Petition to Rename DCA Nears Goal — A petition to rename Reagan National Airport “Washington National Airport” has gathered nearly 70,000 of its goal of 75,000 signatures. The petition is a progressive group’s response to Republican outrage over President Obama’s renaming of Mount McKinley to its original name, Denali. [CREDO Action, Washington Post]
Fire at Shopping Center — Arlington County firefighters battled a small blaze at the Lyon Village Shopping Center last night. [Twitter]
Meeting on Hospital Expansion — Arlington County and Virginia Hospital Center officials are holding a meeting tomorrow (Wednesday) night regarding a proposed land swap between the county and VHC, which would allow the hospital to expand. [Arlington County]
Back to School, Back to Traffic — Arlington Public Schools students, along with students in other Northern Virginia localities, are returning to school today. Thanks to the influx of school buses and commuters returning from vacation on the roads, the first day after Labor Day is dubbed “Terrible Traffic Tuesday” by AAA Mid Atlantic.
(Updated at 10:05 a.m.) A video on Reddit shows a man allegedly stealing a bike from a porch of home on Key Blvd in Lyon Village.
The video was originally uploaded last week but was posted on a Reddit thread yesterday, with the comment that the thief had not been caught as of that morning.
The video, captured by a home security camera, shows a man with long hair and wearing a backpack, short sleeve graphic t-shirt and pants and sneakers. The camera catches him glancing at a window in the house and then sneaking up the porch. He then walks off the porch with a bicycle.
“Took this video from the listserv. I have seen numerous bikes left on porches/children’s bikes left on front lawns overnight around the neighborhood. Hopefully this video proves that no neighborhood is invincible to theft and that everyone should lock up (if for some reason you decide to leave your bike outside),” the poster said.
Asked about the video, Arlington County Police Department spokesman Dustin Sternbeck said: “We did receive an online report, however, this was the first our detectives had seen the video.”
The attack occurred around 2:45 a.m., on the 1900 block of N. Highland Street. Police say the victim was walking home from the bars in Clarendon when a man approached her from behind, put a pillow case over her head and threw her to the ground.
The woman kicked the attacker several times and was able to scream “help,” prompting him to grab the pillow case and run off.
The suspect is described as an either black or Hispanic man, 5’8″ tall with an average build.
Police say the victim did not report the crime until the next morning, making it difficult to track down the suspect.
“We want to emphasize that anyone who’s a victim of a crime should dial 911 immediately,” said Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.
Sternbeck said that the police department is devoting significant resources to investigating this and three other recent attacks on women.
On July 25, a man sexually assaulted a woman near Courthouse; she kicked him in the groin and he fled the scene. On July 31 a woman running alone on the W&OD Trail as grabbed from behind and thrown to the ground; she screamed and her attacker ran off. On Aug. 1 a woman in Buckingham was also grabbed from behind and thrown to the ground; she bit the attacker’s finger and he ran off.
Despite some variance in the suspect descriptions, Sternbeck said detectives are trying to determine whether the attacks may be related.
Police say 23-year-old Adam Quayle, of Harrisonburg, Va., banged on the side door of a house on the 1400 block of N. Garfield Street, near Clarendon’s bar district, around 2:00 a.m. Sunday. Two female residents came out to confront Quayle after they saw him entering their garage and ducking behind a vehicle, said ACPD spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.
The intruder started walking back down the driveway, exchanged some “choice words” with the residents and took a swing at one of the women, but missed, Sternbeck said. At that point, the other woman tried to come to her roommate’s aid, but was allegedly tackled by Quayle.
The first woman then tried to help, but was taken to the ground by Quayle and put in a headlock, police said. Finally, two passersby intervened and pulled the man off the women, according to Sternbeck. A bouncer from nearby Hunan Number One restaurant, hearing the commotion, also came over and restrained the man until police arrived.
Quayle was charged with felony strangulation, two counts of assault and battery, and unlawful entry. He was combative with the arresting officers, Sternbeck added.
Just before 9:00 a.m., police responded to a house near the intersection of Key Boulevard and N. Highland Street for a report of a burglary in progress. Officers and a K-9 unit surrounded the house while the suspects were still inside. Police were able to safely enter the home and take both men into custody a short time later.
