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Morning Notes

Haze from wildfires in western Canada, as seen at sunset from Rosslyn (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Memorial Day Closures — Arlington County courts, county offices, libraries, and community centers will be closed Monday for the Memorial Day holiday. County and school pools will be closed with the exception of Washington-Liberty, which is scheduled to be open from 6 a.m.-6 p.m. Parking meters will not be enforced. [Arlington County]

Longtime Election Appointee Departing — “For three different stints totaling 20 years, Scott McGeary has represented the interests of Republicans and the broader community on the Arlington Electoral Board. That will end sometime this summer, as McGeary and his wife Linda will be moving to Frederick County, Va.” [Gazette Leader]

Prosecutor Race Update — “Incumbent commonwealth’s attorneys in Arlington, Fairfax and Loudoun counties are all facing Democratic primary challenges this June. The contests, which will conclude on primary election day on June 20, have become arguments over what criminal justice reform in Northern Virginia should look like, and who is best placed to lead it.” [DCist]

Total Employment Rising in Arlington — “Total employment within Arlington was up 2.4 percent year-over-year to close out 2022, according to new federal data, roughly on par with the national average. The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics on May 25 reported fourth-quarter employment data showing Arlington had 176,700 employed within its 26-square-mile confines.” [Gazette Leader]

Yorktown Lax in Regional Championship — “Trailing by three goals in the fourth quarter, the host and top-seed Yorktown Patriots (17-1) rallied to win, 15-14, over the McLean Highlanders by netting the final four scores in the championship match of the Liberty District boys lacrosse tournament… Yorktown and the Madison Warhawks are scheduled to play in the region championship match on Friday, May 26 at Madison.” [Gazette Leader]

It’s Friday — Mostly sunny, with a high near 74. Northeast wind 5 to 9 mph. At night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 53. Northeast wind 5 to 7 mph. []

File photo

An Arlington man is in jail after police say he seriously injured two employees at a business.

The alleged incident happened just after 11 a.m. Wednesday, on the 1600 block of N. George Mason Drive. Scanner traffic suggests that the attack happened at a medical office in Virginia Hospital Center and that at least one of the employees was knocked unconscious.

Arlington County police said in a crime report that two employees suffered serious injuries.

MALICIOUS WOUNDING, 2023-05240117, 1600 block of N. George Mason Drive. At approximately 11:10 a.m. on May 24, police were dispatched to the report of an assault in progress. Upon arrival, it was determined the suspect physically assaulted two employees of the property. He was taken into custody without incident by responding officers. The two employees sustained serious but non-life threatening injuries and were evaluated on scene. [The suspect], 46, of Arlington, Va. was arrested and charged with Malicious Wounding (x2). He was held without bond.

Hunter Paige solving a Rubik’s Cube (photo courtesy Liz Paige)

Many adults can struggle for several minutes with a 3×3 Rubik’s Cube.

Fifth-grade student Hunter Paige at Arlington’s Cardinal Elementary School can do it in less than ten seconds.

Hunter is heading to CubingUSA this August for a national championship where “speedcubers” — people who race to solve Rubik’s Cubes — will face off against each other.

Hunter’s mother, Liz Paige, said her son become interested in cubing in February 2022.

“A few of his friends had started cubing and showed him,” Liz said. “He got curious to learn more, found some video tutorials online, and picked it up pretty quickly after that! Watched the Netflix documentary, The Speed Cubers, and was further hooked.”

Liz said early on, Hunter practiced and timed himself, then he joined an online cubing club and kept training. When local competitions started up around summer 2022, Liz said her son was eager to start competing. There, Liz said Hunter found his crowd.

“At the competitions, he meets people of all ages and skill levels,” Liz said. “One of the great things about the competitions is everyone is encouraged to not only compete but be a judge, a runner (bringing unsolved cubes to the competitors) and a scrambler (scrambling the cubes a specific way before handing off to runner). It really encourages a sense of community — it’s not just about the competition and who wins.”

The classic 3×3 cube is just the tip of the iceberg. There are quicker 2×2 cubes and more complicated 8×8 cubes, along with a variety of shapes like a pyramid or a skewb. There are competitions to solve the traditional 3×3 blindfolded or one-handed. Hunter’s done the latter with what his mom called “decent results”.

