Norovirus Outbreak at School — More than 80 students at Oakridge Elementary in south Arlington are out sick as a result of a suspected norovirus outbreak. The virus causes symptoms like “stomach aches, fever, vomiting and, in some cases, diarrhea.” [NBC Washington]
Sign Controversy at Yorktown — Some conservatives are upset that teachers at Yorktown High School are being allowed to hang “politically suggestive” signs in their classrooms. The signs read: “Patriots Know: Facts are not political. Diversity strengthens us. Science is real. Women’s rights are human rights. Justice is for all. We’re all immigrants. Kindness is everything.” [Daily Caller]
Yorktown Lacrosse Star Nears 200 Goals — Yorktown senior lacrosse star Laura Crawford is nearing the 200-goal mark for high school career. Crawford, a three-time team MVP, has committed to Penn. [Washington Post]
Female UAE Hockey Player Visits Caps — Fatima Al Ali, a hockey player and coach from United Arab Emirates, has been visiting with the Washington Capitals this week as part of the NHL’s “Hockey Is For Everyone month.” The visit has included taking the ice at the Caps practice facility in Ballston and dropping the puck at last night’s game at Verizon Center. [Fox 5, Al-Arabiya]
Levine, Favola Advance Rape Kit Bill — Updated at 9:40 a.m. — Legislation sponsored by Del. Mark Levine and state Sen. Barbara Favola, which Arlington County Board member Katie Cristol helped to craft, has passed unanimously in the Virginia House of Delegates. The bill calls for police to keep rape kits for a longer period of time even if the victim is not ready to prosecute. [WVTF]
MMA Studio Gives Parents a Night Off — A mixed martial arts gym is not a place that one would usually think of as a babysitting venue, but that’s precisely what Pentagon MMA on Columbia Pike will be Saturday night. The business is hosting a “parents’ night out” event for Valentine’s Day, letting mom or dad “enjoy a worry-free evening with your special someone this Valentine’s Day while your child enjoys a night of structured activities in a supervised environment.” [Pentagon MMA]
Reminder: Inauguration Closures Today — Many Arlington County facilities are closed today, Inauguration Day, and parking meters are not being enforced. Traffic is light around Arlington but drivers should expect closures and delays approaching the District. [ARLnow]
Arlington EOC Open — Arlington’s Emergency Operations Center is open and fully functional today for the inauguration. [Twitter]
Two Local Neighborhoods Among D.C.’s Hottest — Arlington Heights, between Columbia Pike and Route 50, and Yorktown in north Arlington, are No. 2 and 3 respectively on real estate firm Redfin’s list of the hottest Washington, D.C. area neighborhoods for 2017. [Redfin]
Schlow May Open Arlington Restaurant — Restaurateur Michael Schlow, the man behind Tico and The Riggsby in D.C., is “close to a deal” to open a new restaurant in Arlington. [Washington Business Journal]
School Bus Accident — There was a minor collision between two school buses at Randolph Elementary yesterday afternoon. According to initial reports more than a dozen students were evaluated by medics, but ultimately no injuries reported. [Twitter]
Schmuhl Sentenced for Home Invasion — Former lawyer Alecia Schmuhl was sentenced to 45 years in prison for her role in the home invasion attack on her former boss and his wife. Leo Fisher, a shareholder in Arlington law firm Bean, Kinney & Korman, was held captive by Schmuhl’s husband, who shot, stabbed and tased the couple during a three hour torture session. [NBC Washington]
Flickr pool photo by Brian Irwin
Someone spray painted “heil Trump,” “KKK” and two poorly drawn swastikas on a dumpster in north Arlington over the weekend, but neighbors quickly painted over the graffiti and turned it into symbols of love and peace.
Neighbors first spotted the graffiti on a dumpster in front of a house under renovation on the 5300 block of Little Falls Road Sunday morning, a couple of blocks from Yorktown High School.
“It’s very shocking,” said Daphne Lathouras, who lives near where the vandals struck. “That’s the gut reaction that one has when this kind of thing happens.”
Lathouras said the owners of the property are currently not residing in the home but posted about the hateful graffiti on Facebook.
