Arlington County firefighters, including the hazmat team, responded to Washington-Lee High School this morning after air monitoring alarms indicated a possible refrigerant leak in the school’s boiler room.
ACFD was dispatched to W-L around 10:45 a.m. Firefighters investigated the alarms for more than an hour before concluding that there were no hazards, a fire department spokesman said.
The boiler room was ventilated during the incident response, but the school was not evacuated and no injuries were reported.
In the end, it was a malfunctioning alarm, not a hazardous leak, that caused the incident, said APS spokeswoman Jennifer Harris.
Current situation at Washington-Lee HS. pic.twitter.com/sIX8ONTon3
— LincolnACFD (@LincolnACFD) January 12, 2017
— Karen (@kbgut) January 12, 2017
ACFD Battles New Year’s Day Fires — The Arlington County Fire Department had a busy New Year’s Day. In the afternoon the department battled a fire in a duplex on the 2400 block of S. Nelson Street. That night numerous ACFD units assisted Fairfax County Fire in battling a high-rise apartment fire on S. George Mason Drive. [Twitter, NBC Washington, Twitter, Twitter]
Dorsey on Metro’s Service Hours — Arlington County Board member and WMATA Board member Christian Dorsey writes in a Washington Post op-ed that planned cuts to Metrorail’s late-night hours are painful but necessary. “These service cuts are necessary to protect our riders from the risk of injury or worse,” Dorsey wrote. “It is our ethical and public duty to take every reasonable step to ensure that we don’t harm Metro riders in the worst and most irreparable ways.” [Washington Post]
W-L Soccer Team to Be Lauded — The Virginia General Assembly is expected to approve a joint resolution saluting the Washington-Lee High School boys soccer team for winning its first state title last year. [InsideNova]
Wakefield Reaches Tourney Championships — Over the holiday break the Wakefield High School boys basketball team reached the championship of the George Long Holiday Hoops Tournament but fell to Glenelg Country. The Wakefield girls, however, beat Parkview to win the Parkview Classic tournament. [Washington Post, Wakefield Athletics, Twitter]
(Updated at 12:45 p.m.) A 17-year-old girl was struck by an SUV on Washington Blvd in front of Washington-Lee High School this morning.
The incident was first reported to 911 around 9:30 a.m. as a pedestrian lying in the middle of the street, mid-block, near the intersection of Washington Blvd and N. Stafford Street. It was soon learned that the girl had been struck by a vehicle while crossing the street.
The girl suffered leg and facial injuries that were considered serious but not life-threatening, according to scanner traffic. She was covered in a thermal bag to keep her warm before she was loaded into an ambulance and transported to a local hospital.
Washington Blvd was blocked in both directions between N. Stafford and Randolph streets as a result of the emergency response.
No word yet on the exact circumstances of the crash nor whether any charges will be filed against the driver.
The stretch of Washington Blvd between N. Quincy Street and Glebe Road in Ballston has been a focus of pedestrian safety enforcement by Arlington County Police this year after a serious pedestrian collision involving a teen and a driver in April. Some pedestrians have said cars often do not stop for them along the four-lane road, even in crosswalks.
W-L Student Pens Open Letter on Boundary Changes — The boundary changes approved by the School Board on Dec. 1 will decrease socio-economic diversity at Arlington’s high schools, despite diversity being a stated “core value” at Arlington Public Schools. That’s the argument made by a Washington-Lee student in an open letter to the School Board, published by the Crossed Sabres student newspaper. The article has been widely shared online and, we’re told, has broken traffic records on the newspaper’s website. [Crossed Sabres]
Rollover Crash Last Night — A crash involving an SUV that flipped on its roof was reported near the intersection of Little Falls Road and N. Glebe Road just before 8 p.m. last night. Another crash, involving a person potentially trapped in a vehicle, was reported on Old Dominion Drive just over the border in McLean, around 6 p.m. [Twitter, Twitter]
AFAC Collecting Lots of Donated Food — Holiday-time food collections are bolstering supplies at the Arlington Food Assistance Center. Just yesterday AFAC said it had received around 3,900 lbs of food from property owner Vornado and 1,900 lbs from apartment operator Dittmar. Dittmar says its total holiday food drive goal this year is 5,500 lbs. Other organizations collecting food for AFAC include local real estate agents that have formed a group called Arlington Realtors Care. [Instagram]
More Special Needs Students at APS — The percentage of special needs students at Arlington’s public schools has remained steady, but due to enrollment growth the number of special needs students has increased, presenting budgetary and instructional challenges. [InsideNova]
Cruz and Cornyn’s Queso Comes from Ballston — When Texas Senators Ted Cruz and John Cornyn needed some authentic Texas-style queso to square off in a taste test against cheese dip from Arkansas, they went to Uncle Julio’s Mexican Restaurant in Ballston. (The restaurant chain is based in Texas.) Unfortunately, the Arkansas cheese won the competition. [Roll Call]
Arcland Property Company, which owns a swath of industrial land near Shirlington, wants to swap those 3.5 acres for 2.3 acres of the 6.1 acre “Buck property” site across from W-L, which the county has an option to purchase for $30 million.