Police temporarily blocked off traffic in the area during the incident. One of the suspects was later taken to the hospital for some sort of a facial injury.
Both suspects will be charged with burglary, according to Arlington County police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. Right now, it’s unclear if they may have been targeting a specific item inside the home.
Roger K. Clark III is facing a first degree murder charge in connection with the 2009 slaying of Diener. The 57-year-old Diener was found lying on a Clarendon side street in the early morning of Dec. 29, 2009. He was pronounced dead on the scene.
After a year and a half investigation, police arrested Clark and another man in June. The other suspect has since been released, while Clark faces a jury trial that’s currently scheduled to begin on Jan. 9, 2012.
The trial is expected to last at least four days, according to Diener’s sister.
Arlington’s Biggest Redskins Fanatic — Charlie Clark has tracked down perhaps the biggest Redskins fan of them all. North Arlington resident Mary Holt, age 87, owns about “1,500 team knickknacks ranging from napkin holders to clocks to team photos to Redskins Wheaties cereal boxes.” The tchotchkes are displayed across “every inch of her ‘woman cave'” — where she watches the burgundy and gold every game day. [Falls Church News Press]
Lyon Village Park Ribbon Cutting — Residents and county officials will celebrate the completion of improvements to Lyon Village Park (1800 N. Highland Street) over the weekend. Park upgrades include new tennis and basketball courts, backboards and a living green picnic shelter canopy. A ribbon cutting ceremony will be held at 11:00 Sunday morning.
Bricks Missing in Rosslyn — The Ode Street Tribune spots a number of missing brick pavers at a pedestrian crosswalk in Rosslyn. [Old Street Tribune]
Eden Center Controversy — Vietnamese merchants in the Eden Center in Falls Church are complaining about police intimidation after a raid last month that resulted in 19 arrests for alleged gang activity. Earlier this year, Arlington authorities — the county provides fire department services to the City of Falls Church — raided the Eden Center and confiscated illegal fireworks. [Washington Post]
9/11 Ride Arrives, Departs Without Incident — No major incidents were reported on Friday or Saturday as a convoy of 1,800 motorcyclists arrived in Pentagon City, then departed for New York City. [Washington Post]
Two Struck By Lightning in Lyon Village — A couple is reported to be in serious condition after being struck by lightning on the 1500 block of N. Highland Street, in Lyon Village, on Friday. The force of the lightning strike was so strong that it “shattered the lenses in one of their glasses and knocked their shoes off.” [WUSA9, MyFoxDC]
New Arlington Arts Center Director Named — Stefanie Fedor has been named the new executive director of the Arlington Arts Center. [Sun Gazette]
Flickr pool photo by edobson22207
The crime was called into police around 1:10 p.m. Initial reports suggest the man put a female victim in a choke hold after she entered her PIN number into the Arlington County Federal Credit Union ATM in Courthouse Plaza, just steps from the main entrance of the county government building and across the street from the Arlington County Police headquarters.
The woman reportedly ran away while the man attempted to use her ATM account. It’s unclear whether he withdrew money from the machine.
Several people then started chasing the suspect into the residential Lyon Village area, just north of Courthouse, according to police radio traffic and a witness. Police eventually took over the chase and arrested the man in a yard just near Key Elementary school.
One of the people who initially helped to chase the suspect was an employee in the county’s Commissioner of Revenue office, according to county spokeswoman Mary Curtius. The employee heard the victim scream and then gave chase, Curtius said.
(Updated at 4:55 p.m.) Carl Diener was a fitness nut — a big, strong man who, having retired from the federal government, decided to apply his love of exercise by working part-time at two local fitness facilities.
When employees at one of those facilities — the YMCA Arlington Tennis & Squash Center at 3400 N. 13th Street — first heard yesterday that two men had finally been arrested for Carl’s 2009 murder, at least one woman burst into tears.
“We’ve all been sort of waiting around and hoping [police] find who did it,” said Audrey Giberman, who works at the Tennis Center and who formed a close bond with Carl through the years. “He’s always been on our mind. It was a horrible, horrible tragedy.”
