In the next couple of months, Arlington County will launch a campaign encouraging transit use and thanking people who rode Metro and the bus during Covid.
The campaign, aimed at restoring transit ridership rates to pre-pandemic levels, should kick off later this spring or early this summer and will last at least one year, says Department of Environmental Services Director of Transportation Dennis Leach.
“This is an ongoing effort,” he said. “It’s going to take a couple of years to rebuild transit ridership.”
Metrorail use plummeted in March 2020 as large swaths of federal and private employees were directed to work from home. Since then, rail ridership has picked up in fits and starts, most recently recovering by 33% in the fall before the Omicron variant hit. Leach predicts a long recovery for Metro that will depend in large part on federal return-to-work guidelines.
Local bus ridership rates, meanwhile, fell to 50% of pre-Covid rates, as many essential workers continued to take the bus, and had also been recovering quickly before Omicron, he said.
Rates for both modes were ticking up in late February as more people seem to be out and about, as well as commuting to the office, he said. With ridership creeping up and Covid cases remaining low, Arlington County, the Northern Virginia region and the state are all embarking on efforts to further boost public transit use.
Arlington will focus on promoting bus ridership and encouraging Metro trips for accessing entertainment and cultural sites. Targeting Metrorail is paramount, he said, as the lion’s share of Arlington’s pre-pandemic transit riders used Metro, and work-from-home may be around for good.
The county will be seizing on historically high gas prices — fueled by a host of supply issues, most recently the Russian invasion of Ukraine — as a reason to choose public transit.
In Arlington, a gallon of regular gas costs an average of $4.19, up from $2.80 per gallon in 2021 and $3.05 per gallon last month, according to the pump price watch group GasBuddy.
“Any time gas prices really spike, it’s an opportunity to promote transit as an affordable way to get around,” Leach said. “The ART bus and Metrobus are $2, we offer free transfers from the bus to Metrorail and Metro has introduced a lot of discounts to promote the return to rail.”
Locals can expect to see and hear messages on social media and on Spotify — targeting commuters who listen to music and podcasts — and promotions on buses and in Metro stations.
“Spotify has been helpful in the past for Arlington Transportation Partners to localize where those listeners are and target them where they are,” DES spokeswoman Claudia Pors says. “Hopefully, people are still listening to podcasts on their commute to the living room.”
The local effort is part of a push by the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission to encourage transit ridership. NVTC used a one-time, $500,000 state grant to launch a campaign and asked the jurisdictions in its borders to each contribute to a 20% match, or $100,000.
Arlington is contributing $10,000, which the Arlington County Board approved on Saturday. Other participating localities include Fairfax and Loudoun counties, the cities of Alexandria and Falls Church, and entities such as Virginia Railway Express and OmniRide.
NVTC’s effort and Arlington’s plans dovetail from a statewide transit recovery marketing initiative, for which the Commonwealth has set aside $2 million, and are geared toward an already well-connected region.
“We’re the most transit-centric part of the state — about 70% of state transit ridership is in Northern Virginia,” Leach said. “At the state level, they’re much more focused on commuting. In Arlington, that’s important, but you’re going to see us pivot to transit for lifestyle and using transit to do multiple things.”
Virginians can expect to see the state and region promoting public transit in various news outlets and on social media.
Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf
Ballston Building to Be Renovated — “Arlington’s Monday Properties has made two new office building acquisitions as it banks on workers across the market returning to their offices in the coming months. The commercial property owner and developer has purchased the former home of CACI International’s headquarters, Three Ballston Plaza at 1100 N. Glebe Rd. — for $118 million. The 330,000-square-foot property, one of the most prominent in Ballston, will get a Gensler-designed renovation to help it compete in the modern commercial office environment.” [Washington Business Journal]
Rescued Dog Seeking New Home — “[Several] weeks ago, a young, mixed breed dog was rescued after being trapped between two fences alongside I-395. Since then, the Animal Welfare League of Arlington, which renamed the dog “Benito,” has been helping him feel happier and more confident. ‘We were unable to find Benito’s owner, so he’s looking for a new family to call his own.'” [Patch]
Local Shops Offer ‘Passport’ — “On Small Business Saturday 2021, November 27th, Arlington and Falls Church shoppers will get a chance to participate in a shopping ‘Passport’ program to discover unique shops, find deals, keep their shopping dollars local and be eligible to win prizes. Led by One More Page Books, the Passport enables shoppers who are looking to participate in the national #shoplocal effort to easily discover small businesses near them.” [Press Release]
MLK Contest for Students Now Open — “Arlington Public Schools students are invited to take part in the annual ‘Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Literary and Visual Contest.’ Entries are due by 5 p.m. Thu, Dec. 16.” [Arlington Public Schools]
VFW Post in Va. Square Profiled — “7News’ Ashlie Rodriguez discovered a little-known secret, tucked away in Arlington, Virginia, where hundreds of veterans gather, swap stories, share memories, and find a place of refuge. Here’s a look inside the John Lyon VFW Post 3150.” [WJLA]
State Tax Coffers Are Overflowing — “Virginia budget officials say they’ve never seen anything like it — more than $13 billion in additional state revenues this year and in the next two fiscal years. The House Appropriations Committee projects a $3.5 billion increase in revenue above the current forecast in the fiscal year that began July 1, based on higher pending forecasts of state income tax and other revenues in the pair of budgets that Gov. Ralph Northam will present to the General Assembly next month.” [Richmond Times-Dispatch]
It’s Thursday — Today will start off sunny and warm, with a high near 73, before a rainy evening. Southwest wind 7 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 25 mph. Sunrise at 6:54 a.m. and sunset at 4:52 p.m. Tomorrow will be sunny, breezy and cooler, with a high near 50. Northwest wind 10 to 17 mph, with gusts as high as 28 mph. [Weather.gov]
(Updated 5:40 p.m.) Arlington has seen significantly higher early voting turnout than usual, ahead of the Democratic primary tomorrow.
Neighborhood polling places will be open Tuesday from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. for those who have not voted early or absentee. Voters will see a full slate of Democratic candidates for local and state elections. Primary winners will face non-Democratic candidates in November.
Arlingtonians have been taking advantage of early voting opportunities since April 23. According to the Arlington County elections office, 2,803 people voted early and in-person before that option closed last week — a 140% increase over the last Virginia gubernatorial election cycle in 2017.
Meanwhile, more than 3,900 mail ballots for the Democratic primary were distributed before the May 28 deadline to request a ballot, the office said in a tweet. These can still be returned by mail but must be postmarked by tomorrow (June 8) and received by the local voter registration office by noon on Friday.
On the ballot in Arlington are three statewide elections, two contested House of Delegates elections, and the Democratic race for County Board.
Democrats have a number of potential replacements for Gov. Ralph Northam, including former governor Terry McAuliffe and Jennifer Carroll Foy — both of whom visited Arlington last week — as well as Jennifer McClellan, Lee Carter and Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax.
The winner of the gubernatorial primary will face off Glenn Youngkin, who beat out a half-dozen other Republican candidates to win the GOP nomination.
Meanwhile, seven Democrats are competing for Fairfax’s current role as Lieutenant Governor. They are Del. Hala Ayala, Del. Sam Rasoul, Norfolk Council Member Andria McClellan, Fairfax County NAACP President Sean Perryman, Del. Mark Levine and Arlington businessman Xavier Warren.
Voters can also choose between incumbent Attorney General Mark Herring or his Democratic challenger Jay Jones.
Challenging Del. Alfonso Lopez for the 49th District is Karishma Mehta, while Alexandria City Vice-Mayor Elizabeth Bennett-Parker is going up against Levine (who is also running for Lieutenant Governor) in the 45th District.
The 47th and 48th districts are not facing primary challenges on the ballot this year. Incumbent Del. Rip Sullivan (D-48th) faces no challenger and Matt Rogers, who launched a bid to unseat incumbent Del. Patrick Hope (D-47th), is not on the ballot due to a paperwork snafu. He contested a decision by the State Board of Elections not to grant him and two other candidates a filing deadline.
