The donation, first announced late last week, was given to the Friends of the David M. Brown Planetarium organization in the form of a challenge grant. From now until the $100,000 is exhausted, each donation to the planetarium will be matched by Mr. Caruthers’ funds.
That means that reaching certain donation levels will be easier for individual donors. For instance, a donor would now only need to donate $500 to reach the $1,000 level required to dedicate a seat in the planetarium.
“It’s a way of encouraging people to make a donation, and to do it sooner rather than later,” said Friends of the Planetarium Board President Alice Monet. Prospective donors want to get their donations in before the challenge funds are depleted, she said.
The $100,000 donation came at a critical time, as the planetarium campaign was eying a looming fundraising deadline set by Arlington Public Schools, which owns and operates the aging facility on the grounds of Washington-Lee High School.
With Mr. Caruthers’ gift figured in, the Friends have now raised close to $250,000. The donation pushed the organization just north of the school-imposed $241,680 target for the end of December. The ultimate fundraising target for the group is $402,800 on June 30 of this year, with a $322,240 target set for March 31.
Monet says the organization has “seen a big effect already” from the Caruthers challenge.
Between 30 and 40 donations came in over the weekend, Monet said, blowing away the usual half dozen donations during a typical weekend.
“It’s now clear to people that we’re a lot more likely to succeed,” she said. “It’s an achievable fundraising effort, and people want to be a part of that.”
A new survey of Arlington high school and middle school students, cited this morning by the Sun Gazette, shows that certain vices, like drinking, are on the decline.
That’s the good news.
The bad news is that Arlington students are, in fact, still drinking, joining gangs, smoking pot and carrying weapons in somewhat surprising numbers.
According to the survey, the percentage of 10th and 12th grade students who reported binge drinking in the past month has fallen from 29 percent in 2004 to 22 percent in 2010.
The percentage of middle school and high school students who have carried a weapon in the past month is 10 percent, down from 14 percent six years prior.
The percentage of students who say they’re a member of a gang is down to 3 percent. While lower than the 8 percent of kids who said they were gang members in 2004, the fact that there are an average of three gang members in every four Arlington middle and high school classrooms is still striking.
Bucking the downward trend, the percentage of high school students who reported actually using marijuana recently remained steady 21 percent.
The percentage of students who say their parents would disapprove of marijuana use is 95 percent. If taken literally, that means that one out of every 20 Arlington households doesn’t mind if their kids smoke pot. The percentage of students who say their parents would look down on cigarette use is one percent above the pot figure, at 96 percent.
See the Sun Gazette article for more detailed information.
Now, the restaurant’s management has written a not-so-nice goodbye note to the most vocal opponents of the patio.
Displayed just inside the window is a sign that reads: “HEY MIKEY HOPE YOUR [sic] KISS MY [butt].”
The message is almost certainly aimed at Michael Hutchinson, homeowner’s association president of the Clarendon Park townhouses across the street from Flatbread. Hutchinson was among the neighbors who successfully lobbied the county board to deny the restaurant’s request to open a 24-seat outdoor patio.
Photo via ImageShack
Like the jolly elf, Zimmerman quietly listened to the hopes and dreams (and gripes) of business owners throughout the year, then delivered a tidily wrapped present in the form of his speech at the county board’s New Year’s Day organizational meeting.
Zimmerman, who was officially elected chairman of the county board earlier in the meeting, told the assembled few (and those “watching over their toes” on the county’s TV channel) that “to realize our goals for the community, we need businesses to succeed.”
From controversies and lawsuits over the county’s sign ordinance to business openings and renovations delayed by tie-ups with the county’s permitting process, the past year has seen a steady procession of news that cast an unflattering light on the county as a place to do business. Numerous business owners who have spoken to ARLnow.com off the record have complained about what they see confusing, unnecessary and costly regulations and processes in Arlington.
The new board chairman, it seems, has gotten the message.
“From time to time it is good to re-examine how we do what we do,” Zimmerman said. “Local government has an important oversight role to play… but good regulation exists for a purpose, not as an end in itself.”
“The county should be seen as a facilitator, a partner with small business,” he added. “We do not intend to throw unnecessary obstacles in the path to success.”
Zimmerman said he will convene a “chairman’s roundtable” to find ways to “streamline processes,” to improve “quality of and access to information about [zoning] requirements” and to provide “friendly customer service to business owners.”
Of particular interest to Zimmerman is the oft-bemoaned sign ordinance, which the county is already in the process of rewriting.
“I think it is fair to say that among residents as well as business owners, there is a growing sense that our existing ordinance doesn’t quite achieve the result we want,” he said. “Many feel it is overly restrictive and unnecessarily hard to understand and comply with. There has to be a better way. In 2011, we’re going to find one.”
Area Bars Ring In New Year’s With Ringing Cash Registers — Initial reports from the field suggest Arlington bars and restaurants did big business on New Year’s Eve. In particular, two Irish bars brought in plenty of green. Ireland’s Four Courts in Courthouse was crowded, he hear. Another tipster tells us that the cavernous Columbia Pike watering hole P. Brennan’s — which charged a $5 cover for an evening that included a champagne toast and live music — was so busy that it apparently ran out of glasses. Said our Pike partier: “Congrats to them… higher cover next year?”
HGTV Couple Moves to South Arlington – A recent episode of HGTV’s House Hunters featured a couple who ended up moving from a condo in the District to a house in the Shirlington Crest development, reports Shirlington Village Blog.
Arlington Man Arrested in N.C. Over Hair Gel Purchase — A 23-year-old Arlington man has been arrested in Burlington, N.C. and accused of trying to buy goods with counterfeit $100 bills. The man bought hair gel and conditioner at one store and was attempting to buy hand lotion at another store when he was arrested, police said. A local newspaper that reported the arrest listed an Arlington address for the man that, as far as we can tell, does not exist. More from the Greensboro News-Record.
Flickr pool photo by Mark C. White