Today Is Terrible Traffic Tuesday — AAA Mid-Atlantic has again dubbed today Terrible Traffic Tuesday. With vacations over and kids back in school, rush hour trips are expected to increase in length by 26 percent today, on average. Washington, the auto club says, has the worst rush hour traffic in the nation. [AAA Mid-Atlantic]
Fairfax School May Be Model for Arlington – Fairfax County unveiled a new five-story urban-style elementary school, with tech-laden and light-filled classrooms. The school, in the Seven Corners area, may be a model for a future school in Arlington, which is struggling to find enough open space for new schools. [InsideNova]
Shuttleworth Wins Pie-Eating Contest — Bowen Shuttleworth, the son of former Congressional candidate Bruce Shuttleworth and an emerging track champ, emerged victorious in the pie-eating contest (photo, above) at the annual Arlington County Democratic Committee Labor Day chili cookoff on Monday. The cookoff itself was interrupted by thunderstorms.
Flickr pool photo by Alan Kotok
Firefighters Battle Three-Alarm Blaze — Firefighters from Fairfax County and Arlington battled a three alarm fire at a senior living community Friday night. The facility, Lockwood House, is located on the 600 block of N. Madison Street, just across the Arlington border in Fairfax County. The building’s nearly 100 apartments were evacuated as the fire spread from an electrical transformer to a utility room containing a diesel generator and fuel tanks. [WUSA 9]
Three More Schools to Get FLES — Updated at 1:45 p.m. — Three additional schools will be getting Arlington Public Schools’ Foreign Language in Elementary School program, starting this fall. Tuckahoe, Nottingham and Oakridge will be getting the program, which provides Spanish language education to elementary students. The program also eliminates early release Wednesdays at schools that have it. Parents have been pushing Arlington elected officials to fund FLES at all elementary schools; the school system is planning to do so, but over a period of a couple years. [InsideNova]
Beyer Endorsed By WaPo — Former Va. lieutenant governor Don Beyer has been endorsed by the Washington Post in the Democratic primary to decide who will be the party’s nominee to succeed Rep. Jim Moran in Congress. “Mr. Beyer is, simply, an excellent candidate,” the Post’s editorial board opines. “He would make a first-rate addition to this region’s unusually effective congressional delegation.” [Washington Post]
Business Soaring for Arlington Bird Seed Store — Business continues to grow for the 23-year-old Wild Birds Unlimited store at the Lee Harrison Shopping Center (2437 N. Harrison Street). This winter’s frigid temperatures actually resulted in a sales boom, as birds sought food sources that weren’t iced over and bird-watching customers sought seed in order to attract those birds to their backyards. The store — No. 66 of the chain’s nearly 300 stores in North America — recorded $800,000 in sales last year and is hoping to crack the $1 million mark soon. [Washington Business Journal]
An armed robbery suspect is facing numerous criminal charges in Arlington after allegedly leading police on a high speed chase down Columbia Pike while a total of ten people, including six young children, were in his car.
The incident started just past 10:00 p.m. on Saturday.
Arlington police were notified of an armed robbery that took place near Kenmore Middle School, just over the border in Fairfax County. Two men robbed a pair of sisters at gunpoint in a parking lot on the 3100 block of S. Manchester Street in the Falls Church area, according to Fairfax County Police. The suspects allegedly robbed the 17- and 24-year-old of cash and possessions, then took off on foot.
Shortly thereafter, Fairfax officers located a suspect vehicle near Bailey’s Crossroads and tried to initiate a traffic stop, but the driver refused to stop, leading them on a chase, according to FCPD.
After a be-on-the-lookout broadcast, an Arlington officer spotted the suspect’s vehicle being chased eastbound on Columbia Pike and joined the pursuit, according to Arlington County police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. During the chase down the Pike the suspect drove at high rate of speed, ran red lights and swerved into the oncoming lanes to get around slower traffic, Sternbeck said.
The suspect crashed into a sedan at S. Glebe Road, then reversed into an unmarked Fairfax cruiser, before continuing to drive down the Pike, according to Arlington and Fairfax police.
The suspect eventually crossed the 14th Street Bridge into D.C., at which time Arlington called off its chase but the Fairfax units continued to pursue. The chase ended when the suspect’s car crashed into a barrier wall at C Street and Washington Avenue, according to FCPD.
Six children, all ages 6 and younger, were inside the suspect’s four-door Ford Focus during the chase, Arlington and Fairfax police said. The children were turned over to Child Protective Services in D.C. Four adults were inside the car at the time, police said.
