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UPDATED: Firefighters Battle House Fire in Nauck

(Updated at 3:10 p.m.) Firefighters from Arlington and Alexandria extinguished a house fire in Arlington’s Nauck neighborhood today (Wednesday).

The fire broke out in a two-story duplex on the 3700 block of S. Four Mile Run Drive — a narrow residential street that runs parallel to the main route — around 1 p.m. Arriving firefighters reported smoke coming from the front door and the occupants of the home standing outside.

As of 1:30 p.m. the fire was said to be under control, though possible hoarding conditions complicated the firefighting operation.

The fire department said medics assessed one person who was inside the home at the time of the fire for injuries.

Photo via ACFD Instagram

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DEVELOPING: ACPD Investigating Shooting in Nauck

(Updated at 3:05 p.m.) Arlington County Police are investigating a shooting in the Nauck neighborhood.

The shooting happened around 9 p.m. on the 2200 block of S. Oxford Street and involved a suspect and a victim that knew each other, according to police. One person suffered non-life-threatening injuries and was taken to a local hospital via ambulance.

A neighbor told ARLnow that there was a “heavy police presence and crime scene tape” near where the shooting happened.

ACPD released additional information about the shooting Wednesday afternoon, saying three people were involved in a physical altercation and one was shot, though so far no arrests have been made.

The Arlington County Police Department’s Homicide/Robbery Unit is investigating a shooting that took place in the Nauck neighborhood on the evening of January 29, 2019.

At approximately 9:05 p.m. on January 29, police were dispatched to the 2200 block of S. Oxford Street for the report of shots heard. Upon arrival, officers located three male subjects involved in a physical altercation. The subjects were separated by police and it was determined that one was suffering from a gunshot wound. He was transported to an area hospital with non-life threatening injuries. The other two subjects did not require medical treatment.

This incident remains an active criminal investigation and police continue to work to determine what preceded the altercation. All parties involved have been identified and no charges have been sought at this time. Based on the preliminary investigation, there appears to be no ongoing threat to the community.

Anyone with information related to this investigation is asked to contact Detective R. Ortiz of the Arlington County Police Department’s Homicide/Robbery Unit at 703-228-7402 or [email protected] Information may also be provided anonymously through the Arlington County Crime Solvers hotline at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).

Map via Google Maps

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Drew Model School Set to See a Name Change, But Renowned Surgeon’s Name Will Remain

The Drew Model School in Nauck will soon get a new name as the school undergoes a bit of a transformation — but one key part of the building’s moniker won’t be going anywhere.

The elementary school is named after Charles Drew, a groundbreaking surgeon who grew up in Arlington. He was the first black man to hold a variety of prominent positions in the medical community, and is widely credited with establishing new storage techniques to set up lifesaving blood banks during World War II.

Drew’s family home in the Penrose neighborhood won a designation as a National Historic Landmark in 1976, and both a park and community center in Nauck also bear his name.

But the school named after the surgeon, who died in 1950, seemed set for a bit of a change after the School Board convened a committee to pick out a new name for the building earlier this month. The school system is shifting the county’s Montessori program out of the building next year, prompting the latest in a series of recent debates over a new school name.

That will make the school a full “neighborhood” program, drawing students only from homes surrounding the school. The Montessori program will move to what was Patrick Henry Elementary, while many (but not all) Henry students will move to the new Alice West Fleet Elementary, in what became a contentious process that angered many parents.

Yet, as the Drew naming committee gathered to begin its work last week, school officials told the group that it shouldn’t plan on making too many substantial changes. According to notes from the Jan. 22 meeting, Superintendent Patrick Murphy himself told the committee that the naming process is designed to “build culture and community rather than to eliminate the recognition of Dr. Drew’s legacy, who was a preeminent scientist and wonderful role model from Arlington.”

The notes show that some committee members questioned why the group was even convened if Drew’s name wouldn’t be changed, while others said they sought to join the committee specifically to advocate for the retention of the school’s name.

But Murphy stressed that he did not believe the Board ever intended to see Drew’s name removed from the building, a point he reiterated at the Board’s meeting Thursday (Jan. 24) — the Board did not deliver a specific charge in kicking off the group’s work, unlike when it stipulated that a naming committee should not consider the prospect of retaining the original name of Washington-Lee High School.

The committee is still in the early stages of its deliberations, but the meeting notes show that it’s already considering several options that could honor the Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math (STEAM) program that just started up at the school. Options the group has proposed so far include “Drew Science Focus School,” “Charles Drew Inspiration School,” “Charles Drew Science Academy” and “”The Charles Drew Academy.”

