The incident was reported on the 1800 block of N. Scott Street — two blocks north of the Colonial Village Shopping Center — around 2:30 a.m.
“A 23 year-old female victim was followed home and pushed into the bushes by an unknown male subject,” said an Arlington County Police Department crime report. “The subject touched the victim inappropriately and implied that he had a knife.”
“The suspect is described as a black male in his 20’s, approximately 5’10”-5’11” tall and was wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt,” the crime report said.
A woman was also grabbed from behind and pushed into some bushes near Quincy Park and Washington-Lee High School last week, but the attacker quickly fled the scene. The crimes do not appear to be related.
The little-noticed item came at the end of a long County Board meeting on Monday, Sept. 21.
At issue during the 40 minute discussion of the item: whether the dentist’s office — Courthouse Art of Dentistry — should be allowed to stay in the Courthouse Plaza shopping center at 2250 Clarendon Blvd as part of a regularly-scheduled Site Plan Amendment review.
County Board member Libby Garvey, who supported the office in the vote, wrote about it in her most recent email newsletter to constituents.
There has been a dentist at Courthouse Plaza for about 20 years, although the site plan originally called for retail to be in that space. Repeated attempts by retail stores to locate there had resulted in several store closures, so a waiver was granted to allow a dental office. The waiver was up for renewal. The dental office has thrived, the dentist does pro bono work for the Free Clinic and takes hotel guests when they need a dentist. A few people insisted that this location was not compliant with the site plan and the dentist had to go. The building owner said he could find no one else to fill that space and asked us to please allow the dentist to stay. Hundreds of patients and supporters signed a petition asking for the dentist to stay. Still…..this was the third time in a year he had to come before the Board pleading for us to allow his successful business to stay. He can stay, but the vote was far too close: 3-2. I thanked the dentist for all he does for our community. I told him and his many supporters who stayed until 11:55pm I was embarrassed the Board made this so hard for a successful business that serves Arlington well. It really was one of the more bizarre issues I’ve dealt with as a Board member.
Speakers at the meeting universally called for the Board to let the dentist office stay. The attorney for owner Dr. Joseph Khalil said that they had collected about 500 signatures in support of the practice. (The office is thriving and has 2,200 patients, the attorney said.)
“CCCA renews our objection and voted to firmly oppose a permanent exception to the dentist office in a space designated for anchor retail as far back as 10 years,” civic association president Adam Thocher said in an email to county staff. “We encourage ongoing discussion between [landlord] Equity and Arlington Economic Development to market and secure a tenant that will help fulfill the promise made to the community of activating Courthouse Plaza.”
County staff, however, said that the use was appropriate and consistent with the county’s new Retail Action Plan, which allows for “retail equivalent” uses like medical and dental offices in lieu of more traditional stores and restaurants in certain retail zones, including the Courthouse area.
“We believe the use provides service to residents and to office workers in the plaza,” said Michael Cohen, a county staff member.
The dentist’s attorney, meanwhile, said that the retail landscape has changed since a dentist’s office first opened in the space in 1993. (It has since changed ownership.) She said that online shopping has limited the utility of small retail storefronts and that Courthouse Plaza already has stores that commonly use such spaces — a coffee shop, a cell phone store, etc.
“Voting against this would be inconsistent with policy… and inconsistent with the notion that we should be supporting long-standing local businesses,” said the attorney, Sara Mariska.
Mike Farrey, brother of a dentist at the practice, suggested that a dentist office might even be preferable to an “active” use.
“There are enough coffee shops and restaurants in Arlington, and enough empty storefronts,” he said.
Patients of the office who spoke at the meeting said that there’s no justification for making a successful, community-serving business pack up and move. One called it “un-American.”
“I feel like this is a complete waste of community resources,” said the man. “It’s not a gentlemen’s club, it’s not a bar, it’s not an adult bookstore… what use is it to create another empty storefront?”
“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” said another patient.
In the end, the Board voted 3-2 — with retiring County Board members Mary Hynes and Walter Tejada voting in the minority — to renew the site plan amendment and allow the dentist to stay, with no further scheduled reviews.
