Arlington, VA

Morning Notes

Coronavirus Outbreak at Marymount — A COVID-19 outbreak has been reported at Marymount University in Arlington. “Initially, cases were identified over Columbus Day weekend and we’ve seen a decline in the total number of cases since October 21,” university spokesman Nicholas Munson told Patch. “To date over the more than two-week period, 31 students have tested positive.” [Patch]

New Charges Against Arlington Resident — “Prosecutors in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, on Tuesday unveiled 15 felony charges against a pair of right-wing operatives over a recent robocall aimed at discouraging minority voters from casting their ballots by mail, similar to an indictment filed earlier this month by authorities in Michigan… The Ohio robocall claimed to be the work of the 1599 Project, an outfit that Burkman and Wohl run out of Burkman’s home in Arlington, Virginia.” [StateScoop]

Missing Middle Housing Event Tonight — “The Missing Middle Housing Study will explore how new housing types could help address Arlington’s shortfall in housing supply and gaps in housing choices. All members of the community are invited to virtually attend the study’s kick off” from 7-9 p.m. tonight. [Arlington County]

Home Sale Prices Still Going Up — “The housing market in Arlington County, Virginia, is not cooling off, with sales and prices showing among the biggest gains in the nation in September. The median price of what sold in Arlington County last month was $710,000. That’s the highest county-level median price in Northern Virginia, and up 21% from last September.” [WTOP]

Library Pumpkin Decorating Winners — “We are thrilled to have received 42 pumpkin submissions for our first virtual Pumpkin Decorating Contest! It was hard to choose the winners, as we adored so many. Thank you for submitting, attending the virtual decorating programs and carving out fun with the folks at the library!” [Arlington Public Library]

Local Lawyer Pens New Novel — “By day, Jim Irving is a sixty-something, buttoned-up attorney, a partner in a prestigious Northern Virginia law firm. By night, he is a writer tapping into his past experiences as a private eye and criminal lawyer. In his debut novel, Friends Like These: A Joth Proctor Fixer Mystery, the first in a planned trilogy, Irving draws heavily on his Arlington environs in crafting the adventures of his protagonist.” [Washington Independent Review of Books]

Rosslyn Outdoor Coworking Space Update — “Arlingtonians have about a month left to enjoy outdoor office space provided by the Rosslyn Business Improvement District (BID). The space, dubbed O2, was created after the pandemic pushed employees out of their cubicles and into their home offices… Reservations are free of charge and can be made on the O2 website. Masks are required for entry and tables are six feet apart.” [WDVM]

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A man who robbed and tried to rob businesses in Clarendon and Rosslyn earlier this week also struck in Ballston last month, Arlington County police say.

ACPD just released surveillance images of the man, whose face is obscured by a mask in one photo and a hard hat in another.

In all three incidents, the man passed a note to a store employee demanding money. He was given cash in two of the incidents, but an employee declined his demands in one of the incidents this week.

“This remains an active criminal investigation and anyone with information related to the suspect’s identity or these incidents is asked to contact the Arlington County Police Department’s Homicide/Robbery Unit at 703-228-4180 or [email protected] arlingtonva.us,” police said in a press release, below.

The Arlington County Police Department’s Homicide/Robbery Unit is seeking the public’s assistance identifying a suspect involved in a series of three robbery incidents in Arlington County. The series includes two cases from October 19, 2020 and one case from September 23, 2020. During each of the incidents, the suspect entered a business, approached an employee, and passed them a note requesting money. Based upon witness interviews, evidence collected, and case information, detectives are investigating these incidents as a series involving the same suspect.

  • At approximately 4:21 p.m. on September 23, police were dispatched to the 4200 block of Fairfax Drive for the report of a robbery just occurred. Upon arrival, it was determined that the suspect entered a business, approached the front counter, and passed the employee a note demanding money and threatening them if they didn’t comply. The victim complied, and the suspect stole an undisclosed amount of cash, then fled on foot prior to police arrival.
  • At approximately 4:17 p.m. on October 19, police were dispatched to the 1500 block of Wilson Boulevard for the report of an attempted robbery. Upon arrival, it was determined that the suspect entered a business, approached the front counter, and passed a note to the cashier demanding money and threatening her. The victim declined and sought the assistance from another employee, at which point the suspect stepped in front of her and attempted to grab the note back unsuccessfully. The suspect then fled prior to police arrival.
  • At approximately 4:44 p.m. on October 19, police were dispatched to the 3100 block of Wilson Boulevard for the report of a robbery by force. Upon arrival, it was determined that at approximately 4:39 p.m., the suspect entered a business, approached the front counter and passed a note to the cashier demanding money and threatening her. The victim provided an undisclosed amount of cash to the suspect, who then fled prior to police arrival.

