Arlington, VA

Morning Notes

Prosecutor Files Petition Against Judges — “A northern Virginia prosecutor who says her county’s judges are infringing on her discretion to dismiss charges and enter plea bargains is asking the state Supreme Court to intervene on her behalf. Arlington County Commonwealth’s Attorney Parisa Dehghani-Tafti filed a petition Friday asking the court for a relief from a policy imposed by the county’s four Circuit Court judges.” [Associated Press]

New BBQ Pop-Up Coming to Pentagon City — “In their spare time [chefs Kevin Tien and Scott Chung] dreamed up Wild Tiger BBQ, which launches Thursday, August 20 next to Bun’d Up at Pentagon Row in Arlington. The pop-up will run Thursday through Saturday for the first few weeks.” [Washingtonian]

‘Bumper Crop of Mosquitos’ — “With the floods of summer come the pests of summer — bloodsucking mosquitoes. It takes several days to a couple of weeks for mosquitoes to hatch, molt and fly out of floodwater, but the swarms eventually arrive, in greater numbers than before the flood. After the recent flooding from thunderstorms and Tropical Storm Isaias in the Washington region, a bumper crop of mosquitoes has emerged.” [Washington Post]

Retired Colonel Helps With COVID Response — “When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in early March, retired U.S. Air Force Colonel David Ashley quickly found his planned spring and summer mountain climbing trips canceled. He spent about a week doing projects around his Arlington home, but after 27 years in the military, he realized he need something else, something with more purpose.” [Arlington County]

Cab Exec’s Offensive Post Makes Headlines — “An elected town council member in Strasburg, Va., who also is chairman of the 6th Congressional District’s Republican Committee admitted this week that he posted, then removed, a sexually offensive meme targeted at Sen. Kamala D. Harris… [John] Massoud, who is vice president of Arlington’s Blue Top taxi service and was an unsuccessful candidate against ex-Del. Bob Brink for a House of Delegates seat from Arlington in 1997 and 1999, moved to the Shenandoah Valley about 10 years ago.” [Washington Post]

Analysis of Rents Near Metro Stations — “The most expensive rents ($2,200 and up) are found in areas of Arlington and Washington, DC. Rent near the Ballston-MU station is in the mid-range among DC Metro stops. But while the median price increased near Court House, it decreased near Ballston-MU, according to the analysis. The median rent for a one-bedroom unit near Ballston-MU is $1,975, a 1.3 percent decrease from 2019.” [Patch]

Clement Rips Dems for Redistricting Stance — “An independent candidate for Arlington County Board has criticized the Arlington County Democratic Committee for its opposition to a nonpartisan-redistricting constitutional amendment on the state ballot in November. Audrey Clement, who is challenging incumbent Democrat Libby Garvey for County Board, said the Democrats’ vote seems disingenuous for a party that claims to be about good government.” [InsideNova]

Arlington Makes Top Travel Destination List — “For all the talk of a move to small, less densely populated destinations, Hotwire also ranked much bigger cities. Its ‘midsize must see’ picks were St. Louis; Tampa, Florida; Atlanta; Arlington, Virginia; Tucson, Arizona; Tulsa, Oklahoma; Virginia Beach, Virginia; Pittsburgh; Miami; and Cincinnati.” [CNBC]

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Morning Notes

Online Forums Devolve into Shouting Matches — Falls Church News-Press columnist Charlie Clark writes about how a Nextdoor post about kids not wearing masks during a baseball game erupted into a barrage of insults and debates among neighbors. Nextdoor is not alone in becoming a forum for heated local debates on hot button issues: last month the popular Fairlington Appreciation Society Facebook group shut down after flame wars broke out over issues related to the Black Lives Matter protests. [Falls Church News-Press]

Virtual ‘Arlington Cares’ Event Tomorrow — “This free, virtual event will recognize the 2020 Community Service Award Winners and remind us of the importance of serving others. A heartwarming opportunity for all ages that will celebrate the overwhelming goodness that is within our community.” [Event Calendar]

