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by ARLnow.com August 16, 2017 at 2:30 pm 0

A delivery driver was robbed by a man with a gun early Sunday morning near Rosslyn, according to police.

The crime happened around 1:30 a.m. in the North Highlands neighborhood.

The suspect reportedly fled on foot after robbing the victim of his or her belongings.

More from this week’s Arlington County Police Department crime report:

ARMED ROBBERY, 2017-08130022, 2100 block of N. Scott Street. At approximately 1:30 a.m. on August 13, police responded to the report of a robbery. Upon arrival, it was determined an unknown suspect approached a delivery person from behind, produced a handgun and demanded the victim’s belongings. The suspect then fled the scene on foot. The suspect is described as a black male, approximately 6’2″ with an average build. The suspect was wearing a black sweatshirt with the hood covering his face at the time of the incident. The investigation is ongoing.

The rest of this past week’s crime report highlights, including some that we’ve already reported, after the jump.

(more…)

by Chris Teale August 16, 2017 at 1:30 pm 0

After the events in Charlottesville last weekend, independent Arlington County Board candidate Charles McCullough II called for a renewed push to rename Jefferson Davis Highway.

McCullough said in a letter to the County Board and Arlington’s representatives in the Virginia General Assembly on Tuesday, August 15 that they must work to rename Jefferson Davis Highway, the name for U.S. Route 1 in the county from its border with Alexandria into Rosslyn. Such a change would require action by the General Assembly.

In doing so, he said, it would condemn racism and bigotry and distance Arlington from the Confederate president.

“Even one more day of Route 1 as Jefferson Davis Highway is 24 hours too long,” he wrote.

The question of whether to change the name of Jefferson Davis Highway has swirled for several years, but local leaders have said passing a bill in Richmond to change the name is unlikely.

In Alexandria, a group is soliciting name suggestions for its stretch of Jefferson Davis Highway just south of Arlington. A letter from the Virginia Attorney General’s office last year said Alexandria does not need state approval to change the name as it is part of the Urban Highway System, so state bodies do not have naming rights.

McCullough’s full letter is after the jump.

(more…)

by ARLnow.com August 16, 2017 at 10:00 am 0

A man of short stature walked into a Crystal City office building, stole a purse, and almost immediately starting using the victim’s credit cards, according to police.

The Arlington County Police Department is investigating the burglary, which happened Monday at the Consumer Technology Association in Crystal City. The department released surveillance camera images of the suspect at ARLnow.com’s request.

“At approximately 2:30 p.m. on August 14, police were dispatched the 1900 block of S. Eads Street for the report of a grand larceny,” said ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage. “Upon arrival, the victim reported that between 11:30 a.m. and 1:15 p.m., her purse had been stolen from her cubicle and her credit cards had been fraudulently used.”

“During the investigation, several employees reported seeing a suspicious male subject in the building,” Savage continued. “The subject is described as a black male, between 40 and 50 years old, approximately 4 ft tall and weighing 130 lbs. He was wearing dark clothing at the time. The investigation is ongoing.”

An employee who works at the association said the man “walked right into our building and stole a purse from someone’s desk,” then “immediately began using her credit cards at a gas station on Route 1 and then later in D.C.”

“It is very frightening that someone is going around to different office buildings like this!” the employee said.

by ARLnow.com August 16, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

Hundreds Ticketed for Passing Stopped School Buses — Last year, 618 drivers in Arlington County received a $250 fine for illegally passing a stopped school bus. A police spokeswoman said it was “very alarming” that so many drivers were ignoring the lights and stop arm on buses. [WJLA]

Firefighter Places Fourth in Bodybuilding Competition — An Arlington County firefighter, Capt. Tiffanye Wesley, finished fourth in the 40+ figure bodybuilding competition at the 2017 World Police and Fire Games in Los Angeles. [Twitter]

Arlington Bishop’s Statement on Charlottesville — Bishop Michael Burbidge released a statement earlier this week about the deadly white nationalist rally in Charlottesville. Burbidge condemned “racism, bigotry and self-proclaimed superiority,” writing: “For Christians, any form of hatred, no matter who it is against, is an offense — a sin — against the Body of Christ. Each person is created by God and bestowed with His unyielding love.” [Catholic Diocese of Arlington]

