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by Alex Koma May 16, 2018 at 3:55 pm 0

A push to overhaul Clarendon’s St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church for the first time in nearly 30 years is gaining steam.

The church’s pastor, the Rev. Don Planty, wrote to parishioners in a newsletter Sunday (May 13) that St. Charles is moving forward with a proposal to “redevelop” the parish site, which is located on prime land at 3304 Washington Blvd. The next step is to get approval for a redevelopment from the diocese and Bishop Michael F. Burbidge.

Planty wrote that the parish has spent the last 10 months or so gathering feedback on the issue. One town hall meeting asked parishioners: “If our parish had an empty city block-if we could start from scratch — what structures would you envision that would best support our mission?”

Church leaders found a “consensus that a timely redevelopment of the St. Charles parish campus would better serve the church’s mission in general and the parish’s mission in particular.”

The church’s website says the building was last overhauled in 1990. More from Planty’s letter:

I am happy to report that the consultation phase regarding a potential parish site redevelopment has concluded and that I have submitted a report to Bishop Burbidge. The consultation process revealed a consensus that a timely redevelopment of the St. Charles Parish campus would better serve the Church’s mission in general and the parish’s mission in particular. A strong majority of parish stakeholders, and all diocesan stakeholders, are enthusiastic about the possibilities that a future redevelopment of the St. Charles campus could bring. Having spent ten months soliciting broad feedback from representative parishioners and diocesan officials, according to the plan approved by Bishop Burbidge, I am confident that there is a great desire to redevelop the St. Charles Parish site, and therefore have requested that Bishop Burbidge formally approve further redevelopment efforts.

Other churches in Arlington have funded new facilities through redevelopment of the church property, including Arlington Presbyterian along Columbia Pike and the Church at Clarendon in Clarendon, both of which approved affordable housing developments that were built on top of the new church spaces.

St. Charles leaders are interested in addressing “an aging parish infrastructure,” “the projected growth in the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor” and “the need for facilities which better support the parish mission now and in the future,” according to its website.

File photo

by ARLnow.com May 16, 2018 at 1:45 pm 0

A group of three men tried to take a woman’s purse near Clarendon early last Thursday morning, but were unsuccessful and instead ended up running away.

Police say the group approached the woman, threw her to the ground and tried to take the purse, but she fought back and the suspects fled empty-handed.

More from this week’s Arlington County Police Department crime report:

ATTEMPTED ROBBERY, 2018-05100029, N. Irving Street at Clarendon Boulevard. At approximately 2:39 a.m. on May 10, police were dispatched to the report of an assault just occurred. Upon arrival, it was determined that the female victim was walking in the area when she was approached by three male suspects. The victim continued walking and was again approached by the three suspects. One suspect grabbed the victim around the neck and threw her to the ground, while the other two suspects attempted to steal her purse. The victim was able to fight back and the suspects fled the area prior to police arrival. Nothing was stolen from the victim and she did not require medical attention. Suspect One is described as a black male with a thin build and black hair, wearing a black shirt and dark jeans. Suspect Two is described as a heavyset black male, wearing dark clothing. Suspect Three is described as a dark-skinned Hispanic male with an average build, wearing dark clothing. The investigation is ongoing.

The rest of this past week’s crime report highlights, including one that we’ve already reported, after the jump.

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by Anna Merod May 16, 2018 at 10:55 am 0

Market Common Clarendon is hosting a free concert series called “Rock the Loop” from May through July.

The concerts are held from 6:30-8:30 p.m. every Thursday at “The Loop” in the shopping center.

Here’s the full concert schedule below:

  • May 17 – Gary Smallwood (Classic Rock/Blues)
  • May 24 – Shane Gamble (Country Rock)
  • May 31 – Driven to Clarity (Acoustic Covers)
  • June 7 –  Hand Painted Swinger (Pop Rock)
  • June 14 – Chris Bruno (Popular Covers)
  • June 21 – Yellow Tie Guy (Rock/Alternative/Folk)
  • June 28 – Smokin’ Lounge (Pop/Rock/Jazz)
  • July 5 – Brian Weber (Rock/Blues/Folk)
  • July 12 – Elizabeth, Phil & Chris (Rock/Latin/Go-go)
  • July 19 – Nina Casey Trio (Acoustic Blues/Swing)
  • July 26 – Phil Kominski (Acoustic/Folk)

Market Common Clarendon is also offering free concerts for kids each Friday through August, starting at 10:30 a.m. each day.

