As the start of school lingers right around the corner, improvements have been confirmed for the sports facilities at Wakefield High School. Although some of the renovations won’t be completed in time for the 2012-2013 sports season, others are just weeks away from implementation.
Last week, Wakefield Principal Dr. Christian Willmore met with parents and discussed the issue, according to Arlington Public Schools spokesman Frank Bellavia. On Monday (August 27), Willmore joined Student Activities Director Noel Deskins in issuing a letter to the Wakefield community, outlining scheduled improvements.
The letter said, “As you visit the stadium this fall for various games and activities, you will notice that it may not look the best! The stadium was impacted by the 2011 earthquake, construction, and now the derecho! We ask that you please excuse the mess as we work with APS in making necessary updates to the stadium.”
The letter continued by outlining renovations underway or soon to come. An excerpt from the letter’s list of upgrades follows:
- The turf along the tennis court fence has already been repaired
- New Bleachers (yes, on both sides) total seating 2200 – by June 2013
- New Press Box with a video filming platform for coaches, heating, AC, and an upgrade in our audio system – by June 2013
- New Stadium Scoreboard has been ordered – expected delivery sometime in October 2012. The scoreboard will be an updated version with LED lights, trumpet horn, 1 tenth digit, time out display, WAKEFIELD inserted in place of HOME, and a name plate above the board reading HOME OF THE WARRIORS (and in Wakefield Green of course). By the way, the current scoreboard does work and we will use it until the new one arrives!
Some parents had previously expressed discontent over the facilities having fallen into such disrepair, and questioned why improvements didn’t appear to be included in the $118 million plan for a new Wakefield school building. Comparisons have been made to facilities at Yorktown and Washington-Lee High Schools, with some parents claiming Wakefield’s needs are being overlooked.
A disgruntled tipster told ARLnow.com yesterday, “The new Wakefield facility currently under construction does not have any plan for the football field and surrounding structures. County officials cite tight budgets for the lack of a plan, but many in the Wakefield community just feel jerked around; something county officials wouldn’t dare to do with the Yorktown or W&L communities.”
Echoing the discontent, the “Friends of Wakefield HS Stadium” Facebook page launched last month. In its “About” section, the page states, “We are residents of Arlington County, who would like to see the stadium at Wakefield High School upgraded to the same standard as W-L and Yorktown.” Posts have been added sporadically, highlighting issues such as the desire for a new concessions stand and restrooms in the stadium.
For a large part, the most highly requested improvements listed on the Facebook page were addressed in the letter sent to parents this week. That includes a section mentioning the possibility of a new concessions stand and restrooms which reads: “Discussions continue with APS in regards to possible replacement of concession stand and rest rooms inside stadium area.”
Photos (below) via Facebook
A man who had parked mid-span and was sitting on the ledge was taken into police custody just before 4:00 this afternoon. D.C. and Arlington police, along with a police boat, were all said to be on the scene.
D.C. police have jurisdiction over the incident and are reportedly in the process of clearing the scene.
Congressman Jim Moran (D) and County Board member Walter Tejada were on hand to accept Arlington’s portion of the $9.2 million in grants awarded by the Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund, which is administered by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.
Arlington County was directly awarded $80,000 for its project to expand the “StormwaterWise Landscapes Program,” which provides incentives for private landowners to install innovative stormwater management projects on their properties. It’s projected to reduce the amount of pollution entering Four Mile Run, the Potomac River and the Chesapeake Bay by cutting down on the polluted runoff from at least 80 residential yards, driveways and roofs.
“I applaud the EPA and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation for their diligent management of the Chesapeake Bay small watershed and nutrient and sediment removal grants,” Moran said. “One of our most cherished resources, the Chesapeake Bay has fallen victim to contamination from decades of development and agriculture runoff. These grants help build local community efforts to clean the Bay, leveraging resources, and providing new and innovative approaches to fully restore the Bay’s health.”
In addition to the project grant, the county is expected to benefit secondarily from grants awarded to organizations doing projects throughout Northern Virginia and the state. An example is the $500,000 grant awarded to Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, Inc., which includes Falls Church in the communities it will target for stormwater incentive programs.
Allstate released its annual “America’s Best Drivers Report,” which ranks the country’s 200 largest cities in terms of frequency of car collisions. The report is based on Allstate claims data.
Arlington ranked 12th on the worst drivers side, coming in at 53% more likely than the national average to be involved in a collision. That’s up from 14th worst in 2011 and 20th in 2010.
Some surrounding areas fared even worse, with Washington, D.C. topping the worst drivers list, Baltimore coming in second and Alexandria ranking at number seven.
The full “worst drivers” list can be found on Forbes.
The project’s groundbreaking ceremony will take place next Tuesday, September 4, and construction is expected to last six weeks. The overhaul includes upgrading lighting, landscaping, pedestrian walkways, seating and a visitor information kiosk.
