(Updated 2:25 p.m.) The issues with nannies, childcare workers and parents letting children urinate and defecate at Penrose Park (2200 6th Street S.) were caught on camera by FOX 5 D.C. yesterday, just minutes after the news crew arrived at the scene.
“Our FOX 5 crew had only been at Penrose Park for a few minutes when we saw a girl going to the bathroom behind a tree. And then a little boy did too,” reporter Alexandra Limon wrote. “We purposely blurred the video and did not tape the girl behind the tree. But it appeared from the kids and nanny’s reaction that this was a normal thing for them.”
Limon’s account corroborates what many parents have said, both in the comments of ARLnow.com’s initial story and in an anonymous interview. FOX 5 also interviewed an ARLnow reporter during its morning show on the topic.
“This has been going on for a very long time at the park,” one parent said, in a phone conversation after the initial story was published. “The worst I saw was one parent dropping the kid’s underpants inside the fenced-in area” where the playground is.
Arlington Parks and Recreation spokeswoman Susan Kalish told ARLnow.com in an email this morning that allowing children to pee or poop in the park is a violation, with the first offense resulting in a warning. Repeat offenders can be banned from a park, she said, but the parks department doesn’t “have records of anyone being banned.”
“In the past Penrose was checked by our Rovers and Rangers throughout the week,” Kalish said. “We are beefing that up now but we think that with all the attention to this, whomever was doing it before will stop and others won’t consider it. We’ve found that even homeless people are pretty embarrassed when they get caught. Defecating in public is not a first option for anyone.”
Video courtesy FOX 5 D.C.
Terri Armao, the chair of the Green Committee for the Penrose Neighborhood Association, sent a letter to the civic association saying neighbors have called her to complain that “childcare workers or nannies [are] allowing toddlers to pee and poop” by the tree line on the edge of the park.
In an email to ARLnow.com, Armao said the excrement is a health and environmental hazard, adding that if it continues it might put residents at risk for cholera.
“We all understand an occasional accident but what was described to me was routine and by many nannies/kids,” Armao said. “I walk my dog there and pick-up after the dog. So I would expect the same courtesy. In addition, there are many areas in the park natural area, where this is happening that have standing water after rain. This to me is a health hazard in the making.”
Below is the letter Armao sent to the civic association:
This morning I heard from two people who have witnessed childcare workers or nannies allowing toddlers to pee and poop in Penrose Park in the tree line of the natural area. This is reported to be an ongoing and frequent problem.
Parents if you are employing nannies please tell them not to allow this. Our parks are not toilets. Please use diapers or go home if this need arises.
I spoke with a couple of parents who also use the park and they were as surprised and disgusted as I am. This is a health hazard. I have notified the county but please call Park Manager Kurt Louis at 703-228-7754 or the police if you see this happening.
Dog walkers this goes for you too. If your dog roams into this area the dog poop still needs to be picked up. A tributary of Long Branch stream runs directly under the park, this is our drinking water.
Chair, Penrose Green Committee
Penrose Neighborhood Association
Photo via Google Maps
The sidewalk is being built along the north side of a five block stretch of 8th Street S., between S. Cleveland Street and S. Courthouse Road. Before the project, only two of the blocks had sidewalks, and those sidewalks were narrower than Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements.
Now, the street is getting a five foot wide, ADA-compliant sidewalk, plus water main upgrades, curb and gutter improvements, new landscaping and a repaved roadway. But while the sidewalk was requested by the Penrose Civic Association, not everybody who lives in the area has been happy with the project.
Residents have been emailing ARLnow.com about a number of perceived problems. One of the most visible is a utility pole located in the middle of the new sidewalk at the corner of 8th Street and S. Cleveland Street (pictured, above). While it might look like a construction mistake, county officials say it’s all part of the plan, and that Dominion will be working to remove and replace the pole “as soon as possible.”
“When the County undertakes a road narrowing project such as the 8th Street South project, the curbs and utility strips are built in what is currently existing roadway,” explained Department of Environmental Services spokeswoman Shannon Whalen McDaniel. “In this case relocating the pole that is currently in the middle of the sidewalk to its new location before the curb and gutter work would have placed the pole in the existing street where it could potentially be struck by vehicles. Dominion and the County agreed that this posed more of a safety concern than temporarily obstructing the sidewalk and forcing pedestrians to use the driveway apron approximately 15′ east of the pole that has ADA compliant slopes to access the street.”
“This a temporary measure on a block that previously had no sidewalk at all forcing pedestrian, wheelchairs, strollers, etc. to use the street exclusively to traverse this entire block,” Whalen McDaniel continued. “Once the sidewalk work is complete, Dominion will erect a new poles. After all utilities are transferred to the new pole, Dominion will remove the old pole and Arlington County will repair the sidewalk. The cost of relocating the pole is borne by Dominion.”
