Seven Dems Line Up to Replace Brink — Seven Democrats are running for the House of Delegates seat being vacated by Del. Bob Brink, who’s heading to the McAuliffe administration. The candidates, who will compete in a firehouse primary on Sunday, made their pitch to members of the Arlington County Democratic Committee at its meeting in Ballston last night. Also last night, Brink thanked ACDC members for their support over his 17 years in office. [Blue Virginia, Washington Post, InsideNova]
O’Leary to Retire Monday — County Treasurer Frank O’Leary, also speaking at last night’s meeting of Arlington Democrats, formally announced his retirement. O’Leary, who has served more than 30 years as county treasurer, touted his record of reducing tax delinquency rates, increasing the county’s return on financial investments, and improving customer service. His deputy, Carla de la Pava, will be sworn in as interim treasurer after O’Leary submits his resignation Monday. [InsideNova, Blue Virginia]
Aurora Hills Babysitting Co-op Turns 50 — A babysitting co-op in Arlington’s Aurora Highlands neighborhood just celebrated its 50th anniversary. Babysitting is free in the co-op, which requires members to contribute by babysitting each other’s children. [Washington Post]
SoberRide Returns for July 4 — The Washington Regional Alcohol Program will offer free taxi rides on Independence Day tomorrow through its SoberRide program. Revelers can call 1-800-200-TAXI for a free cab ride home from 10:00 p.m. on July 4 through 4:00 a.m., as long as the fare is under $30. [WRAP]
DCA Warns of Long Lines — The Fourth of July holiday is expected to result in longer lines and wait times at Reagan National Airport this weekend. The airport is advising travelers to arrive two hours early, especially during its “peak travel times… typically during the early morning (5:30 a.m. to 8:00 a.m.) and late afternoon (3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.).” There may also be a mid-day peak from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Adding to the problems, the airport reports that some airlines are canceling flights due to Hurricane Arthur. [MWAA]
Flickr pool photo by Rob Cannon
Brink will retire as of June 30. His 48th District includes Crystal City and parts of north Arlington and McLean.
Brink said in a statement that being able to serve in the Virginia legislature, which counts founding fathers Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and Patrick Henry among its former members, made him feel like “the luckiest guy on earth.”
It is “very likely” that Brink will be replaced in a special election in August, according to Arlington County General Registrar Linda Lindberg. The final order will come from the speaker of the House of Delegates.
Brink was reelected to a new two-year term this past November. He ran unopposed. He is leaving the legislature after accepting a position as Deputy Commissioner for Aging Services, Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s office announced this afternoon.
Brink’s office issued the following press release this afternoon.
Delegate Bob Brink (D-Arlington/McLean), who has represented the 48th District in the Virginia House of Delegates for the past 17 years, announced Friday that he will retire from the House effective June 30.
“I’ve been honored beyond words to serve my fellow citizens as a member of the House,” Delegate Brink said. “But, ‘To every thing there is a season.’ It’s time for a new person to have this privilege, and it’s time for me to move on to new challenges.”
First elected in 1997, Delegate Brink is 13th in seniority in the 100-member House. He is the Dean of Arlington’s General Assembly delegation.
The 48th District includes north Arlington, Crystal City, and part of McLean in Fairfax County.
A member of the House Appropriations Committee and its Health Subcommittee, Delegate Brink cited as some of his proudest achievements in office his work on the FAMIS program which provides health coverage to children of the working poor, as well as efforts to maintain the health care safety net of services to vulnerable Virginians. The ranking Democrat on the House Privileges and Elections Committee, he has advocated for reform of the redistricting process and expansion of access to the vote for all eligible citizens. He also serves on the Education and Transportation Committees as well as on numerous legislative study commissions.
Delegate Brink has received recognition from a variety of groups for his service in the General Assembly. In 2013 the National Federation of the Blind of Virginia presented its Commonwealth Award to him for his efforts on behalf of blind and vision-impaired students. The Virginia League of Conservation Voters has consistently commended him for his legislative record on environmental issues. He headed the Virginia YMCA’s Model General Assembly Program board for a number of years and received the YMCA’s Service to Youth Award in 2001. He is a board member and former chair of the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities and also serves on the board of the Federation of State Humanities Councils.
