The incident happened around 11 a.m. Monday, at the suspect’s house on the 2700 block of S. Grove Street in the Arlington Ridge neighborhood, near Crystal City.
Police say 50-year-old Joseph N. Mondello “refused to let a computer technician leave the residence until his computer was fixed.” Mondello also “allegedly had a gun in his possession and threatened to kill the victim,” according to an Arlington County Police Department crime report.
Mondello, who’s a registered lobbyist, was charged with abduction by force or intimidation and use of a firearm in a felony, according to court records. The abduction charge can carry a sentence of anything from a couple of months in jail to up to 10 years in prison.
According to Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck, Mondello had a previous “run in” with another computer technician, but that encounter did not escalate to the degree of this latest incident.
Guns Stolen from Nova Firearms in McLean — A burglary has occurred at Nova Firearms, the gun store that wanted to open a location in Cherrydale before residents pressured the store and the landlord to scuttle those plans. Two handguns were stolen from Nova Firearms’ McLean store just after midnight this past Friday. Police are seeking tips in the case. [Fairfax County Police Department]
Taxicab Fares Raised in Arlington — A taxi ride in Arlington will now cost an extra 25 cents per ride and an extra six cents per mile. The County Board on Saturday unanimously approved new taxi rates that also include a $25 cleaning fee for those who “dirty or foul a cab enough that the cab must be removed from service.” [Arlington County, WJLA]
Locals Make ’50 On Fire’ List — A number of Arlington-based companies and individuals have been named to this year’s DC Inno “50 on Fire” list. Local honorees include Vornado/Charles E. Smith honcho Mitchell Schear, Crystal City incubator Eastern Foundry, newly-IPOed Evolent Health in Ballston, Ballston-based tech firm Distil Networks and Rosslyn-based advertising agency LMO Advertising. [DC Inno]
Nauck Town Square Design Meeting — A community discussion will be held at Drew Model School to help officials arrive at a final plan and design for its Nauck Town Square project. The meeting will be held from 6:30-8:30 p.m. tonight (Monday). [Arlington County]
Review of Oz in Clarendon — Oz restaurant in Clarendon, which opened in September, continues to receive so-so reviews from the critics. The latest review suggests that Oz suffers from the inherent blandness of Australian cuisine, which it attempts to recreate faithfully. Oz may benefit, however, from its co-owner’s casting on the Real Housewives of Potomac. [Washington Post]
Arlington Fire Captain Retires After 35 Years — Arlington County Fire Department Captain Robert Patterson has retired after 35 years on the job. [WJLA]
The following letter to the editor was submitted by Jane, an Arlington resident who works in Cherrydale.
It is in response to our article on the opening of a pop-up vintage gift shop in the Cherrydale storefront that was once slated to become a gun store.
My coworkers and myself are very disappointed by your coverage of the Pop Vintage store in Cherrydale.
Was it really necessary to drag up all the gun store dirt? All that did was get your regulars stirred up and writing their usual insane comments.
I was there when Olympia, the owner of the store, was reading their responses.
If you could have seen the look on her face when she read what passes for witticisms among the commenters, it would have broken your collective hearts.
Today there is another mass shooting in California.
The world is getting scarier day by day.
Responsible journalism has a responsibility to report the news as it is happening good and bad, I realize this.
And if it hadn’t been for your breaking news on the gun store it might be our neighbor today.
But to to unnecessarily dig up the dirt on days gone by? Did you think Arlington residents wouldn’t be happy to hear of a new fun business without a splash of controversy?
Maybe in the spirit of the season and humanity you could focus on the positive things that are happening around us.
ARLnow.com occasionally publishes thoughtful letters to the editor about issues of local interest. To submit a letter to the editor, please email it to [email protected] Letters may be edited for content and brevity.
