That’s the message from a flyer for a community town hall event next month focused on “how drugs and the opioid epidemic are affecting our community.” Arlington County may be in many ways a unique community, but it is not immune to the scourge of drugs.
Attendees at the town hall, set for Thursday, October 12 from 7-8:30 p.m. at Arlington Central Library (1015 N. Quincy Street), will hear from those “serving on the front lines,” including local law enforcement, community leaders and health care providers.
It will include a panel discussion moderated by NBC 4 anchor Jim Handley, a question and answer session with the audience and a keynote address by Virginia Beach School Board member Carolyn Weems, whose daughter died from a prescription drug overdose in 2013.
County government, Arlington Public Schools, the Arlington County Police Department and the Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney are collaborating to host the town hall.
A “Muslim Town Hall Meeting” has been organized and is scheduled to take place from 2-5 p.m. on Saturday, April 9 at Arlington Central Library (1015 N. Quincy Street).
- “Civic engagement panel discussion”
- “Political engagement panel discussion”
- “Tackling Islamophobia”
Scheduled speakers at the event include:
- State Sen. Adam Ebbin
- Arlington County Board members Katie Cristol and Christian Dorsey
- Arlington School Board member Nancy Van Doren
- Arlington Police Chief Jay Farr
- Baroness Pola Uddin of the British House of Lords
- Jim Driscoll of Veterans Challenge Islamophobia
- Kip Malinosky, Chair of the Arlington County Democratic Committee
- Eric Brescia of the Arlington County Republican Committee
- Ghizlane Moustaid, Chair of GMU Muslim Association
- Yasmine Taeb, co-author of “Fear, Inc. 2.0”
Hope was recently appointed to Gov. Bob McDonnell’s Task Force on School and Campus Safety, which was created in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. The task force has been charged with making recommendations regarding improvements to school safety practices at K-12 schools and at colleges and universities. Such improvements may include expanded use of school resource officers or security guards, new state or local programs or policies, and improvements to Virginia’s mental health system.
From 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, interested parents, students and residents are invited to discuss school safety with Del. Hope at the Wakefield High School auditorium (4901 S. Chesterfield Road). Hope will give an update about the work of the task force and listen to concerns and recommendations from the audience.
Hope said the discussion will be wide-ranging, and may incorporate topics beyond the scope of the task force. For instance, the task force was not charged with making recommendation regarding firearm policies, but Hope said guns may still be discussed.
“I don’t see how you can talk about safety in classrooms without talking about gun control… It’s a little like talking about trying to cure lung cancer, but you can’t talk about smoking,” Hope told ARLnow.com. “If you really want to solve the problem, you can’t leave gun control aside.”
Hope said he will likely hold at least one more town hall meeting before the task force concludes its work this summer. The task force’s relatively short time frame, he said, is the reason the controversial topic of gun control was not included in its agenda.
The first neighborhood town hall will be held at the Drew Community Center cafeteria, at 3500 23rd Street S. in Nauck. Residents will have an opportunity to voice their opinions or ask questions about any topic, while County Board members listen.
“As part of my ‘Moving Forward Together’ agenda, I am looking forward to hearing from the community in this informal setting, where people can speak their minds directly to County Board members, and get answers,” Tejada said in a statement. “Arlington is always at its best when we are listening to each other and sharing ideas.”
The town hall meetings will be held once a month, except August and December, in various locations around Arlington. The meetings will start at 6:46 p.m. and end at 9:00 p.m. The unique start time was chosen so “people would remember it better,” according to a county spokeswoman.
The February town hall will be held at the Lee Community Center (5722 Lee Highway) on Wednesday, Feb. 27. The March meeting will be held at Kenmore Middle School (200 S. Carlin Springs Road) on Wednesday, March 27, and will be focused on one topic: the proposed Columbia Pike and Crystal City streetcar systems.
“It is expected that all five Board members will participate,” the county said in a press release. “They will provide a detailed update on the planned streetcar system, respond to questions from the community and discuss next steps.”
“The Board decided several years ago, after a lengthy public process, to build a streetcar system that will help us handle expected growth, encourage high-quality development, and better connect us to the regional transit network,” Tejada said in a statement. “With streetcar planning now underway in earnest, this is a good time to update residents, business owners and anyone else who is interested, answer questions, and talk about next steps. This is a conversation meant to help us ‘Move Forward Together.'”
The schedule of town hall meetings for the rest of 2013 is available on the Arlington County web site.
Metro leadership and members of the Accessibility Advisory Committee will be on hand at the meeting to hear what customers believe could be improved or changed. The meeting runs from 6:30-8:00 p.m., with an informational open house beginning at 6:00 p.m.
MetroAccess is a door-to-door shuttle service for people who have a disability preventing them from using rail or buses. The current MetroAccess contract expires on June 30, 2013.
Anyone who can’t make the meeting but has constructive comments to share can send an email to [email protected] or call 202-962-1141.
Aftermath of Fight Outside Clarendon Grill Caught on Video — A late night fight outside Clarendon Grill left a man battered and unconscious in the middle of North Highland Street early Sunday morning. The aftermath of the fight was captured on video. Metro Transit Police, who were the first on scene, could be seen handcuffing two men as a crowd gathered around the victim. The victim eventually regained consciousness and was loaded into an ambulance.
Arlington Tops Parenting Magazine “Best Cities” List — Arlington County was named the country’s “Best City for Families” by Parenting Magazine last week. The methodology of the rankings seems dubious, but hey, we’ll take all the praise Parenting wants to send our way, right? Among the qualities the magazine found appealing: “Fabulous schools, great home values, and an attractive unemployment rate.” Plus “very few registered sex offenders.”
Delegates Ebbin and Hope to Hold Prison Reform Town Hall — Two members of Arlington’s delegation to the Virginia General Assembly will be holding a town hall meeting on prison reform Thursday night. Delegates Adam Ebbin and Patrick Hope, along with Alexandria Delegate Charniele Herring, will discuss the “state of incarceration” with a panel that includes representatives from two non-profit groups and from the offices of Gov. Bob McDonnell and Sen. Jim Webb. The two-hour event will start at 7:00 p.m. at the Walter Reed Community Center (2909 16th Street South).