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by ARLnow.com — October 31, 2014 at 6:30 pm 333 0

The following letter to the editor was submitted by local resident Bobbie Fisher.

Fisher also wrote about the intersection of race and Arlington politics in a letter to the editor in the Sun Gazette last year.

Last April, high-profiled Democrats like Libby Garvery, Theo Stamos, Peter Rousselot, Frank Thomas and loyal grassroot voters REJECTED Democratic nominee Alan Howze, who “lost badly” by 3,500 votes to Republican John Vihstadt for the County Board seat. The Sun Gazette quoted the Arlington County Democratic Committee chairman:

“We certainly lost. We lost badly on Tuesday,” said Kip Malinosky, chairman of the Arlington County Democratic Party. “We need to do much more to listen, much more to engage, much more to rebuild the trust that has eroded over the years.”

ACDC Chair Malinosky just doesn’t get it! The County’s white leadership has never bothered to “engage” nor “listen” to the issues of Black voters: jobs, minority students trapped in poor performing schools; gentrification of Nauck neighborhood; affordable housing, and the under representation of black-owned businesses.

What has ACDC done for Black voters? As an African American, homeowner and taxpayer there’s never been any open up discussion about the County’s racial disparities. For decades, Arlington County continue to exclude African Americans from elected public office and at senior-level positions in government.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) recently released her new book who is no fan of Arlington. “We lived in a soulless suburb. It wasn’t the right place for us, and we needed a change,” she wrote.

Here’s why Arlington remains a “soulless suburb.”

Barbara Donellan, first female County Manager resides in Fairfax County — not in Arlington! Worse, Ms. Donellan has 19 senior-level leaders who report directly to her. No African-American male or female is employed on Ms. Donellan’s senior-level staff.

This year, four highly qualified African-American Democrats were on the local ballot for public office: Bill Euille (three-term mayor of Alexandria); Charniele Herring; Lavern Chatman and Atima Omara-Alwala. All lost! Not a single black candidate won any support from ACDC, or any significant white votes in Arlington.

Alan Howze,”consistently talked about the need to support our educators and address the overcrowding challenges we face.” Yet, avoids discussing declining SOL grades at Drew School, where he attended as a child. Howze is silent on the growing achievement gap among minority children. In 2013, Drew ranked worse than 80.5% of elementary schools in Virginia.

John Vihstadt may ask tough questions about spending priorities, yet ignores discussing the County’s racial disparities in senior-level positions in government.

So, why should African American residents vote for candidates who ignore the concerns of black voters? Fifty years ago, Arlington County was wrong on racial segregation. Fifty years later African-Americans remain excluded from County politics and in government.

In 1984 Evelyn Reid Syphax, a former Arlington elementary school teacher who served extensively on a variety of elected and appointed boards for schools and civic and community organizations, was often identified as “the only black member of the school board.” Syphax was quoted in the Washington Post: “We have not arrived if I still have to have that distinction.”

In 2014, thirty years later, Ms. Syphax words rings true today, “We have not arrived.”

On Election Day, November 4, Black voters need to stand up to both Democrats and Republicans and demand: “no seat at the table – No Votes!!”

Bobbie Fisher
Pentagon City

ARLnow.com occasionally publishes letters to the editor about local issues. To submit a letter to the editor, please email it to arlingtonnews@gmail.com. Letters to the editor may be edited for content and brevity.

by Ethan Rothstein — October 31, 2014 at 4:30 pm 447 0

John Vihstadt at the County Board candidates debate 3/4/14The Washington Post editorial board has given Republican-backed Independent John Vihstadt its endorsement for Tuesday’s Arlington County Board election.

The Post said Vihstadt would be a “badly needed independent voice” on the otherwise all-Democratic, five-member County Board. Vihstadt was elected to the Board in April in a special election, when he defeated Democrat Alan Howze by a 57-to-41 percent margin.

Howze is again running against Vihstadt, and local prognosticators are predicting this race will be closer; former Arlington treasurer Francis O’Leary thinks Howze will win because of a greater turnout of Democratic “party line” voters. However, the Post writes, the issues that led voters to choose Vihstadt in April haven’t changed.

The editorial board writes:

… Many Democrats have accorded Mr. Vihstadt grudging respect as someone who formulates and presents his views intelligently; he is no tea party bomb thrower. Equally important, in our view, is his insistence that the county reevaluate other expensive projects, such as a proposal for a state-of-the-art aquatic center, which he regards as unaffordable.

