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Response to fight at the Pentagon City mall (photo courtesy Alan Henney)

Groups of teens were behind some chaotic scenes in Arlington over the weekend.

The latest Arlington County Police Department crime report has three separate items involving groups of juveniles. The first two incidents happened in Pentagon City, at or near the mall.

The first happened late Friday afternoon, when a group of suspects allegedly threatened a security guard during a shoplifting attempt. Three suspects — ages 18 and 19 — were arrested on assault charges.

ASSAULT BY MOB, 2022-10280198, 1200 block of S. Hayes Street. At approximately 4:21 p.m. on October 28, police were dispatched to the report of an assault by mob. Upon arrival, it was determined a Loss Prevention Officer observed a female subject allegedly conceal a pair of sunglasses before confronting her and recovering the merchandise. A group of male suspects with the female subject then approached the Loss Prevention Officer and allegedly made verbal threats while at least one of the suspects displayed a knife. No injuries were reported. The suspects fled the scene prior to the arrival of police and responding officers located three suspects in the area. Suspect One ignored the commands of officers, resisted arrest and was taken into custody with the assistance of additional arriving officers. During a search of Suspect Two incident to arrest, a folding knife was recovered.

The crime report notes that “all three suspects were released on unsecured bonds.”

That night, police responded to Washington-Liberty High School for a report of four teens sneaking into the football game against McLean (W-L won 43-13), running through the stands and twice pushing someone to the ground. The bike-riding, ski-mask-wearing suspects fled the scene and police are still investigating.

From ACPD:

ASSAULT BY MOB, 2022-10280255, 1300 block of N. Stafford Street. At approximately 9:10 p.m. on October 28, police were dispatched to the report of a fight. Upon arrival, it was determined four unknown juvenile suspects climbed a fence and entered the stands of the stadium. As the suspects were running through the stands, they knocked the male [victim] to the ground twice before fleeing the scene. The victim refused medics on scene. The suspects are described as males wearing black hoodies and ski masks and riding bicycles. The investigation is ongoing.

The next day, around 5:30 p.m., a report of groups of teens fighting inside the food court at the Pentagon City mall drew a large police response.

One girl who was wanted in D.C. was arrested and now faces additional charges after allegedly assaulting police.

ASSAULT & BATTERY ON POLICE, 2022-10290193, 1100 block of S. Hayes Street. At approximately 5:32 p.m. on October 29, police responded to the report of a fight involving groups of juveniles inside a food court. Responding officers separated the groups and no significant injuries were reported related to the fight. During the course of the investigation, one juvenile was determined to be wanted out of Washington D.C. and she assaulted officers as they attempted to detain her. She was taken into custody and petitions for Assault on Police were obtained.

The police response to that incident was noted on social media.

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Lacing up roller skates (Photo by Susan Weber on Unsplash)

Skate Night is coming back to Thomas Jefferson Community Center, marking its 30th year.

The family-friendly program is returning next weekend, on Saturday, Oct. 29, and going back inside for the first time since the pandemic. It will take place at Thomas Jefferson Community Center and is set to happen most Saturdays through the remainder of the fall, the winter, and into the spring. The last date scheduled is April 22.

All skate nights begin at 6 p.m. and will now run until 9 p.m., a 30-minute extension from previous years. There will also be a moon bounce, a DJ, and concessions. Roller skate rentals will be available as well.

Registration opens three weeks ahead of each date and pre-registration is recommended. Space remains for the Oct. 29 Skate Night, a county spokesperson confirmed to ARLnow.

This is a return to form for the popular program after the pandemic forced some adjustments.

“[Skate Night has] been a Saturday-night institution in Arlington for 30 years and continues to grow in popularity,” Dept. of Parks and Recreation spokesperson Susan Kalish told ARLnow in an email. “Skate Night is just one of many programs that had to be adjusted during the pandemic. We had a trimmed-down option to skate outdoors with friends and music at the Quincy Parking Deck.”

Kalish called the program “intergenerational” since it attracts all community members “from tots to seniors.”

