Local groups including Mothers of North Arlington (MONA) and the Alcova Heights Community Association were left scrambling last week after Yahoo announced it would be shuttering its still-widely-used online messaging tool, Yahoo! Groups.
“This listserv was very valuable to the neighborhood,” said Mark Wigfield, the moderator for the Barcroft School & Civic League chat list (Bsclchat). “People [used it to] chat back and forth about hiring plumbers and carpenters, local issues, crime reports, ‘curb alerts’ for stuff they’re putting out on the curb for the taking, and more.”
As of today, some affected Arlington groups are steadily figuring out how to transition their organizations out of Yahoo and onto other platforms. Alcova Heights, for example, has already converted to using Google Groups.
Over the weekend, MONA board members unanimously voted to move their forums over to the email platform groups.io. MONA had used Yahoo! Groups since 2001 and has over 2,300 members.
“After a rigorous testing of groups.io by a special testing group we set up, we are confident and comfortable in our choice of the new, enhanced platform and feel this will be a change for the better,” said MONA President Mrinal Oberoi.
In 2014, MONA’s then-president resigned amid a backlash over transitioning the organization away from Yahoo! Groups.
Yahoo announced last week its plans to shut down its forums, giving its hundreds of thousands of members until Monday, October 28 — the original announcement said it would happen on October 21, but that date was later changed — to use the service. Users will then have until December 14 to access archived messages. Email functionality will remain, for now, but without attachments, archives and other features.
“I’m a little reluctant to let our archives disappear into the ether — I think [the] Bsclchat has been around for at least 20 years, so that’s a lot of history,” said Wigfield.
Across Arlington, social and community groups utilize listservs like Yahoo! Groups as a way to communicate and encourage discussions with residents and members. The message board functionality allows discussions to take place without a deluge of emails to subscribers.
A would-be robber walked up behind a man and struck him several times with a metal pipe around just after midnight this morning, police say.
The attack happened as the man was entering a residential building on the 900 block of S. Buchanan Street, in the Barcroft neighborhood near Columbia Pike.
The victim suffered non-life threatening injuries, police said, while the suspect — who tried but failed to steal items from the victim — fled the scene and remains at large.
More from an Arlington County Police Department crime report:
MALICIOUS WOUNDING, 2019-09190004, 900 block of S. Buchanan Street. At approximately 12:07 a.m. on September 19, police were dispatched to the report of an assault that had just occurred. Upon arrival, it was determined that the male victim was walking into a residential building when the suspect approached him from behind and struck him several times with a metal pole. The suspect attempted to steal the victim’s personal property, but the victim was able to push the suspect away. The suspect then fled the scene on foot. The victim was transported to an area hospital with non-life threatening injuries. A perimeter was established and a search of the area yielded negative results. The suspect is described as a black male, in his 30’s, 5’6″ tall with short black hair. He was wearing a dark colored shirt and beige shorts at the time of the incident. The investigation is ongoing.
Arlington police say they arrested 20-year-old William Engelking-Scott on Friday (Jan. 25).
He’s now facing charges of robbery and using a firearm in the commission of a felony.
Police said in a news release that there were at least two incidents involving delivery driver robberies over the course of the last few weeks, both happening along the 300 block of S. Taylor Street in Barcroft.
In both incidents, one on Dec. 21 and one on Jan. 6, pizza delivery drivers were accosted outside their vehicles by a man brandishing a gun, demanding cash. On the second occasion, the man with a gun assaulted the driver, who suffered minor injuries and was taken to a local hospital for treatment.
The man fled on foot with undisclosed sums of cash after both robberies.
Police say the investigation into the incidents is still ongoing. Engelking-Scott faces a hearing on Feb. 28 in Arlington General District Court for his charges, and is currently being held in the county detention center without bond.
