(Updated at 11:15 p.m.) Democrat Matt de Ferranti has knocked off independent incumbent John Vihstadt in the race for County Board, restoring the Board to unified Democratic control for the first time since 2014.
With 100 percent of precincts reporting, de Ferranti captured a 53 percent to 46 percent victory over Vihstadt, a difference of about 7,000 votes.
The difficulty of the electoral math for Vihstadt, amid heavy Democratic turnout, was apparent since the first precincts reported. De Ferranti was leading in three of the first four. In 2014, Vihstadt won each of the four districts in his general election race against Alan Howze.
Arlington Democrats had eyed Vihstadt’s seat on the Board ever since his surprise victories four years ago, when he bested Alan Howze in both a special election and general election, becoming the first non-Democrat to sit on the Board since 1999.
“This a reflection of where we’ve come as a party… we heard the message of 2014,” de Ferranti told ARLnow amidst a jubilant crowd of Democrats at William Jeffrey’s Tavern on Columbia Pike Tuesday night. “And I think we have to be humble enough to acknowledge that the national mood didn’t hurt.”
De Ferranti, a lawyer and advocate for Native American education, argued that he had an optimistic and forward-looking vision for the county’s future that stood in stark contrast to Vihstadt’s record. He contended that the incumbent hadn’t done enough to address the county’s persistently high office vacancy rate, and that Vihstadt was overly focused on saying ‘no’ to ambitious projects rather than pursuing an agenda with vision.
Vihstadt, meanwhile, pledged to continue to provide some balance to the Board’s Democratic majority and to work to manage the county’s growth responsibly. Vihstadt did not, however, have a singular project to rail against this year, as he did the Columbia Pike Street Car four years ago. The independent’s victory was widely seen as a rebuke to that project specifically and the Board’s Democratic majority more generally.
Still, the two contenders largely agreed on most pressing issues facing the county. However, de Ferranti separated himself a bit by adopting a friendlier stance toward Amazon’s potential arrival in Arlington, and by setting goals for the county like ending child hunger by 2022 and shifting to 100 percent renewable energy sources by 2035.
De Ferranti won despite being out-raised by Vihstadt in the race for campaign cash, but he benefitted from support from three of his fellow Democrats on the Board — Libby Garvey endorsed Vihstadt once again — and a variety of statewide politicians.
This was de Ferranti’s first run for elected office. He won a two-way primary against fellow newcomer Chanda Choun back in June.
School Board member Barbara Kanninen also won a second term, ensuring that Democratically endorsed candidates will maintain unified control of the Board once more.
Kanninen, an economist, bested independent Audrey Clement by a margin of 68 percent to about 30 percent. Clement and Kanninen last squared off in 2014, when Kanninen first joined the Board.
The race is nominally nonpartisan, but county Democrats have now twice backed Kanninen for office, and she spent the past year serving as Board chair, which rotates among the five members.
“I’m really looking forward to getting back to work,” Kanninen told ARLnow. “I think it shows that people know we’re working hard as a Board and we care about our kids.”
Kanninen ran on traditional issues impacting the school system, like her support for mental health resources for students and improving teacher retention through consistent pay increases, but Clement worked to focus the race on the Board’s decision to change the name of Washington-Lee High School. Opponents of the name change charged that Kanninen spearheaded the effort, and threw their support behind Clement.
Yet the independent fell short once more, in what was her eighth unsuccessful bid for local office in Arlington.
Kanninen was unopposed in the race for the Democratic nomination this year.
Rep. Don Beyer (D-8th District) also cruised to re-election over Republican Thomas Oh, earning his third term in Congress.
Beyer, Virginia’s former lieutenant governor and the owner of several local car dealerships, dominated with nearly 79 percent of the vote to Oh’s 20 percent. The 8th District, which includes Arlington and parts of Alexandria, is one of the most Democratic in the country, last electing a Republican in 1988.
