Covid Officially on the Rise — “Arlington County, like much of Virginia, is now seeing a HIGH level of community transmission. It is recommended everyone age 2 and up wear a mask in indoor public spaces, regardless of vaccination status.” [Twitter]
Santa Returning to Cherrydale — From the Cherrydale Volunteer Fire Department: “It is t-minus 3 days until that jolly old elf himself, Santa Claus, joins us for our parades through Cherrydale! Are you ready? We will be parading through North Cherrydale on Thursday, December 9th, and then South Cherrydale on Friday, December 10th. Both parades will take place from 6-8pm.” [Facebook]
Home Stretch for Big Bell Project — “The Netherlands Carillon has reached the final stages of a massive renovation project which brought the addition of three new bells and the retuning of the existing bells, making it a ‘Grand Carillon.'” The Carillon is currently expected to reopen in the spring. [WUSA 9]
Report: Metro Errors After Fatal Stabbing — “An investigation into Metro’s actions during the Aug. 3 stabbing incident at the Pentagon Transit Center determined that Metrorail failed to establish an on-scene command center and did not communicate effectively with its personnel at the Pentagon Station during the emergency. These delays led to a 13-minute gap between the report of an active shooter situation and the evacuation of the Pentagon Station platform. In addition, Metro lost track of station personnel during the emergency.” [Patch]
Helicopter Called in for Shirlington Sexual Assault — Updated at 8:45 a.m. — According to Arlington County police this morning, a suspect was arrested last night in the following case: “4200 block of 31st Street S. At approximately 2:57 a.m. on December 7, police were dispatched to the report of trouble unknown. The investigation determined that the known suspect sexually assaulted the known victim. Officers located the suspect in the area and he fled on foot. A perimeter was established and the area was searched with the assistance of the United States Park Police helicopter. The suspect was not located and the investigation is ongoing.” [ACPD]
Little Snow Expected Today, After All — From the Capital Weather Gang: “Brutal — Watch DC’s snow event slip away in 16 GFS model runs. Early runs had rain– then it was snow– now it’s nada.” [Twitter, Capital Weather Gang]
It’s Wednesday — Today there is a chance of snow, mixing with rain after 10am, then gradually ending. Cloudy, with a high near 43. Sunrise at 7:14 a.m. and sunset at 4:46 p.m. Tomorrow there will be increasing clouds, with a high near 44 and a low of 35. [Weather.gov]
A petition calling on Arlington Public Schools to ramp up education on sexual misconduct and healthy relationships has netted more than 31,000 signatures.
The petition targets Yorktown High School, where in October a homecoming football game was marred by “unacceptable behavior” by a group of students. Several Yorktown students reportedly harassed fellow students with sexual language, and one student told police she was inappropriately touched.
These events in part sparked walkouts at YHS and other high schools in APS across the county a few weeks later.
“To put in plainly, Yorktown has a problem with sexual misconduct,” said the petition authors, who are members of the Teen Network Board, a county- and APS-appointed teen advocacy group. “We are two of many concerned students who want to change the way the system works to handle issues such as sexual harassment and assault in schools.”
The student authors propose introducing two prevention and awareness programs at Yorktown, and possibly throughout APS. They call on YHS to “hold students accountable for their actions in schools” and to make reporting sexual assault and harassment to administrators easier.
As of Tuesday morning, more than 31,600 people had signed the petition. In an update to the petition on Friday, the authors said exceeding 20,000 signatures was “absolutely amazing,” as their initial goal was around 1,000-2,000 signatures.
In the update, the authors said they were meeting with Yorktown administrators Monday (yesterday) to discuss implementing their proposals at YHS. They said they reached out to Superintendent Francisco Durán and the School Board to discuss making the changes at a county level.
“Arlington Public Schools is aware of the petition, and we fully support and stand with our students against sexual harassment and assault in our schools and community,” Durán said in a statement sent to ARLnow. “We are also open and committed to the exploration of additional ways we can support students at Yorktown High School, and across the division.”
Together, APS and Yorktown staff and student members of the Teen Network Board will review current practices and consider their recommendations, as well as any additional steps needed to ensure every student feels safe, accepted and respected at school, he said.
Specifically, the petition recommends introducing Coaching Boys into Men and safeBAE. The first is a prevention-based education program for male athletes in which coaches educate players on how to have healthy relationships and be leaders in the community. The second would “spread awareness” about sexual misconduct and healthy relationships to the general student body.
“A lot of sexual misconduct in schools is caused by ignorance; often students don’t know what they’re doing is wrong. Education is key in preventing assault and harassment,” the petition said. “We want to make our community a safe and positive place for all students.”
