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by ARLnow.com — February 16, 2017 at 4:35 pm 0

Arlington firefighters are battling a house fire in the Columbia Forest neighborhood, between Columbia Pike and Wakefield High School.

The blaze was reported at a residential property the 1000 block of S. Dinwiddie Street just after 4:15 p.m.

The Arlington County Fire Department tweeted that it is dealing with “heavy smoke and fire” on the property. The fire broke out in the rear of a two story home and, as of 4:35 p.m., has been extinguished, according to scanner traffic.

Police have closed S. Columbus Street at Columbia Pike due to the large number of fire department vehicles in the area.

by Mark Kelly — February 16, 2017 at 3:45 pm 0

Mark KellyThe Right Note is a weekly opinion column. The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.

By now, you have probably heard about the controversy over signs at Yorktown High School. There is little doubt the signs were intended to make a political statement about issues surrounding the Trump Administration, albeit in an clever way.

You may support the posting of the signs as statements our community supports or you may oppose them as political propaganda. For the purposes of furthering the discussion, what if a teacher posted a sign in his or her classroom at Yorktown that said the following, complete with red, white and blue color scheme?

Patriots Know:

We have the right to pray and protest.

Government should enforce the laws.

Science continually discovers new theories.

You have the right to defend yourself.

Group think is dangerous.

We are YORKTOWN

Would that sign make it past lunch without being removed by the school administration? Maybe. It certainly would be interesting to hear the thoughts of the principal, superintendent and school board responding to complaints about it.

If there is a teacher who wants to do a thought experiment with their students, a sign like this one might spur a good discussion or make for a good writing assignment. If you do, be sure to let the media know how it goes.

In other news this week, the County Board said no to funding the Rosslyn-Georgetown gondola, at least for now. Fiscal watchdogs let out a big sigh of relief that the county would not chase another shiny object and instead focus on other transportation priorities.

This most certainly reflects at least a slight change in philosophy from the previous Board which threw good money after bad trying to build the Columbia Pike streetcar. Seems that electing four new Board Members in the past five years has given rise to more caution when it comes to this type of project.

Now if we could only get them to pay for all ongoing maintenance needs in the regular budget rather than borrowing more money to do it, we would really be getting somewhere.

by Progressive Voice — February 16, 2017 at 3:00 pm 0

Emma Violand SanchezProgressive Voice is a weekly opinion column. The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the individual authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of their organizations or ARLnow.com.

By: Emma Violand Sanchez

The Trump Administration’s words and actions regarding immigration and refugee ban have sparked fear in many communities across America, including Arlington County. They have also sparked broad discontent among Americans who believe, as I do, that the United States has been and IS a nation of immigrants — a land of opportunity where newcomers can, through hard work and perseverance, achieve better lives for themselves and their families.

But in today’s world, realizing the American Dream is becoming nearly impossible for our undocumented youth, our Dreamers. Instead of focusing on their education and the positive contributions they already bring to our nation, many immigrant and refugee families are now terrified that their hopes will be quashed and their hard work will have been for nothing.

Already we are hearing news of ICE raids in communities across Northern Virginia. These news reports do not even begin to describe the tragedy that is happening in our immigrant communities.

When you see a headline that says “ICE rounds up ‘illegal’ immigrants for deportation,” I want you to picture this: Picture a family that is working two or three jobs (jobs that other Americans do not wish to do); children who arrived here as toddlers or perhaps were eve born here and feel that this is their home; high school students who, like other young Americans, have dreams for the future – dreams of college, of marriage, of good jobs – paying back to society many times over the cost of their education.

Most importantly, I want you to picture your neighbors, for this tragedy is happening under your nose, to people who you cross paths with every day — to children who sit in the same classrooms and play in the same playgrounds as your children.

Currently public schools in Arlington serve students from 122 countries, including refugees from countries banned by President Trump’s executive order. Among those immigrant and refugee students enrolled in our schools are some exceptional students who add many positives to the school environment. 

In light of this reality we founded the Dream Project Inc. in 2011 in order to raise money to fund college scholarships for Dreamers – young people who live in and contribute to our community but whose immigration status (or that of their parents) prevents them from benefiting from in-state tuition rates at Virginia colleges.

In 2016 we provided 76 such Dreamers with scholarships to allow them to pursue post-secondary education at 18 different universities. 

