Patch has 31 community sites in Virginia and D.C. Here are some of the top stories from around the region over the past week.
15. SNEAK PREVIEW: Inside the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema
With just a couple of weeks to go before the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema opens its doors at One Loudoun, the franchise owners offered a preview of the theater to media Wednesday as workers continued construction. The official opening date is set for May 3, but the community is invited to take advantage of early staff training days from April 29 to May 1. Then Iron-Man 3 begins showing at 9 p.m. May 2. Other new releases begin May 3.
14. Jim Moran Returning to Del Ray
U.S. Rep. Jim Moran (D-8th) is returning to live in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, the same community where he launched his political career more than 30 years ago. “It’s about coming home,” said Moran, who announced he was moving to Del Ray at Monday’s Del Ray Business Association luncheon. “I’ve always appreciated the way the community embraced me as a single father and supported me when I first ran for council in 1979 coming out of the Del Ray Citizens Association.”
13. Parents Speak Out Against Fairfax School Boundary Shifts
A large number of parents from the Fairfax Station "island" community turned out Wednesday evening for the Fairfax County School Board's public hearing on a proposed school boundary line shift - and most of them were not happy. Many parents from the Fairfax Station community, who face being pulled out of the "Frost-Woodson pyramid" - meaning, their elementary school would no longer feed into Frost Middle School and then Woodson High School - said they felt "unfairly targeted" and that they were being treated as "statistically insignificant" because of their community's small size. Children from the community would instead go to Robinson Secondary School, according to a plan proposed by school officials.
12. Which Middle Schools Had the Most Students Accepted to TJHSST?
For the second consecutive year, the majority of students accepted to the incoming freshman class at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJHSST or TJ) will come from middle schools in Herndon and Falls Church. According to data from Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS), Carson Middle School in Herndon had the most students accepted, a total of 64, for the class of 2017. Longfellow Middle School in Falls Church and Rocky Run Middle School in Chantilly each had 55 students accepted.
Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office detectives on Thursday released a composite sketch one suspect involved in Tuesday’s reported home invasion robbery in the area of Taylorstown, which is north of Leesburg. Investigators have released descriptions of all four suspects as well as the vehicle they drove, a gold or tan Nissan SUV, possibly a 2003 Nissan Murano, or some similar vehicle. LCSO deputies responded to a home on the 13400 block of Loyalty Road around 11:30 a.m. April 16 someone from the five-member family contacted authorities. The family, which includes two small children, told investigators that an unknown male knocked on the door with a delivery, and then forced his way into the home with three other unknown men.
10. Washington Man Pleads Guilty in Shooting Death of Columbia Pike Jeweler
A 53-year-old Washington man pleaded guilty Wednesday in Arlington County Circuit Court to charges related to the shooting death of Tommy Wong, a Columbia Pike jewelry store owner, last summer. James Sylvester Caroline pleaded guilty to capital murder and the use of a firearm during the commission of a felony. He was sentenced to life in prison plus three years. Caroline entered an Alford plea before Chief Judge William T. Newman Jr. That means he does not admit to the crimes, only that the commonwealth had enough evidence against him so that it was in his best interest to avoid a trial. Had the matter gone to trial, Caroline could have received the death penalty upon conviction.
9. Body Found in Burke Lake Park
The body of an adult male was found Sunday night in Burke Lake Park located at 7315 Ox Rd. in an apparent suicide. According to Officer Eddy Azcarate with the Fairfax County Police Department's Public Information Office, police responded to a call at 9:14 p.m. on Sunday after a park employee discovered the body. The employee was doing an after hours check around the park and found a running vehicle in the parking lot where the body was found.
8. FBI: Chantilly Company Pleads Guilty to Bribing Government Officials for Contracts
A Chantilly-based company and its former president Min Jung Cho, pleaded guilty last week to bribing government officials to secure government contracts. Nova Datacom admitted to paying more than $15 million in bribes. Nova Datacom's offices were located at 4501 Singer Court in Chantilly. The developments are the latest in an ongoing investigation of the largest domestic bribery and bid-rigging scheme in the history of federal contracting cases, according to an FBI news release. Overall, participants in the scheme stole more than $30 million in government money through inflated and fictitious invoices.
