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The countdown to 2023 with our most-read stories of this year ends today, on the eve of New Year’s Eve.

Public safety-related breaking news dominated the top 5 stories and comprised a majority of our most-read articles. This year, we are grateful you turn to us for up-to-the-minute news in Arlington.

One of these stories — about a window-smashing spree — was the result of several tips from readers, so remember, our tip line is always open.

5. BREAKING: Teen charged with DUI after Rock Spring crash that killed another teen (Nov. 11 | 41,450 views)

A teenager was arrested in a drunk driving incident that killed Braylon Meade, a well-liked Washington-Liberty High School basketball player, in the Rock Spring neighborhood. A vigil for Meade drew hundreds to the high school.

4. NEW: Two arrested after incorrect order leads to violence at local McDonald’s (Jan. 25 | 42,989 views)

An employee at a local McDonald’s was hit by a thrown water bottle and then assaulted after serving an incorrect order. Police say they tried to pull over the vehicle involved in the dispute and the driver ran two red lights before stopping.

3. Two dozen vehicles have windows smashed during overnight vandalism spree (Oct. 24 | 44,265 views)

Over the course of a week, some 54 windows of vehicles parked across Arlington County were shot out with a BB gun. It was unclear if it was an individual or a group — with some commenters thinking it was teens — but in the end, a 37-year-old Maryland man was arrested for the crimes.

2. Bear spotted casually walking around Arlington today (June 6 | 76,341 views)

A bear spotting prompted a warning from animal control, which said the bear seemed healthy and was likely a male yearling moving through Arlington in his search for a new home habitat.

1. BREAKING: Multiple injuries after car crashes into Ireland’s Four Courts, catches on fire (Aug. 12 | 112,303 views)

Our most-read story of the year was our initial coverage of car crash that caused a blaze inside Ireland’s Four Courts and injured more than a dozen people. Fortunately, everyone who was hospitalized for serious injuries has since been discharged.

The driver, who police determined had a medical emergency prior to the crash, will not face charges. Meanwhile, the pub is rising from the ashes with help from the community, including fundraisers at nearby pubs and a GoFundMe that netted more than $95,000.

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Our countdown to 2023 with the most-read stories of the past year continues today.

The penultimate round up includes more breaking news, heroism and an improbable infiltration.

10. NEW: Quick-thinking customers and first responders helped to save lives, Four Courts manager says (Aug. 13 | 30,219 views)

When an Uber driver plowed into Ireland’s Four Courts this summer, pub-goers sprang into action to help severely injured customers, the driver and at least one passenger of the car. We later featured one of the quick-thinking customers, Timo Klotz, a volunteer firefighter and EMT in Fairfax County.

9. A bunny has apparently infiltrated the Pentagon (Feb. 14 | 31,917 views)

The world’s fluffiest and most adorable secret agent, a bunny, was spotted within the courtyard at the center of the headquarters of the U.S. Dept. of Defense. Not that anyone’s counting (except us), but the tale of this bunny operative garnered more hits than the rogue chicken that received national media attention, a song by Jimmy Fallon and a t-shirt line for its perusal of Pentagon premises.

8. BREAKING: U.S. Marshal Service, ACPD on scene of fatal leap from building (March 25 | 32,293 views)

When the Marshal Service and the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office attempted to serve an arrest warrant for someone suspected in a robbery in Loudoun County, the person tried to flee through the window of a Columbia Forest apartment, fell and died.

7. BREAKING: Shots fired as Arlington officers chase suspect into Fairfax County (Oct. 6 | 33,504 views)

A 27-year-old man fired a semi-automatic pistol with an extended magazine at police in Arlington, sparking a high-speed chase down Route 50 in which several cars were hit. After he was arrested in West Falls Church, the Fairfax County Police Chief said it was “an absolute miracle” no one was injured or killed.

6. Arlington teachers union press release gets national attention after local mom’s edits go viral (Jan. 3 | 34,269 views)

A local homeschooling mom tweeted pictures of grammar and style corrections she says she and her children made to a press release sent by the Arlington Education Association, the union for Arlington Public Schools teachers and staff. The incident happened just two months before AEA’s executive board, including the author of the press release, was ousted amid internal turmoil.

Check back tomorrow for the finale: the top 5 stories of 2022.

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FBI activity on Columbia Pike (courtesy John Antonelli)

Our countdown to 2023 with the most-read stories of the past year continues today.

Up next we have more coverage of what’s next for Whitlow’s, plus news stories about the FBI raid on Columbia Pike and a woman who pepper-sprayed a man taking pictures of his own children.