“There seems to be a boys-will-be-boys kind of consensus among people about this, which is very alarming,” Lathouras added. “But boys should behave better. ”
Neighbors used orange paint to paint over the messages Sunday afternoon, according to Lathouras. Late last night, someone once again tagged the dumpster with spray paint — this time, though, with hearts, a peace symbol and the word “love.”
On the Yorktown Civic Association Facebook page, neighbors debated whether the intent of the original graffiti was hate — or a youthful prank.
“Some kids from Yorktown HS or Williamsburg MS trying to get a rise out of you,” said one resident. “Chill! Don’t give the kids the satisfaction they are looking for.”
“I’m sorry, but hate speech is never ever ever something to ‘chill’ about,” responded another, “No matter the origin or presumed intent.”
Lathouras said on Facebook that she was told by police, “this is happening all over Arlington” and “it’s anti-Trump kids trying to get a rise out of people.” Arlington County Police, meanwhile, released the following crime report about the incident.
GRAFFITI, 2017-01080091, 5300 block of Little Falls Road. At approximately 11:43 a.m. on January 8, police were dispatched to the report of graffiti. Upon arrival, officers located a rented construction dumpster with ‘KKK,’ ‘Heil Trump’ and a swastika spray painted on it. There are no suspect(s) descriptions and the investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to contact the Arlington County Police Department at 703-558-2222. Tips can also be reported anonymously to Arlington County Crime Solvers at 1-866-411-TIPS.
Yorktown Neighborhood Profiled — Schools and a sense of community are two of the biggest attraction to the north Arlington neighborhood of Yorktown. Safety is another plus: there were no burglaries or robberies reported in the neighborhood in the past 12 years. [Washington Post]
County Still Seeking Private Money for Aquatics Center — Arlington County is still looking for private partners and sponsorships before moving forward on construction of the Long Bridge Park aquatics center. It’s unclear if additional private money would be used to expand the center or reduce the estimated $40-44 million in taxpayer funding. Even without additional money, park bonds already approved by voters are expected to fully fund construction. [InsideNova]
Rosslyn Metro Express Guy Featured — The Express newspaper distributor who works at the Rosslyn Metro station was featured in a “happy news” video on the Facebook page of Seattle television station KING. [Facebook]
Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley
A car slammed into a low stone wall outside of a home at the corner of N. Harrison Street and 26th Street N. this afternoon.
The single-vehicle crash happened around 1:30 p.m., not far from the Lee-Harrison shopping center and Yorktown High School.
An adult male driver was the only occupant inside the car, a gray Oldsmobile, when emergency crews arrived. He was reported to be semi-conscious after the crash and not responding to police commands. A fire department rescue squad was dispatched to the scene to remove the man from the car.
The driver was transported to Virginia Hospital Center for evaluation. The cause of the crash and the cause of the driver’s semi-conscious state is still under investigation, a police spokeswoman said.
A large portion of the wall and some shrubbery was destroyed by the crash, but no other injuries were reported.
The Capitol Steps will perform at Yorktown High School on Sunday, Jan. 31 from 7-9 p.m. The ensemble was formed by a group of Senate Staffers and has been performing their comedy — which combines both musical and political elements — for more than 30 years.
The troupe will perform songs from their latest album entitled Mock the Vote at the show. Together, the performers in the group have worked in 18 Congressional offices and have a combined 62 years of experience in the Senate and House.
General admission tickets are $35 per person. There will also be a pre-show cafe from 6-6:50 p.m. that requires separate tickets for $10 apiece. Both are available for purchase online.
A portion of the proceeds from all ticket sales will support the Yorktown Theatre Arts Program.
Photo via Yorktown High School Theatre Arts
Next Saturday, neighborhoods like Clarendon, Bluemont, Westover and Barcroft are each holding events intended to bring neighbors together and celebrate their immediate surrounding area.
In Clarendon, county officials will gather to celebrate the now-upscale neighborhood’s time in the post-Vietnam War 1970s and 1980s when it was known as “Little Saigon” for its high population of Vietnamese immigrants. At 1:30 p.m., former Little Saigon residents and historians will narrate a tour of the area, displaying historic and still-standing businesses from the era.
The whole event, called Echoes of Little Saigon will run from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m., and will include displays of Vietnamese art and Lemongrass food truck, a frequent Arlington visitor during lunch hours, will provide the country’s cuisine.
