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The Arlington Forest neighborhood woke up Monday morning to find numerous cars were broken into overnight.

Cars on at least three blocks of the neighborhood near Route 50 were targeted by thieves, who opened doors and rummaged through the belongings inside, stealing cash. In all, around 18 vehicles were entered, according to the Arlington County Police Department.

Police are now searching for two suspects in the case. From an ACPD crime report:

LARCENY FROM AUTO/GRAND LARCENY AUTO (SERIES), 2021-08020041, 200 block of N. Edison Street / 5100 block of 1st Street N. / 200 block of N. Emerson Street. At approximately 5:02 a.m. on August 2, police were dispatched to the report of suspicious persons. Upon arrival, it was determined that the reporting party observed two unknown male suspects looking into parked vehicles. Arriving officers located a vehicle with open doors and items that had been rummaged through. A canvass of the area located approximately 18 vehicles which has been entered and rummaged through. Several victims reported an undisclosed amount of cash was stolen from their vehicles, as well as personal items displaced. During the course of the investigation, one victim vehicle was reported stolen but was subsequently located in the area and recovered. Suspect One is described as a Black male, approximately 5’10” tall with short hair and a long beard, wearing a white t-shirt. There is no description for Suspect Two. The investigation is ongoing.

Arlington experienced a rash of vehicle break-ins and thefts during the pandemic last year, though some arrests have since been made and — anecdotally, at least — such reports have become less frequent.

Also in Tuesday’s crime report, the police department noted a theft of a half-dozen motorized scooters from a scooter and motorcycle dealership in the Clarendon area.

GRAND LARCENY AUTO (SIGNIFICANT), 2021-08010105, 3200 block of 10th Street N. At approximately 10:19 a.m. on August 1, police were dispatched to the report of a grand larceny auto. Upon arrival, it was determined that between 11:20 p.m. on July 31 and 5:42 a.m. on August 1, three unknown suspects forced entry into the business and stole 6 motorized scooters. No other items were reported stolen or damaged. There are no suspect descriptions. The investigation is ongoing.

Door damaged at Bricks Pizza in Arlington Forest on July 12, 2021 (photo courtesy Michael T.)

A new series of break-ins at the Arlington Forest Shopping Center has caused losses for a pair of local businesses.

The overnight burglaries were discovered this morning, at the low-slung shopping center along Route 50.

“At approximately 7:54 a.m. on July 12, police were dispatched to the report of two vandalized businesses,” according to Arlington County Police Department spokeswoman Ashley Savage. “Upon arrival, it was determined that unknown suspect(s) broke the glass door to a business with a rock, gained entry and stole a cash register. The door to a second business was damaged but no entry was made and nothing was reported stolen.”

A nearby resident tells ARLnow that Bricks Pizza had its door damaged and DA Studio Salon had its cash register stolen.

Bricks Pizza was also burglarized in January, when a thief or thieves damaged and/or stole from Crystal Thai restaurant, Sense of Place Cafe, and the Forest Valet dry cleaner. An online fundraiser after the January break-ins raised nearly $32,000 to help with repairs.

“The investigation is ongoing,” Savage said of the latest incident.

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A sugar maple has turned into a breathtaking wood-carved sculpture.

Local artist Andrew Mallon, known for similar artwork in the area, created the Greek mythological scene that shows when Daphne fled from Apollo and turned into a tree.

It’s on a side yard of Mary Maruca’s home on N. Park Drive, in the Arlington Forest neighborhood near Lubber Run Amphitheater.

“The decision to create the sculpture came as I wrestled with the pain of taking down the last of the three old trees that had lived in my yard before I bought my house,” she tells ARLnow.

Sugar maples can live for hundreds of years, and Maruca estimates this was one was a mere 80 years old. But an arborist diagnosed a fungus on it, so she needed to intervene due to its location between her and her neighbor’s homes.

Days before she was going to have the tree removed, she thought about turning it into a sculpture and reached out to Mallon. The timing seemed magical.

Maruca was always struck by illustrator Arthur Rackham’s depiction of Daphne’s escape, and Mallon did his own research, too. Mallon has turned dead and felled trees into sculptures of animals and more. He and Maruca collaborated with their ideas before the artist turned the tree into the art.

“After Andrew completed the sculpture, I also had a sense of another level of its significance — that it also made a state about times of change and what they require of us,” Maruca said. “Indeed, forms may change but beauty remains, and struggle is definitely part of that process.”

Though Daphne is depicted in a state of undress, unlike Rackham’s depiction Mallon gave her some strategic coverings, using meticulously sculpted leaves and part of the tree trunk. That should be more palatable to neighbors than the famous topless mermaid sculpture in Leeway-Overlee — the work of a Frederick, Md. sculptor — which attracted national media attention before being cut down in 2011.