One such student, Ola, came to the United States with her mother and sister after fleeing a dangerous political situation in Sudan. For Ola’s mother, who was raising her children alone, the last straw was when extremists in Sudan tried to force her daughters to undergo female circumcision.

Ola was behind in her studies but was able to enroll in a local high school to catch up. With the help of the Dream Project’s mentoring program and scholarships, Ola achieved academic success is now enrolled in a four-year university. As Ola told me, “My past is not a dark story – it is an engine that drives me to shoot for the stars.”

Under the new administration, major obstacles have arisen. Ola’s mother had an interview as part of her quest to gain political asylum; but asylum approval now have been placed on hold. As a result, Ola’s mother has lost her job. A family that had hoped their nightmare was behind them is now confronting new fears and anxieties. Ola continues to persevere with her studies at Marymount University. What possible benefit is served by denying someone like Ola an opportunity to pursue her dreams?

As I wrote at the beginning, many communities across America are feeling anxiety in the new political environment. I share their concerns and encourage all of you to join us in solidarity. Because only in solidarity will we be able to turn back the forces that have lost sight of what America truly stands for – as recognized by our iconic Statue of Liberty.

Dr. Emma Violand Sánchez is the founder and President of the Dream Project Board. She is a former chair of the Arlington School Board member and retired administrator. In January 2017 she was selected as a Washingtonian of the Year.

by Peter Rousselot — February 16, 2017 at 2:15 pm 0

Peter Rousselot

Peter’s Take is a weekly opinion column. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.

In January, I discussed 10 steps that the County Board should take in 2017 to improve Arlington’s model of civic engagement. I noted that the goal should be to reach the broadest possible consensus and ensure a legitimate, fact-based process to inform real-time decision-making.

To achieve this goal, the County Board should adopt an additional reform often called the “72-hour rule.”

Discussion

During their 2015 election campaigns, County Board Vice Chair Katie Cristol and County Board member Christian Dorsey each expressed support for the 72-hour rule. In January 2017, County Board member John Vihstadt supported an alternative version he described as the 48-hour rule.

The County Board should formally adopt the 72-hour rule for all significant Board votes.

Under this rule, all critical supporting documents underlying any agenda item for which a significant Board vote is scheduled must be sent to all Board members and posted on the County website at least 72 hours before the meeting at which the vote is scheduled.

At a minimum, a “significant Board vote” should include votes on any of the following:

  • Approval of any contract, agreement, appropriation, grant, plan, project or budget committing $1 million or more of taxpayer funds,
  • Site plans/amendments review,
  • Ordinances, plans and policies, and
  • Acquisition of private property or the sale/vacation of public property.

At a minimum, “critical supporting documents” should include all information, reports, presentations and recommendations from County staff, consultants, advisory bodies or applicants. Any history of previous Board votes on the item should be included.

Once approved and if County staff fails to comply with the 72-hour rule, then postponement of the Board’s vote on the item would be required unless at least four Board members vote to waive the 72-hour requirement in case of emergency.

Why should the Board adopt the new rule?

Arlington citizens, taxpayers and Board members themselves have a right to receive transparent, complete and timely information before significant government decisions are made and actions are taken. Without timely access to complete information, the public lacks a reasonable opportunity to communicate with elected officials before a vote is taken.

Seventy-two hours permits elected officials sufficient time to review all supporting agenda documentation–running anywhere from several hundred to several thousand pages–for final and last-minute changes before making decisions. Based on past experience, significant Board votes almost always rely upon very extensive and complex documentation.

Likely arguments against the new rule lack merit.

The County Manager, County Attorney and staff might oppose the new rule, arguing that it might require extra work. Such arguments lack merit. No extra work will be required. The same work simply needs to be completed earlier. If that is not feasible in a particular case, then the vote should be postponed.

Though the Manager and staff also might argue that Board members already receive briefings much earlier than the 72-hour rule would require, this argument misses at least two critical points:

  • Even if such briefings occur, without this rule the public lacks the 72-hour minimum access to review the underlying documentation, and
  • Last-minute, substantive changes in the underlying documentation often deny Board members sufficient access.

Conclusion

Adopting the new 72-hour rule offers far greater benefits–transparency and accountability–than any costs it might entail.

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — February 16, 2017 at 1:15 pm 0

Ready Arlington banner

This biweekly column is sponsored by the Arlington Office of Emergency Management. The author of this post, Lauren Stienstra, is the Senior Manager for Research and Policy Development in the Arlington County Office of Emergency Management.

