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County Board Rejects Lights for Bishop O’Connell High School

by ARLnow.com — March 16, 2011 at 11:23 am 6,375 195 Comments

The County Board has rejected a controversial proposal to add lights to the football and basefall fields at Bishop O’Connell High School.

The board’s 3-1 vote to reject the proposal came after nearly 75 speakers — including neighbors, student athletes, nuns and local gadflies — spoke both strongly in favor and strongly against the O’Connell lighting plan.

(Board member Barbara Favola recused herself due to her work for Marymount University. The lighting proposal called for Marymount’s athletic teams to be granted partial use of the fields.)

The nearly three hours of public comment produced a bit of consensus — that Bishop O’Connell was generally a good neighbor and that its plan to renovate the athletic fields themselves was more or less acceptable to the East Falls Church and Williamsburg communities. Otherwise, the two sides were at loggerheads with little hope of an acceptable compromise.

Sister Bernadette McManigal, superintendent of schools for the Diocese of Arlington, asked that Bishop O’Connell be granted the same privileges as Arlington’s public high schools, which have field lights in “neighborhoods comparable to O’Connell.”

“I ask for the same consideration,” she said. Many of the O’Connell student athletes who spoke last night made the same plea — that they wanted the same level of facilities as their public school peers.

In fact, the school argued that its proposed facilities were more modest than the athletic facilities at other Arlington high schools, and insisted that it was being careful to minimize neighborhood impact.

But one resident said that O’Connell’s proposal would have negative effects not experienced in other neighborhoods, according to a lighting consultant hired by neighbors.

“The school’s current design will result in light spillage far in excess of national standards,” said John Seymour, who identified himself as a 20-year resident of the neighborhood. “The spill will significantly impair the lives of neighbors subject to it. It will also impair the values of their homes.”

The home value argument was echoed by many opposed to the plan. There was no definitive word from county staff on whether property values would actually be impacted, although County Manager Barbara Donnellan said there was little evidence that property values were hurt by lighting at Arlington’s public high school.

Donnellan had recommended that the County Board defer consideration of the proposal for three months, since Bishop O’Connell had failed to submit traffic and lighting studies to the county on time. Without the studies, county staff had little to say regarding the proposal. Nonetheless, the board proceed with a vote and rejected the proposal by a vote of 3-1.

Jay Fisette was the lone dissenting board member, saying that he wanted to defer consideration for even longer than Donnellan’s recommendation.

“I think this is half-baked,” Fisette said of the lack of staff analysis before the board.

Bill Adair, a leading opponent of the lighting plan who created a blog about the plan called “No Adverse Impact,” said that he was grateful to the County Board for hearing neighbor complaints about the plan.

“We love living in Arlington,” said Adair, who’s the editor of PoliFact, a national political fact-checking web site. “We love the county government. We’re especially appreciative of the ‘Arlington Way.’”

Bishop O’Connell will be able to re-apply for lighting in 12 months.

See the Sun Gazette for additional reporting on last night’s decision.

  • Overgrown Bush

    You could see this one coming.

    • http://arlingtondirt.blogspot.com/ TGEoA

      Holy shit. The county actually listened

      • Dan

        “Holy sh-t. The county actually listened”

        That was kind of a shocker.

        I was pleasantly surprised….

        • Just the Facts

          I guess you consider that the County “listened” if you agree with the outcome. My guess is there’s a whole lot of folks associated with the school that feel the County didn’t “listen.”

          • ivc

            I think the point is that so many thought the county had already decided this was going to happen and it was hopeless to fight it. O’Connell came very close to getting this before the CB without the neighborhood finding out.

  • charlie

    a small minority rules the day. once again. sad. sad. sad.

  • charlie

    how is that the county drags its feet endlessly over a nightclub in a condo building stringing along everyone (residents and business owners) but when the Catholic Church comes forward, they get slammed down on a deferral.

    • Lou

      No Jesus-Lights in Arlington!

    • neu

      Eight months of wrangling, five deferrals, lots of energy and expense on both sides isn’t enough for you? How much longer did you want this to drag out?

  • CW

    I actually received an email this morning from a current Bishop O’Connell student regarding the lighting issue. It was sent to me at 10 PM last night and reads:

    JHdfg I fgg dokirev odgkrs. Itgfrgrm dfj rthts ;perfkf,v. KFmrg gmfwe djterw. I fgjgdf sxcvmrfgtg dfsk thwslfe jhtsa jkfgw jrgwfk jtgwf itb kj swerfer kdcfdv jsfvs.

  • South Arlington

    Sad to see petty NIMBYism carrying the day again.

    • local

      While I don’t necessarily oppose the lights, the accusation of “NIMBYism” is so tired.

      People aren’t obligated to accept any and every proposal someone has for the neighborhood, you know. You’d probably fight a garbage dump next door to your house, and then someone would call you a NIMBY.

      • NArl

        it may be old but its still true I hope all the kids leave OC and cause the overpopulated classrooms in the public school to boom even more. that will be great for Arlington and the entire school system…

        • ivc

          There’s only about 140 Arlington students there and if DJO closed they’d probably go to PVI or Ireton. Even if they went to public school, that’s hardly an overwhelming number.

          • rona

            140 residents?…..keep drinking the Kool-Aid, it’s way more than that

          • ivc

            Why do you say that? O’Connell’s own document, which was in evidence at the hearing, showed about 140 students who are residents of Arlington. The majority of students come from Fairfax and Loudon, and the rest come from scattered areas in Prince William, Prince Georges, and elsewhere. It isn’t any secret that O’Connell draws mostly from other counties. It’s been a long time since O’Connell was a local school.

        • rona

          True….it would serve the residents right if O’Connell went the way of Good Counsel High School……they were given a piece of land further out in the suburbs to build a brand new state of the art school, complete with LIGHTED athletic fields…they sold the original property……I’m sure the wonderful neighbors of O’Connell would love to have an ABANDONED, EMPTY SCHOOL IN THEIR NEIGHBORHOOD…..instead of a few Friday night football games they could have bums sleeping on the doorstep and kids partying in the parking lot after dark

          Yeah, screw the Catholics who save the county MILLIONS of dollars every year by keeping hundreds of kids out of their schools…all the while collecting the tax dollars of their parents………

          Maybe they could just sell the building for a new Islamic Academy….they are looking to relieve crowding in their current school….yes, that’s it! The neighbors should welcome them with open arms! They don’t play football or baseball!!!!!!

          • ivc

            Sigh. Once again, no one had a problem with “a few Friday night football games”. That’s not what this was about, it was about night after night of lights, noise, and activity as Marymount and anyone who would pay rented the lighted baseball and football/soccer fields.

