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Police car speeding to a call at night (staff photo)

A boy who was running on the Custis Trail near Ballston was stabbed and seriously injured by an unknown assailant Saturday night.

The stabbing happened around 8:45 p.m., on the trail near the 4700 block of Washington Blvd.

“At approximately 8:49 p.m. on August 27, police were dispatched to the report of a stabbing that had just occurred,” Arlington County police said today in a crime report. “Upon arrival, officers located the juvenile male victim and administered medical care until the arrival of medics. The victim was transported to an area hospital with injuries considered serious but non-life threatening.”

“After further investigation, it was determined the victim was running along the Custis Trail prior to Washington Boulevard when an unknown male suspect allegedly approached, stabbed him and fled the scene on foot,” ACPD said.

Officers closed a portion of Washington Blvd west of N. Glebe Road and called in a helicopter to help search for the suspect. Ultimately, the suspect — described only as “an Asian or Hispanic male wearing a striped shirt and shorts” — was not found and remains at large.

“A lookout for the suspect was broadcast and a search of the area was conducted, with the assistance of a police helicopter, which yielded negative results,” said the crime report. “The investigation is ongoing.”

Morning Notes

Amazon HQ2 reflected in a puddle in Pentagon City (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

New Way to Complain About Helo Noise –Those with concerns about helicopter noise in the local area now have a new outlet to provide feedback. A new helicopter-complaint pilot program was announced June 24 by U.S. Rep. Don Beyer (D-8th) in collaboration with the Helicopter Association International and Eastern Regional Helicopter Council. Residents will be able to submit noise concerns online at https://www.planenoise.com/dcmetro/, or by voicemail at (877) 209-3200.” [Sun Gazette, Press Release]

Arrest After Crash on the Pike — From ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage, responding to an ARLnow inquiry about this crash: “At approximately 12:10 p.m. on June 27, police were dispatched to the report of a crash with injuries at the intersection of Columbia Pike and S. Quincy Street. The preliminary investigation indicates the driver of the striking vehicle hit two vehicles and a tree before fleeing the scene on foot. Responding officers canvassed the area, located the driver and took her into custody. One patient was transported to an area hospital with injuries considered non-life threatening. The investigation is ongoing and charges are pending.”

Amazon Eyes Greenhouse for HQ2 — “The greenery proposed for Amazon’s second headquarters in Arlington is so extensive that the company needs a greenhouse to keep it going. According to plans submitted to the county, Amazon hopes to convert Meadow Farms Nurseries and Landscapes (10618 Leesburg Pike) in Great Falls into a greenhouse to provide a ‘permanent operation to provide for the continuous maintenance of the extensive landscaping elements’ at HQ2.” [FFXnow]

APS Website Redesign Coming — “We are in the early stages of redesigning our website. Can you spare 15 minutes to help make sure the new Arlington Public Schools website will be easy for everyone to use? We’ve set up an online exercise to gather feedback, and we’d love for you to participate.” [Arlington Public Schools]

It’s Tuesday — Partly cloudy throughout the day. High of 79 and low of 61. Sunrise at 5:47 am and sunset at 8:39 pm. [Weather.gov]

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A helicopter flying at a low altitude over the Arlington-Alexandria border is nothing to worry about, according to Arlington County.

“The Arlington County Emergency Communications Center has received many calls regarding a low flying helicopter along Four Mile Run Creek,” the county said in an Arlington Alert this morning. “The FAA is aware and has given permission for a contractor to conduct this flight.”

Concern about the mysterious chopper has also been registered on the Alexandria side of the border.

The helicopter belongs to a Utah company called TXPX Aircraft Solutions, according to the FAA. A 2020 post from a New Jersey locality’s website suggests that it’s used for inspecting power transmission lines.

“The helicopter will be flying at a speed of about 35-40 mph above or alongside the lines and may circle around for a closer inspection,” that post said. “The helicopter is black with red [lettering and] tail number N500LK.”

As seen in the photos and video above, there are power transmission lines that indeed run along Four Mile Run and the W&OD Trail.

