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School Board to Present Budget to County Board

by ARLnow.com | April 9, 2013 at 4:30 pm | 681 views | No Comments

Parents pack an Arlington County School Board meeting on block scheduling at middle schools(Updated at 8:35 p.m.) The Arlington School Board will present its proposed budget to the Arlington County Board tonight. The joint meeting comes as the School Board has requested an additional $3.1 million in tax funding from the County Board.

The School Board’s proposed budget calls for $524.5 million in expenditures, roughly $4 million more than Superintendent Dr. Patrick Murphy’s proposed budget. The board’s budget keeps most elements of Murphy’s budget in tact — including merit-based pay raises for teachers, no increase in class sizes and funding to buy more school buses — but scales back some proposed cuts.

Cuts to teen parenting staffing, elementary reading teachers, high school gifted teachers, Standards of Learning teachers and minor construction/major maintenance have been reduced collectively by $2.3 million. The budget also adds a $600,000 reserve, and $1.1 million to account for an increase in projected school enrollment.

Arlington Public Schools logoMurphy’s budget expected enrollment to increase from 22,613 students this school year to 23,586 students for the 2013-2014 school year. The latest spring projection puts 23,725 students in Arlington classrooms for the next school year.

All told, the increase in enrollment will require $11.1 million for additional staffing, materials, furniture and relocatable classrooms, according to the School Board’s budget presentation, set to be delivered tonight. The new trailer classrooms alone will cost $2 million.

The School Board is asking the County Board for a dedicated 0.5 cent real estate tax increase to help pay for the reduction in cuts and the added enrollment. The tax hike would be expected to bring in an additional $3.1 million. The rest of the $4 million is expected to come from one-time funding and additional state funding.

Arlington Public Schools are expected to face additional budget pressures in the next several years, as enrollment continues to grow and as new schools and school additions are built. An addition to Ashlawn Elementary is expected to be complete in time for the 2014-2105 school year, while a new elementary school on the Williamsburg Middle School campus is expected to be complete in time for 2015-2016.

Those new additions and schools will come with additional administrative and operational costs. This comes at a time of weakness for property values in Arlington — the main driver of revenue for the county and the school system. During a meeting with reporters in February, Dr. Murphy said future budgets “could be challenging.”

While teachers for the new Williamsburg elementary will be largely pulled from overcapacity schools, administrative and materials costs for the school are slated to be included in next year’s budget process.

“If all things stay the same, we’re very concerned for FY 2015,” Murphy said.

The joint School Board/County Board work session will take place at 7:00 p.m. tonight (April 9) in rooms 101/103/105 of the Syphax/Sequoia building at 2110 Washington Blvd. The public is encouraged to attend.

Residents will get a chance to weigh in on the School Board’s budget at a public hearing on Thursday, April 18.

Sewage Release Prompts Stream Warning

by ARLnow.com | April 9, 2013 at 3:40 pm | 1,852 views | No Comments

Four Mile Run (file photo)(Updated at 3:5o p.m.) Arlington County is warning residents to keep themselves and their pets out of three streams following a sewage release.

The sewage release was the result of a blocked 12 inch sewage pipe, in the area between the Dominion Plaza Apartments (1200 S. Courthouse Road) and the Arlington Village Condominiums (1400 S. Barton Street), near Columbia Pike.

Crews have successfully cleared the blockage and stopped the flow of raw sewage into Arlington Branch, according to the Arlington Department of Environmental Services.

The county says people and pets should avoid Arlington Branch, Lower Long Branch and Four Mile Run until further notice.

“Residents should not fish in the streams or have any contact with the waters — including wading or swimming,” the county said in a press release (below). “The advisory to avoid all contact is considered an extra precaution to allow the effect of the discharge to be diminished by natural flushing of the streams.”

Arlington County today advised residents to avoid water downstream of a sewage release that occurred between the Dominion Plaza Apartments and Arlington Village Condominiums, just above the Army Navy Country Club into Arlington Branch, a tributary to Lower Long Branch. Arlington Branch, Lower Long Branch and Four Mile Run from Columbia Pike downstream to the Potomac River should be avoided. This is a precautionary measure following the discovery of a sewage release resulting from a blocked 12” sewage pipe. Water, Sewer, Streets crews are actively working to remove the blockage from the pipe and stop the release.

Residents are advised to stay away from the affected waters and to keep their pets away until further notice, to eliminate the risk of exposure to untreated sewage. Residents should not fish in the streams or have any contact with the waters – including wading or swimming – until further notice from the County. The advisory to avoid all contact is considered an extra precaution to allow the effect of the discharge to be diminished by natural flushing of the streams.

Recreational areas affected adjacent to the streams include Fraser Park, Troy Park and Four Mile Run Park.

NOTE: Residents are reminded that stream water can contain microorganisms that can make people sick, whether the stream is located in an urban area or in the middle of a forest. Even after the discharge is naturally flushed from the streams, the County’s normal precautions for safe use of streams apply. You can find information and safety tips on Arlington streams, including information on reporting stream pollution incidents, on the Department of Environmental Service website.

