Arlington, VA

More than 350 people have signed a petition calling for the S. Abingdon Street bridge over I-395 to be renamed “Black Lives Matter Bridge.”

The petition was created amid dueling efforts to place and remove the letters “BLM” on the bridge’s chain link fence, a thus far nonviolent dispute that has resulted in multiple calls to Arlington County police.

The BLM art first appeared about a month ago, during nationwide protests over the deaths of Black men and women at the hands of law enforcement.

Two weeks ago, the red cups used to form the letters were removed, promping locals to replace them with new cups and to write new chalk slogans. Among them: “no justice, no peace” and “take it down and we’ll do it again.”

Melissa Schwaber, who sent photos of the cups being replaced, described those doing so as “Fairlington moms and their kids.”

The cups were later removed again, which led to Black Lives Matters supporters creating a heart and spelling out BLM with harder-to-remove ribbons. That won Twitter praise from Arlington County Board Chair and Fairlington resident Libby Garvey. The next day, however, someone spray-painted “TRUMP 2020” under the letters.

The spray paint was in turn sprayed over later that morning, and “BLACK LIVES MATTER” written in chalk over it. Then, more spray paint appeared.

In a series of tweets on Wednesday, July 1, a local resident posted photos of an older man and a younger man — wearing a motorcycle helmet and a Liberty University shirt — who she accused of vandalizing the bridge and the lettering.

On Friday, a tipster said the “BLM vs. MAGA battle” was continuing to escalate.

“Now there are people putting up conspiracy theory banners on the bridge and people camped out on the bridge with large dogs,” the tipster said. The banners included a photo of Hillary Clinton under the words “WANTED 4 Crimes Against Humanity.”

Later that day, there were more skirmishes.

“I was driving on the Fairlington Bridge an hour or so ago and saw a man arguing with several white women near the BLM signs,” said another tipster. “He was waving his arms in one woman’s face. About 15 minutes ago, on my way home, I saw that the Arlington PD (about 3 cars) had detained the man at the gas station in Shirlington.”

An Arlington County police spokeswoman tells ARLnow that officers have responded to the bridge several times.

“ACPD has responded to multiple reports of disputes in the area of the S. Abingdon Street bridge regarding the posting and removal of signage,” said Kirby Clark. She said that “no charges have been filed related to any incidents involving the signs,” but one incident is under investigation.

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Morning Notes

‘BLM’ on Fairlington Bridge Restored — Residents of the Fairlington area used ties to restore a Black Lives Matters message on the bridge over I-395 over the weekend. The letters “BLM” had previously been placed on the bridge’s fence but later removed by an unknown party. Also this weekend, below the BLM letters someone scrawled “Trump 2020,” but that was later covered and “Black Lives Matter” written over it in chalk. [Twitter]

ACPD Details De-Escalation Training — “In response to community questions, ACPD has created this fact sheet highlighting how we train officers to de-escalate incidents and safely resolve situations.” [Twitter]

Update to Jim Pebley Obit — Per an email from former county treasurer Frank O’Leary: “You will be pleased to hear that, due to the actions of former commanders of our County’s namesake ship, it appears that Commander Pebley’s ashes will be spread at sea by the USS ARLINGTON. This is a singular honor and reflects the high respect the Navy feels for Jim. Nothing less than he deserves. There is an old adage, ‘The Navy takes care of its own.’ Perhaps, the same can be said of Arlington.”

Candidates on the Arts — “Arlington County voters will go to the polls on July 7 to determine who will fill the County Board seat of the late Erik Gutshall. In order to help voters understand each candidate’s stand on the importance of arts and culture in the County, Embracing Arlington Arts sent out a questionnaire for the three candidates to complete covering several issues pertaining to the arts in Arlington.” [Press Release, Embracing Arlington Arts]

TTT Now Serving Unlimited Weekend Brunch — “There’s a new all-you-can eat brunch in town. TTT in Clarendon, which stands for Tacos, Tortas and Tequila, has joined its Street Guys Hospitality brethren, including beloved Ambar, in offering unlimited eats on weekend mornings.” [Northern Virginia Magazine]

Reminder: Metro Stations Back Open — “Metro plans to reopen the Clarendon and Virginia Square Metro stations in Arlington, starting Sunday.” [ARLnow]

Nearby: Fairfax Teachers Revolt — “A day after one of the nation’s largest school systems announced its proposal for fall learning, teachers within Fairfax County Public Schools rose in revolt and refused to teach in-person, as the plan demands, until officials revise their strategy.” [Washington Post]

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(Updated at 2:10 p.m.) A fox that later tested positive for rabies attacked two cats in the Fairlington neighborhood, the Animal Welfare League of Arlington announced today.

