(Updated at 1:20 p.m.) An Arlington resident found a snake — a juvenile Yellow Anaconda, to be exact — in an apartment toilet last week.
The Animal Welfare League of Arlington recounted the surprise find in a Facebook post Tuesday afternoon. It happened, at an apartment building on 31st Street S. — in the Shirlington area.
“We do not know for certain how the snake got to this particular toilet but it is highly likely that it is someone’s pet that was either abandoned or escaped from an improperly shut vivarium,” said AWLA spokeswoman Chelsea Lindsey. “The snake (named Sir Hiss) would have then gone into the plumbing looking for food.”
No one was injured and the snake was safely removed from the apartment and taken to AWLA’s shelter. The organization says they have subsequently found a specialist to care for it.
“We highly encourage anyone thinking about having a snake as a pet to do extremely thorough research to determine whether they will be able to adequately care for their snake,” AWLA advised. “Fully grown, Yellow Anacondas can be up to 13 feet long and weigh more than 100 lbs.”
More from the AWLA post:
It’s never a dull day in Arlington County Animal Control! Last week, our Animal Control team received a call about a snake in the toilet of a local apartment. Officer Brenys White was able to safely remove the snake from the toilet and brought him back to the shelter. We were all in for a bit of a surprise — we were expecting him to be a wild snake or a ball python, but the snake is, in fact, a juvenile Yellow Anaconda!
Luckily, we were able to find a specialist who is familiar with his species and will be able to give him the care that he needs. We highly encourage anyone thinking about having a snake as a pet to do extremely thorough research to determine whether they will be able to adequately care for their snake. Fully grown, Yellow Anacondas can be up to 13ft long and weigh more than 100lbs. They need specialized care and housing, and while they are non-venomous, can be dangerous when they reach full size and are not well-socialized. Plus, no one likes being surprised by a lost and confused snake in their toilet! We are glad that in this circumstance we were able to rescue this snake, and that he did not make it out of the apartment complex and into the wild. Thank you to Officer Brenys for rescuing the snake and our specialist for giving him a new home!
Photo via Facebook/Animal Welfare League of Arlington
The 24-foot-long Planters NUTmobile will be spending the week in Arlington from Oct. 17-24. It will be in town for the 2016 National Trademark Expo in D.C. and will also be making appearances at local grocery stores.
Expect to see it parked outside a hotel in the Courthouse neighborhood, the truck’s driver, “Top Hat Trav,” tells ARLnow.com.
“Many of your readers may be seeing our massive peanut vehicle throughout the week,” Trav advised. The NUTmobile travels the country on a “nutty journey” that includes appearances at well-known destinations by the Planters mascot, Mr. Peanut.
Police were called around 4:30 p.m. for a man dressed like “Green Man” — a green full-body outfit that also covered his face — who was yelling and accosting people near the Shirlington Branch Library and the Harris Teeter grocery store.
Officers responded but were unable to find anything warranting criminal charges.
“Police were dispatched to the 4200 block of Campbell Ave at approximately 4:32 p.m. for the report of a suspicious man screaming profanities,” said Arlington County Police spokeswoman Ashley Savage. “Police responded to the area and after investigation determined that no crime had occurred.”
Photo via Wikia
Freecycle.org is a website that allows members to give things away to neighbors for free. It’s like Craigslist, but only for free stuff.
The Freecycle group for Arlington has nearly 3,500 members and more than 550 items offered either for giveaway or as “wanted.”
But one particular, unique item on the site caught a reader’s eye: a life-sized poster of communist revolutionary Vladimir Lenin.
The “souvenir from Soviet times” is more than six feet tall and is in “very good condition.” It’s available for pick up from a home in the Lyon Park neighborhood, near Clarendon.
“Only in Arlington,” said the reader who spotted it.
— Alex Wellman (@WellmanAlex) August 19, 2016
Remember that weird costumed Pokemon thing taking place near the Clarendon Metro station Tuesday afternoon?
Well, they were filming a YouTube video and one of the creators, Cabot Phillips, tweeted the finished product to us last night. This morning he explained some of the story behind the video.
@ARLnowDOTcom People getting off the Clarendon metro started joining in and it was a glorious bonding experience.
— Cabot Phillips (@cabot_phillips) July 14, 2016
The video, above, is entitled “Pokemon Go in Real Life Prank.”
You might have seen the work of the Phillips siblings before. Earlier this year they scored a national viral hit with a video in which they convince their sister, who just had wisdom teeth surgery, that they were in the midst of a zombie apocalypse.
