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by Alex Koma May 31, 2018 at 9:55 am 0

(Updated June 1 at 4:50 p.m.) The family of an Arlington man shot by county police, after he allegedly rammed police vehicles with his van, is raising money to help pay for his medical care amid claims he was treated poorly while in custody.

Relatives of 51-year-old Steven Best have so far raised more than $5,100 through a GoFundMe page since police shot Best during the May 3 incident.

Arlington police say they were trying to pull Best over near the intersection of 12th Street S. and S. Edgewood Street, just off Columbia Pike, after spotting a woman in his car wanted on outstanding warrants for violating her probation.

Police allege that Best ignored commands from officers and struck their vehicles in an attempt to flee the scene, prompting two officers to shoot him. Department spokesman Ashley Savage added that neither Best nor the woman in his car, 40-year-old Jessica Lary of Annandale, “displayed any weapons during the incident,” and were arrested after being found hiding in the area.

Best is now charged with three counts of the attempted malicious wounding of a law enforcement officer, though he was released on bond on Tuesday (May 29).

During the last few weeks in police custody — in the hospital then in the Arlington County jail — Best’s family says he received “minimal medical care” for the six gunshot wounds he suffered. They are raising money to fund his “legal defense and medical rehabilitation.”

The family further alleges that Best was held “in protective custody and in isolation 23 hours a day” during his time behind bars, which took “a toll on him mentally and physically,” and that ACPD’s accounting of events leading to the shooting is false.

“We believe that this was an unlawful shooting by police, use of excessive force, abuse of power and now cover up,” the GoFundMe page says.

Maj. Susie Doyel, a spokeswoman for the county sheriff’s office, told ARLnow via email that Best was held in the detention facility’s medical unit, “where there are nurses on-duty 24 hours a day.”

“Mr. Best was initially placed on protective status due to the high profile of his case in the media (this is standard practice),” Doyel wrote. “However, he was removed from protective custody status on May 25. Had he not made bond, he would have gone to another unit once he had been cleared by medical.”

Best’s attorney, Michael Sgarlet, declined to comment on the case.

Best is set to appear in Arlington County District Court for a preliminary hearing on his charges on June 25.

“I believe in him,” Heather Rose-Walker, Best’s sister, wrote on the GoFundMe page. “However I don’t believe in the system anymore.”

Photo via GoFundMe

by ARLnow.com May 24, 2018 at 9:05 am 0

Fundraiser for Family in Need — Money is being raised online for an Arlington woman and her two school-aged sons after her husband — their dad — passed away from stomach cancer. The De Leon Ordonez family was very active with the Barrett Elementary School community, volunteering “countless hours of time and energy” to the school and the PTA. “Please donate to help them get back on their feet,” wrote Del. Patrick Hope. [YouCaring, Twitter]

Tenant-Landlord Guidelines Changed — “County Board members on May 22 approved revisions to the guidelines that developers either can or must follow – depending on the specific circumstance – if they are renovating residential properties and displacing tenants in the process. The revisions… will provide many tenants with more notice and, in some cases, higher relocation payments if they find themselves displaced.” [InsideNova]

Turtle Causes Flight Delay at DCA — A flight from Reagan National Airport to Chicago had its departure delayed a few minutes due to a turtle on the runway. [WUSA 9]

Radnor/Fort Myer Heights Profiled — WaPo has published another profile of an Arlington neighborhood and this time around it’s the Radnor/Fort Myer Heights neighborhood, just south of the Rosslyn and Courthouse Metro stations. The neighborhood’s civic association president said the neighborhood is “concerned about increased density” from development, “want it reasonable” and “open to affordable housing and diversity.” [Washington Post]

County May Hold Discussion of School Construction Costs — “Members of the [Arlington County] government’s audit committee are seeking to hold a summertime discussion of the high costs of Arlington school construction, hoping to piggyback on a report due out in coming weeks from the school system’s auditor. The audit committee has ‘made overtures’ to school officials about holding a joint community forum – date and place still undetermined – to discuss the findings of the report.” [InsideNova]

Ribbon Cutting for New Crystal City Office — Helicopter manufacturer Bell has opened a new office — its “Advanced Vertical Lift Center” — in Crystal City. A ribbon cutting was reportedly held yesterday. The new office “is designed for the company’s military customers, partners and policy makers to ‘interact with technology that is defining the future of vertical lift.'” [Rotor & Wing]

Photo courtesy Jeremy Galliani

by ARLnow.com April 27, 2018 at 2:45 pm 0

(Updated at 3:15 p.m.) The Fairlington 5K Run and Walk tomorrow will raise money for an Arlington girl with a rare, degenerative disease.