Whether Mr. Vihstadt prevails or not, it’s important for Arlington to have the debate; without him, the board runs the risk of groupthink.

The Post writes that it supports the Columbia Pike streetcar, and praised Howze as “a very capable candidate,” but said Vihstadt’s “civil and cogent” arguments against the streetcar have earned him the chance to serve a four-year term. Vihstadt has also been endorsed by Arlington County firefighters for his commitment to public safety

Howze has been endorsed by Greater Greater Washington and environmental group Sierra Club.

In its editorial, the Post also endorses Barbara Kanninen over Audrey Clement for School Board, citing Kanninen’s experience working with children’s issues.

by ARLnow.com — October 31, 2014 at 3:30 pm 577 0

Sleeping quarters in Arlington County's emergency winter shelterThe county’s Emergency Winter Shelter (EWS) opens for the 2014-2015 season tomorrow (Saturday). This will be the final season for the EWS, as the permanent homeless shelter under construction in Courthouse is set to open in spring.

The EWS will be open for vulnerable residents every day from 4:00 p.m.-9:00 a.m., through March 31. Hours may be extended on especially cold days, which happened during last season’s cold snap. The temporary facility at 2049 15th Street N. accommodates up to 74 people and other nearby facilities can be used as overflow during severe weather.

Arlington County funds the EWS and it is operated by the nonprofit Arlington Street People’s Assistance Network (A-SPAN), under the supervision  of the county’s Department of Human Services. It provides homeless residents with facilities for sleeping, eating, showering and doing laundry.

A-SPAN also will operate the new Homeless Services Center (2020 14th Street N.) when it opens, which is expected to be in April.

“We are anticipating a seamless transition,” said Department of Human Services spokesman Kurt Larrick. “A-SPAN will continue to be the service provider and they’ve demonstrated they are great at what they do.”

Rendering of Arlington's new Human Services CenterThe goal for employees of the new Homeless Services Center is not only to house homeless residents, but also to identify and tackle the issues that drove a person to homelessness. County agencies and nonprofit partners will continue to provide resources such as employment training, financial management assistance, and treatment for mental health and substance abuse.

“We’ve got a head start on this even before the new center opens – it’s essentially the same approach we used for the recently completed 100 Homes Campaign,” said Larrick. “It’s the approach we use in our Permanent Supportive Housing Programs – where we get the housing piece in place and then ensure that people get the supports they need to maintain their housing.”

In February, the County Board approved a $6.6 million contract for the new Homeless Services Center, and construction began in April. Right now, workers are continuing to repair weather-damaged columns in the former open parking area under part of the second floor. This known issue was part of the contract. Once the building inspector approves the fixes, workers can removed the extra steel supports installed to carry building loads during repairs, and move on to the next phase. Construction is scheduled to wrap up in March, in time for the April opening.

When finished, the shelter will house 50 year round beds on the third floor, with room for an additional 25 beds during the winter. The second floor will have a kitchen and dining area, in addition to a day room and offices for counseling. Floors four through seven will be converted to county offices at a later date.

Construction updates will be posted online.

by Nick Anderson — October 31, 2014 at 2:30 pm 0

Your Beermonger logo

Editor’s Note: This sponsored column is written by Nick Anderson, beermonger at Arrowine (4508 Lee Highway).

Don’t let the title fool you, I’m basically passing along some tasting notes this week, but there is a bit of a theme in that all of these have been working for me as we veer between unseasonably warm and full-on winter. The good news is there are a lot of great new options out there, along with some returning seasonal favorites. Here are some standouts:

Abita Bourbon St. Imperial Stout: I had only read about this limited release from Abita over the past few weeks, and was under the impression it was going to be draft-only until their distributor offered me some bottles last week. This one clocks in at 10 percent ABV, with eight weeks spent in now-unnamed Bourbon barrels (rhymes with “Scrappy Dan Tinkle”). Unexpectedly bold chocolate flavors rule the day here, with the barrel influence increasing as you work your way through the bottle. A decadent, delicious Imperial Stout that I’d put up against many of the hard-to-get examples of the style. Word’s getting out, so it won’t last long — try it if you get the chance.

Brooklyn Brewing Blast! IPA: I know, I know – another new IPA. But the lengthy list of hops used in Brooklyn Blast! (yes, the exclamation point is part of the name) intrigued me, as did Brooklyn’s statements about Blast! being heavily influenced by English Ales. Believe the press, in this case; Blast! is a big beer at 8.4 percent ABV, but is all about a wonderful balance between its sweet malts and the tea-like aromas and flavors from its hops. A big IPA that is interesting without being overwrought.