Hunter said that he likes cubing as a hobby because it’s unique and helps him stand out in a crowd. And it has paid off — in addition to the trip to nationals, Hunter is on the front page of an upcoming issue of the school’s student newspaper, The Cardinal Times.

He isn’t alone in the cubing craze: Liz said there’s a clique of students at the school that also enjoy cubing. At family gatherings, though, it’s an impressive party trick.

“I do think people are surprised to learn he’s a ‘speed cuber,'” Liz said. “There’s been many a family gathering when he’s brought his cubes and everyone’s seriously impressed by how quickly he can solve one!”

Liz said she isn’t sure how long Hunter will stick with cubing, but at the very least he’s excited for the national championship later this year.

“Beyond that… we’ll see,” Liz said.

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Arlington County Courthouse (staff photo by Matt Blitz)

(Updated at 12:30 p.m.) A year ago, Arlington County launched a diversion program for youth and young adults who commit certain misdemeanor and felony crimes.

Heart of Safety is a voluntary program facilitated by Restorative Arlington, a nonprofit that facilitates meetings between victims who choose this approach and the people who committed crimes against them.

The Commonwealth’s Attorney or the local court services unit — which provides services to juvenile court-involved youth and their families — refers victims of crimes who want to stay out of court proceedings to the program.

There, victims and the people who harmed them meet with facilitators and each other to discuss what happened and why, the results of that crime and how the perpetrator can make amends — typically by adhering to a restoration plan to which both parties agree. This approach borrows from longstanding indigenous traditions that have been implemented and studied in some U.S. communities.

The Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney has referred eight cases to the program as of November. That figure comes from a Freedom of Information Act request filed last fall by the campaign to elect Josh Katcher, challenger to Commonwealth’s Attorney Parisa Dehghani-Tafti in the Democratic primary on June 20. His campaign released its findings on Friday.

Program Executive Director Kimiko Lighty says that the number of cases that have gone through the program is higher. It does not include cases referred from court services unit, those completed in 2022, ongoing cases, or those on who are on a six-month waitlist that she would take if the program had more capacity.

“Heart of Safety is working at capacity right now and has a waitlist,” Lighty says. “There are people who are saying, ‘We would rather wait to have a restorative option than go to court.'”

Participants include people from middle school through 26 years old who committed a fairly broad range of crimes, though Lighty did not elaborate on what kind, citing privacy.

“What they have in common, every single one, is that the person harmed asked for a restorative process,” Lighty said.

Dehghani-Tafti, elected in 2019 on a platform of prosecutorial reform, has said on the campaign trail that Heart of Safety is an avenue for victims to heal and for people who committed crimes to reckon with their actions, demonstrate remorse and commit to making amends.

She tells ARLnow the cases that went through the program “have gone really well” and been consistent with a memorandum of understanding and referral policies governing the program, both of which were provided to ARLnow.

Katcher and his team take issue with how the program has been promoted and how much credit Dehghani-Tafti can take for it, maintaining that people should be skeptical about why Dehghani-Tafti is not more forthright about program outcomes.

His team requested the number and types of cases that have gone through Heart of Safety, the number referred back to the courts, the memorandum of understanding and referral criteria governing the program, and a definition of recidivism.

In response, his campaign says it received the number of cases, eight, and the same documents Dehghani-Tafti’s campaign provided to ARLnow.

“Parisa Dehghani-Tafti wants the community to think of her as a reformer. However, when pressed for information to prove that she’s living up to our community’s expectations for what that means, her office refuses to answer basic questions around the efficacy of her highly-touted commitment to restorative justice,” the campaign manager for Katcher, Ben Jones, said in a statement.

“Her refusal to answer simple questions about a program that she has touted as being one of her signature promises is another sign that she’s not the right person to be trusted with ensuring our community’s safety and security,” he continued.

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The RiverHouse apartments at 1111 Army Navy Drive in Pentagon City (staff photo)

Arlington is the tenth priciest market for rental housing in the United States, according to an updated set of rankings.

Rental website Zumper released its latest national rent report, which lists Arlington at No. 10 and neighboring D.C. at No. 9. New York City tops the list.

Zumber notes that Arlington rent grew at a faster pace over the past month than the national median, though its place in the rankings held steady.

