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APS Contemplates Federal Education Policy Under DeVos

Betsy DeVos (Photo via Wikipedia)Following an unprecedented tie-breaking vote from Vice President Pence, the country’s new Secretary of Education was confirmed Tuesday, 51-50.

Betsy DeVos, a billionaire philanthropist from Michigan, was the Trump administration cabinet pick who garnered the most stout resistance from Democrats. Opponents worry that she will support private K-12 schools and voucher programs at the expense of public education. That even pulled two Republicans over to vote “no” alongside all 48 senate Democrats.

What DeVos means for Arlington Public Schools is unclear.

In confirmation hearings she voiced support for giving states more decision-making power over education. That contrasts with concerns from teachers unions and public education advocates, who worry DeVos could use her role in the federal government to push for school-choice policies, like those implemented with questionable results in Michigan.

Federal funding only accounts for about 2 percent of the overall APS budget, meaning that in a worst case scenario — APS refusing federal funding so as to not be subject to new federal mandates — the school system would have to trim expenses or increase revenues by about $13 million.

Arlington School Board Chair Nancy Van Doren says APS is taking a wait-and-see approach to the new Dept. of Education leadership.

“We will, of course, continue to work with the U.S. Department of Education in a variety of key areas,” Van Doren said in a statement. “Arlington receives only about two percent from the federal government. It is too early to predict what impact her leadership will have. Like all public schools in the country, we have to hope for the best.”

Photo via Wikipedia

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Morning Notes

Arlington County Police ACPD motorcycle

‘Pop-Up Hotel’ Opening in January — “WhyHotel” is the new name of a “pop-up hotel” in the Bartlett apartment building in Pentagon City. Starting in January, the hotel will offer 50 unleased, furnished apartments as hotel rooms. Although most of the building is leased, owner Vornado is experimenting with “WhyHotel” as a way to monetize new apartment buildings during the lease-up period. [Washington Business Journal]

School Board Responds to Student’s Letter — Arlington School Board Chair Nancy Van Doren has responded to an open letter published in the Washington-Lee Crossed Sabres student newspaper. The letter, which was widely shared across social media, took the school board to task for approving high school boundary refinements that were seemingly antithetical to APS’ diversity goals. Without addressing the diversity issue, Van Doren defended the process and encouraged students to participate in future high school boundary decisions. [PDF]

County Board Approves Polling Place Changes — The Arlington County Board on Tuesday approved a number of precinct and polling place changes, to take effect in time for next year’s elections. [Arlington County]

Memorial Bridge Worries — The deteriorating Memorial Bridge can’t handle heavy support traffic for the presidential inauguration next month, officials said in a briefing yesterday, according to reported Tom Sherwood. Such traffic will use the 14th Street Bridge instead. [Twitter]

Wreaths for Every Grave at Arlington Nat’l Cemetery — “Wreaths Across America announced Wednesday it has reached its goal to place about 245,000 wreaths in the cemetery ‘thanks to an outpouring of support.’ Earlier this week, the organization had said it was about 10,000 wreaths short of its goal.” [WTOP]

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Democrats Sweep in Arlington as Country Continues to Watch Presidential Race

(Updated at 11:30 a.m.) Local candidates celebrated victories Tuesday night while shocked Democrats watched the presidential election slip out of their grasp.

County Board Chair Libby Garvey will serve another term after defeating independent Audrey Clement. With all absentee ballots counted, Garvey and Clement have 71 and 27 percent of the vote, respectively.

Arlington County Board Chair Libby Garvey gives a speech on election night 2016“I’d like to give a shout-out to my opponent, Audrey Clement,” said Garvey in a speech at the Democratic victory party at Sehkraft Brewing in Clarendon. It’s important for all voices to be heard in a democracy, Garvey said.

Tannia Talento and Nancy Van Doren, who both ran unopposed, have won seats on the Arlington County School Board.