In 2011, Ellie McGinn was diagnosed with LBSL (leukoencephalopathy with brainstem and spinal cord involvement and lactate elevation), which causes impaired nervous system functioning that can lead to muscle stiffness, tremors, weakness, poor balance and difficulty coordinating body movements.

The nonprofit organization “A Cure for Ellie” has been set up in her name to raise awareness of LBSL and funding for research. McGinn appeared on the Today Show last year for her and her parents’ work in their search for a cure.

Tomorrow’s non-competitive run/walk in Fairlington aims to promote general health and physical fitness while also supporting McGinn, who is a third-grader at Abingdon Elementary School. The event begins at 8:30 a.m. at Abingdon Elementary (3035 S. Abingdon Street) and registration is $35 for adults, $20 for children ages 6-16 and free for children five and under.

Arlington County police will oversee the following road closures from approximately 7-9:30 a.m. to accommodate the race:

  • Abington Street between S. 29th Street and S. 36th Street
  • 36th Street between S. 34th Street up to, and including, Stafford Street
  • Wakefield loop off S. 34th Street
  • Utah Street between S. 32nd Street and S. 34th Street

Photo via A Cure for Ellie

by ARLnow.com March 28, 2018 at 8:45 am 0

Community Concerns Over Hospital Land SwapUpdated at 1:50 p.m. — Virginia Hospital Centers needs to expand to keep up with patient demand but the planned expansion is in a holding pattern as resident concerns are addressed. “Tracy Greiner, chair of a task force of three nearby civic associations, said the hospital has ‘failed to effectively address three years of homeowner feedback.’ Neighbors — some who’ve been in Halls Hill for three generations, others who just bought in — worry about traffic, nighttime lights and construction.” [Falls Church News-Press]

Beyer Wants Answers from FBI — Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) is requesting a meeting with the director of the FBI to discuss the investigation into the fatal shooting of Bijan Ghaisar by U.S. Park Police along the GW Parkway, to ensure that it proceeds expeditiously. Of note: “Beyer said that Arlington County, where the 911 calls came in, will not release the 911 tapes because the FBI hasn’t given them permission because it’s an ongoing investigation.” [WTOP]

Wilcox to Headline Arlington Gala — “Arlington’s own Amy Wilcox, a recording artist and star of A&E Network’s ‘Crazy Hearts: Nashville,’ will be the featured performer at the Arlington Community Foundation’s annual gala – ‘This Is Us’ – to be held April 21. The evening event will be held at the Ritz-Carlton Pentagon City, with funds raised being used to support the philanthropic initiatives of the foundation.” [InsideNova]

Candy Dispute Prompts Call to Police — According to scanner traffic, police responded yesterday evening to a domestic incident in which “a father is not allowing his kid to have candy and they’re all fighting.” [Twitter]

by ARLnow.com March 23, 2018 at 5:55 pm 0

The family of homicide victim John Giandoni is raising money via a crowdfunding campaign.

Giandoni, who would have turned 41 on Wednesday, was found dead in his home in Ballston last weekend. Police later determined his death to have been a homicide, though few details have been revealed about the circumstances.

In a crowdfunding campaign dubbed the “Freebird Fund,” Giandoni’s family is raising money for expenses. So far, more than $4,000 has been raised by nearly 50 donors.

The page also includes a brief biography of Giandoni, a father of one who worked for Booz Allen Hamilton and was active in the Arlington-Falls Church Young Republicans.

