The Board will consider a $573,000 contract to build a new “sprayground” at Virginia Highlands Park, at 1600 S. Hayes Street near Pentagon City. The park was originally scheduled to open this past Memorial Day, but the project has been beset by delays. According to the staff report, the project was finally put out for bid in May, only to have the bids from contractors all came in higher than expected.
The sprayground was redesigned in order to put it within budget. A new water re-circulation system, which should save 113,000 gallons of water per week, was put into place. The sprayground was also reduced in scale, and certain features like a steel fence and a designed rock structure were eliminated.
The Board will vote on whether to award a $521,000 contract contract with a $52,000 contingency to Southern Playground Corporation.
Planning for playground upgrades to the park began all the way back in 2004. Construction was finally set to get underway in 2008 — following a plan to enhance amenities at the park while removing an existing restroom — when the Nauck Civic Association request that all work on the project stop, so that the park could be redesigned in a way that would keep the restroom. In order to keep the project within budget, the county scaled down other planned amenities within the park.
On Saturday, the Board is scheduled to consider a $316,000 contract — $287,000 plus a $29,000 contingency — with Avon Corporation. The contract covers renovations to the playground and the bathroom, as well as accessible entrances, an accessible picnic area, benches and bicycle racks.
A man is in jail after allegedly beating up his roommate over money.
The incident happened yesterday (Tuesday) evening in the Nauck neighborhood. Police say a knife-wielding man beat up his roommate after accusing the victim of stealing several hundred dollars. Police responded and swarmed the area when a neighbor called police to report seeing the victim bleeding and hunched over outside the house, with the suspect standing by him with a knife in hand.
The victim — who wasn’t actually stabbed, according to police — was treated and released for minor injuries.
MALICIOUS WOUNDING, 08/21/12, 3600 block of S. Kemper Road. On August 21 at 4:35 pm, two roommates got into a dispute over money and a physical altercation ensued. One of the roommates pulled a knife and beat up the victim roommate, who had to be transported to a local hospital with minor injuries. Jose Alejandro Mendez Cruz, 19, of Arlington, VA, was arrested and charged with malicious wounding. He was held without bond.
On Sunday morning, meanwhile, a suspect cut a hole in the metal security gate of a Pentagon City store and stole $28 in loose change. Police say the suspect could have gotten away with much more — $700 in cash was sitting next to one of the registers.
BURGLARY, 08/20/12, 1100 block of S. Hayes Street. Between 9:40 pm on August 19 and 9:40 am on August 20, an unknown subject(s) cut a hole in a metal security gate and entered a business, opting to steal approximately $28 in loose change instead of the $700 in cash next to the register. There is no suspect(s) description.
The rest of this weeks’s Arlington County crime report, after the jump.
A window washer is clinging to life after plummeting about 7 stories onto the sidewalk while working on a Rosslyn office building.
The incident was detailed in this week’s Arlington County crime report, although it’s not being investigated as a crime. Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck said investigators believe the victim forgot to clip in his safety harness. He stepped over an edge, fell, and landed on the sidewalk near the entrance to the offices of WJLA (ABC 7).
INDUSTRIAL ACCIDENT, 07/27/12, 1000 block of Wilson Boulevard. At 11:10 am on July 27, a worker fell approximately from the 7th floor while cleaning windows. Victim is currently in critical condition.
Also in this week’s crime report, a Nauck resident’s glass door was shattered by an apparently stray bullet.
MISSILE INTO OCCUPIED DWELLING, 07/29/12, 2100 block of S. Oxford Street. At 3:40 am on July 29, victim had the front glass door shattered by a bullet fired by an unknown suspect.
The rest of the crime report, after the jump.
The incident happened around 4:30 p.m. The approximately 40-year-old man was getting out of his truck outside his home, near the intersection of Walter Reed Drive and S. Oakland Street, when police say two pit bulls started attacking him without provocation. The dogs grabbed onto his arms as the man struggled, and as one of his sons watched from the truck.
“Someone call 911, the dogs are attacking my dad!” the boy screamed out of the truck’s window, according to police.
Another of the man’s sons ran out of the house and used a shoe in an attempt to fend off the dogs, according to an interview with the boy that aired on NBC 4. A neighbor called police, but the dogs let go and returned to their home before officers arrived. As the man was treated by paramedics, police located the dogs at a nearby townhouse. According to Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck, one of the dogs charged an officer and was shot dead. The other was captured without incident is being held by the Animal Welfare League of Arlington.
Neighbors have previously called police to report aggressive behavior by the dogs involved in today’s attack, Sternbeck told ARLnow.com. Investigators are still trying to get in contact with the dogs’ owner, he said. No word yet on whether any charges will be filed.