Arlingtonians have overwhelmingly voted in favor of all four bond referenda. Metro and transportation has 78 percent approval, parks and recreation has 75 percent, community infrastructure has 75 percent and the Arlington Public Schools bond has 80 percent.

Like Virginia voters statewide, Arlington County voters rejected a “right-to-work” state constitutional amendment while approving an amendment providing property tax relief to the spouses of fallen first responders.

Arlington County voters chose Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. In that race, Clinton has 76 percent, Trump has 17 percent, Gary Johnson has 3 percent, Jill Stein has 1 percent and Evan McMullin has 2 percent.

Clinton’s net 71,724 vote victory over Trump in Arlington contributed significantly to her 182,954 vote margin over Trump statewide.

An initially optimistic mood at the Democratic event at Sehkraft gave way to anxiety over the results of the presidential race. At 10:40 p.m., CNN called Virginia for Hillary Clinton, lightening the mood a bit. Early Wednesday morning, however, the race was called for Donald Trump, raising questions about how Arlington might fare under a Trump administration.

In the 8th congressional district race, Arlington County voters gave a large margin of victory to incumbent Democrat Rep. Don Beyer, with 71 percent of the vote over Republican opponent Charles Hernick with 25 percent. That margin, however, was narrower than Clinton’s 76-17 margin over Trump in Arlington.

Beyer won the district as a whole 68 percent to 27 percent for Hernick.

Voting at Lyon Village Community HallCounty election officials did not receive reports of any major local voting issues. They say there were no lines at any of the county polling places within the last half hour of voting, indicating most residents who intended to vote already had. There were long lines at many polling places this morning, but they largely died down after 9 a.m.

Before the evening rush, Arlington County Registrar Linda Lindberg had said most precincts reported about 50 percent voter turnout, while another 25 percent or so voted absentee.

Lindberg expects final numbers to be close to those from 2012, when Arlington experienced 83 percent voter turnout. About 118,000 ballots were cast at that time, which was a county record.

ARLnow conducted a live video broadcast tonight from Sehkraft from 7:30-9:30 p.m., in which editor Scott Brodbeck spoke with elected officials including County Board Chair Libby Garvey, County Board Vice Chair Jay Fisette and Virginia state senator Adam Ebbin. The video from the broadcast is available above.

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Nancy Van Doren: Why You Should Vote for Me

Nancy Van Doren

Last week we asked the two candidates for Arlington School Board to write a sub-750 word essay on why our readers should vote for them in the November 8 election.

Here is the unedited response from incumbent Nancy Van Doren (D):

I am seeking re-election to the Arlington School Board and ask for your vote on November 8, 2016. I also ask that you vote for our “Stronger Together” Democratic team, including Tannia Talento, Libby Garvey, Don Beyer, Tim Kaine, and Hillary Clinton. Please vote “Yes” on the School and other County Bond Referenda.

Since joining the Board in 2014, I have brought family and community voices to the table to ensure that APS maintains the highest educational standards while expanding capacity for its growing student population. In recognition of this work, I have been endorsed by A-PAC, the political action committee of the Arlington Education Association.

As a member and now Chair of the School Board, I have maintained my focus on instruction and educational excellence. My primary goal is to prepare every student to be successful in our 21st century economy. To this end, I have ensured an increase in specialized interventions for struggling readers, expanded opportunities for students with disabilities to succeed alongside non-disabled peers, ensured high expectations for English language learners, and supported the expansion of foreign language classes at all elementary schools. I continue to support APS’ digital learning initiative, which provides all students with access to technology to strengthen their learning. I fully support the launch of Arlington Tech, a new STEM-centered high school program that includes hands-on learning, industry credentialing, and dual enrollment classes for college credit.

