Tysons Corner, VA

(Updated at 11:50 a.m.) Fairfax County police have identified the man who was fatally struck by a police cruiser along Route 50 in the Falls Church area yesterday.

Shortly after midnight on Sunday (Oct. 20), a police cruiser struck and killed 40-year-old Carlos Romeo Montoya near Arlington Blvd (Route 50) and Graham Road, police said.

“We do not have a current address at this time,” police said in a press release today. “Next of kin have been notified.”

More from FCPD:

A patrol officer who has more than four years of law enforcement experience and who is assigned to the Mason District Station was driving in a marked police cruiser in the area of Arlington Boulevard and Graham Road. The officer was responding to a call for service for disorderly subjects.

The marked police cruiser was proceeding through a green light eastbound on Arlington Boulevard approaching the intersection of Graham Road.

This intersection has a pedestrian crosswalk with a pedestrian signal for the crosswalk. The posted speed limit for Arlington Boulevard in that area is 45 miles per hour.

As the police cruiser proceeded through the intersection, an adult male was struck in the left travel lane of Arlington Boulevard by the cruiser. The location of impact was within the crosswalk as determined by the police cruiser in-car video.

The officer immediately stopped to render first aid and called for the Fire and Rescue Department. The pedestrian was transported to the hospital by rescue personnel and was pronounced deceased.

“The best information we have right now is that the officer did have a green list, was proceeding through the intersection and that the pedestrian was, unfortunately, crossing against the ‘Don’t walk’ sign,” Chief Edwin Roessler Jr. said during a press conference yesterday.

Montoya’s death marks the 14th pedestrian fatality in the county this year, according to police.

“This is an intersection that has a historical issue with pedestrian safety,” Roessler said at the press conference.

Cyclist and pedestrian advocates are urging people to attend a meeting tonight (Monday) about changes to Route 50.

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is looking to get community feedback about a Route 50 study currently underway to identify potential safety and operational changes for Route 50 between Jaguar Trail and Wilson Blvd.

The Fairfax Alliance for Better Bicycling (FABB) took to social media to urge people to attend the meeting.

Bruce Wright, a board member of FABB, said that the Graham Road and Route 50 intersection was identified in 2004 “as a big problem” for pedestrian safety and is “still very dangerous.”

Wright said that service roads along Route 50, the dense residential area nearby and high speed limit contribute to the safety factors at the intersection. Wright said he wants VDOT and the county to consider redesigning the intersection and lowering the speed limit.

“It is such an important corridor and yet it’s optimized for motorists,” Wright said.

FABB is working with local police to identify where bicycle crashes are happening, Wright said, adding that the group wants to work with VDOT as well.

The crash is currently under investigation and is working to determine the cruiser’s speed, the lighting conditions at the intersection and the condition of the pedestrian walk sign, along with a forensic medical examination, police said.

“The results of the investigation by the Crash Reconstruction Unit will be presented to the Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney for Fairfax County,” the press release said.

Anyone with information about the crash can contact Crash Reconstruction Unit detectives at 703-280-0543.

“The involved officer was reassigned to administrative duties pending the outcome of our investigations by the Crash Reconstruction Unit and the Internal Affairs Bureau,” police said.

Map via Google Maps

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Swinks Mill Road Reopens in McLean — Severely damaged by flooding in July, the road at Scotts Run reopened Friday (Oct. 18). [VDOT/Twitter]

McLean Resident Retires From NVTC — “Northern Virginia Technology Council’s (NVTC) president and CEO Bobbie Kilberg is set to retire on June 30 after 22 years leading the organization.” [Technical.ly]

Pedestrian Killed Along Route 50 in Falls Church — “A police cruiser struck and killed a man who was crossing an intersection in West Falls Church, Virginia, early Sunday morning, police say.” [NBC4]

Home Catches Fire in Dunn Loring — Firefighters responded to a house fire in the 8100 block of Timber Valley Court in Dunn Loring area on Saturday. The fire is now out. “No reported injuries at this time.” [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue/Twitter]

How Walkable is Tysons? — Find out what it’s like to stroll around Tysons with a walkability researcher, who measured the noise levels and air quality. [Greater Greater Washington]