The committee also discussed the prospect of simply adding “of South Arlington” to the building’s current name, or perhaps adding a prominent artist’s name to the building alongside Drew’s.

The group broadly agreed to focus on priorities like “adding instructional focus,” “adding a second name to Drew,” “adding a descriptive designation such as academy” and tacking on a “geographic component” in settling on a new name. Members now plan to survey the school’s community for their preferences as well.

The committee is set to meet several more times between now and April, and the Board is planning a final vote on an updated name for Drew in May.

The Board also agreed at its Jan. 24 meeting to spend $1.8 million in capital reserve funding to speed up renovation work at both Drew and Henry to “refresh” both buildings ahead of next fall’s changes.

File photo

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Crime Report: Woman Arrested for Bleach Attack

An Arlington woman is facing charges after allegedly spraying someone with bleach during an early morning argument.

Arlington County Police were called to an address in the Nauck neighborhood around 4:30 a.m. Sunday for a dispute. A verbal argument between two people who knew each other “escalated into physical violence,” police said.

A 33-year-old woman was arrested, accused of spraying bleach — a “caustic agent” — and injuring another woman, then subsequently striking her with an object.

“It remains under investigation what object caused the victim’s injuries,” county police spokeswoman Ashley Savage told ARLnow.

More from ACPD:

MALICIOUS WOUNDING, 2019-01200046, 2100 block of S. Kenmore Street. At approximately 4:36 a.m. on January 20, police were dispatched to the report of a dispute. Upon arrival, it was determined that a verbal altercation between known individuals escalated into physical violence. During the altercation, the suspect allegedly sprayed the victim with bleach before striking the victim with an object. The victim was transported to an area hospital and treated for non-life threatening injuries. Darcell Harris, 33, of Arlington, VA was arrested and charged with Malicious Wounding and Malicious Injury by Caustic Agent. She was held on no bond.

Earlier last week, police investigated a series of thefts from vehicles along Columbia Pike and S. Courthouse Road. Police say thieves stole tires and rims from at least five vehicles.

GRAND LARCENY (series), 2019-01170042/01170062/01170099/01170116, 1200 block of S. Courthouse Road/2200 block of Columbia Pike/700 block of S. Courthouse Road. On January 17, police were dispatched to multiple late reports of larcenies from auto. The investigation determined that between approximately 6:00 p.m. on January 16 and 4:00 a.m. on January 17, the tires and rims of approximately 5 vehicles in the area were stolen from vehicles. There is no suspect(s) description. The investigation is ongoing.

 

Below are the rest of the highlights from this week’s crime report, including some we’ve already reported.

ROBBERY, 2019-01210216, 5300 block of 8th Road S. At approximately 9:43 p.m. on January 21, police were dispatched to the report of a robbery by force. Upon arrival, it was determined that between 9:30 p.m. and 9:35 p.m., while the victim was operating as a delivery driver, he entered a building to make a delivery when he was approached by an unknown male suspect, who claimed to know the recipient of the delivery. The suspect led him down a hallway, where he was met by several other suspects, who pushed the victim to the ground and assaulted him before stealing his personal belongings, an undisclosed amount of cash and the contents of the delivery. The suspects fled the scene prior to police arrival. The victim was not injured. Suspect One is described as a Hispanic or Indian male, approximately 5’8″, 180 lbs., wearing a blue jacket. Suspect Two is described as a black male wearing a black and white long sleeve shirt. The other three suspects are described as black males.

BURGLARY, 2019-01190203, 2400 block of N. Underwood Street. At approximately 7:08 p.m. on January 19, police were dispatched to the report of a burglary just discovered. Upon arrival, it was determined that between approximately 6:00 p.m. and 6:45 p.m., an unknown suspect forced entry to a residence, causing damage, and stole items of value. There is no suspect(s) description. The investigation is ongoing.

BURGLARY (late), 2019-01170136, 2600 block of N. Florida Street. At approximately 12:40 p.m. on January 17, police were dispatched to the late report of a burglary. Upon arrival, it was determined that between 9:30 p.m. and 2:00 a.m. on January 16, an unknown suspect gained entry to a residence and stole an undisclosed amount of cash. There is no suspect description. The investigation is ongoing.

