Arlington, VA

(Updated at 11:20 a.m.) A car ran through a fence and into a house Tuesday night near the East Falls Church neighborhood and Arlington’s western border.

The crash happened around 7:30 p.m. along the 7000 block of Fairfax Drive. The road was closed for around an hour due to the emergency response.

Arlington County Police say the crash happened after the driver of the car sped away from a Virginia State Trooper who had attempted to pull the vehicle over on I-66.

Three suspects fled the crash on foot, police said. One suspect, a 22-year-old Manassas resident, was arrested and charged with hit and run and possession of a controlled substance. Neither she nor the two male suspects, who remain at large, were reported to be injured, according to police.

There was no immediate word on the severity of the damage to the home.

More from an ACPD crime report:

FELONY HIT & RUN (Significant), 2019-09170181, 7000 block of Fairfax Drive. At approximately 7:27 p.m. on September 17, police were dispatched to the report of a vehicle that had run off the roadway and into a residence. Three suspects were seen fleeing the scene of the crash on foot. The investigation determined that prior to the crash, the vehicle was traveling at a high rate of speed on I-66 when a Virginia State Police trooper attempted a traffic stop. The driver of the vehicle failed to stop and sped away at an increased speed. A vehicle pursuit was not initiated. Officers responding to the crash canvased the area and located the female suspect. Tatiana Pendleton, 22, of Manassas, VA, was arrested and charged with Hit and Run – Passenger Fail to Report and Possession of a Schedule II Controlled Substance. Two suspects remain outstanding. Suspect One is described as a tall, black male wearing a white t-shirt and black pants. Suspect Two is described as a short, heavy set, black male wearing a brown t-shirt and blue jeans. No injuries were reported. The investigation is ongoing.

Photos courtesy JB

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“Virginia is for lovers. No KKK.”

The owner of the shed on 19th Road N. had no intention of being at the center of a civil rights message, but the back of his property expresses a message of tolerance to anyone riding the Metro through the East Falls Church station or taking the Washington and Old Dominion Trail.

The sign says Virginia is for Lovers — a slogan for the state — with “KKK” surrounded by a big red “no” sign.

The sign has been noted a number of times on Twitter since 2018, with tweets mainly expressing support for the message. But the owner of the shed said he didn’t put the sign up and has no idea who did or when.

“The first I heard about it was when one of my neighbors said ‘have you seen the back of your shed?'” said the man, who was wearing a National Rife Association t-shirt when a reporter stopped by to ask about the message on Monday.

The back wall of the shed is accessible from the trail but difficult to reach from the ground.

“I’ll say this, whoever put it up was talented,” the man said. “It’s up in the air, so they needed a ladder to get up there. And the spacing between the letters… it’s nicely done.”

But while the man (who did not want to give his name) was not opposed to the message, he was a little concerned about courting controversy or retaliation — particularly with white nationalist activity cropping up throughout the area. He said he was worried someone could come along and burn the building down.

Those who want to see the artwork should come sooner rather than later though, as the owner said he plans to place vinyl siding around the shed a some point in the near future, thus covering up the message in the process.

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A wayward weather balloon landed in a neighborhood near the East Falls Church Metro station today, frightening some residents and prompting the bomb squad to be called to the scene.

Police and Arlington County’s bomb squad were dispatched to the 6800 block of 19th Road N. just before 2 p.m. today, after a resident reported finding a tube with blinking lights in the front yard of a home, near an entrance to the W&OD Trail.

The entire package, which was deemed suspicious, consisted of a tube, two small boxes and an orange parachute. The bomb squad response was scaled back, however, after a police officer reported finding the words “harmless weather instrument” and information about its origin — which checked out. A bomb-sniffing dog also checked out the devices but did not finding anything of concern, according to scanner traffic.

No one was hurt by the device’s landing, though one cyclist nearly struck it while heading to the trail.

The styrofoam boxes attached to the balloon were wrapped with information about the device — which turned out to be a radiosonde that measures and broadcasts weather conditions from the various layers of the atmosphere back to the offices of the National Weather Service. The data is used to help computer models generate weather forecasts.

Ray Martin, a meteorologist with the Baltimore/Washington NWS office in Sterling, Va., said the office launches balloons twice a day. As the balloon gains altitude, it expands and then finally pops, sending it back down to the ground, slowed by an attached parachute.

Often the balloons are found in remote areas, but landings in the immediate D.C. metro area are not uncommon.

