Looking at Campaign Sign Removal — Arlington County Board members may consider asking state transportation officials for authority to remove improperly placed campaign signs from state roads. Virginia law prohibits campaign signs from being placed on state roads, but it also prohibits anyone besides state officials from removing them unless the jurisdiction has a deal with the state. [Sun Gazette]
McAuliffe Adds to His Cabinet — Virginia Governor-elect Terry McAuliffe (D) made appointments yesterday for several of his key cabinet positions. He named Paul Reagan as chief of staff, Suzette Denslow as deputy chief of staff, Ric Brown as secretary of finance and Levar Stoney as secretary of the commonwealth. Reagan had previously served as chief of staff for Rep. Jim Moran (D) and Sen. Jim Webb (D). [Washington Post]
Library Displays Rare Kennedy Newspapers — The Arlington Central Library has put on a display a number of rare newspapers from when John F. Kennedy was president. Some of the papers highlight Kennedy’s assassination 50 years ago this month. The exhibit also includes papers from Kennedy’s inauguration in 1961 and his burial at Arlington National Cemetery. [Arlington Public Library]
How Ballston was Named — Do you know how the Ballston neighborhood got its name? It goes back to the Ball brothers who owned more than 250 acres of land in the area back in the 1700s. [Ghosts of DC]
The railroad line, which ran through Arlington, was later renamed the Washington and Old Dominion Railroad and is now the popular W&OD trail. The western portion of the line was attacked by Confederate forces during the war but the eastern portion, through Arlington and Alexandria, fared better and helped to provide logistical support to the Union war effort.
The talk will be held tonight (Thursday) from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. at the Arlington Central Library auditorium (1015 N. Quincy Street). From the library website:
Historian Ron Beavers will discuss the little used Alexandria, Loudoun and Hampshire Railroad, which once ran through Arlington County but is today one of the Washington area’s most popular bike trails. Learn what caused this transformation – from an underachieving rail line to a major contributor to the Union war effort – and what became of this railroad after the Civil War.
Though now a beloved path for both commuters and recreationalists from Arlington to Loudoun County, the original plan for the AL&H was impressive. Entrepreneurial Virginians hopes to compete with the B&O Railroad for the rich coal fields of what is now West Virginia. But engineering difficulties and financial struggles impeded these plans, reducing the rail line to a local carrier for freight, mail and people just before the Civil War. When the war came, the western portion of this railroad suffered complete destruction. The eastern facilities (Alexandria and Arlington) fared much better. Their contribution to the Union war effort was crucial to success in the Eastern Theater of Military operations. Ownership returned to AL&H directors after the war, but their original plan to reach West Virginia never came to fruition. The rail line went through many reorganizations and mergers, yet continued to serve Arlington and Northern Virginia until the 1960s. Last known as the Washington & Old Dominion Railroad, it ultimately became a 44 mile-long park that we now call the W&OD hiker/biker trail.
Beavers last spoke before the Arlington Historical Society in March about Arlington County’s retrocession to Virginia in 1847. He is a seventh generation Virginian and retired federal employee with a life-long interest in history and railroads.
Flickr pool photo by ddimick
At the Reed-Westover gym (1644 N. McKinley Road), from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., there will be a crossword tournament with puzzles by New York Times puzzlemaster Will Shortz and a Sudoku tournament with puzzles designed by five-time Sudoku world champion Thomas Snyder.
Lunch will be served and there will be speeches by the president of Metropolitan Washington Mensa, Karen Canon, and puzzle developer Todd Etter. Prizes will be awarded to the winners of each tournament.
The event is free to members of the Friends of the Arlington Public Library, and a $15 donation to the Friends group is requested for non-members. Participants can register online or at the door on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Photo courtesy of Arlington Public Library
Next week, from Nov. 2 to Nov. 9, Arlington Public Library will donate 10 cents of every dollar paid in fines to the Arlington Food Assistance Center.
