Johnson served for years as the keeper of voter lists at the Arlington County Democratic Committee, earning the moniker of “list lady,” and she spent nearly 20 years on the county’s Planning Commission. She passed away at the Virginia Hospital Center due to complications from lung cancer, according to her nephew, Gavin Cahill.
Friends and family members remember Johnson as an intelligent and devoted member of the Arlington community, with a quick wit and quiet confidence. She lived in Ashton Heights, where she worked as a freelance writer after a career as a legislative aide and journalist in D.C.
“Carrie was beloved and respected by several generations of Arlingtonians,” Jay Fisette, who served on the County Board for 20 years, told ARLnow. “She walked softly, yet was as large an influence on Arlington’s civic culture and success as anyone actually elected to public office.”
Cahill says Johnson was born in Milwaukee, and moved to D.C. after college to start a career in politics. She spent eight years working as a staffer for a few Republicans in Congress before joining the editorial board of The Washington Post, where she wrote articles and speeches for then-publisher Katharine Graham.
Johnson moved to Arlington in 1979, Cahill said, and quickly got involved in the county’s political scene.
“She always used to say that she became a Democrat when she moved to Arlington,” Cahill said. “And she never looked back.”
Miriam Balutis remembers meeting Johnson at some sort of Democratic function back then — she says even three decades ago, Johnson was in charge of maintaining the committee’s lists of likely voters, a responsibility she’d hold for years to come.
“She put an extraordinary amount of time and effort into compiling those voter lists, sorting them, knowing what was up to date,” Balutis said. “And we put them to good use. We used to go to the polls on Election Day and track people as they were voting. So by the end of day, we would know who we needed to call, who hasn’t come to vote yet.”
Jill Caiazzo, the chair of the county’s Democratic committee, says Johnson’s efforts went far beyond lists — she credits Johnson’s data analysis work as a driving factor behind many of the committee’s outreach efforts.
“She was never showy in any way, but she was a force behind the scenes,” Caiazzo said.
Cahill says Johnson also joined the Arlington Planning Commission in 1986, and served on it through 2005. Fisette believes she was among the longest tenured members of the commission in Arlington’s history, and he says she mentored a whole host of commissioners to follow in her footsteps.
Johnson counted her prime achievement as the creation of Long Bridge Park, which sits across from the Pentagon, transforming a handful of industrial properties into a popular community space. Cahill said she also did lots of work on planning and zoning issues in Fort Myer Heights, Virginia Square and the Four Mile Run Valley.
“She modeled, through her behavior, the civility, competence and commitment to building this community you need to be in public service,” Fisette said. “She was part of the glue here.”
Cahill says Johnson also worked as both a freelance writer and historian, with a particular soft spot for Butte, Montana. She had no formal link to the town, but fell in love with the area’s history and even bought a house in Butte so she could research its history more closely.
In all, he feels that connection to a town thousands of miles away from Arlington is indicative of his aunt’s devotion to communities of all shapes and sizes, and the people who live in them.
“She just had a habit of really falling in love with communities,” Cahill said. “It became a big part of her life’s mission.”
Johnson’s writing talents briefly extended to ARLnow. She penned the inaugural article of the Progressive Voice column in 2014.
On his blog Tuesday morning, Sun Gazette editor Scott McCaffrey recalled a recent interaction with Johnson, who remained active in Arlington affairs despite her health problems.
Last month, Johnson spoke at the public-comment period of the Arlington County Board meeting, concerned about Virginia Department of Transportation-mandated limitations being put on turning left from Arlington Boulevard onto Irving Street.
(She came armed with suggestions to improve the situation, not the counterproductive my-way-or-the-highway approach that less seasoned civic activists sometimes adopt.)
Not being aware that there was any thing amiss with her health, I followed up with her by email to tell her I’d put something together on the issue. I got a note of thanks and was playfully chided that my missive to her had used “Route 50” rather than “Arlington Boulevard.” As Carrie correctly noted, Route 50 runs from Maryland to California, but Arlington Boulevard has a much more specific connotation. Use the latter, she suggested. (I did.)