To meet APS’ growing capacity needs, I supported the internal renovation project at Washington-Lee High School that added 300 seats. I support similar projects at Wakefield and Yorktown High Schools as well as the recent renovation of the Fenwick building, which now houses an additional 300 seats for Arlington Community High School. I voted for additions and renovations at Stratford, Abingdon and McKinley Schools as well as for a new secondary school in Rosslyn and elementary school in South Arlington to be built and opened by fall 2019. I served as the School Board liaison to the APS/County Community Facilities Study and am working to implement its recommendations to better coordinate County and School facility resources. I strongly support funding in APS’ 2016 Capital Improvement Plan to complete needed current and future projects on time and within budget. I will continue to advocate for funds to increase high school and elementary school capacity as soon as possible, so APS can meet the needs of what will be a 30,000-student school system by 2022.

Today, my priorities remain clear:  maintaining a keen focus on educational excellence for all our students while building a strong infrastructure to meet the needs of our expanding school system.

Before joining the School Board, I volunteered on various APS committees covering instruction, transportation, and special education.   I served as Jefferson Middle School PTA president, founded the ArlingtonADHD and ArlingtonReading parent support groups, and co-founded the Arlington Latino Network.

Prior to moving to Arlington, I lived overseas with my husband, Jack Zetkulic, in Serbia, Sweden, and Switzerland. We have lived in Ashton Heights with our four children since 2004.  In addition to my Arlington school system experience, I had previously worked in business and communications. I spent 12 years in the private sector with Connecticut National Bank, The Travelers Companies, and The Hartford Courant in Hartford, CT. and then at Newsday in New York. I am a graduate of Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and have a Masters in Management from The Hartford Graduate Center/ Rensselaer. I lived in Spain and Nicaragua and am fluent in Spanish.

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Morning Notes

Bald eagle spotted on N. Park Drive on July 4, 2016 (photo courtesy Paul Fiorino)

Bald Eagle Spotted on Fourth of July — A bald eagle was spotted in the area of N. Park Drive, in the Arlington Forest neighborhood, yesterday on the Fourth of July (see above). The eagle “finally flew away after half an hour of harassment from a bunch of crows,” noted a neighborhood listserv email, but not before delighting adults and children in the neighborhood who gathered to see the patriotic sight.

Vietnam Vet Survives Stroke Thanks to Medics — Quick-acting Arlington County paramedics, a Good Samaritan who helped direct traffic at an intersection to let the ambulance through and skilled emergency room doctors helped to save the life of a Vietnam veteran who suffered a stroke while visiting his son in Arlington. [Fox 5]

School Board Chair Focused on Achievement — The Arlington School Board’s new chairman, Nancy Van Doren, says her focus is on individual student achievement, even in the midst of ongoing school growth and capacity challenges. “Our litmus test must be: Does each and every child receive the support he or she needs?” Van Doren said. [InsideNova]

Faked Fireworks Included Arlington Angle — The internet is abuzz about PBS’ use of “rerun” fireworks footage intermixed with live footage during its Capitol Fourth broadcast last night. One of the camera angles used showed an impossibly clear view of the fireworks and of the Capitol building from Arlington. In actuality, rain and low clouds made for a dreary, hazy view of the fireworks display. [WTOP]

Photo courtesy of Paul Fiorino

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Morning Notes

MorningNotes2

Van Doren, Talento Win Dem Endorsement — Tannia Talento and incumbent Nancy Van Doren convincingly won the Democratic endorsement caucus for School Board last week. Talento and Van Doren were the most-endorsed candidates in the race. They will now move on to the November general election. [InsideNova]

Gate Problem at Clarendon Dog Park — A stuck gate reportedly trapped people and dogs in the Clarendon dog park Friday evening. Firefighters responded to the scene to help open the gate. [Twitter]

Female WW2 Pilots Gain Burial Rights at ANC — Bipartisan legislation signed by President Obama has granted Women Airforce Service Pilots, who served during World War II, formal burial rights at Arlington National Cemetery. Those rights were revoked due to a Dept. of Defense legal finding and policy change last year. [Voice of America]

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Nancy Van Doren: Why You Should Vote for Me

Arlington School Board Vice Chair Nancy Van DorenLast week we asked the four candidates who are seeking the Democratic School Board endorsement to write a sub-750 word essay on why our readers should vote for them in the caucus on May 19 (tonight) and May 21.

