Arlington, VA

A widespread power outage is currently affecting parts of Arlington.

More than 3,500 Dominion customers were without power in the county as of 9:30 p.m. Affected neighborhoods include Ballston, Bluemont, Buckingham, Ashton Heights and Lyon Park, according to the power company’s outage map.

Residents near those neighborhoods might have seen their power flicker around 9 p.m.

The outage happened after a driver in a Toyota Prius slammed into a utility pole in the Buckingham area. On social media, the Arlington County Fire Department said it is “unknown” when power will be restored.

Update at 10:15 p.m. — Power has been restored to most customers, but about 500 in the Buckingham area, near the crash, remain in the dark.

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A woman was intentionally struck by a vehicle and pinned against a dumpster over the weekend, according to an Arlington County Police crime report.

The incident happened shortly before 5:30 p.m. Saturday, on the 200 block of N. Glebe Road in the Buckingham area, and followed an argument between the suspect and the victim.

Police say the suspect, a 36-year-old Arlington woman, struck the victim with a car in a business parking lot, pinning her against a dumpster. The victim, who knew the suspect, was hospitalized with serious but non-life threatening injuries, according to police.

The suspect was arrested “without incident” the next morning and faces a number of charges.

More from ACPD:

MALICIOUS WOUNDING, 2020-11210144, 200 block of N. Glebe Road. At approximately 5:24 p.m. on November 21, police were dispatched to the report of trouble unknown. Upon arrival, it was determined that the victim and known suspect were engaged in a verbal dispute and physical altercation earlier in the day, during which the suspect assaulted the victim, causing minor injury. At the time, the victim declined prosecution and medical attention. The verbal dispute continued while they were travelling in a vehicle together. The suspect, and driver of the vehicle, stopped in the parking lot of a business and the victim exited the vehicle. The suspect then allegedly struck the victim with the vehicle, pinning her against a dumpster. The suspect then fled the scene in the vehicle prior to police arrival. The victim sustained serious, but non-life threatening injuries and was transported to an area hospital for treatment. During the course of the investigation, the suspect was identified and a vehicle description was developed. At approximately 8:51 a.m. on November 22, police located the parked vehicle occupied by the suspect and a second subject in the area of 2nd Street S. and S. Fillmore Street. Officers made contact with the suspect as she attempted to walk away from the vehicle and detained her without incident. Toccara Puller, 36, of Arlington, Va., was arrested and charged with Malicious Wounding, Felony Hit and Run, and Possession of a Schedule I/II Controlled Substance. She was held on no bond. The second subject provided officers with a false name, but was subsequently identified and determined not to be involved in the Hit and Run incident. However, he was determined to be wanted out of the City of Alexandria, and in possession of a concealed weapon and controlled substance. Joshua Fletcher, 41, of Washington D.C., was arrested and charged with Carrying a Concealed Weapon, Identity Theft, and Possession of a Schedule I/II Controlled Substance. He was held on no bond.

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A thief or thieves stole the airbags from nearly two dozen cars in a single parking garage this week.

The theft took place at some point between Wednesday evening and Thursday morning on the 4400 block of 4th Road N., in the Buckingham neighborhood near Ballston.

“Upon arrival, it was determined that between 5:30 p.m. on November 18 and 8:00 a.m. on November 19, an unknown suspect(s) smashed the windows to approximately 21 vehicles inside a secured garage and stole the airbags,” the Arlington County Police Department said in a crime report today. “There is no suspect(s) description. The investigation is ongoing.”

Arlington has seen a rise in crime, particularly vehicle-related property crimes, over the past couple of years. Airbags are a popular theft target for criminals due to their resale value on the black market.

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The same gathering on Oct. 31 that took Bishop O’Connell High School online until December has forced St. Thomas More Cathedral School to do the same.

Two St. Thomas More employees tested positive for the coronavirus after attending a Halloween gathering also attended by Bishop O’Connell students who tested positive and prompted the school to cancel in-person classes.

The parochial PreK-8 school in Buckingham told students and staff school would be virtual through next Monday, with in-person instruction set to resume on Tuesday, Nov. 17.

According to the school’s calendar, confirmation, which was set for Monday night, has been postponed and will be rescheduled.

“When Bishop O’Connell closed… my employees went to be tested,” Principal Cathy Davis told ARLnow on Monday morning. “The minute we heard about the positive tests, we looked at our protocols.”

