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by Katie Pyzyk November 16, 2012 at 3:45 pm 6,601 4 Comments

On Saturday, 14 local children will celebrate becoming part of “forever families,” during an Arlington ceremony for National Adoption Day.

Nine families will gather at the Arlington County Courthouse tomorrow (November 17) in recognition of their adoptions being finalized this year. All of the children had previously been in foster care.

There are currently about 100 children in foster homes in Arlington, most of them having been removed from their birth parents due to unfit living conditions. Although the goal is to ultimately reunite the children with their birth families once situations improve, that is not always the best option for the safety of the children involved. The children who will not return to their birth families are then cleared for adoption.

Social workers are involved throughout the process to assess the needs of each individual child and to help find a family that is a good match. Nakejah Allen, who is an adoption social worker in Arlington, said it’s a challenge to find the right fit.

“For the kids that are in foster care, there has often been something that has happened to them,” Allen said. “Sometimes it’s just a matter of helping adoptive families to understand the trauma and how that can affect attachment.”

Allen said two other significant challenges include finding homes for children ages 13 and older and finding parents willing to adopt siblings. Melody Smith and her husband, Christian, adopted a brother and sister who had been in foster care in Arlington, and they’ll be celebrating at tomorrow’s Adoption Day ceremony.

“I’m also from a very large family and the thought of them separating siblings breaks my heart,” Melody said. “We started the process thinking about a single child, but after hearing the stats and information, we felt if we could do that we would go that route.”

The Smiths live in Newport News and were placed with the children via an adoption agency and the help of Arlington’s Department of Human Services. For three months, the couple traveled to Arlington three times a week to meet with the children. The kids finally moved in with the Smiths around Christmas last year, and the adoption became official about a month ago.

“We didn’t even tell them [the kids] the day it became official. My wife came crying to me at work because it became official, but as far as they’re concerned, the day they moved in it was official,” Christian said.

Although Melody and Christian’s children had been removed from their birth parents’ home due to severe neglect, the children’s grandmothers had been loving and nurturing. Melody credits one of the grandmothers with keeping alive their daughter, who was only born with one kidney and it wasn’t fully functioning. The family continues to meet with the grandmothers, as well as the foster family with whom the children had been living prior to the Smiths.


by ARLnow.com November 16, 2012 at 3:00 pm 5,064 28 Comments

Update at 3:40 p.m. — The library catalog and account system is expected to remain down until Monday afternoon, at the earliest, according to Arlington Public Library spokesman Peter Golkin. Fines and fees will not accrue during that time.

Arlington Public Library and Arlington Public Schools are experiencing technical problems that have brought down their shared library catalog system.

Arlington Public Library sent the following email to patrons this afternoon.

The Arlington Public Library and Arlington Public Schools catalog and accounts system is down and we have lost data. This system crash affects all activities that occurred from Saturday, Nov. 10 through Thursday, Nov. 15. All online services from the Web and inside the Library are suspended. We are doing everything we can to restore the system. We apologize for any inconvenience and thank you for your patience.

Arlington Public Library is operating on a regular schedule and you are welcome–in person–to browse the shelves and check out materials including holds. WiFi and public PCs are also available.

Privacy has not been compromised with this crash and patrons do not have to take any action at this time. We will provide updates on the Library website, Twitter and Facebook and will send a follow-up email once we have more details for you.

by ARLnow.com November 16, 2012 at 2:20 pm 6,677 29 Comments

(Updated at 2:35 p.m.) A man accused of breaking into an Arlington hotel room and victimizing two female tourists has been found guilty.

Storme Gary Swann, 51, was accused of binding two women — a mother, 73, and a daughter, 51, who were visiting from Canada — then sexually assaulting one of them (the daughter). He also robbed them of cash, jewelry and electronics.

Swann was arrested two years ago, on November 24, 2010. Yesterday, jury found Swann guilty and recommend a whopping 95 year sentence, based in part on his prior criminal convictions.

From an Arlington County Police Department press release:

On November 15, 2012, after a three day trial, an Arlington County Circuit Court jury found Storme Gary Swann, 51, formerly of La Plata, Maryland, guilty of two counts of robbery, two counts of abduction, and one count of statutory burglary. The offenses occurred on August 14, 2010, when Swann broke into a hotel room in the 2400 block of South Glebe Road. He then forcibly assaulted, detained, and bound two female tourists – a mother, 73 and daughter, 51 – who were visiting from Canada, robbing them of cash, jewelry, and electronics. He also sexually assaulted one of the victims.

