A quiet life of fostering potbellied pigs, llamas and alpacas on a farm in Prince William County is what lies ahead for Curtis Stilwell. What lies behind Captain II Stilwell is 33 years of service to the Arlington County Fire Department, including the last three as station commander for Fire Station 7 in Fairlington.
Stilwell retired last month, working his last 24-hour shift on Halloween.
Station 7 is known as “The Little House” around the department, according to Fire Chief Jim Schwartz; it’s the smallest house and has just four staffers at a time on a single engine. It’s a small building that opens up right into the captain’s office, where there are plaques on the wall and trophies in a case for serving on Sept. 11, 2001, and for the station winning the 2006 Metro Fire Department Bus Rodeo.
When ARLnow.com visited Stilwell on his last day, he was relaxing at his desk, listening to the radio and reminiscing about old times with Capt. John Snyder, himself a 29-year veteran of the department. Stilwell said he wasn’t one of the people who grew up dreaming of being a firefighter. After serving in the U.S. Navy, he was going to school with money from the GI Bill and working at Sears, but wanted something more stable.
“I just needed a job with regular income and insurance,” he said. After 33 years, though, “I wouldn’t change a second or day of it. You see people at their worst and they thank you for helping them. It’s very humbling.”
Humbled is how Schwartz sounds when he talks about Stilwell’s devotion to charity work in his off time. He’s worked for years as a counselor at the Mid-Atlantic Burn Camp, a gathering place for burn victims to go meet other victims and “not feel so alone.” Stilwell has also been the treasurer of the region’s Aluminum Cans for Burned Children program for more than 20 years.
Stilwell’s stepdaughter is a burn victim, and his eyes start to water when he talks about his work with burn victims and their struggles. It’s far more emotional and personal for him than anything he discusses of being on the job for three decades, including working during Sept. 11.
“When you’re a burn survivor and have a significant injury, people know it,” he said. “A lot of these victims are kids and they just want to feel like they belong, like there’s nothing wrong with them.”
Stilwell’s wife, Renée, works in fire education for the Fairfax County Fire Department. Stilwell was taking care of his mother-in-law on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001 after working a shift, when he saw the news and called his wife, telling her he had to go to work. Renée soon joined him.
It would be two weeks until either of them returned home.
“I remember driving on I-66 and it was deserted, like a science fiction movie where everyone disappeared,” he said. “After we got there, they divided everyone into groups doing different things. We were assigned to go in with the FBI and assist with finding victims in the rubble. Not to be too graphic, but we were basically looking for body parts.”
Stilwell’s career started at Fire Station 3 in Cherrydale in 1981. He worked for years in the Fire Prevention Office, and that’s where he left his biggest mark on the county, Schwartz said, setting guidance in not only how the community could prevent fires, but how firefighters protected themselves.
“Early in my career, [Stilwell] was a firefighter with experience that helped to guide many of us who were new to the job,” Schwartz said. “Over time, as we progressed through the ranks, he became one of the guys I most relied on as one of my senior leaders.” (more…)
STEM Preschool was approved by the Arlington County Board last night for a use permit at 3120 S. Abingdon Street, in the 74-year-old building once occupied by Frosty’s Heating and Cooling, next to Fire Station 7.
“We have a need in our community for daycare, for childcare,” County Board Chair Jay Fisette said before the Board unanimously approved the application. “As we get more families, day care is a really important service to provide. I think this is going to be a great addition to the Fairlington community.”
The preschool is owned by Portia Moore, who owns P&E Babysitting, a service that caters largely to North Arlington families and has a five-star rating on Yelp. Moore started the babysitting business while she was a teacher for Arlington Public Schools. She taught for three yeas at Thomas Jefferson Middle School, one at Swanson Middle School and one at Patrick Henry Elementary School, in the preschool program.
Moore said she wanted to start a preschool focused on STEM education ever since she was getting her master’s degree from Marymount University and visited the elementary school programs at Ft. Belvoir.
“They have an amazing program there, with interactive labs with kindergarteners,” Moore told ARLnow.com this morning. “It was hands on, not just reading off the board. The children would learn through touching things and labs. It was interesting to me, and I thought younger kids could learn just like that.”
