Middle School Redistricting on Tap — Following a number of meetings and other processes designed to solicit public feedback, the Arlington School Board is expected to approve new middle school boundaries in December, to take effect for the 2019-2020 school year when a sixth county middle school is set to open. Past school boundary change processes have often proved controversial. [InsideNova]
Four Mile Run Restoration Project Complete — Local elected officials and community activists celebrated the completion of the Four Mile Run Restoration Project on Saturday. The project, which was years in the making, revitalized the shoreline of Four Mile Run from just south of I-395 to the Potomac and included trail improvements and public art. [Arlington County, WTOP]
New Beneficiaries for Turkey Trot — The annual Arlington Turkey Trot 5K has some new nonprofit beneficiaries. Organized by Christ Church of Arlington, the race will no longer benefit Doorways for Women and Families — “in light of Doorways’ projected success to meet its current goal to raise $10 million to strengthen and expand its services” — and will this year benefit Offender Aid and Restoration and Christian group Young Life of South Arlington. That’s in addition to repeat beneficiaries AFAC, A-SPAN, Arlington Thrive and Bridges to Independence. [Arlington Turkey Trot]
Bishop Michael Burbidge, leader of the Catholic Diocese of Arlington, will celebrate mass in honor of all first responders on Saturday afternoon.
The service, set for 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, September 16 at the Cathedral of Saint Thomas More (3901 N. Cathedral Lane), is known as the Blue Mass, a tradition that began in 1934 in D.C.
All police departments and fire and rescue departments in the Diocese of Arlington — comprised of 69 parishes in Northern Virginia — are expected to attend to remember colleagues fallen in the line of duty and pray for those on duty.
“Our first responders offer daily and dedicated service to protect us and our community,” Burbidge said in a statement. “We are most grateful for the selfless sacrifices they make and pray that God will bless and watch over them always.”
Deputy Chief Daniel Murray of the Arlington County Police Department said he will attend, alongside other directors, chiefs, officers and family members.
“We are very appreciative of the diocese recognizing the important functions the first responder community performs,” Murray said in a statement.
Photo courtesy Arlington Catholic Herald
The Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington will host two workshops this weekend to help participants combat racism in their communities.
The first workshop at the church at 4444 Arlington Blvd in Barcroft is tomorrow (Saturday) from 1-5 p.m. Multicultural consultant Paula Cole Jones hosts a free session entitled, “How do we engage in racial justice as UUs?”
Then on Sunday, the church hosts a training in partnership with Rosslyn-based nonprofit Service Never Sleeps on the organization’s signature program, Allyship.
“Allyship is about moving people to a new paradigm of thinking about privilege and marginalized communities,” the event registration page reads. “Allyship promotes the idea that we can be bridge-builders who work together, and support each other toward the common purpose of ensuring equality, equity, and inclusion for everyone.”
The workshop lasts from 1-6 p.m. at the church, and says it will “teach you about the causes of social injustice, how to be an effective ally for marginalized communities, and how to actively influence and educate others.” It is one of four Allyship trainings to be hosted at UUCA this fall, and registration online is required.
Other Allyship trainings at the church are set for October 11, October 18, November 2 and November 5.
Just feet from the demolition of the Arlington Presbyterian Church on Columbia Pike, officials broke ground Thursday (July 27) on the new affordable housing complex that will replace it.
Gilliam Place at 3507 Columbia Pike will have 173 affordable apartments, with 68 including two or three bedrooms. The ground floor of the property will contain nearly 9,000 square feet of space for retail and community use. It is named for Ronda Gilliam, a member of the church who volunteered in the community and opened a clothing donation center.
It all began in 2012 when members of the church reached out to the Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing as they wanted to sell their property and create a space for affordable housing.
The new building will incorporate stone from the old church, which APAH board chair John Milliken said will be “instilled with the spirit and compassion that congregation embodied and will pass on to this new generation.”
And while the congregants are displaced from their original space, they have already guaranteed themselves a presence on the site after buying two plots of land for use as green space.
Derrick Weston, the church’s community organizer, said it will be designated as a sanctuary area for meditation. The church may also return to use the new building as a permanent home; during construction they are using a temporary space at the Arlington United Methodist Church (716 S. Glebe Road).
“This is our new front door. This is our front porch,” Weston said. “This is where people are going to visit and see who we are.”
