A large group of senior citizens, organized by the Arlington Department of Parks and Recreation’s Office of Senior Adult Programs, participated in a “flash mob” at the Arlington County Fair this afternoon.
The seniors — who were later joined by fair-goers during a reprise — performed a choreographed dance to the Black Eyed Peas song “I Gotta Feeling.”
A video of the performance, and an interview with dance leader, choreographer and Ms. Senior Virginia 2012 Kathy Fanelli, is below.
Krupicka Wins Dem Caucus — Alexandria City Councilman Rob Krupicka has won the Democratic caucus for the 45th District House of Delegrates seat, which represents some parts of South Arlington. Krupicka defeated opponent Karen Gautney by a caucus vote of 1,540 to 891. He will now face Republican Tim McGhee in the Nov. 6 general election. [Patch]
County Gets New Coach Bus for Seniors — The Arlington County Department of Parks and Recreation has invested in a new 41-seat coach-style bus. The bus will be used for the department’s travel programs for adults 55 and over. [Sun Gazette]
History of the Twilight Tattoo — There are just 4 Twilight Tattoo performances left this summer at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall. An article about the history of the military tradition notes that its origins date back more than 300 years. The next Twilight Tattoo will take place Wednesday at 6:45 p.m. [U.S. Army]
Photo via @Rosy1280
The new public plaza at the Penrose Square development along Columbia Pike is still expected to open this fall, despite a recent setback.
The contractor working on the $2 million project found and accidentally ruptured an oil tank earlier this month during excavation work, we’re told. The rupture contaminated part of the site, but the county and contractors worked quickly to remedy the situation.
According to Arlington County Department of Parks and Recreation spokeswoman Susan Kalish:
The tank’s presence was previously unknown by the County. [Arlington] County’s construction manager immediately stopped contractor from working and notified our 3rd party consultant. Samples were taken and the fire marshal and Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (VADEQ) were notified. VADEQ directed County to have the tanks removed by a licensed contractor in the presence of the fire marshal. Samples were also taken to determine the extent of the contamination. Remediation steps have been approved by VADEQ.
Kalish said the plaza is still on track to open this fall.
“Construction is scheduled to be completed and the project opened in fall 2012,” she told ARLnow.com. “This issue will cause some delay, but is still expected to be completed and open in fall 2012.”
The plaza will consist of “a tree-covered, upper terrace with movable tables and chairs; an inner plaza with a water feature; a unique two-piece sculpture called ‘Echo’; an inscription of the historic significance of the site, and a grass mound area shaded with trees for informal seating,” according to the county.
Kids with disabilities can learn to ride two-wheel bikes on their own at an upcoming camp co-sponsored by the Lose the Training Wheels organization.
This week-long camp for children between the ages of eight and 18 uses trained staff and adapted bicycles that can be modified as riders develop more skills and self-confidence. The success rate is high, as most riders are expected to begin pedaling independently by mid-week.
This is the third year that the Arlington Department of Parks and Recreation Therapeutic Recreation Office will be teaming up with the non-profit Lose the Training Wheels organization. The camp will be held at Kenmore Middle School (200 S. Carlin Springs Road), from July 30 to August 3.
There will be five sessions during the day: 8:30 a.m., 10:05 a.m., 11:40 a.m., 2:00 p.m., and 3:35 p.m. The cost for a camper to attend five daily 75 minute long sessions is $265.
A short awards ceremony will wrap up each session on August 3.
Dr. Richard Klein, founder of LTTW and the designer of the adapted bikes that are available at the camp will be present as well as the organization’s executive director, Lisa Ruby. The camp is co-sponsored by the Ballston Holiday Inn hotel, Red Top Cab, Arlington Kiwanis, and John D. McClelland and family.
For more information call Michael Swisher, the camp director, at 703-228-4738, or call the Registration Office at 703-228-4747.
Photo via Arlington County
(Updated at 12:25 p.m.) Dinesh Tiwari, who has served as director of the Arlington County Department of Parks and Recreation since Sept. 2005, is retiring from his post in Arlington. His last day on the job will be tomorrow, June 30.
We’re told Tiwari, 61, is leaving for Alexandria’s Department of Recreation, Parks & Cultural Activities.
Tiwari came to Arlington from Richmond, where he served as the city’s director of Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities. He has also worked for the governments of Suffolk and Roanoke, Va.
During his tenure in Arlington, Tiwari helped the department become one of only 60 agencies to earn national accreditation from the Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies. He has also overseen significant initiatives at Ethan Allen Park, the Walter Reed Community Center, Greenbrier Park, Artisphere and Long Bridge Park.
In announcing his retirement to county staff, County Manager Barbara Donnellan lauded Tiwari’s “many accomplishments and contributions” to Arlington. She also credited Tiwari with helping to “sustain core County programs and services during the recent economic downturn.”
A search is now underway for Tiwari’s replacement.
“The County has launched a national search for his replacement, whom they hope to hire in the next six months,” according to the Department of Parks and Recreation. “In the interim, Shannon Flanagan-Watson, currently an assistant County Manager, will be the acting director.”
One parks and rec employee told ARLnow.com that Tiwari was a “super great guy.”
