Some parents of Barcroft Elementary School students are concerned about Arlington Public Schools’ plan to expand the school if a controversial plan to build a new elementary school next to Thomas Jefferson Middle School falls through.
The School Board says it’s their preference to build a new school adjacent to Thomas Jefferson, at 125 S. Old Glebe Road. Amid protests from those who want to preserve the parkland next to the school, the School Board has appointed a working group to determine the feasibility of that plan. The group will present its findings to the School Board in January.
If the TJ site cannot be developed, APS’ backup plan is to expand Barcroft and Randolph elementary schools. Barcroft (625 S. Wakefield Street) is currently at a 460-seat capacity and the expansion would add 265 seats. Randolph (1306 S. Quincy Street) has a 484-seat capacity and would expand to seat 725 students.
While APS struggles to keep up with rising school enrollment, county and school officials have warned that there’s precious little open land left in Arlington to build new schools.
Some Barcroft parents, however, are crying foul over being targeted for expansion. They’re worried about the effect it would have on the surrounding community and how the school would be able to adjust to the influx of space and students.
“Barcroft has tireless, dedicated administrators and teachers, but they face serious challenges,” one parent, Sarah Freitas Waldman, told ARLnow.com in an email. “I feel the top issue is whether it is fair for the community and the students and whether it is responsible policy for APS to propose a plan that places the entire burden of South Arlington’s overcrowding on two small schools with ongoing issues of student performance.”
Barcroft’s performance on the state Standard of Learning exams has been dwindling in recent years, culminating in only 71 percent of students passing the English reading exam and 68 passing math, compared to the state average of 74 percent for each subject and the Arlington-wide average of 81 percent in reading and 83 percent in math. Randolph performed about the same as Barcroft, with 61 percent passing English reading and 70 percent passing in math.
“Barcroft consistently underperforms the County in terms of student achievement on the Virginia SOLs,” Waldman wrote. “Is it wise educational policy to expand a program by 50 percent when it is already struggling to meet the needs of its students?”
Waldman said parents were distributing flyers in the neighborhood this past weekend, including bilingual flyers, to notify residents and other parents of APS’ plans. APS facilities staff will be conducting a meeting tonight at 7:00 p.m. Barcroft to inform parents of the process to address the district’s capacity crisis. For those who can’t make it, there will be another meeting at 7:00 p.m. on Sept. 22.
Following a request for proposals (RFP) process, county staff is recommending the contract be awarded to Omaha-based HDR, Inc., which also handled planning and construction management on the District of Columbia streetcar project.
The contract will cover preliminary engineering and bring the streetcar project up to “30 percent design,” according to Arlington Dept. of Environmental Services spokesman Eric Balliet. The county is still working on the streetcar system’s final design and construction plan.
So far, the county hasn’t posted the staff report for the contract award proposal. Balliet said there will be a comprehensive presentation at Tuesday night’s Board meeting.
Also on Tuesday, the Board is set to consider a contract for a companion project — the second phase of multimodal improvements along Columbia Pike. The $5.6 million contract, to North Carolina-based Kimley-Horn and Associates, would cover the final design of improvements on all Arlington segments Columbia Pike not covered in phase one of the project.
Perhaps best known for its pizza and beer, Fire Works is tackling what it sees as an underrepresented market — artisanal cocktails. The new cocktail menu (below) offers modern takes on classic cocktails like the sidecar, the old fashioned and the gin and tonic.
“The inspiration for the cocktail menu is simple… classic cocktails that seem familiar but are reimagined for contemporary times,” Fire Works mixologist Jason Silerto said. “Twists on an old favorite that will have you curious enough to want to try something new, yet recognizable enough so you sort of know what’s in store.”
“Seasonal ingredients are always key to a successful menu,” Silerto continued. “Lighter, more quaffable drinks may dominate a summer list, whereas heavier, throat-warming concoctions feel more apropos come the cooler months.”
Fire Works will hold a Roaring ’20s party next Wednesday, Sept. 24, at 6:00 p.m., to celebrate the cocktail menu launch. The restaurant will serve complimentary hors d’oeuvres from 6:00 to 7:30. A special price for the new cocktails will be in effect from 6:00 to 9:00.
The event is open to the public and attendees are encouraged to dress as “flappers and dapper gentlemen.” You’ll know you’re in the right place when you see the red carpet and rope line and hear the live jazz band. You might also see the well-dressed crowd at the photo booth inside.
