Since being diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes almost five years ago, Alex Simmons has worked to raise funds for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund (JDRF) — and like in basketball, he has succeeded in a major way.
Alex, a freshman at Washington-Lee High School, has raised over $45,000 for the foundation. Every year, Alex along with his family, friends and basketball teammates join “Alex’s Terminators” for the JDRF walk in D.C. This year’s JDRF walk will be held on Sunday, June 5.
Over the past five years, about 100 people have helped Alex raise funds, participating in donation parties, 3-v-3 basketball tournaments, a silent auction and other events.
“The basketball community in Arlington has been happy to support Alex and his family,” said Bill Maddox, a family friend and Alex’s former coach. “He is a special kid and talented athlete who does not let the challenges of diabetes keep him from working hard on and off the court.”
Aside from his prolific fundraising, Alex spends much of his time on the basketball court, playing on Arlington Travel Basketball and AAU teams along with his school teams — previously at Gunston Middle School, now at Washington-Lee. In 2014, he received the travel basketball program’s Russell Quinn MVP award for his athleticism, sportsmanship and skill.
“When I found out I had diabetes, what I most worried about was if I could play basketball. I really enjoy basketball and it has helped me go through this process with diabetes because the activity required to play the game helps me maintain a stable blood sugar level,” said Alex.
Because of his diabetes, Alex has to check his blood sugar levels regularly and he also needs to inject himself with insulin six to eight times a day. Along with the constant shots and finger pricks, he also finds it difficult to maintain stable blood sugar levels due to growth and his love of food.
Throughout it all, however, Alex has maintained a positive attitude.
“I am not on this journey alone, and my close friends, family and relatives make this process much easier for me,” he said. “I know that people donate money to JDRF not only for me, but for all the children throughout the country who don’t have it as easy as I do.”
Photos courtesy Kathy Mimberg
I-66 Public Hearing at W-L — VDOT is holding a public hearing on the changes planned for I-66 tonight. The hearing is scheduled from 6-8 p.m. at Washington-Lee High School’s cafeteria. Meanwhile, one letter-writer is decrying the “whining” from Arlington residents who complain about the proposed partial widening of I-66 while using it to make a reverse commute to Fairfax County — and the protestations from Arlington policymakers who are more than happy to have large employers come to Ballston and other dense neighborhoods along I-66, thus increasing traffic on the highway. [VDOT, Washington Post]
Wakefield, Yorktown Victorious in Key Games — The Wakefield boys basketball squad defeated Deep Run 50-48 on Saturday to advance to the semifinals of the 5A state basketball tournament. This will be the Warriors’ third semifinal appearance in four seasons. Yorktown’s hockey team, meanwhile, defeated Washington-Lee 5-3 at Kettler Capitals Iceplex Friday night. [InsideNova, Twitter]
Abingdon Elementary Design Approved — On Thursday the Arlington School Board approved a final design for an addition and renovation to Abingdon Elementary School in Fairlington. The project will add 12 classrooms and 136 seats to the school, while renovating the gym, kitchen and media space. [Arlington Public Schools]
Retired Fire Officials Speak Out Against Station Move — Two retired Arlington County Fire Department officials say a proposed relocation of Fire Station 8 from Lee Highway to a county-owned location farther north does not make practical sense and would mostly benefit residents of Fairfax County. Residents around the current fire station and around its proposed new location have been protesting the planned move. [InsideNova]
Arlington Complying With Immigration Detainers — Arlington County law enforcement is complying with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainer requests for jail inmates, but only if ICE reimburses the county for certain expenses and picks up the inmate within 48 hours. Fearing that some jurisdictions are not complying with federal detainers, Republicans in the Virginia General Assembly have proposed bills to make such requests mandatory. [Washington Post]
County Board to Meet With Commission Chairs — The Arlington County Board tonight is holding a meeting with the chairmen of the county’s advisory commissions. ARLnow.com hears that the Board has received complaints about certain commissions overstepping their bounds or operating inefficiently. The meeting will address diversity in commission membership, training for commission members and potential improvements to commission communication and community outreach. [Arlington County]