This is the first year of the donation program, according to library spokesman Peter Golkin. The money will be coming from the Friends of the Public Library group, not from the fines themselves, which go back into the county budget.
The library brings in thousands of dollars in fines each week, Golkin said, but if residents don’t have a library book or movie overdue, they can still bring food donations to the library for AFAC. These are the items AFAC says it needs most at the moment:
- Cooking oil in plastic bottles
- Small bags of flour
- Canned tuna in water
- Low sugar cereals
- Low sodium soups
- Whole wheat pasta
Golkin noted the donation week will start a bit late Saturday. Arlington Central Library will be closed until 3:00 p.m. on Saturday due to a planned power outage as a result of construction on a nearby building. The library will stay open two hours later than normal — until 7:00 p.m. — Saturday evening to compensate. Other libraries will open at normal times, and donations will be collected at all locations.
The Jefferson (900 N. Taylor Street) senior independent living community is looking for people to help its residents feel beautiful. It’s seeking volunteers to help give manicures.
The Jefferson will provide all the necessary manicure supplies, volunteers just need to show up and help to do the residents’ nails. Volunteers of nearly any age are welcome, but those under age 16 must be accompanied by an adult. Anyone interested should contact Jocelyn Hunt at 703-741-7585 or via email.
There are numerous other volunteer opportunities available on Volunteer Arlington’s website, including those listed below:
- Turkey Trot Volunteers — Helpers are needed for Arlington’s 8th annual Turkey Trot race on Thursday, November 28. In addition to those who can assist with tasks like setup and water station attendants on the day of the race, volunteers are needed on Tuesday, November 26, and Wednesday, November 27, to register participants. No special training is necessary, but volunteers must be able to stand during the event, which will take place rain or shine. Any helpers under age 16 must be accompanied by an adult. Volunteers can register online or contact Mark Riley at 703-927-0328 for more information.
- Shelving at Westover Branch Library — Westover Branch Library needs people to help put returned materials in numerical order and prep the materials for re-shelving. Volunteers must be dependable and should enjoy working on detail oriented projects. Two-hour shifts are available on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Helpers who are 18 and older must consent to a background check. Anyone interested should contact Barbara Dean at 703-228-7688 or via email.
- Mentor Latino Youths — Helpers are needed for Edu-Futuro’s Emerging Leaders Program. The program assists youths who are contemplating attending college with applying for scholarships, submitting college applications and improving speaking/writing skills. Mentors will meet with their assigned students on six Saturday mornings this fall. Applications can be found online and are due on Wednesday, October 23. Applicants must undergo a background check and attend an orientation. For more information, call 703-228-2560 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Arlington’s Feuding Bike Donation Charities – “Arlington, surprisingly, is home to not one but two nonprofits that donate bicycles to the underprivileged in Africa and elsewhere,” writes Our Man in Arlington columnist Charlie Clark. “Our 26-square-mile county, however, may not be big enough for both – the two groups do not ride alongside each other smoothly.” [Falls Church News-Press]
Pike Apartment Ad from the ’60s – The Columbia Pike apartment complex now known as the Wellington is seen in a 1960s-era advertisement uncovered by Ghosts of DC. The then-new “Executive Apartments” were “designed to meet the requirements of successful executives who can command the finest in luxury air-conditioned apartment living,” the ad says. Rent for a one bedroom was $135 per month. [Ghosts of DC]
Library Reminds Feds to Return Books — Furloughed federal employees might not have access to their government email accounts, and thus might miss reminder emails from the library about overdue items. Arlington Public Library is reminding feds that they can keep track of their account through the library website. [Arlington Public Library]