In addition to Cahill, Johnson is survived by her brother, sister-in-law, and a niece. Cahill says the family is planning a June memorial service for Johnson that will be open to the public, but has yet to nail down details.
In lieu of flowers, Cahill asked that donations be sent in Johnson’s memory to the Arlington Parks and Recreation Fund of the Arlington Community Foundation at 818 N. Quincy Street, Suite 103.
Johnson is the second major Arlington civic feature to pass away this month. Lucy Denney died on May 1, at the age of 87, after a battle with cancer.
Pedestrian Hit, in Critical Condition — Police closed a ramp to Washington Blvd and southbound I-395 during a portion of the Monday morning rush after a vehicle hit a pedestrian in the area of Columbia Pike and Queen Street. The man was taken to the hospital in critical condition. [WJLA, WTOP]
Woman With Cerebral Palsy Finishes First Marathon — Arlington resident Jamie Watts has completed her first marathon, finishing the New Jersey Marathon in 14 hours and 33 minutes. Watts, 36, has cerebral palsy and started participating in races a few years ago to get in shape for a family trip. She has since worked her way up to half marathons and now a full 26.2 miles. [WUSA 9]
Homebuyers’ Cost Per Square Foot Increases — Arlington homebuyers’ cost per square foot increased by 3.6% during the first quarter of 2018, compared with the same time last year. Those buying homes within the county paid a median $462 per square foot, which is more than in any other Northern Virginia jurisdiction. [InsideNova]
Taekwondo Legend Dies in Arlington — “Grandmaster Jhoon Rhee, the man known as the ‘father of American Taekwondo,’ died Monday after a long illness. He was 86. His son, Chun Rhee, said his father died in hospice care in Arlington, Virginia.” [Associated Press]
Cinco De Mayo Options in Arlington — Ragtime, Pamplona and Bar Bao are a few of the Arlington options for celebrating Cinco de Mayo and the Kentucky Derby this weekend. [Eater]
Remembering Barbara Bush — Via the Arlington GOP Twitter account: “Former First Lady Barbara Bush died today at age 92. She will always be remembered for representing the best of America. We pray for and send condolences to her family.” [Twitter, CBS News]
Arlington Man Facing Firearms Charges in Pa. — From a TV station near Pittsburgh: “A Virginia man is facing charges after police said he possessed 14 guns despite having a protection from abuse order against him. Perry Georgeadis, 63, of… Arlington, Virginia, is charged with 14 counts of person not to possess a firearm.” [WJAC]
Arlington’s Gain is New Jersey’s Pain — The announcement that Gerber is moving its corporate headquarters to Rosslyn, to the same building as corporate parent Nestle USA, is bad economic news for New Jersey. “This means close to 180 New Jerseyans will be out of a job. But the company promised to help employees affected, mostly in corporate positions such as marketing, finance and HR, by offering them the chance to relocate, and severance and outpatient support for those that can’t make the move.” [NJ.com]
Arlington Students Make TJ Science Cut — “Students from Arlington’s public-school system will represent about 5 percent of the incoming freshman class at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science & Technology. A total of 25 APS students have been offered admission to the regional magnet school.” [InsideNova]
Nearby: Alexandria Debates High School Lights — In a situation that may sound familiar to those in Arlington, the question of whether or not to add lights to the soon-to-be-renovated T.C. Williams High School stadium is pitting neighbors of the school against high school athletic boosters and school administrators. [Alexandria Times]
Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley
Parents were informed this morning of Annie Turner’s passing. The cause of death “is unknown at this time,” according to the email.
“This morning, a support team of administrators, psychologists, counselors, and social workers from Arlington Public Schools joined our Henry team to provide counseling and support to the staff and students,” the email noted. “Counselors will be available today and throughout the days ahead for those who need additional support with this news.”
Turner, who has degrees from the University of Virginia and George Mason University, first joined Arlington Public Schools as a physical education teacher at Jamestown Elementary in 1986, according to her school biography. She became principal of Patrick Henry in 2014.
Turner is married and enjoyed “vacationing, exercising and walking together and attending sporting events and concerts” with her husband, the biography said.
The letter to parents and school staff is below.