Oh charged that Beyer has been unresponsive to his constituents since taking over for longtime Rep. Jim Moran, and ran on a moderate platform that was decidedly different from other Republicans around the state. But Beyer countered that he’d been an effective representative for the district, noting his focus on environmental issues in particular during his time in Congress.
It is the honor of my life to represent the 8th congressional district of Virginia. THANK YOU for re-electing me today to a third term. I will work every day to make you proud.
— Don Beyer (@DonBeyerVA) November 7, 2018
All four bond referenda easily earned approval from Arlington voters, with none earning less than 73 percent of the vote. U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) also cruised to a 15-point victory over Republican Corey Stewart, with his race called as soon as polls closed.
Arlington County Police are investigating an incident that resulted in a man suffering serious injuries at a Ballston apartment building Monday evening.
Shortly after 4 p.m. police were dispatched to Randolph Towers (4001 9th Street N.) for a report of a person who fell from a 6th floor balcony in the rear of the building onto a ground floor patio below.
The victim was quickly transported to a local trauma center with serious, potentially life-threatening injuries. Police remain at the building, documenting the scene and talking to possible witnesses.
It is unclear if the man accidentally fell or if the fall was in some way intentional.
“The victim was conscious and alert when he was transported to George Washington University Hospital,” ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage tells ARLnow.com. “The investigation into the cause of the fall remains ongoing.”
(Updated at 11:20 a.m.) An Arlington man has been arrested and now faces accusations of a litany of crimes from sexual assault to murder to robbery after a night of violence in the Douglas Park neighborhood.
The reported crime spree started shortly after 9 p.m. Thursday in the area of Doctor’s Run Park, south of Columbia Pike.
Police say 27-year-old Michael Nash was sexually assaulting a woman along the 1300 block of S. George Mason Drive when a witness, 54-year-old Arlington resident Patricio Salazar, tried to intervene. The suspect then allegedly struck Salazar, who was knocked unconscious and later pronounced dead at the hospital.
Nash fled the scene and robbed a woman of her cell phone as he fled, according to police. Officers and a police helicopter searched the area and eventually apprehended Nash near the intersection of Columbia Pike and S. George Mason Drive.
Nash is now facing multiple charges, with additional charges pending. This was the second reported homicide in Arlington so far this year.
More from ACPD:
Arlington County Police announce the arrest of an Arlington man following an overnight homicide investigation. Michael Nash, 27, was arrested and charged with Abduction with the Intent to Defile, Forcible Sodomy and Animate Object Sexual Penetration. Additional charges are forthcoming. Mr. Nash is being held without bond in the Arlington County Detention Facility.
At approximately 9:21 p.m. on October 18, police were dispatched to the 1300 block of S. George Mason Drive following the report of multiple 9-1-1 calls. The preliminary investigation determined that the suspect was walking in the area with a known female victim when he began to physically and sexually assault her. A male witness observed the assault and attempted to render assistance to the victim. The suspect physically assaulted the witness leaving him unconscious. The witness, Patricio Salazar, 54, of Arlington, VA was transported to George Washington University Hospital where he was pronounced deceased.
Following the assaults, the suspect fled the scene on foot. The suspect came into contact with two additional victims whom he tried to rob of a cell phone. The victims fought back and the suspect again fled the scene on foot. The suspect then successfully robbed a female victim of her cell phone.
During the course of the investigation, detectives from the Department’s Homicide/Robbery and Special Victims’ Units developed a possible suspect description. Members of the Tactical Unit located the suspect and took him into custody without incident in the area of Columbia Pike and George Mason Drive.
The investigation into this homicide remains ongoing. Anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact Detective J. Trainer of the Arlington County Police Department’s Homicide/Robbery Unit at 703-228-4185 or [email protected] Information may also be provided anonymously through the Arlington County Crime Solvers hotline at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).
ACPD is investigating a homicide at 13th St. S. At S. George Mason Dr. Preliminary investigation reveals that a male victim was assaulted and transported to an area hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries. Investigation is ongoing. Expect police presence in the area.