Police Searching for I-66 Wrong-Way Driver — Police are still looking for the driver who crashed into another vehicle while driving the wrong way on I-66 near Rosslyn early Sunday morning, after being chased by a uniformed Secret Service officer who spotted the car driving the wrong way in D.C. [Fox 5, WTOP, Twitter]
Vehicle Crashes into House in Barcroft — A vehicle that was driven into the side of a house in the Barcroft neighborhood Sunday morning caused only minor damage to the building, according to the fire department. [Twitter]
Truck Brings Down Power Lines in Long Branch Creek — “Downed power lines caused around 1,000 customers to lose power in Arlington County on Saturday. Dominion Power said a truck ‘snagged’ the lines and broke two of the power poles around 8:15 a.m. It also damaged some vehicles in the area.” [WJLA]
Runner Struck By Car Hopes to Run Marathon — A local runner who was struck by a car while running recently hopes to run the Marine Corps Marathon in the fall despite suffering two broken bones in her foot. [Twitter]
Projects to Transform Crystal City — Six major transportation projects “will play a significant role in transforming the Crystal City area in the coming years.” [Bisnow]
Arlington Teens Arrested in Ocean City — Three teens from Arlington were arrested in Ocean City, Maryland after they pulled over to ask police officers about parking in the area and the officers “immediately recognized the strong odor of marijuana emanating from the vehicle.” They searched the car and found “roughly a half a pound of marijuana along with prescription drugs, methamphetamine, brass knuckles, an assisted opening knife and several items of drug paraphernalia,” plus “a full face mask in the vehicle [and] a .25 caliber handgun.” [The Dispatch]
Dems Still Distributing Print Newsletter — Print may be waning as a medium, but the Arlington County Democratic Committee is still going all-in on its printed campaign newsletter, “The Messenger.” The party is recruiting more than 400 volunteers to distribute the newsletter to homes throughout the county. [InsideNova]
The incident happened around 8:45 p.m. Tuesday, near the intersection of 9th Street and S. Buchanan Street. Someone was home at the time and called police.
More from ACPD:
MISSILE INTO OCCUPIED DWELLING, 2018-02060222, 900 block of S. Buchanan Street. At approximately 8:45 p.m. on February 6, police were dispatched to the report of destruction of property. Upon arrival, it was determined that an unknown suspect(s) threw a piece of concrete through the window of an occupied residence, causing damage. No injuries were reported. There is no suspect(s) description. The investigation is ongoing.
The rest of this past week’s crime report highlights, including some that we’ve already reported, after the jump.
The Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington will host two workshops this weekend to help participants combat racism in their communities.
The first workshop at the church at 4444 Arlington Blvd in Barcroft is tomorrow (Saturday) from 1-5 p.m. Multicultural consultant Paula Cole Jones hosts a free session entitled, “How do we engage in racial justice as UUs?”
Then on Sunday, the church hosts a training in partnership with Rosslyn-based nonprofit Service Never Sleeps on the organization’s signature program, Allyship.
“Allyship is about moving people to a new paradigm of thinking about privilege and marginalized communities,” the event registration page reads. “Allyship promotes the idea that we can be bridge-builders who work together, and support each other toward the common purpose of ensuring equality, equity, and inclusion for everyone.”
The workshop lasts from 1-6 p.m. at the church, and says it will “teach you about the causes of social injustice, how to be an effective ally for marginalized communities, and how to actively influence and educate others.” It is one of four Allyship trainings to be hosted at UUCA this fall, and registration online is required.
Other Allyship trainings at the church are set for October 11, October 18, November 2 and November 5.
The work doubled the space for gymnastics into a second room by converting the center’s gym, while adding new equipment to both rooms. Girls teams now have more space in which to practice, while county parks staff said it could help spur more registrations for boys teams.
Staff said the project was carried out due to “overwhelming demand from Arlington residents” for more space for gymnastics.
The existing gymnastics area also received a revamp, as well as the existing women’s locker room. Staff lockers were installed nearby, while the building got a new roof and had three HVAC systems replaced.
