More than 130 people who live in and around Alcova Heights have signed a petition to save a walking trail from the proposed expansion of a nearby federal training facility.
The State Department’s National Foreign Affairs Training Center, which trains members of the nation’s foreign service, is seeking to expand its campus in Arlington to include a new training and classroom facility, childcare center and other buildings.
As planned, the expansion would extend the perimeter fence farther south, and, in the process, swallow up a pedestrian path that connects George Mason Drive and S. Quincy Street.
According to an assessment from the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), the agency in charge of managing federal buildings and facilities, the effects on walkability in the neighborhood would not be significant.
“While input from the public scoping process showed a concern to keep the pedestrian trail open to the public, the [expansion’s] impact on neighborhood connectivity would be minor,” the GSA wrote. “This determination is based on the limited number of individuals using the NFATC pedestrian trail, as well as the extensive walking network of sidewalks adjacent to campus that offer an alternative to the pedestrian trail.”
But neighbors and other locals who use the path disagree with the government’s view.
Alcova Heights resident Danielle Arigoni, who yesterday launched a petition urging the government to reconsider eliminating the path, said the assessment is “outrageous.”
“The fact that the existing path is being eliminated is insulting,” Arigoni told ARLnow.com.
Eliminating the path would deprive pedestrians of a safe and easy way to walk from one part of the neighborhood to the other, Arigoni said.
“The NFATC site is so enormous… that it bifurcates Alcova Heights,” she said. Other than the pedestrian path “there are no east-west pathways that are viable alternatives.”
Others, like local resident Beth Smith, called the path a “great asset” for the surrounding neighborhood.
“I walk that way every day to pick my boys up and we walk back from school,” she said. “If they take this away and they don’t offer us an alternative, we’re either going to walk along Route 50, which is really frightening, or have to go down to 8th Street, which is really not convenient.”
One possible solution, said neighbor Rodrigo Abela, is limit the perimeter expansion to 10-15 feet instead of the planned 20 feet.
“Connectivity does not require more than 10-15 feet to allow people that move along the fence line, and looking at the site plan, it is easily achievable without compromising the safety of the compound,” he said.
Arigoni’s petition urges the GSA to, among other requests, “build a perimeter trail connecting 3rd St. S to the existing trail at Quincy at 6th St. S,” a suggestion that would require a permanent public access easement. In theory, Arigoni writes, Arlington County could then build a perimeter trail connecting 3rd St. S to the existing trail at Quincy at 6th St. S.
Regardless of the solution, she said she simply wants to the GSA to take stock of the community’s needs.
“I think the point is that we want to be good neighbors with GSA and with the feds,” she said. “I understand the need for these kind of facilities, but it shouldn’t come at the expense of safe bike and pedestrian access in our neighborhood.”
Alcova Heights residents interested in submitting public comments can do so on the GSA website through Jan. 15.
Firefighters battled a house fire two blocks from Thomas Jefferson Middle School this morning.
The fire broke out around 6:30 a.m. near the intersection of 1st Road S. and S. Glebe Road.
Firefighters were able to extinguish the flames within 15-20 minutes. One person was treated by paramedics as a result of the blaze.
— Arlington Fire (@ACFDPIO) June 1, 2016
Pictures from this morning's house fire. Strong work by everyone to get the fire out quickly! pic.twitter.com/Tw6OuFVtB1
— Arlington Fire (@ACFDPIO) June 1, 2016
Update: Fire is out. One patient is being evaluated by medics. Units are checking for extension and hot spots.