Big Weekend for High School Sports — On Saturday, Wakefield will face Deep Run in the first round of the 5A state basketball tournament. The game is being played at Robinson High School in Fairfax at 5:30 p.m. Tonight, meanwhile, in what’s being called the hockey rivalry game of the year, Washington-Lee will face Yorktown at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. The puck drops at 8:10 p.m. [VHSL, Twitter]
Garvey Discusses Economic Incentive Push — Arlington has been actively making economic development deals, in some cases offering economic incentives to attract new employers to the county. But County Board Chair Libby Garvey said Arlington is being selective about the opportunities it pursues. “If it’s not good enough, we don’t do the deal,” she said. [InsideNova]
Tasty Sandwich from Arlington Eatery — Among the five “over-the-top, gluttonous, guilt-inducing new sandwiches in Washington” just highlighted by Washingtonian Magazine, there was one from the recently-opened Texas Jack’s in Lyon Park: a $12 brisket sandwich with tender Allen Brothers brisket and “a hefty spoonful of melty queso.” [Washingtonian]
Market Common Up For Sale — The Market Common Clarendon shopping and apartment development is on the market. Owned by TIAA-CREF, the development is expected to fetch a price in the hundreds of millions. [Bisnow]
Charity Ice Skating Party Tomorrow — The Pentagon Row skating rink will host a “Decades on Ice” charity skating party Saturday starting at 6 p.m. The evening will start with tunes from the 60s, going up a decade each hour until the 2000s. Half of all sales will be donated to help cure Cystic Fibrosis. [Facebook]
Wakefield Advances to Finals — The Wakefield boys varsity basketball squad defeated Potomac Falls last night, 76-67, in the regional semifinals. The Warriors will now face Potomac in the 5A North Region final at 7 p.m. Saturday. [Washington Post, Twitter]
Hough, Laich Tip Big at Don Tito — Caps player Brooks Laich and his fiancée, dancer and actress Julianne Hough, recently left a server at Don Tito in Clarendon a $100 tip on a $24 bill. [Washington Post]
Wakefield Grad to NFL Combine — Former standout Wakefield High quarterback Drew Powell will be competing at the NFL regional Combine in Baltimore tomorrow. Powell just finished his final season as quarterback at Division II Livingstone College, where he broke six school records. [InsideNova]
Spotlight on Developmental Disabilities — The Arlington County Board has declared March 2016 “Including People with Developmental Disabilities Month.” [Arlington County]
Flickr pool photo by J.D. Moore
Home Values Jump 14 Percent — Arlington County saw a big bump in the sale price of homes, at least according to one data set from January. Long & Foster says the median price of a home sold in Arlington last month was $590,000, up 14 percent from one year prior. [WTOP]
Caps Hold Fundraiser for Young Cancer Victim — The Washington Capitals held a fundraiser at Don Tito in Clarendon on Friday for the family of a three-year-old girl who just died of an inoperable brain tumor. The family has more than $100,000 in medical bills to pay and hopes to also raise money for the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. [NBC Washington]
Problems Persist at Arlington National Cemetery — More than 5 years after major problems were revealed at Arlington National Cemetery, there’s word of new problems. The cemetery’s burial backlog has increased, it’s taking longer to get headstones approved and previously unenforced rules are now being enforced, frustrating some families, reports a local TV station. [WJLA]
Arlington Students Serving as White House Interns — Three college students who hail from Arlington are on the list of spring 2016 White House interns. The interns are: Jeremy Brown, who attends the University of Michigan; Ryan Cowdin, who attends George Washington University; and Caitlin O’Grady, who attends Pepperdine.
County Board Approves Rosslyn Changes — At a relatively uneventful meeting on Saturday, the Arlington County Board approved a series of land use, transportation and zoning changes as part of the Western Rosslyn Area Plan. The changes will allow a new school and new development. [Arlington County]
Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf
The proof is in the pudding! Parks with game winner! 42-41 over Marshall – Boom! pic.twitter.com/OO4C5vqvWZ
— Wakefield Athletics (@WakeAthletics) January 13, 2016
A three-point shot with time expiring gave the Wakefield boys varsity basketball team the win at home over Marshall last night.
Trailing 35-41 with 3:28 to go, the Warriors’ defense stepped up and the team battled back to 39-41. With just seconds on the clock, Deng Nhial received an inbound pass and then fired it to Halil Parks, who was standing just beyond the three point line.