New Nauck Civic Association Website — The Nauck Civic Association recently unveiled a new website, which includes a history of the neighborhood. Also known as Green Valley, the neighborhood was settled by a freed slave in 1844. [Nauck Civic Association]
Library Sets Another Summer Reading Record — Arlington Public Library has set another summer youth reading record. This summer, 8,079 students participated and read more than 32,000 books, up from 7,415 participants and 30,000 books in 2012. [Arlington Public Library]
‘Arlington’s Got Talent’ Seeks Contestants — Leadership Arlington is seeking local acts for its annual “Arlington’s Got Talent” show. The event will take place on Nov. 18. Video submissions from performers are due by Oct. 28. [Leadership Arlington]
Neighbors Peeved With Turf Choice – Some residents around Williamsburg Middle School are upset with the choice of turf on the fields that are being built along with a new elementary school. The fields will have artificial turf instead of Bermuda grass. “Not since Custer, have people been ambushed this badly,” one resident told the County Board, about the choice. [Falls Church News-Press]
Arlington is #3 County to Work In — Arlington has been named the No. 3 county in the U.S. in which to work. The rating is based on Arlington’s low unemployment rate, low commute time and high median income. Loudoun County ranked No. 2 and Williams County, North Dakota, which is in the midst of an oil boom, ranked No. 1. [Nerd Wallet]
Whitlow’s Filled With ‘Old Stuff’ — If you recently sat at a table at Whitlow’s on Wilson (2854 Wilson Blvd), chances are you either sat on a pew from St. Patrick’s Cathedral or in a chair from the old Arlington courthouse. If you sat at the bar, you likely rested your beer on a former bowling lane. Much of the interior is recycled from various places around the D.C. area and beyond. [Preservation Arlington]
Moran’s New Beard Called ‘Santa Chic’ — Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) has been sporting a white beard since August. While the 68 year old’s new look has its supporters and detractors, the congressman’s own staff has taken to calling it “Santa chic.” [The Hill]
Letter: Arlington Dems Use African-Americans as ‘Window Dressing’ — In a letter to the editor, Bobbie Fisher, an African-American resident of Arlington, says that Arlington Democrats are taking African-American voters for granted and not paying sufficient attention to their concerns. “Walk into any [Arlington County Democratic Committee] meeting, you will never find more than a few African-Americans present,” she writes. “We are viewed as window-dressing or bobble-heads, to sit quietly while others raise questions of interest to their community.” [Sun Gazette]
GGW to Host Arlington Happy Hour — The blog Greater Greater Washington will be hosting a happy hour at Fire Works Pizza in Courthouse next Tuesday. The happy hour is an opportunity for the blog’s contributors, editors and readers to get together “for some drinks and lively conversation.” [Greater Greater Washington]
Central Library Renovations in ‘Home Stretch’ — The second floor reference desk and the old first floor circulation desk at Arlington Central Library (1015 N. Quincy Street) are gone, among other ongoing renovations. The library’s renovation project as now entered the “home stretch,” officials write. [Arlington Public Library]
Flickr pool photo by Christaki
Fisette Weds Long-Time Partner — Arlington County Board member Jay Fisette married long-time partner Bob Rosen last week. After 30 years together, the couple tied the knot in a low-key ceremony at All Souls Unitarian Church in the District. Fisette and Rosen’s union will not be recognized in Virginia, but Fisette said he thinks that same-sex marriage will be legalized in the Commonwealth within five years. [Sun Gazette]
Smash-and-Grab Lookout Sentenced — The man who served as a lookout in a series of smash-and-grab robberies in the D.C. area, including this robbery at the Tourneau store in Pentagon City, has been sentenced. Floyd Davis, 43, was sentenced to 7 years in prison for his role in the crimes. [Washington Post]
Reevesland Group Refines Proposal — A group that wants to convert the historic Reeves farmhouse into an agricultural learning center for school children has submitted a proposal to Arlington County. The group says its volunteers will lower the cost of necessary renovations to the building by 30 percent. It has offered to operate the center and make it available to Arlington Public Schools. In exchange, the group wants the county to pay for renovations (about $700,000), ongoing maintenance costs and utilities. [Sun Gazette]