            This isn’t about taxes or revenue, but if you do the math, Arlington loses a lot more on lost property taxes than they would spend to educate the handful of residents attending DJO. That isn’t the point, and as other posters have pointed out, O’Connell isn’t going anywhere. This is not a referendum on O’Connell; it was a decision about whether a lighted field would have an adverse impact on the neighborhood.

          • neu

            @rona, what are you implying by your statements about the islamic academy?

          • outoftowner

            she made it pretty clear that “they don’t play football or baseball.” Don’t make this a race/religion issue for no reason.

      • charlie

        no, i think this is a perfect example of NIMBY — which stands for Not In My Back Yard. I imagine some of the people who spoke against this have kids who attend an Arlington high school — all of which have lit fields in “someone else’s backyard”.
        This decision is all about NIMBY and people protecting their real estate. It isn’t wrong or right but it is an acronym and appropriate usage is just that.

        • Lou

          I’ll take NIMBY over the category that most people commenting fall into, which is not living near the school yet criticizing the opinions of those who do.

        • local

          There is nothing wrong with not wanting something in your back yard though. NIMBY refers to the idea that someone isn’t accepting their “fair share” of necessary facilities or services in their backyard, and wants to dump it all somewhere else. But that doesn’t mean they have to accept every idea that comes down the pike. If the lights were a bad idea, they were a bad idea, regardless of who was affected by them.

          If you wouldn’t want it in anyone else’s yard either, you’re not a NIMBY.

          • Davidm

            The lighting is in all three of the other backyards.

      • Just the Facts

        This is a textbook definition of NIMBY-ism. A relatively small group opposed something that they would have likely, at worst, been neutral on had it not been in their neighborhood. No one is opposed to the IDEA of a lighted school ball field, only the IMPLEMENTATION of the idea when it will directly affect them. That, by definition, is NIMBY-ism.

    • CW

      Yeah, I gotta agree here. “NIMBY” is used as a pejorative term, but yet no one will hesitate to say that “All politica is local”. Well, what do you think the ultimate extension of “local” is? The individual. Yes, constituents DO care about their own well-beings. As humans, we care about our quality of life.

      And when was the last time someone accusing someone else of being a NIMBY-er agreed to a similar proposal in his or her own backyard?

      • South Arlington

        I’m an example. I’m accusing them of NIMBYism. The County stuck the DHS building in our backyard in Penrose for trifling reasons. I’ve accepted and moved on. We didn’t even have a “won’t someone think of the children” argument that the kids at Bishop O’Connell had. Thomas Jefferson in our neighborhood also has tower lights and it doesn’t seem to tarnish the oh so important “neighborhood character” that the EFC whiners are NIMBYing about.

        • CW

          Fair enough.

        • Arl 2

          We were not even notified the DHS was being relocated until after it was voted on by the Board and reported in the newspaper. How about that for lack of neighborhood consideration by the Board? We had to accept it since we had no input whatsoever!

        • local

          You didn’t fight, complain, or otherwise say anything about that DHS building?

          • South Arlington

            The decision was already made, the lease was already signed, Scott McCaffrey was already reporting it. I’ve moved on. I also knew when I bought the house that the Sequoia Building would be eventually moved into by someone. Similarly, Bishop O’Connell wasn’t just built. These homeowners knew it when they bought the house. The DHS building was 20x more impactful to the neighborhood than some lights for a school so kids can play sports on a field at night.

          • local

            But if you had the chance, would you have complained about it?

            If so, you’re a NIMBY too.

          • South Arlington

            I wasn’t dumb enough to purchase a property, examine the neighborhood, and think that it would never change. What can I do? Scream that a private landowner found a tenant for the building that was already there? I studied the neighborhood, estimated what future development there might be, and whether that was a net positive or negative.

            Similarly, if I had bought a house in East Falls Church, I could easily see that development was coming to that area due to the proximity to a Metro Stop. Even the Fairfax County stops are getting development around their stops. It doesn’t take a genius or a psychic to figure it out. Similarly, if I purchase a house near a high school, I can expect that there will be student traffic, teacher traffic, and event traffic. It shouldn’t be a surprise, and if it is, the homeowner has no one to blame but themselves for making a major purchase without doing their due diligence. The lack of personal responsibility is appalling.

          • Chris

            Perhaps if the neighborhood had been given some consideration, we would have a traffic impact study completed and improvements made before they moved the DHS. It is located at one of the worst intersections of Arlington – Wash Blvd, Courthouse, 2nd Street – a disaster. Now we have 2 more busses running every hour along S. Courthouse Road to bring the DHS customers and the DHS employees drive to work.

          • Josh S

            What would you say? “We’re sorry, our neighborhood, while we will fight tooth and nail for things like parks, libraries and elementary schools and (to some extent) bus stops, we really don’t think we want a government agency. It’s just not right for us. And oh by the way, why haven’t you fixed our potholes faster?”
            I don’t think you can, and be taken seriously, lay out a menu of government services you are willing to have nearby and those you are not. It’s not exactly how democracy works.

          • South Arlington

            I’m with you, it’s hard to say no to a paying tenant moving into a previously vacant office building. It was only a couple years ago when the Metrobus 24P route was on the chopping block which would have left our side of the neighborhood with zero transit options, so I’m glad there is now ample ART-run transit due to the DHS building. It could have been handled better though. I think the real issue is the very real perception that the DHS building was moving out of Lyon Village and to Penrose to get the “poors” out of their neighborhood, and then supported with the farcical reasoning that Penrose was much easier to reach by transit (there are way, way, way more bus and Metro routes to the Clarendon area). We see the same veiled classist argumentation when hearing about the low income housing going into the Church development in Lyon Village.

  • Donna

    This should never have gone to the County Board. If Marymount hadn’t insisted on installing field lighting it wouldn’t have.

  • Arlwhenever

    This was another one of those you don’t live in Arlington County so to hell with you County Board actions, one more arrogant vote that will reverberate among the 10 times the number of people in Northern Virginia who don’t live in Arlington County, who more generously allow, or facilitate through sharing public facilities, lighted playing fields at essentially all high schools, public and parochial.

  • Sgt. Hartman

    Can they get a beer garden in there instead?

  • CW2

    Home values will go down because of field lighting? Really?!? I can argue that the value of the neighborhood homes goes up, since a lighted track will be available for neighborhood use outside of school hours.