Wreath-Laying Ceremony — Among other observances of today’s Veterans Day holiday in Arlington is a solemn wreath-laying ceremony at the Air Force Memorial. The event will take place at 11 a.m., with a group of World War II and Korean War veterans on hand. [Twitter]
School Board Considers Gun Safety Measures — The Arlington School Board is considering asking the Virginia General Assembly for new legislation that would restrict guns around schools, although no one seriously believes that the Republican-controlled legislature would actually pass such a measure. [InsideNova]
Lee Highway Residents Debate Development — Arlington County’s planning process for the Lee Highway corridor has prompted many residents to come out against “overdevelopment” and taller building heights. The corridor is currently car-oriented, though neighborhoods like Cherrydale developed thanks to a former streetcar line. [WAMU]
Middle School Tourette Campaign — Williamsburg Middle School staff have created a Public Service Announcement ad as part of Bullying Prevention Month. The campaign, called “Accept Tourette,” is based around a seventh grade student at Williamsburg with Tourette Syndrome. [Arlington Public Schools]
There will be 155 t-shirts on display on the lawn outside of the Rock Spring Congregational United Church of Christ starting Sunday, a memorial to those lost to gun violence in the D.C. area.
Each t-shirt represents a victim of gun violence in the District, Maryland and Northern Virginia in 2014. Each will have a name, age and date of death on it.
“The display is set up to encourage people to walk among the shirts and reflect on those victims and their loved ones,” Rev. Kathy Dwyer said.
The T-Shirt Memorial to the Lost will remain in place from Oct. 11-24. It’s part of a project led by Heeding God’s Call, an organization that advocates for “common sense” gun laws. The church has asked its members to help it set up the display after morning services this Sunday.
“It seems like every time we turn around there’s another act of senseless violence,” Dwyer said.
There will be 75 white shirts for D.C., 23 yellow shirts for Northern Virginia and 57 blue shirts for Maryland. Outside of the District, the victims are from places like Arlington County, Alexandria, Culpepper and Woodbridge in Virginia and Laurel, Ellicott City, Columbia and Gaithersburg, Maryland. Baltimore, which has a high rate of gun violence, is not included.
This is the second time the t-shirt memorial has been erected in Arlington, Dwyer said. First Presbyterian Church held the memorial last year. This year there are 11 fewer shirts.
Dwyer will discuss gun violence as part of her sermons on Sunday, Oct. 18 at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. Members of the congregation have told Dwyer they want to do more than pray for a solution to gun violence, she said, a call that sparked the church to hold the memorial.
“[We see people] really reacting to the violence we see with more violence, and we want to be part of a different path,” she said.
The church has included national issues in sermons and discussions before. The church previously had talks about the intertwining of race and religion, which concluded this past Sunday.
Office Vacancy Down in Arlington — Arlington has had a 1.6 percent positive net absorption of commercial office space so far this year. Crystal City in particular has done well, gaining 313,000 square feet of occupancy. [Bisnow]
History Plan for Arlington Centennial — Arlington County is seeking public comment on the mid-term report produced by the Arlington History Task Force. The task force is trying to come up with a plan for preserving Arlington’s history, in time for the county’s centennial in 2020. [Arlington County]
McLean Up in Arms Over Gun Store — Nova Firearms, the gun store that tried unsuccessfully to open a store in Cherrydale, has moved its McLean store to a larger location but is now incurring the wrath of a group of residents. Parents object to the fact that the new store is behind a local elementary school, in view of at least one classroom. [Washington Post]
Gym Responds to String of Sexual Assaults — Responding to a string of attacks on women in Arlington, including a sexual assault near Rosslyn over the weekend, the Nova MMA CrossFit gym is offering a free self-defense seminar on Wednesday, Oct. 28 from 7-9 p.m. [MyFoxDC]
Road Closures for Army Ten-Miler — Route 110, the northbound I-395 HOV lanes, S. Eads Street, Army Navy Drive, Long Bridge Drive and Washington Blvd are among the roads in Arlington that will be closed Sunday morning for the annual Army Ten-Miler race. [Arlington County]
Del. Patrick Hope is calling on Virginia lawmakers and Gov. Terry McAuliffe to pass a bill requiring universal background checks for gun sales conducted in the Commonweatlth.
Spurred by the recent shooting in Roanoke, Virginia, Hope took to the Internet, creating a petition on Change.org about universal background checks. The petition received more than 20,000 signatures in the first 24 hours, Hope said. As of today, more than 28,000 people had signed.
“People are angry,” Hope said. “People are angry by the inaction.”
