The church has vowed to replace the sign and now it has a message for the vandal or vandals who defaced it.
The Rev. Dr. Katy Dwyer published the following open letter “to the person(s) who altered our sign” over the weekend, inviting them to join a conversation on racial justice at the church Monday night.
Altering the sign we placed on our lawn by deliberately cutting out the word “Black” from the phrase “Black Lives Matter” was a passionate expression. I can make assumptions about what you might have meant by this. However, I can only speculate. This open letter is an invitation for you to join our sacred conversation.
The conversation we have been having has been challenging, powerful, and vulnerable. Those of us who join in the conversation are not all of one mind. We are all learning and growing together. We agree with one another to speak about our own experience, to practice forgiveness, to respectfully challenge one another, and to assume good intentions.
I want to share with you what I heard through your action, and I welcome you to tell me if I am wrong. I will also share my response to what I think I am hearing. I sense anger in your passionate expression. Cutting out the “Black” in this sign sounds like you are shouting “Lives Matter. ALL Lives Matter!” I am aware that when the American Cancer Society is raising money or creating awareness about cancer, no one shouts “All Diseases Matter!” Perhaps you assume that our congregation does not value all lives. Perhaps you feel threatened in some way by positive attention given to the Black community.
Your action this week felt like a contribution to our conversation, and I want to extend the same commitments to you as I do to our other conversation partners from several races and cultures.
Our year-long sacred conversation on racial justice and our public witness that Black lives matter began from a place of compassion and curiosity. Compassion for the Black lives that are being killed, oppressed, and threatened. Curiosity about what our congregation and community might do to help create a more just and equal future.
We meet again this Monday at 7:30 p.m. The topic is Color-Blindness. Most white people think we have two choices: to be racist or to be colorblind. We will talk about whether there might be a more valuable third option.
I hope you will consider joining us. You will be welcome.
Grace and peace,
Rev. Dr. Kathryn N. Dwyer
A “Black Lives Matter” sign outside of Rock Spring Congregational church was vandalized earlier this week.
The church, at 5010 Little Falls Road near Yorktown High School, says that the word “Black” was cut out of the sign at some point between Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.
“We notified the Arlington police and we have ordered a new sign to replace the one that has been vandalized,” Rev. Kathy Dwyer told congregants via email (below).
Dear Members and Friends of Rock Spring,
I am writing to let you know that at some point between Tuesday evening at 9:30 p.m. and Wednesday morning at 8:00 a.m. the sign we have on our lawn inviting people to join us in a sacred conversation on racial justice and stating that black lives matter was vandalized. The word “black” was deliberately cut out from the sign, as shown below. We notified the Arlington police and we have ordered a new sign to replace the one that has been vandalized.
Several people saw the sign or heard about the incident and have reached out. Elizabeth Woolford, a member of Rock Spring and a student at Yorktown High School wrote to me. With her permission, I share the following from her note, “I wanted to share that today is one of the days I could not be more proud to be a member of Rock Spring. I woke up this morning and a group message I am in with 10+ other Yorktown HS members were passionately discussing the recent defacement of our church’s Black Lives Matter sign. I just went on Facebook to discover that several different Yorktown students …had posted about their sadness for the continual resistance we’ve received from our sign. Rock Spring’s discussions and our stand on racial justice are reaching far beyond our church community. For these people, it is a sign (literally) that there are parts of the Arlington community that are working towards a better, just filled, and equal future, and prompting thought filled discussions amongst the future voters and politicians in the high school community. I hope that our sign will once again remain up, as our resilience to resistance is resounding deeply, especially with the teens I know, as a beacon of hope.”
We will continue to bear witness with faith and courage. Our next sacred conversation is scheduled for this coming Monday, November 16 at 7:30 p.m. in the Saegmuller Room.
Photo courtesy Rev. Kathy Dwyer
An American flag that was flying outside of American Legion Post 139 in Virginia Square was apparently stolen earlier this morning.
Sharon Walker, the club manager at the post at 3445 Washington Blvd, said she noticed the flag was gone when she went to check on a mural currently being painted on the side of the building. The POW flag, which flies below the American flag, was lying on the ground and the rope that held the American flag was torn she said.
She first thought that someone had saw it on the ground and picked it up, but that didn’t quite add up, she said.
“If someone had picked it up, they’d also pick up the POW flag,” Walker said.
She asked neighbors if they saw a person take the flag, but so far no one has seen anything, she said. This is the first time in her 31 years at Post 139 that someone has stolen the flag.
A mural of an American flag is currently being painted on the side of the building, and artist Scott LoBaido said there is something ironic about the situation — that the flag was stolen while he was painting the huge mural.