    Hopefully those neighbors realize that O’Connell is not funded like a public school, and rulings like this sting. O’Connell has to spend money for these lighting traffic and lighting studies, and they need to be able to attract prospective student athletes to come to the school. And the downturn in the economy has affected enrollment; families that would have sent their kids to O’Connell may no longer be able to do so.

    What will the neighbors think if they are looking across the street, at a shuttered school? It’s not beyond the realm of possibility, and while field lighting isn’t the end all be all, this kind of thing hurts O’Connell more than people realize.

  • Joan22207

    So O’Connell is a wonderful regional (12% of O’Connell students live in Arlington) high school with successful alumni who love team sports. OK. Build a regional team sports complex with Marymount out where the majority of O’Connell students live where the noise and lighting won’t bother anyone and use school vans to transport team members.

    • NArl

      your dumb

      • Lacy Forest

        your dumb what?

    • Overgrown Bush

      Why not move the whole school and the revenue it generates within the county too?

      • leigh

        It doesn’t generate any revenue. It’s church property.

    • CW2

      Where exactly do all of the O’Connell kids live? You really think that an Arlington school should build their home athletic facilities OUTSIDE of the county? Brilliant.

  • Ted

    Time for Arlington to enact a lighting ordinance to reduce the amount of light allowed to illuminate areas off-site. Ditto for street lighting.

    • Yes

      I completely agree!

    • DT

      First culprit to fine: the sun. That SOB is everywhere. I, for one, will not let some celestial body just light up whatever it wants. I am a taxpaying Arlington home owner and I have rights. NIMFYBYSYT (not in my backyard, front yard $ side yard too)

  • Lacy Forest

    I’ll admit being somewhat ignorant of this case (all I know is what I’ve read on this website), but it is a legitimate question: if Washington & Lee HS and Yorktown HS can have lighted fields, why cannot O’Connell?

    • WCA Resident

      O’Connell was seeking to install NCAA-level field lights, which are significantly brighter than the lights installed at Greenbrier and Yorktown. This is because Marymount would pay a significant portion of the renovation in order to field new track and field and baseball teams on O’Connell’s fields. O’Connell’s campus is smaller than any county high school, and the fields are very close to neighborhood homes. O’Connell presented lighting data that showed direct light spill on neighboring homes far in excess of local and national sports field lighting standards. Their property is too small and too close to neighboring homes to install field lights.

      • Lacy Forest

        Would standard HS-intensity lights be acceptable (like at W&L or Yorktown)? I officiated HS football for 12 years and found the lighting on all the fields we worked on to be acceptable from an on-field standpoint.

        • FrenchyB

          Lacy, it’s quite interesting that you mention the lights at W & L, since that is where the Marymount Men’s and Women’s soccer teams play most of their home games.

      • Rick

        If you examine the picture (and know the area), you could see the only light that would be remotely directed at a residence would be lights situated in fair territory over the right field fence. Left field lighting might play a factor but it wouldn’t be direct. The football field is bordered by the high school campus, and tuckahoe elementary across the street. There’s hardly any way those lights could reach all the way to underwood street. I feel sorry for the Marymount and DJO kids that won’t get better facilities because of this.

      • Just the Facts

        There is at least one important element of this post that is complete and utter nonsense: that O’Connell’s field/lights are closer to neigboring homes than APS schools. Have you been to Yorktown’s and W-L’s stadiums? How about the homes directly across from the fields on N. Greenbrier and N. Stafford streets?

        At least try to somewhat match your posts to reality.

        • ivc

          It has more homes very close to the lights, but there are indeed other places with one or two equally close houses. It is hard to quantify, but there is a good graphic on the county web page that gives you an idea. What it doesn’t have is room to build a big berm or bowl like at Yorktown. Yorktown’s field is built significantly below street level, specifically to protect the neighborhood. O’Connell’s field is higher or level with the neighborhood.

        • The basics

          All of the Arlington Public High Schools with athletic field lights are not only on larger plots of land than O’Connell. Arlington Public High Schools with athletic fields are all on land Zoned for “Special Use”. The Arlington Public High Schools with athletic field lights have all had lights for more than 40 years. The Arlington Public High Schools with athletic field lights only have “High School Level” lights.

          O’Connell’s Athletic Fields are on land that is Zoned for “Residential Single Family Homes”…

          O’Connell is not asking for equal treatment… O’Connell is asking for Special Treatment. O’Connell wants brighter “NCAA level” athletic field lights for their Football and Baseball fields on a very small plot of land in the middle of a quiet single family residential neighborhood.

          6 of the 8 Catholic High Schools in O’Connell’s Athletic Conference do not have athletic field lights. The two schools in O’Connell’s Athletic Conference that have athletic field lights are both very different compared to O’Connell. One school.. Paul IV Catholic High School moved into an old Fairfax Country Public School whose athletic field already had lights. The other school… Our Lady of Good Counsel High School is located in a middle of a very spacious field…
          So even compared to the other Catholic Schools in O’Connell’s own Athletic Conference… O’Connell is asking for Special Treatment.

          • G&T

            Keep drinking the Koolaid basic

          • Facts

            Keep ignoring the facts G&T

          • G&T

            ‘least I didn’t buy a home in a super busy area and then become a bitter old fart about it

  • CrystalMikey

    Am I the only one who thinks their, “but the public schools have this”, does not have any merit in this situation?

    • Thes

      Sure. But the public schools also are accountable to the voters in how much, and in what specific ways they use the fields for public use benefit. Even the question of how students use those fields is up for a public vote. A private school has no such accountability once they get their approval.

      By analogy, some Arlington institutions have offered to allow the public to meet in their meetings rooms in exchange for development concessions from the County. However, they often do it with substantial restrictions on who, exactly, can meet there, how far in advance you can reserve, and when you get “bumped” for the building’s own private use. Meeting rooms at public facilities (like fields at public schools) are much more accessible, or, when they aren’t, the voters can change it.

      • shirley

        when exactly did i get to vote on how arlington uses the school field? HOw absurd that such a trifling decision would be put to vote.
        and how do i recast my vote about Golds Gym and other combat training exercise groups using my school field? Because I’ve talked to the person in charge and they say it is okay for private groups to use the field when no one is in school.
        seriously now. we do NOT get to vote on everything.

  • EFC

    Arlington’s new motto for the second decade of the 21st Century – “Residential Communities Are Redevelopment Opportunities”.

    • Josh S

      Heh? A complete non sequitor, to be sure, but also implies a belief that things don’t, or shouldn’t, change. Things do change. It’s pretty inevitable. And in the middle of a metro area with as much growth pressure as Metro DC, it’s unreasonable to draw a line around any particular neighborhood and say “no change allowed.”