New Leader at McLean Private School — “BASIS Independent McLean, a preK to grade 12 private school in McLean, Va., recently named Paul Geise as its head of school. As a veteran educator with more than 40 years of experience, Geise excels in leadership of schools in the United States and United Kingdom, specializing in strategic plans and fostering student and community development in schools.” [Patch]

Marshall HS Students Visit Capital One HQ — “Members of Marshall High’s Latinos United Club took a field trip to Capital One’s headquarters in McLean to meet with their mentors. Students learned about the vast career opportunities in technology at Capital One and participated in various activities with the mentors including job shadowing, panel discussions, and a tour.” [Fairfax County Public Schools]

USA Today May Phase Out Print Edition — “After a nearly 40-year run, USA Today and its digital sites are about to undergo a major restructuring that will include building up digital marketing while phasing out the print edition.” [Poynter]

Falls Church Receives High Bond Ratings — “For the second consecutive year, the city has earned the highest credit rating from all three major bond rating agencies.” [City of Falls Church]

Falls Church Polling Place Moved — “Due to delays in a renovation of the Falls Green apartments (formerly Oakwood), the City of Falls Church’s Ward 2 polling place has to be moved for the upcoming Nov. 5 election.” [Falls Church News-Press]

New Natural Health Center in Vienna — “The Health Improvement Center, a natural health care center, has moved to a new location in Vienna. The move to a larger space happened in August, while a ribbon-cutting is set for Nov. 14 from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. The new location is 407 Church Street NE Suite C.” [Patch]

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(Updated 10/21/19) Firefighters extinguished a blaze that broke out in a McLean home this afternoon (Friday, Oct. 18) near the Charles Wesley United Methodist Church.

Firefighters from Fairfax and Arlington counties were dispatched to the fire in the 1700 block of Maxwell Court shortly after 4 p.m. today (Friday).

“Crews checking for extension,” according to a Fairfax County Fire and Rescue tweet. “One person being transported [to the hospital] with minor injuries.”

The one person who was home at the time of the fire sustained minor burns while trying to extinguish the fire, according to the fire department.

“The occupant was cooking on the stove when the oil ignited in the pan,” the fire department said in a press release. “The cause of the fire was the auto-ignition of cooking oil that spread to nearby combustibles.”

The fire department said that the person was displaced because of the accidental fire, which totaled roughly $123,750 worth of damages.

Map via Google Maps

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A cyber tip led Vienna police to charge a 53-year-old Vienna man with more than 20 felonies after police say they discovered child pornography at his home.

The tip from the Northern Virginia/Washington DC Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force said that a local internet account had uploaded child pornography videos, according to a Vienna police press release.

The Vienna Police Department investigated the tip, which brought them to a house in the 1200 block of Cottage Street SW.

“A search warrant was executed at the home, and several electronic storage devices were seized,” the press release said. “A forensic examination of the devices was completed and numerous files containing child pornography were uncovered.”

Police charged resident Charles Snow with 20 counts of possession of child pornography and two counts of unauthorized videotaping.

Snow is being held at the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center without bond.

First photo via Facebook, second photo via Town of Vienna

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The two candidates vying for the Dranesville District seat on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors debated last night in McLean.

The debate was hosted by the League of Women Voters-Fairfax Area at the McLean Community Center last night. Incumbent John Foust and Republican Ed Martin sparred on issues ranging from traffic congestion to gun regulations.

While they both agreed that it’s difficult to afford to live in the county and that focusing on climate crisis is important, the two men took very different approaches to how they would tackle the issues in the audience-submitted questions.

Foust pointed to his experience on the county board — he was first elected in 2007 — to emphasize that the local government will continue to make progress, pointing to the expansion of Balls Hill Road at Georgetown Pike to address traffic and the county’s conversion of existing streetlights to LEDs.

“We’re doing what’s necessary to prepare for the growth,” Foust said in response to a question about infrastructure and population growth. “[We need to do] more of what we’re doing.”

Meanwhile, Martin, who moved to Fairfax County three years ago and currently lives in Great Falls, pushed for lower taxes, more pressure on Richmond and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan about the traffic on I-495 and reconsideration of the One Fairfax policy — a social and racial equity policy.

“I reject One Fairfax,” Martin said, adding that equity is in the eye of the beholder. “Don’t we like equity? I like exceptional.”