Photos via Andrew Mallon/Facebook

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The first time Matt and Vicky Eichler saw Jazz, she was in a crate coming out of baggage claim at Reagan National Airport.

“They sounded the big siren at Reagan National and she came through the little cargo thing,” says Matt. “And she was born to us.”

That was in 2002.

Today, Jazz (short for “Jazzmatazz”) is a newly-turned 19-year-old, toothless, miniature dachshund who lives with her caretakers in the Arlington Forest neighborhood. And this birthday girl (her birthday was March 19) has gone Arlington viral.

As ARLnow’s Pet of the Week last week, Jazz made quite an impression. On Facebook, Jazz’s story have received more than 250,000 impressions, 16,500 likes, 650 shares, and 1,300 comments — and counting.

It’s the most viral Pet of the Week post on social media that anyone here can remember. (In terms of readership on the ARLnow website, Jazz was unable to overtake the all-time Pet of the Week pageviews leader, a pet rock named Steven.)

It’s not totally clear why Jazz has stolen the hearts of an NHL arena’s worth of Facebook users, but her caretakers think it’s because she’s lovable, cute, and alive.

“All of our neighbors when they see her say ‘Oh, she’s still alive?’ and we say ‘Oh, yeah!,” says Matt.

Nineteen years ago, the newly-married couple was looking for a dog to carry on the family legacy.

“My family has had dachshunds in their family since 1980,” says Matt. “And Vicky really wanted a dog, so [she] emailed a number of breeders.”

They found a match, but the dog was all the way in Louisiana. So, the young pup took a flight by herself to meet her new family.

“She came with the name ‘Jasmine,'” says Vicky. “But I didn’t like it. It was too girly.”

So, they named her Jazzmatazz. With her Louisiana origins, Vicky says that the name “totally fit her.”

That first day with her new family was full of surprises.

“We brought her home, went to the backyard, and she instantly knew how to play ball,” says Matt. “It was pretty amazing. She was more than eager to play and push [the ball] back with her nose and chase it down.”

Jazz also didn’t bark in her first days, but that changed, oddly, once she saw herself for the first time.

“She was really quiet. And then she saw herself in the mirror and started to bark for the first time,” says Matt. “Then, we couldn’t shut her up after that.”

A few years later, the Eichler got another addition to their family.

“When we brought [our son] home from the hospital, Jazz welcomed him to the house,” says Matt. “She would pop up on her hind legs and look into the cradle.”

On walks, Jazz was protective of the baby, barking at passers-by.

“She was a good older sister,” Matt says.

As the years have passed, Jazz has slowed down a bit. Her eyes have gradually gotten worse, her hearing is going, and her mobility isn’t great. But she still has a great sense of smell, always tracking down her treats.

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Arlington County police are investigating a series of overnight break-ins at the Arlington Forest Shopping Center.

Thieves smashed windows and forced their way in to three businesses, stealing cash. Another business was reportedly damaged but the thieves — or thief — did not get in.

“At approximately 7:33 a.m. on January 7, police were dispatched to the late report of a breaking and entering in the 4800 block of 1st Street N.,” Arlington County Police Department spokeswoman Ashley Savage tells ARLnow. “Upon arrival, it was determined that unknown suspect(s) forced entry to three businesses, causing damage. The suspect(s) rummaged through items and stole an undisclosed amount of cash. Police remain on scene investigating.”

ARLnow has received numerous tips about the break-ins from outraged neighbors.

“The cleaners, Bricks Pizza, and Thai place had their front doors smashed and interiors ransacked,” said one. “Sense of Place’s door was damaged but not destroyed.”

“Significant damage to already struggling local businesses thanks to Covid,” said another neighbor. “The neighborhood is devastated and want answers.”

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the business owners and, as of about 10:30 a.m., has already raised more than $2,500.

“This is just garbage — hurting literal mom and pop businesses who are so good to us and our community,” the organizer of the campaign said in an email to ARLnow. “The Bricks guy gives my dog water in the summer. The cleaners are the kindest most hardworking people. The coffee shop is a treasure. Crystal Thai has been my favorite Thai food for almost 30 years.”

“All three businesses will need new doors to get up and operating again ASAP,” the GoFundMe page says. “The total amount donated will be split equally between the cleaners’, Bricks, and Crystal Thai. Please give if you can.”

Photos courtesy Stephen Trickey

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Good news if you take your kids to play at Edison Park (213 N. Edison Street) in the Arlington Forest neighborhood: Arlington County is planning to put $822,166 of renovations into the park.

