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Fairfax County police car lights (file photo)

An Alexandria man was convicted earlier this month in connection with a series of armed gas station and convenience store robberies in Herndon.

Rashawn Perkins, 28, allegedly wore a ski mask and used a firearm during four robberies over five weeks, according to court documents.

“The evidence established that Perkins robbed a 7-Eleven on December 30, 2021 and a Sunoco on January 19, 2022. The evidence further proved that on February 5, 2022, Perkins returned to both locations and robbed them at gunpoint again,” the Department of Justice’s U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a Sept. 23 release.

According to court documents, Perkins — who previously had been convicted of three felony offenses — threw a firearm out of his bedroom window when the Fairfax County Police Department executed a search warrant for his home.

“Evidence at the trial established that this was the same firearm Perkins used to commit several of the robberies,” the release said.

Perkins faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 28 years in prison and a maximum of life imprisonment when sentenced on Jan. 12, 2023.

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The $2 million grant from Amazon will preserve Alexandria area units.

A local project will receive $2 million in funding from Amazon to secure 18 affordable housing units in the Alexandria area of Fairfax County.

Amazon has awarded Good Shepherd Housing and Family Services, an Alexandria-based nonprofit organization that offers assistive housing services, with the grant to acquire 18 homes in the Colchester Towne Condominiums community of the county.

The homes will be preserved as affordable housing units for individuals earning 50 percent of the area median income, according to a report by the Washington Business Journal.

Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay lauded the nonprofit organization for receiving the grant, which is the second largest single donation the organization has received.

“Their vital mission is to provide high quality, affordable, stable housing to those who otherwise would have difficulty accessing it,” McKay wrote in a statement on social media.

The funding was allocated through Amazon’s Housing Equity Fund, a $2 billion commitment to preserve and build 20,000 affordable homes in three main hub regions. The initiative launched in January 2021 and has since preserved more than 6,200 affordable homes in the DC area.

The company awarded more than $163 million in loans and grants to 12 developers in the DMV region, according to WBJ.

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Cunningham Park Elementary School in Vienna (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

A man was arrested yesterday (Tuesday) after reportedly pointing an object that observers initially thought might be a gun at Cunningham Park Elementary School students.

Vienna police were dispatched to the school around 12:51 p.m. in response to a report of a suspicious person described “as an older white male with no shirt, who possibly had a long gun and was pointing it at students,” the Town of Vienna Police Department said in a news release today (Wednesday).

The person who called in the report said they didn’t know whether the object was a toy gun, according to police.

“Upon arrival, officers talked to different sources who confirmed that no firearm was present and that the suspect picked up a metal object and pointed it at students,” VPD said. “He was last seen heading toward Cedar Lane.”

According to police, a man who fit the given description was later spotted bathing in the water fountain at the Vienna Town Green.

Apparently intoxicated, the man was arrested and identified as William Holland of no fixed address, police said. He has been charged with being drunk in public and brandishing within 1,000 feet of a school.

Police conducted a search of the man but didn’t find any weapons, the department says.

VPD says officers learned through a fingerprint search that the man was facing an indecent exposure charge in Alexandria. The city’s police department had a warrant out for him under the name “Mike Astor.”

According to VPD spokesperson Juan Vasquez, the man gave his name as William Holland to the officer who arrested him, but when his fingerprints were collected at the Fairfax County jail, the database matched them to the other name.

The Alexandria City Police Department didn’t immediately return FFXnow’s request for comment.

The man is currently being held on no bond at the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center. He has been barred from all Fairfax County Public Schools.

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The organizations that make up the new collaborative, Northern Virginia Local Arts Agencies (courtesy ArtsFairfax)

Arts agencies from Fairfax County, Arlington and Alexandria are forming a supergroup.

Unveiled Monday (Aug. 8), the newly created Northern Virginia Local Arts Agencies (NVLAA) consists of ArtsFairfax, the Alexandria Office of the Arts, and the Arlington Cultural Affairs Office. Its initial ambitions are modest, centered mostly on professional development, but the pooled resources could be a boon for the local arts community.

“The more opportunities that are available and cross-promotion that we can provide, getting the word out and reaching artists and organizations that can use this type of support, it benefits everyone,” ArtsFairfax Senior Director of Grants & Services Lisa Mariam said, noting that many artists do work across the three jurisdictions.

The collective can trace its origins back to the pre-pandemic days of early 2020, when the Washington Area Lawyers for the Arts approached all three agencies to see if they were interested in collaborating on workshops for artists, Mariam told FFXnow.

