Arlington, VA

The owner of a local store went on Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Tonight last night to discuss the arrest of a store employee for shooting a would-be robber.

Jowan Zuber, owner of Arlington Smoke Shop in the Green Valley neighborhood, said 33-year-old Hamzeh Abushariah was sleeping in the store’s back office when he was awoken by loud noises. He encountered three masked suspects breaking in and fired three shots to scare them off, Zuber claimed.

One of the suspects, a boy under 18 years of age, was struck and suffered serious but non-life-threatening injuries, police said.

To Zuber’s surprise, police and the Commonwealth’s Attorney decided to level felony charges against Abushariah that could land him in prison for upwards of two decades, if convicted. Abushariah was denied bond, Zuber said, leading to concerns for his health while confined during the coronavirus epidemic.

“We thought we’re in the right. Three masked men at 4:30 on a Sunday morning,” Zuber told Carlson. “This is very sad for America today, as American citizens practicing the Second Amendment to protect the store and the lives.”

Zuber claimed that police asked Abushariah, “why didn’t you run out the back door?”

“This [tells] the criminals out there, hey we can rob stuff, kill people, hurt people, and guess what — people have to run out the back door,” Zuber said. “This is mind boggling.”

The Commonwealth’s Attorney Office, led by reform-minded prosecutor Parisa Dehghani-Tafti, defended the decision to charge Abushariah earlier this week.

“There’s evidence we are not at liberty to share that support the charges, the decision was not made lightly,” the office said on Twitter.

Update at noon — The Arlington County Republican Committee has weighed in on the controversy via Twitter, calling for charges against Abushariah to be dropped.

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(Updated 1:30 p.m.) Fledgling media production company WBITN is moving into a Rosslyn condo building basement after approval at an Arlington County Board meeting on Saturday.

The approval allows WBITN — which stands for We Build It New — to move into a 4,172 square foot audio-visual studio on the lower level of the River Place South complex (1011 Arlington Blvd). The arrangement includes 15 parking spaces.

In a video tour, Chief Editor Diane Kim said the new studio will include two TV studios, photography studios, a DIY studio, a video editing room and audio room, and a room for hair and makeup.

“Great things are coming for WBITN,” Kim said. “Thanks for watching and I’ll see you here.”

The item was approved as part of the Board’s consent agenda with no objections or discussion.

Photo via WBITN/Facebook

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If you’re sheltering in place at home and need something to do tonight, you could root on an Arlington resident as she competes on Jeopardy.

Emmy Crawford, a program officer from Arlington, will appear as a contestant on “America’s Favorite Quiz Show” tonight. She’ll compete against a research compliance manager from Silver Spring, Maryland and — the winner of Tuesday night’s episode — an adjunct professor from New York City.

The show is taped in advance, which explains how it is still airing new episodes after yesterday’s announcement that it was suspending production. Jeopardy’s Alex Trebek has continued to host the show despite his battle with stage 4 pancreatic cancer.

Jeopardy airs locally at 7:30 p.m. on WJLA (ABC 7).

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Progress is being made on an expansion plan for public broadcaster WETA’s Shirlington offices.

The plan is to construct a four-story addition between the existing office building, at 3939 Campbell Avenue, and its above-ground parking garage. The 17,000 square foot addition would then house the WETA studios — and the approximately 130 employees, according to county documents — that produce the national PBS NewsHour broadcast.

The current NewsHour studios, on 27th Street S. near the Weenie Beanie, are set to be sold to Arlington County and eventually torn down to expand the soon-to-be-renovated Jennie Dean Park.

Arlington County is expected to pay WETA $8 million for the property while also providing economic development incentives for the broadcaster to stay in Arlington and expand its offices, the Washington Business Journal reported in December.

“The goal is to bring the Purchase and Sale Agreement for the WETA Studio property, and the Economic Development Incentives agreement between WETA and the County, to the Board concurrently,” a county spokeswoman told ARLnow this afternoon. “We anticipate these items will go the County Board this spring — April or shortly after.”

The site plan amendment for the WETA expansion is set to be discussed by Arlington’s Site Plan Review Committee on Monday. Public hearings and County Board consideration is expected later this spring, “shortly after the two aforementioned agreements are approved,” the spokeswoman said.