— ArlingtonCountyPD (@ArlingtonVaPD) October 19, 2018
Map via Google Maps
Police are searching the area around the Courthouse Metro station for a suspect who reportedly threatened another rider on a Metro train with a weapon.
The incident happened around 1:30 p.m. Arlington County Police and Metro Transit Police are on the scene, trying to get to the bottom of what happened. According to initial reports, the suspect was armed with either a gun or a knife and is still at large.
A photo (below) shared by a Twitter user and retweeted by the account Unsuck DC Metro shows a police officer with a gun drawn and a woman with her hands in the air at the station.
— Kyle Cotner (@kylecotner) August 1, 2018
Arlington Transit bus riders could see delays across several routes over the course of the next week.
Unspecified “mechanical issues” are causing the delays, according to an ART service alert issued today (Monday). ART did not list specific routes that will be impacted, noting only that the routes will operate “at reduced frequencies” and that it will issue alerts about upcoming delays “as needed.”
A spokeswoman for the county’s Department of Environmental Services, which oversees ART, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on the nature of the mechanical issues. ART buses have on occasion suffered brake failures, leading to significant crashes, though it is unclear whether this week’s delays are in any way related.
So far, buses on ART Route 77 between the Courthouse Metro station and ART’s Shirlington station have recorded several delays, and some departures have been canceled entirely, according to county service alerts.
“Staff is currently working to quickly resolve these problems but we anticipate service disruptions on ART routes throughout the week,” ART wrote in the alert. “We apologize for the inconvenience as we work to ensure the safety and reliability of our fleet.”
ART opened a new, $17.6 million “light maintenance facility” on S. Eads Street last fall, and the county is planning to someday open a “heavy maintenance facility” in Springfield, after the County Board approved the purchase of a site there for $4.65 million.
Update at 10:45 a.m. — The body of a deceased adult male was found in the Potomac River near Daingerfield Island just before 6.30 p.m. last night, according to D.C. police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.
“MPD Harbor Patrol units were dispatched to the area of Daingerfield Island on the Potomac River to assist in the search for an alleged missing person,” Sternbeck said. “Upon arrival, we were notified that an Arlington County Fire [water rescue unit] located a deceased adult male in the water. The District’s Office of the Chief Medical Examiner recovered the individual and is working to correctly identify the decedent.”
Sternbeck said he was unable to confirm whether the deceased individual is someone sought in a missing person case in Arlington until the body has been identified and next of kin notified.
An Arlington County Fire Department spokesman said that the department is assisting police in a search for a “possible missing person” and confirmed that water rescue equipment was used in the search.
According to scanner traffic, a police helicopter provided assistance from the air.
A tipster characterized the search as a “body recovery” along Four Mile Run near the intersection of S. Glebe Road and S. Arlington Ridge Road, but there is no official word yet about what, if anything, was found.
An Arlington police spokeswoman deferred to D.C. police for comment, saying that the Metropolitan Police Department was the primary law enforcement agency handling the search. ARLnow.com is waiting to hear back from an MPD spokesman.
Last night firefighters rescued a person stranded in high water along Four Mile Run near today’s search site.
Photo via Google Maps
Update at 3:15 p.m. — The all clear was given around 1:30 p.m. and Marymount’s campus was reopened, according to police. The threat that prompted the evacuation was posted on social media, according to the university.
FINAL: Campus has been swept, determined to be clear and is now re-opened.
— ArlingtonCountyPD (@ArlingtonVaPD) April 1, 2018
Marymount University Statement Regarding Campus Evacuation
April 1, 2018: pic.twitter.com/6u8Zg1sj1l
— Marymount University (@marymountu) April 1, 2018
Earlier: One suspect has been taken into police custody after a bomb threat prompted the evacuation of Marymount University.
Bomb dogs are sweeping the north Arlington campus “out of an abundance of caution,” according to the Arlington County Police Department. Students and others on campus have been evacuated to a nearby park.
