This article was written by Audrey Batcheller
All three Arlington high schools have recently been rebuilt, but it appears they are already over capacity. Washington-Lee has seen its enrollment rise by 30 percent in the last six years, and this increase can be partially attributed to the abundance of transfers coming to the school for the International Baccalaureate diploma program. Washington-Lee is the only high school in the county that offers this program, so many transfer students apply to participate in the competitive diploma program. Yorktown and Wakefield have also seen steady increases in their enrollment, and Wakefield students will begin studying in their new facility this coming school year.
Although many schools have been labeled as “over capacity,” they continue to operate quite functionally with a few minor alterations. At Washington-Lee, rooms formerly used as teachers’ lounges, old computer labs, and offices are now occupied by desks and smart boards to be used as functioning classrooms.
Despite being harder to find as a new student, or adding to the commute between classes, these classrooms have proved to be easy solutions to accommodate the need for space. These changes, in most cases, are harmless and don’t have a negative impact on the students, but in a few cases, students have suffered.
When the Mac computer lab at Washington-Lee was converted to a classroom, the Macs were relocated to the library. This computer lab had been used primarily by the broadcast journalism class for video production, and when the computers moved, the students attempted to transition into the new spacel, but lost access to the library after several noise complaints from the librarians.
With only two Mac desktop computers and one Mac laptop available for video production, members of the class have been significantly inconvenienced and the class had to adjust its methods of production due to the loss of their workspace. Some teachers are equally inconvenienced by being forced to share a classroom with another teacher or having to teach in two different locations where they must cart their belongings and instructional materials back and forth.
These changes are still insufficient, however, in providing enough classroom space and Washington-Lee will see the addition of four new trailers next to the school this coming school year, bringing their total to six.
Students are allotted six minutes in between classes to pass from period to period, and the trip outside to the trailers can be completed in that time, but bad weather is always a possibility that students face when venturing to their outside classes.
The first two trailers are located in the side parking lot next to the Arlington Planetarium which is located directly next to the school. The next four being added to the school’s facilities will be placed beside the school on what was previously used as a practice field.
Arlington Agenda is a listing of interesting events for the week ahead in Arlington County.
Film: The Great Gatsby
Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse (2903 Columbia Pike)
Time: 9:50 p.m. – Midnight
Tickets are $2 for the 2013 film The Great Gatsby, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan and Tobey Maguire.
Hoops For Your Health
Kenmore Middle School (200 S. Carlin Springs Road)
Time: 7:00 – 10:00 p.m.
Get your friends, business, civic group or membership organization to enter this 3-on-3 basketball tournament, which benefits Arlington Free Clinic.
No Bull Happy Hour With DJ Chris Styles
Clarendon Grill (1101 N. Highland Street)
Time: 5:00 – 9:00 p.m.
DJ Chris Styles and The Loop perform at this sponsored happy hour event. Attendees will be eligible to receive free cans of Red Bull.
Movies on the Lawn: Hercules
Cherrydale United Methodist Church (3701 Lorcom Lane)
Time: 8:30 – 10:30 p.m.
This family-friendly outdoor movie screening will feature the 1997 animated musical fantasy film Hercules.
Live Music: Flow in the Dark
Whitlow’s on Wilson (2854 Wilson Blvd)
Time: 10:00 p.m. – 1:00 a.m.
Local hip hop cover band Flow in the Dark performs for bar-goers at Whitlow’s. The high-energy show features four singers, musical gadgets, and song mash-ups.
The restaurant will offer upscale takes on traditional bar food like burgers, wings, ribs and fries, as well as higher-end items like Maine lobster and healthier options like ceviche, a “superfoods salad” and chilled asparagus. A brunch menu is also offered.
The drink menu includes at least 15 beers on tap, from a $4.50 Miller Lite to a $6 Kona Big Wave. Sixteen bottled and canned beers are available, with prices starting at $3 for a PBR can. Numerous varieties of wine and cocktails are also available, but perhaps the most talked-about offering will be the 64 shooters, which are arranged on an NCAA-style tournament bracket. The “winning” shooter is $3 until March, while the 63 others are $6 apiece.