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Morning Notes

Apartment Fire in Nauck — Firefighters extinguished a fire in an apartment Monday evening. The fire broke out around 5:15 p.m. on the 2100 block of S. Quincy Street, in the Nauck neighborhood. No injuries were reported. [Twitter]

Board Members Reluctant to Give Themselves a Raise — “Rather than seeking higher pay, current Arlington board members might take the opposite route – start scaling back their workload. ‘There is definitely a renewed emphasis on, ‘what is our role?” [County Board Chair Christian] Dorsey said at the Jan. 17 forum, responding to a questioner who suggested board members of recent years are more mired in the nuts-and-bolts of governance than their predecessors.” [InsideNova]

Local Restaurant Delivers Free Pizza to Air Traffic Control — Over the weekend Joe’s Place Pizza and Pasta delivered free pizza to the air traffic control tower at Reagan National Airport, where controllers have been working without during the government shutdown. [Instagram]

Restaurant Week Extended — Winter Restaurant Week has been extended until Sunday, Jan. 27 due to the government shutdown and last week’s snow. [Twitter]

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

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Though Parking Concerns Persist, County Board Approves Plan for Four Mile Run Valley’s Future

Arlington officials have, at long last, approved a new planning document to guide the Four Mile Run Valley’s future, one of the last remaining steps for the county to take in the years-long debate over the area’s development.

The County Board unanimously signed off on new “area plan” for the Nauck valley on Saturday (Nov. 17), sketching out the county’s strategies for fostering the preservation and growth of industrial and arts-focused businesses in the area.

The plan also lays out a series of potential road and parking changes in the area, which have prompted some community consternation even as the planning process wraps up. Some Nauck leaders have previously expressed grave concerns that county officials aren’t listening to their suggestions for the area’s development, and that includes fears about the road changes on the way for S. Four Mile Run Drive.

“An important element is missing: trust,” Nauck Civic Association President Portia Clark told the Board. “The county needs to work with us to repair the loss of trust… We were here before the planning process began, and we’ll be here long after.”

But Board members expressed broad satisfaction with the plan, despite those anxieties, arguing that the roughly three-year-long planning process delivered an outcome that will benefit the community for years to come.

“We’re going to all look back on this process, as occasionally challenging as it was, and see that this will be a true jewel for not only South Arlington, but the county as a whole,” said Board member John Vihstadt, the Board’s liaison to a working group convened to assemble the plan.

The Board previously adopted a broad “policy framework” guiding all manner of future changes to the area this spring. The working group and county staff then relied on that document to develop a parks master plan for the area, primarily focused on the overhaul of Jennie Dean Park, and then assembled the final area plan.

Among the document’s proposed changes are road alterations designed to make S. Four Mile Drive and some of its side streets more friendly for both cyclists and pedestrians, and free up more parking along the road. Changes will include new sections of sidewalk, a new pedestrian crossing island and curb extensions, as well as more robust parking restrictions and enforcement to encourage more turnover.

But those alterations will only be temporary, as the county examines whether they actually work. Officials could even initiate more dramatic changes going forward, like the addition of more angled spaces leading up to Jennie Dean Park and even the conversion of S. Four Mile Run Drive into a two-lane road with a dedicated middle turning lane.

“There are still some concerns on the road changes… but the community has accepted the ‘test first, build later’ strategy,” said Charles Monfort, chair of the Four Mile Run Valley Working Group.

Yet Monfort’s leadership of the group attracted a public rebuke from one of his fellow vice chairs in a Washington Post opinion piece, as Robin Stombler argued that the public engagement process on all manner of issues was flawed — Monfort insisted Saturday that “anyone’s who wanted to speak has had many opportunities to do so.”

But Stombler and other Nauck residents charged that the parking changes are simply the latest example of the community’s concerns being cast aside. Clark pointed out staffing challenges in the Arlington police department means officers have less time to dedicate to traffic enforcement, making any pledge to step up the policing of parking violations on S. Four Mile Run Drive a hollow one.

“It makes no sense to test parking restrictions that will not be enforced and will actually increase parking turnover problems,” said Anne Inman, one of the Nauck Civic Association’s representatives on the working group.

Vihstadt also expressed some trepidation that the county is “really engaging in real time” on these issues, worrying that officials might “prioritize beauty and aesthetics over operational, on-the-ground needs for businesses and people who inhabit and do commerce in the valley.”

But county planner Richard Tucker reassured concerned neighbors, however, that the county is “going to move forward with understanding we’ll come back on this and make changes” after a year or so, if the parking plans aren’t working as intended.

“We test a little bit, we see what we learn and then maybe we expand that to other areas,” said Board member Erik Gutshall.

