County Seeks Fraud Hotline Vendor — Arlington County has issued a request for proposals for a new fraud hotline. The hotline is intended to provide “a safe and confidential process for employees to report ethical issues anonymously through a third-party vendor and to be assured that their concerns are heard and dealt with.” [InsideNova]
Eden Center Tenants Sue Landlord — Tenants at the Eden Center in Falls Church are suing the shopping center’s landlord, saying that the building is crumbling due to poor maintenance and nothing is being done about it. [Washington Post]
Kudos for Barcroft — The $3 million ballpark at Barcroft Park, which was paid for and is used by George Washington University, has been named the top college baseball facility in the A-10 conference and the 68th-best college ballpark in the nation. [GW Sports]
1812 Overture Concert Tomorrow — The U.S. Army Band “Pershing’s Own” will be performing the famed 1812 Overture Saturday at 7:30 p.m. on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall. The concert will be held at Summerall Field and will feature cannon fire to accompany the classic Tchaikovsky composition. [Ode Street Tribune, U.S. Army Band]
JBMHH Firefighters Battle Arlington Blaze — Firefighters from Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, who often are dispatched on calls in Arlington County as part of a mutual aid agreement, helped to extinguish a fire at a Columbia Pike apartment complex last week. [DVIDS]
Photo courtesy Larry Bowring
The park, at 4200 S. Four Mile Run Drive, is the home field for the baseball team of George Washington University, an A-10 school. The university announced the news earlier this week.
Barcroft Park underwent a $3 million renovation two years ago that upgraded it to a Division I-caliber field. The renovation included expanding the field’s dugouts and adding bullpens, batting cages and artificial turf. Barcroft Park is now “one of the top collegiate facilities in the region,” according to a GW press release.
Next year will be the first time the Colonials host an A-10 championship, although the team won four past championships and competed at the event in 2013 in Charlotte, N.C. GW has played at Barcroft Park since 1993, and has compiled a 331-230-1 record over 23 seasons, the press release said.
The tournament will be held from May 20 to May 23, 2015.
Andrew Alford, a third-grader at Long Branch Elementary School, died for still-unexplained reasons on April 11. This Saturday several groups around Arlington are organizing fundraisers and events to honor his memory.
This Saturday at 6:45 p.m., Arlington Little League, in cooperation with the Mothers of North Arlington, Long Branch PTA and Evolve All Martial Arts, is coordinating a memorial ceremony at Barcroft Sport and Fitness Center (4200 S. Four Mile Run Drive) on baseball field No. 1. Those in attendance are asked to wear orange, Andrew’s favorite color, and to write remembrances of Andrew for his family to keep.
“While for me this is a personal tragedy that I will never recover from, the community has been amazing in their support of Andrew and me in their efforts to honor his memory and the amazing boy he was,” Louisa Marinaccio, Andrew’s mother, told ARLnow.com in an email. “Andrew loved orange, the Pittsburgh Pirates and his momma. He dreamed of pitching for the Pirates in the World Series and owning a mint condition Honus Wagner card.”
In addition to the event Saturday night, the Arlington Little League has pledged to transform the dirt field at Long Branch in Lyon Park into a full-fledged baseball field in an effort they’ve named the Andrew Alford Memorial Project. Marinaccio said Frank Coonelly, the president of the Pittsburgh Pirates, reached out to her and pledged to donate to the fund.
In addition, MONA will start the Andrew Alford Buddy Bench Project, according to Marinaccio, “as an annual community service project with a goal of installing an orange Buddy Bench in Andrew’s honor at every elementary school in Arlington.”
Arlington Little League President Adam Balutis recounted his favorite Andrew story in an email he wrote to the parents of little leaguers.
“He was playing catcher on a close play at the plate, and an opposing player slid hard into Andrew, accidentally hitting him in the face with his cleats,” Balutis wrote. “With dirt and blood all over his face, Andrew’s mother told him that all the girls at school would say he looked cute and tough and cool. She said Andrew refused to wash his face for hours.”
Photos courtesy Louisa Marinaccio
A grand opening was held for the newly renovated Barcroft Baseball Field #6 over the weekend.
The field’s $3 million renovation was paid for by George Washington University. Under an agreement with Arlington County, the school’s baseball team will be able to call the field home for the next 20 years, while the public will still be able to use the renovated facility when it’s not otherwise reserved for GW games or practices.
The new artificial turf field was open for GW’s baseball season last year, but major renovations — including the 500-seat grandstands, heated press box, concession stands, permanent dugouts, GW Colonials-branded entry plaza and reconfigured parking lot — were still under construction during and after the season.
