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EXCLUSIVE: Top Administrator Leaving APS

by ARLnow.com | January 7, 2013 at 6:15 pm | 1,355 views | 33 Comments

Clarence Stukes (screen grab via APS)Clarence Stukes, the Assistant Superintendent for Facilities and Operations at Arlington Public Schools, is retiring at the end of January, an APS spokesman confirmed Monday evening.

Stukes has announced his retirement and his last day at the school system will be at some point later this month, APS spokesman Frank Bellavia told ARLnow.com. Bellavia said he did not know whether Stukes was taking a job with another school system.

As the top administrator in the Department of Facilities and Operations, Stukes is responsible for overseeing facilities planning, capital improvement programs, aquatics, building and grounds maintenance, custodial services, energy management, and transportation. In August, Stukes was caught up in a wave of parent anger over changes to enforcement of the school system’s busing policy.

Stukes defended the busing policy, but also pointed out that this was the first time in his tenure that the school system did not add buses to make up for growth in enrollment.

Stukes joins a long list of principals and senior administrators who have left Arlington Public Schools since 2010. While the departures have concerned some school watchers, APS officials attribute the phenomenon to the fact that a “senior corps” of school staffers have been approaching retirement.

“It is something we have been watching for a number of years now,” APS spokeswoman Linda Erdos said in September.

After he leaves, Stukes will likely be replaced with an interim Assistant Superintendent for Facilities and Operations while APS advertises to full the position on a permanent basis, Bellavia said.

101-Year-Old Author to Talk at Arlington Public Library

by ARLnow.com | January 7, 2013 at 3:30 pm | 999 views | 6 Comments

Martha Ann Miller with Arlington Public Library Director Diane KreshAt 101 years old, Arlington resident Martha Ann Miller has done and seen many things.

She met President Calvin Coolidge. She helped with the desegregation of Arlington Public Schools. She authored an autobiography. And now she’s scheduled to discuss that autobiography, The First Century: And Not Ready for the Rocking Chair Yet,” at Arlington Central Library (1015 N. Quincy Street).

Miller will be holding an author event at the library’s auditorium on Saturday, Jan. 12, from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m.

“Hear her look back on Arlington over the decades, as well as the inside story of how Arlington became the first district in Virginia to desegregate its schools and her role in that moment in history,” the library said of the program. The event is co-sponsored by the Arlington branch of the American Association of University Women.

This isn’t the only library-related news Miller has made recently. In 2011 she received an award from Arlington Public Library Director Diane Kresh in recognition of her being a centenarian user of the library’s Talking Books service.

Photo courtesy Arlington Public Library

Ballston Rebranding: ‘Where Minds Meet’

by ARLnow.com | January 7, 2013 at 1:45 pm | 2,640 views | 70 Comments

Ballston logo(Updated at 3:40 p.m.) The new Ballston Business Improvement District is rebranding the neighborhood as the place “Where Minds Meet.”

The BID, formed last year after the Arlington County Board approved its creation in December 2010, is busy shaping Ballston’s identity around the area’s strength in the science and technology sector. It’s emphasizing entrepreneurship, innovation and creativity as part of its new branding campaign.

“Ballston is home to an impressive roster of influential, innovative organizations including DARPA [Defense Advanced Research Project Agency], NSF [National Science Foundation], Accenture and Virginia Tech,” the BID said in a press release. “Ballston is the place where innovation and entrepreneurship converge. Where the best ideas are discovered and thrive with the support they need to flourish.”

To help launch the branding campaign, the BID will be holding an innovation competition. The “Ballston LaunchPad Challenge,” as it’s called, will allow entrepreneurs to compete for a chance to pitch ideas to Ted Leonsis, the billionaire owner of the Washington Capitals, Wizards and Mystics. (The Capitals practice at the Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Ballston.)

After soliciting applications this month, a panel will select 10 finalists who will the work with mentors to “develop their ideas into saleable business plans.” The winner of the competition will be announced in November and will be eligible to potentially receive seed money, donated workspace and “continuing mentorship.”

On his blog, Leonsis said the competition will help Ballston become known as “a haven for startups.”

“This is a smart way to incentivize businesses to open and grow in Arlington,” he wrote.

