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.”
“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.”
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.
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.
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.”
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
Wardian Wins Endurance Races — Prolific 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
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.
According 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.”
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]
What 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.
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.
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 email@example.com. Please also include your name and the neighborhood you live in. All material sent to ARLnow.com may be used for publication.
For the first time, the 2013-2014 decal contest included a theme. Entrants — the contest is open to Arlington high school students — were told to include a photo of the new USS Arlington in their design. They were also given the option of choosing a background color for the first time.
Arlington residents can vote for their favorite of the four designs via the Arlington County Treasurer website. Voting will close on Thursday, Jan. 24, 2013, and the winner will be announced at the Jan. 29 Arlington County Board meeting.
The winning design will appear on over 155,000 windshields.
Home Sales Up, Prices Down — October home sales in Arlington were up 45 percent by volume, year over year, but prices were down. The average home price decreased to $542,941 from $562,217 in October 2011, which was partially attributed to a larger proportion of rowhouse and townhouse sales in relation to detached single-family homes. [Sun Gazette]
‘Incredible Edible Book Contest’ — On Dec. 1, the Cherrydale Branch Library will hold an “Incredible Edible Book Contest.” Contestants will create something edible to represent a book title, scoring points for cleverness and originality. The entries will be judged by a panel that will include Justin Stegall of Bakeshop and David Guas of Bayou Bakery. [Arlington Public Library]
Arlington Teacher on Date Lab — Jose Fuentes — a teacher at Key Elementary School, we’re told — was set up on a date as part of the Washington Post’s weekly Date Lab feature. Unfortunately, his date was “not really a Clarendon person” and the dinner at Eventide did not lead to a second date. [Washington Post]
Flickr pool photo by Maryva2
All designs for the 2013-2014 decal must feature an image of the USS Arlington, a new Navy ship named after the county in commemoration of the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon. The ship will be commissioned in Hampton Roads, Va. this coming spring.
Four decal design finalists will be announced on Thursday, Dec. 13. The winning decal (chosen by popular vote) will be announced on Jan. 22, 2013. The new decals will be distributed next summer, to be displayed on the windshield of more than 155,000 vehicles in Arlington.