After months — maybe even years — of constant “harassment” from an anonymous neighbor, North Highlands resident Mary McCutcheon had enough, as did the rest of the community.
On Thursday, McCutcheon organized a neighborhood meeting in front of her house — in the small community just north of Rosslyn — to discuss a neighbor who was constantly calling Arlington County to report supposed violations of zoning codes in local yards. It was enough of an issue that even County Board Chair Libby Garvey showed up.
“The county enforces some of the property maintenance and zoning codes in response to complaints and almost never in a proactive way,” McCutcheon told ARLnow.com. “This wouldn’t be bad except it effectively deputizes the small number of complain-o-holics around town with a great deal of power.”
Over the last couple of years, McCutcheon has constantly battled Arlington County over her plants. The owner of three properties in the neighborhood, she has received numerous violation notices as a result of complaint-driven code enforcement. In a letter to the editor sent to ARLnow in 2014, McCutcheon described in detail an instance in which an Arlington County inspector deemed her in violation of a weed-related ordinance following a complaint.
And she’s not alone. Someone, it seems, does not like the aesthetics of other nearby properties, either. And neighbors are fed up with it.
“Finally there is a critical mass of people who have been complained about,” she said, of the meet. “We have approached the County Manager and the County Board and the higher-ups in zoning and code enforcement.””
Some 20 neighborhood residents attended the meeting, along with Garvey and the county’s new Resident Ombudsman, Robert Sharpe.
At the meeting, McCutcheon displayed the offending items including her overgrown rose bushes, a fence surrounding the property and a small library she kept in front of her home.
“I think that complaint-driven code enforcement has so many inherent evils that we must put an end to it,” said McCutcheon. “We must have codes in this county that are enforceable and will be enforced and are worthy of being enforced, otherwise rewrite them. When code is enforced capriciously like this, I hope the county stops accepting this type of complaint.”
Garvey seemed sympathetic, agreeing that the code should have room for interpretation in situations where the perceived violation is not a threat to safety or other people’s property.
“There are situations where things should apply where they shouldn’t and there ought to be a way to exercise judgment,” said Garvey. “This property is beautiful but it doesn’t fit the narrow definitions of what we have had. I’m not sure what the solution is because I can’t say we’re not going to enforce our code but maybe there is a way of giving the code a little judgment or some situational awareness.”
McCutcheon was not the only one there who experienced the passive aggressive wrath of an anonymous resident.
One resident mentioned an incident where her babysitter received an threatening letter from an anonymous source due to her parking her car in the wrong location. The letter contained profanity and other threats and it was signed “The County Board.”
McCutcheon claimed the harassment began after she took down a white mulberry tree that was on public land near her house. The white mulberry is known to be an invasive species, crowding out native species. After removing the tree, McCutcheon says that a particular neighbor immediately became hostile, claiming that the tree was the only thing blocking his view of townhouses in front.
After the initial event, she described how this neighbor — a particularly grumpy British man — would become increasingly aggressive and rude to her in later encounters on the street. Soon after, she began receiving calls from county officials about the complaints, which she assumed came from the same person.
“One time I was walking my dogs and he was walking backwards just to scream at me. I was so scared I wrote a letter to Adult Protective Services but I never sent it,” said McCutcheon.
Other residents shared their own experiences, suggesting that the prickly Brit was the source of the complaints.
While she was describing the chronology of events, the neighbor in question exited his house and quickly became upset with the gathered group. He also began aggressively questioning the presence of a reporter, an ARLnow.com intern, and threatened to call the police after another resident tried to intervene.
Sharpe arrived soon after, temporarily defusing the situation as he took the man aside to discuss the issue.
After speaking with the man, Sharpe recommended that for the short term, McCutcheon comply with the directives to trim her rose bushes in order to avoid further conflict while the county comes up with a more permanent solution.
The mystery, however, deepened after the meeting adjourned.
In a later email, McCutcheon notified ARLnow that after speaking with Sharpe, it was confirmed that the neighbor was not, in fact, the source of the complaints.
“[He] is still a nasty man,” McCutcheon said. “But it is someone else who is complaining.”
A screenshot posted on the Mike Webb for Congress Facebook page is going viral for all the wrong reasons.
The post was intended to suggest that an Arlington County Republican Committee officer might have had something to do with a prank call Webb received. Instead of getting that point across, as of 3 p.m. the post had some 80 shares and 60 comments on Facebook due to an apparent inadvertent inclusion: the screenshot shows two web browser tabs associated with pornography websites.
Webb, an Arlington resident, was soundly defeated in his recent bid for the Republican nomination to challenge Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.), but has announced his intention to run as an independent. In his voluminous press releases and social media posts, Webb has blamed the local Republican establishment for his defeat. There’s no evidence, however, to support the suggestion that the individual named in the post might have prank called him.
