The local civic figure who was beaten after trying to intervene in a domestic assault says he doesn’t want jail time for his attacker.
Adam Theo suffered serious injuries after an incident Sunday evening in Clarendon. According to police, Theo saw a man and woman fighting, tried to intervene, and was then punched repeatedly in the face by the man.
More from an ACPD crime report:
MALICIOUS WOUNDING, 2023-05280186, 2800 block of Wilson Boulevard. At approximately 6:39 p.m. on May 28, police were dispatched to the report of an assault with injury. Upon arrival, it was determined the male victim was walking in the area when he observed the male suspect and female subject involved in a dispute, during which the male suspect allegedly assaulted the female subject. The victim attempted to intervene, during which the suspect struck him multiple times before the victim was able to move away from the suspect. The suspect then reapproached the victim, pushed him to the ground and assaulted him before being separated by the female subject and a witness. The male suspect and female subject then fled the scene and were not located by responding officers. The victim sustained serious, non-life threatening injuries and was transported to an area hospital for medical treatment.
Theo, a Transportation Commission member and former Arlington County Board candidate, is a supporter of reform-minded Commonwealth’s Attorney Parisa Dehghani-Taft and her campaign for re-election.
He told NBC 4, which reported on the attack yesterday, that he does not want jail time for his attacker, who remains at large.
“I hope that he gets help and treatment and that he is fixed from his problems,” Theo said. “Anything that can get him into anger management program, that can get him some probation, that he’s watched and he has to show that he’s a better person over time.”
A GoFundMe campaign established to help Theo pay the bills while he recovers and remains out of work has already surpassed $10,000.
“Theo would never ask for help on his own behalf, which is one reason we are,” wrote the organizer, fellow local housing advocate Luca Gattoni-Celli. “Theo is concerned his condition will affect his ability to work in the short to medium term. He was already dealing with a lot of challenges, and richly deserves our help. Please be generous, as he has always been generous to his community. Theo is an Air Force veteran and civic leader in Arlington.”
Read more about Theo's horrible experience here. In typical Theo fashion, he is seeking restorative justice, not revenge, and displaying grace, humor, and humility. https://t.co/MRPgMNLuRL
— Luca Gattoni-Celli (@TheGattoniCelli) May 29, 2023
The long history of Arlingtonians competing on “America’s Favorite Quiz Show™” continues.
Alice Ciciora — a political scientist and researcher who lives in Arlington after moving here from Berkeley, California — is set as a contestant on Friday’s (May 26) episode, with host Mayim Bialik. She will compete against fellow challenger Diandra D’Alessio, a technical writer from Montreal, and the to-be-determined returning champion.
Jeopardy! is now in its 39th season and has featured a number of local residents over the years. The most recent was attorney Luigi de Guzman, who won the last episode of season 38 before losing in the first episode of season 39.
The quiz show airs locally at 7:30 p.m. on WJLA (ABC 7), after Wheel of Fortune.
Arlington Independent Media hopes to open its first satellite studio by early fall.
The non-profit video and audio production studio has begun the build-out at 3700 S. Four Mile Run Drive in Green Valley, Arlington Independent Media (AIM) CEO Whytni Kernodle told ARLnow. They are looking to modernize three underused audio-production studios inside Arlington Arts’ Cultural Affairs Division office, with a focus on providing podcasting space.
Construction is expected to take about four months and cost over $200,000. The aim is to be finished and ready to open sometime in September, Kernodle said.
AIM was established about four decades ago and provides programming for two local cable access television stations and operates the radio station WERA 96.7 FM.
In November, the county approved a lease agreement allowing AIM to take over about 1,100 square feet of space at the Arlington Arts location in Green Valley. It follows the county’s vision for an “arts & industry district” along Four Mile Run.
This new studio in Green Valley represents AIM’s commitment to branching out not just in terms of location but also who is using the studios to tell their story.
