County Board Debate Tonight — Democratic County Board candidates Libby Garvey and Erik Gutshall will debate tonight at 8 p.m. at the Arlington County Democratic Committee’s monthly meeting. The meeting is being held at Lubber Run Community Center. [ACDC]
Northside Social Expanding to Falls Church — Clarendon favorite Northside Social will be expanding to the City of Falls Church this fall. The new Northside Social will be located in the historic Blue and Gray American Legion Post building. [Falls Church News-Press]
Metro Track Work at Rosslyn — In a bit of unscheduled maintenance, Metro replaced track insulators around the Rosslyn Metro station yesterday. Metro has been experiencing problems with its aging track infrastructure, particularly fire-prone insulators and electrical equipment. [Twitter]
Attempted Rape Suspect May Be in Arlington — A man who’s wanted for the attempted rape of a child in Alexandria may be hiding in Arlington, authorities say. The man is being sought the the U.S. Marshals Service. [Alexandria News]
Free Guac and Chips at Cal Tor — California Tortilla, which has locations in Courthouse and Crystal City, is offering free chips and guacamole today. “Just say ‘It’s Guac O’Clock!’ to the cashier while ordering and all that hand-smashed goodness is yours!” the company says on its website. [California Tortilla]
Remembering Tom Richards — Who is Tom Richards and why was he such a pivotal figure in the history of Arlington’s parks and trails? A new article from Arlington County explains. Richards would have turned 90 this month; he collapsed and died on the Metro system in 2011. [Arlington County]
Moving Day for ARLnow.com — We are moving our offices up the Orange Line to Clarendon today. As a result, you may notice some delays in posting articles.
Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman
The power problem caused the traffic signal at the busy intersection of Lee Highway and Washington Blvd to start flashing, snarling traffic, and was also said to be responsible for numerous activated burglar and fire alarm calls in the area.
As of 4 p.m., there were just shy of 600 Dominion customers reported to be without power in Northern Virginia, mostly in Fairfax County.
The incident was reported just after 11:30 a.m. at the Happy Family restaurant at 301 S. Washington Street.
Initial reports suggest that the odor is the result of pipe relining in the area.
In the heart of Northern Virginia, The Finishing School has gained a reputation for providing an outstanding place for learning sewing skills.
Many children and adults have been privileged to receive instruction at The Finishing School, which is located in Falls Church.
Classes are offered all year. During the school year, hour-long children’s classes are available in the afternoons on weekdays and on Saturday mornings. Day camps during holidays and trial classes are also an option.
During the summer months, a ten-week-long summer session runs from the end of June through the end of August. There are weekly summer camps available for five days a week as well during this time.
Mother/daughter sessions are scheduled on Saturday afternoons, while birthday parties are scheduled for Sunday afternoons.
Students will thrive in a positive, social and creative environment. Students learn the basics of machine sewing, serging and understanding patterns. They will make fun and useful projects including: shorts, aprons, oven mitts, dresses, skirts, tops, pajamas, bath robes, bags, holiday decorations, pillows and quilts just to name a few!
The class structure allows new students to join at any time!
A variety of adult sewing classes are also offered, from beginning to advanced levels. Choose from our collection or bring your own. Sign up for a series or one class at a time.
Sign up today by emailing [email protected] or call 801-664-4108.
The preceding post was written and sponsored by The Finishing School.
The store, which has an existing location in McLean, had its lease in Cherrydale canceled last summer after a community outcry. In February, it opened an “annex” location in Falls Church, citing “high demand [in] that location for transfers and firearm purchases.”
On Friday, just two months after opening, the store announced that it would be closing.
“Regretfully due to recent neighborhood events and our desire to act in the best interests of the community in partnership with Falls Church Police, we have decided to close up this store in order to look for a more ideal location,” the company said.
A store manager explained that there were security concerns with the Falls Church location that came to light after its opening.