John Alexis Giandoni, born March 21, 1977 to Guillermo and Mary Ann Giandoni, passed away Friday, March 16, 2018. John loved spending time with his young son, Jack, more than anything else in this world and was a truly dedicated father and a devout Catholic in the Knights of Columbus 3rd and 4th Degree. His desire for adventure and zest for life fueled his enjoyment for and allowed him to excel in snowboarding, soccer, rock climbing, surfing, scuba diving, and anything outdoors. He enjoyed camping, hiking, going to concerts, traveling, and spending time with his family and friends who he truly cherished, valued, and respected. John always had a bright smile on his face that could light up a room and a sincere, kind word for everyone.

John worked at Booz Allen Hamilton as a Data Analyst and he had an unquenchable thirst for knowledge, leading to constant personal and professional growth. After graduating from Woodbridge Senior High School, he earned his undergraduate degree at James Madison University and later his graduate degree at Virginia Tech.

A memorial service for Giandoni is being held tonight (Friday) in Dale City, Virginia.

by Bridget Reed Morawski March 21, 2018 at 1:45 pm 0

A long-time pharmacy volunteer at the Arlington Free Clinic has donated a quarter million dollars to the nonprofit medical center.

The $250,000 gift came from a retired Arlington special education teacher who prefers anonymity.

The clinic’s benefactor grew up in Pennsylvania coal country with immigrant parents. Her mother died of diabetes when she was nine; her father continued raising her until he died  of an untreated dental infection that spread to his brain when she was 18.

She came to the clinic one day and sat down with Arlington Free Clinic staff and asked what could be done with better funding.

“We started talking about dental, and her eyes lit up and the lights came on,” recounted Nancy White, the clinic’s executive director. White says that the volunteer wanted to support her father’s legacy with a gift that would prevent others from suffering how he did and to prevent children from losing their parents to preventable health problems.

The gift inspired the Arlington Free Clinic to set a $1 million fundraising goal to develop an in-house oral health program that would benefit low income adults without health insurance.

Currently, the clinic uses one dental chair at Arlington’s Department of Human Services to perform dental procedures. With the funding, the clinic hopes to rearrange their space at 2921 11th Street S., near Columbia Pike, so that three dental chairs could be installed where the pharmacy currently is, among other dental-related improvements.

The nonprofit has already raised $800,000 toward that goal, which they hope to achieve by November, and has planned upcoming events like a Bites & Blues fundraiser at Whitlow’s on Wilson on April 28.

This is not the first large donation received by the clinic. In 2011, the Arlington Free Clinic received a $677,500 gift to benefit mental health services.

by ARLnow.com February 12, 2018 at 7:35 am 0

Instant Runoff Bill Passes Committee — A bill that authorizes the Arlington County Board to use instant runoff voting for Board elections has passed a state committee. The legislation from Del. Patrick Hope (D) is intended to “encourage consensus candidates and eliminate the likelihood that a fringe contender could sneak through with 25 or 30 percent of the vote in a crowded field.” [InsideNova]

Foxcroft Heights Fire — Arlington County and Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall firefighters battled heavy fire in a townhouse near the eastern end of Columbia Pike Saturday evening. No injuries were reported but the home sustained serious damage. [Twitter, Twitter]

Fire at Willston Centre — A fire broke out Saturday night at a store in the Willston Centre shopping center in Seven Corners. TV news reports said the fire started in the Steven’s Shop tuxedo shop. Arlington, Alexandria and Fairfax firefighters worked to extinguish the blaze. No one was injured. [Patch]

Community Foundation Gala Set — The Arlington Community Foundation will be holding its annual gala on Saturday, April 21 at the Ritz-Carlton Pentagon City. The theme for this year is “This Is Us.” The event will feature a performance by “Arlington’s own Amy Wilcox and her band from L.A.” [Arlington Community Foundation]

Pushback on Naming Gravelly for Nancy Reagan — The pushback to the pushback against naming Gravelly Point park for First Lady Nancy Reagan has arrived. Writes a conservative website: “Opposition to the name change is… mean-spirited, petty partisanship. Nancy Reagan deserves better.” [Daily Signal]

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

by Bridget Reed Morawski February 6, 2018 at 2:00 pm 0

Randolph Elementary School’s PTA is hosting an online charity auction to support classroom and extracurricular programs, auctioning off local business deals, unique experiences and gift certificates today through Feb. 15.

