Col. Randy Huiss, better known as “Coach Randy,” coaches the Orioles Little League team. After their final practice before “the big championship game” last week, the team and the Arlington Partnership for Children, Youth and Families honored Huiss with a Connect with Kids award. The awards are given to people who go above and beyond in spending time with, and building relationships with, children and teens.
Parents of the players are fans of Coach Randy’s interactions with the kids. They say he has a positive view of how the game should be played, with a focus on fun.
“Randy’s focus has never been on winning the games, but on letting the kids play,” said Amy Yamashiro. ”It is these precious experiences that make kids, like my son, very happy and greatly increase enjoyment of playing on a team.”
Parents also say his attitude is something that the kids can look up to and emulate.
“Every game has been a positive experience that included teaching good sportsmanship based on respect for each other,” said Tracy Gaudet.
The Connect With Kids awards are given in the spring and the fall each year. However, a special exception was made to give the award early, because Huiss had to deploy to Qatar on Tuesday, June 19.
“We’re very pleased we could present this to him before he left,” said Mary Ann Moran with the Arlington Partnership for Children, Youth and Families. “He really gets it about children and sports and what’s important and what isn’t.”
Captain Andy Penn, Officer Garrett Bombard, Sergeant Eliseo Pilco, Officer Ben Brown-Bieber and Deputy Andrew Flowers received the National Alliance on Mental Illness – Northern Virginia Chapter 2012 Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) award. They received the awards, which include a plaque and a $500 donation to the Department of Human Services to fund ongoing CIT training, at a banquet on June 7.
“Our department fully supports the CIT training initiative and our goal is to continue to increase the number of officers certified by offering several training opportunities each year,” said Arlington Police Chief M. Douglas Scott.
Since its inception in 2008, Arlington’s CIT program has trained more than 175 law enforcement personnel. Officers voluntarily sign up for the program and receive 40 hours of training, during which they learn to de-escalate difficult and potentially dangerous situations with an individual who has a mental illness.
Through the training, officers learn skills such as reducing injuries, and preventing inappropriate restraint and incarceration of a troubled individual. They also help to link individuals with mental illness to resources for receiving appropriate treatment.
CIT Coordinator Christina Clarkson was able to explain a type of situation similar to those the five officers received awards for. A man had been threatening himself and his family after having an adverse reaction to a new medication. He had been hallucinating, hearing voices and locked himself in the bathroom. Two officers used their CIT training to talk to the man and calm him down enough so he came out of the bathroom on his own, and checked into a mental health facility.
Information could not be provided about the specific incidents the five officers received the awards for.
Two members of the Arlington County Police Department were recognized for their investigative prowess at a luncheon hosted by Arlington County Crime Solvers yesterday. Officer James O’Daniel and Detective Christine Everest both received the Detective of the Year Award for their efforts to end fraud and scams targeting the elderly.
One police official said the pair’s efforts were part of the department’s “War on Woodchucks” — a reference to the name sometimes given to scam artists who prey on senior citizens by performing unnecessary yard work and charging exorbitant amounts of money for it. Some of the offenders repeatedly target the same victims, or inform other scam artists of who to target. It’s not unusual for some of the victims to lose tens of thousands of dollars during interactions with woodchucks.
Even after being asked about winning the award, Everest turned the attention back to helping the elderly. She encouraged people to watch out for their neighbors and to call the police if they notice something suspicious. She added that there’s still a long road ahead in the fight to end these kinds of crimes in Arlington, and she’d like to see tougher laws put in place to bring the scam artists to justice.
“We’re both appreciative that the focus of today was on crimes against the elderly,” Everest said. ”It’s out there and it’s unfortunate, and these are not small amounts that we’re talking about. You can have one individual who can have upwards of hundreds of thousands of dollars being taken from them from scams. A lot of times these individuals come in contract with a dozen or more people who are scamming them for this money.”
