Thousands of Armed Protesters Expected on July 4 — Pro-gun activists are planning an open carry protest march from Arlington National Cemetery, across the Memorial Bridge and into D.C. The protest, which is being organized on Facebook, is to take place on July 4. Participants are encouraged to march with loaded rifles slung across their backs. More than 2,000 have indicated their intention to participate in the “non-violent event.” [Huffington Post]
DJO Softball Finishes 24-1 — The elite Bishop O’Connell softball team has finished the regular season with a 24-1 record after consecutive victories against Yorktown and Paul VI. The nationally-ranked Knights will now advance to the playoffs. [Sun Gazette]
Too-Tall Parking Meters Being Replaced — A manufacturer of Arlington’s multi-space parking meters is replacing 16 meters that don’t meet current Americans with Disabilities Act requirements because they’re too tall. The replacements are being done at no cost to the county. [Arlington Mercury]
New Bus Shelters Vandalized in Arlandria — There has been a wave of vandalism directed toward new glass-paned bus shelters in the Arlandria section of Alexandria, adjacent to Arlington. [The Arlandrian]
Flickr pool photo by Maryva2
Arlington Outpaced in Home Sale Prices – Falls Church, Alexandria, Fairfax County and D.C. have all outpaced Arlington when it comes to growth in home sale prices. Prices in Arlington increased only 1.1 percent year over year in March, and year-to-date prices are down 1 percent, according to data from RealEstate Business Intelligence. The median home sale price in Arlington hit $515,000 in March. [Washington Post]
O’Connell Defeats Stone Bridge — The highly-ranked Bishop O’Connell softball team defeated their closest competitors in Virginia, Stone Bridge, by a score of 3-0 last night. The Knights improved to 10-0, and remain ranked No. 2 in the region. The team will face No. 9 McLean and No. 1 Northern (ranked second in the country; DJO is ranked third) later this month. [Washington Post]
Kanninen Wants More Responsiveness — Barbara Kanninen says she’s running for Arlington School Board because she wants the board to be more responsive to the concerns of parents. “There’s a lot of parent dissatisfaction,” she said in an interview with the Sun Gazette. Of her opponent, incumbent James Lander, she said “it truly isn’t about him, specifically.” [Sun Gazette]
Remembering WEAM — “Our Man in Arlington” columnist Charlie Clark takes a trip down Memory Lane and remembers the Arlington-based AM radio station WEAM. The station used to play pop and rock hits from a studio located “above Minor Hill, off Williamsburg Blvd.” [Falls Church News-Press]
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.
A car flipped its roof near Bishop O’Connell High School this afternoon.
The accident occurred at the four-way intersection of N. Van Buren Street, 28th Street N. and N. Little Falls Road, one block away from Bishop O’Connell in the East Falls Church neighborhood. The one-vehicle wreck ended with the four-door Saab on its roof and a street sign ripped from the ground.
There appeared to be at least two male occupants of the car, both of whom were high school students. No injuries were reported.
The Bishop O’Connell softball team went 27-1 last year, capturing their 17th Virginia Independent Schools state title in 19 years and their 9th straight Washington Catholic Athletic Conference championship.
The team seemingly has no place to go but down. In fact, in preseason rankings by MaxPreps.com, there are only two teams in the country with higher expectations. The Knights ranked #3 in the national rankings, just below Northern (Owings, Md.) and Amador Valley (Pleasonton, Calif.).
All-American pitcher Tori Finucane and catcher Jillian Ferraro, who have committed to Missouri and UNC respectively, are back for their senior seasons. Finucane was named to the MaxPreps 2013 preseason All-American first team, and Ferraro to the All-American second team.
Finucane had a improbable 0.09 ERA and 332 strikeouts last year, and Ferraro chalked up a .542 batting average, 55 RBIs and 8 home runs.
According to a school-issued news release: “Other mainstays in this year’s lineup promise to be Hayley Metcalf (.488 batting average), Amanda Ehlers (.438) and Mary Burk (.310) with newcomers Olivia Giaquinto and Jenna Spille expected to contribute right away.”
