A girl was sexually assaulted by a man who broke into her home in the Ashton Heights neighborhood early this morning, according to police.
The incident happened around 1 a.m. on the 300 block of N. Glebe Road.
Arlington County police say the intruder touched the girl inappropriately but ended up fleeing after she kicked him and then refused to leave with him.
More, below, from an ACPD press release.
The Arlington County Police Department’s Special Victims Unit is investigating a sexual assault which occurred during a residential burglary in the 300 block of N. Glebe Road.
At approximately 6:58 a.m. on August 2, police were dispatched to the report of suspicious circumstances. The preliminary investigation indicates that approximately 1:04 a.m., the juvenile female victim was awoken after the suspect gained entry into her residence and touched her inappropriately. The victim kicked the suspect and he left the scene. The suspect returned a short time later, attempted to convince the victim to leave with him and fled the scene after she refused.
The suspect is described as a White and/or Hispanic male, 25 – 45 years old, with dark hair and wearing a white shirt and light-colored shorts.
This remains an active criminal investigation and anyone with information related to this incident is asked to contact Detective McGuire at 703-228-4173 or [email protected]. Information may also be provided anonymously through the Arlington County Crime Solvers hotline at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477). For additional community resources and contact information, visit our website.
This is the second local incident of a juvenile victim being touched inappropriately in the past few days. A boy was sexually abused on a trail near Kenmore Middle School on Sunday morning.
A water main break near Route 50 caused water pressure issues for a large swath of Arlington today, prompting some county facility closures.
The water main break happened on N. Irving Street, just north of Route 50, on the border of the Ashton Heights and Lyon Parks neighborhoods.
While the water main being repaired just served the surrounding neighborhood, crews had to “isolate” a nearby transmission main.
“It is a 6” water main that is being repaired,” Arlington Dept. of Environmental Services spokeswoman Kathryn O’Brien tells ARLnow. “We’ve isolated a 30” water main nearby to allow crews to repair the break.”
“That has caused low water pressure for a number of customers in the area,” she noted.
While most the water pressure was restored around 2 p.m., the lack of water prompted closures of several county facilities, as far away as Fairlington.
The Arlington Dept. of Human Services offices and Arlington Public Schools offices at Sequoia Plaza were both closed.
“Due to a water main break near the Syphax Education Center, staff have been asked to leave the building and telework,” APS said in an email to families today. “As a result, phone communication with staff at the Syphax Education Center may be delayed. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.”
DHS call center, Emergency Services, Child Protective Services, Adult Protective Services, and other services continue to operate on a virtual or modified basis. (2/2)
— Arlington County (@ArlingtonVA) July 19, 2023
Additionally, the Fairlington Community Center was closed due to lack of water.
“Messages have gone out to all summer camp participants to let them know that all programs are closed as of 1:30 p.m. today. All campers will need to be picked up immediately as the building will also be closed,” the county said in an email. “All Enjoy Arlington classes at Fairlington Community Center are also canceled for the rest of the day.”
Repairs on the six-inch main are expected to wrap up around 5 p.m.
Emergency Water Main Repairs Update: Crews are working on a 6-inch water main at 19 N Irving Street. Water pressure has been restored and repairs are expected to be completed by 5 p.m. The street is closed and traffic is being detoured. Questions? Call 703-228-5000. https://t.co/fUAbWXwNpx
— Arlington Department of Environmental Services (@ArlingtonDES) July 19, 2023
A 96-year-old water main along N. Glebe Road near Ballston is set to be replaced, starting later this year.
The pipe segment runs about a third of a mile from N. Randolph Street to N. Pershing Drive, between the Buckingham and Ashton Heights neighborhoods.
Arlington County says that this work is needed to improve the flow of water to area fire hydrants, dubbed “fire flow,” and support demand in the neighborhood. Over the weekend, the Arlington County Board approved a contract for $2.1 million with A&M Construction Corporation to execute the project.
The county included some $424,400 in contingency funding in case the contractor finds “unsuitable soils or unknown existing underground utilities,” among other risks, according to a county report.