A Google search for the web page titles in question — “LAYLA RIVERA TIGHT BODY” and “IVONE SEXY AMATEUR” — point to a number of pages on various porn websites. Webb has not responded to a request for comment sent earlier this afternoon.
Some of those commenting on the Facebook post seemed incredulous that it had not yet been taken down.
“Still up 2 hrs later. Priceless,” said a post from more than an hour ago.
Some commenters, however, suggested the post might be a stroke of inadvertent genius.
“Refreshing for a politician to air their vices publicly instead of trying to hide it till a leak,” said one. “Keep up the good work.”
“What if he was desperate to take his social media platform to the next level?” asked another. “Genius. Tight booty porn for the win.”
While many comments were critical, others took a somewhat more forgiving tone.
“We all f–k up from time to time,” said a Facebook user, “but I’ve never used Yahoo instead of Google.”
Last month ARLnow.com reported that Webb had failed to file a report to the Federal Election Commission on time and had blamed the failure on a “cyber attack.”
Update at 12:25 a.m. — Webb said in an email to ARLnow.com that he was testing the porn sites for viruses.
Photos via Facebook
A group of friends who dined at Peter Chang restaurant (2503-E N. Harrison Street) on Saturday were shocked to find the words “asshole” and “I have a small penis” on their receipt at the end of the night.
The words were apparently insults typed in by one of the servers, in response to a particularly persnickety member of the group.
One of the diners, Matthew, emailed us and the Washington Post about the experience but asked that his last name be withheld. Matthew said the trouble started when one member of his party, who previously lived in China and speaks Mandarin, but is not Chinese, commented about the way the rice was served.
“One of my friends — who lived in China for 5 years — questioned the authenticity of how the rice was supposed to be served at a Chinese restaurant,” Matthew said. “Peter Changs [sic] served it in one bowl instead of individually, which is how I guess they serve it in China. I guess the waitress took offense to that.”
Then the receipt arrived. Below the various food items, it included the following lines: “im plad [sic] asshole” and “i have a small penis.”
The man who questioned the rice serving was wearing plaid that night, Matthew said. Management, according to Matthew, tried to pass it off as a “joke.”
“I wasn’t too offended by it, but the waitress and the management kept saying it was simply a ‘joke’ and they didn’t do too much to apologize,” he said. “Ultimately we got a $20 gift card. Like many incidents, the cover up was worse than the crime.”
It’s unclear whether the server purposely included the lines on the receipt or if they were only intended to vent some steam internally.
The restaurant has not responded to a request for comment from ARLnow.com. A manager told the Washington Post that “servers had previously been warned before about leaving offensive comments in the [point-of-sale] system” and that he’s cut the hours of the server who left the insults on the receipt.
The Post also reported that when the group asked to split the check four ways, the server replied sarcastically, “That’s totally how they do it in China.”
An apparent dust devil disrupted a youth baseball game in Arlington Saturday afternoon.
The tornado-like weather phenomenon happened around 4 p.m. at Quincy Field, near Arlington Central Library, during an Arlington Babe Ruth baseball game, we’re told.
A witness said the whirlwind sent spectators and players scurrying for cover.
“Three twisters made their way down the third baseball line during a 13-year old Senior Babe Ruth baseball game,” said Harold Andersen. “At first it appeared to be a strong gust of wind but as lawn chairs and full bat bags were carried up into the sky… players, coaches and umpires went running to the dugouts.”
The dust devils eventually dissipated over the library, said Andersen. But seriously, we asked — did one really lift bat bags into the air?
“I actually had a lawn chair lifted out of my hands as I was protecting my face from the flying sand,” Andersen said. “I would swear at least two bat bags loaded with catcher’s gear flew into and over the backstop.”
He added: “One parent yelled out ‘we are not in Kansas any more.'”
A UPS driver was pelted by BBs apparently fired from a Rosslyn apartment building this afternoon.
The incident happened around 2 p.m. near the corner of N. Oak Street and Key Blvd.
The driver told police that a teenage male — 18 years of age or so — was firing a BB gun at him from the top balcony of the 1800 N. Oak Street apartments. At least one of the BBs struck the man in the torso, but he was not otherwise injured.
The driver yelled at the teen to stop. By the time police showed up, he had apparently gone back inside.
No word yet on whether there are any suspects in the case.
A local TV news report from Clarendon took an ironic and not-safe-for-work turn Saturday night when a woman walked by and flashed the camera, live on the air.
Immediately after Goldberg began answering — “so far, Kimberly” — a woman walked by and flashed her breasts. The split-second moment was captured in this NSFW YouTube clip.
A bit flustered, Goldberg nonetheless continued his report, which highlighted how there were no major incidents and only nine minor arrests for drunken behavior during the bar crawl.
“So, anyway,” Goldberg said as the brief YouTube clip ended.