The $71 million project is funded through various sources, including an $18.1 million loan from the county’s Affordable Housing Investment Fund, federal low-income housing tax credits authorized by the Virginia Housing Development Authority, private money from Capital One and Enterprise Community Partners totaling $31 million and donations from church members.
Susan Etherton, the chair of the church’s Moving Forward Team, said that the partnerships between various organizations were key in the church getting to this point.
“God gave us that vision, but without faithful partners, we would have been unable to accomplish that vision,” she said.
“Just think how much can be done when a group of well-meaning people all pull together in the same direction,” added APAH president and CEO Nina Janopaul.
The church, which was hit by a fire last year, is being demolished by construction crews. The building of Gilliam Place is expected to take about two years.
Someone tried to light a door on fire at the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses church in the East Falls Church neighborhood of Arlington this morning.
The fire was set using a flammable substance just before 10 a.m., according to Arlington County Fire Department spokesman Lt. Jason Hart. The fire damaged the door — an entrance to the church sanctuary — and some surrounding bushes but did not spread beyond that.
Investigators from the Fire Marshal’s Office are still on scene this afternoon, gathering evidence.
This is the second such arson case currently being investigated in Northern Virginia, Hart said; a similar fire was recently set at a Jehovah’s Witnesses church in the Falls Church section of Fairfax County.
Arlington authorities are coordinating the investigation with their Fairfax County counterparts, according to Hart.
Wakefield Boys Fall in State Tourney — An outstanding season for the Wakefield boys basketball team ended Friday when the Warriors fell to Bethel 62-56 in the state tournament quarterfinals. The Lady Warriors also lost in the state quarterfinals last week. [Twitter, Daily Press]
Logistics May Have Sunk St. Pat’s Bar Crawl — There’s no St. Patrick’s Day bar crawl in Clarendon this year, and the reason may be due to logistics, not lack of interest. Organizers might have been able to get bars on board and their permit applications in on time, one police official suggests. [CityLab]
Volunteers Needed to Bag Meals — The Clarendon United Methodist Church is seeking volunteers to help “pack 20,000 meals for distribution around the world” on Saturday. [InsideNova]
Gov. Announces New Jobs for Arlington — Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) has announced that Vorsight, a “sales effectiveness” tech firm in Rosslyn, will be expanding its corporate headquarters, creating 112 new jobs in Arlington. [Governor of Virginia]
New Apartments in Crystal City/Pentagon City — More than 1,100 new apartments opened in the Crystal City and Pentagon City area in 2016. More than 3,000 additional apartments are in the development pipeline. [Bisnow]
History of Churches in Arlington — Arlington’s first church was the Chapel of Ease of Arlington Plantation, built in 1825 by George Washington Parke Custis. The church was located near what is now the Sheraton hotel at the intersection of Columbia Pike and Orme Street. It was burned by union troops during the Civil War. [Falls Church News-Press]
An author talk at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington (4444 Arlington Blvd) will examine Donald Trump’s election and the implications of the U.S. no longer being a majority white Christian nation.
The talk by Robert P. Jones, author of the “The End of White Christian America,” is scheduled for Sunday, Dec. 11 at 1 p.m.
From a press release:
The Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington will host a talk with Robert P. Jones, the CEO of Public Religion Research Institute on Sunday, December 11, at 1:00 p.m. Jones will discuss his new book, The End of White Christian America, which has been hailed by The New York Times Review of Books as “quite possibly the most illuminating text for this election year.” Drawing on decades of public opinion and demographic research, Jones challenges us to grasp a new reality — that America is no longer a majority white Christian nation — and examines what influence this had on the 2016 presidential election.
The presentation and discussion will provide unique insight into:
- The ways both political parties are responding to these shifts, including Donald Trump’s surprising appeal to white conservative Christian voters;
- The stark disagreements between white and black Americans over the fairness of the justice system and the #BlackLivesMatter movement;
- The apocalyptic tone of arguments over same-sex marriage and LGBT rights;
- How these recent demographic and cultural changes are shaping — and often distorting — our understanding of principles such as equality, fairness, and religious freedom.
Image courtesy Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington
The church, at 4444 Arlington Blvd, is holding a discussion entitled “Islamophobia: Replacing Fears with Facts.” The event is scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m.
From a press release:
The Committee for Peace and Justice in Israel/Palestine (CPJIP) of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington is hosting a talk entitled: Islamophobia: Replacing Fears with Facts, presented by Ms. Meira Neggaz, Executive Director of the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding (ISPU), in Washington, D.C.