Chevys at Ballston Mall, now closedThe competition will be formally announced Thursday evening at the former Chevy’s Restaurant space (4238 Wilson Blvd) at Ballston Common Mall, which for the next 10 months will host some events connected with the contest. In addition, the BID will provide free public Wifi and seating in the restaurant’s former outdoor dining area.

Other initiatives planned by the BID include business networking events like breakfasts, lunches and happy hours; “public labeling” at the Ballston Metro station, restaurants and in the Ballston Common Mall food court; a “digital/virtual statue to showcase the innovators already working in Ballston”; public art and light installations; and the creation of mini-parks and 4-5 additional Wifi hotspots around the neighborhood.

Disclosure: Ballston BID is an ARLnow.com advertiser

BREAKING: Person Struck By Train at Ballston Metro

by ARLnow.com | January 7, 2013 at 11:35 am | 16,670 views | 187 Comments

Emergency response at the Ballston Metro station (photo courtesy @Go88fish)

Update at 3:45 p.m. — Two-track service has resumed on the Orange Line between Virginia Square and East Falls Church, according to WMATA. The Ballston Metro station has reopened.

Earlier: Metro service has been suspended between Virginia Square and East Falls Church due to a person struck by a train at the Ballston Metro station.

A woman “appears to have intentionally placed herself in the path of an arriving inbound Orange Line train,” according to WMATA. She is deceased, according to Metro spokesman Dan Stessel.

Emergency response at the Ballston Metro station (photo courtesy Nicolevins)Numerous emergency responders are on the scene and the power to the tracks has been shut off to allow recovery of the body. Orange Line service has been temporarily suspended between Virginia Square and East Falls Church as a result. The Ballston Metro station is closed to the public.

“Metrobus is sending shuttle buses for affected customers,” WMATA said.

Stessel says Metro is awaiting the arrival of a medical examiner and does not have an estimate for when the station will reopen.

One Twitter user described “teary eyed folks leaving Ballston station” immediately following the incident.

Photo (top) courtesy @go88fish and (bottom) courtesy @Nicolevins

If you or someone you know is experiencing thoughts of suicide, help is a phone call away. Call Crisis Link at 703-527-4077.

Arlington to Host Annual MLK Tribute

by ARLnow.com | January 7, 2013 at 10:00 am | 404 views | 2 Comments

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.(Updated at 10:05 a.m. on 1/17/13) Arlington County will host its 44th Annual Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on Sunday, Jan. 20.

The event is being held from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. at Washington-Lee High School (1301 N. Stafford Street). It will feature live music and dance, spoken word, a volunteer fair, and an “Arlington During the Civil Rights Era” photo gallery.

The keynote speaker will be Lehigh University Professor and Hip Hop Scholars, LLC founder James Braxton Peterson. Among the acts scheduled to perform are Grammy-nominated Progressive Hip-Hop artist Christylez Bacon and international dance collective Urban Artistry.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, a federal holiday, is Monday, Jan. 21.

Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com | January 7, 2013 at 9:15 am | 2,687 views | 91 Comments

Men looking for work outside Glebe Market (photo by Ddimick)

State Legislators Hold Public Hearing — Arlington’s delegation to the Virginia General Assembly listened to nearly 50 speakers make the case for various legislative and funding priorities at a public hearing Friday night. Among the issues discussed were gun laws, mental health and disability funding, and Medicaid. [Twitter, Sun Gazette]

Rent Rises in Arlington — The average rent in Arlington in the third quarter of 2012 was $2,500.06, a 2.5 percent increase from a year prior. The average rent for single-family homes had the steepest increase — 4.4 percent — compared to apartments and townhouses. [Sun Gazette]

D.C. United Coach Regrets Living in N. Va. — Ben Olsen, the 35-year-old coach of the D.C. United soccer team, says he regrets living in Fairfax and Arlington before moving to his current home in the District. Olsen said in an interview that he was “kicking myself for wasting all those years living in Northern Virginia.” [DCist]

Va. ABC Stores Report Record Profits — Virginia ABC stores reported a record profit of $132.1 million in the last fiscal year. “There is something to say that people continue to drink in good times and in bad, but generally speaking as the economy improves, people have more disposable income to spend,” a Virginia ABC executive said. [CBS DC]

Flickr pool photo by Ddimick

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