This project is “part of [the] county’s effort to replace old unlined cast iron pipes which are subjected to internal and external corrosions that reduce the fire flow capacity,” the document said. “In the past few years, the main had an excessive number of breaks that prompted the need for replacement.”
Arlington Dept. of Environmental Services spokesman Peter Golkin tells ARLnow that there is currently no construction schedule, “as it takes some time for [the purchasing department] to execute such a contract.”
“But based on previous comparable projects, this one won’t begin until this summer and more likely in the fall,” he said.
Golkin says the county expects the work will take 1.5 years to complete and will affect 26 properties: 19 residential and seven commercial.
“Water interruptions will be coordinated in advance with those impacted,” he said.
The replacement work will require single-lane closures on Glebe from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday.
Crews will likely work overnight once they reach an intersection. More information on these traffic impacts will be relayed to residents via the project website, which will launch closer to the start of construction, and through the Buckingham and Ashton Heights civic associations, per the county.
The Wilson Blvd CVS with a large blank, brick wall facing the street is set to open next month.
“Barring any unexpected delays, we plan open in mid- to late-February,” a company spokesperson told ARLnow.
What makes this CVS notable to many passersby is the nearly 20-foot-tall windowless, brick rear wall of the building facing Wilson Blvd, one of Arlington’s main commercial corridors.
When it first went up in August, ARLnow received emails from locals calling the wall an “eyesore, “unfit for the area,” and “The Great Wall of Clarendon.”
This was just the latest dust up about this particular site.
That was the beginning of a multi-year legal battle that eventually led to the Virginia Supreme Court declining to consider an appeal from the county, effectively allowing Bayne to move forward with his plans to bring a CVS to the site and handcuffing the county in terms of regulation.
The court fight didn’t sit well with Bayne, who said he lost nearly $2 million while the project stalled.
“It’s not okay to do this to somebody,” Bayne told ARLnow in 2018. “There will be ramifications for this.”
(When Bayne’s Highlander Motor Inn became a Covid quarantine location in 2020, however, there appeared to be a warning of relations. County officials praised Bayne for “stepping up” in a time of need while Bayne said the deal helped him pay bills with the county being “very good” to him.)
The motel finally closed in early 2021 and was demolished later that year, but not before one final party. Then, the CVS began to be built and neighbors saw a huge wall go up. The store also has a sizable surface parking lot between the building and Wilson Blvd.
CVS spokesperson told ARLnow at the time that the wall was “included in the overall construction and design plan approved by Arlington development officials.”
But that didn’t soothe some unhappy locals or put to bed the unsubstantiated rumors that this was the long-awaited revenge against the county.
“After the long court battle with the owner of the Highlander, CVS is throwing its ‘f you very much’ by placing a blank wall along Wilson Boulevard,” one resident told ARLnow back in August. “Can’t wait for the future graffiti — I mean, community arts project!”
Billy Bayne told ARLnow that he had no say in the construction project or the wall, but he also had a few other things to say about upset neighbors, the county, and other matters.
“CVS can do whatever they want. This is not the People’s Republic of China. Who do [locals] think they are telling local businesses what to build?” he said. “If people think they can tell CVS what to do, I must be missing something. Does CVS tell them what they can put on their front lawns?”
He continued, blasting the county for not being “business-friendly” and reiterated that he still felt personally attacked by the county for its multi-year legal fight with him.
“This isn’t revenge, but I do think what [the county did to me] was personal,” he said. “I blame [the wall] on Arlington not working with CVS. I call them the ‘socialist government of Arlington.’ And CVS is just trying to do good for the neighborhood.”
A 39-year-old man is in jail after police say he broke into a woman’s home and sexually assaulted her.
The alleged incident happened Friday around 7 a.m. on the 400 block of N. Piedmont Street, in a garden apartment community southeast of Ballston.
The man was arrested later Friday evening about a block away, following an investigation.
More from an Arlington County police press release:
The Arlington County Police Department is announcing the arrest of a suspect following an investigation into a residential burglary with sexual assault which occurred in the Ashton Heights neighborhood. Geoffrey Harley, 39, of No Fixed Address has been charged with Burglary and is being held without bond in the Arlington County Detention Facility. The investigation into the incident is ongoing and additional charges may be sought at a later time.
