Arlington, VA

Update at 1 p.m. — Arlington County Police have released a crime report with more information on the incident.

ROBBERY, 2019-04210144, 2600 block of Columbia Pike. At approximately 5:13 p.m. on April 21, police were dispatched to the report of an armed robbery that just occurred. A male suspect allegedly entered a business, brandished a firearm, stole an undisclosed amount of cash and personal property from the victims before fleeing the scene. A responding officer observed the suspect vehicle and attempted a traffic stop on I-395 North at Boundary Channel. Once the officer exited his vehicle, the suspect fled the scene and a vehicle pursuit was initiated onto northbound George Washington Parkway. While on the George Washington Parkway, officers observed the suspect vehicle drive on the pedestrian path, turn around and begin driving southbound in the northbound lanes. At that time, the vehicle pursuit was terminated by police. The suspect continued to drive towards the Potomac River, exited the vehicle and attempted to flee the scene on foot. As the vehicle careened into the Potomac River, the suspect entered the water and attempted to swim but was subsequently taken into police custody. The suspect was transported to an area hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Freddie Lee McRae, 33, of Temple Hills, MD, was arrested and charged with Robbery, Felony Eluding, Use of a Firearm in Commission of a Felony and Possession of a Firearm by Convicted Felon.

Earlier: A robbery along Columbia Pike led to a police pursuit and a crash into the Potomac on Easter Sunday evening.

The incident started around 5:15 p.m. when a man armed with a gun robbed a business on the 2600 block of Columbia Pike — the same block as the CVS and the Domino’s Pizza.

The suspect “fled the scene with an undisclosed amount of cash” and drove off, but was spotted and pursued by police officers, according to Arlington County Police.

The chase continued to the northbound GW Parkway, where the suspect drove off the side of the road and crashed into the Potomac near I-395.

“Suspect was subsequently taken into police custody and transported to an area hospital with non-life threatening injuries,” ACPD said. “There are believed to be no outstanding suspects. No other injuries or property damage was reported. Police remain on scene investigating.”

Arlington County Police were assisted by the Arlington County Fire Department, U.S. Park Police, Virginia State Police, D.C. police and the U.S. Coast Guard in the incident and investigation. The northbound GW Parkway was temporarily closed following the crash, according to Arlington Alert.

Photo courtesy John Sonderman

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Morning Notes

Lawmakers Regret Hasty Reaction to Scandals — “If they had to do it all over, members of Arlington’s legislative delegation acknowledge it might have been better to hit the pause button before rushing in to judge the actions of embattled statewide officeholders.” [InsideNova]

Arlington Adds Stanley Cups to Recycling List — “Stanley cups made of silver and nickel alloy and won by the Washington NHL franchise in 2018 should be maintained and recycled by the team annually for continued Arlington-Washington regional delight. #ALL CAPS #Back2Back” [Arlington County, RMNB]

Blues Fest Lineup Announced — “Riding a wave of accolades for his just-released CD Somebody Save Me (Forty Below Records) and two 2019 Blues Award nominations, soul/blues vocalist Sugaray Rayford headlines the 24th Annual Columbia Pike Blues Festival, on Saturday, June 15, 2019.” [Columbia Pike]

Police Participating in Drug Take-Back Day — “On Saturday, April 27, 2019 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the Arlington County Police Department, Arlington County Sheriff’s Office and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will give the public its 17th opportunity in eight years to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs.” [Arlington County]

Flickr pool photo by huskerdont77

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Morning Notes

Crystal City to Grow With Amazon — “‘Amazon, and its 25,000 employees, coming to Crystal City will change everything,’ [Vornado Realty Trust Chairman and CEO Steven] Roth wrote in the letter. ‘Crystal City will become a teeming metropolis of apartments, shops and offices.'” [Washington Business Journal]

Local Couple Talks About Deadly Accident — “An Arlington couple is making a personal plea for a recall of the Fisher-Price Rock ‘N Play sleeper after their son died while laying in the product. Arlington parents Evan and Keenan Overton’s baby son Ezra died in the Rock ‘N Play sleeper right before Christmas in 2017.” [WJLA]

FLIR Moves to Pentagon Row — Infrared camera manufacturer FLIR Systems is moving its D.C. area headquarters to Pentagon Row, in the former LA Fitness space. The company recently announced an investment in a drone company and a large new DoD contract. [FLIR, BusinessWire, BusinessWire]