Hope joined seven other Virginia delegates at a press conference in front of the Arlington County courthouse Thursday, talking about the need for universal background checks.
“We’re here today committed to do something about gun violence,” he said during the press conference. “We’re here today because we’ve grown really sick and tired that every single day we hear that there’s another mass shooting, and that we do nothing.”
According to hope, universal background checks are an easy, noncontroversial measure that can be changed and most voters support them.
“No responsible gun owner is afraid of a background check,” he said.
Most Virginia residents believe that there is already a law in place requiring a background check before every gun sale, Hope said, which is not the case.
Currently, there is a loophole in Virginia that doesn’t require background checks for sales at gun shows. Hope said he went to a gun show and asked if he could get a gun without a background check. Instead of raising red flags, the vendors were more than happy to help him.
“It’s as easy as buying a pack of bubble gum,” he said.
There will be legislation introduced in 2016 calling for the universal background checks, according to Hope, but it has to also pass the state Senate, which has killed gun control reforms in the past. The only difference between this year and next is that 2016 is an election year.
“The only way we’re going to get legislators to change their minds is if the voters force them to,” he said.
Universal background checks won’t prevent every tragedy, Hope said, pointing to the Roanoke shooting, where the shooter legally bought a gun, but it can prevent some.
“If we can prevent one incident from occurring, then we should do it,” Hope said.
Photo courtesy Blue Virginia
Library Book Returned 34 Years Later — A teen novel has been returned to the Wakefield High School library 34 years overdue. The book, “The Underside of the Leaf,” was last checked out in 1981. [Washington Post]
Man Charged With Bringing Loaded Gun to DCA — A Woodbridge man was stopped by Transportation Security Administration officers at Reagan National Airport Saturday, after they discovered a loaded gun in his carry-on luggage. [WUSA 9]
Beyer Seeks to Hike Entire Appalachian Trail — Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) has so far hiked 1,253 miles of the Appalachian Trail, in 46 different hikes, after vowing to complete the entire trail in 2002. [Rep. Don Beyer]
Fire Station Relocation May Go to Voters — A controversial plan to relocate Fire Station 8 from Lee Highway and the Hall’s Hill neighborhood to a locale further north, in order to improve response times, could be put to voters. Opponents may push for a stand-alone bond issue for construction of the new fire station, which would put it on the ballot. The idea was floated during a well-attended community meeting on the fire station relocation plan last night. [InsideNova]
North vs. South Swimming Pool Divide? — Swimming has always been a significant part of life in Arlington, but current pool options are tilted toward north Arlington, says Our Man in Arlington columnist Charlie Clark. Building the stalled Long Bridge Park aquatics center could help alleviate the divide, Clark reasons. [Falls Church News-Press]
Arlington Family Kicked off Flight — An Arlington family was kicked off a JetBlue flight from Boston to Baltimore on Monday, reportedly because of a squirming two year old and FAA regulations. [WUSA 9]
DCA Screeners Find Two Guns in Two Days — Screeners at Reagan National Airport found two guns in carry-on baggage over the course of two days this week. The two men who had the guns in their bags are now facing weapons charges. [WJLA]
I-395 Exit to Close Temporarily — The exit from northbound I-395 to Washington Blvd will close overnight Sunday and Monday for paving and lane striping, VDOT says. [Patch]
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
The gun store had leased a space at 2105 N. Pollard Street, causing outcry from members of the community. However, the store’s would-be landlord said today that he has reached an agreement with NOVA Firearms to cancel the lease.
The debate over the gun store heated quickly with County Board candidates speaking out against it and the National Rifle Association coming out in support. Petitions were launched for and against the store, accumulating thousands of signatures. Conservative media outlets ran articles in support of James Gates, the Marine Corps veteran who co-owns the store, drawing national attention.
Community members — and owners of businesses in and around the small shopping center the gun store was to open — took their concerns directly to landlord Kostas Kapasouris.
Kapasouris was open to those concerns, said Bill Hamrock, the co-owner of Bistro 29, which would have been across the street from the gun store. (The restaurant is co-owned by Kapasouris.)
“He knew right away and it wasn’t going to work from the community, but the business owners let him know as well,” Hamrock said.