Spring softball practices are now in full swing and O’Connell will open its season at home at 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday, March 12 in a game against St. Mary’s Ryken. The rest of the school’s softball schedule can be found on the Bishop O’Connell website.
Photo via Bishop O’Connell
Wakefield, O’Connell Advance in Tournaments — In high school basketball news, last night the Wakefield Warriors defeated Mountain View 83-76 to advance to the state semifinals, to be played Monday night. Earlier this week the Bishop O’Connell Knights defeated St. John’s 58-53 to capture the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference tournament championship. After a quarterfinal victory, DJO will now play in the Virginia Independent School Athletic Association Division I tournament semifinals tonight. [Washington Post, Sun Gazette]
Parents Upset With School Boundary Changes — At a meeting Wednesday night, numerous parents expressed displeasure with Arlington Public Schools’ proposed elementary boundary changes. The changes are necessary due to overcrowding and the upcoming addition of a new elementary school. [Patch]
County Event to Highlight Intellectual Disabilities — On Tuesday morning, Arlington County will hold an “awards program and proclamation ceremony establishing Including People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Month as March 2013″ The county says it “is committed to empowering and supporting persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities to achieve healthy self-determined lifestyles through community-based education, living arrangements, employment, and other individualized support services.” [Arlington County]
Metro Seeks Input on Pershing-Rt 50 Bus Service — Metro will be holding two public meetings in Arlington next week to discuss potential improvements to the Metrobus 4A, B, E and H lines, also known as the Pershing Drive-Arlington Blvd line. [WMATA]
The Wakefield Warriors boys basketball team will advance to the Virginia AAA tournament, despite a heart-breaking loss in the Northern Region finals.
By making it to the regional finals, the Warriors received a berth in the Virginia High School League state tournament. Wakefield will now face Mountain View at the Siegel Center in Richmond at 5:30 p.m. this coming Thursday, Feb. 28, according to the Wakefield High School Athletics Facebook page.
Wakefield isn’t the only Arlington high school making a tournament run. Bishop O’Connell defeated Paul VI on Sunday to advance to the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference finals. DJO will face St. John’s at 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday at American University’s Bender Arena.
Photos courtesy Rob Laybourn
Girl Scout Cookie Sales Start Tonight — As a reminder, Girl Scout Cookie booth sales start at 3:00 today in Arlington. The first day of booth sales might be a bit soggy, as a wintry mix of snow, sleet, freezing rain and rain is expected to start early this afternoon.
AP Scores Edge Up for APS Students — The average Advanced Placement exam score for Arlington Public Schools students edged up from 2.88 in 2011 to 2.89 last year. In 2010, however, the average for APS was 3.08. The national average is 2.83, on a 1 to 5 scale. [Sun Gazette]
DJO, Marymount Sign Baseball Agreement — Bishop O’Connell High School and Marymount University have finalized a joint use agreement for the high school’s new baseball field. “The future of Catholic education depends on strong partnerships between our high schools and universities,” said outgoing Bishop O’Connell President Kathleen Prebble. [Arlington Catholic Herald]
Arlington Homes For <$500k –A real estate blog has found 15 “starter homes” under $500,000 on the market in Arlington. “All of the properties… come with at least one parking space,” writes Amy Rose Dobson of Curbed. “Most of them have just entered the market within the past week and will probably move fast.” [Curbed]
Flickr pool photo by Wolfkann
Parents and students at the private Catholic institution, in Arlington’s East Falls Church neighborhood, were informed of the resignation this afternoon. Prebble is leaving to take another job outside of the Catholic Diocese of Arlington, diocese spokesman Michael Donohue told ARLnow.com.
Prebble, a 1974 Catholic University graduate, joined O’Connell in 2010 after serving as president of a college preparatory school in Georgia. Barry Breen, O’Connell’s president before Prebble, resigned after five years.
The diocese says it will begin a search for a new president “soon,” although a final decision has not yet been made about whether to keep the current leadership structure of the school, which includes both a president and a school principal.
On Twitter, Bishop O’Connell students seemed pleased with Prebble’s resignation. One called it “a graduation present to the Class of 2013.”
Another said the resignation was “better late than never,” while referencing a controversial decision last year to fire John Harrison, a beloved social studies teacher.