Meanwhile, locals can choose to keep incumbent Democrat Takis Karantonis in his County Board seat or select his opponent, Chanda Choun. In November, the winner will face off a trio of independents: Audrey Clement, Mike Cantwell and now, Adam Theo.
Theo describes himself as a patriotic Libertarian Buddhist. He is the chair of the Libertarian Party of Northern Virginia, which operates in the cities of Alexandria and Falls Church as well as Arlington, Fairfax and Loudoun counties.
Tomorrow also is the deadline for candidates to file the forms needed to have their names printed on the ballot in the November general election.
There is no Republican primary, as “the Republican party did not call for any primary elections in Arlington,” the county elections office noted. Any voter can cast a ballot in the Democratic primary, regardless of party affiliation, as Virginia is an open primary state.
Registered voters can find their polling place on the Virginia Department of Elections website. A pocket guide from the department includes a list of acceptable IDs that voters can use to prove their identity when they arrive at the polls.
Less than a week before the primary, gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe, Del. Alfonso Lopez, and Virginia Speaker of the House Eileen Filler-Corn paid a visit to Acme Pie Company on Columbia Pike.
All three Democrats are running for office in the upcoming primary, set for Tuesday, June 8 — with early voting happening now. (Filler-Corn is unopposed in the primary.)
Around slices of blueberry and lemon curd pie, joined by Acme’s owner Sol Schott, they discussed small businesses, economic recovery, and their love of pie.
“The best pie in America,” Lopez said about Acme’s offerings. A few moments later, McAuliffe bought a whole pie.
“I got five kids,” the McLean resident and former governor said as his reasoning.
The campaign stop was intended to highlight the plight and hoped-for recovery for Virginia’s small businesses.
“Almost 41% of Black and Brown [owned] businesses have closed. How do you rebuild? How do you bring small businesses back?,” McAuliffe asked. “We do microloans, access to capital, and working on the regulatory structure.”
While Acme Pie has found ways to survive over the last year, it’s been rough going with the shop losing a large slice of its wholesale business.
The business did get a Paycheck Protection Program loan and Schott said that one of the most frustrating aspects was dealing with paperwork and navigating the legalese.
“I would like to see some more hands-on help with paperwork,” Schott told ARLnow. “I did get help from Alfonso personally on that.”
Lopez, who is facing an intra-party challenger in his run for re-election in the 49th District, agrees that the paperwork and amount of work that small business owners need do to gain access to loans and capital can be a barrier.
“What we need to be doing is dealing with procurement reform… and changing the definition of what a small business is,” Lopez said in an interview with ARLnow. “There’s so much more we could do to help these folks who are literally putting everything into their dream of a small business and be able to take care of their family.”
McAuliffe, who is seen as the front-runner for the competitive Democratic gubernatorial nomination, told ARLnow in an interview that the Commonwealth needs to be directly involved in providing access to capital to small businesses.
“We as a state should stand up our own, basically, investment bank structure to help small businesses, to get them off their feet, and work with them,” he said. “The state being involved in micro-financing and other lending opportunities, I think is very important for us.”
The four spoke about other issues impacting residents in Arlington and across Virginia, including education and affordable housing.
“We’ve got to invest in education… You’ve got to have the best education system if you’re going to recruit businesses in the 21st century,” McAuliffe said. “Today, [Virginia] is 50 out of 50 states in average teacher pay. That’s disgraceful… so, raising pay above the national average.”
APS to Fully Return to Classrooms in Fall — “Arlington Public Schools will bring all students who choose it back for five days of in-person learning every week starting in the fall, Superintendent Francisco Durán told the school board Thursday.