15. NEW: Whitlow’s is coming back — but not to Arlington (Aug. 4 | 26,009 views) 

We reported that the longtime Clarendon bar on Wilson Blvd, which closed last June, was reopening in D.C — where it all started in 1946 as a greasy spoon eatery and bar — but it was unclear where. It has since reopened just off U Street near Howard University (2014 9th Street NW) and its digs in Arlington have been replaced by nightlife and music venue B Live.

14. Arlington band wins Grammy award (April 4 | 26,663 views)

SOJA, also known as Soldiers of Jah Army, won the Grammy for Best Reggae Album for their 2021 release “Beauty in the Silence.” But not everyone was happy that the all-white band, which formed at Yorktown High School, was chosen over Jamaican artists.

13. ‘Fifteen-minute cities,’ gaining traction in a post-pandemic world, are already here in Arlington (Dec. 20 | 28,523 views)

Around the world, the idea of the 15-minute city — where every important amenity is within a 15-minute walk or bike ride — is gaining popularity. But Arlington has had 15-minute cities for decades now, due to 60 years of transit-oriented development.

12. ACPD: Woman pepper sprayed man for taking photos of children — who turned out to be his own kids (April 13 | 28,886 views)

A woman pepper sprayed someone she believed to be a stranger taking photos of children. The kids, however, were his.

11. NEW: There was an FBI operation on Columbia Pike this morning (April 27 | 29,323 views)

This was our initial story about FBI activity in front of the Siena Park Apartments along Columbia Pike. Several unmarked federal law enforcement vehicles, including a Lenco BearCat armored SWAT vehicle, swarmed what later turned out to be the home of an ABC News producer, according to Rolling Stone.

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Police outside Yorktown High School (photo courtesy Spencer Strebe)

Between now and New Year’s Eve, as in years past, ARLnow will count down to 2023 with the most-read articles this year.

Breaking news of crime and corporate relocations dominated the top 20, although reports of a sighting of tennis star Serena Williams and a low-flying helicopter also piqued the interest of readers.

Check back every day this week to reflect on this year’s biggest stories, featuring tales of heroism, tragedy, triumph, crime and even some animal antics.

20. BREAKING: Parent worried about active shooter may have brought gun to middle school (June 10 | 22,065 views)

Thomas Jefferson Middle School was locked from the outside for extra security while police responded to reports of an armed robbery at a nearby 7-Eleven. Parents, students and teachers were allegedly left in the dark as to why the school was secured and may have been on edge because of the mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas one month before.

19. BREAKING: Arlington scores another major corporate headquarters (June 7 | 23,391 views)

Soon after Boeing moved its corporate headquarters to Arlington, Raytheon Technologies moved its headquarters here from outside of Boston. Now, Northern Virginia is home to a majority of the top five U.S. aerospace and defense companies: Boeing and Raytheon in Arlington, plus Northrop Grumman and General Dynamics in Fairfax County.

18. Don’t worry about that low-flying helicopter near the Alexandria border, Arlington County says (Feb. 23 | 23,436 views)

After flooding Arlington’s Emergency Communications Center with calls, people came to ARLnow to figure out just why a helicopter was flying so low to the ground in Arlington and nearby Alexandria. We believe the mysterious chopper, which belonged to a Utah company, was being used to inspect power transmission lines.

17. Serena Williams appears to have paid a visit to El Pollo Rico in Va. Square this weekend (Aug. 1 | 24,632 views)

Tennis legend Serena Williams was apparently served a heaping portion of chicken and rice from Virginia Square’s Peruvian spot, El Pollo Rico, which the late Anthony Bourdain featured on his show “No Reservations.” She was in town to support her equally-famous sister Venus, who was playing in the Citi Open in D.C.

16. BREAKING: Police on scene after anonymous threat, lockdown at Yorktown High School (Feb. 10 | 24,945 views)

An anonymous caller claiming to be armed with hostages inside of a Yorktown High School bathroom prompted a lockdown, evacuations and a massive police response in and around the school. It turned out to be a false report, one that kick-started Arlington police’s involvement in a statewide push to combat “swatting” calls like these.

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Bear spotted in Arlington in June (photo courtesy Animal Welfare League of Arlington)

Most of the time we save our most-read stories of the year countdown to the end of the year.

But it’s the summer news doldrums, we’re short-staffed, a planned story fell through, and, well, just like that week between Christmas and New Year’s we need to fill some space. Hey, it happens.

It’s not that we don’t have anything to report, it’s just that the things on our coverage calendar will take more time and since our founding in 2010 we’ve stuck to a cadence where we publish throughout the day on weekdays, not leaving large gaps between stories.