Giberman recounted vivid memories of the morning when Carl, a Lyon Village resident, did not show up to work as usual.
“The morning he didn’t show up, Sport and Health (Diener’s other fitness center employer) called me and said… ‘Carl’s not here.’ My front desk started calling all the hospitals. A Sport and Health member actually went to Carl’s apartment,” Giberman remembered. “When it was officially announced by police… it was very hard. Actually some of the staff went for counseling, it was such a shock.”
Now, Giberman and others are hoping that the arrests will help shed light on those lingering, unanswered questions surrounding the murder.
“You hear all these things, and you just want to know why,” she said. “You just want closure.”
Police have identified the two suspects arrested for Carl’s murder as Roger K. Clark III (top), 20, of Severn, Maryland, and Javon Martin (bottom), 24, of Washington D.C. Both men are now being held in the Arlington County Detention Center. So far, authorities have not revealed a motive in the case.
Diener, a 57-year-old Lyon Village resident, was found lying dead on a Clarendon street early on the morning of Dec. 29, 2009. Late last year, friends and family held a vigil to mark the one year anniversary of Diener’s death, and to draw public attention to the police department’s continued effort to find clues about the case. With today’s announcement, those efforts seem to have paid off.
The two men arrested are both in their early 20s. One was arrested in Montgomery County, Md. and the other was arrested in the District, according to police.
Patti Diener Lough, Carl’s sister, says she hopes the arrests will help her family and the community feel safer.
“I’m just thrilled,” she told ARLnow.com. “The Arlington County Police obviously didn’t consider this a cold case. I don’t believe that they would be making an arrest if they didn’t have information that was going to stick.”
“I am just glad that we’re going to have some more information” about the case, Diener Lough added. “It doesn’t change anything. Nothing can bring Carl back, of course. But it will allow the family and the Arlington community to process this and feel better and safer.”
Diener Lough said the arrests support what she has believed all along — that the murder a “crime of opportunity” by multiple assailants who did not know Carl.
Here’s the press release from the Arlington County Police Department.
The Arlington County Police Department’s Homicide/Robbery Unit announces several arrests related to the homicide that occurred on December 29, 2009. At 2:50 a.m. that morning, medic units and police responded to a call regarding an injured man lying on the street in the 3200 block of N. 13th Street. They located Carl Diener, 57, an Arlington resident, deceased.
Detectives have conducted an extensive investigation over the past year and a half and obtained warrants charging Roger K. Clark III, 20, of Severn, Maryland, and Javon Martin, 24, of Washington D.C. with Murder. Roger Clark III, was arrested on June 6, 2011, and Javon Martin was arrested on June 8, 2011. They are pending extradition to Virginia.
“I am extremely pleased with our detectives’ investigation,” stated Arlington County Police Chief M. Douglas Scott, “It illustrates that there are no “cold cases” in Arlington; we continue to investigate crimes long after they occur.”
Diener’s death was a shock to the Clarendon community. His family, friends, and concerned business owners took up a collection of $25,000 for information that would lead to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for his death. They also held several vigils and benefits in his memory.
The Arlington County Police Department would like to thank the men and women of the Washington Field Office of The Federal Bureau of Investigation, The United States Marshals Service, the Montgomery County Police Department and the Metropolitan Police Department for their assistance in locating these fugitives.
Anyone who has additional information about this case is asked contact Detective Rosa Ortiz at (703) 228-7402. Det. Ortiz can also be contacted via e-mail at [email protected] Witnesses can also call the Arlington Police Tip-Line at (703) 228-4242.
Residents of the quiet neighborhoods that surround Arlington’s urban villages have a very peculiar relationship with the automobile. At least, that’s the conclusion one could draw based on citizen input at a Lyon Village community meeting that focused on parking and street-related issues.
Residents are quite opposed to the county taking away parking on one side of narrow neighborhood streets to allow fire engines and garbage trucks to operate safely. But they also want more zone parking to keep outsiders from parking on the same streets. And at least one gentleman wanted folks who rent houses to have their street parking limited to just two cars.
Residents expressed indignation that their streets weren’t plowed during snow storms, making navigation treacherous. Then some asked if there was any way streets could be closed to through traffic. One man earnestly suggested quadrupling the number of speed humps and lowering the speed limit to 15 miles per hour.