The children and staff of the parochial school are divided into cohorts so that one or two classrooms can isolate if a case appears. But her team decided that the smartest thing to do was to revert to virtual, she said, adding that the transition was easy since the prep work had already been done distributing devices and setting up Google Classrooms.

Davis said administrative staff will be drafting on a report after this series of events and will see what lessons can be learned, such as whether employees have to sign certain COVID-19 commitments. Currently, the school operates on the honor system, with a pledge to prioritizing student safety.

Unlike Bishop O’Connell students, whose return is scheduled for Dec. 1, St. Thomas More students and staff, including the two who tested positive, are slated to return prior to the Thanksgiving break.

“In terms of Pre-K and second-grade children, the better way is in-person,” Davis said. “Our goal is to be in-person.”

When Davis broke the news to parents, she said she “expected unrest,” since 83% of population are dual-working parents.

“Even I have been amazed at how positive everyone is,” she said.

She predicted the school will transition right back to in-person classes.

“Certainly I wish this didn’t happen, but if it has to happen, it’s nice to know we have a strong community who gets this is our new normal,” Davis said.

In October, officials from the Arlington Public Health Division repeatedly warned against celebrating Halloween with trick-or-treating, nightlife and indoor gatherings. Cases in the county, meanwhile, are on an upswing and just reached a fresh peak since the initial spring wave.

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The empty Red Cross building (4333 Arlington Blvd) in Buckingham will come down in a few weeks to make way for a new apartment building called The Cadence.

The building, developed by Wesley Housing Development Corporation, will have 97 units, all set aside for low- and moderate-income households. It is part of a complex that includes 19 nearly complete market-rate townhouses a stone’s throw away.

Local officials, project financiers and construction company representatives gathered for a socially distanced groundbreaking on Tuesday afternoon at the site in Buckingham. The event also commemorated renovations that will begin next year on the neighboring complexes, Whitefield Commons and Knightsbridge apartments, which Wesley also operates for low-income residents.

“The cadence that we set has changed tempo a few times, from where we were to where we are going, but we’re still moving ahead and at this point, we see no reason that we won’t stick the rest of the schedule going forward,” quipped Shelley Murphy, President and CEO of Wesley Housing.

Mark Weisner, the president of Bozzuto Construction Company, which is building The Cadence apartment building, said his company has “a lot of work to do in the next 24 months,” when the building is set to open its doors to renters.

Wesley’s presence in Northern Virginia continues to grow, as well as its staff. The nonprofit owns and operates 2,000 affordable housing units across the region, with about 690 units located in Arlington, including a mixed-income apartment building in Rosslyn that opened in 2017. The company also provides services and programs to residents.

Libby Garvey, the chair of the Arlington County Board, said this groundbreaking is an important milestone for the county, which — like every in-demand urban area — struggles to maintain affordable housing when wealthy families also desire to move in.

“Healthy communities provide work and housing opportunities for all levels of the social and economic spectrum,” Garvey said. “The pandemic has shown clearly how important housing is to everyone’s health.”

Murphy said the moderate-income units and market-rate townhouses in The Cadence make good on a promise that Wesley made to the community to bring more income diversity to Buckingham, which has a significant number of affordable housing units already.

“We want to make sure we are helping Arlington County build neighborhoods of opportunity,” she said.

Knightsbridge and Whitefield Commons provide “extremely deep affordability” for families with an average income of less than $20,000 and $30,000 a year, respectively, she said. The Cadence will cater to families of four who earn between $62,000 and $80,000 a year.

Wesley also promised to preserve the Whitefield Commons — which was built in 1943 and formerly known as the Windsor Apartments — and to encourage residents to seek transportation alternatives to cars. The developer faced some opposition from neighbors, who said Buckingham’s percentage of affordable housing units is much higher compared to other neighborhoods.

The project has received state and county funding, loans and tax credits. Additional funding comes from Wesley selling the land for the townhouses to Tysons-based home builder Madison Homes.

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(Updated at 1:15 p.m.) A teen girl was allegedly touched inappropriately by a man in the Buckingham neighborhood, near Ballston, late last night.

The incident happened just before midnight on N. Pershing Drive.

Initial reports suggested that the man might have attempted to abduct a 13-year-old girl, but a police spokeswoman tells ARLnow the crime is currently believed to be a sexual battery, not an abduction attempt.