“It definitely happens,” Martin said, noting that the balloon was most likely launched by the Sterling office, though forecasters do not track the exact location balloons after launch. Sometimes the balloon payloads land a far distance away, he said.

Weather balloons and the instruments they carry are nontoxic and disposable, Martin said, though the one that landed in East Falls Church carried a prepaid postal pouch for it to be returned to the National Weather Service. Residents who find the remnants of popped weather balloons need not be alarmed, said Martin, and they can even keep what they find as a unique souvenir if they want.

Vernon Miles contributed to this report. Map via Google Maps.

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A local bookstore is holding an auction to raise money after the owner says rent increased by 30 percent this year due to property tax changes.

One More Page Books, located in the East Falls Church neighborhood at 2200 N. Westmoreland Street, is hosting a silent auction fundraiser from Friday, August 2 at 6:30 p.m. until Sunday, August 18 at 5 p.m. The bookstore is currently finalizing the item list, which currently ranges from artwork and chocolates, to bike tours and book manuscript consults.

Owner Eileen McGervey said she was excited for the auction, which kicks off with the store’s regularly-scheduled wine and cheese party Friday night. She told ARLnow that customers came up with the idea of the auction, which has since gathered items like handmade shawls and a dinner with media members who cover the Capitals.

The auction was arranged after McGervey said the landlord informed her last month that the real estate taxes for the building went up significantly. The end result? A 30 percent rent increase, applicable to the current year.

McGervey said that’s a challenge for the independent bookstore not only because it operates on small profit margins, but also, “unlike other businesses we don’t have the option of raising the prices because books come with prices on them.”

The tax hike was the result of the county changing the way it calculates the value of some commercial buildings, like the mixed-use commercial condo building One More Page inhabits. The change more than doubled the assessed value of One More Page’s space — and thus also its assessed taxes — even after it was lowered on appeal.

(That’s on top of the County Board approving a real estate tax hike which increased the amount owners pay by two cents for every $100 in assessed property.)

“Unfortunately, in the case of the condominium that houses One More Page, this meant an increase in the assessed value of the property from CY 2018 of $2,351,100.00 to a CY 2019 valuation of $5,591,100.00,” Board Chair Christian Dorsey wrote in a letter to McGervey, who had asked if the Board could offer any assistance to the bookstore.

Dorsey continued:

This is indeed a large jump in the assessed value of the building. The County is bound by the Constitution of Virginia and State Code to assess all real estate at fair market value, and this methodology provides a more accurate assessment of commercial condominium values than did the previous. This methodology took into consideration the actual income and expense data submitted by the owner of the property along with similar condominiums in Arlington.

While the owner chose not to appeal the assessment with the County’s Board of Equalization this year, the owner did file an administrative appeal, resulting in a $700,000 reduction in the CY 2019 assessment, to $4,907,500. With the assessment reduction, the total tax bill for the building in Calendar Year 2019 is $56,485.00, up from $26,228.67 in CY 2018.

One More Page has been able to cover the rent raise in the past month, but at the expense of paying some of its vendors. Asking for help covering these bills is awkward, McGervey said, but better than the alternative.

“You don’t want to just be gone one day and have people not know that you could have been there,” McGervey said.

She noted that she’s now exploring the idea of a membership program to cover future rent needs.

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Officials are hoping to find ways to close the only break in the 45-mile long Washington & Old Dominion (W&OD) Trail.

The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments’ Transportation Planning Board (TPB) approved $680,000 in assistance for 13 projects, including one to look into options to close a gap near the East Falls Church Metro station.

The W&OD Trail is a regional pedestrian and bicycle trail with 3,000 plus daily users. This trail is used for walking and bicycling to the East Falls Church Metrorail Station and for longer-distance bicycle commuting across the area. The only gap in the 45-mile long W&OD Trail is in East Falls Church. The trail gap creates conflicts involving trail users and motorized traffic. This project will use technical assistance to identify alternatives for constructing an off-street connection of the trail sections in the East Falls Church area.

Currently, the trail breaks at 19th Road N., just before the Metro station.

TPB received 25 applications for transportation project funding from regional governments before the April 2 deadline, according to a press release.

The applications were judged partially on how they reflected TPB’s long-range regional transportation plan “Visualize 2045” and its goals to move more people around the growing Greater Washington area without adding more cars.

