82°Scattered Clouds

by ARLnow.com — March 2, 2016 at 11:10 am 0

Voters line up at the Democratic caucus at Washington-Lee High School (Jan. 2012)

Arlington Democrats will have four School Board candidates to choose from at an endorsement caucus in May.

The “unassembled caucus” — also referred to as a “firehouse primary,” with an instant run-off voting process used to determine the winners — will be held over two days:

  • Thursday, May 19 from 7-9 p.m. at Drew Model School (3500 23rd Street S.)
  • Saturday, May 21 from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. at Washington-Lee High School (1301 N. Stafford Street)

There are two School Board seats in contention, one of which is up for grabs with the retirement of School Board member Emma Violand-Sanchez. The candidates vying for the Democratic endorsement are:

Prior to the caucus, a candidate debate will be held at the Arlington County Democratic Committee monthly meeting at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, April 6 at the Fairlington Community Center (3308 S. Stafford Street).

by ARLnow.com — February 10, 2016 at 9:15 am 0

Winter berries (Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley)

Four File to Run for School Board — It looks like there are four candidates running for two Arlington School Board seats this year. Incumbent Nancy Van Doren is running for reelection, while School Board member Emma Violand-Sanchez is retiring. First-time candidates Tannia Talento and Michael Shea are seeking the Democratic endorsement for School Board, while Realtor Chaz Crismon has filed papers to run without seeking the endorsement. [InsideNova]

More on Complete Streets Plan — The Arlington County Board approved a new Neighborhood Complete Streets program last month. The program ranks road projects by “points” earned by problems like speeding issues, frequent crashes, poor lighting and a lack of sidewalks, plus proximity to schools and transit. Some residents, however, are unhappy that the program doesn’t allow neighbors to directly vote on projects in their community. [Arlington Connection]

Arlington May Get Its Tourism Tax Back — Five years after having its ability to impose a 0.25 percent hotel tax surcharge stripped by the Virginia General Assembly, as retribution for the county’s I-395 HOT lanes lawsuit, the state legislature may be poised to finally give Arlington its tax authority back. Revenue from the hotel tax funds the county’s tourism promotion efforts and is supported by the local tourism industry. [InsideNova]

It’s Ash Wednesday — Among the churches placing ashes on the foreheads of commuters at local Metro stations for Ash Wednesday this morning was Calvary United Methodist Church in Aurora Highlands, which greeted commuters at the Pentagon City Metro station. [Facebook]

Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley

by ARLnow.com — January 7, 2016 at 9:45 am 0

Tannia Talento (photo via Facebook)(Updated at 10:55 a.m.) A self-described local school activist is running to replace retiring Arlington School Board member Emma Violand-Sanchez.

Tannia Talento announced her candidacy at last night’s Arlington County Democratic Committee meeting.

A first-generation immigrant from Guatemala, Talento and her husband, Gary, currently have two children in Washington-Lee High School.

From a fundraising page:

Tannia knows firsthand how important education is to ensuring children have the brightest future possible. That is why she is extremely involved in Arlington’s public schools. Tannia has served on the Math Citizens Advisory Committee, the ESOL/HILT Citizens Advisory Committee, the Superintendent’s Master Planning Working Group, and on the Advisory Council on Instruction as a Vice Chair. Some of her most recent work includes the Facilities Study Committee and serving on the Career Center Parent Advisory Committee. Now she is running for School Board to make sure all of Arlington’s students have a fair shot at a world class education.

From a press release:

Local school activist and community leader Tannia Talento announced her candidacy to become and Arlington School Board Member tonight at the Arlington Democratic Committee Meeting.

Talento, a first-generation American, spoke before a large crowd of local Democratic activists tonight announcing her campaign to replace Emma Violand Sanchez, who is retiring at the end of 2016, on the School Board.

In her remarks, Talento explained her personal story, having had to help care for her family during high school, and make sure that her siblings were cared for when their mother became seriously ill. Talento had to drop out of high school to care for her family, later earning her high school diploma through an alternative program, and working her way up to become a legal secretary at one of the world’s largest corporate law firms.

Talento spoke about her drive to achieve educational success in the face of adversity and her desire to see every student reach graduation day without experiencing the adversity she faced.

“I believe that we can ensure that every one of our students will make it to graduation day educated to the highest standards and prepared for their future so that no student in Arlington has to live a version of my story,” Talento said.