Formed in 1983, WALA is a nonprofit of volunteering lawyers who provide education, advocacy, and legal services to artists and cultural organizations in the D.C. area, according to its website.

The groups started planning a series of workshops that Mariam says was always intended to be virtual, since it would serve participants from across the region. That decision proved fortuitous, though, after COVID-19 shut down in-person gatherings and events in the spring of 2020.

The desire to collaborate reemerged last year when ArtsFairfax invited its Arlington and Alexandria counterparts to an “Art of Mass Gatherings” symposium aimed at helping festivals prepare for emergencies. Though based in McLean, the event drew participants from all three localities over two days in October.

After that experience, staff at the different agencies started discussing other ways to collaborate, especially for professional development, as local arts groups were trying to find their footing during the pandemic.

“It’s been really great for us, because we each have limited resources for this type of programming,” Mariam said. “Sharing the costs as well as the logistical support involved in pulling off these programs and promoting them works really well with a collaborative like this.”

ArtsFairfax received nearly $1.4 million from Fairfax County for the current fiscal year, which started on July 1. That included a $250,000 increase over the previous year to bolster the agency’s grants program. The organization also gets funding from state, federal, nonprofit and private sources.

NVLAA will officially launch this fall with four online workshops: Read More

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Morning Notes

Lewinsville Park basketball courts in McLean (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

McLean Police Shooting Not Justified, Family Says — The parents of Jasper Aaron Lynch, who was fatally shot four times by a Fairfax County police officer during a mental health crisis call on July 7, said in a statement that the police “could have, and should have, handled this far differently.” Their comments came after the county police department released footage of the encounter. [WTOP]

Bailey’s Crossroads Car Dealership to Expand — “The Radley Acura dealership on Columbia Pike near Route 7 in Bailey’s Crossroads will undergo a major expansion. The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved a rezoning application Aug. 2 by Radley Management LLC to build a three-level parking garage with 307 spaces and an enclosed customer service drop-off addition.” [Annandale Today]

New Metro Safety Issues Raised — “Metro needs to inspect, clean, and protect Metrorail station rooms that house equipment that detects when trains are on tracks and helps the system avoid crashes, the agency’s safety oversight body said in a report released Thursday. The report further said that Metro had failed to follow through on inspections after the issue was raised in March.” [DCist]

County Pension Fund Doubles Down on Crypto — “Fairfax County, Va.’s $6.8 billion pension fund, the Fairfax County Retirement Systems, has received approval to invest $70 million across two crypto yield farming funds…The $1.8 billion Fairfax County Police Officers Retirement System has made a series of crypto investments in the past alongside the Fairfax County Retirement Systems” [CoinDesk]

Funds for Water to Historic Hall Approved — “The Fairfax County Park Authority Board approved a Mastenbrook Grant request from the Great Falls Grange Foundation (GFGF) in the amount of $20,000 to help install a municipal-connected water line to service the Great Falls Grange…The overall vision for this site is to serve the community as a self-supporting gathering place, a location for classes and a place to hold special events.” [FCPA]

Decision on Maryland’s Beltway Toll Lanes Coming — “With the U.S. Department of Transportation poised to issue its decision on an ambitious Capital Beltway and I-270 toll lanes plan, Montgomery County’s top planner accused state highway officials of running roughshod over Maryland law,” echoing similar complaints leveled by McLean residents over Virginia’s 495 NEXT project. [Maryland Matters]

Poll: What Does “Alexandria” Mean to You? — “One of the very first stories on ALXnow discussed…the distinction between the City of Alexandria and the areas of Fairfax south of Cameron Run sometimes referred to as Alexandria. This past week, two businesses opening this month — a cannabis dispensary and a metal supermarket — identified themselves as ‘Alexandria’ branches of their respective chains despite the fact that both are opening in Fairfax.” [ALXnow]

It’s Friday — Rain in the evening and overnight. High of 91 and low of 76. Sunrise at 6:15 am and sunset at 8:17 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Morning Notes

A hot summer day at The Boro in Tysons (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

What Was Behind Tuesday’s Storms — “Hundreds of trees were toppled and hundreds of thousands of people lost power Tuesday afternoon and evening as three storm complexes roared across the Washington region. The storms were fueled by hot and humid air that surged into the region, and were powered and sustained by strong high-altitude winds along an approaching cold front.” [Capital Weather Gang]