  • Cindy

    Street lighting? I live in Westover and the Cobra lights that put light on the street are being replaced by globe lighting fixtures that throw 80% of the light horizontally and vertically.

    • LyonSteve

      Same thing anywhere along the R-B corridor. Look at all the condo buildings, half of them have total blackout blinds to counter this.

      • outoftowner

        How familiar are you to the blinds within the condo/apartment buildings…really??

        Having actually lived in one, I can tell you, ‘blackout blinds’ were not provided.

    • Sleepless

      I just had the County put tape on the street lights in front of my house to block the beams coming into my living room. I hear the LED lights are even brighter.

  • EFC Neighborhood

    If O’Connell is such a successful school with such successful alumni, then build a satellite sports complex in Fairfax County with as much field lighting as Fairfax County’s stringent lighting standards will allow.

    • CW2

      Who said O’Connell was “such a successful school with such successful alumni?” I think everyone in the know will admit that the school is hurting, much like the rest of the economy. They are not funded with our tax dollars.

      • ivc

        I think he’s just joking about the hearing last night. Many of the speakers said nothing at all about the lights, just about how wonderful and successful O’Connell alumni and students are.

    • NArl

      Your Dumb too

      • local

        I count three grammatical errors in your post. That’s quite alot to pack into three words. Irony.

        • Thes

          Please do not feed the trolls. This one is an example of a “grammar troll”. On this thread you can also find several examples of a “concern troll”.

          • Thes

            Here’s that link again.

        • LOL

          +1

        • lobrow

          The real irony is that the lone word ‘Ironic.’ is grammatically incorrect in a comment correcting grammar, even if it was intentional. Additionally, ‘alot’ should be two separate words. So here we have the blind leading the blind. But feeding the trolls is a way of life for many repeat posters here. Please excuse me for my last two sentences being redundant.

          • Piling on

            That is not an example of irony either.

  • DT

    This is what happens when you graduate students who outshine their public counterparts. I saw this coming a long time ago. Now had O’Connell offered to build a new park or house illegal aliens, you can be sure the liberal morons on the board would have installed the lights themselves.

  • Whuz da Nimby?

    Bunch of Elitists who live outside the County in jurisdictions where the proposed O’Connell field lighting would not be allowed in residential neighborhoods like mine (Tuckahoe) show up en masse and demand our neighborhood suffer the consequences of their sports programs. Who are the Nimbys? Build your team sports complex where YOU live !!

    • LyonSteve

      Do you work where you live? Shop? Drive? Fly?

      Why don’t you do all that where *you* live.

  • Dawn

    All I heard from O’Connell last night was: We are a wonderful school with great alumni who are successful. And some of the successful O’Connell alumni spoke. Same thing I hear from Marymount about its alumni. OK then all you successful people do a big fundraiser to raise the funds to build a lighted sports complex where y’all live.

    • Lou

      +1 for “y’all”

  • DT

    Dawn your comments are ridiculous. They have a field, they just want lights. The 2-3 homes who would even notice are the only ones who should have anything to say. Despite protests of the term, this is NIMBYism in full effect.

    • local

      No, they don’t just want lights. Read the other posts here that have details.

  • EFC neighbor

    Calling one side a NIMBY or the other side an elistist isn’t helping resolve anything. Here’s the basic problem: O’Connell is proposing to build facilities that will host NCAA events at night. That is asking too much of our little neighborhood. It is–I won’t say disingenuous–inaccurate to argue that this is the same thing every other high school has. That’s the issue, so let’s address it instead of pretending we’re on some Fox News or MSNBC shout-fest.

    • CW

      What? You’re saying you actually live there?! How dare you open your mouth, you dirty NIMBY-er??!

      :P

    • Southeast Jerome

      I agree that the volume & type of events is more at issue here than just having the lights. Although the lights directly will impact a few houses, the added traffic & noise from the NCAA events & the high school events, combined will impact the neighborhood.

      There has to be some way this can be worked out……

      • DT

        Another person who needs to pop over to W-L or the fields at Quincy library and take in one of these “NCAA events”. Like someone else mentioned, you’d be hard pressed to even realize it was anything more than a junior varsity high school event.

  • DT

    LMAO at the NCAA event comments. Marymount isn’t Michigan but nice use of hyperbole. Try checking out one of MU’s events before you pretend like it will be something big. I would bet their average attendance at any outdoor sports would rival an O’Connell junior varsity game. So stop it now.

    • CW

      Yeah to be fair I was at washington-lee a couple weeks ago running and I thought I was watching high school women’s lacrosse practice. After about 15 minutes I realized it was MU and GMU warming up for a game…

    • Overgrown Bush

      There would be more noise coming from a 10-year old girls soccer game with all the parents screaming than there would from a MU event.

  • Kristen 22207

    As the result of Barbara Favola’s lobbying efforts last year Marymount was given control over team sports activities at Longbridge Park. Barbara Favola also lobbied for Marymount’s expansion on Glebe Road, which caused a huge disruption to my neighborhood. Enough is enough. Time for non-profits and for-profits to leave Arlington’s residential communities ALONE !!

    • Lou

      It caused a huge disruption and also some god-awful ugly buildings.

    • local

      Non-profits and for-profits? You mean, everyone has to leave your neighborhood alone?

      Why, were you there first?

    • cj

      Marymount was not given “control over team sports” at Long Bridge Park. Marymount is paying $2 million to install a third large field there, a field that otherwise would not have been built for several years. The school will also contribute to operating costs. In exchange, Marymount will be able to use that field about 1/4 of the time, mostly on weekdays. The 2009 staff report is here:
      http://arlington.granicus.com/MetaViewer.php?view_id=&clip_id=1188&meta_id=59485

  • Mark 27th St.

    Earth to O’Connell-Marymount. The County Board approved massive redevelopment of East Falls Church last Saturday. We do not need or want any more people, noise, traffic, etc. in my residential suburban neighborhood.

    • Josh S

      Careful there. The board was discussing a PLAN which would ALLOW “massive redevelopment” at EFC. There was no ACTUAL redevelopment approved.

  • NArl

    I’m going to start a petition to take down the light at Yorktown High School, the neighborhood is the same as OC and the lights are to bright. oh and I’m dumb and bought a house near a high school. Who’s in with me?

  • Don’twant it

    It’s not only the light pollution. It’s the additional traffic, noise and speeding thru our neighborhood, 24/7, that we don’t want. NIMBY? Perhaps. But I wonder if those out there throwing out their insulting comments would choose to allow a school (which is essentially a business) that doesn’t support their neighborhood make this radical change to where they live.