Last summer, the Van Buren Bridge near East Falls Church Metro re-opened after the City of Falls Church repaired it with a $300,000 regional grant to help connect cyclists with the station and with the W&OD. VDOT, meanwhile, is currently working on a new pedestrian bridge over Lee Highway near the Metro station.

Images via Google Maps

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After a few more months of delays, a new sushi restaurant is now set to open today (Monday) in East Falls Church.

Yume Sushi plans to hold a soft opening today at its location at 2121 N. Westmoreland Street, according to spokeswoman Isobel Leandra. She said the eatery then expects to hold a more formal grand opening sometime in “mid-January.”

The restaurant has been working to open since last fall, but has consistently run into permitting and construction challenges. Yume originally hoped to start serving up sushi in late October, but Leandra says that “a combination of permitting and a few other changes behind the scenes to ensure we could roll out all the stops” prompted the additional delays.

The eatery is backed by executive chef and co-owner Saran Kannasute, who was previously the executive chef at Alexandria’s The Sushi Bar.

He plans to serve up not only a large collection of sushi roles, but will also offer “Omakase dining,” stemming from the Japanese phrase that roughly translates to “I shall leave it up to you.” The two-hour sessions give chefs complete creative freedom in creating specially tailored menus for diners.

Yume will be located in the same building as a South Block juice bar, and will be just down the street from the East Falls Church Metro station.

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More than 700 Dominion customers are without power in Arlington and the City of Falls Church this morning due to a possibly wind-related outage.

The outage extends from an area near the East Falls Church Metro station to the E. Broad Street commercial corridor of Falls Church and other parts of the city.

Restoration is estimated between noon and 3 p.m.

A number of downed tree branches and utility lines have been reported this morning (Wednesday) as the area remains under a Wind Advisory through 4 p.m.

Image via Dominion

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Arlington police are searching for a man who they believe exposed himself to people along the W&OD Trail near East Falls Church.

Police say the man was spotted with his pants down, masturbating near the N. Ohio Street bridge over I-66 around 2:40 p.m. last Saturday (Nov. 10).

However, by the time officers made to the area, they weren’t able to find him. They’re describing him as “a white male, 20-30 years old, wearing a red or orange hooded sweatshirt and sunglasses.”

Full details from a county crime report:

INDECENT EXPOSURE, 2018-11100143, 6200 block of 12th Road N. At approximately 2:40 p.m. on November 10, police were dispatched to the report of an exposure. Upon arrival, it was determined that the victims were walking on the W&OD trail when they observed an unknown male suspect near the Ohio Street Bridge with his pants down allegedly masturbating. Arriving officers canvased the area with negative results. The suspect is described as a white male, 20-30 years old, wearing a red or orange hooded sweatshirt and sunglasses.

And here are other notable incidents from the past week of crime reports:

ROBBERY, 2018-11120026, 1300 block of Crystal Drive. At approximately 2:58 a.m. on November 12, police were dispatched to the report of trouble unknown. Upon arrival, it was determined that earlier in the night, the victim was inside his residence when he heard a knock at the door. The victim went to investigate and, upon opening the door, was sprayed with an unknown substance and assaulted by an unknown suspect, causing him to lose consciousness. The suspect(s) stole cash and items of value and fled the scene prior to police arrival. The victim was transported to an area hospital with serious injuries. There is no suspect description. The investigation is ongoing.

ROBBERY, 2018-11130247, 1200 block of S. Hayes Street. At approximately 9:15 p.m. on November 13, police were dispatched to the report of an assault just occurred. Upon arrival, it was determined that two male suspects entered a business and began selecting large quantities of merchandise. When confronted by an employee, one suspect took the employee’s cell phone and assaulted him. The suspects fled the scene with the cell phone and merchandise prior to police arrival. A canvas of the area yielded negative results. Suspect One is described as a black male, approximately 20-30 years old, 5’9″, average build, with medium length braided black hair with highlights at the eneds, wearing a gray or black jacket with the hood up and blue jeans. Suspect Two is described as a black male, approximately 5’9″, average build, bald, wearing glasses, a black jacket and black jeans. The investigation is ongoing.

BURGLARY, 2018-11120043, 3500 block of Columbia Pike. At approximately 7:25 a.m. on November 12, police were dispatched to the report of a burglary. Upon arrival, it was determined that between 4:30 p.m. on November 10 and 5:30 a.m. on November 12, an unknown suspect gained entry to a construction site and stole items of value. There is no suspect(s) description. The investigation is ongoing.