Beyond the parking changes, Tucker added that there are still few elements left to the planning work for the valley. In January, the county will kick off discussions on potentially adding an arts district to the area (a controversial point in its own right) and then convene a broader discussion on land use and zoning a few months later.

By and large, though, Board members hope the area plan’s adoption signals a major step forward for the county in charting out the valley’s future.

“When I walk down to Four Mile Run 25 years from now, the built environment will not look fundamentally different,” said Board Chair Katie Cristol. “And that speaks to this effort and what we all value about this area.”

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Morning Notes

Polls Are Open — Voting in Arlington started at 6 a.m. this morning and will continue until 7 p.m. Don’t be surprised to see TV crews at local polling places: a number of international news outlets will be on hand to document democracy in action in Arlington. [Twitter, Twitter]

HQ2 Driving Real Estate Interest — Real estate agents are seeing increased interest in Arlington and Alexandria as a result of the increasingly-likely prospect of Amazon’s HQ2 (or, at least, a portion of it) coming to the area. Crystal City residents, meanwhile, are both excited and apprehensive about the tech and e-commerce giant moving into the neighborhood. [Washington Business Journal, WJLA]

Rain Causes Swollen Four Mile Run — Heavy rain Monday morning caused flooding along Four Mile Run. Floodwaters blocked the Four Mile Run Trail for part of the day. [Twitter]

Green Valley Pharmacy May Reopen — The Green Valley Pharmacy, a long-time local business serving the Nauck community, may be revived by the family of its late founder, Leonard “Doc” Muse. “”We [hope] to restore the exterior to the way it looked when my grandfather opened it in the 1950s,” said Muse’s grandson. [Arlington Magazine]

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County Readies Temporary Parking, Road Changes to Make S. Four Mile Run Drive More Walkable

Though the biggest changes to the Four Mile Run Valley and its parks are still a few years out, Arlington officials are gearing up to make a few road changes in the area before major construction starts.

The county is planning some interim parking tweaks to free up space primarily along S. Four Mile Run Drive as it approaches Jennie Dean Park, in a bid to prepare for more substantial pedestrian and parking changes as the area evolves in the future. Officials are convening a community meeting to discuss the temporary changes tonight (Monday) at the Charles Drew Community Center (3500 23rd Street S.), starting at 7:30 p.m.

The affected roads up for discussion include:

  • S. Four Mile Run Drive major between Walter Reed Drive and Shirlington Road
  • S. Four Mile Run Drive minor west of Shirlington Road
  • S. Oxford Street south of S. Four Mile Run Drive
  • S. Oakland Street south of S. Four Mile Run Drive
  • S. Nelson Street south of S. Four Mile Run Drive
  • 27th Street S. between Shirlington Road to S. Nelson Street

According to the county’s website, “the changes are designed to provide better access for residents, park users and businesses in the area,” and are included as part of the long-range planning documents the County Board is currently finalizing for the Four Mile Run Valley.

The 4MRV Area Plan, set to be considered by the Planning Commission on Wednesday (Nov. 7), calls for a full “reconfiguration” of S. Four Mile Run Drive, in order for the county to test out some changes to make the area a bit more pedestrian-friendly and free up parking around Jennie Dean Park. Additions will primarily include “paint, bollards and landscaped planters,” according to the draft document.

“This would create a temporary 10-foot sidewalk on the south side of the street, a pedestrian crossing island at the intersections of Nelson and Oxford streets, and curb extensions (with planters) along the corridor,” the plan says. “Parking lanes would still be provided on both sides of the street. This interim solution would allow the county to pilot the new street design and collect input/data on vehicle speeds and delay, pedestrian comfort, safety and access to businesses.”

As an example, the planning document points to the intersection of S. Arlington Mill Drive and S. Walter Reed Drive, where the county is currently working on curb extensions and crosswalks to make the area more hospitable to cyclists and walkers alike.

The county anticipates that the interim changes will get set up this winter. County planner Richard Tucker even told the Transportation Commission last Thursday (Nov. 1) that some could be in place, “in the next several weeks,” so long as Monday’s meeting goes smoothly.

In the longer term, the area plan calls for “a parallel/angled parking strategy for Four Mile Run Drive with a concept for parallel parking on Arlington Mill Drive,” freeing up a bit more parking in an area that’s frequently in high demand.