At approximately 7:07 a.m. on December 2, police were dispatched to the 400 block of N. Piedmont Street for the report of a breaking and entering. Upon arrival, it was determined a male suspect gained entry to the victim’s residence, entered her bedroom and sexually assaulted her before fleeing the scene on foot. During the course of the investigation, officers developed a suspect description and obtained a warrant for his arrest. He was subsequently located and taken into custody without incident on the evening of December 2 in the area of 5th Street N. and N. Piedmont Street.
This remains an active criminal investigation and anyone with information related to this incident is asked to contact Detective T. McGuire at 703-228-4173 or [email protected]. Information may also be provided to the Arlington County Police Tip Line at [email protected] or anonymously through the Arlington County Crime Solvers hotline at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).
Arlington’s own chainsaw art competitor has completed his latest carving.
Local chainsaw artist Andrew Mallon recently unveiled his newest work of art on the front lawn of a home in the Ashton Heights neighborhood.
The work, near the intersection of Pershing Drive and N. Monroe Street, is entitled “Sunshine and Moonlight — The Oak at Pershing and Monroe.” It depicts a rising sun and moon with an Art Deco motif.
“It came out to be sort of a stately, subdued representation,” Jim Roberts, who commissioned Mallon to do the piece for his home that he’s lived in for 44 years, told ARLnow. “It’s just a beautiful piece of artwork.”
Mallon can currently be seen on the Discovery reality TV competition show “A Cut Above,” going against some of the world’s best chainsaw artists. He has made it through the first five weeks and even won a wood bug carving event that aired earlier in October. The next episode airs on Sunday. The entire competition series is 12 weeks, so more than half of the episodes remain.
While Mallon is chainsawing wood every week for a national audience, this particular project was extra special for him. That’s because he grew up in the Ashton Heights neighborhood and has known the Roberts family for decades.
“We knew him when he was a seven or eight-year-old and on the [Fort Myer] swim team with our girls. At the time, he sorta viewed Andrew as family,” said Roberts. “This was our opportunity to give him a chance to show off his artwork.”
The idea came when Roberts and his wife, Marilyn, had a 12-foot oak tree in the front yard of their house that needed to be taken down due to safety reasons. While they regretted needing to take the tree down, they also saw it as an opportunity.
They contacted Mallon and collaborated with him to come up with the concept of “Sunshine and Moonlight.” For the artist, as well, this project held additional meaning.
“It’s always a pleasure doing for people I know. Any time, I get to be back in my hometown neighborhood, it’s just a blessing,” Mallon told ARLnow. “To be able to fill that neighborhood with my work where I grew up and used to run around and play, it really means a lot to me.”
It took him about five days of work to complete the carving and, for a lot of it, he had an audience. People came “dozens at a time,” said Roberts, to watch the artist work. Both Mallon and Roberts didn’t mind it, though. It gave the homeowner a chance to meet and catch up with neighbors, while Mallon says he’s used to it and “really enjoys” a crowd.
“It brought the neighborhood together,” said Roberts.
Roberts loved watching the artist work as well, particularly when he got into carving the sun’s and moon’s details. But he did worry about the noise and mess.
“It was extremely loud and I had to apologize to my neighbors,” he said. “But they understood and appreciated [the artwork].”
There was also a lot of sawdust and the couple had to hire a landscaper to remove “hundreds of pounds” of sawdust and wood.
But the final product came out great, according to everyone. Roberts calls the work a “masterpiece” and a “tribute to the neighborhood.” Mallon said he thought it turned out “spectacular.”
As for Mallon’s run on “A Cut Above,” he can’t share much due to the show still being in the middle of the competition series. He did say that one of the biggest challenges was quickly coming up with something unique and creative for each competition. When he’s working on an individual project, there’s often more time to work through a design and not the added pressure of needing to finish in a set period of time.
Also, being away from home was tough. He has young children and most of his work is in the region, so it’s rare he has to be away from home for long. Mallon does recommend to keep watching the show because it “has some twists to it.”