AWLA says animal control officers responded Saturday to two separate incidents in Fairlington in which a fox attacked a resident’s cat. The fox was found dead the next day and tested positive for rabies this week.

“We are actively working on a multifaceted approach to reduce the risk to the public and prevent future incidents,” AWLA said in a press release, below. “It is important that the community stay alert at this time. Animal Control requests that any fox sightings in the common areas of this community or encroaching on the property in any way be reported immediately.”

On a neighborhood Facebook page, the owner of one of the cats described the attack, which came without warning.

“We were grilling ribs on the patio and the fox jumped the fence and came onto our patio with us standing there. I’ve never seen anything like it. He attacked the cat right in front of us,” said Kay Houghton, a local real estate agent. “When my fiancée tried to break up the fight, the fox started growling and lunging at him. He found a wooden board in the bushes and used it to beat back the fox. This is absolutely not normal fox behavior.”

The cat was “severely injured” and had to be resuscitated by Houghton’s sister, according to the Facebook post. The cat later came to at a local animal hospital but needs additional treatment for potentially debilitating injuries. Houghton’s sister, meanwhile, is receiving rabies shots for the possible exposure.

The second cat was “viciously ambushed,” suffered a badly injured leg and also requires expensive veterinary care, potentially including an amputation, according to a fundraising page established to raise $5,500 for the treatments.

“Luckily, one of the neighbors was able to scare the fox away after several persistent attempts, in cooperation with a bystander’s dog barking that caused the fox to retreat,” the page recounts. Alexandra, the cat, “will come out of this situation stronger than how she came in, and we hope that our outpouring love and the support of others will relieve her anguish caused by this unfortunate event.”

The full AWLA press release is below.

Two separate incidents occurred on Saturday April 25th in the Fairlington Community of Arlington, VA in which a fox attacked and injured two domestic cats.

Animal Control responded to the 2800 block of S. Columbus St. in Arlington County on Saturday April 25th in the afternoon in response to a call about a fox attacking a domestic cat. Shortly thereafter, another call came in regarding an additional cat being attacked by a fox in close vicinity. Animal Control officers were unable to locate the suspect fox at that time.

On Sunday April 26th, Animal Control responded in the morning and retrieved a deceased fox in the 4800 block of 27th Road S. in Arlington County. This fox was sent for testing and confirmed to be positive for rabies.

We are actively working on a multifaceted approach to reduce the risk to the public and prevent future incidents. It is important that the community stay alert at this time.

Animal Control requests that any fox sightings in the common areas of this community or encroaching on the property in any way be reported immediately. Foxes are known to carry rabies, so any interaction with them (person or pet) should be reported immediately to Animal Control. Animal Control is reachable directly 24/7-365 days a year at 703-931-9241.

Dogs, cats, and other domestic pets should be kept inside or on leash at all times. Children should be supervised at all times when outside. Do not feed or approach any wild, stray, or feral animals, even if they appear friendly or injured. Please make sure your dogs and cats are up-to-date on their rabies vaccinations.

If you believe you or a member of your family may have had contact with any wild animal, including a fox, please contact the Arlington County Department of Human Services, Nurse of the Day at 703-228-5200, option 1.

Flickr pool photo by GM and MB

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(Updated at 4:45 p.m.) Arlington County Police are conducting a death investigation in the Fairlington neighborhood.

Initial reports suggest that a person with a head wound was found dead behind the closed Fire Station 7, on the 3100 block of S. Abingdon Street. The scene is also near a row townhouses and a small commercial building that includes a child care center.

