Abingdon Closed Due to Asbestos Issue — Abingdon Elementary, which is undergoing an expansion and renovation project, is closed today due to an asbestos incident on Tuesday. “This afternoon an error was made by one of the subcontractors working on the Abingdon Elementary School project who did not appropriately handle the removal of asbestos,” parents were told in an email yesterday. “As a result, since it was close to dismissal time APS Facilities staff immediately contacted the school to have all students and staff shelter in place in their classrooms to limit movement throughout the school for the remainder of the day.” APS will conduct testing to determine whether the school can reopen Thursday.
Graffiti PSA From ACPD — Arlington County Police is reminding the public that graffiti on either public or private property should be reported to the police non-emergency line, at 703-558-2222. “Graffiti is not a new problem in Arlington but something ACPD needs your help with,” the department said. ACPD’s Gang Unit reviews all graffiti reports. [Arlington County]
Man Charged With Secretly Filming Sexual Encounter — A former Oregon congressional candidate has been charged in Arlington with secretly recording a video of himself having sex with a 22-year-old woman in his apartment. Jim Feldkamp, 53, most recently worked as an adjunct professor at George Mason University, and the woman was a student there, according to news reports. [Register-Guard, KVAL]
Metro Workers Meet at Arlington Church — A group of Metro workers met last night in an Arlington church to discuss planned budget cuts and service reductions. Said one former bus operator: “Virginia should be outraged. This is going to cause of catastrophe. All of these cuts in Virginia, it’s already gridlock.” [WJLA]
Favola Gets in Knife Fight in Richmond — State Sen. Barbara Favola (D) is speaking out against a bill that would make it legal for family members to give several types of knives — a switchblade, Bowie knife and a dirk — to children. Currently, family members can give kids guns but not those types of knives. “This is just bad public policy,” Favola said of the bill, which narrowly passed. “Why would you want to put our children at risk?” [Washington Post]
And that’s just the keynote address.
A new conference is coming to Crystal City, and no it’s not another meeting about cow udders, accountants or nanotechnology.
CatalystCon East, described as “a conference created to inspire exceptional conversations about sexuality,” will be coming to the Crystal City Marriott (1999 Jefferson Davis Highway) from March 15-17.
The conference features some 75 speakers, including porn star Jessica Drake, Dr. Charlie Glickman (author of “The Ultimate Guide to Prostate Pleasure”), Cunning Minx (described as a “kinky boobiesexual”), fetish model Sinnamon Love, and 69-year-old “senior sexpert” Joan Price.
Also on the speaker list is Rev. Rebecca Turner, who will be giving a presentation entitled “Ending the War Between Religion and Sex.”
Other planned sessions have titles like “Entrepreneurial IQ: 10 keys to designing an unconventional career in sexuality,” “Feminist Porn: The Politics of Producing Pleasure,” “PRIDE & Prejudice: Confronting Homophobia in Communities of Color,” and “Sex with Benefits: Progressive Swinging.”
This is the inaugural CatalystCon East, planned after the inaugural CatalystCon West proved successful in September. Registration is required for the three-day conference.
John Slye, senior pastor at Grace Community Church, is two weeks into an eight week sermon series that the church has dubbed “Smokin’ Hot.” A mailer sent to local households took the unconventional step (for a church) of promoting the sermon series with the boldfaced words: “Dating. Sex. Marriage. Porn.”
Though the marketing is unquestionably provocative, the overarching goal of the sermon series is improving relationships. Syle says that all too often, intimacy is lacking from marriages and mutual understanding is missing from relationships.
Slye says stress is often the culprit when there’s not enough sex in a marriage. He said there’s even a term for it: DINS, or “Dual Income, No Sex.”
“We see this in Washington, D.C.,” Slye said. “I mean, there’s so much stress here, we have so many Type A people, and we’re just hard chargers. And sex, even among married couples, is just dropping dramatically because of all the stress.”
“In a marriage, sex is meant to be a really positive thing,” he said. “It’s meant to be the glue that holds the husband and wife together. It’s powerful, and that’s what the Bible speaks about.”
“A lot of times when couples first get married, the sex between them is really bonding, but after a while… it either goes away or dries up,” Slye added. “Eventually, married couples — a lot of them — they’re having sex but they’re not kissing. And eventually they’re not even having sex. And you’ve got to do these certain things to instill the passion.”
Another disconnect in marriages and relationships comes from a lack of mutual understanding, says Slye.