Hate Groups in Arlington — The Southern Poverty Law Center lists three hate groups as being headquartered or having a presence in Arlington, though the local connection is questionable for at least two of them. ProEnglish, an anti-immigrant group, is listed by the SPLC as having an Arlington headquarters, but it has a Washington, D.C. office address listed on its website. The National Policy Institute, headed by white nationalist Richard B. Spencer, lists an Arlington P.O. box but its headquarters is in Alexandria, according to news reports. The Center for Perpetual Diversity, a white nationalist organization that is fighting immigration in Europe and pushing for African Americans to return to Africa, is listed as having an Arlington headquarters. It has an Arlington P.O. box with a 22204 ZIP code. [Southern Poverty Law Center, Patch]

Arlington Near Top of Va. SOL Results — “Pass rates for Arlington Public Schools students on Standards of Learning tests taken last spring were up in 11 cases, down in 12 and unchanged in six from a year before, according to new state data. The county school system met or exceeded statewide passing rates in all but one of 29 exams, and exceeded the statewide rate by 5 points or more on 17 of the assessments.” [InsideNova, WTOP]

by ARLnow.com August 15, 2017 at 1:30 pm 0

A dispute over a stop sign between two drivers led to one allegedly striking the other with a water bottle.

The road rage incident happened in Pentagon City, at the intersection of S. Hayes Street and Army Navy Drive near the Pentagon City mall, just after 10 a.m. this past Friday.

Police say a man was so enraged that he threw a water bottle at the other driver, striking him or her. The victim was uninjured by the projectile.

More from an Arlington County Police Department crime report:

MISSILE INTO OCCUPIED VEHICLE, 2017-08110095, S. Hayes Street at Army Navy Drive. At approximately 10:11 a.m. on August 11, police were dispatched to the report of an assault. Upon arrival, it was determined that following a verbal dispute between drivers over a stop sign, the suspect threw a plastic water bottle at the victim. The water bottle struck the victim but no injuries were reported. The suspect is described as a black male, approximately 28-40 years old, with a larger build. He was driving a gray four door sedan. The investigation is ongoing.

Photo via Flickr

by ARLnow.com August 15, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

Eastern Foundry Expanding Again — Government contracting startup accelerator Eastern Foundry is expanding once again. The accelerator is taking a 6,175-square-foot space directly below its Crystal City offices and dividing it into four suites “to attract larger companies that want a foothold in the co-working world.” [Washington Business Journal]

JBG’s Big Plans for Crystal City, Potomac Yard — The newly-merged JBG Smith sees an opportunity to transform its holdings in Pentagon City, Crystal City, Potomac Yard and North Old Town Alexandria into “24/7 environments” that “feel more like the [Rosslyn-Ballston] Corridor.” In Crystal City, the company wants to add new amenities. “What we want to do there is add retail amenities and residential to convince people who work there to live and play there,” said an executive. [Bisnow]

Real Estate Market Continues Upward Trajectory — “Year-over-year home sales and average sales prices across Northern Virginia were up slightly in July, leading to a 6.6-percent increase in total sales volume, according to new figures.” [InsideNova]

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

by Chris Teale August 14, 2017 at 4:45 pm 0

A pair of recent Yorktown High School graduates were behind Sunday’s rally to condemn the weekend’s events in Charlottesville.

Julian Lopez-Leyva and Justin Wu, both 2016 Yorktown graduates who have just completed their first year of college, decided to put the event together late Saturday night to “actively condemn bigotry and racial hatred through a series of speeches, songs, actions, and a moment of silence.”

Lopez-Leyva is a Political Science major with a minor in Economics at Emmanuel College in Boston, while Wu studies Mechanical Engineering at Virginia Tech.

They said in interviews Monday that they did not fully expect to see 200 people and a slew of elected officials in attendance in Courthouse, all wanting to come together and heal.

“Initially I expected only 10 people to come out, but it ended up being around 200 people and that blew my mind,” Lopez-Leyva said. “But I think that also spoke to me understanding that it wasn’t only me that was fed up, it was so many other people, and that solidarity was an imperative. We just really have to speak up, and I think speaking up is the right move.”