The alleged driver, 25-year-old Marcus Woodland of D.C., is being held in the District pending extradition to Arlington. Woodland faces 11 charges in Arlington including 2 counts of attempted malicious wounding on law enforcement, felony eluding, felony hit and run, six counts of child endangerment, and reckless driving.
A second suspect, 31-year-old Christopher Woodland, also of D.C., is facing robbery charges in Fairfax County. Two other adults — 19-year-old Abena Okrah of Annandale and 25-year-old Beverly Starr of D.C. — are being charged with receiving stolen property. Fairfax County is seeking extradition of all four suspects.
Witnesses said a police helicopter was involved in the chase, but that couldn’t be immediately confirmed.
“Many police cars and a helicopter just went flying eastbound on Columbia pike @ Walter Reed dr,” @OwenHassig tweeted shortly after 10:30 p.m.
Fairfax County Police say they responded to the 2900 block of John Marshall Drive, in the Seven Corners area, around 6:15 a.m. for a report of a stabbing. There, they found a man dead and a woman injured inside an apartment.
Responding officers located the suspect nearby and took him into custody, according to a Fairfax County police spokesman. The suspect and the officer were hurt during the arrest. The officer, the suspect and the injured woman were all taken to a nearby hospital with what are only described as non-life-threatening injuries.
The incident is being investigated as a homicide.
The arrest of the suspect took place in or around Upton Hill Park in Arlington, according to Arlington County Police Department spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.
Update at 6:35 p.m. — Fairfax County Police have released the following press release about the crime.
Police are investigating an early morning homicide in the Falls Church area. Officers were dispatched to an apartment in the 2900 block of John Marshall Drive around 6:18 a.m. on Thursday, February 20, for a reported stabbing. They located an adult male deceased inside the apartment and an adult female with injuries. The suspect fled the apartment on foot prior to the officers’ arrival.
The police helicopter located the suspect hiding outside, near the apartment complex and led patrol officers to him. Both the suspect and one police officer were injured during the apprehension. The police officer, the suspect and the female victim were all transported to the hospital and treated for non life-threatening injuries.
The deceased has been identified as Alvaro Zepeda, 44, of 2903 John Marshall Drive, in Falls Church.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Crime Solvers by phone at 1-866-411-TIPS/8477, e-mail at www.fairfaxcrimesolvers.org or text “TIP187” plus your message to CRIMES/274637 or call Fairfax County Police at 703-691-2131.
Streetcar Support Remains High in Fairfax County — The McLean edition of the Sun Gazette newspaper reports that Fairfax County officials are not nearly as divided over the Columbia Pike streetcar project as their Arlington counterparts. “While some Republicans on [the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors] have expressed concerns, support among Fairfax officials remains high,” the paper reported. “And with good reason: Fairfax will be responsible for only about 20 percent of the local cost of the project, but plans to use the streetcar’s arrival to spur the redevelopment of Baileys Crossroads.” [Sun Gazette]
Dominion Reports Record Power Demand — Dominion Virginia Power met record demand for electricity during Tuesday’s frigid temperatures. Use of heaters during this week’s “polar vortex” helped push energy demand to 19,730 megawatts during the day on Tuesday. That’s well above the previous peak winter demand record of 18,079 megawatts, set in February 2007, but below the company’s summertime record of 20,061 megawatts, set in July 2011. [Dominion]
Malinosky Elected ACDC Chair — Kip Malinosky, a middle school civics teacher and well-respected Democratic organizer, was elected chair of the Arlington County Democratic Committee last night. Malinosky, who succeeds outgoing chair Mike Lieberman, told the Democratic faithful that the local party will remain united despite contested primaries for County Board and School Board. “We’re all in this together,” he said. “When the caucus is over, we will rally behind our candidates.”
Bill Would Outlaw Sex Acts Among Minors — A new bill proposed in the Virginia General Assembly would make oral sex and other “consensual sodomy” legal for adults but illegal for minors. The bills was proposed several months after courts struck down Virginia’s “crimes against nature” law. [Think Progress]
Delegate Wants More I-66 Lanes Inside the Beltway — Del. Jim LeMunyon, a Republican representing part of Fairfax County, has introduced legislation requiring the state to plan a project that would “increase the lane capacity on Interstate 66 inside the Capital Beltway to include at least two-non-high-occupancy vehicle lanes in each direction.” That idea, suggests reporter Michael Neibauer, will likely not sit well here in Arlington. “Arlington officials would probably chain themselves to highway signs before letting it happen,” he wrote. [Washington Business Journal]
Flickr pool photo by J. Sonder
(Updated at 5:45 p.m.) A large water main break has been reported on Columbia Pike, just in time to cause significant issues with the evening commute.