The suspect is described as a Black male, 25-35 years old, approximately 5’6″-5’9″, with a slim build, and black hair. During the September 23 incident he was wearing a construction vest and during the incidents on October 19, he was wearing a construction helmet.

This remains an active criminal investigation and anyone with information related to the suspect’s identity or these incidents is asked to contact the Arlington County Police Department’s Homicide/Robbery Unit at 703-228-4180 or [email protected] arlingtonva.us. Information may also be provided anonymously through the Arlington County Crime Solvers hotline at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).

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A store was robbed in Clarendon on Monday by a man whose tools of the trade were a pen and paper.

Arlington County police say a business on the 3100 block of Wilson Blvd was robbed around 4:45 p.m., by a man who passed a note to a cashier. Initial reports at the time suggest that it was the CVS Pharmacy on the block which was robbed.

More from an ACPD crime report:

ROBBERY, 2020-10190119, 3100 block of Wilson Boulevard. At approximately 4:44 p.m. on October 19, police were dispatched to the report of a robbery by force. Upon arrival, it was determined that at approximately 4:39 p.m., the suspect entered a business, approached the front counter and passed a note to the cashier demanding money and threatening her. The victim provided an undisclosed amount of cash to the suspect, who then fled prior to police arrival. The suspect is described as a  Black male wearing a baggy, gray long sleeve shirt, blue jeans, white helmet, blue medical mask, and carrying a black and gray backpack. The investigation is ongoing.

A half-hour before that robbery, a man fitting a similar description passed a threatening note to a cashier at a business in Rosslyn, demanding cash. The cashier “declined” the man’s demand and asked another employee for help, at which point the robber fled after trying unsuccessfully to take back the note, according to police.

Form ACPD:

ATTEMPTED ROBBERY, 2020-10190116, 1500 block of Wilson Boulevard. At approximately 4:17 p.m. on October 19, police were dispatched to the report of an attempted robbery. Upon arrival, it was determined that the suspect entered a business, approached the front counter, and passed a note to the cashier demanding money and threatening her. The victim declined and sought the assistance from another employee, at which point the suspect stepped in front of her and attempted to grab the note back unsuccessfully. The suspect then fled prior to police arrival. The suspect is described as a Black male, approximately 5’6″, with a slim build, black hair, wearing blue jeans, a gray long sleeve shirt, white construction helmet, a watch, blue gloves, a blue mask, and carrying a black and gray backpack. The investigation is ongoing.

The 1500 block of Wilson Blvd is home to Target and several other businesses.

File photo

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Arlington County police arrested a man over the weekend after he allegedly tried to force his way into the home of a woman who opened her door to see if he needed help.

The incident happened around 1:45 a.m. Sunday on the 3100 block of 9th Street N., near Clarendon.

Police say the 22-year-old man was drunk when he started to damage items outside the home and then pushed the victim in an attempt to enter the home.

More from an Arlington County Police Department crime report:

UNLAWFUL ENTRY, 2020-10180035, 3100 block of 9th Street N. At approximately 1:45 a.m. on October 18, police were dispatched to the report of a suspicious person. Upon arrival, it was determined that the victim was inside her residence when she heard noise at her door and observed the male suspect outside. As the victim opened the door to see if the suspect was in need of assistance, he requested to be let inside and kicked a shoe and his phone into the residence. As the victim attempted to retrieve the items, the suspect allegedly began to damage the victim’s property outside, then pushed the victim as he attempted to enter the residence. The victim fought back and yelled for assistance, at which point neighbor came to the aid of the victim and chased the suspect out of the building. During the course of the investigation, it was determined that the suspect had also entered another residence in the building. Kyle Lewis, 22, of Chantilly, Va., was arrested and charged with Assault and Battery, Unlawful Entry, and Drunk in Public.