Currently, Yorktown partners with several outside educational and advocacy organizations, such as Doorways and Project PEACE, that target intimate partner violence, according to Durán. The school holds assemblies to educate and support students and the Students Against Sexual Assault Club works to de-stigmatize and educate their peers about sexual assault.
He affirmed that Yorktown follows APS policy and procedures for responding to reported incidents of harassment or assault. He said all complaints are followed up on “with appropriate actions to prevent the behavior from happening again and provide the needed supports to students.”
“We encourage students to report incidents to a teacher, counselor, administrator or parent,” he said. “If a Yorktown student does not feel comfortable reporting in person, we encourage them to use the anonymous Student Safety Reporting form found on the Yorktown homepage.”
(Updated 10/25/21 at 9:50 a.m.) Hundreds of students walked out of their classrooms this morning to take a stand against sexual assault and harassment in Arlington Public Schools.
Walkouts were held from 11 a.m. to noon at Yorktown, Washington-Liberty, Wakefield high schools, H-B Woodlawn Secondary Program, and Arlington Career Center. The Yorktown walkout — held just two weeks after reports that a group of students yelled inappropriate sexual language and touched a fellow student inappropriately at a football game — trekked from the campus to nearby Chestnut Hills Park for a rally, then returned.
“It was so amazing to see so many people come out,” YHS student body president Sebastian Morales-Talero tells ARLnow. “Seeing them come out gave me hope that things will be better and that we can change as a community.”
He said another organizer was in tears over the show of support from fellow students.
During a speech by Scotney Young, a social worker and sexual assault prevention specialist for local nonprofit Doorways, many students raised their hands to indicate they’ve experienced sexual violence or know someone who has.
“It was really powerful to see so many students using their voices and actions to speak out against sexual violence and to demand more action from school administrators,” Young tells ARLnow. “Sexual violence thrives when there is a culture and system that allows and accepts it, and these students were saying they want to change that.”
Young said she conducts educational programming focused on giving young people the tools they need to have “respectful, safe and supportive relationships and interactions free from violence.”
Today’s protests were tied to similar ones at schools nationwide, according to School Talk emails APS sent to high school families last night (Thursday). In his email to families, Yorktown Principal Kevin Clark connected the walkout to the Homecoming game.
“While we do not have additional details about this activity, we understand that this is to raise awareness about the issue of sexual assault and harassment and ensuring appropriate responses,” Clark said. “While we know of recent events at the Yorktown Homecoming Football game, there have also been similar walkouts at other schools across the country recently.”
During half-time, a handful of YHS students allegedly used “inappropriate and unacceptable language of a sexual nature and inappropriately touched a student,” Clark wrote to students and families two weeks ago. A report of sexual battery was filed with Arlington County Police Department.
A man who worked as an assistant at Carlin Springs Elementary School is facing sex assault charges.
Police say Jonathan Zapata, a 30-year-old Arlington resident, sexually assaulted a female family member under the age of 18 over the course of two years from 2016-2018. He was arrested this morning in the Buckingham neighborhood and is facing two felony sex offense charges.
Arlington Public Schools has placed Zapata on administrative leave from his instructional assistant position, police said in a press release.
“The preliminary investigation has not uncovered evidence of inappropriate contact with children at the school,” the Arlington County Police Department said. “Anyone with information about Mr. Almanza Zapata that may be pertinent to this case and/or who has had past inappropriate encounters with him is asked to contact Detective S. Gomez at 703-228-4173 or [email protected]”
More from ACPD:
The Arlington County Police Department’s Special Victims Unit is investigating a suspect charged with sex offenses and is seeking additional information and possible victims. Jonathan Almanza Zapata, 30, of Arlington, VA, was arrested and charged with Forcible Sodomy and Aggravated Sexual Battery. He is being held without bond in the Arlington County Detention Facility.
At approximately 10:36 p.m. on September 26, police were dispatched to a residence in the Douglas Park neighborhood for the late report of a sexual assault. Upon arrival, officers met with the female juvenile victim who reported that the suspect allegedly inappropriately touched and sexually assaulted her during incidents believed to have occurred between September 2016 and June 2018. Following an investigation by the Special Victims Unit, warrants were obtained for the suspect and he was taken into custody without incident this morning in the 4300 block of N. Pershing Drive. The suspect is known to the victim and this is considered a domestic-related incident.