Among those taking part in a ribbon-cutting and first pitch ceremony on Saturday were Arlington County Board Chair Walter Tejada, GW President Steven Knapp and GW Athletic Director Patrick Nero. GW played Quinnipiac after the grand opening festivities, but lost 4-2.
In addition to serving as a home for the GW baseball team, Field #6 will provide Arlington’s recreational youth baseball leagues “with a near major-league experience,” the county said on its website. GW and Arlington County officials say the long-awaited renovations will provide a big boost to the school’s baseball program and to recreational baseball in Arlington.
“Having played baseball at this university, I can speak firsthand about the incredible strides that have been made from where GW Baseball used to call home to this immaculate facility that ranks among the best in the region and in our conference,” GW Head Coach Gregg Ritchie said in a statement. “For all of the ballplayers that have come through GW over the years, Barcroft Park should serve as a nod of thanks for paving the way.”
“This is a great day for baseball in Arlington,” said Tejada. “Through our very successful partnership with GW, Arlington now has its first turf baseball diamond. I want to thank GW baseball for working with us for nearly two decades in what has become a great partnership with our community. We look forward to enjoying many years of great play on this field by both the Colonials and Arlington baseball leagues.”
Liukin is scheduled to meet with fans at the Barcroft Sports and Fitness Center (4200 S. Four Mile Run Drive) at 3:00 p.m. She will answer questions about her gymnastic career and then hold an autograph session. The event is free and hosted by Arlington Gymnastics, a local youth gymnastics organization.
Liukin is in town for the Kellog’s Tour of Gymnastics Champions, which is being held at the Verizon Center in D.C. tomorrow, Nov. 15, at 7:30 p.m. Sixteen youth gymnasts from Arlington have been chosen to perform at the event’s opening ceremony, according to Arlington Gymnastics coach Sonja Clark.
In addition, “three local athletes will be chosen from the group to demo skills on horizontal bar with Jonathan Horton, uneven bars with Gabby Douglas and beam with Nastia Liukin,” Clark said. “This is awesome for the kids.”
Photo via nastialiukin.com
The George Washington University baseball team christened its new $3 million field at Barcroft Park (4200 S. Four Mile Run Drive) last Friday. The team might have lost the first game at its newly-renovated home field, but it was a victory for a Division I athletic program that finally has a Division I-caliber field.
“It was a recreational field before,” coach Steve Mrowka told the GW Hatchet. “You couldn’t really have a solid game there.”
Now, the field has artificial turf, full-sized dugouts and more standard playing dimensions. Mrowka told the Hatchet that he believes the field will improve the team’s play and help with recruitment.
The Arlington County Board approved the plan to renovate Barcroft Field #6 in September, in an agreement with GW that called for the school to pay for all renovations and to split maintenance costs 25/75 with the county. While GW is given priority on the field for games and practices, it is open for use by the community at other times (about 75 percent of playable hours).
Though the team is playing there now, work on the field is not complete. Construction crews are still busy adding features like 500-person seating capacity seating, a new concessions area, permanent dugouts and a reconfigured parking lot.
GW will be playing home games against Shepherd at the field on Saturday and Sunday, starting at 1:00 p.m. See a full game schedule on the GW Baseball website.
The county’s big event is on Sunday at Washington-Lee High School (1301 N. Stafford St) from 7:00-9:00 p.m. The tribute includes a variety of performances, including a keynote address from Howard University’s Dr. Wilmer Leon, gospel music from Larry Bland and the Volunteer Choir, and a dance tribute by Urban Artistry. The Arlington Food Assistance Center (AFAC) will be accepting non-perishable food donations at the program.
Monday is a nationwide Day of Service to honor Dr. King’s call to serve. AFAC is looking for volunteers to help with food drives at the Giant grocery stores on Columbia Pike (2501 9th Rd S.), at Virginia Square (3450 Washington Blvd), at Lyon Village (3115 Lee Hwy) and at Bailey’s Crossroads in Falls Church (3480 S. Jefferson St). Anyone interested can sign up on the AFAC website.
Volunteer Emergency Support Team (VEST) members will host an event on Monday outside the Barcroft Sports and Fitness Center (4200 S. Four Mile Run) from 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. to distribute emergency preparedness information. Volunteers can sign up on the VEST website.
Also as part of the Day of Service, volunteers are invited to spend Monday afternoon at Long Branch Nature Center to remove invasive plant species. Participants must be at least 10 years old and are encouraged to wear rugged clothes and work gloves. For more information, contact Steve Young at 703-578-4419.
Individuals and families are invited to help in the neighborhood and stream clean-up near Barcroft Park on Monday from 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. Volunteers will clean up portions of Four Mile Run Road and stream. Due to the popularity of this event, volunteers must register.