On Saturday, Feb. 22, the County Board is scheduled to vote on funding the project. The total proposed allocation is $904,383, with $82,216 set aside as a contingency.

“The overall project focused on five elements: playground equipment and safety surfacing, paving and access improvements, circulation and accessibility, reforestation and landscaping, fencing and site furnishings,” staff said in a report.

A map of planned improvements shows a new swing set and playground at the center of the tiny park, with a seating area to the west and a toddler play area separated from the main playground.

The far east end of the park, past a grassy open area, is planned for reforestation.

The plans for the park were endorsed by the Arlington Forest Civic Association last April.

Images via Arlington County, Google Maps

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Up to 100 homes and business in the Arlington Forest neighborhood will be without water service Friday night into Saturday.

Arlington’s Dept. of Environmental Services says a valve replacement is needed and the portion of the neighborhood east of Lubber Run is expected to lose water service around 7 p.m. Friday as a result.

Water is expected to start flowing again around 9 a.m. Saturday, DES said.

File photo

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Morning Notes

New Elementary School at Reed Site Approved — “The Arlington County Board today approved a new elementary school for up to 732 students at the Reed site, 1644 N. McKinley Road, in the Westover neighborhood. The Board voted unanimously to approve a use permit amendment for Arlington Public Schools to renovate and expand the existing Reed School/Westover Library to create a neighborhood elementary school.” [Arlington County]

Here’s Where Amazon is Coming, Exactly — Amazon will be leasing office space at three JBG Smith buildings in Crystal City: 241 18th Street S., 1800 S. Bell Street and 1770 Crystal Drive. Amazon also agreed to buy two JBG-owned land parcels in Pentagon City that are approved for development: PenPlace and the remaining portion of Metropolitan Park. [Washington Business Journal]

County Board Discusses Legislative Priorities — “A highlight of the County’s package is a call for ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment to the United States Constitution that was proposed by Congress in 1972. Both the Arlington League of Women Voters, and the Arlington Civic Federation have called on the General Assembly to ratify the ERA.” [Arlington County]

Arlington Projects Win at NAIOP Awards — Nine of the 29 real estate development projects lauded at the Best of NAIOP Northern Virginia Awards on Nov. 15 were Arlington projects. [NAIOP]

Neighborhood Conservation Projects Funded — “The Arlington County Board today approved $2.9 million in Neighborhood Conservation bond funds for projects in Cherrydale and Arlington Forest… The $1.84 million Cherrydale project will improve N. Monroe Street, between 17th Street North and 19th Street North… The $1.08 million Arlington Forest project will make improvements to Edison Park.” [Arlington County]

How DIRT Chose Ballston — “DIRT co-founders @jlatulip and @jamcdaniel visited many parts of D.C. and the greater DMV area before deciding to open in Ballston. ‘We noticed very quickly that this was a special community, one that we could call home and grow with. We love the energy of the neighborhood — Ballston is a young, active community, which fits DIRT perfectly.'” [Instagram]

Verizon FiOS Outage — Verizon’s FiOS service suffered a major outage in the D.C. area yesterday. [Twitter, Twitter]

Flickr pool photo by Tom Mockler

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Arlington County’s police and fire departments will commemorate National Night Out by holding neighborhood visits at events across the county from 5-9 p.m. tonight (Aug. 7).

In its 35th year, National Night Out strives to build relationships between police and the communities they serve, in part to help increase crime prevention awareness.

The county invites residents to “lock their doors, turn on outside lights and spend an evening outside with neighbors, police officers, firefighters and elected officials.”

Events will be held at the following locations:

  • Arlington Forest (200 block of N. Galveston Street) at 7:45 p.m.
  • Cathcart Springs (4600 block of 4th Road N.) at 6:30 p.m.
  • Nauck Town Square (24th Road S. and S. Shirlington Road) from 5-7 p.m.
  • Park Glen (824 S. Arlington Mill Drive, between buildings 812-816) at 6:30 p.m.
  • The Observation Deck at CEB Tower (1800 N. Lynn Street) from 5-9 p.m.

Photo via Arlington County

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Ordinarily, it wouldn’t be big news that some kids and their parents plan to sell some lemonade around Arlington on a late-July day — but the lemonade stands popping up around the county this weekend come with a bit more of a message than most.

Activists with the group “Lawyer Moms of America” are setting up several stands in Arlington and other locations around Northern Virginia tomorrow (Saturday), as part of a national demonstration dubbed “Kids Take a Stand.” Parents and kids alike plan to use the event to raise money to hasten the reunification of families separated at the Mexican border.