“This concept creates more than 30 angled parking spaced immediately adjoining Jennie Dean Park,” the plan says. “Through regulatory and design changes, more than 250 additional spaces would be available during the daytime and evening. The cost of repainting streets in this configuration is far less than constructing new parking structures, and there may be opportunities for the county to explore shared parking agreements in existing nearby private parking garages.”

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Morning Notes

Marine Corps Marathon Recap — A D.C. man and a Costa Rican woman were the winners of the 43rd annual Marine Corps Marathon on Sunday. Meanwhile, the last “Groundpounder,” who had run every Marine Corps Marathon since its inception in 1976, announced his retirement on Saturday after deciding to withdraw from this year’s race. [RunWashington, Stars and Stripes, WTOP]

Arlington Gets Addiction Treatment Grant — “Arlington County has been awarded $250,000 from CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield (CareFirst) to help people with substance use disorders. The grant is part of the insurer’s nearly $2.1-million investment in community health organizations working to combat substance use disorders, including opioid use disorders.” [Arlington County]

Parking Concerns For Nauck Pool — “Nauck Civic Association president Portia Clark, whose organization supports” a planned pool in Nauck, “pressed county officials to make sure the neighborhood had a say on issues related to its development, including operating hours and parking. ‘Our community has some parking challenges,’ Clark said. ‘The community should be involved.'” [InsideNova]

‘Signs of Fatigue’ For Real Estate Market — “There was a pronounced drop in the number of homes for sale in Northern Virginia in September, and prices may be showing signs of topping out… The number of sales across the Northern Virginia region almost universally fell in September, with sales in Arlington County down 12 percent from a year ago.” [WTOP]

Flickr pool photos by Eric and Kevin Wolf

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County Overhauls Zoning Rules for Community Pools, Allowing Nauck Project to Advance

A Nauck church now has the green light to redevelop a former YMCA center into a new community pool, after Arlington officials signed off on a host of new zoning changes designed to make the construction of such pool projects a bit less onerous.

In back-to-back unanimous votes yesterday (Tuesday), the County Board approved the pool zoning tweaks, then used those new rules to give Macedonia Baptist Church the go-ahead to build the new pool at 3440 22nd Street S.

The site has been home to a pool and bathhouse since the 1960s, but the YMCA’s closure back in the mid-2000s left the building empty. Yet, when Macedonia sought to redevelop the site into a new “family life center,” the church ran into some zoning restrictions that could’ve made the whole project impossible to complete.

The Board was unwilling to completely re-write its zoning rules, but it would agree to make community pool projects (which are backed by nonprofit groups and not limited to a specific neighborhood) eligible for “use permits” in order to give the Board discretion to review the projects on a case-by-case basis, rather than subjecting every pool to the same standards.

That mean that the Board could sign off on Macedonia project under the newly approved zoning ordinance, even though it would’ve previously run afoul of rules requiring larger setbacks from the neighborhood’s streets. Board member John Vihstadt even dubbed the twin votes “a double win” for the community, and the county.

“We are demonstrating some nimbleness and alacrity in making a needed change that responds to new trends,” Vihstadt said. “This is so important, not just for the youth and individuals in the Nauck community… but also for entire Nauck neighborhood.”

The Macedonia project will include a seven-lane pool, a “seasonal dome” to allow year-round swimming and an auxiliary community center to sit alongside the existing Funshine Preschool. The church also anticipates allowing the Arlington Water Polo Club to use the facility for practice and training, though church representatives stressed that the pool will be open to anyone.

“Years ago, when the pool was there, it was beneficial to children and adults as well,” Macedonia congregant Laverne Langhorne told the Board. “We really do miss the pool.”

But beyond the importance of the Macedonia project on the micro level, Board members said they view the changes as an important step for the whole county.

The county currently has only five other community pools, and with zoning rules last revised in the 1950s, Board member Erik Gutshall said it was reasonable to assume that the old regulations meant “we really were never going to get another pool again.”

“This is the recognition by the Board that large parts of the county are no longer suburban,” Gutshall said. “We had a suburban style zoning ordinance… and while there are still parts of the county that are more suburban than others, what we’re doing now is untying our hands. We won’t just look at this with a suburban zoning code again.”

Photo via Arlington County

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APS Draws Ire of Abingdon Parents With Boundary Tweaks Designed to Satisfy Drew Concerns

Arlington school officials have hit a bit of a snag in the complex, contentious process of setting new boundaries for the county’s southern elementary schools — changes they’ve proposed to address concerns from Drew Model School parents have generated a new backlash from the Abingdon Elementary community.