Library Seeks Info on Mystery Football Photo — Arlington Public Library’s Center for Local History is seeking more information about a photograph found at a local home. The photo shows a group of men wearing early 20th century football equipment, posing in front of a school. [Arlington Public Library]
Flickr pool photo by BrianMKA
Arlington Two-Year-Old Has ‘Read’ 1,000+ Books — A two-year-old Arlington girl has read — or, at least, had her parents read — 1,000 books so far. The girl is the poster child for Arlington Public Library’s new “1,000 Books Before Kindergarten” program, which encourages parents to help children build language skills by reading what amounts to about one book a day. [Washington Post]
Jose Andres Products Coming to Whole Foods — A new line of Spanish oils, vinegars, olives and “easy-to-make paella kits” from Chef Jose Andres, of Jaleo fame, will be coming to Whole Foods stores around the Washington area next month. [Washington Business Journal]
Road Closures for 9/11 Heroes Race — A number of roads in the Crystal City and Arlington Ridge areas will be closed Saturday morning for the 9/11 Heroes 5K Race. Parking restrictions will also be in place. [Arlington County]
An Arlington resident who died in June gave what’s estimated to be more than $700,000 to the Arlington Public Library in her will.
Rosemarie Bowie lived most of her life in Arlington and was 76 when she died June 24. She left her home on the 700 block of N. Danville Street, and half of her residuary estate, to the Library. The property was assessed at $626,500 this year and the residuary estate is believed to be worth more than $100,000, according to Library spokesman Peter Golkin.
Bowie was “a quiet person, loved the Library, used it often and simply didn’t want to bother her family with her estate,” Golkin said.
“We’re blown away by her generosity,” Library Director Diane Kresh said. “It epitomizes how so many people in this community feel about the Library and that’s very humbling. I’m sorry I didn’t know her but she’s leaving a legacy that will touch generations to come.”
After Bowie retired from her career working in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and as an attorney, she volunteered provided legal services as a guardian to many elderly residents of Arlington.
The County Board will vote to approve the gift at its meeting Sept. 21. The money will be donated to the county in a Trust and Agency Account designated specifically for the library.
The Library will dedicate a plaque in Bowie’s memory at Central Library, Golkin said.
Arlington No. 1 in Va. for Tourism — For the fourth year in a row, tourists spent more money in Arlington than any other place in Virginia. Tourism generated about $2.8 billion in visitors spending in 2012, a 3.9 percent increase over 2011. The increase in spending happened despite the partial defunding of the county’s Convention and Visitors Services in 2012. County officials and local hotel managers are lobbying the state legislature to restore Arlington’s former 0.25 percent hotel tax surcharge in order to better promote tourism and visitor spending. [Arlington County]
New Additions to N. Va. Senior Olympics — About 730 people are participating in the 31st annual Northern Virginia Senior Olympics at the Thomas Jefferson Community Center (3501 2nd Street S.). The 13-day event features two new sports: rowing and handball. [Sun Gazette]
Online Library Card Sign-Up — Just in time for September’s national Library Card Sign-up Month, Arlington Public Library now allows Arlington residents to sign up for a library card completely online. It allows instant access to the library’s eBooks, magazines, streaming movies and premium research websites. [Arlington Public Library]
Photo courtesy Jonathan Nateghi-Asli
Washington, D.C., likes to call itself the most powerful city in the world, but films based in D.C. have a knack for missing some basic information that would make locals chuckle. Those omissions made for a lively talk at the Arlington Central Library on Monday afternoon.
Author Mike Canning released the book ”Hollywood on the Potomac“ last year. It’s a comprehensive guide to how the film industry has treated D.C. as a subject, character and background since the time when moving pictures with sound were called “talkies.”
During his talk on Monday, Canning showed clips from several films that are based in D.C., from Frank Capra and Jimmy Stewart’s “Mr. Smith Goes To Washington” to Leonardo DiCaprio’s “J. Edgar.”