Another local worry is about the level of the new sidewalk at the corner of 8th Street and S. Wayne Street. The sidewalk is below the current roadway, leading some residents to believe an error was made by the construction crew. That’s not the case, we’re told.
“The existing grade of the road at that location needed to be lowered in order to provide adequate drainage and that work will happen over the next couple of weeks,” said Whalen McDaniel. “When complete, the roadway will be level with the gutter pan. This is very typical of sidewalk and roadway design and construction.”
Another resident told ARLnow.com that the sidewalk was wider and the redesigned street is narrower than many residents wanted.
The Arlington County Fire Department had to use hydraulic rescue tools to extricate occupants of a vehicle involved in a two-car crash in the Penrose neighborhood this morning.
The crash happened around 11:15 a.m. at the intersection of 2nd Street S. and S. Wayne Street. A Ford SUV collided with a Chevrolet sedan belonging to Maid Bright, a Sterling-based home cleaning service.
Initial reports suggest three people were transported to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. Firefighters used heavy tools to cut the roof off the Chevrolet in order to extricate the occupants inside.
Second Street South is currently closed but is expected to reopen shortly, as crews are in the process of clearing the wrecked cars and broken glass.
The 11-year-old Arlington kid who won a sport stacking championship in Colorado in March has racked up a new title.
William Polly, of Penrose, has been named World Sport Stacking Champion for the second year in a row. That’s according to The Wauneta Breeze, a local newspaper in the Nebraska town where Polly’s grandparents live.
Not only did Polly capture the coveted Individual All-Around honors at the tournament — with a combined time of 9.34 seconds in the 3-3-3, 3-6-3 and cycle sequences — but he’s also getting another TV appearance out of it.
Tomorrow, Polly is scheduled to appear on Live! With Kelly, where he’ll challenge host Kelly Ripa to a timed cup stacking competition. It won’t be the first time Polly has appeared on national television; last year he showed off his skills on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
This year’s World Sport Stacking Association tournament was held in Butzbach, Germany. Despite the fact that there are active stacking competitors in 19 countries, this was the first time the international, invite-only competition has been held outside the United States. Polly was one of 250 participants.
Last time we checked in with William Polly, the 10-year-old Penrose resident had just set a new sport stacking world record and was showing off his skills on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
Polly, now 11, is still up to his winning ways in the world of sport stacking — a competitive sport that involves stacking cups in set formations — or “sequences” — as quickly as possible.
Last month Polly set a new world record in the “individual cycle” competition. Unfortunately, his record was quickly broken by fellow young sport stacking phenom, William Orrell.
Polly now has his name on three of the five sport stacking world records.
The incident happened at 11:00 a.m., near the intersection of Washington Boulevard and S. Uhle Street in the Penrose neighborhood.
“There were no injuries reported and ACPD remain on scene conducting an investigation,” said Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.
Although the area is not a main thoroughfare, police are re-routing traffic as necessary.
Police say 23-year-old Rafi Khan of Arlington has been charged with two counts of bank robbery — one for yesterday’s robbery of the PNC Bank at 2601 Clarendon Blvd and one for last week’s robbery of a Bank of America at 3401 Columbia Pike.
“The investigation is ongoing, and other charges may be pending,” police said.
According to public records, Khan’s listed address is a $500,000 home on S. Fillmore Street in Penrose. Khan is currently being held in the Arlington County Detention Center.
Photo courtesy ACPD
Car Doesn’t Let Accident Slow it Down — A single-vehicle accident occurred last night around 2:00 a.m. near the merge from Rosslyn to Route 110. A Ford Crown Victoria slammed into a concrete barrier, losing its front bumper and license plate in the process. Incredibly, despite the airbags deploying, the driver — and his passengers — decided to keep going. Police eventually caught up with them at the King Street exit of I-395.
Rosslyn Outdoor Movie Canceled — Tonight’s scheduled screening of “Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery” in Rosslyn has been canceled due to the extreme heat.
Local Kid Sets Stacking Record — A 10-year-old from the Penrose area has set a world record for “sport stacking.” William Polly stacked and unstacked three three-cup pyramids in 1.68 seconds. [Pike Wire]
The ‘Best of Arlington’ — Do you agree with this list of the best restaurants and food in Arlington? [Clarendon Culture]
Favola Fires Back at Areizaga-Soto Criticism — Following the accusation that she violated Arlington County’s Code of Ethics by accepting a $2,500 donation from a towing company owner five days before a County Board vote on towing fees, state Senate candidate Barbara Favola’s campaign is firing back at her Democratic primary opponent. “Jaime [Areizaga-Soto] just keeps exaggerating,” her campaign manager said. “Ms. Favola’s vote is not and never has been for sale. Everyone knows where Barbara gets her campaign contributions because it’s posted on-line, but Jaime has yet to come clean about where he made the money he is using to fund his campaign.”