General election candidates for the 30th, 31st and 32nd Virginia State Senate races and the 45th, 47th, 48th and 49th House of Delegates races will take questions from Civic Federation delegates.
The forum will be held at 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 6, at the Washington-Lee High School auditorium (1300 N. Quincy Street). The auditorium is taking the place of the normal venue, Virginia Hospital’s Hazel Conference Center, which is being renovated.
Another Candidate Night will be held on Oct. 4 for the candidates for County Board, County Treasurer, Commissioner of Revenue, Sheriff, Commonwealth’s Attorney and Virginia School Board.
A group of parents are threatening to file a Title IX complaint against Arlington Public Schools for what they say are inadequate and inequitable facilities for the Washington-Lee High School girl’s softball team.
Parents say the team’s field — located in the public Quincy Park, near Arlington Central Library — is not regulation size, is in poor condition and is frequently befouled by dogs and homeless persons. Parents are demanding better facilities — at least in line with the baseball team’s field, also located in Quincy Park — or else they may file a formal discrimination complaint with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights.
While the W-L boys baseball team utilizes a regulation-size field, parents say, the softball team must make use of a field designed for and used by adult men’s slow pitch softball games.
“The dimensions of the skinned slow pitch infield are too large for fast pitch softball,” parents wrote in a letter to school officials. “The outfield fences are about 100 feet too deep.”
Also, parents say, the softball field lacks a press box, a PA system, a pitcher warm-up area, a flag pole (for the Pledge of Allegiance) and adequate bleachers — all of which the baseball field has.
“The softball infield, unlike baseball, is rock hard and drains poorly,” parents say.
“Unlike the baseball field, which is covered in the off-season for maintenance and more consistently maintained during the season, the softball field is never covered, the outfield grass is mowed infrequently… and the infield often is improperly lined for high school competition on game days,” the letter said. “Umpires this spring threatened on at least one occasion not to allow games to be played for this reason.”
Additionally, parents cited various security concerns, like the half-mile walk from the high school and the lack of security lighting or an emergency call box.
“On at least one occasion in 2011 when the varsity team returned home after an away game to use the storage facility in a dark area… girls were surprised by a homeless person sleeping near the storage shed,” parents wrote.
Parents say that homeless individuals frequently sleep in the dugouts, which cannot be locked, unlike the boy’s baseball dugouts (pictured, left). “Drug paraphernalia” was found in one of the unlocked batting cages this spring, they added, noting that they’ve been told the cages cannot be locked because Quincy is a public park.
Further, “the unsecured softball field at Quincy is used as a dog park; the presence of animal waste on the field (often tracked into the dugout) represents a public health hazard,” parents wrote.
Yesterday the school system asked the group for another two weeks to respond to their letter, which was sent on Aug. 13, according to parent Christopher Prins. The letter was sent after months of dialogue between parents and school administrators.
“If we don’t hear back by Sept. 9, with something substantive that advances this discussion, then we will move forward,” Prins said. “We don’t like being blown off for essentially five months.”
Assistant Superintendent Meg Tuccillo says the school system has “limited green space” in which to accommodate student sports, but they nonetheless “intend to work with the families.”
The final screening of this year’s Crystal City outdoor summer film festival took place last night, but not before the theme for next year’s festival was revealed.
The festival, which is coming up on its sixth year, will host an entire summer of romantic comedies in 2012. Dubbed ‘Crystal Screen: Date Night Crystal City,’ the movie series will again start in June and wrap up at the end of August.
Films set to be shown under the stars next year include: Sex and the City, The Wedding Singer, Sweet Home Alabama, Hitch, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, Sleepless in Seattle, The Proposal, Bridget Jones’s Diary, You’ve Got Mail, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Love Actually, Pretty Woman and When Harry Met Sally.
“The audience has selected a great line up of movies, and I know that everyone is looking forward to a romantic night under the stars in Crystal City,” Crystal City BID President Angela Fox said in a statement. The past two ‘Crystal Screen’ themes were ‘By the Numbers’ — movies with numbers in the title — and ‘Star Trek’ — an entire summer of Star Trek films.
(Updated at 12:25 p.m.) The GenOn power plant along the Potomac River in Alexandria will be retired next year, in a victory for local environmental advocates who railed against the coal-fired plant’s carbon emissions.
The 62-year-old plant is expected to close by Oct. 1, 2012, according to a City of Alexandria press release. Alexandria will release $32 million that was being held in escrow to pay for environmental controls at the plant, in order to facilitate its closure.
“Today’s announcement is a path forward for both Alexandria and the power company that works for everybody, and truly reflects the interest of both parties,” Alexandria Mayor William Euille said in a statement. “Both the Alexandria City Council and community have worked extremely hard toward this goal, and we are very proud of the final result. This news strengthens Alexandria’s future and opens the door to an enhanced quality of life for our residents.”
