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by Morgan Fecto — August 5, 2014 at 2:00 pm 824 0

A 9-year-old boy wearing an Arlington County Police Department t-shirt may not seem like a symbol of authority. But for today, he is.

This morning Police Chief M. Douglas Scott swore in Patrick Omberg, the winner of the inaugural “Chief-for-the-Day” essay competition.

“Today is National Night Out, so Patrick you’re going to work until about 10:00 or 11:00 tonight,” Scott joked during his speech at the ceremony.

Outside the police department in Courthouse, 9-year-old Patrick Omberg took an honorary police oath, read an excerpt of his winning essay and received a commemorative plaque before standing for pictures with police and his parents.

On July 8, the Arlington County Police Department announced the contest, which they plan to hold every year from now on. ACPD asked for essay submissions from children, ages 8 to 12, that answered the question: “What does it mean to be a police officer?”

“Based on his essay, it was a pretty easy selection for us,” ACPD spokesman Dustin Sternbeck said. “Even at 9 years old, he seemed to have a good understanding of the police and for our role in the community.”

Omberg said that he wrote about how “the police keep people safe” in his essay, and although he doesn’t know if he wants to be a police officer, he was having fun as an honorary chief. He didn’t have to wrangle drunken pub-crawlers or chase down criminals, but Omberg did get a glimpse at the inner workings of the police department.

“We wanted to show him what life in the Arlington County Police Department could be like,” Sternbeck said. “We want to build positive relationships in the community. It’s been a great experience for us just as much as [it has been] for him.”

Before the ceremony, police picked up Omberg from his house in a patrol car and guided him on a tour of the police station, where they took his fingerprints and introduced him to their K-9 unit.

“My favorite part was seeing the dogs,” Omberg said.

“Do you remember what his name was?” Omberg’s father, Peter, asked his son.

“Drogo,” Omberg said, although the rising fourth-grader didn’t seem to get the “Game Of Thrones” reference in the name.

To cap off his day, Omberg would look at the station’s booking department with the sheriffs and have lunch with Scott, Sternbeck said.

“I can use all the help I can get,” Scott said at the ceremony. “So having someone like you help me [for today], is very much appreciated.”

by ARLnow.com — July 7, 2014 at 9:15 am 4,480 0

50 gun salute ready at Arlington National Cemetery (Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman)

Tips for Staying Cool — The temperature today and tomorrow (Tuesday) is expected to reach the mid-to-upper 90s. To help beat the heat, Arlington County has a list of “hot weather tips for staying cool,” including tips and resources for people and pets. [Arlington County]

Arlington Man Found Dead in D.C. — Arlington resident Michael Hrizuk, 57, was found dead on the ground near Wisconsin Avenue NW in the Glover Park neighborhood last month. The Metropolitan Police Department has not yet determined the manner and cause of Hrizuk’s death and is continuing to investigate the incident. [WUSA 9]

Arlington Hailed as ‘Suburb of the Future’ — Arlington has been transformed from a “sleepy suburb” into a “mid-size city” but has managed to reduce the volume of traffic on main streets, according to an article entitled “The Suburb of the Future is Here.” Says Brookings Institution fellow Christopher Leinberger: “Arlington is the most important suburban place in the country… If you don’t understand Arlington, you don’t understand the future of the country.” [Salon]

O.A.R. to Play Clarendon Ballroom — Rock band O.A.R., which hails from Rockville but has enjoyed national success, will play a private acoustic show at the Clarendon Ballroom on July 17. Tickets to the performance are only available via an ongoing, on-air contest on radio stations 94.7 Fresh FM and 106.7 The Fan. The band recently released its eighth studio album, The Rockville LP. [94.7 Fresh FM]

Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman

by Ethan Rothstein — March 28, 2014 at 10:15 am 512 0

2014 ACPD T-shirt Design Contest flyerThe Arlington Police Beneficiary Association is asking Arlington middle- and high-schoolers to design a T-shirt for Police Week in May.