The victim was transported to George Washington University hospital for numerous puncture and bite wounds. Although the man lost a large quantity of blood, his injuries are thought to be non-life threatening, Sternbeck said.
A fire engine was called to the scene to wash the blood off of S. Oakland Street after the attack.
Members of the Nauck community gathered last night (Wednesday) for a softball game featuring radio personalities from WPGC (95.5 FM).
The game — between the WPGC “Naturals” softball team and a team of local residents — was part of the radio station’s “Knocking Violence Out the Park” campaign. The Naturals have previously faced off against teams of police officers and residents in various parts of D.C. and Maryland as part of the campaign.
There was a police presence at last night’s game, which was held at Drew Model Elementary School; a member of the Arlington County Police Department’s gang unit played on the Nauck community team.
Former candidate for County Board Terron Sims, who helped WPGC organize the event, said the game was all about bringing the community together in a fun way.
“This has been great,” he told ARLnow.com. “Everyone came together, we were able to get the permits we needed at the last minute for the field, the station came out, we were able to get the vendors to come out, the community’s out here… having a good time. ”
“The message is… about unifying the community in all our actions, whether it’s taking care of our kids, or crime prevention, or anything of that nature,” Sims continued. “It takes the community as a whole to move forward in a positive manner.”
In addition to the game itself, the event featured food vendors, kids activities, and a voter registration drive.
(Updated at 10:40 a.m.) About two dozen firefighters battled a fire at the Lucky Seven Food Mart at 2406 Shirlington Road in the Nauck neighborhood this morning.
The original call for smoke and flames coming from the store’s roof came in around 9:30 a.m., and drew firefighters from Arlington, Alexandria, Ft. Myer and Fairfax County.
Firefighters used picks and chainsaws to cut holes in the roof in an effort to extinguish the flames. Other firefighters inside the store used thermal imagers to find hotspots in the ceiling.
The spectacle attracted a crowd of nearly three dozen neighbors. Shirlington Road was closed in both directions during the fire, forcing cars and buses to find alternate routes.
No injuries were reported.
Misti Wise and Amy Borek were bartenders at Champion (2620 S. Shirlington Road) during the 90s. Now they’re coming back as owners, hoping to turn around Champion’s moribund business by making the place more attractive as a local food-and-drink destination.
“We want to appeal to everybody in the community, not just the staunch pool players,” said Borek. “Our hope is to be a real neighborhood destination… It will be a great story if we’re successful.”
The actual changes planned are somewhat minor. At the end of the month, Wise and Borek are planning to close Champion for a week to freshen up the place: add a new coat of paint, replace the old TVs with new flat screen TVs, spruce up the bar, etc. They will also be changing the name, from “Champion Billiards” to “Lucy’s ARL.” The pool tables and other staples will remain, although a skeeball machine may be added.
Then there are the planned changes to the menu, which Borek says will be key to attracting new customers. The tired old bar food will be replaced by “good bar food,” while prices will be kept relatively low.
“Before, food was kind of an after-thought,” Borek said. “I don’t want to alienate the existing customer base, so we don’t want to go high-end, but we want to have fun food with a bit of a twist.”
Among the signature menu items that the new owners plan to introduce are “zawiches” — sandwiches that use two slices of pizza instead of bread, like the kind Borek saw venders offering on the streets of Italy. A new, more interesting chicken tender appetizer and a pulled pork sandwich are among the other planned signature items.
Borek and Wise, who officially take over ownership on Sept. 1, will be renting the space from Champion’s existing owner. After working there for many years, then leaving, then coming back, Borek says they’re looking forward to reviving a place that “has history in the community.”
“We’re very, very excited,” she said. “You walk back in and it’s like old times. It’s a cool feeling.”
Last week the County Board voted to advertise a change in its zoning rules that would require planned commercial buildings over a certain size to seek a ‘Special Exception Use Permit’ from the Board. As we exclusively reported, the move was in response to interest in the industrial sites along Four Mile Run — near Shirlington — by large-format retailers like Walmart.
After our article ran, we asked the leaders of two nearby civic associations what they thought of the Board’s action and the potential for large-format retail development in the area.
Dr. Alfred O. Taylor, Jr., president of the Nauck Civic Association, said he was happy that the Board took the first step to ensuring that large-scale development in the area is given due consideration by the community.
The Nauck Civic Association participated in the decision to seek a Special General Land Use Permit for the Rosenthal [car lot] site and two additional sites in the designated Shirlington Crescent/Four Mile Run Drive area. The community had undertaken years of study of the area, but the study was curtailed a couple of years ago due to budgetary restraints and never adopted. The Association supports the action of the County Board in that it will bring back a continuation of the study previously worked on for a number of years and especially the results of a traffic study that is not binding if the by-right option is exercised under the present zoning. A change in the GLUP will allow the residents of Nauck have a say in the future development of the area.
