Arlington, VA

A man allegedly led police on a foot chase in the Westover area after his neighbor found a bullet hole in his apartment.

The bullet hole was reported to police Friday morning, in an apartment building on the 5700 block of Washington Blvd, according to an Arlington County Police Department crime report.

Investigating officers determined that an argument was overheard in the apartment next to that of the victim one week prior. While trying to get in touch with the residents of the adjacent apartment a man exited the building and tried to flee, according to ACPD, but he was detained and a gun recovered.

More from the crime report:

MISSILE INTO OCCUPIED DWELLING (late), 2021-02260074, 5700 block of Washington Boulevard. At approximately 11:15 a.m. on February 26, police were dispatched to the report of suspicious circumstances. Upon arrival, it was determined that on February 20, the victim located a bullet hole inside his residence and later found a bullet fragment. Further investigation revealed an argument was overheard in the adjoining apartment the evening prior to the bullet hole being discovered. As officers were attempting to make telephone contact with those residents, the male subject emerged from the building and fled the scene. Following a foot pursuit, he was detained by officers. A firearm was later recovered. The investigation is ongoing.

Separately, police are looking for a man who lit blankets atop a sleeping victim on fire, according to Monday’s crime report.

The victim was sleeping under an overpass in Arlington when the alleged incident occurred, on Friday, Feb. 19. It was only reported to police this past Thursday morning, when medics were called to treat the victim’s burns. He was taken to a local burn center by ambulance, according to scanner traffic.

The crime report suggests that the victim knows the suspect.

“At approximately 11:45 a.m. on February 25, police were dispatched to an EMS assist” on the 2900 block of S. Glebe Road, the crime report says. “Upon arrival, it was determined that on February 19, the victim was asleep underneath the overpass when he was approached by a known suspect who wrapped his legs in blankets and set them on fire.”

“The victim and a witness were able to extinguish the fire and the suspect left the scene,” the crime report continues. “Upon receiving the request for service on February 25, the victim was transported to an area hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries.”

No arrests have been reported so far, and police say the investigation into the incident “is ongoing.”

File photo

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Two Arlington County library branches are reopening for “express service” next month.

The Shirlington and Westover branches will open their doors on Tuesday, March 9 for the first time in almost exactly one year.

Patrons will be limited to 15 minutes of in-person browsing, though there’s a possibility of expanding to 30 minutes depending on “patron demand.”

While only self-service checkout will be available, several library employees will be on-site at each branch to help with way-finding and account management. Holds pick-up will also be available.

Henrik Sundqvist, spokesperson for the Arlington Public Library, says this is a step in the library’s phased approach to reopening.

“With this express library service model, we are excited to reopen and reconnect with our communities,” he said.

In November, the Arlington County Board approved spending $170,000 to bring back temporary employees and fund the reopening of these two branches for express service. However, the original plan was to reopen in January and to allow up to 30 minutes of browsing.

Anne Gable, Arlington Public Library’s deputy director, says that in November the details were still being worked out. Staff thinks shortening it to 15 minute blocks meets patron demand better.

The delay from January to March, says Gable, was due to a spike in cases after the holidays and continued community spread of the virus.

For the express service, library staff on-location will be a mix of temporary and permanent employees. Due to the county’s hiring freeze enacted last March, the library has not been able to fill vacant positions. However, the allotted $170,000 will fund bringing back a number of temporary employees that were let go in the spring.

No Arlington County library has been fully open since March 2020 due to the pandemic. Only Central Library has remained open for limited pick-up of holds placed online, a “more labor-intensive model” than normal due to health and safety protocols, including quarantining returned books for 72 hours.

Sundqvist says that library staff have heard from the public about how much they want the libraries to fully re-open, but are remaining cautious.

“It was a hard, difficult decision for us to close [back in March 2020],” says Sundqvist. “It’s important when we do re-open that it’s sustainable and we don’t have to close down again.”

The express library service at two branches is a way to re-open safely while remaining pared down, he said. There’s no timeline yet for the reopening of the other branches in the system, though six locations are currently available for book-drop off only.

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Morning Notes

Sexual Battery Suspect Arrested — “At approximately 1:12 p.m. on November 20, police were dispatched to the 4200 block of Wilson Boulevard for the report of a suspicious person matching the description of the suspect in the November 17 incident. Responding officers located the individual and took him into custody without incident.” [ACPD]

Local Attorney Accused of Sex Offenses — “A Northern Virginia attorney was arrested Thursday in Miami and accused of coercing underage girls into sexual activity. Matthew Erausquin, a founding partner of the firm Consumer Litigation Associates’ Northern Virginia affiliate, is charged in Alexandria federal court with sex trafficking involving six minors.” [Washington Post]