Some parents living in the Nauck neighborhood initially raised concerns that proposed boundary tweaks at Drew would drastically change the school’s socioeconomic make-up, leading to a substantial boost in the number of students receiving “free and reduced lunch,” a measure of each family’s economic means, at the school. They feared such a shift would amount to packing poorer students into a single building, rather than maintaining a more balanced percentage at each South Arlington school.

Accordingly, Arlington Public Schools planners offered a change to the new boundary map, which is being crafted as the school system prepares to open Alice West Fleet Elementary School ahead of the 2019-2020 school year. The zoning change would send a few neighborhoods in the southernmost reaches of Fairlington, an area roughly bounded by N. Quaker Lane and King Street, to Drew instead of Abingdon in order to better balance out the “free and reduced lunch” population at each school.

However, that suggestion was immediately met with fierce criticism from the Fairlington community. A petition protesting the change launched on Friday (Oct. 12) has already garnered more than 1,000 signatures, and the Fairlington Citizens’ Association fired off a pointed letter to the School Board on Sunday (Oct. 14).

“Shifting South Fairlington students to another school will weaken the fabric of the community, diminish the cohesiveness of the community, and disrupt social and educational connections that currently exist,” Citizens’ Association President Guy Land wrote. “It runs counter to the community-centric focus Arlington has for years promoted.”

Beyond even that broad criticism, Land and the petition’s authors argue that the change would be an inefficient one from a transportation perspective, charging that it would increase the number of students forced to ride the bus to school instead of walk.

“Bus rides from Fairlington to Drew would significantly lengthen the ride for kids,” the petition reads. “This would put a greater strain on APS transportation, which is not a luxury APS has.”

Yet APS staff pointed out in a presentation to the Board last Wednesday (Oct. 10) that such a boundary change would have substantial benefits in balancing out the free and reduced lunch divide between Drew and Abingdon.

They noted that Abingdon had 41 percent of students living in its attendance boundary eligible for free and reduced lunch, as of last October. Meanwhile, Drew stands at 66 percent, a number that is a bit deceiving, as it reflects the move of the Montessori program to Patrick Henry Elementary next year, and the program generally includes kids from wealthier families. With Montessori students included, Drew’s free and reduced lunch percentage is closer to 52 percent.

The first boundary proposal would’ve dropped Abingdon’s free and reduced lunch percentage down to 34 percent, while moving Drew to 60 percent. The newly revised proposal would bump Abingdon up to 45 percent, compared to 49 percent for Drew. And, in a bid to ease some worries over the boundary change, APS could allow rising fifth grade students and their siblings to be exempt from the switch, with APS transportation provided.

The newest boundary map would also address the concerns of parents at Drew that students could be zoned to matriculate to one of three middle schools, instead of just one, under the first APS proposal. The new map would have Drew students eligible for two middle schools instead.

Parents and community members now have until Oct. 29 to offer comments on the latest boundary proposal. APS plans to release a final map on Nov. 5, with the School Board expected to take a final vote on the matter on Dec. 6.

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JUST IN: ACPD Arrests Nauck Shooting Suspects

The two suspects wanted for a shooting in Arlington’s Nauck neighborhood last week have been arrested.

Arlington County Police say Ahmed Ali Mahmoud, 24, and Osman Mohamed, 25, were arrested in the Virginia Square area and are now facing numerous charges.

The shooting happened just a block from Drew Elementary School. Police say the shots were fired after “a minor verbal dispute occurred between one victim and suspects inside a convenience store.”

More from an ACPD press release:

The Arlington County Police Department has arrested two suspects wanted for their role in a shooting that occurred last week in the Nauck neighborhood. Ahmed Ali Mahmoud, 24, and Osman Mohamed, 25, were arrested in the 3400 block of Fairfax Drive and charged with Malicious Wounding by Mob, Discharging a Firearm in a Public Place (within 1000 feet of a school zone), Malicious Wounding and Use of a Firearm During the Commission of a Felony. Both men are being held in the Arlington County Detention Facility on no bond.

At approximately 2:03 p.m. on September 20, police were dispatched to the 2000 block of S. Kenmore Street for the report of trouble unknown. Upon arrival, it was determined that a minor verbal dispute occurred between one victim and suspects inside a convenience store. The victim then exited the store and entered a vehicle with two additional victims. The two suspects approached the vehicle on foot where the dispute escalated and shots were fired by the suspects in the direction of the vehicle. The suspects then fled the scene on foot. One victim was treated for a minor injury.