Officers have strung crime scene tape around much of the area and have kept news photographers well away from where the body was found.

Residents should expect an extended police presence in the area while detectives gather evidence. A police spokeswoman said the death is thus far not considered suspicious.

Map via Google Maps. Jay Westcott contributed to this report.

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Morning Notes

Elite Yorktown Swimmer Has Bright Future — “So far during her three-year high-school swimming career, Victoria Huske has never lost an individual race. Included in Huske’s victories for the Yorktown Patriots’ standout are six individual state championships in various strokes and she has been a member of five winning relays with one close second.” [InsideNova]

Fairlington Bus Stop Getting a Roof — “Arlington County anticipates beginning work on enhancement of the bus stop at the corner of S. Buchanan Street and 30th Street S., which include installation of a weather shelter, the week of March 9th.” [Twitter]

New Tech Helps County Explore Pipes — “With no interruption to service, our new high-tech pal PipeDiver today explored key Arlington water supply pipes, gathering a wealth of unprecedented data to assess conditions now and for long-term planning.” [Twitter]

Whitlow’s to Serve Beer with Your Face on It — “Ever wanted to drink your face? Well join us [Thursday] night from 6:30pm-8:30pm! @guinness will take your [photo], and in less time than it takes to pour a perfect pint, the 3D Malt Printer puts your face in your beer.” [Instagram]

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Arlington County Police say they’ve made an arrest following a convenience store robbery in the Shirlington area.

The 7-Eleven store on the 2800 block of S. Wakefield Street, just down the hill from the Fairlington neighborhood, was robbed around 6 a.m. on Saturday. Feb. 15. Police say a man paid for some merchandise, but then hopped the counter, assaulted the clerk and stole cash.

An officer recognized the suspect from a surveillance image and he was arrested Monday afternoon at a residential address in Fairlington, less than a mile from the store, according to ACPD.

More from a police press release:

The Arlington County Police Department’s Homicide/Robbery Unit is announcing the arrest of a suspect wanted for robbery of a convenience store in the Shirlington neighborhood. Michael Sheffey, 59, of Arlington, VA, has been charged with Robbery and is being held without bond in the Arlington County Detention Facility.

At approximately 5:48 a.m. on February 15, police were dispatched to the 2800 block of S. Wakefield Street for the report of a robbery. Upon arrival, it was determined that the suspect entered the business, selected merchandise, approached the register and provided the employee with cash. Once the register was open, the suspect struck the employee, jumped over the counter and stole cash before fleeing the scene prior to police arrival. The employee did not require medical attention.

After reviewing surveillance images captured in the case, a patrol officer provided a possible identification of the suspect based on a prior interaction. Utilizing additional investigative resources, detectives confirmed the suspect’s identity and sought the criminal warrant. He was taken into custody without incident in the 4900 block of 29th Road S. on the afternoon of February 24, 2020.

This remains an active criminal investigation. Anyone with information related to this investigation is asked to contact Detective R. Ortiz of the Arlington County Police Department’s Homicide/Robbery Unit at 703-228-7402 or [email protected] Information may also be provided anonymously through the Arlington County Crime Solvers hotline at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).

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Morning Notes

Arlington Man Dies in Pa. Ski Accident — “A skiing accident at an eastern Pennsylvania resort claimed the life of a Virginia man, authorities said. Matthew Rosenstein, 23, of Arlington, Virginia died Monday of multiple blunt force injuries, the Lehigh County coroner’s office said Wednesday.” [NBC 4]

Fairlington Among Most Competitive for Homebuyers — “Two locales in Greater Washington have cracked Redfin’s list of the most competitive neighborhoods for homebuyers in 2019 — one in Arlington and one in the District.” [Washington Business Journal, Redfin]

Free Drinks Today at a Local Starbucks — The Starbucks store at Market Common Clarendon (2690 Clarendon Blvd) will be giving away free tall espresso drinks from 1-2 p.m. today. [WUSA 9]