Hospice Worker Accused of Sexual Assault — A 57-year-old Arlington man has been charged “with sexually assaulting a hospice patient in October. Detectives were first notified on Nov. 11, that an 80-year-old Reston man disclosed to a family member that he awoke to [the man] performing a sex act on him in his home.” [Fairfax County Police]

Man Arrested After Incident in Park — “Arlington County Police say that a local man tried to kick a dog and then pepper sprayed its owner Thursday afternoon at Chestnut Hills Park.” [Patch]

SUV Fire in Westover — Washington Blvd was blocked around lunchtime Sunday due to a vehicle fire near Westover Village. The SUV was fully engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived. [Twitter]

MyEyeDr Opening Today in Ballston — The new MyEyeDr location in Ballston is set to open today, according to a press release. The chain bills itself as “one-stop shop to get an eye exam, buy new eyewear or even shop for sunglasses.”

Metro Making Budget Cuts — “Metro board members unanimously approved service cuts and a buyout plan Thursday aimed at avoiding as many layoffs as possible as the transit agency faces a $176 million budget shortfall due to the coronavirus pandemic.” [Washington Post]

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Morning Notes

Crystal City Parking Lot Staying Put — “Crystal City has been a scalding hot market for new development ever since Amazon.com Inc. moved in — but one well-positioned lot will continue to sit empty for the foreseeable future. Gould Property Co., which owns a small parking lot at 2661 S. Clark St., filed a request with Arlington County last month asking for permission to maintain the property as surface parking through early 2026.” [Washington Business Journal]

Westover Apartment Building Named — “Kathleen Sibert, who led the Arlington Street People’s Assistance Network (A-SPAN) from 2008 until earlier this year, will remain a permanent part of the organization through a facility named in her honor… Located in Westover, Sibert House is designed to provide permanent-supportive housing and a foundation to help individuals achieve better health, overcome substance abuse and mental illness, obtain job security, and attain their goals.” [InsideNova]

Schools Also Facing Budget Gap — “Superintendent Durán said that APS is facing an estimated budget gap at this time of between $24 million and $31 million. The APS budget gap continues to fluctuate and is based on continued unknowns including more possible revenue loss, more possible savings and more costs as APS works to return students to in-person learning while continuing to provide distance learning. The school district is examining its current practices and reviewing the budget.” [Arlington Public Schools]

Arlington Water Facts — “In a year, Arlington residents use some 8 billion gallons of water. That’s about a trillion 8-ounce glasses of the stuff. Clean, safe and always at the ready.” [Twitter]

Real Estate Costs on the Rise — “Not only are home prices on the rise across the Washington area; the average cost on a per-square-foot basis continues to grow, too… In Virginia, Arlington led the pack, with its average per-square-foot cost of $455 up 4.4 percent from $436.” [InsideNova]

Real Estate Firm Opening Second Office — “McEnearney Associates is excited to announce a new office location in the heart of Clarendon in Arlington, Virginia located at 3033 Wilson Boulevard… This will be McEnearney Associate’s second office location in Arlington.” [Press Release]

Airport Concession Sales Way Down — “Roughly 33 concessionaires were open at Reagan and 44 at Dulles, or just over 40% of all shops in the two airports… the shops that are open are still struggling with very low foot traffic and a customer base that is spending less than normal. Sales per passenger were down 20% at Reagan National and 22% at Dulles in August compared to the same month of 2019.” [Washington Business Journal]

Arlington Early Voting on Irish TV — “Irish TV RTÉ was in Courthouse filming the early voting for the election.” [@Irelands4Courts/Twitter]

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Those who mourned the closing of Finders Keepers in Westover (5906 Washington Blvd) should be happy to know a new consignment shop is coming to the same space, but with some significant new changes.

True to the consignment store spirit, Amber Scivolette is taking a second-hand retail space and breathing new life into it — Finders Keepers is becoming Blossom and Buds Consignment.

The store will serve both kids and adults. Offerings will include clothing, shoes and accessories, as well as toys, books, games, and other items.

“We’re going to have kids’ consignment as well as women’s consignment,” Scivolette said. “It’s basically two storefronts, with one whole side for kids and a kids’ play area.”

Inside, Scivolette said she has renovated the space.

“We pulled everything apart,” Scivolette said. “We just completed that, now we’re setting things into place.”

The exterior, which currently is mostly covered in plastic, is also getting spruced up. Scivolette said a new sign and a power wash are coming soon.

The new store is scheduled to open in September, possibly with a soft opening around Thursday, Sept. 10, or Friday, Sept. 11.

Though the exact details haven’t been nailed down yet, Scivolette said Blossom and Buds will implement COVID-19 safety measures. Early on, that will mean a big emphasis on selling items via Instagram, Facebook and other social media outlets. Scivolette said the store will offer contactless pickup if someone wants to buy something they spotted online.

While many locals opening new stores have had challenges, Scivolette says she’s found a silver lining.