Hardywood Forbidden: Here’s a bit of an odd bird. Hardywood bottled this 6.5 percent ABV Belgian-style Wit made with dragonfruit in honor of “Forbidden City: Imperial Treasures from the Palace Museum, Beijing”, an exhibition at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond. Rather than go for 22-ounce bombers or the 750mL bottles their special releases usually come in, Hardywood bottled Forbidden to be sold as individual 12-ounce beers. The format is neat; it’s just the right amount of the beer (you can always pop another if you want), and the small size means you can try one out without dropping a lot of money. As for the beer itself, it’s refreshing and lightly spicy as a Wit should be, with the dragonfruit adding floral aromas, the slightest bit of citrus sweetness, and a gorgeous pink/reddish color.

Founders Breakfast Stout: The cold isn’t allowed to arrive until Breakfast Stout does. In my personal Pantheon of American beers, Founders works oatmeal and two kinds of chocolate along with Kona and Sumatra coffees into this magical beverage. If you haven’t, you really should; love for Breakfast Stout transcends aversions to strong, dark, coffee- and/or chocolate-infused beers. A benchmark.

If you feel like jumping into winter a little early, you can find Sam Smith’s Winter Welcome, Troeg’s Mad Elf, and Schlafly Christmas Ale on retailer shelves in the area right now. All are delicious and will get you through the holiday season in one piece (maybe). Until next time!

Nick Anderson maintains a blog at www.beermonger.net and can be found on Twitter at @The_Beermonger. Sign up for Arrowine’s money-saving email offers and free wine and beer tastings. The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com. (more…)

by Ethan Rothstein — October 31, 2014 at 1:30 pm 639 0

Many of us go through the annual struggle of figuring out a creative Halloween costume. For Clarendon resident and amputee Josh Sundquist, his disability presents him an annual showcase for his creativity.

Sundquist is dressing up as a foosball player — the tabletop soccer game — this year after being named to the U.S. Amputee Soccer team. His previous costumes include a lamp, a gingerbread man with a leg bitten off and a brilliant flamingo costume.

Josh Sundquist Halloween costume (photo via Josh Sunquist)The above video is how Sundquist made this year’s costume. Sundquist is a 2006 Paralympian in downhill skiing and, according to his website, the only person in history named to both the Paralympian ski team and the amputee soccer team. He lost his leg after being diagnosed with bone cancer when he was 9 years old.

Sundquist is an also an author and motivational speaker, and his book, Just Don’t Fall is on sale now.

Photo via Josh Sundquist

by Ethan Rothstein — October 31, 2014 at 12:30 pm 377 0

It’s the weekend after Halloween, so shake off the hangover, eat something healthy after gorging on candy and go visit some open houses in your area.

See our real estate section for a full listing of open houses. Here are a few highlights:

2403-arlington-blvd2403 Arlington Blvd
2 BD / 1 BA condominium
Agent: Avery Boyce, Lindsay Reishman Real Estate
Listed: $299,000
Open: Sunday, Nov. 2, 2:00 to 4:00 p.m.

902-s-highland-street902 S. Highland Street
2 BD / 1 BA duplex
Agent: Suzanne Riegert, Prudential Penfed Realty
Listed: $399,900
Open: Sunday, Nov. 2, 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.

6-s-montague-street6 S. Montague Street
3 BD / 2 BA condoiminium
Agent: Crystal Sheehan, Keller Williams Realty
Listed: $579,500
Open: Saturday, Nov. 1, 1:00-4:00 p.m.; Sunday, Nov. 2, 2:00-5:00 p.m.

307-n-barton-street307 N. Barton Street
4 BD / 3 1/2 BA single family detached
Agent: Katie Wethman, Keller Williams Realty
Listed: $769,900
Open: Saturday, Nov. 1, 1:00-4:00 p.m.;Sunday, Nov. 2, 1:00-4:00 p.m.

4844-arlington-blvd4844 Arlington Blvd
4 BD / 3 1/2 BA single family detached
Agent: Blair Diseati, Jefferson Realty Group
Listed: $885,000
Open: Sunday, Nov. 2, 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.

