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Firefighters are battling a significant fire on the 23rd Street S. restaurant row in Crystal City.

The fire is reportedly in the building that houses Andalusia Hookah Bar and Top Thai restaurant on the 500 block of 23rd Street. Those businesses are immediately adjacent to Crystal City Sports Pub and Federico Ristorante Italiano.

Firefighters from several local jurisdictions are battling the two-alarm blaze. The fire has caused unsafe conditions for firefighters inside the building and flames can now be seen coming from the roof, according to scanner traffic.

Photo (2) via Google Maps

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If it’s shocking to you that it’s December already, you’re not alone.

Maybe it’s because fall seemed to be a mere extension of summer that then quickly transitioned to winter. Or maybe it’s continued remote work that makes the days blend together. Or maybe we’re all working harder than usual given the nationwide labor shortage.

Whatever it is, Christmas lights are proliferating, the first tiny snowflake have fallen, another bout of snow is in the forecast for this coming Wednesday. Bottom line: winter is here, believe it or not.

With that, here’s a look back at the most-read local stories of the past week.

  1. CarPool to open new Ballston location tomorrow
  2. Gunshots fired in Westover yesterday morning, police say
  3. Driver flees after striking and seriously injuring pedestrian near W&OD Trail crossing
  4. APS targets two overcrowded schools in latest boundary change proposal
  5. Peter’s Take: Arlington’s ‘Missing Middle’ housing morass
  6. Morning Poll: Should gas-powered leaf blowers be banned?
  7. Arlington resident dies in house fire in Augusta County
  8. ACPD: Officers assaulted by drunk men in Rosslyn, Crystal City and Pentagon City
  9. New pizza place moving in after former Clarendon late night spot Goody’s closes
  10. Seven years since debut, how’s the region’s first rapid bus transit system faring?
  11. An “Uncommon” restaurant is set to open in Clarendon early next year
  12. Ask Eli: Cost of new construction homes in Northern Virginia

Feel free to discuss those stories or anything else of local interest in the comments. Have a nice weekend!

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A teen is facing charges after he allegedly threatened and then scratched a fellow student with a knife on a school bus earlier this week.

The incident happened aboard an Arlington Public Schools bus Tuesday afternoon, along Clarendon Blvd in the Courthouse and Clarendon areas. The teen also allegedly ran after the victim and a witness while armed with the knife, after they all got off the bus, police said.

More from an Arlington County Police Department crime report:

MALICIOUS WOUNDING (late), 2021-11300165, 2100 block of Clarendon Boulevard. At approximately 4:45 p.m. on November 30, police were dispatched to the late report of an assault. Upon arrival, it was determined that at approximately 3:30 p.m., the juvenile victim was riding a school bus when he became involved in a verbal altercation with the suspect. The suspect allegedly brandished a knife and held it to the victim, causing a scratch. A witness pushed the suspect away and he exited the bus. A short time later, the victim and witness were walking in the area of Clarendon Boulevard and N. Barton Street when the suspect began to run towards them with the knife. They were able to run to safety. The investigation is ongoing.

APS spokesman Frank Bellavia told ARLnow that it was a Yorktown High School bus, but was unable to provide more information.

“I don’t have any additional than what is in the crime report,” Bellavia said.

ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage said today that the suspect has been identified and is now facing charges.

“The involved juvenile has been identified and charges are pending,” Savage told us. “This remains an active criminal investigation. Anyone with information that may assist with the investigation is asked to contact the Police Department’s tip line at 703-228-4180 or [email protected]

Police have responded at least two other notable incidents associated with Yorktown over the past few months.

In early August, a brawl broke out outside of the school amid summer classes. Police said at the time that they were investigating the fight, which was caught on video.

In October, a girl walking near the school during the homecoming football game was touched inappropriately, prompting a police investigation and, later, walkouts and a petition against sexual misconduct at Yorktown. The petition has garnered tens of thousands of signatures to date.

Over the summer the Arlington School Board voted to remove School Resource Officers from schools. The Board is set to consider the draft of a new, scaled-down agreement with ACPD at its Dec. 16 meeting. The Board chair recently said that she believes Arlington schools remain safe even without the SROs as a regular presence in the buildings.

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House
2632 N. Sycamore Street

Looking for a new home? Find open houses across Arlington this weekend, from single-family homes to new construction townhomes.