File photo

Change, Closure for Caribou Coffee in Arlington

by ARLnow.com | April 9, 2013 at 1:55 pm | 2,831 views | No Comments

Caribou Coffee logoThe Crystal City location of Caribou Coffee (2100 Crystal Drive) will be closing at the end of this week and the coffee shop’s Shirlington location will eventually be converted to a Peet’s Coffee and Tea store, ARLnow.com has learned.

According to employees, the Crystal City location will close its doors after Sunday, April 14. The store is currently offering merchandise like coffee, mugs and coffee makers for 50 percent off, we’re told.

The Shirlington location will remain open for now but will be converted to a Peet’s Coffee and Tea store “at some point this fall,” an employee said.

Peet’s, which opened its first store in Berkeley, Calif. in 1966, is majority owned by a German private equity firm that purchased the Caribou chain last year. Caribou announced on Monday that it’s closing 80 “underperforming” stores and converting another 88 to Peet’s locations.

Police: Man Throws Meat Cleaver in Maternity Ward

by ARLnow.com | April 9, 2013 at 1:05 pm | 7,832 views | No Comments

Kareem Jorif (photo courtesy ACPD)An Arlington man has been arrested and charged with throwing a meat cleaver in the maternity ward of Virginia Hospital Center.

Police say the man, 34-year-old Kareem Jorif, came to the hospital to deliver a message to a mother who had just given birth. The message: the baby’s father couldn’t make it because he was in jail.

Jorif was unable to perform his messenger duty, however, because the group of family members gathered in the mother’s hospital room wouldn’t let him in, according to Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. A verbal altercation ensued. Jorif then allegedly pulled a meat cleaver from his waistband and started chopping at the door.

Eventually, Sternbeck said, Jorif was able to crack the door open and throw the meat cleaver into the room, in the direction of the room’s occupants. Nobody was struck by the knife, but Jorif was later detained by security, arrested by police, and charged with 5 counts of attempted malicious wounding.

There were five people in the room at the time, Sternbeck said. No word on whether the baby was in the room. From the daily crime report:

MALICIOUS WOUNDING, 04/05/13, 1700 block of N. George Mason Drive. At 5:34 pm on April 5, a suspect pulled a meat cleaver from his waistband after a verbal altercation escalated inside Virginia Hospital Center. The suspect struck a room door several times with the knife before throwing the weapon inside the room in the direction of the occupants. Hospital security detained the suspect until arrival of police. Kareem Jorif, 34, of Arlington, VA, was arrested and charged with 5 counts of attempted malicious wounding and carrying a concealed weapon. He was held without bond.

Photo courtesy Arlington County Police Department

It’s Official: Today is the First >80 Degree Day in 2013

by ARLnow.com | April 9, 2013 at 12:20 pm | 517 views | No Comments

Daffodils next to Route 50(Updated at 12:40 p.m.) Just two weeks after several inches of snow fell on parts of Arlington, Reagan National Airport has recorded the area’s first >80 degree thermometer reading in 2013.

As of noon today, the weather station at DCA reported a temperature of 81 degrees. The mercury actually hit 80 yesterday afternoon, as pointed out by ABC 7 meteorologist Alex Liggitt.

The temperature is predicted to keep climbing tomorrow, with Weather.com predicting a high of 90 degrees on Wednesday.

Update at 2:05 p.m. — In another sign of the season, Arlington County paramedics have been dispatched to Arlington National Cemetery for a patient suffering a possible heat stroke. Such calls are common during the summer, but are much less common during early April.

DJO Names Vorbach ‘Head of School’

by ARLnow.com | April 9, 2013 at 11:20 am | 652 views | No Comments

Joseph E. Vorbach III (photo via Bishop O'Connell High School)Bishop O’Connell High School will no longer have a president. In a shake-up of the Catholic school’s administrative structure, principal Joseph E. Vorbach III has been named “Head of School” for Bishop O’Connell, also known by the acronym DJO.

DJO President Katy Prebble announced in February that she will resign at the end of the school year. Following discussions with diocese officials, current and former DJO board members, parents and faculty, the Arlington Diocese’s Office of Catholic Schools decided to reconfigure Bishop O’Connell’s administrative structure and appoint Vorbach to the newly-created position of “Head of School.”

“I look forward to working in my new position with our Board of Governors, faculty, parents, and students,” Vorbach said in a statement. “Bishop O’Connell High School is a Christ-centered community blessed with exceptionally dedicated administrators, faculty, and staff, and I am excited to lead this outstanding institution into the future.”

Vorbach was a commanding officer in the U.S. Coast Guard and a 1983 graduate of Bishop O’Connell. He holds a doctorate in political science from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. His father is Coast Guard Rear Admiral Joseph E. Vorbach.

Bishop O’Connell issued the following press release about Vorbach’s appointment.

Bishop Paul S. Loverde has named Joseph E. Vorbach, PhD, as Head of School for Bishop Denis J. O’Connell High School in Arlington. In the newly created position, Vorbach takes on unified leadership of O’Connell after serving as Principal alongside the school’s last two Presidents. He will assume the role upon President Kathleen Ryan Prebble’s departure at the completion of the 2012-13 school term.