Skate Night is also partially run by the T.E.A.M. program, out of the county’s Office of Teens. “T.E.A.M.” stands for Teen Entrepreneurial Amusement Management and it’s a program that “helps local teens learn how to run a business and develop skills for future employment,” per Kalish.

Skate Night isn’t the only place where locals will soon be able to skate. In less than two weeks, the ice skating rink at Westpost will also open for the season.

Photo by Susan Weber on Unsplash

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File photo

A fight among teen girls in Rocky Run Park, near Courthouse, prompted a police response yesterday (Wednesday) evening.

Arlington County police say three girls attacked another after a verbal dispute became physical. The suspects were later stopped by police and are expected to face charges.

From an ACPD crime report:

ASSAULT BY MOB, 2022-10050169, 1100 block of N. Barton Street. At approximately 5:30 p.m. on October 5, police were dispatched to the report of a fight in progress. Upon arrival, it was determined that juveniles had met in a park when a verbal dispute ensued between the parties. The dispute escalated into a physical altercation resulting in the female victim allegedly being assaulted by the three juvenile female suspects. The suspects then fled the scene on foot and were located by responding officers in the 2300 block of 11th Street N. Petitions for the juveniles are pending.

Early this morning, meanwhile, gunshots rang out in the Arlington Mill neighborhood, north of Arlington’s western end of Columbia Pike.

No one was hurt but the gunfire damaged at least one home.

From ACPD:

SHOTS FIRED, 2022-10060030, 800 block of S. Harrison Street. At approximately 4:21 a.m. on October 6, police were dispatched to the report of shots heard. During the course of the investigation, officers recovered evidence confirming shots had been fired in the area and located property damage to a residence. Officers canvassed the area with negative results. Witnesses reported seeing a blue SUV fleeing the area after the shooting. No injuries were reported. The is no suspect(s) description at this time. The investigation is ongoing.

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Arlington police car at night (file photo courtesy Kevin Wolf)

Police are investigating a pair of so-called “mob” assaults by groups of teens.

Both occurred Friday evening along separate sections of Langston Blvd. It’s unclear whether there’s any connection between the two.

The first happened inside a business along the 4800 block of Langston Blvd and involved 10 juvenile suspects, according to police.

The name of the business was not listed, but the block includes a McDonald’s, tattoo and piercing shops, and an Indian grocery store.

From an Arlington County Police Department crime report:

ASSAULT BY MOB (Late), 2022-09300231, 4800 block of Langston Boulevard. At approximately 11:23 p.m. on September 30, police were dispatched to the late report of an assault. Upon arrival, it was determined that earlier in the evening, the juvenile victim was inside a business when he was approached by Suspect One who unsuccessfully attempted to remove his hat. When the victim refused to give his hat, Suspect One struck him in the head. Approximately nine other juvenile suspects then began to physically assault the victim with Suspects Two and Three being the primary aggressors. The victim was able to safely leave the area on foot. He sustained minor injuries and declined the treatment of medics. Suspect One is described as an Asian male with short black hair, approximately 5’8″-6’0″ tall, 16-18 years old, wearing a black hoodie and gray pants. Suspect Two is described as a White male with brown hair and a beard, approximately 5’8″-6’0″ tall, 16-18 years old, wearing a gray sweater, light-wash black jeans and gray sneakers. Suspect Three is described as an Asian male, approximately 5’8″ – 6’0″ tall, approximately 16-18 years old with short brown hair wearing a navy blue hoodie and black shorts. The investigation is ongoing.

The second incident happened on the same block as the Lee-Harrison Shopping Center. It reportedly involved a juvenile suspect who was known to the victim saying that the victim wasn’t allowed to walk along the sidewalk near then, then striking the victim.