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Morning Notes

Silver Spring Man Wins Soggy MCM — “Jordan Tropf just wanted to see what he could do. Turns out, he could win the Marine Corps Marathon. Leading from the start, the 27-year-old Silver Spring resident built a lead of a 1:26 at the halfway point and went on to win by 70 seconds in 2:27:43, much of the second half coming in a driving rain.” [Run Washington, Washington Post, WTOP]

Arlington World Series Surprise on ‘Today’ — The Today Show aired a segment on the Nottingham Elementary School crossing guard who was surprised with World Series tickets from parents and students. [Twitter]

Shirlington Employment Center Moving — “The Shirlington Employment and Education Center (SEEC) is gearing up for a two-digit move – from 22206 to 22204. Facing the need to decamp from its office space (and facility for day laborers to congregate) in its namesake Shirlington, SEEC has worked with the Arlington County government to obtain space in Arlington Mill along the Columbia Pike corridor.” [InsideNova]

Dorsey Pushes for Clearer Metro Refund Policy — “When one Metro train crashed into another soon after a Nationals playoff game, Metro decided to cancel its ‘Rush Hour Promise’ refunds for the following afternoon’s commute… Arlington County Board Chair and Metro Board member Christian Dorsey hopes for more discussion about how explicit the terms should be, even if it is not reasonable to foresee every possible event.” [WTOP]

Nearby: New Bank Near Fairlington — “A new Bank of America location is coming to the Bradlee Shopping Center in Alexandria. The space at 3690G King Street was previously home to Queen Bee Designs.” [ALXnow]

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

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After months of debate on its fate, Arlington County has made the decision to permanently shutter Fire Station 7 in Fairlington.

County Manager Mark Schwartz made the call to close the station following recommendations from both the Arlington County Fire Department and the Arlington Department of Environmental Services, per a press release.

“This was not an easy decision, because we know the community has had a special relationship with Fire Station 7 — affectionately known as “The Little House” — and its personnel for more than half a century,” Schwartz said a statement.

According to the release, there would only be room for one emergency vehicle if the county were to renovate the station — which goes against the county’s latest fire station design standards for housing multiple vehicles.

Additionally, the renovated station would not have enough space to meet proper health and safety standards.

“Asking taxpayers to pay for rebuilding a station that doesn’t move us forward in meeting our community’s growing needs would not be fiscally responsible,” Schwartz said.

The station, located 3116 S. Abingdon Street in the middle of the mostly residential Fairlington neighborhood, shut down last October after fire personnel heard “creaking noises” in the station’s ceiling and it was deemed structurally unsafe. Its status was  “temporarily closed” until yesterday (Thursday).

During an audit meeting in August regarding the use of overtime in the fire department, County Board Vice Chair Libby Garvey noted that 60 percent of the station’s runs were to Alexandria and Fairfax, given its location in the county’s southwestern tip.

The county is still in the early stages of scouting for a site for a new fire station to serve Columbia Pike. Schwartz recently suggested that the eastern end of Columbia Pike would be a desirable location.

In lieu of Fire Station 7, county officials say the following stations will help serve the Fairlington area:

  • Fire Station 9: 1900 S. Walter Reed Drive, Arlington
  • Fire Station 203: 2801 Cameron Mills Road, Alexandria
  • Fire Station 206: 4609 Seminary Road, Alexandria
  • Fire Station 410: 3601 Firehouse Lane, Bailey’s Crossroads (Fairfax)

Arlington County is “developing a process to determine future use” of the Fire Station 7 site, the press release says. It will not be used for fire department purposes, an ACFD spokesman told ARLnow.

The full press release is below, after the jump.

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Morning Notes

Heavy Seas Alehouse to Close — “Heavy Seas Alehouse, the restaurant affiliated with the Baltimore-area brewery, will close its doors in Rosslyn by the end of October, one of its principals said Thursday. The restaurant plans to close Oct. 27, said Mike Morris, a partner in Monogram Hospitality, which operates Heavy Seas Alehouse.” [Washington Business Journal]

Real Estate Costs Going Down? — “In every major jurisdiction of the local area, the median per-square-foot price for housing for the January-through-September period declined, in many cases by double digits, according to new figures reported Oct. 11… Arlington led all local jurisdictions for the nine-month period, but its median per-square-foot cost of $436 was down 6.8 percent from $468.” [InsideNova]