The water main break was reported at Columbia Pike and Carlin Springs Road, on the Arlington/Fairfax county line. Fairfax County police are shutting down the Pike in both directions between Carlin Springs and Route 7.
Police have shut down the eastbound side of the Pike to pedestrian traffic, because workers are cautious to prevent the sidewalk from collapsing into a sinkhole, according to police on the scene. Fairfax Water workers are trying to turn off the water — which is still pouring out of the sewer grates in the closed-off section of Columbia Pike — before beginning repairs.
There are no estimates so far for the timeline of work to be completed, so drivers should avoid the area entirely on their commute, if possible. As of about 5:30 p.m., Carlin Springs Road was backed up all the way into the Buckingham neighborhood, and several other roads in the area were also suffering major backups.
Fairfax May Be ‘Big Winner’ From Streetcar — The Columbia Pike streetcar may be an economic boon to Fairfax County. Fairfax is planning to use its portion of the future streetcar system to lure office tenants to the Skyline and Baileys Crossroads areas. Already, promise of the streetcar might be helping to sway the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to move to Skyline from Ballston. [Sun Gazette]
Office Absorption Down as Sequester Takes Hold — The D.C. region, particularly Northern Virginia, is shedding office tenants. The region typically “absorbs” about 900,000 square feet of office space per quarter, but posted a negative 100,000 square foot absorption figure between April and June. Tenant downsizing and federal job losses and budget cuts are being blamed for the poor absorption figures. [Globe St]
Brink Unopposed in Upcoming Election — Arlington’s Del. Bob Brink (D) is running unopposed for reelection in November, after the Libertarian candidate he was set to face dropped out of the race. Del. Patrick Hope, Del. Alfonso Lopez and Del. Rob Krupicka, all Democrats, area facing a Libertarian, an Independent Green and and independent candidate, respectively. So far, no Republican challengers have been announced. [Sun Gazette]
Library Seeking LEGO Artists — Arlington Public Library is seeking LEGO builders ages 18 and under to help design and build LEGO structures for display at a library. [Arlington Public Library]
Flickr pool photo by Wolfkann
The suspect, 58-year-old Ibrahim Abdullah, was arrested by Fairfax County police at a house on the 1700 block of N. Quebec Street. The arrest happened around 1:40 p.m. on Thursday and prompted some curious neighbors to question why police from another jurisdiction were carrying out an arrest an Arlington home.
According to Fairfax County Police spokeswoman Lucy Caldwell, Abdullah is accused of swiping a credit card from a victim’s purse or wallet. The alleged theft happened at a Panera Bread restaurant in the Tysons Corner area on Monday, May 27.
Police say Abdullah then used the credit card to make purchases at several Tysons Corner stores. He has been charged with credit card theft and credit card fraud, Caldwell said.
Woodbridge resident Joshua Terrell Franklin, 24 was charged last week with the December 2012 rape of a prostitute in a Crystal City hotel room.
“The suspect, in response to an online advertisement, hired a woman to perform sexual acts,” police said in a press release. “Shortly after arriving at the victim’s hotel room, the suspect forced the victim to perform sexual acts at gunpoint. ”
Franklin has been charged with Rape, Robbery and Forcible Sodomy in connection with that incident. He is currently awaiting trial in Fairfax County for a similar crime, the alleged sexual assault of two women in a Springfield hotel room in January.
Police believe Franklin might have assaulted other women, and are asking for additional victims to come forward.
“Information revealed in the investigation indicates that there are potentially other victims or persons with information regarding this subject,” police said. “Anyone who has information about this suspect is asked to call Detective Angela Comer at 703.228.4243 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. To report information anonymously, contact the Arlington County Crime Solvers at 866.411.TIPS (8477).”
Photo courtesy Arlington County Police Department
Firefighters are packing up and leaving the scene of a two alarm apartment fire on the 3400 block of Carlyn Hill Drive, along the Arlington/Fairfax border.
The call came in a little before 8:00 p.m. for a fire in an apartment on the third floor of the residential building. Firefighters managed to contain it to that one apartment.
According to Arlington County Fire Department spokesman Capt. Gregg Karl, at least six units from Arlington assisted the Fairfax County Fire Department. Units from Alexandria and Annandale also offered aid.
Part of Columbia Pike just west of Carlin Springs Road was down to one lane as crews responded to the fire in the building, which is offset from the main road.
Medics on scene were spotted tending to people and wrapping a few in blankets, but there are no reports so far of serious injuries. There’s also no word on the cause of the fire.