The pair organized the event through Facebook, and also reached out to local grassroots political group Indivisible Arlington for help getting the word out. Attendance snowballed from that initial Facebook event post. (ARLnow.com also tweeted about it.)

“When we first started organizing this, I had reservations thinking it was too quick a turnaround and that we wouldn’t be able to get the word out in time since we started so late at night,” Wu said.

The rally included poetry readings and speeches by activist Gayle Fleming, Dels. Rip Sullivan, Patrick Hope and Mark Keam, as well as Arlington County Board vice chair Katie Cristol.

Wu said he was struck by how many people have connections to Charlottesville, whether through themselves or family and friends attending the University of Virginia in the city or in other ways.

“It was powerful to see that an event in Charlottesville had an effect all the way out here in Northern Virginia, and how everyone is all connected to this,” Wu said.

And while neither had organized an event like this before, they agreed it was heartening to see such turnout, especially among young people.

“I think students are really going to be the leaders of our world in the future, so I’m sad that I’m going to be leaving Arlington but I’m happy that I have the potential to speak up among so many other people who are like-minded, maybe not so like-minded, but regardless are around the same age range as myself and who have the duress to really say something,” Lopez-Leyva said.

The event ended with a period for conversation and asking questions, like the sorts of town halls hosted regularly by politicians and businesses. Lopez-Leyva said that kind of communication and understanding each other will be key to help unite the country again.

“People and conversations are some of the most powerful weapons in the world,” he said. “I think the voice is innumerably more powerful than any sort of physical weapon, any sort of fist, anything we saw in Charlottesville. I think the discussion on any side of the aisle, no matter where you’re coming from, I think that’s an imperative if you really want to bring this country back together.”

Photos by Peter Golkin

by Chris Teale August 14, 2017 at 2:45 pm 0

Independent Arlington County Board candidate Audrey Clement criticized the recent demolitions of more garden apartments in Westover to make way for townhomes.

Clement, a frequent candidate for public office, said the demolition of two more apartment buildings in the neighborhood shows that not enough is being done to protect affordable housing, especially as they are replaced by what she described as “luxury townhomes.”

Much of Westover is currently designated as a national historic district, but that hasn’t prevented redevelopment of some properties. Last year, crews tore down a garden apartment building and replaced it with townhouses in by-right development, meaning County Board approval was not required.

At the time, the Arlington Greens called for the Westover apartments to be designated as a local historic district, something the County Board directed staff to study last year. Since 2013, nine garden apartment buildings have been demolished, Clement said.

Clement criticized developers for razing the properties and the county for cashing in thanks to increased property taxes.

“County records indicate that the sale price of the three Westover garden apartments demolished in 2013 was $4 million,” Clement said. “The total sale price of the 20 luxury town homes that replaced them was $16.8 million dollars or more than 4 times the value of the original properties.”

An advertisement for the Arlington Row townhomes that ran on ARLnow.com earlier this year advertised the homes as being priced in the “mid-$800s.” The townhomes feature up to four bedrooms and four baths, plus private garages and “timeless brick architecture.” The first phase of the development quickly sold out.

Clement said designating the units as a local historic district is the “only way” to save the remaining apartments, but she criticized the Arlington Historic Affairs and Landmark Review Board for not moving faster on a petition to do so that was submitted last year.

She added that the demolition of affordable housing units in the county causes numerous problems:

For one thing, there’s a fairness issue. A lot of longstanding, hardworking, responsible tenants are now facing long commutes as a result of displacement from Arlington County.

For another thing, there’s a public health issue. The most recent demolitions were put on hold when it was determined that both buildings were insulated with asbestos, making demolition hazardous for anyone in the nearby.

And there’s an economic issue. While the speculative prices commanded by the developers of Westover Village might be attractive to high income wage earners, they drive up assessments overall, spelling hardship and possible foreclosure for people on fixed incomes, single heads of households, and those who find themselves out of work.

In a fact sheet produced last year, the Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing said it made some headway in 2016 by purchasing 68 Westover apartments in five buildings. But APAH noted that since the county adopted its Affordable Housing Master Plan in 2015, 60 apartments have been demolished for redevelopment.