There are over 200 auction items up for grabs, with prizes ranging from a veterinary check-up to an Annapolis sailboat ride valued at $500. One lucky bidder could even win a homemade baby back rib dinner for four at Arlington Public Schools board member Reid Goldstein’s home, for a minimum bid of $75.

Or perhaps you’d rather just relax at home and let Randolph Elementary principal Dr. Donna Synder and assistant principal Ms. Rebecca Irwin Kennedy take over the bedtime story routine one evening for a minimum bid of $15.

Holly Jeffreys, the Randolph Elementary PTA auction chair, says that all auction proceeds will fund field trips, classroom supplies, field day, and literacy programs like the Summer Mailbox book program. She noted that Randolph is a Title I school, a designation indicating “high percentages of children from low-income families,” according to the U.S. Department of Education.

Approximately 73.6% of students at Randolph qualify for free or reduced price meals, according to an October 2017 Arlington Public Schools report.

The auction has taken place in previous years. New this year, according to organizers, the auction website will accept credit card payments — via PayPal — from auction winners, in addition to checks.

File photo via Arlington Public Schools

by ARLnow.com October 26, 2017 at 7:35 am 0

Badaro’s Big Plans — As we reported yesterday, a fast-casual Lebanese restaurant called Badaro is opening in the former NKD Pizza space in Virginia Square. According to Eater, restaurateur Jay Zein hopes to open the Badaro by December 1. “From there,” reports the website, “he says he’ll install a second location around Arlington, Virginia, by summer 2018 and ‘then expand beyond that.'” [Eater]

Fleet Elementary Time Capsule — Students, school administrators and county officials were on hand yesterday to fill a time capsule at the under-construction Alice West Fleet Elementary School, next to Thomas Jefferson Middle School. [Twitter]

Roads Next in Line for Changes at DCA — With a $1 billion expansion project underway at Reagan National Airport, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority is now looking at DCA’s network of roadways as the next thing in line for upgrades. [InsideNova]

Arlington Resident Climbs Mt. Kilimanjaro — Arlington resident Janene Corrado has climbed to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Corrado’s fundraising quest started when her father was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma in 2011. [Arlington Catholic Herald]

Amazon Key Coming to D.C. Area — Amazon is planning to launch a service called Amazon Key that would electronically grant delivery drivers access to your home to securely deliver packages. The service “is exclusively for Prime members in select cities and surrounding areas,” including the D.C. area. [PoPville]

by ARLnow.com October 4, 2017 at 9:30 am 0

Nauck Town Square Project Progressing  — “There seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel for the Nauck Town Square project, which aims to turn a barren (though iconic) strip of land into a true community gathering place… If all goes as planned, a construction contract will be inked in 2018, with completion a year later.” [InsideNova]

History: Arlington’s Three Sisters — Arlington County was home to the second-tallest human-made structure in the world after the Eiffel Tower: one of the “Three Sisters” U.S. Navy radio towers that once stood along Columbia Pike. [Arlington Magazine]

Mall Raising Money for Breast Cancer Research — This month the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City will be raising money for breast cancer research by offering discount cards to shoppers who make a $5 donation to the Susan G. Komen organization. The mall will also be holding meet and greets with the Susan G. Komen D.C. chapter and on Oct. 21 will be offering free pink cookies and pink lemonade. [Simon]

Arlington Issues New Bonds — Arlington County successfully sold $58 million in new bonds this week at an average 3.24 percent interest rate. “This sale allows the County to finance two important land acquisitions, while also saving the County $3.8 million of future debt service by refinancing existing bonds at lower rates,” County Manager Mark Schwartz said in a press release. [Arlington County]

Photo courtesy James Mahony

by ARLnow.com October 2, 2017 at 9:15 am 0

Reaction to Las Vegas Shooting — Reactions from local officials are beginning to come in in response to the mass shooting at a Las Vegas concert, which is now the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. “Will the corporate gun lobby please wake up? #PrayersAreNotEnough #HowManyMore?” tweeted state Sen. Adam Ebbin (D). Meanwhile, a “gun violence prevention roundtable” planned today in Alexandria, with former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and Captain Mark Kelly, has been cancelled “in light of today’s events.” [Twitter, Twitter]