Firefighter Charged in Fairfax County Armed Robbery — “A D.C. firefighter has been arrested and charged with robbery after police say he brandished a gun and took someone’s property in Fairfax County, Virginia. Fairfax County Police said the robbery happened in May” [WTOP]

Police Investigate Dunkin’ Donuts Burglaries — Fairfax County and Alexandria City police are investigating at least three burglaries of Dunkin’ Donuts in Springfield, Belle Haven and Potomac Yard. The incidents all occurred during the morning of July 7, but police haven’t confirmed whether they were committed by the same people. [ALXnow]

Fairfax County Top in State for Population Growth — “In the last 50 years, Fairfax County saw the largest population increase in Virginia. During that same time, Norfolk saw the largest population decline…Mark Mather at the Population Reference Bureau says the next 50 years are not going to have the same trends.” [WVTF]

Same-Day Voter Registration Coming — “Same-day voter registration is taking effect in the state in time for the congressional midterms in November, a significant shift from the way Virginia elections have worked in the past…The new law will allow voters to fill out a registration form and cast a ballot after that deadline, up to and including Election Day.” [Virginia Mercury]

Food Drive Planned in West Springfield — “@MoveInterstate will be hosting a #FillATruck food drive at their #Springfield HQ located at 5801 Rolling Road, from 07/18-07/29. All donations will be donated to Ecumenical Community Helping Others (ECHO) and will help families in the #FairfaxCounty community.” [Supervisor Penny Gross/Twitter]

Langley HS Alum Coaches GMU Volleyball — “Years later, when receiving a second opportunity to join the George Mason University women’s volleyball team, Megan Shiffett Bachmann jumped at the chance and accepted. The 2008 Langley High School graduate recently was named the new head women’s coach of the Division I Mason program.” [Sun Gazette/Inside NoVA]

Park Authority Names Top Volunteers — “The Fairfax County Park Authority will honor 21 individual volunteers named 2022 Outstanding Volunteers and selected by their peers from across the park system…Approximately 4,000 volunteers give of their time and talent annually and take on a multitude of tasks.” [FCPA]

Tysons IT Consultant to Help Startups — “Booz Allen Hamilton has launched a venture capital unit that aims to help young companies speed the development of technologies used by the federal government…Booz Allen Ventures LLC will invest $100 million over five years in firms developing artificial intelligence, machine learning, cybersecurity and defense technologies, the company said.” [Washington Business Journal]

It’s Thursday — Partly cloudy throughout the day. High of 86 and low of 72. Sunrise at 5:56 am and sunset at 8:35 pm. [Weather.gov]

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The Justice Department logo (via DOJ)

A Fairfax man was sentenced to 52 months in jail yesterday (Tuesday) for conspiring to distribute drugs through the darknet in a conspiracy that extended to other Fairfax County residents.

Tyler Pham, 39, conspired to distribute peach tablets through the U.S. mail that were advertised as Adderall but actually contained methamphetamine, according to a U.S Department of Justice press release. Six other individuals previously entered guilty pleas in connection with the conspiracy and were sentenced to over 13 years in prison combined.

The co-conspirators lived in other parts of the county, including Springfield and Annandale, as well as in Alexandria.

Pham was sentenced for conspiring to distribute between 15 and 45 kilograms of the pills from about May 2019 through December 2019, according to the press release. Pham used the moniker “addy4cheap” on darknet markets, the Empire Market and Cryptonia.

Law enforcement agents purchased 767 tablets, weighing about 268 grams total, from “addy4cheap” between August 2019 and December 2019.

On Dec. 9, 2019, search warrants were executed at Pham and his co-conspirators’ residences, including the homes of Lien Kim Thi Phan, 37, of Fairfax, and Hon Lam Luk, 35, of Chantilly.

In the home of Phan and Pham, agents found 95 peach tablets, and in Luk’s residence, investigators found over 6,000 peach tablets weighing approximately 2.2 kilograms, all of which resembled those advertised on “addy4cheap” and those received by law enforcement through controlled purchases.

As of Dec. 10, 2019, “addy4cheap” had completed 3,665 sales on the Empire Market and received 2,568 reviews. Based on these reviews, “addy4cheap” had received approximately $482,572.10 in sales for an approximate 44,872 pills sold. As of Nov. 7, 2019, “addy4cheap” had fulfilled 140 transactions on Cryptonia.