“After 40 years, we’ve always existed in one space, always in North Arlington,” Kernodle said. “And our membership has primarily been people over the age of 60, mostly retired, mostly white, mostly male, mostly cis-gendered, mostly English speakers, mostly non-military, and mostly non-disabled. We are trying to change that because that’s not reflective of our community.”
And the hope is that this will not be AIM’s only satellite studio, with Kernodle noting that the organization would love to set up studios in Virginia Square, Rosslyn, and Columbia Pike as well.
The aim is to put production facilities in locations that are accessible to communities that maybe didn’t have the ability to make their voices heard in the past.
“Our goal is to prioritize those voices that have been traditionally underserved or miss-served not just nationally but here in Arlington and here at Arlington Independent Media,” Kernodle said.
She also hopes to use the partnership with the county to turn Arlington’s art scene into the envy of the region.
“[Arlington] is not known for arts and industry. The goal of AIM and my goal is to really make Arlington into the Brooklyn of the D.C. area,” Kernodle said. “We have all the diversity and the resources that Brooklyn values and the proximity to the city as Brooklyn does. And we’re just not honing that because it’s not been centralized.”
Along with production studios, AIM also has access to the county’s “Theater on the Run” to screen films.
This past weekend, AIM hosted a showing of the documentary “The R-Word” as an introduction to the new space for the community. The movie depicts the experiences of persons with intellectual disabilities and how representation matters in telling the story of that community.
Kernodle hopes to have more screenings at the theater of this nature, prioritizing “films of marginalized people.”
With the plan to open AIM Green Valley in a few months, Kernodle believes that this is just the beginning of expanding Arlington’s artistic reputation.
“Our goal is to act as an anchor organization for art transformation and social justice,” she said.
Production is reportedly underway on the Real Housewives of Potomac Season 8, and some filming has been spotted in Arlington.
Cast member Ashley Darby told Northern Virginia Magazine earlier this year that she had “recently bought a new home in Arlington.” Previously, she had lived in a condo in the Courthouse area.
Over the weekend, Darby and at least one other person were seen being filmed outside of a recently-built home, a tipster tells ARLnow.
“At 11:30 a.m., the street was filled with camera crews filming people entering” the house, the tipster said. “Guests were seen signing waivers and receiving microphone packs.”
The home was purchased off-market in October by an LLC whose address corresponds with that of Monument Realty, the real estate firm founded by Darby’s husband Michael, according to Arlington County property records. The couple is separated.
The home is about a half mile from the former Oz restaurant in Clarendon, which Ashley and Michael owned until it closed in 2019. The restaurant had been a Real Housewives filming location and a significant plot point in the show.
It’s unclear how much more ‘Real Housewives’ filming will be done in Arlington for the show’s upcoming season. Ashley, though, told the magazine that she plans to stay in Arlington for the foreseeable future.
Darby loves Arlington and has no plans to leave anytime soon, she says. “I really appreciate the diversity of Arlington,” she says. “I grew up in Maryland. But I really do feel like there is an element of Arlington that encompasses so much more. I love how close I am to DC. I love that there are so many different cultures, like I go to Eden Center all the time, so I just appreciate how diverse it is.” […]
“I love the restaurants, and I’m a big fan of Clarendon,” she says, mentioning that she used to go to The Clarendon Ballroom. “My kids love the parks, too. I think that the way the parks are maintained, and the investment that goes into the parks, is just amazing. There are so many things to do. There’s always a festival or a carnival, and there’s so much community involvement.”
Ahh pickleball, the hottest thing going with senior citizens, Tom Brady’s retirement sport of choice, and an unlikely candidate for the second-most controversial story of the decade in Arlington.
As ARLnow was first to report last year, many neighbors of Arlington’s recently-established pickleball courts have come to vehemently oppose it, owing to the loud “pop” the ball makes when it hits a paddle. The percussive sound can be heard within nearby houses, at all hours of the day and — in the case of lighted courts — into the night.
It’s so infuriating to some neighbors, that there have been organized efforts against the pickleball courts, including threats of lawsuits, in at least two Arlington neighborhoods.