Here is the unedited response from incumbent candidate Nancy Van Doren:

I am seeking re-election to the Arlington School Board and ask for your vote during the School Board Democratic Caucus May 19, 7-9 pm, at Drew Model School and May 21 at Washington-Lee High School from 11 am-7 pm.

Since joining the Board in 2014, I have brought family and community voices to the table to ensure that APS maintains the highest educational standards while expanding capacity for its growing student population.   In recognition of this work, I have been endorsed by A-PAC, the political action committee of the Arlington Education Association.

Last summer, my Board colleagues elected me to serve as Vice Chair. In this leadership role, I have maintained my focus on instruction and educational excellence. My primary goal is to prepare every student to be successful in our 21st century economy. To this end, I have ensured an increase in specialized interventions for struggling readers, expanded opportunities for students with disabilities to succeed alongside non-disabled peers, ensured high expectations for English language learners, and supported the expansion of foreign language classes at all elementary schools. I continue to support APS’ digital learning initiative, which provides all students with access to technology to strengthen their learning. I fully support the launch of Arlington Tech, a new STEM-centered high school program that includes hands-on learning, industry credentialing, and dual enrollment classes for college credit.

To meet APS’ growing capacity needs, I supported the internal renovation project at Washington-Lee High School that added 300 seats. I will support similar projects at Wakefield and Yorktown High Schools. I voted for additions and renovations at Stratford, Abingdon and McKinley Schools as well as for a new secondary school in Rosslyn and elementary school in South Arlington to be built and opened by fall 2019. I served as the School Board liaison to the APS/County Community Facilities Study, which developed recommendations to better coordinate County and School facility resources. I strongly support funding in APS’ 2016 Capital Improvement Plan to complete needed current and future projects on time and within budget. I will advocate for funds to increase high school and elementary school capacity as soon as possible, so APS can meet the needs of what will be a 30,000 student school system by 2022.

Today, my priorities remain clear:  build a strong infrastructure to meet the needs of our expanding school system while maintaining a keen focus on educational excellence for all our students.

Before joining the School Board, I volunteered on various APS committees covering instruction, transportation, and special education.   I served as Jefferson Middle School PTA president, founded the ArlingtonADHD and ArlingtonReading parent support groups, and co-founded the Arlington Latino Network.

Prior to moving to Arlington, I lived overseas with my husband, Jack Zetkulic, in Serbia, Sweden, and Switzerland. We have lived in Ashton Heights with our four children since 2004.  In addition to my Arlington school system experience, I had previously worked in business and communications. I spent 12 years in the private sector with Connecticut National Bank, The Travelers Companies, and The Hartford Courant in Hartford, CT. and then at Newsday in New York. I am a graduate of Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and have a Masters in Management from The Hartford Graduate Center/ Rensselaer. I lived in Spain and Nicaragua and am fluent in Spanish.

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Morning Notes

Tree looking up at a beautiful day (Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick)

Arcing Insulator Causes Metro Delays — An arcing insulator in the tunnel between Rosslyn and Foggy Bottom caused some Metrorail delays this morning. Arlington County firefighters responded to the track fire, which occurred around 6 a.m. [WUSA 9]

New Bus Lanes Open in Crystal City — A ribbon cutting ceremony was held Sunday for Arlington’s portion of the Crystal City Potomac Yard Transitway, the region’s first bus rapid transit system. The system’s 1.5 miles of bus-only lanes that run through Crystal City are now open and serving riders. Cars that use the lanes during rush hour face a $200 ticket. [WTOP]

Gutshall Out-Raises Garvey, Speaks at Board Meeting — Erik Gutshall, who’s challenging incumbent Libby Garvey for the Democratic Arlington County Board nomination, raised almost $52,000 during the most recent quarter, while Garvey raised about $34,600. Garvey still maintains a cash on hand advantage, however. Gutshall, meanwhile, spoke at Saturday’s County Board meeting and called for the Board to do more to oppose the gun store in Lyon Park. [InsideNova, InsideNova]