“Opening now… it’s not ideal, but I feel like I’m not rushed,” Scivolette. “I can take the time to do what I want to do. The timing works out okay for us.”

Photo courtesy Amber Scivolette

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Morning Notes

Protest Outside Westover Post Office — About 15 protesters held a “Save the U.S. Postal Service” rally outside the Post Office at 5877 Washington Blvd in Westover yesterday. The two-hour lunchtime demonstration was organized as part of the American Postal Worker Union National Day of Action. [@KalinaNewman/Twitter]

Historic Review Board Likes Shirlington Plan — “The Arlington County government’s historic-preservation advisory body seems generally satisfied that retention of historic features will be seen as an important component of the redevelopment of the Village at Shirlington. In particular, the low-slung storefronts along Campbell Avenue are expected to be protected from the wrecking ball, even as taller and more dense development likely will be allowed immediately behind them.” [InsideNova]

New BBQ Restaurant Opens Patio — “Smokecraft Modern Barbecue is excited to debut its much-anticipated patio, now open daily for outdoor dining and drinking. Arlington residents and visitors can now enjoy Smokecraft’s award-winning barbecue outside on a socially distant patio, consisting of 38 seats.” [Press Release]

TTT in Clarendon to Host Virtual DJUpdated at 9:30 a.m. — “Beginning Friday, September 4… TTT (Tacos, Tortas & Tequila) known for its casual Mexican-influenced fare is adding an exciting bit of fun on Friday and Saturday nights and Sunday afternoons with virtual DJs. Guests dining on the first floor and on the third floor TTT Rooftop, which seats 82 and offers wonderful views on the city, will enjoy watching and listening to live streaming DJ performances via large screen projection.” [Press Release]

Family Pushing for Arlington House Change — “Descendants of Charles Syphax have been courting lawmakers for the past few months to make the change, said Syphax family historian Steve Hammond, who lives in Sterling, Va. The family’s effort is motivated as much by a desire to accurately honor the full history of the property and the enslaved people who lived there as it is by any antipathy toward Lee.” [Washington Post]

Nearby: Back to School in Falls Church — Students have started the fall semester, virtually, in Falls Church. A TV news segment shows teachers conducting their virtual classes from their actual, physical classrooms. [NBC 4]

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Arlington County firefighters are battling a small fire in a garden apartment building in the Westover area.

The fire was reported in the basement of the Fisher House apartment building at 5705 Washington Blvd. Initial reports suggest the fire started in the laundry room and was extinguished by firefighters, but not before producing heavy smoke and prompting a second alarm response.

Firefighters are now working to remove smoke and to ensure that the fire is completely extinguished. Washington Blvd is currently blocked by the emergency response.

So far there is no report of injuries.

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Morning Notes

APS Working to Keep School Construction on Track — “Top Arlington school-system staff are recommending doing whatever it takes – including shuffling money away from other projects – to ensure construction of a new elementary school in Westover does not fall behind schedule.” [InsideNova]

Yard Waste Collection Suspended Again — After a one-week reprieve, Arlington has again suspended its residential yard waste collection service. There’s no word on when it will resume, though the county has opened two yard waste drop-off centers. [Arlington County]

Law Enforcement Memorial Ceremony to Be Livestreamed — On Wednesday at 8 a.m. “the Arlington County Police Department and the Arlington County Sheriff’s Office will host a virtual Observance of Peace Officers Memorial Day to honor and pay tribute to the memory of Arlington’s seven fallen law enforcement officers.” [Arlington County]

New Superintendent’s Introductory Remarks — “Among other things, Dr. Durán pledges to close ‘access, opportunity and achievement gaps;’ to ‘commit collectively to sustain and improve the level of academic excellence for students in APs
through an equity and inclusion lens;’ and to help students and families ‘through these troubling times times.'” [Blue Virginia]

Paper’s Prediction: Dems Win Special Election — “The field is set at three: Democrat Takis Karantonis, Republican Bob Cambridge and independent Susan Cunningham. The arrival of Cambridge is probably music to the ears of Democrats, as he will help split the anti-Democratic vote with the better-known and probably more viable Cunningham, allowing Karantonis to win and avoiding a repeat of a 2014 special election when John Vihstadt went mano-a-mano against Democrats and wrestled them into submission.” [Sun Gazette]

Amazon Running Arlington-Herndon Shuttle — “It’s too early to tell if Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) will launch a Seattle-style shuttle service for its HQ2 employees, but the company has connected its Herndon and Arlington offices via shuttle.” [Washington Business Journal]

Arlington Participating in Virtual Tech Conference — “For the last several years, Northern Virginia has taken dozens of promising tech start-ups to the Collision conference, granting them access to programming, investors, mentors and networking opportunities. This year, the Collision organizers have moved everything online, so instead of traveling to the conference in Toronto this year, eighteen lucky start-ups from Northern Virginia will get an all-access pass to the Collision from Home tech conference.” [Press Release]

Nearby: Alleged W&OD Trail Creeper Arrested — “City of Falls Church Police arrested Lamar Dontae McCarthy, 23 years old of Stafford, VA, and charged him with assault. On Saturday, May 9, police reported to Grove Ave. and the W&OD Trail for a report of a suspect who had pursued a woman on the trail. The woman stated she saw a man in a red hooded sweatshirt suddenly stop his vehicle and sprint after her.” [City of Falls Church]

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For Lisa Ostroff, owner of Trade Roots, asking for help is a delicate thing.