Confusing Signs Corrected on the Pike — A pair of seemingly contradictory direction signs on Columbia Pike, at the Washington Blvd interchange, have been corrected, county officials say. [Twitter]

Arlington Holds #MeToo Event — “On Wednesday, several Arlington County groups and Arlington’s ‘Project PEACE,’ held an event named ‘#MeToo: Being Men – Raising Men’ at the Arlington County Central Library. Lisa Tingle, the senior assistant commonwealth’s attorney for Fairfax County and Falls Church, said it is important to teach men about sexual harassment at an early age.” [WUSA 9]

Flickr pool photo by Brian Irwin

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Morning Notes

Arlington Man Nabbed for Gun at DCA — “The number of firearms caught by Transportation Security Administration officers at checkpoints at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) have increased at an alarming rate this year as TSA officers caught the ninth gun of the year yesterday, April 7.” [TSA]

Trustify Co-Founder Lands Federal Appointment — Once high-flying Arlington startup Trustify, which has shut down amid a flurry of lawsuits and accusations of malfeasance, has generated another headline, this time for its co-founder’s new job. Jennifer Mellon was appointed confidential assistant to Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chairman Neil Chatterjee, prompting questions from one energy industry publication. [E&E News]

Fire at Pike Apartment Building — “Units on scene 5500 blk of Columbia Pike for fire in trash compactor in high rise residential building. Fire is out, extinguished by sprinkler system. No extension. No injuries reported.” [Twitter]

Phoenix Bikes Rises — “With a newish executive director and a new space to call home, Phoenix Bikes will have a lot to celebrate at its upcoming ‘Makers’ Ball’ later in the month.” [InsideNova]

Photo courtesy Noah Kaufman

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17th Annual Columbia Pike Blues Festival (photo courtesy Columbia Pike Documentary Project)

(Updated at 2:35 p.m.) The 24th annual Columbia Pike Blues Festival is hitting the streets again this June.

The free blues festival will be held on Saturday, June 15 from 1-8:30 p.m. at the intersection of Columbia Pike and S. Walter Reed Drive.

The event is organized by the Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization (CPRO).

This year, the CPRO is partnering with Shirlington-area New District Brewing Company, which will serve up craft beer during the event, per an organizer’s announcement.

CPRO board president John Snyder said the organization is “delighted” to partner with New District Brewing this year.

“We love to get together with neighbors and local businesses — New District is both — and we love their beer!” Snyder said in a statement.

Thousands have attended the festival in previous years, which closes nearby roads from around 7:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. that day.

Details on the performance line-up, activities, and road closures are yet not available on the festival’s website.

Photo courtesy of the Columbia Pike Documentary Project

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(Updated at 5:15 p.m.) Arlington’s newest craft beer bar “Rebellion on the Pike” is opening this week.

An employee said it would be open Monday evening, though a phone for the business was not answered as of 5 p.m. A Facebook post from Monday afternoon says the bar was open over the weekend and will be “back open tomorrow after a good day of rest and restocking.”

Silver tables and chairs sit under the string lights of its outdoor patio area. Inside, black and brown wood furnish the bar. The bar is open from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. on weeknights and from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. Saturdays and Sundays.

Located at 2900 Columbia Pike across from the Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse, the Rebellion’s menu features a variety of sandwiches like “The Ronnie” which stuffs 1/3 pound of smoked pork on ciabatta with an Alabama white sauce and bourbon picked slaw, and the “Rebel Yell” with smoked turkey breast, bacon, tomatoes, and white American cheese on sourdough.

Rebellion also serves wings, salads, a variety of pork sandwiches, and “communal grub” like fried pork belly bites, and poutine with house beer cheese, per the menu.

The bar will feature 24 draft lines of craft beer, according to social media posts. A full drink list of the beers, wines, and spirits was not available in time for publication.

As of today (Monday), the bar’s website says it’s hiring.

Brian Westlye founded Rebellion and is the COO of the hospitality company that’s managing the bar. Westlye said in February he was “hopefully” opening by March 1, though most new restaurants in Arlington end up being beset by varying degrees of delays. Rebellion quietly opened its doors and served its first customers last week as part of a soft opening.

Wesley founded the first “Rebellion” in D.C.’s Dupont Circle neighborhood. That location serves up a sizable whiskey list as well as burgers, beer, and cocktails.