Wardian Running Boston Marathon Today — Elite runner Michael Wardian is among the many Arlington residents competing in the Boston Marathon today. The 42-year-old, known for his prolific pace of race running, has been particularly prolific as of late — so much so that his international adventures recently prompted him to get his passport expanded. [Competitor]

Board Approves Car2Go, Google Proposals — The County Board on Saturday approved a proposal to allow the Car2Go car sharing program to operate seamlessly between Arlington and D.C. (approval is still needed from the District). The Board also voted to join Google’s Connected Citizens Program, which facilitates the sharing of traffic and road condition data. [Arlington County, Arlington County]

Van Doren, Talento Endorsed By Education Association — The political action committee of the Arlington Education Association, which represents local teachers, has endorsed incumbent Nancy Van Doren and newcomer Tannia Talento in the race for the Democratic School Board endorsement. [InsideNova]

Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick

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Morning Notes

Gas prices at the BP station at the corner of Four Mile Run Drive and Walter Reed Drive

Cheap Gas in Arlington — Just in time for your Thanksgiving vacation, there are a number of gas stations in Arlington at which you can fill up for less than $2.00 per gallon. At $1.97 per gallon, the BP station at the corner of S. Four Mile Run Drive and Walter Reed Drive, pictured above, isn’t the lowest in the county: that honor belongs to Arlington Auto Service on Columbia Pike, with its $1.87 per gallon gas. [Gas Buddy]

County Warns of Sewer Backup Risk — One thing that could ruin your Thanksgiving feast would be a sewer backup. Arlington County is warning residents that that could happen if they’re not careful about disposing of fats, oils and greases (FOG). The proper ways to dispose of FOG is to empty it into a container, like an empty can, and throw it in the trash — not rinsing it down the drain, where it could cling to and clog pipes. [Arlington County]

Suspicious Package Calls Up Since Paris Attacks — Calls for suspicious packages and suspicious circumstances are up in Arlington since the Paris terror attacks. That’s according to Arlington County Police Chief Jay Farr, who spoke to reporter Pete Williams during a segment on last night’s NBC Nightly News broadcast. The county has set up an online form for reporting possible terrorism-related activity, in addition to receiving such calls via the police non-emergency line: 703-558-2222.

Airport Workers Rally for Higher Wages — As hordes of passengers head to Reagan National Airport for holiday travel, airport workers are going on a hunger strike, pushing for a living wage. Tipped workers at the airport, like baggage handlers and wheelchair attendants, make as little as $3.77 an hour. [WUSA 9]

Lopez Named House Minority Whip — Arlington’s Del. Alfonso Lopez has been named the new Minority Whip of the Virginia House of Delegates Democratic Caucus. In a statement, Lopez said we will continue to work for “our vision of a Commonwealth that prioritizes public education, invests in transit and transportation infrastructure, protects our environment, preserves our social safety net, and grows a new Virginia economy to expand opportunity for all Virginians.” [Patch]

Van Doren Running for Reelection — Arlington School Board member Nancy Van Doren has announced that she will be running for reelection in 2016. Van Doren replaced Noah Simon on the School Board after a special election last year. She will be seeking her first full term. [InsideNova]

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School Board Appoints Van Doren as Newest Member

Nancy Van DorenNancy Van Doren is the newest member of the Arlington County School Board after the Board appointed her in a special meeting this morning.

Van Doren replaces Noah Simon on the Board and will serve her interim turn until the Nov. 4 general election. Van Doren is running unopposed for the seat in the election, and she will be sworn in for her full, four-year term after she wins. Simon resigned this summer to take care of his children after his wife died on Dec. 30, 2013.

Van Doren will fill one of two open seats on the Board. Former Board member Sally Baird also resigned this summer; Barbara Kanninen and Audrey Clement are running to replace her in the Nov. 4 election. Baird originally had announced she wouldn’t seek re-election but would serve out her current term, but changed course and resigned on Aug. 22.