Also in the most recent ACPD crime report, police are investigating Saturday morning robberies in Crystal City and Rosslyn.

ROBBERY, 2020-10170061, 1400 block of Crystal Drive. At approximately 3:17 a.m. on October 17, police were dispatched to the report of a robbery. Upon arrival, it was determined that when the two victims came outside to meet the suspect,  she exited her vehicle and demanded money from them. As Victim One pulled out an undisclosed amount of cash, the suspect struck him with a closed fist and grabbed the money. The suspect then turned to Victim Two, who initially declined to provide money, and became angered. Victim Two produced an undisclosed amount of cash, which the suspect grabbed, then fled in the vehicle prior to police arrival. The suspect is described as a Black female, 6’2″ to 6’4″, and 300 lbs. The vehicle is described as a gray Mercedes hatchback. The investigation is ongoing.

ROBBERY, 2020-10170094, 1100 block of Wilson Boulevard. At approximately 9:56 a.m. on October 17, police were dispatched to the report of a robbery by force just occurred. Upon arrival, it was determined that the suspect entered a business and began selecting merchandise. The victim approached the suspect telling him to pay for the merchandise, at which point a physical altercation ensued. The suspect pushed the victim and grabbed his eyeglasses, causing them to break, then selected additional merchandise and fled the business prior to police arrival. The suspect is described as a White male, approximately 6’0″, 220 lbs., wearing a dark gray hoodie, camouflage shorts, with black and yellow sneakers. The investigation is ongoing.

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Morning Notes

Big Jump in Local Home Sales — “The red-hot summer real-estate market that evolved out of the springtime COVID crisis showed no signs of abating in September across Arlington. If anything, the market last month doubled down – literally. Home sales across the county totaled 274, up 44.2 percent from the 190 transactions recorded in September 2019.” [InsideNova]

Dems Protest Outside Trump HQ — Democrats protested outside of Trump reelection HQ in Rosslyn yesterday morning, criticizing the president for not agreeing to a virtual debate with Joe Biden. They came with signs and a large “Baby Trump” balloon. [Twitter]

Photos: Outdoor Coworking Space in Rosslyn — “Like dining out and birthday parties, coworking is now an outdoor activity thanks to the pandemic. At least it is in Rosslyn. Today, the new O2 pop-up (short for Outdoor Office) opens in Gateway Park by the Key Bridge.” [Washingtonian]

Amazon Employees to Keep Teleworking — “Amazon.com Inc.’s corporate offices may not return to pre-pandemic staffing levels until the middle of next year, with some managers telling their teams that they can continue to work from home until summer 2021.” [Washington Business Journal]

Tonight: Town Hall with APS Superintendent — “Dr. Durán will be hosting a community virtual Town Hall on Friday, October 16, from 5-6 p.m., to address the Return to School Plan. The Superintendent will address questions already received and take questions during the live event using Microsoft Teams or Facebook Live.” [Arlington Public Schools]

Ballston Private School Tackles Racism — “The Sycamore School (TSS), an independent nonprofit school serving 5th-12th grades, has invested in a year-long contract with nationally regarded educator and trainer Dr. Deborah Stroman as part of their continuing commitment to address issues of systemic racism.” [Press Release]

ART Bus Ridership Down — “For the fiscal year ending June 30, the ART system – funded by the Arlington government but operated by a private contractor – reported an average daily bus boarding total of 8,224, down 12.8 percent from the 9,434 reported for the previous fiscal year.” [InsideNova]

ABC Stores Are Doing Just Fine — “From March to September, [liquor sales in Northern Virginia] were up almost 17 percent over the year before: an average of nearly $37 million per month. March remains the month with the highest dollar amount of liquor sales in NoVa, at $39.3 million. July wasn’t far behind, with $38.5 million.” [Washingtonian]

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Morning Notes

Changes Proposed to Rosslyn Development — “Arlington County Board members on [October] 17 will be asked to ratify relatively minor changes to the approved-in-2019 redevelopment of the Rosslyn Holiday Inn site. The request, if approved, would add residential units and delete hotel units from the project, while keeping the overall density of the project unchanged.” [InsideNova]