Talento has lived in Arlington with her family for 12 years and has spent the last 5 years working her way through the school committees and commissions. From her time on those committees, she believes that Arlington Public Schools has the opportunity and the necessity to better advocate for children of all walks of life.

“As a School Board Member, I will advocate for every child to ensure that their needs are met and that they are prepared for life beyond high school,” Talento said.

Retiring School Board Member Dr. Emma Violand Sanchez introduced Tannia Talento before her remarks and highlighted Talento’s service to APS and its students.

“Her work in our schools has been towards the advancement of students of all walks of life, and ensuring that every one of our children has a shot at success in our schools and beyond,” Dr. Violand Sanchez said. “I believe Tannia’s vision is what we need in Arlington… I am proud to support her candidacy.”

Talento is running for the Democratic Endorsement, which will be determined through a “firehouse primary,” or open caucus. The caucus will be held on two dates, Thursday May 19th from 7pm to 9pm at Drew Model School and Saturday May 21st from 11am to 7pm at Washington-Lee High School.

Photo via Facebook

by ARLnow.com — December 31, 2015 at 10:30 am 0

Graves and a holiday wreath at Arlington National Cemetery (Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf)

Free Late Night Metro Rides Tonight — Metrorail will run through 3 a.m. tonight, to accommodate New Year’s Eve revelers. Rides from midnight to 3 a.m. will be free, courtesy of Miller Lite. Tomorrow, on New Year’s Day, Metro will operate on a Sunday schedule, with service starting at 7 a.m. [Twitter, Twitter]

Last Minute NYE Options — Procrastinated on your New Year’s Eve plans? Our event calendar has some good suggestions, with events along the Orange Line and Columbia Pike. Some NYE events at popular Orange Line bars have already sold out of advance tickets. [ARLnow]

New Year’s Closures in Arlington — All Arlington County offices will be closed tomorrow (Friday) in observance of New Year’s Day, with the exception of the County Board offices, where the Board will hold its annual organizational meeting (see below.) Parking meters and zones will not be enforced Friday. Public libraries will close at 5 p.m. today and will reopen Jan. 2. [ARLnow, Arlington County]

Board to Hold New Year’s Day Meeting — The County Board will hold its annual Jan. 1 organization meeting tomorrow. It will be the first day of work for new Board members Katie Cristol and Christian Dorsey. A new County Board Chair and Vice-Chair will be chosen, but it’s unclear at this point who will be selected. [Arlington County]

Violand-Sanchez Won’t Seek Third Term — Arlington School Board Chair Emma Violand-Sanchez says she will not seek a third term on the School Board in 2016. Previously a school administrator, Sanchez has had a 40-year career with Arlington Public Schools. [InsideNova]

Median Home Sales Price Rises — The median sales price for a home in Arlington rose 5.75 percent to $560,000 in 2015, faster than the rate of increase in Fairfax, Loudoun or Alexandria. [Washington Post]

Arlingtonian Surprised to Be Named 50 Millionth Passenger at SFO — Arlington resident Katheryn Castagna was getting ready to fly from San Francisco back to Reagan National Airport when she was surprised by airport officials and news crews, who told her she was the airport’s 50,000,000th passenger of 2015. Castagna, who works at CEB in Rosslyn, received two round trip tickets to Hawaii. [SFGateCBS San Francisco]

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

by ARLnow.com — December 21, 2015 at 10:20 am 0

US Airways planes on the tarmac at Reagan National Airport

Shortest Day of the Year — Today is the shortest day of the year. The sun will be up just 9 hours and 26 minutes today, so enjoy the daylight while it lasts. Tonight is the winter solstice. [Capital Weather Gang]

Two Big Crystal City Projects on Hold — Two projects to replace aging office buildings in Crystal City are on hold due to high office vacancy in the region. Vornado was planning to replace 1851 S. Bell Street with what would have been the tallest building in Crystal City and the largest private office building in Arlington. The company was also planning to replace 223 23rd Street S. with an office and a residential tower. Those have both reportedly been shelved due to market conditions. [Washington Business Journal]

Police Play Cornhole With Bar Crawlers — Nearly 2,000 people flocked to Clarendon on Saturday for the inaugural Candy Cane Crawl, a holiday-themed bar crawl. Arlington County Police used the occasion to educate bar-goers about the dangers of drunk driving, by having people try to play cornhole while wearing “drunk goggles.” [WUSA 9]