“Conversations in partnership with the Falls Church police department and the ATF revealed a rash of burglaries and firearms thefts in the area, and the security of the building at 909 West Broad Street, came into question,” wrote Erik Lorentzen. “In the interest of doing what was best for the community and preventing an unsavory situation with stolen firearms on the streets, we chose to close the store and move the inventory back to the more secure McLean location.”
(The McLean location was burglarized in December.)
Lorentzen said there were also “some business related reasons” for the closure.
“The Falls Church annex… was always a bit of an experiment to see if it was financially viable,” he said. “Over the two months the store was there, no such market revealed itself to us, and the store barely covered its operating expenses.”
Moving forward, NOVA Firearms says it’s focused on “building better relationships with the communities where we reside.”
“Falls Church was actually very welcoming and we had what we felt was a very good relationship with our neighbors,” said Lorentzen. “We were never protested and never received any pressure from anyone pushing us to close down. We simply looked at the situations… and made the call ourselves that this was the right and moral thing to do. We greatly appreciate all the support we have received from our customer base, and look forward to seeing everyone at the McLean store, which isn’t going anywhere.”
NOVA Firearms is not to be confused with NOVA Armory, the gun store that is now open in Arlington’s Lyon Park neighborhood despite vocal opposition from some in the community.
Update at 6 p.m. — Arlington County Police have issued the following statement about today’s incident.
Staff at Bishop O’Connell High School contacted an Arlington County Police School Resource Officer after they received a bomb threat that was telephoned to the school. After the school was evacuated, canine resources from the US Park Police, WMATA Metro Transit Police, and Pentagon Force Protection Agency assisted Arlington County Police canine in conducting a thorough and systematic search of the school.
Students were able to be evacuated by school staff with the assistance of Arlington County Police Officers and they were sheltered in nearby Tuckahoe Elementary School, who was having a Parent-Teacher conference day.
There was no evidence of any explosives or hoax devices and the school was deemed clear a short time later.
It appears that this bomb threat may be related to similar threats in the region based on their nature and timing. We will work closely with the other affected jurisdictions to investigate these incidents.
Update at 2 p.m. — Students are now being allowed back into Bishop O’Connell.
Update at 1:10 p.m. — The evacuated students from the high school have been moved from the football field to Tuckahoe Elementary School, across the street. K-9 units from Metro Transit Police, U.S. Park Police and Pentagon police have arrived on scene to aid in a sweep of the school.
Update at 1:05 p.m. — Tuckahoe parents were sent a text message saying the school was being secured in connection with the Bishop O’Connell incident and evacuation.
In addition to O’Connell and George Mason High, evacuations are also underway due to threats received at five other schools in Northern Virginia, NBC 4 reports: Herndon High School in Herndon, McLean High School in McLean, The Potomac School in McLean, Stone Bridge High School in Ashburn and Falls Church High School in Falls Church. (We’ve since updated this list as NBC 4 corrected its article.)
Earlier: Bishop O’Connell High School is being evacuated due to a bomb threat, ARLnow.com has learned.
Police and K-9 units are en route to the private Catholic school.
The evacuation was reported just minutes after another local high school — George Mason High School in Falls Church — was evacuated due to a bomb threat.
George Mason High School is being evacuated following receipt of a bomb threat this morning. MORE: https://t.co/4YWmBzYdDn
— FCCPSAlert (@fccpsalert) March 4, 2016
Arlington County firefighters are on the scene of a flipped car in Falls Church.
The crash happened around 1:45 p.m. at the intersection of Great Falls Street and Little Falls Street, near the Falls Church Community Center.
One person is being evaluated for injuries by paramedics. A video (below) shows firefighters arriving on scene shortly after the accident.
Arlington provides fire and EMS services to the City of Falls Church via an agreement between the two jurisdictions.
ACFD assisting on a vehicle overturned on Little Falls St and Great Falls in the City of Falls Church. pic.twitter.com/DGJmUQnPoj
— Arlington Fire (@ACFDPIO) February 26, 2016
A long-time Arlington business is preparing to close its doors next week.