From ACPD:

ASSAULT BY MOB (Late), 2022-10010041, 2400 block of N. Harrison Street. At approximately 4:11 a.m. on October 1, police were dispatched to the police station for the late report of an assault. The investigation determined that at approximately 10:00 p.m. on September 30, the juvenile victim was walking in the area when he approached the known juvenile suspect who was standing on the sidewalk with two friends. The suspect allegedly told the victim he couldn’t be there before striking him. The two friends then also assaulted the victim before fleeing the scene on foot. The victim sustained non-life threatening injuries and later self-reported to an area hospital for medical treatment. The investigation is ongoing.

Two local boys soccer teams have qualified to compete at national tournaments.

The 2005 Boys Red team is set to participate in the U.S. Youth Soccer National Championship from July 19-24 in Orlando, Florida, according to a news release from the Arlington Soccer Association.

Another team from the association, the 2006 Boys Academy team, is set to participate in the quarterfinals of the Elite Clubs National League National Playoffs. The tournament is scheduled between July 15-18 outside of St. Louis.

The 2005 Boys Red team gained its qualification by winning 2-0 over FC Bucks Dominion from Pennsylvania in the U.S. Youth Soccer U17 Eastern Regional Championship in Charleston, West Virginia on June 29. The team is made up of students from different schools who are below of the age of 17.

“Arlington Soccer Association 05B Red (VA) put forth a dominant showing at the Eastern Regional Championships,” said a press release from U.S. Youth Soccer. “Going 6-0-0 in the span of seven days, they demonstrated extreme toughness and grit, highlighted by a 2-0 win over Council Rock United FC Bucks DOMINION 2005 Boys (PA-E) in the final. Arlington scored 17 goals and only gave up one goal.”

This is the first time the 2005 Boys Red players have gone to the USYS National Championship, its coach Matt Badiee said. In preparation for the finals, Badiee is planning on organizing a few more additional practices on top of the usual practices the team has. The team currently practices at least three times a week.

He is focused on making his team more consistent on the tactical side, such as being able to “finish their chances when they are in their attacking third” as well as “reading the game” based on their opponents’ actions, said Badiee.

The 2006 Boys Academy Team advanced to the quarterfinals in the ECNL National Playoffs by defeating Marin FC of California by 4-0 on June 30. Most of the players on the team are between 15 and 16 years old, its coach Oscar Feliu said.

This team is not set to change its practice schedule significantly before the national tournament. Instead, Feliu planned to add “some fun” during the team’s practices to help the players feel less nervous. He added that he would focus on “[cleaning] up a few tactical details” and the team “recovering physically [or] mentally these next few days.”

“Our hope is that we can be ourselves on the field, that we play together as a team, embrace the competitive challenge and play in a way that regardless of the final result we have no regrets when we step off the field,” Feliu said.

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Teenagers can experience the life of an Arlington firefighter for a week.

Camp Heat, which aims to give teenagers a firsthand experience of being a firefighter, is now open for applications until June 30. Organized by the Arlington County Fire Department, the is scheduled to be held from Monday, July 18 to Friday, July 22, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day.

The camp is free and open to those between 15 and 18 years old, regardless of gender, though the camp was originally intended as a way to get girls interested in a firefighting career.

A total of 26 applicants will be selected to join, according to the online application form. The application deadline was originally on May 30, but it was extended partly because the camp itself was delayed, said lead coordinator Kristin Pardiny.

“It was supposed to be held in June when we first started planning, and then down at our fire training academy, we have a whole lot going on,” Pardiny said. “We realized it was gonna be too much of a logistical concern in June, so we moved it to July.”

She also hoped that by extending the deadline, more people would have the opportunity to apply.

During the five days of the camp, participants are scheduled to meet with “dynamic female leaders” in the fire department, participate in physical trainings and emergency simulations, listen to a panel of women public employees, as well as “experiencing the everyday life of a firefighter/EMT,” according to the camp’s website. The campers are set to interact with other firefighters and perform tasks related to firefighting, according to the application form.

Those interested need to fill out the application and complete a medical and physical examination.

“We have them write a short answer question in our application and they are asked about why they are interested in the camp and what women’s empowerment means to them,” Pardiny said.

Although not compulsory, the fire department would also look at why applicants may want to become a firefighter in the future. Local and first-time applicants are prioritized, Pardiny noted.

