Per Student Spending Questioned — Arlington Public Schools is again being questioned about why it has the highest per-student costs — $18,957 — of any suburban D.C. jurisdiction. Fairfax County, the largest school system in the state, has a per-student cost of $14,432. [InsideNova]
Woman’s Tireless TSA Protest — Alyssa Bermudez, a former Army staff sergeant and Bronze Star recipient, has been tirelessly protesting in front of Transportation Security Administration headquarters in Pentagon City, claiming that she was sexually harassed and fired for complaining about it. Other complaints and a lawsuit point to an alleged culture of harassment within the agency. [Washington Post]
ACPD Officers Meet Shaq — NBA great Shaquille O’Neal visited with D.C. area police yesterday on Capitol Hill to raise awareness of the dangers of driving while under the influence of drugs. Several ACPD officers were photographed with the 7’1″ O’Neal. [Twitter, Twitter]
LiveSafe Launches Navy Pilot Program — Arlington-based startup LiveSafe has launched a six-month pilot program with a big client: the U.S. Navy. LiveSafe’s app will be used by sailors in Hampton Roads, Va. and in Rota, Spain “in an effort to prevent sexual assaults and combat other destructive behaviors before they happen.” [Stars and Stripes]
Arlington Man Tweets Hillary Sightings — Arlingtonian Adam Parkhomenko, a long-time Hillary Clinton aide and booster, is helping grieving Democrats by turning the former presidential candidate into a “wandering folk hero.” He’s doing so via a social media account that keeps track of photos of Clinton “in the wild” since she lost the election. [Vanity Fair]
Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman
Official: No Voter Fraud in Arlington — On Sunday president-elect Donald Trump tweeted an accusation of “serious voter fraud” in several states, including Virginia. In response, Arlington’s top election official said there were no reports of voter fraud in the county, which Trump lost by a wide margin. “I want to see the evidence as to what the allegations are,” said Linda Lindberg. [WJLA, Fox 5]
County and APS Budget Forum — Arlington County and Arlington Public Schools will be holding a joint budget forum tomorrow (Wednesday) from 6-8 p.m. at Wakefield High School. “During this forum, participants will have the opportunity to share their priorities and ideas on the 2018 budget,” said a press release. [Arlington County]
Local College Student Dies — Nicole Orttung, a National Merit Scholar who graduated from Yorktown High School, died last Tuesday. Orttung was a student at Columbia University, where she was “known for her dedication to social justice and bright personality.” [Legacy]
Advice from a Still-Grieving Husband — Neal Lawson, whose wife Jennifer was killed by a passing dump truck while she was putting her toddler into a car seat, is still two-and-a-half years later, “managing his own loss and grief while balancing the emotional needs and daily schedules of his growing children.” He recently offered some advice for others dealing with profound loss. [Washington Post]
Donation from 9/11 5K — The annual Arlington Police, Fire & Sheriff 9/11 Memorial 5K Race, which was held in September, helps to raise money for military and first responder charities. Among the donations from the race this year was a $21,000 donation to TAPS, which provides care to the survivors of fallen U.S. service members. [Twitter]
Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf
Election Security in Arlington — Arlington County Police are on alert for election-related incidents, with additional officers on duty today, though there’s no recent history of election violence or fraud. “We haven’t had any issues of Election Day fraud in Arlington,” says the county’s top election official. [NBC 4]
DMV Opening Date Delayed — The opening of the new Dept. of Motor Vehicles office in Virginia Square has been delayed until Wednesday. [ARLnow]
Sheriff to Receive Bar Association Award — On Nov. 15, Arlington Sheriff Beth Arthur will receive the Arlington County Bar Foundation’s William L. Winston Award. The award “is presented to a prominent member of the Northern Virginia legal community for a record of public service distinguished by efforts to advance the principles of enlightenment, knowledge and education in the American system of jurisprudence, as well as to promote democratic ideals and advance the rule of law.” [Arlington County]
Real Estate Firms Collecting Food, Clothes — Ahead of what may be a cold and snowy winter, 13 Arlington real estate firms have joined forces to collect clothing and food donations for the Arlington Food Assistance Center and the Arlington Street People’s Assistance Network. [Press Release]