He emphasized that any families… who want to stay virtual-only will be able to do so, and noted that staffers have already begun to plot out what the remote option will look like.” [Washington Post]
County Still Seeking New Logo Ideas — “Calling all artists, and artists-at-heart! The County will choose a new logo this year that better represents our Arlington community, and we need your help… Submit your logo concept/art by March 14.” [Arlington County]
Fire Breaks Out in Route 1 Median — From Dave Statter: “Watch your cigarettes, matches & ashes. Dry & breezy. A small brush fire on Rt 1 south of 23rd St briefly blocked traffic. @Reagan_Airport MWAA Engine 301 handled it.” [Twitter]
Brooks Basking in the Sunlight — From the Arlington County Police Department yesterday afternoon: “It’s a pawsitively beautiful day in Arlington County! FRK9 Brooks hopes you get out and enjoy the weather!” [Twitter]
Va. Booze Sales Soar During Pandemic — “Virginians bought considerably more liquor in the second half of 2020 than they did during the same period of 2019. That’s according to figures Washingtonian obtained from the commonwealth’s Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority, which show statewide sales of spirits were up 15 percent over 2019 from July to December of the worst year in recent history.” [Washingtonian]
State Tax Revenue Higher Than Expected — “On a year-to-date basis, collections of payroll withholding taxes — 61 percent of General Fund revenues — increased 1.1 percent, behind the annual forecast of 2.7 percent growth. Sales tax collections — 17 percent of General Fund revenues — increased 6.7 percent through February, ahead of the annual forecast calling for a 4.8 percent increase. Recordation taxes advanced 38.3 percent on a fiscal year basis, ahead of the 24.4 percent annual forecast. Total revenues rose 8.0 percent through February, ahead of the revised annual forecast of 3.0 percent growth.” [Gov. Ralph Northam]
Reminder: Spring Forward This Weekend — “The second Sunday in March is when Daylight Saving Time begins in most areas of the U.S., so in 2021 we’ll ‘spring forward’ one hour and on Sunday, March 14, 2021, at 2 a.m. Be sure to set your clocks ahead one hour before bed on Saturday night!” [Farmers’ Almanac]
Arlington County officials say names of people pre-registered to receive a coronavirus vaccine are still migrating into the state’s new Vaccinate Virginia system.
It has been more than one week since Arlington County shut down its pre-registration platform to send 41,000 names to the Virginia Department of Health’s new statewide platform. The delay means that for now, some pre-registered individuals may not see their registration status. But that does not mean the pre-registrations have gone missing, county spokeswoman Cara O’Donnell said in an email.
“At no time were any lists ‘lost,'” O’Donnell said. “All data still exists, and the County is in the process of rolling out vaccine scheduling notification to residents 65+.”
This applies to about 10,000 pre-registered individuals 65 and older, she said.
Many pre-registrations have not merged due to formatting problems, state health department spokesperson Logan Anderson said. For example, some data fields were case sensitive, which he said has been addressed.
“Data cleanup is an ongoing process, and they may show up in the system,” he said. “There were also 1.6 million entries transferred in total. After cleanup and de-duplication, that number dropped to about 1.2 million.”
Arlington County shut down its pre-registration system at 5 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 12 to start sending its names to VDH, O’Donnell said.
“As we’ve seen, that migration process is taking longer than anticipated, and we are in constant communication with VDH about the migration,” she said.
She said county officials are hearing that one feature of the state system in particular, called “Check the List,” is not working for many lookups.
“This is not an indication that these people are not in the system,” she said. “Many actually are, but the checking the list feature is still experiencing difficulties.”
While some ARLnow readers report that their registration has yet to transfer, others say their problems last week were resolved, or that they re-registered.
One woman who could not find her three family members’ statuses last week told ARLnow that “all three family members registered as 1B with Arlington in mid-January now appear with VDH as ‘This user is registered.'”
Another woman who spoke with ARLnow last week confirmed that after she and her husband decided to re-register.
“Since then we show up in the system, but we have no real way of knowing whether our original Jan. 9 registration with Arlington County is part of the consolidated list, or whether we moved to the back of the line,” she said.
The Commonwealth is encouraging people to re-register online or call the Vaccinate Virginia call center at (877) VAX-IN-VA, Anderson said.
During a County Board work session last week, Board Member Christian Dorsey said the system’s issues are basic and should have been tested before the launch.
