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A wild police chase involving a stolen ambulance. A large explosion heard throughout Arlington.

These two stories made it into the top five most-read articles of 2023, listed below, which cap off our countdown to 2024. To our readers, we are grateful you choose ARLnow as your source of local Arlington news.

Remember, our tip line is always open. If you want to support our work, you can become a member of the ARLnow Press Club, which produces monthly deep dives into public safety, sustainability, development and more.

5. This Arlington restaurant was just named No. 1 in Virginia by Washingtonian readers (Dec. 12 | 49,460 views)

Ruthie’s All-Day in Arlington Heights was named the best restaurant in Virginia by Washingtonian magazine in its 46th annual restaurant survey. The restaurant, known for its breakfast biscuit sandwiches and barbecue plates, has previously won a RAMMY award and was featured in the Washington Post’s Fall Dining Guide.

4. BREAKING: Numerous crashes block I-395 after truck hit-and-run suspect steals Arlington ambulance (Aug. 12 | 52,025 views)

A 30-year-old Maryland man is alleged to have led police on a bizarre and dangerous chase through Arlington after crashing a stolen truck into multiple vehicles on I-66 and I-395 and hijacking an ambulance. Several people were injured and more than 20 vehicles, including a state police cruiser, were damaged before the suspect was arrested in D.C.

3. BREAKING: W-L senior and standout soccer player killed in Fairfax County double homicide (May 30 | 52,052 views) 

Braden Deahl, an 18-year-old Washington-Liberty High School senior and talented soccer player, was killed in a suspected drug-related double homicide in Fairfax County. Deahl, remembered for his joyous presence and impact at school, was one of two young men killed while a teen was arrested and charged with robbery resulting in death.

2. BREAKING: Widespread power outages, trees down and other damage in wake of storms (July 29 | 98,952 views) 

Arlington grappled with extensive damage and power outages affecting some 34,000 customers after severe storms tore through the area, resulting in blocked roads, downed trees and power lines, and numerous structure fires.

1. BREAKING: Large house explosion in Bluemont amid police incident (Dec. 4 | 440,357 views)

Bluemont resident James Yoo fired a flare gun multiple times during a standoff with police that prompted some neighbors to shelter in place and others to evacuate. A few hours later, a large explosion destroyed his home and that of the family in the neighboring duplex. Police later declared that Yoo, who had posted several paranoid rants on LinkedIn, was presumed dead. The cause of the explosion is still under investigation. Neighbors were told early on that authorities believe Yoo managed to stockpile some type of explosive material, which is the likely cause of the blast, not natural gas.

This story made headlines in the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, among other national outlets. ARLnow’s article received more views than our No. 1 stories from 2019-2022 — including the fiery crash into Ireland’s Four Courts to buzz about mysterious bug bites — combined.

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Our countdown to 2024 continues today with half of the top 10 most-read articles of 2023.

It was another banner year for breaking news — including a bank robbery, a high school lockdown and a fatal car crash — though thousands jumped on a story defining what salary is the cut-off for Arlington’s “middle class.”

Tomorrow is the last day of the countdown. Check back to see which headline-grabbing events defined 2023.

10. Here’s how much you need to make to be considered middle class in Arlington (April 13 | 43,897 views)

A national ranking found a household needs $84,000-$250,000 to be considered “middle class” in Arlington. The county’s middle income upper limit of $250,000 is behind only San Jose and Fremont, California, where a household could make six figures and still be considered lower middle-class.

9. Suspect in custody after bank robbery and standoff in Clarendon (April 11 | 44,631 views)

A North Carolina man allegedly initiated a tense standoff with police after attempting to rob a Wells Fargo bank in Clarendon. The suspect held five people, including a child, inside the bank, according to ACPD, but police, negotiators, but SWAT teams managed to arrest him and defuse the situation without any injuries.

8. Power being restored after 10,000 in dark around Pentagon City and Crystal City (Aug. 22 | 45,842 views)

Thousands of residents in Crystal City and Pentagon City lost power for several hours after an underground cable failed, resulting in an arc flash that injured a Dominion worker. The incident prompted numerous elevator rescues and the temporary closure of community facilities.

7. Wakefield High School placed in lockdown after report of armed trespasser (Feb. 2 | 47,300 views)

Wakefield High School was placed on lockdown due to reports of a potentially armed trespasser and a threat linked to a recent neighborhood shooting. Heavily armed police officers searched the school and the incident, on the heels of a fatal overdose on school grounds, led to early dismissal.

