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County Board 2014 budget hearingArlington is investing in its water management systems to replace aging pipes — some of which are 87 years old — and keep pace with development.

The Board unanimously approved master plans on stormwater and water distribution on Saturday, which aim to maintain a clean water supply and reduce the risk of flooding.

“Arlington is committed to providing safe and reliable drinking water to our residents and ensuring that our community complies with environmental law and remains sustainable,” Arlington County Board Chair Jay Fisette said in a statement. “These plans will allow us to meet the demands of projected population growth and help restore the health of the Chesapeake Bay.”

About a third of the storm sewer system in the county needs additional capacity to reduce flooding risks, according to the county’s assessment. And a total of 11 miles of aging steel and terra cotta storm sewer pipes — some 87 years old — need to be replaced.

The average age of the county’s water mains is 55 years, Water, Sewer and Street Bureau Chief Harry Wang said earlier this year. Between Jan. 8 and Feb. 20 alone, the county had to perform 89 repairs on water mains — and average of 2.1 breaks per day, Wang said.

The approved plan estimates the capital cost per year for stormwater-related projects to increase from $2 million per year to $3.3 million per year, depending on what external regulations require.

Home construction is responsible for a spike in the amount of surfaces like streets, rooftops and sidewalks that can’t absorb runoff, the report said. “Single-family home projects accounted for the majority of pollutant load increases from development activity in the county during the time period studied [from July 2009 to July 2013],” the document said.

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APS Walk and Bike to School Day(Updated at 3:35 p.m.) Arlington Public Schools are serving more young, unaccompanied immigrants.

The estimated number of unaccompanied, juvenile immigrants in APS jumped from 10 children last school year to “approximately” 80 children this school year so far, the district said Friday.

The release of the APS data on youth age 18 and under who travelled without a parent or guardian follows a national report on unaccompanied minors issued this week by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. That report stated that through July 31, 133 unaccompanied minors were transferred to the care of family members or other sponsors in Arlington County.

The 133 count potentially includes youth below school age, in private schools, home schooled or not enrolled in school, APS pointed out.

APS served enough young, recent immigrants in the 2013-2014 school year to be eligible for an additional $43,000 in state funding, the APS statement said. The school system saw an increase of 141 immigrant students from the ’12-’13 to ’13-’14 school year, the statement said. These youth range in age from 3 to 21, were born outside the U.S. and had not attended school in the country for more than three academic years. This category includes but is not exclusive to youth who came to the U.S. unaccompanied.

Additionally, APS has devoted additional resources this school year to students who have had little formal schooling and read below grade level in any language.

The Arlington Career Center reinstituted a previously offered “Accelerated Literacy” program that draws high school students from across the county. Two more teachers were hired, and funds were redirected to serve youth in this program, according to the statement.

Washington-Lee High School is also offering the literacy curriculum. Additional literacy support is available to elementary and middle school students, the statement said.

The county Dept. of Human Services connects youth and their sponsors with medical and behavior health care, English classes, legal aid and limited emergency funds, spokesman Kurt Larrick said. Like all new APS students, unaccompanied minors new to the district are screened for tuberculosis and required to have a set of immunizations, he added.

The HHS report noted that many of the unaccompanied youth have survived trauma.

“These children may have histories of abuse or may be seeking safety from threats of violence,” it said. “They may have been trafficked or smuggled.”

School Board member Emma Violand-Sanchez said in July that APS should prepare for a “crisis situation” in providing services to unaccompanied minors. County Board member Walter Tejada said then that Arlington was preparing to serve them.

APS does not request and is not required by law to ask students to report their immigration status, the statement said.

(File photo)

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Joe Tenne packed his black Tundra truck full of camping supplies Wednesday night, said goodbye to his wife and son — and then headed to the Clarendon Apple store.

Tenne, 43, was first in line at the 2700 Clarendon Blvd. shop to buy the new iPhone 6. The Woodbridge resident, who got a tweet of support from William Shatner, arrived Wednesday at 8:00 p.m.

