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!
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.
The countdown to 2021 with this year’s most-read ARLnow stories continues today. Falling just outside the top 10 were stories about a banner, a burglary, a bear, and an early coronavirus case in Arlington.
15. Yorktown Principal Apologizes for Banner Seen as Racist (May 21 | 37,228 views)
A banner with a collage made from Yorktown High School senior portraits used students of color as the black outline of the school’s logo, sparking criticisms that led to the banner’s removal. The principal apologized and Arlington Public Schools attributed the design to the printing company’s software.
14. Police: Store Employee Charged After Shooting Would-Be Thief (March 29 | 37,388 views)
An employee of Arlington Smoke Shop in Green Valley was charged after shooting and seriously wounding one of three suspects who broke into the store early in the morning. Owner Jowan Zuber twice appeared on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show to decry the charges. According to Zuber’s GoFundMe campaign, the employee was granted a partial release until his upcoming trial.
13. Neighborhood Abuzz Over Bear Sighting in East Falls Church (May 27 | 37,455 views)
A bear was spotted near Bishop O’Connell High School, and later closer to I-66, generating tons of chatter on social media. Although the Animal Welfare League of Arlington animal control unit responded, it did not locate the yearling male.
12. JUST IN: Coronavirus Patient Worked in Crystal City Office (March 9 | 38,897 views)
In the early days of the virus, when news outlets tracked individual cases, ARLnow reported exclusively that someone who worked in two Crystal City office buildings, owned by JBG Smith, tested positive for COVID-19.
11. BREAKING: N. Glebe Road Blocked By Serious Crash (April 22 | 39,515 views)
A crash, involving a vehicle that careened down an embankment, resulted in three injuries and a large rescue response, blocking N. Glebe Road between Walker Chapel and Chain Bridge. The teen driver, who walked away from the crash, was later charged with driving under the age of 21 after illegally consuming alcohol. The two passengers were seriously injured.
Our top stories countdown will continue tomorrow.
Readers used ARLnow’s coverage to find marches in solidarity with Black Lives Matter, restaurants offering takeout and delivery during the shutdown, and other local news and information. Arlington also remembered one of its own, Colton Poythress, who died in August.
20. Wakefield Graduate and Former Varsity Quarterback Dies at 20 (Aug. 17 | 34,364 views)
This summer, Wakefield High School 2018 grad Colton Poythress died at age 20. Poythress helped clinch Wakefield’s first district championship in 40 years, and helped end the varsity baseball team’s 20-season losing streak in 2017.
19. List: Arlington Restaurants That Are Offering Delivery or Takeout (March 23 | 34,450 views)
After Gov. Ralph Northam ordered restaurants to close for dine-in customers, ARLnow published a list of 150 restaurants in Arlington that switched to pickup and delivery models. The list included restaurants with plans to give back to the community.
18. Petition Asks Arlington Schools to Ditch Microsoft Teams and Use Zoom Instead (July 27 | 35,930 views)
Arlington Public Schools teachers petitioned the school system to switch to Zoom, following the news that APS was planning to start the 2020 school year virtually. Despite their complaints of technical issues with Microsoft Teams, the school system stuck with the software.
17. County Workers Remove Black Lives Matter Chalk Art on Juneteenth (June 19 | 37,150 views)
ARLnow broke the story that the County sent Black employees to power wash a second-grade girl’s Black Lives Matter chalk art, after a resident complained about “graffiti.” This happened on Juneteenth — the day the last African Americans were freed from slavery. The county apologized and ARLnow obtained a memo from County Manager Mark Schwartz.
16. Protest Marches Planned in Arlington Through Sunday (June 4 | 36,033 views)
After news spread of the killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, residents and organizations planned marches against racism and in support of racial reform. People marched from Courthouse to Clarendon, through Green Valley and all the way to the White House.
The countdown of the top 30 most-read Arlington articles of 2020 continues today, with numbers 21-25.
The pandemic dominated the headlines this year, but there were big stories on other topics as well.
25. Virginia’s ‘Phase 2’ Reopening to Start Friday, But Will Exclude N. Va. for Now (June 2 | 30,808 views)
“Northam said delaying Phase 2 for Northern Virginia will ‘allow for additional monitoring of health data.’ As of Tuesday, Arlington has reported 236 new coronavirus cases and 10 new hospitalizations over the past seven days.”