The selected campers are expected to bring their own blue pants, black belt and safety boots as part of the uniform. Because of the pandemic, campers need to check their temperatures at 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. each day of the camp and wear masks during the activities.

The camp was founded in 2013 to spark teenage girls’ interest in becoming firefighters and was only open to girls originally. However, since 2021, the camp has been open to all genders.

This change happened because the fire department believed all genders “must be involved in [the] conversation” in fulfilling the camp’s mission to “encourage and empower young women,” said Pardiny.

“While we’re interested in recruiting and empowering more women to join the fire service, we also are interested in recruiting more progressive and open-minded men as well,” she said. “There are many ways in which people identify nowadays and we want to ensure that we’re not excluding anyone in the conversation.”

Since the founding of Camp Heat, around 100 teenagers have participated in it and Pardiny knows of two campers who applied to be Arlington firefighters as well as several who ultimately became EMTs.

Only around 8% of firefighters in the U.S. in 2019 were women, according to a National Fire Protection Association report. Currently, out of the 340 firefighting and other employees in ACFD, about 33 firefighters are women, said Pardiny.

“While we of course hope that some may consider a future career in the fire service and when they consider that career, if they consider that career, we want them to view Arlington County as a top choice,” she said. “A lot of young people in Arlington County haven’t quite been exposed to the fire service and some have just never considered it.”

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Morning Notes

Real Estate Expected to Get Pricier — “Home prices and, for the most part, sales, have continued to rise in the Northern Virginia market in the last year, even despite the pandemic, but the unanswered question is: what will happen in the future? A consensus forecast report from the Center for Regional Analysis and George Mason University and the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors aims to answer that question and, in short, the upward trends will continue.” [WTOP]

Clement Focuses on Taxes — “Frequent Arlington political contender Audrey Clement’s hat is in the ring for 2021, and she’s focusing, at least initially, on ever-spiraling higher tax burdens on county homeowners. ‘I’m running again because Arlington taxes are slated to go up again even as other Northern Virginia jurisdictions’ tax rates are going down,’ Clement said in an e-mail to supporters, formalizing her bid for Arlington County Board.” [Sun Gazette]

Candidate Misses Filing DeadlineUpdated at 5:15 p.m. — Local House of Delegates candidate Matt Rogers, who was set to challenge fellow Democrat Del. Patrick Hope, reportedly failed to meet a filing deadline and may not be on the primary ballot as a result. [Blue Virginia]

Teens Encouraged to Join ‘Park Corps’ — “Work alongside Arlington’s natural resource professionals in forestry, wildlife management, education, habitat restoration and more. We’ll get real work done, all while having fun outside, building job skills and making connections with other like-minded students… Applications are due April 30. Applicants must be 16-18 years of age.” [Arlington County]

Credit Union Makes New Hires — “Arlington Community Federal Credit Union announced multiple new hires of key members of the leadership team. Each of these leaders will be responsible for significant priority strategies for the organization.” [ACFCU]

Foreclosed Rosslyn Office Building Sold — “An affiliate of The Meridian Group cast the winning bid of $58.3 million for a Rosslyn office building during Wednesday morning’s foreclosure auction just steps from the Arlington County courthouse… 1500 Wilson checks off many of the same boxes the development firm seeks with its value-add buys. There is about 121,250 square feet of vacant space in the building, and a repositioning to boost occupancy, aided by one of its real estate funds, could be in the cards.” [Washington Business Journal]

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Camp Heat, which gives teens an inside look at the fire service, is back after a year off due to the coronavirus.

And this year, for the first time, the free camp — founded to encourage women to become firefighters — is open to all teens regardless of gender.

Twenty-four girls and boys ages 15 to 18 will have the chance to experience five days of what it takes to be an Arlington firefighter and Emergency Medical Technician.

To participate, teens must apply by May 1 and be accepted. The camp runs 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. from June 21-25.

According to the county, Camp Heat introduces teens to fire and EMT simulations and career opportunities as first responders, while teaching them life skills such as physical fitness, nutrition and CPR.

