53°Rain

by ARLnow.com — April 23, 2017 at 9:55 am 0

An Alexandria man has died after losing control of his moped and crashing into a sign.

The crash happened in rainy weather around 5:40 p.m. Saturday, on S. Glebe Road near ramps to and from I-395.

From an Arlington County Police Department press release:

At approximately 5:40 p.m. on April 22, police were dispatched to the 2400 block of S. Glebe Road for the report of a single-vehicle crash involving a moped. Arlington County Fire Department medics administered CPR before transporting Virgiliro Lopez, 45, of Alexandria, VA to George Washington University Hospital where he was pronounced deceased.

Detectives from the Critical Accident Team (CAT) responded to the scene. The initial investigation revealed the driver was traveling southbound on Glebe Road when he lost control of the vehicle and struck a traffic sign in the median. The investigation into the crash is ongoing.

Anyone who may have witnessed the crash or has additional information regarding this investigation is asked to contact Detective T. Parsons at [email protected] Information may also be reported anonymously to Arlington County Crime Solvers at 1-866-411-TIPS.

Glebe Road was closed or at least partially blocked for more than an hour following the crash, while police investigated. NBC 4’s Darcy Spencer tweeted the following photo from the scene.

by Katie Pyzyk — April 21, 2017 at 9:45 am 0

Renovations will begin soon at Oakgrove Park and Tyrol Hills Park if the County Board gives the go-ahead for construction contracts at its meeting on Saturday.

In recent years, the Board approved funding for the earlier phases of the Tyrol Hills Park (5101 7th Road S.) renovation project, including more than $878,000 in upgrades in 2015. The current phase — phase four — is the final one and requires Board approval for a nearly $1.6 million construction contract.

The main upgrades include installing a new unisex bathroom, adding another picnic shelter and converting a sand volleyball court into a futsal court. The new court was an idea that came up during community outreach. The scope of work also includes stormwater management improvements, site furnishings, a paved plaza and landscaping.

If approved, construction on the phase four upgrades is expected to start before fall and should take about nine months.

The Board also is expected to approve the $795,000 construction contract for renovating Oakgrove Park (1606 N. Quincy Street). This is the second phase of upgrades for that park; the grass field and track renovations were completed in 2015.

This phase focuses on replacing the existing tot lot and adding play equipment for school-age children. Other improvements including replacing the picnic shelter, adding site furnishings, improving accessibility and improving stormwater management.

If approved, construction at Oakgrove Park is expected to start by the summer and last for about four months.

by ARLnow.com — April 21, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

Budget Plan Has Slightly Lower Tax Rate Hike — The 2017-2018 county budget that Arlington County Board members are set to vote on this weekend includes a 1.5 cent tax rate hike, a half cent lower than first proposed. The budget includes increased funding for schools, Metro, county employee raises, land acquisition and services for immigrants faced with deportation. It raises the tax burden on the average homeowner by about $300. [InsideNova, Washington Post]

No Easter Egg Roll Tix for APS — Arlington Public Schools received hundreds of tickets to the annual White House Easter Egg Roll under the Obama administration, but did not receive any for President Trump’s first egg roll this year. D.C. Public Schools also were not invited. Critics say minority children were under-represented at the event. [Patch]

Big County Events This Weekend — Among the events in Arlington this weekend are a trio of major annual happenings: the Arlington Homeshow and Garden Expo at the Thomas Jefferson Community Center, the Arlington Teen Summer Expo at Wakefield High School and the Arlington Festival of the Arts in Clarendon.

Blue Virginia’s County Board Endorsement — Influential local Democratic blog Blue Virginia has endorsed Erik Gutshall in the race for Arlington County Board. A party caucus will be held next month for the four-way Democratic contest. [Blue Virginia]

by Chris Teale — April 21, 2017 at 7:00 am 0

(Updated at 9:20 p.m.) A man died Thursday afternoon after being found unconscious in his cell at the Arlington County Detention Facility.

Bennie Turner, 40, was released Thursday at 10 a.m. on a court ordered furlough, for an ill family member. He returned from his authorized absence on time at 2 p.m, and returned to his unit just after 2:30 p.m.

Turner was found unconscious in his cell at 4:48 p.m. Deputies and medical staff tried to resuscitate him before the fire department arrived and transported Turner to the Virginia Hospital Center. He was pronounced dead at the hospital at 5:36 p.m.