24. BREAKING: Arlington County Declares Local Emergency (March 14 | 31,339 views)
“While sitting a safe distance away from each other, members of the Arlington County Board voted 4-0 to approve a declaration of local emergency this morning, amid the coronavirus outbreak.” Even though mask usage was not being widely encouraged at that point, it’s still striking to see photos of groups of people unmasked as the pandemic raged.
23. Another Jump in Coronavirus Cases in Arlington, Fairfax County (March 25 | 31,494 views)
“As of noon on Wednesday, Arlington had 46 known coronavirus cases, an increase from 36 cases on Tuesday. Neighboring Fairfax County, meanwhile, saw its reported cases jump to 76, from 43 on Monday.”
22. Northam Announces New Coronavirus Restrictions in Virginia (Nov. 13 | 31,883 views)
In more recent pandemic news: “The restrictions… include slashing the maximum size of indoor and outdoor gatherings, reducing the age for the state’s mask requirement, and a 10 p.m. alcohol sales curfew at all restaurants and other dining and drinking establishments.
21. BREAKING: Va. Attorney General Sues Advanced Towing (June 25 | 33,330 views)
There is no love lost between Advanced Towing and those whose cars have been involuntarily relocated by the prolific towing outfit. So there was some celebrating in the comment section when it was announced that the company was being sued by Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring. The suit noted at least two incidents in which Advanced illegally towed police vehicles.
Our top stories countdown will continue next week.
(Updated at 1:55 p.m.) Between now and New Year’s Eve, as in years past, ARLnow will be counting down the most-read articles on the site in 2020.
Needless to say it was a year to both remember and forget, with the pandemic dominating local headlines. But there are plenty of other local news stories that will appear in our countdown, which serve as a reminder that life went on, despite the deadly virus that largely defined the year.
The countdown begins below.
30. List: Black-Owned Businesses In Arlington (June 5 | 26,759 views)
Amid a racial reckoning in Arlington and throughout the U.S., ARLnow compiled a list of brick-and-mortar, consumer-facing businesses in Arlington helmed by Black local business owners.
29. JUST IN: Authorities Warn of Possible Measles Exposure in Arlington (Jan. 31 | 27,115 views)
In what now seems like a quaint exercise in sensible public health policy, Arlington County publicly warned about a potential measles exposure at a restaurant in Crystal City. The restaurant subsequently threatened to sue ARLnow.
28. BREAKING: Second Coronavirus Case Reported in Arlington (March 12 | 27,417 views)
“An individual associated with Christ Church in Georgetown, where a pastor was diagnosed with the disease, developed symptoms consistent with COVID-19 while self-quarantined at home and tested positive for the disease, the county said.”
27. Blue Angels, Thunderbirds to Fly Over Arlington on Saturday (May 1 | 29,734 views)
A big military flyover of several cities, intended to boost the country’s morale after weeks of pandemic lockdown, attracted lots of attention for its D.C. area leg.
26. County Manager’s Memo Regarding Removal of Black Lives Matter Chalk Art (June 22 | 30,498 views)
After ARLnow broke the story of Black county employees being dispatched to power wash away a little girl’s Black Lives Matter chalk art, we subsequently obtained a soul-searching memo from County Manager Mark Schwartz.
Our top stories countdown will continue tomorrow.
It’s finally time: we’re just hours away from the ball dropping in Times Square, and we can now reveal the top 5 most-read Arlington stories of 2019.
There’s a theme for this year’s top articles: they’re all breaking news stories.
We’re grateful for the Arlington community trusting ARLnow to quickly and accurately report the big local stories as they’re breaking. We’ll continue to provide up-to-the-minute coverage in 2020, now with the added resources of a slightly bigger news team and a new staff photographer.