Kapasouris said that it was all his decision to cancel the lease.
“I don’t want to have a gun store,” he said to ARLnow.com. “I thought it wasn’t a good store.”
Kapasouris said that he decided against having a gun store after the lease was signed and that NOVA Firearms — which has an existing location in McLean — was told of his decision when the store’s owners recently visited the space.
“Listening to the neighbors and the community, the landlord came to an agreement with the proposed gun store and they will not be opening in Cherrydale,” Hamrock said.
Hamrock said other business owners in the area were pleased with the decision to pull the gun store, as just the idea of having such a store was causing them to lose business.
“I had several customers showing me Facebook [posts] that were telling people not to come to the restaurant,” Hamrock said.
Instead of a gun store, Hamrock thinks that the storefront — formerly occupied by Curves fitness studio — could be leased to a small, noncontroversial retail shop or a café.
“It seems perfect for a bakery or small coffee shop,” he said.
Reached via phone, NOVA Firearms co-owner Rachel Dresser declined to comment on the news until she could speak to Gates. Last month, Dresser told ARLnow.com that backing out of the store was “not an option given the money we’ve already invested.”
Arlington Scores Lidl HQ — Arlington County will be the home of the new $77 million U.S. corporate headquarters of Lidl, a discount German grocery chain that’s seeking to expand in the United States. The headquarters is expected to create 500 new jobs in Arlington and will anchor the National Gateway office development near Potomac Yard. “Lidl chose Arlington for its U.S. corporate headquarters because of our commitment to diversifying our economy, a terrific workforce, regional transit connections and access to a major airport,” Arlington County Board Chair Mary Hynes said in a statement. [Arlington County]
Arlington Teen Advances in Singing Competition — Kenmore Middle School student Samantha Rios, who is competing on the Telemundo singing program “La Voz Kids,” has advanced to the semifinals and is now being coached by Reggaeton musician Daddy Yankee. [Washington Post]
Young Republicans Blast Anti-Gun-Store Tactics — Opponents of a gun store that’s trying to open in Cherrydale are urging their supporters to confront the owners of the store and the shopping center in which it’s opening in person. That has Republicans crying foul. “Having exhausted reasonable avenues, the anti-gunners encourage their flock to harass property owner,” said the Arlington Falls Church Young Republicans. [Twitter]
Immigration Center to Open in Crystal City — A planned immigration services center in Crystal City, which has been delayed due to legal wrangling over President Obama’s executive action deferring the deportation of certain illegal immigrants, is now reportedly set to open soon. Hundreds of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services employees will be working out of the office building at 2200 Crystal Drive, processing immigration applications and petitions. [Breitbart]
Praise for ‘Alice’ Production — The Encore Stage and Studio production of “Alice in Wonderland” is garnering critical kudos for its star, Brandi Moore, a Harvard-bound Washington-Lee High School senior. The show wraps up its run this weekend at Thomas Jefferson Community Theatre at 125 S. Old Glebe Road. [InsideNova]
Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley
The debate over a gun store that’s opening in Cherrydale shows no sign of stopping as concerned residents and County Board candidates face off against the National Rifle Association and gun rights supporters.
On one side is a Change.org petition, started by a local resident, which has already amassed more than 2,400 signers who are urging the store’s landlord, Kostas Kapasouris, to cancel its lease. There’s also now a “Cherrydale Gun Store Opposition” Facebook page, which counts all six Democratic candidates for Arlington County Board as being opposed to the store.
On the other side is the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action, which has started its own petition in support of the gun store. The NRA-ILA has also produced a video (above) and an article, calling residents who oppose the store “bigots” who are “ignorant” and employing “bullying tactics.”
“To the intolerant residents of Cherrydale who are raising a fuss, we thank you for portraying for the rest of the country the unreasonable and small-minded attitudes that permeate anti-gun culture,” the NRA article says. “It certainly is a telling display you’re putting on for everyone else. Nevertheless, were you to decide to put down your pitchforks and torches and sample the wares from NOVA Firearms, we would welcome you into the fold of gun owners without judgment or reservation.”