    • Arl 2

      Just you wait for EFC development. You will have alot more to whine about than students attending sports games. I guess the neighbors aren’t going to have use of the O’Connell track. I hope not!

    • DT

      24/7? Honestly, can any of you NIMBYs even pretend to be reasonable?

    • DT

      Honest question, what year did you buy your home? I know what year O’Connell opened. I won’t hold my breath for your answer.

    • G&T

      Open your eyes. If you think O’Connell is your problem, you are mistaken. Whacha doin’ about the cut through traffic that comes flying down Williamsburg and all the other streets surrounding your neighborhood? You have a commuter bus running around your neighborhood for goodness sake! You live in the middle of a very busy area which feeds to the metro, 66 & 267. Don’t spit in the wind.

      • Overgrown Bush

        They don’t want I66 either, or any person from outside of Arlington to come into their neighborhood. Keep commuters out. Keep people who don’t live here out. Keep non-Arlington athletes out.

        Keep non-Arlington $ out too. I’m so glad I don’t own a store in the area that might actually benefit from influx money brought by these outsiders all these whiners don’t want here.

        Personally, if you are coming to Arlington for legit business, shopping, or recreation I encourage you to stop here and welcome you. Stop at a convenience store and buy some gatorade after a sporting event. Stop to have dinner. Shop here while you are here. I don’t want to keep you out.

        For you whiners who don’t want anyone from outside of Arlington here….. Find a place like Ted Kaczinski did to live. There you will have so much peace it will be mind-numbing.

  • George

    Marymount is on a roll to become a major team sports power among small colleges. So go build a sports complex out in Fairfax County. Leave my residential neighborhood alone.

    • DT

      Seriously, stop making crap up.

  • Wayne Kubicki

    Does anyone see any inconsistency in the County Board rejecting O’Connell’s proposal, while in just 30 days the Board in all probability will approve major zoning density increases just several blocks away around the EFC Metro station?

    • charlie

      i’d make the argument for religious discrimination. despite the flip remark earlier in the discussion about housing illegals, it is clear that the board has issues with the catholic church.

      • neu

        I watched the whole thing last night and I definitely sensed no “problem with the Catholic Church”. It seemed that they were bending over to be respectful, fair and consistent. The big problem was that O’Connell hadn’t submitted the required studies when they were due 6 weeks ago and that there is precedent for refusing new lights in smaller neighborhoods (Swanson, Woodlawn).

      • local

        Or maybe the board hates people who live near EFC. That’s just as plausible. :rolleyes:

    • Lou

      The Board is extremely consistent in one aspect. When they are the ones proposing the change, convincing the community, running the numbers on all the impact studies etc., they have an almost 100% success rate.

      • shirley

        should i say “shhhhh don’t tell anyone” or
        “duh”.
        depends if it is something i want, i guess.

      • Burger

        This is the entire take away from last night.

        Private enterprise is treated as a leper in this county at almost every level that never comes close to the level of when a public entity wants to do the same thing.

    • Thes

      Wayne, we shall see what the County Board does with the EFC plan, but in the last round, a number of EFC neighbors testified in support of the plan *because* they were neighbors and wanted the benefits of more local services and retail So that would be a key difference between the two.

    • Dan

      Why yes I do….but I am not hopeful that the Board will.

      The County has gone pretty much gone “all in” on the EFC development project.

      I bet the staff last night wished that they had some of that time back that they had spent on the EFC project to have better prepared some of the numbers that they were asked for and didn’t have last night.

    • Arlwhenever

      Rolling over Bishop O’Connell sets the stage for CB saying it is oh so sensitive to community concerns when it rolls over local opposition to EFC development. Kind of reminds me of back in the day that Alexandria killed off new Redskins stadium proposal in Potomac Yards because of 8 day a year gridlock. Now, and forevermore, that section of Alexandria has 365 day a year traffic tie ups. The real goal of local pols is intensive development and the ensuing developer funded political favors.

      • Josh S

        Wait, what? First, what “developer funded political favors?” What does that mean? Are the county board members being flown around in corporate jets to golf vacations? Are they getting kickbacks so they can drive around in Lexus sedans? What, exactly are you implying, or saying?
        And second, are you seriously saying that having a football stadium at Potomac Yards would be better than what is currently there? For anyone? If you’re aware of the traffic issues nearby, I suspect that means you’ve actually visited that mall. And if you visited it, that means you had a reason and most likely obtained some benefit – shopping, dining, seeing a movie, etc. You, and thousands and thousands of other people are able to do that every day. Versus seeing eight football games a year. And the rest of the time, the place sits empty. In the meantime, that development would have gone elsewhere, probably farther away from Arlington, which would have meant LONGER travel times if you had wanted to visit any of those restaurants / shops / etc.

  • Arl-McLean Border

    NIMBYS? Go out to Langley HS and on the way you will see several large undeveloped parcels of land. Marymount is adept at raising money to build ugly expensive buildings and expand its athletic program. Marymount should buy and and build a team sports complex outside Arlkington.

    • ivc

      I don’t know what the solution is, but it does seem very inefficient to have Marymount running around trying to form alliances with different organizations all over Northern Virginia to get a field here and a field there. Wouldn’t it make more sense to save all that lawyer money and just buy a big piece of land out by an old warehouse and put in their own fields? I know residential property is in short supply, but I can think of a few commercial properties in ugly areas that might convert well.

  • KarenS

    The EFC redevelopment and zoning density changes are more Kubicki Theater – seemingly intelligent ‘Community Leaders’ rubber-stamp County budgets and go along with community-destroying redevelopment schemes in order to sit at the table with the decision-makers.

  • EFC Homeowner

    What I heard on Saturday was a bunch of angry EFC-W’burg-Westover residents who were furious that County Government ignored them.

  • Duke

    Now that the county board has gauged how the neighborhood responded to lights at O’Connell, just wait. The East Falls Church redevelopment will move fast, much to the dislike of the NIMBY douche bags. Then Tuckahoe Elem. will partner with the county and turf their field with lights and O’Connell will get to have the last laugh when they get there lights. Now that’s the Arlington Way!

    • Duh

      You do realize that Tuckahoe Elementary doesn’t have any fields? The Tuckahoe fields are County property. Maybe you should learn something about that neighborhood before commenting.

  • T

    To all those who stated we should be build an athletic facility “where you live”, you are just grasping at straws at this point. Why should we be forced to drive elsewhere for a “home” event? Unbelievable.

