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by Tim Regan — March 3, 2017 at 6:30 pm 0

February flowers, photo via Flickr/Lisa Novak

The progression of this week’s weather can be summed up into three words: warm, wet, windy.

The news, however, was hot, hot, hot. The top six most-read ARLnow.com stories of the week were:

Also, you may have seen a new byline on the site this week. That’s because we have a new ARLnow.com reporter, Chris Teale. That means — and I’ll switch to first-person perspective for this — my time with this company has come to an end.

It’s been a blast reporting on news in D.C. and here in Arlington. I’ve learned a lot since my humble days covering food truck controversies and writing about oddball shows at Artisphere. I’ll miss you all, especially ARLnow’s colorful commenters. Starting later this month, I’ll return to my former home of Chicago to prowl the streets in search of adventure and hot dogs. If you’d like to reach me for whatever reason, please tweet me.

With that, feel free to welcome Chris, discuss the big stories from this week or talk about or any other topic of local interest in the comments.

Flickr pool photo by Lisa Novak

by Chris Teale — March 3, 2017 at 5:00 pm 0

Anibal Rodriguez Castellanos (photo courtesy ACPD)

A local man will spend 25 years in prison for sexually assaulting a woman after breaking into her apartment last year.

Arlington resident Anibal Rodriguez Castellanos was today sentenced to 30 years, with five years suspended, for a charge of burglary while armed and 10 years for a charge of attempted rape. The sentences will run concurrently.

Police said Castellanos, 37, broke into an apartment on the 3900 block of 4th Street N. and sexually assaulted a 28-year-old woman who lived there on June 19 last year.

composite sketch helped lead police to Castenallos one day after it was released to the public.

More from ACPD:

An Arlington man was sentenced on Friday, March 3, 2017 in the Arlington County Circuit Court for his role in a 2016 sexual assault. Anibal Rodriguez Castellanos, 37, was sentenced to thirty years, with five years suspended, for the charge of burglary while armed and ten years for the charge of attempted rape. These sentences will run concurrently. After his release, Castellanos will be listed on the sex offender registry and will be deported upon serving his sentence.

Theophani K. Stamos, Arlington County Commonwealth’s Attorney and M. Jay Farr, Arlington County’s Chief of Police made the announcement following the court appearance.

At approximately 2:00 a.m. on June 19, 2016, a male subject unlawfully entered a female victim’s residence in the 3900 block of 4th Street N. and sexually assaulted her. The subject used the threat of a weapon to hold her against her will. During the attack, the 28-year-old female victim was able to lock herself in the bathroom and yell for help. The male subject fled the scene on foot and was observed by a neighbor leaving the scene.

Following interviews with the victim and witnesses, a composite sketch of the suspect was developed. A combination of evidence collected during the investigation and the accounts of several people from the neighborhood led to the identification of Anibal Rodriguez Castellanos.

“The victim’s searing courtroom testimony today was heartbreaking and the sentence handed down today by Judge Newman was entirely appropriate.  My hope is that today’s outcome will bring a small measure of peace and closure to the victim.  She deserves that.” Theo Stamos, Commonwealth’s Attorney.

Arlington County Deputy Chief Daniel J. Murray, Commander of the Criminal Investigations Division said, “The steadfast investigative work completed by our detectives, the strong partnership with the Arlington County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office and the ultimate sentence imposed by the court sends a powerful message that we will use all available resources in our pursuit to keep our community protected from sexual predators.”

Detective P. Pena was the lead detective and the case was prosecuted by Commonwealth Attorney Lisa Tingle.

by ARLnow.com — March 3, 2017 at 4:05 pm 0

WJLA anchor Autria Godfrey (photo via Twitter)

Autria Godfrey, a morning news anchor on WJLA (ABC 7), was charged with trespassing and being drunk in public last month in Clarendon.

The incident happened early Saturday morning, on Feb. 18, at Clarendon Grill (1101 N. Highland Street).