— Arlington Fire (@ACFDPIO) June 1, 2016
Units on scene of a house fire in the 3700blk of 1st Rd S. Heavy fire showing. Stay clear of area. pic.twitter.com/5D9qYmBhWF
— Arlington Fire (@ACFDPIO) June 1, 2016
Report: Toddler Left in Car Suffered Burns — The Annandale man charged in the death of his girlfriend’s two-year-old daughter was watching TV and drinking beer as the child sat forgotten in his car, NBC 4 reports. He was also driving on a revoked license. The girl had a body temperature of 107 when she was rushed to the hospital and had second-degree burns from the car seat. [NBC Washington]
Park Aides Get Banning Powers — Park ranger aides in Arlington now have the legal authority to ban people from parks. The County Board voted earlier this month to add aides to the list of county personnel with powers of attorney for the “Park Safe” program. Offenders who violate the ban — which is typically levied on those who repeatedly violate park rules — can be charged with criminal trespassing. [InsideNova]
Moon Bounce Opportunity — Arlington County will be holding a “Fitness Day in the Park” at Alcova Heights Park on Saturday. The event will include games, nutrition and fitness demos, an inflatable rock wall and a moon bounce. [Arlington County]
Festival Argentino in Arlington — The 2016 Argentine Festival will be held at the Thomas Jefferson Community Theater (125 S. Old Glebe Road) on Saturday, May 14. The event will feature traditional food, exhibitions, music and dance. Tickets are $20 in advance. [Festival Argentino USA]
Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick
The incident happened early Sunday morning, on the 900 block of S. Randolph Street in the Alcova Heights neighborhood. It started with an Uber ride that left D.C. at some point between 2:45 and 4:00 a.m.
Police say an intoxicated woman, 29, and her friend ordered an Uber, but ended up getting in “an Uber cab that was not her intended ride.”
While in transit, the woman vomited in the back seat, according to ACPD spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. The driver dropped off the friend before driving to S. Randolph Street to drop off the victim. It’s at that point that the alleged assault occurred.
“Despite the ride not being established via the app, the driver consented to provide a ride,” said the crime report. “The driver allegedly sexually assaulted the female victim when she was unable to pay the fare.”
The victim then fled to a friend’s house and called police. Police are now trying to track down the driver.
“The suspect is described as a Middle Eastern male with short, curly black hair, and a goatee,” according to the police report. “He was wearing a dark polo shirt and jeans at the time of the incident.”
As of this afternoon police said they had not yet reached out to Uber but planned to do so soon. An Uber spokesman said the company has contacted police and offered to assist with the investigation.
“We have contacted the authorities to offer our support in their investigation, and we continue to gather more information,” said Uber’s Taylor Bennett. “Our thoughts are with the victim during this difficult time.”
(Updated at 7:45 a.m.) The Arlington County Police Department Special Victims Unit is seeking additional victims of a county home inspector who has been accused of inappropriately touching a woman during an inspection of her home.
Olaseni Cole, 54, was charged with sexual battery after allegedly groping a woman on the morning of Tuesday, April 14, according to Arlington County police.
The incident happened on the 3900 block of 8th Street S., in the Alcova Heights neighborhood. Cole, an Upper Marlboro, Md. resident and an Arlington County employee, was inspecting the woman’s house.
Cole was arrested and is being held at the Arlington County Detention Facility in Courthouse. Police are asking anyone else who might have been a victim to come forward.
“Anyone who has had past inappropriate encounters with this suspect is asked to call Detective N. Brooks at 703.228.4169 or email [email protected],” the press release continued. “To report information anonymously, contact the Arlington County Crime Solvers at 866.411.TIPS (8477).”
Olesani started working for the county in March 2014, according to Arlington Human Resources Director Marcy Foster.
The events start Saturday, May 17 at 9:00 a.m. at Arlington Central Library (1015 N. Quincy Street) for Truck Day, where trucks of all kinds will occupy the library’s parking lot so children can learn about each of their specific functions.
The annual Turtle Trot 5K in Bluemont Park will start an hour later at 10:00 a.m. With proceeds going to the Long Branch Nature Center’s turtle preservation efforts, the race is $30 for adults who register in advance.
At the same time, Family Fun Day at Alcova Heights Park (901 S. George Mason Drive) will kick off and last until 2:00 p.m. Activities will include “1st Tee Golf, YoKids Yoga, a giant obstacle course, ‘Movin and Groovin Cardio Dance,’ fitness demos and more,” according to the county’s Department of Parks and Recreation.