County Board member John Vihstadt said that kicking the dentist out would only create an empty storefront, agreeing with Dr. Khalil’s attorney in suggesting that the space was too small and ill-configured to be attractive to any likely “active” retail tenant.
“Why would we want to open up a new cavity in Courthouse Plaza?” he quipped.
Tree Falls on House During Storm — A big tree fell on a house in Arlington during Friday’s heavy rain. No one was injured. [WJLA]
More Orange Line Woes — Orange and Silver line riders this morning reported relatively long waits between trains and, at Arlington stations, numerous inbound trains too crowded to board. Also this morning, a man suspected of stealing a woman’s purse at the Virginia Square station was taken into custody — reportedly by an off-duty FBI agent — at the Clarendon Metro station, according to scanner traffic. [Twitter, Twitter]
Entrepreneurship Push for Latinas — The Shirlington Employment and Education Center, which runs a day laborer program near Shirlington, is starting a new program intended to provide training to immigrant women who want to start their own business. [InsideNova]
Changes at Blue Virginia — The Arlington-based Democratic state blog Blue Virginia has a new website. The site’s long-time former platform Soapblox, which also hosted dozens of other progressive blogs, is shutting down on Oct. 15. [Blue Virginia]
Flickr pool photo by Mrs. Gemstone
The annual Mid-Atlantic Oktoberfest in Shirlington has been postponed due to inclement weather.
Event organizer Capitol City Brewing Company announced this morning that the Oktoberfest, originally scheduled for tomorrow (Saturday) afternoon, will instead be held next Sunday, Oct. 11.
“This rescheduled event will be [halved] in size, comparable to Capitol City’s Springfest event,” a PR rep said in an email. “Thank you for your understanding!”
Springfest consisted of beer samples from 45 breweries, mostly from Virginia, D.C. and Maryland.
It’s expected to be a rainy and windy weekend.
While Hurricane Joaquin is looking like less of a threat to the East Coast, a nor-easter is bringing heavy rain to the region today and showers throughout the weekend.
Is the forecast changing your plans? Let us know how you’re coping with the lousy weather.
New Homeless Shelter Opens Today — Arlington County’s new $9 million Homeless Services Center in Courthouse opens today. Serving a county-wide homeless population of about 250, the shelter will provide a warm and safe place for homeless individuals to sleep at night, in addition to providing medical care, substance abuse and job training programs. [Arlington County, WAMU]
‘Good Morning Guy’ No Longer in Clarendon — “Good morning guy” Robert Gordon, a beloved Express newspaper distributor, is no longer handing out the free papers in Clarendon, disappointing many commuters. Where did he go, a reader asked? A Washington Post spokeswoman tells ARLnow.com: Gordon is still distributing the Express just down the Orange Line, in Rosslyn.
Wakefield Wins in Rout — The Wakefield High School football team defeated Mt. Vernon last night, 45-0, despite the Warriors’ starting running back being sidelined with an injury. [Washington Post]
Clement Proposes New Regional Park — Independent County Board candidate Audrey Clement says that if she’s elected, she would work to build a new regional park inside the Beltway. “Arlington has nearly run out of public open space to keep pace with our population growth,” Clement writes in a press release. “We have to go back to the future and do what our parents and grandparents did 50 years ago: Buy land for new regional parks, outdoor recreation and playing fields.” [Clement for County Board, Twitter]
Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick
Another Jury Duty Scam — Scammers are once against targeting Arlington residents with phony phone calls about jury duty. At least 15 cases were reported in September of residents receiving calls from someone claiming to be a law enforcement officer and demanding a “good faith” payment over the phone for failing to appear for jury duty. The calls are fraudulent and police are investigating. [Arlington County]
