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by ARLnow.com — August 24, 2016 at 3:05 pm 0

Police standoff in Virginia Square (courtesy photo)

(Updated at 4:15 p.m.) A reported standoff with an armed man near the Virginia Square Metro station ended peacefully this afternoon.

The standoff was said to be taking place in an apartment tower on the 900 block of N. Pollard Street. Police said the man was making threats and was in possession of multiple loaded firearms.

A police spokeswoman described it as a “fluid situation,” with officers “taking an abundance of caution for everyone’s safety.”

While police took defensive positions down the hall from the man’s apartment, he was spotted outside the Starbucks near the Metro station. As it turns out, the man had left his apartment prior to police arriving. Officers talked with the man, who was said to be calm and mostly cooperative.

At 4 p.m., police said the situation was “safely resolved” and the man was “being referred to County services.”

During the standoff Pollard Street was closed to traffic and police advised people to avoid the area. One nearby resident told us that heavily-armed officers had the apartment building “locked down.”

Courtesy photo

by ARLnow.com — August 24, 2016 at 1:45 pm 0

Lanier Avant (Photo via cbcfinc.org)Lanier Avant, the chief of staff for Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) and a House Homeland Security Committee staff director, has been charged with failing to file his tax returns for five years.

Avant, who lives in Arlington, falsely claimed he was exempt from federal tax withholding, prosecutors say. He made more than $170,000 per year during tax years 2009-2013, but did not file a tax return during that time, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Avant faces up to five years in prison. From a press release:

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Isaac Lanier Avant, of Arlington, who is currently employed as a staffer by the U.S. House of Representatives, has been charged with five counts of willfully failing to file a tax return.

According to the criminal information and affidavit, Avant has been employed as a staff member of the U.S. House of Representatives since approximately 2002.  For tax years 2009 through 2013, Avant earned annual wages of over $170,000, but did not timely file a personal income tax return for any of those years. In May 2005, Avant filed a form with his employer that falsely claimed he was exempt from federal income taxes.  Avant did not have any federal tax withheld from his paycheck until the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) mandated that his employer begin withholding in January 2013.

Avant faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison if convicted. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; and Caroline D. Ciraolo, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s Tax Division, made the announcement.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jack Hanly and Assistant Chief Todd Ellinwood of the Tax Division.

Photo via cbcfinc.org

by ARLnow.com — August 24, 2016 at 11:45 am 0

Ft. Barnard Park on 8/24/16

A “serial pooper” has left a No. 2 on the Ft. Barnard Park playground for the second time in as many weeks.

The ill-placed excrement was spotted this morning, conveniently while county crews were at the park for routine landscaping work.

“Unfortunately, the serial pooper struck again this morning,” a nearby resident told ARLnow.com. “This time it was not covered by a shirt, but a pile of human feces was found on the playground by some benches. County landscapers were already on the scene when it was found and called their office to arrange for cleanup and to discuss other methods to deter or catch the pooper. I guess this makes him the very brazen serial pooper.”

Arlington Dept. of Parks and Recreation spokeswoman Susan Kalish confirmed that feces was found and that employees promptly took action to remove it.

“Yes, we found some more this morning,” Kalish said. “It is being cleaned up. We’ve notified police, rangers and are also working with homeless advocates.”

Kalish relayed some bullet points from the parks department regarding the defecation situation, including the somewhat surprising revelation that poop is pretty common in parks.

This is unacceptable behavior.

  • To reiterate – please do not poop in public places. This is something your mom should have taught you long ago.

When we know about it, we remove it immediately.

  • General practice is to remove waste on natural surfaces such as grass or mulch. However if the waste is on a surface such as concrete, paving or playgrounds, staff removes the waste and the cleans the area with disinfectant.
  • Staff has turned the issue over to police and park rangers to continue investigating in an effort to stop the issue.

We regret this sometimes happens.

  • As surprising as it may sound, it is not uncommon to find human waste in a park.
  • A couple months ago we noticed sporadically the waste in Ft. Barnard Park. It stood out because someone puts a t-shirt on top of it.
  • It became more common over the last month so park maintenance staff started pro-active check-ins at the park.
  • It seems that the waste is deposited overnight.

As of 11 a.m. this morning, it appeared that the latest droppings had been cleaned up and about a dozen children and caretakers were in the park, playing on the playground.

by ARLnow.com — August 24, 2016 at 9:30 am 0

N. Randolph Street is shut down between Glebe and Wilson due to a gas leakUpdate at 10:20 a.m. — The leak has reportedly been stopped and the road is being reopened.

