Arlington Mill Community Center Modifications Approved — The County Board approved modifications to the Arlington Mill Community Center project that are being called safety and utility upgrades. The county will use already approved project reserve funds for improvements such as parking garage security doors, an in-building wireless system antenna to aid first responder communication and a revised design for the intersection at 9th Street S. and Arlington Mill Drive. As reported last week, a Pan American Bakery and Café will open in the structure. Construction is on track to finish by early August, with a ribbon cutting ceremony on September 28. [Arlington County]
Arlington Receives Funding to Fight Childhood Obesity — The Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth has granted more than $36,000 to the county to fight childhood obesity and promote healthy living. This is the second year of a two-year grant. The money will help continue to fund community gardens, healthy school vending machine options and active recess. [Arlington County]
APS Hiring Hundreds of Staff Members — More than 260 full time and part time employees have been hired ahead of the Arlington Public Schools 2013-2014 year. That’s about two-thirds of the more than 350 open slots APS aims to fill. Superintendent Dr. Patrick Murphy expects to be fully staffed by the beginning of the school year. [Sun Gazette]
Alexandria Approves BRT Station Design — Alexandria approved the design for its Route 1 Bus Rapid Transitway stations. The seven stations include real-time bus arrival displays and will cost about $200,000 apiece. Construction of the bus dedicated lanes in the middle of Route 1 began in July 2012 and is expected to finish late this year, with the line becoming operational early next year. The BRT will eventually cover a five mile stretch to connect the Braddock Road Metro station with the Pentagon City metro station. The Arlington portion of the line is expected to open in summer or fall of 2014. [Del Ray Patch]
Father of Deceased Skateboarder Found Dead — Friends and family of 18-year-old John Malvar — a Washington-Lee High School student who died following a skateboarding accident — were supposed to gather at a memorial service for the teen on Saturday, but his father never showed up. Several friends visited the man’s apartment and had a maintenance man unlock the door, where they found George Malvar dead on his bed of natural causes. After learning of George Malvar’s death, the friends and family decided to continue on with the memorial service for his son. [Washington Post]
Snake Causes Power Outage — More than 10,000 Arlington and Alexandria residents experienced a power outage on Saturday night and Dominion says it was caused by a snake. The reptile apparently slithered into some electrical equipment and knocked out electricity at a substation on Four Mile Run. Power was restored by Sunday morning. [Washington Post]
Flickr pool photo by Christopher Skillman
VA Senate Panel Advances “Love Shack” Bill — A state Senate panel unanimously advanced a bill proposed by Sen. Adam Ebbin (D) that would repeal the Virginia law making it illegal for unmarried couples to live together. Currently, cohabitation by unmarried couples is a misdemeanor under the law, which went into effect in 1877. [Washington Post]
Board Accepts Grant to Fight Childhood Obesity — The County Board has accepted a state grant worth $25,000 to fund a Healthy Meals for Healthy Families program at Carlin Springs Elementary School, intended to fight childhood obesity. The program will include weekly hands-on classes in healthy food preparation and healthy eating for at-risk third, fourth and fifth graders and their families. “[The grant] will fund a program at Carlin Springs Elementary that will not only educate our children and families – but ultimately change behaviors to promote life-long healthy eating and healthy living,” said Board Chairman Walter Tejada. [Arlington County]
APS Makes EPA’s Green Power Purchasers List — Arlington Public Schools has come in at number five on the Environmental Protection Agency’s list of the Top 20 K-12 green power purchasers. APS meets six percent of its electricity use by purchasing more than 3,000,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of green power each year. “Utilizing green power helps us become more sustainable, while also sending a message to others across the U.S. that supporting clean sources of electricity is a sound business decision and an important choice in reducing climate risk,” said APS Superintendent Dr. Pat Murphy. “Most importantly, this conveys to our students the important role and responsibility that all of us have in safeguarding our environment today and in the future.” [Arlington Public Schools]
Board Promises to Hear PenPlace Concerns — At its meeting on Saturday (January 26), the County Board assured concerned residents that their voices will be heard in regards to the proposed PenPlace development. Board member Chris Zimmerman refuted claims by opponents that there wouldn’t be a serious review of the Pentagon City project. The plan involves developing 10 acres of mostly vacant land into a complex of 12 to 22 story buildings. [Sun Gazette]
