(Updated at 4:25 p.m.) Two members of Rep. Gerry Connolly’s staff were assaulted this morning by a Fairfax resident with a baseball bat.
The City of Fairfax Police Department and the United States Capitol Police (USCP) are investigating the incident at 10680 Main Street, Suite 140. The suspect has been arrested, while the victims were taken to the hospital with injuries not considered life-threatening, police said.
According to police, 49-year old Xuan-Kha Tran Pham entered Connolly’s Fairfax District Office in the Mainland Building around 10:49 a.m., carrying a metal baseball bat and used it to assault two staffers.
Connolly wasn’t present at the time.
“Right now, our focus is on ensuring they are receiving the care they need,” Connolly said in a statement. “We are incredibly thankful to the City of Fairfax Police Department and emergency medical professionals for their quick response.”
Photo via Google Maps
A New Jersey store that specializes in full-length dresses and other clothes for women has expanded its reach into Tysons Corner Center.
The store will only be around for a limited time, though, setting an end date of Nov. 30, a Tysons Corner Center spokesperson told FFXnow.
“Things have been going very well for them,” the spokesperson said.
Based in Clifton, New Jersey, Moda Natty advertises itself as the “biggest Turkish modest fashion boutique” in the U.S., with brands imported from Turkey and Europe, according to its website.
Intended to be modest and comfortable, the clothes on display include dresses, evening gowns, coats, tunics, skirts, athleticwear, and shawls that can be used as headscarves, reflecting the company’s focus on Muslim women as a target audience.
“Our recent market search shows that there is a high demand from our customers in Virginia to open a store so that they could reach our products more conveniently,” the company told FFXnow. “We also realized that there is a very high population that seeks modest clothing, so we opened up a store in Tysons Corner area.”
Moda Natty is open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Monday to Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday.
In other Tysons Corner Center news, the stuffed animal store Squishable has returned with a pop-up near Seasons 52. Its hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday, though the website notes store hours are “subject to change.”
Hey, you , do you want store info? Well here you go! Our Tysons VA location is back in action! Here's some other updates too, like our Garden State Plaza and Woodfield Mall locations are up and running too! 🎉
— Squishable ◕‿◕ 🌟 (@squishable) March 23, 2023
The mall will welcome another pop-up, The Dr. Seuss Experience, on April 7.
An 18-year-old man has been charged with second-degree murder in connection to a fatal shooting in the Fairfax Village Apartments on Saturday (March 25).
Fairfax County police officers were called to the apartment complex in the 10400 block of Viera Lane in Oakton at 7:47 a.m. by a family member of the victim who reported the shooting to 911.
According to the Fairfax County Police Department, the family member was in the apartment’s bedroom when they were awoken by a gunshot. They found Javier Gomez, 20, of Fairfax lying on the living room floor and saw the suspect — identified as Darren Cruz Colindres, 18, of Vienna — running out of the apartment.
“This is not a domestic-related shooting, but the suspect is known to the family,” FCPD Lt. James Curry said in a media briefing that morning.
Cruz Colindres had apparently been staying at the apartment overnight, police said.
When officers got to the scene, they found Gomez on the floor with what appeared to be a gunshot wound to the upper body and administered medical aid until Fairfax County Fire and Rescue personnel arrived to transport him to a hospital, where he later died.
Officers and detectives tracked Cruz Colindres to a home in the 2700 block of Pleasantdale Road in Merrifield, according to the FCPD, which reported just before noon that a suspect had been taken into custody.
In addition to second-degree murder, Cruz Colindres has been charged with the use of a firearm while committing a felony.
No firearm has been recovered yet, as of 5 p.m. Saturday, when the FCPD issued its news release.
“The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner will conduct an autopsy in the coming days to determine the cause and manner of death,” the police department said. “Detectives continue to conduct interviews, collect video surveillance and process evidence recovered from the scene.”
The FCPD says anyone who may have information can contact its Major Crimes Bureau detectives at 703-246-7800, option 2. Tips can also be submitted anonymously through Crime Solvers by phone (1-866-411-TIPS) and online.
(Updated at 2:35 p.m.) Hundreds of people in Fairfax County have lost electricity today (Tuesday) as winds buffet the D.C. region, taking out power lines and contributing to at least one fire.
Georgetown Pike is currently closed in both directions at Miller Avenue in Great Falls due to a tree that fell on power lines and “a resulting fire,” the Virginia Department of Transportation said shortly after 1 p.m.
The closure extends between Stephanie Circle and Ellsworth Avenue, according to the Fairfax County Police Department.
“Expect delays for several hours as emergency and utility crews clear the scene,” VDOT tweeted.