4730-23rd-street-n4730 23rd Street N.
5 BD / 3 1/2 BA single family detached
Agent: Christine Morgan, Century 21 Redwood Realty
Listed: $1,260,000
Open: Sunday, Nov. 2, 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.

by ARLnow.com — October 31, 2014 at 11:30 am 2,185 0

Pupatella (photo via Google Maps)Pupatella is getting accolades for its Neapolitan style pizzas. A recently released list puts it at the top, compared to all other pizza joints in the state.

FlipKey.com, a TripAdvisor company, put together a list of “Best Pizza Worth Traveling For” and chose one pizza place for each of the 50 states. Arlington’s own Pupatella received the honors for Virginia.

A representative for FlipKey said the winners were chosen based on market research and traveler feedback.

The full list of the best pizza worth traveling for in each state is available online.

Last year, Pupatella won another ABBIE for being named the best pizza place in Arlington, and also made the Washington Post’s list of “40 dishes Washingtonians shouldn’t live without in 2013.”

by ARLnow.com — October 31, 2014 at 10:35 am 803 0

Arlington logoArlington County is asking for more people to sign up to be foster parents, and it’s holding an information session next week for those who might be interested.

There are currently about 90 children in Arlington in need of the temporary living arrangement foster families provide. These children are unable to live in their homes for a variety of reasons, such as abuse, neglect or severe family problems. Children may need to stay with a foster family for just a few days or months, or for years.

“We know that it takes a special set of skills to parent a child that’s not your own or has been abused or neglected,” said Alissa Green, Arlington County Resource Family Coordinator.

A particular need exists for families with diverse cultural backgrounds.

“The children who are in care, much like Arlington itself, is a very diverse group. But we have a limited number of minority foster parents,” said Green. “We don’t match children with families based on race, but we like to try to match them culturally, if possible.”

Families willing to take in sibling groups and teenagers also are in high demand. More than 50 percent of Arlington’s foster children are age 13 or older.

The goal is to get foster children back with their families as soon as it’s safely possible. However, sometimes that isn’t the best option and the foster children may be adopted. All parents who qualify to foster in Arlington also are qualified to adopt a child, should the occasion arise.

“Our goal is to find a permanent plan for these kids as soon as possible,” said Green.

The fostering information session will be next Saturday (November 8) from 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. at 2100 Washington Blvd. Anyone interested in attending is asked to RSVP by calling 703-228-1550, or by emailing Erica Serrano at eserrano@arlingtonva.us. Potential foster parents can fill out paperwork at the session, and the next step is to schedule formal training.

by ARLnow.com — October 31, 2014 at 9:25 am 1,210 0

"look from front yard visitor" (Flickr pool photo by wolfkann)

Historical Society Requests Heritage Center — The Arlington Historical Society formally requested including a heritage center in the the plan for redeveloping the Courthouse Square area. The organization said it could assist with developing such a facility, but could not foot the bill entirely on its own. [InsideNova]

Wizards’ Marcin Gortat Buys $1.6M Home in Arlington — Washington Wizards player Marcin Gortat has purchased one of the most expensive homes on the market in Arlington. He bought the 5-bedroom, 5.5-bathroom home for $1.6 million. The 4,008 square foot new house on N. Quebec Street should have plenty of room for the 6’11″ Gortat. [Curbed DC]

County Responds to Streetcar Criticism — The county has made a website addressing a number of concerns raised about the streetcar project, particularly how to avoid problems being experienced by the D.C. streetcar on H Street. The website lists its plans to alleviate some of the problems, like keeping traffic moving, while calling this “an opportunity for us to learn best practices.” [Arlington County]

Free Halloween Taxi Rides from SoberRide — The Washington Regional Alcohol Program’s 2014 SoberRide service is available tonight. Anyone enjoying some adult beverages can get a free taxi, up to a $30 fare, instead of trying to drive home. SoberRide begins today at 10:00 p.m. and runs through 4:00 a.m. Saturday. Call 1-800-200-TAXI. [Washington Regional Alcohol Program]

Daylight Saving Time Ends — Remember to set your clocks back one hour this weekend. Daylight Saving Time ends at 2:00 a.m. on Sunday. It’s also a good time to test your smoke detector.

Flickr pool photo by Wolfkann

Just Listed in Arlington

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — October 31, 2014 at 7:00 am 431 0

Just Listed highlights Arlington properties that just came on the market within the past week. This feature is written and sponsored by Team Cathell, “Your Orange Line Specialists.” Clearly buyers got…

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