Without further ado, here are the top stories of the year:
5. Traffic Nightmare Continues As I-495 Inner Loop Remains Closed (41,253 views)
A tanker truck that overturned on the Beltway caused an extended closure of the Inner Loop that extended through the evening rush hour and into the night. That, in turn, produced the most apocalyptic traffic Arlington has seen, at least since the unexpected evening rush hour snow event in January 2016. Fun fact: the photos of a solid 1.5+ mile line of traffic on N. Glebe Road, approaching Chain Bridge, was taken while walking ARLnow’s official newshound, Barley.
Just talked to someone in traffic on Glebe about 1.5 miles from Chain Bridge. He said they’ve spent the past 3 hours in traffic. Other drivers have been pulling onto side streets to rest, walk the rest of the way or find a bathroom to use.
— Arlington Now (@ARLnowDOTcom) March 29, 2019
4. Police Investigating Death at Whole Foods Parking Lot (49,684 views)
A man was found dead in a car in the Clarendon Whole Foods parking lot one summer night in August. Police investigated and determined that “there is no known threat to the public.” Such language often suggests either a death from a medical emergency or from suicide, though no cause of death was publicly announced.
3. Torrential Rain Causes Major Flash Flooding in Arlington County (64,709 views)
This, in our opinion, was the biggest Arlington news story of the year. The July 8 flash flooding in Arlington was more widespread and damaging than perhaps even our reporting conveyed. What started as a seemingly simple heavy rain became a historic deluge, ending with hundreds, if not thousands, of flooded basements around the county. Homeowners and local businesses alike were left cleaning up a soggy mess, as were some car owners who parked in the wrong place or drove into high standing water (don’t do that!) Eventually an emergency was declared and disaster relief made available. Arlington County not only reported millions in damages to public property, but is now likely to spend many millions more in flood mitigation efforts over the next decade or more.
BREAKING: Serious flooding continues to be reported around Arlington. Several cars disabled at the flooded intersection of Lee Highway and N. Kirkwood Street https://t.co/jpktmsSOyQ
— Arlington Now (@ARLnowDOTcom) July 8, 2019
2. Mass Panic in Ballston After Unsubstantiated Report of Active Shooter (69,711 views)
We now know what happened: a teenager who shouted a video game reference — “Pennywise has sharpshooter activated” — at a showing of the movie “IT Chapter 2” accidentally caused a mass panic, with people in Ballston running away in terror, hearing rumors of a mass shooting at the mall. The panic made national news even though it was completely unfounded, a sign of the times when mass shootings are an all-too-common occurrence. If we may brag a bit: thanks to our on-the-ground reporting, ARLnow reported very early and very clearly that there was a “panic” but “no evidence of a shooting.” On this particular night, breathless reporting about a “possible mass shooting” without the disclaimer, as could be seen on social media and elsewhere, only served to frighten, not inform.
BREAKING: Panic in Ballston after report of shooting, but no evidence of a shooting has been found so far https://t.co/PGEiOG5H8G
— Arlington Now (@ARLnowDOTcom) September 15, 2019
1. Two Shot in Crystal City Office Building (92,320 views)
The initial scanner dispatch rang a bell in our newsroom: police were dispatched to an office in Crystal City for a report of a man having a domestic dispute with a woman who worked in the office. A similar dispatch, to the same office, had piqued our attention a month earlier and prompted an ARLnow editor to Google the name of the office and its address. This time, however, the nature of the call became more dire — 911 callers from inside the office were telling police that the man had locked himself in a room with the woman and that he might have a gun. Officers arrived on scene and shortly thereafter came another radio transmission: “shots fired, shots fired!” That’s how the double shooting in Crystal City on Aug. 28, our most-read story of the year, played out in real time. It turns out that the suspect, Mumeet Muhammad, was a convicted murder, and both he and an officer fired weapons during the incident. Muhammad and the woman were both shot — it’s unclear by whom, exactly — but survived.
BREAKING: Police responding to shooting in Crystal City https://t.co/IQujtr0J14
— Arlington Now (@ARLnowDOTcom) August 28, 2019
Feel free to discuss the most-read stories of 2019, or any other local stories, in the comments. Have a great new year, Arlington — see you in 2020!
Here are top stories #6-10:
10. Trees, Wires Down and Power Out After Tornado Warning (35,114 views)
A brief but powerful storm produced damaging winds that knocked down trees and power lines across a wide swath of Arlington. Shortly after the storm, Arlington’s 911 system was said to be “slammed” with calls and more than 35,000 Dominion customers were reported to be without power. N. Glebe Road was blocked near Ballston due to multiple large trees and utility poles down.