According to Homesnap, there are 548 homes for sale. There have been 122 new listings in the past 4 weeks and 240 sales.

Take a look at a few open houses in Arlington this weekend:

  • 1501 N. Ivanhoe Street
    3 BD/3 BA single-family home
    Noteworthy: Open floor plan, gleaming hardwood floors, light-filled rooms
    Listed: $1,300,000
    Open: Sunday, 2-4 p.m.
  • 2815 24th Road S.
    3 BD/2.5 BA townhouse
    Noteworthy: New construction, luxury finishes
    Listed: $965,000
    Open: Sunday, 2-4 p.m.
  • 2632 N. Sycamore Street
    4 BD/2 BA single-family home
    Noteworthy: Single-level living, renovated kitchen
    Listed: $849,000
    Open: Saturday, 2-4 p.m. and Sunday, 2-4 p.m.
  • 3925 8th Street S.
    3 BD/1 BA single-family home
    Noteworthy: Front porch, wood-burning fireplace
    Listed: $725,000
    Open: Saturday, 1-3 p.m.
  • 3243 S. Utah Street
    2 BD/2 BA townhouse
    Noteworthy: Renovated, end unit townhome
    Listed: $649,000
    Open: Saturday, 2-4 p.m.

Image via Google Maps

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(Updated at 9:30 a.m.) Is Amazon building a flagship grocery store near HQ2? Based on photos showing the inside of the under-construction store, it sure looks like it.

Nothing has been announced, and both Amazon and building owner JBG Smith have been tight-lipped about the thus-far-unnamed grocery store that’s coming to 1550 Crystal Drive, though rumors have swirled throughout the year that Amazon is behind the store.

The company, meanwhile, has been busy opening Amazon Fresh grocery stores throughout the D.C. area. The stores are similar to traditional grocery stores but with technology that lets customers instantly checkout without scanning items.

Crystal City has long been without a grocery store, after the lone Safeway that served the neighborhood closed in 2005. There are grocery stores nearby, however, including Harris Teeter stores in Pentagon City and the Potomac Yard area, a newer Amazon-owned Whole Foods in Pentagon City, and what was formerly a Shoppers supermarket in Potomac Yard.

The Shoppers is becoming — you guessed it — an Amazon Fresh store.

In Crystal City, building permits conspicuously fail to name the store that’s under construction at 1550 Crystal Drive.  But the store is described, as “a new retail shop providing packaged salads, sandwiches, entrees, soups & various beverages [and] self app check-out.” It will also have anti-graffiti window film.

The windows of the store are covered —  with generic images and the announcement of a “specialty grocer coming soon” — but one enterprising local resident was able to sneak a peek inside. He observed an Amazon-like orange wall, plus aisle and restroom signs that look remarkably similar to those in the Amazon Fresh store in Chevy Chase.

Earlier this year another tipster told ARLnow that a friend who was involved in the construction project described it in a way that sounded exactly like an Amazon Fresh store. But the friend was under a non-disclosure agreement — a bit unusual for a grocery store construction project — and did not reveal the name of the store.

As of publication time a PR rep for Amazon Fresh has not responded to a request for comment from ARLnow.

This would not be the first time that Amazon has left a couple of breadcrumbs while being secretive about something involving Arlington.

In 2018, in the midst of the company’s HQ2 search, ARLnow reported exclusively about a spike in web traffic from Amazon computers to a particular story about Arlington winning a top environmental award. Nine months later the company announced that HQ2 would be built in Arlington.

Portions of photos via Google Maps

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Morning Notes

Mattress Store Goes Night Night — From local tweeter @CartChaos22202: “The ⁦⁦Mattress Firm⁩ location along S. 15th Street in Pentagon City has closed… but try not to lose sleep over it.” [Twitter]

Santa Visiting Fairlington Next Week — “It was touch and go for a while, but it appears Santa Claus will be able to take part in an annual Fairlington tradition after all. The Fairlington Citizens Association is working to bring Saint Nick to the community for his annual ride on an Arlington County fire truck. The event is slated to take place on Saturday, Dec. 11.” [Sun Gazette]

Lane Closure for Bridge Maintenance — From Arlington’s Dept. of Environmental Services: “Routine deck maintenance work continues on Shirlington Road Bridge through Dec. 11. One travel lane closed at a time, 7am to 7pm including weekends. West sidewalk remains open.” [Twitter]