Pham’s other co-conspirators were listed as Phan and Duong Nguyen, 29, of Springfield; Son Nguyen, 36, of Annandale; Dat Nguyen, 37 of Alexandria; and Trieu Hoang, 39, of Springfield.

The FBI’s Washington Field Office’s Hi-Tech Opioid Task Force, which includes local and federal agencies and members, conducted the investigation.

“The task force is charged with identifying and investigating the most egregious Dark Web marketplaces, and the vendors operating on the marketplaces who are engaged in the illegal acquisition and distribution of controlled substances, to include fentanyl, methamphetamine, and other opioids,” the release said.

The full release is below.

Read More

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Morning Notes

The sky is reflected by the office building at 8150 Leesburg Pike in Tysons (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Metro Warns of Hour-Long Waits for July 4 — “Due to the reduced number of railcars available for service, capacity on Metrorail will be less than previous Independence Days. That means customers should be prepared for longer wait times, up to 60 minutes, and for crowding to occur, especially at the conclusion of the fireworks.” [WMATA]

Unhealthy Air Possible Today — “Code Orange unhealthy air is forecast for tomorrow (Thursday) for the metropolitan Washington region. Area residents are encouraged to limit outdoor activities.” [Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments/Twitter]

Police Make Arrest in Fairfax Shooting — Joshua Daniel Danehower, 33, of Arlington has been charged with second-degree murder after the fatal shooting of 32-year-old Fairfax City resident Gret Glyer. Founder of the online fundraising platform DonorSee, Glyer was reportedly killed while in bed with his wife on June 24. Police describe Danehower as an “acquaintance of the family” but didn’t comment on a potential motive. [Patch, NBC4]

Local Man Indicted for Fatal Alexandria Crash — “A 44-year-old Fairfax County man was arrested on June 22 and faces multiple charges for a February 22 crash on Duke Street that resulted in the death of a driver and injuries to other drivers.” A grand jury indicted Carlos Kami Adar McKethan for aggravated vehicular manslaughter and driving under the influence of phencyclidine, or PCP. [ALXnow]

Fairfax City Revises Official Seal — “Fairfax City Council voted unanimously during a Tuesday night public hearing to adopt a new city seal. The new seal replaces one containing depictions of a Confederate soldier and a British lord with no direct connection to the city.” [Patch]

Metro Police to Introduce Body Cameras — “Transit Police officers that monitor Metro stations and buses will wear body-worn cameras starting next year, the agency said Tuesday. The Department of Justice gave the Metro Transit Police Department a $905,000 grant for the cameras last year, but now is moving forward with the program.” [DCist]

Health Food Stall Now Open in Tysons — “#MakawSuperfoods’ grand opening is Friday at noon! The health food restaurant that offers fresh açaí bowls and smoothies, recently opened in @TysonsGalleria. For their grand opening, they will be offering a buy ONE get ONE 50% OFF deal and a FREE gift for the first 25 orders.” [Tysons Partnership/Twitter]

New Garden Proposed at Lincolnia’s Green Spring — “Green Spring’s Moon Gate Garden project will include a mix of traditional and modern design concepts to draw visitors into this new Asian-inspired garden. This new garden will provide sanctuary and inspiration for 200,000 visitors who come to this Fairfax County Park Authority site annually.” [FCPA]

Oakton Office Complex Changes Hands — “Network Realty Partners has acquired Redwood Plaza, a three-building office complex in Fairfax. Va., for $23 million…Located at 10560, 10580 and 10600 Arrowhead Drive, the trio of Class A office buildings were recently renovated with the addition of a new tenant lounge, which features arcade games, shuffleboard, craft beer on tap, and a 24-hour café.” [Commercial Observer]

It’s Thursday — Clear throughout the day. High of 87 and low of 68. Sunrise at 5:48 am and sunset at 8:40 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Morning Notes

A mural on the side of the Quality Inn on Fordson Road in Groveton (staff photo by Brandi Bottalico)

Motorcyclist Dies Falling from I-495 — “An Alexandria motorcyclist was killed Sunday afternoon (June 26) after crashing and falling nearly 30 feet off the westbound Interstate 495 overpass exit ramp for Eisenhower Avenue toward Mill Road…He was transported to Inova Fairfax Hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries.” [ALXnow]

System for Helicopter Noise Complaints Unveiled — D.C. area residents finally have a clear place to go to lodge complaints about helicopter-related noise. The site planenoise.com/dcmetro was unveiled yesterday (Monday) as part of a 60-day pilot program that could become permanent. Complaints can also be filed by phone at 877-209-3200 or a mobile app. [Rep. Don Beyer/ARLnow]