“It just broke my heart,” he said. “It just broke my spirit.”
LoBaido is currently on a mission to paint an American flag on a VFW or American Legion post in every state. The Arlington American Legion is the last stop on his 50-state tour and this is the first time someone stole a flag while he was painting a mural.
“It’s the last one I’m doing. It’s Arlington, Virginia. It’s the Arlington National Cemetery,” he said. “That’s what it is all about.”
LoBaido filed a police report online, but he hasn’t heard back from the Arlington County Police Department. He said he hopes one of the buildings nearby has camera footage of the person stealing the flag. He checked in with the building across the street, but it did not have cameras.
“I consider it a hate crime,” he said. “It’s vandalism. It’s against the law.”
Desecrating the flag from an American Legion post doesn’t make a political statement, he said, it only hurts the service members who fight for it.
“You don’t desecrate the flag because you’re hurting the men and women who gave you the right to protest,” he said.
He urges anyone who saw something to call police. If the thief is caught, LoBaido says he knows the perfect punishment: the person should spend a week doing community service at a local VA Hospital to see the type of sacrifices military personnel make for the flag.
“The irony is here we are at Arlington. The Arlington National Cemetery is down the street,” he said.
A flag will “absolutely” fly tomorrow at the American Legion, Walker said, but she was not sure how much it would cost to replace it.
The break-in occurred this past weekend, sometime between Friday evening and Saturday morning. Nothing was taken from the home — on the 1600 block of N. Randolph Street — instead, someone positioned the two kitchen sink faucets so they were over the countertop, then turned the water on and fled the scene.
The house was being renovated at the time, according to police. An electrician came to the house Saturday morning and discovered a flooded basement and water pouring in from the ceiling.
It was a scene reminiscent of the “wet bandits” from the movie Home Alone.
“They had quite a bit of water in the basement of the residence,” Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck told ARLnow.com. “It definitely caused significant damage to the home.”
Water damage to the kitchen, basement, laundry room, main bathroom and ceiling has been estimated at $15,000, Sternbeck said.
The investigation into the crime is “ongoing,” according to Sternbeck, but police are looking into the possibility that the perpetrator was a disgruntled employee recently fired from the renovation job.
La Cote D’Or Cafe in East Falls Church (6876 Lee Highway) reopened last night, after having been closed for a day and a half due to damage from a break-in.
Cris Flores tells ARLnow.com that he was the manager on duty on Monday night. He said sometime after he closed up at 10:00 p.m. and before the first person came in on Tuesday at 7:30 a.m., vandals broke into the restaurant.
Flores said wine, liquor, beer and money were stolen from the establishment. The vandals also overturned tables, broke wine glasses and plates, removed food from the refrigerator and scattered it around, and broke wine bottles.
The restaurant closed on Tuesday for the police investigation and for clean-up. They remained closed during breakfast and lunch Wednesday to finish shampooing the carpet, but reopened in time for dinner. Flores estimates that the lost business from being closed, plus all the damage and theft, probably adds up to about a $10,000 loss for the restaurant.
“They did do a lot of damage in the place, it’s not that they just took the money,” said Flores. “But nobody was hurt. That’s the good part.”
Upon reopening for dinner on Wednesday, the restaurant posted a message to customers on its website:
Some of you may have heard about the incident that occurred after we closed on Monday, October 27th. Unfortunately, someone broke into La Cote D’Or and vandalized the establishment. We are happy to say that no one was hurt, and we are reopening tonight for dinner… We thank you very much for your continued support and patronage. We look forward to seeing you all again at your convenience.
The restaurant is open for regular business hours, starting today.
“We’re still trying to get the inventory back to normal, but we are back in business,” said Flores.
Police are investigating the break-in and have not yet named any suspects.
Photo via Google Maps
Five Rideshare Drivers Nabbed in Arlington — Arlington police have issued citations to five drivers of rideshare services like Uber and Lyft since June 5, the department says. The drivers were all pulled over for separate traffic infractions and admitted to driving for the services, which are currently operating illicitly in Virginia. [Washington Post]
Teens Arrested for Skate Park Vandalism — Four teenagers have been arrested and charged with causing $35,000 in damage to the Powhatan Springs Skate Park earlier this month. The teens are accused of painting “graffiti containing vulgar language” at the park, which was closed until county crews could clean it up. [NBC Washington]
Arlingtonian Wins, Then Loses at Wimbledon — For the second year in a row, Arlington resident and tennis pro Denis Kudla advanced to the second round of Wimbledon. Kudla, 21, defeated Turkey’s Marsel Ilhan in the first round of the tournament before falling to No. 10 seed Kei Nishikori of Japan in straight sets. [Wimbledon]
Wine Bar Coming to Rosslyn — Bistro 360, a wine bar and gourmet market from Cassatt’s Kiwi Cafe owner Art Hauptman, is coming to the former Cafe Assorti space at 1800 Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn. The wine bar will have as many as 140 seats indoors and outdoors. Bistro 360 hopes to open its doors by the end of the summer. [Washington Business Journal]
Flickr pool photo by Wolfkann
Graffiti Closes Powhatan Skatepark — Powhatan Springs Skatepark is temporarily closed after “graffiti containing vulgar language” was found. The park will be temporarily closed until park staff can remove the graffiti. No word yet on a reopening date.