“He was the best boss I’ve had,” the employee said. “Surely will be missed.”
New Long-Haul Service at DCA — JetBlue, Southwest, Virgin America and Alaska Airlines are adding new long haul service from Reagan National Airport to four cities, respectively: San Juan, Puerto Rico; Austin, Texas; San Francisco; and Porland, Ore. [CBS News]
Meeting Tonight About Ballston Park — Planners from the county parks department will be meeting with residents tonight to discuss options for the small triangular piece of land next to the Ballston public parking garage at the corner of N. Glebe Road and N. Randolph Street. At one point a mini golf course was proposed for the tiny park. [Arlington Mercury]
Bond Sale Expected Next Month — Arlington County is expected to issue up to $110 million in new bonds next month. The bonds will help pay for school projects, parks and recreation projects, and Metro improvements. [Sun Gazette]
Recap: Entrepreneurship Event at Artisphere — An tech-oriented entrepreneurship event at Artisphere over the weekend is being called a success after attracting more than 400 attendees for panel discussions and networking. [Bisnow]
Young Dems Date Auction Tonight — The annual Arlington Young Democrats date auction kicks off at 7:00 tonight at Clarendon Grill (1101 N. Highland Street). Disclosure: AYD is a current ARLnow.com advertiser.
“Effective immediately, parking at Long Bridge Park will be free on weekends and free after 5 p.m. on weekdays,” Arlington County Department of Parks and Recreation spokeswoman Susan Kalish said this afternoon, in an email.
The Arlington Soccer Association told the Arlington County Board last weekend that parents were “grumbling” about having to pay for parking while their kids played soccer on weekends, according to the Sun Gazette. Soccer referees were also reportedly threatening to stop working at the park due to having to continuously feed the parking meter during the day.
Under the new policy, weekday parking will still be metered, to prevent commuters from taking up spaces in the lot. Overnight parking will still be prohibited, Kalish said.
Bluemont residents will vote tonight on a petition (below) that calls for the county parks department to build and pay for a Petanque-Bocce court in the neighborhood.
The vote will take place at tonight’s Bluemont Civic Association meeting. Supporters say the court would “foster community spirit in a fun way for all ages.”
BLUEMONT PETANQUE COURT PETITION
We, the undersigned Bluemont residents, support the petition to construct a 4-meter wide and 15 meters (13’ x 50’) long Petanque-Bocce court along the Bluemont Junction Trail. At the Bluemont Civic Association (BCA) general membership meeting on April 25, 2012, this petition will be submitted to the BCA for approval. Upon approval, the petition will be forwarded to the Arlington County Parks & Recreation Department to fund design and construction. We request the BCA to create a working group to coordinate with the Parks department, and homeowners residing along the Bluemont Trail to determine the site location between N. Illinois and N. Emerson Street.
The proposed sprayground at Virginia Highlands Park is behind schedule and likely will not open until next year.
County officials say the project schedule has been extended while they take “some additional measures to ensure cleaner water enters the storm sewer from the sprayground.” That may be a disappointment to residents who were hoping to have a new place for their kids to cool off this summer.
We reported in 2010 that the sprayground — the county’s most elaborate water park yet — was originally scheduled to open by Memorial Day 2012. Now, we’re told, the county hopes to begin construction late this summer, which will allow the sprayground to open on Memorial Day weekend 2013.
Early Tennis Class Registration — Registration for early spring tennis classes via the Arlington Department of Parks and Recreation began yesterday. The classes run for four weeks starting March 12. Registration for full spring classes for tennis and other sports begins on March 14th. Summer camp registration, meanwhile, opens on Feb. 22.
Wine Event in Crystal City This Weekend — The Virginia Wine and Food Showcase is taking place at the Crystal Gateway Marriott (1700 Jefferson Davis Hwy) on Feb. 18 and 19. The event features more than 300 wines from around Virginia… and a speed dating session. [NBC Washington]
This Date in Arlington History — Feb. 16, 1945: “Ignition of spilled nail polish led to an explosion and fire that wrecked a South Fillmore Street beauty shop.” [Sun Gazette]
Neighborhood Projects Approved — The Arlington County Board unanimously approved $3.4 million in funding for six neighborhood improvement projects. “This is the third round in funding for key recommended Neighborhood Conservation projects from the 2010 voter-approved $9 million Community Conservation Bond,” the county noted in a press release. [Arlington County]
County Looking for Partner to Spruce Up Farmhouse — The Arlington Department of Parks and Recreation is looking for a charitable individual or organization interested in restoring the historic, county-owned Reevesland farmhouse and estate. The restoration is expected to cost upwards of $1 million. [Sun Gazette]
DESIGNArlington Awards Announced — Arlington County is recognizing outstanding architectural or landscape design through its second-annual DESIGNArlington awards. Among five recipients of the highest “Award of Excellence” this year, three are county-owned buildings and two are private residences. [Arlington County]
John Glenn, Astronaut and Arlingtonian — Astronaut (and U.S. Senator) John Glenn lived in Arlington for about five years around the time he was becoming a celebrity space pioneer. Glenn lived in a single-story home near Williamsburg Junior High School (now Williamsburg Middle School) between 1958 and 1963. [Arlington Public Library]
The county’s Department of Parks and Recreation announced today that it’s planning a day-long Independence Day celebration at the recently-opened Long Bridge Park near Crystal City.