Hat tip to Keith Hall
“Fowl running at large” is a local ordinance that doesn’t get used much nowadays, but it was enforced following an unusual incident near Columbia Pike over the weekend.
An animal control officer was called to an address on S. Barton Street on Saturday evening for a report of a runaway peacock. After a brief search, the officer found and captured the rogue peacock — and located its owner, who was issued a ticket for the aforementioned “fowl running at large” violation.
The peacock and its owner may have an even bigger problem than the “at large” charge, which is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine up to $100.
The Animal Welfare League of Arlington, which runs the animal control program, said they notified the county zoning department — which enforces the county’s prohibition on keeping fowl in most residential yards — about the incident.
Flickr photo by Sadie Hart
Samantha, 22, told police she was intoxicated when she took an Uber to District Taco in Rosslyn Saturday night, intent on grabbing some food. Afterward, she walked down to the Hyatt hotel, on the 1300 block of Wilson Blvd, milled about a bit and then allegedly stole a car from the valet.
Samantha’s next recollection, according to police, is waking up in the back seat of the car around 1 a.m., in an unknown location in Arlington. She then drove home, went to sleep, and called police around 9 a.m. to come clean about what happened, said ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage.
Samantha has been charged with grand theft auto and was held on a $2,000 bond, according to a crime report.
RECOVERED STOLEN AUTO, 160214016, 1300 block of N. Wilson Boulevard. At approximately 9:54 p.m. on February 13, an allegedly intoxicated female subject stole a vehicle outside of a HYATT hotel and drove it home. The subject informed police the next morning that she was in possession of a vehicle that was not hers. Samantha [Redacted], 22, of Arlington VA, was arrested and charged with grand theft auto. She was held on a $2000 unsecured bond.
Updated at 4:30 p.m. — Jeff Overand, an attorney for the suspect, says that Samantha was “involuntarily intoxicated and had been the victim of a sexual assault.” Police were called to a local hospital and took a report of a sexual assault Sunday evening, after the suspect was released from jail, ACPD confirmed after an inquiry from ARLnow.com. “That case is ongoing,” said Savage, the police spokeswoman. In light of this information, ARLnow.com has decided to redact the suspect’s last name.
Photo via Google Maps
The alleged incident was reported just after 3 p.m. at Bradshaw’s Children’s Shoes, a long-time local business at 4532 Lee Highway, in the Lee Heights Shops.
According to the police dispatch, an intoxicated woman is inside the store, holding an open bottle of wine. She is refusing to leave the store and “keeps demanding adult shoes,” according to the dispatch.
The store requested police to help remove the woman from the premises.
Photo via Google Maps
Police say they were called to the intersection of Crystal Drive and 18th Street around midnight Saturday night, for a report of a man standing in the roadway and acting erratically.
Upon arriving on scene, police saw 29-year-old Hector Segura in a flower bed, waving his arms in the air, said Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. Segura was completely nude and sweating profusely despite the chilly temperatures, Sternbeck said.
According to police, Segura ran at the first responding officer and slammed his hands on the hood of his police cruiser, all while screaming incoherently. The officer used a Taser to subdue the man and called for backup to help take him in custody.
Medics responded and sedated Segura — who was under the influence of bath salts, according to a field toxicology test — to keep him from harming himself by continuing to writhe on the pavement, Sternbeck said. He was transported to Virginia Hospital Center for observation, where he continued to hallucinate and talk incoherently, according to Sternbeck.
Segura, a Mexican citizen, reportedly told police that he had traveled to the area for the 2015 International Drug Policy Reform Conference, which was being held in Crystal City. The conference focused in part on advocating for the legalization of marijuana.
Segura was charged with disorderly conduct and held on a $10,000 bond. He remains in custody and his passport has been surrendered, said Sternbeck.
Photo courtesy ACPD
Arlington County officers responded to the store just after 11:35 a.m., after receiving a frantic 911 call about an assault in progress.
Police say a homeless man, 34-year-old Monbain Brown, had earlier in the day returned a $4,000 engagement ring after having a change of heart about the purchase. He returned shortly thereafter and “engaged in a verbal altercation with one of the workers behind the display case because the money had not showed up in his account yet,” according to ACPD spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.
Brown became increasingly agitated during the argument before jumping the counter and beginning to strangle the female employee, Sternbeck said.
Customers inside the store watched the scuffle but did not intervene. Finally, a male employee came out and placed Brown in a chokehold, resulting in all three tumbling to the ground, according to Sternbeck.
After several minutes of Brown being held in the chokehold, said Sternbeck, a mall security guard arrived and asked the employee to let him go. At that time, Brown allegedly began chasing the female employee around the store. After being unable to catch her, Brown slammed his fist down on the jewelry display cases, breaking two of them, Sternbeck said. He then proceeded to smoke a cigarette inside the store and wait for police to arrive.