The threat comes on both April Fool’s Day and Easter Sunday. The university is closed through Tuesday due to the Easter holiday, according to an academic calendar.
ACPD is asking the public to avoid the area as the investigation continues.
More via social media:
Campus Evacuation! Campus Evacuation due to bomb threat. This is not a drill. Entire campus community walk to park across from Osta. Follow directions from authorities.
— Marymount University (@marymountu) April 1, 2018
UPDATE: One suspect has been taken into custody. Campus remains evacuated while EOD K9s sweep campus out of an abundance of caution.
— ArlingtonCountyPD (@ArlingtonVaPD) April 1, 2018
Dear Marymount students, please take the evacuation directions seriously, and we will update you with more information. This is not a drill. pic.twitter.com/rmkYBwfbXS
— Marymount Univ. SGA (@MarymountSGA) April 1, 2018
Update at 2:50 p.m. on 3/19/18 — The man’s death is now being investigated as the county’s first homicide of 2018.
Arlington County Police are conducting an “active death investigation” in the Ballston area.
A man was found dead just after 7:30 p.m. in a residence on the 4100 block of 11th Place N., said ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage. The scene is about a block away from Washington-Lee High School.
“Police remain on scene conducting an active death investigation,” the department said via Twitter. “There is no known threat to the community. Expect continued police presence in the area as officers conduct the investigation.”
Map via Google Maps
A state bill targeted at helping country clubs in Arlington would cost the county more than $2 million in tax revenue, an internal county report says.
HB 1204, patroned by Fairfax and Prince William County Del. Tim Hugo (R), passed the House of Delegates last week by a vote of 65-33-1. The bill would “reserve to the Commonwealth the power to classify golf courses as land dedicated to open space for assessment and tax purposes,” according to an internal Arlington County fact sheet.
More from the bill’s summary:
Requires the assessing official in any county that experienced at least a 14% increase in population from 2010 to 2016 to specially and separately assess real property that is devoted to open space and contains at least five acres based on the actual physical use of the property, if requested to do so by the owner. The measure is effective for taxable years beginning on or after January 1, 2018.
The bill only would apply to Arlington and Loudoun counties, we’re told, and it would primarily affect the tax assessments of two entities: Army Navy Country Club and Washington Golf and Country Club, both in Arlington.
The country clubs are currently suing the county, challenging their respective assessments. Arlington assesses each based in part on their potential value as developable land, meaning that the assessments — and yearly tax bills — are much higher than if the clubs were assessed only on the basis of their current use.
Army Navy Country Club, near Pentagon City, was assessed at $149 million this year, and paid $1.5 million in taxes last year, according to county records. Washington Golf and Country Club, located along N. Glebe Road near Marymount University, is assessed at $79 million and paid about $839,000 in taxes last year.
The internal county report says that the country clubs are both currently assessed as “large acreage parcels,” valued at about $12 per square foot. By comparison, some residential property near WGCC is assessed at nearly $100 per square foot. Should the legislation pass, the assessed value of the clubs is expected to drop to around $0.50 per square foot, costing the county nearly $2.4 million.
“This is a bad bill for Arlington County government and for Arlington County property owners,” said County Board Chair Katie Cristol, adding that it would set a “damaging precedent.”
The Virginia Municipal League is opposing Hugo’s bill, which is currently being considered by the state Senate. In an email, the organization urged localities to take action.
“Notwithstanding the arguments posed by the bill’s proponents, the measure shatters existing state policy,” the email said. “If approved, nothing will prevent future General Assemblies from giving away local tax dollars and disregarding land use and tax policy decisions that belong to local governments. And, for the record, HB 1204 does not obligate the Commonwealth to reimburse local governments for the resulting lost revenues.”
The state Senate’s Finance Committee is expected to discuss the legislation at a hearing Tuesday morning.
At its meeting Saturday, two County Board members supported advertising a higher property tax rate, based on the risk of lost tax revenue from the bill. A majority of the Board, however, voted against raising the rate.