Photo via Facebook

by Anna Merod May 15, 2018 at 4:45 pm 0

Asiatique, a “Cajun seafood and sushi lounge,” will be holding a soft opening Thursday (May 17) in Clarendon, according to a restaurant rep.

Starting Thursday until the end of May, the restaurant — located at 3225 Washington Blvd., on the ground floor of the Beacon at Clarendon apartment building — will offer restaurant-goers 25 percent off its meals.

Signs were up in January and the restaurant’s owner previously told ARLnow that it would likely open in mid-February. Recently the restaurant placed a lighted “open” sign on the window.

Food on the menu includes fried baskets, with options ranging from chicken tenders to oysters, and a wide variety of sushi offerings, which range in price from $6-$18.

The restaurant also offers blue crab, crawfish, crab legs, shrimp, mussels and steamed scallops. Alongside the seafood orders, customers can choose a sauce to accompany each dish and choose a level of spiciness.

by ARLnow.com Sponsor May 15, 2018 at 12:45 pm 0

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by Alex Koma May 14, 2018 at 4:45 pm 0

Arlington’s crime rate fell for the sixth straight year in 2017, even as the county recorded some big jumps in alcohol-related misdemeanors, according to new police data.

The Arlington County Police Department released its annual report for the past year on Monday (May 14), showing that the county’s overall crime rate dropped by just over 7.7 percent in 2017.

That includes drops in the number of several types of more serious crimes, like robberies and car thefts, though the county did see a roughly 4 percent increase in aggravated assaults. Arlington police also investigated four murders last year, after recording just one in 2016, but the department has managed to close all of those cases.

Police recorded some of the largest increases in crimes related to alcohol, with a nearly 73 percent jump in liquor law violations and a more than 17 percent jump in various “drunkenness” charges. In all, the county’s 129 liquor law violations included 62 underage drinking charges and 28 charges for drinking alcohol in public, according to the report. Police also recorded confiscating 703 fake IDs last year.

The department noted that some of those increases could be attributed to officers spending more time policing downtown Clarendon, in particular, as part of its “Arlington Restaurant Initiative” to step up the police presence in the area.

County police recorded a significant increase in “officer contacts” in designated “nightlife areas,” with a 56 percent jump in the number of interactions they recorded around neighborhoods with large concentrations of bars and restaurants. However, with the department’s plans to shift its resources to cope with a staffing squeeze, Police Chief M. Jay Farr recently warned that police may not be able to station as many officers in Clarendon moving forward.

Like many other communities across the country, Arlington recorded a large uptick in the number of opioid overdoses last year. In all, police responded to 74 overdoses in 2017, with 19 of those proving to be fatal. In 2016, the county saw 45 total overdoses involving drugs like heroin and fentanyl, and 12 were fatal.

Finally, county police recorded a 7 percent drop in traffic accidents last year. However, the department did register an especially large bump in accidents involving bicycles — from 32 in 2016 to 80 in 2017 — but they believe an increased focus on bike safety last spring helped contribute to the larger number there.

Similarly, Farr believes police will also have less time to devote to traffic enforcement under the department’s restructuring plan, which took effect on Sunday (May 13).

Charts via Arlington County Police Department

by Alex Koma May 14, 2018 at 2:45 pm 0

Long-delayed plans to transform Red Top Cab’s properties in western Clarendon into three new mixed-use buildings could soon move ahead.

The Arlington County Board is set to consider a series of zoning changes this weekend to let Ballston-based developer The Shooshan Company start re-developing the lots, which sit behind Clarendon’s main strip of bars along Wilson Boulevard.

In all, the developer is hoping to build a total of 584 multifamily units across the three buildings, with 1,295 square feet of retail space included as well. The new development would replace Red Top’s headquarters (located where Washington Boulevard meets 13th Street N.), in addition to the lot the company once used for vehicle maintenance at 1200 N. Hudson Street.

The County Board first approved the project in October 2015. But work hasn’t moved ahead on the project as the developer has tweaked its construction plans, according to a staff report prepared for the Board.