Anyone walking to or from the Virginia Square Metro station may see this curious sight just across Fairfax Drive from the station entrance.
The patio of an under construction apartment building is seemingly being built around a streetlight and traffic signal pole.
So what’s going on here, asks an ARLnow.com reader?
The photo shows the Latitude Apartments on the 3600 block of Fairfax Drive, first approved by the County Board in 2013 and expected to open later this summer, according to its website. County officials say the pole will eventually be moved at the developer’s expense.
“The pole is going to be relocated as part of the private developer’s site plan,” said Arlington Dept. of Environmental Services spokeswoman Jessica Baxter. “The developer’s contractor chose to move the pole later on during construction.”
It all started around 2 a.m., on the 2300 block of S. Eads Street, when three people walked up to the suspect’s car, thinking it was their Uber ride.
A “verbal altercation ensued,” according to police, and then the suspect, who was drunk and naked at the time, grabbed a hatchet from the backseat and “started swinging the object.” The three individuals managed to take the hatchet away from the man before he hurt anyone, police said.
The suspect tried to flee the scene but was soon stopped by a U.S. Park Police officer, according to an Arlington County Police Department crime report (below).
Michael Monroe, 64, now faces numerous charges in connection with the incident.
DUI(significant), 160612012, 2300 block of S. Eads Street. At approximately 2:20 a.m. on June 12, a United States Park Police (USPP) officer responded to the report of a suspect vehicle driving erratically and nearly striking pedestrians. Prior to police arrival, the subject vehicle entered a parking lot where three individuals approached the vehicle believing it was their Uber. A verbal altercation ensued and the subject, who was naked at the time of the incident, retrieved a hatchet from the backseat of the vehicle and started swinging the object. There were no injuries and the three individuals were able to wrestle the hatchet away from the subject. The subject then attempted to flee the scene and that is when a USPP officer initiated a traffic stop. Arlington County Police officers also responded to the scene and attempted a field sobriety test on the subject, who refused. Michael Monroe, 64, of Gainesville VA, was arrested and charged with DUI, refusal, and disorderly conduct.
The mother, who goes by “Lynn” but didn’t want her last name used, to protect her daughter’s privacy, says a male swim instructor is showing too much skin — specifically, his chest — in the pool. She wants the man to wear a shirt when teaching her daughter (and other children) how to swim.
This morning, after a Parks and Rec staffer told her the department wouldn’t force the instructor to wear anything in the pool other than appropriate swim trunks, Lynn emailed numerous local reporters and news outlets with her complaint.
The biggest problem, she explained, is skin-to-skin contact, which she finds intolerable.
“I sit with my daughter every week watching her… and of course the instructors are touching and holding children the entire time!” she said in an email. (Lynn has had other complaints against the Parks and Rec department, but this is the most recent issue.)
Arlington County Dept. of Parks and Recreation spokeswoman Susan Kalish told ARLnow.com that swim shirts are optional for instructors.
“All of the aquatic instructors that are employed by Arlington County are required to wear proper swim attire,” Kalish said via email. “For men, they must wear swim trunks. We provide instructors with a rash-guard shirt (worn in water), which is optional. The Department of Parks and Recreation received a complaint regarding staff attire from a customer on Wednesday, June 8. Staff responded promptly and offered to cancel the class enrollment and provide a full refund.”
The full exchange between Lynn, Parks and Rec staffers and the media, starting with Lynn’s email to the department, is below.
I took my daughter to this class yesterday. Unfortunately the male instructor’s breasts were flopping on the water and we felt extremely uncomfortable with her getting into the water skin-to-skin and in such close proximity to his intimate space. When I mentioned this to the Parks & Rec representative she told me that other parents had also complained; that he was asked to put a shirt on but refused.
To be in such close and intimate proximity to this man’s bare chest, breasts and public [chest] hair is unfathomable and I can not believe it is tolerated.
I’d like to switch my daughter’s class to an instructor who is more appropriate and does not make us feel uncomfortable.
The following email was sent Wednesday, by a Parks and Rec staffer.
Crystal forwarded your email to me, as she works in the Registration office.
To address your concern, all of the instructors teaching for DPR wear swim suits that are appropriate for swimming pools, active movement, both in and out of the swimming pool and for teaching swimming lessons. Swim shirts are provided to instructors to wear, typically for warmth but are not required. I am sorry that you feel uncomfortable, however, [the instructor] handles himself in a very professional manner in water with students. Your daughter is enrolled in a Fin 3 class, where typically, most of the swimming skills are taught through verbal directions and demonstration and are practiced independently, with some correction from the instructor. But some skills do require the instructor to have contact with the students.