Dear Henry Students, Staff and Families:
It is with great sadness that we are writing to let you know that Annie Turner, principal of Patrick Henry Elementary School, died unexpectedly on Saturday morning. The exact cause is unknown at this time.
We know that this is a shock for everyone in our school and the community, and ask that you join us to remember and celebrate Annie’s life. On behalf of the Turner family, we also ask that you to respect their privacy during this difficult time as they grieve their sudden loss.
It is very difficult for all of us to face the death of anyone close to us. This morning, a support team of administrators, psychologists, counselors, and social workers from Arlington Public Schools joined our Henry team to provide counseling and support to the staff and students. Counselors will be available today and throughout the days ahead for those who need additional support with this news.
Your child may be coming home with questions and worries about this loss. Although we cannot predict how any child may react, we will work to be sensitive and aware of the common reactions experienced by grieving children. We also are enclosing some suggestions that may be helpful to you as you discuss Ms. Turner’s death in the days ahead. Please feel free to contact the school if you have an issue you would like to discuss.
I know you join us in extending our heartfelt sympathy to Annie Turner’s family. When we receive word about funeral arrangements, we will share the information with you. […]
Cameron Snyder, Assistant Principal
Dr. Patrick Murphy, Superintendent
Former Clarendon Walgreens Building Purchased — JPMorgan Chase has bought the building that housed the former Walgreens in Clarendon for $25 million, perhaps for a new bank branch. [Washington Business Journal]
Local Man Shot and Killed in Philly — An Arlington man who “appeared to be intentionally trying to run down people” with his car was shot and killed by an off-duty police officer in South Philadelphia. The shooting is under investigation. [WPVI]
More Details on Arlington Vehicle Decals — “The 2017-18 Arlington car-tax decal may come with a new feature: personalization. The county treasurer’s office is working on a plan that would add each vehicle’s year, make and model onto the new decals, which will start being distributed over the summer.” [InsideNova]
ACPD Launches Super Bowl Sobriety Campaign — “The Arlington County Police Department and law enforcement agencies across the country are huddling up with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for a special Fans Don’t Let Fans Drive Drunk reminder to urge football fans across the nation not to drop the ball on this issue.” [Arlington County]
VHC Named Top Hospital for Nurses — Virginia Hospital Center is the top hospital for nurses in Virginia, according to new rankings from a nursing website. [Nurse.org]
Signs Up for Nestle in Rosslyn — A Nestle sign is now up on the company’s new headquarters at 1812 N. Moore Street in Rosslyn. [Twitter]
State Senate OKs Arlington Hotel Tax Bill — The Virginia state Senate has passed a bill to authorize Arlington to impose a 0.25 percent hotel tax surcharge, to fund tourism promotion. The county’s current authority to collect the surcharge expires July 1. [InsideNova]
Robert Parry Obituary — “Robert Parry, an investigative journalist who was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 1985 for his Associated Press exclusives about the CIA’s production of an assassination manual for Nicaraguan rebels, died Jan. 27 in Arlington, Va. He was 68.” [Washington Post, Consortiumnews]
Arlington Adding Winter Shelter Beds — In response to the frigid temperatures, Arlington County says it is expanding the number of hypothermia slots at the Courthouse area winter shelter for singles operated by A-SPAN, “adding 10 more to the current 25.” [Twitter]
Bicycle Beltway Proposal — “A new bicycle beltway is set to be endorsed by the region’s Transportation Planning Board in January. The full Outer Loop would be 45 miles long. The beltway would also have additional connections in the middle, through the heart of downtown D.C. along the National Mall.” [WTOP]
Father of Rep. Don Beyer Dies — “Donald S. Beyer, Sr., the patriarch of the storied Beyer family dynasty in Falls Church, died last Saturday two weeks before his 94th birthday.” [Falls Church News-Press]
Local NYE Bar Options — Looking for a place to ring in the new year in Arlington? Last month we published a sponsored list of five options along the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor that are still applicable. [ARLnow]
Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf
Beyer Blasts GOP Tax Bill — Rep. Don Beyer is, to say the least, not a fan of the Republican tax bill that is expected to pass the House and be sent to the president’s desk later today. “At its core, this bill is an immoral redistribution of wealth towards the richest among us at a cost of trillions of dollars, and I believe that those who voted for this monstrosity will be held accountable,” Beyer said in a statement. [Rep. Don Beyer, Twitter]
Single Vote Swings Va. House — Thanks to a Democratic candidate in Newport News winning her race by a single vote, as determined in a recount, the Virginia House of Delegates is now evenly split between Republicans and Democrats, ending a majority the GOP has maintained since 2000. [Washington Post]
‘Dominion Pint’ Coming to Arlington — The owner of Meridian Pint (also Brookland Pint and Smoke & Barrel) in D.C. is planning to open a new craft beer-centric outpost somewhere in North Arlington. The location has not yet been announced, but it will be called “Dominion Pint.” [PoPville]
DESIGNArlington Winners Announced — The Arlington County Board on Tuesday recognized the ten 2017 DESIGNArlington award winners for “outstanding architectural or landscape design in the County.” Among the winners are the new Marymount University building in Ballston, the Tellus apartment building in Courthouse, “The Quill” public art project in Rosslyn and two private North Arlington residences. [Arlington County, Arlington County]
Gutshall Sworn In — The newest Arlington County Board member, Erik Gutshall, was sworn in at yesterday’s Board meeting, while outgoing County Board Chair Jay Fisette received a standing ovation. [Twitter]
Changes to Historic Preservation Process — The Arlington County Board voted unanimously last night to revise and further codify the process for requesting historic preservation studies. Until now, any single individual could request a “historic preservation overlay district” study, which requires significant county staff time to complete. Before the vote, such a study could even be requested without consulting property owners in the proposed district. [Arlington County]
Arlington Man Dies in Plane Crash — Paul Schuda, a National Transportation Safety Board official and Arlington resident, was among three people killed in the crash of a small plane in Indiana. [NPR, Legacy]
Photo courtesy Peter Golkin
RIP Bill Bozman — “He was ‘one of the community’s greats,’ in the words of former state Sen. Mary Margaret Whipple, and while the death of William Bozman was not unexpected, it still created a ripple of emotional outpouring from several generations of Arlington civic leaders who had relied on him for counsel and good humor.” [InsideNova]
Library Director’s Annual Xmas Playlist — Arlington Public Library Director Diane Kresh has released the 2017 version of her annual holiday music playlist. [Arlington Public Library]
ARL Sticker Opportunity — If you missed out on the the first batch of free ARL stickers, there is another opportunity to get your hands on some. We’ll be bringing the stickers to Thursday’s Speakeasy Evening With Dr. Rixey, which is happening from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the The Rixey apartments in Ballston (1008 N. Glebe Road). Register for the free event, which features local art, live jazz, gin cocktails and great rooftop views, here.
Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf
Career Center Site May Expand — The Arlington County Board and School Board have created a joint working group to explore options for adding more high school seats at the Arlington Career Center Site near Columbia Pike. The working group will consider how the site “may be developed in phases to accommodate more high school capacity and new community amenities.” It will also “identify opportunities to expand the Career Center site by leasing space in adjacent buildings and/or through land acquisition.” [Arlington County]
ACPD Warns of Holiday Phone Scams — Arlington County Police are cautioning residents against automatically trusting phone calls claiming to be on behalf of charitable organizations around the holidays. Scammers falsely identifying themselves as charitable solicitors are trying to steal money and personal information. In particular, the police department says, calls claiming to be collecting money on behalf of ACPD are bogus. [Arlington County]
RIP Officer Irving Comer — “On Thursday, November 23, 2017, retired Officer Irving Comer, the first African-American to be sworn in as a police officer for the Arlington County Police Department, passed away at the age of 74.” [Arlington County]
Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley
Two Arrested After Fleeing from ACPD — Two men who fled from a traffic stop in Arlington were later arrested in Northwest D.C. Arlington police tried to stop the vehicle near Washington Blvd and N. Kirkwood Road, in the Virginia Square area, but the car took off and police did not pursue, per department rules. U.S. Park Police then tried to stop the men in D.C. and they fled again but were eventually taken into custody after crashing their car along Connecticut Avenue. [Fox 5]