Parks drained the three with a jump shot for the game-winner, sending teammates and fans storming onto the court to celebrate the victory.
W-L Defeats Yorktown, Twice — The Washington-Lee girls’ and boys’ varsity basketball teams both defeated their Yorktown counterparts yesterday, in cross-county rivalry games. The girls won 54-45, while the boys won 65-59.
Branson-Backed Startup Coming to Rosslyn — OneWeb, a startup that’s aiming to launch a constellation of low-orbit satellites that will provide affordable Internet access across the globe, is coming to Rosslyn. The company, backed by Virgin Group tycoon Richard Branson, will occupy a 6,000-square-foot space in Monday Properties’ 1400 Key Blvd building. The building, which is also home to ARLnow.com, is slated to replaced with an apartment tower and grocery store at some point, though it’s unclear when the redevelopment will move forward. [Washington Business Journal]
Reminder: Get Rid of Dry Christmas Trees — The Arlington County Fire Department is reminding residents that dry Christmas trees are a big fire hazard. The county is currently in the midst of its annual Christmas tree collection. [Twitter]
A-SPAN Kudos for Paisano’s — Paisano’s Pizza saved the day for the Arlington Street People’s Assistance Network, after A-SPAN’s planned hot dinner for its homeless clients fell through at the last minute. Paisano’s delivered pasta, salad and garlic bread on a cold night and on short notice. [Facebook]
Levine Proposes LGBT Rights Bills — Yesterday we reported on three LGBT rights bills proposed by state Sen. Adam Ebbin (D). Delegate-elect Mark Levine (D), who represents part of South Arlington and Alexandria, has proposed several such bills of his own. Among them are bills prohibiting employment, housing and other discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Levine was formerly legislative counsel to former U.S. Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.). [Washington Blade]
TransportationCamp DC Coming to GMU — George Mason University’s Arlington campus will host the 5th annual TransportationCamp DC gathering on Saturday. The “un-conference” will discuss various transportation, technology and mobility issues. More than 400 “thought leaders, young professionals, and students from around the country” are expected to attend. [TransportationCamp]
Thank You to Crystal City Rotary Club — Thank you to the Crystal City-Pentagon Rotary Club for a hearty breakfast this morning. ARLnow.com founder Scott Brodbeck spoke to the group about his experience running a small business that happens to be Arlington’s most-read local news outlet. ARLnow.com will celebrate its sixth anniversary on Jan. 29.
An alumni group is asking the Vatican to look into a slew of incidents they say has tarnished the private Catholic school’s reputation.
The group, led by former basketball player Brian Culhane, has sent a “fat package of allegations and grievances” to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which oversees issues of morality in the Roman Catholic Church, according to an investigative report by the sports gossip website Deadspin.
The allegations surround the varsity basketball team and its head coach, Joe Wootten.
Deadspin reports that Wootten sought the transfer of Congolese basketball player Junior Etou, who was the key figure on the team’s 2013 Washington Catholic Athletic Conference championship. The site found that Etou was very likely 21 years old when he played for O’Connell, two years too old to be eligible for high school play.
Etou, who was living with Malone at the time, produced a passport and visa that said he was born in 1994. While he was living in the Congo, however, he had earlier provided a birth certificate to basketball’s governing body stating he was born in 1992.
The report also alleges a cover-up by school officials after two basketball players allegedly filmed a sex act with a female student at the school. The players transferred before the last school year. Via Deadspin:
The talk was that Wootten’s latest exiles had left under an ugly cloud — that one of the players had shot a video in which a female student performed oral sex on the other player inside the school, then, according to an O’Connell employee, “posted his work on Instagram.” All of those alleged to be involved were juveniles and underclassmen.
Students found to have committed what is described in memos from O’Connell alumni to school and local Catholic officials as “a sexually immoral act” on campus are generally expelled, Culhane says; however, according to the rumors, the two boys were allowed to leave without any formal finding, while the girl alleged to have been involved remained enrolled at O’Connell. Culhane says alums who inquired about the incident were told by school administrators that she faced no punishment because “the [sex] act was not consensual.” Yet no charges were ever filed.