While the Trump administration has managed to reunite roughly 1,400 children, from ages 5 to 17, with their families ahead of a court-imposed deadline, hundreds of other kids remain in government custody without any connection to their parents.

Though public outrage over the Trump administration’s since-reversed family separation policy has died down, Lawyer Moms of America is hoping to use Saturday’s demonstration to re-focus attention on the issue by putting their own kids in the spotlight.

“The women who founded Lawyer Moms of America heard first-hand accounts from lawyers who knew what was happening with these families at the border,” Natalie Roisman, an Arlington resident and member of the group’s national organizing team, wrote in a statement. “The immediate response was, ‘We have to do something.’ The next step was to think about how we – as lawyer moms – could uniquely contribute and do something effective. We have focused on education, advocacy and fundraising, and now we wanted to do something that would allow our kids to be directly involved.”

Roisman says the group will set up one stand at the intersection of N. Harrison Street and 8th Road N. in the Bluemont neighborhood, with another planned for Arlington Forest. She adds that stands will also be set up in the Waynewood area of Alexandria, at the Falls Church Farmers Market and in Reston, and more could pop up by the time Saturday arrives.

All proceeds of the lemonade sales will go to Project Corazon, an effort organized by the Lawyers for Good Government Foundation to provide immigrants at the border with legal services.

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After a man was struck by a car in the middle of a Bluemont intersection, some of his neighbors see new urgency for their years-long effort to force the county to improve conditions for pedestrians in the area.

County police say Eric Larsen was crossing N. Carlin Springs Road near its intersection with N. Edison Street early in the morning last Monday (July 16), when a car slammed into him. Larsen was taken to George Washington University hospital with non-life threatening injuries, and neighbors say he’s still recovering from some broken bones caused by the crash.

Police spokeswoman Ashley Savage says “charges are pending” against the driver, but people living in the area see the intersection’s design deficiencies as the real cause of the crash.

Lora Strine, who lives in the Arlington Forest neighborhood nearby, says her citizens’ association has pressed the county for changes in the area going back to at least 2016. She points out that Carlin Springs is a popular option for walkers looking to reach the Ballston Metro, as Larsen was at the time of the accident, or even the Safeway near the intersection of Wilson Blvd and N. George Mason Drive.

Yet Strine says the area lacks clearly marked crosswalks or traffic calming measures to slow drivers, particularly on such a wide road, and she can’t understand why it’s taken the county so long to address the issue.

“This accident is not really an accident,” Strine told ARLnow. “It’s really been years in the making.”

Arlington officials point out that they’re hardly ignoring the area, however.

County transportation spokesman Eric Balliet says workers plan to install a flashing sign that can be activated by pedestrians crossing Carlin Springs near the road’s intersection with N. Harrison Street, just a few blocks from the Larsen crash. That signal should be in place as soon as next month.

Balliet added that the county is also planning some curb extensions and crosswalk improvements all along Carlin Springs, leading up to Edison Street, with work set to start in the spring of 2019 and wrap up the following year.

But Strine feels that’s far too long for the neighborhood to wait, and managed to secure a meeting with county staff and County Board member John Vihstadt to make that argument.

Vihstadt says “the jury is still out” in terms of how, exactly, the Board might be able to speed up the construction, though he certainly agrees with Strine’s assessment of the intersection. He’s spent the last year or so working with Arlington Forest residents on the issue, and he sees a need for the county to act quickly, as development in Ballston continues to ramp up and bring people to the area.

“That’s an awful long time to wait for these measures,” Vihstadt said. said. “I don’t find that  acceptable at all.”

At the very least, Vihstadt hopes to see the county beef up the webpage displaying details about the road improvements to keep neighbors better informed.

But even if Vihstadt can successfully convince officials to speed up construction, Strine worries that the work won’t actually slow cars speeding along Carlin Springs. She’d much rather see an additional stop light in the area, or even a stop sign, to bring speeds down.

“They’re wasting time and money by making changes that we know aren’t going to work,” Strine said. “These are just incremental changes: another Band-Aid, as one of my neighbors said.”

While county officials are confident that their planned changes will indeed slow passing cars, Vihstadt agreed that he wants to see the county do more to take into account “context-specific considerations” raised by neighbors about local road projects.

Overall, he lamented that this latest community clash is indicative of a pattern he’s seen all around Arlington in recent years, and provides a clear example of how the county still struggles to balance traffic congestion and pedestrian safety.

“While we like to say that our public policies like ‘the car-free diet‘ are having a positive impact on Arlington traffic, and I think they are, a lot of neighborhoods don’t yet feel that way,” Vihstadt said.

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