Arlington, which is already leasing a portion of the Shirlington property for parking, would get an even larger piece of property for its expanding ART bus fleet — it’s expected to grow from 65 to 90 vehicles by 2020 — and would save $4 million in lease payments.
Arcland would get the piece of the Buck property closest to N. Quincy Street, in the Virginia Square area, and would use it for a six-story, 150,000 square foot self-storage facility. (The company also developed the CubeSmart storage facility, which is located adjacent to I-395, next to the land it proposes to swap.)
Neighbors might object to the facility — they objected to a county proposal to use the Buck property for school bus parking — but the property is zoned for light industrial use and the facility could be built by right. The county says it will require tasteful building design as part of a deal.
“The land exchange agreement, if reached, would require high quality architecture from Arcland compatible with the surrounding neighborhood,” the county said in a press release. “The proposed facility must also comply with M-1 (light industrial) zoning regulations including set back and height restrictions, as would any use the County makes of the Shirlington site.”
Arcland only expects to use 1.2 acres of the Quincy Street property for the storage facility. The remaining 1.1 acres would be leased back to the county “at below market rate.”
“This is a rare opportunity for the County to secure land in Shirlington, zoned for light industrial use, that could accommodate our growing bus fleet,” County Manager Mark Schwartz said in a statement. “We have a critical need for support facilities, and must make smart, tough decisions about land to meet those needs. If the Board is interested in pursuing this proposal, I will work to shape an agreement with Arcland. I am confident that we can put facilities on these sites that will both serve our community’s needs and allow us to be a good neighbor.”
The deal will be discussed at next month’s Arlington County Board meeting. From the press release:
The proposed exchange, if approved, would take place after November 20, 2017, the date on which the County must exercise its option to purchase the N. Quincy Street site. The land exchange would involve no additional cost beyond the $30 million that the County has already agreed to pay for the N. Quincy Street site.
The Manager plans to seek the Board’s approval to pursue negotiations with Arcland at the Board’s December meeting. If the Board approves negotiations, any agreement that might be reached would come before the Board for consideration in 2017.
Update at 11 a.m. — Jim Todd, president of the Cherrydale Citizens Association, sent the following email to residents last night regarding the potential deal.
This is a complex issue and there are a lot of potential trade offs. On the plus side, the land swap would end the potential for the County to move the bus depot from Shirlington to the Buck property. But on the down side, it would also limit the County’s ability to use all of the Buck property for other, larger purposes (as the Buck property is also adjacent to Hayes Park, across the street from Washington-Lee High School, etc.).
This seems like its happening fast, but there is still plenty of time for us to better understand what’s going on, and to learn what other trade-offs and potential upsides and downsides there may be. I understand that the next step is for the County Board to talk about whether to further entertain this idea at its December 13 meeting. But I have been told that the Board will not be making a final decision at that meeting.
A Washington-Lee High School graduate is one of the main characters on the new Fox television series Star.
O’Grady graduated from W-L in 2013 but has been performing and modeling professionally since the age of 4,
Up until now O’Grady’s most prominent TV appearance was a guest role on the ABC show Trophy Wife. She has also been active in the local theater scene, performing at Arlington’s Signature Theatre, Synetic Theater and Encore Stage & Studio, as well as D.C. venues like the Kennedy Center, Ford’s Theatre and even the White House.
“I was always encouraged to pursue my dreams because I’ve worked all my life to achieve them,” O’Grady said in an interview published on the Encore Stage & Studio website.
She gave the following advice to aspiring young actors: “Never EVER give up. No matter how discouraged you get and how many times you get rejected. Work hard, train hard, and know your stuff. If you are always working on improving yourself, you will get better. You will become the versatile actor you want to be. The roles will come with time.”
The Dec. 14 premiere of Star is billed as a “special early preview.” The series will air in its regular timeslot on Wednesday, Jan. 4.
(Updated at 6 p.m.) Local high school students have been spreading messages of love to counter an otherwise gloomy post-election atmosphere in deep-blue, multicultural Arlington County.