A busy street in Ballston has been closed due to a strong odor of natural gas coming from a manhole.

N. Randolph Street is closed between N. Glebe Road and Wilson Blvd, near the Ballston Common Mall demolition site. Several businesses on the Glebe Road side of Randolph have been evacuated.

Washington Gas crews are en route to try to stop the leak.

by ARLnow.com — August 24, 2016 at 9:00 am 0

Window washers in Ballston

W-L Student Aces ACT Exam — Washington-Lee High School rising senior Benjamin Brooks has earned a perfect score of 36 on the ACT college entrance exam. Of the two million people who take the exam each year, only 1,600 achieve a top score. [InsideNova]

Speakeasy Moves to Alexandria — The Room 19 speakeasy that was formerly in the now-closed Boulevard Woodgrill in Clarendon (which is now becoming Ambar) is relocating to Alexandria. Room 19 will have its soft opening in the Carlyle Club at 2050 Ballenger Ave tomorrow, a spokesman said. It will be open Thursdays from 6 p.m. to midnight. [Facebook]

Juror Questionnaires Are Being Mailed — Residents of Arlington and Falls Church will be receiving questionnaires as part of Arlington’s annual juror qualification process. About 35,000 questionnaires are being mailed out. [Arlington County]

Live Podcast Taping Coming to Arlington — Local media personalities Sarah Fraser and Samy K will be hosting a live taping of their popular Hey Frase podcast at Clarendon Ballroom next month. Tickets to the show start at $25. [Eventbrite]

by ARLnow.com — August 23, 2016 at 10:00 am 0

Mr. Panda fills in for the stuffed bear outside of Kinder Haus Toys in Clarendon (photo courtesy Eric LeKuch)

Arlington Searching for Ultimate Frisbee Coaches — With ultimate frisbee approved as a new school-sponsored sport, Arlington Public Schools in now on the hunt for frisbee coaches at each of its middle and high schools. [InsideNova]

Dems Hold Unity Event — Arlington Democrats are presenting a unified front heading into election season. After a bruising primary, both County Board Chair Libby Garvey and her once-challenger, Erik Gutshall, attended a Democratic unity event at the house of County Board member Jay Fisette last night. [Twitter, Twitter]

‘Tranquility’ in Crystal City Underground — Gallery Underground, the subterranean art gallery in the Crystal City Shops, is preparing for its next exhibit, on the theme of “Tranquility.” The month-long art show starts Sept. 1. [Gallery Underground]

Photo courtesy Eric LeKuch

by ARLnow.com — August 22, 2016 at 4:45 pm 0

Police car lightsPolice are looking for a man who exposed himself to two girls in Arlington’s Old Dominion neighborhood.

The juveniles were walking down the 4600 block of 24th Street N. Friday morning when they spotted an older man “inside his vehicle with his pants down and his genitals exposed,” according to Arlington County Police spokeswoman Ashley Savage.

“They did not believe the suspect was looking at them,” Savage said.

From an ACPD crime report:

EXPOSURE, 160819020, 4600 block of N. 24th Street. At approximately 10:40 a.m. on August 19, two juvenile female victims walking in the area witnessed a male subject exposing himself inside of a vehicle. The male is described as a white male with brown hair. He was wearing a gray hoodie and driving a silver 4-door sedan.

by ARLnow.com — August 22, 2016 at 3:35 pm 0

A brand new 168-room Hyatt Place hotel opened in Courthouse last week.

Construction on the hotel began in early 2015 and wrapped up ahead of schedule this month. The hotel is expected to attract tourists, business travelers and conference attendees alike.

Among other features, the hotel has a curated art collection in the lobby and outside at the corner of Wilson Blvd and N. Adams Street, “for passersby to enjoy.”

From a Hyatt press release:

Hyatt Place Arlington/Courthouse Plaza is officially open in Arlington, Va. The hotel features the Hyatt Place brand’s intuitive design, casual atmosphere and practical amenities, such as free Wi-Fi and 24-hour food offerings. Hyatt Place Arlington Courthouse

Plaza is owned by Schupp Companies, a real estate development company, and is operated and managed by LodgeWorks Partners, L.P.