Citizen Receives Reward for Crime Tip — A tipster will get a $650 reward from Arlington County Crime Solvers (ACCS) for helping police solve a case from Christmas Day. The tipster’s information helped police arrest a suspect from an armed robbery of a 7-Eleven. “We are delighted to pay a reward to a local resident whose tip led to an arrest in an armed robbery,” said ACCS President Andres Tobar. “We encourage local residents who have information on a crime to call the ACCS tip line at 866-411-8477 to remain anonymous. If the tip leads to an arrest, a reward will be paid.” [Arlington County Crime Solvers]
Tejada Launches Campaign Targeting Childhood Obesity — County Board Chairman Walter Tejada kicked off his Moving Forward Together Campaign at a community meeting yesterday. The initiative involves the county working with a volunteer coalition and community members on several points, such as getting kids moving more at recess and in after school programs, establishing healthier vending options and training childcare providers in nutrition and physical activity. Residents are encouraged to get involved with the newly formed Healthy Community Action Team (HCAT). [Arlington County]
Construction Work at Central Library — Work has started on the Central Library’s first major interior renovations since the early 1990s, and includes painting, carpeting, new signs and new desks. Because staff needs to use the Quiet Study Room during construction, it will be closed to the public for the duration of renovations. Construction is expected to finish in the spring. [Arlington Public Library]
Free Inauguration Viewing on the Big Screen — Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse (2903 Columbia Pike) is allowing customers to stop by on Monday, January 21, to watch the public Presidential Inauguration on the big screen. Admission is free and doors open at 11:00 a.m. [Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse]
Mind Your Body Oasis Grand Opening — Saturday (January 19) is the grand opening celebration for the new Mind Your Body Oasis (1750 Crystal Drive) in Crystal City. There will be raffles and samples of the juices sold at the yoga studio and holistic center. Customers will also be able to try a free yoga class.
Late last week, Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) introduced a bill that would enable ten states to collect body mass index information from youngsters in immunization registries. The bill would serve as a pilot program for tracking the prevalence of childhood obesity.
Rep. Moran’s office issued the following press release about the bill:
In recognition of Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, Congressman Jim Moran, Northern Virginia Democrat, today introduced legislation that would establish a pilot program to track the prevalence of childhood obesity. The program would include the accumulation of body mass index (BMI) data in current immunization registries in 10 states.
“Obesity has reached near epidemic levels across the United States. The health of our youngest Americans will impact our economy, health care costs and public health,” said Moran. “In order to track our progress in reducing childhood obesity, we must have accurate and up-to-date information.”
Moran’s legislation would eliminate the need to create an entirely new data system by adding BMI data to current childhood immunization record systems. Body mass index is a non-invasive measurement calculated from height and weight. The legislation requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services to deliver a report on the results and effectiveness of the pilot program after enactment.
Over the past three decades, childhood obesity rates in America have tripled – nearly one in three children in America are overweight or obese. Obesity is a leading factor in diabetes, heart disease, cancer and other life-threatening health diseases.
President Obama declared September 2012 National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month to encourage all Americans to learn about and engage in activities that promote healthy eating and greater physical activity by all our nation’s children.
The Heat Returns — After a stormy but cooler start to the week, the sun and the heat are back. And for good measure, the rains of the past two days have left us with plenty of humidity. See the forecast from weather.com, which — in a non-Arlington-related aside — is in the midst of yet another baffling redesign.
Slapsticon Returns — Slapsticon, the vintage comedy film festival, is returning to Arlington with a full slate of films from the silent and early sound eras. The four-day festival, held at the Rosslyn Spectrum Theater, kicks off at 1:00 this afternoon. The highlight of the festival will come on Saturday, when The Thief Catcher, a lost Charlie Chaplin film that was recently found at an antiques sale in Michigan, re-premieres on the big screen.
Obesity Discussion Tonight — Voice Box, the topical chat show on Arlington Independent Media, will be hosting a discussion on obesity and obesity prevention tonight. The scheduled guests are Amy Maclosky, Director of Food Services for Arlington Public Schools, and Dr. Scott Kahan, Co-Director of George Washington University’s Weight Management Program. The program films before a live studio audience. For those wishing to attend, doors open at 7:00 p.m. at AIM’s Clarendon studios (2701-C Wilson Blvd).