Arlington, VA

Arlington County is in the midst of a number of major projects, from road construction to new recreational facilities, and a newly-published county video provides updates on eight of those projects.

The projects included in the video on the Arlington TV YouTube channel include:

  1. Demolition along S. Clark Street in Crystal City to make a more open, and walkable streetscape
  2. Construction in Clarendon Circle to simplify and shrink the intersection between Wilson Blvd, Clarendon Blvd, and Washington Blvd
  3. Repaving a section of Washington Blvd in Westover and removing brick crosswalks
  4. Green streets” improvements along 22nd Street N. to add gutters, curbs, and a rain garden, a project county staff said in the video should be completed later this month.
  5. Water main replacement under 1 mile of S. Arlington Ridge Road to increase water pressure for residents and first responders during emergencies.
  6. Re-building the Lubber Run Community Center, which is expected to open in 2021.
  7. Constructing the foundation of the long-awaited and controversial Long Bridge Aquatic & Fitness Center. But don’t hold your breath: staff says construction is still scheduled into 2021
  8. Converting the natural field at the baseball field in Gunston Park to synthetic turf.

“Note that these projects are all actively underway, so they might be further along now than they appear in the video,” a description below the video reads.

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Morning Notes

Arlington County Suing Opioid Makers — “The Arlington County Board has emulated nearly two dozen other Virginia localities in taking to court a large number of opioid manufacturers, distributors and retailers, including some of the biggest names in the health-care industry.” [InsideNova]

HQ2 Affordable Housing Funds Going to Loudoun? — “When Virginia officials promised $75 million over five years for affordable housing in the wake of Amazon.com Inc.’s second headquarters announcement, Arlington officials assumed that those dollars would be split between the county and neighboring Alexandria. They were not thrilled to find out other localities might get a piece.” [Washington Business Journal]

Pedestrian Struck in CVS Parking Lot — “Police and medics are on scene of an elderly pedestrian struck by a car in the CVS parking lot on the 6400 block of Williamsburg Blvd. The victim reportedly suffered a broken bone and is being transported to the hospital.” [Twitter]

Early Video of Nauck House Fire — Video posted to Facebook shows the scene as firefighters start to arrive at yesterday’s house fire in the Nauck neighborhood, near the W&OD Trail. [Statter 911]

Discussing Nightlife Safety — “‘A Conversation about Nightlife Safety’ will take place on Wednesday, May 1, 2019 from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m… The event will feature panelists from various Arlington County departments speaking about how they collaborated to build trusting relationships with restaurant staff and improve safety.” [Arlington County]

What’s in a Name? — At the Pentagon City mall, Panda Tea House is now bustling where Kokee Tea struggled last year. Was it the name change, or the addition of Thai rolled ice cream to the menu? [Twitter]

Photo courtesy @eugeneksoh

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Arlington County is making the case, in a recently published video, that trees make good economic sense for residents.

For one, “homes on tree lined streets, versus streets that have no trees on them, sell faster and for more than homes” without trees, according to local real estate agent Eli Tucker, who also pens a sponsored real estate column on ARLnow.

Trees can increase a home’s value by 15 percent, Tucker said.

Another reason for keeping a tree canopy around your house: mature trees can help reduce the risk of flooding and can save on heating and air conditioning costs — to the tune of an up to 25 percent savings on energy costs.

The video was created by Arlington TV, the county government’s video production arm and cable channel.

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A senior from Arlington’s H-B Woodlawn Secondary Program appeared on NBC’s The Voice last night.

While Calista Garcia didn’t move on to the next round, her audition did get praise from the judges — including John Legend and Adam Levine — for her choice of song. Legend said she has a “powerful voice” but “wasn’t quite there.”

Garcia made headlines last year after she was selected as a 2019 Strathmore Artist in Residence.

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Arlington residents can expect a special morning wake-up this week as a U.S. Army regiment begins its annual cannon fire training.

Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall announced that the Presidential Salute Battery Guns Platoon of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, a.k.a. the “Old Guard,” will begin firing off blank rounds in the Arlington National Cemetery between 7-8 a.m. on Thursday.

