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by Chris Teale — May 23, 2017 at 4:35 pm 0

Space for police, fire and emergency management, swing space for government offices or Arlington Public Schools, bus storage or parkland might be coming to two sites the county is considering acquiring.

The Buck property off N. Quincy Street near Washington-Lee High School and the Virginia Hospital Center site at 601 S. Carlin Springs Road could both be acquired by the county, which has options to buy or swap for the land and has been going through a review process to determine best future uses for it.

Through that process, there are now five possible scenarios for each on how the county might make use of these sites. Staff outlined those scenarios in a presentation to the commission last week, and the Joint Facilities Advisory Commission (JFAC) will host an interactive public forum on the plans tomorrow (Wednesday).

Both sites are being tapped to potentially include space for the county’s Office of Emergency Management and police and fire departments. Some scenarios would include parking for ART or Arlington Public Schools buses on the site, with varying levels of open space for recreation and community gardens.

One scenario for VHC (Scenario C) would reserve a 130,000 square foot site as temporary swing space for either APS or the county during construction elsewhere. No plan would place permanent school space at the Buck property, something that had been called for by neighbors in the past.

Other neighbors, meanwhile, previously raised opposition to the county buying the Buck site, and accused the county of “barreling ahead” with the acquisition without listening to community feedback.

“JFAC, working with county and schools staff and with the community, has developed five scenarios for how the county might use each of these possible land acquisitions to meet some of our many pressing facility needs,” said JFAC chair Ginger Brown in a statement. “This forum is meant to put those scenarios before all Arlingtonians, to gather their feedback before JFAC makes recommendations to the County Board.”

The forum will be held in the Wakefield High School cafeteria (1325 S. Dinwiddie Street) from 7-10 p.m.

RSVPs are required for those planning to attend the forum. JFAC will also host an open house on Tuesday, May 30 to discuss the potential uses.

An online form will be available on the JFAC website for public feedback on specific use scenarios for the properties, starting on Thursday, May 25, according to a county press release.

by Chris Teale — May 23, 2017 at 1:15 pm 0

Arlington’s crime rate dipped by almost 3 percent in 2016, but the number of pedestrian-involved crashes rose slightly according to new data from the Arlington County Police Department.

It is the third consecutive year that crime has declined in the county. In 2015, the crime rate dropped by about 6 percent, while in 2014 it dropped by 8.22 percent.

The crime rate takes into account only “Part I” offenses — homicide, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny and motor vehicle theft. The grand total was 3,512 in 2016, down from 3,628 in 2015.

Of those offenses, four saw increases from 2015:

  • Rapes increased from 27 to a five-year high of 41.
  • Aggravated assaults jumped from 144 to 177.
  • There were 182 burglaries, up from 179 the year before.
  • Vehicle thefts increased to 167 from 161.

Larcenies and robberies both dropped, while the murder rate held steady with one homicide last year: a fatal stabbing near the intersection of S. Glebe Road and 3rd Street S. on April 1. Police charged a 17-year-old with the murder of Dennis Adams, 46, in what police said was a “domestic incident” that took place in a home nearby.

“Part II” offenses — various felonies and misdemeanors — dropped to 7,288 in 2016 from 7,313 in 2015. Police said they received 83,511 calls for service in 2016, a 4.5 percent drop from 87,475 in 2015.

There were 140 fewer car accidents last year, while crashes involving bicycles — at least those reported to the police department — declined to 32 in 2016 from 46 in 2015. There were 127 crashes involving pedestrians in 2016, 24 more than in 2015, something department spokeswoman Ashley Savage said did not necessarily indicate a wider trend.

Instead, Savage said, police look at the five-year statistics on such crashes. She noted that the previous year’s total of 103 was a low, while the 2012 and 2014 figures all hovered around the 130 mark, which she said is “probably our median.”

by ARLnow.com — May 23, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

Fourth High School Option Floated — Arlington Public Schools Superintendent Patrick Murphy has added a fourth option for adding additional high school seats to the three finalists announced last month. Murphy said the existing Arlington Education Center near Washington-Lee could be used to house 600 students while adding another 700 seats in an expansion of the Arlington Career Center. [InsideNova]

World of Beer Sues Local Owner — Just a week after it was first reported that the owner of the World of Beer franchises in Ballston, Reston and Fairfax was rebranding the restaurants as “Crafthouse,” comes word that the World of Beer corporate office is suing him for allegedly violating their franchise agreement. [Reston Now]