After receiving evidence of Swann’s criminal history, which included prior convictions for armed robbery, first-degree sexual assault, use of a firearm in the commission of a felony, and kidnapping, the jury recommended a 95 year sentence. Final sentencing is scheduled for February 8, 2013 before Judge Louise DiMatteo. Under Virginia law, the court may impose the recommended sentence or reduce it but cannot increase it.

The investigation was conducted by Sergeant Donald Fortunato of the Arlington County Police Department. Jay E. Burkholder prosecuted the case on behalf of the Commonwealth of Virginia. “Due to the exceptional work of Sergeant Fortunato and other members of the Arlington County Police Department, a dangerous criminal was apprehended,” stated Burkholder. “The victims showed great courage in confronting their attacker. On behalf of Commonwealth’s Attorney Theophani K. Stamos and Police Chief M. Douglas Scott, I am grateful that these brave women were willing to return to our community and relive a terrifying experience in order to prevent Swann from victimizing anyone else. In its verdict and sentence, the jury made clear that violent crime will not be tolerated in Arlington County.”

by ARLnow.com November 16, 2012 at 1:35 pm 3,340 22 Comments

Editor’s Note: This sponsored column is written by Nick Anderson, beermonger at Arrowine (4508 Lee Highway)

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year. A whole day dedicated to hanging out with people you love, eating amazing food, and a beverage or three? Oh yes, I am a Thanksgiving guy. Thanksgiving is also the busiest time of year for folks in my business, with most people coming by the store looking for advice on what to serve their guests for the holiday.

Picking out the right beers to enjoy and serve your guests at Thanksgiving is not all that dissimilar to working out wine pairings for the holiday. In some ways, it can actually be much easier. Here are a couple of tips for selecting your beers for the Thanksgiving table, and a couple of suggestions that I think will work well:

Don’t over-think it: This is a trap I used to fall into regularly when choosing wine for Thanksgiving, or any meal for that matter. You want so badly to find the perfect match; to blow everyone at the table away with your harmony of food and beverage. We all want to be seen as gurus of all things food and wine (and beer), especially during the food holiday.

The problem comes when we take time to consider the insane spectrum of flavors, textures, levels of sweetness, etc. in the dishes seen in the average Thanksgiving spread. What if the bacon in the green bean dish is a tick charred? What if Aunt Jenny brings that thing with the marshmallows and pretzels again? What herbs will be used with the turkey?

There are a million variables with Thanksgiving dinner, and unless you’re obsessively planning every aspect of the meal (not that some of us aren’t) it is nigh impossible to 100% nail it with either a wine or a beer pairing. Take the time to consider, but realize that there is likely a point where you’ve done the best you can. If you hit a wall, find something you know will work for the most part and is easily enjoyable.

This brings me to the next tip:

Know your audience: I brought a really nice bottle of wine to my family’s Thanksgiving get-together once. Once. The Barolo I thought was safe in a decanter in the dining room while everything was being prepared ended up being consumed hours before it was ready, let alone before dinner was. You have to bear in mind the level of appreciation that your folks have for these things: there’s nothing inherently wrong with dropping a couple ice cubes in your glass of White Zinfandel (tastes being subjective and all), but it should be a heads up to you that Grand Cru Pinot Noir from Burgundy may be bringing a cannon to a knife fight.

Finding a balance between food-pairing ability and pure enjoyment is the key for Thanksgiving.  Some thought to how a beverage will match up is smart and encouraged, but have a care for the experience levels of those around you. I’ve come around to a “keep it simple, stupid” way of thinking for the most part, where I want to play to the broader palate. As always, your mileage may vary. Here are some beers I think would work at your Thanksgiving table:

Schlafly Kolsch: With a smooth, clean mouthfeel not unlike a classic Lager and the bright, fruity notes of an Ale, Schlafly’s Kolsch is the definition of everything I’ve talked about in this column. If you’re looking for a beer with broad appeal that can play off of various dishes, Schalfly Kolsch merits serious consideration.