Opioid Test Strips Are in Demand — “Months after Arlington County’s Department of Human Services started the pilot program to dispense 100 fentanyl-testing strips, the county is renewing its opioid response grant as demand continues to grow. ‘We were out of those test strips within the first couple of weeks. Since then, since the middle of August, we’ve dispensed 604 test strips,’ said Emily Siqveland, who runs the county’s new Opioid Treatment Program.” [WTOP]

Elections Office Ready for Rerun — “Yes, Virginia, there may be a rerun of all 100 House of Delegates races in the new year. Maybe not, but possibly. If so, personnel in the Arlington elections office will be ready, they say. ‘We’ll just have to wait and see how this process plays out,’ said Gretchen Reinemeyer, the county’s director of elections, in a look-back-and-look-forward report to the county’s Electoral Board on Nov. 30.” [Sun Gazette]

Reminder: Arlies Voting — Don’t forget to cast a vote for your favorite bakery, ARLnow commenter, coffee shop or brunch spot. Voting in the Winter 2022 Arlies awards closes on Monday. [ARLnow]

It’s Friday — It’s going to be a bit windy today, with sunny skies, a low of around 40 and a high near 58. Northwest wind 8 to 13 mph, with gusts as high as 23 mph. Sunrise at 7:10 a.m. and sunset at 4:46 p.m. Saturday will be mostly sunny, with a high near 55 and wind gusts up to 20 mph. Sunday will be mostly sunny, with a high near 51. [Weather.gov]

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Restaurants on the 1800 block of N. Moore Street (via Google Maps)

An opportunistic thief stole a car that was left parked and unlocked, with the key in the ignition, near the Rosslyn Metro station last night, police say.

It happened around 9:45 p.m. Wednesday, on the 1800 block of N. Moore Street. The crime was initially reported as a carjacking, and a description of the vehicle was broadcast to other local police departments, but officers later determined that the car was simply driven off and not taken forcibly.

The driver of the car was reportedly inside a restaurant — the block includes a McDonald’s, Bethesda Bagels, Nando’s Peri-Peri, and Happy Eatery (recently renamed after formerly being called Happy Endings Eatery) — when the theft occurred.

More from an Arlington County Police Department crime report:

GRAND LARCENY AUTO, 2021-12010223, 1800 block of N. Moore Street. At approximately 9:43 p.m. on December 1, police were dispatched to the report of a stolen vehicle. The investigation determined that at approximately 9:40 p.m., the victim parked his vehicle and left it unlocked with the key in the ignition and entered a restaurant. While inside, a witness observed the suspect enter the vehicle and drive away. The vehicle is described as a 2003 Silver Toyota Matrix XR with Maryland license plate 1DB6405. There is no suspect description. The investigation is ongoing.

Photo via Google Maps. Hat tip to Alan Henney.

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Jamestown Elementary School (file photo)

(Updated at 10:25 a.m.) Jamestown Elementary School is having an early dismissal today due to a “significant water leak.”

The announcement was made in an email to families.

“There is a significant water leak at Jamestown Elementary which requires us to close school early,” the school’s principal wrote. “Students will have early release at 1:00 PM so that the county can shut down the water. Lunch will be served to all students before they leave.”

“There will be NO Extended Day,” the email continued. “I apologize for the inconvenience and will keep you updated on repairs and plans for tomorrow.”

Jamestown, the northernmost public school in Arlington, was built in 1953.

Following the school’s announcement, a social media post from Arlington’s Dept. of Environmental Services said there is a water main break at or near the school and that some homes in the area may also be affected.

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An opinion column railing against gas-powered leaf blowers apparently struck a nerve: it is now ARLnow’s most-read article of the year.

Opponents of the blowers have two primary complaints: the noise and the fumes.

In her opinion piece, Jane Green wrote:

The region is waking up to these noxious machines. The Arlington County Board took an important step on Tuesday, Nov. 16, when it appropriated funds from the American Rescue Plan Act to replace gas-powered landscape equipment with other options.

Leaf blowers are a drain on quality of life. Their piercing noise shatters concentration or the enjoyment of the outdoors. They spew noxious gas into the air. They can destroy insect habitats. But as a collective, we have come to expect leaf-free surfaces wherever we go. The pressure to maintain this appearance means that leaf blowers are ubiquitous.