Arlington Public Schools has placed Mr. Almanza Zapata on administrative leave from his position as an instructional assistant at Carlin Springs Elementary School. The preliminary investigation has not uncovered evidence of inappropriate contact with children at the school. This remains an ongoing and active criminal investigation. Anyone with information about Mr. Almanza Zapata that may be pertinent to this case and/or who has had past inappropriate encounters with him is asked to contact Detective S. Gomez at 703-228-4173 or [email protected] Information may also be reported anonymously through the Arlington County Crime Solvers hotline at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).
Tesla Dealership Coming to S. Glebe Road — ARLnow’s scoop from February is all but confirmed: “Tesla Inc. appears to be filling the high-end auto dealership void left by Maserati’s closure in South Arlington. The electric automaker will convert the former Maserati and Alfa Romeo dealership at 2710 S. Glebe Road into a 63,854-square-foot auto sales, delivery and vehicle service center, per plans obtained from Construction Journal. The work is expected to be fairly quick, starting in November and finishing up by January.” [Washington Business Journal]
Long Bridge Concert Tomorrow — “Join us, along with Arlington Parks & Recreation, Saturday, September 25 for the Long Bridge Aquatics & Fitness Center Community Celebration featuring a festive fall beer garden and live entertainment including Virginia native and HOT 99.5 Rising Artist Winner, Jerel Crockett beginning at 5 PM. The night will include a diverse lineup of some of the DMV’s hottest DJs, Farrah Flosscett and King Iven, as well as the rock/pop/funk band, Up All Night, playing all your favorite songs from the 80s, 90s, and today.” [National Landing]
Big Crash on GW Parkway — “A reader sends this photo of the earlier crash on the GW Parkway, near Key Bridge, in case anybody drives by later and wonders what happened to the wall.” [Twitter, Twitter]
The End is Near for an Old Home — “A demolition permit has been granted the owner of the 130-year-old Fellows-McGrath home at Washington Blvd. near Sycamore St. It’s disappointing to Tom Dickinson and other preservation activists who had filed an application to protect it… Manassas realtor Masum Kahn, who bought the house after eight months on the market to build modern homes, has not set a demolition schedule. Though he would consider selling ‘for the right price.'” [Falls Church News-Press]
Caps Player Honored by ACFD — “Earlier this month the ACFD presented @Capitals @GarnetHathaway with a citizens award for his charity known as #HathsHeroes. This charity has given so much to local first responders and we are extremely thankful to Mr. Hathaway for his work in the community.” [Twitter]
Oddity of Arlington Transit History — “The Rosslyn-Ballston corridor is a famous example of early transit-oriented development because of the Orange Line, but the area was home to an innovative transit experiment long before Metro. From 1936 through 1939, a streetcar-bus hybrid provided service from the City of Fairfax to Rosslyn and into DC.” [Greater Greater Washington]
Arrest in Seven Corners Sex Assault Case — “Patrick Michael Chaloupka, 38, of Woodbridge has been charged with additional felonies for another sexual assault that occurred at a Falls Church hotel. Officers responded to a hotel on Aug. 26 in the 6100 block of Arlington Boulevard for the report of an assault that occurred three days prior.” [Fairfax County Police Department]
An Arlington man has been sentenced to decades in prison for killing a man in the Douglas Park neighborhood three years ago.
Michael Nash, 29, is set to spend nearly 35 years behind bars. Five years and one month of the 40 years sentence was suspended. Nash will have five years of supervised probation.
Earlier this summer, Nash pleaded guilty to first-degree murder for killing Arlington resident Patricio Salazar, who had tried to intervene when he found Nash sexually and physically assaulting his then-girlfriend. Other charges, including forcible sodomy and robbery, were dropped as part of the agreement.
“It was the most accurate charge for the most serious conduct, and it had the support of the other victims,” Commonwealth’s Attorney Parisa Dehghani-Tafti said.
At a 2019 hearing, Nash’s then-girlfriend told a judge that they argued loudly enough for police to come, but were allowed to leave together after separate interviews, the Washington Post reported. They continued walking and ended up on near Doctor’s Run Park.
That’s when Nash “pushed her to the ground and began beating her, stripping her of her clothing and touching her sexually,” the Post reports.
Salazar tried to stop him, but Nash beat him and knocked him unconscious, police said at the time. Salazar was transported to George Washington University Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Nash fled the scene and robbed a woman of her cell phone, police previously said. Officers and a police helicopter eventually apprehended Nash near the intersection of Columbia Pike and S. George Mason Drive.
Salazar’s sister Loty launched a GoFundMe fundraiser to honor her brother’s life and raise money for three organizations that support victims of sexual assault in the U.S. and Bolivia. It brought in more than $30,000. Bradley Flood, a witness, also raised money for the family.
