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A Virginia State Police vehicle (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

A driver nearly hit one vehicle, rammed into a Virginia State Police trooper’s vehicle, and crashed into a third vehicle head-on during a police pursuit last night (Thursday) that extended from I-395 in Arlington to South Kings Highway in Groveton.

According to state police, a trooper saw a vehicle headed northbound on I-395 nearly hit another vehicle traveling in the same direction around 10:27 p.m. yesterday. When the trooper attempted to make a traffic stop, the vehicle instead “sped away,” a news release says.

As the pursuit continued east onto the Capital Beltway (I-495), the trooper learned that Fairfax County police were searching for the vehicle in question, which had been reported stolen in the county.

“The suspect vehicle exited I-495 at Telegraph [Road] and continued through Fairfax County,” the VSP said. “At one point, the suspect vehicle intentionally rammed the trooper’s vehicle and continued to flee.”

After exiting the Beltway, the chase turned onto South Kings Highway. As it neared Telegraph Road, the pursued vehicle “struck the raised median and crossed into oncoming traffic where it struck head-on another vehicle,” according to the news release.

“The impact of the crash caused the suspect vehicle to overturn twice before coming to rest on its side,” state police said.

The pursued vehicle’s driver, an adult man, was transported to Fairfax Inova Hospital for treatment of injuries that VSP described as serious, while the driver of the vehicle that was hit went to the hospital with minor injuries.

No injuries to state police were reported.

An investigation into the incident is underway with charges forthcoming, VSP said.

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Kung Fu Tea is coming soon to Groveton (Staff photo by Matt Blitz)

A dry cleaner on the edge of Groveton is no more, leaving an empty shell for Kung Fu Tea to take over.

The bubble tea and drinks store plans to open soon at 6328 Richmond Highway, according to signage posted at the front of the door. It replaces Clean Smart, a dry cleaner.

The company did not return multiple requests for comment from FFXnow about an opening date over the last few weeks. The website simply states that it’s coming soon.

It will be located next to Wingstop, a chicken wings restaurant. 

Kung Fu Tea has more than 350 locations throughout the country, including several in Northern Virginia.  The company started in New York in 2010.

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Amelia Carr’s first year working for Fairfax County Public Schools was miles apart from what she had imagined when she declared that she wanted to become a teacher in her sixth-grade yearbook.

The Bucknell Elementary School kindergarten teacher began her career as an educator in the unpredictable world of September 2020, when classes were confined to the computer due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

While the virtual setting wasn’t ideal, especially for restless kindergarteners, Carr made an effort to encourage the same level of engagement and socializing that her students would’ve gotten in person, whether that meant creating a YouTube channel or sending materials in the mail.

“I did Lunch Buddies where we would eat lunch together. In kindergarten, playtime is really important, so we would still do ‘playdates’ on the computer,” Carr said. “…Because they had nothing to compare it to, they were just excited to meet new friends because they had been so lonely during the pandemic.”

Carr didn’t navigate the turbulence of school in a pandemic alone. Her best friend, roommate, and fellow “Outstanding Elementary New Teacher” award winner Shelby Press became a second-grade teacher at Riverside Elementary School in fall 2020.

Press credits the University of Mary Washington education program that they both attended and the shift online in the middle of their final semester with giving them the classroom experience, tools, and flexibility needed to handle that first year.

“We had a good sense of technology, a really strong background of how to apply lessons, make them virtually, how to make them engaging, and also, most importantly to us, making things culturally responsive to our students,” she told FFXnow. “Working at Title I schools, our students come from various different places, speaking many different languages, and it was important for us to really reach those students through the camera.”

Summer classes underway at FCPS

Now approaching their third year with FCPS, Press and Carr are among the many teachers supporting the school system’s ongoing summer learning programs, which have been significantly expanded over the past two years in response to the pandemic.

As of mid-July, FCPS had 33,500 students enrolled in its summer programs, according to spokesperson Jennifer Sellers. Options include enrichment activities as well as credit recovery and Extended School Year (ESY) services for students who need academic help. Read More

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The Fairfax County Police Department’s incident command van outside the Meadow Wood apartments in Groveton on June 26 (staff photo by Brandi Bottalico)

The Fairfax County Police Department has arrested one suspect in a shooting that prompted an extended barricade of an apartment complex in Groveton last month.

A 27-year-old Alexandria resident identified as Isaiah Johnson was arrested yesterday (Wednesday) for his alleged involvement in a shooting at the Meadow Woods Apartments in the 3300 block of Lockheed Blvd. on June 26, the FCPD announced in a news release.