Moore said that there will be about 11 staff members trained in early STEM education, including a director with a master’s degree in early childhood education. She won’t be closing the babysitting business — “I think my clients would kill me,” she said — and she had hoped to be closer to her clientele, but said she fell in love with the space.
“There’s an outdoor play area in the back, and a lot of places in Arlington don’t have any land for that,” she said. As a requirement of her use permit, county staff mandated that the playground Moore plans to build is fenced in for the children’s safety.
Inside the school, there will be hands on activities to get the children to engage in STEM education, like plants, a butterfly garden to observe an insect’s life cycle and a “water table” to observe the phases of water. “Everything will be integrated,” Moore said, “the kids won’t just be doing science during science time, there will be math components, too.”
Now that the permit is approved, Moore said only building permits are left before construction can begin. She estimates the school will open on Jan. 20, the day after Martin Luther King Day. The center plans to operate 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. There are 15 parking spaces in the lot, but staff approved the site, pointing out nearby street parking is readily available for staff to use.
Photo via Google Maps
Residents in Fairlington won’t have to go as far to get fresh produce, starting next year. On Saturday, Arlington County Board members unanimously approved allowing a an open-air farmers market in Fairlington.
The market will take place at the Fairlington Community Center (3308 S. Stafford Street) from 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. on Sundays from April through November. The special use permit allows for 15 to 20 vendors and up to 29 tents on a pedestrian path behind the community center.
The use permit will allow the Arlington-based nonprofit Field to Table, Inc., to operate the market. That’s the same organization running the Westover farmers market. In order to accommodate concerns about noise, no amplified music or speakers of any kind will be allowed.
Nearly a dozen residents showed up to express their opinions of how the market may affect the community. With one exception, all the speakers supported the market.
“Farmers markets are intended to be neighborhood affairs,” said resident Douglas Penn. “It’s a natural enhancement to a community that already exists. It’s another jewel in the crown.”
Some residents previously had expressed concern that a farmers market at the community center would affect parking. County staff notes that the market is on several bus lines and there is ample free parking in the area. The special use permit will come up for renewal in October 2015, and Board members say at that time they would address any parking concerns that may still exist. The Board also has the authority to examine formal complaints before the permit comes up for renewal.
“I do think this is a good thing. I am aware that there are some folks that are upset. Which is part of the reason I’m going to look at the parking and try to reassure them. But we absolutely need to give it a try,” said Board member Libby Garvey, who is also a Fairlington resident. “I will kick up a fuss if there really is a problem for some folks who do not have the parking that they need.”
The Fairlington farmers market will be the ninth farmers market in Arlington. It is expected to open in April 2015.
County staff recommends the approval of the farmers market, proposed by the Arlington-based nonprofit Field to Table, citing a positive response from the community. The market would be held in the parking lot and on the pedestrian path of the Fairlington Community Center (3308 S. Stafford Street).
The market, if approved, would be held on Sundays from April to November, from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., according to the county’s staff report. The first market would be held in April 2015.
The Fairlington market would be the county’s ninth farmers market. Currently, the closest market for Fairlington and Shirlington residents is the new Arlington Mill farmers market.
Field to Table, in its proposal, anticipates between 15 and 20 vendors for the market, with up to 29 tents under which goods and produce would be sold.
Some in the community expressed concern about the market’s impacts, but county staff said those potential impacts will be mitigated thanks to proper planning.
“Staff received correspondence from area residents who are concerned about impacts to parking, traffic, safety, and trash/environmental impacts related to the proposed use,” according to the report. “The recommended conditions of approval will mitigate any potential adverse impacts to the site.”
Staff said there is ample parking in the community center’s parking lot, but the market is designed with intent of having Fairlington residents walk to the center. The community center, which has been open since 1940 and used to be Fairlington Elementary School, is closed on Sundays, staff said, so the market wouldn’t conflict with any of its regular programming.
If approved, the County Board will review Field to Table’s permit to operate the market next October.
The Arlington County Department of Parks and Recreation has given the thumbs up to a proposal to put a farmers market in the open space next to Fairlington Community Center.
