Arlington, VA

Virginia schools may be closed for the rest of the academic year, but Barrett Elementary staff members haven’t gone anywhere.

That’s the message from a new music video uploaded to YouTube last night, featuring teachers dancing in their homes and yards to a cover of Elton John’s “I’m Still Standing.”

“Check out this amazing video that our music teacher put together to bring some smiles to our students and their families,” Marissa Mulholland, a special education teacher at the school, told ARLnow. “It was so fun to be a part of this video… almost like music therapy for us teachers!”

Arlington’s public schools are still educating students via online distance learning, though curriculums have been pared back and standardized tests cancelled.

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Nicklas Backstrom is loving dad life in Arlington.

Last month Backstrom signed a new five-year, $46 million contract to remain with the Washington Capitals. In addition to being the second all-time scorer for the Caps and one of hockey’s top players, the 32-year-old Swede and father of two is an Arlington resident.

A video from the Caps’ “Beyond Hockey” series was recently posted on YouTube and shows Backstrom at home in his red brick, north Arlington house. He spoke highly of the neighborhood.

“We have lived here for 10 years, actually — or I have lived here for 10 years, and Liza has lived here for 7 or 8,” he said, referring to his fiancée.

“We love it around here, on typical days we usually just — kids go to school until 2 or 3 in the afternoon, and then keep them activated and run around,” he said. “That’s when they get the best sleep too.”

Backstrom purchased the home, near the Fairfax County border, for $2 million in 2010.

In the video, he also reveals that Liza is pregnant with the family’s third child. For her part, Liza says the family “has a lot of good neighbors.”

Backstrom is not the only Arlingtonian on the team to talk up the county on video. In October, Caps winger and Bash Boxing co-owner Tom Wilson, who signed his own $31 million contract extension in 2018, appeared in the Beyond Hockey series and spent much of the video driving around Arlington.

“The offseason always flies by, but when you drive in and Arlington’s buzzing you realize how much you’ve missed it here,” Wilson said. “It’s a great feeling to have a place like that that you’re fortunate enough to come back to every year. There’s lots of stuff to do.”

The Caps may play at Capital One arena in D.C., but the team’s offices and its practices are held at MedStar Capitals Iceplex in Ballston.

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The old warehouses that once stood along S. Eads Street, between 12th and 15th streets, are no more.

The buildings have been torn down over the course of the past month to make way for the first half of Amazon’s permanent HQ2, which is expected to open in 2023.

A Reddit user who lives near the site captured a unique, bird’s-eye view of the demolition, posting a minute-and-a-half video showing the warehouses being methodically leveled over time.

The video was shot on a GoPro in timelapse mode, the user said.

“Hopefully you signed like a 10 year price lock lease because your rent is probably going to skyrocket,” another user said in the comments.

Demolition for the Amazon invasion has started in Arlington – View from my apartment from nova

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For most of the year, a stretch of Columbia Pike on the western end of Arlington County will be reduced to one lane in each direction.

During the extended closure, necessitated by utility work, drivers can expect significant delays during rush hour. Another impact: on left turns in the construction zone.

Following criticism of county officials for insufficient communication about the closure, Arlington’s television arm has released a video detailing the closure and the detours in place to move traffic around it.

After construction concludes, the video notes, the affected portion of Columbia Pike will have wider sidewalks and will no longer have overhead utility lines.

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With snowflakes almost starting to fly, now might be a good time to provide a helpful tip for one way to avoid walking in the elements.

After much anticipation, the new Ballston Quarter pedestrian bridge opened in November. The snazzy, lighted bridge over Wilson Blvd links the second floor of the Ballston Quarter mall with the office complex and Metro station across the street, allowing people to get from one place to the other in climate-controlled comfort.

There’s no direct access from the Metro station to the office building, which means a brief walk outdoors. Also, it can be a little tricky to find on the first try. But don’t worry — we have a quick video guide on how to use the pedestrian bridge to get from the station to the mall.

Video by Jay Westcott 

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ABC’s Good Morning America aired a live segment from Abingdon Elementary in Fairlington Wednesday morning.

The five-minute segment, hosted by meteorologist Ginger Zee, highlighted a donation Amazon made to the nonprofit Rosie Riveters STEM program for girls.

More from the GMA website:

…there are limitations to what the nonprofit can do in terms of free programming for girls without additional funding and resources. The cost of computers, batteries for robots, magnets and more of the supplies required to bring these inventive STEM projects to life add up quickly. In Arlington, the group said their waitlist is approximately 300 girls long.