Roberts hopes that “Sunshine and Moonlight” become an Ashton Heights landmark and part of his legacy — as well as Mallon’s.
Said Roberts, “We wanted it to be something that he could be proud of and something that he would want all of his neighbors, former neighbors, and everybody to see.”
Arlington Forest native Mark Riley has been managing the Arlington Turkey Trot for a decade and enjoys being called “Chief Turkey.”
“It’s fun. And if you are having fun, you can do great things,” Riley (or Chief Turkey) told ARLnow. “If you are not having fun, it’s very difficult to get people to want to do anything.”
The annual Thanksgiving 5K is set to take place on Thursday, Nov. 24 at 8 a.m. this year, starting on N. Pershing Drive in Lyon Park. The race is likely returning to the course — through the Lyon Park and Ashton Heights neighborhoods — that was run prior to the pandemic, per the event’s website.
Wherever this year’s race may trot through, Riley plans to be there donning a turkey costume as he has since 2013.
“This community loves to get together in a festive, heartening, helpful, friendly, joyous atmosphere. [The turkey trot] has become a tradition in Arlington County over the years,” Riley said. “People keep coming over, over, and over again. They bring their kids. Then, the kids who grow up bring their kids. And it just keeps going on and on.”
The Arlington Turkey Trot was first started in 2006 by Christ Church of Arlington Pastor Brian Webster and his wife Diane. That first run had about 300 joggers, runners, and walkers. This year’s race is expected to attract about 4,000 trotters and raise about $120,000 for assorted local charities, equivalent to pre-pandemic numbers.
Riley said that initially the trot only supported a few organizations, but last year they expanded the number of charities that received funds to 18. Those include Path Forward, Arlington Thrive, R.E.A.D., Phoenix Bikes, and others.
“A number of nonprofits, typically smaller budgeted non-profits, have been knocking on [our] door to say we want to be included,” said Riley. “We did not know how to say no to any of them. So, we included them all.”
For his work over the years, Riley is being presented with a “Spirit of Community” award by the Arlington Community Foundation next week. The acknowledgment had him “tearing up,” he said because it’s a reminder of how passionate the community is about helping others.
There was some gobbling that Riley may be hanging up his feathers as the Chief Turkey after this year’s race, but he said those rumors are fowl.
Yes, 2021 was particularly tough due to the lingering impact of Covid and a shortage of police officers, but this year has proven Riley still has the energy of a poult. With a bit of extra support and taking on fewer tasks, he said that the plan is to keep on gobbling as Chief Turkey “for the foreseeable future.”
Besides being able to provide for those less fortunate in the community, what Riley really loves about the trot is seeing the joy it brings so many people. On often-chilly Thanksgiving mornings, watching families run together and kids darting across the finish line fills him with warm feelings.
Adding to the good vibes, every kid that finishes gets a medal.
“The thing that really resonates for [me] when I think of the trot is… joy. I think of joy probably more than anything else,” Riley said. “People who have big, joyous smiles on their faces. They love the turkey trot.”
The residents of N. Jackson Street in Ashton Heights have again outdone themselves.
The street, which traditionally hosts some of the most elaborate Halloween decorations in Arlington, scaled back its festivities during the pandemic but does not seem to be holding back this year, with witches, pumpkins, skeletons and ghosts galore.
“Halloween is a treasured tradition in our community,” Scott Sklar, president of the Ashton Heights Civic Association, told ARLnow in 2020.
Those who want to view the spooky street in its full frightful foliage can walk the blocks between Wilson Blvd and N. Pershing Drive, which are not far from both the Clarendon and Virginia Square Metro stations.
A local chainsaw artist made his buzzy debut on a new reality TV show last night.
Ashton Heights native Andrew Mallon is a contestant on the Discovery competition show “A Cut Above,” in which some of the best chainsaw wood carvers in the world compete against one another.
“The competition will test contestants’ artistry, stamina, and carving skills. Each week, the carvers will compete in Quick and Master Carve challenges while racing against the clock in hopes of avoiding elimination,” reads a description of the show. “At the end of the grueling twelve-week competition, the artist who out-carves the rest will win a cash prize and be named ‘A Cut Above.'”