Joint Base community relations officer Leah Rubalcaba told ARLnow that the training will continue on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7-8 a.m. “going forward” but that there isn’t a scheduled end date because it depends on how long it takes to train the platoon.

Residents in Radnor-Fort Myer Heights, Foxcroft Heights, Columbia Heights, Aurora Heights and Pentagon City have previously reported being able to hearing the sounds, which they described as “pounding,” “banging,” “booming,” or “explosion.” The booming sound has been reported in neighborhoods even farther away, depending on weather conditions.

During the training, teams work together to fire howitzers and 21-gun volleys. The goal is to time the shots with a ceremony or song, but the guns were not always ceremonial, according to the platoon’s website.

The platoon is equipped with ten M5, 75mm antitank cannons mounted on the M6 howitzer carriage. Each gun weighs 5,775 pounds. The M5 cannon saw service in North Africa, Italy, and Northwest Europe from 1943 until the end of World War II. Today, the Presidential Salute Battery fires the 75mm blank ceremonial shell with 1.5 pounds of powder….

Ceremonies require a five-man staff and a two-man team for each gun. The staff consists of the Battery Commander, who initiates fire commands and ensures the proper number of rounds is fired; the Sergeant of the Watch, who marches the battery into position, controls the firing of the backup gun, and monitors the watchman and his assistant; the Watchman controls the timing between rounds and gives the command to fire; the more experienced Assistant Watchman ensures the Watchman stays in time; and the Counter, counts the rounds and signals the last round to the battery.

Rubalcaba wrote in email Monday that the Presidential Salute Battery Guns Platoon conducts the training in preparation for firing the cannons “at ceremonies in honor of the President of the United States, for visiting foreign dignitaries, during official government ceremonies, regional celebrations… and while rendering honors during the funeral services of our nation’s fallen service members and veterans.”

Rubalcaba said the training sessions will each end prior to the cemetery’s visiting hours.

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E-scooters have been proliferating around Arlington over the past few months, but their growing ubiquity has brought with it some challenges.

A new public service announcement from Arlington County seeks to answer some key questions that can improve safety for scooter riders and those around them: Who can ride e-scooters? How can you ride safely? Where do you park after riding?

The video is above. The county has also set up its own website for dockless scooter safety and regulation information.

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An SUV driver lost control and crashed into an Arlington County Police car in snowy weather this morning, and the accident was caught on video.

The crash happened around 8:15 a.m.. The driver of the car that recorded the video says he was driving his daughter to elementary school and was stuck in traffic on N. George Mason Drive when his Tesla’s front-facing camera captured the crash.

The video shows the SUV rounding a curve at a rate of speed higher than the cars in front of it, then losing control, crossing the median and striking the side of the police vehicle in the opposite lanes.

ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage said the officer was investigating another crash at the time of the collision.

“While investigating a separate weather-related crash, a stationary police vehicle was struck by a vehicle unrelated to the initial investigation,” Savage told ARLnow.com “The driver of the striking vehicle was determined to be at fault but no charges were sought due to the weather conditions.”

So far today, according to Savage, Arlington County Police have responded to 26 calls for crashes and another 40 calls for various traffic complaints like flooded roadways, disabled vehicles and road hazards.

Courtesy video

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A man in Army fatigues who was riding a motorized scooter down an alley in Pentagon City was nearly run into by an impatient driver.

The road rage incident happened Friday afternoon along the driveway between the Pentagon Row shopping center and the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City mall. An apartment resident witnessed it and managed to take video of the final seconds, as the soldier scooted just out of the way of the tailgating driver.

“Heard some honking outside my apartment and went over to my balcony that overlooks Pentagon Row, right next to the Pentagon City Mall parking garage,” the tipster said via email. “Saw a car right on the heels of a gentleman on a motorized scooter. Gentleman was wearing military fatigues. The military figure yelled ‘Stop!’ Car proceeds to hit scooter after the rider hopped off. Driver then continues on their way.”