That culminated last month in a campaign of dueling pro- and anti-pickleball flyers and posters distributed around Penrose and the Walter Reed Community Center, where the county is planning to build a sizable cluster of dedicated pickleball courts.
From ARLnow’s Feb. 13 story:
In a flyer that’s now being disseminated around the neighborhood, opponents are leveling accusations of “bullying of our children by pickleball players,” “public urination on playground and sensory garden,” and causing “excessive continuous noise from dawn to 10 p.m. every day.”
If more pickleball courts are added, it will even be more of a “public nuisance” the flyer says. It does not go into greater detail about the accusations.
“Arlington County is giving away our rights to Walter Reed Community Center (WRCC) to build a dedicated Pickleball Cluster,” it reads. “Current issues will get worse with conversion of 3 tennis to 9 pickleball courts.”
The fracas was noted a few days ago by Axios, which led to a lampooning last night on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. (See 0:52)
#Meanwhile… Turf battles over space for pickleball courts have erupted nationwide, and England’s new king is opting for a cruelty-free coronation. #Colbert pic.twitter.com/JftwGXyJGV
— The Late Show (@colbertlateshow) March 8, 2023
Arlington is not alone in stirring up a full-blown pickleball controversy.
In the Boston ‘burb of Wellesley, Mass., news crews descended last week as townsfolk near pickleball courts rattled their sabres against the infernal pop, a matter of civic concern for at least a few months. Pitched pickleball opposition over in Cape Cod prompted the hiring of noise-control consultants and a Wall Street Journal article last summer.
Pickleball players, of course, are inclined to defend their sport, which is rocketing in popularity as a recreational activity and attracting the attention of celebrities, pro athletes and large companies. There are hopes that pickleball paddles and balls will evolve and become quieter. But that’s not going to stop people from playing and there’s an argument to be made that the noise isn’t that bad all the way across the street from a court.
For the time being, though, it’s undeniable that outdoor pickleball can be loud and annoying to at least some neighbors. Which side of the proverbial net are you on?
Hat tip to Flood Czar
A national media outlet has shed some light on a mysterious FBI raid in Arlington earlier this year.
Rolling Stone reports that the raid on a Columbia Pike apartment building, which ARLnow first reported in April, targeted a well-known ABC News producer, James Gordon Meek.
Meek, an Emmy award winner who often broke investigative stories on the topic of national security for the TV network, has reportedly not been seen or heard from publically since the raid. His formerly active Twitter feed’s last tweet was 5 a.m. the morning of the raid, which targeted his apartment on the top floor of the Siena Park apartments at 2301 Columbia Pike, according to Rolling Stone.
From our reporting on April 27:
Photos show several unmarked federal law enforcement vehicles, including a Lenco BearCat armored SWAT vehicle, in front of the Siena Park Apartments on the 2300 block of the Pike.
An agent in camouflage and tactical gear could be seen holding a shield inside the open doors of the moving BearCat.
Arlington County police deferred comment, noting that “the police activity is part of an active FBI investigation.” The FBI, in turn, confirmed the activity but said little else.
“The FBI is present at the 2300 block of Columbia Pike, Arlington, VA, conducting court authorized law enforcement activity,” Washington Field Office spokesperson Samantha Shero tells ARLnow. “The FBI cannot comment further due to an ongoing investigation.”
More details about the investigation are unlikely to be released today or tomorrow, Shero noted.
The raid was initially brought to ARLnow’s attention by local resident John Antonelli, who is quoted in the magazine’s article.
… self-described police-vehicle historian Antonelli was about to grab a coffee at a Starbucks before embarking on his daily three-mile walk. He inched closer to get a better vantage, when he saw an olive-green Lenco BearCat G2, an armored tactical vehicle often employed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, among other law-enforcement agencies. A few Arlington County cruisers surrounded the jaw-dropping scene, but all of the other vehicles were unmarked, including the BearCat. […]
“They didn’t stick around. They took off pretty quickly and headed west on Columbia Pike towards Fairfax County,” Antonelli recalls.