ATTEMPTED GRAND LARCENY, 2018-11110279, 3000 block of S. Randolph Street. At approximately 11:50 p.m. on November 11, police were dispatched to the report of an in-progress tampering with auto. Upon arrival, it was determined that the victims heard noise and screams outside. When they looked outside, they allegedly observed an unknown male suspect inside their vehicle with the lights on. A passerby arriving home in the area made contact with the suspect and told the suspect to exit the vehicle, which he complied with. The suspect fled into a nearby building prior to police arrival. Arriving officers established a perimeter, located the suspect and took him into custody without incident. Jherson Cuadra, 21, of Alexandria, Va., was arrested and charged with Attempted Grand Larceny: Motor Vehicle Theft and Tampering with Vehicle.

UNLAWFUL ENTRY, 2018-11090099, 1700 block of N. Edgewood Street. At approximately 9:56 a.m. on November 9, police were dispatched to the late report of a burglary. Upon arrival, it was determined that between 1:00 p.m. on November 8 and 8:45 p.m. on November 9, an unknown suspect(s) gained entry to a vacant residence. Nothing was reported missing. There is no suspect description. The investigation is ongoing.

BURGLARY, 2018-11090326, 1900 block of N. Van Buren Street. At approximately 10:37 p.m. on November 9, police were dispatched to the late report of a burglary. Upon arrival, it was determined that between 9:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m., an unknown suspect(s) forced entry to a residence and stole items of value. There is no suspect description. The investigation is ongoing.

ATTEMPTED ABDUCTION, 2018-11080251, 800 block of Army Navy Drive. At approximately 7:07 p.m. on November 8, police were dispatched to the report of an attempted abduction. Upon arrival, it was determined that a verbal dispute between the victim and known suspect escalated and became physical. The victim attempted to use her phone to call for help, however, the suspect allegedly took it from her and began forcing her into his vehicle. Two witnesses came to the aid of the victim and challenged the suspect, who released the victim and left the scene in his vehicle. The suspect then returned and a verbal dispute took place over the victim’s cell phone as she retrieved it from the suspect. The suspect then fled in his vehicle prior to police arrival. Warrants for the suspect were obtained for Attempted Abduction, Assault & Battery, and Preventing and Emergency Call.

RECOVERED STOLEN VEHICLE, 2018-11080180, I-66 WB at N. Sycamore Street. At approximately 2:42 p.m. on November 8, an officer on routine patrol was alerted to a License Plate Reader hit on a stolen vehicle. With the assistance of Virginia State Police, a traffic stop was conducted and the driver was taken into custody without incident. Demetrius Callaham, 29, of Washington, D.C. was arrested and charged with Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle.

ROBBERY (late), 2018-11070119, 800 block of S. Dinwiddie Street. At approximately 11:43 a.m. on November 7, police responded to the late report of an assault. Upon arrival, it was determined that between 1:30 a.m. and 2:00 a.m. on November 2, the victim was walking in the area when he was approached by an unknown suspect, who attempted to engage him in conversation. The victim was then grabbed by his hood by a second suspect and assaulted before the suspects stole his personal belongings and fled on foot. The victim suffered non life-threatening injuries that required medical treatment. Suspect One is described as a black male in his 20’s, approximately 5’11”, with a skinny build and short, curly hair, wearing a black hoodie, a black or white shirt and black jeans. Suspect Two is described as a black male in his 20’s, approximately 5’8″-5’10”, heavy set, with short, curly hair, wearing a black hoodie, black or white shirt and black jeans. The investigation is ongoing.

BURGLARY (late), 2018-11070081, 200 block of N. Wayne Street. At approximately 10:00 a.m. on November 7, police were dispatched to the report of a larceny. Upon arrival, it was determined that between 12:50 p.m. on November 5 and 8:00 p.m. on November 6, an unknown suspect gained entry to a residence and stole an undisclosed amount of cash. There is no suspect description. The investigation is ongoing.

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Arlington police arrested a man last week after he allegedly ran naked through an East Falls Church neighborhood, breaking into several homes and damaging property along the way.

Police say Kahlil Martin, 25, was spotted running nude along the 6700 block of 19th Road N. around 5:30 a.m. last Wednesday (Oct. 10).

Officers received reports that Martin tried to break into several homes in the area, and was successful in some cases, and damaged some property. When police tracked Martin down along the 2100 block of N. Westmoreland Street, he then ran into a home “where he locked himself inside a bathroom with a male victim,” police said.

