Until this year, Atkins attended every Arlington County Board meeting since March of 1995, according to County Clerk Hope Halleck. The only meeting anyone can recall him missing is when he underwent recent surgery to have his foot amputated, Halleck said.
Atkins was the treasurer of the Arlington County Republican Committee for years, the president of the Bluemont Civic Association from 1993-1996 — when the neighborhood and the association were known as Stonewall Jackson — and was one of Bluemont’s delegates to the Arlington County Civic Federation when he died.
Atkins was born in 1945 and lived most of his early life in New York state, according to his friend and fellow Civic Federation delegate Suzanne Sundberg. He bought his house in Arlington on 5th Street N. in 1976 and lived there until he died “peacefully in his home,” Monday morning, Sundberg wrote in an email.
Atkins had been suffering health problems that shuffled him between hospital and long-term care centers in recent months.
He was a founding member of the Stonewall Jackson Citizen’s Association before serving as its president, and served as a Civic Federation delegate to the Arlington Gay and Lesbian Alliance and other local organizations. He also sat on a number of Civic Federation committees.
“Bob helped nearly anyone who asked him, irrespective of party affiliation or views,” Sundberg wrote.
Atkins was known for being both colorful and critical of the County Board’s policies when he spoke at meetings, but nonetheless, many county officials were fond of him for his sometimes humorous commentary and his unwavering dedication to civic engagement, we’re told.
Charles Hokanson, chairman of the Arlington County Republican Committee, said Atkins will be “deeply missed.”
“Bob was one of the Arlington GOP’s stalwart members for many years and a close friend and advisor personally,” he said. “His work as Treasurer from 2000-2012 was invaluable to the Committee, and he was omnipresent in our headquarters for many years, handling matters large and small, with precision, insightful perspectives, and great wit.”
“Bob lobbied hard for fiscal accountability and responsibility where county finances were concerned,” said Sundberg. “It would be hard to find a more dedicated citizen than Bob Atkins. He will be missed.”
Image via Arlington County
Jack Melnick Dies — Lifelong Arlington resident and former General Assembly member John “Jack” Melnick died on Wednesday at the age of 78. A funeral service will be held next week. In addition to representing Arlington County in Richmond, one of Melnick’s claims to fame was being the owner of an impeccably restored 1931 Ford Model A. [Sun Gazette]
Town Hall for 9/11 Responders — Two town hall-style meetings will be held next week in Arlington for responders to the Pentagon on (and, in some cases, after) Sept. 11, 2001. Firefighters, police officers, cleanup and construction crews and Red Cross volunteers who responded to the Pentagon in the aftermath of the terrorist attack are now eligible for a federal health care program specifically for 9/11 survivors and responders. [Patch]
Preservation Arlington Lauds ‘Three Sisters’ Development — Preservation Arlington is lauding a residential development in Cherrydale. The group says a project to build two new houses on a half acre site on the 1800 block of N. Randolph Street properly took into account the history of the site and the architectural style of the original house on the property. [Preservation Arlington]
Photo courtesy @LemurFestival
Arlington’s ‘Bicycle Man’ Dies — Arlington resident Randy Lokke, 62, died late last month. Lokke was known as a prolific follower of local high school sports, riding his bike to games in and around the District. Lokke was a graduate of Wakefield High School. [Georgetowner]
Ovie Returns to Arlington — Alexander Ovechkin and his Washington Capitals teammates are back on the practice ice at Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Ballston. The Capitals and other NHL teams are expected to begin a 48-game regular season on Jan. 19. [Washington Post]
Chick-fil-A Offers Free Breakfast – D.C. area Chick-fil-A restaurants, including the locations in Ballston and Crystal City, are offering free breakfast entrees through Jan. 30 to those who make “reservations” online. [Chick-fil-A]
Catalog Opt-Out Service Saves Paper — Arlington County says Arlington residents have saved 35,855 lbs of waste by participating in the county-sponsored “Catalog Choice” service. The free service allows residents to opt out of unwanted mail, catalogs and phone books. [Twitter, Arlington County]
Arlington Couple Promoting Phone Holder — An Arlington couple who spent several years and $25,000 to design “DashIT,” a car dashboard hold for smart phones, is selling and promoting the gadget at the Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas. [Washington Business Journal]
Flickr pool photo by GmdVT. Hat tip to Brendan Lilly.