While the debate was mostly civil, the conversation became heated around guns and whether Fairfax County should be a “sanctuary county.”

Foust passionately said that he supports banning guns from public facilities. “It’s scary. It is not fair to people,” he said.

While Martin said that he would defer to law enforcement’s opinion on guns in public facilities, his answer mostly criticized Foust for not taking enough action on the trailers at McLean High School.

“Having trailers behind a school is not safe,” he said before transitioning to his position that sanctuary counties can lead to violence.

Foust responded that he wants to see the trailers go away as well. While Martin noted safety several times throughout the debate, Foust said that Republicans wanting to limit gun regulations have made “none of us safe.”

“We are constantly rated the safest community for our size in the country,” Foust said, adding, “We are not a sanctuary county. I will tell you, we don’t go out and enforce civil warrants by ICE.”

By the time the debate wrapped up, the candidates had taken several jabs at each other.

Martin said Foust’s “I delivered” statements show Foust is part of antiquated leadership, while Foust dragged Martin for being a newcomer to the area — “I have never seen you at a community event” — and also for not filing some of his campaign finance reports.

The election is on Nov. 5.

Images via Fairfax County and voteedmartin.com

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As the windy day continues, two power outages are affecting about 50 Dominion Energy customers between Route 50 and Route 29 in the West Falls Church area.

One power outage is affecting 37 customers by Stuart Drive, while a second one is affecting 26 customers by Thomas Jefferson Library, according to Dominion.

Power is expected to be restored this evening before 10 p.m., according to Dominion.

The causes of the outages are pending investigations.

Map via Dominion Energy

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The two candidates vying for the Providence District seat on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors faced off last night at the Providence District Community Center.

The League of Women Voters, who hosted the debate, encouraged attendees to submit questions for Democratic Dalia Palchik and Republican Eric Jones, and the candidates didn’t hesitate to disagree when it came to the hot-button issues of the evening.

They compared thoughts on the importance of census data, budgets, sanctuary counties, immigration, renewable energy, panhandling and firearm regulation throughout the evening. Here are some highlights from the debate:

Affordable Housing and a Rising Cost of Living 

When it comes to the panhandling in Fairfax County, Jones said people struggling financially in the area should move elsewhere in the country where the cost of living is lower, like Ohio.

“It’s very expensive to live here. there are other places where it’s not so expensive to live,” Jones said. “To some degree, it is simply a choice [on where to live.]”

Palchik took another approach. “I support that we took a step back and said, ‘No, we are not going to criminalize panhandling,'” she said, adding that the county should work to ensure there is enough affordable housing and job security.

On the topic of affordable housing, Palchik said she is looking into coordinating with faith-based organizations to expand affordable housing options, especially for seniors.

While Fairfax County has been highlighting its recent affordable housing efforts — especially in Tysons — the candidates stressed the importance of financial security.

Dalia said she wants to focus on fighting for fair wages for county employees, while Jones said he would rethinking policies for zoning and regulation to help small businesses.

Immigration and the Census 

Immigration and the U.S. Census were popular topics during the debate.

Palchik said she was pleased when the citizenship question was removed from the census, saying that it encourages more participation. Without responses accurately representing the population of the district, the county would lose out on tax revenue that benefits the community, she said.

“We still have families who fear coming to school to sending their kids to preschool or going to a food pantry, because they are afraid we are collaborating and sharing their information with police,” she said.

Meanwhile, Jones said he believes undocumented immigrants are a danger to the community. “I am especially against sanctuary countries,” he said. “These are especially harmful to our legal immigrants.”

During his time with the U.S. State Department, Jones said he conducted interviews for the immigration process and granted thousands of people citizenship or permanent resident status.

“I believe we should cooperate completely with federal authorities,” he said.

Renewable Energy

One of the largest issues the candidates clashed on was the implementation of renewable energy. Palchik seemed to be in full support while Jones said the cost would outweigh the benefits.

“I think the so-called New Green Deal is unrealistic,” Jones said, referring to the Green New Deal. “You cannot run the Metro system on wind power, solar power and batteries.”

Instead, he told the audience that he believes in natural gas and nuclear power.

Palchik shifted the conversation, noting her endorsement by the Sierra Club and other environmental groups around the area. Palchik pointed to her time on the Fairfax County School Board, where she launched a joint environmental taskforce with the school board, students and Board of Supervisors.

