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A utility pole blocks a narrow sidewalk, bordering four lanes of traffic on S. Carlin Springs Road (via Google Maps)

After a driver collided with a child on a bicycle on S. Carlin Springs Road this week, neighbors and advocates are calling for street safety upgrades.

For its part, Arlington County says it has already been working on safety measures for the area, which has narrow sidewalks, little or no pedestrian buffer and a history of crashes. Upcoming steps include reducing speeds near the schools in the area: Kenmore Middle School and Carlin Springs Elementary.

“We are looking into the details from police regarding the crash and will identify next steps based on the report,” Dept. of Environmental Services spokeswoman Katie O’Brien said.

And Arlington County Board member Matt de Ferranti has recently gotten involved, too. He tells ARLnow he has walked the area with advocates and will be meeting with staff next week.

“First and foremost, I understand that the young man is okay and the safety of our kids and our residents is highest on my mind,” de Ferranti said. “Second, the accident raises important and urgent questions about safety in that whole corridor… We need to do better to address them.”

How the crash happened

Just before 7 p.m. on Monday, a driver traveling south on S. Carlin Springs Road proceeded through a green light and struck a juvenile riding a bicycle in the crosswalk, Arlington County Police Department spokeswoman Ashley Savage said.

The driver remained on scene. The child, who did not require a trip to the hospital for treatment, was tended to on scene by medics, Savage said. No citations were issued.

While ACPD does not provide identifying information, she did say the child involved was older than first reported on social media.

A history of unsafe sidewalks 

Community advocate Janeth Valenzuela tells ARLnow that she passed by the crash around 6:45 p.m. and saw emergency responders. She says she’s been working on safety along S. Carlin Springs Road for many years now, and has suggested everything from building a bridge for kids crossing the road to erecting a fence to prevent kids from getting pushed into the street.

“I’ve been proposing a lot of things, but they don’t take it into consideration,” she said. “The solution is hard.”

S. Carlin Springs Road is an important walking route for Kenmore students, but she and other residents say the pedestrian amenities are poor. Sidewalks are narrow and not well maintained and often do not have any landscaping separating pedestrians from traffic.

Narrow sidewalks provide no separation between pedestrians and drivers on S. Carlin Springs Road (via Google Maps)

And people have been telling the county the same thing for nearly a decade, according to a 2014 report by the APS Multimodal Transportation and Student Safety Committee and Advisory Committee on Transportation Choices meeting minutes from 2017.

During one ACTC meeting in 2017, a father said moms with strollers pass kids playfully shoving each other on the sidewalk as cars whiz right next to them. In the winter, if the sidewalks aren’t plowed, kids walk in the road, he added.

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(Updated at 3:15 p.m.) Kenmore Middle School’s student release was delayed and the school was placed in “secure the building” mode due to a possible security threat this afternoon.

Initial reports suggest that an individual who is known to carry a weapon was spotted outside, despite being banned from the school. Numerous police units are on scene, searching for him and one other person.

The school normally lets out at 2:24 p.m.

“Kenmore is currently in a delayed dismissal,” said an email sent to families at 2:25 p.m. “Students are being held safely in the building.”

A police spokeswoman said police are investigating and that the school was secured “out of an abundance of caution.”

“At approximately 2:07 p.m. police were dispatched to the report of a juvenile trespasser in the area of Kenmore Middle School,” said ACPD’s Ashley Savage. “Out of an abundance of caution, the school was placed on secure the school as police investigate.”

An Arlington Public Schools spokesman confirmed the enhanced security stance, which locks the school to the outside but allows students to continue to move about inside. Nearby Carlin Springs Elementary was also briefly secured, said Frank Bellavia.

Students could be seen starting to leave both schools around 3 p.m.

“Secure the school status has been lifted,” Savage told ARLnow just after 3 p.m. “Police remain in the area investigating.”

APS said in a separate email to parents that school buses may be delayed as a result of the incident.