    Signed,
    A proud O’Connell parent and alum

    • local

      You missed the point of that comment. It was about the silliness of throwing the term “NIMBY” around, that’s all.

      • G&T

        Own it local

  • Nice

    Kudos to Barbara Favola for recusing herself if appropriate. If there is a conflict, its good to see Board members acknowledging it and taking a step back.

    • Lou

      She’s required by law to do that.

      • DT

        No Lou, she is a fine upstanding woman who only has the best interest of Arlington at hand. She will always do what is right and good and just.

        Sincerely, Tuckahoe NIMBYs

        • Nice

          LOL Absolutely, just like the rest of us. Motives as pure as the driven snow.

          I realize one is supposed to do that but it doesn’t always happen. Glad she owned it, saving folks the trouble of pushing back about her participation. One less thing to divert attention from the real issues, exploding manholes and Dremo’s relocation.

      • ivc

        At the beginning of the DJO lights saga she had announced that she felt that she could be fair without recusing herself. So like “Nice” said, I’m glad that she recognized the inherent conflict and took herself out before it became an issue.

  • Derek

    No, as a matter of fact, she’s Marymount’s Chief Lobbyist and I want her to pay back the money she’s paid by Arlington taxpayers to sit in her County Board office and lobby for Marymount there.

    • http://vbnews@verizon.net V.B.

      I want her to also pay back the money used to pay County Staff who Barbara orders to work on Marymount projects, her joint campaign with Libby Garvey, and her giveaways of tax dollars to her pet charities.

  • T.Y.

    If it were not for Barbara Favola lobbying for lights for Marymount there would have been no controversy.

    Why did the County Board vote NO? ‘Cause they were PO’d that Barbara had them referee a neighborhood brawl that she started.

    • DT

      What are you talking about? This has been going on for years and came up again because O’Connell and Marymount wanted to share the facilities and add lights. I guess they are PO’d when they have to do their jobs.

      • connie

        Going on for years? Try 15 years. Since she was first elected to the County Board. Good to see she’s finally being nailed for her corrupt behavior.

        • DT

          The issue regarding installing lights at O’Connell has been going on for years, long before I attended there in the 80′s.

          • ivc

            Not really. It was an issue for the first use permit in the 1950s, but the diocese made a written promise to the neighborhood that the school wouldn’t seek lights. It hasn’t come up before now because up until recently some of those old residents were still living in the neighborhood. I don’t know what you think you are remembering, but this has not been before the county since the 1950s.

          • DT

            O’Connell has wanted to install lights for a very long time. Whether they took it to the county board or not is irrelevant.

          • songLeader

            “Wanted to install lights” is not the same as it being “an issue.” At the time you would have been a student, people knew that the Most Reverend Bishop Peter Ireton had given his solemn word that lights would never be an issue, and people were deferential enough that this never would have been question.

  • Michelle

    She also uses her County Board office to coordinate her and Libby’s campaigns for State Senate.

  • kenneth

    Marymount spends $1.5 million year fund raising. So use some of the funds you raise to build a sports complex where you live in Fairfax County.

    • DT

      Another 20 watt bulb chimes in. Marymount is an Arlington school.

  • G&T

    Oh and why did no one say anything about the partnership between GW & the county (i.e. public/private) down at the Barcroft facility. Apparently it works really well. Is it because no bored community activist live there?

  • Jim

    sounds like the anti-catholic minority wins again.

    • ivc

      hardly. it appears that most of the players on both sides were catholic, as well as the two on the county board most troubled by the proposal.

  • John Stinson

    I know some of you will not like the truth, but here it is, Arlington is filled with yuppie metrosexuals, all sucking on the government teet, for now, they see no problem with the economy, etc. Arlington is booming, in their little pee brains, this is a big deal, NO LIGHTS, meanwhile, Arlington has lots of gang activity, stolen cars often, tons of bums and hoods all along S. 4 mile and a homeless population that lines up by the courthouse each week for cash ( turned into booze and drugs ) and food. So, if this is the most important issues for them, ” lets unite “, no lights, sad and stupid. The speakers against were pitiful fools bloated with their own success and greed, lost in a world all to themselves and their stupid government funded lives ( government employees, gov. contractors, lawyers and like ). While the rest of the US stumbles and stuggles daily, Arlington lives in its selfish goldfish bowl, drunk with the cash of endless means our government. Dumpy, frumpy fool after fool came to the podium to ramble on about nothing, who cares, these fat stupid dopes would not last a day in the ruin of Japan, the poverty of Baltimore or Detroit, they i know only how to suck cash from an easy target and then funded by uncle sam, fabricate stupid rally around issues like this, no one normal would mind the lights, cause normal people work hard and have more important things to worry about, only in Arlington, Frisco and the DC section of Georgetown and maybe Chevy Chase, could you find so many idiots with so much time and money on their hands. The students of DJO are sent their by hard working people sick of the crap public schools and they just want to hide from the failure academies public schools have become. No one really thought the board would agree with the normal people, no, they would suck up to the fools a plenty in their overpriced homes in North Arlington, thats safer and easier, plus the catholic church takes their lumps and goes away, that is unless it involves a priest and naughty behavior, there they lawyer up and fight till the end….. what a mess, sorry for the directions and hurt feelings, save your stupid replies, I could care less and care little what you say, cause fat, soft, stupid, overpaid middle age morons are not what will lead this country out of our mess, they are the problem, see, like with the lights!

    • Westover

      Arlington and Fairfax County schools are equal in quality to O’Connell. Your rant is misplaced there. But the board should have approved the lights.

    • Brendan

      I think I hear a hint of jealousy and animosity.

    • ivc

      Looks like O’Connell was pretty well lawyered up last night. Plus the diocese sent a nun to threaten to sue if the proposal was denied.

  • Duke

    To Duh, I knew someone would bite. County owned means they’ll just do it, lights and all. Best part is we’ll get to watch you NIMBY folks pissing and moaning while we’re watching a baseball or softball game under the lights.

  • Overgrown Bush

    +1 for the great rant.

  • MomOfTeens

    I will never understand people who move next to things like high schools and airports and then bitch about noise, lights, traffic etc. You know what you’re getting when you move next to these things, including the fact that they are going to change and expand. The plan should have been approved. (And I don’t have a dog in the fight, my kids don’t attend O’Connell).

    • Overgrown Bush

      Not to mention people who move next to Interstate highways….

  • Skeptical

    Won’t the warm glow of the Lord’s love illuminate the school for all eternity?

  • JimPB

    Now maybe BOC will decide to close and sell the facilities to … ArlCo. ACPSs face a big surge in school enrollment (in just a couple of years, to more than 140% of current capacity at Tuckahoe Elementary, across the street from BOC) and needs additional classrooms and outdoor facilities.