Arlington to Hold Online Snow Chat — Dave Hundelt, Arlington County’s Streets Manager, will be answering questions about snow removal online today (Thursday). The discussion is scheduled from noon to 1:00 p.m. [Facebook]
Metrobus Driver Arrested at Pentagon – A Metrobus driver was arrested by U.S. Marshals at the Pentagon Wednesday morning. The driver, of the 9E Pentagon-Huntington line bus, was wanted in connection with a 2010 murder. [Washington Examiner]
Joe Allbritton Dies — Joe L. Allbritton, owner of Arlington-based WJLA (ABC 7), NewsChannel 8 and Politico, has died. Allbrittion, whose initials are the call letters of WJLA, was 87. [Politico]
Arlington Ranks Sixth in Household Income — Arlington County had a median household income of $98,060 in 2011, which was 5.1 percent higher than a year prior, according to new census figures. Arlington’s 2011 median income is the sixth-highest of all counties in the United States. [Sun Gazette]
Family Remembers Homicide Victim — As Arlington police search for the man who killed a Columbia Pike jewelry shop owner on Friday, the family of the victim is speaking out. The victim’s daughter said her dad, 52-year-old Tommy Wong of Herndon, had owned Capital Jewelers at 3219 Columbia Pike for the past 5 years. “I just want to know why didn’t he take what he needed and leave my dad alone,” she said tearfully in a TV interview. [WUSA 9]
Tobacco Use Down Among Arlington Youth – Arlington youths are using less tobacco but are using more marijuana, according to the latest survey by the Arlington Partnership for Children, Youth and Families. The survey results point to a continuation of a decade-long trend of declining tobacco use and increasing marijuana use among Arlington youth. [Sun Gazette]
Obituary for Local Business Leader – An obituary has been published for Syd Albrittain, the chief executive of local developer Dittmar Co., who died at the age of 82 last month. In addition to helping Arlington achieve its vision for transit-oriented development, Albrittain gave millions to local organizations like Bishop Denis J. O’Connell High School, the Catholic Archdiocese of Arlington, Virginia Hospital Center and the Arlington Free Clinic. [Washington Post]
Artisphere Supervisor Heads to N.J. — Norma Kaplan, the director of Arlington County’s Cultural Affairs division, is heading to New Brunswick, N.J. after 25 years in her current position. Kaplan, who oversaw the creation of Rosslyn’s struggling Artisphere cultural center, will serve as executive director of the New Brunswick Cultural Center. [Washington City Paper]
Sign Intrigue at Areizaga-Soto HQ? — The Jaime Areizaga-Soto campaign for state Senate has been told by several of its volunteers that someone showed up yesterday afternoon at the campaign’s Lee Highway office, took down all the Areizaga-Soto signs and replaced them with signs for his Democratic primary opponent, Barbara Favola.
Broadcaster With Arlington Connection Dies — Nat Allbright, a legendary radio broadcaster who could take simple telegraph accounts of a baseball game and spin it into an exciting play-by-play broadcast, died last month. Allbright’s New York Times obituary notes that he served as the voice of the Dodger Network, which broadcast Brooklyn and then Los Angeles Dodger games across the eastern U.S., from a Washington-area studio. As recently as about 10 years ago, Allbright sold advertising for the Arlington Sun Gazette newspaper. He died in Arlington on July 18, at the age of 87. [New York Times]
Flickr pool photo by Damiec
Long-time Arlington resident John M. Couric has died.
Couric, the father of former CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric, died Wednesday at Virginia Hospital Center of complications from Parkinson’s disease. He was 90.
Couric started his career as a newspaper and wire service reporter, before eventually jumping into the public relations field. He was a Navy veteran during World War II, according to a Washington Post obituary.
In an interview with the Archive of American Television (see clip, below), Katie Couric discussed her father’s journalism career and his influence on her own career.
Keating, an attorney with the Arlington firm of Bean, Kinney & Korman, just finished his term as the 2010 chairman of the Arlington Chamber of Commerce.
A New Jersey native, Keating earned his B.A. from Rutgers. He received his J.D., with honors, from George Washington University.
As an attorney, Keating represented business clients from individual entrepreneurs to large multi-national companies.
“He was just one of the best people you know,” said Leo Fisher, a managing partner at Bean, Kinney & Korman. “He was a very positive person, he had a great sense of humor… it was a pleasure to work with him.”
“We are absolutely stunned in disbelief,” said Takis Karantonis, director of the Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization, who worked with Keating on business issues related to the Pike. “This is a real loss for our community… he was a real civic champion.”
In addition to his work with the Chamber, Keating was a member of Arlington County’s Community Energy and Sustainability Task Force.
“It’s a little surreal that he’s not here today,” said 2010 county board chairman Jay Fisette, who ran in to Keating while eating lunch at a restaurant in Courthouse yesterday. “Our chairmanships coincided, and I got a chance to know him pretty well… He was very committed to the community as a whole, and that was reflected in his life and in his interactions.”
“Phil was filled with humor and compassion, and was a consensus-builder,” said Sun Gazette Managing Editor Scott McCaffrey, who worked with Keating as a member of the Chamber’s Executive Committee. “[He] used his year as chairman to push the Chamber of Commerce to continue as an engaged partner in government and economic affairs in Arlington and the region.”
Keating was married with three children, including a daughter who recently graduated from college, a son who’s an undergraduate at UVA and a daughter who’s a junior in high school.
Stanford Parris, a Republican who represented the eighth district of Virginia in congress for most of the 1980s, has died from heart disease at the age of 80.
Parris was an Air Force veteran. He was rescued after the jet he was piloting was shot down over North Korea.
Parris’ eighth district seat is currently held by Rep. Jim Moran (D), who succeeded Parris in 1991. The eighth district now includes Arlington, but we’re told it did not during the time Parris was in office (we apologize for the error in a previous version of this story).
Funeral services for Parris will be held at Arlington National Cemetery.