Ready Arlington, A Novel CatastropheIt’s that time of year when we like to curl up with a mug of cocoa and a good book. Of course, our staff favorites feature stories of emergencies, disasters, and survival against the odds.

See what our staff is reading, and join us in a discussion at A Novel Catastrophe, our bi-monthly book club.

Ready Arlington, WaveWave, Sonali Deraniyagala (Tuesday, March 14) – In 2004, at a beach resort on the coast of Sri Lanka, Sonali and her family — parents, husband, sons — were swept away by a tsunami.

Only Sonali survived to tell their tale. This is her account of the nearly incomprehensible event and its aftermath.

  • Why we read it: We put a lot of effort into planning for, and responding to, emergencies. This raw and honest depiction is a reminder that the disaster isn’t over when the Emergency Operations Center closes.
  • Register

Ready Arlington, Flight 232Flight 232, Laurence Gonzales (Tuesday, May 9) – As hundreds of rescue workers waited on the ground, United Airlines Flight 232 wallowed drunkenly over the bluffs northwest of Sioux City. The plane slammed onto the runway and burst into a vast fireball. The rescuers didn’t move at first: nobody could possibly survive that crash.

And then people began emerging from the summer corn that lined the runways. Miraculously, 184 of 296 passengers lived.

  • Why we read it: This is a story of miracles, heroes, sacrifice and survival. Need we say more?
  • Register

Ready Arlington, Life As We Knew ItLife As We Knew It (Tuesday, July 11) – High school sophomore Miranda’s disbelief turns to fear in a split second when an asteroid knocks the moon closer to Earth, like “one marble hits another.”

The result is catastrophic. How can her family prepare for the future when worldwide tsunamis are wiping out the coasts, earthquakes are rocking the continents, and volcanic ash is blocking out the sun?

  • Why we read it: Sure, it’s a little apocalyptic, but this fun, fast read really makes you think about your own survival skills in the worst of conditions.
  • Register

Ready Arlington, five days at memorial_LGFive Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital, Sheri Fink (September 12) After Katrina struck and the floodwaters rose, the power failed, and the heat climbed, exhausted caregivers chose to designate certain patients for rescue.

Months later, several health professionals faced criminal allegations that they deliberately injected numerous patients with drugs to hasten their deaths.

  • Why we read it: We say over and over again: make a plan. This book brings us into the worst-case-scenario, when plans fail, or don’t exist, and staff are forced to make difficult decisions.   
  • Register

According to Amanda Ripley, author of The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes and Why (one of our all-time favorites), there are three common characteristics of disaster survivors:

  • A belief you can influence what happens to you
  • Ability to find meaningful purpose in life’s struggles
  • Ability to learn from all experiences- good and bad

Join our conversation: Do the survivors in these books share these characteristics? How would you respond in their shoes?

by Tim Regan — February 16, 2017 at 11:30 am 0

Screenshot via Yorktown HS video(Updated at 11:55 a.m.) Yorktown High School principal Dr. Ray Pasi is retiring at the end of the school year.

Pasi announced his plans in a recent email to parents.

“As you might imagine, this has not been an easy decision to make,” he wrote in his email. “I have given it serious thought, however, and after 20 years here in Arlington as the Yorktown principal, and nine years as a principal elsewhere before coming here, I believe the time is right.”

Yorktown is currently in the midst of an ongoing controversy over signs that some say are political, though Pasi’s announcement does not reference it. He says the decision was made “several weeks ago.”

Pasi shared the news with the school’s faculty members during a meeting yesterday afternoon.

The full letter is below.

Dear Yorktown Families:

I wanted to let you know that several weeks ago, I informed our school Superintendent, Dr. Murphy, that I plan to retire at the end of this school year. I informed the faculty of my decision at a meeting this afternoon and wanted to share the news with all of you, as well.

As you might imagine, this has not been an easy decision to make. I have given it serious thought, however, and after 20 years here in Arlington as the Yorktown principal, and nine years as a principal elsewhere before coming here, I believe the time is right.

Yorktown has been an amazing and wonderful school community, and it will be hard to leave when the time comes. I have enjoyed being part of such worthwhile work here, and have been grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with so many students, faculty, staff and parents on a wide range of projects over the years. I have admired and appreciated our collective commitment to make Yorktown the kind of school where students have the opportunity to grow and flourish. This work is never complete, but I am proud of the many successes and progress we have achieved together along the way.

