Morning Notes

Kaine Event at Federico’sUpdated at 8:55 a.m. — “On Monday, May 13, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine will hold a roundtable in Arlington with fair housing advocates to discuss the work ahead to ensure equal access to housing for all Americans and address discrimination that LGBTQ Americans continue to face as they search for homes.” The event is now being held at 9 a.m. at Federico’s Ristorante Italiano (519 23rd Street S.) in Crystal City, per an updated media advisory.

Amazon Hiring for Alexa Job in Arlington — Among other open job positions for Amazon’s HQ2 in Arlington, the company is now hiring a “Principal Product Manager” for its Alexa Experience team. [Amazon]

Puppy Recovering from Pike Crash — “Earlier this week Yoda ran into oncoming traffic after escaping his leash. I ran after him in attempt to save him, which resulted in both of us getting hit by a car. I am okay but Yoda was not so lucky. He has two major fractures in his back leg which lead him into surgery. He is resting but having a difficult time.” [GoFundMe]

Satisfaction with Metro Rebounds — “Metro’s reputation in the region has improved dramatically in the past two years and has almost reached the positive levels it enjoyed before a fatal smoke incident in 2015, according to a Washington Post-Schar School poll… A 68 percent majority of Washington-area residents rate Metrorail positively, up from 42 percent in 2017. In 2013, 71 percent had positive ratings of the subway system.” [Washington Post]

Post Endorses Tafti — The Washington Post has endorsed challenger Parisa Dehghani-Tafti over incumbent Theo Stamos in the Democratic Commonwealth’s Attorney primary. [Washington Post]

SoberRide Record for Cinco de Mayo — “Nearly 800 (792) persons in the Washington-metropolitan area used the free safe ride service, SoberRide, this Cinco de Mayo as opposed to possibly driving home drunk.” [WRAP]

Flickr pool photos by John Sonderman and GM and MB

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This weekend, Cinco de Mayo revelers can score a free Lyft ride home thanks to a partnership aimed at reduced drunk driving.

The nonprofit Washington Regional Alcohol Program has partnered with ride-hailing service Lyft to provide free rides home from 4 p.m. on Sunday, May 5 through 4 a.m. Monday, May 6.

WRAP announced instructions for how Lyft users can access the free rides:

During this twelve-hour period, area residents age 21 and older celebrating with alcohol may download Lyft to their phones, then enter a SoberRide code in the app’s “Promo” section to receive their no cost (up to $15) safe transportation home. WRAP’s Cinco de Mayo SoberRide promo code will be posted at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, May 5 on www.SoberRide.com.

This year marks the fifth in a row that the organization has organized free ride-hailing for party goers during the holiday.

WRAP said in a statement last month that 897 people in the Greater Washington area used the free rides they organized during Cinco de Mayo last year.

“Over one-quarter (28%) of all U.S. traffic fatalities during Cinco de Mayo 2016 involved drunk drivers according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration,” Kurt Erickson, WRAP’s president, said in a statement. “Nearly one-fourth (20%) of U.S. drivers in fatal crashes during the 2016 Cinco de Mayo period had BACs of .15 or higher.”

Steve Taylor, Lyft’s D.C. general manager, said in a statement that the company was “proud” to help reduce drunk driving in the D.C. area.

“Here in the D.C. area, partnering with the Washington Regional Alcohol Program allows us to take our commitment to providing reliable, convenient, and responsible transportation a step further, particularly during times of the year when people are out celebrating and in need of a ride home,” Taylor said.

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The Arlington County Police Department revealed a new tool today (Monday) to discourage drunk driving as the region gears up to celebrate the Fourth of July: a bright pink BMW.

The “SoberRide Vehicle,” developed in partnership with the Washington Regional Alcohol Program and ride-hailing service Lyft, is a redesigned 2004 BMW 330ci, seized following a drug conviction. Wrapped partially in eye-catching pink, courtesy of Lyft, the vehicle will be on display at community events and areas with nightlife to remind Arlington residents not to drive under the influence.

The vehicle complements the Washington Regional Alcohol Program’s SoberRide campaign, which will offer up to 1,500 free Lyft rides on Independence Day.

Riders will be able to request a free ride home worth up to $15 from 7 p.m. to 4 a.m. by using a Lyft promo code that will be posted to the SoberRide website 5 p.m. Wednesday.

WRAP’s SoberRide program has previously provided free rides home to area residents on holidays like St. Patrick’s DayCinco de Mayo and Halloween. Last year, 513 people in the Washington metropolitan area used the Independence Day SoberRide promotion, according to WRAP president Kurt Erickson.

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