“Nancy is a well-regarded civic leader who has supported the Arlington Public Schools for a decade,” School Board Chair James Lander said in a press release. “Nancy has been highly engaged and is well-informed about the many complexities associated with Arlington’s needs. She will make a tremendous addition to this Board.”

After the jump, the full release from Arlington Public Schools on Van Doren’s appointment:

The Arlington School Board appointed Nancy Van Doren at a special meeting this morning. Van Doren was sworn in immediately after the Board voted and will fill the vacancy which occurred when former Board member Noah Simon resigned his seat on August 1. Her term will conclude when Simon’s seat is filled by special election on Nov. 4, and the newly elected member is sworn in.

Van Doren is an education advocate with 10 years of experience as a parent, volunteer, and leader in the Arlington Public Schools. Prior to joining the Board, Van Doren served as the PTA President at Jefferson Middle School and chaired the Arlington Special Education Advisory Committee. Most recently, she served on the Multi-Modal Transportation and Student Safety Special Committee, the Family and Community Engagement Working Group, and the Arlington Career Center Parent Advisory Committee. Van Doren has also served on the APS Advisory Council on Instruction, the County Council of PTAs, and the ADHD Task Force.

“Nancy is a well-regarded civic leader who has supported the Arlington Public Schools for a decade,” said School Board Chair James Lander. “Nancy has been highly engaged and is well-informed about the many complexities associated with Arlington’s needs. She will make a tremendous addition to this Board.”

Van Doren has extensive business and international experience. From 1984-1995, she worked in the private sector with Connecticut National Bank, The Travelers Companies, The Hartford Courant and Newsday. Her expertise is in general management and communications. From 1996-2004, Van Doren lived overseas with her husband Jack Zetkulic, a Foreign Service Officer. During those years, Van Doren and her family lived in Serbia, Sweden and Switzerland. Previously, she studied at the University of Madrid in Spain and served as a volunteer teacher and community organizer in Nicaragua. She is fluent in Spanish.

For the last decade, Van Doren and her family have lived in Arlington’s Ashton Heights neighborhood. She and Jack have four children, three of whom attend Arlington Public Schools. The oldest, a graduate of Washington-Lee High School, is now a student at the University of Virginia. Van Doren is a graduate of Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and holds a Master’s Degree in Management from the Hartford Graduate Center/ Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

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Depleted School Board to Make Interim Appointment

Nancy Van Doren in the 4/22/14 School Board debateNow down to three members following two resignations, the Arlington School Board is planning to appoint an interim member next month.

Nancy Van Doren, who’s running unopposed to replace Noah Simon on the Board, is being considered for the appointment.

The three remaining members of the Board — Chair James Lander, Vice Chair Emma Violand-Sanchez and Abby Raphael — have approved a process by which Van Doren could be appointed at a special meeting on Friday, Sept. 12 at 8:00 a.m.

“The interim appointment will help to ensure fair and responsive leadership to represent the citizens of Arlington County and to make certain that decisions made during this period of transition reflect support by at least three members of the five-member body,” Arlington Public Schools said in a press release.

Simon resigned from the School Board earlier this summer. Sally Baird, who had already decided not to run for re-election, officially resigned from the Board last week, prompting the remaining three members to consider an interim appointment.

Residents will have a chance to voice their opinions on the appointment during a public hearing at the School Board’s regular meeting on Sept. 4 at 7:30 p.m.

“The public hearing will provide an opportunity for citizens to comment on whether Nancy Van Doren… or any other potential candidate(s), should be appointed,” APS said.

Baird’s seat will remain vacant until the Nov. 4 election, which includes two competing School Board candidates: Democrat Barbara Kanninen and Audrey Clement, who’s affiliated with the Green Party. In May, Van Doren finished second to Kanninen in the Democratic endorsement caucus for that race. After Simon announced his resignation, however, Van Doren was the only candidate to step forward.