VideoBlocks Moving to Courthouse — After announcing last year that the company would be moving to Arlington, subscription stock video service VideoBlocks has settled on a location: a full floor of Courthouse Tower at 1515 N. Courthouse Road. [Washington Business Journal]

County Board To Discuss Taxi Changes – After a vote on Saturday, the Arlington County Board will hold a public hearing next month to discuss proposed changes to the county’s taxicab ordinance. The changes, recommended by the county’s Transportation Commission, would allow the removal of lights from the vehicle’s roof, modifications to cabs’ color and lettering, and use of GPS metering instead of traditional taxi meters. [Arlington County]

How Rosslyn Landed Nestlé — It was a team effort to land Nestlé as the anchor tenant of the 1812 N. Moore Street tower in Rosslyn, says the head of the Rosslyn Business Improvement Districts. In the end, Rosslyn’s urban amenities, the area’s talented millennial workforce and a handful of state and local incentives helped to “sweeten the deal.” [LinkedIn]

Flickr pool photo by Arlington VA

by Chris Teale — May 22, 2017 at 4:45 pm 0

The much-loved Shirlington Dog Park could get smaller under plans being discussed by the Four Mile Run Valley Working Group.

Three alternatives have been put forward for the park along Four Mile Run, including one that would reduce it to approximately 27,000 square feet, known as Alternative 1. The park would be cut in half at the current S. Oxford Street entrance, with the area west of Oxford Street reforested and the park running between S. Oxford and Oakland Streets.

The other two proposals would have the park at around 55,000 square feet (Alternative 2A) or 47,000 square feet (Alternative 2B). Both incorporate a proposed, expanded portion of parkland along S. Oakland Street.

A spokeswoman for the county’s Department of Parks and Recreation said that new plans are being explored for the dog park due to concerns around stormwater management. Jennie Dean Park and Shirlington Park are also being planned as part of the working group’s wider look at Four Mile Run’s future and a parks master planning process.

The possible reduction in size of the dog park is not quite as drastic a change as earlier rumors — that the county was planning to “move the dog park and make it much smaller, or do away with it” — had suggested. It has, however, sparked loud opposition from supporters of the dog park on social media, including on the park’s unofficial Facebook page.

“Just out of curiosity, what happened to the chorus of reassurances we got from the board reps just a couple of weeks or months ago about them not touching the park?” wrote one supporter. “I don’t know what bothers me more; the fact they continue to push initiatives that put the park at risk or that they misled supporters to believe the park was safe as-is.”

An online petition against the proposal has garnered more than 1,000 signatures.

“4 Mile Run Shirlington Dog Park is the best dog park in Northern Virginia,” wrote one signee. “One of the biggest reasons is its current layout. The small dog area, the water access, and the lengthy, open run area, as well as the seating, provide the best experience. Please do not alter this dog park!”

“It is an all too rare NOVA stress reliever that should be protected, not changed or reduced in size,” wrote another.

A separate Facebook group has also been started dedicated to saving the dog park and energizing supporters.

Parks department spokeswoman Martha Holland said there are no “short term” plans to change the park, but didn’t rule out longer-term changes due to state water runoff rules.

“Currently there is no immediate funding or intention on changing the configuration of the Shirlington Dog Park in the short term, however as capital renovations happen in the future or significant maintenance is needed in the parks, state mandated stormwater management standards will need to addressed,” she said. “County staff is working with the County-Board appointed Four Mile Run Valley Working Group on developing a plan for the park to meet state requirements and community interests.”

The County Board is set to have a work session on Four Mile Run Valley planning on May 30. Holland said that at no stage has removal of the park been on the table.

“The county recognizes that the Shirlington Dog Park, one of eight Arlington County dog parks that residents and their pets enjoy, is a tremendous and much-beloved resource for the county and there has never been any intention to remove it from the area,” she said.

The County Board is set to adopt the parks master plan for the three parks early next year. Public input on the draft concepts will be taken in July.

by Chris Teale — May 22, 2017 at 1:00 pm 0

Arlington police is seeking the public’s help to find a 16-year-old who went missing on the afternoon of May 9 after getting off a school bus.

Jessica Baires was last seen at the intersection of N. Pershing Drive and N. Thomas Street in Buckingham.

She is described as a Hispanic female with fair complexion, brown eyes and long curly brown hair. She is 5-foot-3 tall and weighs approximately 132 pounds. She was last seen wearing dark blue jeans and black shoes.