This remains an ongoing criminal investigation and anyone with information related to this investigation is asked to contact Detective R. Ortiz of the Arlington County Police Department’s Homicide/Robbery Unit at 703-228-7402 or [email protected] Information may also be provided anonymously through the Arlington County Crime Solvers hotline at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).

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BREAKING: Police, Medics On Scene of Reported Shooting in Nauck

(Updated at 4 p.m.) Arlington County Police are investigating a reported shooting in the Nauck neighborhood.

The shooting happened along S. Kenmore Street, less than a block from a preschool, an elementary school and a church. Initial reports suggest at least one person was either shot, grazed by a bullet or injured by shrapnel. A police helicopter has been assisting with the search for suspects as K9 units and heavily-armed officers comb the area.

“At 2:00 three gunshots were heard in the vicinity of S. Kenmore and S. Shirlington Road,” a tipster told ARLnow.com via email. “Children from Drew Elementary School were urgently ushered inside by a running staff member from their playing outside on the school basketball court.”

The victim’s injuries are reported to be minor and he was treated and released on scene, according to police.

The incident started as a verbal dispute among three people at a nearby 7-Eleven store, according to ACPD spokesman Ashley Savage. That dispute escalated and shots were fired near the intersection of S. Kenmore Street and 22nd Street S. One person was injured and two fled the scene, Savage said.

A traffic stop on southbound I-395, not far from the shooting scene, did not turn up either of the shooting suspects, according to Savage.

Drew Elementary had been placed in “secure the building” mode as a result of the shooting, according to an Arlington Public Schools spokesman. The school eventually dismissed on time, according to an email sent to parents by principal Kim Graves.

Dear Drew Families:

We just received the “all clear” from the Arlington County Police Department.

We will proceed with dismissal as scheduled. Due to the ongoing police investigation, buses are just arriving at the school. As a result, students who ride the bus will be delayed in leaving school.

Thank you for your understanding and patience. Please feel free to call if you have any questions.

Sincerely,

Kim Graves,
​​​​​​​Principal

Photo via Google Maps

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Nauck Residents Blast County’s Handling of Four Mile Run Valley Planning, Feel ‘Ignored’ and Excluded

As Arlington officials continue to chart out the future of the Four Mile Run valley, some community leaders in Nauck feel their concerns are being ignored by the county and are demanding a louder voice in the proceedings.

The county’s worked since 2016 to craft new planning documents for the area, primarily located in Nauck but touching Shirlington and other South Arlington neighborhoods as well, in a bid to guide the gradual transformation of the valley’s parks and business district. The County Board passed a “policy framework” to provide a roadmap for that process in May, and is set to sign off on a “parks master plan” for the area at its meeting this weekend.

But even with a slew of community meetings on the subject and a working group dedicated to the valley, some Nauck leaders remain frustrated by how the county’s handled their input. While they have gripes with some policy specifics — the re-design of Jennie Dean Park, in particular — their broader concern is that residents are being left out of the process of determining their own neighborhood’s long-term outlook.

“It is confounding when the community that’s most impacted by the Four Mile Run valley is blocked from county communication,” Robin Stombler, a Nauck resident and vice chair of the Four Mile Run working group, told ARLnow. “There’s been a history of exclusion and marginalization of this community, and the county’s current actions don’t correct that history.”

As Stombler points out, the community’s roots as a historically black neighborhood add an extra level of tension to any discussion of how the county engages with people in Nauck. Even with the Board’s frequent commitments to remedying historic inequities in the community as part of the planning process, some residents can’t help but feel suspicious that Nauck’s past is still influencing its future.

“This community has been ignored repeatedly by the Arlington County Board while the requests and desires of several other, predominantly white, Arlington neighborhoods are being placed ahead of those of the people who live here,” Nauck resident Renee Greenwell wrote in an email. “It takes a lot for a historically marginalized community to speak its mind, [and] for Arlington County leaders and staff to patronize us and ignore our opinions is despicable.”

Arlington officials dispute that they’ve ignored any community involved in the planning, let alone Nauck. For his part, Board member John Vihstadt, the Board’s liaison to the Four Mile Run working group, says he’s done his best to “understand and appreciate the sometimes varied perspectives of all stakeholders in our planning process, especially those from Nauck.”

County parks department spokeswoman Susan Kalish also touted the “enormous amount of community outreach” involved in the process, noting that the county has held a total of 65 meetings on the valley as well as creating “an online forum for those who could not attend” those gatherings.