“During the day the park will be programmed to do what it was created to do… hold fun sports events on the fields and creatively program the Esplanade with viewing, dining and shopping options,” parks department spokeswoman Susan Kalish said via email. “In the evening, there will be a more traditional old-time Fourth of July celebration with games for all ages, decorated bicycle parade, face painting, balloon art, and of course, amazing views of the Washington fireworks display.”
Arlington is currently seeking partnerships for the family-friendly event, including community groups and food and craft vendors.
Flickr pool photo by BrianMKA
Parks Department Shortens Name — The Arlington County Department of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources is now just the Arlington County Department of Parks and Recreation. The “Cultural Resources” part of the name was dropped after the Cultural Affairs Division (and Artisphere) was moved over to the county’s Arlington Economic Development department.
Doctor Threatens Suit Against VSP for ‘Racial Slurs’ — A Florida doctor is contemplating a lawsuit against Virginia State Police for alleged civil rights violations following an accident. The incident started on July 3, 2011, when Dr. Maria Ferrer crashed her car into an HOV gate on I-395 in Arlington. Dr. Ferrer says two VSP troopers arrived on scene and, at one point, used racial slurs before citing her for traffic violations. [NBC Washington]
ARLnow.com Reaches 100,000 Comments — At some point yesterday afternoon, ARLnow.com recorded its 100,000th published comment. That’s an average of about 137 comments per day since ARLnow.com first launched on Jan. 29, 2010.
Old Jefferson Davis Highway, which will be officially renamed “Long Bridge Drive” next year, is arguably the worst road in Arlington County.
With deep potholes, large pools of standing water, and no lane markings, the road — which connects Boundary Channel Drive and Crystal Drive/12th Street S. — is not easily traversed by anything smaller than an SUV.
That was less of a problem when the road served primarily as a short cut for adventurous I-395 commuters and Pentagon employees. Since November, however, Old Jefferson Davis Highway has been the sole road leading to the newly-opened, $31 million Long Bridge Park. That has led to some grumbles among park users.
“Old Jefferson Davis Hwy is in SERIOUS need of repaving,” one local resident said in an email to ARLnow.com. “Why would they open a brand new park, but not provide a safe road to get to it or tear down the decrepit buildings next to it?”
The good news is that relief is on the way. According to Arlington’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources (PRCR), a reconstruction project for the road will begin in early-to-mid 2012.
“The reconstruction of Old Jefferson Davis Highway should begin in earnest toward the end of February/early March pending the completion of utility relocation,” said PRCR planner Erik Beach. “The installation of a massive stormwater system will be one of the first steps in rebuilding the road. The final paving will be late summer of 2012.”
The road was originally supposed to have been reconstructed by the time Long Bridge Park opened, according to Beach, but the project was pushed by due to delays in Dominion and Verizon relocating their utility lines.
“The County cannot begin its wet utility work until the dry utilities have been relocated by the utility providers,” Beach said. “Dominion appears to have completed their work and Verizon projecting a late January completion. This places the finished road at the end of August 2012 with landscaping going in in the early fall.”
The finished road — which will by then be called Long Bridge Drive — is expected to include an improved drainage system, two bike lanes, on-street parking, median strips, sidewalks, street trees, pedestrian lighting, curbs and new pavement.
Registration for winter parks and recreation classes, popular with school-aged children, opened at 8:00 a.m. The registration website was beset by technical problems within 5 minutes of the opening, but was back up and working by 8:15 a.m., according to Arlington Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources spokeswoman Susan Kalish.
Even though the problems lasted less than 15 minutes, some parents — who rushed to register their children for classes before the classes filled up — weren’t pleased. Similar technical problems have plagued the class registration system in the past.
“Server crashes have happened repeatedly on the morning of class signup — to the frustration of parents across Arlington trying to sign their kids up for classes,” one parent told ARLnow.com.
Another tipster said that the timing of the registration opening — around the same time that kids are getting ready for school — has made things unnecessarily difficult for parents.
“The problem is that some of the classes fill up so fast and if you can’t get through by the time you do someone else has your class and you are wait listed,” the parent said. “Also try working on this with kids running around trying to get ready for school and climbing on you. Not easy. This happens every registration.”
Another source of frustration for some: this year’s class schedule erroneously listed the registration date as “Wednesday, Dec. 13.”
Kalish said the parks department is working with its technology vendor to identify the source of this morning’s problems. Despite the fact that online registration number have “increased significantly over the past few years,” Kalish said server capacity was likely not the culprit this year.
“In the past, the registration volume in the first 10-15 minutes of registration has taxed our servers,” Kalish said. “We addressed that issue prior to this registration cycle and our servers functioned well and were not at capacity this morning. We are working with the vendor to explore what else could be contributing to this issue.”
Kalish said today is one of the busiest days for class registration, though the first day of summer camp registration is usually the busiest.