“Zumper’s National Index showed one-bedrooms increasing 0.6% to $1,504, while two-bedrooms rose 0.8% to $1,856 in May. Both bedroom types are up about 6% year-over-year,” a spokesperson told ARLnow. “The price of one bedroom units in Arlington increased 1.3% to $2,300 last month, while two bedroom units grew 2.6% to $3,100.”

On a year-over-year basis, median one- and two-bedroom rents in Arlington are up 4.5% and 5.8%, respectively, this month.

Continued rent growth in Arlington contrasts with the falling rents earlier in the pandemic.

The report, meanwhile, notes that some less-expensive interior U.S. cities — like Columbus, Ohio and Colorado Springs — are seeing a surge in rental interest from those moving from more expensive coastal areas of the country.

Top 10 markets for median rental prices in May 2023 (via Zumper)

Morning Notes

Haze from wildfires in western Canada has made its way east, seen from The View of DC in Rosslyn (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Local Reps Blast Airport Proposal — “Members of Congress representing Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia today wrote to leaders of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure to express strong local opposition to ‘any changes to the current High Density (‘Slot’) and Perimeter rules at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (‘National’).'” [Press Release]

Fairfax Board Also Against DCA Bill — “The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously yesterday (Tuesday) to oppose the push to increase the number of flights that travel beyond 1,250 miles from the airport in Arlington. In a letter to the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation, the board argued that the effort would undermine Dulles International Airport (IAD), resulting in ‘detrimental’ impacts on the local economy.” [FFXnow]

Booster Group Releases DCA Poll — “The Capital Access Alliance (CAA), a coalition of transportation and business leaders from Virginia and around the country seeking to make air travel to and from Washington, D.C. more accessible and affordable, released new survey results today of more than 1,000 Virginia residents that found the majority of voters in the Commonwealth support modernizing the 1960s perimeter rule and adding more flights at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA).” [Capital Access Alliance]

GOPers Rankled By Ranked Choice — “‘This seems insane,’ one voice from the back remarked as the county’s elections director, Gretchen Reinemeyer, outlined that new voting procedure at the party’s monthly meeting, held May 22. Another suggested that the new – and, to many, confusing – voting change may have been implemented for nefarious means. ‘Chaos eventually leads to tyranny,’ one GOP member opined during a question-and-answer session.” [Gazette Leader]

Minor Injuries After Cyclist Struck — “ACPD on scene of a cyclist struck at the intersection of Wilson Blvd and N. Monroe Street in Virginia Square. Her injuries sound relatively minor.” [Twitter]

Police Seek Crystal City Groper — “1500 block of Crystal Drive. At approximately 5:22 p.m. on May 23, police were dispatched to the report of an assault just occurred. Upon arrival, it was determined the female victim was inside the business when an unknown male suspect grabbed her buttocks before fleeing the scene on foot.” [ACPD]

Nearby: Armed Man Arrested at Preschool — “A Florida man arrested in McLean yesterday (Tuesday) had guns in his car and was allegedly on his way to the CIA, Fairfax County police say. The man was reported for trespassing at the Immanuel Presbyterian Church (1125 Savile Lane) around 11:11 a.m. The church is also the site of Dolley Madison Preschool and the Speech and Language Center of Northern Virginia.” [FFXnow]

It’s Thursday — Cooler, with clouds clearing in the morning and a high near 71. North wind 8 to 11 mph, with gusts as high as 20 mph. At night: Mostly clear, with a low around 51. []


On Aug. 12, 2022, Arlington police officers were among the first to respond to the  devastating crash and fire at Ireland’s Four Courts.

Three ACPD personnel — Officer Whisner, Corporal O’Daniel and Corporal Playford — were just recognized for their heroism.

“Without hesitation, the officers entered the building, assisted with removing patrons, carried the injured to safety and provided emergency medical assistance,” Arlington County Police Department spokeswoman Ashley Savage tells ARLnow.

Whisner has served with the department for 2.5 years and Playford for 5 years, while O’Daniel has more than 24 years of law enforcement experience in Arlington, across the Sheriff’s Office and police department. They were honored for their bravery, for saving the lives of four critically injured patients and for preventing additional injuries during an annual Arlington County Fire Department award ceremony on Sunday.

“Your prompt response, quick decision-making, and selfless act of courage undoubtedly made a meaningful difference during this complex incident,” Arlington County Fire Chief David Povlitz told the officers, reading from a letter of commendation later provided to ARLnow.