Bracket Room is located in the former Burapa Thai space at 1210 N. Garfield Street. Among the three partners in the business are Chris Bukowski, of “Bachelorette” and “Bachelor Pad” reality show fame.
The sports bar hopes to open its doors at some point next month (August). A press release announcing the menu, after the jump.
This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by Adam Gallegos of Arlington-based real estate firm Arbour Realty, voted one of Arlington Magazine’s Best Realtors of 2013. Please submit follow-up questions in the comments section or via email.
Question: It has been a while since I purchased a home and I would like to get your advice on the various pitfalls a homebuyer should be careful to avoid.
There are hundreds if not thousands of potential pitfalls to avoid when purchasing a home. These are the five pitfalls that are top of mind:
1) Choose a local lender — Nothing spoils the home buying experience more often than a non-local lender and I’ve seen way too many people learn this the hard way. I beg you not to dial a toll free number or even one of your friends in the mortgage business if they are not based in the D.C. area.
The mortgage process can be daunting no matter who you work with, but exponentially so when you are using someone unfamiliar with the local contract, closing costs and closing process.
If the lender is on the other end of a toll free number, they have no vested interest in earning your long term business. They are definitely not going to pick up the phone after hours when you have an urgent question or need a custom pre-approval letter in a hurry. They may even hurt your chances if a seller is picking between competing buyers, because too many listing agents have been burned by the non-local lenders who fails to meet the closing date, let alone the financial contingency deadline.
If you find a better interest rate elsewhere, you are far better off using it to negotiate a lower rate with a local lender than going with the out-of-town guy.
2) Avoid wasting time on Trulia, Zillow, etc — I can’t tell you how many emails I receive from clients that think they found a gem on one of the aforementioned websites, only to find out that it sold months ago. The best source for 99.9% of the listings out there is the MLS. Our local MLS is called MRIS and they have a public website that you can use MRISHomes.com. I should also mention that ArbourRealty.com pulls listing directly from MRIS so the information is always current.
We offer our clients custom MLS alerts that let you know the moment new listings hits the market that match your criteria. It saves you time from having to search the thousands of various real estate websites and provides you with access to the same information that Realtors have.
3) Buy for the long haul — If the downturn in the real estate market has taught us anything it is that we cannot always assume our home is going to be worth more than we paid for it. If you think that you will want/need to sell in less than five years, then renting is probably the better option. It is certainly the safer option.
A wild animal, believed by some to be a coyote, is causing increasing concern among Cherrydale residents.
The concern stems from Cherrydale resident Jay Stapf’s sighting of what he says were three decapitated fox heads on his back lawn this May. When Stapf went to retrieve his puppy, Stella, from the backyard, he was greeted by the sight of the severed heads.
“It was creepy, almost like when you bury someone in sand at the beach,” Stapf wrote in a report of the incident.
For the second time that month, Stapf called the Animal Welfare League of Arlington, who showed up to assist.
AWLA determined that a human didn’t sever the fox heads. They also suggested that Stapf install a motion sensor camera in his backyard in order to get further clues about the incident. However, Stapf says AWLA never followed up to confirm that a coyote was involved.
“We don’t know for certain [what they were] because they never came out and trapped them,” said Stapf.
AWLA Chief of Animal Control Alice Burton said that most of the time when people report coyote sightings to her, they turn out to be foxes, but this was a case that had her puzzled.
“It’s funny because I’ve reached out to professional naturalists on this and no one has a clue,” said Burton.
“Usually when we find decapitated animals, it’s kind of unusual. Heads are actually the first thing that animals eat,” said Alonso Abugattas, The Department of Parks and Recreations’s natural resources manager and one of the people Burton consulted with.
Sheila Dougherty, who walks Stella, had another neighbor who also reported a coyote sighting, so she decided to check with other residents on the Cherrydale email listserv.
