(Updated at 1:45 p.m.) A young black bear, perhaps the one spotted near Windy Run Park over the weekend, is currently running through backyards in a North Arlington neighborhood.
The bear was seen hopping a fence and running through the yard of homes in the Leeway-Overlee neighborhood, not too far from the East Falls Church Metro station, around 11:15 a.m.
“Wild,” said a witness, who shared a brief video (below) with ARLnow. “It was just jumping from backyard to backyard.”
The Animal Welfare League of Arlington (AWLA) has been called, and police are also aware of the bear sightings, according to scanner traffic.
Previously, AWLA said it hoped the bear would make its way out of the county without human intervention. More from a social media post over the weekend:
The Animal Welfare League of Arlington has received several reported sightings of a juvenile black bear in the Windy Run Park area of Arlington County.
AWLA’s current plan is to allow the bear to make his way out of the county. We are asking residents to be aware of their surroundings and stay away from the bear if sighted. DO NOT seek him out or attempt to approach. We highly recommend that residents keep their pets inside, take down bird feeders and make sure that trash is secured or brought indoors.
Sightings can be reported to AWLA’s Animal Control team at (703) 931-9241. Thank you!
Also over the weekend, Roosevelt Island was closed to visitors due to a bear sighting.
National Park Service spokesman Mark Maloy confirmed to ARLnow Tuesday afternoon that the island is back open after attempts to capture the bear were unsuccessful and it has since moved on.
“On Sunday, June 18, 2023, US Park Police received reports about a young black bear on Theodore Roosevelt Island,” said Maloy. “The National Park Service (NPS) coordinated with the Humane Rescue Alliance and bear techs from Shenandoah National Park to try to capture and transport the bear to a safer location. A baited bear trap was deployed on the island in an attempt to capture the bear.”
“The NPS closed Theodore Roosevelt Island on Sunday and Monday while the attempt to locate the bear was under way,” he continued. “Because the bear had not been caught or seen again on the island as of Tuesday morning, the NPS and Humane Rescue Alliance have determined the bear has left the island. The NPS has reopened the island to the public.”
“If visitors see a bear in local national parks, they should keep and safe distance and slowly back away,” Maloy added. “If visitors see a bear in national parks within the beltway, they should also call US Park Police immediately at (202) 610-7500.”
Can confirm another bear sighting in/near DC at Theodore Roosevelt Island (appropriate for the namesake of the Teddy Bear) across the Potomac from the Georgetown Waterfront. Island temporarily closed as trapping activity continues pic.twitter.com/k3xjgDmDdf
— Steve Chenevey FOX5 (@stevechenevey) June 20, 2023
🐻 Bear Update 🐻 Our bear friend has been making his way through Arlington over the past few days with dozens of reported sightings called into our Animal Control team. Please read this important message from our Animal Control team. pic.twitter.com/LUxBHC0uzU
— AWLArlington, VA (@AWLAArlington) June 20, 2023
A box truck has overturned on a residential North Arlington street.
The crash happened just after 11 a.m. at the intersection of N. Lexington Street and 22nd Street N., on the border of the Leeway-Overlee and Tara-Leeway Heights neighborhoods, south of Langston Blvd. It appeared to involve a truck collecting donations for the Vietnam Veterans of America and a BMW sport utility vehicle.
Initial reports suggest that the truck driver was treated by medics on scene after suffering minor injuries.
N. Lexington Street is currently blocked by police, though a local resident who was out walking her dog is attempting to direct traffic.
Jay Westcott contributed to this report
Firefighters rescued three dogs from a house fire in Arlington early this morning.
The fire broke out shortly before 1 a.m. at a home on N. Kensington Street, just north of Langston Blvd in the Leeway Overlee neighborhood.
The house filled with smoke after a fire in the dishwasher, according to scanner traffic. The residents made it out okay but told arriving first responders that their three dogs were still inside. Firefighters searched the house and were able to find each dog one-by-one, apparently in different parts of the house.
No people nor pets were hurt, the Arlington County Fire Department said this morning.
“Smoke alarms SAVE LIVES!” the fire department said on Twitter.