7. Warren Whistleman Indicted on 4 Counts Felony Child Abuse
A special grand jury Tuesday indicted Warren Whistleman, 56, on four counts of felony child abuse/neglect (§ 18.2-371.1), as well as one count of attempted malicious wounding. The indictment comes after a call April 13, when police received information about an incident of child abuse that had reportedly occurred on the previous day in the 1100 block of Caroline Street, said Natatia Bledsoe of the Fredericksburg Police Department. The investigation determined that four siblings between 18-months and 6-years-old were left in the care of Whistelman. He "was arrested on charges of felony child abuse/neglect and misdemeanor assault and battery."
6. Not Guilty Verdict in Dale City Murder Trial
A Prince William County Circuit Court jury has ruled that a man accused of killing his uncle for a $1 million life insurance policy is not guilty of the crime. After a three day trial, the jury of five women and seven men determined late Wednesday that Ho Young Jun, 28, was not guilty on the charges of murder and conspiracy to commit murder. Ho Young Jun's father, Jung Min Jun, pleaded guilty in November to the 2011 murder of Kwang Sup Hur, at Hur's residence in the River Run Senior Apartments in Dale City. Ho Young Jun's mother, Jung Ok Jun, pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice last year. Prosecutors accused Ho Young Jun of being an accomplice in order to benefit from the insurance policy on Hur's life—which Ho Young Jun owned.
5. New Fairfax Superintendent: 'I Am A Constant Learner'
In her first public appearance in Fairfax County,incoming superintendent Karen Garza said her focus would be on teaching and learning and responding to students and their needs — a philosophy she intends to continue if she begins work here this summer. At a press briefing late Thursday afternoon, she said she'd seek input from a wide range of stakeholders when approaching difficult situations. "I think every decision you make and every challenge that you face, having various voices included in those solutions ... makes for a much better decision," she said.
While discussing crime in the Kingstowne and Franconia area at Wednesday's Citizen Advisory Committee (CAC) meeting, Captain Jim Baumstark — Franconia District Police Station commander — explained that recent assaults in Lorton may be the work of a possible "copycat serial groper." Like the suspect(s) in the Springfield assaults, the suspect in the multiple assaults in Lorton has not been apprehended. The Springfield area has seen a string of 24 unsolved assaults by a serial groper or possibly two suspects that began in September. The latest took place in late March in Kingstowne. In the most recent incident in Lorton, a 31-year-old woman was approached from behind at around 10:45 a.m. April 10, while walking near Timarand Court and Timarand Drive. The suspect touched the victim inappropriately, then fled and was not located by officers. The victim was not injured.
Before two crosstown rivals battled it out on the field — Stuart (8-3) ultimately won the game 11-4 over Falls Church (2-9) — they took a minute to pay their respects for someone they’ve never met but the local community is rallying to remember. Long before the first strike was called, Kirsten Wiley, a counselor at Robinson Secondary School, threw out the game’s first pitch in honor of her cousin Lauren Rousseau, a teacher and one of the 26 people killed in the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December.
2. Alexandria Resident Wins $2 Million Lottery Prize
Old Town Alexandria Wythe Street resident Tina Moultrie won the $2 million top-prize of Virginia Lottery’s “Millionaire Mania” scratcher ticket, the lottery announced on its website. Moultrie purchased her winning ticket at Alexandria Shell located at 1600 Mount Vernon Ave. She returned to the store on this week to receive her prize from lottery officials.
1. Missing 5-Year-Old Cameron Serafin Found Safe; Mother Rebecca Arrested
Fairfax County Police announced Wednesday that Cameron Serafin, the Fairfax County boy who has been missing since April 7, has been found safe in Las Vegas and his mother Rebecca has been arrested. Investigators had been looking for Rebecca Serafin and her 5-year-old son since she did not return the boy to his father's home in Great Falls as scheduled. “Cameron is safe and in good condition,” according to a Fairfax County Police Department release. “His mother is being held as a fugitive from justice and will await extradition back to Virginia. Cameron’s father is already making plans to travel to Las Vegas to be reunited with his son.”