Another Neighborhood Day also means another Fairlington Day on the grounds of the Fairlington Community Center. Starting at 11:00 a.m., the festivities include hot dogs, drinks, Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, a moon bounce with slides and basketball hoops, an inflatable obstacle course and agricultural demonstrations from the Virginia Cooperative Extension.
Nauck, High View Park, Waverly Hills and Cherrydale will also be hosting small events over the weekend, with a Nauck neighborhood cleanup and a WalkArlington walkabout through the latter three areas. The weekend concludes in Ballston Sunday afternoon with the annual Taste of Arlington street festival.
Snow Leads to Numerous Accidents — Numerous accidents were reported around Arlington this morning due to snow-slickened streets. Accidents were reported on Route 50 near Carlin Springs Road, Lee Highway and Key Blvd at N. Rhodes Street, and on N. George Mason Drive across from Lubber Run Park. As of 9:00 a.m. the accident on Route 50 was still reportedly causing traffic backups.
No Tickets for Snow Removal Violations — Arlington County has not handed out any tickets or fines for violations of the county’s snow removal ordinance so far this winter. The ordinance requires home and business owners to shovel their sidewalks within 24-36 hours of the end of a snow storm. County Manager Barbara Donnellan told the County Board yesterday that it had received 118 snow removal-related complaints, but each time a property owner was notified of a violation they “took care of it.” [Sun Gazette]
Lopez Receives Local Endorsements — Del. Alfonso Lopez (D) has picked up the endorsement of some local Arlington County figures in his run for Congress. Lopez announced this morning that he has been endorsed by Arlington County School Board Member Emma Violand-Sanchez, Arlington County Sheriff Beth Arthur and former Arlington County Democratic Committee chair Mike Lieberman.
Alcova Heights Neighborhood Plan Approved — The County Board last night approved an update to the Alcova Heights Neighborhood Conservation Plan. The plan calls for improving the neighborhood’s appearance while preserving its character and protecting it from speeding and cut-through traffic. [Arlington County]
Flickr pool photo by Wolfkann
Police say 19-year-old Paul Noland, who lives with his parents in Alcova Heights, lured the boy into this pickup truck around 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday, May 21, on the 3600 block of 8th Street S. Noland is accused of showing the boy — who lives in the neighborhood — child pornography on his iPad, then touching him inappropriately.
The boy’s parents were outside doing yard work at the time of the incident, police said. From this week’s Arlington County crime report:
SEXUAL BATTERY, 05/21/13, 3600 block of S. 8th Street. At 8:00 pm on May 21, a child reported he was sexually assaulted and shown child pornography by a male neighbor. Paul Jaquet Noland, 19, of Arlington, VA, was arrested and charged with aggravated sexual battery. He is being held without bond.
The rest of the crime report, after the jump. All suspects are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
Since April, a single-family house at 3704 2nd Street S. has been operating as a low-barrier group home for four (4) adults with mental illnesses transitioning from homelessness. New Hope Housing, the Alexandria-based nonprofit that operates the dormitory, has been seeking a use permit to increase the maximum number of adults housed at the dormitory to six (6).
The use permit request drew criticism from neighbors at Saturday’s Arlington County Board meeting.
Residents told the Board that there was a lack of supervision and communication from the nonprofit for the first 4-5 months that the group home — called Susan’s Place — was in operation. Several neighbors described residents of the shelter cursing and spitting at them as they walked by, a resident who sat in a broken chair in the front yard talking to himself until midnight, and other disturbances. Residents and neighborhood representatives said neighbors were not notified that the group home would be opening, and didn’t know who to contact with concerns.
New Hope Housing Executive Director Pamela Michell told the Board that the problems went uncorrected for several months because a key staff member was on an extended personal leave, working on a master’s degree in social work. She said the organization typically doesn’t give neighbors a heads up when they open a new group home because of fair housing laws, but called that a mistake in retrospect.
“There was a lack of communication,” she admitted. “We did not come and talk to the neighborhood. That was obviously a mistake.”
Still, Michell said the organization was not aware of any problems during the first few months the group home was open. She said a staff person was on-site during that time, and disputed the assertion of neighbors that they made a reasonable effort to voice concerns about resident behavior.