The request, by farmers market organizer Field to Table, will eventually be heard by the Arlington County Board and will include a public input process. If approved, the Fairlington Farmers Market will be the ninth in the county.
“After careful consideration, the Arlington County Department of Parks and Recreation has determined that a farmers’ market is an appropriate use of the open space adjacent to the Fairlington Community Center,” The DPR said in a statement. “The site’s location, characteristics, context of the surrounding neighborhood, circulation and parking access appear to favorably support a farmers’ market.”
The community center is owned by the county, so county staff held two public outreach meetings — one in April and one in May — to determine whether the community was receptive to the market. According to the county’s report on the market, there were some concerns about parking, trash and noise levels, but the community was generally supportive of the concept.
There are 145 on- and off-street parking spaces, staff said, and other markets around the county do not exceed the Noise Ordinance if they do not play amplified music or sounds. In an online survey, two-thirds of respondents said they would approve of a market in the community center’s open space.
Of the county’s eight farmers markets, the closest one to Fairlington is the new Arlington Mill Farmers Market.
“Although the County does not currently seek the establishment of new farmers’ markets,” the staff report reads, “we recognize the important role that they can play in place-making and community wellness, a value shared by the Fairlington-Shirlington community.”
It’s unclear at this point when the market will go before the County Board for approval.
Garvey suffered a broken collarbone after falling while biking on a downhill route in Fairlington Friday afternoon, she said. It happened “near the end of S. Buchanan Street,” where Buchanan turns into 27th Road S.
“I hit a hole in the road (not a pothole, just an odd hole),” Garvey told ARLnow.com via email Monday morning. “I know to avoid it and have managed before to not fall when I’ve hit it, but it’s hard to see. I’m a little battered and bruised, but fine.”
Garvey said she will also be absent from Tuesday’s County Board meeting, but will be watching on TV. She was able to watch some of Saturday’s meeting when not meeting with doctors.
“Moving hurts,” Garvey said. “[I] will be resting for a few more days, but staying in touch by email and phone… It will be a few months before I’m on my bike again.”
Garvey, who was first elected to the County Board in March 2012 after spending 15 years on the Arlington School Board, said there’s a lesson to be learned from her accident.
“Always wear a helmet when biking,” she wrote. “[I] have a goose egg on my forehead, but [it] would have been a much different story without the helmet.”
The events start Saturday, May 17 at 9:00 a.m. at Arlington Central Library (1015 N. Quincy Street) for Truck Day, where trucks of all kinds will occupy the library’s parking lot so children can learn about each of their specific functions.
The annual Turtle Trot 5K in Bluemont Park will start an hour later at 10:00 a.m. With proceeds going to the Long Branch Nature Center’s turtle preservation efforts, the race is $30 for adults who register in advance.
At the same time, Family Fun Day at Alcova Heights Park (901 S. George Mason Drive) will kick off and last until 2:00 p.m. Activities will include “1st Tee Golf, YoKids Yoga, a giant obstacle course, ‘Movin and Groovin Cardio Dance,’ fitness demos and more,” according to the county’s Department of Parks and Recreation.
Another Neighborhood Day also means another Fairlington Day on the grounds of the Fairlington Community Center. Starting at 11:00 a.m., the festivities include hot dogs, drinks, Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, a moon bounce with slides and basketball hoops, an inflatable obstacle course and agricultural demonstrations from the Virginia Cooperative Extension.
Nauck, High View Park, Waverly Hills and Cherrydale will also be hosting small events over the weekend, with a Nauck neighborhood cleanup and a WalkArlington walkabout through the latter three areas. The weekend concludes in Ballston Sunday afternoon with the annual Taste of Arlington street festival.
Police say a 30-year-old female jogger was running on the 3400 block of S. Utah Street at approximately 6:00 a.m. when a white, four-door sedan — driven by a white male in his 40s with brown hair and a goatee — approached her.
The man allegedly asked the victim for directions before he grabbed her and attempted to pull her into his car. She was able to break free and run home to call police.
The suspect was possible wearing a white t-shirt during the incident, police said, and drove off in the southbound direction of S. Utah Street.