No injuries were reported.

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(Updated at 3:15 p.m.) Firefighters tackled a dumpster fire in Rosslyn near the Target store earlier today.

The fire broke out this morning behind a building on the 1500 block of Wilson Blvd. It scorched a big green dumpster before being extinguished by firefighters from nearby Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall.

In a tweet, the Arlington County Fire Department encouraged residents to reconsider throwing hot objects (like lit cigarettes) into the trash.

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Morning Notes

Arlington Names New Resident Ombudsman — “Ben Aiken has been named as Arlington’s Resident Ombudsman and Director of Constituent Services in the County Manager’s Office, effective October 8, 2018. Arlington’s Resident Ombudsman is part of the Constituent Services Team helping to ensure Arlington’s government works effectively and maintains a high degree of transparency.” [Arlington County]

Senior Alert for Man Last Seen in Arlington — “The Virginia State Police Department has issued a Senior Alert for 78-year-old James Oliver… Oliver was last seen in Arlington around 3 p.m. Sept. 19, walking near the intersection of North Wakefield [Street] and 24th Street. He was reportedly wearing a blue blazer, silver shirt, pink neck tie and blue jeans.” [WDBJ7]

It is PARK(ing) Day — Today is PARK(ing) Day, ” an annual international event where the public collaborates to temporarily transform metered parking spaces into small parks to elicit a reconsideration of the designation of public space.” There are five PARK(ing) day sites in Arlington: AECOM (2940 Clarendon Blvd), “The Bird Nest” – Communal Space (555 23rd St. S.), Bike Arlington et al (2040 15th St. N.), Solid Waste Bureau (4115 Campbell Ave.), Little Diversified Architectural Consulting (1061 N. Taylor St.). [Arlington County]

Log Cabin For Sale Near Marymount — The log cabin on 26th Street N. near Marymount University is listed for sale. Built in 1836, the home was later a favorite destination for Theodore Roosevelt, who would ride horses and eat ice cream there. [Washington Post]

Video Tour of New ART Buses — The new buses in the Arlington Transit fleet are more comfortable and feature-rich than older models, according to a video tour posted online. The 13 buses will allow ART to add new service. [YouTube]

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A Virginia Square resident returned from work on Tuesday to find his house had been burglarized.

The resident, whose first name is Tom, said in a Reddit post that the suspect rummaged through his house and stole electronics and jewelry.

“Posting them here so in case you see a screaming deal on a laptop on Craigslist or Letgo, and you see that this is the guy selling it to you, then please send me a DM so I can update the police with his whereabouts,” Tom wrote in the post.

There was a bit of good news: Tom has a “pet cam” in the basement to keep tabs on his pet rabbits, and the video camera captured a relatively high resolution view of the suspect. Tom gave police a copy of the video and also posted it to YouTube for all to see.

The burglary happened at some point between 12:45 and 2:50 p.m. on Tuesday, according to Arlington County Police Department spokeswoman Kirby Clark.

“An unknown suspect gained entry to a residence and stole numerous items of value,” said an ACPD crime report. “The suspect is described as a black male with dreadlocks, wearing a gray sweatsuit. The investigation is ongoing.”

Tom, who lives near the Rocklands Barbeque restaurant, suggested to ARLnow.com that the burglary was a crime of opportunity in an otherwise low-crime neighborhood — and may be a bit of a cautionary tale for other residents. After trying to force the back door open, the burglar was able to get easy access to the home via an unlocked back window, he said.

“During one of the recent rain storms when it got cooler than normal, we took advantage and opened all the windows to get a nice fresh cross breeze,” Tom said. “Only problem is I forgot to re-lock the back window after closing it.”

While Tom is asking for direct messages from Redditors who might see his pilfered belongings for sale online, police are asking members of the public to contact them directly with any tips.

“Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective C. Cook of the Arlington County Police Department’s Property Crimes Unit at 703-228-4164 or [email protected],” Clark wrote. “To report information anonymously, contact the Arlington County Crime Solvers at 866.411.TIPS (8477).”

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