Nauck Civic Association President Portia Clark, however, says the county’s “engagement process was lousy from the beginning.” While she says the county has indeed held plenty of meetings, it’s the quality of those meetings that concern her.

For instance, Clark says she invited parks officials to a civic association meeting last Monday (Sept. 10) to have a broader conversation about the parks master plan. Despite repeated requests, Clark and Stombler both say the county ultimately only sent one representative to the meeting, who couldn’t discuss the plan in the detail they were looking for.

“Where were the other county folks behind the parks plan?” Clark said.

Kalish acknowledges that the county was invited to that gathering, but noted that other officials had just held an “open house” on the parks plan on Sept. 5, calling it “robust and distributive.”

“We heard from a variety of people, including residents from Nauck and the surrounding communities,” Kalish said.

But Clark claims the meeting was sparsely attended, coming so soon after Labor Day, with county officials outnumbering community members by a hefty margin.

“How engaging is that?” Clark said. “We recommended from the beginning that they contact every household… It just went on deaf ears, because they weren’t listening.”

Clark feels that the county instead came into the process with “certain things in mind that they wanted,” and then refused to change based on community input.

Among her biggest concerns are the plans to revamp Jennie Dean Park. Eventually, the county envisions acquiring the WETA building next to the park, relocating a baseball field and adding new tennis courts to the area.

The Board ultimately endorsed a plan to move the field closer to the intersection of 27th Street S. and S. Nelson Street, even though Clark’s civic association and the county’s Park and Recreation Commission backed an option that would’ve left a bit more open space at the front of the park by locating the field elsewhere. But county staff endorsed the former alternative, reasoning it would be easier to build and maintain, and the Board is set to formalize that selection when it votes on the park master plan Saturday (Sept. 22).

To Clark, the dispute represents the perfect example of the county not listening to Nauck’s input, even though the neighborhood hosts the park itself.

“We’re concerned it will be a border to the community, and about the noise levels, what will project out into the neighborhood,” Clark said. “We just have to live with that now.”

Vihstadt noted that “Board members and staff are in continued communication with a variety of communities as we approach our Saturday vote,” and said the county is working to “build as much consensus and mutual understanding as possible” on the plan.

But Stombler is already looking a bit beyond the parks plan to what she thinks the county can take away from this whole dust-up moving forward.

“I think we need an assessment of how this process has proceeded, so future engagements are more collaborative and understanding of the community,” she said.

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Morning Notes

Ballston Mall LED Screens Nixed — Developer Forest City is, for now, withdrawing a request to install two large, high-definition LED video screens above the main entrance to its still under-construction Ballston Quarter mall. The screens do not comply with Arlington zoning rules. Attorneys for Forest City say they are still hoping that the County Board will eventually amend the zoning ordinance to allow such screens. [Washington Business Journal]

Free ART Bus Rides Thursday — “Think there’s no such thing as a free ride? Not if you take the bus in Arlington, Virginia, and you’re traveling on Sept. 20. Arlington Transit is letting passengers ride free Sept. 20 as a way to celebrate the transit agency’s 20th anniversary.” [WTOP]

Tax Delinquency List — Arlington County Treasurer Carla de la Pava has released her office’s annual list of residents and businesses that have not paid their taxes. The list includes nearly $200,000 in delinquent real estate taxes, $1.3 million in delinquent personal property taxes, $1 million in delinquent business license and property taxes, and more than $500,000 in delinquent meal (restaurant) taxes. [Arlington County]

Celebrating Community and Elders in Nauck — “Celebrating the lives and achievements of the community’s elders was a centerpiece of the 2018 Nauck Civic & Community Pride Day, which brought food, music and fellowship to Drew Model School on Sept. 15. Four community residents who had reached, or were set to reach, the centennial mark – Elizabeth Cole, Novella Cummings, Mary Lockett and Thelma Russell – were honored by the Nauck Civic Association.” [InsideNova]

Critic Praises Shirlington’s Signature — “The Tony Award-winning Signature Theatre — the Arlington troupe known for musicals — shapes up as my favorite D.C. company. I’m not saying Signature is hands-down the best theater in Washington… But Signature showcases a lot of assets, from its singular glam factor to plain old ease of use.” [Washington Post]

Late Night Storms — Thunderstorms that rumbled through Arlington around midnight last night brought a period of frequent lightning and thunder that set off car alarms and awakened some residents from their sleep. [Twitter, Twitter]

Flickr pool photo by Tom Mockler

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