Hyatt Place Arlington/Courthouse Plaza is nearby a variety of restaurant, shopping and entertainment options. The hotel is two blocks away from the Courthouse Metro stop and close to major Washington D.C. attractions, including the White House, the Washington Monument, Jefferson Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, and Arlington Cemetery. With inviting spaces to connect, meet, socialize, eat and drink, the property is a unique place designed around today’s modern traveler.

Hyatt Place Arlington Courthouse/Plaza offers:

  • 168 spacious guestrooms, all of which feature a swiveling 42-inch HDTV, the plush Hyatt Grand Bed® and Cozy Corner sectional sofa – all with separate spaces to sleep, work and play
  • Free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel
  • Complimentary a.m. Kitchen Skillet™, a free hot breakfast for guests available daily in the Gallery Kitchen, features hot breakfast items, fresh fruit, oatmeal, yogurt, cereal, fresh-baked pastries, premium coffee, an assortment of juices and more
  • 24/7 Gallery Menu & Market serving freshly prepared meals anytime, day or night and perfectly packaged sandwiches and salads
  • Coffee to Cocktails Bar featuring specialty coffees and premium beers, as well as wines and cocktails
  • Odds & Ends program for forgotten items that guests can buy, borrow or enjoy for free
  • 566 square feet of flexible, high-tech meeting/function space and connected to the Association of the United States Army (AUSA) Conference and Event Center, accommodating up to 200 people for meetings and events
  • 24-hour StayFit Gym featuring cardio equipment with LDC touchscreens and free ear buds
  • Curated Art Collection with custom-designed pieces that will be featured in the lobby and cascade outside of the hotel onto the sidewalk at the corner of Wilson and Adams for passersby to enjoy

“Arlington is a vibrant community that enjoys both a warm neighborhood feel and an ever-expanding list of must-see places and experiences,” said Ray Schupp, president and owner at Schupp Companies.

“We are fortunate Hyatt Place Arlington/Courthouse Plaza is centrally located so guests are just steps away from the best of Arlington. We are confident this hotel will exceed expectations and deliver a memorable experience for all.”

Hyatt Place Arlington/Courthouse Plaza is under the leadership of General Manager Shiela Shrestha and Director of Sales Nasima Alam. In her role, Shrestha is directly responsible for managing the day-to-day operations of the hotel, including overseeing the hotel’s 40 associates and ensuring guests encounter the purposeful service for which the Hyatt Place brand is known. Alam is responsible for providing sales service and support to travelers and meeting planners frequenting the Arlington, Va. area.

Photos courtesy Hyatt

by Andrew Ramonas — August 22, 2016 at 2:30 pm 0

Police car (file photo)Arlington police are looking for a man who pulled a 27-year-old woman from a sidewalk and tried to touch her under her clothing in Rosslyn over the weekend.

The attempted sexual assault happened in a grassy area near the George Washington Memorial Parkway and Key Bridge about 2:30 a.m. Sunday, police say.

The woman and the man were walking past each other on the bridge when he grabbed her and forced her into the nearby grass, police said. The man then covered the woman’s mouth and tried to get his hands under her shorts.

But the victim was able to get away, and the man fled. Police described the suspect as:

A white male, in his late 20’s to early 30’s, approximately 5’8″ to 5’10” with a medium build. He is described as having fair skin, dirty blonde hair and was clean shaven at the time of the incident. He was wearing a dark t-shirt with tan shorts or possibly pants. He was last seen fleeing the area on foot along the Key Bridge towards Washington D.C.

“If anyone has information on the identity of this individual or details surrounding this incident, please contact Detective R. Icolari of the Arlington County Police Department’s Special Victim’s Unit at 703.228.4240 or at [email protected],” police said in a press release. “To report information anonymously, contact the Arlington County Crime Solvers at 866.411.TIPS (8477).”

by ARLnow.com — August 22, 2016 at 12:40 pm 0

Hazmat response on SB I-395

Hazmat teams are on the scene of a fuel spill on southbound I-395 between Shirlington and King Street.

Nearly 50 gallons of fuel have spilled from a ruptured tractor trailer fuel tank, according to scanner traffic. Firefighters are trying to contain the leak.

All but two lanes of the main line of I-395 are blocked due to the emergency response. The ramp from Shirlington Circle to southbound I-395 is being closed.