But a movement against it is underway. I was visiting the Courthouse farmers market a few weeks ago and saw a table from Quiet Clean NOVA, a group petitioning the Virginia legislature for the local authority to regulate gas-powered yard equipment.

Across the river, D.C. is poised to ban gas-powered blowers after ringing in the new year.

From DCist:

… as the D.C. government gets ready to implement a ban on the use or sale of gas-powered leaf blowers at the start of 2022, this will be the final fall that the particular noise and fumes from the equipment will exist without the potential for a $500 fine. The city just introduced a rebate program to help people switch from gas-powered blowers to electric alternatives.

“Ten years from now, people will marvel that these things were ever used,” says James Fallows, a longtime D.C. resident who helped advocate for the ban. He has also written about his efforts in The Atlantic.

But gas-powered blowers also have their supporters. Many of those commenting on Green’s column were landscape workers — those hired by homeowners to clear leaves from their yards. The suggestion that other ways of clearing leaves can be just as effective doesn’t take into account the real-world experience of such workers, they wrote.

Even electric blowers, a potential option should the fossil fuel-powered versions be verboten, are not practical for many landscaping crews, some wrote.

What do you think? Should the Virginia legislature give Arlington the ability to ban gas-powered blowers, should the county do so?

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Morning Notes

People walking near the Amazon HQ2 site in Pentagon City (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Woman Struck, Killed on GW Parkway — “A pedestrian was struck and killed by a vehicle on the George Washington Parkway near the Key Bridge early Saturday morning, according to police. Shortly before 3 a.m., U.S. Park Police responded to a report of a pedestrian struck by a vehicle in the southbound lanes of the GW Parkway south of the Key Bridge.” [WTOP, Patch]

Beyer Blasts ‘Anti-Vax Shutdown Plot’ — “Congressman Don Beyer (D-VA), who represents the largest number of federal employees of any member of the U.S. House, today issued the following statement on Republicans’ publicly stated plan to shut down the government in an attempt to block the Administration’s Covid vaccination measures: ‘Republicans’ plan to shut down the government on purpose to sabotage our pandemic response is extraordinarily cynical and dangerous.'” [Rep. Don Beyer]

Arlington Firefighters Get to the Choppa –– “Recently 2 members from the ACFD had the unique opportunity to participate in a rope rescue course with regional law enforcement partners. Come take a ride with one of our members on their flight over the region, just don’t look down if you are afraid of heights.” [Twitter]

It’s Thursday — Following overnight showers, today will be relatively warm. There will be increasing clouds, with a high near 66. Southwest wind 7 to 17 mph, with gusts as high as 28 mph. Sunrise at 7:09 a.m. and sunset at 4:46 p.m. Tomorrow will be sunny, with a high near 62. [Weather.gov]

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Adoptable Pet of the Week: Tony

Meet Tony, a 2-year-old Shepherd mix that’s looking for his soulmate. Your mission, should you accept, is to be Tony’s one and only human — his soulmate. His friends at Lost Dog & Cat Rescue Foundation say he’s a special dog looking to explore.

Here’s what Tony’s friends have to say about him:

Tony is a special dog looking for his soulmate. He would love to find a highly experienced, dog savvy adult companion living the single life who will take him to explore all the world has to offer.

Tony came to us all the way from the streets of Iran as a young puppy and is still adjusting to all the sights, smells and sounds of his new surroundings. Tony is wise beyond his years, has an insatiable thirst for training and already knows a handful of commands. As the old saying goes, practice makes perfect, so he will need someone who will be home most of the day who has the time, patience and dedication to continue his training.

With Tony, trust is earned, not given. He needs plenty of time to warm up to new people and can be quite protective of his human so he will need someone living as the only adult in a single-occupancy home. Tony is also working diligently on his dog manners and containing his reactivity when seeing other dogs on walks. Tony is not a fan of confined spaces so apartments and condos are not his cup of tea.

His wish list includes a single home with a fenced-in backyard to run, play fetch and release all his zoomies. Tony is already house-broken, crate-trained and sleeps through the night without incident. He told us that his requirements are quite modest: an experienced and single-occupancy person who will shower him with endless love and plenty of training (you), a warm spot to rest on (your lap), and cozy accommodations (your home). So, do you fit the bill? If yes, come meet Tony today and add some love, laughs and licks to your life!

Help Tony complete his mission in finding his forever home! Learn more about how to adopt Tony and check out his complete profile.

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