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Sixteen cars had windows smashed in the Long Branch Creek neighborhood earlier this week.

The smashing spree happened Monday morning along a two block stretch of S. Adams Street, in the neighborhood that’s located roughly between Pentagon City and Shirlington.

The suspect (or suspects) appears to have rummaged through the vehicles but no items were reported stolen.

More from an Arlington County Police Department crime report:

DESTRUCTION OF PROPERTY (Series), 2021-11150063/11150074, 2600 block and 2700 block of S. Adams Street. At approximately 10:26 a.m. on November 15, police were dispatched to the report of a destruction of property in the 2700 block of S. Adams Street. Upon arrival, it was determined that the victim observed the front passenger window to her car had been smashed, but no items appeared to have been stolen. During the course of the investigation, seven additional vehicles were discovered to have had their windows smashed. At approximately 11:22 a.m., police were dispatched to the report of a destruction of property in the 2600 block of S. Adams Street. Upon arrival it was determined that eight vehicles had their windows smashed and items rummaged through. No items were reported stolen. There is no suspect(s) description. The investigation is ongoing.

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(Updated 4:25 p.m.) Local firefighters handle all sorts of hazards. Today, one such hazard was a flaming pile of garbage.

The rubish’s rapid oxidation happened around noon today in front of Gunston Middle School, near Arlington Ridge. The blazing bags of refuse were reportedly dumped by a trash truck after the driver noticed smoke and flames coming from the back.

“He dumped his load that was on fire,” a witness tells ARLnow. “He did the right thing. Saved his truck.”

The quick thinking spared the truck and a bigger conflagration, but it left big mess in the Gunston parking lot. Arlington and Alexandria firefighters worked to douse the combusting crud, leaving a soggy heap of waste to be cleaned up.

The trash fire, no doubt seen by a metaphor by some, was caught on camera by Washington Post media reporter Jeremy Barr.

Arlington County police blocked S. Lang Street, in front of the school, during the firefighting effort. A fire department spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for additional information.

Later this afternoon, the county’s Department of Environmental Services shed some light on what likely caused the fire — rechargeable batteries tossed into a recycling bin — and provided some advice on how to properly recycle such batteries.

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A man who had his wallet stolen is facing charges after allegedly trying to confront someone he mistakenly thought was the thief.

The incident happened Sunday afternoon on the 1400 block of 28th Street S., near Gunston Middle School in the Long Branch Creek neighborhood.

“The suspect’s wallet and credit card had been stolen the day prior and he had noticed suspicious charges on his credit card,” Arlington County police said in a crime report. “The suspect went to a restaurant where his card had been used and followed a delivery driver to the home to confront the individual who had placed the order.”

“When the victim opened the door, the suspect allegedly brandished a firearm,” said ACPD. “The victim was able to close and lock the door. The investigation determined the victim did not use the suspect’s stolen credit card to place the order.”

A 27-year-old man from Stafford, Virginia was arrested and charged with brandishing a gun within 1000 feet of a school.

“The investigation into the fraud is ongoing,” police noted.

Monday’s crime report included another weekend brandishing, this time along Route 1 in the Crystal City area.

Just before 5 p.m. on Saturday a man in the drive-through line at McDonald’s allegedly became irate at the driver in front of him.

“The female victim was waiting in a drive-thru line when the suspect, who was behind her, began to honk his vehicle’s horn,” said ACPD. “He then approached her on the passenger side and brandished a firearm. The suspect then proceeded to exit the parking lot onto Richmond Highway.”

No injuries were reported. Police are continuing to investigate the incident.