(Updated at 3:30 p.m.) A person fell from a Clarendon building and suffered critical injuries Tuesday afternoon.
Arlington County police are investigating the fall to determine if it was an accident or intentional.
Initial reports suggest a man fell about eight stories onto the plaza below, in front of the Oby Lee cafe at 3000 Washington Blvd. Shoes and other personal effects could be seen in the taped-off portion of the plaza, which was being photographed by investigators.
The man was transported to a local trauma center with life-threatening injuries, a police spokeswoman said, adding that “there is no known threat to the community.”
If you or someone you know is in immediate danger of self-harm, call 911 or the Department of Human Services’ emergency services line at 703-228-5160. CrisisLink also has a 24-hour crisis hotline at 703-527-4077 or 800-SUICIDE, or text 703-940-0888.
Update at 4 p.m. — Arlington County Police released the following press release Friday afternoon.
At approximately 9:00 a.m. on February 9, police responded to Yorktown High School for the report of a CPR in progress. Upon arrival, it was determined that a student was located unresponsive in a restroom. Arlington County Fire Department medics transported the student to Virginia Hospital Center in critical condition. [Redacted]
This remains an active investigation however, there is no known threat to the school community. The Arlington County Police Department requests that anyone with information regarding this incident contact Detective R. Munizza at 703.228.4171 or [email protected] To report information anonymously, contact the Arlington County Crime Solvers at 866.411.TIPS (8477).
If you or someone you know is struggling or in crisis, you are not alone. Help is available through the Crisis Link Hotline at 703-527-4077.
(Updated at 11:20 a.m.) A letter has gone out to Yorktown High School families this morning after a student was found collapsed in a restroom at the end of first period.
A school nurse attended to the student while staff contacted emergency services. Passerby told ARLnow.com that a large number of emergency vehicles were parked outside the school but that the streets weren’t closed off.
Bridget Loft, Yorktown’s principal, wrote that a student has been transported to a nearby hospital for treatment. Initial reports from police suggested the medical condition could be life-threatening.
At approximately 9:00 AM police responded to Yorktown High School for the report of a CPR in progress. Medics transported one juvenile to the hospital in critical condition. Police remain on scene investigating. There is no known threat to the school community.
— ArlingtonCountyPD (@ArlingtonVaPD) February 9, 2018
The student’s family has been notified, and additional counselors are available on-site for distressed students.
Loft noted in her letter that the school had been placed on a “modified secure” status. Police are investigating the incident and will be present at Yorktown throughout the day.
Here’s the full letter that was sent out this morning to families:
Dear Yorktown Families:
I wanted to let you know that a student was found at the end of first period collapsed in a restroom. Our school nurse responded and staff immediately called 911. The Arlington County Fire Department arrived to provide medical aid to the student who was eventually transported to the Virginia Hospital Center. While this was happening, the student’s family was notified, and the school was placed on modified secure the building status.
At this point, I don’t have any other details to share. Our main focus at this time is on the student and family. Once details that we can share are available, we will pass them along.
We will have additional counselors available in the office, should your student need to talk with someone. I want to ensure you that there is no risk to students and staff, but we also wanted to let you know that police will remain at the school throughout the day to investigate what happened.
I want to thank our students and staff for the way that they handled the incident this morning. If you have any questions, please feel free to call the school at 703-228-5400.
Bridget Loft, Principal
Update at 1:15 p.m. — Repairs were completed and normal service resumed before noon, Metro says.
Update at 9:45 a.m. — All Blue and Yellow line service between National Airport and the Pentagon has been suspended due to “unscheduled track repairs.” The Pentagon City and Crystal City stations are being evacuated, Blue and Yellow line service is being run in two separate segments, and a shuttle is being established.
Blue/Yellow Line: No trains btwn Nat'l Airport & Pentagon due to unscheduled track repairs at Pentagon City. Bus shuttle being established.
— Metrorail Info (@Metrorailinfo) January 22, 2018
A large fire department response is on scene at the Pentagon City Metro station due to a track fire.