Students are asked to submit designs for the theme “Honoring the Fallen By Remembering Their Sacrifice,” by Friday, April 4 at 3:00 p.m. Designs are asked to be drawn in marker — with no more than four colors — on a sheet of letter paper. The winning designs will be printed for shirts during Police Week, May 11-17.

The grand prize for the contest is $100 gift card, a press release with the winner’s name and school in it and a free T-shirt with the winning design. Each school’s School Resource Officer will be collecting the submissions, which will be printed on the back of black and/or blue shirts.

by Ethan Rothstein — February 6, 2014 at 12:00 pm 0

An iPhoneA new congressional initiative will allow Arlington high school students to build apps and enter them in a national competition.

Rep. Jim Moran’s (D-Va.) district, which covers Arlington, Alexandria and parts of Fairfax County, is eligible to compete in the first House Student App Challenge. The contest was created to allow high school students to engage in Science Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education and innovation by creating a software application for any platform.

The competition is open to the districts whose Representatives decide to participate, and Moran says the 8th District of Virginia is suited to excel.

“Northern Virginia parents, teachers, and administrators have made enormous investments in challenging and reinforcing the STEM abilities of our students,” said the congressman. “Because of this tremendous exposure, our children are uniquely qualified for this competition.”

Students 13 and older must register and submit a YouTube or Vimeo video demonstration of their app by April 30. The winner will have the video displayed on House.gov and will receive a certificate of excellence.

Apps will be judged on the quality of the idea, programming skill and implementation. Individuals or teams of up to four students can compete. Moran’s website has a list of developer tools and resources for students and teachers interested in competing.

“The U.S. is facing a shortage of 1 million STEM graduates in the next 10 years, a decade that is estimated to create 8.5 million STEM job opportunities,” Moran’s office wrote in a press release. “The House Student App Challenge seeks to address this challenge by encouraging students to create their own app and pursue an education in STEM fields.”

by ARLnow.com — January 29, 2014 at 9:15 am 1,177 0

"Crystal Fountain" decal finalistArlington County has selected its 2014-2015 vehicle decal.

“Crystal Fountain” was the top vote-getter in the annual decal contest, which is decided by votes from residents — 1,409 votes this year, to be precise. The decal was designed by Wakefield High School senior Mobin Fateh. It depicts a scene in the Crystal City Water Park on Crystal Drive.

The decal will grace the windshields of about 160,000 vehicles in Arlington starting this summer.

“I took this picture of Arlington because I like the colors reflected in the fountain,” Fateh said. “The different colors also represent the diversity in Arlington. I’m grateful to be living in such a beautiful and diverse community as Arlington.”

Five finalists were chosen for the contest this year, from a pool of 50 entries. A panel of Arlington residents helped narrow them down. The four decal finalists who didn’t make the final cut were:

  • Mark Love, 9th Grader at Yorktown High School, with his design “Education is a Virtue”
  • Isabel George, 12th Grader at Wakefield High School, with her design “Arlington’s Namesake”
  • Lena Mobin, a 12th Grader at Wakefield High School, with her design “Arlington’s Bright Lights”
  • Gabrielle Young, an 11th Grader at Washington-Lee HS, with her design “Netherlands Carillon”

“This was quite a task for our Citizens’ Panel,” said Chief Deputy Treasurer Carla de la Pava. “There were so many great entries that we ended up with five finalists instead of four.”

by Katie Pyzyk — December 10, 2013 at 3:45 pm 1,360 0

The finalists have been chosen for Arlington’s annual Decal Design Competition and residents will have the chance to choose a favorite later this week.

The contest is open to all Arlington high school students and a citizens’ panel typically narrows down the entries to four finalists. This year, however, five finalists were named because the voting resulted in a tie.

The winning 2014-2015 decal will be announced at a County Board meeting early next year and will be affixed to about 160,000 car windshields beginning next summer.