His family was notified of his death late Thursday night.

An autopsy will be conducted by the Medical Examiner’s Office and the death is being investigated by the Arlington County Police Department, per standard procedure.

by Katie Pyzyk — April 20, 2017 at 4:30 pm 0

Arlington County police are assisting the Fairfax County Police Department in the search for a suspect who took off in the East Falls Church area after a chase.

Around 3:30 p.m. Fairfax police were called to Tysons Corner for reports of a possible fraudulent transaction at the Apple Store. Officers found two suspects in a car in a parking lot and attempted to stop them.

The suspects took off and a pursuit ensued along Route 7 and Interstate 66. During the pursuit the suspects’ vehicle struck another vehicle but nobody was hurt.

The chase ended near N. Sycamore Street and 22nd Street N. in East Falls Church. Fairfax police arrested one suspect but the other took off on foot. A resident on the 6500 block of 22nd Street N. reports seeing police confiscate bags that appear to be from the Apple Store.

A helicopter and K-9 units are assisting with an active search for the suspect in the East Falls Church neighborhood.

The suspect is described as a black man between the ages of 20 and 25 who is about 6 feet tall and 180-200 pounds. He was last seen wearing a white t-shirt and white pants.

Police say homeowners in the area should lock windows, doors and garage doors and report anything suspicious by calling the police non-emergency number at 703-558-2222, and they should not attempt to approach any person who seems suspicious. Police also recommend remaining alert into the evening because sometimes suspects emerge after they believe police activity has calmed down.

Photos courtesy Erin Donahue

by Katie Pyzyk — April 20, 2017 at 2:30 pm 0

Police have arrested one person for a trespassing incident that turned into a pursuit in Pentagon City.

Just before 1:30 a.m. on Wednesday police responded to a report of two suspicious people trespassing at a residential property on the 1200 block of N. Eads Street in Pentagon City. Upon arriving in the area, a K-9 officer saw the suspects fleeing on foot.

Police canvassed the area and briefly pursued the suspects on foot, then made one arrest. Further investigation revealed that at least one vehicle in the area had been tampered with.

Daikel Holsey-Stewart, 19, of Capitol Heights, MD, has been charged with tampering with an auto, trespassing and being a fugitive from justice.

The investigation is ongoing.

by Katie Pyzyk — April 20, 2017 at 9:21 am 0

Lander Apologizes for Insensitive Comments — School Board member James Lander has apologized for making insensitive comments about domestic violence yesterday on the “Arlington in the Morning” radio show. Lander has taken flak for appearing to engage in victim blaming when discussing the 2010 murder of UVA student Yeardly Love. In a statement, Lander said he made a “terrible communication mistake.” [Facebook]

Airport Contract Workers Win Pay Increase — Contract workers at Reagan National and Dulles International airports won their two-year fight for higher wages. The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority’s board voted yesterday to require companies doing business with area airports to pay their workers a base hourly wage of $11.55 starting in January. Some of the workers currently make $7.25 an hour. [Washington Post]

More Passengers at DCA — More than 1.6 million passengers traveled through Reagan National Airport in February, which is a 2.6 percent increase over last year. [InsideNova]

Failing Air Grade — Arlington County earned an F grade in the American Lung Association’s 2017 “State of the Air” report. The region’s traffic created a lot of air pollution that contributed to a high level of smog in both Arlington and the District. Arlington did, however, receive an A grade in one category: particle pollution, also known as soot. [WTOP]

Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley

by Katie Pyzyk — April 19, 2017 at 5:30 pm 0

And then there were three. The list of nine possible sites for Arlington County’s new public high school has been whittled down to three finalists.

At a work session last night, the School Board weighed constructing a 1,300-seat high school at the sites of Kenmore Middle School, the Arlington Career Center and the APS Education Center. The new school is expected to open at one of these locations in September 2022.

The options have been narrowed based on staff analyses of the pros and cons each site presents, along with feedback from the Facilities Advisory Council and the community.

The Board still must determine whether the school would be a specialized choice school, like Arlington Tech or H-B Woodlawn, or a community high school like Wakefield, Washington-Lee and Yorktown. The information gathered thus far from surveyed community members indicates that 44 percent favor a neighborhood school and 56 percent favor a specialized school.

Board member Tannia Talento brought up the importance of further examining the impact of traffic, parking and walkability at each site. She said that parking needs and traffic for extracurricular activities and special events come into play in addition to the daily school needs.

