Flash Flood Watch Today — A Flash Flood Watch is in effect today for Arlington and the rest of the region. Rain showers and thunderstorms are expected to dump 1-3 inches of rain on the area through this evening. [National Weather Service]
APS Receives ‘SRTS’ Grant — Arlington Public Schools has received a $67,600 state grant that will be used to fund a new “Safe Routes to School” coordinator position. The SRTS program will help “enable and encourage children, including those with disabilities, to walk and bicycle to school.” It also seeks to make walking and bicycling to school safer while reducing traffic, fuel consumption and air pollution near schools. [Arlington Public Schools]
DJO Pitcher Honored by Gatorade – Bishop O’Connell High School softball pitcher Tori Finucane has been named the 2012-2013 Gatorade Virginia Softball Player of the Year. Finucane is now eligible to be named the Gatorade National Softball Player of the Year. [Sun Gazette]
Flickr pool photo by Martin Humm
‘Virginia Room’ Reopens With New Name — The former Virginia Room at Arlington Central Library (1015 N. Quincy Street) has reopened following renovations. Meanwhile, the room has been renamed the “Center for Local History.” [Arlington Public Library]
Phoenix Bikes Plans Move — The nonprofit Phoenix bike shop has been raising money for a planned move. The new location will be larger than the current classroom-sized shop. Like the current shop, it will be located on public property — at S. Walter Reed Drive and Four Mile Run Drive, next to the W&OD Trail. [Arlington Mercury]
Haute Fabrics Now Open Near Ballston — Marshall, Va.-based fabric shop Haute Fabrics has opened a second location, near Ballston. The new location is located at 730 N. Glebe Road and offers two floors worth of fabrics. [My Notting Hill]
Flickr pool photo by Mrs. Gemstone
Thousands of Armed Protesters Expected on July 4 — Pro-gun activists are planning an open carry protest march from Arlington National Cemetery, across the Memorial Bridge and into D.C. The protest, which is being organized on Facebook, is to take place on July 4. Participants are encouraged to march with loaded rifles slung across their backs. More than 2,000 have indicated their intention to participate in the “non-violent event.” [Huffington Post]
DJO Softball Finishes 24-1 — The elite Bishop O’Connell softball team has finished the regular season with a 24-1 record after consecutive victories against Yorktown and Paul VI. The nationally-ranked Knights will now advance to the playoffs. [Sun Gazette]
Too-Tall Parking Meters Being Replaced — A manufacturer of Arlington’s multi-space parking meters is replacing 16 meters that don’t meet current Americans with Disabilities Act requirements because they’re too tall. The replacements are being done at no cost to the county. [Arlington Mercury]
New Bus Shelters Vandalized in Arlandria — There has been a wave of vandalism directed toward new glass-paned bus shelters in the Arlandria section of Alexandria, adjacent to Arlington. [The Arlandrian]
Flickr pool photo by Maryva2
The new Washington-Lee High School softball field will open for its first game on Monday.
The $1 million field, under construction since last summer, is located on the corner of Washington Blvd and N. Quincy Street. It was built after parents of softball players threatened to file a Title IX complaint if the school system did not upgrade the no-frills field they were using at the time to include the same amenities of the boys baseball field.
The new softball field has “seating for 280 people, lighting, a press box and a removable fence so that the space can serve multiple uses,” according to Arlington Public Schools spokesman Frank Bellavia.
Arlington Outpaced in Home Sale Prices – Falls Church, Alexandria, Fairfax County and D.C. have all outpaced Arlington when it comes to growth in home sale prices. Prices in Arlington increased only 1.1 percent year over year in March, and year-to-date prices are down 1 percent, according to data from RealEstate Business Intelligence. The median home sale price in Arlington hit $515,000 in March. [Washington Post]
O’Connell Defeats Stone Bridge — The highly-ranked Bishop O’Connell softball team defeated their closest competitors in Virginia, Stone Bridge, by a score of 3-0 last night. The Knights improved to 10-0, and remain ranked No. 2 in the region. The team will face No. 9 McLean and No. 1 Northern (ranked second in the country; DJO is ranked third) later this month. [Washington Post]
Kanninen Wants More Responsiveness — Barbara Kanninen says she’s running for Arlington School Board because she wants the board to be more responsive to the concerns of parents. “There’s a lot of parent dissatisfaction,” she said in an interview with the Sun Gazette. Of her opponent, incumbent James Lander, she said “it truly isn’t about him, specifically.” [Sun Gazette]
Remembering WEAM — “Our Man in Arlington” columnist Charlie Clark takes a trip down Memory Lane and remembers the Arlington-based AM radio station WEAM. The station used to play pop and rock hits from a studio located “above Minor Hill, off Williamsburg Blvd.” [Falls Church News-Press]
The Bishop O’Connell softball team went 27-1 last year, capturing their 17th Virginia Independent Schools state title in 19 years and their 9th straight Washington Catholic Athletic Conference championship.