Van Doren is a mother of four and an Arlington Public Schools volunteer.

File photo

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Morning Notes

Yorktown vs. H-B Woodlawn ultimate frisbee (Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf)

Arlington Probation Officer Charged — A 40-year-old Arlington County probation officer has been charged with the aggravated sexual battery of a 10-year-old girl in Woodbridge. The officer has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation into the crime. [NBC Washington]

No Democrats to Run Against Van Doren — Nancy Van Doren is the lone Democrat to file to run for the Arlington School Board seat being vacated by Noah Simon. She’s expected to be confirmed as the Democratic endorsee on Aug. 6. [InsideNova]

Verizon Outage Reported — A widespread Verizon FiOS and wireless data outage was reported in the D.C. area Sunday night through Monday morning. [CBS Local]

Public Hearings for Water Plans — Arlington County will hold public hearings in September regarding an updated Water Distribution System Master Plan and an updated Stormwater Master Plan.

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

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Kanninen Wins Democratic Nod for School Board

Barbara Kanninen votes for herself in the 2014 School Board Democratic caucus (Flickr pool photo by wolfkann)(Updated at 2:30 p.m.) Barbara Kanninen won the Democratic endorsement for the Arlington School Board this weekend, a narrow victory in the caucus over Nancy Van Doren and Greg Greeley.

Kanninen, who narrowly lost to School Board member James Lander in last year’s Democratic endorsement caucus, defeated Nancy Van Doren by a similar margin this year, with 1,812 votes to Van Doren’s 1,794. Before an instant runoff was conducted, and Greeley’s votes were distributed to voters’ “second choice” candidates, the margin was a bit wider: Kanninen received 1,549 votes, Van Doren 1,329 and Greeley received 839.

Kanninen campaigned for reduced standardized testing among Arlington Public Schools students and said she was “uncomfortable” when Arlington was announced as the top-spending school system in the state. She also said that one way to solve APS’ growing capacity issue was flexible spending during a debate among the three candidates last month.

Kanninen, an economist and children’s book author, said through working on advisory boards for both the School Board and County Board over the years, as well as with children in Arlington and D.C., she has the experience needed to be a productive Board member.

“Our schools are important to all of us, whether we are parents, teachers, homeowners, or citizens who want to live in a community that values education,” she wrote in her candidate essay for ARLnow.com this month. “Collectively, we have the energy, the brains, and the will to do great things for our kids and our community.”

Kanninen told ARLnow.com in an email Monday afternoon that she enjoyed “the many lively and informative discussions” she’s had with the community during what she called “a vigorous campaign that highlighted Arlingtonians’ deep commitment to making our schools the best they can be.”

Van Doren announced after the caucus results were counted that she would be throwing her support behind Kanninen for the general election in November, for which Kanninen now becomes the odds-on favorite. She will run to fill the seat left vacant by retiring School Board member Sally Baird.

“I wholeheartedly support Barbara in the upcoming general election as she faces the challenges in our school system,” Van Doren said in a press release. “Our community needs to work together to face the challenge of continuing to improve educational outcomes while working with the county to find space for our growing student population.”

Greeley, in an email to ARLnow.com, also congratulated Kanninen, saying the campaign was a chance to have “a great discussion about the future of our schools.”

“Barbara ran a strong campaign,” Greeley wrote. “She had the experience and organization from her campaign last year. Last year’s campaign also provided a degree of name recognition that ultimately proved decisive this year. I look forward to working with her to address the important issues our school system faces, most notably our looming capacity crisis.”

Flickr pool photo by wolfkann

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Kanninen, Van Doren Announce School Board Candidacy

School Board candidates Nancy Van Doren (L) and Barbara Kanninen (R)Two Arlington School Board hopefuls have formally announced their candidacy.

Barbara Kanninen, Nancy Van Doren and Greg Greeley are running for the Democratic endorsement for school board, hoping to replace the retiring Sally Baird. The endorsement caucus will be held on May 15 and 17. Kanninen and Van Doren announced their candidacies over the weekend.