She said that, if elected, she will be spending time in Richmond working to eliminate solar energy roadblocks.

New Republican Candidate

Jones was a new face for voters. After candidate Paul Bolon’s death in August, Jones was chosen as the new conservative candidate to run against Palchik.

“I’m running to give voters a choice in Providence District,” Jones said during his opening statement. “I wish my friend Bolon was here today.”

Palchik gave her respects after the debate. “I want to thank Mr. Jones for stepping up, I know it was a tragedy.”

The election is on Nov. 5.

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(Updated at 3:10 p.m.) Work may start on a new underground power line running through Tysons before the end of the year.

The existing load on power lines from the Tysons and McLean areas is expected to exceed 300 megawatts by 2022, according to Dominion Energy. The new power line will keep Dominion under the limits.

To make sure there’s enough power, Dominion is building an additional power source to avoid violating mandatory standards.

At a meeting last night (Tuesday) at Kilmer Middle School, Dominion officials said that construction is set to kick off in November or December — depending on the weather and when permits get approved — for the Idylwood-Tysons 230 kilovolt (kV) Project.

The project will add a new 4-mile-long transmission line underground, running under the W&OD Trail by I-66 and I-495 before heading up Gallows Road to International Drive in Tysons .

Commuters and pedestrians can expect lane closures along Gallows Road and International Drive in Tysons when construction starts.

Specific dates for the construction schedule and closures have not been determined yet, an engineer for the project told Tysons Reporter. People can expect an interactive online map, which will show what’s been completed and what’s under construction.

“People who live and work in the area will most likely be impacted by the construction,” Peggy Fox, a Dominion spokesperson, said. “We do not expect to interrupt service to our electric customers.”

Currently, the bidding process is underway for the project’s contractor. The final cost will be determined once the contractor is selected — the estimated cost right now is roughly $120 million.

The State Corporation Commission approved the project last fall.

The project is expected to be completed by late 2022, with rehabilitation work going into 2023.

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A janitors’ union has tentatively reached a contract agreement with commercial cleaning companies in the D.C.-area — avoiding a strike that could have affected Tysons offices.

Service Employees International Union Local 32BJ struck an agreement with the Washington Service Contractors Association today (Tuesday, Oct. 15), according to a press release from 32BJ SEIU.

The janitors’ union was planning two strikes later this afternoon ahead of the approaching deadline for the new contract agreement. 

The strike was meant to demand wage increases and full-time hours — some janitors currently earn $12.60 per hour for part-time work in Northern Virginia, according to the union.

In total, the strike would have hit more than 1,200 office buildings in D.C., Virginia and Maryland, according to the press release.

Union spokeswoman Julie Karant told Tysons Reporter that more than 4,000 janitors and 500 buildings in Northern Virginia would have been affected by a strike.

Some of the Tysons office buildings were the janitors work include:

  • Capital One Tower (1600 and 1680 Capital One Drive)
  • Freddie Mac building (8250 Jones Branch Drive)
  • Northrop Grumman (7575 Colshire Drive)
  • MITRE Corp. (7525 Colshire Drive)

The deal, which covers more than 10,500 jobs, is pending approval by union members, and the union plans to release more details on Monday, Oct. 20, “pending a ratification vote by union members,” the press release said.

“Associated Building Maintenance Co., Inc. remains the only employer out of 58 companies that has not signed the agreement,” according to 32BJ SEIU.

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Tysons’ new Burlington is currently closed due to a trash compactor fire earlier this month — but may reopen soon.

Signs on the door say that the store is temporarily closed. “We apologize for the inconvenience,” the sign says.

The store opened at 8355 Leesburg Pike in September.

Smoke entered the store from a fire in a trash compactor behind the building on Oct. 4, Ashley Hildebrandt, a spokesperson for Fairfax County Fire and Rescue, told Tysons Reporter.

A reader told Tysons Reporter that the Burlington has been closed since at least Sunday, Oct. 6.

Tysons Reporter reached out to Burlington to ask when the store closed and when it plans to reopen. This story will be updated if the company responds.

Two employees at nearby Burlington stores said that while a reopening date has not been announced yet, they have heard that the store may reopen by next week.

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