To celebrate the season of giving, Amazon surprised the nonprofit live on “Good Morning America” by fulfilling their entire wish list with these essential supplies – computers, printers, batteries, magnets and much more — all to continue their mission.

Amazon, which is seeking approval for the first 2.1 million square foot phase of its permanent HQ2 in Pentagon City this weekend, has been particularly active in Arlington recently. The company made a large donation of “wish list” items to local affordable housing provider AHC Inc. earlier this week, while its Amazon Web Services arm has been helping to teach students at Drew Elementary coding this week for Computer Science Education Week.

More on the Abingdon broadcast via social media:

https://www.facebook.com/AbingdonElementaryPTA/photos/a.576958229028424/2740930249297867/?type=3&theater

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A woman who was struck by a dump truck in Rosslyn a year ago, suffering serious injuries and ultimately a leg amputation, is reflecting on her recovery.

Helen Harris was honored at George Washington University Hospital’s 8th annual Trauma Survivors Day earlier this week. Though now able to walk with a prosthetic, Harris is still “on a long road to recovery,” NBC 4 reported.

“I will carry it for the rest of my life,” Harris told NBC 4. “It’s an ongoing struggle, every day gets a little bit better but it’s full of ups and downs.”

Harris was run over by the dump truck on Lee Highway in Rosslyn last December, after pushing her daughter — who was in a stroller — out of the way of the truck while crossing the street.

The truck’s driver, identified at the time as 63-year-old John Washington of Silver Spring, was charged with reckless driving and failure to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk after the crash. The reckless driving charge was dropped and in March he was found guilty on the failure to yield charge, paying a $100 fine and avoiding any jail time, according to court records.

Screen shot (bottom) via NBC 4

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The Memorial Bridge rehabilitation project is halfway complete.

The bridge is back open today after a total closure over the weekend (delayed from earlier this month) that allowed crews to replace concrete support structures and panels, along with other work, on the southern side of the span.

The National Park Service released a new video (above) highlighting work so far on the $227 million project, which kicked off last fall. The video notes that the bridge is “a symbolic link between north and south” and “a symbolic entrance to our nation’s capital.”

It took years to secure federal funding for the project, as warnings of the bridge crumbling and becoming unusable grew more dire.

More on the construction progress so far, from NPS:

Over the weekend, workers finished preparing the southside of the bridge for users and made changes to transition to the next phase of the rehabilitation project. The work included:

  • Moving the bridge’s center barrier.
  • Striping the southside of the bridge for drivers.
  • Moving the poles that support overhead lights guiding drivers in three reversible lanes.
  • Installing or uncovering new detour signs for pedestrians and bicyclists.

The total rehabilitation of Arlington Memorial Bridge began in fall 2018 and is on schedule.  So far, workers have:

  • Replaced the concrete structures that support the southside of the bridge.
  • Installed new pre-cast concrete panels to replace half of the bridge deck.
  • Placed new steel beams on the southside of the bridge.
  • Cleaned, repaired and reinstalled the bridge’s historic granite balustrade.

“Since its dedication in 1932, Arlington Memorial Bridge has served as a monument to national sacrifice and valor — a symbol of reunification, spanning the historic divisions of the North and South,” NPS said of the bridge, which connects Arlington and D.C. across the Potomac River. “As one of the largest transportation infrastructure projects in National Park Service history, the rehabilitation of Arlington Memorial Bridge will give new life to our Capital’s ceremonial entrance while respecting its character, history and national significance.”

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Morning Notes

One Year Since HQ2 Announcement — “I cannot believe it’s been one year since I had the privilege of announcing our Arlington, VA HQ2! It’s been amazing to work with all of the government officials and the community on this project. It’s just Day One and I look forward to many more successful years together!” [Twitter]

Crystal City Office Market Tightening Up — “There’s still an awful lot of empty office space in Crystal City, but a year after Amazon.com Inc. picked National Landing for its second home, conditions have already started to become less favorable for non-Amazon tenants in the Arlington County submarket.” [Washington Business Journal]

Lots of Amazon Employees Elsewhere in the Region — “Amazon’s biggest base locally is miles from HQ2. Some 2,500 corporate employees, not connected to the second headquarters, work in its D.C. and other offices. In Herndon, where the company already has a significant and growing footprint, there are nearly 800 job openings. For much of this year, many of Amazon’s Arlington job openings were allotted for Ballston, where the company leases some 52,000 square feet.” [Washington Business Journal]