So far, according to Rolling Stone, Meek has not been charged, documents related to the case remain sealed, and it’s unclear why exactly he’s under investion.
It is unusual for federal law enforcement to target a journalist, the magazine noted.
Meek has been charged with no crime. But independent observers believe the raid is among the first — and quite possibly, the first — to be carried out on a journalist by the Biden administration. A federal magistrate judge in the Virginia Eastern District Court signed off on the search warrant the day before the raid. If the raid was for Meek’s records, U.S. Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco would have had to give her blessing; a new policy enacted last year prohibits federal prosecutors from seizing journalists’ documents. Any exception requires the deputy AG’s approval. (Gabe Rottman at the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press says, “To my knowledge, there hasn’t been a case [since January 2021].”)
Meek’s attorney released a statement to Rolling Stone responding to one particular detail of the story.
“Mr. Meek is unaware of what allegations anonymous sources are making about his possession of classified documents,” the attorney wrote.
After 61 years with D.C.’s local NBC station, the teen quiz show “It’s Academic” has a new broadcast home: WETA-TV in Arlington.
And the inaugural episode on the public TV station will feature a team of three Arlington students from Washington-Liberty High School, who will face teams from Herndon High School and W.T. Woodson High School in Fairfax County.
As early as fall 2024, the show could be produced at the local PBS station’s headquarters in Shirlington, at 3939 Campbell Ave, which are currently being renovated. But for now — due to the pandemic — students are participating via Zoom.
For Senior Vice President and General Manager Miguel Monteverde, Jr., bringing the show to WETA was an obvious decision.
“It was a no-brainer,” he tells ARLnow. “There’s no show more local than one that features… 240 of frankly some of our brightest kids, our future leaders, in an education themed quiz show.”
The last few years have been rocky for the independently produced show, which has aired on WRC-TV (NBC 4) since it started in 1961 and holds the Guinness Book of World Records title for the longest-running TV quiz show.
“It’s Academic” was previously filmed in WRC-TV’s historic Studio A in upper Northwest D.C., near the American University campus, until renovations started on that building. The show then bounced around filming locations while still airing on NBC 4.
Then, the show lost its longtime sponsor Giant, which decided to focus on food-related philanthropy. Finally, the pandemic hit, and filming pivoted to Zoom.
Major funding for the show is now provided by McLean-based MITRE. And now, having a new broadcaster — and eventually a new filming location — provides “It’s Academic” with even more security, Monteverde says.
“I’m glad that all the stars were aligned and that we could work out a deal and keep that show going and bring it to the WETA audience,” he said.
For now, kids will still use Zoom to appear on the show, but as early as the spring, the show could be in-person at a yet-undetermined location.
“The kids are just as smart on Zoom as they are in the studio, but they’re eager for the show to be in the studio,” Monteverde said. “You’ve got the parents and family members in the seats, the team mascot. Schools will bring cheer squads. It’s a more visually interesting, festive experience.”
Although renovations to the WETA building could be finished next year, the studio won’t be ready for filming “It’s Academic” until the 2024-25 school year, he said.
“When we’re able to finally get the show in the new WETA studios in a couple of years, it will start to look a little different,” he said. “It’ll still be the quiz show format, but it’ll be in a new studio, so we have an opportunity to give it a fresh look.”
Monteverde approached the producers of “It’s Academic” about switching homes to add to the station’s stock of local shows. He says WETA is investing in local programming to distinguish itself from streaming services and cable television.
A local chainsaw artist made his buzzy debut on a new reality TV show last night.
Ashton Heights native Andrew Mallon is a contestant on the Discovery competition show “A Cut Above,” in which some of the best chainsaw wood carvers in the world compete against one another.
“The competition will test contestants’ artistry, stamina, and carving skills. Each week, the carvers will compete in Quick and Master Carve challenges while racing against the clock in hopes of avoiding elimination,” reads a description of the show. “At the end of the grueling twelve-week competition, the artist who out-carves the rest will win a cash prize and be named ‘A Cut Above.'”