His sister remembered Salazar as “one of the most kindhearted and genuine people I have ever met.”
“And, as he showed by his final act of great courage, he was a man of integrity and character, who believed in doing the right thing no matter what the cost,” she wrote.
Flood wrote that it chills him to think what would have happened if Salazar had not intervened.
“He is a Good Samaritan if there ever was one,” he said.
A 22-year-old man was arrested last night and charged with attacking and strangling a woman as she walked through a neighborhood near Courthouse.
The attack happened along a path on the 1800 block of N. Uhle Street, in the Colonial Village community, at around 7 p.m.
Police say the man put a cord around the woman’s neck, pulled her to the ground and then tried to strangle her with his hands. He ran off “when two witnesses arrived in the area,” according to police.
Detective work led police to a suspect who was subsequently arrested on the 1500 block of N. Pierce Street, in the Rosslyn area.
“Following the April 13 incident, detectives launched a thorough investigation which included canvassing for information, reviewing crime scene evidence, interviewing witnesses and following up on investigative leads,” Arlington County police said in a press release. “As a result, detectives identified [Marquis] Holmes as a suspect and sought a warrant for Strangulation.”
“On the evening of April 21, officers responding to the report of a suspicious person in the 1500 block of N. Pierce Street located the suspect and took him into custody without incident on the outstanding warrant,” the press release continued. “Following an interview with detectives, an additional charge of Abduction with Intent to Defile was obtained.”
The abduction charge implies that police believe the suspect intended to have some sort of forcible sexual contact with the victim.
The police department is asking anyone with additional information about the case to contact them.
“This remains an active criminal investigation and anyone with additional information is asked to contact the Arlington County Police Department’s Homicide/Robbery Unit at 703-228-4180 or [email protected],” police said.
Photo courtesy ACPD
Sexual Battery Suspect Arrested — “At approximately 1:12 p.m. on November 20, police were dispatched to the 4200 block of Wilson Boulevard for the report of a suspicious person matching the description of the suspect in the November 17 incident. Responding officers located the individual and took him into custody without incident.” [ACPD]
Local Attorney Accused of Sex Offenses — “A Northern Virginia attorney was arrested Thursday in Miami and accused of coercing underage girls into sexual activity. Matthew Erausquin, a founding partner of the firm Consumer Litigation Associates’ Northern Virginia affiliate, is charged in Alexandria federal court with sex trafficking involving six minors.” [Washington Post]
Hospice Worker Accused of Sexual Assault — A 57-year-old Arlington man has been charged “with sexually assaulting a hospice patient in October. Detectives were first notified on Nov. 11, that an 80-year-old Reston man disclosed to a family member that he awoke to [the man] performing a sex act on him in his home.” [Fairfax County Police]
Man Arrested After Incident in Park — “Arlington County Police say that a local man tried to kick a dog and then pepper sprayed its owner Thursday afternoon at Chestnut Hills Park.” [Patch]
SUV Fire in Westover — Washington Blvd was blocked around lunchtime Sunday due to a vehicle fire near Westover Village. The SUV was fully engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived. [Twitter]
MyEyeDr Opening Today in Ballston — The new MyEyeDr location in Ballston is set to open today, according to a press release. The chain bills itself as “one-stop shop to get an eye exam, buy new eyewear or even shop for sunglasses.”
Metro Making Budget Cuts — “Metro board members unanimously approved service cuts and a buyout plan Thursday aimed at avoiding as many layoffs as possible as the transit agency faces a $176 million budget shortfall due to the coronavirus pandemic.” [Washington Post]
Arlington County police are searching for a man they say tried to rape a woman near Courthouse last night.
The incident happened around 10:45 p.m. in the Radnor/Fort Myer Heights neighborhood.
The victim was walking her dog alone when the suspect allegedly started chasing her. He fell on top of her at the corner of Fairfax Drive and N. Rolfe Street, then tried to remove her pants, but a witness started yelling at the suspect and he ran of, according to ACPD.
Officers on the ground and a police helicopter tried to find the man, but the search was unsuccessful.
A search of the area returned with negative results. Police remain on scene investigating.
— ArlingtonCountyPD (@ArlingtonVaPD) November 18, 2020
More from ACPD:
The Arlington County Police Department’s Special Victims Unit is investigating an attempted rape in the Radnor/Ft. Myer Heights neighborhood that took place on the evening of November 17, 2020.