During his campaign, president-elect Donald Trump made statements that many felt were hurtful and threatening to immigrants, Muslims, people of color and, perhaps to a lesser extent, LGBT individuals — communities that are well-represented in Arlington. In response, students have their own message.
“Love and respect all life,” “stronger together,” “united not divided,” “forever forward,” and “love trumps hate,” are a few of the messages Washington-Lee High School students have written in chalk on the Stafford Street bridge near the school. There are also quotes from Maya Angelou and Nelson Mandela.
Elsewhere in Arlington, a message to students at H-B Woodlawn (below) has gone viral on social media.
The message of reassurance, to women and minority communities, has spread on social media and received nearly a quarter million likes after pop star Lady Gaga posted it on her Instagram account.
Both heartbreaking and inspiring — this from a high school in Arlington, VA pic.twitter.com/gsrWbh4GMk
— igorvolsky (@igorvolsky) November 10, 2016
At Wakefield High School, chalk messages outside the school entrance today included affirmations like “smile,” “you matter” and “be the change.”
Post-it notes on the school’s doors (below) also offered positive, personal messages for students, who were encouraged to take one on their way into school.
Arlington was not totally immune to a national wave of hateful messages, however. In the wake of the election there were some isolated reports of racist (confirmed by police; link is NSFW), anti-gay (not confirmed by police; link is NSFW) and anti-Trump graffiti around Arlington.
The following graffiti incidents have been reported since last Tuesday’s election, according to an Arlington County Police spokeswoman.
GRAFFITI, 2016-11090173, 2700 block of S. Nelson Street. On November 9 at approximately 2:16 PM, police were dispatched to the report of graffiti in the area. Officers located a delivery truck vandalized with black spray paint but the words were not clearly written and officers could not determine what the graffiti stated. There are no suspect(s) descriptions.
GRAFFITI, 2016-11110113, 6600 block of Little Falls Road. On November 11 at approximately 11:34 AM, police were dispatched to the report of graffiti in the area. Officers located the words “Truck Frump,” “Bet,” “LMOA” and an obscenity spray painted on the football field. There are no suspect(s) descriptions.
GRAFFITI, 2016-11120136, W&OD Trail – Rt. 66 at N. Ohio Street. On November 12 at approximately 11:33 AM, police were dispatched to Bluemont Park for the report of graffiti in the area. Officers located numerous graffiti markings including the words “Trump,” “U.S. Border,” “Caution huge,” and a derogatory term spray painted on the pavement and wall. There are no suspect(s) description.
W-L Defeats Yorktown, Heads to Playoffs — The Washington-Lee Generals defeated cross-county rival Yorktown Friday night to advance to the football playoffs. W-L was trailing when senior quarterback Ricardo Mestre passed for a touchdown with just seconds remaining to clinch the win. [Washington Post]
Board Advertises Ballston Historic District — The Arlington County Board voted unanimously Saturday to advertise hearings on designating a small family graveyard in Ballston a local historic district, ahead of a planned redevelopment by the Central United Methodist Church. “The Board on Saturday received assurances from the church that it will not seek to remove any remains from the graveyard before the County has an opportunity to consider its historic designation,” according to a press release. [Arlington County]
Students: Adults Should Tone Down Boundary Rhetoric — Some adults have taken their rhetoric over the current Arlington Public Schools high school boundary refinement process too far, according to a pair of high school students who spoke at Thursday’s School Board meeting. “We honestly consider some of the comments made thus far to be an embarrassment,” said a Yorktown student. [InsideNova, InsideNova]
Arlington Smartphone App Updated — Arlington County has made a number of new upgrades to its My Arlington App for smartphones. The changes include a new home screen design, transit alerts and, just in time for Election Day, polling locations and a map of voter precincts. [Arlington County]
Library Director: Vote on Nov. 8 — From Arlington Public Library Director Diane Kresh’s blog: “Every election is important and every vote counts. And it’s a privilege that for people in many parts of the world is not enjoyed. On Tuesday, vote as if your life depends on it; it does.” [Arlington Public Library]
Free Home Buying Seminar Tonight — Sponsored — The Orange Line Living Team is hosting a Free Home Buying Seminar with a local lender and all attendees will receive two guarantees just for attending: 1) Buyer satisfaction — if you don’t love your new home they will buy it back or sell it for free for 12 months, and 2) $1,500 home purchase credit. See website for details and conditions. The event is being at 1600 Wilson Blvd #101 in Arlington, from 6-8 p.m. tonight, Nov. 7. [Orange Line Living]
Gunston Could Get New Baseball Diamond — Arlington County officials are considering renovating a baseball diamond at Gunston Middle School, replacing it with a lighted artificial turf field. A public meeting about the project, is scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 9 from 7-9 p.m. at the Gunston community center. [Arlington County]
TJ Elementary Design Approved — The Arlington School Board has unanimously approved schematic designs for the new elementary school planned for the Thomas Jefferson Middle School site. Construction on the $59 million project is expected to begin in July and wrap up in time for the 2019-2020 school year. [InsideNova]
More Details About W-L Fight — A large fight at Friday night’s Washington-Lee High School football game, first reported by ARLnow.com, involved “at least 20 parents and students” and “was the result of a dispute between two families,” unrelated to the game, according to police. Officers used pepper spray to break up the fight. One adult was arrested during the game. [Washington Post]
Photo courtesy Brent Robson
No significant injuries were reported, said Arlington County Police spokesman Capt. Bruce Benson. Those involved in the fight — students, reportedly — were evaluated but did not require medical treatment.