Police said detectives have canvased the area, spoken with her family and friends and followed up on leads but have been unable to find her.

Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Ms. Baires is asked to contact Detective C. Cook at 703-228-5747 or [email protected].

by ARLnow.com — May 22, 2017 at 10:50 am 0

A man arrested and charged with exposing himself Friday night only had to make a very short trip to jail.

The incident happened just after 11:30 p.m. Police say a 27-year-old Arlington resident exposed his genitals to a woman on the 1400 block of N. Taft Street in Courthouse.

That’s just a block away from Arlington County Police headquarters and the county detention facility. The man was soon arrested and charged with indecent exposure.

More from an ACPD crime report:

INDECENT EXPOSURE, 2017-05190357, 1400 block of N. Taft Street. At approximately 11:36 p.m. on May 19, officers responded to the report of an indecent exposure that had just occurred. Upon arrival, it was determined a male subject allegedly exposed his genitals to a female victim. Airimis Arutiunian, 27, of Arlington VA, was arrested and charged with indecent exposure. He was held on a secured bond.

Image via Google Maps

by ARLnow.com — May 22, 2017 at 9:45 am 0

Public Hearings Set for Sign, Rosslyn Streetscape Changes — At its meeting Saturday, the Arlington County Board set public hearings for changes to the county sign ordinance related to mixed-use retail centers and industrial districts, which would allow for more blade signs in certain places. The Board also set hearings for a plan that “would establish a cohesive set of streetscape furnishings to strengthen Rosslyn’s character, and encourage more pedestrian use and vibrancy in Rosslyn’s core.” [Arlington County]

Washingtonian Spends Day in Crystal City — The staff from Washingtonian magazine spent Friday — Bike to Work Day — in Crystal City, filing stories about everything from quirky neighborhood fixtures like a reasonably-priced strip club and a long-time puppet store to WeLive, TechShop and other places driving Crystal City’s innovation economy. The goal was to report “stories of a place that’s creating a new future for itself in the ashes of one that didn’t quite work out the way everyone thought.” [Washingtonian]

Bike to Work Day Record — This year’s Bike to Work Day set a regional record, with 18,700 registrants at 85 D.C. area pit stops. [Twitter]

Beyer Calls for Expulsion of Turkish Ambassador — On Friday Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) urged the Trump administration to kick the ambassador of Turkey out of the country in response to a violent confrontation between protesters and bodyguards for the visiting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Turkey, meanwhile, today summoned the U.S. ambassador to complain about police treatment of the bodyguards who were seen beating up protesters. [Rep. Don Beyer]

D.C. Man Is Big Arlington Thrive Donor — A retired ophthalmologist who lives in D.C. has donated more than $750,000 to the nonprofit Arlington Thrive over the past few years, after reading about it in a Washingtonian magazine article. Arlington Thrive, formerly known as Arlingtonians Meeting Emergency Needs, “delivers same-day emergency funds to our neighbors in crisis, so they can be secure in their jobs, health, and homes and thrive in a caring community.” [Washington Post]

Board Approves Intersection, Stormwater Projects — The Arlington County Board has approved more than $2.3 million in contracts to improve safety at the intersection of Arlington Blvd and N. Irving Street and construct a “green streets” stormwater management system along Williamsburg Blvd. [Arlington County]

Arlington Represented on Route 1 Renaming Group — The former president of the Arlington NAACP and former president of the Arlington Historical Society have been appointed to an “Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Renaming Jefferson Davis Highway” formed by the City of Alexandria. The city is moving forward with its effort to strip Route 1 of its confederate monicker, but wants to coordinate with Arlington in case the county decides to lobby Richmond to allow it to rename the road. [WTOP]

Columnist Blasts Website Comments — “Our Man in Arlington” columnist Charlie Clark says that reader comments about the candidates in the recent Democratic Arlington County Board caucus were “inflammatory” and “pea-brained.” He singled out ARLnow’s comment section and “the slightly-more-civil commenters in the Sun-Gazette.” Caucus winner Erik Gutshall, meanwhile, said he seldom reads the comments, opining that “some are thoughtful, but it’s like opening a horror show.” [Falls Church News-Press]

by ARLnow.com — May 22, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

Arlington County firefighters are on scene of an apartment fire in the Long Bridge Creek neighborhood.

The fire was reported in the bedroom of an apartment on the 2600 block of S. Veitch Street around 8:45 a.m. It was extinguished within 10 minutes of firefighters arriving on scene, before it could spread to other apartments.