Mary Slye Obituary — Mary Patricia Slye, who managed Robert Slye Electronics on Washington Blvd in Virginia Square, died last month of a heart attack at the age of 65. Slye was an Arlington resident and began working at the audio visual installation business in the mid-1980s. [Washington Post]

Vehicle Topples Light Pole on Washington Blvd — A vehicle struck a light pole near the intersection of Washington Blvd and N. Pershing Drive on Saturday, sending it toppling across the street. Luckily, no one was hurt. Eastbound traffic on Washington Blvd was blocked for about 15 minutes. [Twitter]

GMU Grad Hopes to Run for Arlington School Board — A newly-minted George Mason University grad has a specific and somewhat uncommon career goal for someone her age: Marlayna Bush says she wants to run for the Arlington School Board in 2018. She just received her BA in conflict analysis and resolution. [George Mason University]

by Jennifer Currier — December 15, 2015 at 3:45 pm 0

New elementary school near Thomas Jefferson (via APS)

Update at 10:45 a.m. — The Thomas Jefferson site has been approved. From Arlington County:

At its Dec. 15 Recessed County Board Meeting, the Arlington County Board voted 5-0 to approve the use of the northwest portion of the Thomas Jefferson Middle School and Community Center site (currently a parking lot) as the site for a new south Arlington elementary school. the Board’s action came in response to the Arlington Public School Board’s request that the site be approved.

The Board also directed the Acting County Manager to “expeditiously initiate the public facilities review committee process with participation by all appropriate stakeholder groups, building on the site analysis, including placement and impact mitigation, already done by the Thomas Jefferson working group.”

Earlier: After a year of back-and-forth over choosing a site for a new South Arlington elementary school, the County Board is expected to reconsider the land around Thomas Jefferson Middle School for the project.

The Thomas Jefferson site is the final item on tonight’s recessed meeting agenda.

The County Board originally rejected the School Board’s request to build a new elementary school on the county-owned land, following objections from a vocal group of residents who expressed concern about parkland and traffic. As part of the rejection, the Board agreed to reconsider the request if APS took adequate time and measures to analyze other potential sites.

The South Arlington Working Group was established in June for that purpose.

The group’s work was finished earlier this fall. It considered approximately 20 different potential sites, choosing Thomas Jefferson Middle School, Gunston Middle School/Oakridge Elementary School and Drew Model Elementary as the finalists.

In its most recent report, the group once again preferred the Thomas Jefferson site. The School Board, which voted on Dec. 3 to select the TJ site, is asking the County Board to do the same so that the proposed project could be completed in time for the beginning of the 2019-2020 school year.

The County Manager is now also recommending the Board approve the TJ site for the school, which would then be subject to use permit approval, design adoption and other planning processes.

The Friends of Thomas Jefferson Park group, however, says it’s still “concerned” about an elementary school on the TJ site, despite steps taken to mitigate negative impacts on the park, which is adjacent to the middle school.

“We ask that if you select this location for a new elementary school, you commit to fully funding necessary improvements and ensuring the community continues to have full access to park and recreation assets at Thomas Jefferson Park,” the group said in a letter to the County Board.

 

Funding and specific plans for the elementary school project have not been finalized. However, when the Superintendent first proposed a new elementary school in his 2015-24 Capital Improvement Plan, the plan said the school would cost $50 million and have 725 seats.

by ARLnow.com — December 10, 2015 at 9:20 am 0

Waiting for the bus in Buckingham (Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick)

Transport Panel Approves of I-66 HOT Lanes — The Commonwealth Transportation Board voted yesterday to approve the creation of high occupancy toll lanes on I-66 inside the Beltway. It’s estimated that by 2040, almost twice as many users of eastbound I-66 inside the Beltway will be headed to Arlington compared to those heading to D.C. Meanwhile, two Democratic state lawmakers from Fairfax and Loudoun counties want to force the state to start planning to widen I-66 sooner rather than later. [Washington Post, InsideNova]

County Responds to I-395 HOT Lane Plan — Arlington officials say they hope to reach a “mutually beneficial outcome” to a state proposal to extend the I-395 Express lanes north to the D.C. line. The proposal calls for expanding the HOV lanes from two to three lanes while converting them to high occupancy toll lanes. The County says any proposal should “not undermine Arlington’s successful investment in congestion-reducing transit-oriented development in Pentagon City, Crystal City, or Shirlington.” [Arlington County]