I want to thank the School Board, Dr. Murphy, my past and present colleagues throughout APS, and most especially everyone here at Yorktown. In the coming weeks, Dr. Murphy will begin working with the PTA to discuss the process to select the next Yorktown principal.

Over the remaining months of this school year, and through our last day in June, I look forward to continuing to work with you to ensure the success of all our students.

With gratitude and continued best wishes,

Ray Pasi, Principal

Screeenshot via Yorktown High School

by Tim Regan — February 16, 2017 at 10:15 am 0

A new barre studio is slated to offer some free workout sessions this weekend to celebrate its opening in Pentagon City.

Pure Barre will open its doors on the ground floor of the Bartlett apartment building at 520 12th St. South on Saturday, Feb. 18, according to co-owner Lauren Lafaye-Benson.

The new studio offers classes that blend techniques found in yoga, ballet and pilates.

“It’s full strength training,” Lafaye-Benson said. “You use isometric movements to fatigue your muscles and help them become stronger in the long run.”

To help get participants in the mood for moving, all of the workouts are set to music.

“It helps to not only keep you more involved in the workout, but it kind of helps to mentally clear your mind and get you to a good zone for working out,” Lafaye-Benson said.

No past dance experience is required to participate and the workout is suitable for people of all fitness levels, she added. The only requirement to join in is that clients must wear socks on the studio’s carpeted floor.

Pure Barre will offer free community classes this weekend before it begins its regular schedule on Monday, Feb. 20. Those interested in taking advantage of the deal can sign up on the location’s website.

by Tim Regan — February 16, 2017 at 9:20 am 0

Chevy's restaurant in Pentagon City (photo via Google Maps)Arlington County firefighters fought and extinguished a dumpster fire at 1201 S. Hayes Street in Pentagon City earlier this morning.

The fire broke out in a garbage bin full of mulch and cardboard sometime before 8:45 a.m. today, according to scanner traffic. Firefighters pulled some of the material from the dumpster to hose it down.

Though the fire was contained to the dumpster, smoke from the blaze wafted into a nearby Chevy’s Fresh Mex restaurant.

That restaurant has had a tough week, it seems. On Tuesday, it was evacuated after higher-than-normal carbon monoxide levels were detected in the eatery’s kitchen.

Photo via Google Maps

by ARLnow.com — February 16, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

Rosslyn skyline and birds (Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman)

Restaurants Closed for ‘Day Without Immigrants’ — A number of restaurants in Arlington will be closed for the pro-immigration “Day Without Immigrants” strike. Among the expected closures: Jaleo, Busboys and Poets, Pupatella, Capitol City Brewing, Circa and Sweetgreen. [Washingtonian, Twitter, Facebook]

New Photos of Bank Robbery Suspect — The Arlington County Police Department has released additional photos of the suspect in last Friday’s Navy Federal Credit Union bank robbery in Ballston. [Twitter]

Arlington Rapist Charged in D.C. Case — Ronald Berton, who was convicted of raping a woman in Lyon Village in 2010, “has been charged with kidnapping and raping a woman in Northwest Washington in 2007, according to police and court documents.” Berton is only serving 10 years in prison for his Arlington rape conviction, after the initial conviction was overturned and he was retried for the crime. [Washington Post]

Resolution Commending Wardian — A joint resolution in the Virginia General Assembly commends superhuman Arlington marathoner Michael Wardian for his World Marathon Challenge record, which he set last month. [Virginia Legislative Information System]

Facilities Committee Goes on a Ride — Last Saturday morning, Arlington officials and the county’s Joint Facilities Advisory Committee boarded an ART bus and went on a tour of sites that “could help the County Government and Arlington Public Schools resolve pressing capital facilities needs.” [Arlington County]

Nearby: More Potomac Paddling — “The National Park Service said it plans to expand public access for kayaking and rowing on the Potomac River in the District of Columbia’s Georgetown neighborhood,” according to the Associated Press. “The agency said in a statement this week it has approved a plan for the phased development of 42,000 square feet of facilities near the confluence of Rock Creek, the Potomac River and the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park.” [WTOP]

Flickr pool photo by Jeff Sonderman

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — February 16, 2017 at 8:00 am 0

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Space is limited so you don’t miss out. To register, go to www.vipbuyerseminar.com or email [email protected].