John Breyault, president of the Long Branch Creek Civic Association, echoed Dr. Taylor’s support of the Board’s action.
Given that property’s proximity to the Long Branch Creek Civic Association, I am very glad to see that the County short-circuited any attempt by Wal-Mart to develop the property “by right” without Board approval (and, presumably, community input).
A big-box retailer like Wal-Mart has a big impact on the surrounding neighborhoods. We are glad that the County Board has ensured that there is an opportunity for robust community input into the planning process for this property. We look forward to participating in that process.
We reached out to two entities that represent business and developer interests in Northern Virginia, but both declined to comment on the record.
Police are looking for a man who stole a dirt bike in the Shirlington/Nauck (Green Valley) area this afternoon.
The man allegedly stole the green and white dirt bike after being dropped off by another man on a moped. Both the moped driver and the alleged dirt bike thief then tried to flee the area.
Police eventually surrounded the Shelton apartments (3215 24th Street S.) and detained a man believed to the moped driver. He was handcuffed, led to an unmarked police car and taken to the station. The moped was found abandoned outside the building.
The other suspect was reportedly followed by one of the victims, who hopped on another dirt bike and chased the suspect through the streets of the Valley. The victim eventually lost sight of the suspect, but was able to describe his appearance to police.
Update at 2:05 p.m. on 7/8/11 — Two men have been charged with theft of the dirt bike, according to an Arlington County police report item.
GRAND LARCENY AUTO-ARREST, 07/07/11, 3800 block of S. Four Mile Run Drive. On July 7 at 2:50 pm, two men stole a dirt bike from a business. Police apprehended both suspects. Reginald Jacobs, 25, of Arlington, and Raymond Young, 21, of Arlington were both charged with Grand Larceny of an Automobile. Young was held on a $500 bond and Jacobs was held on a $1,500 bond.
Community leaders marked the grand opening of The Macedonian (2229 Shirlington Road), a new mixed-use affordable housing development in Nauck (Green Valley), with a ribbon cutting ceremony this morning.
The $12 million development consists of 19 one bedroom and 17 two-bedroom apartments, as well as 2,000 square feet of commercial space for the Bonder and Amanda Johnson Community Development Corporation (BAJCDC) and a planned business incubator/shared work space. It was developed by AHC Inc. on land owned by the next-door Macedonia Baptist Church with county, state, federal, private and nonprofit financing.
While some of the attention surrounding the Macedonian is due to its environmentally-friendly features — it has a green roof and other energy-efficient accouterments, earning it the first EarthCraft Virginia certification for a multifamily development — the building’s real mission is the preservation and economic development of the diverse Nauck community against the pressures of higher rents and gentrification. The church, the county and BAJCDC have been fighting to keep Nauck affordable, and speakers today described the Macedonian as an important step in that continuing effort.
“There are more sheep to tend, there are more neighbors to help,” said David Bowers, Vice President of Enterprise Community Partners, which helped to fund the development. “Our work is not done.”
Attendees this morning included Rep. Jim Moran, County Board Chairman Chris Zimmerman, Rev. Dr. Leonard Hamlin of the Macedonia Baptist Church and Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker — a former Arlington resident and friend of Rev. Hamlin.
It’s easy to miss the unpretentious storefront of Margaret’s Soul Food and Catering Services, located at 2534 S. Shirlington Road in Arlington’s Green Valley (Nauck) neighborhood. But the down-home cooking inside the barred windows of the one-story brick building is worth the 10 minute walk from Shirlington.
The county-run Arlington Virginia Network recently visited Margaret’s and found a treasure trove of soulful cooking, including jerk chicken, BBQ ribs, pulled pork, Italian sausage, collard greens and potato salad — all made according to proprietor Margaret Gardner’s family recipes.
In the video, Gardner’s demeanor appears to be even sweeter than the tea she serves.
“In this business, honey, if you don’t crack a smile you won’t make a dime,” she told host Katie Greenan.
In addition to serving take-out customers (menu), Margaret’s caters events and is a regular vendor at the Arlington County Fair.
Despite his regular volunteer work, Salemme has apparently not entirely satisfied his do-gooding instinct. At age 59, the married father of five has embarked on a mission to volunteer in 50 states in 50 weeks, all before his 60th birthday.
“A friend of mine passed away recently and the pastor talked at the service about when we leave this earth there are two dates on your tombstone separated by a dash. He said that life is about what you do with the dash,” Salemme told the Mt. Airy News in North Carolina, where he’s helping to building a house. “I recently celebrated my 59th birthday and I wanted to do something big with the dash before I hit 60.”