Delegate Brink concluded, “On a personal note: A few weeks before I was sworn into office in 1998, I was in Richmond for freshman orientation. One night I took a walk around the Capitol and I stopped outside the House chamber. The curtains were open and the lights were on, and for the first time I saw the vote board with my name on it.
“I’ve looked up at that board thousands of times since that night. Some days it seemed like the only vote where I was in the majority was the quorum call. But every day, the knowledge that I’m one of a handful of Virginians whose numbers include Jefferson, Madison, and Patrick Henry made me think that I must be the luckiest guy on earth.”
Fellow Arlington delegate Alfonso Lopez issued the following statement about Brink’s retirement.
Delegate Brink has lead an extraordinary career in public service. Having served our community for over sixteen years in the House of Delegates, he has accumulated a wealth of knowledge and experience that has helped him fight for Arlington’s values and priorities in Richmond. As a friend, mentor, and leader in the Arlington delegation, Delegate Brink’s presence in the General Assembly will be sorely missed.
State Sen. Adam Ebbin also released a statement about Brink’s retirement.
For 17 years Delegate Bob Brink has brought Arlington’s values to Richmond in an outspoken, yet gentlemanly, way.
As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, Bob has played a key role in the financial stewardship of the Commonwealth. He was an early and effective advocate of Virginia’s Children’s Health Insurance Plan (CHIP). He is responsible for easing enrollment, expanding outreach and the increased enrollment of underprivileged Virginia children in insurance, improving health outcomes. Thousands of blind and visually impaired children have benefited from Delegate Brink’s work securing funds for specialized teaching assistance.
On a personal level, Bob has been a great friend and taught me a lot about being a legislator.
Though the people of Virginia will benefit from his services as he assumes the position of Deputy Commissioner for Aging Services in the Department of Aging and Rehabilitative Services, he will certainly be missed in the General Assembly.
Westover’s Pete’s Barber Shop is no longer home to its namesake now that Peter Xereas has retired.
Xereas, a Greek immigrant, had owned the barber shop at 5847 Washington Blvd since 1968 when he officially retired Feb. 28. Pete’s was named the best barber shop in Arlington for 2013 by the readers of Arlington Magazine.
Chris Hewitt, who had worked under Xereas for about five years, has taken over the lease and operation along with his wife, Elaine Prettyman, who also works at the shop.
“He decided to hang up the clippers,” Hewitt told ARLnow.com while attending to a customer’s hair. “He’s still in good health, and he said he wants to enjoy it.”
Hewitt was hired after a barber had left Pete’s for a different job. Hewitt said on his first day, Xereas let him know the shop would eventually be his.
“That first day, I was in the chair right next to him,” Hewitt said. “He said ‘I’m not gonna be working much longer, so when I retire, you can have the barber shop.’ I said ‘sounds good,’ put my time in and tried to learn the place.”
Hewitt said Xereas is planning on returning to his native Greece for the summer to visit his ill sister. Xereas had been planning to retire since his wife died last year, and the paperwork for transferring the lease and the business over to Hewitt was complete at the end of February.
When the customer in Hewitt’s chair, Ed, heard ARLnow.com ask about how customers had been reacting to Xereas’ retirement, Ed turned around and said, “Oh my goodness.”
“That’s how they have been reacting,” Hewitt said with a laugh. “Pete loves his customers. He said he’s going to miss everyone so much, so retiring was hard.”
As news of Xereas’ retirement spread to Pete’s customer base, several regulars sent emails to ARLnow.com lamenting the loss of their favorite barber.
“The men in the house are going to look much worse for this turn of events,” one reader wrote.
“He is an Arlington icon and will be missed,” said another.
Toward the end of the haircut, Hewitt turned his customer’s chair around and trimmed his eyebrows and his mustache.
“That’s something Pete used to do,” Ed said.
The announcement was sent to Chamber members this afternoon. This year’s Chamber chairman, Tim Hughes of the law firm Hughes, Bean, Kinney & Korman P.C., will lead a search committee to find Doud’s successor.
The Chamber issued the following press release about Doud’s retirement.