Maine Beer Co. Peeper Pale Ale: A recent arrival to our area, Maine Beer Company is a small outfit making some extraordinary beers. The hops in Peeper Pale emphasize clarity rather than aggressiveness, and a fine carbonation accentuates this Pale Ale’s refreshing nature. An elegant way to get your hop fix this holiday.

Stillwater Autumnal: This one’s a bit of a dark horse as it may be hard to find, but I think this beer makes a ton of sense for Thanksgiving. Essential an Oktoberfest recipe, Brian Strumke ferments Autumnal with his farmhouse yeast strain to create a smooth, malty Ale (rather than a Lager as a traditional Oktoberfest would be) with fruit and spice notes from the yeast. There is just enough sweetness for Autumnal to handle sweet potato casserole, but crisp and complex enough to play with turkey and stuffing.


by ARLnow.com November 16, 2012 at 12:05 pm 3,291 3 Comments


A popular commuter shortcut that connects Pentagon City with Glebe Road has been closed due to a water main break.

S. Adams Street is closed from 25th Street S. to 26th Road S., in the Avalon at Arlington Square community. The street serves drivers heading from Army Navy Drive to Glebe Road, near Shirlington.

The water flow has been shut off, but not before part of S. Adams Street partially buckled due to water pressure.

Adams Street is expected to remain closed through the evening rush hour, until about 8:00 p.m. Southbound traffic is being diverted onto 25th Street.

by ARLnow.com November 16, 2012 at 10:25 am 5,246 23 Comments


Update at 11:15 a.m. — The all-clear has been given and emergency responders are leaving the scene.

Earlier: Arlington County firefighters and Metro Transit Police are on the scene of a hazardous materials investigation at the Pentagon City Metro station.

Initial reports suggest a series of nearly a dozen soda bottles filled with a yellow-ish liquid were found on the platform. Authorities are trying to determine whether the liquid is hazardous.

The station is still open during the investigation, with only a portion of the platform closed to foot traffic.

“The station is open,” WMATA spokesman Dan Stessel tells ARLnow.com. “They’ve just cordoned off a portion of the platform. Trains continue to service the station normally.”

Stessel said authorities are “investigating unattended items.”

Metro Transit Police officers with bomb sniffing dogs could also be seen searching the area around the station entrance,

by ARLnow.com November 16, 2012 at 9:30 am 4,287 35 Comments

Yorktown Hosts South County in Semifinal — In high school football action, the Yorktown Patriots will take on the South County Stallions tonight in a Northern Region Division 5 semifinal playoff game. The contest is a home game for Yorktown. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Yorktown lost to South County in the regional championship game last year. [Sun Gazette]

APS Awarded for Green Initiatives — Arlington Public Schools has “earned a Platinum Certification as a Virginia School Board Association (VSBA) Certified Green Schools Division.” The school system also placed first in VSBA’s Green Schools Challenge for large school divisions. [Arlington Public Schools]

Award for Affordable Clarendon Development — VPoint, the affordable apartment building built atop a Clarendon church, has been named the “Best Affordable Housing Development” in Virginia at the 2012 Governor’s Housing Conference. “The award is presented to a housing development that is innovative in its concept and design and exceptional in meeting the needs of the intended community,” according to a press release. [Arlington County]

Honors for Arlington VT Students — Arlington resident Liam O’Neill has been selected to be a member of the Marching Virginians marching band at Virginia Tech. O’Neill is a percussion musician and a sophomore majoring in building construction. Another Arlington native, Michelle Sutherland, has been named to Virginia Tech’s Order of the Gavel, an honor society for leaders of major student organizations. Sutherland, a junior majoring in political science, is editor of the Collegiate Times, the school’s student newspaper.

Save Your Profile Information Today — If you’re a registered user of ARLnow.com, please save any user profile information or avatars you’re currently using on the site. Changes will be made to the site this weekend and your information may be lost.

Flickr pool photo by Wolfkann

by ARLnow.com November 16, 2012 at 8:38 am 6,002 23 Comments

(Updated at 8:50 a.m.) Police and paramedics have responded to the intersection of Washington Boulevard and Glebe Road for a report of two pedestrians struck by a vehicle.

Initial reports suggest a mother and her child were struck. The mother is being transported to the hospital but the child was uninjured, according to scanner traffic.

Eastbound Washington Boulevard was shut down in the area of George Mason Drive due to the emergency response, but is now being opened back up.


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