“Frankly, no one knocked on our door and said there was a concern,” Michell said. “Since the staff person didn’t observe it and since nobody complained, we didn’t know there was something that needed to be addressed.”
In a letter to county staff, the Alcova Heights Citizens Association said they only obtained information about New Hope Housing when an attorney for the organization contacted them seeking support for expansion of the group home. The first meeting between neighbors and New Hope staff took place on Aug. 14.
“This appears to be a lapse in management,” County Board member Jay Fisette said to Michell. “You guys did something wrong.”
Fisette and other Board members were swayed, however, by accounts that problems with the group home have largely been corrected since that meeting. They were also supportive of conditions for the use permit agreed to by New Hope Housing, including 24-hour on-site supervision, a neighborhood liaison who can be reached by phone by residents, an administrative review after 5 months and a County Board review in 9 months.
“Because it has improved… I think this is going to work,” Fisette said. “Six people, five people or four doesn’t really matter. It’s the management issues around it.”
Fisette also noted that many of the residents who expressed concerns about the group home also expressed support for New Hope’s overall mission to help the homeless.
The Board approved the use permit by a 5-0 vote.
Board member Chris Zimmerman echoed Board Chair Mary Hynes in commending the “vital function in our community” that nonprofits like New Hope play in helping to combat homelessness.
Photo via Google Maps
Someone broke into an Alcova Heights apartment last week, used the bathroom, and didn’t flush. From this week’s Arlington County crime report:
UNLAWFUL ENTRY, 02/17/12, 3600 block of S. 5th Street. Between 7:45 am, on February 14, and 6 pm, on February 15, an unknown subject entered the victim’s apartment and used the bathroom. There were no items reported missing. There is no suspect description.
According to Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck, the bathroom bandit may not have flushed, but he or she did, at least, turn off the lights.
“An unknown subject defacated in the victims toilet and didn’t flush,” Sternbeck said in an email. “The suspect also turned off interior lights in the residence that were left on… there were no signs of forced entry.”
Sternbeck said he could not recall any similar incidents in Arlington in recent memory. The rest of this week’s crime report, after the jump.
Barcroft residents are carefully watching the influx of some 1,200 government workers into their neighborhood as a result of the Base Realignment and Closure Act. Some neighbors are calling for action to mitigate what they claim are dangerous and disruptive traffic conditions.
The personnel are being added to the Army National Guard Readiness Center, in the Arlington Hall complex, at George Mason Drive and Route 50. Many of them are coming from Crystal City offices, but only a couple hundred have made the move so far. The bulk of staff members are expected to arrive mid-July. This flood of workers has some residents in surrounding neighborhoods worried about an increase in parking and traffic issues.
Although a new parking structure was built to accommodate the additional workers, per the National Capital Planning Commission’s specifications there is only one parking spot for every four workers. That’s creating concern about where all the new employees will park. There are already reports of more cars parked in neighboring residential areas, and residents would like to see that stop.
BRAC Project Coordinator Andrea Morris says she understands the parking issues. She is working with District 3 to increase patrols in the area to ticket anyone parked illegally on residential streets. The problem, according to Morris, is that most of the Barcroft neighborhood does not have zone parking restrictions, so there’s nothing to stop workers from using the vacant spots.
“It’s not a popular answer, it’s not one that is going to get a lot of rave reviews, but unfortunately, it happens to be a fact,” Morris said. “It’s a very, very hard statement for me to make because I hear their concerns.”
Morris says BRAC has partnered with WMATA to increase the frequency of the 22A buses, starting in August. That line should alleviate some of the parking headaches, because it is planned to work as a shuttle for the government workers and not to stop at every point along the bus line.
(Updated at 12:20 p.m.) The basement of a home in Alcova Heights caught fire this morning.
Firefighters were able to quickly extinguish the smoky blaze, which broke out just before 11:00 a.m. on the 3700 block of 8th Street S.
Police shut down roads in the area while firefighters from Arlington, Bailey’s Crossroads, Fairfax County and Fort Myer helped to put out the fire.
A cat was rescued from the blaze and brought to an ambulance, where it was eventually picked up by an animal control officer.