He was followed by hundreds of Apple fans who waited for the phones Friday morning.

“It’s a whole social experience, in addition to getting the phone,” Tenne, who runs an I.T. company, said minutes before the product went on sale.

The line at 8:00 a.m. snaked around the Market Common Clarendon complex, nearly reaching the Crate & Barrel store.

A photo of Tenne with a camp chair and cooler caught the eye of Shatner on Twitter Thursday afternoon.

“If you’re by the Clarendon Apple store & see this guy-bring him a coffee or offer to stand in for a bathroom break,” the actor tweeted.

Tenne said he used the restroom in the Apple store and at the nearby Starbucks, and ordered pizza with the second and third people in line — a couple from Alexandria who arrived at the store on Thursday at 11:00 p.m. Tenne, who has staked out the tech outpost for new products for the past three years, said he appreciated the sense of community.

“I’ve met all the store managers and made a lot of friends.”

Before 8:00 a.m., Apple employees ceremoniously removed black curtains from the shop windows, counted down the remaining seconds and then let a first set of customers rush inside.

Tenne bought the thin, fast iPhone and shook the hand of a staffer as he headed to his truck.

“See you next year,” she said.

Asked how he would spend the rest of the day, Tenne said he was headed back to Woodbridge.

“I’ll probably go home and play with it for 15 minutes and then go sleep for eight hours,” he said.

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About a dozen commuters were trapped in a Rosslyn Metro station elevator for about 20 minutes on Sept. 18, 2014.(Updated at 1:50 p.m.) About a dozen commuters were trapped in an elevator for 20 minutes at the Rosslyn Metro station during rush hour Thursday morning.

One of the three high-speed elevators on N. Moore Street — which are less than a year old — broke down about 8:15 a.m., according to scanner traffic.

A commuter who was rushing to work after being freed from the elevator said the group remained calm as they waited for help.

The entrapment was caused by a power surge that is under investigation, WMATA spokeswoman Caroline Laurin said.

The elevators, designed and built by the Arlington Department of Environmental Services as part of a $50 million project, went into use in October 2013, when the new station entrance opened.

The elevators went out of service in December 2013 because of an electricity-related glitch.

All three of the elevators on N. Moore Street were taken out of service after the incident and had resumed operation by 11:15 a.m., the WMATA representative said.

DES spokesman Eric Balliet said authority over the Rosslyn station elevators was transferred from the county to WMATA about a month ago.

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Arlington Career Center students train to be cosmetologists (via Arlington Career Center).Getting a hair cut or your nails done in one of the most expensive areas in the country doesn’t have to cost a fortune — Arlington cosmetology schools offer low-cost services under professional supervision.

High school students at Arlington Career Center provide spa services as they prepare to pass the state exam to become licensed beauticians.

“The students do the work and it’s overseen by two cosmetology teachers,” instructor Rosenia Peake said.

A blowout costs $15, a haircut costs $10 and senior citizens get a 10 percent discount. Appointments at 816 S. Walter Reed Dr. are scheduled for 8 a.m., 11:15 a.m. and 1:45 p.m. and can be made by calling (703) 228-5799.

Students aren’t giving manicures now but will be later this year, said Peake, who noted the Arlington Public Schools-run program gets teenagers job-ready.

“You’re a professional in the 11th grade, and you haven’t even graduated from high school,” she said. “This is a stepping stone to another life.”

ACC principal Margaret Chung said the program serves both locals and students.

“It’s an incredible opportunity for our students to be able to give back to the community,” she said. “Students get hands-on experience and learn to interact in a professional way.”

For a little more money, Graham Webb Academy offers more extensive salon services in Rosslyn. At 1621 N. Kent St., student stylists give haircuts ($19), blowouts ($14), full highlights ($57) and more, according to their website. A manicure there costs $12, and a Brazilian Blowout runs $175.