9. Amazon Holding ‘Career Day’ in Crystal City (36,241 views)
There was significant interest in our article about Amazon’s big “career day” in Crystal City, presumably due to significant interest in high-paying jobs with one of the world’s biggest tech companies. Arlington’s Amazon Career Day was one of six the company held, in an effort to fill some 30,000 open positions worldwide. As of the end of 2019, Amazon had only hired about 400 people for its growing HQ2 presence in Arlington.
8. Shooting Outside Pentagon City Mall (38,289 views)
A masked, would-be robber was shot and killed in the Pentagon City mall parking garage, according to police. Early reports of a shooting outside the perpetually-crowded mall might have initially prompted fears of an active shooter-type incident just days before the Fourth of July, but that was not the case as the shooting turned out to be an isolated incident.
7. Clarendon Ballroom Is Closing (39,717 views)
There is perhaps no closer sentimental attachment to a local business than that of one’s favorite watering hole from their young-and-single days. For thousands of people, that’s Clarendon Ballroom, which is closing after one last New Year’s Eve bash tomorrow. While we would have liked to do a retrospective about the Ballroom and its two decade run, a co-owner declined to share a reason for the closing and declined ARLnow’s request for interviews about the history of the venue.
6. Arlington Police, FBI Arrest 9 After Prostitution Bust (40,678 views)
There are still some questions around this story about nine people being arrested in a sex trafficking sting. For instance, why did a joint ACPD-FBI child sex trafficking investigation not turn up any children who were being sex trafficked? Why most were most of the people arrested from at least an hour away? Why did the police department decide to put out a press release when it doesn’t include misdemeanor prostitution charges in its normal crime reports? And why did this story get more than 40,000 views?
ARLnow’s countdown will continue tomorrow with No. 1-5.
Yesterday we kicked off our annual retrospective of the most-read stories of the year.
Today the list is continuing with No. 11-15.
15. Officials Warn of Foodborne Illness Outbreak in Arlington and N. Va. (25,093 views)
An outbreak gastrointestinal illness called Cyclosporiasis sickened dozens in Northern Virginia, including in Arlington. The outbreak involved “two large businesses.”
14. ‘Best of Nextdoor’ Highlights Lee Highway Taco Bell Drama (27,819 views)
The terrific Twitter account Best of Nextdoor, which highlights funny and weird posts from the neighborhood social networking website, shined its spotlight on Arlington in November. The account posted a screenshot of a Nextdoor post complaining about the Taco Bell on Lee Highway and an incident in which a woman was reprimanded for taking “15-20 sauce packets.”
13. Boil Water Advisory In Effect After Large Water Main Break (29,128 views)
A massive water main break closed a portion of N. Glebe Road and prompted a large portion of the county to be placed under a boil water advisory for much of the day. A heroic effort by Arlington Dept. of Environmental Services crews resulted in water service being quickly restored and the road reopening by the weekend.
12. Arlington Man Causes a Stir As Max Scherzer Doppelganger (29,478 views)
Amid Nationals World Series elation, Arlington and the D.C. sports world was captivated by the tale of Arlington resident Kevin Kramer, who bears such an uncanny resemblance to pitcher Max Scherzer that he needed a police escort during the Nats World Series parade.
11. Arlington Man Survived on Coca-Cola for Five Days After Falling at Home (34,389 views)
ARLnow’s Vernon Miles broke the story, which subsequently received considerable national attention, of a local man who fell at home and survived only on Coca-Cola for five days until help arrived.
The top stories countdown continues Monday
For the next week ARLnow will be counting down the most-read articles of 2019.
We’re kicking off the retrospective today with articles #16-20.
20. Flooding and Power Outage Force Westover Stores to Close (21,167 views)
During the July 8 flash flooding, some Westover businesses — including Ayers Hardware and Westover Market — were among the hardest-hit. Photos and video showed flooded basements and water gushing out of the front doors. Ayers in particular is still recovering; despite receiving tens of thousands of dollars in donations, the store was subsequently hit hard by the trade war and tariffs.