File photo

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Morning Notes

Local Teacher Finalist in TV Contest — From Stacey Finkel, Kenmore Middle School PTA President: “Eurith Bowen, Functional Life Skills teacher at Kenmore Middle School, has been named a finalist for LIVE with Kelly and Ryan’s Top Teacher search. Eurith Bowen is a phenomenal educator who teaches from her heart, and has inspired an entire community to embrace students in a very special way. Eurith teaches students who are identified as having disabilities.” [Live with Kelly and Ryan]

Bridge Repair Work Underway — “Work is underway to rehabilitate the North Glebe Road (Route 120) bridge over Pimmit Run, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation… This summer, North Glebe Road between Military Road and Route 123 (Chain Bridge Road) will be closed for about nine days to efficiently replace the bridge deck and beams.” [VDOT]

Most Choosing In-Person Learning in Fall — From Superintendent Francisco Durán: “Based on preliminary results from the family selection process, an overwhelming number of families are choosing to return in person in the fall… Previous communications stated that we are planning for both normal capacities as well as developing contingency plans should 3-foot distancing be recommended; however, we want to be transparent that 3-foot distancing is not feasible with the enrollment we are anticipating.” [Arlington Public Schools]

Masks for Youth Sports Questioned — “An Arlington County softball dad created a petition to take on the county’s school system on sports and mask mandates. The school system’s spokesperson sent FOX 5 an emailed response on Tuesday, affirming student athletes will be required to wear masks during competition until the end of the school year… Nearly 300 people have signed the petition made for 500 signatures, calling for the Arlington County Public School’s Superintendent to drop the youth sport mask mandate.” [Fox 5]

Milk Spills into Stream from I-395 — “If you see a white substance in Long Branch Creek, don’t have a cow – it’s just spilled milk, according to the Arlington Fire Department. The department said an incident on Interstate 395 led to a milk truck leaking ‘approximately 50 gallons.’ According to a tweet, that milk has made it into Long Branch Creek near South Troy Street.” [WJLA, Twitter]

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

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After nearly seven years in South Arlington, the Maserati dealership at 2710 S. Glebe Road has closed its doors.

The dealership — located on a property that had earlier been home to seafood seller M. Slavin & Sons — is currently completely empty, with only Maserati and Alfa Romeo branding and an ironic “Now Open” sign.

The dealership began selling Fiats in 2016 and built a new, expanded facility the following year.

An employee at Maserati of Tysons (8448 Leesburg Pike) confirmed that the Arlington location closed and the Fairfax County location is now the closest Maserati dealer for Arlington residents.

The property, adjacent to I-395, may retain an automotive-related use, however. ARLnow hears that Tesla is considering leasing the building.

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It was President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris’s day, but for many, it was former First Lady Michelle Obama who stole the spotlight at the Inauguration.

Wearing all burgundy and plum ensemble in an outfit by LA-based designer Sergio Hudson, her bouncy curls matched the day’s mood. Quickly after Obama’s grand entrance, it was revealed by NBC 4’s Jummy Olabanji that the hair stylist behind her look was Arlington’s Yene Damtew.

The 2015 grad of Arlington’s Marymount University owns Aesthetics Salon at 2444 26th Road S., near the Glebe Road exit of I-395.

Damatew was one of a number of Black entrepreneurs, along with Hudson and Christy Rilling who designed the couple’s masks, that Obama has continuously sought to highlight.

But Damtew has worked with the former First Lady for more than a decade, having also styled her hair during her time in the White House and for best-selling 2018 memoir, “Becoming.”

ARLnow asked Damtew via email about how she became the former First Lady’s go-to hairstylist, what it was like on that special day, and what business been like since word got out.

The interview was edited for clarity and brevity.

What’s the story behind styling Mrs. Obama’s hair for this inauguration? 

I have had a relationship with the Obamas since 2009. I was working for her then-stylist, Johnny Wright, and he brought me to the White House where I assisted with hair needs for the entire family.

Working in the White House for eight years was one of the highest honors of my life.

My relationship with Mrs. Obama has remained strong in her post-First Lady life. I’ve been blessed to stay on her style team along with my friends Carl Ray (makeup) and Meredith Koop (clothing). I did hair for her best-selling book “Becoming” and accompanied her on her two-year book tour across the world.

