Dogwood Download: Things You Should Know For Tuesday, March 30

By Brian Carlton

March 30, 2021

Paper causes a traffic jam, Arlington residents get a drone warning, Charlottesville offers a housing solution and a school district returns to class.

Daily Number

1791 – This is something you might not see in school. In fact, you might call this the birthday of a District. On this date in 1791, then-President George Washington issued a proclamation establishing a permanent seat for the U.S. government. He put it on the Potomac River, on land given by both Virginia and Maryland. And thus, Washington D.C. was born. 

Drones Set to Fly Over Arlington County 

Arlington County residents got a unique notice on Monday: they’ll soon have drones flying overhead. It won’t be a permanent issue, but just for a few days in April. County officials hired a contractor to count the area’s white-tailed deer population. He’s going to do that by using a drone to monitor heat signatures. 

“We’ve all seen deer in the County at one time or another,” said Alonso Abugattas, the County’s Natural Resource Manager. “We’d like more than just anecdotal evidence. We want to clearly see how many and where they are so we can mindfully steward our natural resources.”

The drones will be flying in the Arlington skies a half-hour before sunrise, starting on April 5. Officials say they’ll continue each day until the survey is finished, possibly up to two weeks. 

Massive Paper Fire Shuts Down I-95

Any drivers heading northbound on I-95 around Spotsylvania County Monday afternoon might be forgiven for developing a bit of road rage sitting in traffic. For seven hours, drivers had to take a detour just south of Exit 126. All they could see were clouds of smoke. 

That smoke came from a tractor-trailer that caught fire, according to Virginia State Police. As to why it burned so much? For that you can blame the cargo. The truck was carrying what VSP officials described as “enormous rolls of paper.” Understandably, as the truck caught fire, the cargo did as well. It took Virginia Department of Transportation crews until midnight to get all the debris removed and to safely reopen all northbound lanes. VSP officials are still investigating what caused the accident. 

A School Teacher Shines in #ThisIsVirginia Series

Another School District Returns to In-Person Learning

It’s now official: Franklin County kids are back in class. The school district, which had been building up to this for a while, on Monday opened the doors to kids for full-time in-person instruction. That means a regular schedule, with classes happening five days a week. 

Now there are some requirements. The district purchased air purifiers to set up in each room. Also, students have to wear masks and stay socially distant. School classrooms are set up to make sure students are at least three feet apart. 

No, The Murder Hornets Aren’t Coming This Way

 Internet memes aren’t always correct. That may come as a shock to some people, but it’s especially true in current times. They can exaggerate, stretch the truth and in some cases, just create flat out false narratives.

So when you see repeated notices, all claiming that murder hornets will be arriving in Virginia by April, you’ll want to take a minute and consider the source. Dogwood’s Amie Knowles outlines what you should and shouldn’t expect from the creatures this spring.

McAuliffe Gets Congressional Endorsement

We’ve hit another first in this year’s governor’s race. Elaine Luria became the first member of Virginia’s Congressional delegation to endorse a candidate, as she announced support for former governor Terry McAuliffe over the weekend. 

“The struggles of small businesses, our students and schools, [getting] the vaccine out, these are complex challenges that really take the right leader, and Terry has proven that,” Luria said in a statement. “It’s incredibly important I think to work between federal, state, and local government and you can see here with his supporters and 200 elected officials in Virginia on Team Terry and we’re going to make sure he can go back to Richmond and lead our Commonwealth in this really difficult time.”

McAuliffe, who came in second in both the Arlington and Fairfax Democratic polls this past weekend, will be in the first televised debate of the primary season April 6. It’ll be broadcast on WTVR, Richmond’s CBS affiliate. 

Trivia Answers: We’ve Got a Couple To Share

Since we didn’t have a “Things You Should Know” yesterday, we’ve got two trivia answers to roll out for you today. The first comes from Saturday’s newsletter. We asked how long would it take for you to drive straight up from your current location to the edge of the atmosphere.

The answer: one hour.

You can thank astronomer Fred Hoyle and the folks at NASA for this one. If you turn a car, aim it straight at the sky and started driving at 60mph, it would take you one hour to reach the edge of the atmosphere. We just don’t advise trying it.

Second, we’ve got a fairly bizarre one from Monday’s trivia. Why are there fewer Egyptian mummies around now than in the 12th century? The answer: They were used as medicine. No, we’re not kidding.

A 1927 version of the Proceedings of the Royal Society of Medicine detailed documents found from excavations in Egypt. That material explained between the 12th and 17th century, if you got sick, a popular practice was to use a poultice or drink made from powdered mummies. We’ll stick with Dayquil.

Question of the Day: Would You Use Public Transportation?

Charlottesville Org Offers Help For Homeless

How do you solve homelessness? First, you need housing. One Charlottesville company is working to solve that problem by purchasing empty real estate. The Charlottesville Area Community Foundation this week gave $4.25 million to the Piedmont Housing Alliance, to help the group purchase the former Red Carpet Inn on Route 29. 

The Alliance expects to be operational by mid-April, with 115 rooms for anyone who needs a place to stay. Beyond that temporary housing, the group and its partners hope to build 80 permanent housing units on the same property. The current plan is to have them operational by 2023.

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