No film crew has ever been allowed to shoot inside the Senate or the House of Representatives, Canning said, but the closest approximation came in “Mr. Smith,” for which Capra and his crew spent days in the Senate building, taking measurements and photos of the hall.
“It took $100,000 and six months to build,” Canning said of the 1939 film’s iconic set. It’s still the finest approximation of Congress in a movie, Canning said.
He compared it to 2000′s “The Contender,” in which Jeff Bridges, who plays the president, calls a joint session of Congress in a scene filmed in Richmond’s General Assembly building.
The biggest “goof,” as Canning calls them, in a D.C. movie came in 1987′s “No Way Out.” Kevin Costner, playing a Naval officer, is running away from two men in suits. He jumps off the Whitehurst Freeway and finds himself running along the C&O canal in the heart of Georgetown, when he takes an abrupt left turn and enters a Metro stop. The nearly 100 people in the audience burst out laughing watching a film so gravely misrepresent the area’s public transit system.
Despite the Metro stop mistake, Canning insists the rest of the film is worth watching. Arlington residents may get a kick out of the opening scene, which pans out from the Pentagon and shows Pentagon City as it was in the mid-1980s: small houses surrounded by forest.
Gun Fact Check — New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg took aim at Virginia for being one of the top suppliers of guns used to commit crimes in his city. He called out the state for having weak gun laws. Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell’s office fought back, releasing a statement saying the state has some of the toughest gun laws in the country and its rates of crimes such as homicide and robbery are lower than in New York City. The New York Daily News checked out the claim, however, and found that Virginia has 3.9 killings for every 100,000 people. That’s compared to the state of New York — not just New York City — with 3.5 murders per 100,000 people. [New York Daily News]
Rabbits at Library — The library’s regular Paws to Read program is on hiatus in August. Instead of using dogs this month, one of the librarians suggested bringing in rabbits to join kids while they read. The librarian noted that the Muslim families she knows aren’t able to participate in the Paws to Read program because Islam discourages touching dogs. Three rabbits — Mocha, Copper and Apache — already took turns cuddling up with visitors at the Columbia Pike Branch Library. [Arlington Public Library]
Rabbit Population on the Rise — Arlington is one of the D.C. metro areas experiencing a rabbit boom. The county’s chief naturalist confirmed that there’s been a spike in most of Arlington’s neighborhoods. Because they typically don’t carry diseases or bother humans, the rabbit boom isn’t causing alarm. In fact, because the animals are prey for a number of other creatures, it’s believed their numbers will naturally come under control. [Washington Post]
Bezos to Buy Washington Post — Jeff Bezos, the owner of Amazon.com, has agreed to buy the Washington Post for $250 million in cash. The sale is expected to be completed within 60 days. Employees at the Post were reportedly shocked by the deal. [Poynter Institute]
(Updated on 8/1/13)
The Arlington Public Library summer reading program has already broken its all-time participation record with more than three weeks remaining until registration ends.
As of Tuesday afternoon, the library had 7,529 kids from preschool to high school signed up for its summer reading program, breaking last year’s record of 7,415. Registration ends for middle- and high-schoolers Aug. 20 and for elementary- and pre-schoolers Aug. 24.
“Summer reading gets more popular every year,” said library spokesman Peter Golkin. “I think it’s a snowball effect. Every year, the kids tell more friends about the program. Thanks to Harry Potter, I think kids are more interested in reading these days.”
Among the most popular titles young readers are borrowing from the library this summer are the Nancy Clancy: Super Sleuth series among second- to fourth-graders, the Big Nate series with those in grades 4-6, and, among the older students, The 5th Wave and Catching Fire, the second installment of The Hunger Games series that will come out in movie form this fall.
Kids who complete the summer reading program at the library earn prizes based on their age group, including a drawstring library bag for the younger children and a notebook and pen set for the middle- and high-schoolers.
Photo via Arlington Public Library