    • DT

      Yeah, because the County won’t let them spend money to install lights, that clearly means they are closed to shutting down. I bet you went to one of them fine public skools round these har parts.

      • borf

        Wow, you sure jumped to wild conclusions about that post. Then you bash his education. Irony.

    • G&T

      meaning JimPb

    • WCA Neighbor

      JimPB – I’m not sure where you get the wild notion that because they didn’t get lights that suddenly they are going to close down? While the economy has impacted DJO (Not BOC, by the way), they still have an enrollment of over 1,200 students and I’m sure once the economy picks back up, their enrollment will increase again. Either way, it’s insulting to the students, families and community of DJO to suggest that they shut down to make way for the unfortunate overcrowding of Tuckahoe. I suggest you go back to your drawing board and come up with something a little more intelligent.

  • Kerri

    For what it’s cost O’Connell and Marymount to aggravate local residents they could have purchased land in Fairfax County for a state-of-the art sports complex.

    • ivc

      ++++

    • DT

      O’Connell has the property and Marymount is willing to share it with them. They don’t need additional land. They wanted lights so their teams don’t have to travel to Fairfax and elsewhere to play games.

  • Enough Already

    We put up with Marymount messing up Glebe Road and Old Dominion Drive for 4 years. Now you want to mess up Williamsburg. Please build any additional infrastructure where there is sufficient land so the sports activity won’t bother anyone.

    • The Native

      Gotta call you on that EnoughAlready. I have lived two blocks from 26th and Old Dominion most of my life. They didn’t mess up traffic to bad with construction and it wasn’t 4 years. Don’t use untrue arguments to try and justify and perpetuate your small minded world view. They should have the right to put lights in.

  • Fed Up With Marymount

    Agreed. Time for Barbara Favola to go lobby Sharon Bulova and the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.

  • Jo

    Speaking of lighting in general, the quality of some of the new lights in the Clarendon area is harsh and cold – specifically along Wilson Blvd. on the Woodgrill, Ri-Ra block. Doesn’t anybody notice how ugly it is? Or how much warmer and attractive the streetscape is just one block away with different bulbs – toward the metro? Too bad diners will have to sit under the awful wash of cold light when they have dinner at the restaurants. I wish the restaurant owners would do something . . .

    • ivc

      We just got some new street lights put in and they are very harsh and too bright. So is it the county I talk to or the power company? I learned a lot about “foot candle” limits last night and I am curious to see if they meet those requirements.

  • Kim

    Arlington’s street lighting system is mostly run by and for Dominion Virginia Power.

    • Josh S

      I think that, while Virgina Power may install the lights and they certainly provide the electricity, it is the county that pays for and owns them.

  • Jo

    . . . if it’s for energy efficiency, I guess that’s a laudable goal, but the lights a block away are newly installed also and surely meet efficiency standards – but create a warm and inviting atmosphere. Doesn’t anybody notice the difference? And care?

    • lindsay

      Arlington has a terrible street lighting system. Either the streetlights are too dim, or too bright and light the sky, trees, and buildings.

  • Jo

    well, maybe lighting isn’t the most important issue facing the world today but since it seems so easy to get right, I can’t believe no one cares enough to choose bulbs that will make the streets that we all use more beautiful AND efficient. I propose that the ugly, blue-white bulbs be replaced with warm ones and the excess harsh ones be put to use in places that are more utilitarian . . .

  • DJO Alum

    I think the majority of you are missing the point. Being a former athlete from O’Connell it is disappointing these kids are not receiving the same benefits as other schools are in the area. My parents each worked 2 jobs to send me to O’Connell in order to receive a great faith-based education and to participate in sports and student organizations. O’Connell has made an immense effort to fund raise for this new athletic facility. We don’t have the tax dollars supporting our students and facilities, and those that rejected the proposal would not have to contribute 1 dime to O’Connell. But my tax dollars certainly paid for the renovations to W&L (and how lucky those students are for their lit fields and amazing new school additions). There were times my team (ranked #1 in the country) had to use Tuckahoe Elementary School to play in playoff games because our field was in such bad shape. How embarrassing. When O’Connell played away at PVI or Yorktown it was really fun as a student to enjoy the atmosphere of night games. It’s a shame that for what O’Connell students and parents and teachers put into their school, they can’t even get the support of their neighborhood. It irritates me too that the majority of you know nothing about O’Connell and everything graduates and current students have achieved through academics, athletics, and fund raising efforts (O’Connell has the largest high school fundraiser in the nation for Cystic Fibrosis). So just think before you post…What if this was your alma mater that you donate money to and they are being denied something so simple and innocent as a new athletic facility….

    • Josh S

      The Catholic Church, as a non-public entity, chooses to buy land and build schools on them. Aside from providing water, electricity, fire service and all the other basics that all residents of the county get, the County owes the church nothing. Pointing out what W&L or Yorktown have is irrelevant. If you want to go to a school that has lights, attend Yorktown. It’s there. It’s free.
      The Exxon station at Lee and Washington had tremendous community pushback when they wanted to modernize their facility – complaints about noise, lights, etc. I don’t think the owners of the station attempted to complain that a government facility (like a Post Office or busyard) had lights and therefore so should they.
      Apples and oranges.

      • Lou

        I remember those hearings on the gas station. They were ridiculous. I remember them spending half an hour talking about not wanting the station name on the canopy, it could only be painted one color. No words.

      • DJO Alum

        You’re absolutely right Josh S….you owe us nothing. The school has thrived on it’s own without the help of the government and tax payers and I’m extremely proud of that. What disappoints me is what is the big deal about lights? And don’t be snide about attending a school that has lights..My brother went to PVI (they have lights), my parents were on the booster club there for years, but I chose O’Connell for both educational and athletic purposes. I just have a hard time grasping the concept that putting up lights is the end of the world to the community surrounding the school.

        Answer this Josh S and any neighbors or whoever – What is one negative impact with putting up lights at O’Connell HS and how would putting up these lights affect you and your family’s every day lives?

        • Arlington, Northside

          You should have gone to Gonzaga. ;)

          • DJO Alum

            they don’t allow females ;)

        • Josh S

          “You?” “Us?” Does O’Connell not consider itself part of the community?

          Look, I don’t even live nearby. I don’t have a dog in this hunt. But I just don’t like to see misleading arguments tossed around. What other public schools have or don’t have is irrelevant to deciding whether or not to allow a parochial school lights.