The Arlington County Police Department investigated the video, but spokesman Dustin Sternbeck said no charges were filed and the identity of the subjects could not be revealed because they were minors.
The confluence of events — without a satisfactory response from O’Connell administration of the Catholic Diocese of Arlington — prompted Culhane and his alumni to request Pope Francis step in. If the CDF and the Vatican decide it’s worth pursuing, according to Deadspin, it will compel Bishop Paul Loverde to investigate the school and the program.
O’Connell administration has not responded to a request for comment.
Update at 4:20 p.m. — The Catholic Diocese of Arlington has provided ARLnow.com with the following statement:
The Diocese of Arlington regrets that concerns about the basketball program at Bishop O’Connell remain a source of frustration for some members of the school community.
As stated previously in 2013, Bishop O’Connell received official documentation regarding the age of former student Junior Etou, confirming his eligibility to participate in athletics during the 2012-13 academic year.
With regard to any allegations involving other students, the Diocese of Arlington cannot comment on individual disciplinary matters. As a matter of policy and practice if a school has reason to believe a student’s actions have violated the law, the proper law enforcement agency is contacted.
Photo via Facebook
Voting Now Underway — Voting is underway in the special election to fill the County Board seat vacated by Chris Zimmerman. Four candidates are on the ballot: Alan Howze, John Vihstadt, Stephen Holbrook and Janet Murphy. The polls will close tonight at 7:00 p.m. [Arlington County]
Special Olympics Championship Goes to Overtime — The Special Olympics division championship basketball game between the GMU Patriots and Arlington Blue went into overtime on Sunday. The annual tournament was held at Marymount University. [InsideNoVa]
Historical Society Lectures to Be Broadcast — The county’s Arlington TV channel will now film and broadcast Arlington Historical Society lectures. The lectures are held monthly at Arlington Central Library and feature topics of historical significance to Arlington County. [Arlington Historical Society]
Flickr photo by J. Sonder
County Relies on Tips for Snow Violations — All recent snow-removal ordinance violation notices sent out by Arlington County were sent as the result of tips from residents, not a proactive enforcement effort. [Sun Gazette]
Sewage Spill in Spout Run — Arlington residents and their pets are advised to avoid Spout Run south of Lee Highway for the next day or so due to a “minor sewage spill.” [Arlington Alert]
Yorktown Senior Is Top B-Ball Prospect — Yorktown High School senior Mikayla Venson is one of the top-ranked girls’ basketball players in Virginia. However, due to injuries she hasn’t played for the Patriots since 2011. She will be attending the University of Virginia in the fall. [Yahoo! Sports]
Historic Fraber House’s New Owners — Last year, a large oak tree fell on the Fraber House in Cherrydale, just days before the county-owned home was set to receive a local historic designation. Nonetheless, the county was able to fix up the 1913 home and sell it to a local couple. The pair, Charu and Colin McDermott, work in the building trades and are thus well-suited to help maintain the historic home. [Preservation Arlington]
Lawmakers Honor Arlington Notables — The Virginia General Assembly has passed resolutions honoring a number of notable Arlington residents and institutions. [Sun Gazette]
Flickr pool photo by Christaki
Wakefield Falls in Semifinals — The Wakefield High School boys basketball team lost in the 5A state tournament semifinals Saturday. Wakefield lost to Henrico 63-55, ending their season. [Sun Gazette]
Contract Loss Could Cost 165 Jobs in Arlington — Some 165 Lockheed Martin employees in Arlington are set to lose their jobs after the company lost a contract with the U.S. Army for information technology work. The contract was instead awarded to General Dynamics. [Washington Business Journal]
Construction Contract Awarded for New School — The Arlington School Board voted last week to award a $32.3 million contract for the construction of a new elementary school on the Williamsburg Middle School campus. The school “is anticipated to be the first Net Zero Energy School on the East Coast,” thanks to a large solar array on the roof. With design, contingencies and “soft costs” factored in, the total cost of the school is projected at $43.8 million, down from the original $46.5 million cost estimate. [Arlington Public Schools]
W-L Falls to Yorktown in Shootout — Yorktown high school hockey club defeated Washington-Lee 3-2 in a four-round shootout Saturday night at Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Ballston. It was the last game of the season for both teams.