I consider her not just a client, but a friend and mentor.

What did you want to accomplish with her look? 

I do always keep in mind that America LOVES Mrs. Obama and she always makes headlines based on what she’s wearing and how her hair looks.

Today was a day about celebrating their good friends, the Bidens, and the first Black woman Vice President. I wanted her look to match the moment! Volume and curls seemed like the way to go and I’m glad so many people loved it.

How long did it take to style? 

I don’t talk specifics about any client, out of respect, but I’ve been doing hair long enough that I’m able to be very efficient!

I think I spent more time in the car navigating D.C. traffic and road shutdowns!

There were days in the White House and on the book tour where I would have to make changes very quickly. Once my client and I talk about what kind of look we want to create, it doesn’t take long.

Like with anything else the things that take the longest are sitting under the dryer with color treatments.

While it’s only been a few hours since the world found out, how has business been since? Is your salon being inundated with calls and appointments right now? 

It’s been overwhelming — in a good way!

Our website has been inundated with requests for appointments. We do everything via email, so our inbox is very full. We hope to get back to everyone by the end of the week. I

In only a few years, I’ve grown my salon from one building to two and have added several more stylists on staff.

Whether a client meets with me or one of my other stylists we want them to walk out of our doors feeling like they have the confidence they need to take on the day.

The Arlington community has been so wonderful and supportive to my salon. I graduated from Marymount University in Arlington and live in Arlington.

It was only right to have my business in Arlington, too.

Photo (top) via Aesthetics Salon

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A sequence of events led to the side of an apartment building in the Long Branch Creek neighborhood catching on fire Monday evening.

The Arlington County Fire Department responded to a reported structure fire on the 2400 block of 27th Court S. around 7:30 p.m. Residents were evacuated as firefighters worked to extinguish the smoky fire.

Within minutes, the flames were out and the cleanup work was starting.

ACFD spokesman Capt. Justin Tirelli tells ARLnow that the blaze was caused by “improperly discarded smoking materials” that caught mulch on fire and subsequently spread to the vinyl siding of the building. From there, the flames crept up the side of the building and burned the plywood under the siding.

The fire was quickly extinguished, no one was injured, and no residents were displaced. Tirelli said the incident “seems accidental” and no charges are pending.

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(Updated at 10:35 a.m.) Arlington County has kicked off the renovation project for Gunston Park‘s “bubble.”

Officials have started the design phase of the Gunston Bubble Renovation Project, with the goal of eventually having a more “energy efficient and reliable” facility. The project is expected to start construction in the second quarter of 2020 and be completed by the third quarter, in time for next winter season.

The bubble is an all-weather, heated and covered athletic field that Arlington County describes as “a unique indoor turf facility available to rent for sports training and parties.”

“A lot has changed in building technology since the old bubble was completed,” said project architect Aaron Wohler. “The existing bubble structure is air-supported and needs to be constantly monitored and inflated. It gets hot during the summer, so much so that we limit summer hours.”

The new structure will be frame-supported, according to Wohler, with LED lighting and ceiling fans, windows, vents, and doors available to keep it cool during the hotter months.

Funding for the $1.3 million project was included in the county’s most recent Capital Improvement Plan (CIP). About $1 million will come from bonds.

The county will host an open house at the Gunston Community Center for community members to learn more about the project on Thursday, December 17 at 6:30 p.m.

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Someone stole airbags from numerous vehicles in the Shirlington area early Wednesday morning.

Police responded to the 2700 block of S. Quincy Street in Shirlington and along S. Glebe Road and S. Veitch Street in the nearby Long Branch Creek neighborhood on the morning of Nov. 15 for a report of vehicles that had been broken into overnight.

Officers found “approximately nine vehicles had their windows smashed and airbags stolen.” So far, there’s no word on a suspect or suspects.