Flickr pool photo by Wolfkann
Murder Victim Feared for Her Safety — A friend of murder victim Bonnie Delgado Black said in court that she “was concerned if she would wake up in the morning” because of her estranged husband. A defense attorney for David Black, however, emphasized at trial that there’s a lack of physical evidence linking him to his wife’s murder. [Washington Post]
Rush Hour Offloading Peeves Riders — Metro riders were “furious” yesterday after a crowded train offloaded at the Rosslyn station during the morning rush hour due to a door problem. [Patch]
Pets Banned at Arlington Nat’l Cemetery — In addition to most bikes, the Army has also banned all pets at Arlington National Cemetery. Only service animals or working military dogs will be permitted onto the cemetery grounds. [Washington Post]
Bra Collection at Ballston Market — Ballston’s weekly farmers market will be Halloween-themed this afternoon. The market will also be collecting new and gently used bras, to be donated to those in need. [Twitter]
Westover Neighborhood Profiled — One of the main attractions of living in the Westover neighborhood is the collection of stores and restaurants at Westover Village, residents say. [Washington Post]
Next SafeTrack Surge Begins Tomorrow — Metro’s ninth SafeTrack maintenance “surge” will begin tomorrow and will result in single-tracking between the Vienna and West Falls Church station on the Orange Line through Oct. 26. Riders should expect longer wait times on the Orange Line; in Arlington, the East Falls Church station is expected to experience the worst delays. [DCist, NBC Washington]
Fire Dept. to Donate to AWLA — Arlington County fire stations collected more than 650 pounds of pet supplies and food during ‘Operation FirePaws.’ The items will be donated to the Animal Welfare League of Arlington. [Arlington County]
Additions for Phoenix House — Following a successful capital fundraising campaign, substance abuse rehabilitation facility Phoenix House, in Ballston, will be adding a new fitness and health center and expanding and renovating its adolescent boys program.
A History of the Balls — ‘Our Man in Arlington’ columnist recounts the history of the Ball family, local landowners since the Revolutionary War and the namesakes for Arlington’s Ballston neighborhood. [Falls Church News-Press]
Photo courtesy Noah Kaufman
Roethlisberger’s foundation will be distributing a grant to Arlington County Police in order to purchase ballistic vests for the department’s seven K-9s. Roethlisberger and the Steelers will be playing the Washington Redskins on Monday.
“During the 2016 NFL season, The Ben Roethlisberger Foundation will be distributing grants to K-9 units of police and fire departments in the cities and surrounding communities of each regular season away game for the Steelers,” said the quarterback’s website. “The Foundation will also distribute several grants to the Pittsburgh area. Ben invited police and fire departments across the country to submit proposals detailing their needs.”
“Our K-9s are integral members of the Arlington County Police Department, both in the field and from a community outreach perspective,” ACPD Chief Jay Farr said in a statement. “We are grateful to receive this grant so we can provide our K-9s with ballistic vests as an added layer of protection to keep them safe.”
Last season the Roethlisberger Foundation made more than $170,000 in grants to K-9 units across the country. Roethlisberger has pledged $1,000 to the foundation for every touchdown he throws this season and is seeking additional donations from fans.
— ArlingtonCountyPD (@ArlingtonVaPD) September 8, 2016
Throughout the month of August, the Arlington County Fire Department will be holding a donation drive for pet supplies.
Items on the shelter’s need list include canned pet food, collars, toys, and office supplies. AWLA has requested no Milk Bones, boxed hard treats or handmade items.
The items can be dropped off at the following fire stations:
- Fire Station 2 at 4805 Wilson Blvd
- Fire Station 3 at 4100 Old Dominion Drive
- Fire Station 5 at 1750 S Hayes Street
- Fire Station 6 at 6950 Little Falls Road
- Fire Station 7 at 3116 S. Abingdon Street
- Fire Station 9 at 1900 S. Walter Reed Drive
Donation bins will be in the lobby of each fire station and items can be dropped off from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Donations collected before August 27 will be presented to the AWLA at its Wags n Whiskers event in Shirlington however donations will be collected until August 31.