“A man has a certain set of love buttons, and a woman has a certain set of love buttons,” he said. “By default, we think that the other sex’s love buttons are the same as ours. And we’re, like, pushing those buttons and it’s doing nothing for them. We have to learn what the opposite sex’s love buttons are, so we have to be real students.”
“Arlington is one of the smartest areas in the country,” he continued. “But we have to be great students, we have to study this person that we’re in a relationship with harder than we study for our PhD, or Masters, or whatever… Both [partners] need to bring something to the table, and they both need to understand each other.”
Slye’s sermon series is based on the Old Testament’s Song of Solomon, which he describes as “the relationship book of the Bible.”
The security manager of a department store called police around 11:30 a.m. after finding a man masturbating in the middle of the store’s third floor bathroom. The suspect, described as a 5’9″ black male in his late 20s, was peering at another man in a bathroom stall while masturbating, according to Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. A third man was also present in the bathroom during the incident, watching the other two. The men had deliberately met up in the bathroom for sexual purposes, Sternbeck said.
The suspects all fled the scene before police arrived.
While Sternbeck was unable to confirm the identity of the store involved, a “cruising” website for men seeking sexual encounters contains a listing for the third floor bathroom of the Macy’s store in Pentagon City.
Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) has proposed cutting the $455,000 program, which funds sex education and birth control for teens in seven areas with some of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the state. McDonnell says the program has not worked.
In a statement, Favola said the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative (TPPI) helps teens make healthier decisions.
This is a recipe for unintended pregnancies and significant health risks to young women. Teens need good information to make healthy decisions, but not all of Virginia’s youth are receiving medically accurate information from trusted sources.
The prevention of teen pregnancy is a critical issue in Virginia. In 2010, 367,752 children were born to girls 15-19, nationally. That’s a rate of 34.3 pregnancies per 1000 women. In 2010, 10,970 of those teen pregnancies were in Virginia. That’s a rate of 21.1 pregnancies per 1000 women. Though Virginia’s teen pregnancy rate is below the national average, 28 cities and counties in the Commonwealth are above the national average, and the TPPI program targets areas that are most vulnerable.
TPPI has been a key part of Virginia’s teen pregnancy prevention efforts since 1994. It provides convenient, on-site access to wellness education and preventive health services. TPPI’s goal is for teens to receive medically accurate information, make healthy choices, and provide pregnancy prevention resources. TPPI aims to reduce teenage pregnancy through life skills training, education, health services, and awareness.
The program provides essential services to teenage girls in high-risk areas. It provides convenient, on-site access to wellness education and preventive health services. Not all parents feel comfortable having ‘the talk’ or discussing other topics important for our youth’s health and safety. The only way to ensure teen pregnancy rates continue on their long-term downward trend is to provide teens with the necessary education and resources so they are empowered to make healthy decisions. TPPI helps to inform teens with medically accurate information so they can make safe and responsible decisions.
The governor’s decision to eliminate TPPI’s funding does a great disservice to Virginia’s teens. His proposed budget cut will deprive teenage girls in the most high-risk areas of the state of the critical services and education necessary to make responsible and healthy life decisions.
The 2010 Youth Risk Behavior Survey, which polled 8th, 10th and 12th graders in Arlington, found that more teens say they’re getting adequate exercise than three years ago, when the last survey was conducted.
In 2007, 40 percent of teens said they were getting adequate exercise — defined as at least one hour of exercise, five or more days per week. In 2010, that number jumped to 50 percent.
There was little corresponding change in obesity rates, however. The obesity rate remained steady at 9 percent, based on students’ Body Mass Index. In 2010, 13 percent of teens were “at risk for obesity,” compared to 14 percent in 2007. The percentage of students describing themselves as “overweight,” however, actually grew — from 25 percent in 2007 to 27 percent in 2010.
Meanwhile, fewer Arlington teens say they’ve having or have ever had sex.
In 2010, 27 percent of students said they had ever had sexual intercourse, while 18 percent said they’re currently sexually active. In 2007, 30 percent of teens said they had ever had sex, while 20 percent said they were currently sexually active.
Only 4 percent of teens say they were sexually active before age 13, compared to 5 percent in 2007.
Among sexually active youth, 63 percent used a condom in 2010, compared to 61 percent in 2007. Last year 75 percent of students reported using at least one type of reliable birth control.
In 2010, 4 percent of students said they have gotten someone pregnant, versus 5 percent in 2007. The number of students reporting more than four sexual partners in their lifetime remained steady at 8 percent.
Flickr pool photo by Chris Rief