Campbell Students Allowed Back on Bus — Students who were bused to Campbell Elementary School last year but were judged to be in the “walk zone” this year will be allowed back on the bus. Arlington Public Schools made the decision to diverge from its controversial Transportation Modernization Plan after 20 families threatened to pull their children from Campbell and enroll them at their neighborhood school, Carlin Springs Elementary, which is over capacity. [Arlington Mercury]
Fairfax Wants Say in Arlington School Expansion — Officials in Fairfax County want to review and analyze the Arlington Public Schools plan to add 300 middle school students and 600 elementary school students to the Williamsburg Middle School campus, which is near McLean. Fairfax officials are concerned about the traffic impact to McLean neighborhoods. [Sun Gazette]
County Approves New Fiber Optic Contract — On Saturday the Arlington County Board approved a $5.37 million contract to build an additional stage of the ConnectArlington fiber optic network. The fiber optic project approved over the weekend will connect 50 county and school facilities. [Arlington County]
Ballston Restaurant Has ‘Best Wings’ — First Down Sports Bar and Grill, at 4213 N. Fairfax Drive in Ballston, has some of the best wings in the D.C. area, according to the Washington Post’s Going Out Guide. First Down offers some 40 flavors of wings and an all-you-can-eat wing night on Wednesday. [Washington Post]
High School Football Update — Bishop O’Connell’s football squad won its homecoming game against Bishop McNamara on Saturday, by a score of 31-14. Yorktown trounced Falls Church on Friday, with a 48-0 win that brought the school’s record to 8-0. Washington-Lee and the winless Wakefield Warriors both lost Friday night.
Flickr pool photo by Christaki
Fairfax Approves Pike Streetcar — By a vote of 7-2, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors has approved a plan to build a streetcar line along Columbia Pike from Pentagon City to the Skyline area of Fairfax. The vote gives Fairfax and Arlington, which approved the project last week, the opportunity to apply for federal funding. Fairfax Board Chairwoman Sharon Bulova said of the project: “The streetcar will relieve congestion and present economic development opportunities for the Skyline area and serve a population with the demonstrated support and need for transit.” [Washington Post, Washington Examiner]
Moran Leads Fundraising Race — Incumbent Rep. Jim Moran (D) has out-raised his Republican opponent by a factor of more than eight. As of June 30, Moran raised $813,000 and had $308,000 cash on hand, compared to the $98,000 raised and $55,000 cash on hand for Republican challenger Patrick Murray. Independent candidate Jason Howell had $1,900 cash on hand. [Sun Gazette]
Defense Contractors Rally Against Cuts — Worried about the $500 billion in automatic defense spending cuts which will go into effect next year unless Congress acts, defense contractors held a rally in Crystal City on Monday. Among those in attendance was Gov. Bob McDonnell (R), who joined local congressmen and business leaders in decrying the potential for more than 200,000 job losses in Virginia as a result of the cuts. [Patch]
Update at 4:50 p.m. — At this point we’ve heard at least
three four ACFD units dispatched to assist with swift water rescues.
Several squads from the Arlington County Fire Department have been dispatched to Fairfax County to assist with swift water rescues.
The first mutual aid call came in just after 3:00 p.m. Units have been dispatched to locations like Oakton and Great Falls.
While Arlington has remained fairly dry for much of the afternoon, a line of heavy rains has been soaking parts of Fairfax County for several hours. Via Twitter, there have been several reports of flooding on portions of Route 50, Route 123 and the Dulles Toll Road.
A new analysis of county employee compensation, prepared by county staff, says that Arlington employees earn less than their counterparts in Alexandria and Fairfax County.
The Washington Examiner reports that veteran employees often earn thousands of dollars less than employees in Alexandria and Fairfax, the county’s two biggest competitors in terms of hiring. Despite the fact that Arlington often hires employees at higher starting salaries, the staff analysis recommends raising county employee salary ceilings in Arlington to compete for the best workers.
What do you think?
Arlington County Police have been alerted to a bank robbery that occurred in McLean within the hour.
According to a police lookout, the Wachovia Bank at 1300 Chain Bridge Road was robbed by a man wearing a white mask and holding a black handgun.
It’s standard procedure for police departments to be notified about bank robberies in surrounding jurisdictions.
Update at 1:40 p.m. — Police describe the suspect as a black male in his mid to late 30s, about 5’8″ and between 150 and 170 pounds. He was reportedly wearing an “elderly white man” costume mask and dark clothing, according to the Falls Church News-Press.