Photo Courtesy of ACFD
Today Covers Arlington Couple Picking Baby Name — An Arlington County has named three children after former presidents, but is now seeking help naming their fourth child, a girl. Potential names include Kennedy, Reagan, Pierce and Monroe. [Today Show]
School Board Releases Proposed Budget — The Arlington School Board has released its proposed, $582 million budget and is now seeking public comment on it. Final school budget adoption is scheduled for May 5. [Arlington Public Schools]
Civic Federation Meetings May Be Streamed — Future Arlington Civic Federation meetings may be live streamed, courtesy of help from the TV production program at the Arlington Career Center. Arlington County recently started streaming commission meetings. [InsideNova]
Millions for Melwood from Local Couple — An Arlington couple has donated $3 million of their estate to Melwood, which provides services and job opportunities to those with disabilities. The donors are Geraldine “Gerry” Schaeffer, a prominent local psychiatrist who died in 2013, and her husband Peter M. Kolls, a former pro football player for the San Diego Chargers who retired from the National Park Service. Kolls passed away last year. The couple loved to travel but otherwise lived frugally, we’re told. The gift is one of the largest received by Maryland-based Melwood, according to a press release.
Arlington Teacher and Principal of the Year — McKinley Elementary principal Colin Brown has been named the 2016 Arlington Public Schools Principal of the Year. Oakridge Elementary teacher Jennifer Burgin, meanwhile, has been named Teacher of the Year.
Va. Square Hess Station Rebranded — The Hess gas station in Virginia Square has been rebranded as a “Speedway” station. [Twitter]
Flickr pool photo by Samer Farha
DHS Communications Manager Kurt Larrick has organized the program since 2007. He was called to the front desk after he was told a gentleman had questions about the program.
“I was a little worried at first, but he only had three simple questions for me,” Larrick recalled.
First, the man wanted to know who, specifically, donations assist to ensure money donated stays in the community. Larrick confirmed the donations are strictly for Arlington residents, including low-income families, children in foster care, seniors and people with disabilities.
Next, he asked if any overhead or administrative costs would be taken from the total donation amount. Larrick said he again seemed to give a satisfactory answer, explaining that all donations that come in “go right back out.”
Finally, the man asked if there was a donation limit. Upon hearing there wasn’t, he said he wanted to write a check for $10,000.
“I told him that would be incredible,” Larrick said. “He was a really nice, kind gentleman.”
That $10,000 will be used to purchase hundreds of gift cards for local grocery, clothing, convenience and department stores.
Though the soft deadline for the collection has passed, Larrick said interested residents are still encouraged to contribute to the cause by mailing or hand-delivering donations to DHS.
Last year, the Secret Santa program raised $54,000 in gift cards and donations, and Larrick expects this year’s final count to be about the same. He added the program is mostly supported by small donations from community members of all ages — which are important no matter the amount.
“This donation was obviously huge and very generous,” he said. “But for every donation, big or small, there’s always a great story behind it.”
File photo via Macy’s
The Arlington County Police Department is holding a toy drive and The Salvation Army is running its Angel Tree Program for residents to sponsor a child in need.
The ACPD’s Holiday Toy Drive started yesterday and will run through next Friday, Dec. 11.
The department is seeking donations of new, unwrapped toys suitable for children ages 1-17. They’ll also oversee the collection and distribution of the toys.
There are two scheduled collection events for the drive, both called Operation: Fill The Cruiser. Residents can stop by during designated hours to drop off donations and meet Santa.
The locations, dates and times for these events are:
- Our Lady of Lourdes Parking Lot (830 23rd Street S.) on Wednesday, Dec. 9, 5:30-7 p.m.
- Lyon Village Park (1800 N. Highland Street) on Friday, Dec. 11, 4-6 p.m.
For those who can’t make the collection events but still want to contribute, there’s Operation: Stocking Stuffer. The department has also set up donation boxes at businesses and organizations around the county.
Donation boxes can be found at the following locations:
- Arlington County Police Department (1425 N. Courthouse Road)
- Bracket Room (121o N. Garfield Street)
- Don Tito (3165 Wilson Blvd)
- Freddie’s Beach Bar & Restaurant (555 23rd Street S.)
- The Liberty Tavern (3195 Wilson Blvd)
- Mister Days (3100 Clarendon Blvd)
- Whitlow’s On Wilson (2854 Wilson Blvd)
Residents who would prefer to donate gifts to a specific child can do so through The Salvation Army’s Angel Tree Program. It’s a regional holiday assistance program that pairs individuals or groups with children in need.
Those interested can register for the program online. In doing so, they agree to sponsor a child or family in Arlington by purchasing toys, clothing, bikes, games and other gifts for them.