Update at 4:30 p.m. — Firefighters managed to contain the spill in about 30-45 minutes. Before the lane closures were lifted, southbound traffic was backed up to the area around the Pentagon.

by ARLnow.com — August 22, 2016 at 9:10 am 0

Arlington County Fair 2016 (Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf)

APS Testing for Lead in Pipes — Arlington Public Schools has been testing systemwide for lead in pipes. Already, the school system has replaced a water fountain in Jamestown Elementary School found to have lead levels above a level considered safe by the state health department. [InsideNova]

Bayou Bakery Raising Money for Flooding Victims — Bayou Bakery in Courthouse is raising money for Louisiana flooding victims. The restaurant is offering a special Shrimp Creole appetizer for $9 this week; half the proceeds from that dish will benefit flood victims, including chef/owner David Guas’ own aunt, whose home in Abbeville, LA flooded with two feet of water. [Bayou Bakery]

Arlington Names New Communications Director — Dr. Bryna Helfer has been named Arlington County’s new Director of Communications and Public Engagement. She joins county government from the federal government. “Helfer currently serves as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Engagement at the U.S. Department of Transportation and also serves as Senior Advisor to the Secretary on Accessibility and Workforce,” a press release notes. [Arlington County]

Fox 5 Highlights Rosslyn — The Fox 5 morning news program highlighted various people, businesses and activities in Rosslyn during a “Zip Trip” segment Friday morning. [Fox 5]

Crystal City Boxing Recap — It was a nine-bout, nine-knockout night at the Crystal City Hilton Friday night. [Fight News]

Transport Nerds ‘Playing With Traffic’ — A big group of “transportation techies” gathered recently at WeWork in Crystal City to discuss creative and tech-based solutions to transportation problems. The group is sponsored by Mobility Lab, the research arm of Arlington County Commuter Services. [Washington Post]

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

by ARLnow.com — August 19, 2016 at 3:50 pm 0

Ft. Barnard Park playground (photo via Arlington County)

Someone has been repeatedly pooping on the Ft. Barnard Park playground, off of S. Walter Reed Drive, and it’s prompting police to step up patrols of the park.

A local resident wrote a letter to ARLnow.com this morning expressing disgust at the improper public potty practice.

Good Morning,

Since my neighbors and I are having no luck through Arlington Parks and Rec, I am hoping you might take interest in this story and help get the word out so we can get more attention to it. I live on S. Pollard Street, and for the fourth time in less than a year and second time in less than 2 weeks, someone has defecated on the playground at Ft. Barnard Park at the corner of S. Pollard and Walter Reed Drive. They poop around the play equipment, not off to the side or in the bushes, and cover the feces with a shirt so that some unsuspecting child or parent can pick it up and get a fecal surprise. Parks & Rec comes to scoop it up and leaves smears; this morning it was tracked all over the playground by what I can only assume is a small child. Obviously we need some kind of patrol or enforcement or at the least, awareness of this disgusting person and the health hazard he or she is inflicting on our playground.

I will also throw in there that there was a stabbing at the other end of our block on the corner of S. Pollard and 22nd St. S. a couple months ago and someone was almost killed, so we obviously need better police presence.

Thank you for any attention you can bring to this ridiculously disgusting story.

Arlington County Police spokeswoman Ashley Savage said the police department was just informed of the unsanitary situation.

“The Emergency Communication Center received a call today reporting defecation at Ft. Barnard Park,” Savage said. “This is the first call for service we’ve received regarding this issue at that location. The District Team in the area has been notified and extra checks will be conducted.”

Savage said the stabbing, which is unrelated to the pooping, resulted in non-life-threatening injuries to the victim. The incident happened in April and started as two people who knew each other having an argument about the Washington Redskins.

From an ACPD crime report:

MALICIOUS WOUNDING, 160427038, 2200 block of S. Pollard Street. At approximately 7:25 p.m. on April 27, police were dispatched to Virginia Hospital Center for the report of a male victim suffering non-life threatening injuries as a result of a stabbing. The investigation revealed that following a verbal altercation between known subjects, the male victim was stabbed several times in the arms and abdomen. Warrants were obtained for malicious wounding for Larry Clinton Tootle Jr, 50, of Arlington Va.

This afternoon, the resident who wrote the original letter to ARLnow.com let us know that the latest poop had been picked up.

“I want to let you know that we spoke to parks and Rec again today and they sent someone over to clean up the most recent pile,” the resident wrote. “I also emailed the director of Parks and Rec today but she is out of the office. Our problem isn’t with the poor people who have to clean this up — it’s the fact that nothing so far is being done to stop it and the clean up is inadequate and does not sanitize the playground.”