          • DJO Alum

            O’Connell is part of the community, maybe you should refer back to my original post or do a little research. In fact, those students, I’m sure, do a lot more for the community than most of the people who posted comments. You DON’T have a dog in this “hunt”. I think I made my point….your comments are irrelevant.

          • Arlington Resident

            DJO Alum,
            Go to a Yorktown night game… During the game while it is dark.. Stand on N Greenbrier ST and notice how dark the street is…

            Based on the proposal that O’Connell submitted, the proposed O’Connell\Marymount Baseball fields will have so much light spillage that the middle of Trinidad ST will be as BRIGHT as standing in the middle of Yorktown’s football field (30+ footcandles) during a night game. Think of the families that live in the houses across the street from the proposed O’Connell\Marymount Baseball fields… The light spillage on their houses is between 1.5 and 2.0 footcandles… The Fairfax County Park Standards would limit light spillage AT THE PROPRTY LINE of the Athletic Filed to 0.5 footcandles. (http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/plandev/Downloads/Athletic_Field_Lighting_draft0710.pdf)
            Look at the Proposed O’Connell\Marymount plans (http://www.arlingtonva.us/departments/CPHD/forums/file79284.pdf) and its “Light Spill Plan”… It exceed 0.5 footcandles completely around the proposed O’Connell\Marymount Baseball and Football fields.

            The Chairman of the Board of Governors of Bishop O’Connell High School… Kevin Fay also serves on the Fairfax County Park Authority Board… If he really cared about the Tuckahoe\O’Connell community… don’t you think he would respect the Fairfax lighting standards when reviewing the O’Connell plans and appreciate the impact it would have on our community?

            You have been told by O’Connell’s leadership that they just want what other Arlington County High Schools have… Read the details of their proposal and actually compare it to Arlington County High School Athletic Fields. After an objective review, you should come to the conclusion that the proposal is asking for more than what Arlington County High School Athletic Fields have…

            O’Connell\Marymount want both a Football Field and a Baseball Field with NCAA level lighting. Washington Lee High School has .5 acres more than O’Connell High School… but out of respect for their community they only have a Football Field with High School level lighting…. How is that equal?

            My family purchased and own a our home in this community. We have lived in our house for about 7 years and plan on living in our house for at least 20 more years. How much time does the average O’Connell student actually spend in this community? 4 years?

          • DJO Alum

            Arlington Resident, I actually appreciate your response. At least you can provide some facts and back up your arguments. Being a former D1 athlete (the community surrounding the university I attended did not allow lights or bleachers on our athletic field…which is a whole other battle) I think “NCAA level lighting” is extreme for HS use…but I’m sure that is what Marymount University pushed for. It should be interesting if the community accepts O’Connell’s bid for lights next year if they propose “HS level lighting”. Even if the “footcandles” don’t exceed 0.5…my guess would be no…the community always has and always will be stubborn. And that’s why this is all so frustrating and disappointing.

      • borf

        Josh – who said the county “owes” the school anything? It should, however, let it operate as a school, like any other.

        I don’t think I support this light proposal because it sounds like they wanted alot more than that, but there’s no reason for a private school to have extra restrictions on normal school operations or facilities just because it’s private.

        • Lou

          Yes, let it operate like any other school. Any other big fat tax free $44 million assessed property value school.

          • 4Arl

            Do you know if they are (property) tax free by local, state, or federal law?

          • taxx2

            Virginia law prohibits local jurisdictions from taxing property belonging to a religious organization and used for educational purposes. Title 58.1 of Virginia Code.

        • ivc

          It appears to me that the board was trying very hard to treat them like every other school, even though there are fewer community benefits to a private facility. O’Connell’s lot is smaller, graded differently, and surrounded on four sides by small residential roads. The standard that they had to consider was any adverse affect on the neighborhood, and the effect was considered to be too much.

          I think it is misleading to compare it to schools which have had lights since long before many of us were alive, when regulations were very different. If you compare it to other places where lights have been considered in the last 20 years, it is clear that it belongs in the group where lights were considered and rejected, such as Swanson and Woodlawn, not those where lights were considered and approved, such as Gunston.

          The neighborhood objection was clearly not to O’Connell’s private use of the fields; it was to the night use of the fields to Marymount and various adult and other local leagues for play. Without any natural barriers protecting the neighborhood, the impact on the quality of life in that neighborhood would be profound.

    • Neighbor

      The neighbors are not against the renovations of the fields. We support O’Connell’s efforts to upgrade the fields. The issue is the lights.

  • Dan

    Maybe the Board can buy them night vision goggles instead.

  • 4Arl

    Designing to meet an objective footcandle requirement in the surrounding area would have been a more effective strategy than saying how great you are. Also would be wise not to forget the exemption from property taxes in making an argument. A good opportunity to learn a lesson or two in the next year.

  • Duke

    Nothing to do with lights, but not bad for a bunch of kids that some of the neighbors think are a pain in the ass.

    Students Raise $7500 for Japan
    The St. Patrick’s Day tradition of “the wearing of the green” had new meaning for Bishop O’Connell students this year. Because of the recent tragedies in northern Japan, members of the student council were granted permission by the administration to schedule a fundraising “dress holiday” for this special day, where students were exempt from wearing their school uniform, in exchange for a donation to Japanese relief efforts. The usual blue, grey and white halls exploded in green and more green on Mar. 17, 2011, with more than $7500 collected through the generosity of our students, faculty and families at Bishop O’Connell. These funds have been donated to Catholic Relief Services (CRS), earmarked especially to benefit the relief efforts and support the victims of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.
    According to the CRS web site:
    CRS is working with Caritas International and others to find pathways to bring aid to many thousands stricken by the 9.0 magnitude earthquake and tsunami that devasted northern Japan on March 11. “The people of Japan who have suffered this tragedy are our brothers and sisters,” Sean Callahan, vice president of overseas said. “Though it is too early to know the exact details of how we will help, we know that it is our mission to aid them in this time of need. Just as we did after the Kobe earthquake in 1995, we will find appropriate partners for the expression of generosity by Catholics in the United States and others of goodwill.”
    The Bishop O’Connell community continues to keep the people of Japan in their prayers.

  • EFC Neighbor

    As a Catholic and a neighbor, my decision to oppose the lights has nothing to do with the quality or character of the kids going to O’Connell. It has to do with the sheer reality that a high school is requesting to install NCAA lighting on two fields that are far too small and too close to residents.

    I would be happy to lead the charge to raise funds for O’Connell to repair/upgrade their fields for the wonderful kids of THEIR school: O’Connell. Marymount needs to find another venue.

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