The apparent insulator fire is on one of the track at the station, producing light smoke. As of 9:15 a.m., the station was not being evacuated, but trains were being offloaded.
The Arlington County Police Department is helping to direct traffic in the area.
Trains are currently halted but Metro is preparing to single-track through the station, according to scanner traffic.
— Identify as #LLCAmerican (@dbroncos78087) January 22, 2018
— Jackie Barrientes (@JBarrientes_DC) January 22, 2018
— Zachary Keefe (@darthzach7) January 22, 2018
Blue & Yellow line customers expect delays in both directions due to a track problem at Pentagon City. Some trains my offload and turn back for service. 9:09a #wmata
— Metrorail Info (@Metrorailinfo) January 22, 2018
9:07A YL/BL trains are holding & being offloaded on either side of Pentagon City; no trains are passing the station at this time. #wmata ^SR
— Rail Transit OPS Group (@RailTransitOPS) January 22, 2018
Update at 3:25 p.m. — The charges have been posted in Friday’s Arlington County Police Department crime report.
NARCOTICS VIOLATION (Significant), 2018-01040111, 2200 block of S. Clark Street. At approximately 3:30 p.m. on January 4, police executed a narcotics search warrant and one suspect was taken into custody. Jacob Hill, 36, of Fairfax, VA was arrested and charged with manufacturing, selling, giving, distributing, or possessing with intent to manufacture, sell, give, or distribute a controlled substance and transporting a controlled substance.
Earlier: A man was arrested by a heavily-armed SWAT team in the middle of Crystal City today, to the surprise of residents and office workers who watched it happen.
It happened around 3:30 p.m. in the parking lot behind the WeWork and WeLive building in Crystal City (2221 S. Clark Street). Video and photos posted to Twitter show three dark SUVs filled with heavily-armed law enforcement personnel surrounding a man in a light-colored SUV. Damage is visible on the light SUV’s windshield as the man surrenders to police.
In a brief statement, the Arlington County Police Department confirmed that they were involved in the arrest and that it was drug related.
“Arlington County Police executed a narcotics search warrant in the 2200 block of S. Clark Street,” said ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage. “A diversionary device was utilized and one suspect was taken into custody. No injuries were reported. The investigation is ongoing at this time.”
— Derek Caelin (@derekpost) January 4, 2018
Context, about 15 minutes ago there were two big 'booms'. My colleague said she saw a flash. We look out the window to see military/swat taking a man out of his vehicle and driving off with him. Vehicle is still there and being looked over by plain clothes people.
— Derek Caelin (@derekpost) January 4, 2018
Something going down in Crystal City https://t.co/eLNqkWS7wq
— Derek Caelin (@derekpost) January 4, 2018
Arlington County Police are investigating the death of a man at the new Dunkin Donuts in Clarendon.
Police say they were called to the store on the 3000 block of Clarendon Blvd around 9:35 p.m. Tuesday. Upon arriving on scene, officers found a 38-year-old man in medical distress.
The man was transported to Virginia Hospital Center and pronounced dead, said ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage. The deceased individual was not an employee, according to Savage.
“The Arlington County Police Department is conducting an active death investigation and cause of death will be determined by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner,” Savage wrote. “This appears to be an isolated incident and the investigation has not revealed any ongoing threat to the community.”
Police have released few details about what happened. The store was open and serving customers as normal Wednesday morning.
The incident started just after 9 a.m. near the intersection of N. Lynn Street and Lee Highway.
According to scanner traffic, the suspect is a panhandler who robbed another homeless man in October. He was spotted in Rosslyn this morning and led police on a brief foot chase. The suspect reportedly dodged a Taser and then outran police as he he fled into the woods along I-66.
The suspect is described as a white male with a shaved head, wearing a hooded sweatshirt and blue jeans.
Police are setting up a perimeter and bringing in a K-9 unit and the U.S. Park Police helicopter to search for the suspect.
— ArlingtonCountyPD (@ArlingtonVaPD) November 15, 2017