Top chainsaw carvers from around the world will turn wood logs into jaw-dropping art on #ACutAbove⁰⁰ 🪵🪚
🗓 Competition begins this Sunday at 10p ET on Discovery pic.twitter.com/VQ3IgzAArd
— Discovery (@Discovery) September 26, 2022
The show debuted last night at 10 p.m. on the Discovery Channel and, yes, Mallon did make it to the next round, so he will continue to carve in the weeks ahead.
Mallon was contacted to be on the show a few years ago, pre-Covid, by the show’s producers, he told ARLnow. They shot the show earlier this year.
Mallon is known locally for his playful tree carving in Oak Grove Park near Washington-Liberty High School as well as carvings at a number of private residences in Arlington. That includes a bear, an owl, a dragon, and a scene from Greek mythology. He first started carving about a decade ago while working as a carpenter and remodeling houses in Arlington.
“And I just started whittling on pencils. From there, I learned [how] to do it,” Mallon told ARLnow. “Then, I started whittling on some pieces of wood. But I thought that it took too long and… really wanted to do it faster. And I saw some people on tv doing it with a chainsaw and thought ‘Hey, I could do that.'”
A majority of his work is commissioned by private citizens, including many Arlington residents, who have trees that may have fallen or died in their yards. He calls these “stump jobs” and they typically take about four days to complete.
Like a lot of wood carvers, Mallon often finds himself creating “critters” that live in the area like foxes, raccoons, owls, and hawks.
“You’d be surprised by how much detail I can get with a chainsaw,” he said. “I can put hair on a horse and fur on a bear.”
Recently, he’s been doing more “abstract” carvings — a style that has been more in vogue locally.
“I take it to another level where I carve it really far with a chainsaw and then I come back with a sander and sand it really smooth. It makes a lot of my pieces really elegant,” he said. “Most of what I use are large trees… it just lends itself to a beautiful product.”
For those who want to see the newly-minted television star in action, Mallon is currently working on a carving at a private residence near the intersection of N. Pershing Drive and N. Monroe Street in his home neighborhood of Ashton Heights. He says folks are welcome to stop by to watch him work. Mallon is also in the midst of planning a potential new sculpture in Lyon Park.
For those who may want to take up the art of chainsaw wood carving, Mallon’s advice is to “just go for it.”
“Chainsaw is just another tool in the hand,” he said. “Just learn the rules of the tool and… give it a shot.”
An Arlington man is the returning champion to kick off the 39th season of Jeopardy! tonight.
We last saw attorney Luigi de Guzman on the TV quiz show about a month and a half ago, when he won $23,401 by beating out an associate professor from Southern California and the then-returning champ, a nonprofit professional from Alexandria.
Tonight he’ll take on a “paperboy” from Michigan and a financial risk manager from the Chicago area, according to the show’s website.
Jeopardy! airs locally at 7:30 p.m. on WJLA (ABC 7).
Arlington residents have appeared regularly on the long-running show, which is now hosted by legendary former contestant Ken Jennings and actress Mayim Bialik.
Among the Arlingtonians to win at least one episode of the show are journalist Roey Hadar, social worker Blair Moorhead, and foreign service officer Liz Murphy, who also appeared on the show’s Tournament of Champions in 2010 after racking up $121,302 in winnings.
Hhhmmm … pretty sure there's something happening tomorrow.
That's right, it's the premiere of S39! RT if you're ready for new episodes of Jeopardy! pic.twitter.com/Xj8MaWwc8a
— Jeopardy! (@Jeopardy) September 11, 2022
If you want to be transported into the dystopian, violent world featured in Netflix’s “Squid Game,” head to Ballston starting next month.
The “immersive group gaming” experience Immersive Gamebox (formerly Electric Gamebox) at Ballston Quarter is set to debut its newest game on September 21 and it’s one based on Netflix’s popular streaming series.