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by ARLnow.com — February 15, 2017 at 8:35 pm 0

Jim Vandehei (photo courtesy Axios)Jim VandeHei was a political writer for the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post before co-founding Politico in 2006.

A decade later, Politico is a major force in the news industry and VandeHei has moved on to found another media startup: Axios.

Launched in January and based (for now) at MakeOffices in Clarendon, Axios has made some big hires, broken some big stories and is growing rapidly, thanks in part to investment from major media companies.

In this week’s 26 Square Miles podcast, we talked with Jim about his vision for Axios, the current state of the media industry and his take on what’s happening inside the Trump White House.

Some of the initial headlines about Axios, before it launched, revolved around a number VandeHei threw out as a potential price for a subscription: $10,000 per year.

“It could be that number, it could be higher,” VandeHei told us. Large companies and lobbying groups, he said, have that kind of money to pay for information that’s valuable to their business.

For those of us who don’t have thousands to spend on enterprise-focused news and analysis (the subscription service will be launched at a later date) the site and its email newsletters, from marquee names like co-founder Mike Allen and former Fortune columnist Dan Primack, are free. The first thing you’ll notice: the emphasis on brevity. It’s a key ethos at Axios and VandeHei says the goal is to give busy people only the facts they need — “long enough to give you what you need but not so long that it bores you and turns you off.”

In addition to the subscription business, Axios is making money by holding events and by selling advertising to blue chip advertisers like Bank of America, Walmart and BP. VandeHei said that at a time when Facebook and Google are vacuuming up many of the dollars streaming into digital advertising, a diversified revenue stream is important.

On the topic of Trump, VandeHei was candid about what he described as “an unprecedented presidency.” We asked him what might happen to Arlington and the D.C. area under Trump, given the president’s rhetoric about “draining the swamp” and reducing the size of government.

“I don’t know, and I don’t know because the president doesn’t know,” VandeHei said. “I think people assume he came with a very specific plan and a very team that would carry it out, and none of those things is true. They’re making it up on the go.”

VandeHei, who together with Allen interviewed Trump last month, said the president does not have “a strong ideology” outside of immigration and trade. Other issues, he said, are “fully negotiable.”

Lest an optimist think that Trump will get his administration to stabilize and function more like those before it, after a rocky first few weeks in office, it probably isn’t going to happen, according to VandeHei.

“People need to pinch themselves,” he said. “This is not normal.”

“Having had pretty good visibility into this White House, it’s a mess and I’d say it’s arguably worse than you think it is,” VandeHei said. “It’s just competing factions, no trust… it’s a tough way to run a White House. We’re three weeks in, half the people at the senior level think they’re on thin ice and going to lose their job, the other half are angling for a better job that they can have, and none of them are focused on carrying out an agenda that’s going to be awesome for America.”

“The idea that he’s going to suddenly change and that he’s suddenly going to run a more stable White House or that he’s going have a very clear vision of where he wants things to go… there’s a very low percentage chance that that happens. I would just anticipate this level of volatility and this level of insanity until further notice.”

That all said, VandeHei defended Axios’ Trump Tower interview and Mar-a-Lago visit from others in the journalism world who criticized it for appearing too cozy with the incoming administration.

“I find a lot of these arguments silly,” VandeHei said when asked about that and about the turmoil over the news organizations pulling out of the White House Correspondents Dinner now that Trump is president.

“Most reporters are liberal, no doubt about it. Most of them are being egged on to take a very hostile stand against Trump and Republicans,” he said. “But guess what, Republicans run town, they have the House, they have the Senate, they have the White House, they’re about to have the judiciary, they have almost every state government. This is a Republican-run country and you darn well better figure out what they’re doing and why they’re doing it.”

VandeHei had the following advice for journalists in the Trump era: focus on facts, hold people accountable, avoid media “self-flogging” and “maybe stay off Twitter.”

Listen below or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Google PlayStitcher or TuneIn.

Photo courtesy Axios

by ARLnow.com — February 15, 2017 at 6:45 pm 0

Route 50 was temporarily blocked at Fillmore Street during the evening rush after multiple crashes that might have been the result of an attempted hit-and-run by an impatient driver.

It started with a crash near the intersection of S. Fillmore Street and 2nd Street S. around 5:15 p.m. A resident who lives near the intersection described what happened, in an account that matched police radio traffic.