“Due to police activity in the area of Kenmore Middle School and Carlin Springs Elementary, dismissals are delayed,” said the email. “The delayed dismissal at the two schools is likely to impact transportation across the school division. We apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for your patience.”

Scanner traffic from before the incident was moved to an encrypted police channel suggested a slight delay in obtaining a usable description of the two individuals, with arriving officers unsure whether someone seen running into the school was one of the two people or a student.

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Kenmore Middle School (photo via APS)

There will be a police presence at Kenmore Middle School on Friday after two separate incidents yesterday.

The school told parents Wednesday afternoon that threatening graffiti with the statement that “I’m gonna shot this school on Friday 11/5/21” was discovered in the 8th grade boys’ bathroom earlier that morning.

“While we do not believe this to be a credible threat, the investigation is ongoing,” the school’s principal wrote.

Additionally, last night parents were informed of a separate incident that day, in which a student showed another student an airsoft gun in a school bathroom.

“The Arlington County Police Department (ACPD) was immediately made aware, made contact with the student and took possession of the antique ‘airsoft gun’ and appropriate disciplinary action is being taken,” wrote principal David McBride.

“There is no change to our schedule for Fri, Nov. 5, as a result of the threat; however, as a precaution, there will be a police presence at the school on Friday,” McBride wrote.

Arlington Public Schools students have the day off today for Diwali as part of a three-day week that also saw Tuesday off for Election Day.

Friday’s police presence at Kenmore, located at 200 S. Carlin Springs Road, comes as APS charts a path forward for its relationship with the police department, after voting to remove School Resource Officers from school grounds earlier this year.

The full emails from the Kenmore principal are below.

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Morning Notes

Local Teacher Finalist in TV Contest — From Stacey Finkel, Kenmore Middle School PTA President: “Eurith Bowen, Functional Life Skills teacher at Kenmore Middle School, has been named a finalist for LIVE with Kelly and Ryan’s Top Teacher search. Eurith Bowen is a phenomenal educator who teaches from her heart, and has inspired an entire community to embrace students in a very special way. Eurith teaches students who are identified as having disabilities.” [Live with Kelly and Ryan]

Bridge Repair Work Underway — “Work is underway to rehabilitate the North Glebe Road (Route 120) bridge over Pimmit Run, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation… This summer, North Glebe Road between Military Road and Route 123 (Chain Bridge Road) will be closed for about nine days to efficiently replace the bridge deck and beams.” [VDOT]

Most Choosing In-Person Learning in Fall — From Superintendent Francisco Durán: “Based on preliminary results from the family selection process, an overwhelming number of families are choosing to return in person in the fall… Previous communications stated that we are planning for both normal capacities as well as developing contingency plans should 3-foot distancing be recommended; however, we want to be transparent that 3-foot distancing is not feasible with the enrollment we are anticipating.” [Arlington Public Schools]

Masks for Youth Sports Questioned — “An Arlington County softball dad created a petition to take on the county’s school system on sports and mask mandates. The school system’s spokesperson sent FOX 5 an emailed response on Tuesday, affirming student athletes will be required to wear masks during competition until the end of the school year… Nearly 300 people have signed the petition made for 500 signatures, calling for the Arlington County Public School’s Superintendent to drop the youth sport mask mandate.” [Fox 5]

Milk Spills into Stream from I-395 — “If you see a white substance in Long Branch Creek, don’t have a cow – it’s just spilled milk, according to the Arlington Fire Department. The department said an incident on Interstate 395 led to a milk truck leaking ‘approximately 50 gallons.’ According to a tweet, that milk has made it into Long Branch Creek near South Troy Street.” [WJLA, Twitter]

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

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Morning Notes

Musical Send-Off for Kenmore SRO — “Kenmore Middle School students came up with a fun way to commemorate the retirement of School Resource Officer Jackie Pagan. They presented a musical dance number Friday, Jan. 11, as part of a flash mob.” [Patch, WJLA, Twitter]

