By Erica Hendry
Patch has 31 sites in Virginia and Washington. Here are some of the top stories from around the region from last week.
Reston Bike Path Crime on the Rise? In Reston, Fairfax County Police are investigating a robbery and assault of a 46-year-old man as he walked on the bike path near Maple Ridge in the Lake Anne area. The victim was hospitalized and the suspects are still at large. But the incident has brought up discussion of crime on the Reston Paths and what police and citizens can do do deter it.
Medical Examiner: Springfield Man Dies of Thermal Burns, Smoke Inhalation. The Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department responded to a call around 6:30 p.m. Aug. 11 to find a deceased male in the 6000 block of Craig Street in the Springfield area.
The medical examiner determined Monday that the cause of death was thermal burns and smoke inhalation. According to fire investigators, no foul play is suspected in the incident. This is the fifth fire fatality in the county for 2013, according to county fire officials.
Two Men Rob 7-Eleven in Mount Vernon: Fairfax County Police are investigating the robbery of a Mount Vernon convenience store.
Just after 3 p.m. Aug. 12, two men entered the 7-Eleven at 8146 Old Mount Vernon Road. One man reportedly displayed a handgun and demanded money from the employee.
The men took money and ran away, according to police. There were no injuries.
The first man was said to be in his 20s, about 5-foot-11 and wearing a blue pullover and white ball cap. The second was described as in his 20s, about 5-foot-5 and wearing a dark hoodie.
New Wakefield High School Nearly Ready for First Day: In September, everyone will be a new student at Wakefield High School. Construction is nearly complete on the new high school, at South George Mason Drive and Dinwiddie Street, and it will be ready in time for the first day of school on Tuesday, Sept. 3.
"It's a beautiful building," said Principal Chris Willmore, who is starting his fourth year at the school's helm.
The $120 million school can accommodate nearly 2,000 students, with 404,000 square feet, 100 classrooms and room to grow. In a school system burdened by an ever-increasing student population, Wakefield should remain below capacity for about five years.
From a Wheelchair to the Dance Stage; Leesburg Prosthetist Helps Texas Woman: When 23-year-old-Lacey Phipps walked comfortably on her prosthetic legs for the first time in years, the feeling was almost too much for words.
“I was flabbergasted that I actually could because I hadn’t used my legs in so long,” she said. “I was freakishly excited!”
Phipps was talking shortly after she received prosthetic legs from Leesburg prosthetist John Hattingh, CP, LPO, CPO(SA), owner ofProsthetic Care Facility of Virginia.
Phipps, a student at Texas Tech University, contacted Hattingh after becoming frustrated with her reliance on a wheelchair and inability to use her existing prostheses because of discomfort and a poor fit.
“I couldn’t walk in a straight line, so I was pretty much stuck in my wheelchair,” she said.Route 1 BRT Taking Shape in Alexandria: After some confusing sod removal and more than a year of construction, elements of the Route 1 Bus Rapid Transitway are beginning to appear just east of Del Ray.
Textured concrete designs invoking the old rail ties of Potomac Yard are popping up where seven stations will be located (pictured above) along the 0.8-mile section of bus-dedicated lanes in Alexandria. The BRT will ultimately traverse a 5-mile route connecting Braddock Road Metro station with Pentagon City Metro station. About 80 percent of the route will be in dedicated right-of-ways.McDonnell Talks School Takeover Law at Alexandria Forum: Gov. Bob McDonnell says there is broad agreement in Virginia about increasing rigor, resources and classroom performance in K-12 education, but different ideas on how to get there.
Members of the board want to maintain local control of Jefferson-Houston School, which has lost accreditation and is in line for takeover from the new Opportunity Educational Institution.
Men Rob Sunoco Station Employee at Gunpoint: Two men robbed a Sunoco Service Station in the Woodbridge area last week, Prince William County Police said.
Employees at the station told police that the two men entered the station on Annapolis Way around 7:12 p.m. Aug. 9, and one of them came up to the counter to buy something. When the employee opened the register, the suspect pulled out a gun and removed the drawer, said police spokesman Officer Jonathan Perok.
Both of the men fled to a small, black SUV outside, where a third man was waiting. The car may have been a Ford Escape.
Eager customers lined up with shopping carts outside the new store before a ribbon-cutting ceremony had even wrapped up and promptly flowed in once the festivities were over.
Tysons’ Walmart has 200 employees and is the flagship retail location in Tysons West, the development owned and operated by JBG Rosenfeld Retail.
Through Closing Door, Vienna’s Damon Galleries Finds Another Open: When Damon Galleries opened its doors on Maple Avenue in 1973, it quickly became known as one of the town's premier art stores.
Shirley Damon, founder and owner of the store, shared her passion for art with Vienna by selling popular pieces of artwork and sturdy frames in which to preserve them.
But earlier this year, Damon announced she would be closing the store and entering retirement. The reaction wasn't quite what Damon and her daughter Diana were expecting.
"There were people literally coming into the store crying over the fact that we were closing," said Diana, who has worked in the store for several years. "It was shocking."
But the store did not stay closed for long.
It took just one week for Damon's longtime employees Steve Rigby (40 years at Damon Galleries) and Taffy Millar (28 years) to begin plans to re-open the store as a frame studio.
Man Arrested in Alexis Tiara Murphy Disappearance Once A Suspect in Another Missing Teen Case: Randolph Taylor was arrested Aug. 12 in connection with the recent disappearance of Virginia teen Alexis Tiara Murphy. He was previously investigated in a 2010 disappearance, police said. Taylor said in an interview last year that he considered the previous investigation police harassment.
Murphy was last seen Aug. 3 at the Liberty gas station on Rt. 29 in Lovingston, Va. Taylor, 48, of Lovingston, was arrested Monday.
Taylor has been a suspect in the still unsolved disappearance of Samantha Ann Clarke, an Orange County teen who was last seen on September 13, 2010. A report from Charlottesville's weekly The Hook included interviews with Taylor, as well as Clarke's mother, who had been suspicious of phone calls Taylor made to her daughter in the hours before her disappearance.
Nude Dancing Takes Center Stage in Glover Park Another week, another wholesome community debate over nude dancing in Glover Park. The Glover Park Citizens Association held an emergency meeting Aug. 13 to vote on whether JP's, 2412 Wisconsin Ave., NW, should get a renewed liquor license and whether "private alcoves" should be allowed at the nude dancing club in Glover Park. The strip club is under new ownership and has applied to allow nude dancing on both table tops and in private alcoves. The Advisory Neighborhood Commission has already voted to oppose the applications.Officials: Death of Fairfax Teen on Interstate 66 Was Suicide Virginia State Police said this week that the death of a teen who was walking along the righthand lanes of Interstate 66 near Route 50 in Fairfax County and was fatally struck by a passing car in the early hours of Tuesday morning was suicide, though spokespersons would not reveal details of what led troopers to that conclusion. The victim was identified only as a 17-year-old Fairfax boy. Police have not yet located the car or driver.