“It’s creating a really huge burden on the local districts to basically provide customer service and complaint feedback on the state’s site,” Dorsey said. “This is an implicit unfunded mandate to fix through customer service and other forms a state-mandated issue.”
Arlington Public Health Director Dr. Reuben Varghese said he and his colleagues across the state have been giving the state “more than an earful about the impact that this has been having.”
“It should have been working from the minute that it opened up,” he said.
Board Chair Matt de Ferranti said the county will continue to work with people worried about their status.
“If you’re pre-registered, take some days and up to a week before you do anything — take a breath,” de Ferranti said. “We have a committed staff and we will reach out.”
Rosslyn Redevelopment Approved — “The Arlington County Board today approved a mixed-use redevelopment that will add 740 new housing units, including on-site affordable housing, to the Rosslyn neighborhood. The Board approved developer Snell Properties’ plan to build two residential towers with ground-floor retail and office/retail flex space at 1820 and 1830 Fort Myer Drive in Rosslyn.” [Arlington County]
Inova Cancels Vaccine Appointments, Too — “COVID-19 vaccine supply shortages have forced Inova Health System to cancel first-dose appointments for people in Northern Virginia’s Group 1B starting Tuesday, a group that includes employees of Fairfax County Public Schools. The news comes as elected leaders appeal directly to the governor for more doses.” [NBC 4]
Virginia Ranks Last in U.S. for Vaccinations — New data ranks Virginia dead last in terms of percentage of COVID-19 vaccines administered. That has prompted bipartisan criticism and questions for Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam. [Becker’s Hospital Review, Twitter, Twitter]
UK Coronavirus Variant Found in N. Va. — “A variant of the COVID-19 virus first found in the United Kingdom last year has been found in Virginia, in the state’s first case, officials say. A Northern Virginia resident with no reported recent travel history tested positive for the variant, the Virginia Department of Health announced in a statement Monday afternoon.” [NBC 4]
Cases Still Growing in Virginia — “A new report paints a grim picture of Virginia’s coronavirus response. New York Times data shows new cases in the Commonwealth have risen 12 percent in the past 14 days ending Saturday, making Virginia the ‘only state reporting significant increases in new cases.'” [Fox 5]
Coming Soon: Lots of Cicadas — “Gazillions of insects that have been underground since Britney married K-Fed will tunnel through the earth this spring. When they emerge, they’ll ruin young trees, delight food-motivated dogs, and just generally gross out a high percentage of the population. Yes, the cicadas of Brood X… are due back in the DC area (and most of the East Coast) this spring, possibly around late April or mid-May.” [Washingtonian]
(Updated at 8:50 p.m.) Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced a new round of coronavirus-related restrictions this afternoon.
The changes, which are to take effect early Monday morning, include tightening the limit on social gatherings from 25 to 10 people, and a “modified stay at home order” between midnight and 5 a.m. daily.
The new restrictions come with some exceptions.
The social gathering rule does not apply to “religious services, employment settings, or educational settings.” The midnight curfew doesn’t apply to those “obtaining food and goods, traveling to and from work, and seeking medical attention.”
Another change: a tightening of the state mask mandate, for those five and over. It will now apply “in indoor settings shared with others and when outdoors within six feet of another person.”
Despite the new restrictions, Northam said restaurants will be able to stay open with existing rules in place, including no on-site alcohol sales after 10 p.m.
During his Thursday afternoon press conference, Northam said coming COVID vaccines are cause for optimism, but with nearly 4,000 new cases and dozens of deaths per day in the Commonwealth, “hard realities” necessitate tighter restrictions.
Intensive Care Unit hospitalizations have been rising, Northam said, and nurses and doctors are becoming exhausted. Here in Arlington, the rate of new cases hit a new high on Monday.
“If you don’t have to go out, stay at home,” the governor said. “This is just plain common sense.”
The new rules will go into effect until Jan. 31, but may be extended beyond that.
Northam also took a dig at President Trump near the end of the press conference, saying that the president had “checked out” on the pandemic and “it’s time for real leadership.”
