A family reunion of sorts will be taking place in Arlington next week. The Sister Cities International program will be holding its 55th annual conference at the Crystal Gateway Marriott (1601 South Eads Street) from March 3 -5.
When it comes to sister cities, Arlington is part of a big family. Arlington County has familial relations with Aachen, Germany; Coyoacan, Mexico; Reims, France; and San Miguel, El Salvador. A relationship with Ivano-Frankivsk, Ukraine is also in the works.
So when the whole extended family comes to town, Arlington’s sister city organization wants to make sure we cross the T’s and dot the I’s.
The organization is looking for dozens of volunteers to fill various roles at the conference.
From Arlington Sister City Association board member Chris Dufour:
Volunteers will be needed to man registration, information and membership desks as well as ushering and directing conference attendees to and from buses and around the hotel. Volunteers will also be needed to assist in setting up exhibit halls, distributing lunches, and check attendee badges.
SCI will conduct a mandatory volunteer orientation from 3-4pm and again at 5:30-6:30pm on Wednesday, March 2nd at the Crystal Gateway Marriott in Salon B. Volunteers will help stuff conference bags while participating in orientation and meeting SCI staff.
Shifts will occur over 3 days from Thursday, March 3rd, to Saturday, March 5th. This is an all ages volunteer opportunity; we typically have volunteers from high school all the way up to retired seniors.
Several shifts are available for any of these opportunities.
Anyone interested in volunteering should contact Malcolm Phillips at 571-214-1827.
A draft copy of Arlington’s Community Energy Plan sets the ambitious goal of reducing annual greenhouse gas emissions from 13.4 metric tons per county resident today to 3 metric tons per resident by 2050. Getting there, however, will almost entirely rely on factors outside of the county’s regulatory control.
Residents and businesses will not be “required” by the county to do much of anything under the plan, which is now being finalized by the county’s Community Energy and Sustainability Task Force. Most of the savings are expected to come in the form of voluntary gains in building efficiency and from new federal and state mandates.
The plan calls for homes and commercial buildings undergoing “major renovation” past 2015 to be 30 and 50 percent more efficient, respectively, than current structures. By 2050, the efficiency standards will increase to 50 percent for homes and 70 percent for commercial buildings, compared to current averages.
While such requirements could eventually be built into Virginia’s building code, state law prevents Arlington from enacting requirements unilaterally.
“The recommendations we have here are essentially in recognition that we are in a Dillon Rule state,” said Richard Dooley, the county’s project manager for the Community Energy Plan. Barring action from the state, Dooley says the county will encourage adoption of its recommendations by “mak[ing] sure these things make good economic sense.”
The county will promote the energy cost savings of efficiency gains, Dooley said. Arlington will create a database of federal, state, foundation and local incentives for energy efficiency projects, making it easier for homeowners and business owners to find incentives that apply to them.
Another task force recommendation is to encourage Arlington homeowners to install renewable heating systems, including solar and geothermal water heaters.
“At least 50 percent of domestic hot water needs and 20 percent of space and pool heating needs should be provided by these renewable sources,” the draft report states. So far, the actual means for achieving the goal are not specified.
Among the other task force recommendations:
- The creation of a net-zero energy “scale project” consisting of “a small mixed-use neighborhood at least 100 homes built to energy standards outlined by the Passive House Institute.”
- A reduction of vehicle miles traveled by “developing walkable mixed-use neighborhoods” and encouraging “cylcing, walking, public transit and vehicle pooling.”
- The creation of steam plants in high-density neighborhoods. The plants would provide a central source “heating, cooling, and hot water services” in areas like Crystal City/Pentagon City, Rosslyn/Courthouse, Ballston/Virginia Square and parts of Columbia Pike.
- Increased use of solar panels on public and private buildings.
- Increased use of biofuels.
- “Supporting… federal efforts” to increase vehicle fuel efficiency standards.
- Encouraging building owners to display “Energy Performance Labels” in building lobbies.
- Providing public education and training about energy efficiency.
Every Friday in April, starting on April 1, Crystal Drive and Old Jefferson Davis Highway will be shut down between 6:15 and 7:30 p.m. to allow hundreds of runners to take a jog through the heart of Crystal City.
Registration for individual races is $20, while registration for the entire series of five races is $75.
The first three races will include a tie-in with Crystal City’s upcoming FLASH photography exhibit. Runners will get free admission and a free drink at an after-party held in the exhibit space, provided they remember to hang on to their racing bib.
Rosslyn wasn’t always the ho-hum collection of office towers and apartment buildings that it is today. A century ago, it was filled with gambling dens, rough-and-tumble saloons and houses of prostitution.
Photos from the bad old days adorn the walls of Artisphere’s Work-in-Progress Gallery for an exhibit called “Rosslyn: A Work in Progress.” The exhibit, which runs through March 13, “chronicles Rosslyn’s origins as a lawless, rowdy community in the 1800’s to the thriving urban village it is today, through historical items and images, and renderings of developments coming soon.”
At an opening reception last week, we caught up with local historian Kathryn Holt Springston, who told us some stories of Rosslyn’s bawdy past.
“From 1865, the end of the Civil War, up until 1906, it was so bad. There were 38 saloons, 14 bordellos and who knows how many gambling dens, that were open 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.”
“Cunningham’s was just on a hill above Rosslyn, and it was the only [bordello] that was actually burned before Crandall Mackey’s great raid. What happened was that a soldier from Fort Myer was killed there, so the other soldiers from Fort Myer went over there one night and torched the place.”
“Crandall Mackey is like the hero of Rosslyn. In 1904 he was elected Commonwealth’s Attorney by one vote. He armed a party of 12 men with axes, sawed-off shotguns, etc. They rode the train down to Jackson City, which is where the 14th Street Bridge is today, and smashed it up because Jackson City was even worse than Rosslyn. Then they walked up to Rosslyn, they smashed in all the bordellos, threw the whiskey into the street, set some of the places on fire, smashed the gambling dens. The next day the Evening Star had a two inch headline: “Mackey Makes it Safe for Humanity in Alexandria County by Cleaning up Rosslyn Bums.”
(Arlington was called Alexandria County up until 1920, when it was renamed by the Virginia General Assembly to honor Robert E. Lee.)
Hynes, the current vice-chair of the Arlington County Board, serves on the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission, recently joined the Metro Board of Directors, and is the Aviation Policy Liaison to the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments. On any given day, Hynes might be dealing with transportation issues below ground, above ground and in the sky.
On Wednesday, from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m., the multi-talented Hynes will host a community forum about helicopter noise. It’s a follow-up to meetings Hynes hosted in September and November, during which a number of residents voiced concerns about the noise generated by low-flying government helicopters.
Tomorrow’s meeting will discuss a proposed system for allowing more community input into helicopter issues.
Along with Hynes, the forum will include representatives from the Federal Aviation Administration, a representative from the Eastern Region Helicopter Association and a member of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.
The meeting will be held in the Arlington County board room, on the third floor of 2100 Clarendon Boulevard.
Right now it’s clear sailing in Arlington on I-395, I-66, Route 1, Route 50 and Columbia Pike. Traffic volume has remained light and no major problems are reported.
Many side streets are still covered in a thin frozen glaze, but are passable.
The storm, which left less than an inch of accumulation, prompted Arlington Public Schools to open on a two-hour delay. The county and federal governments are open with an option for unscheduled leave or telework.