“The goal of the camp is to increase the participants’ confidence and empower them to consider entering physically challenging careers, such as the fire service, later in life,” the county website said.

As of 2018, at least three campers had applied or joined their local fire department.

Camp Heat was founded is to “empower young females through an introduction to the Fire and Emergency Medical Services.”

Nationwide, women are underrepresented in firefighting, comprising less than 10% of firefighters, according to the National Fire Protection Association. But it was an Arlington County firefighter named Judith “Judy” Brewer who blazed a trail for them when she was hired as the nation’s first female career firefighter in 1974.

This is the first year that the department has opened the program to all teens, ACFD spokesman Taylor Blunt confirmed.

With only 24 spots available, the application asks applicants to “take care in completing the application and provide thoughtful answers to the essay.”

“Applicants are expected to be responsible and demonstrate a self-starting attitude,” the application said. “Applicants must be… in good physical health in order to participate in the rigorous activities planned.”

Due to COVID-19, the campers will not be able to go inside the firehouse. Other safety precautions such as temperature checks and masks will be required as well.

Campers are required to provide their own blue pants, black belt, and safety boots/shoes.

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Morning Notes

BBC Airs Segment on AFAC — The Arlington Food Assistance Center, which is seeing record food need and lines throughout the day, was profiled in a segment that aired on BBC World News this week. [Twitter]

Fares to Return on ART Buses — “ART buses will resume front door boarding and fare collection starting on Sunday, January 3, 2021. Riders will begin boarding buses through the front door and will pay their fare at the fare box using a SmarTrip card or exact change. The regular ART bus fare for a one-way trip is $2.00.” [Arlington Transit]

Teens Launch Hot Cocoa Company — “In July, Wakefield High School rising seniors Farah Bahr and Sithiya Reshmee (who goes by the nickname ‘Resh’) founded F&R Sweets, a line that includes chocolate-dipped strawberries, churro cheesecake (made with croissant dough, cream cheese filling and cinnamon sugar) and hot chocolate bombs… the bombs ($3-$10 each) grabbed my attention. They are bonbon-like orbs filled with mini marshmallows, Swiss Miss cocoa mix (regular, caramel or peppermint) and sometimes other add-ins.” [Arlington Magazine]

AWLA Treats Dog With Skin Condition — “On Sunday, we were very surprised when a brown-eyed dog with a severe skin infection and hair loss came through our doors. He desperately needs us, and together we can start him on the path to healing. Rufus was found all alone on the side of the road and was brought to AWLA for help.” [Animal Welfare League of Arlington, Patch]

Fort Myer Bowling Alley Back Open — “The [Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall] Bowling Center had a small grease fire last week that temporarily shut down operations. Today, the fire department and health inspections were completed and they were given approval to re-open at 2 p.m.” [Twitter]

Arlington is Soldier’s Resting Place, At Last — “An Army sergeant from Panama, Oklahoma who was killed during the Korean War has been identified by the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency,” from the 55 boxes containing remains of American service members turned over by North Korea in 2018. “Rodgers will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, at a later date that has yet to be determined.” [Times Record]

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A study by a criminal justice consulting firm recommends that Arlington, Alexandria and Falls Church keep the Northern Virginia Detention Center, but with some changes.

Over the last decade, detention rates have decreased at the facility, located at 200 S. Whiting Street in Alexandria. It has 70 beds but on any given day houses 20 to 25 youth detainees — from age 11 to 18 — who have committed anything from parole violations to felony offenses.

Recently, officials have been weighing the future of the center, which is falling apart and costly to run. During a joint work session with representatives from Arlington and Alexandria on Monday, D.C.-based criminal justice consulting firm The Moss Group recommended keeping the center, but making it more efficient by moving more programs to the facility and eliminating some staff.

“It is a complex, aging facility, but it is available for other options when you’re thinking about the future of the compound,” said Reginald Wilkinson, the senior advisor for The Moss Group.