Neggaz will present ISPU’s groundbreaking research on Islamophobia and will lead a discussion of what each of us can do to combat discrimination against historically marginalized groups, including American Muslims.
The talk is open to the public. Congregants from the Moroccan American Muslim community and neighboring Christian and Jewish congregations are expected to attend.
Members of the Ball family, for which Ballston is named, would like to see their small family graveyard along Fairfax Drive preserved and not moved for a redevelopment.
An attorney representing four descendants of Robert Ball Sr. sent a letter (below) stating the family members’ position to the Arlington County Board earlier this week.
The family members “fully support” an item on this Saturday’s County Board agenda that would be a first step to designating the graveyard a local historic district, according to the letter .
The attorney, Alexander Berger, said family members do not want to prevent the planned redevelopment of the church, but they do want the church to honor its century-old commitment — made after the family granted the church the land on which it sits — to preserve the graveyard.
“This is a situation where everyone involved can certainly find agreement,” Berger said. The family members have “no desire to stand in the way of the church and the development, provided they honor the history of the county and the family.”
The church, meanwhile, is pursuing two different methods of trying to get approval to move the graveyard. First, it has applied for a permit with the Virginia Dept. of Historic Resources. Additionally, it has filed suit against members of the Ball family in Arlington Circuit Court in order to have the graveyard declared abandoned, which would then allow it to be moved.
“It is not a lawsuit in the sense anybody is suing anybody,” explained Tad Lunger, the attorney for the church. “There are basically two ways to allow for the relocation of human remains in Virginia, the first being through the DHR permit process, and the second being to get a court order to allow the relocations to occur.”
“The DHR permit is more of a passive notice process, whereas for the court process we cast a wider net and actually have to do genealogical research to locate any potential descendants and proactively go out and notify them,” Lunger continued. “Because we wanted as much opportunity for descendants to know we might find human remains at this site, and we wanted to know directly from them what they felt was most appropriate to do with any remains if they were found, we decided to do both processes to get as much involvement as possible.”
Berger, who was hired by family members after they were served with the lawsuit, said that the church “didn’t go about this in the right way.”
Berger said he believes the church is working on a plan for building the new development around the graveyard, which family members would likely support, but those plans have not yet been shared with him or the family.
(Updated at 6:35 p.m.) Firefighters are on the scene of a fire at a church along Columbia Pike.
The smoky fire broke out at the Arlington Presbyterian Church at 3506 Columbia Pike around 5:30 p.m.
Initial reports suggest the fire started in a closet at Funshine Preschool, the child care center that’s housed in the church, before spreading to a hallway.
The flames were quickly brought under control after firefighters arrived on scene, but not before the building filled with smoke.
Additional fire department resources from Fairfax County and Fort Myer were requested to assist with the firefighting and subsequent ventilation efforts.
The church is set to be torn down and replaced with an affordable housing development with a new worship space. Its congregation has temporarily moved to the Arlington United Methodist Church (716 S. Glebe Road) in the Alcova Heights neighborhood.
In June we reported that the preschool’s lease had been extended through December, ahead of the planned demolition.
The graveyard, which contains headstones and perhaps the remains of members of the Ball family, for which Ballston is named, is being moved to make way for a redevelopment of the Ballston Central United Methodist Church site.
The development will consist of a new church, 132 apartments and a daycare and preschool facility.
The petition, which has more than 215 signatures as of publication time, says “to remove the graves is to remove the center of the city, the center of the history of the community, the center of Ballston.”
“The Robert Ball Family Cemetery does not need to be moved,” the petition concludes. The full text from the petition is below.
The Robert Ball Family Cemetery is threatened by development, which proposes to remove the human remains and markers to an off site location. The Robert Ball Family Cemetery was set aside in 1866 as a burial ground for his family, when his land was divided among his children and families.
The town of Ballston was platted around 1900, entitled Central Ballston, with the graveyard in the exact center of the plat. The town was named for Robert Ball and his family. In 1906, a 1/4 acre of the original 11 acres was given to the Methodist Episcopal Church for use as a church, parsonage and such, and the church was to maintain the graves and markers accordingly. In 1922, the road was widened, but curved around the church and graveyard. The church and county considered the cemetery closed for additional burials.