“The collaboration between our departments was seamless, and your efforts in evacuating the building and removing patients were essential to the rescue operations,” he continued.

Firefighters on-scene were also lauded for evacuating the building, triaging patients, quickly extinguishing the raging fire, treating patients on-scene and transporting patients with life-threatening injuries to trauma centers, ACFD spokesman Capt. Nate Hiner tells ARLnow.

“Seamless collaboration with ACPD played a significant role in saving the lives of the critically injured patients and preventing additional injuries,” Hiner said.

The pub-goers who suffered the most serious, potentially life-threatening injuries were released from the hospital after about a month. The Uber driver who slammed into the pub, after an apparent medical emergency, did not face criminal charges.

Four Courts, meanwhile, expects to reopen in August, after about a year of insurance claims, permitting, demolition and construction.

The units who responded to the crash and fire were not the only first responders honored last week for saving lives. Last summer, there were two other rescues for which fire crews received accolades.

On June 25, 2022, Hiner said, 10 units responded to a “challenging trench rescue incident” in which a worker was trapped up to his shoulders in heavy clay in a collapsed trench at the rear of a house near Wakefield High School.

“The worker was in distress and having trouble breathing,” Hiner said. “Personnel collaborated to develop patient care and extrication plans, which they efficiently executed despite the difficult conditions and extreme heat. Crews worked for 75 minutes to safely remove the patient from the trench while providing ongoing medical care.”

Once the man was freed from the clay, he was rushed to the hospital and later discharged, making a full recovery.

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The new, public Metropolitan Park in the first phase of Amazon’s HQ2 in Pentagon City (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

After reaching No. 3 among local park systems last year, Arlington County has fallen a couple of spaces in the national “ParkScore” rankings.

The county was ranked No. 3 in the U.S. on the Trust for Public Land’s ParkScore index in 2022, after several years of being stuck at No. 4. This year, the county is No. 5.

A PR rep for the Trust for Public Land said the change was less about Arlington and more about two other park systems.

“It’s mostly because Irvine and Minneapolis opened new parks that pushed them ahead — not because of problems in Arlington,” said Matthew Kagan.

D.C. repeated as No. 1 in the nation this year. St. Paul, Minnesota is No. 2.

Last year, after ranking in the top 3, the county touted that 99% of Arlington residents live within a 10-minute walk to the park.

“Our parks and recreation opportunities are a key contributor to quality of life in Arlington County,” Arlington County Board Chair Katie Cristol said in 2022. “From livability, bikeability, fitness, health and more, our community benefits from our parks.”

Arlington got lower marks, however, for overall and median park acreage.

2023 ParkScore rankings (courtesy Trust for Public Land)

The full press release about this year’s rankings is below.

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Morning Notes

Softball at Washington-Liberty High School under hazy skies (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Driver Who Killed Arlington Residents Charged — “The woman accused of crashing into a sedan on Rock Creek Parkway — killing a Lyft driver and the two young men he was taking home — told investigators she had been drinking and smoking marijuana before the collision, and she had blood alcohol levels registering above the legal limit just afterward, police alleged in newly released court documents… Walker was arrested and charged Monday with second-degree murder in the March 15 incident.” [Washington Post]

Video: Crash on I-395 — From Dave Statter: “#caughtoncamera: The latest Exit 8C crash on I-395S. Today at 1:45 pm. So desperate to get to Crystal City they cut across 4 lanes.” [Twitter]

Arlington as Development Model — “The Washington, DC, region, led by Arlington, Virginia – just over the Potomac river – has shown a way to avoid the worst of the crisis. By concentrating apartments around transit, buying the most-affected locals in financially, and using the revenues to balance the budget, it has been able to permit more apartments than many of its peer regions over the past 50 years. This is a model other American cities could learn from.” [Works in Progress]

Two Arrested for Guns at DCA — “Two passengers in unrelated cases were stopped by federal officers at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport from bringing loaded handguns onto their flights Sunday. Transportation Security Administration officers at Reagan National Airport prevented a Florida resident with his loaded .380 caliber handgun and an Arkansas woman with her .22 caliber gun that was loaded with five bullets, a TSA news release said.” [Patch]