APS Wants Historic Designation for Stratford on Its Terms — Arlington Public Schools says it will pursue a local historic designation for the Stratford building, current home to H-B Woodlawn and a future neighborhood middle school. However, APS wants to cut the Historic Affairs and Landmark Review Board out of the process, to ensure the middle school project can move forward without delays. [Arlington Public Schools, InsideNova]

Marine Corps Treats Students to Holiday Celebration — The Marine Corps treated students at Barcroft Elementary to a special Christmas celebration at Henderson Hall on Monday. Students were greeted by Marines, participated in various holiday-themed arts and crafts and got a chance to talk with Santa himself. [DIVIDS]

WERA Now Broadcasting — As of Monday, Arlington’s own low-power radio station, WERA 96.7 FM, was on the air and broadcasting for the community. The station is still looking for volunteers to help with programming. [Twitter, WERA]

Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick

by ARLnow.com — December 8, 2015 at 9:15 am 0

Arlington House at dawn (Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf)

County Apologizes for Political Facebook Post — Arlington County has taken down and apologized for a Facebook post that some called inappropriate. “No support or endorsement was intended” the county said of the post, which linked to an article about an Arlington County Democratic Committee resolution calling for a change to the Washington Redskins team name. [Facebook]

Arlington to Partner with Nextdoor — The Arlington County Police Department will be holding a press conference Wednesday afternoon to announce a partnership with Nextdoor, a private social network for neighborhoods. The partnership will help “build stronger, safer communities with the help of Arlington residents.” Nextdoor has been criticized recently for becoming “a bastion of racial profiling.”

Bluemont Residents Concerned About Big Ballston Development — The Bluemont Civic Association is expressing concern over a massive proposed development on the western side of the intersection of N. Glebe Road and Wilson Blvd. The development proposal calls for 483 apartments in a building with a grocery store and other ground floor retail. [Curbed]

Arlington-Built Satellite Blasts Off to Space Station — A tiny satellite built by elementary students at St. Thomas More Cathedral School in Arlington is part of the cargo of a rocket that launched into orbit Sunday, bound for the International Space Station. [CBS News, Space.com]

‘Arlington Tech’ School Proposal — The Arlington School Board has signaled that it’s ready to move forward with the establishment of “Arlington Tech,” a high-technology coursework initiative to be located at the Arlington Career Center. [InsideNova]

Anti-Hunger Effort Draws Big Crowd — More than 1,000 people gathered at the Thomas Jefferson Community Center gym over the weekend to put together 100,000 meals for starving children around the world. [NBC Washington]

Arlington’s Official Song Turns 45 — “Arlington,” the official song of Arlington County, recently turned 45 years old. The song was written by a local clergyman and adopted as the county’s official song in 1970 with the encouragement of the Arlington Chamber of Commerce. [Arlington County]

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

by ARLnow.com — December 7, 2015 at 9:15 am 0

Japanese Maple in the sunlight (Flickr pool photo by Eric)

Passenger Thrown from Minivan in Crash — Three people were hurt in an early morning crash on S. Arlington Ridge Road today. Police say a car traveling at 55 mph on the residential street slammed into the back of a minivan near 23rd Street S., causing one passenger in the van to be ejected from the vehicle. [WJLA, NBC Washington]

School Board Approves $100 Million H-B Design — The Arlington School Board has approved a concept design for the Wilson School in Rosslyn, future home of the H-B Woodlawn secondary program. With a 92-space parking garage factored in, the construction cost of the school may exceed $100 million. Also last week, the School Board confirmed that it will again ask the County Board for permission to build a new elementary school on the Thomas Jefferson Middle School campus. [InsideNova, InsideNova]

County Facebook Post Raises Eyebrows — Democratic political operative Ben Tribbett, among others, is calling an Arlington County Facebook post about a local Democratic resolution on the Redskins team name an “inappropriate use of a government Facebook account.” Tribbett was previously hired by the team to defend its name. [Facebook, Blue Virginia]

Nine Arlington Restaurants Make Top 50 List — Nine Arlington establishments have made Northern Virginia Magazine’s Top 50 Restaurants list. The highest on the list is new-this-year Kapnos Taverna in Ballston. [Patch]