“As a sidenote, I guess we’re getting a little bit of a tribute ourselves,” Everest added. “We were not expecting anything like this. The recognition is overwhelming.”
Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck explained that in addition to their usual work, Everest and O’Daniel created informational brochures to help people identify if they’d been victimized, and to let victims know where to go for help.
“It’s important to note that both of these individuals didn’t just do the minimal amount required. They went above and beyond their typical day-to-day work on the streets,” said Sternbeck. “From the chief level down, we’re very proud to have them represent us.”
Some of Everest’s notable contributions include displaying compassion and establishing a rapport with victims, researching suspects and conducting surveillance in areas known for being targeted.
One of O’Daniel’s major accomplishments was performing traffic stops after observing questionable solicitation practices by known scam artists, which led to additional violations such as identity theft. He also exhibited proactive enforcement by speaking with residents who were having repair or yard work done.
The luncheon, which raised money that will support Arlington County Crime Solvers, was attended by a number of local officials and lawmakers, including County Board member Walter Tejada, Police Chief Douglas Scott, Commonwealth’s Attorney Theo Stamos, Del. Bob Brink, Del. Patrick Hope, Del. Alfonso Lopez and state Sen. Adam Ebbin. Lopez said this year’s awards will help highlight the problem of scams against the elderly, which often don’t receive as much attention as better-publicized crimes like robberies and burglaries.
“The two people who won the award today are doing critical work to try to protect elderly [residents] who are being scammed by folks coming to their houses,” Lopez said. ”This is a scam that’s happening far too often, and it’s hurting the elderly and immigrant populations more than others.
Lopez added that Everest and O’Daniel’s effectiveness in investigating such crimes is “a testament to how good our community policing efforts are in Arlington.”
The 2012 annual Arlington County Fire Department Recognition and Awards Program was held Thursday morning at Fire Station No. 5 in Crystal City. Below banners recognizing the station’s role in responding to the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001, and amid the periodic blare of the fire department dispatch loud speaker, nearly a dozen individual firefighters and paramedics and a dozen fire and EMS crews were recognized for their heroism in the line of duty.
Many of the awards given out on Thursday stemmed from two major incidents.
On Sept. 8, 2011, multiple Arlington rescue crews were dispatched as mutual aid to Fairfax County to assist with widespread flash flooding. Those crews performed daring swift water rescues as flood waters from Tropical Storm Lee trapped motorists in their vehicles.
For helping to rescue 12 individuals stranded in flood waters near I-495 and Telegraph Road, Engine 109 firefighters Corey Sherrill and Joaquin Ibarra received the fire department’s Gold Medal of Valor. For helping to rescue 14 individuals over the course of four hours during the flooding, Engine 107 firefighters Fabian Manino, Frank Rachal, Richard Quinn and Timothy Morgan received the Bronze Medal of Valor. Among those rescued by the firefighters were children, senior citizens and a woman who was eight months pregnant.
The other incident happened in Arlington in the early morning hours of June 1, 2011. Around 1:45 a.m., fire crews were dispatched to a house fire on the 5100 block of N. Carlin Springs Road. As firefighters arrived, a man ran out of the burning house and screamed that his wife was trapped on the second floor.
Responding to his pleas for help, firefighters Alexander Dimoff, Jacob Johnson and Battalion Chief S. Doug Insley climbed a ladder to a second story bedroom. Amid heavy smoke, Johnson found a woman lying unconscious on the floor near the bed. The three men were able to lift the woman and hand her off, through the window, into the arms of firefighters Chad Stamps and Mark Jaquays, at the top of the ladder. While still on the ladder, the two firefighters used their medical training to stabilize the patient — who was in respiratory arrest — and then brought her to the ground level where she was transported to a local hospital.
In a speech before the award presentation, County Board member Chris Zimmerman acknowledged that such dramatic incidents are relatively rare in Arlington, and that the firefighters who stand at the ready to risk their lives every day are heroes in their own right.