Van Doren, a mother of four and an Arlington Public Schools volunteer, says her experience “is deep and broad and it is exactly what the school board needs at this time.”

From a campaign mailer:

For ten years, Nancy has volunteered extensively in Arlington Public Schools to ensure the educational success of all children from all backgrounds.

Nancy focuses on the student. She always asks: What does the student need to succeed? What can I do to ensure each and every child is successful? She maintains this focus and works for demonstrable improvement at the student, school, and county level.

Nancy follows through and gets the job done. When it comes to educating students, collaboration, good communication, and community engagement are keys to success. Nancy has a very collaborative style, which she uses effectively to build coalitions to get projects done.

Van Doren, whose children attend Jefferson Middle School and Washington-Lee High School, is holding a campaign kick-off event from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. on Friday, at the Lyon Park Community House (414 N. Fillmore Street).

Kanninen, an economist and author who unsuccessfully ran for school board last year, says the school system should improve its STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) programs while also investing in the arts.

The press release from Kanninen’s campaign, after the jump.

Barbara Kanninen, a Ph.D. economist, children’s book author and 20-year veteran of volunteering in schools and community, has announced her candidacy for Arlington County School Board today. The seat being vacated by Sally Baird will be up for election this May.

“Arlington schools are among the best in the country, but we still have more to do,” said Kanninen. “We face the challenges of a growing student population, tight budgets, and a 21st-century economy that demands graduates who are not only proficient in technical areas, but also creative and capable of thinking critically. It’s time we have a broader conversation about how we can meet the needs of all Arlington students, and we need to put more solutions on the table. I believe that every child in every classroom should be given every opportunity to excel, and that’s what I’ll fight for from day one on the School Board. ”

Kanninen calls for strengthening STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) programs in every school while also investing in the arts. She would also like to see a special focus on providing students with adult mentors to further support inside the classroom.

Overcrowding and the need for increased school capacity have been persistent issues in Arlington in recent years. Kanninen proposes taking a flexible and forward-looking approach to coping with the county’s growing population of school-age children. “We need to think in a coordinated way about elementary, middle, and high school capacity in the long term and be open to using all of our resources—buildings, people, and technologies— to find solutions that work for teachers, staff, and families,” she said.

Kanninen, a Ph.D. economist, runs her own data consulting firm. She has also written extensively for children, including picture books, magazine articles, and curricula and is a 20-year veteran of classroom, school, and community volunteering. Kanninen served seven years as a school coordinator and coach of Odyssey of the Mind, a creative problem-solving competition for students, and is a founding board member of the Youth Ultimate League of Arlington. A Democratic activist, she founded and chaired Arlington/Alexandria Women for Obama, a network of 600 grassroots volunteers, and was elected delegate to the 2012 Democratic National Convention. She and her husband have been Arlington residents for over 20 years and have two children attending Yorktown High School and the Arlington Career Center.

“Barbara has the enthusiasm, skills, and willingness to work hard that will make her a great School Board member. I have known her for many years, both as a fellow parent with children in Arlington schools and as a founding board member of the newly formed Youth Ultimate League of Arlington. In both roles, Barbara has impressed me with her insights, her problem-solving ability, and her commitment to youth,” said Deborah Duffy, an APS parent and president of the Youth Ultimate League of Arlington.

Aaron Rosenberg, former regional field director for Organizing for America, strongly supports Barbara, “She knows what it means to work for change. As the Arlington chair of Women for Obama, Barbara worked tirelessly to engage and empower the community. People trust and follow Barbara because they see that when something needs doing, she is the first to roll up her sleeves and get to work.”

Ed Fendley, Former Member of the Arlington County School Board, has endorsed Barbara, saying: “It’s refreshingly simple with Barbara Kanninen: her focus is on students and teachers. Barbara understands that schools are systems of people, and Arlington’s schools will be even stronger with Barbara on the Board.”

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