WSJ Highlights W-L’s 178 Valedictorians — Washington-Lee High School in Arlington had 178 valedictorians this past school year. Having multiple valedictorians is a national trend among high schools. W-L considers any student with a 4.0 GPA or above to be a valedictorian. [Wall Street Journal, Falls Church News-Press]
Arts + Startups = Millennials? — “Arts groups should work to make common cause with high-tech firms and Millennials in an effort to bring benefits to all, one panelist said at an arts forum sponsored by Opera Nova and held Oct. 8 at Washington Golf & Country Club.” [InsideNova]
Distil Hires New CEO — Distil Networks, the cybersecurity firm with offices in Arlington and San Francisco, was just trying to hire a new Chief Operating Officer but ended up with a new CEO. Tiffany Olson Jones will lead the company, with $20 million in revenue and 65 percent annual revenue growth, from Arlington. [San Francisco Business Times]
‘Speedy’ Tolliver Dies — “Roy ‘Speedy’ Tolliver, an Arlington-based bluegrass fiddler who performed at local folk festivals for 65 years and was an inaugural recipient of the Virginia Heritage Award in 2009, died Sept. 18 at an assisted living center in Arlington, Va. He was 99.” [Washington Post]
Photo courtesy Michael Thomas
Editor’s Note: Playboy founder Hugh Hefner died last night at the age of 91. Arlington resident Buzz McClain, a writer and communications professional, was a regular contributor to Playboy for two decades. Below, McClain shares a brief recollection of his time at Playboy.
From 1992 to 2012 I did a monthly home entertainment column on the movie pages of Playboy. I would review several B-movies or direct-to-tape (later, direct-to-disc) films, with the occasional A-list movie.
There are few bigger thrills than getting your first paycheck with an embossed “bunny head” on it signed by Hugh Hefner’s daughter, Christie. (Hef led the way in empowering women; his daughter was chairman and CEO of Playboy Enterprises. His considerable philanthropy for women’s rights and free speech is largely unnoticed, and he liked it that way.)
Hef was probably the world’s biggest movie fan, with his every-Wednesday night screenings of new movies at the Mansion for his close friends and buying one of each of just about every film that became available at retail. And he watched them! No pressure on the critics, right?
Only once in 20 years did he change the “bunny head rating” on a review of mine, bumping up “Superbad” (2007) from 3 to 3.5 bunny heads. I’m OK with that.
Somewhere in the house I have an autographed copy of “Hef’s Little Black Book” he sent for my birthday. I was hoping it was his personal phone book (ahem), but it turns out it was his rules for living a full and meaningful life. No doubt that was the better option.
NSF Starting Its Move to Alexandria — “Moving day for the first group of National Science Foundation workers relocating from the agency’s Ballston headquarters to Alexandria starts this weekend, more than four years — and more than a bit of controversy — after selecting the site for its new home.” [Washington Business Journal]
TSA Moving to Springfield — The headquarters of the Transportation Security Administration will be moving from Pentagon City to Springfield, after the GSA awarded a new 15-year, $316 million lease. The move is expected to take place in 2020. [Washington Business Journal]
‘Doc’ Muse Dies — “Leonard ‘Doc’ Muse, who for 65 years – from the era of Jim Crow to the election of an African-American president – watched over the Nauck community from his perch behind the counter of the Green Valley Pharmacy, died the weekend of Aug. 19-20. He was 94 years old.” [InsideNova]
A longtime Arlington educator and resident, who helped secure the county’s ability to elect its School Board and self-published her memoirs at the age of 101, died last week.
Martha Ann Miller died at the Sunrise at Bluemont Park senior living facility on Wednesday, August 16. She was 106.
Along with her husband, Malcolm D. Miller, she helped lead a group in Arlington called the Citizens Committee for School Improvement, who wanted to improve the standard of Arlington Public Schools just after World War II by letting the county elect its own School Board.
Before, a county electoral board appointed School Board members, but the group lobbied hard in Richmond. State law changed in 1947 to allow Arlington to elect its School Board.
Meg Filiatrault, one of the Millers’ two surviving children, said it was inspiring as a child to see the group in action. From the basement of their home in Arlington, volunteers worked to send out campaign literature and prepared to testify before state bodies.