So, that’s a very meta way to set up an early look at our most-read stories for the year. For whatever reason, despite robust readership in 2022, the total view numbers for the top stories are noticeably lower than previous years. Whether that’s a product of Facebook algorithms or otherwise, it’s hard to say at this point.

We’ll give you the view numbers at the end of the year (stay tuned), but as it stands today here are the five most-read stories of 2022 so far:

  1. Bear spotted casually walking around Arlington today (June 6)
  2. Anonymous threat prompts lockdown, evacuations at Yorktown High School (Feb. 10)
  3. Two arrested after incorrect order leads to violence at local McDonald’s (Jan. 25)
  4. U.S. Marshal Service, ACPD on scene of fatal leap from building (March 25)
  5. A bunny has apparently infiltrated the Pentagon (Feb. 14)
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On the eve of New Year’s Eve, we’re finishing up our countdown to 2022 with this year’s five most-read stories.

It was a close call for ARLnow’s first and second place stories, which each exceeded 100,000 views and were within 1,000 views of each other. And for the first (and last?) time in ARLnow’s history, an opinion column rocketed into the top 5.

The countdown finishes up as follows.

5. While the Capitol was stormed, a group of men gathered near the Marine Corps War Memorial (March 1 | 56,882 views)

A group of 10 or so men loitered near the Marine Corps War Memorial on Jan. 6, the day of supporters of former President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol. What they were doing there remains unclear, though ARLnow hears that another news organization is working on a story about the gathering.

4. Police officer killed in attack outside Pentagon (Aug. 3 | 65,263 views)

A massive emergency response surrounded the Pentagon this summer after a police officer was attacked and killed at the Pentagon bus platform, outside the Metro station. The assailant, who died on the scene after shooting himself, was identified as a Georgia man who unsuccessfully tried to join the Marine Corps in 2012. That man’s brother is now charged in a double homicide in the Atlanta area.

3.Local couple killed in California plane crash (July 19 | 66,073 views) 

An Arlington couple, Shauna and James Waite, along with Shauna’s father, died in the crash of a small plane in Napa County, California this summer. They are survived by her mother and Shauna and James’ young son. James worked for a California financial technology company and Shauna was a veterinarian. The two were avid runners who rescued a menagerie of animals.

2. Making Room: Stop using leaf blowers (Nov. 22 | 100,472 views)

As the era of columns on ARLnow neared its end, Jane Green published an opinion piece decrying gas-powered leaf blowers for being noisy and emitting copious carbon emissions. More than 425 comments later, it’s our second-most read story of all time.

1. Residents abuzz over mysterious bug bites possibly tied to cicadas (July 28 | 101,215 views)

Residents afflicted with strange, extremely itchy bites began suspecting oak itch mites, a microscopic organism that normally feeds on the eggs and larvae of the oak leaf gall midge — and also, it’s believed, cicada nymphs — but began biting humans. Our top story — later covered by TV stationsthe Washington Post and other national and international outlets — came to us via anonymous tips and a Facebook group discussion. Mercifully, the long-lasting and absurdly itchy bites eventually faded away later in the summer.

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We’re continuing our countdown to 2022 with our most-read stories of 2021.

Up next, in the top 10, we have more coverage from the summer tornado and the storming of the U.S. Capitol, as well as an update on a now two-year-old murder in Ballston.

The penultimate list of stories in our countdown is below.

10. NEW: Baltimore Ravens player arrested in Arlington (March 17 | 34,771 views)

Defensive lineman Broderick Washington, a second-year player on the Baltimore Ravens, allegedly damaged five vehicles with a metal object, plus damaged an apartment door and window, at the Dolley Madison Towers apartment complex. In June, he pleaded no contest to one count of misdemeanor property destruction and the other six charges were dropped, the Baltimore Sun reported. The judge barred him from contacting the victims and visiting the apartment complex.

9. BREAKING: Convoy of emergency vehicles seen heading towards D.C., Va. National Guard to deploy (Jan. 6 | 35,048 views) 

This story contained several updates as we received them on Jan. 6, the day supporters of former President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol. Arlington ambulances were told to avoid transporting patients to hospitals in the District while Arlington police officers, the Virginia National Guard and state troopers were dispatched to help D.C. and Capitol police.

8. BREAKING: Widespread damage after tornado warning issued for Arlington (July 1 | 41,872 views)

The fire department was swamped with service calls after a (relatively) small tornado tore through parts of the county. The calls included one for a man who was trapped after a tree fell on his house. The National Weather Service later confirmed it was a category EF1 tornado, the second-weakest on the Enhanced Fujita Scale scale.