The new cocktail menu features the following:
- Peach-Habanero Manhattan (peach-habanero-infused Makers Mark / sweet vermouth / gin barrel-aged orange bitters)
- Rosewater Negroni (Boodles Gin / Campari / sweet vermouth / rosewater)
- Watershed G&T (Catoctin Creek Watershed Gin / house-made orange and fennel Tonic / club soda / cucumber slices / celery bitters / fresh-ground pepper garnish)
- Calm Before the Storm (Goslings Black Seal Rum / Cointreau / fresh lime juice / Maine Ginger Brew)
- Let it Slidecar (Flor de Cana Rum / Remy VSOP / Cointreau / fresh grapefruit juice / basil leaf / basil sugar rim)
- Jasmine Tea & Elderflower Gin Rickey (Plymouth Gin / St. Germaine Elderflower Liqueur / jasmine tea simple syrup / fresh lime juice / club soda)
- Old Sappy Fashioned (Catoctin Creek Roundstone Rye Whiskey / maple syrup / Fee Brothers Aztec Chocolate Bitters / orange slice / cherry)
- Mediterranean Bloody Mary (Bakon Vodka / Mediterranean Bloody Mary mix)
- Peruvian 75 (Macchu Pisco / St Germaine Liqueur / blackberry brandy / Brut Champagne)
- Unprovincial (Ketel One Orange / creme de violette / white cranberry juice / lemon juice / cherry juice)
- Ward 2.0 (rye whiskey / orange juice / fresh lemon juice / house-made rosewater grenadine)
All of the ramps, lanes and bridges for the interchanges of Route 50, N. Courthouse Road and 10th Street N. are open and finished.
Arlington County Board Chair Jay Fisette, Del. Patrick Hope and local and state transportation officials were on hand to cut the ribbon on the $39 million project that has been more than a decade in the making.
“My first County Board meeting in January 1998, in the first Board packet, the design of this interchange was in that packet,” Fisette said. “Really good things take time and partnerships. Hopefully we will continue to get these types of outcomes.”
The new interchange includes two new bridges at Courthouse Road and 10th Street, each with LED-lit metal grillwork displays, although the LED lights aren’t ready to be turned on yet. It includes a left-exit from eastbound Route 50 onto N. Courthouse Road, and turning lanes from westbound Route 50 that are separated from the three lanes of fast-moving traffic.
“Everyone who drives on Arlington Blvd every single day is going to have a much better experience,” Hope said.
In addition to the new traffic patterns and LED lights, the sides of the new highway have custom-designed concrete panels. The grillwork and panels were both designed by artist Vicki Scuri. The LED lights and landscaping along the highway are the only two components of the project that are not yet finished.
The project also included new bicycle and pedestrian paths along either side of the highway, with striping for two-way travel, between N. Pershing Drive and Courthouse Road on the westbound side, and Pershing and N. Rolfe Street on the eastbound side.
“This project represents the values we hold in Arlington. it’s about safety, it’s about travel choices,” Arlington Director of Transportation Dennis Leach said. “What an incredible difference this is if you are walking or biking.”
This week’s Arlington Pet of the Week is Meatball, a mutt who’s showing his new owners “how to have a dog.”
Here’s what owner Jayne had to say about her family’s first pooch:
Our family adopted Meatball (mutt, but maybe beagle mix?) from the Animal Welfare League of Arlington and brought him home on July 8. He had been rescued from West Virginia and fostered with his six brothers and sisters (all with meat names like Pork Chop, T-Bone and Snausage) at Woofs! training and boarding center.
My husband and I never had dogs growing up and often told people “we don’t know how to have a dog.” Our kids started asking for a puppy a couple of years ago, but we waited until they were older and less high-maintenance before we took the plunge. Meatball was only 8 weeks old when we brought him home. We read books, pamphlets, called Woofs and the AWLA, as well as our dog-owning friends for advice on training and housebreaking. We enrolled him in puppy kindergarten and regularly attend the puppy socials at Woofs in Ballston.
So far so good! Meatball has been a wonderful addition to our family. By day three he was allowed on the couch, even though I said I wouldn’t let him up there. He has yet to climb onto a bed, but I am guessing that is next. He loves to chew on things, including my 6-year-old son’s shorts (while he is wearing them), so we have a lot of pigs’ ears and chew toys lying around. He is mostly housetrained and will even bark when he needs to go out.
Speaking of barking, dinner time is really loud, as he wants to eat whatever we are eating instead of his own food. He has learned “sit” and will play fetch, but only with a Frisbee type toy. He can be naughty and will snatch my daughter’s favorite stuffed animals and go hide under a bed occasionally. He is pretty happy with his crate and will even go into it at night on his own to go to sleep. We have been trying to keep him up late to let him out and have plowed through almost five seasons of Breaking Bad to pass the time. Unfortunately, he still gets up at 5 a.m., weekends included, but we’ll keep him, and our kids are excited to have a new little “brother.”