Each student included a description of his or her design. Excerpts from each are below:

  • Education is a Virtue — “I think my photograph of the Arlington Education Center and the Planetarium represent Arlington’s important focus on students and education.”
  • Netherlands Carrillon — “To me, Arlington represents community and pride. I wanted to depict something in my photo that brings both to mind for me.”
  • Arlington’s Namesake — “The Arlington House and Arlington National Cemetary together help to show the abudance of history that Arlington County has.”
  • Crystal Fountain — “The different colors also represent the diversity in Arlington. I’m grateful to be living in such beautiful and diverse community as Arlington.”
  • Arlington Landmark — “To me, it’s light symbolizes Arlington’s dreams and opportunities. My years in Arlington have showed me that I can grow into whoever I want to be.”

The Arlington County Treasurer’s Office is still updating its website with the decals and the unedited descriptions each student wrote. Residents will be able to vote for their favorite starting on Thursday and running through January 19.

by Katie Pyzyk — August 9, 2013 at 11:00 am 1,756 0

Winning design of ARTists for PAL contest Annemarie Dougherty wins ARTists for PAL contest

An ART bus will be more colorful for the next year, thanks to the winner of the ARTists for PAL Bus Design Contest.

County Board Chair Walter Tejada and County Manager Barbara Donnellan joined in a ceremony on Thursday for the unveiling of the winning bus wrap. They recognized Annemarie Dougherty, who will be an 8th grader at St. Agnes Catholic School in the fall, for her winning design.

Dougherty offered the following description of her design:

“My picture on the bus incorporates the ‘Be a PAL’ theme because the cars, bikes and people are sharing the space and are aware of the street signs. This shows that it is equally important for pedestrians, bikers and drivers to watch out for each other and their surroundings. In addition the street is green reminding people to walk or bike more.”

The contest asked middle and high school students to submit designs in line with the theme “Share Our Streets — Be a PAL.” The 26 entries were narrowed down to three finalists and Arlington residents were able to vote online for their favorite.

The newly wrapped bus will be on display at the Arlington County Fair this weekend. After that, it will take to the streets and will remain decorated for about one year.

All of the other contest entries are on display inside the bus.

by ARLnow.com — June 19, 2013 at 1:30 pm 1,093 0

Arlington residents are being asked to pick the winner of a student design contest.

The “ARTists for PAL Bus Design Contest” challenged Arlington middle and high school students to create a design to be wrapped around an ART bus later this year. The theme of the design is based around Arlington’s “Share Our Streets — Be a PAL” pedestrian and driving safety initiative.

Three finalists (below) were chosen from the 26 entries received by the county. Residents can vote for their favorite online. Voting ends on July 4 and the winner will be announced later this summer.

The winning design will adorn one ART bus for “about a year.”

by Katie Pyzyk — June 6, 2013 at 9:00 am 2,006 0

McDonald's morning light (Flickr pool photo by Wolfkann)

Gourmet Deli Coming to Ballston — Taylor Gourmet, a Philadelphia-inspired hoagie shop, will be opening its first Arlington location. The self-proclaimed “gourmet deli” will be the first business to move in at the Liberty Center South development (4000 Wilson Blvd). Taylor Gourmet has eight other locations in the metro area. [Washington Business Journal]

Fisette Takes Water Bottle Crusade to Civic Association — County Board member Jay Fisette continued his personal crusade to discourage water bottle use during a presentation at the Arlington County Civic Federation meeting. His new goal is to get 10,000 people, or about five percent of the county’s population, to join him in backing the cause. So far, only about 250 people have signed the online pledge to use tap water instead of bottled water. [Sun Gazette]

Arlingtonian Wins Caption Contest — An Arlington resident won this week’s popular The New Yorker Cartoon Caption contest. The magazine staff narrows down the contest entries and readers vote for their favorite. David Karlsruher won the honor of having his witty line seen by readers around the world. [The New Yorker]

Flickr pool photo by Wolfkann

by ARLnow.com — June 4, 2013 at 9:00 am 561 0

Roosevelt Island by J.D. Moore

Wardian Wins Endurance RacesProlific ultra-marathoner and Arlington resident Michael Wardian won the North Face Endurance Challenge D.C. 50 mile race on Saturday, with a time of 6:45:36. Wardian then woke up on Sunday and placed second in the 10K endurance challenge and won the 5K endurance challenge. [North Face]