(2/2) Crews quickly extinguished the fire and were able to locate and remove all 3 dogs. Occupants were alerted to the fire by their smoke alarms. There were no civilian, pet, or firefighter injuries. Smoke alarms SAVE LIVES! More Information: https://t.co/4tewzJh95d
— Arlington Fire & EMS (@ArlingtonVaFD) March 17, 2022
The interior of a salon on Lee Highway is set to be demolished and renovated, according to a permit filed with Arlington County.
The salon is New Image Hair Designs at 5800 Lee Highway, in Leeway-Overlee, across the street from Sloppy Mama’s Barbecue. All the finishes, plumbing and electrical fixtures will be removed and non-structural interior walls will be taken down, according to the permit.
The listed owner of the property is an LLC associated with Brian Normile, the president of Arlington-based home builder BCN Homes, which holds the demolition permit for the property.
Normile is also a partner in the Liberty Tavern Restaurant Group, which owns Liberty Tavern, Lyon Hall and Northside Social.
Rumors on the local Nextdoor social networking site that the salon would be converted into a new restaurant could not be immediately confirmed. Multiple requests for comment from the Liberty Tavern owners were not returned, nor was a request for comment from BCN returned.
Image via Google Maps
A new 7-Eleven convenience store along Lee Highway in Northwest Arlington is now open for business.
The store is located at 5747 Lee Highway in the Leeway-Overlee neighborhood, and now has signs posted in its windows looking for new employees.
The 7-Eleven replaces the longtime Lee-Lex Service Center, a fixture in the neighborhood dating back to 1978. The auto shop closed for good back in 2016.
The shop is now one of six 7-Eleven locations along Lee Highway alone, according to the chain’s website.
A proposed childcare center on Lee Highway that has irked neighbors for months is now on track to open in the next few months.
The County Board unanimously signed off on a permit Tuesday to let Little Ambassadors’ Academy move ahead with plans to open a third location at 5801 and 5901 Lee Highway. The childcare center is now on course to open by February or March of next year.
The daycare company has hoped for just over a year now to remodel two existing buildings on the property and create space for as many as 155 children, but people living nearby have repeatedly raised concerns about how the facility’s addition would impact traffic in the area.
Two people living behind the site even filed a lawsuit to block the daycare center’s construction after the Board lent its initial approval last September, though a judge tossed out that case in January. The Leeway Overlee Civic Association has raised concerns about the project as well, urging the Board to restrict the number of children allowed at the facility in a bid to ease traffic in the area.
All the while, Little Ambassadors has worked to open up the new center — but the process has dragged on so long that the permit the Board issued last year came up for review, even though the daycare has yet open.
As Sara Mariska, an attorney for Little Ambassadors, told the Board: “There has been no change in circumstances since we were here a year ago.”
Nevertheless, neighborhood concerns linger. Adam Watson, a staffer in the county’s planning division, said he’s heard from a variety of people in the area concerned that the daycare will snarl an already-busy section of Lee Highway. The original District Taco location sits just down the block, and a new 711 is on the way nearby at 5747 Lee Highway as well.
“[Our] initial expression of general support for [the company’s] application was based on the understanding that the child care center would operate with no more than 135 children,” Leeway Overlee Civic Association President Jack Grimaldi wrote to the Board. “More children, in other words, raises the likelihood of more vehicles being needed to get them to and from the center.”
But Joanne Gabor, who works with county’s Department of Environmental Services, assured the Board that staff believe Little Amabassdors’ strategy for managing traffic in the area “is a good plan and it’s workable.” And without any real-world examples of the childcare facility’s impact on the local traffic, the Board wasn’t inclined to change its original decision.
“A lot of the concerns that people had when this use permit was approved originally, we haven’t had a chance to see if any mitigating or corrective actions will be needed,” said Vice Chair Christian Dorsey. “I can’t find a way to mitigate something that hasn’t happened. It may seem like a callous approach to safety, but we have to see how the network responds.”
Board member Libby Garvey added that Little Ambassadors’ track record at its other Lee Highway locations, at 5232 Lee Highway and 3565 Lee Highway, also gives the Board confidence.
“We have a lot of background coming to us on this,” Garvey said. “I don’t want people to think we’re just winging this.”
