Top 12 Vienna Stories of 2012

A look back at the most read articles in Vienna Patch this year.

There have been many stories that have gripped the community this year -- but which ones have our readers read the most?

We've compiled a list of the most-read stories on Vienna Patch in 2012 and shared them below. The stories are listed in reverse order of popularity.

12. UPDATED: Arrest Made in Vanessa Pham Murder: Nearly two-and-a-half years after Vanessa Pham was found dead inside a two-door car near Arlington Boulevard and Williams Drive, authorities announced they'd arrested a suspect in the case and charged him with murder. In a news release, police said the suspect was arrested "at a house under construction in the Town of Vienna near the intersection of Glyndon Street S.E. and Locust Street S.E. shortly after noon."

Fairfax County Homicide Detectives linked the suspect to the case through "analysis of forensic evidence."

Pham was a Madison High School graduate who had just finished her first year at the Savannah College of Art and Design when she was murdered.

11. Police Search for Missing High School Student: Though Bryan Glenn was a senior at Woodson High School, residents across the greater Fairfax-Oakton-Vienna area helped search for the teen when he went missing in October. A week after police found his car in Thaiss Park, his body was found off a wooded trail. Police are still waiting on the results of the Office of the Medical Examiner to determine the cause of death. Click here to read Fairfax City Patch's coverage of this case.

10. UPDATE: Man Who Fell at Tysons Corner Mall Expected to Live: Back in March, a 20 year-old Arlington County man fell from the fourth floor of a Tysons Corner Mall parking garage. Residents told Patch they saw a man talking on a cell phone shortly before the incident, and "[he] seemed to be very angry at whomever he was calling." Police shut down the area for several hours and investigated the case as a suicide attempt; the man survived.

9. Vienna Pics & Clips: The spot on our site for user photos and videos made the top list this year. It features everything from pictures of the Ayr Hill Garden Club, new LEO Club officers at Madison High School and flooding from severe storms, to videos of school board members and community advocates speaking out about changes to Fairfax County's Advanced Academic Placement (AAP) Centers. Follow the link to check it out for yourself and upload photos of your own.

8. : Hank Sternberg, 50, an active member of the Vienna community, died of a heart attack in March. Sternberg, a Washington, D.C. native, was the owner of Cyber Services, Inc., an Internet technology company based in Vienna. He was also a volunteer Boy Scout leader and a member of the local chapter of the Rotary Club. Follow the link to read the memories and kind words left by friends and neighbors.

7. : By the time Sandy touched down in Northern Virginia, it had been downgraded from a hurricane to a post-tropical cyclone, but that didn't stop the storm from knocking out power and causing damage across the region.

6.Former Madison Coach Charged with Inappropriate Sexual Contact with a Minor: A former Madison High School swim coach was charged this summer. for allegedly having inappropriate sexual contact with a minor more than a decade ago. Noah Rucker, 39, of Bristow, Va, was arrested and charged with three counts of indecent liberties with a minor while in a custodial and/or supervisory position, Fairfax County police said in a statement on Saturday. Police said they took a report from a female graduate of Madison High School, who said she had inappropriate sexual contact with Rucker in 2001 while he was a swim coach at the school and she was on the swim team. At the time of the incident, Rucker was 29; the victim was 17, police said. Click here to read more on the case.

5. Four Arrested In Massage Parlor Raid: In April, four people were arrested Wednesday for their alleged involvement in prostitution and pandering at a massage parlor in Vienna and two homes in Annandale. The arrests followed a two-month investigation of Maple Therapeutic Massage,  307 Maple Avenue W., in Vienna as well as two Annandale homes, according to the Vienna Police Department.

4. Questions About Stalcup Hardware Closing Remain: In February, the Fairfax County Sheriff's office served a formal eviction to the owners of Stalcup Hardware. But it's unclear what exactly forced the store, a town favorite for nearly a decade, to pick up and go. A notice was posted on the shop's doors about a week in advance to notify the tenants formally of the eviction orders.

An employee of neighboring Jammin' Java said a "for lease" sign had been hanging in the store's window "for a while," but the owner told her and others  the store wasn't going anywhere. But a few days later, she said, they saw Stalcup Hardware employees beginning to pack up and move the store. By the time police arrived to change the store's locks, the tenants were already halfway moved out. The Stalcup family had been a community figure in Vienna for about a decade, but throughout the area for even longer — residents say the store was formerly Stalcup Farm Home Garden in McLean before moving to Vienna sometime in the early to mid-2000s.

3. Thoreau Community Mourns Loss Of Student: In March, the teens and teachers at the school, along with parents and administrators,  mourned the unexpected death of a seventh-grade boy, with counselors, a psychologist and social worker on hand to support the community throughout the day. 

In an email to parents, Principal Greg Hood wrote the student's death was "very sad and difficult day for all of us." 

"This is tragic news for all of us, but especially for the family of the student," Hood wrote.The boy's name and cause of death were not released.

2. Police: 'Bath Bomb' Poses No Threat: After an investigation into a suspicious item in October shut down Center Street South and other nearby streets, police determined the item — a bath ball with the word 'BOMB' written on top — poses no threat to the community, police said.

A woman dropped off the "bath bomb" at the Vienna Fire Station, saying she found the bath bomb on top of a group of items that had been placed on her front porch, said Officer Gary Lose, a spokesperson for the Vienna Police Department.The bath ball, which is meant to enhance one's bath experience, was blue in color and about the size of a softball. [Lose provided a link to an image investigators found on Google, which has been included at the top right of this article.]

Firefighters called Vienna Police, who then called in the Fairfax County Explosive Ordinance Division to investigate whether the item was a viable bomb. After several tests and X-Rays, investigators found the item, which had a note inside that read "boom boom," to be of no threat. The investigation shut down Center Street South between Locust Street and Battle Street South, as well as Cherry Street between Park and Center streets at around 4 p.m. Streets reopened at around 6:10 p.m.

1. Dominion: Power Outages May Last All Week: The unexpected derecho storm in June paralyzed the region well into July, as thousands of residents went without power for nearly a week. 

Thanks, as always, for reading Vienna Patch -- here's to another great year in 2013!

Carol Lewis December 31, 2012 at 04:20 PM
Not a whole lot of good news in 2012. I hope 2013 is a better year for all. Happy New Year, fellow Patch-ers~!
Erica R. Hendry December 31, 2012 at 05:04 PM
Thanks Carol! There are a lot of good things in the rest of the top 30. Maybe I'll do a "top feel-good stories of the year" list next! Happy 2013, Erica
Carol Lewis December 31, 2012 at 05:09 PM
That would be great, Erica. I realize though that the bad news stories may bring out the most readers. Happy 2013 to you too.


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