19. Person Struck by Train at Courthouse Metro Station (21,354 views)
A person intentionally jumped in front of a Metrorail train at the Courthouse Metro station and died at the scene. The incident happened during the Thursday evening rush hour, causing significant delays for Metro riders.
18. Dehghani-Tafti Defeats Stamos in Commonwealth’s Attorney Race (22,256 views)
Arlington and Fairfax counties elected progressive criminal justice reform advocates as Commonwealth’s Attorney, to the surprise of some who assumed voters would continue to cast ballots for more moderate, law-and-order oriented prosecutors. Despite a huge (relatively speaking) fundraising haul, Dehghani-Tafti seemed almost surprised by the result. Formerly a public defender, Tafti has since the election been working to prepare for the top prosecutor job and select her staff. She takes office after the new year.
17. The Dating Divide Between D.C. People And Arlingtonians (22,981 views)
This extensively-reported article on dating those who live on the other side of the Potomac River went viral locally and spawned a healthy discussion over whether the distance between D.C. and Arlington is or is not surmountable when it comes to sparking romance. One key quote from a professional matchmaker, who was asked about the impact of Amazon’s HQ2 on the local dating scene: “If it’s anything like the headquarters in Seattle, D.C. and Arlington better buckle up. There’s going to be a lot of new single people in town.”
16. Oz Restaurant in Clarendon to Close (24,406 views)
Arlington’s most visible entree into the world of reality television said a final g’day to Clarendon this summer. The Australian restaurant had a rocky start but eventually found its footing with the help of a new chef, a popular weekend brunch and an active bar scene. Running a restaurant is hard work, however, and owners Ashley and Michael Darby, of “Real Housewives of Potomac” fame, called it quits as their first child arrived. As chronicled on Instagram, Darbys appear to be keeping busy raising baby Dean, making TV appearances and traveling.
Our top stories countdown will continue Friday.
The year is nearly at an end, and so is our countdown of 2018’s top stories.
But our top five contains a bit of TMZ-related drama, Amazon and (of course) cheesecake.
Cleveland Cavaliers center Tristan Thompson brought a bit of national attention to Virginia Square’s Darna Lounge when he was caught on tape at the night spot. His relationship with Kardashian remains a bit rocky, but things are looking up for Darna after a tough year, at least — the lounge earned the full blessing of county officials to stay in business this fall, after inspectors briefly closed it earlier this year.
4. Elementary School Principal Dies Unexpectedly (25,938 views)
Patrick Henry Elementary School Principal Annie Turner’s sudden passing shocked parents and students alike back in April. The school system subsequently named assistant principal Cameron Snyder to take over on an interim basis. Many, if not all, of the school’s students will move to the new Alice West Fleet Elementary School next year.
3. Hazmat Situation at Marine Corps Headquarters (26,842 views)
Employees at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall got a bit of a scare in late February, when a certified letter was opened in one of its buildings and containing some sort of potentially hazardous substance. Several people began feeling ill shortly after the letter arrived, prompting the full evacuation of the base.
It’s rare that a trip through our Google Analytics dashboard yields much more than a few interesting curiosities, but those readership figures helped us break one of the biggest stories of the year back in February. Amazon employees seemed awful interested in a seemingly obscure piece of environmental news about Arlington, providing perhaps the clearest indication yet that Jeff Bezos’ firm was eyeing the county for a new headquarters. Of course, the frenzied speculation proved to be correct in the end, with Amazon tabbing Arlington for half of its vaunted “HQ2,” and 2019 is sure to see plenty more stories as the county braces for the tech giant’s impact.
Who would’ve ever predicted that ARLnow’s most popular story of 2018 would be about cheesecake? Surprising though it may be, our story describing the frenzied scene at the Clarendon Cheesecake Factory during a particularly poorly managed Doordash giveaway truly went viral, with everyone from cable TV networks to national newspapers picking up the story.
With nearly 212,000 views, the story stands as one of our most popular stories of all time. But it couldn’t quite beat out last year’s “Public Fornication Leads to Police Altercation,” which remains our leader with more than 253,000 page views.
Here’s to hoping that 2019 helps us top it.