James Cullum contributed to this report

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Morning Notes

Hiring sign and a long drive-thru line at the Langston Blvd Starbucks (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Fundraiser for Westover Barber — “A barber at a beloved #ArlingtonVA barber shop needs help while he undergoes radiation and chemo.” [GoFundMe, Twitter]

Covid Officially on the Rise — “Arlington County, like much of Virginia, is now seeing a HIGH level of community transmission. It is recommended everyone age 2 and up wear a mask in indoor public spaces, regardless of vaccination status.” [Twitter]

Santa Returning to Cherrydale — From the Cherrydale Volunteer Fire Department: “It is t-minus 3 days until that jolly old elf himself, Santa Claus, joins us for our parades through Cherrydale! Are you ready? We will be parading through North Cherrydale on Thursday, December 9th, and then South Cherrydale on Friday, December 10th. Both parades will take place from 6-8pm.” [Facebook]

Home Stretch for Big Bell Project — “The Netherlands Carillon has reached the final stages of a massive renovation project which brought the addition of three new bells and the retuning of the existing bells, making it a ‘Grand Carillon.'” The Carillon is currently expected to reopen in the spring. [WUSA 9]

Report: Metro Errors After Fatal Stabbing — “An investigation into Metro’s actions during the Aug. 3 stabbing incident at the Pentagon Transit Center determined that Metrorail failed to establish an on-scene command center and did not communicate effectively with its personnel at the Pentagon Station during the emergency. These delays led to a 13-minute gap between the report of an active shooter situation and the evacuation of the Pentagon Station platform. In addition, Metro lost track of station personnel during the emergency.” [Patch]

Helicopter Called in for Shirlington Sexual AssaultUpdated at 8:45 a.m. — According to Arlington County police this morning, a suspect was arrested last night in the following case: “4200 block of 31st Street S. At approximately 2:57 a.m. on December 7, police were dispatched to the report of trouble unknown. The investigation determined that the known suspect sexually assaulted the known victim. Officers located the suspect in the area and he fled on foot. A perimeter was established and the area was searched with the assistance of the United States Park Police helicopter. The suspect was not located and the investigation is ongoing.” [ACPD]

Little Snow Expected Today, After All — From the Capital Weather Gang: “Brutal — Watch DC’s snow event slip away in 16 GFS model runs. Early runs had rain– then it was snow– now it’s nada.” [Twitter, Capital Weather Gang]

It’s Wednesday — Today there is a chance of snow, mixing with rain after 10am, then gradually ending. Cloudy, with a high near 43. Sunrise at 7:14 a.m. and sunset at 4:46 p.m. Tomorrow there will be increasing clouds, with a high near 44 and a low of 35. [Weather.gov]

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Morning Notes

People walking near the Amazon HQ2 site in Pentagon City (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Woman Struck, Killed on GW Parkway — “A pedestrian was struck and killed by a vehicle on the George Washington Parkway near the Key Bridge early Saturday morning, according to police. Shortly before 3 a.m., U.S. Park Police responded to a report of a pedestrian struck by a vehicle in the southbound lanes of the GW Parkway south of the Key Bridge.” [WTOP, Patch]

Beyer Blasts ‘Anti-Vax Shutdown Plot’ — “Congressman Don Beyer (D-VA), who represents the largest number of federal employees of any member of the U.S. House, today issued the following statement on Republicans’ publicly stated plan to shut down the government in an attempt to block the Administration’s Covid vaccination measures: ‘Republicans’ plan to shut down the government on purpose to sabotage our pandemic response is extraordinarily cynical and dangerous.'” [Rep. Don Beyer]

Arlington Firefighters Get to the Choppa –– “Recently 2 members from the ACFD had the unique opportunity to participate in a rope rescue course with regional law enforcement partners. Come take a ride with one of our members on their flight over the region, just don’t look down if you are afraid of heights.” [Twitter]

It’s Thursday — Following overnight showers, today will be relatively warm. There will be increasing clouds, with a high near 66. Southwest wind 7 to 17 mph, with gusts as high as 28 mph. Sunrise at 7:09 a.m. and sunset at 4:46 p.m. Tomorrow will be sunny, with a high near 62. [Weather.gov]

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Construction underway at Pentagon Centre in Pentagon City in January 2021 (Staff Photo by Jay Westcott)

It’s not a common sight, particularly in such close proximity to the Pentagon.