Today: Online Discussion With ACPD — “On Wednesday, October 14, 12-1 p.m., CPRO will be joined by members of the Arlington Police Department and County staff for our next Connecting & Collaborating Session: ‘Working Together to Keep Arlington Safe.’ We’ll be discussing safety concerns across the County and the effect on Columbia Pike.” [ARLnow Events, Zoom]

PMI to Settle JBG Parking Lawsuit — “Parking Management Inc. has agreed to pay at least $1.45 million and to take other measures to settle a lawsuit filed against it by an affiliate of JBG Smith Properties in response to the District-based parking operator’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy efforts.” [Washington Business Journal]

Suit Seeks to Extend Va. Voter Registration — “An accidentally severed fiber-optic cable in Virginia effectively shut down most of the state’s online voter registration on its last day Tuesday, prompting voter advocates to file a lawsuit in federal court seeking an extension of the deadline that they argue thousands of voters missed because of the disruption.” [Washington Post]

Northam Targeted By Militia Members — “The group of men accused of conspiring to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer as part an alleged terrorist plot also targeted Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, the Detroit News reported Tuesday morning. An FBI special agent testified during a hearing in federal court that the three defendants had discussed ‘taking out’ a sitting governor, specifically mentioning Whitmer and Northam.” [Virginia Mercury, Press Release]

Nearby: Video of Shooting Released — “Detectives have released video footage related to a Sunday shooting in Bailey’s Crossroads as they continue to investigate. Officers responded to the Build America Plaza in the 3800 block of South George Mason Drive around 1:19 a.m. Sunday after several reports of gunshots. Not long afterward, Arlington County Police located a man with a gunshot wound.” [Patch, WTOP]

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Morning Notes

County Launching Race Conversations — “Today, Arlington County launched a new effort to address racial equity and disparities in our community. Called Dialogues on Race and Equity (DRE), the effort is part of the County’s broader commitment to racial equity… DRE will include a series of virtual community conversations with individuals, nonprofit organizations, civic associations, faith organizations, and businesses.” [Arlington County]

Local Nurses Hold Food Drive — “Nurses at the Virginia [Hospital] Center are going above and beyond to give back to the local community… Nurses launched the ‘Together We Can’ campaign where they collected canned goods. All together, they collected 10,000 cans and donated them directly to the food assistance center.” [WJLA]

Virtual 5K for Local Nonprofits — “A coalition of three homeless-outreach organizations – Community Lodgings, Bridges to Independence and Homestretch – will be hosting their third annual 5K “Home Run for the Homeless” in a different format this year. Rather than running as a group on the Washington & Old Dominion Regional Trail this year, participants will be able to run where they choose anytime from Oct. 10 (which is designated World Homeless Day) to Oct. 31.” [InsideNova]

Penthouse Sold in New Rosslyn Tower — “The sales team for Pierce announced strong early sales for The Highlands‘ luxury condominium tower… Strong early interest in Pierce has resulted in over $18.7 million in sales by The Mayhood Company since launching sales in August, including the sale of one of two top-of-the-market penthouse residences.” [Press Release]

Theater Holding Virtual Halloween Event — “Synetic Theater will hold its annual ‘Vampire Ball’ in a ‘virtual’ setting this year, with participants enjoying the festivities ‘from the comfort of your own crypt.’ The event will be held on Friday, Oct. 30 from 8 to 10 p.m.” [InsideNova]

Nearby: Trump Rallies at Eden Center — Vietnamese Americans held rallies for President Trump at the Eden Center in Falls Church over the weekend. [Twitter, YouTube, YouTube]

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The Virginian Suites hotel at 1500 Arlington Blvd, near Rosslyn, has closed.

Earlier this week workers could be seen hauling furniture out of the building, which is located on the southern side of Route 50, a couple of blocks from the Iwo Jima memorial. A sign on the door said the building is under new management.

The plan is to renovate the building and convert it back into apartments, according to Bernstein Management Corporation.

The company said last month on its website that 1500 Arlington Blvd will be reopened “as value-oriented multifamily rental apartments with amenities to include a lobby lounge, an amenity floor with fitness options and co-working, and an outdoor patio with grills and fire pit.”