The full press release from the governor’s office is below.
Working remotely started as an experiment but is now a permanent option for some U.S. companies. Now, the trend may be coming for public meetings.
Virtual public meetings began in the spring after an emergency order from Gov. Ralph Northam authorized them. Normally, according to Virginia code, in-person meetings are required. Existing law lets officials attend up to two meetings virtually, if a majority is present in-person, and they must state for the record their reason for staying away.
For a group of women in public life from Arlington County to Spotsylvania, these rules represent barriers to equal participation.
Arlington County Board Chair Libby Garvey is one of those women. Today (Wednesday) she testified before the Virginia Freedom of Information Association Council –a state agency which helps resolve disputes over Freedom of Information issues — on behalf of the idea of virtual attendance. The Council will be making a recommendation to the General Assembly.
Recently, a bill introduced by Del. Mark Levine (D-45), allowing more flexibility in online meetings, was passed by the House of Delegates. It has yet to be passed in the state Senate.
But the women and men supporting virtual attendance, who also pledged their support in a letter to the FOIA Council dated Tuesday, are asking for more flexibility than in the event of a serious medical condition. They advocate for a virtual option whenever a public official needs it.
“A lot of us are realizing, particularly women, why are we not allowed to participate virtually if we need to?” Garvey said. “I think you could argue that mostly men run these things because they don’t have these responsibilities at home.”
Currently, if a member wants to participate virtually, she must tell the board why, which Garvey said was restrictive.
“Maybe your reason is that you have a child in a mental-health crisis,” she said. “Do you really want to tell the whole world why you’re home?”
Garvey said she feels strongly about the virtual option because juggling kids was part of the trajectory of her career. She stayed home with her kids, doing part-time work, and eventually got involved in local politics when her kids were old enough.
Anecdotally, Garvey said the virtual option has also been a boon for the number of people listening to meetings during the pandemic. The rates of people speaking, however, appear to have remained about the same, according to Arlington County Board Clerk Kendra Jacobs.
The county has not been collecting precise data about virtual meeting participation, Jacobs said, but based on her observations speaker participation has not changed drastically. Rather, there have been a few virtual meetings on hot-button issues, including a forum on race and equity and one on a gun ordinance, that would have drawn crowds, regardless of the venue.
“It really depends on the issue at hand, if people are interested in something, they’re going to participate,” she said. “The virtual options make it easier, because they don’t have to worry about things like childcare, missing out on work.”
Meanwhile, Garvey said she has been on many Zoom calls where the moderator has announced the number of participants with surprise, saying “We have a lot of people on” or “This is more people than we have ever had.”
There is one group of attendees who are notably absent, however: older citizens who have attended and spoken at meetings for years, Jacobs said. Roughly half have dropped off, and she attributed this to not wanting to figure out the virtual setup.
Jacobs said it seems that some younger people feel more comfortable coming to meetings, now that they are virtual, and could be replacing those who have dropped off because of tech barriers.
“The whole virtual meeting option has just continued peoples’ ability to speak out on issues that are important to them,” she said.
Arlington businessman Xavier Warren is basing his campaign for lieutenant governor of Virginia on a pledge to lead a statewide economic recovery while focusing on the job market.
Warren is a partner with Congressional Partners, a bipartisan organization that helps nonprofits and corporations secure federal grants. He also works as a sports agent and serves as a NFL Players Association contract advisor.
Warren announced his candidacy for lieutenant governor in September.
He is among a sizable group of candidates vying for the Democratic Party’s nomination for lieutenant governor that includes Del. Elizabeth R. Guzmán (Prince William), Del. Hala Ayala (Prince William), former Democratic Party chairman Paul Goldman, and Fairfax County NAACP President Sean Perryman.
Additionally, Del. Sam Rasoul (Roanoke) filed paperwork Tuesday to allow him to start raising money for a potential lieutenant governor campaign, according to the Washington Post.
Republican candidates include former Del. Timothy D. Hugo (Fairfax), Del. Glenn R. Davis Jr. (Virginia Beach), Fairfax County business consultant Puneet Ahluwalia and Lance Allen, a national security company executive from Fauquier County.