Tejada: Three Dems on County Board — At the Arlington County Democratic Committee’s annual Jefferson-Jackson dinner over the weekend, Walter Tejada said pointedly that he is “one of three Democratic county board members,” presumably excluding Libby Garvey. Garvey was also not listed as an “Arlington Democratic Elected Official” in the program. [Blue Virginia]
Dominion Planning New Underground Power Line — Dominion Virginia Power is planning on building an underground power transmission line from Arlington to Alexandria. The $160 million project is intended to address “a local reliability load issue… that could potentially impact neighbors by 2018.” Alexandria officials are expressing objections to the project. [Washington Post]
AYDs Eye South Arlington — Arlington Young Democrats are trying to increase their outreach to women, minorities and to residents of south Arlington. The organization has appointed a new “outreach chair and communications director” who will be in charge of recruiting individuals in targeted groups and “mak[ing] them feel welcome.” [InsideNova]
Flickr pool by Brian Allen
(Updated at 7:30 p.m.) Dozens of cars were vandalized overnight in North Arlington, police and residents say.
More than 70 cars had windows shot out by BB gun-wielding vandals, according to Arlington County Police Department spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. The crime spree was reported in neighborhoods north of I-66 and south of Lee Highway — neighborhoods like Waycroft-Woodlawn, Leeway Overlee and Westover.
The alleged vandals — two adult men — were arrested near the intersection of N. Lexington Street and 19th Street N. after a resident saw them drive by, called police and relayed a description of their vehicle, according to Sternbeck. They were identified by police as 20-year-old Christopher Albrant and 19-year-old Antonio Lopez, both of Arlington.
Two BB pistols and a .40 caliber handgun were found in the vehicle, Sternbeck said.
Albrant and Lopez are currently charged with 7 counts of destruction of property. The number of charges against them is expected to increase as police continue to investigate the crimes.
Photos courtesy @StuNagurka, Jim Pebley
Police are looking for someone who vandalized five vehicles with red spray paint Sunday morning.
The incident happened on the 2900 block of S. Glebe Road. From this week’s Arlington County crime report:
DESTRUCTION OF PROPERTY (series), 140309025, 2900 block of S. Glebe Road. At approximately 9:55 am on March 9, an unknown subject(s) sprayed the side of five vehicles with red spray paint. There is no suspect(s) description.
The rest of crime report, after the jump.
Police say 40 cars were hit sometime from 12:30-7:00 a.m. on Saturday, December 7. The first vandalized car was discovered at 7:00 a.m. that day and dozens of others were found as residents emerged from their homes.
The targeted cars were found along several blocks in Hall’s Hill: the 1800 and 1900 blocks of N. Dinwiddie Street, the 1800 block of N. Culpeper Street, the 1700 block of N. Cameron Street, the 4900 blocks of 17th and 18th Streets N., the 4700 and 5000 blocks of 19th Street N. and the 5000 block of 20th Street N. Most of the vehicles were in the street but some were also parked in driveways.
This is the same neighborhood struck last month when 36 vehicles were discovered with slashed tires. Some of the vehicles vandalized on Saturday had been hit last month as well.
Police do not have any suspects so far but the investigation is ongoing.
“We are aware of the continued target of that general area and without going into specifics about the tactical strategy, we will be deploying resources in that area,” said Arlington County Police Department spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.
Anyone who may have seen suspicious activity in the Hall’s Hill neighborhood or who may have information about the vandalism incidents is asked to call the police non-emergency number at 703-558-2222.
According to Arlington County Police Department spokesman Dustin Sternbeck, 36 vehicles had their tires slashed. Each vehicle had one or two tires slashed and no other damage has been found on the vehicles.
Police received slashed tire reports from residents on a number of blocks in the neighborhood, with large concentrations along the 1800 block of N. Culpeper Street, the 1900 block of N. Dinwiddie Street and along N. 19th Street. Some vehicles were parked in the street and others were in driveways. Police were at the scene for hours this morning to check out each new report as residents exited their houses and discovered the damage.