Arlingtonian Wins Post Hunt — Arlington resident Sean Memon, 35, won the sixth annual Post Hunt over the weekend. Whereas teams of “hunters” usually compete in the life-sized puzzle game, Memon, an attorney, “was the first individual to win a hunt, either in Washington or in South Florida, where the event originated.” [Washington Post]

Anti-Gang Soccer Tourney in Arlington — The Northern Virginia Regional Gang Task Force will hold its 5th annual regional soccer tournament at Washington-Lee high school on June 22. The tournament is open to 100 at-risk youth between the ages of 12 and 16. [Arlington County]

How to Get a Job in Healthcare — A panel presentation at Arlington Central Library on Wednesday will discuss “opportunities, needs and challenges in the health and medical career fields with a special focus on Northern Virginia.” The event is targeted to job seekers. “While we like to think that ALL Library events are memorable, this one probably could change a few lives, judging from the job markets,” said library spokesman Peter Golkin. [Arlington Public Library]

Flickr pool photo by J.D. Moore

by ARLnow.com — April 29, 2013 at 11:15 am 844 0

The Marine Corps War Memorial will host a movie screening on Friday and a ranger-guided history lesson on Sunday.

On Friday, May 3, the memorial will host a screening of the 1949 film Sands of Iwo Jima, starring John Wayne (see movie trailer, above). The public is invited to bring a lawn chair to the reviewing stand to watch the film, which will start at 8:00 p.m.

On Sunday, May 5, from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., park rangers will give talks about little-known secrets of the statue.

A school group at the Iwo Jima memorialAccording to a press release: “Rangers will host activities and offer short talks on the contents of the memorial’s cornerstone, graffiti inside the memorial’s base, and the amazing process by which workers climbed inside the memorial’s figures to piece them together in 1954.”

The events are part of the “Partners in Preservation Open House Weekend.” Partners in Preservation, a partnership between American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation, is currently hosting a contest that lets members of the public vote to direct $1 million worth of preservation funding to  historic places in the D.C. area.

The Marine Corps War Memorial and Arlington House are both in the running. At the moment, however, they’re in 21st and 20th place respectively, out of a total of 24 entrants. The Memorial is seeking funding for a thorough cleaning and waxing.

“The Marine Corps War Memorial will compete for funds to carefully clean, wax, and re-gild the large outdoor sculpture at its center,” said a press release. “Each of the six giant bronze figures accumulates dirt, pollution, bird droppings, pollen, and natural weathering residues that must be removed with specialized pressure washing equipment. Because the statue is depicted with photographic realism, workers will need scaffolding and lifts to reach every angle and crevice of clothing and muscle, from the base of the memorial to its top 60 feet above the ground.”

by ARLnow.com — March 29, 2013 at 9:45 am 1,014 38 Comments

Cherry blossoms in Courthouse

Man Struck by Car in Clarendon Runs Race — Michael Sizemore, 28, is making a remarkable recovery after being struck by a car in Clarendon and nearly dying this past fall. Sizemore, who suffered a fractured skull and two broken legs in the accident, among other injuries, ran a 5K race in Martinsville, Va., near his hometown of Collinsville, this past Saturday. Sizemore’s father, girlfriend, friends and other families were on hand to cheer him on. [Martinsville Bulletin, Facebook]

Residents Speak Out at Tax Rate Hearing — It was a much shorter affair than Tuesday’s nearly four hour public budget hearing, but a public hearing on Arlington County’s proposed tax rate drew a small crowd of activists Thursday night. Those advocating for more affordable housing and social services asked the County Board to raise taxes up to the legal maximum of 5 cents, while budget hawks asked for no tax increase or, at minimum, following the County Manager’s recommendation for a 3.2 cent tax increase. [Sun Gazette]

County to Hold Student ‘ART’ Contest — The county is challenging budding middle school and high school artists in Arlington to design a pedestrian safety-themed “wrap” for buses. The winning entry will be used to wrap one ART bus. The submission deadline is June 3. [Arlington County]

by Katie Pyzyk — March 28, 2013 at 5:25 pm 533 4 Comments

Rough concept for CiviclyWhat if there were a site where you could post online reviews for a variety of local government services, similar to review websites like TripAdvisor and Yelp? That’s the concept a local man hopes will become a million dollar idea.