6. Two dead, one fighting for her life after early morning crash (July 4 | 48,026 views) 

Early in the morning on the Fourth of July, a car struck a tree and caught fire, resulting in the deaths of a 23-year-old driver from Alexandria and a 21-year-old passenger visiting from Tunisia. A third person was critically injured and rushed to a local trauma center.

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We are continuing our countdown to 2024 with this year’s top stories.

Breaking news once more claimed the attention of readers, from a juvenile overdose to some of our follow-up coverage of the Bluemont house explosion that made national headlines.

Lightening up this roster of heavy hitters is a story about the arrival of a lounging Lady Liberty in Arlington and an update on production of the local ‘Real Housewives’ TV series.

The countdown continues tomorrow.

15. BREAKING: Police presence at Wakefield High School after possible overdose (Jan. 31 | 35,277 views)

At the start of the year, medics responded to reports of a possible overdose at Wakefield High School. The ultimately fatal overdose of 14-year-old Sergio Flores prompted a parent march and community conversations and lead Arlington Public Schools and the and county government to ramp up its focus on student mental health and substance use.

14. A lounging Lady Liberty to lie down in Arlington for the next year (July 10 | 37,835 views)

A 25-foot “Reclining Liberty” sculpture relocated from the New York area to the Museum of Contemporary Art Arlington. Inspired by the reclining Buddha, the fresh take on the iconic monument to democracy contrasted with Arlington’s backdrop of monuments to major American wars.

13. NEW: Massive police presence at former Key Bridge Marriott as county condemns building (March 24 | 41,854 views)

Law enforcement and county personnel swarmed the former Key Bridge Marriott in Rosslyn to clear the building of squatters and condemn the property. The hotel was slated for redevelopment but those plans stalled amid financial woes for the developer, and the site instead became a makeshift shelter for unhoused individuals.

12. ‘Real Housewives’ appears to be filming again in Arlington (April 18 | 41,953 views)

Production for Season 8 of “Real Housewives of Potomac” kicked off this spring, featuring cast member Ashley Darby in her new home, apparently purchased by an LLC connected with Monument Realty, the real estate firm founded by her estranged husband, Michael. The home is not far from Clarendon restaurant Oz that the couple, now separated, had run until it closed in 2019.

11. BREAKING: Suspect killed in house explosion, police believe (Dec. 5 | 43,059 views) 

A police standoff in the Bluemont neighborhood ended when the house of 56-year-old James Yoo exploded, ultimately killing him and injuring police officers. Earlier that afternoon, Yoo had barricaded himself in his house and begun firing flares, prompting police to evacuate the family who lived in the adjoining duplex. The story drew national attention and a fundraiser for the evacuated family, who lost their possessions but were unharmed, quickly surpassed its goal.

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Today begins our annual countdown to the New Year with a look back at the most-read articles of 2023.

Breaking news dominated the top 20 this year, though a motorcycle motorcade and pugnacious parents also piqued reader interest, too.

Check back tomorrow to see what crime, arts and entertainment stories beat out the five listed below.

20. UPDATED: Large group of bikers swarm Arlington roads (Aug. 26 | 27,253 views)

Upwards of 100 motorcycle and dirt bike riders caroused from Rosslyn to Crystal City, culminating in shots fired at gas stations near Old Town Alexandria that resulted in multiple injuries.

19. New Ikea location in Pentagon City to open tomorrow (Aug. 15 | 27,812 views) 

Arlington saw a Swedish invasion — sans meatballs — when a new, small-format Ikea “Plan and Order” location opened in Pentagon City. Unlike the large warehouse stores, the 5,000-square-foot store at Pentagon Centre lets customers order kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom solutions for delivery.

18. Three Arlington neighborhoods rank high in ‘Best Places to Live in America’ list (April 7 | 29,097 views)

Niche ranked Colonial Village as the No. 2 “Best Place to Live in America” for its historic garden-style apartments and condos and tree-lined streets. The Ballston/Virginia Square and Radnor/Fort Myer Heights neighborhoods also made the top 25.

17. Parent fight at elementary school graduation ceremony draws police response (June 9 | 32,440 views) 

An altercation among adults — and reports of a child bitten during the fracas — disrupted a fifth-grade promotion ceremony at Oakridge Elementary School, drawing police and medics to the scene.

16. Unassuming Arlington eatery named region’s No. 1 casual restaurant by Washington Post (Jan. 9 | 32,783 views)

The Washington Post named Charga Grill, located in a strip mall on Langston Blvd, the top casual restaurant in the D.C. area for 2022. Critics and diners alike have praised the family-run restaurant, which serves street food and Peruvian, Pakistani and South African chicken dishes.

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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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