The team seemingly has no place to go but down. In fact, in preseason rankings by MaxPreps.com, there are only two teams in the country with higher expectations. The Knights ranked #3 in the national rankings, just below Northern (Owings, Md.) and Amador Valley (Pleasonton, Calif.).
All-American pitcher Tori Finucane and catcher Jillian Ferraro, who have committed to Missouri and UNC respectively, are back for their senior seasons. Finucane was named to the MaxPreps 2013 preseason All-American first team, and Ferraro to the All-American second team.
Finucane had a improbable 0.09 ERA and 332 strikeouts last year, and Ferraro chalked up a .542 batting average, 55 RBIs and 8 home runs.
According to a school-issued news release: “Other mainstays in this year’s lineup promise to be Hayley Metcalf (.488 batting average), Amanda Ehlers (.438) and Mary Burk (.310) with newcomers Olivia Giaquinto and Jenna Spille expected to contribute right away.”
Spring softball practices are now in full swing and O’Connell will open its season at home at 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday, March 12 in a game against St. Mary’s Ryken. The rest of the school’s softball schedule can be found on the Bishop O’Connell website.
Photo via Bishop O’Connell
Parents Speak Out Against New Bus Policy — Some parents spoke out against Arlington Public Schools’ new voucher-based school bus policy at last night’s School Board meeting. The policy will result in some students no longer being able to ride the bus to school. School Board member Abby Raphael said the changes are necessary: “Our school system is growing,” she said. “We have to adapt and make changes. It’s very expensive to add a bus and a bus driver.” [Sun Gazette]
APAH Asks For School Supply Donations — The Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing is seeking donations of school supplies. APAH will fill backbacks with the supplies and give them to about 250 disadvantaged students ahead of the first day of school. [Arlington Mercury]
W-L Softball Field Approved — The Arlington School Board formally approved a new softball field at Washington-Lee High School at its meeting last night. The softball field will cost about $1.3 million. [Sun Gazette]
Flickr pool photo by Jeff Gamble
W-L Softball Field Approved — The Arlington County Board has unanimously approved use permits for a new softball field at Washington-Lee High School. The $1 million field will include lighting, grandstands, and a press box.
Comcast Doubling Internet Speeds — Arlington is one of the areas where Comcast is increasing its internet speeds this week. The company says it’s doubling the internet speeds of Arlington customers who currently have the Blast 25 Mbps or the Extreme 50 Mbps internet service, at no additional cost. “This is the seventh time since 2002 that Comcast has increased speeds for its customers,” Comcast spokeswoman Alisha Martin said.
Encore’s ‘Pirates of Penzance’ Reviewed — The Encore Stage and Studio production of “The Pirates of Penzance” — currently playing at the Thomas Jefferson Community Theater at 125 S. Old Glebe Road — is “two hours of solid entertainment for all ages,” according to a newspaper review. [Sun Gazette]
Members of the Nauck community gathered last night (Wednesday) for a softball game featuring radio personalities from WPGC (95.5 FM).
The game — between the WPGC “Naturals” softball team and a team of local residents — was part of the radio station’s “Knocking Violence Out the Park” campaign. The Naturals have previously faced off against teams of police officers and residents in various parts of D.C. and Maryland as part of the campaign.
There was a police presence at last night’s game, which was held at Drew Model Elementary School; a member of the Arlington County Police Department’s gang unit played on the Nauck community team.
Former candidate for County Board Terron Sims, who helped WPGC organize the event, said the game was all about bringing the community together in a fun way.
“This has been great,” he told ARLnow.com. “Everyone came together, we were able to get the permits we needed at the last minute for the field, the station came out, we were able to get the vendors to come out, the community’s out here… having a good time. ”
“The message is… about unifying the community in all our actions, whether it’s taking care of our kids, or crime prevention, or anything of that nature,” Sims continued. “It takes the community as a whole to move forward in a positive manner.”
In addition to the game itself, the event featured food vendors, kids activities, and a voter registration drive.
The Arlington School Board approved the $1 million softball field project at its Nov. 15, 2011 meeting. According to a project timeline published earlier this year, construction on the new field is expected to begin as soon as next month, and should wrap up by late winter or early spring 2013.
