Tejada Named County Board Chair — The Arlington County Board has announced its intent to elect Walter Tejada as its chair for 2013. Tejada, who was first elected to the Board in 2003, served as the chair in 2008 and vice-chair in 2007 and 2012. Jay Fisette has been chosen as vice-chair for 2013. [Arlington County]
Lost Item Found in Library Donation — The library is trying to track down a mystery person who donated items to the Friends of the Library book sale. The donation contained something of “significant value” that the donor must have mistakenly included and likely wants back. In order to make sure the correct person comes forward to identify the item, the library will not release any more details. If you are the mystery donor, call Central Library Manager Margaret Brown at 703-228-5952. The library asks that people do not call with wild guesses in an attempt to claim the item. [Library Blog]
November Boost in Real Estate Market — A combination of higher sales and increasing average sales prices boosted the Arlington real estate market by more than 50 percent in November, compared to the previous year. The average price of single family homes rose by 6.3 percent to $753,408. The average price of condominiums increased by 13.4 percent to $404,063. [Sun Gazette]
County Proposes Tax Cuts to Lure Advertising Firms — Arlington is proposing to eliminate its tax on media buy receipts in the hopes of luring a new advertising firm, and keeping the existing ones. Trying to reduce the tax in 2004 didn’t have the desired effect, and there are now fewer advertising agencies in Arlington than there were in 2004. The suggestion is to eliminate the tax by early 2013. [WTOP]
Gifts that Give Hope Fair — Fifteen locally based non-profit organizations will participate in the second annual Arlington Gifts that Give Hope Fair tomorrow (December 8) at Calvary United Methodist Church (2315 S. Grant Street). During the alternative gift fair, shoppers can choose to donate for a specific gift, such as an “apartment application fee for one family as they leave a shelter” or “a prescription for a sick child.” The fair runs from 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. and features holiday music, face painting, crafts, refreshments, special $5 items for children to contribute and a visit from Santa from 11:00 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
Professional Racquetball Tournament — Some of the world’s top professional women’s racquetball players will participate in the 2012 Christmas Classic this weekend, including #11 ranked T.J. Baumbaugh of Reston and #39 ranked Paola Nunez of Falls Church. The event will take place throughout the weekend (today through Sunday) at the Crystal Gateway Sport and Health Club (1235 S. Clark Street). A list of start times for each player is available online.
Library’s Holiday Tunes Released — The Arlington Public Library has released its fifth annual “Too Cool for Yule Blog,” which includes about an hour of holiday tunes. While some of the songs are standard holiday favorites, the blog offers versions by some non-traditional artists (such as Cee Lo Green singing “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch). Purists, fear not. The list also features classics from Louis Armstrong, Andy Williams and the late Dave Brubek, who passed away on Wednesday. [Arlington Public Library]
Arlington Gets Largest Share of Transit Growth — Over the past 11 years, the rate of growth of those who use public transit in Arlington has been higher than any other D.C. area jurisdiction. Chris Hamilton, chief of Arlington Commuter Services, attributes that growth to the county’s transit outreach efforts. [Mobility Lab]
Homebuyer Assistance Available — The Arlington County Board recently approved $500,000 to help qualified first time homebuyers purchase a new home in the county. The funds are available for down payment and closing cost assistance for about 10-15 low- to moderate-income households. Applications will be accepted started Dec. 3. [Arlington County]
Talk: ‘Books that Shaped America’ — Tomorrow, Nov. 28, Arlington Central Library (1015 N. Quincy Street) will host a talk about “88 remarkable books” that “shaped America.” Mark Dimunation, head of the Rare Book and Special Collections Division at the Library of Congress, will talk about how he and a group of historians, scientists and literary experts helped to select the books — from Thomas Paine’s “Common Sense” to Dr. Seuss’ “The Cat in the Hat.” [Arlington Public Library]
Between the successful ballot initiatives that legalized casual marijuana use in Colorado and Washington state, and the news that a seven-year-old child is among those legally using marijuana for medicinal purposes, it might seem like American society is moving toward a more permissive attitude toward pot.
That’s exactly what Arlington’s READY Coalition is trying to fight.
The group — whose name stands for Reduce or Eliminate Alcohol and Drug Use by Youth — will be holding a “town hall meeting” this week called Marijuana in Arlington: What’s the Big Deal? The event will seek to remind teens that marijuana can be harmful.