“You may not have saved a life this week, but you have saved 210,000 people every day from having to worry about it,” Zimmerman said. “And that’s something that’s… a great service to this community. For that, on behalf of the people of Arlington, I thank you.”
More photos, and a full list of the awards and citations issued this year, after the jump.
TJ Theater to Reopen — The county parks department is hoping to reopen the Thomas Jefferson Community Theater next month. The theater closed for repairs late last summer after damage was found from the Aug. 23 earthquake that shook the region. [Sun Gazette]
Arlington to Host ‘Green Games’ Ceremony — Arlington County is hosting an awards ceremony for its Green Games business sustainability competition. The ceremony will honor achievement in a number of green categories, including energy efficiency, water use, waste diversion and recycling, and transportation choices. “During the year-long competition, more than 100 offices and buildings — representing about 15 million square feet of office space, or one-third of Arlington’s total office space — raced to reduce energy use, waste, and water and set other environmental goals,” the county said in a press release. The ceremony will be held tomorrow morning at Artisphere in Rosslyn. [Arlington County]
W-L Junior Wins National Writing Award — Washington-Lee High School junior Luisa Banchoff has been named a 2012 National Gold Medalist in the annual Scholastic Writing Awards. [Arlington Public Schools]
‘Housing 4 Hipsters’ Attracts a Crowd — Arlington’s inaugural “Housing 4 Hipsters” event attracted a crowd of about 100 young people Monday night, though it seems unlikely that any of the attendees were actually “hipsters” in the literal sense. [Washington City Paper]
ShoeFly to Close — Clarendon shoe store ShoeFly is closing up shop after 10 years in business. The store is planning on holding a going-out-of-business sale. [Washington Business Journal]
Va. Congressional Districts Approved — The U.S. Department of Justice has approved Virginia’s redrawn congressional districts, allowing the state’s congressional primaries to move ahead on time. The primaries are scheduled for June 12. [Office of the Attorney General]
‘Green Patriot’ Award Nominations — George Mason University is seeking nominations for its “Arlington Green Patriot” awards. The award “recognizes an individual, business or organization that exemplifies sustainability in more than one aspect of their recent life or operations to better civic life in Arlington.” An online nomination form is available. The deadline for nominations is March 30.
Arlington Wins Diversity Award — The National League of Cities has presented Arlington with its 2012 Cultural Diversity Award. The awards showcase “examples of how cities achieve excellence in diversity, promotes the positive results of ‘total community collaboration’ and honors community leadership in developing creative and effective programs to improve cultural diversity.” [Arlington County]
Hen Raising Critics Speak Out — Critics of a proposal to allow backyard hen raising in Arlington spoke out during Saturday’s County Board meeting. “Send it to the slaughterhouse,” civic activist Robert Atkins said of the proposal, which is supported by a group called the Arlington Egg Project. Critics say backyard hens could produce noise, odors and neighborly conflicts, among other ill effects. [Sun Gazette]
Hagel to Speak at Marymount Commencement — Arlington-based Marymount University announced yesterday that former U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) will be its 2012 commencement speaker. Hagel will address Marymount grads at D.A.R. Constitution Hall on Sunday, May 20.
Flickr pool photo by Divaknevil
Carolyn Cook, Angela Fox, Anita Friedman and Kathleen Sibert were chosen by the Arlington County Commission on the Status of Women for their contributions to improving the lives of women and girls in Arlington. They will be honored at a ceremony and reception next Tuesday.
At the event, County Manager Barbara Donnellan will moderate a roundtable discussion on women’s education and empowerment.
The ceremony is open to the public and although reservations are not necessary, anyone interested in attending the event at the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (4301 Wilson Blvd) on March 6 can RSVP to Dgates@arlingtonva.us by this Friday, March 2. The evening begins with a reception at 6:30 p.m. followed by the program at 7 p.m. A $25 donation is requested to support CSW.