“I think it’s good for everyone to know that there are coyotes in Arlington so that they can make informed decisions about whether to leave their dogs and cats out at night,” Dougherty said.
Eleven other members in the community wrote in with evidence of coyote sightings, with three others seeing a coyote as recently as this past spring.
Some of the sightings were indirect like Stapf’s. One neighbor reported seeing half a bunny in her backyard and the other indirectly reported a pet cat found dead through violent means.
Update at 11:00 a.m. — WMATA has announced that passengers on Metrorail and Metrobus will be permitted to carry water in sealable, reusable bottles or containers until Friday.
Arlington and the surrounding region is under a heat advisory this afternoon.
Forecasters say the temperature will rise to the upper 90s, while the heat index will reach 105. Those who must be outside today are advised to take appropriate safety precautions. The dangerous heat is expected to linger through at the end of the work week.
From the National Weather Service.
… HEAT ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM NOON TO 7 PM EDT TUESDAY…
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN BALTIMORE MD/WASHINGTON HAS ISSUED A HEAT ADVISORY… WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM NOON TO 7 PM EDT TUESDAY.
* HEAT INDEX VALUES… AROUND 105 DEGREES WITH TEMPERATURES IN THE MID TO UPPER 90S… AND DEWPOINTS IN THE LOW 70S.
* IMPACTS… RISK OF HEAT-RELATED ILLNESS FOR THOSE WITHOUT AIR- CONDITIONING OR THOSE OUTDOORS FOR AN EXTENDED PERIOD.
A HEAT ADVISORY MEANS THAT A PERIOD OF HIGH TEMPERATURES IS EXPECTED. THE COMBINATION OF HIGH TEMPERATURES AND HIGH HUMIDITY WILL CREATE A SITUATION IN WHICH HEAT ILLNESSES ARE POSSIBLE.
TAKE EXTRA PRECAUTIONS IF YOU WORK OR SPEND TIME OUTSIDE. WHEN POSSIBLE… RESCHEDULE STRENUOUS ACTIVITIES TO EARLY MORNING OR EVENING. KNOW THE SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF HEAT EXHAUSTION AND HEAT STROKE. WEAR LIGHT WEIGHT AND LOOSE FITTING CLOTHING WHEN POSSIBLE AND DRINK PLENTY OF WATER.
TO REDUCE RISK DURING OUTDOOR WORK… THE OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH ADMINISTRATION RECOMMENDS SCHEDULING FREQUENT REST BREAKS IN SHADED OR AIR CONDITIONED ENVIRONMENTS. ANYONE OVERCOME BY HEAT SHOULD BE MOVED TO A COOL AND SHADED LOCATION. HEAT STROKE IS AN EMERGENCY – CALL 9 1 1.
County Mulls Streetlight Changes — Arlington County is considering changing the type of LED streetlights it uses after complaints from residents. One possible change is using lights with a color temperature that more closely matches traditional sodium-vapor lighting. [Sun Gazette]
Cyclist Sets Up Stolen Bike Sting — A cyclist whose bikes were stolen from a Fairfax County parking garage managed to set up a sting operation in Arlington to try to catch the thief. The cyclist found one of the bikes for sale on Craigslist, arranged for the seller to come to an Arlington parking lot, and flagged down a police officer to lend assistance. After agreeing to a sale, listened to by police via a cell phone in the cyclist’s pocket, the seller was arrested. [Gripped Racing]
Transgender Fashion Show to Benefit Arlington Org — A transgender fashion show will be held this Saturday in Falls Church to benefit NovaSalud, a Courthouse-based HIV/AIDS nonprofit. The show’s Honorary Mistress of Ceremonies is Kristen Beck, a retired Navy SEAL who was formerly known as Chris Beck. [Falls Church News-Press]
This Day in Arlington History — On this day in Arlington history, 1937, it was reported that the County Board was debating whether movie theaters should be allowed to open on Sundays. Also, it was reported that a majority of the $176 million the IRS collected in Virginia in 1936 came from taxes on tobacco. [Sun Gazette]
Photo courtesy James Mahony