The church has maintained the cemetery since 1906, now over 110 years. With development closing in from all sides, the church is under pressure to allow the removal of the graves, as the developer wants to build to the curb. The permit to remove the human remains filed with the Virginia Department of Human Resources states very clearly that even if relatives and concerned parties do not want the burials removed, the development can proceed without their permission because of the benefits to the public.
It is the very presence of the graves and graveyard in 1906 that allowed for the church site to receive the land from the Ball family. It is the land from the Ball family and their presence that the name Ballston was given to the community. The plat for the center of Ballston plotted the graveyard in the center of the plat for the Center of Ballston. Relatives still visit the site. To remove the graves is to remove the center of the city, the center of the history of the community, the center of Ballston.
No provision appears to have been made to incorporate the cemetery into the development design. The developers always thought they would move the graves. The cemetery is on the corner of the development and could be spared by simply building around it. A nice border wall already exists. The buildings could curve around the cemetery, and even curve or arch over it, allowing sunshine down. Signage could be added on how Ballston was formed and the pivotal role the graveyard and Robert Ball family had on the placement of the church and the community.
The Robert Ball Family Cemetery does not need to be moved.
Woman Attacked, Robbed in Pentagon City — A 24-year-old woman was punched in the face and robbed of her phone last Friday. The crime happened in broad daylight on S. Joyce Street, near Pentagon Row and the Riverhouse apartments. [WJLA]
No Easy Answers for Biking Along the Pike — Columbia Pike remains perhaps the least bike-friendly commercial corridor in Arlington, but there are few realistic ideas for substantially improving its bike-ability. [Greater Greater Washington]
Baptism Makes History at Local Church — For the first time in its nearly 150 year history, Mount Salvation Baptist Church, in the Halls Hill neighborhood along Lee Highway, conducted baptism ceremonies in which a female minister took part. [InsideNova]
Woopie Pie Truck in Ballston — A food truck specializing in whoopie pies plans to be in Ballston today. The Little Miss Whoopie truck will serve hungry Ballstonites around lunchtime. [Patch]
Photo courtesy Sandra Plaza
Two nonprofit organizations teamed up over the weekend in Arlington to provide voter registration to former felons after Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe restored the voting rights of about 200,000 Virginia ex-offenders.
The League of Women Voters in Arlington and National Association of Blacks in Criminal Justice held a voter registration event on Saturday at the Macedonia Baptist Church.
In order to secure voting rights again, the former felon must have completed his or her sentence along and finished supervised probation or parole.
“In my old life, I was just here. I didn’t feel as if I was part of the country, a citizen,” said Virginian Terry Garrett, who previously served time for shoplifting. “Whoever people voted in, I didn’t get to have a say. Today I know that I am an important part of society, and every vote counts. Now, I am a citizen and part of this country. Everyone should keep that right. No matter what.”
But the day before the event, the Virginia Supreme Court voted to overturn the governor’s executive actions, stating that McAuliffe does not have the authority to issue a blanket rights restoration. As a result of the decision, the court ordered that anybody who registered to vote as a result of the governor’s executive orders to be removed from the registry.
The governor is currently in the process of individually restoring the voting rights of formerly incarcerated individuals.
Despite the uncertainty after the decision, the event still went on as planned with 14 people coming to restore their voting rights. League member Karen Kimball said the court’s decision may have contributed to the low turnout, noting the possibility of individuals being confused or deterred from registering as a result.
“The League considers this event a success because it highlighted an important segment of our community whose right to apply for restoration of voting rights is too frequently unknown by former felons or ignored by them,” Kimball said. “The League believes that having and exercising the right to vote is part of their rehabilitation process and enables them to be full participating citizens in our community.”
Photos Courtesy Karen Kimball
After spending the past 86 years in the same location at 3507 Columbia Pike, the Arlington Presbyterian Church has gathered its share of items. This weekend, in advance of the redevelopment of its property, the church is giving many of those items away.
“We can’t take it all with us, so we invite you to come by and see if there is anything you can use or re-purpose,” the church said in an email. “All items are FREE and must be removed that day. We will have filing cabinets, books, desks, chairs, other furniture, kitchen items, and lots more!”
The giveaway event will take place on Saturday from 11:30 a.m.-2:00 p.m.
The congregation is relocating due to the church building being torn down and redeveloped for affordable housing.
The church has temporarily moved to a new worship location, at the Arlington United Methodist Church (716 S. Glebe Road) in the Alcova Heights neighborhood. Services are taking place Sundays at 11 a.m.