The Board will review the daycare center’s use permit once more in September 2019, when it will have a chance to assess any potential traffic impact.
A new restaurant could be on the way along Lee Highway, taking the place of the Nook Play Space.
The indoor play area, once located at 5649 Lee Highway in the Leeway-Overlee neighborhood, is picking up and moving to the new Ballston Quarter development.
The space currently sits empty, but it’s unlikely to remain that way for long — a chef at a Turkish restaurant in East Falls Church appears to be eyeing the location for an expansion.
Imam Gozubuyuk has applied for a permit at the location, using the business name “Maya Bistro,” county records show. Gozubuyuk currently cooks up food at the Yayla Bistro, located at 2201 N. Westmoreland Street, with his brother, Abuzer.
Managers at Yayla Bistro did not immediately respond to a request for comment on plans for the Lee Highway space. Maria Vogelei, Nook’s owner, said she didn’t have any information on what might take her business’s place in the small shopping center.
Nook is set to re-open in Ballston Quarter sometime this fall.
H/t Chris Slatt
Firefighters extinguished a blaze in a home in the Leeway-Overlee neighborhood this afternoon (Wednesday).
County first responders were called to the 62oo block of 22nd Road N. to put out the fire. The fire was mostly concentrated in the attic, according to scanner traffic.
The home’s occupants managed to leave without incident after the fire started, according to a tweet from the fire department.
Video of 22nd Rd pic.twitter.com/LoTh9sa8HW
— Arlington Fire (@ArlingtonVaFD) July 11, 2018
Crews are going through #Decon immediately after exiting the structure. This is to try to keep as many of the harmful carcinogens off our gear as possible and keep us safer. #FirefighterHealth pic.twitter.com/aX673qV1E7
— Arlington Fire (@ArlingtonVaFD) July 11, 2018
(Updated at 6:35 p.m.) Encore Recovery Solutions, a rehabilitation center for young adults trying to overcome “substance use and co-occurring behavioral health disorders,” is expanding.
The drug rehab center has been in business for just over a year and recently moved to larger offices in Ballston. The Ballston facility hosts an outpatient treatment program, according to Tom Walker, Encore’s director of community relations.
In February, Encore announced via Facebook that it had also purchased a residential property at 5805 26th Street N. in the Leeway-Overlee neighborhood, for use as a “sober living environment for young adults.” The house has been approved as “legally non-conforming use by Arlington County,” Walker said.
Some people who live near the home have expressed concerns about its new use.
“We have communicated with several of the neighborhood residents individually, and attended the Open Door Monday meeting yesterday evening where we discussed our plans with other neighborhood residents,” Walker said via email. Some residents are “very much in opposition,” he acknowledged, while others are either “openly supportive of Encore’s efforts” or “willing to engage in discussing best practices.”
Between 2015-2017, Arlington saw a 245 percent increase in patients seeking treatment for opioid addiction and related disorders. The number of patients went up from 100 in 2015 to 345 in 2017, according to the county.
Photo via Encore Recovery Solutions/Facebook
A major road construction project in Leeway-Overlee has drawn the ire of some nearby residents, who say there appears to be “no end in sight.”
The project by the county’s Department of Environmental Services involves adding a new sidewalk, curb and gutter to 24th Street N. between N. Illinois and N. Kensington streets, as well as new pipes to help with stormwater management. At the same time, similar work is being done on N. Illinois Street from 22nd Street N. to Lee Highway.
According to a preliminary construction schedule, completion had been scheduled for Friday, July 28.
But when an ARLnow reporter dropped by this morning (Wednesday), the new sidewalk was only partially installed, with numerous sections of pipe standing nearby waiting to be added. And the 5500 block of 24th Street N. was still closed to all traffic except residents.
One anonymous tipster said the work has been “going on for four months with no end in sight.” Another tipster who lives on the street said even worse things have been happening during construction.
“There has been flooding in neighbors’ yards,” the tipster wrote. “Toilets blown up and sewer drains put on people’s property without even giving them a courtesy heads up… Damaged cars. Houses full of mud. Flat tires and the list goes on.”