“Unit interiors will undergo kitchen renovations, and receive new lighting, flooring, closet organizers and paint,” the company said. “The property is approximately 1/2 a mile from the Washington D.C. line. Its proximity to the Rosslyn Metro station, national employers, multiple universities, dining, and entertainment options makes it a promising acquisition and attractive place to live for those looking for amenities, sustainability, technology and a compelling value given the location.”

The ten-story tower was originally an apartment building after it was completed in 1951. It was later converted into a suite-style hotel.

Bernstein Management Corporation says it now owns a 50% interest in the building. The family behind the D.C.-based residential and commercial property operator just announced a $12 million charitable pledge to local organizations that champion “the arts, racial equality, and a brighter future.”

It’s unclear how long the renovations will take and when the new apartments will be available for lease. Reached by ARLnow, a spokeswoman for the company did not have any other details to share.

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After two years of planning and preparation, a husband and wife team are almost ready to open the doors of their new nail salon in Rosslyn.

Kevin Donohoo, a retired Army veteran, and Amber Donohoo, serial entrepreneur, former NASA project manager and owner of Dogtopia in Springfield, Va., are now the owners of Paint Nail Bar (1520 Clarendon Blvd) in Arlington.

With an opening party planned for Saturday, Oct. 24, the Donohoos are just weeks away from bringing a new luxury nail salon experience to the area.

“At PAINT, we understand that we are not a ‘nail salon,’ although we do nails. We do not look, feel, or smell like a traditional nail salon. From our custom-built furniture to our odorless environment, unparalleled staff development and engagement strategies, nails may be the trade, but relationships and client experience are the business,” the salon’s website says.

The Donohoos are franchisees of the Florida-based chain, which has locations in 13 states, including one in Leesburg.

The time of the opening party in Rosslyn is still to be determined, but once opened, the hours of operation will be as follows:

  • Monday: Closed
  • Tuesday: 10 a.m.-7 p.m.
  • Wednesday: 10 a.m.-7 p.m.
  • Thursday: 10 a.m.-8 p.m.
  • Friday: 10 a.m.-7 p.m.
  • Saturday: 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
  • Sunday: 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

The Donohoos say they’re actually looking forward to opening during the pandemic.

“I think it’s actually going to work in our favor that we are in a pandemic because our sterilization is far above and beyond any other nail salon in the area,” said Amber. “We use a hospital grade, heat sterilizer that is going to ensure that we are the cleanest salon around. I think that’s one of the things that people are looking for these days.”

“You have to feel safe enough to leave your house and go into a business, so having that knowledge that we are not only clean but sterile, I think is going to be a selling point for people coming in,” she added

Paint Nail Bar will be unique in other ways. It hosts special events — “fundraisers, birthday parties, bridal showers, baby sprinkles, or just a great time get together” — and has applied for a Virginia ABC permit to serve beer and wine.

Plus, the couple says, it’s more conscientious of wellness and the environment.

“The products are very, very important,” said Kevin. “The products that we use are free of a lot of the chemicals and they’re healthier for you; they’re healthier for your nails. It’s a fume-free, non-toxic environment, so you don’t get overwhelmed with that chemical punch in the face when you walk in to your typical salon. We don’t use pedicure thrones, we have basins that don’t have jets. The jets are pretty, they feel good, but there’s lot of potential for bacteria build-up in those and so we eliminate that and the infections that could come from the bacteria in those things by having a straight water basin.”

“I think that we’re in a time right now where self-care is so very important,” Kevin continued. “This is a simple and amazing way for people to get out of their homes and to a safe environment and be treated to a little slice of luxury and walk out feeling good about themselves… walking out with great looking nails, feeling refreshed before they go back to the work day.”

“It’s going to be an experience that [customers] will not forget,” Amber said.

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Planning is underway for a temporary dog park in Rosslyn that could eventually become permanent.

The dog park will be built in an underutilized grassy area on the west end of Gateway Park (1300 Lee Highway). The current plans call for it to be divided into a 8,000 square foot section for large dogs and a 2,900 square foot section for small dogs.

A design process for the dog park is now underway and expected to wrap up by the end of the year. A construction timeline has not yet been revealed.