According to police, Johnson and a second man confronted and fired handguns at two victims in an apartment. Though one person was apparently unscathed, police officers got a call at 11:58 a.m. for a man suffering multiple gunshot wounds to the upper body.

The man was transported to a hospital, but the injuries were not considered life-threatening.

The shooting drew a major police presence to the apartment community, which is just west of Route 1. Believing that the suspects were still in an apartment, police established a barricade and closed off two blocks of Lockheed Blvd. for almost an entire afternoon.

However, the FCPD reported around 4 p.m. that day that no one was found in the apartment, and it was unclear whether the suspect had escaped the barricade or never entered the apartment in the first place.

The police department says Johnson was identified as a suspect by a community member and located by detectives in its Fugitive Track and Apprehension Unit when he drove into Fairfax County on Tuesday (July 12).

“Warrants were obtained for two counts of aggravated malicious wounding, two counts of robbery and the use of a firearm in the commission of a felony,” the FCPD said in the news release.

Here is more from the FCPD on the arrest:

Johnson was arrested by our Street Crimes Unit. During the arrest, a loaded 9mm “ghost” gun with an extended magazine was recovered. Johnson was taken to the Adult Detention Center where the warrants were served. In addition to the charges stemming from the June 26th shooting, Johnson was also charged following the traffic stop with possession of schedule I/II drug, possession of schedule I/II drug with firearm on person, possession of firearm by non-violent felon, felon in possession of ammunition, and a concealed carry permit violation. Johnson was held on no bond.

Police are still working to identify the second gunman in the shooting.

The FCPD advises anyone with information to contact its detectives at 703-246-7800, option 5. Tips can also be submitted anonymously through Crime Solvers for potential cash rewards of $100 to $1,000 dollars.

“Please leave contact information if you wish for a detective to follow up with you,” the department said.

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Construction has finally started on North Hill Park in Groveton, near the intersection of Richmond Highway and Popkins Lane.

The Fairfax County Park Authority’s $1.5 million project will create a new public park with trails, a pavilion, pickleball courts, a half-sized basketball court, fitness areas, picnic tables, benches, and an open lawn area.

Part of a new housing development will also provide a publicly accessible playground and seating areas, the park’s construction being financed by a 2016 park bond and the Fairfax County Department of Housing and Community Development (FCHCD).

Construction began late last month and is expected to be completed by spring 2023.

However, construction was supposed to begin in the spring of 2021, according to a park authority presentation from early last year, making the project more than a year behind schedule.

“The delay was due to coordinating construction logistics with the adjacent developments and the need to hire a new engineering and inspection firm for our construction,” FCPA spokesperson Judy Pedersen told FFXnow.

Construction crews are currently installing erosion and sediment control measures. The park authority says nearby residents should expect “occasional” traffic, particularly on Popkins Lane where construction vehicles will be entering and exiting the park through a temporary entrance near Bryant High School.

The site where North Hill Park and the overall North Hill development are under construction was once occupied by a mobile home community and has been on the county’s list for redevelopment for decades.

The park was first conceived more than a decade ago, along with the entire development of the adjacent North Hill property. In 2007, the Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority put together an initial master plan that included 67 manufactured homes and a 22-acre park on the site.

But that plan was deemed flawed by then-Lee District Supervisor Jeff McKay — now the Board of Supervisors chair — who said adding that many manufactured homes to that part of Richmond Highway would put a strain on schools, public services, and traffic.

“67 manufactured homes on this site would be a disaster,” he told the Washington Business Journal in 2016.

A revised plan emerged in 2017 that included a multi-family housing development and reduced the park to 12 acres. In 2020, the land was conveyed to the park authority for development. The ground-breaking for the 33-acre project took place on July 202o.

The final master plan for the North Hill development calls for 216 “affordable multi-family apartments,” 63 “affordable senior independent living apartments,” 175 townhomes at market rate, and the park.

“The park site along with the adjacent North Hill Development was a trailer park that was abandoned and the land was then purchased by Fairfax County Department of Housing and Community Development, whom FCPA partnered with in development of the site,” Pedersen wrote. “The park was envisioned to serve both the North Hill Development and the surrounding community.”

The park will be completed in two phases. The first phase consists of constructing earthwork and stormwater infrastructure, trails connection, picnic area, pavilion, and open lawn areas. The second phase will be everything else, including the basketball court, pickleball courts, and the playground.