7. BREAKING: Police release surveillance video of ‘person of interest’ in Ballston murder (Jan. 15 | 48,309 views)

Arlington police released video footage of a “person of interest” in the January 2020 murder of 24-year-old Scott Ratigan. ACPD described this person as a White male between 5’6″ and 5’8″ tall with a pigeon-toed gait. In October, the Ratigans increased their reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction in their son’s murder to $50,000. The case remains unsolved.

6. Healthy Paws: Boy dog bumps — the mysterious bulbus glandis (March 8, 2018 | 52,566 views)

For reasons only known to the gods of Google, a 2018 sponsored article explaining the function of a little-known part of male dog anatomy that can cause pup parents alarm continues to grace our top stories for another year.

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The countdown to 2022 with this year’s most-read ARLnow stories continues today.

Falling just outside of the top 10 were the freak tornado that tore through Arlington and a story that stirred up patriotic feelings in ARLnow’s commentariat and which received national attention: Marines rescuing a stranded car during torrential downpour.

15. BREAKING: NWS confirms tornado ripped through North Arlington neighborhoods (July 2 | 22,382 views) 

An EF1 tornado, an exceedingly rare weather event for Arlington, uprooted trees and trampolines and tore siding and shingles off houses as it moved from the City of Falls Church through Waverly Hills and Lyon Village before crossing into D.C. The twister had maximum winds of 90 mph.

14. DEVELOPING: Arlington police aware of ‘non-specific, unconfirmed threat’ this weekend (Oct. 29 | 23,236 views)

Police departments increased police presence throughout Northern Virginia after hearing of an unspecific, unconfirmed threat to shopping centers. Some outlets reported the threat was tied to the terror group ISIS and Arlington police investigated a suspicious vehicle outside Fashion Centre at Pentagon City but found no threat.

13. Four bridges connecting Va. to D.C. will be closed starting Tuesday (Jan. 15 | 26,235 views) 

Ahead of the inauguration of President Joe Biden, a number of bridges connecting Arlington to D.C. were closed for additional security. Biden’s ceremony, days after the storming of the U.S. Capitol, featured historic levels of security.

12. Local TikTok star arrested amid spat with restaurants (Aug. 10 | 30,656 views) 

Here we first encountered Arlington resident Crystal Briscoe, known on TikTok as Coco, who was arrested for ignoring a court order not to talk about a local restaurant employee on social media. A judge later found fault with the order and charges against her were dropped. In the videos leading to her arrest, Briscoe described alleged harassment by employees of two Columbia Pike bars: Rebellion on the Pike and The Celtic House Irish Pub & Restaurant.

11. NEW: Viral video shows Marines helping stranded driver during Thursday’s flooding (Sept. 17 | 34,101 views)

A group of Marines in their dress blue uniforms trudged through floodwaters to help a stranded motorist along Columbia Pike, near the Pentagon, after a storm. During the rescue, documented in a viral TikTok video with nearly one million views as of today, the driver called it “the most American thing ever.”

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(Updated 10:30 a.m. on 12/28/21) Between now and New Year’s Eve, as in years past, ARLnow will count down to 2022 with the most-read articles this year.

Although the pandemic continued to affect our daily lives in numerous ways, COVID-19 stories didn’t break into our top 25. Instead, Arlingtonians will remember 2021 for, among other stories, the storming of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, the rise and fall of Brood X cicadas, and the phenomenon that was a local TikTok personality’s legal travails.

The countdown begins below.

25. NEW: Authorities investigating reports of dead and sick birds around Arlington, region (May 26 | 15,772 views)

This spring, dead birds became an eerily common sight along local roads and sidewalks and a hot topic among residents and local and state authorities. ARLnow had one of the earliest news accounts of the phenomenon. Officials investigated different theories for the deaths last summer, but as of our last report, the cause was still a mystery.

24. UPDATED: Wakefield HS football players called racial slurs during recent game (March 18 | 16,044 views)

Wakefield and Marshall high school football players were suspended from three games for fighting that Wakefield students say broke out after they were called racial slurs. Wakefield athletes and parents protested the suspensions and demanded accountability for what they said was the latest example in a pattern of game officials and schools tolerating such behavior. Marshall parents and coaches denied these accusations.

23. UPDATED: Police investigating after two people found dead in apartment (Dec. 22 | 16,552 views)

Last week, we reported that Arlington County police launched an investigation after two people were found dead in an apartment in the Ashton Heights neighborhood near Ballston.

22. JUST IN: Whitlow’s says it will close in June, but may reopen elsewhere (March 24 | 16,663 views)

Longtime local watering hole Whitlow’s on Wilson poured its last drink this summer. The space is set to be filled with a Five Guys and a restaurant and bar called “B Live,” details of which are not known except its association with local nightlife entrepreneur Michael Bramson.