At approximately 10:47 p.m., police were dispatched to the 1300 block of N. Rolfe Street for the report of an attempted rape. Upon arrival, it was determined that the female victim was walking her dog along the N. Rhodes Street bridge over Arlington Boulevard when she noticed the male suspect begin to follow her. The victim picked up her pace to a run in an attempt to separate herself from the suspect who then began to chase after her. At the corner of Fairfax Drive and N. Rolfe Street, the victim and suspect fell to the ground. The suspect ended up on top of the victim, told her not to talk and attempted to remove her pants. A witness heard the victim yelling and called out to the suspect. The suspect froze and the victim was able to run away. Responding officers established a perimeter and canvased the area with negative results.
The suspect is described as a Black male in his 20’s, approximately 6’0″, 225-250lbs with broad shoulders. He was wearing a black hoodie with the hood up, dark jeans and a navy-blue face mask at the time of the incident.
This remains an active criminal investigation and anyone with information related to this incident is asked to contact Detective J. McGrath at 703-228-4244 or [email protected] Information may also be provided to the Arlington County Police Tip Line at [email protected] or anonymously through the Arlington County Crime Solvers hotline at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).
Map via Google Maps
Study: Arlington Has Safest Drivers in Va. — The insurance website Insurify says Arlington has the safest drivers in Virginia. Drivers in the county “demonstrate exceptional dedication to their own safety and to the safety of others around them,” the website says. [Insurify]
Local Toll Lanes May Be Sold — “Transurban is selling off stakes in its US toll roads because it wants to strengthen its balance sheet… Transurban owns the 95 Express Lanes, 495 Express Lanes and 395 Express Lanes toll roads near the US capital, but traffic on the motorways has been hard hit by the pandemic… The Virginia assets have the longest concession periods of Transurban’s assets with asset lives out to 2087.” [Australian Financial Review]
Police Response at Va. Square Metro — Metro Transit Police and Arlington County Police responded to the Virginia Square Metro station last night for a person who jumped on the track bed. Orange and Silver Line trains were stopped in both directions while the person was taken into custody. [Twitter]
Arrest Made in Silver Line Sexual Assault — “Metro Transit Police today arrested the individual suspected of an attempted rape Tuesday, October 6 aboard a Silver Line train in Northern Virginia. Kendrie Roberts-Monticue, 21, of Reston, was taken into custody this morning at the home of a family member in Virginia.” [WMATA]
Metro Closure Planned in Early 2021 — “Arlington Cemetery and Addison Road stations will be closed for approximately three months for full platform replacement and station renovation… [During the work] Yellow Line trains will provide all trans-Potomac service for stations Pentagon and south.” [WMATA]
APS Getting More CARES Act Funding — “More than $220 million in federal coronavirus relief is headed to Virginia schools, according to an announcement from Gov. Ralph Northam on Thursday… Arlington County schools will receive $4.7 million.” [DCist]
‘Tiger King’ Star Indicted in Va. — Updated at 8:30 a.m. — “Following an investigation by Attorney General Mark R. Herring’s animal law unit, Bhagavan “Doc” Antle, the owner of Myrtle Beach Safari, has been charged with one felony count of wildlife trafficking, one felony count of conspiracy to wildlife traffic, four misdemeanor counts of conspiracy to violate the Endangered Species Act, and nine misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty” [Press Release]
Flickr pool photo by Tom Mockler
APS Modifies Back-to-School Plan — “To better serve our students, we are announcing updates to the return-to-school plan, including revisions to the elementary and middle school hybrid/in-person instructional models and adjusted student groupings.” [Arlington Public Schools]
More on Silver Line Attack — “The woman was riding the train with her young child at about 11:35 a.m. Tuesday when a man assaulted her, tried to remove her clothing and exposed himself, Metro Transit Police said. The attack occurred between the McLean and East Falls Church stations.” [NBC 4]
CPRO May Get New Name — “The Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization has been known by the name – and the acronym CPRO – for nearly 35 years. But plans are now in the works to provide a new name to describe the organization’s current mission. The renaming process ‘will probably happen over the next few months,’ CPRO executive director Kim Klingler said.” [InsideNova]
Rose Bush Auction This Weekend — “Hosted by Arlington Rose Foundation… Our auction with sound system will be held outdoors, where it is easy to social distance, in the lovely rose garden at Columbia Gardens Cemetery, 3411 Arlington Boulevard.” [ARLnow Events]
Adult, Two Kids Struck By Driver in Falls Church — ” At approximately 11:01 a.m. on October 7, City of Falls Church Police were dispatched to the report of pedestrians hit by a vehicle at the intersection of W Annandale Road and W Broad Street. Three victims – an adult and two minors – were transported to Virginia Hospital Center with non-life-threatening injuries.” [City of Falls Church]