No word yet on what might eventually happen to the prime waterfront property on which the plant is located. The land is owned by Pepco, according to the Washington Business Journal, but there has been talk of using the land for a nearly half-billion dollar mixed-use project.
Rep. Jim Moran, meanwhile, released a statement praising today’s announcement.
This was a long fought but well won victory for the citizens of Alexandria and the nation’s capital. What once was the largest stationary source of air pollution will be no more. Through citizen involvement and committed city officials, the Potomac River Generating Station and its 1949 coal-fired boilers will finally be shuttered.
Forced to reduce its emissions and scale back its operations to comply with the Clean Air Act as a result of a lawsuit and enforcement actions, Mirant and GenOn were ultimately unable to compete with cheaper and cleaner natural gas powered electricity. Tougher federal regulations now in development may have also convinced GenOn’s management that the $28 million in settlement funds that had been set aside to meet the cleanup terms of the settlement were better than the losses their shareholders were taking trying to keep the outdated plant in operation.
Northern Virginia stands as an example of a prosperous and environmentally-conscious community. Today’s action maintains our commitment to a better, cleaner environment for our region’s next generation. The extinction of this dinosaur of a facility is heartily welcomed.
Del. David Englin, who represents parts of Alexandria and Arlington, also released a statement.
“Every human being has a basic and fundamental right to breathe clean air, which is why so many of us have fought for so long to shut down this dirty, old coal-fired power plant in our midst. This is a major victory for the people of Alexandria that will strengthen our quality of life, and I congratulate all of the officials involved.”
“Our community owes a great deal to the citizen activists who have worked with such unfailing dedication and perseverance to get us to this point. While there is reason to celebrate, the agreement does allow some wiggle room on the closing date, which means we must continue to be vigilant until the day the plant finally and permanently closes its doors.”
Flickr pool photo by Chris Rief
Now, with a new look, a new chef, an expanded menu, and expended beer and whiskey offerings Four Courts is gearing up to hold a grand reopening party.
The event, which is also being held to commemorate “4C’s” 15th anniversary, will take place from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. tomorrow, Aug. 31.
“The Four Courts opened its doors during the high-flying 90’s, when Dolly the Sheep and the dot-com boom dominated the headlines,” said General Manager Dave Cahill. “Although we can’t go back in time, we can celebrate the many faithful fans who’ve been patronizing this pub since 1996 and now have families of their own.”
For said families, Four Courts will be offering free food for kids every day between 4:00 and 6:00 p.m. (between 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. on Saturdays), with the purchase of an “adult food item.”
Continuing the ’90s theme, the pub is promising to “roll back the prices of its European and domestic draft beers to those of the booming 90′s” tomorrow.
The weekly Arlington Connection newspaper is the light, feature-y yin to the yang of its more newsy competitor, the Arlington Sun Gazette newspaper. Normally a bit thin during other times of the year, the Arlington Connection — published by the local Connection Newspapers chain — beefed up its coverage this summer thanks to an influx of interns.
The culmination of the summer came this week with the publication of the paper’s annual “Insiders Edition,” which seeks to give people who just moved to the area a crash course in everything Arlington. Given that the Arlington Connection has a barely-functional web site, however — the top “News” story is a one-sentence article from March — we were wondering how many people actually read it, either in print or online.
County to Label Building Energy Use — In October, Arlington will start installing signs on county-owned building that will reveal the building’s energy use and carbon footprint. “We’d like people to think of energy use in buildings like they think of gasoline use in cars,” Joan Kelsch, Arlington’s green building program manager, told reporter Michael Lee Pope. [WAMU]
Planetarium Donors and Dedications — Among the whimsical new seat dedications in the soon-to-be-renovated David M. Brown Planetarium: “Pick any star — make a wish!” “Gaze upward & dream!” and “4 Who Is Yet To Come.” [savetheplanetarium.org]
Fairfax Supervisor Candidate’s 2010 Arlington Assault — An independent candidate for the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors was charged with assault in Arlington after a heated argument over a Crystal City parking space on March 25, 2010. “It was an altercation between two adults,” explained Will Radle, who has been endorsed by the Independent Green party. [Kingstowne Patch]
The Army’s Presidential Salute Battery, which caused a stir earlier this year after their firing drills at Arlington National Cemetery woke up residents from Arlington to D.C., conducted another loud drill this morning.
“Why does it sound like there are bombs going off… in Clarendon?” asked Twitter user @StacMid around 7:45 this morning.
The reason was because the Battery was conducting a “blank fire crew drill” at the cemetery. Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall sent out an email advisory about the drill just after 5:30 last night. Arlington County notified residents just before 10:00 p.m., via Arlington Alerts.
Several Arlington residents said they could hear the anti-tank guns loud and clear this morning.
“Three sets of 11 booms. Sounds like howitzer fire,” tweeted @mikematyas.
“In Westover Village and I can hear the cannon (or gunfire or whatever),” said @ElizabethAFloyd. “Thought I’d be too far to hear but guess not!”