Snow Leads to Numerous Accidents — Numerous accidents were reported around Arlington this morning due to snow-slickened streets. Accidents were reported on Route 50 near Carlin Springs Road, Lee Highway and Key Blvd at N. Rhodes Street, and on N. George Mason Drive across from Lubber Run Park. As of 9:00 a.m. the accident on Route 50 was still reportedly causing traffic backups.
No Tickets for Snow Removal Violations — Arlington County has not handed out any tickets or fines for violations of the county’s snow removal ordinance so far this winter. The ordinance requires home and business owners to shovel their sidewalks within 24-36 hours of the end of a snow storm. County Manager Barbara Donnellan told the County Board yesterday that it had received 118 snow removal-related complaints, but each time a property owner was notified of a violation they “took care of it.” [Sun Gazette]
Lopez Receives Local Endorsements – Del. Alfonso Lopez (D) has picked up the endorsement of some local Arlington County figures in his run for Congress. Lopez announced this morning that he has been endorsed by Arlington County School Board Member Emma Violand-Sanchez, Arlington County Sheriff Beth Arthur and former Arlington County Democratic Committee chair Mike Lieberman.
Alcova Heights Neighborhood Plan Approved — The County Board last night approved an update to the Alcova Heights Neighborhood Conservation Plan. The plan calls for improving the neighborhood’s appearance while preserving its character and protecting it from speeding and cut-through traffic. [Arlington County]
Flickr pool photo by Wolfkann
Police say 19-year-old Paul Noland, who lives with his parents in Alcova Heights, lured the boy into this pickup truck around 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday, May 21, on the 3600 block of 8th Street S. Noland is accused of showing the boy — who lives in the neighborhood — child pornography on his iPad, then touching him inappropriately.
The boy’s parents were outside doing yard work at the time of the incident, police said. From this week’s Arlington County crime report:
SEXUAL BATTERY, 05/21/13, 3600 block of S. 8th Street. At 8:00 pm on May 21, a child reported he was sexually assaulted and shown child pornography by a male neighbor. Paul Jaquet Noland, 19, of Arlington, VA, was arrested and charged with aggravated sexual battery. He is being held without bond.
The rest of the crime report, after the jump. All suspects are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
Since April, a single-family house at 3704 2nd Street S. has been operating as a low-barrier group home for four (4) adults with mental illnesses transitioning from homelessness. New Hope Housing, the Alexandria-based nonprofit that operates the dormitory, has been seeking a use permit to increase the maximum number of adults housed at the dormitory to six (6).
The use permit request drew criticism from neighbors at Saturday’s Arlington County Board meeting.
Residents told the Board that there was a lack of supervision and communication from the nonprofit for the first 4-5 months that the group home — called Susan’s Place — was in operation. Several neighbors described residents of the shelter cursing and spitting at them as they walked by, a resident who sat in a broken chair in the front yard talking to himself until midnight, and other disturbances. Residents and neighborhood representatives said neighbors were not notified that the group home would be opening, and didn’t know who to contact with concerns.
New Hope Housing Executive Director Pamela Michell told the Board that the problems went uncorrected for several months because a key staff member was on an extended personal leave, working on a master’s degree in social work. She said the organization typically doesn’t give neighbors a heads up when they open a new group home because of fair housing laws, but called that a mistake in retrospect.
“There was a lack of communication,” she admitted. “We did not come and talk to the neighborhood. That was obviously a mistake.”
Still, Michell said the organization was not aware of any problems during the first few months the group home was open. She said a staff person was on-site during that time, and disputed the assertion of neighbors that they made a reasonable effort to voice concerns about resident behavior.
“Frankly, no one knocked on our door and said there was a concern,” Michell said. “Since the staff person didn’t observe it and since nobody complained, we didn’t know there was something that needed to be addressed.”
In a letter to county staff, the Alcova Heights Citizens Association said they only obtained information about New Hope Housing when an attorney for the organization contacted them seeking support for expansion of the group home. The first meeting between neighbors and New Hope staff took place on Aug. 14.
“This appears to be a lapse in management,” County Board member Jay Fisette said to Michell. “You guys did something wrong.”