Deaf Inmate’s Lawsuit Against Arlington — A deaf Ethiopian immigrant says the six weeks he spent in the Arlington County jail was torturous. Abreham Zemedagegehu has a limited ability to read or write English, and as a result missed meals and went without needed pain medication during his stay. A lawsuit against the county, filed pro bono by the law firm Akin Gump, says the jail should have had a sign language interpreter. [Washington Post]
Arlington Wages on the Rise — Wages for those who work in Arlington rose 2.7 percent in the first quarter of 2015, higher than the national average of 2.1 percent. Arlington has the 10th highest wages among the largest 342 counties in the U.S. [InsideNova]
New Process Proposed for New Schools — The county’s Community Facilities Study Committee has made recommendations for a new “siting process” for new and expanded schools and county facilities. “The siting process is intended to improve upon current practices and function as a project management tool to make siting decisions efficiently, effectively and with ample community input,” according to a press release. [Arlington County, Arlington Public Schools]
Lots of Debates for County Board Candidates — The four Arlington County Board candidates are scheduled to participate in 14 debates in various parts of the county by the time election day rolls around in November. [Washington Post]
Va. State Police Cruisers Hacked — Computer security experts were able to hack into Virginia State Police vehicles, preventing the cars from starting or moving. The hacks were done as a security measure, as part of a state initiative to prevent future hacks of Virginia’s fleet of police cruisers and official vehicles. [Dark Reading]
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month — Today is Oct. 1, the start of Domestic Violence Awareness Month. “The Arlington County Police Department has partnered with Doorways for Women and Families, our community advocate, to bring attention to this worthy cause,” according to a press release. During October, many ACPD vehicles will display a purple ribbon donated by Doorways. Last year, Arlington police were called to 2,086 incidents of domestic violence, resulting in 196 arrests. [Arlington County]
Get ready for a wet weekend. A coastal nor’easter is expected to bring torrential rainfall throughout most of Friday and Saturday.
The National Weather Service has issued a Flash Flood Watch for Arlington and the rest of the D.C. region, starting Friday morning. More watches and warnings are expected to be issued as Hurricane Joaquin nears, on the back of the nor’easter.
From the NWS:
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN STERLING VIRGINIA HAS ISSUED A
* FLASH FLOOD WATCH
* FROM FRIDAY MORNING THROUGH SATURDAY EVENING.
* RAIN WILL INCREASE IN INTENSITY ACROSS THE AREA FRIDAY INTO SATURDAY. WIDESPREAD RAIN TOTALS OF TWO TO FOUR INCHES ARE EXPECTED… WITH LOCALLY HIGHER AMOUNTS. HEAVY RAIN COULD FALL OVER A SHORT PERIOD OF TIME ON SATURATED SOILS… WHICH COULD LEAD TO FLASH FLOODING.
* THERE IS POTENTIAL FOR RAPID RISES OF WATER ON NUMEROUS SMALL STREAMS… AS WELL AS IN POOR DRAINAGE AREAS. LARGER RIVERS WILL ALSO EXPERIENCE RISES. MUDSLIDES MAY OCCUR IN STEEP TERRAIN.
A FLASH FLOOD WATCH MEANS THAT CONDITIONS MAY DEVELOP THAT LEAD TO FLASH FLOODING. FLASH FLOODING IS A VERY DANGEROUS SITUATION.
YOU SHOULD MONITOR LATER FORECASTS AND BE PREPARED TO TAKE ACTION SHOULD FLASH FLOOD WARNINGS BE ISSUED.
Police say the 23-year-old woman was walking down the 1200 block of N. Quincy Street around 10:20 p.m. Tuesday when she was grabbed from behind by an unknown man. The man tried to pull her into some nearby bushes but quickly fled the scene.
“The victim screamed out for help causing the suspect to flee,” according to Arlington County Police. “The suspect is described as a Hispanic male in his 20-30’s, approximately 5’6″-5’8″ and weighed 130-160 lbs. He was wearing a white t-shirt, dark pants, loafer shoes, and a backpack at the time of the incident.”
Though the suspect description is similar to that of a man suspected in up to a half dozen similar attacks on women in August, police say they don’t think it’s the same person.
“It doesn’t appear that this is the same guy, but we’re not going to rule that out,” said ACPD spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.
Sternbeck said there’s additional information or evidence that suggests it’s a different suspect, but so far that information is not being publicly released while investigators continue to work the case.