Photo (2) via Google Maps

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Morning Notes

Lane Closures Near Ballston — Sewer relining work is closing the right-hand lane of portions of Fairfax Drive and Wilson Blvd in the Bluemont neighborhood, near Ballston. [Twitter]

Arlington’s Young Population Drives Trends — “One of the reasons Virginia’s Arlington County is consistently rated highest for health and fitness is because of its young demographic. Take Ballston, for example, where 47.7% of the adult population is between 25 and 44 years old.” [WTOP]

Courthouse Metro Rescue Makes National News — “We would like to thank @ABCWorldNews for broadcasting our rescue of a @wmata rider last Friday. The patient is in stable condition. If you find yourself on the tracks and are unable to exit, roll towards the platform side to the area of refuge.” [Twitter, ABC News]

Fort Myer Gate Temporarily Closed — “Attention DoD ID card holders: @JBMHH’s Old Post Chapel Gate that provides entry onto the base from Arlington National Cemetery will be temporarily closed beginning today through the end of April for construction.” [Twitter, Twitter]

Nearby: Proposed Arlandria Redevelopment — A “D.C. developer filed preliminary plans with Alexandria earlier this month for the project, looking to completely overhaul a Mount Vernon Avenue shopping center near Four Mile Run Park, now called Del Ray North. It’s currently home to a MOM’s Organic Market, but has seen a variety of retail vacancies recently.” [Washington Business Journal]

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Morning Notes

Robbery at Lyon Park 7-Eleven — “At approximately 2:30 a.m. on January 3, police were dispatched to the report of an armed robbery. Upon arrival, it was determined that two suspects entered a business and forced two employees behind the counter. Suspect One displayed an object that appeared to be a knife, pushed an employee towards the cash register and forced him to open it, then stole an undisclosed amount of cash and other merchandise.” [Arlington County]

Basketball Refs Still Haven’t Been Paid — “Having been rapped for a lethargic response, Arlington government leaders appear to be ramping up efforts to resolve a lingering dispute over missing payments to referees in the county’s youth-basketball leagues. ‘We will get this done ASAP – by Feb. 1 at the latest,’ said County Board member Matt de Ferranti, who in recent months has been involved in the effort to sort out the situation and get the referees paid.” [InsideNova]

Firefighters Watch ‘Bachelor’ Premiere — “What do firefighters do when it’s late and there’s a break between calls? They have a @BachelorABC viewing party, of course! And in case of any ‘turbulence,’ we are always ready to respond!” [Twitter]

Tracking Bachelor Reaction in Clarendon — Former Bachelorette contestant Chris Bukowski, writing from his Clarendon bar: “At @BracketRoomVA for a viewing party and Hannah B easily got the biggest ovation when she came out of the limo. #TheBachelor” [Twitter]

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ABC’s Good Morning America aired a live segment from Abingdon Elementary in Fairlington Wednesday morning.

The five-minute segment, hosted by meteorologist Ginger Zee, highlighted a donation Amazon made to the nonprofit Rosie Riveters STEM program for girls.

More from the GMA website:

…there are limitations to what the nonprofit can do in terms of free programming for girls without additional funding and resources. The cost of computers, batteries for robots, magnets and more of the supplies required to bring these inventive STEM projects to life add up quickly. In Arlington, the group said their waitlist is approximately 300 girls long.

To celebrate the season of giving, Amazon surprised the nonprofit live on “Good Morning America” by fulfilling their entire wish list with these essential supplies – computers, printers, batteries, magnets and much more — all to continue their mission.

Amazon, which is seeking approval for the first 2.1 million square foot phase of its permanent HQ2 in Pentagon City this weekend, has been particularly active in Arlington recently. The company made a large donation of “wish list” items to local affordable housing provider AHC Inc. earlier this week, while its Amazon Web Services arm has been helping to teach students at Drew Elementary coding this week for Computer Science Education Week.

More on the Abingdon broadcast via social media:

https://www.facebook.com/AbingdonElementaryPTA/photos/a.576958229028424/2740930249297867/?type=3&theater

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A woman who was struck by a dump truck in Rosslyn a year ago, suffering serious injuries and ultimately a leg amputation, is reflecting on her recovery.

Helen Harris was honored at George Washington University Hospital’s 8th annual Trauma Survivors Day earlier this week. Though now able to walk with a prosthetic, Harris is still “on a long road to recovery,” NBC 4 reported.