Arlington Public Schools spokesman Frank Bellavia confirmed that the new field is expected to be ready by the next softball season. The $1 million cost will be split between the school system and Arlington County, he said.
The new field will be built at the corner of Washington Boulevard and N. Quincy Street, on the Washington-Lee High School campus, next to the school’s football field. Currently, both the W-L softball and baseball team play on county-owned land at Quincy Park, across Washington Boulevard from the campus. Last summer parents of W-L softball players waged a campaign for better girls softball facilities, threatening to file a Title IX complaint if the school system did not upgrade the field, the bleachers and other amenities to the standards of the boys baseball field.
The new softball field will include a natural grass playing field, a 192-square-foot press box, 230 grandstand seats, dugouts, bullpens, a batting cage, a practice field, a scoreboard, and focused “dark sky” lighting.
“This proposed project [will] improve the existing combined softball and practice field at the Washington Lee High School which was part of the original design for the school,” according to a project overview document. “Growing APS and County needs and requirements have caused the need to consider improving this portion of the original school design.”
In a memo, school staff said the new field will benefit both the school and the community.
If a new field is built at W-L, the school will have a truly dedicated softball field similar to Wakefield and Yorktown, W-L will have increased options for sports activities on the new field for Physical Education and both APS and the County will have increased use on the Quincy field and add diamond sports as well as other PRCR programs to the W-L field. APS staff has met with County PRCR staff about shared community use and programming for the proposed WL field. The results of these discussions resulted in a 50:50 Schools/County shared use agreement for the W-L field that provides W-L priority use for softball play. In order for W-L itself to have the greatest use possible for this new field, it is expected that a new field would have a removable fence like the boys baseball field has so that the outfield can be utilized to its greatest extent after the softball season is over both for APS and County activities.
Arlington Schools Make Washington Post List — All four Arlington public high schools have been ranked in the top 1 percent of all high schools in the U.S. by the Washington Post. The Post’s “Challenge Index” ranked H-B Woodlawn 48th in the nation and 2nd in the region, the highest ranking among the Arlington schools. [Arlington Public Schools]
Bishop O’Connell Softball Team Wins State Championship — For the 17th time in 19 years, the Bishop O’Connell Knights softball team has captured the Virginia Independent Schools Division I state championship trophy. The team had a 27-1 record this year. [Sun Gazette]
Arlington Named Bike-Friendly City — Arlington has been named the 23rd most bike-friendly “city” in the country by Bicycling Magazine. The publication looked at areas with “robust cycling infrastructure and a vibrant bike culture.” [Bicycling]
Zimmerman to Visit France — Arlington County Board member Chris Zimmerman will be visiting three cities in France next month in order to study ways to make Arlington less car-dependent. [Transportation Nation]
Moran Challenger Gets on Ballot — Rep. Jim Moran (D) will have a Democratic primary challenger, after all. Arlington businessman Bruce Shuttleworth has been certified to appear on the June 12 congressional primary ballot, after initially being rejected by election officials for supposedly not having the required 1,000 petition signatures. Shuttleworth’s campaign sued in federal court; yesterday the Virginia Democratic party certified his candidacy. [Washington Post]
O’Connell’s Undefeated Softball Team — The Bishop O’Connell Knights softball team is undefeated, with a perfect 10-0 record. One of its pitchers, Tori Finucane, has an astounding 0.00 earned run average for the season, with 114 strikeouts in 56 innings. [Sun Gazette]
United Jet Blows Tires at DCA — A United Airlines flight from Houston blew two rear tires while landing at Reagan National Airport on Monday morning. None of the 127 people on board were injured. [Washington Post]
I-395 HOV Lanes Close Overnight — The HOV lanes of I-395 — from the 14th Street Bridge to the Springfield Mixing Bowl — are closing from 9:30 p.m. until 3:30 a.m. this week. VDOT says the closures will allow it to install new overhead signs and to complete some bridge painting work. [Associated Press]
New Library ‘Digital Projects Lab’ Taking Reservations — Arlington Central Library’s new Digital Projects Lab is opening on Monday, April 16. The lab — which will offer library patrons the use of digital media creation tools like Photoshop and Final Cut Pro — is now accepting reservations. [Arlington Public Library]
W-L Softball Field Improvements in the Works — At last night’s Arlington County School Board meeting, officials said they were moving forward “at quite a good pace” with plans to improve the softball facilities at Quincy Park used by Washington-Lee High School. Parents loudly complained over the summer about what they felt were inferior, dangerous playing conditions at the team’s home field. [Sun Gazette]
County Offers Free Leadership Course — From a County press release: “Want to learn more about how to make change happen in your neighborhood and County? County government’s Neighborhood College is offering a free, eight-week course — open to all residents — aimed at giving you the inside scoop on how County government works and helping you hone your civic leadership skills.” [Arlington County]
Alexandria Brewery Visits Crystal City — Staff from Alexandria’s Port City Brewing Company will be holding an event at a Crystal City hotel bar over the weekend. On Saturday, starting at 6:00 p.m., Port City will “take over the taps” at BELL20 at the Crystal City Marriott (1999 Jefferson Davis Hwy). The brewery’s IPA, pale ale, wheat bear and porter will be available on draft for $4.20, and will include free take-home pint glasses.