Reduction in Homelessness Prior to Pandemic — “For the 20th consecutive year, the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) Homeless Services Planning and Coordinating Committee has conducted a regional Point-in-Time (PIT) enumeration of the area’s residents experiencing homelessness and those who were formerly homeless. This year’s enumeration and survey occurred on January 22, 2020. Arlington saw a 7-percent reduction in overall homelessness, down from 215 persons in 2019 to 199 in 2020.” [Arlington County]

More Flood Damage in Waverly Hills — “After countless floods in Arlington’s Waverly Hills neighborhood soaked his basement, Tom Reich finally ordered a custom-made waterproof door to protect his home’s bottom level.
On Tuesday, the day before it was scheduled to arrive, yet another storm dumped buckets of rain on the region — and especially on 18th Street North. There, overwhelmed storm water mains sent three feet of water coursing down the street.” [Washington Post]

Beyer Furious at Response to Shooting Inquiry — “‘For nearly three years Bijan Ghaisar’s family and community have sought answers from federal authorities about why these officers killed Bijan and what consequences they will face. This response which tells us nothing after an eight-month delay is an insult to the people we represent,’ said [Rep. Don] Beyer. ‘The contempt such a pathetic answer shows for public transparency and accountability is unacceptable and will further damage the standing of the U.S. Park Police at a time when the region’s trust in them is already at an all-time low.'” [House of Representatives]

Report Businesses Flouting the Rules, Gov. Says — “As Virginia starts seeing an increase in COVID-19 cases, Gov. Ralph Northam reiterated Friday what has become a familiar message about limiting crowds, washing hand frequently and wearing face coverings. But he added a new fourth point: Report businesses flouting the rules to the local health department.” [InsideNova]

Freddie’s Closes Temporarily — “Out of an abundance of caution, we have decided to close temporarily. One of our employees has tested positive for COVID-19. We are actively reaching out to customers and staff who may have been in contact since Wednesday July 8. We are beginning the process to have the restaurant fully sanitized so we may safely reopen as soon as possible.” [Facebook]

Nearby: MoCo Starting School Year Online — “Montgomery County students will begin the next academic year online, with a phased approach to bring them back to school buildings part-time by the end of November, according to the school district’s draft plan released Saturday.” [Bethesda Magazine]

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Morning Notes

Confusion Over Governor’s Mask Order — “At a briefing this afternoon, Gov. Ralph Northam emphasized that Virginia’s new indoor mask requirements weren’t intended to be criminally enforced. But the text of the order (released ~3 hours later) defines a violation as Class 1 misdemeanor.” [Virginia Mercury, Twitter]

Virus Hits Latino Communities Hard — “Fredys Medina, a diabetic construction worker from Arlington County, waved off his wife’s suggestion that he had the virus after he developed a cough and fever in late April, and he continued to work. Two weeks later, he collapsed on the living room floor. By the time paramedics arrived, Medina, 56, was gone. His wife, Leonor Medina, an unemployed hotel housekeeper, was left with an $8,000 funeral bill.” [Washington Post]

Clement Questions County Board Actions — “An independent candidate for the Nov. 3 Arlington County Board race contends that current board members are overstepping their bounds in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Audrey Clement says that the board’s May 19 vote continuing emergency operations gives the government far too much power for too long.” [InsideNova]

Volunteer Award Winners Announced — “Volunteer Arlington, a program of Leadership Center for Excellence, is honored to announce the recipients of the 2020 community volunteer awards which will be presented virtually at Arlington Cares on July 14.” [Volunteer Arlington]

Alleged Armed Robbery in Crystal City — “At approximately 2:56 p.m. on May 23, police were dispatched to the late report of an armed robbery. Upon arrival, it was determined that at approximately 9:30 p.m. on May 15, the victim was in the area of 18th Street S. and S. Bell Street when he was allegedly approached by seven suspects. One suspect displayed a firearm and threatened the victim. The suspects stole the victim’s phone and wallet then fled.” [Arlington County]