Want your pet to be considered for the Arlington Pet of the Week? Email firstname.lastname@example.org with a 2-3 paragraph bio and at least 3-4 horizontally-oriented photos of your pet.
Each week’s winner receives a sample of dog or cat treats from our sponsor, Becky’s Pet Care, along with $100 in Becky’s Bucks. Becky’s Pet Care, the winner of three Angie’s List Super Service Awards and the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters’ 2013 Business of the Year, provides professional dog walking and pet sitting services in Arlington and Northern Virginia.
Diners at Ruth’s Chris Steak House in Crystal City (2231 Crystal Drive) Monday night had some especially muscular, familiar-looking waiters.
Washington Redskins running back Alfred Morris and other team stars donned aprons and name tags for the second annual Blitz For The Better Celebrity Waiter Night fundraiser.
Raising funds “to provide opportunities, support and resources to children and families in need in the Washington, D.C. area,” according to the team blog, the event was organized by Blitz for the Better founder and Redskins outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan.
Morris, caught on camera (above) by TMZ Sports outside the event, participated along with tight end Niles Paul, safety Ryan Clark, and fullback Darrel Young, and a number of linebackers and linemen: Jackson Jeffcoat, Gabe Miller, Adam Hayward, Shawn Lauvao and Braxston Cave.
Fmr. Arlington Man Pleads Guilty to Murder — Lamont Deshawn Terry, a 39-year-old former Arlington resident, has pleaded guilty to the 1992 fatal shooting of a D.C. man at Hains Point. Terry had driven from Arlington to D.C. with plans to commit a robbery when he encountered victim Chet Hunter Matthews and his girlfriend in a parked car. [Washington Post]
Heritage Center in Courthouse? – An Arlington Heritage Center, hosting exhibits about Arlington’s history and cultural heritage, could eventually be built in Courthouse. Officials are looking at the redeveloped Courthouse Square area as a potential site for the long-sought center. A heritage center on Columbia Pike, which had been discussed previously, is apparently no longer being considered. [InsideNova]
Crystal City McDonald’s Lease Sells for Millions — A ground lease for the Crystal City McDonald’s, at 2620 Jefferson Davis Highway, has been sold for $7.35 million, a possible record. The McDonald’s, which pays around $300,000 per year to lease the land, is expected to remain there through 2026. [Washington Business Journal]
ACFD’s 9/11 Response — Last Thursday, Arlington County fire chief James Schwartz recounted the department’s response to the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the Pentagon. Arlington was uniquely prepared for the unfathomable attack, thanks to its location and response to other major disasters like the 1982 Air Florida crash, Schwartz said. He also lauded Arlington’s role in the evidence gathering effort, which included finding the terrorists’ drivers’ licenses. [Falls Church News-Press]
WJLA Takes Right Turn Under New Ownership — Rosslyn-based WJLA (ABC 7) has taken a rightward turn following its purchase by Sinclair Broadcast Group. The station now airs conservative commentary, critical of President Obama and “government waste,” during its newscasts. It has also fired much of its longtime management team. [Washington Post]
Flickr pool photo by Highmuckmuck
Located on the ground floor of the Halstead apartment building, on Columbia Pike, the location is World Gym’s only in Arlington.
An employee there told ARLnow.com that the business is closing because of a dispute between the franchise owner and the building manager, but couldn’t provide any details.
The fitness center changed ownership in 2013 and became Exercise Nation, before it took back the World Gym name this year. The company sent its members a brief message saying it would close Sept. 30 due to “circumstances beyond our control.”
Several readers sent ARLnow.com the email, which is copied below in its entirety:
To Our Valued Members:
We are sorry to inform you that due to circumstances beyond our control, World Gym will be closing this location effective September 30, 2014. We appreciate all the support and business you have given us and apologize for any inconvenience that this may cause. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the gym at 703-892-1861 or through email at email@example.com.
A teen boy has been severely injured in a two-story story fall at the Arlington Mill Community Center.
A witness said the teenager had climbed on the other side of a railing two stories off the ground to do “pull-ups showing off for his girlfriend” when he lost his grip and “fell hard on his back.”
He was transported to the trauma center at Inova Fairfax Hospital with life-threatening injuries. Another witness at the scene, who did not see the fall but saw the aftermath, said the teen was conscious but “in shock” after the fall.
Police are investigating the incident. One of the teen’s friends caught the fall on video and accompanied him to the hospital, police told ARLnow.com at the scene.
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