Salemme, who lives in a Habitat home he helped to build in Arlington’s Green Valley neighborhood, is no stranger to publicity for his good works. In 2006, the Washington Post profiled him after he moved to Biloxi, Miss. to help victims of Hurricane Katrina. Salemme, who had been working as a kitchen designer at the Home Depot in Falls Church, requested to be temporarily transferred to a store in Biloxi so he could spend his spare time rebuilding houses with the local Habitat chapter.
On his latest journey, Salemme has been to Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina and North Carolina. He often often relies on friends, churches and volunteers to help him find places to stay and food to eat.
So far Salemme has helped install kitchen cabinets for a family who miraculously survived a tornado, constructed an addition for a man paralyzed in a tornado and remodeled a foreclosed home for an unemployed truck driver. Through it all, Salemme has been maintaining a travel blog where he documents his experiences during his “year of service.”
Next on Salemme’s itinerary, according to the Mt. Airy News, is a a short stop back in Arlington before heading to Texas and points west.
Photo via TravelPod
Area Bars Ring In New Year’s With Ringing Cash Registers — Initial reports from the field suggest Arlington bars and restaurants did big business on New Year’s Eve. In particular, two Irish bars brought in plenty of green. Ireland’s Four Courts in Courthouse was crowded, he hear. Another tipster tells us that the cavernous Columbia Pike watering hole P. Brennan’s — which charged a $5 cover for an evening that included a champagne toast and live music — was so busy that it apparently ran out of glasses. Said our Pike partier: “Congrats to them… higher cover next year?”
HGTV Couple Moves to South Arlington – A recent episode of HGTV’s House Hunters featured a couple who ended up moving from a condo in the District to a house in the Shirlington Crest development, reports Shirlington Village Blog.
Arlington Man Arrested in N.C. Over Hair Gel Purchase — A 23-year-old Arlington man has been arrested in Burlington, N.C. and accused of trying to buy goods with counterfeit $100 bills. The man bought hair gel and conditioner at one store and was attempting to buy hand lotion at another store when he was arrested, police said. A local newspaper that reported the arrest listed an Arlington address for the man that, as far as we can tell, does not exist. More from the Greensboro News-Record.
Flickr pool photo by Mark C. White
A crew from Dateline NBC will be filming the evening mass at Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic Church in South Arlington on Saturday. The church is being featured for its upcoming humanitarian mission to Haiti.
A delegation of parishioners and Remote Area Medical volunteers will be leaving for a two-week trip to Medor, Haiti on Sunday. Together, the group will conduct a medical clinic for the cholera-ravaged town of 40,000. They will also repair roads and build an airstrip to allow air ambulances to deliver critical supplies.
“Medor has no running water, no sewage or trash disposal, impassable roads and inadequate agriculture,” the church said in a press release. “Like the rest of Haiti, the village has been devastated by a succession of hurricanes, earthquakes and now the deadly cholera epidemic this year.”
The earthquake and aftershocks that reduced Port au Prince to rubble earlier this year also damaged schools, medical clinics and churches in Medor. It also resulted in an influx of refugees to the area.
Our Lady Queen of Peace, located in Arlington’s Green Valley neighborhood, has supported missions in Medor since 1997.
The Dateline special is set to air on or around Jan. 12, the one-year anniversary of the earthquake.
(Updated at 1:15 p.m.) Bomb disposal crews used a remote-controlled robot to neutralize a suspicious device on 17th Street in Nauck, a block away from the busy intersection of South Glebe Road and Walter Reed Drive.
Explosive specialists determined that the device, which was white, cylindrical and had wires coming out of it, was a hoax, but only after they used an explosive charge to “interrupt” it.
Authorities were first notified of the device, which was placed between two cars on the side of the street, around 10:30 this morning.
The bomb squad arrived “and found what appeared to be an improvised explosive device,” according to Arlington Chief Fire Marshal Benjamin Barksdale. Authorities cordoned off the area and had dispatchers implement a “reverse 911,” which notified residents in the area about the situation and asked them to stay in their homes.
“From there we went through our normal procedures as to identifying exactly what we were dealing with… and from there neutralizing the object,” Barksdale said. Arlington first responders were joined by resources from neighboring jurisdictions, he said.
Barksdale said the last such bomb scare in Arlington happened 3-4 months ago in Crystal City, when a suspicious package was found and neutralized using the same procedures. That device also turned out to be a hoax.
Investigators will now focus on determining who might have been responsible for the device.
“We’ll be talking to people who live on the street to see if they saw anything suspicious, any individuals who don’t live in this neighborhood,” Barksdale said.