From Arlington County Police Department spokeswoman Ashley Savage:

“At approximately 12:45 AM on February 18, officers working a detail in Clarendon responded to the 1100 block of N. Highland Street for the report of a disturbance at a restaurant. The restaurant manager advised arriving officers that a female subject had allegedly started an altercation inside the establishment and they no longer wanted her on the property. Restaurant employees escorted the female subject off the property where she was advised by police that she would be arrested for trespassing if she returned that evening. The female subject left the immediate area with friends.

At approximately 1:24 AM, officers were advised that the female subject had returned to the property. Responding officers arrived on scene and observed the female subject inside the restaurant. Autria Godfrey, 33, was arrested and charged with trespassing and drunk in public.”

As reported by FTVLive, a TV news trade publication, Godfrey was suspended and taken off the air last week by station owner Sinclair. She was back on the air this week.

Godfrey was arraigned Feb. 24 and is due back in court on May 19.

by Tim Regan — March 3, 2017 at 3:30 pm 0

Photo via Crystal City BIDA bike race series that lets cyclists pedal through an underground parking garage has started up again in Crystal City.

The “Wednesday Night Spins” indoor race series held its first match of the year on March 1, according to the event’s organizers.

Though last year’s races were held at the complex at 2345 Crystal Drive, this year’s events are taking place on the G3 and G4 level of the parking garage at 201 12th Street S.

“Wednesday Night Spins hosts races for elites and amateurs with participants in each category competing for weekly prizes and points in pursuit of the Series Title,” the Crystal City BID said on its website.

According to the BID, the races last approximately 35 minutes and take place every Wednesday in March from 6-9 p.m. Each night’s schedule is as follows:

  • 6:00 p.m. — Onsite Registration/Check-in
  • 6:30 p.m. — Beginner Race
  • 7:25 p.m. — Women’s Open Race
  • 8:25 p.m. — Open Race

On the final evening of the series, organizers will combine the beginner and open races and add three more competitions: the “Anything Goes Race,” “Feds Vs. Contractors,” and the “Fixed-Gear Finale.”

Cyclists who want to participate in any of the scheduled races can sign up online. Registration is generally $15 per race, though some are more or less, depending on the match.

The race is free for spectators, who will have access to a wine and beer garden in the building’s lounge.

Photo via Crystal City BID

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — March 3, 2017 at 2:30 pm 0

Have you been looking into purchasing a new construction condominium or townhome in Arlington or Washington, D.C.?

The Keri Shull Team is excited to announce a new condo sales center at their 1600 Wilson Blvd office. This is the perfect way to learn about all of the newest and most well appointed properties in Arlington and D.C. without the hassle of finding all the information for yourself.

Stop by to learn about amenities, features, floor plans, fees, available units, and everything else you could ever want to know about all the condo buildings in Arlington and D.C. Whether you have been researching for a while now or are in stage one of your new condo search, the information will be tailored to your situation.

All of the homework has been done for you, so come by this coming Sunday afternoon!

When: March 5 from 2-4 p.m.

Where: 1600 Wilson Blvd, Suite 101 (Arlington, VA 22209)

To learn more, visit the new condo sales web page.

The preceding post was written and sponsored by the Keri Shull Team

by Tim Regan — March 3, 2017 at 1:15 pm 0

GMU Arlington charette flyerArlington residents will have a chance to weigh in on what they’d like to see at GMU’s Arlington campus during a two-day event planned for next week.

The campus is scheduled to host a “conversation about George Mason University’s role in developing the nation’s future leaders and influencers” at Founders Hall, which is located at 3351 Fairfax Drive, on March 8 and 9.

The two-day event’s schedule includes a virtual tour of the campus, a presentation and Q&A from AOL co-founder and entrepreneur Steve Case, and break-out “visioning sessions” where attendees can brainstorm about branding, academic priorities and new facility needs.