No injuries were reported. Scanner traffic suggests the building’s sprinkler system was activated by the fire.

The fire marshal’s office is now investigating the cause of the blaze.

Image (top) via Google Maps

by ARLnow.com — May 19, 2017 at 1:45 pm 0

Four men have been charged with a series of 19 robberies in the D.C. area over a six month period.

The men, all in their 20s and all residents of the District, are being charged in federal court as their alleged crime spree took them across state lines.

From the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia:

A federal grand jury has returned an indictment charging four Washington, D.C. residents for their alleged roles in 19 separate armed robberies in the Washington, D.C., metro area.

According to allegations in the indictment, from Nov. 1, 2016 to April 12, Desmar Rashad Gayles, Andrew Bernard Duncan, Anton Durrell Harris, and Lamont Kortez Gaines committed a total of 19 armed robberies of commercial establishments and three carjackings, allegedly using two of the vehicles that they carjacked to commit some of the armed robberies. In ten of the armed robberies, the defendants used an Intratec 9 mm semi-automatic pistol with an extended magazine. That firearm was recovered in Harris’ residence on April 13 with the extended magazine fully loaded and a round in the chamber.

Among other jurisdictions, the men are accused of seven robberies and a carjacking in Alexandria and one armed robbery in Arlington.

That robbery happened in March, at a store near Shirlington, according to Arlington County Police.

From an ACPD crime report:

ROBBERY, 2017-03190011, 4000 block of S. Four Mile Run Drive. At approximately 12:35 a.m. on March 19, officers responded to the report of an armed robbery that had just occurred. Three masked male suspects entered a store and confronted the employee and a customer inside. One suspect brandished a firearm and demanded money from the register, while another suspect demanded money from the customer. The suspects then fled the scene with an undisclosed amount of cash. The first suspect is described as a black male, approximately 5’10”-6’00” tall and weighed 140-170 lbs. He was wearing a black winter coat, dark jeans, dark colored shoes, black gloves, and a black mask. The second suspect is described as a black male, approximately 5’03”-5’06” tall and was wearing a black coat, black pants, black shoes, black gloves, and a black mask. The third suspect is described as a black male, approximately 5’03”-5’06” tall and was wearing a black hooded sweatshirt, black pants, dark shoes, black gloves, and a mask. The investigation is ongoing.

by ARLnow.com — May 19, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

School Board Hears Opposition to Enrollment Proposal — At last night’s School Board meeting, during a public hearing about a proposed update to APS’ enrollment and transfer policy, some spoke out against what they saw as a policy that would disadvantage applicants to choice schools who do not live near the school. Among those speaking in opposition to the proposal was former U.S. CTO Aneesh Chopra, who has also created a Medium post explaining his opposition. [Medium]

Spraygrounds to Open Next Week — Arlington’s “spraygrounds” — play areas for children where water shoots up out of the ground — will open for the season starting Friday, May 26. The spraygrounds are located at Drew Park (3500 23rd Street S.), Virginia Highlands Park (1600 S. Hayes Street), Lyon Village Park (1800 N. Highland Street) and Hayes Park (1516 N. Lincoln Street). [InsideNova]

Startups Galore in Crystal City — More than 300 startups now call Crystal City home, according to the neighborhood’s business improvement district. That’s thanks in large part to coworking spaces like WeWork and 1776, but other startups in Crystal City have grown beyond a small, shared office. [Twitter]

by ARLnow.com — May 18, 2017 at 4:45 pm 0

Update at 11:20 p.m. — The missing woman was found safely earlier this evening.

Arlington County Police are asking for the public’s help in finding a missing 77-year-old woman last seen in Pentagon City.

Police say Dorothy Getsey was last seen around noon today at the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City mall. She was there on a group bus trip of Vietnam War veterans, according to scanner traffic.

“She was wearing all black clothing, a gray cross-body purse and has long gray hair,” police said in a press release. “Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Ms. Getsey is asked to call the Emergency Communication Center at 703-558-2222.”

by ARLnow.com — May 18, 2017 at 2:35 pm 0

(Updated at 3 p.m.) An under-construction replacement for the former Marymount University “Blue Goose” building in Ballston is on fire.

Firefighters are on the scene of a two-alarm apartment fire on the seventh floor of 1008 N. Glebe Road, according to scanner traffic. They’re reportedly having issues with water pressure in the building, though as of 2:55 p.m. the fire is said to have been extinguished. In addition to stairs, firefighters used a ladder truck to reach the apartment that was on fire.