“Groups of two to six players will navigate challenges inspired by the series including Red Light Green Light, Marbles, and the ‘Squid Game’ itself, among others,” reads a press release. “Players will use the company’s proprietary motion-sensing technology and touch screens surrounding the interactive digital smart rooms, or Gameboxes, where players must test their reflexes and skills to advance — all without the need for headsets.”
The full-scale game is only for players 16 years and older and will become part of Immersive Gamebox’s permanent collection, a company spokesperson told ARLnow.
“Squid Game” is a fictional South Korean show about hundreds of vulnerable people manipulated into playing deadly children’s games to win cash. The series on Netflix premiered last year and is nominated for an Emmy.
“People are constantly seeking new and different ways to remain invested in their favorite content,” Immersive Gambox CEO Will Dean said in a press release. “To reimagine Netflix’s most popular show in an entirely new format offers customers more ways to stay connected to Squid Game.”
The London-based Immersive Gamebox opened its 2,217 square-foot space in Suite 2233 of Ballston Quarter (4238 Wilson Blvd) back in March. There are now 13 locations in both the U.K. and the United States, including the recently-opened one in New York City.
Dean told ARLnow earlier this year that the company chose Arlington as a spot of one of its locations because of “its reputation as a young, vibrant, family friendly community.”
Inside the facility, players will find a series of rooms that can host two to six players for games that last 30 minutes or an hour. Players don motion-tracking visors to play games projected onto the four walls of their “gamebox” room.
Besides Squid Game starting in September, players can also choose games involving aliens, a trip to Mars, and Angry Birds. Ticket prices range from $20 to $40, depending on age and game. The Ballston location is open until 9 p.m. every night.
House Fire Near Columbia Pike — From ACFD last night: “Units are on the scene of a working structure fire in the 3100 BLK of 15th St S. Avoid the area.” [Twitter]
Will ‘NaLa’ Catch On? — “At first, it showed up on freebie water bottles. Then it made its way onto rainbow shirts for Pride Month. In June, it popped up on Instagram as a hashtag, and in July, it was suddenly plastered on the surfboard and silver Airstream set up in a grassy patch of Arlington, declaring to the commuters, dog walkers and joggers strutting by that their neighborhood had earned a new nickname: NaLa.” [Washington Post]
Will Home Prices Fall? — “The real-estate industry’s equivalent of the ‘f-word’ – ‘falling,’ as in ‘falling prices’ – is beginning to be used across the nation even by some who earlier felt that the homes market would withstand economic pressures without seeing declines in sales prices. But in the local area, one expert believes that localities remain largely insulated from the prospect of dropping prices over the near term.” [Sun Gazette]
Latin Masses Curtailed — “Thirteen parishes in the Diocese of Arlington, Virginia, must stop offering Traditional Latin Masses come Sept. 8 under new rules issued Friday by Bishop Michael J. Burbidge to conform with Pope Francis’ liturgical directives. Under the rules, eight other parishes may continue to offer Masses in what is called the Extraordinary Form, but five of those may only do so in other locations besides their churches, including school buildings and a former church.” [Catholic News Agency]
Arlington Man Wins Jeopardy! — Luigi de Guzman, an attorney from Arlington, won Friday’s episode of TV quiz show Jeopardy! with a final score of $23,401. [J! Archive]
Summer School Success — “There were the inevitable glitches, but it appears Arlington Public Schools’ soon-to-wrap-up summer-school program was a relatively smooth endeavor. ‘We’re really excited about all of the great learning,’ Superintendent Francisco Durán said in an update to School Board members on the effort, which attracted 3,152 students, ‘the vast majority’ in person, Durán said.” [Sun Gazette]
Monday Was Dark Star Park Day — From the Rosslyn BID: “While the clouds parted a little later than 9:32AM, we were glad to watch this year’s Dark Star Park Day alignment with all of you!” [Twitter]
It’s Tuesday — Humid throughout the day. High of 89 and low of 75. Sunrise at 6:12 am and sunset at 8:20 pm. [Weather.gov]