#GreatFalls: Georgetown Pike at Miller Rd closed in both directions for a fallen tree on power lines and a resulting fire. Expect delays for several hours as emergency and utility crews clear the scene. #VATraffic #NOVA #DMVTraffic pic.twitter.com/okCC4QQeQ5
— VDOT Northern VA (@VaDOTNOVA) March 14, 2023
TRAFFIC ALERT: Georgetown Pike is closed between Stephanie Circle and Ellsworth Avenue in Great Falls due to a tree on wires. The closure is expected to last several hours. Please use an alternate route. #FCPD pic.twitter.com/2n569vx8t1
— Fairfax County Police (@FairfaxCountyPD) March 14, 2023
That one outage has affected 277 Dominion Energy customers, according to the utility company’s outage map. Power isn’t expected to be restored there until 4-9 p.m.
Further south in the Vienna and Oakton area, Dominion crews are assessing the damage caused by the wind storm in the Lake Vale neighborhood. Power is now being restored to over 800 customers.
“The closure is expected to last several hours. Please use an alternate route,” the FCPD said.
TRAFFIC ALERT: Vale Rd is closed between Hunter Mill Rd and Stryker Ave in Vienna due to power lines in the roadway. The closure is expected to last several hours. Please use an alternate route. #FCPD pic.twitter.com/fbWvWKo1k7
— Fairfax County Police (@FairfaxCountyPD) March 14, 2023
While those are the largest outages reported so far, power losses and road closures due to fallen wires have been seen across the county today. As of 1:50 p.m., about 1,268 Dominion Energy customers in the county were without power.
The National Weather Service issued a Wind Advisory that took effect at 9 a.m. today and will remain in place until 2 a.m. tomorrow (Wednesday).
Winds have been consistently exceeding 40 mph, with some gusts topping 50 mph, according to the Washington Post’s Capital Weather Gang.
The Wind Advisory has been updated and is now in effect from 9 AM this morning (3/14/23) to 2 AM Wednesday (3/15/23).
Use extra caution when driving, especially if operating a high profile vehicle. Secure outdoor objects. pic.twitter.com/CGgjWXbXsW
— Ready Fairfax (@ReadyFairfax) March 14, 2023
A #windadvisory is in effect until 2 a.m. 🍃
Here's a list of who to contact if you see a downed tree or wires: https://t.co/PGVTIaoj2z
If there’s an immediate life-safety issue, call or text 9-1-1. pic.twitter.com/yIRKqS0u8Y
— Fairfax County Government 🇺🇸 (@fairfaxcounty) March 14, 2023
Not a fun day outside, DC. Temps barely above 40 and winds pretty consistently gusting over 40 mph. Here are peak gusts so far– a few spots topping 50 mph. pic.twitter.com/yiTYLHwSBs
— Capital Weather Gang (@capitalweather) March 14, 2023
The Virginia Attorney General’s office has launched an investigation into Fairfax County Public Schools, alleging that delays in notifying students of commendations for their preliminary SAT test scores may constitute civil rights violations.
Attorney General Jason Miyares announced yesterday that the entire school system will be subject to a review that began last week with a focus on Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJ).
The expansion comes after principals at Westfield and Langley high schools reportedly informed families over the weekend that they also didn’t notify students designated as “commended students” by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) this fall.
“It’s concerning that multiple schools throughout Fairfax County withheld merit awards from students,” Miyares said in a press release. “My office will investigate the entire Fairfax County Public Schools system to find out if any students were discriminated against and if their rights were violated.”
In a letter to FCPS Superintendent Michelle Reid, Miyares said his office is investigating whether the school system violated the Virginia Human Rights Act’s prohibitions of discrimination based on race, color and national origin.
Reid said she “proactively” alerted the attorney general’s office to the lack of “timely notification” for Westfield and Langley students after it was found by an independent review that the school system initiated last week, according to a message sent to the community yesterday.
“As soon as this new development was confirmed, Westfield and Langley high schools notified all impacted families and their broader respective school communities,” Reid wrote. “Please be aware that FCPS is committed to sharing information that impacts our communities as soon as possible.”
Reid said school staff have been contacting colleges where the affected students applied.
“We are sincerely sorry for this error. Each and every student, their experience and success, remain our priority,” she said.
Initially, the delay at TJ appeared to be “a unique situation due to human error,” Reid said on Wednesday (Jan. 4).
She said then that the attorney general’s investigation will include “a review” of TJ’s admissions policies, which were revised in 2020 in an effort to diversify the magnet school’s student body. A lawsuit arguing that the changes discriminate against Asian students is currently in a federal appeals court.
Notably, the delayed notifications for commended students at TJ were first reported by Asra Nomani, co-founder of the Coalition for TJ, which filed the lawsuit opposing the admissions changes.
The National Merit Scholarship Program recognizes the top 50,000 scorers on the pSAT, a practice standardized test often considered by colleges. Though only a handful of actual scholarships are awarded each year, about 34,000 students get letters of commendations that go out in late September, per the website.
FCPS announced in mid-September that 238 of its students had advanced to the semi-finals. It didn’t mention how many students were commended.
In letters to the Washington Post, local public education advocate Holly Hazard and a former university admissions director argued that Miyares and Gov. Glenn Youngkin — both Republicans — have “wildly overreacted” to the delayed notices, a sentiment echoed by a couple Democratic elected officials.