A large part of the workshops will center on what the college should do with the original campus building at 3401 Fairfax Drive, which is currently vacant.

“We’ve had plans over the years on what to do with this space, but we never got very far,” said Tom Calhoun, a vice president at George Mason University. “We’re taking this opportunity to say, what’s our vision for that space?”

The workshops are free and open to the public.

by ARLnow.com — March 3, 2017 at 12:00 pm 0

In the market for a new living space? There are plenty of homes and condos on display in Arlington this weekend.

Check out our real estate section for a full listing of open houses this weekend. Here are a few highlights:

1021 Arlington Blvd.
1 Bed/1 Bath Condo
Agent: Tonya Nelson
Listed: $199,950
Open: Sunday 1-4 p.m.

 

851 Glebe Road
1 Bed/1 Bath Condo
Agent: Elvira Jakovac
Listed: $453,000
Open: Sunday 1-4 p.m.

 

3511 Four Mile Run Drive
4 Bed/3.5 Bath Townhome
Agent: John Moore
Listed: $721,000
Open: Saturday 1-3 p.m.

 

1231 Nash St. N.
2 Bed/2.5 Bath Townhome
Agent: Kathleen Fong
Listed: $793,800
Open: Sunday 2-4 p.m.

 

2973 22nd St. South
4 Bed/3.5 Bath Townhome
Agent: Deborah Gorham
Listed: $949,500
Open: Sunday 1-4 p.m.

 

3274 Vermont St. North
3 Beds/2 Bath Single-Family Detached
Agent: Matthew Shepard
Listed: $1,399,000
Open: Sunday 1-4 p.m.

 

3400 George Mason Drive
5 Bed/5.5 Bath Single-Family Detached
Agent: Lilian Jorgenson
Listed: $1,775,000
Open: Sunday 1-4 p.m.

 

Interested in getting your open house listed? Email us.

by Tim Regan — March 3, 2017 at 11:00 am 0

There’s a new coffee shop and eatery in the former Mother’s Macaroons space, but it might not open in time for your early morning caffeine dose.

The cafe, Chill Zone, opened at 2442 N. Harrison Street several weeks ago. The business replaced the former Mother’s Macaroons Bakery, which abruptly closed in 2015.

Chill Zone serves bubble tea, Vietnamese coffee and a signature “Volcano Mango Frap,” among other beverages, but not until it opens at 10 a.m. each day, according to its Yelp page. The cafe also serves snacks such as pan-fried rice cakes and chicken wings.

The coffee shop wasn’t open when an ARLnow reporter visited the spot just before 9 a.m. this morning, but a peek through the window revealed an interior bedecked with modern decor and colorful furniture.

Reached via Facebook messenger, a representative for Chill Zone declined to comment on the opening.

by Chris Teale — March 3, 2017 at 10:00 am 0

The redevelopment of North Potomac Yard in Alexandria gathered more steam last week, and residents in Crystal City are keeping an eye on its potential impacts.

North Potomac Yard is in the northeast corner of Alexandria, just across the Arlington County line, near a planned Potomac Yard Metro station. It is currently occupied by a Regal movie theater, a Target and other big box stores and restaurants.

The City of Alexandria is in the planning process for a massive mixed-use development at the 69-acre site, to include retail, residential units, a hotel and office space.

On February 22, city staff released the first draft three chapters of the updated plan, then the following day met with the Crystal City Civic Association at its general meeting.

Association president Christer Ahl told ARLnow.com that his members are most concerned that Crystal City will be left behind as nearby developments spring up in Arlington and Alexandria.

“Perhaps the larger issue which the project raises is whether it could contribute to the notion of Crystal City becoming a ‘backwater,’ stuck with many old buildings which at best might be renovated, while the Rosslyn/Ballston corridor and Potomac Yard in two very different ways will be full of exciting new development,” he said.