Fire Department Shares Fireworks Safety Tips — “The Fourth of July would not be the same without those breathtaking fireworks. However, tragedy can strike within seconds when fireworks are not properly and safely used. Thousands of people are injured each year in the United States due to fireworks. Consider the following safety tips when using permissible fireworks…” [FCFRD]

Fort Belvoir Plans Springfield Expansion — “The U.S. Army is advancing plans to build a big new distribution center at Fort Belvoir as part of a larger planned intelligence campus expansion. The 525,000-square-foot facility, which would house some 600 employees, is proposed for the western portion of the 804-acre Springfield parcel known as Fort Belvoir North.” [Washington Business Journal]

Falls Church Seeks Information About Cat — “The City of Falls Church Police are looking for the owner of a black cat that bit a person in Big Chimneys Park (210 Gibson St.) on Friday, June 24. The police want to know if the cat is vaccinated against rabies. The cat is described as black with either yellow or brown eyes.” [City of Falls Church]

Influential Local Land Use Lawyer Dies — “Martin D. ‘Art’ Walsh, who helped reshape Arlington’s skyline as co-founder of one of Northern Virginia’s most prominent land use law firms, died June 6 at a hospital in Fairfax County, Va. He was 78 and a resident of McLean, Va.” [The Washington Post]

County Highlights Need for HIV Testing — June 27 was National HIV Testing Day, so the Fairfax County Health Department released a video highlighting an HIV-positive advocate’s journey and the importance of getting tested. While no cure has been found for AIDS, the disease sometimes caused by the virus, which attacks the immune system, prevention and treatment services are available. [FCHD]

Ribbon Cut on Wakefield Pickleball Courts — “This weekend we cut the ribbon on two new pickleball courts at Wakefield Park! Expanding access to this growing sport is a priority in Fairfax County.” [Supervisor James Walkinshaw/Twitter]

Vienna to Laud Local Pets — “The Town is launching the Mayor’s Pet of the Week! Nominate your pet by emailing Mayor@viennava.gov with your pet’s name, the kind of animal it is, and what makes it special. The first honorary award goes to Mayor Colbert’s cat, Ginny!” [Town of Vienna/Twitter]

It’s Tuesday — Partly cloudy throughout the day. High of 78 and low of 60. Sunrise at 5:47 am and sunset at 8:40 pm. [Weather.gov]

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A bear crosses GW Parkway in Belle Haven (courtesy of Jaclyn B/Nextdoor)

(Updated at 7:40 p.m.) Why’d the bear cross GW Parkway?

Possibly to find an easy meal or explore its landscape after a winter hibernation, according to the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources.

A bear was sighted in the Belle Haven area on Thursday (June 9), and one Nextdoor user snapped some photos of it crossing George Washington Memorial Parkway near Belle View Boulevard, not too far from the Mount Vernon Trail.

The sightings piqued some social media users’ interest, with residents suggesting names for the bear and sharing photos of it around the neighborhood.

The Fairfax County Police Department says its Animal Protection Police and wildlife management specialist were alerted to bear sightings in the area over the weekend. The department has also received recent reports of a young bear moving through McLean.

Last week, a bear was also seen wandering around Arlington, though it’s unclear whether any of the bears that have been spotted are the same one.

While bear encounters aren’t common in Fairfax County, they’re not unusual during the spring and summer, when young bears old enough to be independent from their mothers spread out and seek food in green spaces that wildlife uses to travel, according to the FCPD.

Bear sightings have increased in recent years, as the animal’s population grows.

“This trend will continue in the future,” the county police told FFXnow. “Bears have adapted to living near people and we must also learn to adapt to bear activity and take responsible action to prevent conflicts from occurring in our communities by removing food sources that attract bears.”

The bear could be out looking for an easy meal as bears are emerging from their winter dens hungry, or it could be a cub exploring the landscape, according to the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources, which says it’s important for homeowners to secure all potential food sources to reduce bear encounters.

Homeowners should secure garbage, compost, barbeque grills, birdseed and pet food.

“The goal is to make human sources of food harder for a bear to get than what nature provides — especially food that is high in fat and calories,” says Nelson Lafon, Forest Wildlife Program Manager for the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources.

Photo courtesy of Jaclyn B/Nextdoor

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