Each candidate is vying for the role that will be vacated by Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax (D), who is running for governor.
Warren points to the state’s current economic condition as his primary reason for running. He specifically seeks to address the unemployment rate that has risen as a result of COVID-19.
“The reason why I am running is to focus on jobs, support small businesses and workers, and helping every Virginian have a job with a livable wage,” Warren said.
“COVID is literally hurting, and has killed, small businesses,” he told ARLnow. “Small businesses are closing on a weekly basis. And hundreds of thousands of people are out of work. Even truthfully speaking, people were hurting pre-COVID, living paycheck-to-paycheck, and now those people are extremely hurt.”
His understanding of the lieutenant governor job is as a “business position” that sets the basis for a platform focused on reviving the job market. If elected, Warren looks to advocate for job growth while working with boards such as the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, Virginia Tourism and Virginia Resiliency.
“What I plan to do is to be our spokesperson and really market Virginia for jobs to come in, to bring in high-wage jobs, new jobs, and that will also support small businesses,” Warren said. “When you put money into workers’ pockets, they then go spend it in retail, go spend it in restaurants, spend it at shopping centers.”
Warren lives in Arlington, but he grew up in Danville and attended Hampton University before earning a master’s degree from Georgetown University. With his experience living and working across the state, he acknowledges that each region of Virginia comes with its own unique challenges.
His plans for the position include tailoring the economic efforts for each region based on its specific needs, whether that’s improved health care, education, supporting public schools, or whatever each community may face.
“Obviously, at the state level, economic development is different across the board,” Warren said. “Every person in every region is unique. So it’s not a one-size-fits-all for everyone. You take in a personalized approach to helping get each region together to really uplift all Virginians.”
Va. Adopts New Workplace Safety Rules — “Today, the Virginia Safety and Health Codes Board acted to protect the Commonwealth’s workers by adopting emergency temporary standards, which set forth enforceable, common-sense requirements that employers must follow to protect their workers during the COVID-19 pandemic… Key requirements, such as those for physical distancing, workplace sanitization, and information sharing, will apply to all workers.” [Commonwealth of Virginia, Legal Aid Justice Center, Twitter]
Witness Helps Apprehend Robbery Suspect — “Two employees followed the suspect outside and attempted to take back the items, at which point a physical altercation ensued. The suspect assaulted the employees and threw the items at them. During this time, a witness heard commotion outside the business and went to investigate, but was struck by the suspect as he fled on foot. Arriving officers, with the assistance of the witness, located the suspect nearby and took him into custody without incident.” [Arlington County]
ACPD No Longer Working With Ring — “Amazon.com Inc.’s doorbell camera subsidiary Ring Inc. has partnered with more than 1,000 law enforcement agencies across the country, but it appears it won’t be making a similar arrangement with the HQ2-area police force. Despite quite a bit of interest last year, the Arlington County Police Department said it is no longer ‘actively seeking a partnership with Ring,’ which would have provided its officers access to a special police portal of the company’s Neighbors app.” [Washington Business Journal]
Amazon Delaying Return to Offices — “Amazon said it is allowing employees who can work from home to do so until Jan. 8., once again extending the timeline on a return to work for many of its employees.” [CNBC]
Hope Gets Primary Challenger — Political operative Matt Rogers has announced that he will be challenging Del. Patrick Hope (D-Va.) in next year’s Democratic primary. [Twitter, Blue Virginia]
Local Stage Star Offers Singing Telegrams — “Her title role in ‘Porgy and Bess’ was postponed at the Kennedy Center this summer. Instead, Alyson Cambridge of Arlington, Virginia, is participating in Sing for Hope grams… The idea is to give personalized singing grams from Broadway and opera stars.” [WTOP]
ACFD Battles Falls Church House Fire — Arlington County firefighters were joined by firefighters from Fairfax County in battling a house fire on Robinson Place in the City of Falls Church yesterday. [Tysons Reporter]