Originally, The Shooshan Company planned to start work on the building along N. Ivy Street first. But that location is also home to a daycare center, NOVA KinderCare, and the developer wanted to let that business stay open, staff wrote. Accordingly, they want to move forward with work on the property at the N. Hudson Street — originally the second phase of the project — to kick things off instead.

In exchange for clearing the way for the development by vacating several properties in the area, Shooshan has agreed to donate four parcels of land along the 1100 block of N. Jackson Street, valued at about $3 million, to the county. That will help the county move ahead with its plans to do away with the reversible lanes on Washington Boulevard and create “a more conventional ‘T’ intersection” with 13th Street N., staff wrote.

The developer also plans to donate land to the county to help it build a park in the area, and will include at least six affordable housing units in the new buildings. Red Top plans to move its headquarters elsewhere in Arlington, if these plans go forward, and has already moved its maintenance operations to Falls Church.

County staff is recommending that the Board approve these changes. The Board is scheduled to take up the matter at its Saturday (May 19) meeting.

by Anna Merod May 11, 2018 at 3:30 pm 0

Anti-abortion protesters took over the Clarendon Metro Plaza for about two hours Thursday morning (May 10), greeting pedestrians with graphic images of aborted fetuses.

“We are raising awareness about the destruction of children in the womb and we are calling the community to support women to help and make a choice for life for their children,” said Jeanne Miller, one of the protesters.

The protest was a part of a day-long event to honor the late George Yourishin, described by the Baltimore-based organization Defend Life as a “pro-life hero.” Miller said there was no real reason for choosing Clarendon to protest besides the fact that demonstrators were planning to visit Yourishin’s grave in Arlington National Cemetery later that day, after mass at nearby St. Charles Catholic Church.

She added that most of the signs were provided by Defend Life to show what an abortion looks like. The practice of protesters displaying gruesome photos of fetuses in public places has been hotly debated in several court cases nationwide; some courts have ruled that the images are too disturbing to be shown in public, while others have defended the practice as one protected by the First Amendment.

Miller said she had a lot of positive interactions with passersby, but had one man who became very upset and shouted epithets at her.

Anti-abortion protesters have demonstrated in Arlington before, gathering outside the H-B Woodlawn Secondary Program in 2016 and Washington-Lee High School in 2012.

Photos by Anna Merod

by ARLnow.com May 10, 2018 at 5:50 pm 0

Update at 6 p.m. — The disabled train has been cleared and medics have left the scene. Residual delays remain, according to Metro.

Earlier: A Silver Line train is disabled at the Clarendon Metro station at the height of the evening rush hour after a rider suffered a medical emergency.

Initial reports suggest that a passenger suffered a seizure on the train, leading another passenger to push an emergency stop switch. The passenger was taken off the train and is being tended to by medics, according to scanner traffic, but the train is now disabled.

Metro is warning about delays on the Blue, Orange and Silver lines as a result of the incident.

by Alex Koma May 9, 2018 at 1:45 pm 0

Arlington County Police are looking for three men who they believe teamed up to assault a man near a Clarendon dog park early Sunday morning.

Police say a man was walking along N. Herndon Street at its intersection with 13th Street N. early Sunday morning (May 6) near the James Hunter Dog Park, when “three slim, light-skinned South Asian” men accosted him because they believed he was attempting to break into their car, according to a crime report.

One of the three men “grabbed an object the victim was carrying and threw it at him, causing a laceration,” police say. Spokeswoman Ashley Savage told ARLnow that the police department’s homicide/robbery unit is investigating the incident as a “malicious wounding by mob,” and is still searching for the suspects.

More from this week’s Arlington County Police Department crime report:

MALICIOUS WOUNDING, 2018-05060043, N. Herndon Street at 13th Street N. At approximately 2:13 a.m. on May 6, police were dispatched to the report of an unknown situation. Upon arrival, it was determined that the male victim was walking in the area attempting to locate his vehicle, when three unknown male suspects approached the victim and accused him of attempting to break into their vehicle, which the victim was standing near. The victim walked away from the vehicle and the suspects continued yelling profanities at him. One suspect then grabbed an object the victim was carrying and threw it at him, causing a laceration. The three suspects then fled the scene in a vehicle prior to police arrival. The suspects are described as three slim, light-skinned South Asian, possibly Indian males, all in their mid 20’s with black hair. One suspect was wearing a black tank top. The vehicle is described as a dark gray or black Toyota Prius, possibly with Maryland license plates. Arriving officers canvassed the area with negative results. The investigation is ongoing.