Man Rescued from Potomac Near Chain Bridge — “A man is in the hospital in serious condition this morning after being pulled from the Potomac River [early Tuesday morning] in a daring rescue operation. The incident occurred just north of the Chain Bridge in an area that is extremely difficult to access from land.” [WJLA]

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Morning Notes

Arlington Nat’l Cemetery Time Capsule Opened — “An interdisciplinary team recently unsealed a memorabilia box more than a 100 years old at Arlington National Cemetery, in honor of the Memorial Amphitheater’s centennial. And now, a peek inside the old copper box, along with its historic relics, are available virtually, as ANC hosts it’s first-ever online exhibit starting this week.” [U.S. Army, Washington Post]

Bus Protest on I-395 — A caravan of buses made its way up I-395, through Arlington and into D.C. yesterday. The buses were heading the the National Mall to protest a lack of federal help for the motorcoach industry. [@hhowardWTOP/Twitter, @STATter911/Twitter]

Whitlow’s Reopening Friday — “Open for carry out daily starting this Friday from 4-8pm! Cocktails, Jell-O shots, frozen boozy slushees and a limited menu! Check out the menu and our new online ordering store.” [Facebook]

Rosslyn BID Offering Reopening Consulting — “Today, the Rosslyn BID announced the launch of Rosslyn Ready, a multifaceted program to support and organize businesses in promoting proper safety measures when people are welcomed back into the neighborhood… In just under a week since launch, 90 businesses and restaurants have signed up to be part of the program.” [Press Release]

New Org Looking for Drivers — “Cooperative for a Hunger Free Arlington is looking for volunteers to deliver meals to local Arlingtonians on Thursdays and Fridays for the next few weeks. You must have your own car and a valid license.” [Facebook]

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In celebration of National Volunteer Week, Arlington Free Clinic (AFC) would like to say THANK YOU to our amazing volunteers!

Our 450+ volunteers are the foundation that allows AFC to provide free, high-quality care to our low-income, uninsured neighbors in normal times, and they have enabled us to continue caring for those most vulnerable to being overlooked and forgotten during the COVID-19 crisis. When it would be easy to say, ”I need to look out for me,” they have instead said “What can I do to help?”

From the moment we announced our new protocols last month, volunteers have stepped up — whether it’s a provider offering to learn our new telehealth system, an interpreter signing up to be “on-call” for virtual visits, pharmacists coming in to make sure our patients’ prescriptions get filled, or nurses making check-in calls to ensure patients and their families all are well, informed and have the resources they need.

Thank you for your incredible work and dedication to our mission.

Learn more about Arlington Free Clinic’s continued work during the COVID-19 crisis here.

If you’d like to support us financially, please consider a gift in honor of our volunteers for Volunteer Week.

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Morning Notes

Meridian Pint Closes Temporarily — “I regret to inform you that one of our employees has contracted COVID-19. He was hospitalized and tested positive on Sunday, April 19th after not working in the restaurant for 9 days. In an effort to keep the rest of our staff healthy, as well as ensure the safety of our guests, we have decided to shut down until further notice.” [Facebook via @fritzhahn]

DCA Is a Ghost Town — A series of photos of emptiness at Reagan National Airport can make one envision tumbleweeds blowing through the terminals. [PoPville]

Beyer Critical of Administration’s Supply Chain Management — “A group of House Democrats today raised serious issues with the Trump Administration’s handling of the supply chain for COVID-19 response, and sought improved transparency and federal coordination to mitigate the inadequate, harmful, and dysfunctional engagement.” [Press Release]

Arlington Chamber Holds Volunteer Day — “Local volunteers from various Chamber member businesses and organizations lent a helping hand to area nonprofits as part of the 21st Annual Arlington Chamber Volunteer Day… The projects provided were in accordance with the CDC guidelines to ensure that participants were practicing social distancing.” [Arlington Chamber of Commerce]

No Word Yet on APS Graduation — “Will members of Arlington Public Schools’ Class of 2020 have an in-person send-off to celebrate their achievements? That remains an open question. Bridget Loft, the school system’s assistant superintendent of teaching and learning, on April 16 said the school system was looking for ‘creative ways’ to celebrate graduation – and neither ruled in nor ruled out some sort of communal send-off ceremony.” [InsideNova]

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This column is written and sponsored by Arlington Arts/Arlington Cultural Affairs, a division of Arlington Economic Development.