Washington-Lee’s football team was at home tonight, facing McLean High School. Police requested extra officers for security at the end of the game.
As of 9:45 p.m. no arrests had been made, Benson said.
Update at 11:55 a.m. — In addition to the fight during last night’s game, there was also a strong-arm robbery reported after the game. Police searched for the teenage suspect but were unable to locate him. The following email about the robbery was sent to the Cherrydale neighborhood listserv this morning.
My son was robbed after the Homecoming game at Washington Lee. It was right by the bike racks in front of the school on Stafford street, the guy asked for change for, and when my son took out the money to check, the boy snatched the money and ran, and when he yelled and tried to follow him, suddenly a group of the perpetrators friends showed up. I am glad the he did not engage, and instead went looking for a police officer.
The perpetrator had a Black Beanie cap, a grey sweatshirt, and blue jeans, he might have been only 15-16 years old. Even though only about $20 was snatched from my son, I hope the police follow up, as this totally is a sign of organized activity. Per police others were robbed last night as well.
W-L Student Aces ACT Exam — Washington-Lee High School rising senior Benjamin Brooks has earned a perfect score of 36 on the ACT college entrance exam. Of the two million people who take the exam each year, only 1,600 achieve a top score. [InsideNova]
Speakeasy Moves to Alexandria — The Room 19 speakeasy that was formerly in the now-closed Boulevard Woodgrill in Clarendon (which is now becoming Ambar) is relocating to Alexandria. Room 19 will have its soft opening in the Carlyle Club at 2050 Ballenger Ave tomorrow, a spokesman said. It will be open Thursdays from 6 p.m. to midnight. [Facebook]
Juror Questionnaires Are Being Mailed — Residents of Arlington and Falls Church will be receiving questionnaires as part of Arlington’s annual juror qualification process. About 35,000 questionnaires are being mailed out. [Arlington County]
Live Podcast Taping Coming to Arlington — Local media personalities Sarah Fraser and Samy K will be hosting a live taping of their popular Hey Frase podcast at Clarendon Ballroom next month. Tickets to the show start at $25. [Eventbrite]
Arlington fielded some of the country’s top youth athletes in water polo last month.
Capital Water Polo has two of the top 25 youth water polo teams in the United States after competing in USA Water Polo’s 2016 Junior Olympics in San Jose, Calif., from July 22-30.
The club, which trains at the pools at Washington-Lee, Yorktown and Wakefield high schools, sent more than 50 athletes ages 10-18 from five teams to the tournament.
The under-14 girls’ and under-12 boys’ teams were Capital Water Polo’s top squads, finishing 22nd and 24th, respectively. The under-18 boys’ team finished 44th in its fifth appearance in the tournament and the under-16 and under-14 boys’ teams finished 76th and 79th, respectively.
“I am incredibly proud of all our athletes for their dedication during the tough 10 months of training leading up to this championship tournament, as well as for their formidable play against the top teams in the nation,” coach Leslie Enwistle said in a statement. “Many of our competitors’ programs have been ranked nationally for over 20 years. We demonstrated that our coaches’ commitment to effectively develop all our athletes was successful at the highest level.”
Photos courtesy of Teresa Byrne
(Updated at 3:45 p.m.) Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) held a special ceremony this morning announcing the construction of equipment that would allow for new high occupancy toll (HOT) lanes on I-66.
McAuliffe hosted the event at Washington-Lee High School — which overlooks the highway — and was joined by Va. Secretary of Transportation Aubrey Layne and Arlington County Board chair Libby Garvey.
“Since the beginning of our administration, we made it our top transportation priority to improve Virginia’s infrastructure and unclog the bottlenecks on our most congested highways,” McAuliffe said during the ceremony. “This initiative, coupled with Virginia’s new SMARTSCALE transportation prioritization process, will unlock Northern Virginia from the traffic congestion that was strangling this region’s economic potential.”