County staff and other officials will celebrate the completion of the project on Wednesday, September 13 from 5-6 p.m. at a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
The project had a total budget of $3.54 million, paid for by Pay As You Go Capital funds and bonds approved in the 2016 referendum. The County Board approved a construction contract last December worth just over $1.7 million.
Nearby Tucker Field at Barcroft Park is also set for upgrades in the coming years after the Arlington County Board approved a 10-year extension to its partnership with George Washington University, which hosts baseball games at the field.
GW will fully fund the construction of a new clubhouse as well as indoor and outdoor batting cages, which are also available for community use. Earlier this year, the university received an anonymous $2 million gift to fund the new clubhouse. GW also contributes funding each year for the field’s ongoing maintenance and repairs.
Someone keyed the words “black bitch” onto a black man’s car on a block in Arlington’s Barcroft neighborhood, where some residents are up in arms about outsiders parking on their street.
The man, who works as a contractor at the Army National Guard Readiness Center (111 S. George Mason Drive), parked his car near the corner of S. Pershing Drive and 1st Street S. this past Thursday morning. When he arrived back at the car that afternoon, he found the words carved onto his driver’s side door and called police.
Officers photographed the car and dusted it for fingerprints. They also took “elimination prints” from the man and Evie Bernard, who carpools with him.
Bernard says she suspects the vandalism was actually targeted at her. She said some residents on the block have confronted her and other commuters about parking, even though it’s a public street and — unlike other nearby streets — not zoned for resident-only parking.
The prior Sunday, Bernard said, she had just returned from a brief vacation when a resident came out of his house and “started yelling and saying never to park there again.” The man, who was pointing his finger and “being very aggressive,” was soon joined by his wife and one of their children, who were all yelling at Bernard for parking in front of their house, she said.
“How would you feel if I parked in front of your house in Waldorf, Maryland?” one of them asked, according to Bernard’s account. The residents had somehow obtained Bernard’s name and apparently looked her up on Facebook, also referencing where she went on vacation and saying “I know where you work.” After about 5 minutes, Bernard drove away and then decided to call police.
“I was so upset that I got in my car and drove away,” she said. “I could only take so much… I was really upset. It was pretty much a nightmare.
Police took a report, Bernard said, but because her life was not threatened it was determined that no crime had occurred. An Arlington County Police Department spokeswoman corroborated that a report of verbal harassment had been filed.
Though Bernard initially suspected the people who confronted her — who are white — might have been responsible for the vandalism, police said today (Tuesday) that the residents have been eliminated as suspects.
Bernard and another Army National Guard contractor who contacted ARLnow.com said the parking issue is not likely to be solved anytime soon. Parking at the George Mason Drive campus is limited and most spots are reserved for employees; contractors are instructed to take transit or park on nearby streets.
While there were plenty of spots available on the 4400 block of 1st Street S. when an ARLnow reporter visited Monday afternoon, a resident said that there are times when the block is filled with cars, including many commuters. He said that residents have tried to apply for zoned parking, but a county parking study did not find enough commuter parking to meet the program threshold.
Earlier this month new zone parking applications were halted indefinitely, pending a review.
Police will take part in a number of activities with local residents, including block parties, cookouts, safety demonstrations, youth events, visits from emergency personnel and more.
National Night Out aims to better relationships between the police and the communities they patrol. Many police departments around the country participate.
“We are committed to building strong partnerships with those we protect and serve and effectively communicating to ensure the public’s trust.” said spokeswoman Ashley Savage.
“Events such as National Night Out are important because they provide us with another opportunity to interact with our community, hear about any public safety concerns they have and continue to use effective problem-solving methods to reduce and prevent crime and improve the quality of life of Arlington’s residents, visitors and businesses.”
Events will be hosted at the following locations:
- Arlington Forest (200 block of N. Galveston Street) at 7:30 p.m.
- Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing (First Presbyterian Church, 601 N. Vermont Street) from 5:30-8 p.m.
- Barcroft Community House (800 S. Buchanan Street) from 6-7:30 p.m.