Arlingtonian Has Olympic Aspirations — Arlington resident Sarah Anyan qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trials, which will be held next month leading up to the Tokyo games this summer. [RunWashington]

Lots of Police Activity on Clarendon Nightlife — “The 3100 block of Wilson Boulevard in the Clarendon neighborhood of Arlington County is a hot spot. There are bars, restaurants, and a metro stop all in a block radius… there’s also a surge of calls to Arlington county police, and problems that lead to those calls in the first place.” [WUSA 9]

Del. Levine Pushing Minimum Wage Bill — “A state delegate’s proposed bill to allow localities to set their own minimum-wage levels, provided they do not dip below the federal government’s level, has drawn a tentative response from one local official and outright opposition from two chambers of commerce…. But not everyone agrees with the thrust of [Del. Mark] Levine’s bill. Kate Bates, president and CEO of the Arlington Chamber of Commerce, said chamber leaders oppose the legislation.” [InsideNova]

Beyer Tapped for Economic Committee — “Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi today recommended Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA) to serve as the Vice Chair of the Joint Economic Committee… The Speaker’s recommendation must be confirmed by a vote of the full committee to take effect.” [Rep. Don Beyer]

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The Disney musical “Newsies” is set to debut at the Kenmore Middle School Theatre (202 S. Carlin Springs Road) in mid-July. 

In association with Encore Stage & Studio, the performance brings together children in order to foster a passion for the performing arts and culture. Students in the program participate in workshops taught by professional artists. 

The storyline of “Newsies” takes place in New York, where young journalist Jack Kelly leads other journalists in a rally against unfair working conditions. 

The musical originated as a film in 1992, but the first live performance took place at the Paper Mill Playhouse in 2011.

“There are many exciting dance numbers including ‘Seize the Day’ and ‘King of New York,'” Sara Duke, the executive director of Encore Stage & Studio, said. “The audience will be impressed.” 

Tickets can be purchased online or by calling 703-548-1154. Prices are $15 for adults and $12 for children, students, seniors or members of the military. Opening night takes place on Friday, July 19, at 7:30 p.m. Other show times run through Sunday, July 28.

Photos via Encore Stage & Studio

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Oliver Freeman’s goal is to have at least one Arlingtonian on a World Cup-winning team by 2030.

Freeman’s soccer program, Love the Ball, is launching its first Arlington camp this summer in a partnership with the Arlington Dept. of Parks and Recreation.

The four-day camp is planned to run from July 22-26 at Kenmore Middle School (202 S. Carlin Springs Road).

“Most of the time, we are doing soccer, but one thing that really interests me when we came to this country is soccer is not number one,” said Freeman. “It’s not the most important sport. Looking outside, I don’t see kids playing that. Back home in England, that’s all kids do.”

Every day is themed around a different country and technique, like a Brazil-themed day focused on dribbling or a Germany-themed day focused on passing. Freeman said kids are encouraged to wear clothing or colors from that country on those days.

The camp is aimed at kids ages 4-12 and costs $250 for full-day classes.

According to the program’s website, Freeman coached with the famous Chelsea Football Club in the U.K., coaching players in community sessions, holiday camps and advanced centers.

The Love the Ball program started in Britain in 2012 and came to the U.S. in 2016. Freeman said over the last few years they’ve seen growth and currently have 10 coaches working in about 20 schools throughout the region, but this is the first year the program has operated in Arlington.

Freeman said being chosen as a partner by the parks department is a strenuous process, but he’s hoping if this year goes well the program can expand with more camps. The partnership promotes Love the Ball through Arlington’s summer camp catalog and gives them access to the Kenmore Middle School field.

“I really hope to instill a love for the game,” Freeman said. “It’s not just a camp. Hopefully, they go home and start kicking the ball around. They have to do stuff on their own time if they’re going to be good at it.”