Following resident outcry from those who didn’t want the Lee Highway fire station to move from their neighborhood, and from those who didn’t want it to move to theirs, last week the Arlington County Board approved the creation of a task force to study the issue and come up with a recommendation.
Now, the county is also conducting a survey of residents via its “Open Arlington” website. The survey, which closes on Oct. 6, is intended to “gather input on the proposed project criteria and the possible direction this task force may take.”
Those who argue in favor of relocating the fire station further north — including fire department officials — say it would improve fire response times to the northern reaches of Arlington, while allowing for a larger and more advanced fire station to be built within budget. Keeping the station where it is would require pricy renovations and potential land acquisition that would be more expensive than simply building the station new on exiting county land.
Those who argue against the station say that it’s a community fixture with an important history, and they like it where it is. Further, some residents around the proposed relocation site near Marymount University say the fire station would disrupt their quiet neighborhood.
We’re conducting our own survey this morning: do you think it’s a good idea to relocate Fire Station No. 8?
Major Traffic, Metro Woes — It was extremely slow going for commuters crossing the 14th Street Bridge this morning. Wet roads and a couple of crashes backed up traffic on I-395 and feeder routes for miles. Traffic issues were also reported on Columbia Pike, due to malfunctioning traffic signals at S. Queen Street. Meanwhile, a fire response at the L’Enfant Metro station and track issues on the Yellow Line bridge have resulted in speed restrictions and delays for Yellow Line riders. [Twitter, Twitter, Washington Post]
Waiting for Joaquin — Arlington County is keeping a close eye on Hurricane Joaquin, which some models are suggesting may have a big impact on the D.C. area. [Twitter]
Cristol Touts Endorsements — Following a snub by County Board member John Vihstadt, who endorsed her Democratic ticketmate Christian Dorsey and independent candidate Mike McMenamin, County Board candidate Katie Cristol is touting her own endorsements. “Twenty elected officials, comprising all of Arlington’s School Board, Constitutional Officers and Richmond delegation, and much of the County Board, today endorsed Katie Cristol’s campaign,” the campaign said in a press release Tuesday. [Katie Cristol]
Juror Qualification Process Begins — A random selection of Arlington and Falls Church residents are being mailed juror questionnaires, which will be used to qualify residents for jury duty in 2016. [Arlington County]
Attorney General Holds Arlington Newser — Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring announced a new training initiative for police at a news conference in Arlington yesterday. The training is intended to help officers de-escalate dangerous situations, thus preventing the need to excessive use of force, while also recognizing potential biases they may bring to the job. Arlington County already conducts similar training. [NBC Washington]
Arlington County is putting its 180 traffic cameras online for all to view.
A new website launched by the county allows anyone with an internet connection to view real-time video streams from cameras along main roads around Arlington.
“This new service is part of the County’s initiative to promote open data and better serve all those who use Arlington streets,” Arlington transportation chief Dennis Leach said in a press release. “We’re utilizing technology to provide the public with real-time traffic conditions so that they can make informed decisions about their planned trip – anything from a commute to a special event.”
The county says it is planning on adding VDOT highway cameras to its traffic camera page “in the future.” Currently, VDOT cameras can be viewed on the 511 Virginia Traffic Information website.
The new traffic camera system is not without its drawbacks: a sampling by ARLnow.com revealed that about 1 in 5 cameras was “temporarily unavailable,” and cameras are relatively sparse north of the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor.
In addition to now being accessible to curious residents, the cameras are used by transportation officials and public safety agencies to monitor traffic around the county.
“The Transportation, Engineering & Operations Bureau monitors traffic cameras to provide orderly movement of traffic and for incident management purposes,” the press release says. “These cameras are also shared with the Emergency Communications Center and the Arlington County Police Department.”
The cameras, however, are not in place to fight crime.
“Feeds are not continually monitored and the images shown are never recorded,” the county notes. “These cameras are not intended to be used as crime prevention or reporting tools.”