In an email, Arlington County said keeping the center open — as opposed to transferring detainees to a facility elsewhere — would “ensure juveniles remain close to their home communities and services.”

The report recommended placing mental-health treatment, substance-abuse services, youth mentoring and specialized placement programs in underused spaces in the facility, which would help make it more financially feasible to maintain.

It also suggested redesigning the facility to accommodate the new services and create a “home-like” feeling.

Cutting some staff and making the program changes could save nearly $600,000 annually, The Moss Group found. That would mean a savings of about $300,000 from Arlington’s current $1.8 million annual commitment.

NVJDC is the second most expensive detention center among Virginia’s 24 facilities, and was allocated $5.8 million to run in Fiscal Year 2020. Of that, about $3.6 million came from localities and $2.2 million from state and federal funding.

A possible alternative would be moving kids to the Fairfax County detention center, but Justin Wilson, the mayor of Alexandria, said Fairfax likely will not take the teens. The mayor said Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chair Jeff McKay told him “the door is not closed, but that the hill is steep.”

The right political movement could change that, Wilson added.

“I think there is some logic to working together again, given [extra] capacity” at the Fairfax County facility, he said. Fairfax County operated the NVJDC with Arlington and the cities of Alexandria and Falls Church before opening its own center in 1994.

Consultants conducted focus groups, interviews and community meetings, and hosted an online survey to gauge support for the center. Although some people want to see it closed, the group concluded there is widespread community support for the center.

The finding raised eyebrows among some political officials. Others asked about opportunities to eliminate juvenile detentions altogether.

“I think there might be a desire to move toward zero detention by closing down that facility,” Arlington County Board member Katie Cristol said. “Certainly I… am interested in pursuing that vision of zero youth detention.”

Arlington’s Director of Court Services Earl Conklin said that without a detention center a judge could still order detention but the youth would have no place to go.

The Moss Group told the municipalities to consider a formal relationship with the Annie E. Casey Foundation and participate in its Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative to reduce reliance on detention.

County Board Chair Libby Garvey applauded the decline in detention rates but said reforms are essential. About 57% kids in the system are Black, while 39% are white. In terms of ethnicity, just over 30% are identified as Hispanic.

“It is our young people of color who are most impacted by this detention facility,” she said. “We would like to do away with [this] disproportionality and continue to lower the number of people there, but there will always be a need for this facility or something like it, and that’s why we’re here.”

The study will be presented at a virtual community meeting on Thursday, Nov. 5 from 7-8:30 p.m. The meeting link will be available on the study webpage.

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Morning Notes

Arlington Dems Reject Bipartisan Redistricting — “Despite criticism from within the party that the move would be seen as blatantly partisan as well as bad policy, the Arlington County Democratic Committee’s membership on Aug. 6 voted to oppose the state constitutional amendment that, if enacted, would set up an independent redistricting commission.” [InsideNova]

Marymount Announces Reorganization — “In its latest strategic initiative, Transform MU, Marymount University is restructuring its existing academic programs into three highly focused Colleges, each combining disciplines to create broader educational and research opportunities.” [Press Release]

Diocese Announces New Virtual School — “The Catholic Diocese of Arlington announced it will offer a fully virtual school for grades K-8 in the 2020-2021 academic year, which begins in early September. The school, St. Isidore of Seville Catholic Virtual School, provides a new option to parents interested in enrolling their children in local Catholic schools. All 41 brick-and-mortar Catholic schools in the Diocese, which serve 17,000 students, have announced they will reopen in the fall for either safe-distance full-time in-person instruction or a combination of in-person instruction and e-Learning. St. Isidore offers families an option for full-time virtual learning.” [Catholic Diocese of Arlington]

Local Teen Raises Money for Yemen — “Since July 1, an Arlington teenager has raised $300 for Saba Relief. The organization helps people affected by the crisis in Yemen. Emily Tesone started hand sewing plushies for her friends when the pandemic began. Her hobby grew more meaningful after she learned about what was happening in Yemen.” [WDVM]

Flickr pool photo by Eric

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