After 23 years as President of the Arlington Chamber of Commerce, Rich Doud has announced that he will retire from his position effective May 15, 2014.
Doud joined the Arlington Chamber in September of 1990 to begin his tenure as the membership-based, nonprofit organization’s President, then called Executive Vice President. Under Doud’s leadership, the Chamber has made a number of achievements, including creating the Arlington Business Hall of Fame to recognize impactful business leaders in the community, developing the Community Action Committee to build stronger relationships between businesses and nonprofits, ensuring firm financial stability for the Chamber, and founding Leadership Arlington.
“It is impossible to fully express the satisfaction I have experienced working to build a better Arlington and increase opportunities for businesses,” said Doud. “I appreciate being given the chance by this great organization and the incredibly capable people who comprise our membership and staff who have bettered the lives of many. The achievements of the Chamber over the past two decades have been collaborative efforts between members and staff.”
As a sixty year resident of Arlington, Doud has immersed himself into and become a prominent figure within the community. During his tenure, Doud has received honors such as: Chamber Executive of the Year, Virginia Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives; Outstanding Civilian Service Medal (twice); United State Army; Legacy Award, Leadership Arlington; Spirit of Community Award, Arlington Community Foundation; and more.
His involvement in Arlington extends to his participation in community organizations and serving on various commissions and committees. A few highlights over the years include: founder and member of the Board of Regents of Leadership Arlington; assisted with the publishing of Where Valor Rests, a book about Arlington Cemetery which is given at burials there to the families; member of the Arlington County Economic Development Commission; member of the County Manager’s Institutional Leaders Roundtable; volunteer for Volunteer Arlington programs; member of the Police Chief’s Advisory Council; and member of the Washington Business Journal’s Thought Leadership Panel.
Doud came to the Chamber after a series of successful entrepreneurial ventures running small businesses. In 1984, his company was ranked 35th in the nation on Inc. magazine’s annual list of the 500 fastest growing companies in the United States.
Doud retires to spend time with his wife, as well as enjoy more family time with his three grown children and two grandsons (with a third on the way!).
2014 Chamber Chair Tim Hughes, Bean, Kinney & Korman P.C., will head a search committee seeking candidates to fill the position of President at the Arlington Chamber of Commerce. Plans for a celebration honoring Doud and his service throughout the years will be announced at a later date.
Helen Crossley — who has resided in the independent living facility at Culpepper Garden, a retirement community at 4435 N. Pershing Drive, for more than 30 years – will be turning 105 on Saturday, Aug. 24.
Crossley was a career nurse and didn’t stop practicing nursing until she was in her 90s. She remains active and independent to this day.
“She still gets around on her own, goes out to dinner with relatives, [and] participates in our monthly karaoke sessions,” said Culpepper Garden marketing director Lee Kaplowitz. “She has a tremendous sense of humor leaning towards the sarcastic side and, all in all, is a hoot.”
Photo via Culpepper Garden
After serving Rosslyn for 21 years, Rosslyn BID Executive Director Cecilia Cassidy has decided to retire. She started off as the Executive Director of Rosslyn Renaissance — an organization that merged with the BID last year — in 1992. Cassidy worked with businesses, the county government and others in the community to develop the BID, which began operations in 2003, and she has been with the organization for the past decade.
“We created the first BID in Northern Virginia. We worked with the County Manager and at the time had a $1 million dollar budget. Now now it’s a $4 million budget,” Cassidy said.
Prior to her time improving Rosslyn, Cassidy worked as a journalist and publications editor. She then served for 13 years in the affordable housing community, first as a tenant organizer at Arlington Village and after that on staff for AHC, Inc. in Arlington and The Enterprise Foundation in Columbia, Maryland.
County Manager Barbara Donnellan thanked Cassidy for her work on the BID for the past ten years.
“It was her work that really made the BIDs work here in the county,” said Donnellan.
When reminiscing on some of the projects she’s most proud of, she lists the BID’s assistance in establishing Artisphere and lobbying to have an observation deck on the Central Place building. She’s also proud of the BID’s partnership with A-SPAN in establishing a Rosslyn homeless outreach worker contract.