Below is a list of the neighborhood day events from other areas of the county, via the Department of Parks and Recreation (all events are on Saturday, May 9).
- Bluemont: Bluemont Park (601 N. Manchester Street), 9:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m. The annual Walk for the Animals fundraiser for the Animal Welfare League of Arlington is back for Neighborhood Day. The 20th anniversary walk has already raised more than $50,000, and this year will include its first “pet festival.” The festival will include vendors, food trucks, photos with pets, adoptable shelter dogs available to play and more.
- Westover: Westover Branch Library (1644 N. McKinley Road), 3:00-5:00 p.m. A “family fun afternoon” with activities that include face painting.
- Penrose: Penrose Park (2200 6th Street S), 10:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. The south Arlington is hosting “Family Fitness day,” holding activities for nutritional and fitness awareness, a moon bounce and fitness classes for all ages.
- Yorktown: Chestnut Hills Park (2807 N. Harrison Street), 11:30 a.m. Celebrate the ribbon-cutting on the renovated playground with neighbors. FitArlington will be on hand promoting its new website and fitness initiative. Children can participate in the free scavenger hunt for prizes.
- Barcroft: Barcroft Elementary School (625 S. Wakefield Street), 4:00-6:00 p.m. The Barcroft Elementary Spring Fair is intended to be an early evening of pure fun, with activities likea bounce house, games and a cake walk, all for prizes.
- Old Glebe: Gulf Branch Nature Center (3608 N. Military Road), 10:00-11:30 a.m. The north Arlington nature center will join the neighborhood to “welcome back hummingbirds.” Each family will make its own feeders as the birds with the fastest wings in the world migrate back to the county. Register online.
- Glencarlyn: Long Branch Nature Center (625 S. Carlin Springs Road), 7:00-8:00 p.m. The nature center will host families in the amphitheater for a campfire discussion about snakes. Games, songs and s’mores will all be in abundance.
A Chinese restaurateur with a cult following will open his first restaurant in Arlington in two days.
Oriental Gourmet in the Lee-Harrison Shopping Center just closed this month, but chef Peter Chang‘s team is full steam ahead in trying to transform the space into Peter Chang Arlington, set for a soft opening at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday.
Chang got his start in the U.S. cooking at the Chinese Embassy before serving his speciality, Szechuan cuisine, at little-known China Star on Main Street in the city of Fairfax. He moved around Northern Virginia to a restaurant in Alexandria and back to Fairfax, before moving to Georgia, picking up devoted followings in each area.
Chang’s followers are so devoted, and his nomadic tendencies so consistent, that a lengthy New Yorker magazine profile was devoted to them — despite Chang having never opened a restaurant north of the Mason Dixon line.
Recently, he’s started opening up Peter Chang restaurants in areas of Virginia farther south, starting with Charlottesville, Richmond, Williamsburg and Fredericksburg. Chang’s daughter, Lydia, said “Everyone is excited” for her father’s return to his Northern Virginia roots.
“We’re here to provide amazing, authentic Chinese cuisine,” Lydia Chang told ARLnow.com in the under-renovation restaurant space this morning. “Peter loves Northern Virginia and he knows there are a lot of people who appreciate authentic Chinese cuisine. He’s just here to do it right.”
Doing it right means a sit-down Chinese restaurant serving more than 100 menu items, including many of the dishes that have grown Chang’s following: dry-fried eggplant, duck in stone pot and pan-fried steamed pork belly. Lydia Chang said, if he wanted, her father “can create hundreds of different menu items.”
Restaurant openings, especially in Arlington, are notoriously fraught with long delays, often being pushed back months, even years. Some may be taken aback at how quickly Chang plans to open — just a week or two after the closing of Oriental Gourmet — but blazing his own path is nothing new for the mercurial chef.
“It’s not anybody else who wants to do this, it’s Peter’s decision,” Lydia Chang said. Pushing back the opening “is not our style. We’ve been talking about Northern Virginia for years. He’s always wanted to come back.”
The soft opening and early weeks will determine Peter Chang Arlington’s hours, Chang said. The restaurant is planning a grand opening Wednesday, March 18.
(Updated at 11:40 a.m.) Arlington firefighters are on the scene of a house fire across from Yorktown High School.