Prebble sent the following letter to parents at 3:15 p.m. today (Monday).
Dear Bishop O’Connell Community,
I write to you today to inform you that I will be leaving Bishop O’Connell in June 2013. It has been my distinct privilege to serve as the school’s president since July 2010. The 1,200 students who grace the halls of our school every day are a remarkable and diverse group of young men and women eager to establish themselves as the leaders of tomorrow. I will miss them dearly as well as the dedicated faculty and staff who work incredibly hard to guide them through these wonderful and exciting high school years.
With the completion of the renovation of our athletic fields and two new chemistry labs, as well as the plans to complete several more labs this summer, Bishop O’Connell is strategically positioned to offer a first class facility for students for years to come.
I am enthusiastic about our work with our new Strategic Plan and our initial efforts to create a Facility Master Site Plan. The next few months will be busy as we work diligently to strengthen our Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) program and plan the addition of our second engineering course. Our STEM curriculum continues to grow, and O’Connell is set to become one of only two private high schools in the greater Washington DC area to offer a Project Lead the Way school curriculum in engineering.
I have been inspired by O’Connell’s spirit and traditions and am a better person for being guided by the IHM Sisters. Many of you may know that years ago Mother Teresa visited O’Connell and spoke to our students. Her message of love and compassion continues to fill the heart of our community. I will faithfully serve our community over the next few months and wish only the best for O’Connell. It is always a great day to be a Knight.
In a letter, Diocese of Arlington Superintendent of Schools Sister Bernadette McManigal said Prebble “has served the school, the Diocese and Catholic Education well.”
A long list of accomplishments are directly attributable to Katy’s leadership. The most visible examples include remodeled science labs, the addition of a global studies program, attractive and safe athletic fields, dual enrollment courses with Marymount, new seats in the school auditorium and the addition of pre-engineering courses in the curriculum. An impressive list! Katy was tireless in her zeal for the students and faculty at Bishop O’Connell High School.
Bishop Paul S. Loverde joins me in thanking Katy for her service and in wishing her well in her next endeavors. We will miss her.
Author to Discuss Potomac River — Local author Garrett Peck will discuss his book, The Potomac River: A History and a Guide, at Arlington Central Library (1015 N. Quincy Street) tonight. The free event will be held at the library’s auditorium from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. [Arlington Public Library]
Yorktown Wins, Again — The Yorktown Patriots varsity football squad chalked up another big win on Friday. The team defeated the Herndon Hornets by a score of 51-21. Bishop O’Connell also won on Friday, beating the St. Mary’s Ryken 17-13 on the road. Washington-Lee and Wakefield both lost. [Sun Gazette]
Cuccinelli Coming to Arlington for Constitution Day — Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli will celebrate today’s Constitution Day observance with the Arlington Falls Church Young Republicans. The group is hosting Cuccinelli at RiRa Irish Pub (2915 Wilson Blvd) in Clarendon starting at 7:00 p.m. [Facebook]
Author Event to Discuss Soldiers –Arlington Public Library is holding an author event next week with George Mason University Professor Christopher Hamner. Hamner, author of “Enduring Battle,” will discuss the evolution of the American soldier from the Revolutionary War to the Civil War to World War II. The talk is scheduled on Aug. 30 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Arlington Central Library (1015 N. Quincy Street). [Arlington Public Library]
Street Sweeping Underway — Arlington County has begun its annual street sweeping program. The sweeping is being grouped into 11 different “street sweeping zones.” Parked cars must be moved from the streets in each zone on the days designated for street sweeping. About 814 “lane miles” will be swept by the time the program ends on Oct. 29. [Arlington County]
O’Connell to Open New Field — Work on Bishop O’Connell High School’s new stadium and synthetic athletic field is complete. The first major event at the stadium will be a varsity football game at 3:00 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 31. [Sun Gazette]