District resident Josh Glasstetter entered his idea for a website called “Civicly” into the Knight Foundation’s “Knight News Challenge.” This year’s competition offers winners a share of $5 million in funding for entries that best promote open government and present ways to improve interaction between citizens and governments.

Civicly would allow residents to leave reviews for government agencies and services such as the DMV, police, utilities, transportation and public schools. There would be opportunities to leave feedback for both specific and larger scale entities. For example, users could write a review about WMATA in general, just Metrorail, or could review a specific Metro stop.

“The idea is to take something that people are familiar with, such as online reviews, and take into new area like government and the public sector,” Glasstetter said.

Although the concept of giving feedback to government entities isn’t unique in and of itself, the innovation comes through with the idea of allowing the public to see every piece of feedback that’s submitted.

Glasstetter, who works for an advocacy group in the District, said he’s focusing first on D.C., Arlington and Alexandria as pilot areas for launching Civicly. Eventually, it would branch out to other parts of the country.

“Arlington is really a perfect place to try something out like this because of the demographics. I think people would naturally take to it. Folks in Arlington and D.C. are already so accustomed to using these kind of tools,” Glassteetter said. “I think this is the right kind of population to launch this.”

With more than 830 News Challenge submissions, Glasstetter acknowledges the odds of winning are slim, but he remains hopeful.

“There’s no way around it, the odds are very steep,” he said. “But my hope is that regardless of what happens for Civicly in the News Challenge, the idea has been seen by a lot of people. Hopefully that by getting this started and putting ourselves into this contest, we’ll be able to take the proposal and discuss it with foundations and other potential supporters.”

Viewers can give feedback on the proposals through Friday (March 29). Semi-finalists should be announced within the next week and will have the opportunity to further refine their proposals, as well as to submit a funding request ranging from $1,000 to $1,000,000. Winners will be notified when judging ends in June.

by Katie Pyzyk — January 29, 2013 at 5:00 pm 2,048 47 Comments

Arlington County 2013-2014 vehicle decalA high school junior’s graphic design has been chosen to grace Arlington windshields as the county’s winning 2013-2014 vehicle decal.

Ben Jenks, a Washington-Lee High School junior, designed the decal based on this year’s decal competition theme of “USS Arlington.” The theme was chosen to highlight the ship bearing the county’s name that will be commissioned this spring. The USS Arlington is named to honor those who lost their lives at the Pentagon on 9/11 and the first responders who risked their lives.

“I think this decal will be a fine inspiration to the sailors and Marines that will be onboard our ship, the USS Arlington,” said Treasurer Frank O’Leary. “It will also be a fitting tribute to those who died and those who served so heroically on 9/11.”

Jenks’ design was chosen through a county-wide vote after the field of competitors was narrowed from 23 entries to four finalists. The other finalists were Wakefield High School junior Kira Tucker, Wakefield High School junior Isabel George and Washington-Lee High School junior Ben Tobin.

The Treasurer’s Office began the design competition for high school students in 2005. This year, 2,080 votes were cast online and by mail.

by ARLnow.com — December 27, 2012 at 12:00 pm 2,118 24 Comments

Dogs relaxing in the shade at the 2011 Columbia Pike Blues FestivalStarting next week, ARLnow.com will be introducing a new weekly feature intended to highlight some of our furriest and friendliest neighbors.

Each week, we’ll pick a new “Arlington Pet of the Week.” From dogs, cats, birds, fish and everything in between, the feature will include photos and an explanation of what makes that week’s pet so special. The owner of each Pet of the Week will receive a gift card to a local pet store, in addition to the recognition of just how awesome his or her pet is.

If you think your little guy should be a contender for Arlington Pet of the Week, email one or more photos of and a 2-3 paragraph write-up about your pet to steph@arlnow.com. Please also include your name and the neighborhood you live in. All material sent to ARLnow.com may be used for publication.

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