The petition against the gun store says it represents the true voice of the community. It lists a phone number for NOVA Firearms and encourages those who oppose it to “call and voice your view.”
“We have 2,350+ supporters of the petition, and more than 80% are from Arlington,” the petition says. “Support for this petition shows our community does not believe a gun shop is the right fit for the former Curves location in Cherrydale. Opposition has formed to our petition, but I wonder if they can claim 80% are from our community?”
Despite the opposition, and reports that Kapasouris may be trying to break the lease, NOVA Firearms says it’s still planning on opening later this summer.
(Kapasouris could not be reached for comment.)
Rachel Dresser, co-owner of the McLean-based store, said they have not heard from Kapasouris recently and have received no documents indicating that their lease is being canceled. She said the store has been working with the community to find some sort of a compromise, but they’ve invested too much in the new store to back out now.
“At this point we’re trying to move forward, but the community really wants us to leave but that’s not an option given the money we’ve already invested,” she said. “It’s not an ATM, I can’t just say cash out and move somewhere else. We did not expect this level of resistance so we’re really just trying to work with the community and take things one day at a time.”
GOP Offers Support to Gun Store Owner — A Change.org petition against a planned gun store in Cherrydale has reached more than 1,900 signatures. The store’s landlord now says he’s trying to figure out ways to legally break the lease. Countering the backlash, the Arlington Falls Church Young Republicans have launched a petition in support of the store and its owner, 28-year-old Marine Corps veteran James Gates. “We can’t remain silent while Arlington liberals push their radical anti-gun agenda,” the petition says. [AFCYR]
Hynes Fires Back at Reevesland Sale Critics — Arlington County Board Chair Mary Hynes is firing back at criticism of the Board’s 3-2 decision to sell the historic Reeves farmhouse to a private owner. Critics charge that the sale was hastily added to the Board agenda the day before the vote and that citizen groups should have had more time to propose alternatives. Hynes said the house would have needed $2.5 million in work to be brought up to code for public use and noted that interested groups have had 5 years to suggest better alternatives for using the house. [InsideNova]
Arlington’s Outdoor School in Fauquier County — Every year thousands of Arlington Public Schools visit the APS-operated Outdoor Lab in Fauquier County, experiencing nature and wildlife first hand. The property was purchased with private funds for school use and is beloved by students. However, some worry that a proposal to increase summer use of the 225 acre site may overtax the lab and its ecology. [Falls Church News-Press]
Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick
Nova Firearms is planning to open in the former Curves storefront in Cherrydale, the company confirmed Tuesday night.
In a statement, the McLean-based company said it will open its new Arlington location this summer. The store will sell firearms to police departments and civilians, and will offer gun safety classes.
Rumors have been flying around neighborhood listservs about the store, which is currently under construction. Some residents have said that such a store raises concerns about safety and even local property values.
The full statement from Nova Firearms is below.
McLean-based Nova Firearms have announced the opening of its new store in Arlington, Virginia scheduled for Summer 2015.
The grand opening of the Arlington location will coincide with the first anniversary of owner James “JB” Gates’ purchase of Nova Firearms. Nova first opened its doors in Falls Church in 2012 under previous ownership, then moved to its current location in McLean where it has enjoyed a warm reception.
“We want to thank the communities of Falls Church and McLean who welcomed Nova Firearms with open arms, and we believe Arlington will be an equally good location for our small, family-run business,” Gates said.
Nova supplies police departments as well as civilians. “Because of our proximity to the nation’s capital, the Pentagon, and CIA Headquarters, our customers understand security on a professional and personal level,” Gates explained.
When Gates isn’t behind the counter serving customers at Nova’s Mclean store, the US Marine Corps veteran provides personal protection and IT security services to a wide clientele, in and around the Metropolitan area.
The customers of Nova Firearms are equally diverse. According to Gates, their clients include many first time gun owners, longtime sportsmen, and the occasional celebrity. “You might be surprised by the number of well-known government leaders who did their Christmas shopping at Nova Firearms,” he remarked.
Gates is a proud sponsor of local charities, including the conservation efforts of local Ducks Unlimited chapters and programs supporting veterans and their families. He plans to offer expanded firearms safety training to the community at the new Arlington location of Nova Firearms.