The man reportedly fled in a vehicle after the incident.

More from today’s Arlington County Police Department crime report:

SEXUAL BATTERY, 2020-10040211, 4300 block of N. Pershing Drive. At approximately 11:56 p.m. on October 4, police were dispatched to the report of a sexual assault just occurred. Upon arrival, it was determined that the juvenile female victim was walking in the area when she observed the suspect following her. The suspect then approached the victim from behind and grabbed her buttocks. The victim pushed the suspect away and yelled for help, prompting the suspect to flee the scene. The suspect is described as a Hispanic male, 25 – 35 years old, approximately 5’0″ tall, chubby, with short black hair. He was wearing shorts and a dark blue shirt at the time of the incident. A silver Honda mini-van was observed by witnesses leaving the area immediately after the incident occurred. The investigation is ongoing.

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A man was stabbed early Sunday morning after leaving a restaurant in the Buckingham neighborhood.

The incident happened shortly after 2 a.m. on the 200 block of N. Glebe Road. Arlington County police say two men approached a man after he walked out of a restaurant and stabbed him with a knife.

Police rendered first aid to the victim, who was seriously injured but is expected to survive.

No motive was given and the suspects remain at large.

More from an ACPD crime report today:

MALICIOUS WOUNDING, 2020-08230040, 200 block of N. Glebe Road. At approximately 2:20 a.m. on August 23, police were dispatched to the report of a stabbing. Arriving officers located the victim suffering from a laceration and provided emergency medical care until the arrival of medics. The victim was then transported to an area hospital with serious but non-life threatening injuries. The investigation determined that the victim had exited a restaurant and began walking in the area when he was approached from behind by two suspects, who produced a knife and stabbed him. The suspects fled on foot prior to police arrival. The Suspect One is described as a Hispanic male, wearing a white shirt with jeans. Suspect Two is described as a Hispanic male with brown hair, wearing a black shirt and jeans. The investigation is ongoing.

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Several vehicles were damaged Wednesday afternoon after a woman in a vehicle that was reported stolen twice tried to ram her way out of traffic stops, according to police.

The incident started shortly after 4 p.m. in the Buckingham neighborhood.

Police say the woman stole a car that was left idling and unattended, near the intersection of N. Henderson Road and N. Thomas Street, and was subsequently spotted driving north of N. Glebe Road near Route 50.

She refused to stop for officers, but was followed through Ballston by police in unmarked vehicles, as witnessed by an ARLnow reporter. Police tried to block her in on N. Monroe Street, near the Arlington Arts Center, but she reportedly hopped the curb and kept driving. The mirror of a parked vehicle, as well as the front of a police SUV, appear to have been damaged in the process.

An Arlington County Police Department crime report details what happened next.

“Officers briefly lost sight of the vehicle, but located it again when the suspect backed into a parking spot in the 3300 block of 2nd Street S.,” near Thomas Jefferson Middle School, according to the crime report. “The suspect refused to exit the vehicle and began to drive again, striking a cruiser blocking it into the spot.”

“Spike sticks were deployed as the driver attempted to flee again by reversing the vehicle onto the curb behind it,” the crime report continues. “Following multiple attempts to have the suspect exit the vehicle, officers forced entry and took her into custody without incident.”

“Latia Hill, 27, of No Fixed Address, was arrested and charged with Grand Larceny: Motor Vehicle Theft, Eluding Police and Reckless Driving, and held on no bond,” the crime report concludes. “During the course of the investigation, it was determined that the suspect also struck a parked vehicle in the area of Wilson Boulevard and N. Monroe Street.”

A Virginia State Police trooper assisted with the final traffic stop, according to scanner traffic. No injuries were reported.

Arlington County police recently warned residents of a wave of thefts of unattended vehicles, many of which are delivery vehicles.

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Narcotics may have claimed two more lives in Arlington over the weekend.

Police removed two bodies from an apartment along N. George Mason Drive in the Buckingham neighborhood Sunday night, a local resident told ARLnow. A police spokeswoman tells us that the preliminary death investigation pointed to drugs as a likely cause.

“At approximately 6:52 p.m. on August 2, police were dispatched to the 300 block of N. George Mason Drive for the report of a possible death,” said Arlington County Police Department spokeswoman Ashley Savage.