A DES spokeswoman disputed the claim that construction caused the flooding issues. Instead, she blamed a “high-intensity storm” on August 15 that “overwhelmed the drainage system in the neighborhood.”
“This is a low-lying area that has experienced flooding issues in the past,” the spokeswoman said. “The benefit of this Neighborhood Conservation Project is that we are improving the drainage system and providing additional capacity, which will reduce the likelihood of flooding in the future.”
Residents claimed the project has been put on hold in part due to budget overruns and in part because the project manager recently passed away. But the DES spokeswoman said the hold up stems from crews coming across underground utility lines.
“The county’s project manager did pass away recently, but this has not stopped construction,” she said. “We have encountered unexpected underground utility lines, which is a very common construction risk in urban environments such as Arlington, as most utility lines were installed more than 50 years ago (and some are privately-owned), so records are not always accurate.”
Neighbors said they are looking at retaining legal counsel to try and force some reimbursement from the county for the inconvenience.
The DES spokeswoman said county staff will meet with neighbors on Friday to discuss progress, and that work should be done “by the end of the year.”
It’s been an anxious couple of weeks for one Arlington resident who had three family members in the path of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.
Pat Shapiro, who lives in the Leeway Overlee neighborhood, has one son, Josh, in Houston; another son, Aaron, living in Miami; and her 89-year-old mother is a resident of Naples, Fla. All three were impacted to some degree.
“It’s like we’re a hurricane magnet,” said Shapiro, a 10-year library assistant at an Arlington public library.
Harvey slammed Texas and Louisiana in the United States, leaving more than 300,000 people without power, killing more than 60 people and causing billions of dollars in damage.
The still-active although weakened Irma hammered Florida, and has caused flooding as far north as Charleston, S.C. and Savannah, Ga. More than 2.6 million homes were without power at one stage in Florida.
Shapiro’s 65th birthday celebrations on August 25 meant Josh was in Arlington when Hurricane Harvey started to batter Houston, and forced him to stay put for a week. Unfortunately, Josh had just closed on a house in Houston the week before. When he returned, it was ruined by flood damage.
Thankfully, Shapiro said he had not moved in any of his furniture or other personal belongings, but the house itself needed to be gutted, and he cannot move in for between nine months and a year while it is repaired.
Josh needed to get to work when he returned to his home in Houston and rip out all the units and floorboards and also drill holes in the walls to let out moisture. And after his real estate agent, who lives nearby, posted on Facebook that he needed help, a group of volunteers intervened.
“He said all of a sudden, at 9:30 a.m., all these trucks and cars pull up and a group of about 30 people walked in his house and said, ‘We’re here to help,'” Shapiro said. “They worked until 9:30 p.m., they ripped out all the floors, they helped him get the carpet out, they helped him put holes in the walls because it had to start drying. He was flabbergasted.”
Shapiro’s other son, Aaron, escaped the worst of the storm. His condo building in the Brickell neighborhood of Miami managed to keep its power on, after management said they would be turning off the elevators and air conditioning and locking the doors to prepare for Hurricane Irma.
After evacuating his building, Aaron stayed with a friend in the nearby city of Coral Gables, where they lost power and saw significant wind damage to trees. The pair then were preparing to go out and do rescue work once the storm had subsided.
Across the state in Naples, Shapiro’s 89-year-old mother was put under mandatory evacuation orders from her home, just three blocks from the Gulf of Mexico. Her house, too, escaped the worst of the storm, although she had to move locations twice. She first went to Tallahassee, then went further north into North Carolina to stay with Shapiro’s sister after Irma’s path shifted.
Shapiro said that other friends of hers in the Naples area who stayed put had to take emergency shelter due to the high winds.
“They said it was very scary,” Shapiro said. “They said the winds were horrible, and they ended up spending the night in a closet they were so scared, because the wind was so bad.”
The experience left Shapiro worried for her family’s safety, but grateful that nothing worse happened to anyone.
“It was very nerve-wracking,” she said. “[It’s] been a one-two-three whammy. First the Houston thing, which I was terribly worried about, then this hurricane [Irma]. But all in all, my family came through in such good shape compared to so many others.”