CD Cellar, purveyor of compact discs and vinyl records at 2607 Wilson Blvd, is planning to close on Friday, Jan. 15. The business is moving its inventory to a new location in Falls Church, where it opened its original store on West Broad Street back in 1992.
“Our flagship location in Falls Church is relocating to a bigger and badder space,” CD Cellar said on its website. “As of Dec. 31, 2015, CD Cellar will live at 105 Park Avenue, just a hop, skip and a jump away from our longtime home on West Broad Street. What’s more, we are moving our fantastic Arlington stock into the new Falls Church space, combining two stores into one super-awesome megastore.”
The new location in Falls Church is in a shopping center a block from the State Theater. The center is also home to Action Music, a guitar store; Hi-Fi Heaven, a high-end audio-visual equipment store; and Cue Recording Studios.
“We are thrilled about the change,” CD Cellar said. “In our new home on Park Avenue, we’ve got loads more parking and several very cool neighbors.”
Photos by Justin Funkhouser
Ahmad El-Khatib, 31, was arrested Sunday morning at a friend’s apartment building on the 800 block of N. Randolph Street. Police say El-Khatib had been out with friends in D.C. Saturday night and came back to his friend’s building.
Around 3:40 a.m., a 13-year-old boy who was sleeping in the club room of the building was awakened to find a stranger touching him in appropriately, said Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. The teen immediately fled the room and reported the incident to a family member, who was working as the building’s overnight concierge.
The concierge reviewed surveillance footage and found that the incident had been caught on video, Sternbeck said. Later that morning, when El-Khatib was leaving the building, an employee identified him as the suspect in the video and called police. El-Khatib was arrested on scene, said Sternbeck.
El-Khatib, an Annandale resident, has been charged with aggravated sexual assault and is being held without bond.
El-Khatib is listed as the “founding director” of the NUR Center, an Islamic education, recreation and cultural center with locations in Loudoun County and on Carlin Springs Road in Falls Church. The center offers Montessori classes for ages 3-9, along with after school activities for ages 5-12 and youth day and summer camps.
Also on the NUR Center website, El-Khatib is listed as the coach of a martial arts team based at Abingdon Elementary School, in Arlington’s Fairlington community. On his LinkedIn profile, he’s listed as the “program director” of the NUR Center and a company called Arlington Day Camps LLC.
A website for Arlington Day Camps has the following biography for El-Khatib:
Ahmad El-Khatib has directed art, fitness, and enrichment camps in the DMV area for over 10 years. His programs have been offered at Fairfax County Rec Centers, Sport and Health Clubs, Abingdon Elementary, Drew Model School, Lyles Crouch Traditional Academy, and Randolph Elementary. In 2010, he founded the NUR Center, a Montessori School and After-School recreation center for children and adults. His working partnerships with local schools gave him the ability to establish strong relationships with some of the areas most extraordinary teachers. In September 2013, with the support of his staff and community, he established Arlington Day Camps in an effort to provide quality and affordable camps during school holidays and teacher work days.
A phone number listed for El-Khatib went straight to a full voicemail box. An employee at the NUR Center in Loudoun County did not have any information on El-Khatib’s arrest, and an email to the company has not been returned. Attempts to reach Mary El-Khatib, who’s listed as a NUR Center co-founder and a former Arlington Public Schools teacher, were also unsuccessful.
Last week, at least four cars were broken into and one was reported stolen in Fairlington. All of the cars broken into were unlocked, and the car that was stolen was reportedly unlocked with the keys left in the ignition.
Also last week, items were stolen from a number of cars within a one block radius of the 2000 block of S. Eads Street, in the Crystal City area, according to a crime report.
This past weekend, at least 16 cars were broken into in the City of Falls Church, according to the Falls Church News-Press.