Stats Behind Arlington’s Millennial Growth — The growth rate of Arlington’s millennial population between 2007 and 2013 was 82 percent, the highest in the nation. Meanwhile, development and transportation stats bear out how Arlington is growing and attracting young people. For instance, only 44 percent of Arlington’s population drives alone to work, compared to the 76.4 percent national average. [Bisnow]

Conservative Reporter vs. Donut Store Employee — Ashley Rae Goldenberg, a reporter for the conservative Media Research Center who goes by the Twitter handle @Communism_Kills, says she was harassed on Twitter by an employee of the new Dunkin’ Donuts store in Virginia Square. [Twitter]

Bomb Threat at Rosslyn BuildingUpdated at 11:15 a.m. — Someone called 911 with a bomb threat against an office building on the 1100 block of Wilson Blvd Thursday evening. That is the same block as TV station WJLA (ABC 7). No explosives were found during a police search of the building. [Patch, Arlington County]

Teen Provides Art to the Formerly Homeless — Allison Stocks, a 15-year-old sophomore at Yorktown High School, founded a nonprofit that takes donations of art and then provides it to those “making the transition from homeless shelters into permanent housing,” thus helping to cover bare walls and make their new home feel more homey. [Washington Post]

Local Gamer Raises Money for Hurricane Relief — In the wake of hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, local resident Scott Jones helped raise more than $1,700 for disaster relief by broadcasting a 24-hour video game marathon from his Arlington apartment. Jones is one of numerous gamers who have used their gaming skills to raise serious cash for charitable causes. [Los Angeles Times]

Sports Pub Employees to Stand During Anthem — Late last week the Crystal City Sports Pub (529 23rd Street S.) sent a press release to broadcast outlets saying that its employees would “stand united for the national anthem” during Sunday’s football games. [WJLA]

by Chris Teale September 26, 2017 at 2:00 pm 0

An Arlington County site for people to donate items to hurricane-stricken Puerto Rico closed in just two days after overwhelming support.

Volunteers throughout the region are gathering supplies for United for Puerto Rico, a charity that provides aid to those on the island affected by Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

The hurricanes caused a loss of power throughout Puerto Rico, as well as extensive damage and flooding. Puerto Rican governor Ricardo Rossello said it could take months for power to be restored in some areas.

But after filling eight trucks with supplies in just two days, Arlington’s collection point, Grace Community Church (1031 N. Vermont Street) in Ballston, is no longer taking donations. The effort’s organizer, Mariana Vicens, announced the news in a Facebook post on Sunday.

“Yesterday we packed two trucks and today we packed SIX!” Vicens wrote. “It was an incredible day full of support, love, encouragement, solidarity, and pure bliss! My heart is filled with love and I am so so so thankful for each and every one of you… from the people setting up and cleaning up at the end, the children distributing water and food, the packers, movers and greeters, the runners, the truckers, the people that cooked, the assembly line… you name it!!!”

(Vicens did not respond to requests for further comment.)

Photos from Sunday’s donation show legions of volunteers packing boxes to send to Puerto Rico, as well as non-perishable food and bottled water. Those wishing to donate have also been able to do so online through an Amazon wish-list. Other locations in the area are still accepting donations, which are then sent to the island with the help of the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration.

Meanwhile, Dogma Bakery (2722 S. Arlington Mill Drive) in Shirlington is accepting pet supplies and cash to donate to Puerto Rico, including food, collars, leashes, dog beds and crates.

And in Falls Church on Saturday, the group Circulo de Puerto Rico will be collecting personal care items, non-perishable food and monetary donations during an “#SOSDC4PR” event at The Locker Room Bar & Grill (502 W. Broad Street).

“Bring your donations and stay over to cheer each incoming contribution. Bring you musical instruments and noisemakers to celebrate when donations come in!” said the event’s registration page. “The Locker Room will donate 15% of the food and drink sales during the event to the hurricane victims. Please share this information with as many people as you can.”

Photos via Facebook.

by Chris Teale September 15, 2017 at 3:45 pm 0

(Updated at 6:10 p.m.) The Arlington Chapter of the National Organization for Women will host a charity indoor bike ride later this month to raise money for local nonprofit Doorways for Women and Families.