Video of the Big Water Main Break — “Dramatic early footage from Friday’s break. Fast-acting crews were able to restore pressure to the water system within a few hours through a bypass. Repairs starting tonight” — N. Glebe Road is closed near Chain Bridge during the morning rush hour — “will allow renewed use of the main and then long-term resurfacing of Glebe Road.” [Twitter]

Rosslyn Renovation Mean Changes for Local Barber — “When it’s done, Rosslyn City Center will boast a new food hall, reimagined workspaces and experiential activated environments. And Rosslyn Metro Barber Shop will move to a highly visible, first-floor location where would-be customers are sure to take notice.” [Rosslyn BID]

W&OD Trail Upgrades Proposed in Arlington — “Arlington County Board members on Saturday will be asked to add their voices in support of a request from the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority (NOVA Parks) for $5.65 million in regional funding to improve and expand the Washington & Old Dominion Trail over a two-mile stretch in the western part of the county. NOVA Parks aims to replace the existing 12-foot-wide, shared-use trail with a 12-foot-wide bicycle trail and an 8-foot wide pedestrian trail.” [InsideNova]

New Scanner for County Jail — “A new security measure that will help prevent the smuggling of prohibited items into the Arlington County Detention Center by people who are arrested is now in use, Sheriff Beth Arthur announced.” The announcement follows the death of a homicide suspect in the jail. [Arlington County]

Photo courtesy Yung Chen

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Jeff Covel really wanted to go to a World Series game. A fan since the Expos came to town and became the Nationals, going to a World Series game was a “bucket list” dream.

The retiree and Nottingham Elementary crossing guard of 6 years made a sign saying “Need World Series Tickets” and placed it near his post at N. Ohio Street and 29th Street N.

Unbeknownst to Covel, who was lauded as one of Virginia’s most outstanding crossing guards in 2015, parents in a Facebook group decided to raise money to buy Jeff two tickets to Saturday’s Game 4 at Nationals Park. Within 24 hours they raised enough to purchase two tickets.

Colleen Wright, one of the organizers, presented the tickets this morning to Covel, surrounded by other parents and school children.

“He’s just so great with the kids, learning everyone’s name and always greeting everybody with a smile,” Wright said.

Staff video by Jay Westcott

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Morning Notes

Cards Coach Has Good Day in Arlington, At Least — “Cardinals pitching coach Mike Maddux hit not one, but two holes-in-one during a morning round of golf at the Army Navy Country Club, manager Mike Shildt revealed to reporters on Monday. The country club later confirmed the achievement to ESPN’s Alden Gonzalez.” [Yahoo]

Real Estate Market Awash in HQ2 Hype — “As of the first week of October, there were nearly 70 active listings for single-family detached homes in Greater Washington that mentioned Amazon’s HQ2 in their description… The median driving distance for the homes was about 7.4 miles.” [Washington Business Journal]

County to Sponsor Marine Corps Marathon Again — “Arlington County Board members on Oct. 19 are expected to ratify a sponsorship agreement for the Marine Corps Marathon, and allocate $85,000 in funding. The marathon, to be held this year on Oct. 27, is ‘the largest annual event held in Arlington, driving significant spending at local businesses and generating related tax revenues for the county.'” [InsideNova]

Video Shows Cars Stopped in Bike Lane — A video posted to Twitter shows numerous cars stopped, blocking the bike lane along Crystal Drive in Crystal City. In addition to voicing frustration about the blocked bike lane, the video poster wrote: “why are all these drivers doing pickups, dash-ins, etc, not given space, in favor of people street-parking adjacent to a huuuuge underground garage?” [Twitter]

No In-School Flu Vaccines This Year — “Arlington Public Schools students will not have access to free, in-school flu vaccinations this fall, county school officials said. Last school year, the school system partnered with Healthy Schools (CareDox) to offer the in-school service.” [InsideNova]

WeWork Phone Booths Emitting Fumes — “Colleen Wong, a director with the Global Entrepreneurship Network, said she noticed a pungent smell in the phone booths at WeWork’s Rosslyn location in Arlington, Virginia, where she’s a tenant. ‘I always noticed, from the first time I entered a phone booth, a strong chemical odor,’ Wong told Business Insider.” [Entrepreneur]

Reminder: Voter Registration Deadline Is Today — “The Voter Registration Deadline for the November 5, 2019 General Election is… Tues. Oct 15.” [Twitter]

Flickr pool photo by Tom Mockler

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