Brown was arrested and is being held without bond. He is charged with strangulation, destruction of property and assault and battery.
A surveillance camera caught the entire incident on video, Sternbeck noted.
“DANGER ZOMBIES AHEAD,” the sign read, startling some drivers en route to I-395 or the Pentagon.
It’s not the first electronic road sign in Arlington to be surreptitiously reprogrammed by local pranksters. Two years ago, on April 20, 2012, a similar sign near the Madison Community Center in North Arlington was reprogrammed to display “HAPPY 420!”
Photo courtesy celialarsen
A woman crashed her car into a condominium building on S. George Mason Drive this morning.
The incident happened around 10:15 a.m. at the George Mason Village condos near the intersection of S. George Mason Drive and Four Mile Run Drive.
A 70-year-old driver apparently pressed her car’s accelerator instead of the brake in the condo’s parking lot, sending the Hyundai sedan careening over the curb and into a trench between the parking lot and the building.
The driver was pulled out of the car by police and passersby. She didn’t suffer any significant injuries but was transported to Virginia Hospital Center as a precaution.
A tow truck used its winch to get the car out of the trench. An Arlington County building inspector was called to the scene to inspect what appeared to only be minor damage to the structure.
Separately this morning, a Mercedes SUV flipped on its side on N. Williamsburg Blvd between 35th and 36th Streets. The crash was reported to be a single-vehicle accident.
Photos of Williamsburg Blvd crash courtesy James Rice
Yelp reviewers and out-of-town passersby alike see the same thing when they look at the sign for Market Place & Cafe in Ballston: a phallus.
But despite giggles from around the internet and outside the doors, the store at 901 N. Glebe Road has kept the logo plastered on its windows for at least 5 years. And there’s no indication that it will be changing any time soon.
The restaurant’s owner declined requests for comment, demanding that an ARLnow.com employee leave the store after identifying himself as a reporter — but before even getting a chance to ask about the sign.
It’s unclear why the store has stuck with the logo — which seems intended to be a mustachioed figure with an prodigiously tall chef’s hat — for all these blush-inducing years. Commentary about the sign on Yelp dates back to 2009.
“My coworkers refer to the place as CnB Deli,” Steve L. wrote in 2009. “If you look at the picture I’ve attached you’ll see why: the logo for this place is of a huge c— and balls.”
“Welcome to Dong Deli,” Steve T. wrote in 2011. “Despite the ridic [sic] logo, the food isn’t that bad.”
The most recent review on the Yelp page was written last year by Matt R., who gave the deli five stars. Matt wrote: “I have never eaten here but their logo is a PENIS WITH A MOUSTACHE. 5 stars.”
Brandon Kline, visiting the area from his home on Long Island, N.Y., said he didn’t notice the sign at first, until he was walking from the Ballston Metro to the Holiday Inn a block away from Market Place Cafe and saw that a crowd had gathered to take photos.
“It was soon apparent why the crowd was taking pictures,” Kline told ARLnow.com. Kline said it reminded him of the phallic sign for the Austin Motel in Austin, Texas, “but even that isn’t as bad” as Market Place’s.
“They definitely knew it was a [penis] sign when they made it,” Kline’s girlfriend, Abby Koppa, said. “There’s no way it was unintentional.”
Lyon Park Bat Turns Out to Be Something Else — A Lyon Park resident called animal control officers late last month after a startling discovery: a bat inside his or her home. There was only one problem — the responding animal control officer found that the “bat” was actually a sweatband. It’s not the first time something like this has happened. Previously, a balloon had been mistaken for a bat, a ski hat lying on the road was mistaken for a dead cat, and a “mangy, emaciated cat” turned out to be stuffed animal. [DCist]
GOP Trying to Find Candidate for Special Election — The upcoming County Board special election to replace the retiring Chris Zimmerman could give Arlington Republicans their best chance of winning a seat on the Board since the late 1990s, the last time any non-Democrat served as a Board member. “We could really pull a surprise,” said Arlington County Republican Committee chairman Charles Hokanson. [Sun Gazette]
County Seeking Food Donations for AFAC — As part of County Board Chair Walter Tejada’s “Moving Forward Together” initiative, Arlington County is collecting food items to help stock the shelves at the Arlington Food Assistance Center for the winter. Drop-off points have been set up at Arlington community centers and libraries. [Arlington County]
Mary Bono Selling Arlington Condo — Former California congresswoman Mary Bono is selling her two-bedroom, two-bath condo in the Eclipse building, near Potomac Yard, for $569,000. [Washington Post]
Lustron Home for Sale — A “rare and historic” Lustron home in south Arlington is for sale. The prefabricated two-bedroom, one bathroom home is all steel and was considered a “[marvel] of modern efficiency and style” when it was built at the end of World War II. It’s listed at $499,000. [Preservation Arlington]
Flickr pool photo by J. Sonder