Top chainsaw carvers from around the world will turn wood logs into jaw-dropping art on #ACutAbove⁰⁰ 🪵🪚
🗓 Competition begins this Sunday at 10p ET on Discovery pic.twitter.com/VQ3IgzAArd
— Discovery (@Discovery) September 26, 2022
The show debuted last night at 10 p.m. on the Discovery Channel and, yes, Mallon did make it to the next round, so he will continue to carve in the weeks ahead.
Mallon was contacted to be on the show a few years ago, pre-Covid, by the show’s producers, he told ARLnow. They shot the show earlier this year.
Mallon is known locally for his playful tree carving in Oak Grove Park near Washington-Liberty High School as well as carvings at a number of private residences in Arlington. That includes a bear, an owl, a dragon, and a scene from Greek mythology. He first started carving about a decade ago while working as a carpenter and remodeling houses in Arlington.
“And I just started whittling on pencils. From there, I learned [how] to do it,” Mallon told ARLnow. “Then, I started whittling on some pieces of wood. But I thought that it took too long and… really wanted to do it faster. And I saw some people on tv doing it with a chainsaw and thought ‘Hey, I could do that.'”
A majority of his work is commissioned by private citizens, including many Arlington residents, who have trees that may have fallen or died in their yards. He calls these “stump jobs” and they typically take about four days to complete.
Like a lot of wood carvers, Mallon often finds himself creating “critters” that live in the area like foxes, raccoons, owls, and hawks.
“You’d be surprised by how much detail I can get with a chainsaw,” he said. “I can put hair on a horse and fur on a bear.”
Recently, he’s been doing more “abstract” carvings — a style that has been more in vogue locally.
“I take it to another level where I carve it really far with a chainsaw and then I come back with a sander and sand it really smooth. It makes a lot of my pieces really elegant,” he said. “Most of what I use are large trees… it just lends itself to a beautiful product.”
For those who want to see the newly-minted television star in action, Mallon is currently working on a carving at a private residence near the intersection of N. Pershing Drive and N. Monroe Street in his home neighborhood of Ashton Heights. He says folks are welcome to stop by to watch him work. Mallon is also in the midst of planning a potential new sculpture in Lyon Park.
For those who may want to take up the art of chainsaw wood carving, Mallon’s advice is to “just go for it.”
“Chainsaw is just another tool in the hand,” he said. “Just learn the rules of the tool and… give it a shot.”
Driving west on Wilson Blvd from Clarendon, there’s a new addition to the landscape near Mario’s Pizza: a large cement block wall.
The wall is the rear of a new CVS going up along the 3330 block of Wilson Blvd, the former site of the Highlander Motor Inn. The nearly 20-foot-tall, windowless monolith is oriented so that it faces the street. The entrance to the new CVS is set for N. Kenmore Street.
The large blank wall has already attracted the ire of some residents. ARLnow recently received emails from several locals calling the structure an “eyesore,” a “failure,” and “The Great Wall of Clarendon.”
This all comes after a multi-year legal battle that included an unsuccessful appeal by Arlington County to the Virginia Supreme Court. It ended with the county being handcuffed in terms of regulating what’s built at the site.
“The design for this project shows a solid wall fronting on Wilson Blvd. The store frontage will be on N. Kenmore St,” a Department of Community, Planning and Housing Development spokesperson told ARLnow. “This project is occurring through by-right development; therefore there are no Zoning requirements for the orientation of buildings or structures. In addition, the County is limited in its overall regulation of by-right development projects.”
For more than five decades, the 3330 block of Wilson Blvd was the home of the Highlander motel, owned by the family of local businessman Billy Bayne.
In 2015, Bayne made the decision to lease the land to CVS, which planned to build a new store and pharmacy. However, there were complications to the deal, with the county balking at allowing the existing parking lot on N. Kenmore Street to be used again for parking.
Decisions were appealed several times before a circuit judge ruled that Bayne, as owner, was allowed to do what he wished with the property. The case was denied consideration by the state’s top court after a series of appeals.