Neighbors called 911 to report the fire at 10:54 a.m., according to Arlington County Fire Department spokeswoman Lt. Sarah Marchegiani. The first units on the scene reported flames and smoke coming from the attic of the home,on the 5200 block of N. Yorktown Blvd. The fire is believed to have started in the kitchen and made its way up to the upper levels of the home.
No one was inside the house at the time and no injuries have been reported, according to Marchegiani. Firefighters, however, located two dogs in the house and brought them outside to receive oxygen for treatment of smoke inhalation. They’re being transported to an animal hospital, according to scanner traffic.
There were unconfirmed reports of a female teenager who ran into the house looking for the dogs, but who had to then run back out. She was reported to be safely out of the house by an assistant principal at the high school.
As of 11:15 a.m., the fire was reported to be under control and crews were checking for hotspots.
Chestnut Hills Park’s pre-school playground, near Yorktown High School, is expected to be torn down and replaced.
The existing playground (2807 N. Harrison Street) is “one of the most popular playgrounds in the county” according to Arlington Department of Parks and Recreation staff. It is also more than 26 years old and “beyond reasonable repair.”
The Arlington County Board will likely award a construction contract of $521,064 at its meeting this Saturday, Feb. 22. About $489,000 of the contract is for construction and design, while the remaining $31,000 is for contingency purposes.
The new playground, designed for children from ages 2-5, will have a climbing arch, crawl tunnels, “talk tubes,” sound columns, “abacus-like arches with moveable foam blocks” and a sand play area with a water feature. A swing set will remain. There will also be a new track that encircles the park, complete with traffic signs.
Images courtesy Arlington Parks and Recreation
Yorktown Defeats W-L in Basketball — Yorktown’s boys basketball squad defeated Washington-Lee on Friday by a score of 60-52. During the game Washington-Lee senior Jonah Sens scored his 1,000th career point. [Sun Gazette]
Court Orders Yelp Critics Identified — A Virginia Appeals Court last week ruled in favor of Hadeed Carpet Cleaning in a case against the online reviews site Yelp. Under the ruling, Yelp must reveal the identities of seven negative reviewers that Hadeed believes are not actual customers. Hadeed was represented by Raighne Delaney, an attorney with the Arlington law firm of Bean, Kinney & Korman. [Washington Times]
Exhibit-Goers Might Wonder ‘Y’ — An exhibit at Artisphere by artist Alicia Eggert features “a rock sit[ting] on the keyboard of a Macbook Air laptop, typing the letter ‘Y’ into infinity.” The exhibit runs through Feb. 2. [Ode Street Tribune]
Infamy for Arlington Nonprofit’s Former Logo — A former logo of the Arlington Pediatric Center, a local nonprofit healthcare provider in South Arlington, has been named one of the “15 Worst Corporate Logo Fails” by a popular online publication. [Business Insider]
Photo courtesy Becky Barnes
Strayer to Cut Tuition — Arlington based Strayer Education Inc. will cut undergraduate tuition for new students by up to 40 percent next year. The move is intended to curb declining enrollment. Total enrollment for the fall term was down 17 percent, while new enrollments fell by 23 percent. [Washington Business Journal]
Yorktown Loses in Quarterfinal — The Yorktown Patriots lost to the undefeated Lake Braddock Bruins in the Region 6A North quarterfinal regional game. The 40-7 loss left the Patriots finishing the season with a 9-3 record. This was the eighth straight year the Patriots advanced to the playoffs. [Sun Gazette]
Homophobic Message on Cake? — A couple in the District claims to have bought a cake at an Arlington bakery that sported a homophobic message. One woman ordered the cake for her partner, reportedly asking for a cluster of balloons to be replaced with the words “Happy Anniversary Lindsey! Love, Sarah.” Upon receiving the cake, it instead featured the sloppily written phrase “Lesbian Anniv. No Ballons.” The woman says she believes the mistake was intentional. The bakery was not identified by name. [The Gaily Grind, The Advocate]
A raccoon bit a woman in her backyard on Monday night, in the East Falls Church neighborhood, as her four-and-a-half year old daughter watched, horrified. A raccoon also bit a woman Wednesday afternoon in the Yorktown neighborhood. The latest victim is 5 months pregnant and was walking with a baby.
In both instances, animal control officers tried but failed to locate the raccoon.