Big Lines for Car Washes — With spring-like temperatures on Saturday came spring-like lines at local car washes. Motorists lined up to get the salt residue and winter grime washed off their cars. The line for Mr. Wash on N. Glebe Road extended all the way to Route 50 at one point. [Twitter]
Flickr pool photo by BrianMKA
The Warriors (24-4) kept their 14-game winning streak alive with the victory, and will move on to the state semifinal game on Saturday at noon at Robinson Secondary School (5035 Sideburn Road, Fairfax). They’ll play the loser between Maury and Henrico High Schools, and if they win, they’ll play Friday, March 14, at 2:00 p.m. at VCU for the state championship.
The Warriors were led by Capitol Conference Player of the Year Dominique Tham, who scored 18 points, and Jalen Walton chipped in 17 to lead a balanced attack against the Panthers (27-1). Marqua Walton also scored 18 and hit a key free throw at the end of the game to seal the victory.
The win was the first regional championship for the Warriors since 2005 — they were regional runner-ups last year and lost in the state semifinal game. The Warriors defended their home court, just like they did in the conference championship game last week against Mt. Vernon. Walton told Dave Facinoli of the Sun Gazette that the Warriors didn’t feel any pressure.
“They came in undefeated and we felt they had all the pressure,” said Wakefield senior guard Jalen Carver, who scored 17 points and made three three-pointers. “So we wanted to play our game, slow them down in transition and keep playing hard.”
Wakefield coach Tony Bentley said the pre-game plan was to keep his players loose.
“The key to this game for us wasn’t on the court,” he said. “We wanted to get our players so relaxed like they were playing a game on the playground.”
File photo courtesy Rob Laybourn
Wakefield Advances to Regional Title Game — Wakefield High School’s boys basketball team defeated Broad Run last night 85-80, advancing the Warriors to the regional title game of the 5A North Region Tournament. Senior Re’Quan Hopson scored 29 points during the game. [Sun Gazette]
Police Look for Witnesses to Fatal Crash — Arlington County Police are seeking witnesses to the Feb. 24 crash that killed 39-year-old Jennifer Lawson. Lawson was struck by a dump truck on Little Falls Road after volunteering at Nottingham Elementary School. Detectives believe two vehicles were behind the truck and would like to interview the drivers. [Arlington County]
United Way Donates $260K to Arlington Nonprofits — The United Way has donated nearly $260,000 to 20 Arlington nonprofits. The list of nonprofits receiving grants includes the Arlington Pediatric Center, Arlington Street People’s Assistance Network, Arlington Thrive and others. [Sun Gazette]
John Youngs Dies — John Youngs, a past president of the Arlington Bar Association and former head of the Arlington public defenders office, has died after a long battle with brain cancer. Youngs was 69. “John fought the good fight and he is now at peace,” the bar association said in an email to its members.
Photo courtesy Peter Golkin
The Wakefield High School boys basketball squad defeated Mt. Vernon in the Capital Conference 13 championship game Friday night.
The Warriors were led by junior guard Marqua Walton, who had 18 points, and senior guard Jalen Carver, who had 16 points. The 65-50 victory gives Wakefield a first round bye in the upcoming 5A Regional Tournament.
The Sun Gazette has a complete recap of the game.
Photos courtesy Rob Laybourn
Wakefield Reaches Championship — The Wakefield Warriors boys basketball squad has reached the championship game of the Capitol Conference 13 tournament. The championship game will be played tonight at 8:00 p.m. [Sun Gazette]
Wounded Warrior Happy Hour — Deloitte will be hosting a happy hour to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project tonight. The fundraiser is taking place at Arlington Rooftop Bar and Grill in Courthouse (2424 Wilson Blvd) through 9:00 p.m. [Clarendon Nights]
Is Artisphere Succeeding? — Artisphere “may have turned a corner,” writes Our Man in Arlington columnist Charlie Clark. The arts center got off to a “shaky start” in 2010, “but it took a step back and retooled, so the path ahead for bringing more people to Arlington is a good one,” said Karen Vasquez, Arlington’s director of cultural affairs. [Falls Church News-Press]