Appointments can be made by calling (703) 243-9322 and walk-ins are available.

In Virginia Square, Kenny’s Beauty Academy advertises women’s haircuts for $15, men’s haircuts for $10 and manicures for $10. A Brazilian keratin treatment there costs $100, the school’s website says. The 3461 Washington Blvd. school can be reached at (571) 522-4566.

Photo via Arlington Career Center

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Sen. Tim Kaine promoted career and technical education Sept. 10, 2014 at a panel discussion held at the Capitol.Eliminating the stigma against technical education will help young Virginians get better jobs, Sen. Tim Kaine said at a panel discussion Wednesday afternoon at the Capitol, where two Arlington teachers spoke about their successes in the field.

Young people can get better-paying jobs if the perception of high school job-skills courses is changed from an option for failing students to a smart choice, Kaine said. The discussion was held by the national education coalition Advocates for Literacy and the Senate Career and Technical Education Caucus, of which Kaine is co-chair.

“This big-picture goal which our caucus is related to is de-stigmatizing [career and technical education] and making it really hot, sexy and cool,” he said. “Technical education is coming back strong and it’s something we can celebrate.”

Jeffrey Elkner and Sean Kinnard, both teachers at the Arlington Public Schools-run Arlington Career Center, described how giving youth practical skills motivates them.

“Students who would be turned off otherwise make real-world connections,” said Elkner, who teaches math and information technology at the career center. Located at 816 S. Walter Reed Drive, the school trains more than 1,100 students a day in programs including animal science, cosmetology and automotive technology.Arlington Career Center teachers Sean Kinnard, left, and Jeffrey Elkner spoke at the Capitol on Sept. 10, 2014 about their successes in career and technical education.

Kinnard spoke about a teen from Afghanistan who was disengaged in ordinary high school classes but had a passion for cars. After participating in the school’s two-year auto tech program, the teen now works for a Mercedes dealer.

“The program got him the industry credentials he needed to get his job,” said Kinnard, who teaches English as a Second Language.

Kaine described a disconnect between job seekers’ skills and the positions available.

“There’s a mismatch right now between the unemployment rate and positions going unfilled, and what that means is we’re not training people in the right skills,” he said. “[Career and technical education] is probably the best thing you can do to realign that so the skills match up with the needs.”

The junior senator introduced on Wednesday the Middle School Technical Education Program Act, which would encourage middle school students to explore technical career options and provide access to apprenticeships.

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George Washington Parkway Memorial Circle (photo via Google Maps)The National Park Service is asking for public input on how to make the GW Parkway’s Memorial Circle area safer.

NPS is preparing a new transportation plan and environmental assessment for the heavily-trafficked zone, Park Service Superintendent Alexcy Romero announced Thursday.

“The purpose of the [environmental assessment] is to reduce conflicts between trail, walkway and roadway users and to increase overall visitor safety around the memorial area,” Romero said in a statement.

The Park Service installed temporary flashing lights last winter at a crosswalk on the northbound GW Parkway, prior to the circle, to urge drivers to slow down for pedestrians and cyclists. In summer 2012, various other safety improvements — pedestrian warning signs, rumble strips for drivers and directional pavement markings — were installed.

Three-car accident on the GW Parkway (screen capture via Facebook)The changes were made in response to a series of accidents and near-misses.

Comments on new safety improvements can be submitted through September 30 on the Park Service’s planning website.

The Park Service asks that commenters include their addresses, phone numbers and email addresses in their remarks, warning that “personal identifying information may be made publicly available at any time.”

Additionally, park staff will set up information booths at Alexandria farmers markets and near Memorial Circle.

The public will have opportunities to review the transportation plan following its release this fall, according to NPS. The Park Service is expected to make a final decision on the plan by the summer of 2016.

Photo (top) via Google Maps

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A pedestrian was rushed to the hospital during rush hour Thursday morning after she was struck by a taxi close to the Rosslyn Metro station.