“A car attempted to pass another car on [a] narrow street [with a] cop coming the other way,” said the resident, Casey Phillips. The driver “tried to go between the two cars and hit a pregnant lady driving an SUV. Then [the] vehicle fled and wound up causing [a] much larger accident at the intersection of Fillmore and 50.”

At least four vehicles were damaged in the crashes, including the Toyota sedan driven by the suspected hit-and-run driver. Another witness, who spoke to police and to ARLnow.com, said the man tried to push through traffic at Route 50 and Fillmore and almost struck his van, as well.

The suspect was stopped just north of the intersection and handcuffed, reportedly by the officer whose cruiser was nearly involved in the first crash. An Arlington County Police Department spokeswoman could not immediately confirm whether he was arrested and will face charges.

The spokeswoman said that one person — understood to be the pregnant woman whose vehicle was struck near 2nd Street S. — was transported to Virginia Hospital Center with non-life-threatening injuries.

While the Route 50 closure lasted only a few minutes, N. Fillmore Street was blocked between Route 50 and 1st Street N. for at least an hour while multiple tow crews worked to haul away some of the vehicles involved in the incident.

Update at 4:55 p.m. — The driver, a 27-year-old Alexandria resident, was arrested and is facing multiple charges. From an Arlington County Police Department crime report:

ATTEMPTED MALICIOUS WOUNDING OF LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER, 2017-02150218, Arlington Boulevard at N. Fillmore Street. At approximately 5:15 p.m. on February 15, an officer on routine patrol was driving south in the 200 block of S. Fillmore Street when a vehicle crossed the double yellow line and allegedly attempted to strike the marked patrol vehicle. The officer was able to avoid the collision and activated his emergency lights in an attempt to stop the vehicle. The suspect vehicle continued on, striking a vehicle traveling northbound. The suspect vehicle continued to drive north on S. Fillmore Street and entered the intersection with Arlington Boulevard against a red light. The suspect vehicle then struck two other vehicles. The officer was then able to stop the vehicle and take the driver into custody without further incident. Sulaiman Kanu, 27, of Alexandria Va, was arrested and charged with Attempted Malicious Wounding of a Law Enforcement Officer and Attempted Malicious Wounding (3 X).  He is being held without bond. One victim was transported to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

by Tim Regan — February 15, 2017 at 4:55 pm 0

Arlington County’s new public high school could end up at one of nine proposed sites.

Arlington Public Schools is scheduled to hold a joint meeting with its Advisory Committee on Instruction (ACI) and Advisory Council on School Facilities and Capital (FAC) programs tonight (Wednesday) to share options in consideration for the new school. The meeting, to be held at the Syphax Center at 7 p.m., is part of a four-month process to determine the instructional focus of the school.

To be discussed at tonight’s meeting: where to build a new high school in a county where land and open space is at a premium and many schools are overcrowded. As part of its Capital Improvement Plan, APS is planning to build 1,300 new high school seats in time for the start of the 2022-2023 school year.

A new report from the FAC council identifies nine potential APS-owned sites for the new high school seats, divided between “tier 1” and less feasible, more complex “tier 2” options.

“This analysis was completed between January and February of 2017 and because of this short timeframe, focuses on APS-owned properties,” the report says. “In developing the list of properties to consider the group received input formally and informally from community members and referenced established documents from the South Arlington Working Group, the Community Facilities Study, etc.”

The tier one site options are:

  1. APS Education Center at Washington-Lee High School: Either expand the existing high school or build a new one on the Ed Center site, which is used by APS administration.
    • Pros: Existing high school-sized facilities on the site.
    • Cons: Adding 1,300 students would make W-L the largest APS school at 3,500 students and increase the use of W-L fields and facilities by around 50 percent.
  2. Gunston Middle School: Add a 1,300 seat high school to the Gunston campus or move the middle school to another site and expand the current building to house 1,300 high school students.
    • Pros: The new school could create a neighborhood high school for the southeast quadrant of the county and wouldn’t necessarily displace the middle school.
    • Cons: Adding seats at Gunston may limit the availability of the neighborhood’s community programs and may result in the relocation of the community center.
  3. Kenmore Middle School: Construct a new separate high school building on the site or move Kenmore to another location and expand the existing middle school to create a new option or comprehensive high school.
    • Pros: The property is in south Arlington and therefore could be zoned as a comprehensive high school with its own district or a option high school. The area is also student-dense and walkable.
    • Cons: The site may not have room for a comprehensive high school and its amenities, like as a football field, track, or baseball field.
  4. Wakefield High School: Either add on to the existing high school, or build a new high school on the 32.8 acre campus.
    • Pros: The site could accommodate 1,300 new students and minimize impact on existing students.
    • Cons: This would create a “majority minority” concentration of students in the southern portion of Arlington County that “could be politically sensitive without significant redistricting,” planners said.