Kaine to Talk Vaping at Arlington School — “On Friday, October 18, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine will hold a roundtable discussion on efforts to address the epidemic of youth e-cigarette use. The discussion at Montessori Public School of Arlington will include students, teachers, counselors, parents, health experts, and Virginia Secretary of Education Atif Qarni.” [Press Release]

Road Closures for Festival in Shirlington — “The Shirlington Shucktoberfest, sponsored by the Copperwood Tavern, will take place on Saturday, October 19, 2019 from 11:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.  Set up will begin at approximately 6:00 a.m. and cleanup should be completed by 7:00 p.m. The Arlington County Police Department will conduct the following road closures…” [Arlington County]

Arlington Woman’s Alleged Killer Charged — “The killer of Pamela Butler, a Washington, D.C., federal worker who disappeared before Valentine’s Day in 2009, has been charged in the 1989 death of his wife. Marta Haydee Rodriguez-Cruz disappeared from Arlington, Virginia, in 1989. Her remains were found along Interstate 95 in Stafford County in 1991 but weren’t positively identified until 2018. Her husband, Jose Angel Rodriguez-Cruz, also dated Butler for a time.” [NBC 4]

Arlington Man Convicted in Child Sex Sting — “An Arlington man is among more than 300 people arrested worldwide in connection with a website that authorities describe as the largest child sexual exploitation operation of its kind ever discovered in terms of the volume of content. Ammar Atef H. Alahdali, 22, pleaded guilty in the Eastern District of Virginia to receipt of child pornography and was sentenced to serve five years in prison and ordered to pay $3,000 in restitution.” [Patch]

Nearby: Birding Store Near Fairlington Closing — “After 33 years, birding and nature store One Good Tern (1710 Fern Street) near Fairlington is closing as longtime owner Charles Studholme faces a grim kidney failure diagnosis.” [ALXnow]

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Morning Notes

Update on Park Shirlington Plans — Owners of the Park Shirlington apartments are “advancing plans to build 612 new apartments and townhomes on the property and renovate 105 existing homes. That adds up to a total of 717 units on the 16-acre site, located just south of the Village at Shirlington and adjacent to Interstate 395. The developers plan to build 189 new apartments in a first phase of the project, then subsequently build about 267 more apartments and 156 townhomes, according initial plans presented to Arlington County officials.” [Washington Business Journal, UrbanTurf]

First Responders Train Caps for ‘Violent Incidents’ — “We take great pride in providing high quality training programs to citizens so that they can help us save lives. Last week, @ArlingtonVA police and firefighters trained members of the @Capitals administration staff in how to respond to violent incidents.” [Twitter]

ACPD Stepping Up Patrols for ‘Joker’ — “Arlington County police said they are conducting extra checks around movie theaters in the county, but they also said that there are no known threats.” [WUSA 9]

Arlington Urban Ag Month — “October is ‘Urban Agriculture Month’ in Arlington! This year, Arlington County, Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE), Arlington Friends of Urban Agriculture (FOUA), Arlington Food Assistance Center (AFAC), and Marymount University are combining efforts to offer events throughout October.” [Mailchimp]

Arlington GOP Outreach Effort — “With control of the General Assembly at stake on Nov. 5, the Arlington County Republican Committee is taking a page from the outreach efforts of its counterparts on the Democratic side. The Arlington GOP is asking volunteers to write personal messages on postcards that are being mailed to Republican-leaning voters in key legislative districts across the commonwealth.” [InsideNova]

DESIGNArlington Nominations Open — “Arlington County’s biennial design awards program, DESIGNArlington, is accepting submissions for great design in architectural, historic preservation, landscape and public art projects through Tuesday, Nov. 19.” [Arlington County]

Nearby: New Development Opening Near Fairlington — “A new apartment complex is scheduled to open in the West End later this year, with a Harris Teeter and a Silver Diner location coming down the road. Array at West Alex is a mixed-use development at 3445 Berkeley Street — the very northwest tip of the city at the intersection of N. Beauregard Street and King Street, near the Fairlington neighborhood.” [ALXnow]

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