The man inside the bathroom was able to unlock the door, allowing officers to arrest Martin, who was then transported to the Virginia Hospital Center for a medical evaluation. Police charged him with two counts of burglary and destruction of property, and one count each of attempted burglary and abduction.

The incident was not connected to another instance of a naked man running near Claremont Immersion School earlier that same day, according to police spokeswoman Ashley Savage.

Martin is set for a Nov. 15 hearing in Arlington General District Court on those charges.

Full details from a county crime report:

BURGLARY, 2018-10100050, 6700 block of 19TH Road N. At approximately 5:35 a.m. on October 10, police were dispatched to the report of suspicious circumstances. Upon arrival, it was determined that the victim heard noise originating from the backyard and upon investigating, located damaged property. As officers canvased the neighborhood, they began receiving reports of a naked man observed in the area. Officers located the suspect in the 2100 block of N. Westmoreland Street and commanded him to stop. The suspect fled on foot into a residence where he locked himself inside a bathroom with a male victim. The male victim was unharmed and able to unlock the door at which time officers took the suspect into custody without further incident. As the investigation continued, officers located additional victims and determined the suspect had allegedly attempted or successfully gained entry into residence as well as locations where property was damaged. The suspect was transported to Virginia Hospital Center for medical evaluation. With the assistance of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the suspect was identified as Kahlil Martin, 25, of No Fixed Address. He was charged with Burglary (x2), Attempted Burglary, Abduction and Destruction of Property (x2).

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State transportation officials have firmed up their plans for a new bike and pedestrian bridge over Lee Highway in East Falls Church, putting the project on track for construction to kick off next spring.

VDOT unveiled final designs for the planned Washington & Old Dominion Trail bridge at a community meeting last Thursday (Oct. 11), sketching out more details on the bridge that is designed to offer a safer alternative to the trail’s current crossing at the highway’s intersection with Fairfax Drive.

The bridge’s design is largely unchanged from plans that VDOT showed off last summer. Some of the biggest changes include the removal of a barrier with streetlights running down the middle of the bridge and a change to the “piers” holding up the bridge — they now include open space in the middle of their “v” shape.

Officials initially proposed a design for the bridge that featured a trussed roof and red paint, yet some neighbors objected to those features, as well as the bridge’s potential to disrupt long-range plans for the area’s transportation networks.

Planners ultimately changed the bridge’s color and removed the roof, and even agreed to tweak the lighting features on the bridge too. Instead of a barrier lined by street lights, the bridge will now include lighting underneath the v-shaped posts running along its sides.

VDOT also detailed potential traffic disruptions prompted by the bridge’s construction at the meeting. Officials expect that there will be temporary closures on Lee Highway as the bridge’s beams and girders are put in place, and they expect that the fire lane on Fairfax Drive will be closed as construction continues. The W&OD Trail will also be realigned temporarily to allow for the construction, and could also see some temporary closures.

Planners are tentatively hoping to begin work on the bridge early next year, then wrap it up by the fall of 2020. The work will also move in tandem with the I-66 eastbound widening project, which VDOT also hopes to complete in late 2020.

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East Falls Church is now set to welcome a new sushi restaurant before the month is out.

Yume Sushi, located at 2121 N. Westmoreland Street, plans to open “in the last few weeks of October,” according to a press release. The eatery originally hoped to open last fall, but ran into some delays securing building permits.

The restaurant is backed by executive chef and co-owner Saran Kannasute, who was previously the executive chef at Alexandria’s The Sushi Bar and has worked at Sushi Rock in Courthouse, and has room for about 100 people.

Kannasute plans to serve not only an “extensive” selection of sushi rolls for a traditional dining experience, but he’ll also offer limited reservations for “Omakase dining,” stemming from the Japanese phrase that roughly translates to “I shall leave it up to you.” The two-hour Omakase sessions will allow chefs to “exert complete creative freedom and technique in curating their dishes with the finest and freshest ingredients available,” while crafting meals in front of diners, according to the release.

The restaurant also expects to stock more than 90 different sakes, which Kannasute claims will be one of the largest selections in the D.C. region. Yume’s bar will also include sake cocktails, seasonal sake varieties, a sake on tap and even Japanese whiskeys.

Yume will be located in the same building as a South Block juice bar, just down the street from the East Falls Church Metro station.

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