21. Two hurt in morning robbery of local pharmacy (Aug. 18 | 16,934 views)

Two people were hurt in an armed robbery of Preston’s Pharmacy on Route 29 one August morning. The pair brandished guns at employees, sprayed pepper spray, and stole medicine, cash and a witness’s wallet.

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It’s here: with the clock ticking down to 2021, we present the top 5 most-read ARLnow stories of 2021.

Thank you for supporting local news in 2020. We look forward to expanding our team and providing even more local coverage next year.

5. Healthy Paws: Boy Dog Bumps — The Mysterious Bulbus Glandis (March 8, 2018 | 51,086 views)

This sponsored article on the anatomy of a male puppy’s underside from 2018 picked up lots of Google search traffic this year. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

4. BREAKING: Virginia is Now Under a Stay-at-Home Order (March 30 | 68,631 views)

“The order, announced Monday afternoon, takes effect immediately and is intended to dramatically slow the rapid spread of the COVID-19 outbreak. There are currently 86 reported coronavirus cases in Arlington County and 1,020 cases statewide, according to the Virginia Dept. Of Health.”

3. BREAKING: Arlington Announces First Coronavirus Case (March 9 | 77,418 views) 

Arlington’s first confirmed positive COVID-19 case came on a day in which the Dow plunged 2,000 points and the realization that the world was about to change started to settle in. The individual who tested positive was “an individual in their 60s who recently returned from international travel.”

2. Arlington County Now Reporting Most Coronavirus Infections in Virginia (March 17 | 92,057 views)

“As of noon today, the Virginia Dept. of Health reported 13 coronavirus cases in Arlington. That’s the highest count of any individual jurisdiction in the state — up from 9 cases in Arlington yesterday.” Meanwhile, restaurants were starting to announce temporary closures and officials were urging people to “practice social distancing” — a new term that required a link as an explanation.

1. BREAKING: Arlington Officers Ordered to ‘Immediately Leave D.C.’ (June 1 | 104,290 views) 

After ARLnow reported exclusively that Arlington County police officers in riot gear were assisting with crowd control near the White House, amid Black Lives Matter protests, President Trump made his infamous walk over to St. John’s Church for a photo op. Arlington officers were pressed into duty to push the crowd back, as federal officers around them used tear gas and what some described as excessive force. That prompted the Arlington County Board to recall officers deployed to the District on a mutual aid agreement with U.S. Park Police.

ARLnow will resume our local coverage on Monday. Happy new year, Arlington!

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The countdown to 2021 with ARLnow’s top stories of 2020 continues today with Nos. 6-10.

The following were among our most-read articles of the year. Nos. 1-5 will be revealed tomorrow.

10. JUST IN: Distance Learning to Start School Year ‘Very Probable,’ APS Says (May 22 | 40,495 views)

In May, interim Superintendent Cintia Johnson braced parents for the possibility of distance learning, a decision that would come over the summer. Although Arlington Public Schools eyed a hybrid model, the system ultimately decided on a fully remote model, with plans to return high-needs students over time.

9. BREAKING: Man’s Death in Ballston Ruled a Homicide (Jan. 21 | 42,268 views)

A 24-year-old man dead was found dead in his apartment, which reportedly smelled strongly of bleach. His death — which police said was a result of “trauma to the upper body” — was declared a homicide. It was Arlington’s first homicide of the year. Police have not provided any recent updates about the case; at last check no arrests have been made.

8. Police: Man Threw Dogs from Apartment Balcony (April 28 | 45,534 views)

A 26-year-old man was arrested without bond for tossing two dogs — one of which was his — to their deaths from his fifth-story apartment at the Meridian apartment building at 1401 N. Taft Street. The suspect, Zachary Hanson, entered an Alford plea earlier this month and is set to be sentenced in February.

7. JUST IN: Arlington Opening Drive-Through Coronavirus Testing Site (Mar. 17 | 46,482 views)

In mid-March, Arlington County and Virginia Hospital Center partnered to set up a drive-through coronavirus testing site in a county-owned property across from Washington-Liberty High School. At the time, Arlington had 13 cases, the highest of any Virginia locality.

6. JUST IN: Northern Virginia to Enter ‘Phase 2’ Reopening on Friday (June 9 | 51,034 views)

Readers eagerly awaited the news that came in early June: Gov. Ralph Northam would be reopening restaurant dining rooms, indoor gyms, and some entertainment and recreation spaces, on June 12. Since then, Virginia has reinstated some restrictions as cases climb and surpass the peaks seen this spring.

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