Sandra Alboum, who was bit on Monday, says the raccoon climbed onto her backyard deck, “walked right up” to her, and started biting her foot and ankle, repeatedly. She said the animal seemed “curious,” as if it were looking for food, and unafraid of humans. As raccoon was biting her, Alboum took a box that normally holds dominoes and used it to bash the animal in the head and body until it scurried away.
“I’m just glad it wasn’t my daughter,” she said. “She was pretty freaked out, and I was too. It’s bizarre.”
Unable to drive, Alboum called 911 and was transported to the hospital, where she received nine “excruciating” rabies shots for her nearly dozen puncture wounds. She’ll have to receive at least three more shots over the next week.
While Monday’s incident took place in the area of 22nd Street N. and Quantico Street, in East Falls Church, Wednesday’s took place in the area of 25th Street N. and George Mason Drive, in the Yorktown neighborhood.
According to an account posted on Facebook, a raccoon walked up to a woman who was walking with a baby and bit her. The attack happened in the afternoon, which is notable given that raccoon are normally nocturnal. The baby was not hurt.
According to the Animal Welfare League of Arlington (AWLA), the victim is 5 months pregnant. She also went to the hospital for rabies shots.
“At this point we are not certain that the raccoon is rabid,” said AWLA spokeswoman Kerry McKeel. “Our animal control officers have not been able to catch it. The only way we will be able to tell for sure if it is rabid is if it is displaying unusual behavior and if the raccoon is caught and euthanized the results of a rabies test come back positive.”
It’s unclear if the same raccoon was responsible for both attacks. McKeel said the two incidents were “unrelated.”
File photo (top) by Bastique via Wikipedia. Photo (bottom) courtesy Sandra Alboum.
A new restaurant specializing in food from Bangladesh opened its doors today at 5169 Lee Highway.
Aladdin, in the Garden City Shopping Center near the Yorktown neighborhood, opened for lunch today with a limited menu, owner Harun Rashid said. He is planning a grand opening on Sept. 1.
Rashid and his wife, Shiuli, opened their first restaurant in 1994 in New York City. After a few years there, they moved to Atlanta, then to Rockville. They sold their restaurant in Maryland and signed their lease in Arlington in May.
He didn’t initially plan to have a soft opening before Sept. 1, but he said many of his Bangladeshi friends “were getting frustrated” that they couldn’t eat at the restaurant yet.
“We’re eager to see the local crowds,” Rashid said. “Most of our customers are American and have our lunch buffet. They love it here. In Georgia, they just go to Waffle House, Waffle House, Waffle House all the time and don’t try anything else.”
The buffet is open from noon to 3 p.m. and costs $9, Rashid said. Aladdin’s specialty, however, is the Kachi Biryani, a slow-cooked, lamb delicacy they only serve on Saturday that customers need to call and order in advance. Rashid said he already has an order for five dishes from an former Maryland customer this Saturday.
“We think we make the most authentic Biryani,” he said. “It takes six hours in total to make, and we won’t reheat it. It’s a very expensive, very tender meat, and a very unique cooking process.”
Bengali food is very similar to Indian food, Rashid said, but there are subtle differences in its texture and spice. Rashid’s two children were sitting quietly in the restaurant Thursday morning when he spoke to ARLnow.com. He emphasized that it’s a family-owned and operated establishment and he hopes to build ties to the area.
“I’m very proud to be part of the Bangladeshi community here,” Rashid said.
Yorktown Baseball Sets Record — Yorktown High School’s baseball team has finished the regular reason undefeated in the National District. With 14 victories, the Patriots set a National District record for wins in a single season. [Sun Gazette]
Crystal City BRT Named — The Bus Rapid Transit system that will serve Crystal City and Potomac Yard next year will be named “Metro Way” and will feature a blue bus design. The buses will travel from Pentagon City to Alexandria, and will run every 6 minutes during the rush hour. [Greater Greater Washington]
USS Arlington Fundraising $100K Short of Goal — So far, more than $390,000 has been donated or is expected to be pledged for a 9/11 “tribute room” on the USS Arlington. That leaves the ship’s commissioning committee more than $100,000 short of its $500,000 goal, however. Fundraising is continuing and committee member Frank O’Leary says he is “hoping to crack $400,000 this month.”