Tomorrow (Tuesday) morning, a helicopter — neither military nor law enforcement — will hover over Pentagon City. It will be there to “remove some rooftop mechanical equipment” from the Pentagon Centre mall building, across S. Hayes Street from the larger Fashion Centre at Pentagon City mall.

The chopper will be landing on the top level of a Pentagon Centre parking garage as part of its work, Arlington County said today via social media. The work is expected to start around 8 a.m.

Non-governmental helicopters and other private aircraft — aside from jetliners arriving and departing National Airport — are only allowed inside the restricted airspace around D.C. by special government waiver. Once such waiver was granted recently for drone flights to count deer in Arlington.

Pentagon Centre is in the midst of a major, multi-year redevelopment project.

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Update at 3:25 p.m. — The driver has successfully been rescued and is being transported to a local trauma center with serious injuries, per scanner traffic.

Earlier: Firefighters are working to rescue an injured driver after their car careened off the northbound GW Parkway and into a thick patch of woods, just north of Spout Run.

The vehicle is reported to be some 50 feet into the woods, on the embankment that leads down to the Potomac River. Firefighters had difficulty locating it after Arlington County’s dispatch center received a 911 call from the driver, who reported having a leg injury; the U.S. Park Police Eagle 1 helicopter helped to locate it, according to scanner traffic.

The driver is said to be conscious and alert as rescuers figure out the best way to get him or her to safety.

Fire boats from Alexandria and D.C. also in the area, ready to assist if rescuers need to bring the driver down to the river instead of up to the Parkway.

The northbound GW Parkway is closed in the area as a result of the emergency activity, according to an Arlington Alert. Google Maps shows heavy traffic on the GW Parkway backing up to the Roosevelt Bridge.

This is not the first time a car has driven well into the woods between the Parkway and the river. Earlier this year the Parkway was partially closed to allow for the removal of two crashed cars in the woods.

Map via Google Maps

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An airplane overhead, as seen from Gravelly Point (Staff Photo by Jay Westcott)

With the opening of a new concourse at Reagan National Airport, aircraft noise above Arlington remains at a high volume and the region is still studying ways to mitigate the roar.

Resident complaints about noises overhead have been constant for years, due to the flight patterns into National Airport and Pentagon-bound helicopters. Most of complaints are from those who live near the Potomac River, which is the general flight path of most jets arriving and departing the airport.

Last week, at the official celebration for the opening of DCA’s new concourse, Congressman Don Beyer bid “good riddance” to the infamous Gate 35X, assuring residents the new gate won’t exacerbate noise.

“While the new facilities will improve the passenger experience, this will not lead to increased flights or aircraft noise, a frequent concern in the region,” he later said in a tweet. “And I will continue the work to mitigate aircraft noise in our area!”

This year, several separate studies and reports have floated potential solutions to quieting the skies. One study, commissioned by Arlington County and Montgomery County, is ongoing, as the scope shifts from inbound to outbound aircraft.

The joint study advised in April to reroute incoming aircraft so they increasingly fly over the Potomac River instead of “residential and noise-sensitive areas.”

The recommendations were made to the Reagan National Community Noise Working Group (CWG), which operates under the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA).

CWG in turn passed them onto the Federal Aviation Administration, though it remains unclear if and when the FAA will act on the suggestions.

The conclusions and process have upset some residents of North Arlington neighborhoods located near the river. During public comments at the Sept. 18 County Board meeting, Chain Bridge Forest resident Alice Doyle said the altered flight paths would cause her and neighbors to bear the brunt of noise.

“To be clear, this means that neighborhoods like Chain Bridge Forest and Arlingwood that sit near the Chain Bridge not only see zero relief from airplane noise, we will now see and hear even more flights overhead,” she said. “The flight disturbance over our homes is almost constant with occasional periods of relief. Under this plan, those much needed moments of noise relief will disappear. ”

She also criticized the county for being “half tuned into the process” and not having enough representatives at the CWG meeting.

County Board member Libby Garvey responded that she understood Doyle’s concerns, but said the report recommends shifting the flight patterns to lessen the burden on Arlington’s more populated areas.

She reiterated in federal issues such as this one, the best county officials can do is to make recommendations.

Now, the joint study has a new focus: departing flights, Arlington County spokeswoman Bryna Helfer tells ARLnow.