Hot Summer May Be on Tap — “Enjoy our mild spring while it’s here; temperatures will dial up in the coming weeks… In the Washington region, there is a 40-50% chance of above-normal temperatures starting next month through August, per NOAA.” [Axios, Capital Weather Gang]

‘Nova’ Is Hottest Name in Virginia — “Nova is the baby name seeing the largest gain in popularity among Virginia parents, per an Axios analysis of the most popular baby names using Social Security records. Yes, Nova. A name with Latin roots that means ‘new,’ according to, or ‘chaser of butterflies’ to the Hopi Native American people.” [Axios]

Va. AG Sues Over Robocalls — “Attorney General Jason Miyares today sued Michael D. Lansky, LLC, which does business under the name Avid Telecom, its owner Michael Lansky, and its Vice President Stacey S. Reeves, for allegedly initiating and facilitating billions of illegal robocalls to millions of people and violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, the Telemarketing Sales Rule, and other federal and state telemarketing and consumer laws.” [Press Release]

It’s Wednesday — Mostly sunny, with a high near 81. Northeast wind around 5 mph. At night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 54. South wind 5 to 15 mph becoming north after midnight. Winds could gust as high as 21 mph. []

Police vehicles seen on a traffic camera at N. Glebe Road and Williamsburg Blvd

(Updated at 2 p.m.) Arlington County police searched last night for a man who fled a traffic stop on foot.

The incident happened near the intersection of N. Glebe Road and Williamsburg Blvd, in the Old Glebe neighborhood.

Initial reports suggest that around 10 p.m., an officer tried to pull over a vehicle associated with someone who is wanted out of Maryland, but the vehicle was driven down the driveway of a home at the intersection and at least one person ran off.

Numerous ACPD units responded to the scene scene, helping to look for the suspect.

The search was ultimately called off and, as of Wednesday afternoon, the driver was still at large, with charges pending.

“At approximately 9:55 p.m. on May 23, police observed a vehicle whose registered owner was showing as wanted out of Maryland and attempted a traffic stop at N. Glebe Road and Williamsburg Boulevard,” ACPD spokeswoman Alli Shorb tells ARLnow. “The driver pulled into the yard of a residence in the 3600 block of N. Glebe Road, exited the vehicle and ran from the scene. Officers established a perimeter and searched the area for the driver yielding negative results.”

“Officers made contact with the four remaining vehicle occupants, three adults and one child, and, during the course of the investigation, determined two were wanted out of other jurisdictions,” said Shorb.

A 32-year-old female suspect from Culpeper, Virginia and a 38-year-old male suspect from Radiant, Virginia “were taken into custody and held on the outstanding warrants,” Shorb continued. “Charges are pending for the driver of the vehicle. The investigation is ongoing.”

Map showing the Arlington portions of King Street (via Google Maps)

A 38-year-old Maryland man is in jail after police say he struck and killed a woman with his car last night.

The crash happened around 10 p.m. on the 4800 block of King Street (Route 7), at the Arlington-Alexandria border. A crowd had gathered around the stricken pedestrian, a 71-year-old woman from California, as police arrived on scene, according to a police press release and scanner traffic.

The woman was taken to a local hospital and pronounced dead. Police say she was crossing the street when struck by the driver, who was arrested “on suspicion of driving impaired.”

More, below, from an Arlington County police press release.

The Arlington County Police Department is announcing an arrest in a fatal pedestrian crash that occurred on the evening of May 22, 2023. Alvaro Alejandro Pacheco Ramos, 38, of Columbia, MD has been charged with DUI/Involuntary Manslaughter. He is being held without bond in the Arlington County Detention Facility.

At approximately 10:04 p.m., police were dispatched to the 4800 block of King Street for the report of a crash with injuries involving a pedestrian. The pedestrian was transported to an area hospital and pronounced deceased. She has been identified as Susan Hamlin, 71, of Aptos, CA.

The preliminary investigation indicates the driver of the striking vehicle was traveling eastbound on King Street when he struck the pedestrian as she was crossing the roadway. As a result of the on-scene investigation, the driver was taken into custody on suspicion of driving impaired.

This remains an active investigation and anyone with information related to this incident is asked to contact Detective L. Bello at [email protected] or 703-228-4166. Information may also be reported anonymously through the Arlington County Crime Solvers hotline at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477). For additional community resources and contact information, visit our website.


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