“Of course, this depends a lot on the attitude and priorities of the county, JBG/Smith and other developers, together with the near-term market situation.”

Ahl added that many in the area are also concerned with the impact on traffic along Crystal Drive and Route 1 from the new development, which could total as much as 7.5 million square feet.

The Alexandria City Council voted to approve the new Metro station in May 2015, to be located on the Yellow and Blue lines between the Braddock Road and National Airport stops.

While the new Metro station and the Metroway bus rapid transit route along Route 1 could take care of a lot of traffic impact, Ahl said, there were still concerns about the number of cars to hit the roads with the new development.

“If we assume that the new development goes hand-in-hand with the new Metro station, that should take care of a lot of the concerns,” Ahl said. “Alexandria very strongly focuses on being as pedestrian, bike and transit-friendly as possible, and conversely avoiding car dependency. In terms of vehicular traffic on U.S. Route 1 or Potomac Avenue leading into Crystal City, I guess the proof in the pudding is hard to predict.”

One other aspect that Ahl said troubled some association members is the potential loss of amenities like the movie theater and Target, which are major draws. But he said members will continue to monitor the situation and see how it evolves.

“To some extent, it becomes wait and see,” Ahl said. “Depending on their own inclinations and their own preferences, we’re speculating on whether it will be positive or negative in some sense. Some people would hate to see losing some of their existing favorite places, although they emphasized in our meeting that Target has a lease in place until 2028, so that might be the last thing that happens down there.”

According to a timeline, an advisory group tasked with updating the North Potomac Yard plan will present its final recommendations in April.

Images via City of Alexandria

by ARLnow.com — March 3, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

Hawk perched in tree (Flickr pool photo by Lisa Novak)

Lady Warriors Fall in States — The Wakefield Lady Warriors received a police escort as the team left for the state basketball tournament in Hampton on Wednesday. The team lost to three-time defending state champs Princess Anne by a score of 51-42 yesterday. [Twitter, Virginian-Pilot, Twitter]

APS Statement Affirms Welcoming Environment — Following accusations of discrimination and bullying at Yorktown High School, Arlington Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Patrick Murphy has released a statement affirming the school system’s commitment to “a welcoming, safe and caring learning environment for each and every student.” Wrote Murphy: “The hallmark of our work is that ALL students should experience freedom from harassment, judgement or prejudice.” [Arlington Public Schools]

New SafeTrack Surge Starts Tomorrow — Metro will begin a new round of “SafeTrack” maintenance work on Saturday. The work will affect riders along the Blue and Yellow lines. [ARLnow, WMATA]

Don’t Forget to Prune Shrubs and Trees — “It’s the ideal time of the season to use your pruning tools to improve the health and growing habits of your woody plants. The effort will make your gardening easier later in the year.” [Arlington County]

Water Main Break Affects DCA Traffic — A water main break closed an access ramp to Reagan National Airport from the southbound GW Parkway this morning. [Fox 5]

Flickr pool photo by Lisa Novak

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — March 3, 2017 at 6:00 am 0

Just Listed banner

Just Listed highlights Arlington properties that just came on the market within the past week. This feature is written and sponsored by Team Cathell, “Your Orange Line Specialists.”

Arlington’s spring real estate market is now in full swing with buyers snatching up 76 homes this week while 73 properties came on the market.

Mortgage applications spiked by 7% over last week reflecting the season of buying. Fresh inventory is hitting the market at the same pace as fresh buyers ratifying contracts.

Part of buyers’ motivation isn’t just seasonal. Mortgage rates crept upward slightly this week to 4.25% for a 30-yr fixed rate, and the Fed is expected to increase the short term bank rate this month, and more increases in the months ahead. Buyers want to lock in low rates before their purchasing power gets eroded by both higher interest rates and price increases. Agents are reporting bidding wars already this spring is some of the high demand areas.

Click to see all the fresh new inventory in MRIS and call Team Cathell (703-975-2500) when you find a home you like.

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