The woman was walking north on N. Moore Street, crossing busy 19th Street N. about 9:15 a.m. when she was hit by a D.C. cab, witnesses and the cab driver said.

The cab’s passenger, on her way to work, said her ride was interrupted by a shout.

“I heard a scream and then he slammed on his brakes,” the passenger said, declining to provide her name.

A witness said the pedestrian was in the crosswalk when she was hit.

“She didn’t stop walking,” said a consultant, 34, who had been walking to work, noting that he didn’t see the color of the traffic signal.

The driver, 70-year-old Charlie Harrison, said the pedestrian crossed in front of his car as he had a green light.

“I never saw her. She walked right in front of the car,” the D.C. resident said, pointing to his dangling passenger-side mirror.

Harrison, who said he’s been behind the wheel professionally for 50 years, said safety is his top priority but admitted to having hit a pedestrian in D.C. “about a year ago.”

“The other person I hit was a drunk,” he said about the midday crash near 10th and U streets.

The pedestrian hit Thursday morning was transported to George Washington University Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, Arlington police said.

Officers at the scene declined to disclose whether Harrison would be charged for the crash, and Universal Cab refused to comment.

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(Updated at 2:25 p.m.) Vying for a seat on the Arlington County Board, challenger Alan Howze and incumbent John Vihstadt made their cases for and against the big-ticket Columbia Pike streetcar and described other goals should they be elected November 4.

Speaking before the Arlington Civic Federation last night, Howze, a streetcar backer, repeated his call for a public referendum on the transportation option, calling it a huge economic opportunity for the county.

“When you look at the capacity and the economic development that will be driven by the streetcar versus the buses, it’s a smart investment to make,” he said. “We’re talking about passing on thousands of jobs in our community and hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue that can go toward funding our schools and our social services.”

Howze suggested looking at renewable energy to power the streetcar. “If we can get into a long-term power purchasing agreement, it may actually not cost anything” beyond current energy rates, he said.

Vihstadt countered that the streetcar’s operating costs will have to be funded by bonds and tax dollars and that improved buses are a cheaper and more flexible option.

“The way to keep taxes under control in this county is not to spend so much,” he said. “People want to get from point A to point B in the fastest amount of time, in reasonable comfort and at a good price. The bus is the way to do that.”

Vihstadt said he is not a “single-issue candidate” and stated he would focus on creating affordable housing if elected.

“We want an Arlington that’s welcoming, that’s diverse and that’s affordable to everybody and it’s just really a question of how we’re going to do that — whether it’s through additional committed affordable units or additional housing grants or a special program for workforce housing, I am completely open to that,” he said.

Howze said he was also committed to making affordable housing a priority.

Vihstadt touted his successes thus far in bringing “balance and accountability” to the Board and reminded audience members that he won their vote in April. Vihstadt, a Republican who ran as an independent, won the special election in April to replace Chris Zimmerman (D) on the board. He captured 57 percent of the vote, to Democrat Howze’s 41 percent.

“Since I’ve been on the Board, we have lowered the property tax rate for the first time in nine years, freed up more bonding authority for more new schools and additions to address our capacity crisis, and we’ve directed the County Manager to examine staffing levels for our fire and police,” Vihstadt’s opening statement said.

In his opening statement, Howze criticized Vihstadt’s work on the board thus far.

“He put politics ahead of the needs of our community when he voted this summer against funding for school construction, Metro and parks in the Capital Improvement Plan, just to make a political point,” the statement said. “But political obstruction won’t build schools for our children or secure a more prosperous future.”

Also participating in the Civic Federation candidate forum were the three candidates running for two open Arlington School Board seats. Nancy Van Doren, who is running unopposed, addressed the capacity crowd at Virginia Hospital Center’s Hazel conference center, as did Nov. 4 opponents Barbara Kanninen and Audrey Clement.