In short, when it comes to cars, some residents want things their way and want others to stay on the highway.
Lucky for them, Arlington County seems perfectly willing to listen and respond to their requests.
Last night Arlington County Director of Transportation Dennis Leach and Traffic Engineering and Operations Chief Wayne Wentz sat down for a 90 minutes discussion with about 30 residents at the Lyon Village Community House. Although the meeting was ostensibly about street parking, all manner of street-related issues were brought up. The meeting was attended by Lyon Village residents and by representatives of other local civic associations, who are worried about the county’s recent move to restrict street parking on certain narrow streets.
Wentz and Leach explained that while the county is not actively looking for narrow streets, one complaint about a street’s width — from the fire department, a garbage contractor or an anonymous resident — is all it takes for county staff to be sent out with measuring tapes. They will visit a street several times, on different days and at different times, to study parking utilization. If the street is less than 28 feet wide and heavily parked on both sides, parking restrictions will likely be recommended — although first the county will notify residents and initiate a neighborhood discussion about the changes.
Last week, residents of N. Danville Street and several other Lyon Village streets noticed county staff measuring street widths. Staff were reportedly checking to see if the streets were too narrow for trash trucks and fire trucks, as was the case with N. Edgewood Street in Lyon Park.
According to Lyon Village Citizens Association President H.K. Park, the county is considering restricting parking to one side of Danville and other neighborhood streets that county staffers have deemed too narrow. On Monday, the LVCA will meet to discuss the possible parking changes with county staff.
According to an email sent to residents, the meeting will address:
- “The justification for this new policy–whether your street may be next and how the county will select which side.”
- “The frequency of garbage truck and fire truck problems.”
- “How this policy comports with policies that encourage fewer driveways and garages and more on-street parking.”
- “Whether any accommodation will be made for handicapped, elderly, and parents with infants who need close access to cars.”
- “Whether the ‘problem’ is caused primarily by construction, commuter, and other non-resident vehicles that might be regulated in some other way.”
- “Possible unintended consequences of any such restrictions, such as making it easier for cars to cut through the neighborhood and travel at higher speeds.”
Representatives from several other civic associations have said they plan to attend the meeting “because they believe their neighborhoods are next,” according to Park.
Among those who will be in attendance is Natalie Roy, president of the Lyon Park Citizens Association.
In 2004, the county gave its blessing to a plan that would build an eight story affordable apartment complex, known as The Views at Clarendon, on top of the First Baptist Church of Clarendon. The plan was touted for its ability to increase the affordable housing stock in Clarendon while paying for the construction of a new church sanctuary.
The developer would buy property from the church, thus supporting the sanctuary construction, and then pay for the apartment building’s construction with the help of nearly $50 million in loans and tax breaks from the county, the state and the federal government.
After considerable neighborhood outrage and two legal challenges to the building’s imposing design failed to stop the development, Clarendon resident Peter Glassman filed suit in Nov. 2009, accusing Arlington County and the Virginia Housing Development Authority of violating the First Amendment separation of church and state by facilitating the development and providing subsidies to the church.
A U.S. District Court judge dismissed the case in April. Glassman appealed, and in the latest development, the appeal was rejected on Thursday.
In his decision, Fourth Circuit Court appeals judge Paul Niemeyer agreed with the lower court’s findings.
“We can find no factual allegations that support a claim that the County sought to advance the First Baptist Church’s faith, to spread the message of the First Baptist Church, or to become entangled in its religious affairs,” Niemeyer wrote. “Rather, the County’s only interest was to accomplish the secular end of having affordable housing constructed in a highly urban area of Arlington County.”
No word yet on whether any further legal action by Glassman may be forthcoming. Meanwhile, construction of The Views at Clarendon has been progressing steadily.
Update at 4:30 p.m. — The county has released a press release about the case. Here’s an excerpt, after the jump.
A car apparently crashed into a utility pole next to the Lyon Village Community House this evening, splitting the pole in two and, in a chain reaction, knocking down a street light up the street.
The striking car reportedly took off after the accident.
The wires that fell to the street were said to be fiber optic and not live power lines.