For the past few months, we’ve been hearing anecdotal evidence of a rodent resurgence in Arlington.
At least one well-known local civic leader has privately identified the burgeoning rat population in the Clarendon area as a significant problem facing the county. And then we get emails like the following:
I’m interested in whether or not there’s been an uptick recently in Arlington residents reporting rodents in their homes? Recently, I found a pair of rats that had made a home in the wall of my 6th Street S. ground floor apartment. I’d heard from coworkers and neighbors that they’ve been finding mice recently too. Apparently we’re experiencing a perfect storm of conditions that can cause rodents to enter homes: cold weather, construction nearby (we have alot), [and] heavy acorn/nut production.
Cold weather does drive mice to take shelter in buildings and construction has been known to send rats scurrying. The bumper crop of acorns is indeed credited with fattening up local squirrels — we’re not sure if mice and rats are benefiting as well.
The rodent problem has the email listserve of at least one South Arlington neighborhood buzzing.
In Alcova Heights, neighbors are sharing rodent control tips with one another. Among those weighing in are a few conflicted animal lovers, who are searching for a more humane way to get rid of the pests.
One resident expressed frustration with the options.
Well, these mice are turning out to be extremely smart…or the humane trap is not extremely well designed. I put peanut butter in there, thinking they’d spend a little more time while the doors closed and then I actually thought about driving them out to the woods where there might be an abandoned structure or something they could live in. But they keep slipping away. I will probably need to take harsher measures, but you should have seen them staring up at us last year after we poisoned them. Like they were asking us for help, and to stop. So sad… I may be a soft heart when it comes to animals.
Another mentioned an alternative method of mouse execution.
I told you my story of how it broke my heart to kill them. I was crying, so; I understand exactly how you felt last year. I “kills” me to see any animal suffer. I do not know any good ways to get rid of them – I just know that it is best “to” get rid of them because they are very hard once they get a foothold.
I guess you could do like the one person suggested and put them in your freezer to have a peaceful freezer death…. However, then you might need to replace your freezer….I know I would!
Finally, one resident elaborated on the method. We’re still not sure how you’re supposed to get the mouse in the bag, though.
Put them in air tight zip lock freezer bag, before freezing. Leave them there overnight, the next day put them in the regular trash (outside).
Where are you finding rodents, and what, if anything ,are you doing to “thin the herd,” so to speak?
In addition to candy bars and other treats, the tike, dressed as Cookie Monster, managed to score an expensive gold wedding band. Mom and dad found the ring while rummaging through the contents Jack’s Halloween candy bucket.
“I immediately picked it up and knew that it had to be someone’s wedding ring and knew it must have fallen off when she was putting candy into Cookie Monster’s pumpkin bucket,” says mom Michaela Sims. “Knowing how awful it feels to lose something that important, I put the ring in a safe place and went to the computer to post something about it on the Alcova Heights neighborhood listserve.”
But when she looked on the listserve, there was already a message from the woman who lost the ring. So Michaela responded that she had it and left her email address. Elapsed time between messages: about an hour and a half.
Now, the ring is back where it belongs.
“I sent my address to her and she has just now brought it back to me,” said Carolyn Mauck, for whom the ring has held extra sentimental value since her husband passed away last year. “This is indeed a case of neighbor helping neighbor. Our neighborhood is great about doing things like that.”
“Sam (the four-year-old) and I dropped the ring off at her house a little bit ago,” Michaela wrote soon after returning from Mauck’s house. “She was very happy… After Sam said trick or treat a few times, he hugged her and said ‘God Bless You!’ (And then promptly ran into her yard to try to climb her tree.)”
“She seems so sweet,” wrote Michaela. “I’m so glad this ended well.”
Thanks to J.A. for the tip. Photo courtesy of Michaela Sims.
Police are investigating a death on 2nd Street South in Alcova Heights this morning.
A passerby found a person shot to death in a car, police said. The car was parked on the side of the street, still running. Initial evidence points to suicide, we’re told.
2nd Street is closed to traffic between Glebe Road and South Oakland Street while police investigate the incident.