— Terry McAuliffe (@GovernorVA) August 1, 2016
Workers will soon begin the $60 million project to install tolling equipment along the interstate from the Beltway to the Lee Highway exit in Rosslyn, according to a press release from McAuliffe’s office.
The new equipment will allow drivers to pay a toll of about $5-6 on average to bypass traffic during morning and afternoon rush hours, according to VDOT. Vehicles with two or more occupants, buses and motorcycles will be exempt from paying the toll.
Toll revenues will go toward funding alternative forms of transportation, McAuliffe said.
“The toll revenues will now fund travel options like ridesharing and enhanced commuter bus service, making those choices more attractive and much more user friendly so more people will leave their cars in the garage to get to work,” McAuliffe explained in his remarks. “We are committed to creating a carpool culture for I-66 travelers.”
Additionally, the Commonwealth Transportation Board will commit nearly $10 million toward projects such as improving commuter buses from Loudoun, Prince William County and Fairfax, local buses in Arlington and Fairfax, new carpool incentives and new bikeshare programs, according to McAuliffe’s office.
Along with the new tolling equipment, I-66 will also be partially widened. The plan calls for an extra lane to be built within the existing eastbound right-of-way from the Dulles Connector Road to the Fairfax Drive exit in Ballston.
The new HOT lanes are expected to open some time next summer.
Historic Designation May Not Stop Westover Redevelopment — It’s probably too late to start the process of designating a soon-to-be-redeveloped garden apartment complex in Westover as a local historic district, county officials said in response to residents who want to stop the development. By state law the county can’t stop a by-right development, so the only option for preserving the garden apartments would be for the county to buy the property, said County Attorney Stephen MacIsaac. [InsideNova]
Zara Now Open in Pentagon City Mall — The fashion retailer Zara is now open in the expanded portion of the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City mall. [Patch]
Continued Kudos for W-L Soccer — After winning the state title, the Washington-Lee High School boys soccer team has since been recognized by the Arlington County Board, the School Board and has received a raft of media interest. [InsideNova]
Wardian Wins Crazy Trophy at Crazy Race — Arlington’s resident elite ultramarathoner Michael Wardian has won the Great New York City 100 Mile Running Exposition and the very unique trophy that goes along with it. [Instagram]
Arlington’s Street Names, Explained — In a post that was just republished, after originally appearing in 2009, urbanist blog Greater Greater Washington explains the complex but mostly logical system for naming streets in Arlington. [Greater Greater Washington]
Photo courtesy Melissa P.
W-L Soccer Captures State Title — The Washington-Lee boys soccer team defeated First Colonial 3-1 on Saturday to win the school’s first Virginia 6A boys soccer state title. Despite an injury, Maycol Nunez led the team with two goals. [Washington Post, InsideNova]
Ceremony for W-L Grad Killed in WW2 — A special ceremony will be held today at Arlington National Cemetery to honor the memory of Merrill Walter Hoover, a star athlete at Washington-Lee High School who was killed while serving in the Coast Guard during World War II. Hoover’s body was never found following a ship collision in which he worked selflessly to save his shipmates. [Falls Church News-Press]
Arlington RAMMY Winners — Clarendon’s Northside Social and chef Jonah Kim of Yona in Ballston were big winners during last night’s RAMMY awards, picking up “Favorite Gathering Place of the Year” and “Rising Culinary Star of the Year” awards, respectively. The awards program for Washington’s restaurant industry also honored major Ballston restaurant operator Mike Isabella Concepts. [RAMW]
Worker Rescued in Crystal City — On Saturday, a worker whose lift platform became stuck 30 feet in the air in Crystal City was rescued by Arlington County firefighters. [Twitter]
Cousins Tweets W-L Senior’s Yearbook Quote — “Best of luck at VCU this fall!” Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins told Washington-Lee senior Joseph Langley, in a tweet, after Langley used Cousins’ famous “You like that?!” moment as his yearbook quote. [ESPN]
More on Applebee’s Ballston Plans — Applebees is opening in Ballston with a “new, urban-focused design.” Why Ballston? “There are lot of Millennials in the area, and it’s an area that has a lot of office buildings as well as residential,” a company spokesman said, as quoted in a 1,070 word magazine article about the restaurant’s Ballston plans. [Arlington Magazine]
CPRO Names New Executive Director — The Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization has named its interim executive director, former Rosslyn BID honcho Cecilia Cassidy, as its permanent executive director. CPRO’s previous executive director, Takis Karantonis, resigned in January after five years on the job, and is currently working for County Board candidate Erik Gutshall’s campaign. [CPRO]