The program also needs volunteers later this month to help move, sort and distribute the gifts.
Arlington County is joining a national effort to collect blankets and coats for Syrian refugees in Turkey.
The drive started on Saturday and will run through Dec. 4, collecting new or gently used blankets and winter coats for donation.
There are two locations in Arlington where residents can bring items to donate:
- Arlington Mill Community Center, 909 S. Dinwiddie Street
Monday-Friday: 7 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Saturday: 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Sunday: 1 p.m. – 9 p.m.
- Courthouse Plaza Lobby, 2100 Clarendon Blvd
Monday-Friday: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Donated items must be clean and neatly folded. Sheets will not be accepted.
Arlington’s neighbor to the south, Alexandria, is also participating in the blanket and coat drive. According to Arlington County, more than 40,000 blankets have been collected in Northern Virginia over the past two years.
Photo via Arlington County
Restaurant discovery app Spotluck will be donating $5 to the Arlington Food Assistance Center for every download and signup made with the promo code “AFAC” through tomorrow.
Spotluck is running the promotion in honor of AFAC’s Chiefs vs. Chefs fundraising event Wednesday night, which pits local chefs against Arlington County firefighters to see who can create the most mouth-watering dishes using only ingredients that would be found in AFAC’s pantry.
The “three-course throw-down” kicks off at 6:30 p.m. at Clarendon Ballroom (3185 Wilson Blvd). Tickets, which start at $100, are still available online. ARLnow.com’s Scott Brodbeck is a judge for the event, along with the Washington Post’s Becky Krystal and former Top Chef competitor George Pagonis, who’s executive chef at Kapnos Taverna.
Spotluck, which is a D.C. area-based startup and an ARLnow.com advertiser, says it’s proud to be “supporting a great cause with our good friends at AFAC.” In order to ensure the donation is made, users need to download the app, launch it and enter “AFAC” as the promo code on the signup screen.
Spotluck has 23 Arlington restaurants in the app and says it collectively sends those restaurants thousands of diners per month. In addition to helping users to find new restaurants, Spotluck also offers “preferred pricing” to restaurants that the user lands on via a virtual spin of a wheel in the app.
“Spotluck is a mobile app that allows you to discover local restaurants and save money in a fun new way,” says the company’s website. “With a simple spin, Spotluckers earn preferred pricing and forgo the hassle of figuring out where to eat next!”
AFAC serves some 86,000 pounds of food to more than 2,000 Arlington families in need each week.
Last week, Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Dr. Priscilla Chan, announced a $5 million donation to a non-profit right here in Arlington.
The announcement came via a Facebook post to Zuckerberg’s 32.7 million followers which has reached 153,072 likes and counting.
The organization in question, TheDream.US, is a scholarship fund designed to help undocumented immigrants realize their dreams of going to college in the United States. The brainchild of Don Graham, CEO of Graham Holdings Company and former publisher of the Washington Post, the non-profit has made its home in Graham’s Rosslyn offices for the past two years.
Through his work with other education-based charities in the area, Graham says he learned that there were many such undocumented students in the D.C. metro area, particularly in Northern Virginia.
These students are commonly called DREAMers after the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act that has been proposed several times since 2001 but has yet to pass in Congress. DREAMers are unable to receive federal aid to continue their education. In most states they are also not eligible for in-state tuition, which can make going to college prohibitively expensive.
“Certainly in Arlington County, almost every high school student has classmates who are DREAMers, and they quickly come to understand the unique cruelty of the situation of these students,” Graham told ARLnow.com. “They can be the valedictorian, they can be the president of the class. All the other low-income students in the class get U.S. government assistance in going on to higher education, and these students cannot.”
Graham says his organization was empowered to tackle this issue head-on after President Barack Obama announced Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals in 2012. DACA allowed undocumented immigrants who had come to the United States when they were children to obtain a Social Security number, a driver’s license and temporary legal status, renewable after two years.
In the summer of 2013, Graham, program director Gaby Pacheco and Henry Muñoz III gathered people together and proposed the idea of a scholarship program to enable those who had obtained DACA status to go to college. Amanda Bennett and Carlos Gutierrez joined Graham and Muñoz in founding TheDream.US, which officially launched on Feb. 4, 2014.