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Morning Notes

Boats docked at Lake Anne Plaza in Reston (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

(Updated at 11:20 a.m.) Kitten Rescued in Groveton — Fairfax County firefighters from the Woodlawn station were dispatched to the 7000 block of Richmond Highway on Monday (June 27) after bystanders reported a stray kitten that got stuck in the engine compartment of their coworker’s SUV. First responders were able to “extriCATe the kitten without injury or damage to vehicle,” and a coworker of the original caller agreed to adopt the kitten. [FCFRD/Facebook]

(Correction: This article initially said the kitten was adopted by a firefighter, based on the department’s tweet about the incident.)

Vienna Proposes Tighter Regulation of Massage Parlors — “Council member Ray Brill Jr. requested that Town Attorney Steven Briglia provide possible town-code amendments to address the proliferation of massage establishments in Vienna and its surroundings, as well as possible illegal activity at unlicensed businesses.” [Sun Gazette]

Hidden Oaks Nature Center Reopens — “The newly expanded and renovated Hidden Oaks Nature Center reopened to the public on June  25. The nature center, at 7701 Royce St. in Annandale, had been closed for the past two years, first because of the Covid pandemic, then due to construction.” [Annandale Today]

Two Sent to Hospital by I-495 Crash — “Monday, 11:21 AM, units responded to I495 NB after Route 7 for 3 vehicle crash impacting main & express lanes. 1 van overturned. Crews worked efficiently to treat/transport 2 patients to hospital w/minor injuries. All lanes initially shutdown but reopened w/in 20 minutes.” [FCFRD/Twitter]

McLean Bible Church Lawsuit Dismissed — “The year-long legal fight between McLean Bible Church and a faction who accused leaders including David Platt of a ‘theological takeover’ has come to an end. On Friday, a Fairfax, Virginia, court dismissed a lawsuit from a group of current and former members of the Washington DC-area megachurch, who contested a June 2021 elder election for allegedly violating church bylaws.” [Christianity Today]

Reston Elementary School Gets Funds for Garden — “Lake Anne Elementary was recently awarded a $1,200 grant from EcoRise to create a community food garden. ‘It is our goal to produce food we can share with a food bank or members from our school community,’ said Consuelo Bachelet, a second-grade teacher at the school.” [Patch]

Fairfax County Eager to Draw FBI to Springfield — “No matter where it lands, federal officials suggest the FBI headquarters could host at least 7,500 personnel — about 3,500 fewer than what was pitched the last time around. Time, though, has only strengthened Springfield’s hand, [Board Chair Jeff] McKay said.” [Washington Business Journal]

County Board Approves $1M to Create Fund for Startups — “Fairfax Founders Fund will provide early capital to startup companies in Fairfax County.   The fund will target early-stage technology companies with technical assistance grants of up to $50,000 to help them prepare for later stage investments.” [Department of Economic Initiatives]

Reston Electric Vehicle Company Announces New Investors — “Reston, Virginia-based Electrify America…counts German industrial giant Siemens AG among its big backers…Volkswagen has also increased its investment in the company. Siemens is the first outside investor. The new funding totals $450 million and values Electrify America at $2.45 billion, the company said.” [WTOP]

It’s Wednesday — Partly cloudy throughout the day. High of 84 and low of 66. Sunrise at 5:48 am and sunset at 8:40 pm. [Weather.gov]

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(Updated at 2:50 p.m. on 6/27/2022) There is a heavy police presence at an apartment complex in Groveton after a man was shot early this afternoon (Sunday).

Reported shortly after noon, the incident occurred in the 3300 block of Lockheed Blvd, which is occupied by the Meadow Woods Apartments.

According to the Fairfax County Police Department, the man was transported to a hospital with injuries not considered life-threatening. The suspect is believed to be in an apartment.

Police have closed off Lockheed Blvd between Fordson Road and Fairchild Drive. Community members are advised to avoid the area, though a crowd of onlookers has formed outside the complex. (The names of the roads where Lockheed Blvd is blocked off have been corrected.)

One resident of the neighborhood told FFXnow that he’s never seen such a large police response in the area, noting that there was a helicopter before all the police cars arrived.

The FCPD set up a tent on the site with water for the responding officers, and an incident command van later showed up at the scene.

However, police later reported around 4 p.m. that the suspect was not located in the apartment where they had set up the barricade.