“Upon arrival, an adult male and female were located deceased inside a residence,” Savage continued. “Based on the preliminary investigation, the deaths are being investigated as possible overdoses. Cause of death will be determined by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.”

Arlington has seen a resurgence in opioid overdoses and deaths this year, as the pandemic leaves people jobless and at home, exacerbating substance abuse issues. The surge threatens to reverse progress since the opioid crisis in Arlington peaked in 2017.

Two weeks ago, ACPD revealed that its officers had used life-saving Naloxone to reverse opioid overdoses nine times so far this year. Prior to the weekend’s deaths, the county had recorded 38 opioid overdoses and 10 deaths so far this year, compared to 42 overdoses and 6 deaths for all of 2019.

More from a police press release:

Since the start of the year, nine individuals have recovered from opioid overdoses following the deployment of Nasal Naloxone (also known as Narcan®) by responding officers. This comes as the number of police investigated incidents involving opioids begins to rise, with fatal incidents now surpassing those reported in 2019. The opioid crisis remains a significant issue facing our community. The Arlington County Police Department is sharing information and resources to promote awareness, prevention and action to ultimately save lives.

Addressing the Opioid Crisis in Arlington

Starting in 2016, the Arlington community began seeing a significant increase in the number of opioid overdoses and deaths reported in the County. To help individuals, families, parents and friends understand the risks associated with opioids and resources available to help with this growing crisis, Arlington developed the Arlington Addiction Recovery Initiative (AARI). AARI is a collaborative program comprised of stakeholders from across the county including treatment providers, first responders, the justice system, schools, the hospital, and non-profit organizations. The initiative takes a multi-faceted approach to addressing the opioid epidemic by focusing on prevention and education, addiction treatment, response and recovery and criminal investigation and enforcement. […]

Investigating Opioid-Related Incidents

Detectives from the police department’s Organized Crime Section assist with every opioid-related overdose and collaborate with detectives from the Homicide/Robbery Unit on fatal incidents to ensure a complete and thorough investigation. Prioritization has been placed on investigating cases involving heroin and opioids and identifying those that distribute dangerous controlled substances within our community. Whenever possible, overdose victims are referred to the DHS’ overdose outreach program for follow-up after an incident involving opioids. This referral system has led to an increase in the number of individuals seeking treatment for opioid use disorders through County programs.

Additional Resources

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, there are numerous treatment resources available in Arlington and through the Department of Human Services. Assistance is also available through Operation Safe Station, a designated safe environment where individuals wishing to seek help with their drug use can self-report and receive services, without fear of prosecution and incarceration. Community members are also encouraged to prevent medication misuse or overdose by safely disposing of unused, unwanted or expired prescription medication in one of Arlington’s four permanent drug take-back boxes or by requesting a free deactivation bag.

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

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Morning Notes

Arlington Gets Federal Arts Grant — “Arlington Cultural Affairs will receive a $35,000 Art Works award from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA)… [Arlington] will use the grant to support a multi-cultural artist residency project serving the Columbia Hills and Columbia Grove affordable housing communities.” [Arlington County]

Justin Trawick to Play ‘Secret’ Show — “We just got approval from Arlington County to present ‘Common Good on The Block’ benefiting the Arlington Food Assistance Center. Join ‘Justin Trawick and The Common Good’ for a secret street show with the full band on August 1st. This will be a socially distanced event and there are only 60 tickets available.” [Twitter]

Armed Robbery Near Ballston — “At approximately 11:45 p.m. on July 7, the victim was outside his residence when he was approached by two male suspects, one of whom was displaying a firearm. The suspects forced the victim back inside of his apartment, assaulted him, and demanded money. The victim was forced into the bathroom while the suspects ransacked the residence, then stole the victim’s vehicle, a 2005 Chevrolet Equinox with Virginia tags, and other items of value.” [Arlington County]

APS Superintendent to Hold Virtual Town Hall — “Dr. Durán will be hosting a community virtual Town Hall on Tuesday, July 14, from 6:30 to 8 p.m., to address the family selection process for choosing an instructional model for students. The Superintendent will address questions already received and take questions during the live event using Microsoft Teams or Facebook Live. The event will provide simultaneous interpretation in 5 languages (more details to come), including ASL, and closed captions in the streamed video.” [Arlington Public Schools]

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