A LOVING CHANGE
After narrowing down the list of possible new names for Lee Highway, an Arlington task force has settled on its recommendation: Mildred and Richard Loving Avenue.
Presently named after Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, the group said it should instead be named after civil rights figures Mildred and Richard Loving, the Virginia couple whose fight for the legalization of interracial marriage in the the 1960s culminated in a 1967 Supreme Court decision and inspired the 2016 movie Loving. The Court ruled that laws banning interracial marriage were unconstitutional.
The Arlington County Board was briefed by the working group last week, and will decide whether to advance the name change to the state legislature or the Commonwealth Transportation Board.
From a confederate general to a loving couple. That, indeed, is poetic.
AMAZONISTAN? IN THREE VA COUNTIES, AMAZON NOW A TOP-10 EMPLOYER
The giant’s footprint keeps growing. In Arlington, Fairfax, and Loudoun counties, Amazon is becoming a major employer.
Amazon now employs 18,500 Virginians at its growing network of worksites — 10 fulfillment and ‘sortation’ centers and delivery stations across the state, plus data centers in Loudoun (to the tune of 141 acres) and Fairfax. At its HQ2 East Coast headquarters in Arlington, which began construction this year, the company plans to employ about 1,500 employees next year; by 2030 it expects HQ2 to house some 25,000 employees.
As VoxFairfax pointed out last February in an article titled NoVa Emerges as Amazonadelphia (February 3, https://wp.me/p9wDCF-14D) The advent of the retailing behemoth’s presence in the Old Dominion created heartthrobs among scores of residents and others who would stand to benefit. But, then, there were others who viewed the entry of Amazon into NOVA as a threat. Once the actual site location in Crystal City was announced, the critics emerged in full force, expressing earlier concerns about the urbanization of Virginia’s northern counties.
Over time, Amazon’s roots in NOVA will deepen. Amazonistan is a meme for the type of balkanization of rural lands adjacent to urban cosmopolises. Population density will be felt in the various taxes that support services. Growth is not always the best distributor of wealth.
BODY FARM TO GROW IN MANASSAS
Yes, you read that right. And no, it’s not to film Night of the Living Dead.
George Mason University’s Manassas campus will soon house a 5-acre, cutting-edge forensic science research and training laboratory that will provide a unique learning experience for students and local and federal law enforcement officers, helping them with crime-solving techniques. It will be the eighth location in the world like this, and mimic one in Knoxville, Tennessee.
As an FBI profiler, the laboratory’s director has interviewed many notorious serial killers. “A lot of the cases that I worked had victims who were left outside,” she said. “You had to understand what the environment did to these remains.” Students will study the process of human and animal decomposition, examining the effects of weather, soil, and foragers.
“The goal is to solve cases,” said the director. The human remans are to be donated by the Virginia Department of Health. Fans of Kay Scarpetta, crime writer Patricia Cornwell’s sleuthing medical examiner, will be familiar with the concept of a body farm.
Forensic science in the Commonwealth is well cultivated.
REFORMERS FOLLOW POLICE SHOOTING IN PRINCE WILLIAM
Last week, a 79-year-old Dumfries man was shot by five Prince William County police officers, later dying from his injuries. Now, the Occoquan PWC Supervisor announced his intention to create a civilian review board that would have the authority to investigate police use-of-force incidents and take disciplinary action against police officers who break the rules. This follows by just a few days the killing of the man by police outside his home. Police were called after the man’s wife reported that he was armed, was having a mental health crisis, and was suicidal. He was reportedly walking around in the woods outside his house with the gun. Police shot him at the front door of his home after he returned.
At the same time, PWC was studying the inclusion of “co-responder” resources for police to address situations similar to this one. The county will soon welcome a new police chief who must address these issues. This shooting was the third in PWC in four years, and the second that proved fatal.
Incidents such as this demand more rational police intervention.