TheDream.US currently partners with about 60 colleges across the U.S. Pacheco says they look for schools located in areas with high concentrations of undocumented students, where you can get a good education for around $25,000 (the scholarship amount offered by the non-profit). In Virginia, TheDream.US partners with Northern Virginia Community College and George Mason University.
The fund currently has $81 million, including donations in the millions from Graham, Zuckerberg, Bill Ackman and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. TheDream.US also allows donors to specify where they want their money to go: for example, Zuckerberg’s $5 million donation was earmarked for students in the San Francisco Bay Area. Pacheco believes this ability to ask that their money be set aside for their own region attracts donors to the organization.
“People love to be able to help out in their own community,” she said. “Many affluent people have foundations in their names or their family names, so we target them and say, ‘look, we can bring a scholarship program to your area.'”
Graham says that as of now, the organization expects to see at least 3,000 students graduate college, but that he “would like to raise more money and make it at least 5,000, and possibly go from there.”
Another part of the organization’s mission is to tell these students’ stories. TheDream.US is doing this through their stories project, which spotlights the lives of notable DREAM scholars. Interns Julia Leibowitz and Sadhana Singh (a current DREAMer) are working on the project this summer in the Rosslyn office.
“For us, it’s really about leveling the field for these young people to go to college,” said Pacheco. “We’re going to allow our numbers to speak for themselves, and show that we are helping meet the gap for people needed in various fields.”
One of D.C.’s most prominent philanthropists has turned his eyes — and his wallet — to Rosslyn’s U.S Marine Corps War Memorial.
The Iwo Jima memorial is in line to receive a $5.37 million donation from David Rubenstein, who just last year gave $12.35 million to the Arlington House Robert E. Lee museum in Arlington National Cemetery. Rubenstein co-founded the private equity firm The Carlyle Group and has also used some of his billions of dollars to fund the Washington Monument’s post-earthquake repairs and enrich the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts’ endowment.
Today, the National Parks Service announced that Rubenstein’s gift will go to “re-gild the engravings on the sculpture’s pedestal, wax the sculpture, and improve lighting, landscaping, and infrastructure.” The NPS will also improve the signage and educational materials on the memorial, sandwiched between the Netherlands Carillon, N. Meade Street, Route 50 and Route 110.
“It is a privilege to honor our fellow Americans who made the ultimate sacrifice to attain and preserve the freedoms we enjoy,” Rubenstein said in a press release. “I hope this gift enables visitors to the Iwo Jima Memorial to better appreciate the beauty and significance of this iconic sculpture, and inspires other Americans to support critical needs facing our national park system.”
The memorial was dedicated Nov. 10, 1954, by then-President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Since then, it has attracted millions in visitors. According to Arlington Economic Development, it attracted 1.4 million visitors in 2007.
“The Marine Corps War Memorial stands as a symbol of this grateful Nation’s esteem for the honored dead of the U.S. Marine Corps,” Marines Major General Michael R. Regner said in the release. “We are grateful for Mr. Rubenstein’s patriotism and generous donation to the National Park Foundation that will ensure this significant memorial continues to honor our fallen and inform public understanding of the cost and nature of their nation’s expeditionary force in readiness.”
Candidates Push for Streetcar Referendum — Both Democrat Richard “Rip” Sullivan and Republican David Foster promise to introduce legislation in Richmond to allow Arlington residents to vote on the Columbia Pike streetcar. Last month, Arlington County Board members said they do not have the authority to put such a referendum on the ballot. Even if the measure would pass through the General Assembly and were approved by Gov. McAuliffe, it likely wouldn’t take effect until July 2015. [InsideNova]
Politico Moving in Rosslyn — Politico is leaving the space it shared with WJLA and NewsChannel 8 at 1100 Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn, but it’s not moving far. The publication has signed a long term lease at 1000 Wilson Blvd. [Washington Business Journal]
McCoskrie Lands Falls Church City Attorney Position — Carol McCoskrie, Arlington’s former Assistant County Attorney, has been approved as the new City Attorney for the City of Falls Church. McCoskrie spent 24 years working for Arlington County, mostly focusing on land use and development. [City of Falls Church]
Last Days for APAH School Supply Drive — There are only two days left to help the Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing with its backpack and school supply drive, which benefits Arlington children in need. APAH will accept donations of new supplies like pencils, glue, backpacks, scissors and erasers at its office at 2704 N. Pershing Drive until Friday (August 15). [APAH]