“The facility is proposed to include separate areas to accommodate both large and small dogs, fencing with screening in some areas, upgraded lighting, a water source for dogs, grass surfacing, double entry gates, maintenance gates, repurposed and ADA accessible benches, dog waste receptacles, a message board, and standard County signage,” the project website says.” Gateway Park is currently lighted, and the upgraded lights associated with this project will allow visitors to use the dog park until the lights turn off at 9 p.m.”

The county is seeking feedback on the draft design for the park.

If approved, the temporary park’s approximately $43,700 cost is to be paid by R-DOGS, the private group of Rosslyn area dog owners that has been pushing for a new dog park since 2018. The county parks department will maintain the dog park with help from R-DOGS, which is asking its members to provide feedback on the design.

“Every R-DOGS member is needed to comment… And ask all you friends and neighbors to add their comments,” the group said in a letter to supporters. “This is probably the only opportunity our dogs will have for an off-leash park within Rosslyn and walking distance for their human companions.”

The park could become permanent after the master plan for Gateway Park is reviewed in 2022.

“If approved, this park will be available for community use until a park master plan is developed for Gateway Park and there is funding to construct the improvements,” the county said. “The temporary dog park will also be reviewed annually to ensure it is operating safely and in accordance with the County’s policies regarding temporary park uses and facilities.”

A recent presentation noted that the dog park is to be built in an area not typically used by annual public events that use Gateway Park, like the Rosslyn Jazz Festival.

“If the temporary dog park is built on a portion of the west end of Gateway Park, the east side will still be usable for annual events,” the county said.

A separate proposal for a new dog park in Pentagon City is also making some progress. In June it was reported that Amazon was pledging $50,000 for the temporary amenities in the northern end of Virginia Highlands Park, near Pentagon Row and Pentagon City mall.

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Morning Notes

Amazon Makes Local Donations — Amazon has made a some substantial recent donations to local charitable organizations. Arlington-based Doorways for Women and Families received $100,000 from Amazon “in COVID-19 relief to keep survivors safe in housing and hotels,” while newly-created Project Headphones received $75,000, which “allows us to get headphones with mics for all grade levels in @APSVirginia.” [Twitter, Twitter]

Clement Blasts ‘Missing Middle’ Housing — “‘Missing middle’ may be two words totaling 13 letters, but depending on which side of the Arlington political divide you are on, it may qualify as a single four-letter word. The proposed housing policy, which in theory aims to find ways to stop Arlington from becoming an enclave of the very wealthy with some low-cost housing thrown in as fig leaf, came under withering attack from a veteran campaigner during the recent Arlington Committee of 100 County Board debate.” [InsideNova]

Food Hall Coming to Rosslyn Development — “The first level of the new concept will include a bodega that carries everyday essentials and prepared food for dine-in or to-go. The second level will offer seven food stalls, including an oyster bar, coffee bar and diner concept. There will also be access to a main bar, full-service dining area and a communal work lounge.” [Washington Business Journal]

County Offering Free Online Job Training — “City of Alexandria and Arlington County residents can get free job skills training online as part of ‘Skill-Up City of Alexandria and Arlington County,’ an initiative of the Alexandria/Arlington Regional Workforce Council, Alexandria Workforce Development Center, and Arlington Employment Center. The online classes are funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor.” [Arlington County]

Recollection of Racism in Arlington — “There was a time, Araya recalled, when Blacks couldn’t walk along the north side of Columbia Pike without getting frisked by police. So for an African American to walk from Green Valley to see friends in Halls Hill, ‘You had to know the route through white neighborhoods. It was like the Green Book for Arlington.'” [Falls Church News-Press]

Cemetery Likely to Get Historic Status — “The cemetery at Mount Salvation Baptist Church in Arlington is now virtually assured of becoming a local historic district. The county’s Historical Affairs and Landmark Review Board (HALRB) has approved the nomination, setting the stage for public hearings before the Planning Commission and County Board.” [InsideNova]

Local Man Convicted of Embezzlement — “A well-connected Virginia financial advisor was sentenced to five years and 10 months in prison for embezzling approximately $8 million from money that the U.S. government and a hospital had entrusted to him to set up annuities for 13 people who were the beneficiaries of medical malpractice settlements. Joseph Edward Gargan, owner of The Pension Co. in Arlington, Va… is a relative of the late President John F. Kennedy.” [Claims Journal]

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