The incident was one of three “malicious woundings” reported on May 6.

More on those incidents, and other highlights from the ACPD weekly crime report — including some that we’ve already reported — after the jump.

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by ARLnow.com May 7, 2018 at 2:00 pm 0

Two people are wanted by Arlington County Police after a fracas at a Clarendon restaurant early Sunday morning.

Police say the incident started after 2 a.m. when a customer “became irate over the quality of service provided by the business,” then went behind a service counter and struck an employee in the head. A second suspect struck an employee who came to the aid of the first, according to police.

Officers on the Clarendon bar detail responded on foot to the scene after observing “a large crowd and loud noise inside a business.”

The police department generally does not release the name of the business in which a crime takes place, and a police spokeswoman would only describe the business as a restaurant located on the 3100 block of Clarendon Blvd. Restaurants on that block include Mister Days, Bronx Pizza, Bar Bao and Pamplona.

More from an ACPD crime report:

ASSAULT & BATTERY (Significant), 2018-05060044, 3100 block of Clarendon Boulevard. At approximately 2:21 a.m. on May 6, officers assigned to the Clarendon Detail observed a large crowd and loud noise inside a business. Upon investigation, it was determined that a customer became irate over the quality of service provided by the business and went behind the service counter. After being escorted back to the customer area, the suspect returned to the area behind the counter and struck one employee in the head. Additional employees came to the aid of the victim, resulting in a physical altercation and a second suspect then struck an aiding employee in the neck. Warrants for Assault and Battery and Disorderly Conduct were issued for the two suspects.

by Alex Koma May 4, 2018 at 1:15 pm 0

(Updated at 5:45 p.m.) Arlington is getting another escape room, this time in Clarendon.

Fairfax-based Bond’s Escape Room plans to open a second location in Market Common Clarendon, according to a press release. The company is aiming to open the escape room by August.

Bond’s and other escape rooms give participants the chance to solve a series of puzzles and riddles in a timed setting.

“Our goal is to give our guests an exciting, innovative experience that will leave happy memories,” Egor Bondarev, the company’s CEO, said in a release. “We will have a total of twelve rooms (six regular-size games with six miniature games), all designed by our escape room enthusiasts who create the kind of games that we’d want to play.”

Bondarev told ARLnow via email that the escape room will be located at 2800 Clarendon Boulevard, Suite 910, just above Sephora.

Bond’s first opened its Fairfax location along University Drive back in 2015. The company’s website bills it as “the largest escape room venue on the East Coast.”

This announcement comes just a few weeks after Richmond-based Ravenchase Adventures revealed plans to open an escape room along Columbia Pike. The company’s website says that venue will likely open in June.

File photo

by Bridget Reed Morawski May 2, 2018 at 5:00 pm 0

(Updated at 8:05 p.m.) The Arlington County Police Department is asking for tips from the public to identify a man they say has repeatedly exposed himself in the Radnor-Ft. Myer Heights neighborhood, near Courthouse and Clarendon.

The suspect is reported to have approached several victims while exposing himself.

Police describe the suspect as a Hispanic male in his 20s or 30s, standing at 5’8″ to 5’10” tall with a medium build. The suspect, during several incidents, reportedly wore “dark clothing with a hat or hood pulled tight around his face.”

Police have linked five separate indecent exposure incidents on four different days to the same suspect “based on witness interviews and evidence collected.”

The incidents, according to police, occurred at the follow dates, times and locations:

  • January 26, 2018, 10:35 p.m., N. Rolfe Street at 16th Street N.
  • February 9, 2018, 9:48 p.m., 1800 block of 16th Street N.
  • February 13, 2018, 11:00 p.m., 2700 block of Clarendon Boulevard
  • March 3, 2018, 11:58 p.m., 16th Street N. at N. Rhodes Street
  • March 3, 2018, 11:35 p.m., 1900 block of Clarendon Boulevard

The incidents all occurred within approximately a mile of one another, more or less along Clarendon Boulevard. Other indecent exposure incidents have been reported nearby in recent weeks, but were not included in the ACPD press release. However, a police spokesperson tells ARLnow that detectives’ preliminary investigation leads them to believe these two most recent incidents will also end up being included in the same case based on the location and suspect description.