Fisette on County’s Support for I-66 Plan — Arlington County Board member Jay Fisette says the county supports a plan for tolling I-66 because it is a regional compromise that’s cost effective, multimodal and not “the typical knee-jerk reaction [of] just widening roads.” Fisette notes that Arlington “was traumatized by the building of I-66 right through some of our neighborhoods” in the 1970s and 80s. [Washington Post]

Four Mile DMV Moving After Losing Lease — Dozens of angry Fairfax County residents came out to a meeting Thursday night to express opposition to a new DMV office in the Barcroft Plaza shopping center. The meeting also revealed more information on why the DMV is moving from its current location on S. Four Mile Run Drive. The DMV reportedly lost its lease due to a planned redevelopment, which has since fallen through. [Annandale VA]

More Info on Courthouse Redevelopment — We now know a bit more about the planned redevelopment of a low-rise office building in Courthouse. A 15-story, 91-unit condo building with 2,000 square feet of ground floor retail space is planned to replace the office building at 2000 Clarendon Blvd. [Washington Business Journal]

Flickr pool photo by Eric

by ARLnow.com — November 27, 2015 at 9:00 am 0

Ultimate Frisbee (Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf)

School Board Compromise on Stratford History — While opposing efforts to designate the former Stratford Junior High a historic district, the Arlington School Board has adopted a renovation plan that keeps its facade intact and has set aside $250,000 for commemorative artwork and educational displays. Currently the home of the H-B Woodlawn secondary program, the school — which was the first in Virginia to integrate — is slated to become a new neighborhood middle school. [Washington Post]

Arlington Reservist Suing Benghazi Committee — Arlington resident Bradley Podliska is suing his former employer, the House Select Committee on Benghazi, claiming he was wrongly forced out of his job and then was defamed on national TV by the committee’s chair. Podliska, an Air Force reservist, says the committee was too hyper-focused on pinning blame on Hillary Clinton. At the same time, he says he was reprimanded for looking into the post-Benghazi talking points of United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice. [Courthouse News Service]

APS to Hold Community Budget Meetings — Arlington Public Schools will be holding three community meetings in December to gather public feedback ahead of the creation of its proposed FY 2017 budget. [Arlington Public Schools]

Arlington’s Secret Santa Program — Arlington County is again organizing a Secret Santa program, which will distribute gifts to more than 1,000 needy individuals in the Arlington community this holiday season. Residents, churches and school groups who’d like to participate are encouraged to donate $25 gift cards to local grocery, drug, and clothing stores. [Arlington County]

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

by Jennifer Currier — November 18, 2015 at 1:30 pm 0

The Arlington School Board approved the proposed design for the forthcoming Stratford Middle School in Cherrydale at its meeting Monday night.

The project includes an addition to and renovation of the existing building at 4100 N. Vacation Lane. The building is currently home to the H-B Woodlawn and Stratford programs, which will be moving to the new Wilson School in Rosslyn once both projects are complete.

Specific features of the Stratford project include:

  • 1,000-student middle school
  • 35,000 square foot addition, minimum
  • 144 parking spaces
  • One-way driveway connecting N. Vacation Lane and Old Dominion Drive
  • Traffic and safety improvements on N. Vacation Lane
  • Pedestrian crossing on Old Dominion Drive

The approved addition will be built on the west side of the building and is three stories tall. According to a news release, all renovations will keep the historic existing building in tact, including its south facade.

Architects also provided a second driveway option for the school if VDOT does not approve an exit on Old Dominion Drive.

Funding available for the project ranges from $31.3 million to $36.3 million. The School Board is expected to approve a schematic design in February.

The school system has opposed a push by preservationists to designate Stratford a local historic district, saying it would cause delays and drive up costs. In 1959 Stratford became the first public secondary school in Virginia to be racially integrated.

Stratford Middle School is expected to open in Sept. 2019.

Photos via APS/Quinn Evans Architects

by ARLnow.com — November 11, 2015 at 9:35 am 0

Fall in Arlington National Cemetery

Wreath-Laying Ceremony — Among other observances of today’s Veterans Day holiday in Arlington is a solemn wreath-laying ceremony at the Air Force Memorial. The event will take place at 11 a.m., with a group of World War II and Korean War veterans on hand. [Twitter]

School Board Considers Gun Safety Measures — The Arlington School Board is considering asking the Virginia General Assembly for new legislation that would restrict guns around schools, although no one seriously believes that the Republican-controlled legislature would actually pass such a measure. [InsideNova]