“How is it impacting the neighborhood? These things will come into play when we’re adding 1,300 seats at a site like the Ed Center or Kenmore,” she said.

School Board vice chair Barbara Kanninen questioned the feasibility of renovating or expanding any of the proposed sites rather than starting from scratch with building. That potentially could accelerate the project for completion before 2022. Regarding school overcrowding, “We really know we hit trouble in 2021,” she said.

Board chairwoman Nancy Van Doren echoed Kanninen’s sentiment about site renovation or expansion, adding that such an option could provide cost savings, perhaps even through a phased plan for adding seats over time.

“I would like to perhaps consider a hybrid option,” Van Doren said. “One of my personal criteria is cost and making sure we have enough money to build all the seats we need going forward. So if there are ways that we can provide additions or renovations at a lower cost than the total amount of money that we have currently allocated, then I’d be very interested in that.”

Site analyses will continue through mid-May, and final recommendations are expected at the Board’s May 15 work session. Final site approval is anticipated for June. Until that time, staff will continue to engage the community about the three high school site options, including through feedback received via the “Engage with APS” website.

“This is about our kids and about our families and it is emotional,” Van Doren said.

by Katie Pyzyk — April 19, 2017 at 4:30 pm 0

Children already are climbing on equipment at the two newly renovated playgrounds at Woodlawn Park, ahead of this weekend’s ribbon-cutting ceremony.

The ceremony will take place at the park (1325 N. Buchanan Street) this Saturday, April 22, at 4 p.m.

Members of the community — including kids — helped design the new playgrounds. As part of the renovation process, the new equipment was installed farther away from the creek than the previous fixtures had been.

Invasive plants were removed and the area along the creek has been reforested with native trees, shrubs and perennials. The park also now offers better accessibility. Lawn aeration and overseeding will be completed next week.

The County Board approved funding for the $795,000 neighborhood improvement project in 2014, and construction began last August. A federal grant funded part of the reforestation.

The park remains open and usable in the time leading up to the ribbon cutting.

by Chris Teale — April 19, 2017 at 3:30 pm 0

A proposal to add bike lanes to a western portion of Washington Blvd has been shelved after neighbors raised concerns at losing on-street parking spaces.

A spokesman for the county’s department of environmental services said that after previously considering a nearly two-mile stretch of bike lanes from N. Sycamore Street to George Mason Drive, staff has revised their plan.

Instead, a bicycle lane will be added to a shorter stretch, westbound between N. McKinley and N. Sycamore streets; eastbound the lane will stretch from the hill at N. Sycamore Street near the East Falls Church Metro station to N. Quintana Street. There they will be directed along parallel neighborhood streets before reconnecting with Washington Blvd near Westover.

“The revised plan would still provide bicycling facilities both eastbound and westbound from East Falls Church to Westover Village, albeit with a section along neighborhood streets, while also minimizing the impact to parking in the middle section that was most heavily impacted in the initial proposal, including the preservation of parking in front of and across from the Resurrection Evangelical Lutheran Church, which does not have off-street parking,” DES spokesman Eric Balliet said.

The project is part of a wider re-paving plan by the Virginia Department of Transportation, which controls that section of Washington Blvd.

The initial plan of bicycle lanes in each direction, improved pedestrian crossings and other improvements was shared publicly last March and received more than 400 comments. County staff then broke them down into categories to get a sense of the main areas of support and concern. Staff then integrated those comments into their revisions of the proposal.

Balliet said the revised plan “continues to meet all major goals with fewer impacts on parking in the middle section where impacts were most acute.”

But bicycling advocates vented their frustration at the change. In a blog post published yesterday on the Washington Area Bicyclist Association’s website, WABA staff member Garrett Hennigan blasted the changes.

“Following the first meeting, supportive comments poured in from neighborhood residents. 65 percent of comments supported the bike lanes as did 55 percent of comments from neighborhood residents,” Hennigan wrote. “Now, to save some parking spaces and appease a vocal minority, the County has thrown out the public process, abandoned years of planning and determined that putting people on bikes at risk is a fair compromise.”

A community meeting on the project’s latest iteration will be held tonight at 5 p.m. in the Reed-Westover Building at 1644 N. McKinley Road.