“We’re the only BID that has one and I’m very glad we addressed that,” Cassidy said. “There are more than a thousand BIDs across the U.S. and less than 10 percent provide service for the homeless. So we’re very proud of that.”
Former Director of Communications Lisa Rabasca left the BID as of June 28 for another job. She had been with the organization since last fall. Lee Anne McLarty, who has served as the Events and Marketing Manager for the past three years, will serve as the acting Director of Communications.
Cassidy said although it’s not ideal to have two departures in a relatively short period, the BID has been preparing for her retirement for a while. She noted that the organization is going through a re-branding process and when that finishes the BID will look to officially fill the open Director of Communications position.
Cassidy’s last day has not yet been decided, but she plans to be available to help transition the new Executive Director once the person is hired. She expects her last day to be sometime in the fall. After that she’ll take several months off and may decide to do some consulting in the future.
“Rosslyn is ready to take off. We’ve been working hard for many years and the Realize Rosslyn project is moving forward. We have a lot of great staff in place. I think they will continue to serve the Rosslyn community very well,” said Cassidy. “These jobs are very intense and exciting. It’s wonderful to be a part of growing the community. I’ll miss being in the center of all this exciting redevelopment.”
Disclosure: Rosslyn BID is an ARLnow.com advertiser
‘Mussel Bar’ to Open in Ballston — Mussel Bar & Grille, from restauranteur Robert Wiedmaier, is set to open at 800 N. Glebe Road in Ballston this summer. The small gastropub chain has existing locations in Bethesda and Atlantic City. Wiedmaier is also known for BRABO in Old Town Alexandria and Marcel’s and Brasserie Beck in D.C. [Washington City Paper]
Deputy County Manager to Retire — Deputy County Manager Marsha Allgeier is planning to retire, and the county is now searching for her successor. Allgeier has worked for Arlington County since 1998. [Sun Gazette]
Arlington Mom Survives Flesh-Eating Bacteria — An Arlington mom has survived a case of necrotizing fasciitis, the flesh-eating bacteria. Erin Smythers, a mother of three, developed the infection after getting a small cut on her finger. [WJLA]
Wakefield in State Semis Tonight — The Wakefield Warriors boys basketball team will face John Marshall in the state semifinals tonight. Tipoff is scheduled for 8:45 p.m. at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond. Update at 2:00 p.m.: The video will be streamed live online, via the Wakefield High School website. [Northern Va. Sports]
Flickr pool photo by Sunday Money
Clarence Stukes, the Assistant Superintendent for Facilities and Operations at Arlington Public Schools, is retiring at the end of January, an APS spokesman confirmed Monday evening.
Stukes has announced his retirement and his last day at the school system will be at some point later this month, APS spokesman Frank Bellavia told ARLnow.com. Bellavia said he did not know whether Stukes was taking a job with another school system.
As the top administrator in the Department of Facilities and Operations, Stukes is responsible for overseeing facilities planning, capital improvement programs, aquatics, building and grounds maintenance, custodial services, energy management, and transportation. In August, Stukes was caught up in a wave of parent anger over changes to enforcement of the school system’s busing policy.
Stukes defended the busing policy, but also pointed out that this was the first time in his tenure that the school system did not add buses to make up for growth in enrollment.
Stukes joins a long list of principals and senior administrators who have left Arlington Public Schools since 2010. While the departures have concerned some school watchers, APS officials attribute the phenomenon to the fact that a “senior corps” of school staffers have been approaching retirement.
“It is something we have been watching for a number of years now,” APS spokeswoman Linda Erdos said in September.
After he leaves, Stukes will likely be replaced with an interim Assistant Superintendent for Facilities and Operations while APS advertises to full the position on a permanent basis, Bellavia said.