Amen 👇👇👇👇👇👇👇👇 https://t.co/0anrFR1Gev
— Senator Scott Surovell (@ssurovell) January 5, 2023
“There is nothing to investigate,” state Sen. Scott Surovell (D-36) told FFXnow, noting that information about pSAT scores is available online through the College Board website.
“Fairfax County has the best public schools in Virginia and the Governor and Attorney General are trying to bring their culture war to Fairfax because they’re not willing to invest in public schools or treat our teachers like licensed professionals,” he said in an emailed statement.
The investigation precedes a General Assembly session convening Wednesday (Jan. 11) that will see consideration of a voucher program allowing public funds to be used for private school expenses, among other education-related proposals.
It also kicks off a year where all 12 seats on the Fairfax County School Board — currently held entirely by Democrats — will be up for election.
A Texas-based technology education company has branched out into Vienna.
The school iCode launched its first Virginia franchise in the town earlier this month and is now hosting camps on game building, robotics and other tech skills for students out on break for the winter.
Located in a former Apple Federal Credit Union at 419A Maple Avenue East, iCode Vienna will get a grand opening at 3:30 p.m. on Jan. 10.
“As parents living and working in Fairfax County, we saw a need to provide our children earlier exposure to technical education,” franchise co-owner David Dilly said in a statement. “…We realize children love gaming, so why not provide a positive outlet for their desires by learning to understand how their favorite games work?”
Founded in 2015 by Abid Abedi, iCode has close to 50 franchises around the U.S., along with two in Asia. All of the locations follow a curriculum developed by the company’s corporate office in Frisco, Texas.
The Vienna campus is the first of several planned for Virginia, specifically in Fairfax and Loudoun counties. Next up, a school in Burke will open in spring 2023, according to Dilly.
In addition to camps, the school offers three tiers of programs, from one designed for flexibility where students build their own video game to classes focused on specific science, technology, engineering and math topics.
The most popular is a “Belt” program, which is intended to provide a “comprehensive” education in STEM subjects and the arts, iCode Vienna Director Toni Escobedo says. Covering ages 5 through 15, the program teaches a total of seven programming languages with each course building on the previous one.
Escobedo says iCode tailors its class and camp offerings to students’ interests, grouping classes based on age and skill level. The school is equipped with tablets, desktops, drones, robotics, 3D printers, an e-sports gaming lounge and more, with no outside technology needed.
She says the school distinguishes itself from other coding programs by emphasizing the full-time involvement of instructors in all classes and incorporating “soft skills” like project management and collaboration into the curriculum.
“These skills help students succeed not only academically but in their relationships and future careers,” she told FFXnow.
A couple in Merrifield have been sentenced to prison for using the wife’s real estate job to steal people’s identities.
Caprice Foster, 51, and Marcus Foster, 33, took personal identifying information from at least nine people and used it to “buy a luxury vehicle, lease high-end residences, and obtain loans and credit,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia said Friday (Oct. 14).
The information was primarily obtained through Caprice Foster’s work as a real estate agent and timeshare salesperson, per the news release:
To carry out their fraud scheme, the Fosters created numerous false identification documents in other people’s names, including social security cards and driver’s licenses, and they also fabricated tax and employment documents in their victims’ names. The Fosters opened fraudulent bank accounts using stolen identities and deposited stolen and altered checks into these accounts. The Fosters also incorporated a business that they used in furtherance of the fraud. Mr. Foster even impersonated victims in state court eviction proceedings to prolong the Fosters’ stay in residences they fraudulently leased.
Caprice Foster was sentenced to 80 months in prison, while Marcus has been sentenced to 58 months.
According to the Department of Justice, Fairfax County Police Chief Kevin Davis joined prosecutors at the sentencing announcement, along with officials from the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Photo via Tierra Mallorca/Unsplash
South Block is bringing its juice and smoothies to McLean.
The Arlington-based business will open a store in the Chesterbrook Shopping Center, aiming for a tentative opening in summer 2023, a spokesperson confirmed to FFXnow.
“It’s true…South Block will be opening in Chesterbrook!” Vice President of Marketing Lindsey Parry Carzo said in an email that included the hashtag #Kaleyeah. “We are thrilled to be going into a new community.”
A Fairfax County School Board member plans to advocate for adding security vestibules at schools in the wake of the deadliest school shooting in the U.S. in nearly a decade.
Melanie Meren, who represents Hunter Mill District on the board, will introduce a motion at a meeting tomorrow (Thursday) requesting that Fairfax County Public Schools develop a plan to fund and install vestibules at all facilities, she said in social media posts last night (Tuesday).
Vienna residents’ next property tax bills won’t be quite as high as anticipated, even as the town commits to raising employee salaries and other additional costs.
The Vienna Town Council voted unanimously last night (Monday) to adopt a $48.7 million budget for fiscal year 2022-2023 with a real estate tax rate of 20.5 cents per $100 of assessed value — a 1.75-cent cut from the current rate. The new budget will be in effect from July 1 through June 30, 2023.
This will be the 10th consecutive year that the town has reduced or maintained its real estate tax rate, according to a news release.