Bayne, who also owns the Crystal City Gentlemen’s Club and Restaurant, claimed he lost nearly $2 million while the project stalled.
“It’s not okay to do this to somebody,” Bayne said in 2018. “There will be ramifications for this.”
He ended up suing the county for civil rights violations in 2019, but the suit was ultimately dismissed.
The project moved forward, with the motel closing early last year before being torn down. Before it shuttered, though, Arlington’s Dept. of Human Services rented out the hotel as a Covid quarantine location. While it probably didn’t resolve all animosity, the county thanked Bayne as someone who “really stepped up and helped” during a time of crisis.
But now it is neighbors in the Ashton Heights and Virginia Square area who are upset with what’s being done to the property.
“After the long court battle with the owner of the Highlander, CVS is throwing its ‘f you very much’ by placing a blank wall along Wilson Boulevard,” one resident told ARLnow. “Can’t wait for the future graffiti — I mean, community arts project!”
“There is no other commercial enterprise on Wilson Blvd in the area that presents so brazenly (or more likely thoughtlessly) a facade that is so grossly inconsistent with the urban ‘smart growth’ model,” another resident wrote, calling it “unfit… for this area.”
ARLnow reached out to CVS about the wall and received the following response.
“A new CVS Pharmacy store is currently under construction on Wilson Boulevard in Arlington and is expected to be completed by the end of 2022. The wall that is currently facing Wilson Boulevard will be part of the permanent structure and is included in the overall construction and design plan approved by Arlington development officials,” a CVS spokesperson said.
So, the “Great Wall of Clarendon” is apparently here to stay and there isn’t much the county or residents can do at this point.
“It could be a major eyesore on the street for the next 30 to 40 years,” said a local resident.
Long-time Ashton Heights resident Trudy Ensign was happy to talk about a lot of things during her 101 years. She loved to paint, bowl, watch the Washington Nationals, and was a constant presence at Clarendon United Methodist Church.
But there was one thing that she never talked about: Being an intelligence analyst for the United States Army during World War II.
“No, never,” chuckles Jane Brown, Ensign’s daughter. “Even when stuff started becoming redacted or public knowledge.”
Gertrude Carley Brown Ensign died on February 28, but this past weekend a memorial service was held in her honor at the church on N. Irving Street.
During the eulogy, Reverend Tracy McNeil Wines told all those sitting in the pews paying their respects what Ensign never would.
“She used her intelligence to gain intelligence for our nation,” Wines said. “And… we enjoyed having this secret spy woman in our midst.”
Ensign was born in Iowa in 1920, lived through the Great Depression there, and was recruited out of college by the Army Security Agency (a precursor to the National Security Agency) to move to the D.C. area to help with the war effort.
“She knew Morse code, so [the Army] literally sent her all over the world, to Panama, Japan, Hawaii. During the Vietnam War, she worked at the [Arlington] base too,” Brown tells ARLnow. “She was the highest grade civilian woman when she retired. It was a big deal and she got all of these awards.”
In 2018, Arlington Public Library’s Center for Local History interviewed Ensign about her time working for the Army and living in Arlington in the mid-20th century.
After the war, she stayed in Arlington, got married, bought a house in Ashton Heights, and had two children.
For decades, Ensign was deeply involved in the Arlington community. She was known to hand out sandwiches in the Central Library parking lot to those in need, supporting the work of A-SPAN (now, PathForward). She was president of the Maury School PTA and was a Girl Scouts troop leader, serving alongside Annie Glenn.
And she alway made time for her church. She was the membership secretary of Clarendon United Methodist for years. As former Reverend Eugene Thomas noted at the memorial service to laughs, Ensign always knew who was at Sunday services — and who wasn’t.
In September 2020, the Ashton Heights community celebrated the resident’s 100th birthday with a socially-distanced parade, signs, and well-wishes. Her positive thinking, enthusiasm, and sense of humor was on full display sitting in front of her long-time home.
“Somebody may be looking at this real estate,” she told ARLnow at the time, laughing. “But I think I’ll keep telling them how the roof leaks and they’ll go someplace else.”