Rebellion replaces “Brickhaus” which closed last year after owner Tony Wagner said it “never took off the way we expected and hoped it would,” after delays from a lengthy permitting approval process.

Last two photos via Facebook

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(Updated at 12:30 p.m.) Police are on scene of an electrocution at the Dorchester Apartments on the 2000 block of Columbia Pike.

Police and medics were dispatched to the rear of the apartment community around 11:20 a.m. after multiple 911 callers reported that a man fell from a ladder or a rooftop and was electrocuted by nearby power lines.

The victim was transported to a local hospital with critical injuries, according to Arlington County Police Department spokeswoman Ashley Savage.

Police and crews from Dominion Power remain on scene. A blackened portion of a metal downspout, potentially indicating contact with the electrical lines, could be seen near where the victim fell.

Occupational safety inspectors have been called to the scene for an investigation.

Photo via Google Maps

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Columbia Pike now has a new top booster.

The Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization tapped Kim Klingler as its new executive director, the group announced in a release today (Tuesday).

Klingler steps in for interim director Karen Vasquez, who’d been serving in that role since January.

She took over for Cecilia Cassidy, who stepped down last December after more than two years helming the group.

“We are excited that Kim will be joining CPRO as our new Executive Director,” said CPRO board president John Snyder in a statement. “She brings with her tremendous experience as an Arlington activist and civic leader, as well as business expertise. All will be great assets to our organization.”

More details on Klingler from a press release:

An Arlington resident for 18 years, in a professional capacity, Kim has been a Division Director at the American Society for Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and a Senior Manager at Deloitte Consulting. She has also worked extensively with local organizations and Arlington County, serving as both Chair and Vice Chair for the Arlington Committee of 100, Chair of the Emergency Preparedness Advisory Commission, and Co-Chair of the Arlington County Democratic Committee – Joint Campaign.

Kim’s volunteer work includes the Arlington Free Clinic, Lee Highway Alliance, Arlington County Civic Federation, Arlington Arts Center, Falls Church Volunteer Fire Department, among others. She is also a member of Leadership Arlington, the Arlington County Chamber of Commerce, and was a 2014 Inaugural Honoree of the Arlington “40 Under 40.”

“Columbia Pike is such an amazing place with so much history, diversity, and potential,” said Kim. “I am excited, and feel deeply privileged, to have the opportunity to combine my professional and community leadership skills and experiences in order to continue CPRO’s legacy and further shape Columbia Pike’s future.”

Photo courtesy of CPRO

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Morning Notes

Seven Corners Suspicious DeathUpdated at 10:25 a.m. — Fairfax County Police are investigating a “suspicious death” on the 6100 block of Arlington Blvd in Seven Corners, near the Arlington border. That block is home to the Willston Centre shopping center, a McDonald’s, a hotel and a number of commercial offices. [Twitter, Twitter]

What’s Up With the ‘Psychedelic Tower?’ — “You’ve probably seen the tower if you’ve ever driven across the 14th Street Bridge… It’s a hexagonal, granite structure that sits about a third of the way down the bridge, closer to the Virginia side. By day, it doesn’t look like much. But by night, its windows light up like a gigantic kaleidoscope.” [WAMU]

New Pike Library Remains a Goal — “Arlington government leaders haven’t given up their quest to add a new library branch on the western end of Columbia Pike. But unless an unbeatable opportunity presents itself, a new facility is not going to happen immediately.” [InsideNova]

Arts Cuts Highlighted in TV ReportProposed budget cuts to the county’s scene shop, costume shop and technical services provided to local theater companies “would really destroy the arts community,” advocates told NBC 4 in a segment that aired last night. [NBC Washington]

Nearby: Seven Corners Office Buildings Purchased — “BoundTrain Real Estate has purchased the two commercial office towers located at 6400 and 6402 Arlington Boulevard in Falls Church for more than $38 million. The two 13-story buildings in the Seven Corners commercial district include more than 410,000 square feet of commercial space.” [Falls Church News-Press]

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For the last few years, pie chef Sol Schott has relied on the kitchen space at Columbia Pike’s Twisted Vines Bar and Bottleshop to whip up his wares — now, his Acme Pie Company is taking over the storefront.