Here’s the County’s more detailed descriptions of the winners:
- Carolyn Cook is recognized in the Business category for her work empowering girls and women through mentoring, developing the Our Whole Lives curriculum, implementing CampHers, advocating for a women’s heritage train, and volunteerism with the ERA Campaign Network.
- Angela Fox is recognized in the Nonprofit category for her work teaching and training the next generation of women leaders, mentoring girls interested in science and technology, working with young mothers in County schools, hosting networking events for women in the workplace, and working with the Women in Green Forum and the Crystal City Business Improvement District.
- Anita Friedman, chief of the Economic Independence Division of County’s Department of Human Services, is recognized in the government category for her work, together with Arlington Street People’s Assistance Network (A-SPAN), on the 100,000 Homes for 100,000 Homeless Campaign.
- Kathleen Sibert is recognized in the Nonprofit category for her efforts to expand the work of A-SPAN, as it ensures that the unique needs of women are addressed with a dedicated floor, nursing services, and more women in key leadership positions. She is also recognized for her collaboration on the 100,000 Homes for 100,000 Homeless Campaign.
Neighborhood Projects Approved — The Arlington County Board unanimously approved $3.4 million in funding for six neighborhood improvement projects. “This is the third round in funding for key recommended Neighborhood Conservation projects from the 2010 voter-approved $9 million Community Conservation Bond,” the county noted in a press release. [Arlington County]
County Looking for Partner to Spruce Up Farmhouse — The Arlington Department of Parks and Recreation is looking for a charitable individual or organization interested in restoring the historic, county-owned Reevesland farmhouse and estate. The restoration is expected to cost upwards of $1 million. [Sun Gazette]
DESIGNArlington Awards Announced — Arlington County is recognizing outstanding architectural or landscape design through its second-annual DESIGNArlington awards. Among five recipients of the highest “Award of Excellence” this year, three are county-owned buildings and two are private residences. [Arlington County]
John Glenn, Astronaut and Arlingtonian — Astronaut (and U.S. Senator) John Glenn lived in Arlington for about five years around the time he was becoming a celebrity space pioneer. Glenn lived in a single-story home near Williamsburg Junior High School (now Williamsburg Middle School) between 1958 and 1963. [Arlington Public Library]
The awards are given to people who show a consistent dedication to working in the community to advance women’s issues, and to improving the lives of local women and girls.
The three categories are business, non-profit and government. Each nominee is scored on criteria such as engaging other community members to realize her vision, and leaving a lasting impression on the community. Individuals must also live, work or volunteer in Arlington to be eligible.
The first of these awards was given in 1988. In 2010, the name was changed from “Person of Vision Award” to “Women of Vision Award.”
Nominations must be submitted by February 9. Award winners get to attend Arlington County’s Women of Vision awards ceremony on March 8.
Ballston BID to Support Mall Redevelopment — The head of the newly-formed Ballston Business Improvement District says one of her first goals will be “redeveloping” Ballston Common Mall. The BID is trying to get people to think of Ballston as a science and technology hub, rather than a place best known for its “down-on-its-heels” mall. [Connection Newspapers]
‘Winter Wonderland’ Coming to Clarendon — On Saturday, Dec. 10, a family-friendly ‘Winter Wonderland’ event will be held at the Market Common Clarendon shopping center. Santa Claus is expected to arrive at the event by hitching a ride on a fire truck, according to an event flyer. [Market Common Clarendon]
County Announces Human Right Award Winners — From a press release: “A community group and three outstanding individuals are Arlington’s 2011 James B. Hunter Human Rights Award winners.” [Arlington County]
Out of the several dozen nominated local businesses and organizations, the following won in their respective categories after voting by the public:
- Best “Bargain” Restaurant: Lost Dog Cafe
- Best Boutique: ShoeFly
- Best Brunch: Carlyle
- Best Place to Care for Your Pet: Dogma Gourmet Dog Bakery and Boutique
- Best Community-Based Nonproft: Arlington Food Assistance Center
- Best Customer Service: Circa
- Best Place to Dance the Night Away: Clarendon Ballroom
- Best Dessert: Heidelberg Pastry Shop
- Best Family-Friendly Restaurant: Lost Dog Cafe
- Best Happy Hour: Whitlow’s on Wilson
- Best Late Night Spot: Bob & Edith’s Diner
- Best Place to Learn Something New: Arlington Public Library
- Best Neighborhood Bar: Ireland’s Four Courts
- Best New Business: District Taco
- Best Performing Arts Organization: Signature Theater
Out of the 15 categories, 10 had the same winner as last year.