The 50-minute ride takes place from 1 p.m. on Saturday, September 23 at Cyclebar, an indoor cycling center at 3400 Columbia Pike. Online reservations are required.

For a $25 donation, participants receive a 50-minute spin class accompanied by a “Girl Power” playlist, as well as cycling shoes, a towel and a water bottle. The local NOW chapter is also asking for song suggestions for its ride playlist.

The event will raise money for Doorways, which works to transform the lives of those who are homeless or face abuse in the community.

Since its founding in 1966, NOW looks to take action to “promote feminist ideals, lead societal change, eliminate discrimination, and achieve and protect the equal rights of all women and girls in all aspects of social, political, and economic life.” NOW’s national organization describes itself as a nonprofit that is the “grassroots arm of the women’s movement.”

by Chris Teale September 14, 2017 at 11:15 am 0

After her adopted home of the U.S. Virgin Islands was battered by Hurricane Irma, a woman with connections to Arlington County is calling on others to donate to help the relief effort.

Victoria Lemmon grew up in Ashburn and her father and sister currently live and work in Arlington. She moved to the U.S. Virgin Islands two years ago when she graduated college and “started a life there, met amazing people who have done the same thing I did, people who started families, and families who relocated there to live the dream.”

She lives on St. John, the smallest of the three islands, which together with St. Thomas received the worst of the damage from the Category 5 storm.

More than half the homes on St. John have been destroyed, she said, along with 90 percent of the boats docked on the island, including houseboats. Four people were reported dead across the U.S. Virgin Islands; the power grid and other infrastructure was devastated and may take months to restore; and residents are in serious need of aid, which was slow to arrive after the hurricane passed.

“St. John is nicknamed ‘Love City’ due to the never-ending kindness, and passion we have for our island family and home,” Lemmon said. “Though things are looking up with more help being sent to the island, we need more miracles to help us rebuild.”

Lemmon urged people on the U.S. mainland to donate online, either to the likes of the Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands, or to reputable online fundraising campaigns.

Basketball great and Virgin Islands native Tim Duncan has raised more than $2 million through his “21 US Virgin Island Relief Fund,” while country music superstar Kenny Chesney, whose home on St. John was destroyed by the storm, is collecting donations via a new foundation he set up. There are also efforts to collect donated supplies to send to the islands.

Lemmon said that with coverage of Irma focused on the U.S. mainland as it made its way towards Florida, the U.S. Virgin Islands were “overlooked.”

We need way more media attention to bring in donations for the people who are there and running out of food and water, we need donations for chainsaws and tools to help clear the debris. We are begging for help and attention to these U.S. citizens that have been overlooked in the week since the storm, due to media describing the first US landfall of Irma to be Florida.

The media overlooking the Virgin Islands and placing their main and general concern with Florida has left St. John even more devastated because we went days with no attention or help, which started to provoke crime. Peoples whose homes were destroyed lost even more by looters, and guns were stolen from our customs building.

More scenes from the USVI, via Twitter:

Photos courtesy Victoria Lemmon

by Chris Teale August 23, 2017 at 2:30 pm 0

Bluemont Park will be the starting-point for a race next month to raise money for military bomb experts and their families.

The 2017 Bluemont Arlington 5K and 10K race on Sunday, September 17 will raise funds for the EOD Warrior Foundation. EOD stands for Explosive Ordnance Disposal, the disarming and disposal of bombs, which is carried out by technicians in the U.S. Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force.

Proceeds from the event help support the EOD Warrior Foundation in providing “financial assistance and support to active-duty and veteran wounded, injured or ill EOD warriors, families of our wounded and fallen EOD warriors.”

The race begins at Bluemont Park (329 N. Manchester Street), with both the 5K and 10K routes following the W&OD Trail on out-and-back routes. The 10K begins at 8:45 a.m., with the 5K following at 9 a.m. A virtual run option is also available for anyone who wishes to participate but can’t make the race date.

All participants receive a finisher’s medal and event technical shirts for those who register before September 6. Race day registration is also available for those who arrive 45 minutes before the start. Registration costs $25 for the 5K and $40 for the 10K.

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