At this time, it does not appear that there is a connection among the types of vehicles targeted, as was the case when Priuses were vandalized in July. It’s too early to tell if the Hall’s Hill incident is related to the incident with the Priuses, or to another tire slashing spree that happened in the Arlington View neighborhood in August.
So far police do not have any suspects in this case. Anyone who may have seen suspicious activity in the Hall’s Hill neighborhood overnight is asked to call the police non-emergency number at 703-558-2222.
Photo via @ArlingtonVaPD
Someone smashed a police cruiser’s windshield in the Columbia Heights neighborhood last Thursday.
The incident happened around lunchtime. From this week’s Arlington County crime report:
VANDALISM, 10/24/13, 1000 block of S. Cleveland Street. Between 12:40 pm on October 24 to 1:00 pm October 24, a police cruiser’s windshield was shattered with a piece of concrete while parked on S. Cleveland Street. The investigation is ongoing.
Early this morning, a man with “bulging eyes” was seen masturbating in front of a Virginia Square apartment building.
INDECENT EXPOSURE, 10/31/13, 900 block of N. Pollard Street. On October 31 at 3:03am, a man was seen masturbating in front of an apartment building by the concierge. When police arrived, the man was gone. Officers searched the area, but were unable to locate the suspect. The suspect is described as a black or possibly Middle Eastern male in his 20’s – 30’s, “bulging eyes”, who was bald and possibly had facial hair. At the time of the incident the suspect was wearing a black coat.
The rest of this week’s crime report, after the jump.
Sixteen vehicles, mostly Toyota Prius hybrids, had their tires slashed in Arlington overnight.
Tires were slashed on 10 vehicles in the Waverly Hills and Cherrydale areas, on we’re told. Most were Toyota Priuses, though at least one was a smart car, which is another gas-sipping vehicle popular with environmentally-conscious drivers.
Another 5 Priuses had their tires slashed in the area of Barcroft Park in south Arlington, according to Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. Additionally, tires were slashed on an Arlington County-owned Ford F-150 pickup truck.
Between 1 and 4 tires were slashed on each vehicle, Sternbeck said. The vandalism spree is believed to have happened overnight. So far, there’s no indication that anyone spotted the vandals in the act.
“It wasn’t noted until people starting waking up to go to work,” Sternbeck said. Police are investigating the crime.
Arlington is no stranger to tire-slashing sprees. In 2010, police investigated two separate vandalism sprees that saw the tires slashed on some 50 vehicles. A suspect was later arrested and convicted of the crimes.
County’s Debt Upgraded to ‘Stable’ — Moody’s Investors Service has upgraded the outlook on Arlington County’s debt from “negative” to “stable.” The county’s otherwise triple-A bond rating was downgraded in 2011 due to Arlington’s “lose economic, financial and capital markets linkages to the federal government.” The upgrade reflects the federal government’s improved debt outlook. [Arlington County]
Vandalism at Powhatan Springs Park — The skate park at Powhatan Springs Park was closed Friday and Saturday due to graffiti. The graffiti was “nothing serious,” said Department of Parks and Recreation spokeswoman Susan Kalish, but the park was closed while county crews removed it.
Dangerous Heat Prompts AWLA Rescues — The Animal Welfare League of Arlington has shared photos of four dogs it rescued in the recent heatwave. Among them are dogs left in hot cars, tied up in a parking lot and in cages in a backyard without adequate water. [Washington Post]
Flickr pool photo by Ddimick
The incident happened around 10:30 p.m. yesterday (Thursday) night. Police say German Cruz-Coreas, 49, entered Miguel’s Q-Mart on the 5500 block of Columbia Pike and demanded money from a store employee.
“When the employee refused, the subject proceeded to light coffee filters on fire and announced that no one could leave the store,” according to the Arlington County Police crime report.
The man started throwing mangoes and avocados at store employees and a 16-month-old child, according to Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. He tipped over the store’s shelves, destroyed merchandise, broke the store’s slushie machine, and partially melted a television with the flaming coffee filters, Sternbeck said.
“He literally destroyed the entire store,” said Sternbeck.
Store employees barricaded themselves in a room inside the store during the incident, but the store’s manager was eventually able to subdue the man and hold him to the ground until police arrived and placed him under arrest.
Cruz-Coreas was charged with arson, attempted robbery, four counts of abduction, felony destruction of property, and three counts of assault and battery. He is currently being held without bond.
The store employees suffered minor injuries, Sternbeck said, but the baby was unharmed.
Photo courtesy ACPD