The police department is asking those with information about the incident or suspect to contact Detective LeFrancois of the Special Victim’s Unit at 703-228-4095 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Anonymous tips can also be provided through the Arlington County Crime Solvers Hotline at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).
Field to Table, an Arlington-based nonprofit dedicated to coordinating farmers markets to encourage people to eat locally sourced foods, is eyeing the open space around the Fairlington Community Center (3308 S. Stafford Street) as a location for a farmers market.
The Fairlington Citizens Association has also expressed interest in using the site for a market, according to county staff.
The county’s Department of Parks and Recreation is hosting a community meeting on April 21 at the community center from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. to gauge residents’ feelings and possible concerns on bringing a farmer’s market to the neighborhood. Another meeting is scheduled for May 13 at the same time to discuss the findings from the first forum and a survey, which will be posted online.
“The County needs to evaluate the appropriateness of the use at the Center,” Deputy Director of Parks and Recreation Jennifer Fioretti told ARLnow.com in an email. “The purpose of the meeting at Fairlington on April 21 is not to evaluate any specific proposal, but rather to seek input from the community regarding their interest, concerns and general feedback about this potential use of the space at the community center. The first meeting will include presentations from staff followed by a facilitated break-out session with meeting participants.”
There are currently seven regular farmers markets in the county, on varying days in Rosslyn, Courthouse, Clarendon, Ballston, Crystal City, on Columbia Pike and in Westover Village.
Thieves stole the airbags from a number of cars parked in Fairlington early Tuesday morning.
Victims told NBC 4 that they woke up to find their car hoods open and their airbags missing. From this week’s Arlington County crime report:
GRAND LARCENY FROM AUTO (series), 140408013, 3000 block of S. Columbus Street. On April 8 at 5:46am, it was reported that multiple vehicles in the Fairlington area were broken into by an unknown subject(s) and airbags were stolen. There is no suspect(s) description and the investigation is ongoing.
Also on Tuesday, a cab driver was allegedly robbed at gunpoint in the Rosslyn area.
ROBBERY, 140408063, 1800 block of N. Clarendon Boulevard. On April 8 at 7:06pm, a taxi cab driver reported he was robbed at gunpoint by a passenger. The suspect later identified as Sami Troy Traboulsi, 28, of Alexandria, VA was taken into custody and charged with robbery.
The rest of the crime report, after the jump. All named suspects are considered innocent until proven guilty.
Opower Sets IPO Price — Courthouse-based Opower is expected to start selling shares on the New York Stock Exchange today. The company set the price for its initial public offering at $19 per share. [Washington Business Journal]
A Brief History of Fairlington — Arlington’s Fairlington neighborhood was built by the U.S. government in the 1940s in response to a housing shortage caused by World War II. It’s listed in the National Register of Historic Places. [Washington Post]
AFAC Fundraiser Tonight — The Arlington Food Assistance Center’s Young Professionals group will hold its annual Hunger Is No Joke fundraiser tonight at Cafe Asia in Rosslyn. The 90s cover band White Ford Bronco will perform. [Clarendon Nights]
Cuban Band to Perform at Artisphere Tonight — Also tonight, at Artisphere in Rosslyn, the Grammy-nominated Cuban music group Tiempo Libre will perform. Tickets to the 8:00 p.m. performance are $25 at the door. [Ode Street Tribune]
Temporary Bus Stop Relocations — A number of bus stops on N. Moore Street in front of the Rosslyn Metro station will be relocated from 8:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. tonight, tomorrow and Sunday. The relocations are necessary to allow the demolition of the Moore Street skybridge. Also, starting today, the ART 53 bus stop at Old Glebe and N. Stafford Street is closed for construction for about a week. [Arlington Transit]
Another Dem Enters Congressional Race — Derek Hyra, an associate professor in Virginia’s Tech’s Urban Affairs and Planning program, has thrown his hat into the ring for the June 10th Democratic primary to replace Rep. Jim Moran in Congress. Hyra is also a member of the Alexandria Planning Commission. [NBC Washington]
Young Dems Hold Meet and Greet – Arlington Young Democrats will hold a meet and greet with some of the Democratic congressional candidates tonight. The event is taking place at 7:00 p.m. at Ireland’s Four Courts (2051 N. Wilson Blvd). [Facebook]
Cost of Police Reports May Rise — County officials are considering raising the price of accident reports and criminal checks from $3-5 to $10 apiece. The increase in fees could bring in an additional $32,000, which would offset the police department’s cost of supplying the reports. [Sun Gazette]
Marymount Signs Ballston Lease — Marymount University has signed a lease for 87,000 square feet of space in the office building at 4040 N. Fairfax Drive. The building was renovated last year after it sole tenant, the Dept. of Defense, moved out due to the Base Realignment and Closure Act. [Federal Capital Partners]
Registration Open for Fairlington 5K — Registration is now open for the Fairlington 5K Run and Walk. The non-competitive event will take place at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday, April 5. It will benefit Abingdon Elementary School and Ellie McGinn, an Abingdon student who’s battling a degenerative mitochondrial disease for which there is no known cure. [Fairlington 5K]
Flickr pool photo by lifeinthedistrict
Repair crews are still working to repair the 16-inch water main that burst yesterday morning in Shirlington.