“In the most recent surveys from Arlington teens we see a disturbing decrease in perceptions of harm regarding marijuana and increasing numbers of teens saying they have used marijuana,” the READY Coalition said in a press advisory. “This forum provides a dialogue about a subject that is typically underrepresented in our community. It will explore some of the dangerous consequences of teenage marijuana use.”
The town hall will feature a panel that includes an Emergency Room doctor from INOVA Fairfax Hospital, a scientist from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, an Arlington County police officer, and a “young man with extensive experience with marijuana use in Northern Virginia.” The event will be held at Arlington Central Library (1015 N. Quincy Street) from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 29.
A 2010 survey found that nearly half of all Arlington 12th graders had, at some point, used marijuana, while just over 1 in 4 had used marijuana in the past 30 days.
Arlington Small Business Saturday – This holiday weekend, in addition to today’s traditional Black Friday shopping bonanza, Arlington residents will be able to participate in “Arlington Small Business Saturday.” The day encourages Arlingtonians to shop and dine at small, local businesses this weekend. ”Your favorite retail, dining and online small businesses are participating and providing discounts or incentives on a variety of products and services,” according to organizers.
Retirement Ceremony for Therapy Dog – Bailey, a therapy dog at the Capital Hospice Halquist Center near Virginia Hospital Center, is retiring after 10 years of service to those who have life-limiting illnesses. A private retirement ceremony will be held for Bailey, a golden retriever, at the hospice center on Monday night. “Cider, special Goldrush brownies and dog treats will be served,” according to an online invitation.
Library Recovers from Database Crash — The electronic catalog and accounts system for Arlington Public Library and Arlington Public Schools is back up and running after crashing last Friday. “We are very pleased to report that our system is back online, along with research databases, and that most if not all data feared lost has been recovered and restored,” the library said on its web site. “Your privacy was never compromised. We are taking steps to prevent such an outage from happening again.” [Arlington Public Library]
Homeless Navy Vet Gets Apartment — Ernest Maas, a 61-year-old Navy veteran, is giving thanks this Thanksgiving weekend for the roof over his head. Maas got the keys to a new apartment in Arlington on Wednesday after spending the past three years homeless and living in the woods around Four Mile Run. The new apartment was coordinated by the Arlington Street People’s Assistance Network. [WJLA]
Arlington Hotels: Tax Us, Please — The Hotel General Managers’ Committee of the Arlington Chamber of Commerce and the Arlington Tourism Coalition are hoping to lobby the Virginia General Assembly to reinstate the county’s hotel tax surcharge. The 0.25 percent tax on hotel rooms in Arlington generated nearly $1 million per year that went to tourism promotion efforts. State lawmakers declined to renew the tax last year in retaliation for Arlington’s fight against HOT lanes on I-395. [Sun Gazette]
Thanksgiving Closures — Most county offices and facilities will be closed Thursday and Friday for the Thanksgiving holiday. Arlington courts, meanwhile, close at noon today. Community centers will be closed, except for Barcroft and Walter Reed, which will both be open on Friday. ART and Metro will run on a holiday schedule. Trash collection will operate as normal. [Arlington County]
Streets to Close for Turkey Trot 5K — The Lyon Park neighborhood will host its 7th annual Turkey Trot 5K on Thanksgiving (Thursday) morning. The race, which has sold out, will result in several street closures in the area. [ACPD]
Library Technical Difficulties Update — Arlington Public Library is still struggling to recover from a system crash on Friday. “The catalog/accounts system and research databases will remain unavailable through Wednesday morning at the earliest,” the library said on its web site last night. All items due between Nov. 10 and Nov. 26 are now due Dec. 1. [Arlington Public Library]
County Plans for Bikeshare — Arlington has created a 6-year “Transit Development Plan” for Capital Bikeshare, the first such plan for a bikesharing system in the United States. The county will now submit the plan to Virginia with the hopes that Capital Bikeshare will be eligible for state transit funding. [Mobility Lab]
Pike Taekwondo Studio Celebrates Anniversary — U.S. Taekwondo College, the martial arts studio in the Arlington Cinema Drafthouse building at 932 S. Walter Reed Drive, is celebrating its 40th anniversary. Grandmaster Myung Hak Kang, an immigrant from Seoul, South Korea, established the business in 1972. “I didn’t know how popular Taekwondo would be in a foreign country,” he said in an email. “I wanted to share a passion of mine and hoped the fitness and discipline aspect would catch on.”