Clement promised to speed up approval of historic districts to protect affordable housing if she wins a seat on the County Board in November.

“If elected, I am going to call upon AHALRB to expedite consideration of petitions for local historic designation to preserve Arlington’s remaining affordable housing and stabilize Arlington’s housing market,” Clement said.

Clement is one of three candidates on the ballot for County Board this fall, alongside Democratic nominee Erik Gutshall and fellow independent Charles McCullough II.

by Chris Teale August 14, 2017 at 11:00 am 0

The National Park Service is studying several improvements to Roosevelt Island, including a proposal to combat the invasive emerald ash borer that killed trees at the site earlier this year.

Among a number of issues being examined by NPS for the island, located off the George Washington Memorial Parkway near Rosslyn, is a plan for the future of the hundreds of ash trees.

NPS closed the island in June to remove diseased trees after the ash borer came through, and is now considering if the trees should be replaced with more ash trees or another species.

“As a result of [the ash borer], one of the things we’re going to be looking at is what do we do after the borer has come through, and those ash trees have either died off or been removed,” said Simone Monteleone, chief of resource management at the GW Parkway, in a talk on Facebook Live Monday morning. “Do we replant? What type of species do we go back with?”

To help the Park Service decide how to make improvements while preserving the history of the island, which has been occupied in some form since the 17th century, it is in the early stages of producing a Cultural Landscape Report and Environmental Assessment.

Monteleone said both documents will help NPS balance the need to respect the island’s history with any improvements that are made. She added that rehabilitating what is already there will help do that.

“Rehabilitation gives us both the flexibility to preserve those historic features and make compatible uses possible for enhancement of visitor experiences,” she said.

Other improvements proposed by NPS include:

  • Rehabilitating the bridge to the island
  • Improving bridge safety to reduce conflicts between pedestrians and bicyclists
  • Restarting water access to the island for kayaks, paddleboards and other water transport without an engine
  • Making the island’s comfort stations usable year-round
  • Building another comfort station off the island by the trail

NPS will host another Facebook Live presentation on the project at 1 p.m. today (August 14), and the talk will then be archived on its page for viewing afterwards.

The Park Service is taking public comment on the plans until September 8. The project is expected to be completed in February 2018.

by ARLnow.com August 14, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

Charlottesville Solidarity Rally Held — Arlington County Board vice chair Katie Cristol was among those who spoke at a “Rally of Solidarity for Charlottesville” in Courthouse yesterday. The rally was intended to “actively condemn bigotry and racial hatred through a series of speeches, songs, actions, and a moment of silence.” [Facebook, WJLA]

Alexandria Considering New Names for Route 1 — An Alexandria group charged with considering new names for Jefferson Davis Highway (Route 1) is soliciting suggestions through an online form and two public hearings. [City of Alexandria]

Flashing Lights on I-66 — If you drove on I-66 this weekend and noticed flashing lights from equipment overhead, don’t worry: you’re not getting a ticket. Instead, VDOT is testing new toll equipment. Non-HOV drivers are expected to begin paying a toll to use I-66 inside the Beltway in December. [VDOT, NBC Washington]

Old Oak Tree Saved — A “mighty” oak tree that pre-dates the Civil War was saved from being removed during the construction of a new home thanks to a petition by neighbors and a developer willing to consider their concerns. The tree, at the corner of N. Nottingham and 27th streets, is 18 feet in circumference and one of Arlington’s 100 designated “champion” trees. [Washington Post]

WeWork Offering Free Space on Mondays — Coworking provider WeWork is offering free workspace at its D.C. and Northern Virginia locations — including its Arlington location in Crystal City — on Mondays as part of a new promotion dubbed “#SummerMondays.” The promotion runs through the end of September. An RSVP is required. [WeWork]

Photo courtesy Peter Golkin

by ARLnow.com August 12, 2017 at 8:20 pm 0

Updated at 5:15 p.m. — The suspect has been identified as 37-year-old Sharon E. Uwandu of no fixed address. She has been charged with two counts of Aggravated Malicious Wounding and is being held in the Arlington County jail without bond. Both of the victims suffered life-threatening injuries but are expected to survive.