According to Arlington Department of Environmental Services spokeswoman Robyn Mincher, water pressure was normal for the Fairlington Community Center as of 1:00 p.m. However, just before 4:00 p.m., Arlington’s Department of Parks and Recreation announced that the community center would remain closed all night Wednesday.
Repair work is running into complications and crews are widening the pit size for safety reasons. We are estimating a minimum of 4 hours away from completion. Traffic is still in the mode of one lane for each direction on Arlington Mill Drive. Valve crew confirmed that water pressure was normal for the Fairlington Community Center at about 1 p.m.
Update at 6:00 p.m. — Repairs are now expected to continue into Thursday.
Crews have halted repair work today due to the unstable bank, warranting unsafe operation. Repair work will resume tomorrow morning with the equipment needed to reshape the bank. Pumps will run overnight to prevent residual water damage. Traffic remains open with one lane on each direction on Arlington Mill Drive. There is no change on the condition of the Fairlington water pressure from the last update.
Repairs to a burst 16-inch water main in Shirlington have resumed after crews took a break for the night.
Arlington County is hoping to complete the repairs — and restore water pressure to the Fairlington neighborhood — by 5:00 p.m. From Arlington Dept. of Environmental Services spokeswoman Robyn Mincher:
The crew resumed repair work at 9 a.m. today. The traffic on Arlington Mill Drive will be partially open with one lane on each direction. If there are no complications, crews should complete repairs in 6 to 8 hours and traffic will be back to normal. Fairlington area will remain on low water pressure until the 16-inch main resumes operation. The crew is continuing work to get additional sources of water for Fairlington.
The Board unanimously approved the plan, which updates a previous plan that was passed in 1987. The new plan seeks to protect the communities from traffic impacts, maintain public infrastructure and foster a sense of community. It was created over the course of eight years with the help of community input.
“The program reflects the County’s belief that no one understands what a neighborhood needs better than the people who live there,” County Board Chair Walter Tejada said in a statement. “The County Board thanks the residents of Fairlington-Shirlington for working for eight years to produce this thoughtful, realistic plan to help ensure this area of the County will remain a great place to live for decades to come.”
Fairlington, with a population of 8,000 residents, is southwest of Shirlington, population 1,500, and bisected by I-395.
Fairlington was created as a publicly-financed housing complex for defense workers during World War II. Shirlington was a swampland before becoming a shopping center in the 1940s. The current Shirlington began to take shape, with high rise housing and and an “urban village” of retailers, after being purchased by Federal Realty Investment Trust in 1995.
The new Neighborhood Conservation Plan contains 35 service and infrastructure recommendations. The full list, which can be found below (after the jump), includes recommendations ranging from increased speed enforcement to new bus shelters to efforts to curb helicopter noise.
“In the coming year, County staff will be working with the association and residents to help identify priority improvement projects for funding,” the county said in a press release.
Photo courtesy Arlington County