Bomb Threat in Rosslyn — A bomb threat called into Argosy University (1550 Wilson Blvd) around 6:00 last night prompted a large police response. Traffic issues were reported in the Rosslyn area while authorities cordoned off the building and investigated the threat. Eventually, the all-clear was given and the building was reopened.
Arlington’s Top Employers, Past and Present — Arlington County has seen significant turnover in its list of the top local employers over the past decade. Companies like MCI/Worldcom, Qwest and The Hecht Co. made the county’s top 20 employers list in 2002. In 2011, those companies are off the list, while companies like Boeing, The Nature Conservancy and Booz Allen Hamilton are now on the list. [Washington Business Journal]
CivFed Wants Board to Keep Sign Powers — The Arlington Civic Federation wants the County Board to continue exercising discretionary power over signage in the county. A rewrite of the county’s sign ordinance is underway, and is expected to delegate most sign decision-making away from the Board, in favor of more administrative decisions by county staff. [Sun Gazette]
Arlington Wins Tourism Award — Arlington County has won a 2011 Shining Example Award from the Southeast Tourism Society in the “Tourism for Tomorrow” category. The award specifically honored Arlington’s electric Mobile Visitors Center, which serves visitors at six different Metro stations, five days per week. [Arlington County]
Flickr pool photo by Mark C. White
Garvey Announces For County Board — Arlington school board member Libby Garvey, who ran unsuccessfully for state Senate earlier this year, will formally announce next month that she’s running for Senator-elect Barbara Favola’s old seat on the County Board. In an email to supporters, Garvey also said that she will not run for re-election to the school board when her term is up in 2012.
Pike Streetcar Project Moves Forward — The Columbia Pike streetcar project is still on track. “We’re on a schedule to try to get a project going, and we don’t want this to take as long as Dulles rail,” County Board Chairman Chris Zimmerman told WAMU.
Arlington Buildings Recognized — The Northern Virginia chapter of NAIOP, a commercial real estate development association, held its annual awards ceremony yesterday. Among the Arlington winners was the 900 North Glebe Road building in Ballston, which won for “Best Building, 4 Stories and Above;” George Mason University Founders Hall in Virginia Square, which won for “Best Building, Institutional Facility over $20 Million;” and 2800 Crystal Drive in Crystal City, which won for “Best Interiors, Tenant Space 15,000-49,999 square feet.”
Lawyer: Bullying Led to Hawaii Shooting — The lawyer for an Christopher Deedy, a State Department special agent who lives in Arlington, said that Deedy was protecting others when he fatally shot a 23-year-old man in a Waikiki McDonald’s. [Associated Press]
Now’s your chance to make sure your favorite businesses in Arlington get recognized. Voting for the 2011 ABBIE awards begins today.
Nominations for Arlington’s Best Business Awards came via online voting from September 21-October 12. They’ve been narrowed down to the to the top five (and in one case six) finalists in each of 15 categories.
ABBIE winners will receive recognition from the Arlington County Board, a year’s worth of promotion in various local publications, and special placement in the Arlington County Visitors Guide and Map.
Voting runs through November 16. To cast your vote click here.