Lee Highway Residents Debate Development — Arlington County’s planning process for the Lee Highway corridor has prompted many residents to come out against “overdevelopment” and taller building heights. The corridor is currently car-oriented, though neighborhoods like Cherrydale developed thanks to a former streetcar line. [WAMU]

Middle School Tourette Campaign — Williamsburg Middle School staff have created a Public Service Announcement ad as part of Bullying Prevention Month. The campaign, called “Accept Tourette,” is based around a seventh grade student at Williamsburg with Tourette Syndrome. [Arlington Public Schools]

by ARLnow.com — October 29, 2015 at 12:30 pm 0

School Board candidate Reid Goldstein

Last week we asked the two Arlington School Board candidates to write a sub-750 word essay on why our readers should vote for them on Nov. 3. One School Board seat is up for grabs this year.

We did not receive a response from B. A. “Brooklyn” Kinlay, who’s affiliated with the Independent Green Party.

Here is the unedited response from Democratic-endorsed candidate Reid Goldstein:

Experience and proven leadership are assets I will bring to the Arlington School Board if elected November 3. As an activist for our schools and community for over twenty years, I understand how both APS and the county government function. This is critical now, when the county and APS need to work more together, not in parallel, to address the challenges our schools face.

Growing enrollment magnifies the challenge of maintaining our reputation for high quality schools that makes Arlington such an enviable place to live. Enlarging school capacity requires County Board and School Board collaboration as never before to address the financing necessary for capital construction, and mitigating adverse effects on the neighborhoods. As a civic association president and president of the CPRO board, I have experience working on the design of new buildings to address issues like traffic, parking, building height and density to assure that the design protects adjacent neighbors.

APS’ challenges are not limited to buildings. The key to APS’ high quality and reputation for excellence is our teachers. We need to continue to retain and attract the best teachers, even as enrollment rises and budgets are tight. I am the son of two teachers. One of my two daughters (both educated K-12 in Arlington schools) is also a teacher. Teachers have the single greatest effect on our children’s education, and will be a top priority if elected. APS has a broad range of choices and programs, including immersion, International Baccalaureate at all school levels, the HB Woodlawn program, the Stratford program, Arlington Traditional, Montessori, New Directions, the Career Center, Thomas Jefferson High School, pre-K, special education, high school continuation, and many others. Preserving this variety, designed to meet the individual needs and aspirations of each of our students, is essential to maintaining the quality and appeal of Arlington Public Schools.

Here are some examples of my leadership roles over the years (more information is available at http://www.reidgoldstein.com/ ):

HB Woodlawn PAC. Shortly before the start of the school year, our Parent Advisory Committee chair suddenly withdrew. I stepped in, and served 3 years.

Jefferson Middle School Exemplary Project. Our committee recommended adoption of the International Baccalaureate program. Without needing substantial financial commitments, the program has transformed Jefferson, energized the faculty and engaged the students and parents as never before.

APS Strategic Plan Committee. I worked on the committee that developed, for the first time, a strategic plan for APS.

Family Network. Realizing that PTAs offered programs of interest beyond their own schools, I helped revive a collaborative network among PTAs to share knowledge and resources, inviting all school and civic communities to all PTA programs on family issues including substance abuse, gap year, and students and the law. We did not need funding increases to broaden access to these popular programs, just commitment and collaboration.

Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization. As president, I led the board of the organization that has worked to transform a fading collection of strip malls into an increasingly thriving business center, focused on quality of life for its residents.

Douglas Park Civic Association. President of the civic association for Arlington’s most populous neighborhood at a time of transition in the neighborhood and along Columbia Pike.

Housing Commission. Seeing that a stable home environment is the foundation for educational achievement, I worked on preservation of affordable housing for Arlington’s families.

Columbia Pike Land Use Study. I was a member of the steering committee guiding the work to preserve our neighborhoods, including affordable housing, along Columbia Pike, ultimately developing the Pike Neighborhoods Plan.

Glebe Road and Columbia Pike Left Turn Signals. Many will remember the days when left turns at the intersection of two of Arlington’s principal arterials required cutting through neighborhoods. Every government entity felt another was responsible for fixing the issue. With my neighbors, I brought together the county staff, VDOT, the county manager, and elected local officials and state legislators to hold them all responsible for making the solution happen. Successfully, the lanes were built and the intersection improved. But it took commitment, a willingness to hold people accountable, and knowledge of the workings of local government to make it happen.