Flickr pool photo by Ddimick
Library Catalog System Remains Down — The Arlington Public Library catalog and accounts system has not come back online since it crashed on Friday. It will not be running until this afternoon, at the earliest. Library users should ignore any overdue notices or fines they have accrued since the crash. The library continues to update its website with the latest information regarding the crash. [Arlington Public Library]
Yorktown Wins with Different Offensive Plays — The Yorktown Patriots sported different offensive plays at their Northern Region Tournament Division 5 football semifinal and beat the South County Stallions on Friday, 48-28. The plan was to focus on passing, but instead the Patriots ran the ball 45 times for 389 yards. Yorktown will play Stone Bridge on Friday (November 23) in the region final. [Sun Gazette]
Update at 3:40 p.m. — The library catalog and account system is expected to remain down until Monday afternoon, at the earliest, according to Arlington Public Library spokesman Peter Golkin. Fines and fees will not accrue during that time.
Arlington Public Library and Arlington Public Schools are experiencing technical problems that have brought down their shared library catalog system.
Arlington Public Library sent the following email to patrons this afternoon.
The Arlington Public Library and Arlington Public Schools catalog and accounts system is down and we have lost data. This system crash affects all activities that occurred from Saturday, Nov. 10 through Thursday, Nov. 15. All online services from the Web and inside the Library are suspended. We are doing everything we can to restore the system. We apologize for any inconvenience and thank you for your patience.
Arlington Public Library is operating on a regular schedule and you are welcome–in person–to browse the shelves and check out materials including holds. WiFi and public PCs are also available.
Privacy has not been compromised with this crash and patrons do not have to take any action at this time. We will provide updates on the Library website, Twitter and Facebook and will send a follow-up email once we have more details for you.
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
Dems Planning for the Next Campaign — “The campaign for 2013 begins tomorrow,” the chairman of the Arlington County Democratic Committee told local Democrats at the committee’s meeting Wednesday night. Next year there will be a gubernatorial election in Virginia and House of Delegates races in Arlington, among other races. Arlington Democrats ran the table on Tuesday, winning every race, with the exception of a state constitutional amendment question. [Sun Gazette]
Bergmann’s Discussion Deferred — The Arlington Planning Commission was forced to defer consideration of a proposed 10-story redevelopment of the Bergmann’s Dry Cleaning site after Hurricane Sandy delayed the mailing of notices to local residents. The Waverly Hills Civic Association, located about a mile from the development, has expressed opposition to it. [Arlington Mercury]
Tech Tutoring at Library — From iPads to social networks to computer software, the Aurora Hills Branch Library is offering 45-minute one-on-one tech tutoring sessions for residents. Appointments are now being taken for Monday, Dec. 3. [Arlington Public Library]
When thinking of head-to-head competitions, the Central Library’s quiet atmosphere may not seem like the obvious choice. Unless, of course, it’s part of the library’s annual Arlington Puzzle Festival.
This Saturday, November 3, the festival returns for a second year of words, logic, numbers and thinking. The mind games run from 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. in the Central Library’s (1015 N. Quincy Street) auditorium.
Crossword puzzles are provided by New York Times puzzlemaster Will Shortz and sudoku puzzles will be provided by U.S. and world champion sudoku solver Thomas Snyder.
The event is free for Friends of the Arlington Public Library members. A donation is suggested for non-members.
There will be speakers throughout the day, including professional crossword puzzle writer Matt Gaffney, the crossword tournament begins at 10:00 a.m. and the sudoku tournament begins at 1:30 p.m. The full schedule of activities throughout the day is listed online.
Registration for the crossword and sudoku competitions is available online, and will also be available at the door on a first come, first served basis.
A new “Little Free Library” was recently installed on S. Edgewood Street, near Army Navy Country Club. The “library” is actually just an old crate — still labeled “Wisconsin cranberries” — with a glass door on the front, mounted on a stake in front of the Fairview Mews townhouses.
Inside the crate are a number of books, mostly popular fiction from the likes of James Patterson, David Baldacci and Clive Cussler. In addition to popular novels, the library has previously stocked children’s books, a baseball history book, and a book of poetry.