“We’re really excited about this, about the transformation coming to Crystal City,” said Crystal City BID President Angela Fox.
Fox added that many people will benefit from the facelift, considering the Metro Gateway area receives even more foot traffic than the other areas — Southern Gateway and Northern Gateway (Long Bridge Park area) — that were recently renovated. An estimated 26,000 riders use that Metro station daily.
The Metro entrance will remain open throughout the renovating period, although at times pedestrians may have to take detours around some construction in the plaza. If everything goes well, the project should be completed by mid-October.
Disclosure: Crystal City BID is an ARLnow.com advertiser.
Although the term “gulag” typically evokes images of Soviet forced labor camps, a former member of the U.S. Army will be speaking in Arlington about how she believes the term could apply to an American entity — Guantanamo Bay.
The Amnesty International NOVA Cluster is hosting a discussion led by Lt. Col. Lorraine Barlett, titled “Guantanamo: An American Gulag.” Lt. Col. Barlett recently retired from the Army after 27 years of service with the Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Corps., and served as counsel for a long-term prisoner incarcerated at Guantanamo.
Although closing Guantanamo was one of President Obama’s goals, the prison is still open and continues to fuel political disputes. Lt. Col. Barlett will speak on her views of the prison and its implications for U.S. and international law.
Those interested in attending the discussion should meet at the Central Library auditorium (1015 N. Quincy Street) at 7:00 p.m. on Monday, September 10. Refreshments will be provided for attendees.
The main event is being called the “Hunger Challenge,” during which residents are asked to try feeding themselves on $4.03 per day. That’s the amount of assistance the average Arlington resident would receive from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Participants are asked to try the challenge all month, for a week or even just a day, in an effort to understand the difficulty some of their neighbors have with feeding themselves and their families.
“If you struggle to eat well on $28.21 per week, you’ll understand how glad AFAC clients are to be able to fill the gap in their food budget with the milk, eggs, produce, meat and other items distributed by AFAC,” said Charles Meng, AFAC’s Executive Director.
AFAC currently helps about 1,600 families per week, which continues its recent trend of serving an all-time high number of people. Mona Bormet, AFAC Outreach and Research Manager, noted that it’s difficult and often embarrassing for people to receive assistance, but they may not have other options.
“They don’t really want to come here for help, they come here because they need to,” Bormet said. “Most people would rather be able to take care of themselves and their families on their own.”
AFAC is also offering the following volunteer opportunities to help fight hunger throughout September:
- Help collect food donations at local Safeway stores from September 8-11.
- Help pick fresh produce from area farms and gardens that will be used for food donations, on September 8, 15, 22 and 29.
- Eat at Pete’s Apizza (3017 Clarendon Blvd) on Monday, September 17, from 11:00 a.m.-10:00 p.m. and 25 percent of the proceeds will be donated to AFAC.
- Attend movie night at Arlington Central Library (1015 N. Quincy Street) on Wednesday, September 19th, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Join AFAC and filmmaker Cintia Cabib in the main auditorium for a screening of “A Community of Gardeners.” The film highlights D.C. community gardens and their vital role.
- Join AFAC’s Young Professionals on Thursday, September 20, from 6:00-9:00 p.m. at Whitlow’s on Wilson (2854 Wilson Blvd) for Mug Night.
- Try the California Dreaming Wine Tasting at Screwtop Wine Bar & Cheese Shop (1025 N. Fillmore Street) on Monday, September 24, from 6:00-8:00 p.m. All of the proceeds will be donated to AFAC. The event is limited to 45 people, and costs $15.99 to sample 10 wines and cheeses.
Anyone interested can get involved with these and other AFAC volunteer opportunities by signing up online.
Arlington Newlyweds Climb Mountain in Tux and Gown — Bob Ewing and Antonie Hodge Ewing, a newlywed couple from Arlington who happen to be avid rock climbers, have attracted national media attention by climbing a summit in Seneca Rocks, W. Va. while wearing a tux and a wedding dress. A small wedding party, including the bride’s mother, also completed the climb with them. [ABC News]
McDonnell Gives Speech at GOP Convention — Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell delivered a speech at the Republican National Convention last night. McDonnell said the election “is about restoring the American Dream” and implementing the kind of fiscally conservative policies that have benefited Virginia. [NBC Washington, Transcript]
Boathouse Comment Period Extended – Updated at 12:30 p.m. — The National Park Service is now accepting public comments about preliminary alternatives for a Potomac River boathouse in Arlington County through Sept. 30. Of the four possible locations identified for the boathouse, two are just south of the Key Bridge, one is near Gravelly Point, and one is on Daingerfield Island. “The boathouse facility and its amenities would enhance public waterfront access in the vicinity of Arlington County for non-motorized recreational activities,” NPS says. [National Park Service]
Photo courtesy Andrew Clegg