The annual First Responders Cup softball tournament, played in South Arlington, has been canceled this year due to rain.
Tournament coordinator George Barusso wrote on the tournament’s web site that organizers are “very disappointed to pull the plug on this tournament but we don’t feel that we have a choice.” The girls fast pitch tournament, which was created after 9/11 to benefit local disaster relief and military charities, was to get underway today.
Coaches, Players and Fans,
For the first time in our ten year history, we’re cancelling the entire First Responders Cup event. As hard as we’ve tried to make this work in some form or fashion, Mother Nature continues to work against us. After consulting with Arlington County and umpire officials, always with an eye to the safety of the players, we believe that cancelling now is the right decision. We’d held out hope all along that we could resuscitate the fields for a scaled down tournament on Sunday. But the professionals who work fields everyday say that maybe we have a 30% chance for Sunday and that’s simply not enough to keep from inconveniencing everyone if we have to cancel later. So we’re very disappointed that we will not have any teams engraved on the First Responders Cup for 2011 but we know in the end that it’s the right decision.
Once again we are very disappointed to pull the plug on this tournament but we don’t feel that we have a choice. Nevertheless, we are already looking forward to seeing all of you in September 2012, when I’m confident that the sun will shine down on the 11th Annual, First Responders Cup.
Best to you all…thank you for your patience.
10th Annual, First Responders Cup
A group of parents are threatening to file a Title IX complaint against Arlington Public Schools for what they say are inadequate and inequitable facilities for the Washington-Lee High School girl’s softball team.
Parents say the team’s field — located in the public Quincy Park, near Arlington Central Library — is not regulation size, is in poor condition and is frequently befouled by dogs and homeless persons. Parents are demanding better facilities — at least in line with the baseball team’s field, also located in Quincy Park — or else they may file a formal discrimination complaint with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights.
While the W-L boys baseball team utilizes a regulation-size field, parents say, the softball team must make use of a field designed for and used by adult men’s slow pitch softball games.
“The dimensions of the skinned slow pitch infield are too large for fast pitch softball,” parents wrote in a letter to school officials. “The outfield fences are about 100 feet too deep.”
Also, parents say, the softball field lacks a press box, a PA system, a pitcher warm-up area, a flag pole (for the Pledge of Allegiance) and adequate bleachers — all of which the baseball field has.
“The softball infield, unlike baseball, is rock hard and drains poorly,” parents say.
“Unlike the baseball field, which is covered in the off-season for maintenance and more consistently maintained during the season, the softball field is never covered, the outfield grass is mowed infrequently… and the infield often is improperly lined for high school competition on game days,” the letter said. “Umpires this spring threatened on at least one occasion not to allow games to be played for this reason.”
Additionally, parents cited various security concerns, like the half-mile walk from the high school and the lack of security lighting or an emergency call box.
“On at least one occasion in 2011 when the varsity team returned home after an away game to use the storage facility in a dark area… girls were surprised by a homeless person sleeping near the storage shed,” parents wrote.
Parents say that homeless individuals frequently sleep in the dugouts, which cannot be locked, unlike the boy’s baseball dugouts (pictured, left). “Drug paraphernalia” was found in one of the unlocked batting cages this spring, they added, noting that they’ve been told the cages cannot be locked because Quincy is a public park.
Further, “the unsecured softball field at Quincy is used as a dog park; the presence of animal waste on the field (often tracked into the dugout) represents a public health hazard,” parents wrote.
Yesterday the school system asked the group for another two weeks to respond to their letter, which was sent on Aug. 13, according to parent Christopher Prins. The letter was sent after months of dialogue between parents and school administrators.
“If we don’t hear back by Sept. 9, with something substantive that advances this discussion, then we will move forward,” Prins said. “We don’t like being blown off for essentially five months.”
Assistant Superintendent Meg Tuccillo says the school system has “limited green space” in which to accommodate student sports, but they nonetheless “intend to work with the families.”