While there are countless other residents and businesses in Arlington that need assistance, Ostroff is in the uncomfortable position of asking locals to consider helping tradespeople and artisans at far-flung parts of the world who lack the support of America’s admittedly porous safety net.

Ostroff’s store, Trade Roots, brings all sorts of fair trade international goods to Westover at 5852 Washington Blvd. Items range from stationery to jewelry to wine.

“It’s hard because right now people are thinking ‘I don’t need to support Peruvians, I need to support people in Manhattan,'” Ostroff said. “But when this is said and done, we need to think about the people in other countries, too.”

Ostroff said some larger companies canceled orders to foreign countries after the products had already been made, leaving goods and supplies normally welcome in the United States to pile up, disused, and the workers that crafted them left without any pay.

“That’s what companies do,” Ostroff said. “That’s not what happens with fair trade. In the whole supply chain, everybody looks out for the next guy. People I placed some orders with in January called and said ‘don’t worry, [the products] are being held here, but the artists are being paid.’ You take care of people because they take care of us.”

But Ostroff said she hasn’t been able to put in new orders

“I can’t really afford to be placing orders right now,” Ostroff said. “We’re busy selling what we have in stock. And some people I have ordered from, like those in Nepal, nothing is coming in or out because it’s landlocked.”

The store closed early in the pandemic, on March 8, but has since reopened for phone orders and Facetime shopping from 1-5 p.m., Monday-Friday. Ostroff said she was lucky that the store had a decent online presence before the pandemic; the website has since been expanded with options like ordering beer and wine online.

“Fortunately had the bones of a website in place,” Ostroff said. “We’ve been very busy adding, adding, adding to the website. A lot of people are using it. They’ve relaxed some of the rules so I’ve been selling wine to go, which I couldn’t do before.”

In the meantime, Ostroff said her store is getting through the pandemic partially by remembering what life is like for the workers they’re trying to buy from and support.

“There is a little bit of a safety net here, but in these other countries, there is no safety net at all,” Ostroff said. “They’re already living hand to mouth with no savings. It’s a lot harder. I put in a newsletter a video from Peru where they have to shelter in place and there’s a worker sheltering at their workshop with no water and no electricity to keep working.

“Our economy is in shambles but we will get back in a year or two,” she added. Workers in the developing world, however, “live like this all the time.”

Photo via Trade Roots/Facebook

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(Updated at 4:15 p.m.) Farmers markets in Arlington closed briefly by the coronavirus outbreak will be allowed to re-open this weekend, but with a catch: vendors can only offer food that’s been pre-ordered before the market.

The new rules are meant to bring local farmers markets in compliance with guidance from the state government. A similar policy was enacted for markets in Alexandria.

“To limit the exposure to COVID-19, vendors are not permitted to display food or on-site shopping,” Arlington County said in a press release. “This guidance enables markets to remain open giving Arlingtonians access to fresh, locally-grown food while promoting social distancing.”

While others will be opening later this spring, three Arlington farmers markets are currently in season and expected to reopen for order pickups:

Each of the markets will be limited to no more than ten customers at a time, and customers are being asked to comply with social distancing guidelines to prevent the person-to-person spread of the virus. Food orders will be boxed and the press release said customers are asked to avoid touching or inspecting their orders on-site.

Arlington Dept. of Parks and Recreation spokeswoman Susan Kalish said that some of the vendors have options to place orders online, while others might have to be contacted directly by phone or email. While the process may be cumbersome for the first weekend, Kalish said that should be ironed out over the coming weeks.

The Columbia Pike Farmers Market announced today that it will be taking online orders for three vendors.

“To ensure we can continue to support our local farmers and provide the community with needed produce and goods while complying with state-wide guidance on distancing and gathering restrictions, we have temporarily moved our Farmers Market to the web,” said the Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization. “Customers will now order from our vendors online and pick up their orders at the market on Sundays. We currently have 3 vendors prepared to take orders for pick-up THIS Sunday, March 29. Please note that orders MUST be placed in advance, unless otherwise noted. There will be no shopping at the market.”

The nearby Falls Church farmers market is also reopening this weekend with similar rules in place.

File photo

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