“It was a real community effort, just normal people doing what they felt they had to do to get what they wanted for their children,” Filiatrault said. “My parents were extremely well-invested in good schools and in public schools, and so were a lot of the committee.”
Miller taught math at what was then known as Stratford Junior High School, now the H-B Woodlawn Secondary Program. And in 1959, just four years after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled segregation in schools unconstitutional in “Brown vs. Board of Education,” she was one of the first teachers in the county to volunteer to teach black students.
Four students began a math class with her on February 2, 1959, and Filiatrault said she remembered no instances of violence, even amid tension and a large police presence.
Miller had her first taste of the Washington, D.C. area as a child. As a 14-year-old living in Evansville, Ind. in a family of farmers, she won a bread baking competition at the Indiana State Fair, with the prize of a scholarship to Purdue University and a trip to D.C.
On that trip in 1925, she met then-President Calvin Coolidge, then returned to D.C. after graduating from Purdue with a major in Home Economics and a minor in Math. She met her husband at Foundry United Methodist Church in D.C., then the pair settled in Arlington.
Despite losing most of her sight to macular degeneration in her 90s, Miller wrote her autobiography, “The First Century and Not Ready for the Rocking Chair Yet,” and independently published it at the age of 101.
She wrote with the help of cousin and editor Jo Allen. Miller typed some of the work herself then dictated the rest, all because of her desire to tell her descendants about her life. The book has sold more than 800 copies.
“She was a very tenacious person, and she really wanted to leave this as a legacy for her great-grandchildren,” Allen said. “Her grandchildren pretty much knew the stories, but the great-grandchildren were too young to know that much about her life. She thought it was important to leave them a legacy.”
Beyond education, Allen remembered Miller for her love of the board game bridge, as well as her support of public television, including WETA, founded in 1961 and now based in Shirlington. She was also active in the American Association of University Women, the local Teachers’ Association and Clarendon United Methodist Church, where until recently she was head of the music committee.
Miller was born in 1911 in Indiana, and had three brothers. She put her long life down to super B complex vitamins, which she initially took for knee pain in the 1960s.
Miller is survived by two children, Malcolm R. Miller and Meg Filiatrault, and predeceased by two children and her husband Malcolm D. Miller. She is also survived by four grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
Visitation is scheduled for Thursday, August 24 at 2-4 p.m. and again at 6-8 p.m. The funeral will be on Friday, August 25 at 11 a.m. at Clarendon United Methodist Church (606 N. Irving Street).
VT Says It Is Behind ‘Driverless’ Van — The “driverless” van seen driving around Clarendon over the past week was actually a Virginia Tech research project designed to record the “real world reactions” to a vehicle without a driver. However, there was a driver: a man dressed as a car seat. The mystery was solved in real time on Twitter yesterday and quickly went viral. [NBC Washington, Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, Twitter]
Retired Colonel Saved By Quick-Acting EMS Crew — Firefighters and EMS personnel from Arlington and Alexandria helped to save the life of a retired U.S. Army colonel who went into cardiac arrest in his home in Crystal City. The crew used defibrillators to revive him. [Facebook, WJLA]
Washington Business Journal Downsizes HQ — The Washington Business Journal has moved out of its headquarters at 1555 Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn, where it had been for 20 years. The publication moved just down the street to 1100 Wilson Blvd. The downsize puts WBJ in a location that is about 3,000 square feet smaller than its previous space. [WTOP]
Civic Leaders Honored — The Arlington County Civic Federation honored two residents for their years of community leadership and activism. The organization recognized Jim Pebley and Stefanie Pryor at its anniversary dinner on Friday. [InsideNova]
Northern Virginia Businessman Dies at 100 — Well-known sportsman and businessman Randolph “Randy” Rouse died on Friday. A long-time Arlington resident, Rouse is a Washington-Lee High School graduate and began his foray into real estate in 1947. He was said to entertain visitors at his 10-acre Arlington estate — the Febrey-Lothrop house on Wilson Blvd and N. McKinley Street — with tunes from his saxophone. Rouse was 100. [Fauquier Times]