These are examples of the leadership, experience and commitment I will bring to the Arlington School Board. I would be honored to have your vote on November 3rd.

by Heather Mongilio — October 16, 2015 at 10:30 am 0

A working group tasked with analyzing sites for a new South Arlington elementary school is continuing to set its sights on the land surrounding Thomas Jefferson Middle School.

Working group chairman Greg Greeley presented the latest analysis to the County Board and Arlington School Board during a joint working session yesterday (Thursday). Arlington Public Schools is aiming to open a new school by 2019 in order to handle a 925 seat deficit.

The working group analyzed about 20 different locations, included those owned solely by Arlington Public Schools, solely by the county, jointly by APS and the County and privately owned. From there, the group narrowed it down to three finalists: Thomas Jefferson Middle School, Gunston Middle School/Oakridge Elementary School and Drew Model Elementary School.

With each site, the working group looked out how the new elementary school would fit on the property. Of the three sites, the working group preferred the Thomas Jefferson site.

In January, the County Board scuttled the school system’s plan to build an elementary school on the TJ site, following vocal protests from residents concerns about the impact to adjacent parkland.

County Board member John Vihstadt echoed those concerns, and brought up a proposal that he said could preserve the parkland while still getting the school built nearby.

Vihstadt introduced a letter from Snell Properties, which owns the Dominion Arms complex at 333 S. Glebe Road, offering APS land for a school free of charge, in exchange for the ability to build a new development with more density.

The Sun Gazette has more about the proposal and the mixed reaction to it.

“Without getting into the pros and cons, the merits and demerits of this potential new location, I, for one, am certainly interested in the pursuit of looking at this, completely scouring the pros and cons of whether this is an option or not. We are making a decision for 50 years,” Vihstadt said.

At the time of the working session between the two boards, not all members had read the letter, including School Board Chair Emma Violand-Sánchez and Superintendent Patrick Murphy, who voiced concerns about the potential for delaying the opening of a new school past 2019.

“Some of the concerns I think is we have a process in place and we have to respect the process. The South Arlington working group has done a fabulous job, and I would hate to see something new come into play and derail and delay given the 2019 timeline,” Murphy said.

Vihstadt asked the working group and School Board about possible alternatives to find at least 725 new seats, a request made previously by the County Board in January.

The School Board looked at additions to Barcroft and other elementary schools but they would not add enough seats, said Violand-Sánchez. School Board member Abby Raphael also raised concerns over the costs of additions versus a new school.

“Clearly additions are not as cost effective as  a new school. Given the limited funding that we have for capital. I would be very surprised if we had to go back to what we called plan B,” Raphael said. “And I kind of find it inconceivable that we’re not going to reach agreement on a new site for a school in south Arlington. We have to. We have to the seats in the fall of 2019.”

A full report from the working group on potential South Arlington school sites is due to the County Board in November.

by ARLnow.com — September 10, 2015 at 9:00 am 1,781 0

Sunset aura (Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley)

School Board Candidates Not Ruling Parkland Out — Two candidates for Arlington School Board say they aren’t ruling anything out — including use of parkland — for the building of new schools. Independent Green-endorsed candidate Brooklyn Kinlay said it would “be a tragedy” to use parkland. Reid Goldstein, who has the Democratic endorsement, said the school system is “not moving fast enough” to address the school capacity issue. [InsideNova]

Ray’s Company Files for Bankruptcy — A company affiliated with the popular Ray’s the Steaks and Ray’s Hell Burger restaurants in Arlington has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The restaurants’ operations are reportedly not affected. [Washington Business Journal]

Marymount Tops Diversity List — Marymount University ranks No. 1 for ethnic diversity among regional universities in the South, according to the new 2016 “Best Colleges” rankings from U.S. News and World Report. “It’s all part of our ongoing commitment to creating a culture of engagement that fosters intellectual curiosity, service to others and a global perspective in our students,” said Marymount President Matthew Shank. [Marymount University]

New Civic Association Forms — Arlington has a new civic association. The Arlington County Civic Federation has added the new Shirlington Civic Association as a member. Also, the Columbia Heights West Civic Association has changed its name  to the Arlington Mill Civic Association. [InsideNova]

Newspaper Columnist Denied Lemonade — “Our Man in Arlington” columnist Charlie Clark received questionable service after ordering a 50-cent lemonade from a children’s lemonade stand near Virginia Hospital Center last week. [Falls Church News-Press]

Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley

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