Photo via Google Maps

by Chris Teale — April 19, 2017 at 2:30 pm 0

The County Board will consider a $370,000 plan Saturday to convert the Gunston Park diamond athletic field to synthetic turf.

The park at 1401 28th Street S. has three lighted tennis courts, a multiuse field, a lighted softball field and basketball courts.

The nonprofit Arlington Sports Foundation proposed a grant of $180,000 to convert the field, and the county sports commission’s Diamond Field Fund would pay the additional $190,000. This extra $370,000 is on top of a previously-approved $1.4 million maintenance and improvement project at the park. That project’s funding was approved in a 2014 bond referendum.

The parks and recreation department required that half of the ASF funds be deposited with the county to get the design stage underway, with phased additional payments of $45,000 each. Any unspent ASF funds will be returned to them after the project is completed and all financial obligations are met.

A county staff report said installing the synthetic turf will help the Gunston Park field be better utilized.

“The conversion of this diamond field, which is currently lighted for night play, will extend the usable seasons and times by approximately 880 hours per year, and will also be configured to allow for players of different ages, different sports, and different levels of play to utilize the field,” staff wrote.

County staff recommends the Board authorizes the funds for converting the field to synthetic turf.

Previously, the installation of synthetic turf fields has caused some controversy in Arlington, and specifically at Gunston.

Photo via Google Maps

by Katie Pyzyk — April 19, 2017 at 11:50 am 0

Two men made an early morning entry into a department store on the 700 block of Glebe Road in Ballston.

This morning just before 4 a.m., police responded to a burglar alarm at the property and found that two men had entered the store. The suspects fled shortly after police arrived.

Although police do not release the names of affected businesses, Macy’s is the only remaining department store on that block while the Ballston mall undergoes renovation.

It doesn’t appear that the suspects took any items. More from the ACPD crime report:

UNLAWFUL ENTRY, 2017-04190032, 700 block of N. Glebe Road. At approximately 3:47 a.m. on April 19, officers responded to an audible burglary alarm. Upon arrival, it was determined two unknown male subjects entered a business. The subjects then fled the scene on foot shortly after. No items appear to be missing. The first subject is described as a black male, with a slim to medium build and was wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt. The second subject is described as a black male, with a slim to medium build and was wearing a dark shirt. The investigation is ongoing.

More highlights from this week’s relatively thin crime report, including some that we’ve already reported, after the jump.

(more…)

by Katie Pyzyk — April 19, 2017 at 10:45 am 0

Rosslyn could be getting its own farmers market. The Arlington County Board is scheduled to take up the issue at its meeting on Saturday.

FRESHFARM has applied to operate a farmers market in the Central Place plaza (1800 N. Lynn Street), which would run on Wednesday evenings from 4-8 p.m. from April to November.

FRESHFARM anticipates that up to 10 vendors would sell at the market for the first year.

County staff have not identified any issues with the request and recommend that the Board approves the permit for the farmers market, with a review in one year.

by Chris Teale — April 19, 2017 at 9:45 am 0

Updated 11:30 a.m. — Police have reopened Patrick Henry Drive.

Earlier: Emergency crews have closed part of Patrick Henry Drive in the Dominion Hills neighborhood due to downed power lines.

Patrick Henry Drive is closed between 9th Street N. and 9th Road N. where the live wires fell into the road just after 9:30 a.m.

A police officer at the scene confirmed that a truck or similarly high vehicle pulled down the power lines, which are laying in the roadway.

Workers from Dominion Virginia Power are on the way to the scene, but they had not arrived as of 10 a.m. Drivers should seek alternate routes.

by Katie Pyzyk — April 19, 2017 at 9:15 am 0

More Beds Likely at VHC — Virginia Hospital Center is likely to receive authorization to add more than 40 new beds. That’s less than its original request of 100 new beds, for which it received push-back. [InsideNova]

New Library App — Arlington Public Library has released a new app for iPhone and Android. Users can perform tasks including checking their accounts, searching the catalog, booking meeting rooms and checking operating hours. [Arlington County]

Kaine Staff to Hold Arlington Office Hours — Sen. Tim Kaine’s (D) staff will hold office hours at the Westover Library (1644 N. McKinley Road) on Thursday from 1-3 p.m. They will be available for one-on-one meetings with citizens to answer questions or address concerns. Those interested in speaking with a staff member are encouraged to make an appointment in advance, but walk-ins also are welcome. [Sen. Tim Kaine]

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