Fisette and other Board members were swayed, however, by accounts that problems with the group home have largely been corrected since that meeting. They were also supportive of conditions for the use permit agreed to by New Hope Housing, including 24-hour on-site supervision, a neighborhood liaison who can be reached by phone by residents, an administrative review after 5 months and a County Board review in 9 months.
“Because it has improved… I think this is going to work,” Fisette said. “Six people, five people or four doesn’t really matter. It’s the management issues around it.”
Fisette also noted that many of the residents who expressed concerns about the group home also expressed support for New Hope’s overall mission to help the homeless.
The Board approved the use permit by a 5-0 vote.
Board member Chris Zimmerman echoed Board Chair Mary Hynes in commending the “vital function in our community” that nonprofits like New Hope play in helping to combat homelessness.
Photo via Google Maps
Someone broke into an Alcova Heights apartment last week, used the bathroom, and didn’t flush. From this week’s Arlington County crime report:
UNLAWFUL ENTRY, 02/17/12, 3600 block of S. 5th Street. Between 7:45 am, on February 14, and 6 pm, on February 15, an unknown subject entered the victim’s apartment and used the bathroom. There were no items reported missing. There is no suspect description.
According to Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck, the bathroom bandit may not have flushed, but he or she did, at least, turn off the lights.
“An unknown subject defacated in the victims toilet and didn’t flush,” Sternbeck said in an email. “The suspect also turned off interior lights in the residence that were left on… there were no signs of forced entry.”
Sternbeck said he could not recall any similar incidents in Arlington in recent memory. The rest of this week’s crime report, after the jump.
Barcroft residents are carefully watching the influx of some 1,200 government workers into their neighborhood as a result of the Base Realignment and Closure Act. Some neighbors are calling for action to mitigate what they claim are dangerous and disruptive traffic conditions.
The personnel are being added to the Army National Guard Readiness Center, in the Arlington Hall complex, at George Mason Drive and Route 50. Many of them are coming from Crystal City offices, but only a couple hundred have made the move so far. The bulk of staff members are expected to arrive mid-July. This flood of workers has some residents in surrounding neighborhoods worried about an increase in parking and traffic issues.
Although a new parking structure was built to accommodate the additional workers, per the National Capital Planning Commission’s specifications there is only one parking spot for every four workers. That’s creating concern about where all the new employees will park. There are already reports of more cars parked in neighboring residential areas, and residents would like to see that stop.
BRAC Project Coordinator Andrea Morris says she understands the parking issues. She is working with District 3 to increase patrols in the area to ticket anyone parked illegally on residential streets. The problem, according to Morris, is that most of the Barcroft neighborhood does not have zone parking restrictions, so there’s nothing to stop workers from using the vacant spots.
“It’s not a popular answer, it’s not one that is going to get a lot of rave reviews, but unfortunately, it happens to be a fact,” Morris said. “It’s a very, very hard statement for me to make because I hear their concerns.”
Morris says BRAC has partnered with WMATA to increase the frequency of the 22A buses, starting in August. That line should alleviate some of the parking headaches, because it is planned to work as a shuttle for the government workers and not to stop at every point along the bus line.
(Updated at 12:20 p.m.) The basement of a home in Alcova Heights caught fire this morning.
Firefighters were able to quickly extinguish the smoky blaze, which broke out just before 11:00 a.m. on the 3700 block of 8th Street S.
Police shut down roads in the area while firefighters from Arlington, Bailey’s Crossroads, Fairfax County and Fort Myer helped to put out the fire.
A cat was rescued from the blaze and brought to an ambulance, where it was eventually picked up by an animal control officer.
For the past few months, we’ve been hearing anecdotal evidence of a rodent resurgence in Arlington.
At least one well-known local civic leader has privately identified the burgeoning rat population in the Clarendon area as a significant problem facing the county. And then we get emails like the following:
I’m interested in whether or not there’s been an uptick recently in Arlington residents reporting rodents in their homes? Recently, I found a pair of rats that had made a home in the wall of my 6th Street S. ground floor apartment. I’d heard from coworkers and neighbors that they’ve been finding mice recently too. Apparently we’re experiencing a perfect storm of conditions that can cause rodents to enter homes: cold weather, construction nearby (we have alot), [and] heavy acorn/nut production.