I do not have another class to switch your daughter into for the session that you are currently enrolled. If you do not wish to continue, I can cancel her enrollment in the class.
Please let me know how you would like to proceed.
Lynn sent the following email to various local media outlets and reporters Wednesday evening, shortly after receiving the above email.
Hello Arlington County Newspapers, Radio and Media Corp:
Do you know how badly the Arlington County Parks & Recreation System sucks? Get back in touch with me and I’ll gladly share my experiences from over the years. It’s mostly due to responses like the one I received — it’s like everyone in the parks & rec system have undergone the exact same training: “How to be a Jerk”.
Today’s response is not the first of its nature. Again, I would be glad to share my experiences with you, you will be shocked. Please get back in touch with me.
Se habla espanol.
Based on the letters, do you think Lynn has a legitimate complaint? Or is this perhaps an example of inappropriate body shaming? (Via sources, we understand that the instructor has a pretty normal male physique.) Let us know in the comments.
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.”
Congressional candidate Mike Webb has an explanation for why web browser tabs for two pornographic web pages could be seen in a screenshot he posted Monday afternoon.
In an email to ARLnow.com, which he also posted to Facebook, Webb claims that he was testing the whether such sites could have been the source of the alleged “cyber attack” that prevented him from filing a report to the Federal Election Commission on time.
“Curious by nature, I wanted to test the suggestion that somehow, lurking out in the pornographic world there is some evil operator waiting for the one in a gazillion chance that a candidate for federal office would go to that particular website and thereby be infected with a virus that would cause his or her FEC data file to crash the FECfile application each time that it was loaded on the day of the filing deadline, as well as impact other critical campaign systems,” Webb said in a characteristically lengthy message that also included accusations of malfeasance against some critics and local Republican party members.
Webb acknowledged that the episode has brought his quixotic campaign renewed attention, following his defeat in the race for the 8th District Republican congressional nomination. He insisted that it hasn’t cost him votes.
“We have not gained any new enemies or lost any friends today,” he wrote.
In fact, Webb said in a subsequent post, the whole thing has been an overall positive for his campaign.
“The truly amazing thing about today was that ‘I saw also the Lord, high and lifted up,’ and I was very much moved by the love and support of those who expressed their encouragement and support, even some in the national and local press,” he wrote.
National news outlets including Gawker, the Daily Caller and the New York Daily News have picked up the story. The media attention has driven scores of wisecracking commenters to Webb’s Facebook page. As of midnight, three of his posts Monday have garnered a combined 2,937 Facebook comments.
Webb, meanwhile, said he’s busy trying to get the signatures necessary to make the November ballot as an independent, which would allow him to face off against incumbent Rep. Don Beyer (D) and Republican nominee Charles Hernick.
“As you know, we have to get 1,000 signatures in the next few weeks to get into the fight, and we are making great headway in this effort because people are very frustrated with our current politicians and their antics, as I probably should be, too,” he wrote.
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.”
Car on Fire Spotted Driving Down Street — Yesterday evening, an Arlington County Fire Department unit radioed dispatch to report that they had just seen a car with flames visible from the engine compartment drive past them on Carlin Springs Road, its driver oblivious to the fire. The fire engine was able to turn around, catch up with the driver near the intersection of Wilson and Glebe, pull the car over and extinguish the flames. [Twitter, Twitter]
Wrong Man on Iwo Jima Memorial? — The Marine Corps is investigating claims that a Navy corpsman identified as one of the men who raised the flag in a moment depicted by Arlington’s Iwo Jima Memorial was not, in fact, in the original photo. [USA Today, Associated Press, New York Times]
USS Arlington Returns Home — The sailors and Marines aboard the USS Arlington have returned to Norfolk after a seven-month overseas deployment assisting in the fight against ISIS. [Marine Corps Times, WAVY]
Former Top Federal IT Official Dies — Greg Ambrose, who had served in senior information technology posts at the departments of Defense, Homeland Security, State and Veterans Affairs, died early Tuesday morning. Ambrose took his own life at a Rosslyn condominium after posting on Facebook about a woman who had left him for another man. [FCW, Twitter]
Arlington, Virginia Tech Join ‘Smart City’ Network — “Virginia Tech and Arlington County have been accepted into the MetroLab Network of 35 city/county-university partnerships that works to bring data, analytics and innovation to local government.” [Arlington County]
Flickr pool photo by Joseph Gruber
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.