(Updated 04/13/2020) Utilizing existing resources and equipment from another program, for the last week Arlington Arts has been sewing masks to be distributed through Arlington County Department of Human Services and the Arlington County Police.

The basic, non-medical grade cloth masks resulting from this effort are being supplied to high-risk populations ranging from homeless shelters and the County jail.

The initiative was conceived and coordinated by the Director of Arts Enterprise, Joan M. Lynch. A professional costumer who formerly ran the Arlington CostumeLab, Joan has many stage and film credits to her name. Working at a safe distance from one another, she and sewing partners Andrea Blackmon and Sharon McDaniel of Arlington Weaves, and Tessa Luque of the Washington Opera started turning out about 50 masks per day. In the week since first posted to social media, the program now has over 100 volunteers.

More volunteers are welcome, and they will be supplied with instructions, fabric, elastic and thread for pick-up, and arrange to drop them off for weekly distribution.

Interested volunteers or those with elastic or fabric to donate toward the effort may email: [email protected].

Arlington Arts is grateful for the outpouring of support from the Community. While there is currently an abundance of volunteers, we still welcome donations of elastic or all-cotton fabric.

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Arlington and Fairfax counties are continuing to report an expected — but concerning — upward trajectory in COVID-19 cases as testing continues to ramp up.

As of noon on Wednesday, Arlington had 46 known coronavirus cases, an increase from 36 cases on Tuesday. Neighboring Fairfax County, meanwhile, saw its reported cases jump to 76, from 43 on Monday.

Statewide, the Virginia Dept. of Health reported 391 cases Wednesday, an increase of about 100 cases compared to one day prior. The state is also reporting 59 hospitalizations, 9 deaths, and 5,370 people tested overall. Most of the known cases are in Northern Virginia.

Arlington is continuing to provide a public outreach effort that includes a local hub for COVID-19 information and a hotline: 703-228-7999. It is also seeking volunteers, via the county’s Medical Reserve Corps, to help with the response to the outbreak.

“Arlington Medical Reserve Corps volunteers have been engaged and supporting the Public Health Division’s COVID-19 response since early February,” Arlington Dept. of Human Services spokesman Kurt Larrick told ARLnow today. “Nearly two dozen volunteers have contributed nearly 400 hours in the past three weeks alone to support call center operations, risk assessment and monitoring, and case investigations.”

Arlington and other Virginia localities are currently taking applications from prospective volunteers.

“We have seen a substantial increase in new volunteers with over 75 new applicants in the past month,” Larrick said. “We are fortunate and proud to have this dedicated team working in our community.”

The county, meanwhile, accepted a grant for the Medical Reserve Corps at its meeting this weekend. From a press release:

The Board accepted $115,000 in federal Urban Area Security Initiative funds for the current fiscal year that will fund a Medical Reserve Corps coordinator position currently funded by the County. The coordinator conducts public health outreach recruitment and training. The County’s Medical Reserve Corps is one of the first groups activated in a public health emergency. Their primary mission is to support the response of the County’s Emergency Support Function 8: Public Health and Medical Services – which is currently activated to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. The coordinator ensures the County has enough pre-credentialed, trained volunteers to deal with pandemics and other health emergencies.