More from an Arlington County Police crime report:

LARCENY FROM AUTO (series), 2019-11130054/11130089/11130115, 2700 block of S. Quincy Street/S. Veitch Street at S. Glebe Road/2700 block of S. Glebe Road. At approximately 7:38 a.m. on November 13, police were dispatched to the report of multiple vehicles that had been broken into. During the course of the investigation, it was determined that approximately nine vehicles had their windows smashed and airbags stolen. There is no suspect(s) description. The investigation is ongoing.

File photo

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Morning Notes

Helicopter Complaints Continue  — “Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.), one of the lawmakers who requested the study, said that helicopter noise is ‘our number one constituent complaint’ and that the number of complaints has risen steadily since he took office in 2015.” [Washington Post]

Early Morning Apartment Fire — “Units were called to 2400 blk 27th Ct S for fire in 4 story garden apt. On arrival crews found balcony #fire on floors 1 & 2 being controlled by #firesprinklers. Fire extinguished, no extension inside. No injuries.” [Twitter]

New Election Chief Sworn In — “When Gretchen Reinemeyer was sworn in as Arlington County’s general registrar, she became only the fifth person to hold the position since it was created in 1947. Reinemeyer is succeeding long-time registrar Linda Lindberg who is retiring at the end of the month after serving more than 25 years in the Arlington Voting and Elections Office–16 of them as general registrar. [Arlington County]

YHS Student Helps Improve Pedestrian Safety — “Pedestrians in Arlington, Virginia, may notice flashing yellow lights when crossing the street, thanks to one high schooler who’s working to make streets safer… Jake Smith, who graduated Yorktown High School on Thursday, interned with the Arlington County Department of Environmental Services to help them plan their beacon project and keep cars accountable.” [NBC 4, Arlington County]

Zoning Keeps Parts of Arlington Exclusive — “Arlington does have a decent amount of area zoned for multi-family housing, but it’s concentrated in the more southern parts of the county. This makes North Arlington completely inaccessible to many and is the source of the county’s geographical inequality.” [Blue Virginia]

Dozen New Arlington Police Officers — “The Arlington County Police Department welcomed 12 new officers this week, as Session 140 graduated from the Northern Virginia Criminal Justice Training Academy (NVCJA) and took their oath to serve and protect the residents and visitors of Arlington County.” [Arlington County]

Local Businessman Sentenced — “A prominent Northern Virginia businessman has been sentenced to more than six years in prison for multiple fraud schemes that cheated investors out of roughly $20 million. Todd Hitt, 54, of Arlington, Virginia, pleaded guilty earlier this year in federal court in Alexandria to soliciting investments in building projects as part of what amounted to a Ponzi scheme.” [Associated Press, Press Release]

Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman

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Morning Notes

Hospital Construction Starting Soon — “Around the time most local residents are firing up the grills for mid-summer barbecues, Virginia Hospital Center will be firing up the bulldozers as it moves forward with a long-awaited expansion. Hospital officials aim to have their land-swap agreement with the county government in place by the end of July, and ‘the plan is to begin construction shortly thereafter.'” [InsideNova]

Swastika in S. Arlington Park — “From a local Nextdoor group: someone drew swastikas on a sign board in Troy Park near S. Glebe Road. A parks department spokeswoman says the graffiti has been covered up and no other incidents of this kind have been reported recently.” [Twitter]

When To Report an Oily Sheen on the Water — “A rainbow sheen can result from iron-oxidizing bacteria or from petroleum. To differentiate, trail a stick through the film. It it readily breaks up, it’s most likely bacteria. If it swirls together, it’s most likely petroleum and should be reported.” [Arlington County]

When to Call 911 for a Medical Issue — “The Arlington County Fire Department (ACFD) is initiating a public information campaign to help individuals, facilities and communities develop the know-how to ‘Make the Right Call.’ The effort aims to empower the community to help maintain EMS system readiness by learning appropriate utilization of the medical 911 system.” [Arlington County, Twitter]

Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley

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