“Technical work on new draft procedures for north-flow departures is currently the focus of the study and a community meeting to present those draft procedures will be scheduled before the end of 2021,” she wrote in an email.

In 2018, Arlington and Montgomery counties agreed to split the $250,000 cost of the study, which was officially launched in 2020. For the departing flights study, Arlington paid an additional $50,000, and Montgomery an additional $100,000, Helfer said.

CWG will meet again next Thursday, Oct. 28.

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) and the Department of Defense also completed studies this year. The GAO report from September recommends the FAA use easier-to-understand noise metrics.

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Arlington resident Liam McBride was playing Spikeball with friends one August night on the grass field at Arlington Traditional School when a helicopter prepared to land.

Soon, the Arlington County Fire Department was on the field, clearing out McBride and his friends.

“They placed flares onto the ground, and a helicopter started flying around,” he said. “We thought Biden was landing to get medevaced. The helicopter landed around 9:50, and a drunk dude went to try and talk to them.”

The helicopter did not contain President Biden. But at 10 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 6, the ATS field in the Bluemont neighborhood was being used by the Virginia Hospital Center and MedStar Transport for a helicopter landing.

The healthcare providers work with ACFD to use the field for helicopter landings when patients need to be moved to other facilities. This happens fewer than five times a year, according to ACFD spokesman Capt. Justin Tirelli. On even rarer occasions, the center uses helicopters to transport organs as well, he said.

The field at ATS is one of around 20 designated landing zones for helicopters in the county. Most of the zones are used only for emergencies.

“Let’s say we have a serious car accident or a serious burn patient, and we want to get them to the burn center in D.C., but we know that it’s gonna be a significant ground transport time. If we have a landing zone close to us we can designate that as a place to rendezvous with the helicopter,” Tirelli said.

The ATS field is mostly used by the hospitals and is the site of most of the landings, in part because patients don’t often choose to be medevaced since they, or their insurance companies, have to pay the high costs.

In the event of a landing, firefighters arrive to clear out a landing zone. A team of four sets up flares, removes people and other obstructions from the field, and lets the pilot know of any potential hazards, such as antennas and power lines. The helicopter operator coordinates with ACFD’s dispatch center to let them know that an aircraft is inbound.

“It can be in as little as five minutes, or sometimes it can be scheduled well ahead of time,” Tirelli said.

Shortly after the helicopter lands, the patient is picked up from VHC in a private ambulance and brought to the chopper.

In some cases, the fire department calls helicopters to the ATS field themselves to medevac a patient from the hospital.

“That’s very rare. We do that maybe one time a year,” said Tirelli.

Not every helicopter landing in Arlington has been planned, however. Five years ago a military helicopter experiencing mechanical problems landed on Yorktown High School’s football field on a Friday night. It took back off after repairs were completed.

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Reducing local helicopter noise while conducting missions safely may be difficult, the Pentagon says, but the military is willing to try, according to a new report.

The commitment and the recommendations conclude a Dept. of Defense report on the causes and effects of helicopter noise in the D.C. area. This document was completed as a result of Rep. Don Beyer’s amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, which included noise mitigation recommendations that Beyer and other regional lawmakers have sought for years in response to constituent complaints.

“The recommendations in this report reflect priorities my constituents have sought for years to reduce helicopter noise in Northern Virginia, and would make a real difference across the region,” Beyer said. “In particular, the commitment from DoD to study the possibility of increasing altitudes of helicopter routes would be a real game changer.”

The other action items would help reduce noise and improve transparency and engagement with the community, he said.

“I thank the Department of Defense for undertaking and releasing this report, and urge the rapid implementation of these recommendations,” Beyer said.

Residents of certain Arlington neighborhoods have lived with helicopter noise for many years, and it is a thorny issue among them. Previous discussions around noise mitigation ended in a stalemate, as officials say agencies have to also consider safety, which includes avoiding the abundance of commercial airplanes in the region.

There are more than 50 helicopter operators in the area and the biggest contributor is the Army, followed by the Marine Corps. The Army, Marine Corps and Air Force combined conducted 21,863 operations — although that does not translate to 21,863 flights. About eight flights per day used the Pentagon helipad, which is limited to only DoD-directed exercises and three- and four-star executive –and civilian equivalent — travel.