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Morning Notes

It’s Primary Day — Today is Super Tuesday, the presidential primary day in Virginia and 13 other states across the U.S. In Arlington, polls are open from 6 a.m.-7 p.m. Arlington public schools are closed to students today. [Arlington County, Twitter]

Beyer, Lopez Endorse Biden — Following his decisive victory in the South Carolina primary, former Vice President Joe Biden has picked up endorsements locally from Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) and Del. Alfonso Lopez (D). Lopez and former Gov. Terry McAuliffe were stuck in an elevator in Richmond for a half hour yesterday while heading to a Biden event. [Press Release, Twitter]

County OKs Five Scooter Companies — “The lone applicant seeking to provide electric-bicycle service in Arlington has been rejected by county officials, but five operators of electric-scooter devices did make the grade, County Manager Mark Schwartz told County Board members on Feb. 25. The five e-scooter firms – Bird, Jump, Lime, Razor and Skip – were among eight that had sought permission to operate in the county. The other three were rejected for various reasons, including having no speedometers on their devices.” [InsideNova]

Cristol Encourages Volunteering for Erik — “As you may have seen in the news, our colleague and friend, Erik, is facing a tough health challenge…  here’s what we can do for him: Go to a civic association or commission meeting. Volunteer. Embody Erik’s example & make this place better by showing up. And take a picture, and tag it #HereForErik so we can share.” [Twitter]

I-66 Tolling Deemed a Success — “About 700 more people each day total are commuting along the Interstate 66 corridor inside the Capital Beltway now compared to before tolls for solo drivers and an expanded rush-hour period began, and there are also fewer car trips each morning… Virginia state officials have said the goal of the tolls has been to move more people in the corridor, and see the higher count of commuters as a sign the system is working.” [WTOP]

Coworking Space Coming to Courthouse — “Flexible workspace provider Venture X is making its first foray into the Washington, D.C., market, after reaching a deal to take the top floor of the Navy League Building in Arlington, Virginia.” [CoStar]

Cupid the Cat Now Up for Adoption — “Two weeks after undergoing emergency surgery to remove an arrow from his head, Cupid is ready to find a new home. The Animal Welfare League of Arlington’s veterinary director cleared Cupid on Monday, March 2, for adoption.” [Patch]

ACFD Assists With McLean FireUpdated at 8:25 a.m. — Arlington County firefighters helped Fairfax County’s fire department battle a massive house fire in McLean last night. [Twitter]

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Arlington’s RISE program is looking for volunteers to mentor court-involved high school students.

The program aims to provide a support system for young adults in Arlington County who might not have one at home, program coordinator Erika Yalowitz said. RISE also welcomes the siblings of at-risk students to participate in the activities.

RISE — which stands for Respect, Integrity, Self Esteem and Empowerment — offers group and one-on-one mentor-mentee interactions in sessions that are both recreational and formational, to build lasting quality relationships, Yalowitz said. One part of the program is about self-improvement and planning for the future, while another aspect is mentors and mentees bonding via activities like going to a movie theater or carving pumpkin.

The mentorship program’s goal is to build relationships that will benefit the mentees even after they graduate high school.

“Most [mentees] have stayed at least until they complete high school,” Yalowitz said. “And then when they find a job or when they want to go to college, they have someone in addition to their parents, or their uncles or aunts or teachers at school to give them recommendation letters for a job or for college, and that is very valuable because we are creating a support structure that they didn’t have before.”

The program is currently in need of male mentors. Many of the mentors are women, while a majority of the mentees are boys. Preferably, the program coordinators would like to partner boys with male mentors and girls with female mentors, Yalowitz said.

Those interested in applying can reach out to Yalowitz via email at [email protected].

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John Mingus, an Arlington youth soccer coach, was named National Volunteer of the Year by US Youth Soccer on Saturday.

Mingus began coaching soccer when his first daughter began playing in the spring of 2001. He coached both of his daughters until they began high school. He continued to coach kindergarten boys, first grade and high school girls even after he stopped coaching his daughters’ teams.

He is currently the club manager of the Northwest Lions, the largest club in the Arlington Soccer Association. As club manager, Mingus places new players in separate teams, he recruits the coaches for each team, and sets policies and procedures for the program.

“I love volunteering because I believe strongly in [Arlington Soccer]’s mission,” Mingus said. “I believe Arlington rec soccer is an incredible program that offers kids of all ages to play soccer. It is important to have a program that provides regardless of their ability.”

Mingus began playing soccer mostly as a neighborhood pick-up player growing up, and later played intramural soccer in college and grad school.

With the prize, Mingus received a pass to get free Chipotle burritos for one year.

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