Arlington government offices, schools and libraries will be closed on Monday. Metro and ART will be running on a holiday schedule. Metro will also be doing major work on the Orange and Blue lines during the long weekend, starting at 10:00 p.m. on Friday.
Happy Hanukkah! — The Jewish holiday of Hanukkah starts at sunset tonight. Also known as the Festival of Lights, Hanukkah runs through Wednesday, Dec. 28.
Barcroft Construction Enters Phase Two — The initial demolition phase of the construction of a new baseball field in Barcroft Park has concluded. Crews are now moving on to the field’s construction phase. Work on the $3 million project, which is being paid for by George Washington University, is expected to wrap up in Spring 2012. The field will be used by GW’s baseball team but will also be available for public use. [GW Sports]
Bill Would Make Parties Pay for Primaries — Taxpayers currently pick up the tab for the cost of running primary elections in Virginia, but that could change if a piece of proposed legislation passes the General Assembly this year. The bill would make political parties pay for primary elections, but would also give parties the option of holding caucuses. It costs about $50,000 to run a primary election in Arlington. [Sun Gazette]
Large Arlandria Development Approved — A major residential development is being undertaken just across the Arlington border. Over the weekend, the Alexandria City Council approved a new six-story, 478-unit apartment complex in the Arlandria section of the city. The apartment building — dubbed Arlandria Center — will replace a strip shopping center, but will include 53,000 square feet of ground floor retail space. It is part of an effort to redevelop a portion of the “village center” of Mount Vernon Avenue. [Washington Post]
The family-friendly event, which will take place from 8:00 a.m. to noon on Saturday, is a fundraiser for the non-profit, Barcroft Park-based Phoenix Bikes shop. Registration is $5 for individuals and $10 for families. The first 280 registrants will receive a t-shirt, free food from Chick-Fil-A and refreshments.
The ride begins at 8:00 a.m. at Barcroft Park (4200 S. Four Mile Run Drive), and takes riders on a 17-mile loop around Arlington via the W&OD, Custis, Mt. Vernon and Four Mile Run Trails. Children’s activities, including a bike rodeo, kids dance fitness class, cycling safety instructions and a health fair, begin at 10:00 a.m.
“The Fun Ride promotes family fitness and provides support for Phoenix Bikes, a community bike shop empowering at-risk youth,” organizers say. “Our environmentally and fiscally sustainable bike shop helps Arlington teens become successful social entrepreneurs and benefits the entire community.”
The ride’s 25+ sponsors include Arlington County and Arlington Public Schools. County Board member Walter Tejada will serve as the ride’s Grand Marshall.
Last night the Arlington County Board unanimously approved a plan that will provide at least $3 million for major improvements to the ball field, paid in full by George Washington University. GWU’s baseball team has used Barcroft as its home field since 1992, and has long desired a venue more on par with other universities.
Under a new 20-year agreement, GWU will pay all upgrade costs while splitting annual maintenance costs 25/75 with Arlington County. The maintenance split reflects the agreement that GWU will have access to the field for 25 percent of available hours while the county will be able to provide public access to the field for 75 percent of available hours.
County staff estimated Arlington’s yearly share of maintenance and repair costs for the field at between $25,000 to $40,000.
“GWU’s contribution will make Field #6 the best baseball field in Arlington, while the community will have even more use of the field than it has now,” County Board Chairman Chris Zimmerman said in a statement. “This is a great example of how local government can leverage public-private partnerships to bring real benefits to the community.”
A major component of the upgrade is a new artificial turf field — a first for an Arlington County baseball diamond. Other planned upgrades include new fencing, dugouts, bullpens, batting cages and stadium seating, as well as a new entry plaza, press box, concession area, and parking lot layout. Possible future changes include new restrooms, locker rooms and a new scoreboard. There are no planned changes to the field’s lighting system.
“This is a great opportunity to provide a modern facility for both GW student-athletes and the youth of northern Virginia, and we thank Arlington County for its support of this transformational project,” said GWU athletic director Patrick Nero.
GWU is hoping to upgrade the field in time for the spring baseball season. Construction is expected to begin next month, with the field reopening in March 2012.
George Washington University, which uses Barcroft as the home field for its baseball team, is proposing to fully-fund a number of enhancements to the field, including artificial turf, dugouts, new restrooms, new stadium seating, a press box, a bullpen and concession stands. The field’s existing dark sky lighting would not be changed.
The parks department will discuss the proposed changes with the community at a public meeting on Tuesday, at 7:30 p.m. The meeting is being held at the Fairlington Community Center (3308 S. Stafford Street), in room 118.