This new report finds that the flights currently occurring at levels “considered acceptable” based on Army, DoD, and federal land use compatibility recommendations. It did acknowledge, however, that studies find helicopter noise is “much more variable and complex” than airplane noise.

The DoD pledged to take four broad steps toward possibly reducing noise.

One notable recommendation is that DoD will discuss the possibility of increasing altitudes of helicopter routes with the Federal Aviation Administration.

Currently, FAA assigns helicopters to lower airspace because the airways are dominated by large commercial passenger jets, namely those landing at Reagan National Airport and Dulles International Airport.

“The airspace within the [National Capital Region] is one of the busiest and most restrictive in the United States,” the report said. “The military helicopters that operate within the NCR are sharing airspace with three major commercial airports and are required to follow the helicopter routes and altitude restrictions established and enforced by FAA.”

And a majority of helicopter operators have expressed concern that changing the altitude could reduce safety for all aircrafts, saying that “establishing quiet or restricted zones would negatively affect their mission.”

Other recommendations include continuing to track and analyze helicopter noise complaints to identify potential trends as well as adjustments that the Army Aviation Brigade, 1st Helicopter Squadron and Marine Corps Helicopter Squadron 1 could make.

DoD said it will also work with FAA to obtain flight track data trends to look at compliance with local flight procedures and helicopter routes, and address any potential corrective actions. Finally, DoD said it will work with the Army and Marine Corps to ensure “fly neighborly” and “fly friendly” procedures are being reinforced and examine the procedures currently being used.

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A juvenile is facing numerous charges and police are looking for two other suspects after yet another business burglary in Dominion Hills.

Police have been more proactive in the wake of dozens of break-ins and thefts at local businesses. The arrest was made early Saturday morning after patrols were stepped up in response to reports of burglaries in a nearby jurisdiction, according to Arlington County police.

Officers allegedly caught three burglars in the act shortly after 3 a.m. while removing a cash register from a business on the hard-hit 6000 block of Wilson Blvd, scene of at least four prior burglaries. They had allegedly arrived at the location in a stolen vehicle and broken the front window of a business.

All of the suspects fled on foot, but Arlington and Fairfax officers were able to take one into custody in the Seven Corners area, with the assistance of the FCPD helicopter.

Police are continuing to investigate the burglaries and are working to determine the identity of the other two suspects. Previously, an Arlington County Police Department spokeswoman told ARLnow that the business burglaries are being investigated as being potentially connected.

“Investigators believe that some of these cases are linked but not all are committed by the same suspects,” said ACPD’s Ashley Savage.

More from a police press release:

A juvenile suspect is facing charges of Burglary, Possession of Stolen Auto, Conspiracy to Commit Felonies (2x), Felony Destruction of Property, Possession of Stolen Property, Petit Larceny, and Underage Possession of Tobacco following a commercial burglary in the Dominion Hills neighborhood on the morning of Saturday, April 24, 2021. The arrest follows an increase in overnight commercial burglaries targeting cash-based businesses both in Arlington County and the region. Detectives continue to investigate the juvenile suspect’s role in these burglaries and additional charges are anticipated.

At approximately 3:13 a.m. on April 24, officers were conducting extra checks at commercial establishments after receiving the report of a business being burglarized in a neighboring jurisdiction. Upon entering the 6000 block of Wilson Boulevard, officers observed a vehicle, which was later determined to be stolen, backed in front of a business with both front doors open. As the officers approached the business, they observed that the front window had been broken out. Three suspects then exited the business through the broken window carrying stolen merchandise and a cash register. Officers gave lawful commands to stop but the three suspects dropped the stolen items and fled the scene on foot.

A perimeter was established, and the area was searched with the assistance of the Fairfax County Police Department helicopter. At approximately 3:42 a.m., an officer observed an individual running across Route 50 matching the description of one of the burglary suspects. Fairfax County helicopter located the suspect in the 6100 block of Brook Drive where he was taken into custody without incident by Arlington and Fairfax County officers. The two additional suspects were not located and the investigation into their identities is ongoing.

This remains an active criminal investigation. Anyone with information or video surveillance that may assist with the investigation is asked to contact Detective B. Kooharian at 703-228-4049 or [email protected] Information may also be reported anonymously through the Arlington County Crime Solvers hotline at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

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