Cold weather does drive mice to take shelter in buildings and construction has been known to send rats scurrying. The bumper crop of acorns is indeed credited with fattening up local squirrels — we’re not sure if mice and rats are benefiting as well.
The rodent problem has the email listserve of at least one South Arlington neighborhood buzzing.
In Alcova Heights, neighbors are sharing rodent control tips with one another. Among those weighing in are a few conflicted animal lovers, who are searching for a more humane way to get rid of the pests.
One resident expressed frustration with the options.
Well, these mice are turning out to be extremely smart…or the humane trap is not extremely well designed. I put peanut butter in there, thinking they’d spend a little more time while the doors closed and then I actually thought about driving them out to the woods where there might be an abandoned structure or something they could live in. But they keep slipping away. I will probably need to take harsher measures, but you should have seen them staring up at us last year after we poisoned them. Like they were asking us for help, and to stop. So sad… I may be a soft heart when it comes to animals.
Another mentioned an alternative method of mouse execution.
I told you my story of how it broke my heart to kill them. I was crying, so; I understand exactly how you felt last year. I “kills” me to see any animal suffer. I do not know any good ways to get rid of them – I just know that it is best “to” get rid of them because they are very hard once they get a foothold.
I guess you could do like the one person suggested and put them in your freezer to have a peaceful freezer death…. However, then you might need to replace your freezer….I know I would!
Finally, one resident elaborated on the method. We’re still not sure how you’re supposed to get the mouse in the bag, though.
Put them in air tight zip lock freezer bag, before freezing. Leave them there overnight, the next day put them in the regular trash (outside).
Where are you finding rodents, and what, if anything ,are you doing to “thin the herd,” so to speak?
In addition to candy bars and other treats, the tike, dressed as Cookie Monster, managed to score an expensive gold wedding band. Mom and dad found the ring while rummaging through the contents Jack’s Halloween candy bucket.
“I immediately picked it up and knew that it had to be someone’s wedding ring and knew it must have fallen off when she was putting candy into Cookie Monster’s pumpkin bucket,” says mom Michaela Sims. “Knowing how awful it feels to lose something that important, I put the ring in a safe place and went to the computer to post something about it on the Alcova Heights neighborhood listserve.”
But when she looked on the listserve, there was already a message from the woman who lost the ring. So Michaela responded that she had it and left her email address. Elapsed time between messages: about an hour and a half.
Now, the ring is back where it belongs.
“I sent my address to her and she has just now brought it back to me,” said Carolyn Mauck, for whom the ring has held extra sentimental value since her husband passed away last year. “This is indeed a case of neighbor helping neighbor. Our neighborhood is great about doing things like that.”
“Sam (the four-year-old) and I dropped the ring off at her house a little bit ago,” Michaela wrote soon after returning from Mauck’s house. “She was very happy… After Sam said trick or treat a few times, he hugged her and said ‘God Bless You!’ (And then promptly ran into her yard to try to climb her tree.)”
“She seems so sweet,” wrote Michaela. “I’m so glad this ended well.”
Thanks to J.A. for the tip. Photo courtesy of Michaela Sims.
Police are investigating a death on 2nd Street South in Alcova Heights this morning.
A passerby found a person shot to death in a car, police said. The car was parked on the side of the street, still running. Initial evidence points to suicide, we’re told.
2nd Street is closed to traffic between Glebe Road and South Oakland Street while police investigate the incident.
Rain, At Last — After a long dry spell, we’ll get periods rain all day and potentially strong thunderstorms tonight. More from the Capital Weather Gang.
Local Lobbyist Pleads Guilty to Illegal Campaign Contributions — Lobbyist Paul Magliocchetti pleaded guilty Friday to making $386,250 in illegal campaign contributions to members of Congress. Magliocchetti founded the Arlington-based firm The PMA Group, which folded in 2009, several months after being raided by the FBI. One of PMA’s major beneficiaries was Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.), who received nearly $1 million from the firm over ten years. More from the Washington Times.
WaPo Profiles Alcova Heights – The Washington Post digs up some of the history of Alcova Heights, which up until the 1920s was a farm. If you ever wanted to know where the name came from (hint: it’s not very imaginative), read on.
Boccato Gelato Redesigned — The gelato has remained the same, but Clarendon’s Boccato Gelato now has a new interior. More from Clarendon Nights.