Arlington says it is continuing to upgrade and modernize its traffic infrastructure. From the press release:
For the last few years, the County has been upgrading the traffic signal communications network from copper cable to fiber. This state-of-the-art technology improves the reliability of our traffic cameras and provides higher-quality feeds. It also will help the County implement a Smart Traffic Signal System, which integrates real-time traffic monitoring with Variable Message Signs (VMS), blue tooth devices, video detections and traffic cameras. Upgrades will continue through spring of 2016.
(Updated at 2:00 p.m.) A VDOT worker is in critical condition after being struck by a car on I-395 Tuesday night.
The crash happened around 10:20 p.m., on southbound I-395 near the Ridge Road overpass. According to initial reports, the worker was setting out traffic cones to warn drivers of an accident ahead when he was struck by a vehicle.
The man was transported to the trauma center at George Washington University Hospital with life-threatening injuries.
Weather may have been a factor — it was raining at the time of the crash.
On Wednesday afternoon, Virginia State Police issued the following statement about the crash.
Virginia State Police are investigating a pedestrian crash that occurred late Tuesday evening (Sept. 29) in Arlington County.
At 10:16 p.m., Virginia State Police were on scene of a traffic crash in the right southbound lane of Interstate 395, less than a mile south of the Ridge Road overpass. Safety Services Patrol Supervisor Mike Musgrove responded to the scene to assist the trooper by blocking oncoming traffic and directing traffic safely around the crash scene.
At approximately 10:23 p.m., a 2005 Toyota Matrix traveling south on I-395 lost control and ran through the traffic cones and flares ( that were set up as a perimeter to direct oncoming traffic around the initial crash). The Matrix struck Musgrove, who was standing next to his safety services patrol vehicle. The Matrix then struck the safety truck and guardrail.
Musgrove was transported to GW Hospital in Washington, DC, where he is currently being treated for life-threatening injuries. Musgrove is a VDOT contract employee. His vehicle emergency lights were activated at the time of the crash.
The driver of the Matrix, Charles R. Hepburn II, 39, of Alexandria, Va., was not injured in the crash. Hepburn was charged with reckless driving.
No one from the initial crash was injured in the incident.
Both crashes remain under investigation.
Update at 5:20 p.m. — This article has been updated to reflect a CEB spokeswoman’s request that we no longer refer to the company as “Corporate Executive Board.”
A ten-foot-tall, 1,300 pound “moon” has been gracing the Rosslyn skyline for the past two weeks.
The moon, which is illuminated with 936 LED lights, can be seen hanging from a crane that’s part of the Central Place construction project on N. Lynn Street. It was first lit up on Sunday, Sept. 13.
The temporary public art project is the brainchild of Brian Coulter, Managing Partner of Central Place developer JBG.
“[Coulter] and JBG team members worked with Los Angeles-based Custom Prop Shop, which created the prototype design and fabricated it from steel and a fibrous resin in a nearly year-long process from idea to installation,” according to a press release. “The moon will be suspended from the rear span of a Miller and Long Co. crane during construction, for about a year.”
Construction on the Central Place project is continuing at a steady clip. The development consists of CEB Tower, a 350,000 square foot office tower at the corner of Lynn Street and Wilson Blvd; a public observation deck; a 17,000 square foot public plaza; 45,000 square feet of street-level retail space; and Central Place Residences, a 377-unit residential tower.
So far, the office tower — the future global headquarters of CEB, formerly known as Corporate Executive Board, a publicly-traded company that’s currently based down the street in Rosslyn — is still just a big hole in the ground. The steel-and-concrete frame of the residential tower, however, is now several stories high and seemingly getting taller by the week.
A spokeswoman for JBG said construction crews are currently pouring concrete on the 8th floor of the residential building and expect the “topping out” to take place by the second quarter of 2016. Completion of the building is scheduled for early 2017.
Crews are currently working on the garage levels of the office tower, the spokeswoman said. A topping out for the office tower — the point at which the top floor of the unfinished building is in place — is expected by the end of 2016. CEB is expected to move in at the beginning of 2018. The observation deck is also slated to open in early 2018.
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