Arlington Dept. of Parks and Recreation spokeswoman Susan Kalish said the department “is aware of the issue.”

“We are working to find a solution to the problem,” Kalish said via email. “We regularly inspect the park and clean up as needed. If it is placed on natural surfaces, such as grass or mulch we just pick it up. If it is placed on hard surfaces we pick it up as well as use a disinfectant in the area. Staff was not aware of additional issues after its recent clean up… [they are] going to the [park] to see what additional clean up is needed.”

This isn’t the first time an Arlington park had a pooping problem. In August 2014 we reported that local parents were peeved about toddlers peeing and pooping in Penrose Park.

Photo via Arlington County

by Tim Regan — August 19, 2016 at 2:20 pm 0

GW Parkway First Scenic Overlook, photo via Google Street ViewA pair of gun-wielding robbers forced a man to swim across the Potomac River after robbing him at a scenic spot along the George Washington Parkway yesterday evening.

The robbery happened last night near the first scenic overlook on the GW Parkway some time between 6 and 7 p.m., according to U.S. Park Police.

Two thieves armed with a gun took a man’s cell phone and wallet before telling him to swim across the Potomac, police said. The man was able to swim to the D.C. side of the river, where he told police what happened.

Though a search led to the detainment of two people, police released them “as they could not be positively identified as the attackers.”

A U.S. Park Police officer involved in the search was airlifted to the hospital due to “heat-related distress” but did not suffer any serious injuries.

Authorities are still searching for the robbers and have asked anyone with information regarding the crime to come forward.

More from a U.S. Park Police press release:

The United States Park Police are investigating an armed robbery that occurred last night near the first scenic overlook on the George Washington Memorial Parkway. The victim was relieved of his wallet and cell phone before being forced to enter the Potomac River and told to swim across.

After reaching shore on the DC side of the river, the victim alerted police who immediately began a search of the area. Two suspects were detained and eventually released without charges as they could not be positively identified as the attackers.

During the course of the search, a USPP officer suffered heat-related distress and was transported by helicopter to a local hospital. The officer was later released without incident.

There is no further information at this time. If you have any information regarding this incident, please contact our detectives at 202-610-8730.

Photo via Google Maps

by ARLnow.com — August 19, 2016 at 12:20 pm 0

A woman in brand new Mercedes-Benz SUV somehow managed to run into several parked cars and flip the SUV just seconds into a test drive.

The incident happened just before 11:30 a.m., at the Mercedes dealership on N. Glebe Road in Ballston.

We’re told that the driver was just beginning a test drive, in the dealership parking lot, and might have mistaken the gas pedal for the brake. She crashed into four vehicles before the SUV rolled onto its side.

Four people who were in the SUV at the time managed to get out before police and firefighters arrived, we’re told. One dealership worker was evaluated by medics for a possible back injury. No one was seriously hurt.

by Tim Regan — August 19, 2016 at 11:30 am 0

(Updated at 12:21 p.m.) Someone behind the wheel of a car ran into and killed a 29-year-old Arlington man before driving away in Northwest D.C. early this morning.

The fatal hit-and-run crash happened at an intersection in the District neighborhood of West End around 2:45 a.m.

Arlington resident David Narvaez was crossing the street at the intersection of New Hampshire Avenue and M Street NW when someone driving a car hit him and then sped away, D.C. Police said.

Narvaez was taken to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Authorities in D.C. are on the lookout for a dark colored vehicle (seen in the above video) in connection with the crash.

More on the hit-and-run crash from the Metropolitan Police Department:

Detectives from the Metropolitan Police Department’s Major Crash Unit are investigating a traffic fatality that occurred on Friday, August 19, 2016 at approximately 2:40 am.

A pedestrian was crossing the street in the intersection of New Hampshire Avenue and M Street, Northwest, when he was struck by a vehicle that was heading southbound on New Hampshire Avenue, Northwest.

The driver of the vehicle involved failed to stop and continued driving.  The pedestrian was transported to an area hospital, where he was pronounced.

The decedent has been identified as 29-year-old David Narvaez of Arlington, Virginia.

This case remains under investigation.  The Metropolitan Police Department is asking anyone with information about this case to call the police at 202-727-9099.  Additionally, anonymous information may be submitted to the department’s TEXT TIP LINE by text messaging 50411.

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