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]
Dark Star Park Day Tomorrow — Tomorrow morning Rosslyn will celebrate “Dark Star Park Day.” At precisely 9:32 a.m. on August 1 of each year, the shadows cast by the stone spheres and iron poles in Dark Star Park (1655 N. Ft. Myer Drive) line up with the permanently-installed artistic images of shadows on the ground. Tomorrow’s event will begin at 8:30 a.m. and will include a photo contest. [Rosslyn BID]
Record Contributions to Affordable Housing Fund — Arlington County’s Affordable Housing Investment Fund (AHIF) saw a record $10.4 million in loan repayments and developer contributions in Fiscal Year 2012. The AHIF, which is used to help fund affordable housing projects, is set to receive $9.5 million in tax dollars in FY 2013, in addition to any repayments and contributions. [Arlington County]
County Looks for Investment Consultant — Arlington is looking for an investment professional to consult on private investments for its $1.5 billion Arlington County Employees’ Retirement System. The retirement fund is reportedly looking to invest $100 to $200 million in private equity. [Pensions & Investments]
Flickr pool photo by Wolfkann
(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.”
The large number of nearly simultaneous retirements is the result of changes to Arlington County’s retirement health benefits that, according to a fire official, prompted some 200 county employees to retire at the same time.
The fire personnel honored this morning had a combined 477 years of experience. It’s a loss that’s being felt across the department, despite the recent addition of large new recruit classes.
“Never before have so many of our leaders and mentors transitioned into retirement at the same time,” a video honoring the retirees said. “We will continue to hold the traditions you have set forth.”
With 30 to 38 years of experience, some of today’s retirees count both the Sept. 11 attack on the Pentagon and the Air Florida Flight 90 crash among the major incidents they’ve responded to as Arlington firefighters.
“This group of people has contributed so much, they have left such a legacy, that the organization is extremely strong and will survive without them being here every day,” said Fire Chief James Schwartz. “Their spirit will remain, their contributions — what they have shared with us over the course of their career — will remain… Thank you very much for everything you’ve done for us and this county.”
More photos, after the jump.
A retirement ceremony is being held on the morning of Tuesday, Jan. 24 for about 20 Arlington County Fire Department retirees. The firefighters have all retired over the past month or so after 25 to 37 years of service, according to department spokesman Lt. Gregg Karl.
“This is the largest number of retirees the ACFD has seen at one time and we want to honor them for their service,” Karl said.
Over the past 1-2 years the fire department has been in “heavy recruitment mode” as it anticipated the retirements. Fire Chief Jim Schwartz said in 2010 that the timing of at least some of the retirements was driven by changes to Arlington County’s retirement benefits. Older firefighters who might otherwise have stuck around for a bit longer were planning to retire by January 2012 in order to take advantage of better retirement health coverage.
First Day of Fall, Flash Flood Watch — Today is officially the first day of fall, but it’s not going to feel like it. A storm system bringing tropical moisture to the area will provide warm temperatures and heavy rains that may produce flash flooding. [Capital Weather Gang]
Reminder: DUI Checkpoint Tonight — As part of a national DUI crackdown, Arlington County Police will be conducting a sobriety checkpoint somewhere in the county tonight.
What If Arlington Was Part of D.C.? — The Washington City Paper wonders aloud: What would the District look like had Arlington and Alexandria not been retroceded back to Virginia? The move, which would place part of North Arlington in Northwest D.C. and the rest in Southwest D.C., would add 252,000 registered voters, 56 public and charter schools, and 44 Starbucks locations to the District. [Washington City Paper]
Fisette to Be Honored for HIV Outreach — County Board member Jay Fisette will be honored by the Northern Virginia AIDS Ministry as its 2011 Honoree at the organization’s Red Ribbon Gala next month. “NOVAM is proud to honor a well-known community leader who is a strong community advocate for HIV prevention and care for nearly 25 years,” the group said. [Northern Virginia AIDS Ministry]
ACFD Captain Retiring — Arlington County Fire Department Captain Ed Hannon is retiring after 28 years. As he was recounting his years of experience during a TV interview, Hannon’s colleagues decided to pull a prank: they sneaked up from behind and smeared his face with whipped cream as cameras rolled. [MyFoxDC]
During his seven years in the position, Johnston has overseen an increase in test scores and a decrease in the achievement gap between white and minority students. He also worked to create the school system’s career advancement program for teachers, which rewarded high-quality teaching.
Johnston will officially retire on Sept. 1. No successor has been chosen, and a national search process is being planned.
In addition to Johnston, the school system is seeking a replacement for Mary Beth Chambers, who is retiring in September as the Assistant Superintendent of Finance.
Photo via AGI