ACPD Deputy Chief Daniel Murray says the victims might not have survived if it wasn’t for “immediate medical intervention by witnesses and Arlington County police officers, quick response and treatment by Arlington County Fire Department EMS, and the exceptional skills of the trauma service at George Washington University Hospital.”

Earlier: Arlington County Police are investigating a double stabbing in Courthouse.

The incident happened just before 6 p.m. in the park near the corner of 15th Street N. and Courthouse Road, near the AMC Theater and ACPD headquarters.

Police say two women were stabbed by a female suspect during an altercation. Passersby intervened, starting helping the victims and one was able to stop and detain the suspect until police arrived — less than a minute after the initial 911 call — according to ‎Deputy Chief Daniel Murray.

The victims were transported to the trauma center at George Washington University Hospital and are expected to survive. As of 8 p.m. the victims were reported to be in critical but stable condition.

Police are still investigating what led to the violence.

Photo (top) courtesy John Sonderman

by ARLnow.com August 12, 2017 at 7:45 pm 0

Arlington County is under a Severe Thunderstorm Warning until 8:15 p.m. tonight.

A strong storm is heading towards Arlington from the northwest, forecasters say. Very heavy rain and damaging wind is possible with the storm.

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN STERLING VIRGINIA HAS ISSUED A * SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING FOR… THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA… SOUTHEASTERN MONTGOMERY COUNTY IN CENTRAL MARYLAND… CENTRAL PRINCE GEORGES COUNTY IN CENTRAL MARYLAND… ARLINGTON COUNTY IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA… THE CITY OF FALLS CHURCH IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA… NORTHEASTERN FAIRFAX COUNTY IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA… THE CITY OF ALEXANDRIA IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA… * UNTIL 815 PM EDT * AT 731 PM EDT, SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS WERE LOCATED ALONG A LINE EXTENDING FROM WHEATON-GLENMONT TO VIENNA, MOVING SOUTHEAST AT 15 MPH. HAZARD… 60 MPH WIND GUSTS. SOURCE… RADAR INDICATED. IMPACT… DAMAGING WINDS WILL CAUSE SOME TREES AND LARGE BRANCHES TO FALL. THIS COULD INJURE THOSE OUTDOORS, AS WELL AS DAMAGE HOMES AND VEHICLES. ROADWAYS MAY BECOME BLOCKED BY DOWNED TREES. LOCALIZED POWER OUTAGES ARE POSSIBLE. UNSECURED LIGHT OBJECTS MAY BECOME PROJECTILES. * LOCATIONS IMPACTED INCLUDE… ARLINGTON, ALEXANDRIA, BETHESDA, BOWIE, ANNANDALE, CLINTON, OLNEY, SPRINGFIELD, COLLEGE PARK, FORT WASHINGTON, GREENBELT, LANGLEY PARK, BELTSVILLE, FORT HUNT, VIENNA, GROVETON, FORESTVILLE, FALLS CHURCH, HUNTINGTON AND LARGO. PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS… GET INDOORS TO PROTECT YOURSELF FROM WIND AND LIGHTNING. TREES AROUND YOU MAY BE DOWNED FROM DAMAGING WINDS, SO IF YOU ARE NEAR LARGE TREES, MOVE TO AN INTERIOR ROOM ON THE LOWEST FLOOR. DON’T DRIVE UNDERNEATH TREES OR IN WOODED AREAS UNTIL THE THREAT HAS PASSED. && HAIL… <.75IN WIND… 60MPH

by ARLnow.com August 12, 2017 at 9:50 am 0

Several power outages were reported in Arlington Saturday morning.

Small outages were reported along Columbia Pike and in the Westover neighborhood, while larger outages were affecting the Shirlington and Fairlington areas and the neighborhood around Thomas Jefferson Middle School.