“I will carry it for the rest of my life,” Harris told NBC 4. “It’s an ongoing struggle, every day gets a little bit better but it’s full of ups and downs.”

Harris was run over by the dump truck on Lee Highway in Rosslyn last December, after pushing her daughter — who was in a stroller — out of the way of the truck while crossing the street.

The truck’s driver, identified at the time as 63-year-old John Washington of Silver Spring, was charged with reckless driving and failure to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk after the crash. The reckless driving charge was dropped and in March he was found guilty on the failure to yield charge, paying a $100 fine and avoiding any jail time, according to court records.

Screen shot (bottom) via NBC 4

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Morning Notes

Silver Spring Man Wins Soggy MCM — “Jordan Tropf just wanted to see what he could do. Turns out, he could win the Marine Corps Marathon. Leading from the start, the 27-year-old Silver Spring resident built a lead of a 1:26 at the halfway point and went on to win by 70 seconds in 2:27:43, much of the second half coming in a driving rain.” [Run Washington, Washington Post, WTOP]

Arlington World Series Surprise on ‘Today’ — The Today Show aired a segment on the Nottingham Elementary School crossing guard who was surprised with World Series tickets from parents and students. [Twitter]

Shirlington Employment Center Moving — “The Shirlington Employment and Education Center (SEEC) is gearing up for a two-digit move – from 22206 to 22204. Facing the need to decamp from its office space (and facility for day laborers to congregate) in its namesake Shirlington, SEEC has worked with the Arlington County government to obtain space in Arlington Mill along the Columbia Pike corridor.” [InsideNova]

Dorsey Pushes for Clearer Metro Refund Policy — “When one Metro train crashed into another soon after a Nationals playoff game, Metro decided to cancel its ‘Rush Hour Promise’ refunds for the following afternoon’s commute… Arlington County Board Chair and Metro Board member Christian Dorsey hopes for more discussion about how explicit the terms should be, even if it is not reasonable to foresee every possible event.” [WTOP]

Nearby: New Bank Near Fairlington — “A new Bank of America location is coming to the Bradlee Shopping Center in Alexandria. The space at 3690G King Street was previously home to Queen Bee Designs.” [ALXnow]

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

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Morning Notes

Arlington’s Name Change Centennial — “On Sept. 25, 1919, the Alexandria Gazette published a letter  from the Alexandria County Civic Federation proposing a name change for the County. The letter asserted that Alexandria County was “constantly confused with the City of Alexandria”… Proposed names included George Washington, Arlington, Pocahontas, and Alcova (ALexandria COunty VA).” [Arlington County, InsideNova]

Arlington Nat’l Considering Rule Changes — “Arlington National Cemetery is proposing new rules that would eliminate burial and inurnment eligibility for service members who die on active duty but not in combat, ending a custom that goes back to the cemetery’s founding in 1864. It is one of a series of tough new proposals, requested by the government, that seek to address Arlington’s fast-dwindling space.” [Washington Post]

WJLA May Go Off the Air for Some — Rosslyn-based TV station WJLA (ABC 7) may go dark starting Friday evening for DirecTV, U-verse and AT&T TV Now subscribers. The station’s parent company, Sinclair Broadcasting, is engaged in a heated carriage dispute with AT&T. [FierceVideo. Dallas Morning News]

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Lyon Park barbecue joint Texas Jack’s may be featured in a new reality TV show.

A crew of a new reality show about D.C. area young professionals visited the restaurant’s private dining room last month to film a conversation between one cast member and his father.

The restaurant’s Director of Operations, Remzi Yilmaz, told ARLnow that the cast member himself chose the restaurant as the location.

“This was one of his favorite places,” he said.

Yilmaz said he was not allowed to share details like the name of the show, citing a non-disclosure agreement, but said the crew might be spotted over the next four weeks filming at other area restaurants, as well as landmarks like the Washington Monument

The show is expected to air in January, though the network on which it is airing and other details are murky.

“I think they’re just giving insight into young professionals in this area, and how they live life, and what they go through,” he said.

A camera crew was also spotted last week at Pentagon Row, in Pentagon City, but it’s unclear if the crew was connected with the new reality series.

Texas Jack’s opened in 2015 and replaced the Tallula and EatBar at 2761 Washington Blvd in Lyon Park.

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