Users of the library are encouraged to take a book while leaving one in its place, but it’s all on the honor system: no key or library card is required.
The library was the idea of Robert Walter, a Fairview Mews resident who works at American University.
Walter says he and the Fairview Mews Homeowner’s Association decided to create the library for the neighborhood — about 150 homes located off of Glebe Road and Walter Reed Drive, south of Columbia Pike — after reading an article about the Little Free Library movement on Facebook. The idea of encouraging reading while bringing neighbors together was inspiring, he said.
“[We did this] to promote a sense of community and to promote a love of reading,” Walter said. “I just thought that was a great idea, waiting for a place to go. It’s to meet our neighbors and talk and ultimately look out for each other, as well as to brighten someone’s day with a new book to share.”
So far, Walter says the idea has been a modest hit. About 30 books have been removed and replaced since the library was first installed in August, he said.
More than 2,000 Little Free Libraries have popped up across the globe since the movement started in 2010.
Civic Federation Endorses All Bonds — The Arlington County Civic Federation has voted to endorse all four bonds on the Nov. 6 ballot. The Civic Federation voted by a narrow 26-22 margin to support the $50.5 million parks and recreation bond, which includes more than $40 million for a new aquatics center at Long Brige Park. [Sun Gazette]
Boxing Match Coming to Ft. Myer — A boxing match will be held at the Smith Gymnasium on Joint Base Myer/Henderson Hall on Saturday. The match will feature a number of local boxers, including heavyweight Duane Mobley and lightweight Terron “The Kid” Grant. Tickets are $30 and doors open at 6:00 p.m. [Boxing Along the Beltway, JBMHH]
Library Sets New Summer Reading Record — Arlington Public Library’s summer reading program set another participation record this year. According to the library, 7,415 kids registered for the program and some 30,000 books throughout the course of the summer.
Confederate ‘Gray Ghost’ Lived in Arlington — In a bit of local Civil War lore, columnist Charlie Clark and Arlington historian Kathryn Holt Springston recount how the legendary Confederate raider John S. Mosby lived in Arlington later in life. [Falls Church News-Press]
Flickr pool photo by Wolfkann
Editor’s Note: Ask Me (Almost) Anything is intended to be a local, community-oriented derivation of Reddit’s Ask Me Anything discussion threads. This feature allows readers to discuss important and interesting topics with local community, government and business leaders. See below for discussion guidelines.
With eight locations serving some 120,000 library cardholder per year, Arlington Public Library is one of the most beloved institutions in the county.
The connection Arlington residents feel with their local libraries is evident given the recent over a reduction in library hours (since restored) and the proposed relocation of the Columbia Pike branch library (which never came to fruition).
Not only does the library system offer materials to borrow and a quiet place to study, but it also organizes events, from author talks to speed dating to punk rock exhibits to book sales. A large weekend book sale at Arlington Central Library (1015 N. Quincy Street) is schedule to kick off tomorrow, with tens of thousands of books to choose from.
Diane Kresh has been the director of Arlington’s libraries since April 2006. An Arlington native and Yorktown High School grad who got her first library card at the Westover branch, Kresh will be taking you questions about Arlington Public Library in the comments section from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. today (Wednesday).
Please note that Ms. Kresh may not be able to answer every question asked. Also please note that in addition to our normal comment policy, we ask that questions and comments be of a civil tone. We welcome tough questions and critical comments, but anything of a mean-spirited nature will be removed.
County Offering Grants for Runoff Projects — Arlington County is seeking local residents, businesses and homeowners associations interested in reducing stormwater runoff and pollution from their property. Using $80,000 received from the Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund, the county will offer cost-sharing grants to those who want to embark on runoff-reducing projects, like green roofs, rain gardens, conservation landscaping, infiltration trenches, cisterns, and pervious walkways and driveways. [Washington Post]
Arlington Teen Named ‘National Student Poet’ — Washington-Lee senior Luisa Banchoff, 17, has been named one of five 2012 National Student Poets, the “country’s highest honor for youth poets presenting original work.” [Patch, Art & Writing Awards]
Library Recommends Books for Bullying — If your child is getting bullied, Arlington Public Library has some recommendations for books that can help him or her cope. [Arlington Public Library]
Photo courtesy Peter Golkin