Resident’s Fact-Checking Org Profiled — PolitiFact, a journalistic organization dedicated to fact checking politicians and political ads, is turning five years old. The organization, which is currently busy assigning “Truth-O-Meter” rankings to statements from the U.S. presidential race, is headed by Bill Adair, an Arlington resident. [Nieman Journalism Lab]
Photo courtesy Captain Pup McPuppo
Four Mile Run Rapist Still on the Loose — Arlington County police are still looking for a man who raped a woman on the Four Mile Run Trail two weeks ago. Police are issuing warnings to women who use the trail, in English and in Spanish. Officers are also patrolling the trail on bike and motorcycles. [WJLA]
Marymount, O’Connell Teaming Up for Baseball Field — Marymount University will be adding a varsity baseball team to its athletic program after striking a deal with Bishop O’Connell High School to use the school’s baseball field. Marymount will fund the renovation of the O’Connell’s field to NCAA standards, in exchange for partial use of the field. Marymount hopes to have the baseball team ready for its first season by Spring 2014. [Sun Gazette]
N. Va. Critical to Obama Re-Election — The road to the White House runs through Northern Virginia, according to some political watchers. Experts say President Obama must score a big victory in Northern Virginia in order to capture the Commonwealth, one of three crucial, hotly-contested swing states. As a result, residents can expect a bombardment of political ads this fall. [WUSA 9]
Flickr pool photo by Damiec
Bishop O’Connell Grad Selected in NBA Draft — Bishop O’Connell High School standout Kendall Marshall has been drafted by the Phoenix Suns in the first round of the NBA Draft. Marshall, a point guard, is being touted as a possible replacement to Steve Nash. [Washington Post, Bleacher Report]
Citizens Ask for Farmhouse Restoration – A group of residents is urging the Arlington County Board to spend some $1 million to restore the county-owned Reevesland farmhouse and convert it into a nature and sustainability learning center. At the moment, the county is attempting to find a commercial tenant to foot the bill for the pricey restoration. [Sun Gazette]
Closures for Parade This Weekend — Parts of Shirlington Road, Four Mile Run Drive and S. Walter Reed Drive will be closed Saturday afternoon to make way for the “Agrobol Parade.” [Arlington County Police Department]
Library Honored for Environmental Innovation — Arlington Public Library has been named the Urban Libraries Council’s 2012 “Top Innovator for Sustainability.” [Library Blog]
AIM Awarded for ‘Overall Excellence’ — Arlington Independent Media has received an award for “Overall Excellence in Public Access” in the 2012 Hometown Media Competition. AIM won in the category for public access stations with budgets over $650,000. It’s the eighth time AIM has won the award since 1990. “Overall Excellence” award recipients in other categories included two local operations: Fairfax County Government Channel 16 and Montgomery Community Media. [Alliance for Community Media]
Flickr pool photo by Philliefan99
Arlington Schools Make Washington Post List — All four Arlington public high schools have been ranked in the top 1 percent of all high schools in the U.S. by the Washington Post. The Post’s “Challenge Index” ranked H-B Woodlawn 48th in the nation and 2nd in the region, the highest ranking among the Arlington schools. [Arlington Public Schools]
Bishop O’Connell Softball Team Wins State Championship — For the 17th time in 19 years, the Bishop O’Connell Knights softball team has captured the Virginia Independent Schools Division I state championship trophy. The team had a 27-1 record this year. [Sun Gazette]
Arlington Named Bike-Friendly City — Arlington has been named the 23rd most bike-friendly “city” in the country by Bicycling Magazine. The publication looked at areas with “robust cycling infrastructure and a vibrant bike culture.” [Bicycling]
Zimmerman to Visit France — Arlington County Board member Chris Zimmerman will be visiting three cities in France next month in order to study ways to make Arlington less car-dependent. [Transportation Nation]
Some 150 students took to the streets outside Bishop O’Connell High School yesterday to protest the firing of John Harrison, a beloved social studies teacher.
More than 2,600 people have joined a Facebook group called “DJO Alumni against the firing of Mr. Harrison.” In a letter posted on the Facebook group, Harrison says he was told he wasn’t going to have his contract renewed next year so that an assistant to the school’s new football coach could take his job. After students started protesting, he says, the school fired him.
ABC 7 covered the firing and the protests last night (see video, above). Bishop O’Connell officials told the station that they couldn’t discuss individual personnel matters.