- Cathcart Springs townhomes (4600 4th Road N.) from 6:30-7 p.m.
- Fairlington Villages (3000 block of S. Abingdon Street) from 5-7 p.m.
- Park Glen Condo Association (800 block of S. Arlington Mill Road) from 7-8 p.m.
- Nauck Town Square (24th Road S. between Shirlington Road and S. Kenmore Street) from 6-8:30 p.m.
At least three instances of objects being thrown at and shattering residential windows were reported Friday and Saturday night. The incidents took place in the Barcroft and Columbia Forest neighborhoods, on either side of the Pike near Four Mile Run.
There is no suspect description for any of the incidents. More from today’s Arlington County Police Department crime report:
MISSILE INTO OCCUPIED DWELLING, 2017-07070281, 5300 block of S. 8th Road. At approximately 10:40 p.m. on July 7, officers responded to the report of a destruction of property. Upon arrival, it was determined an unknown subject(s) threw an object at a residential window causing it to shatter. There is no subject(s) description and no injuries were reported. The investigation is ongoing.
MISSILE INTO OCCUPIED DWELLING (Series), 2017-07080285, 1200 block of S. Buchanan Street. At approximately 11:04 p.m. on July 8, officers responded to the report of a destruction of property. Upon arrival, it was determined an unknown subject(s) threw an object at a residential window causing it to shatter. A short time later, another resident in the area reported their window had been struck by an object and broken. There is no subject(s) description and no injuries were reported. The investigation is ongoing.
Image via Google Maps
(Updated 2 p.m.) Some changes are coming to several Metrobus routes through Arlington County next year, as the county prepares for the Columbia Pike “Premium Transit Network.”
At a work session with the Arlington County Board on Thursday, county staff put forward a plan that would end seven lines that run through Arlington in FY 2019, which begins on July 1, 2018, and save the county $5.8 million:
- The 4A between Seven Corners and Rosslyn
- The 16B, E and P along Columbia Pike
- The 16G, H, K along Columbia Pike
A spokesman for the county’s Department of Environmental Services said the changes along the Pike would help make way for the so-called “Premium Transit Network,” which is projected to cost $6.9 million and launch next summer after delays. The various routes would be consolidated under that network, which the spokesman said would “result in more bus service in the county, not less.”
The new bus system was put together after the Columbia Pike Streetcar project was cancelled in 2014, with Board members at the time promising a system that would be just as good, if not better.
To try and lessen the impact of the service cuts, staff proposed improving the frequency and hours of the 4B that largely overlaps the 4A, and similar efforts for the 16A on Columbia Pike. Those improvements would cost just under $850,000.
The 4B would then be discontinued as a Metrobus route in FY 2020, saving the county $1.7 million, and made an ART route.
The 16X service from Columbia Pike to Federal Triangle in D.C. via the Pentagon would have its hours improved, at a cost of $3.2 million to county coffers. The 15K and 15L routes between the East Falls Church and Rosslyn Metro stations would also be realigned.
All told, the various service reductions and increases will cost the county just over $2.6 million more in its Metrobus subsidy, bringing that figure to $40.5 million in FY 2019.
The possibility also exists that the 22A, B and C routes through Barcroft and South Fairlington could be converted into locally-run ART routes. That would save $2.4 million in the county’s Metrobus subsidy, but would require funds to be made available through ART instead.
Cuts had been planned for FY 2018 under the county’s Transit Development Plan approved last year, but were pushed off to FY 2019. The county did not cut any Metrobus routes for FY 2018, and improved the frequency of the 2A route between the Ballston and Dunn Loring Metro stations.
That came in part due to funding from the Virginia Department of Transportation’s “Transform 66” project to widen I-66 from the Dulles Connector Road to the Fairfax Drive exit in Ballston.
Metro staff will analyze the actual costs and savings from the various changes, and bring forward a proposal to the agency’s board of directors. The board would then take public comment on any proposed changes region-wide before making a decision next year.
Image via county staff presentation