For the most part, Freeman said he’s also yielded to the American terminology of “soccer” rather than “football.”

“You have to choose your battles,” said Freeman. “Unfortunately, kids get too confused. If you say football, they’ll start trying to grab the ball. Sometimes I have kids from South America or Europe, and I call it football to them and their parents.”

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Next week, Kenmore Middle School will be recognized as one of the country’s top five schools for including special needs students in its community.

The Special Olympics selected Kenmore last fall and will present the Unified Champion Schools National Recognition Program award next Friday, April 12, from 1-2 p.m. at the middle school.

Winning schools were chosen based on demonstrating “excellence” for including special needs students in sports and youth leadership, among other benchmarks.

The award is being presented alongside ESPN.

Yorktown and Washington-Lee high schools are also Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools, according to a map of participants.

The program reported that nationwide 6,500 schools participate in the program, which allows 272,000 students to participate in sports inclusive of special needs.

The Unified Schools Program is managed by the Special Olympics and funded via a grant from the U.S. Office of Special Education Programs, per its website.

Separately, President Trump recently backtracked on his administration’s plan to cut funding for the Special Olympics after public outcry mounted in support of the program, reported Politico.

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Update at 3 p.m. — Power has been restored to Dominion customers in western Arlington, though more than 1,500 remain without power in the Bailey’s Crossroads area of Fairfax County.

Earlier: Thousands are without power in Arlington Monday afternoon, following a major outage in the western portion of the county.

The outage was first reported around 1 p.m., after a tree fell onto power lines near the intersection of Route 50 and Carlin Springs Road. All told, including an ongoing outage along N. Glebe Road, nearly 2,750 Dominion customers are without power in Arlington.

Traffic signals are reported to be dark along S. Carlin Springs Road, from Route 50 to Columbia Pike. Police are on scene, setting up cones and helping to direct traffic. The ramps from Route 50 to Carlin Springs have been closed.

Arlington Public Schools says Kenmore Middle School and Campbell Elementary are currently without power and unable to receive phone calls.

The large outage is also affecting parts of neighboring Alexandria and Fairfax County. As of 1:15 p.m., Dominion was reporting about 1,000 outages in Alexandria and more than 8,000 outages in Fairfax.

Numerous trees are down around the area as a result of today’s widespread wind storm.

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Out of 30 qualifying schools across the nation, Kenmore Middle School has been selected as one of five schools chosen for the Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools National Recognition Program.

The program recognizes schools that have met all 10 national standards of excellence set out by the leaders of the Special Olympics.

These standards include unified sports that allow students with and without disabilities to train and play as teammates, inclusive youth leadership, and engagement throughout the school. Schools must also demonstrate a plan to sustain these activities for years to come.

On April 12, ESPN will recognize Kenmore Middle School in a national banner awards ceremony.

Photo via Special Olympics Virginia

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The penultimate day of class for Kenmore Middle School students ended early due to air conditioning problems.

Kenmore was dismissed early after the A/C went out, a school spokesman confirmed to ARLnow.com. A parent said the HVAC issue, which happened on the hottest day of the year so far, forced “parents, students, teachers, staff and superintendent Murphy [to] swelter through 8th grade promotion ceremony” this morning.

The heat did not appear to dampen the spirits of those participating in the ceremony, however.

The school sent the following email to parents about the early dismissal.

Dear Parents/Guardians:

As many of you experienced this morning during eighth grade promotion, our HVAC system is not working. We are currently working on fixing the system, but in the meantime, the temperature in the building has continued to rise. Given the extreme heat expected this afternoon, we have decided to cancel school for the remainder of the day.

Students will be dismissed from school at 11:45 AM. Transportation will be provided buses to students. Students will also have lunch prior to leaving for the day.

The check-in program will still be open.

Thank you for your patience with this issue.

Sincerely,

David McBride
Principal

Photo (top) via Arlington Public Schools

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