Arlington County Police are continuing to remind residents to lock their cars and to not leave any valuables in plain sight within the vehicle when it’s parked.
Arlington K-9s to Retire With Handlers — The Arlington County Board on Saturday unanimously voted to officially sanction the transfer of ownership of retiring law enforcement K-9 officers to their handlers, thus allowing police dogs to live out their lives with their long-time partners. [NBC Washington, Arlington County]
Big Changes Coming to Crystal City Building — The U.S. Marshals Service is consolidating its offices into one Crystal City office building. That will leave another Crystal City office building, 1750 Crystal Drive, vacant. Owner Vornado is planning a big facelift for the building, with more glass and steel and less concrete on the outside. [Washington Business Journal]
Arlington, Falls Church Renew Service Agreement — Arlington County will continue to provide court, jail, fire department and other services to the City of Falls Church, under a new agreement approved by the Arlington County Board on Saturday. Fall Church will pay Arlington just over $1 million per year for the services. [Arlington County]
McAuliffe to Start Marine Corps Marathon — Next weekend’s Marine Corps Marathon will be officially started by Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe. [Twitter]
M.J. Stewart Suspended at UNC — Former Yorktown High School football standout M.J. Stewart has been suspended from the University of North Carolina football team after being charged with assault in connection to an off-campus altercation. Stewart, a sophomore, had been a starting cornerback on the team. [Associated Press]
Resident to County: Cover Sandboxes — A Shirlington resident spoke before the County Board on Saturday to raise concern about uncovered sandboxes. She urged county officials to keep sandboxes covered when not in use, to keep pets and disease out. [InsideNova]
Arlington Remembers 9/11 — Arlington County is marking the 14th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks with a solemn ceremony in Courthouse. A moment of silence will be held at 9:37 a.m. [Arlington County, Twitter]
Sidewalks on the Pike Still Need Work — The new Freedman’s Village Bridge over Columbia Pike includes new, wider sidewalks along the Pike, but there are problems. Just up from the new sidewalks, narrow old sidewalks have telephone poles in the middle of them, obstructing pedestrians and bicyclists. And there are multiple crossings among the new sidewalks that make the going slow. [Greater Greater Washington]
Letter Writer: Everything Is Awful — Most people probably find Arlington a pleasant place to live. But a resident who wrote a guest commentary about Arlington for a Falls Church newspaper finds a lot to dislike, warning Falls Church residents of Arlington as a “cautionary tale” of development gone wrong. The letter blasts Arlington’s overcrowded schools, “scorched-earth development practices,” “critical shortage of parkland and green space,” “failed policies and inadequate planning,” “poor local air quality,” lack of mature tree canopy and “urban heat island effect.” [Falls Church News-Press]
AHC Repays Loan — Nonprofit affordable housing developer AHC Inc. has made a $2.5 million loan repayment to Arlington County, one of the organization’s largest lump sum repayments. AHC presented retiring County Board members Mary Hynes and Walter Tejada, along with other county officials, a giant check to mark the occasion.