According to Dominion’s website, 1,025 customers are without power in Arlington as of 9:45 a.m. For each of the Arlington outages, power is expected to be restored by 4 or 5 p.m.

by ARLnow.com August 10, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

Advanced Towing Lobbied Hard for Bill — Advanced Towing spent $10,000 on lobbyists and made a $1,500 donation to state Sen. Barbara Favola while successfully pushing for a state bill to override Arlington’s second-signature towing requirement. Supporters of the bill say it passed and McAuliffe ultimately signed it because it had the support of the business community. Advanced is one of the largest towing companies in Northern Virginia and has drawn the ire of many local residents for its ruthless efficiency at trespass towing from private lots. [NBC Washington]

Russian Military Jet Flies Over Arlington — Yesterday an unarmed Russian military jet flew over the Pentagon, CIA headquarters, and the U.S. Capitol “as part of a longstanding treaty that allows the militaries of the United States and Russia to observe the other from the air.” [CNN, Axios]

Arlington Still Hiring Teachers — Arlington Public Schools is still hiring teachers for the upcoming school year. “A total of 280 full- and part-time contract positions were unfilled as of Aug. 1… as the school system continues to process applicants,” the Sun Gazette reported. [InsideNova]

Uber, Lyft Make Mark on Local Restaurant Biz — Although readers were skeptical in a poll late last year, the Washington City Paper reports that Uber and Lyft are having a significant impact on the local restaurant industry, drawing customers from a wider area geographically than would have visited before the ride hailing services existed. It’s also bringing more customers to hot non-Metro-accessible restaurants. And it’s not just hipster-y D.C. restaurants drawing customers from around the region: Lyft said Clarendon’s Don Tito was its most visited bar in the D.C. area in 2016. [Washington City Paper]

by Chris Teale August 9, 2017 at 1:15 pm 0

The project to extend the Interstate 395 Express Lanes from Fairfax County through Alexandria and Arlington to the D.C. line celebrated its ground-breaking ceremony this morning.

The toll lanes will be extended for eight miles north from Turkeycock Run near Edsall Road to the vicinity of Eads Street in Arlington, near the Pentagon.

The Virginia Department of Transportation partnered with toll road manager Transurban and contractors AECOM Engineering Company and Lane Construction to deliver the project. Construction is now underway and scheduled for completion in fall 2019.

The project will add a third reversible HOT lane on I-395, accessible for free by vehicles with three or more occupants and an E-ZPass Flex transponder, or for a toll by all others.

The lanes will generate funding for other transportation options in the region. Using toll money, Transurban will pay $15 million each year to local jurisdictions to help them pay for improvements. Among other projects, the south parking lot at the Pentagon is set for an overhaul, as are several nearby bridges.

The ceremony, atop a Pentagon City parking garage, marked the official start of construction. Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) was joined by Virginia Transportation Secretary Aubrey Layne and elected officials from across the area, including Arlington County Board chair Jay Fisette and fellow Board member Libby Garvey.

Layne said such partnerships between state government, local agencies and federal stakeholders have been crucial to move the project along, heralded as the largest in the United States.

“We knew what the construction was going to be, but it took collaboration and trust to get this project underway,” Layne said.

McAuliffe hailed the project for solving a “major headache for so many commuters going into and out of the District, and going to and from our great Pentagon.”

He added that as Virginia’s population continues to grow — with people attracted by its low taxes, strong business environment and other amenities like breweries and wineries, McAuliffe said — projects to improve congestion on the Commonwealth’s roads are vital.

“This is finally going to be solved, and this is going to be a game-changer for residents of Northern Virginia,” McAuliffe said.

For its part, Transurban promised to be good partners throughout construction and beyond.

Jennifer Aument, Transurban’s group general manager for North America, said workers are committed to the safety of all road users during work, and urged drivers in the area to avoid distractions, wear their seatbelt and watch their speed around the construction zone.

Aument also said Transurban would be a “good neighbor” and work with nearby neighborhoods to minimize any other disruptions.

“Now, we’ll get to work,” she said.

Work has already got underway in the existing I-395 high-occupancy toll lanes. On Monday, August 7, VDOT announced full night-time closures of the lanes in both directions from the southbound HOV exit ramp near Boundary Channel Drive to the northbound exit ramp from the 95 Express Lanes near Edsall Road.

And weather-permitting, some southbound regular lanes of I-395 will be closed overnight this week between Duke Street and Edsall Road. VDOT advised drivers to travel safely and pay attention to signs posted on the road.

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