Police have closed the southbound lanes and one northbound lane of N. Glebe Road between 11th Street and Fairfax Drive. Drivers should expect traffic impacts in the area.

The nearly-completed building, with more than 260 apartment units, was expected to be move-in ready this summer, according to the developer’s website.

by ARLnow.com — May 18, 2017 at 11:00 am 0

A number of vehicles were broken into in the Fairlington neighborhood earlier this week, according to the weekly Arlington County Police Department crime report.

The suspect — or suspects — stole airbags from the “at least five” vehicles, which, according to a police spokeswoman, were all Hondas and Acuras.

The thefts were centered around 29th Street S., between S. Buchanan and Columbus Streets, and were reported to police Tuesday morning.

More from the crime report:

LARCENY FROM AUTO(Series), 2017-05170092, 4800 block of S. 29th Street. At approximately 9:06 a.m. on May 16, officers responded to the report of a series of larcenies from auto. Upon arrival, it was determined at least five vehicles were entered and airbags were stolen. There is no subject(s) description.

The rest of the weekly crime report, after the jump.

(more…)

by ARLnow.com — May 18, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

Arlington’s Former Row House Ban — Responding to complaints from community leaders who “hoped to preserve Arlington’s then-suburban character,” Arlington County changed its zoning ordinance to ban row houses in 1938. That decision is one factor in the area’s “dramatic undersupply of missing middle housing.” [Greater Greater Washington]

Police Still Searching for Sex Assault Suspect — Arlington County Police are still looking for a man who posed as a maintenance worker and sexually assaulted a woman in her Rosslyn condominium on May 7. “This investigation remains a top priority of the department and detectives continue to follow-up on significant investigative leads,” ACPD said in a statement Wednesday afternoon. “Police continue to ask that anyone with information on the identity of the suspect or details surrounding this investigation call 703-228-5050.” [Arlington County]

Review of Synetic’s ‘Hunchback’ — “‘Hunchback of Notre Dame’ gives a hyper-creative Washington group a source for one of its most beautifully realized productions,” theater critic Peter Marks writes of the new Synetic Theater production in Crystal City, which runs through June 11. [Washington Post]

Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley

by ARLnow.com — May 17, 2017 at 4:42 pm 0

Update at 4:20 p.m. — Virginia State Police have issued the following statement about the charge for which Boak was wanted: “The Virginia State Police entered the misdemeanor arrest warrant into the Virginia Criminal Information Network (VCIN) on behalf of the Virginia Department of Corrections Probation and Parole. The warrant issued to the Probation & Parole Officer on May 2, 2017, in Fairfax City General District Court was for a violation of Code of Virginia 18.2-251.4 – Drugs/Alcohol: Screening Tests/Substitute Sample.”

Update at 9:55 a.m. — The suspect has died, according to an ACPD press release. He was identified as 28-year-old Daniel George Boak of Centreville. Police say he pinned an officer against another vehicle with his truck before the shots were fired.

Earlier: A man has been shot by police and at least two Arlington County Police officers have been injured on the Glebe Road exit of I-395.

The shooting happened just after 4:30 p.m. The suspect was in a black pickup truck that was heading southbound on I-395 when police attempted a traffic stop after a “hit” from a police license plate reader, according to scanner traffic.

Initial reports suggest the suspect was in heavy traffic and refusing to pull over, when officers exited their vehicle and approached. An officer was then struck by the vehicle, at which point a second officer fired shots at the driver, according to ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage.

The suspect is reported to be in critical condition. Officers attempted life-saving measures on the suspect before medics arrived.

The police officer who was struck suffered a leg injury, according to the fire department Twitter account, and was transported via ambulance to Virginia Hospital Center. The officer’s injuries were described by Savage as “serious but non-life-threatening.”

The officer who fired the shots suffered “minor” injuries, Savage said. At least two additional officers were evaluated at the scene by paramedics, according to scanner traffic.

Traffic is very heavy but still moving on southbound I-395. The Glebe Road exit and at least one lane of northbound Glebe Road is blocked.

“This will be an ongoing investigation,” said Savage. “It’ll be active for a couple of hours, I can imagine.”

The fire department’s mobile command unit and ambulance bus were dispatched to the scene. Coolers of water were brought in due to the hot, mid-90 degree weather weather.

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