Janet Howell Announces Breast Cancer Diagnosis — State Sen. Janet Howell (D-32nd), who represents part of Arlington, announced yesterday that she was diagnosed with breast cancer this summer. She has undergone treatment and says her prognosis is “excellent.” [Reston Now]
Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf
Gun Store Owner Blames Bloomberg — James Gates, the Marine Corps veteran who tried to open a gun store in Cherrydale, said that the cancellation of its lease after a neighborhood outcry was the fault of the former mayor of New York City. “When news of our planned location in Arlington became public, there were some local critics; however they enjoyed outsized influence when anti-civil rights campaigns backed by billionaire Michael Bloomberg picked up their cause,” Gates said in a statement. [Washington Times]
Bee Swarm at Arlington Home — Hundreds, maybe thousands of honey bees have taken up residence in the chimney of an Arlington home. The homeowner called ABC 7 On Your Side after beekeepers wouldn’t help her out, because the chimney was too high, and after learning that it’s against the law to kill the bees with pesticides. “It seems as a homeowner the bees have more of a right to live in my home than I do,” said Alex Casiano. “While I understand honey bees are important to our environment, honey bees don’t pay my rent.” [WJLA]
Salary Boost for Acting County Manager — Three weeks into the job, Acting County County Manager Mark Schwartz is getting a modest raise. The County Board agreed to boost his $204,000 salary as a Deputy County Manager by 10 percent during his time as Acting County Manager. His predecessor, Barbara Donnellan, earned $269,742 per year. [Arlington County]
Alexandria Wants Citywide Residential Fiber — Alexandria is seeking a partner to build a citywide fiber optic network to serve homes and businesses. Alexandria’s request for fiber after Verizon abandoned plans to build out FiOS service in the city. Arlington County has built its own municipal fiber network, but it so far is only available to county government, schools and businesses. [Ars Technica]
Falls Church Paper Throws Shade at Arlington — McLean residents are stymying the City of Falls Church’s plan to renovate a city elementary that’s located in Fairfax County. That, however, is being used by a newspaper to make some serious insinuations about Arlington. “The main way the City of Falls Church pisses off its much bigger neighbors is by being successful,” writes the Falls Church News-Press in an editorial. “It really frustrates those who imagine that there could be a lot of money to be made by someone, not in Falls Church, if the City threw its hands in the air and abandoned its independence, becoming a drop-in-the-bucket neighborhood of either Fairfax or Arlington instead. People with big money who’ve spent a lot of it on cultivating political appointees or elected officials to do their bidding in the neighboring jurisdictions are angered by the fact they don’t own Falls Church officials in the same way.” [Falls Church News-Press]
Flickr pool photo by Airamangel
Snow Chance Today — Arlington may get some snow, sleet and freezing rain this afternoon. The area is under a Winter Weather Advisory, although forecasters think areas north and west of Arlington are at more of a risk of wintry weather and slippery roads. [Weather.com]
Two Dems Running for School Board — The deadline for candidates seeking the Democratic endorsement for school board was last night and two candidates filed before the deadline: Reid Goldstein and Sharon Dorsey. The Arlington County Democratic Committee will hold its school board caucus on May 14 and 16.
Opower Losing Money, Hiring — Courthouse-based Opower, a publicly-traded energy software company, reported its latest financial results yesterday. For 2014, the company reported $128.4 million in revenue, a 45 percent increase over 2013. Its operating loss was $40.8 million. The company is continuing its hiring spree, adding employees locally and at its offices in London, San Francisco, Tokyo and Singapore. [DC Inno, Yahoo Finance]
Armed Bank Robbery in Falls Church — A Wells Fargo bank in Falls Church was robbed yesterday by two armed men known as the “Black Hat Bandits.” The men are suspected of robbing seven other banks around the D.C. area. Arlington County police assisted Falls Church police in looking for the suspects immediately after the robbery. [Falls Church News-Press]
Old Map of Arlington — An 18th century map of what is now Arlington County shows mills along Four Mile Run and the “Road To The Falls,” known now as Glebe Road. [Ghosts of DC]
Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf
Robocall in County Board Primary — No candidate has officially announced for Arlington County Board yet, but one likely candidate is already doing some polling. Peter Fallon reportedly sponsored a “robocall” poll last night that asked questions about local issues important to the voter and whether the voter wants experience or a fresh face in this election cycle. [Blue Virginia]
Suspicious Item at Falls Church City Hall — Falls Church City Hall was evacuated yesterday evening due to a suspicious object found in the lobby. The Arlington County bomb squad investigated and determined that the object was “a training aid used by explosive K9 teams.” The building reopened around 8:15 p.m. [City of Falls Church]
Arlington Man Charged with Rape — A 33-year-old Arlington man has been charged with raping a Maryland woman in a Delaware hotel over the weekend. [News Journal]
Photo courtesy Peter Roof