“For 55 years, Bishop O’Connell High School has been a faith-filled community of learning, rooted in the Church and a determined tradition of service and excellence,” said Bishop Loverde, spiritual leader of the Diocese of Arlington’s 450,000 Catholics. “I am very pleased to announce Joe Vorbach as the new Head of School. In this new position of leadership, I know Joe will continue O’Connell’s record of excellence, building on the good work begun by Katy Prebble.”

After Prebble announced her planned departure in February, the Arlington Diocese’s Office of Catholic Schools under the leadership of Superintendent Sr. Bernadette McManigal, BVM, conducted a robust discussion with diocesan officials, current and former members of Bishop O’Connell’s Board of Governors, faculty, staff, and parents regarding the future leadership of the school. These discussions led to the selection of Vorbach as Head of School and informed the decision to reconfigure the school’s administrative structure.

“Today’s announcement represents a strong vote of confidence in Joe Vorbach’s service to the school in successive administrations and his leadership in ensuring a first-rate Catholic education for the young men and women of Bishop O’Connell,” said Sr. McManigal. “His commitment to excellence in academics grounded in the Catholic faith is well known to the O’Connell community and provides great assurance for the school’s future health and achievement. Joe keenly understands the school’s mission and challenges; he is well-positioned to build on its successes and to achieve the school’s development and enrollment goals.”

“It has been my honor to be connected to the Bishop O’Connell community since 1979, as a student, as a parent and as an administrator. I am grateful to Bishop Loverde and the Diocese of Arlington for this important mission of service,” said Vorbach. “I look forward to working in my new position with our Board of Governors, faculty, parents, and students. Bishop O’Connell High School is a Christ-centered community blessed with exceptionally dedicated administrators, faculty, and staff, and I am excited to lead this outstanding institution into the future.”

Vorbach has many years of experience as an educator and administrator, including positions as a professor and department chair at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy (USCGA), and, for the past five years, as Bishop O’Connell’s Principal. He holds a doctorate in political science from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He also taught and served as Homeland Security Chair at the National Defense University. Prior to beginning graduate studies at Tufts in 1993, Vorbach served aboard two ships in the USCG, including as commanding officer of the Coast Guard Cutter Point Stuart. Dr. Vorbach earned his B.S. in Government at the USCGA in 1987 and is a 1983 graduate of Bishop O’Connell.

Dave Coulier to Perform in Arlington Next Week

by ARLnow.com | April 9, 2013 at 10:20 am | No Comments

Dave CoulierComedian and impressionist Dave Coulier will be returning to Arlington for three comedy shows next week.

Coulier is perhaps best known for playing “Uncle” Joey Gladstone on the ABC series Full House in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Other entertainment credits include hosting the show America’s Funniest People, and providing voiceovers for the animated series The Real Ghostbusters. Coulier is also widely believed to the the subject of the Alanis Morissette Song “You Oughta Know.”

Dave Coulier (promo photo)Coulier will be performing stand-up comedy at Artisphere in Rosslyn (1101 Wilson Blvd) on Saturday, April 20. He will perform two shows, at 7:30 and 10:00 p.m. Tickets to each are $30.

The Michigan native will also be performing at a comedy, improv and illusion variety show at Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse (2903 Columbia Pike) on Thursday, April 18, at 7:30 p.m. Coulier will share the stage with a master illusionist and the Porkchop Volcano improv troupe at the family-friendly (PG rated) show. Tickets are $25 and will benefit Patrick Henry Elementary School.

We last reported on Coulier when he performed at Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse in 2011.

Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com | April 9, 2013 at 9:15 am | 1,685 views | No Comments

The Netherlands Carillon

Concealed Carry Permits Spike in Arlington — The number of applications for concealed-carry permits in Arlington has quadrupled in the past 8 years, and continued to spike. Last year the Circuit Court received 1,042 applications from whose who want to carry concealed weapons. This year the office is expecting nearly 1,600. [Sun Gazette]

Whipple Pens Pro-Streetcar Op-Ed — In an op-ed, former state Senator Mary Margaret Whipple compares the heated debate over the planned Columbia Pike and Crystal City streetcar systems to the debate over the construction of Metrorail through Arlington in the 1970s. “A small but vocal faction of our community claimed that the proposed Orange, Blue and Yellow lines were too expensive and risky and argued that we should just use buses instead,” Whipple writes. “After much deliberation, Arlington invested in rail.” [Washington Post]

New Gym for George Mason? — George Mason University’s Arlington campus currently lacks a fitness center for students. A plan to build a new gym, put in place after a student petition in 2011, has not moved forward because it was determined that the project would go over budget. The university is currently exploring options for either constructing a new fitness center or partnering with a nearby office building to use its gym. [Connect2Mason]

DCA Fight Attendants Protest Knife Decision — Flight attendants have been handing out flyers to passengers at Reagan National Airport, encouraging them to sign an online petition against a recent TSA decision that will allow small knives to be carried on to planes. [WAMU]

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