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Elementary school students got moving and learned about pedestrian safety on the first day of school in Arlington Tuesday morning.

With a police escort, families walked from Fort Barnard Park to Drew Model Elementary School in Nauck as part of a joint pedestrian and cyclist safety initiative by Arlington Public Schools and the Arlington County Police Department.

The new program encourages families to create healthy habits and discuss how to stay safe, Arlington Superintendent Dr. Pat Murphy said.

“The message is safety for students both coming from and going to school,” Murphy said before families strolled in the post-Labor Day heat.

Keeping kids safe on streets using “the 3 ‘E’s” of engineering, education and traffic law enforcement are a top priority of the county, added Larry Marcus, Arlington’s transportation, engineering and operations bureau chief.

As she walked her 3-year-old son Kanoa to his first day of Montessori school, lifelong Nauck resident Jaque Tuck, 30, said she wanted to teach her child healthy habits.

“On his very first day, we wanted to let him know everything is okay and to give him some exercise,” the child protective services employee said alongside her husband, real estate agent Karl Tuck.

Julia Stewart, a substitute teacher at the school, said she opted to walk her 11-year-old son Braden and 7-year-old son Tristan to class as a way to build community.

“I wanted to meet people who live in the neighborhood and go to school with us,” Stewart said. “You make it kind of a walking bus.”

Arlington families were notified about a month ago if they lived in a “bus zone” or a “walk zone” — and were encouraged to walk if possible, a department spokeswoman said.

Principal Darryl Evans encouraged Drew Elementary parents to walk their kids to school and supplement the two crossing guards who have posts near the school.

“We have a lot of children who walk in our community. It’s important that the adults help us out,” he said about school with 671 students enrolled this fall.

In a related pedestrian and cyclist safety campaign, some ACPD patrol cars now have rear stickers — with the words “PAL (Predictable, Alert, Lawful)” — that remind drivers, pedestrians and cyclists to share the road.

The release of the decals coincides with enforcement of the state law enacted July 1 requiring that drivers pass “at a reasonable speed” at least three feet from a cyclist they pass, according to a statement issued by the county.

ACPD stepped up high-visibility safety patrols around schools today for the beginning of the school year.

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Ruben Maye Nsue Mangue via Flickr/Embassy of Equatorial GuineaThe ambassador of Equatorial Guinea to the U.S. is the prime suspect in a reported assault in an Arlington home Monday night, police told the Associated Press.

As ARLnow was first to report based on a tip, a girl was beaten in the country’s diplomatic residence in the Dover-Crystal neighborhood, but no arrest was made because the accused attacker, Ruben Maye Nsue Mangue, has diplomatic immunity, Arlington police said.

Police responded to the 4000 block of 27th Road N. about 9:30 p.m. Monday after a female 911 caller said a man “hit her in the head with a chair,” and “there’s someone going crazy at her house,” according to scanner traffic.

The female victim was struck “several times,” police said Tuesday, leaving her with a head wound. She was transported to Virginia Hospital Center.

Reached at the diplomatic residence, Rebeca Maye, who identified herself as Nsue’s secretary, said the ambassador’s 16-year-old daughter was released from the hospital Wednesday. “She’s fine,” she said.

The Equatorial Guinea Ambassador's Residence on the 4400 block of 27th Road N.Nsue did not respond to multiple inquiries.

The ambassador has protections as a member of a foreign diplomatic mission, the State Department and police said.

“The subject has full diplomatic immunity and was not arrested,” ACPD said in a crime report issued Tuesday.

The U.S. State Department has informed the government of Equatorial Guinea of the reported crime and expects a response next week, a department representative said.

Governments can waive diplomatic immunity, as officials in the nation of Georgia chose to do in 1997 after a diplomat from the Eurasian country struck and killed a Maryland teenager in a crash after a night of drinking.

Photo via Flickr/Embassy of Equatorial Guinea

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