Schott told ARLnow that he signed a five-year lease this week for the space at 2803 Columbia Pike. It’ll be the first brick-and-mortar location for his baking business, after he spent years selling his pies wholesale and offering them up at local farmers markets.

“It’s really terrifying, but weird and exciting,” Schott said. “This just sort of fell into my lap.”

Schott said he’d been toying with the idea of opening a physical location for a while now, but he felt compelled to act as he faced a stark choice at the start of the new year: “I had to either move the kitchen or take over the lease.”

That’s because Twisted Vines owner Tony Wagner decided to shutter the wine bar at the end of last year, along with the nearby BrickHaus beer garden, to focus on his new Italian restaurant in Penrose Square. Schott had relied on Wagner’s oven for his pie-baking ever since he launched Acme back in 2013, and he suddenly found himself without a home when Wagner closed up shop.

Though he examined other potential locations, Schott said he ultimately decided to try and stay put in the Pike space (he lives in nearby Douglas Park, after all) and he was eventually able to strike a deal with its landlord.

Schott is now envisioning a “1920s or 1930s pie bar” for the store, befitting his business’s throwback name. He’s also planning a bit of an old-school schedule as well — Schott hopes to keep his wholesale business going, so he’ll be hard at work baking pies from about 5-10 a.m. each day.

If anyone stops by the store while he’s slaving away at the oven, he’ll run upstairs and sell them a freshly baked pie.

“I’ll have a baby monitor or something out front so they can talk to me,” Schott said. “People used to do that back in the day, they’d ring a bell or something… It’s unconventional, but it makes no sense for me to just be open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day.”

When the store is open (likely starting around 2 p.m. each day), Schott hopes to still serve whole pies and pies by the slice, with many of the same flavors he currently bakes up. Options include everything from sour cherry to Scottish apple.

With the new store, he also plans to offer some “fancy sodas” and other sweet treats as well.

“If you’ve got pie, you should probably have ice cream,” Schott said. “And if you have that, it’s pretty easy to make milkshakes.”

He expects to offer limited coffee options, buying his beans from Misha’s Coffeehouse in Old Town Alexandria. But he doesn’t think he’ll get more complex than just drip coffee or a french press.

“As long you don’t come in there and think you’re going to get a vanilla macchiato or whatever, you’ll be OK,” Schott said. “I don’t know anything about it, I can’t compete with those other coffee places.”

So long as all goes well, he plans to open the shop for hungry customers by April 1. Schott says he has some painting to do “to make the place not feel like a wine bar anymore,” but otherwise already has many of the permits he needs from the county.

And considering that Schott says he’s already heard from a bevy of friends and customers excited about his new venture, he expects it should draw a crowd right away.

“I want it to be a fun place, a place for the community,” Schott said. “But my idea is kind of off the wall.”

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Summer may feel pretty far off these days, as temperatures dip into the 20s, but there’s already a full slate of outdoor movie nights scheduled along Columbia Pike.

The Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization (CPRO) announced the schedule for its annual movie series last week, with screenings set to start in mid-June.

The theme of this year’s series is “Heroes and Sheroes: Movies with a Mission.”

On Fridays, screenings will be held at the Arlington Mill Community Center (909 S. Dinwiddie Street). On Saturdays, movies will be shown at the Penrose Square development (2501 9th Road S.).

The full schedule is as follows:

Arlington Mill

June 14: Moana (PG)
June 21: On the Basis of Sex (PG-13)
June 28: A Wrinkle in Time (PG)
July 5: Hidden Figures (PG)
July 12: Aquaman (PG-13)
July 19: First Man (PG-13)
July 26: The Incredibles (PG)
August 2: Mulan (G)
August 9: Brave (PG)
August 16: E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (PG)
August 23: Won’t You Be My Neighbor (PG-13)

Penrose Square

June 15: Black Panther (PG-13)
June 22: Wonder Woman (PG-13)
June 29: The Post (PG-13)
July 6: Apollo 13 (PG)
July 13: Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse (PG)
July 20: Akeelah and the Bee (PG)
July 27: Selma (PG-13)
August 3: Norma Rae (PG)
August 10: A League of Their Own (PG)
August 17: Life in the Doghouse (NR)
August 24: Won’t You Be My Neighbor (PG-13)

CPRO says it’s still looking for businesses to sponsor the movie series. Anyone interested can apply on the organization’s website.

Photo via Facebook

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