More from the press release:

The Arlington County Police Department is sharing these crime prevention tips to help keep you safe as you travel in the area. Remain alert and aware of your surroundings at all times. Whenever possible, walk with another person and stay in well-lit, high traffic areas. Limit your use of devices that may distract you or impede your vision or hearing. If you see something suspicious or are the victim of a crime, contact the Emergency Communications Center as soon as possible by calling 703-558-2222 or 9-1-1 in an emergency.

If anyone has information on the identity of this individual or details surrounding these incidents, please contact Detective J. Echenique of the Arlington County Police Department’s Special Victims Unit at [email protected] To report information anonymously, contact the Arlington County Crime Solvers at 866.411.TIPS (8477).

by ARLnow.com April 24, 2018 at 9:00 am 0

Arlington Among Top Cities for Recent Grads — According to rankings from the website Livability, Arlington is the No. 2 best place for recent college graduates. Champaign, Ill. was ranked No. 1 and Jersey City, N.J. ranked No. 3. [Livability]

Major Water Main Replacement Approved — “The Arlington County Board [on Saturday] approved a $1.9 million contract (including contingency) to Sagres Construction Corporation to replace a nearly century-old water main along South Arlington Ridge Road, between 23rd Street South and South Nash Street. The existing 8-inch water main was built in 1927 and has experienced frequent breaks in recent years.” [Arlington County]

Cemetery Investigates Suspicious Package — On Saturday Arlington National Cemetery’s main entrance was briefly closed to vehicles and pedestrians while a security team investigated a suspicious package in the Welcome Center. The package was determined to “pose no threat” and normal operations resumed at 4:50 p.m. [Twitter]

Yorktown Grad in NFL Draft — M.J. Stewart may be the first Yorktown High School grad selected in the NFL Draft: “The 6-foot, 205-pound defensive back, who played at the University of North Carolina the last four seasons and was a three-time all-Atlantic Coast Conference selection, has been projected to be chosen in the second or third round. The draft begins the night April 26 with first-round selections and last through April 28.” [InsideNova]

Heated Dispute Over Amazon Fire Stick — “Overheard on the scanner: Police responding to a man and a woman arguing over which person owns an Amazon Fire stick.” [Twitter]

Yarn Bomb Featured in Video — A new video shows the creation of the “yarn bomb” in Clarendon. In captions, it explains that a yarn bomb “is a type of graffiti or street art of knitted or crocheted yarn rather than paint or chalk.” [YouTube]

Flickr pool photo by Dave Bentley

by Anna Merod April 20, 2018 at 3:30 pm 0

Three separate events will be temporarily shutting down Arlington roads this weekend.

The sixth annual Arlington Festival of the Arts will be held in Clarendon on both Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. The event will shut down the following roads from 4 a.m. on Saturday through 9 p.m. on Sunday:

  • Westbound Washington Boulevard from N. Garfield Street to Clarendon Boulevard
  • N. Highland Street from Clarendon Boulevard to Washington Boulevard
  • 11th Street N. between N. Highland and N. Garfield streets only will be open to delivery traffic

Police are advising motorists that street parking will be restricted and that “No Parking” signs will be enforced.

The Discovery/Nottingham Friendship 5K race will be held on Saturday from 7:30-10:30 a.m. According to the Arlington County Police Department, the following roads will be closed during that time:

  • Williamsburg Boulevard will be closed to eastbound traffic from Little Falls Road to N. Harrison Street
  • Little Falls Road will be closed from Williamsburg Boulevard to N. Harrison Street
  • N. Ohio Street will be closed from 26th Street N. to Williamsburg Boulevard

Residents living in the closed-off area will be escorted by police, and are encouraged to park their vehicles in their driveways.

Saturday’s Arlington Palooza, at Alcova Heights Park, will close 8th Street S. between George Mason Drive and S. Randolph Street from 9 a.m.-6 p.m, according to ACPD.

Temporary “No Parking” signs will be placed along George Mason Drive to allow vehicles to load and unload items for the event. Vehicles violating the signs will be towed.

Photos courtesy ACPD

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