“Officers on scene of the shooting were informed that a suspect potentially ran into a nearby apartment,” the FCPD told FFXnow the following day (Monday). “Upon a search of the residence, the suspect was not found. It is unknown whether the suspect fled prior to officers surrounding the apartment or never entered the apartment.”

Preliminarily, police don’t believe the shooting was a random act, but detectives are continuing to investigate. The department asks anyone with information to call 703-246-7800.

Brandi Bottalico contributed to this report.

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A Groveton home was struck by lightning Thursday, causing a fire that was quickly extinguished, Fairfax County Fire and Rescue said.

No one was at the home in the 6800 block of Duke Drive at the time of the lightning strike but one neighbor happened to catch a video of it on a doorbell camera, the department said in a press release. The fire started on the exterior wall of a second-floor bedroom.

Firefighters arrived around 7 p.m. and saw smoke coming from the front of the two-story, single family home. They quickly extinguished the fire and contained it between the first and second floor, the release said.

The fire caused approximately $25,000 in damage but no occupants were displaced.

Video via Fairfax County Fire and Rescue

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Morning Notes

Yellow flowers at Walker Nature Center in Reston (photo by Marjorie Copson)

Motorcyclist Injured in Crash — Fairfax County police detectives responded to a crash involving a motorcycle & vehicle at Braddock Road and Second Road in the Fairfax area around 1 p.m. yesterday (Sunday). The motorcyclist was taken to the hospital with injuries initially considered life-threatening but later got upgraded. [FCPD/Twitter]

GOP Selects 8th and 10th Congressional District Nominees — Karina Lipsman, a Ukranian-born defense worker who lives in Arlington, beat four other contenders to become the Republican nominee for the 8th District, where she’ll face either incumbent Rep. Don Beyer or his Democratic challenger Victoria Virasingh. The 10th District will be a contest between incumbent Rep. Jennifer Wexton and Navy veteran Hung Cao. [WTOP]

Amazon Testing Retail Delivery Drivers in Tysons — “Amazon is turning to its legions of contracted Flex drivers to deliver packages from mall-based retailers, allowing sellers to ship products from their own stores using the e-commerce giant’s delivery service…Amazon is also testing the service in Chandler, Arizona, and Tysons Corner, Virginia, according to Bloomberg.” [CNBC]

McLean Bible Church Seeks Election Redo to Stop Lawsuit — “The conflict over the McLean election is part culture war, part battle over bylaws, fueled by political polarization and the broader evangelical ‘woke wars,’ combined with a recent pastoral transition and a global pandemic.” [Religion News Service]

People Attacked With Machete in Groveton — “3500 block of Robert E. Lee Place, 5/13/22, 11:51 p.m. Two men displayed a gun and assaulted two victims with a machete. One victim was transported with injuries not considered life threatening. Preliminary, this does not appear to be a random act.” [FCPD]

Reston Home Depot Robbed — “1651 Reston Parkway (Home Depot), 5/17/22, 4:16 p.m. A man exited the store with merchandise without paying. When confronted by store employees, he displayed a firearm and ran away. No injuries were reported.” [FCPD]

Vienna Police Investigate Vehicle Window Smashings — “First, it was a rash of catalytic-converter thefts that kept Vienna police hopping earlier this year. Now vandals have been damaging vehicles’ windows. Vienna police on May 17 received four reports of vandalism on vehicles parked on two streets.” [Sun Gazette]

It’s Monday — Light rain starting in the afternoon. High of 72 and low of 59. Sunrise at 5:51 am and sunset at 8:23 pm. [Weather.gov]

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A developer is proposing to turn a park into affordable housing.

Project renderings show a five-story building at 6858 Richmond Highway, which is next to The Beacon of Groveton luxury apartments.

It would create up to 52 age-restricted units, an interior courtyard, fitness areas and conference as well as community rooms, according to a proposal called Beacon Hill Senior Housing recently made available through a public portal May 4.

The property would have a parking garage. It wasn’t immediately clear if all of the property’s 34 spaces would all be inside the garage.

The developer is listed as “RH Senior Housing LLC.” Its address is the same as that of the nonprofit NFP Affordable Housing Corp, based in Bethesda.

A lawyer for the applicant didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

The proposal will require Fairfax County to approve rezoning applications and amendments.

The county previously approved a mixed-use development for the site in 2009. That involved the possibility for approximately 70,000 square feet of office and retail uses with buildings up to 85 feet in height, according to a statement of justification by the developer’s attorneys.

The proposed building would be approximately 65 feet, the attorneys wrote.

Photo via Google Maps

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