The tier two options are:

  1. Arlington Traditional School: Convert and expand the site’s buildings to accommodate 1,300 new high school students, potentially potentially moving or closing the elementary school.
    • Pros: The site is somewhat centrally located and houses one of the smaller programs in the county, meaning fewer students impacted.
    • Cons: This plan requires a major conversion from an elementary school to high school, which would mean expanding and updating the existing facility, up to a “complete tear-down.”
  2. Career Center/Patrick Henry Elementary School: This option would develop a master plan for the site, which would expand Arlington Tech and add a 1,300 seat high school, potentially by replacing the Patrick Henry building. Another scenario is to build a new elementary school to house the Montessori program and replace lost facility at Patrick Henry.
    • Pros: Co-location of multiple high school programs could allow for ebb and flow of enrollment at the various programs.
    • Cons: The plan could mean 2,500 students use the site every day, “clearly intensifying the use of what would be the smallest high school.”
  3. Drew Model School: The plan would add a new high school on the 8.4 acre campus.
    • Pros: The site would serve an underserved part of Arlington and “could create a new group of potential walkers for a zoned school.”
    • Cons: The existing facility is half on park land, complicating the plan. The school also “has deep history with the neighborhood,” planners said.
  4. Hoffman-Boston Elementary School: Update and expand the school building and relocate the elementary school seats.
    • Pros: Hoffman-Boston was originally built as a high school, so demolition wouldn’t be necessary. Columbia Pike also has “strong transit options.”
    • Cons: The conversion would require renovation of existing facilities and an addition.
  5. Reed School site: A new high school would be built at the side of the Reed School or a new elementary school would be built to house the Arlington Traditional School in conjunction with the ATS high school option.
    • Pros: The new school would be located in a walkable community near shops that would benefit from increased foot traffic. The school would also be located in an area where a significant high school-age population is projected.
    • Cons: The Reed campus is too small for a 1,300-student school in similar scope to other nearby high schools and there are potential historic preservation issues due to the 1938 building.

Should the new high school displace an existing elementary or middle school or other APS program, the FAC council identified a number of sites for the displaced programs to go, including:

  • Reed School
  • APS Education Center
  • Virginia Hospital Center urgent care site on Carlin Springs Road, which is in consideration for a land swap between VHC and the county
  • Wakefield High School campus
  • Aurora Hills Community Center / Virginia Highlands Park
  • Gunston Middle School

The various options are all likely to garner opposition from parents and members of the community, but an Arlington resident involved in the creation of the report emphasized that it is early in the process, that any option is going to be “imperfect” and some shared sacrifice may be needed.

“The report is just a starting point for discussion with the instruction advisors and staff for APS,” the resident said. “It is important that we all have a common understanding of what could be done or what would be needed to move forward with certain proposals… Anything you can do to promote discussion as the community hopefully finds consensus or at least an understanding to accept and support APS going forward, would be an invaluable service.”

by ARLnow.com — February 15, 2017 at 3:05 pm 0

Police car lightsA man punched a rideshre driver in Clarendon this past Saturday night after an argument about where he was being picked up.

Police say the incident happened around 7:40 p.m. on the 2700 block of Clarendon Blvd, near the Whole Foods store.

“The victim was a rideshare driver and, following a verbal altercation over the phone regarding the pickup location of the fare, the suspect assaulted the driver,” said Arlington County Police Department spokeswoman Ashley Savage.

More from this week’s ACPD crime report:

MALICIOUS WOUNDING, 2017-02110254, 2700 block of Clarendon Boulevard. At approximately 7:40 p.m. on February 11, officers responded to the report of a fight in progress. Upon arrival, it was determined that a male victim rolled down the window of his vehicle to speak to the male suspect, when the suspect began assaulting the victim through the driver side window. The suspect then fled the scene on foot. Medics arrived on scene and treated the victim. Warrants have been obtained for malicious wounding. The investigation is ongoing.

The rest of the past week’s crime report highlights, including some that we’ve already reported, after the jump.

(more…)

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