The County Board is expected to consider the renovation proposal at its Sept. 17 meeting. If approved, construction is expected to begin this fall and be complete by March 2012.
The university has played at Barcroft for nearly 20 years, under an arrangement that made GW responsible for some of the field’s maintenance. Under the proposal, GW will continue to pay a portion of the maintenance costs, in addition to the full cost of the renovations. The field’s usage by the baseball team will remain the same.
Improvements could be coming to the main baseball field at Barcroft Park.
The Arlington County Parks Department is in talks with George Washington University, which uses the field for its baseball team’s home games, to fund new turf and other amenities, like restrooms, concession stands, a press box and a scoreboard. Upgrades to the existing field lights are not part of the discussion, the parks department said.
In exchange for use of the field, GWU currently is responsible for its routine maintenance, upkeep and improvements.
“Support from GWU to enhance the field is consistent with the Barcroft Park Master Plan, approved by the County Board in 1999,” the parks department said in a statement. “The County’s Sports Commission has been interested in securing GWU’s financial support for the renovation and upgrade of this field for many years and will be part of the process to develop the specifics of any partnership with GWU. This and similar partnerships allow the County to draw on non-tax dollars to upkeep and renovate community amenities.”
A public forum will be held next week to discuss the plan. The meeting will be held at the Fairlington Community Center (3308 S. Stafford Street) on Wednesday, June 22 at 7:00 p.m.
Girls’ fast pitch softball teams from around the region will converge on Arlington this weekend for the ninth annual First Responders’ Cup tournament. The tournament is held to “celebrate the heroism of the Arlington Fire and Police who were the first at the Pentagon” on 9/11.
Games will be held at the Barcroft Sports Complex, Jennie Dean Fields (near Shirlington) and the Wakefield High School softball fields.
At 7:30 Saturday morning, an opening ceremony will be held at Barcroft. It will feature the Army Old Guard Ceremonial Fife and Drum Brigade, along with WJLA sports reporter Britt McHenry, Arlington County Manager Michael Brown, Police Chief Douglas Scott, and Fire Chief James Schwartz.
Photo courtesy First Responders Cup.
The group, which cleaned up the portion of the stream that runs through Barcroft Park, filled 28 trash bags with items found in or around the water. Among the items they found were a bicycle, a computer, a 70 pound metal beam and — most amazingly — the severed head of a goat, horns and all.
“I have no clue what it was doing down there amongst the plastic bottles, pens, styrofoam cups, baseballs, etc… but it smelled quite foul and we bagged it with all the other garbage,” Dan Bronson of Arlington’s Community Volunteer Network wrote in an email. “It still had the skin on it so it hadn’t been there too long.”
Bronson said “everyone was mystified” as to how the goat’s head got here in the first place. One theory was that it washed downstream during Thursday’s storm.
To say the least.
Saturday’s stream clean-up was a joint effort of several volunteer organizations. There were six wounded warriors on hand from the veteran groups Team River Runner and The Mission Continues. Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment and the Community Volunteer Network sent volunteers and helped to organize the event. A couple of Lockheed Martin employees also joined the clean-up.
In addition to the stream clean-up, volunteers also pulled and threw away a number of invasive plants found around the park.
You wouldn’t know a production with lofty international goals was taking place by the look of things. The catering consisted of a folding table and some Domino’s pizza boxes. The primary camera was an aging standard def digital camcorder. A wheelchair was being used as a dolly. There were no lights set up, no technicians running cables. The director’s mother was one of the dozen or so extras.
But the modest production values didn’t seem to limit the imagination of the producers, most of whom emigrated to the DC area from various parts of Africa. They are on a quest — perhaps a bit quixotic, but a quest nonetheless — to have their catchy dance song, “Twenty Ten In Africa,” played at the World Cup (listen to it here).
“I want this to be the people’s song,” said Nkeng “Mr. Cole” Alemanji, the song’s writer, producer and video director. He said the first pick for the official 2010 World Cup song was a unpopular with Africans because it was performed by pop star Shakira, who is South American. FIFA, the World Cup’s governing body, should adopt his song because it’s written and performed by Africans, he said.
Alemanji, who runs the Alexandria-based production company Songs From Above, says he was personally inspired to write “Twenty Ten In Africa” after seeing soccer’s “ability to bring people together” during Cameroon’s run for the World Cup in 1990, a time of economic and political upheaval in his native country.
“If people like the song, they’re going to demand it,” said Ajua “A.J.” Alemanji, Nkeng’s brother. Together, the brothers are working to get the song played on radio stations in eastern, western and southern Africa. They say it should begin playing in Johannesburg within a week.