Murder Victim Feared Her Estranged Husband — Bonnie Black, who was found dead in her home in the Aurora Highlands neighborhood on April 17, feared her estranged husband, court documents show. After months of continuing to live in the neighborhood a free man during the investigation, David Black is now in jail, charged with murder. [NBC Washington]
Wakefield, W-L Fall in Football Playoffs — The playoff runs for the Wakefield and Washington-Lee high school football teams have ended early. Wakefield could’t hang on to a 6-0 lead at halftime, falling to Potomac Falls 21-6, while W-L lost 44-20 to Westfield. [InsideNova, Washington Post]
Arlington Wants I-66 Widening Delayed — This week the Arlington County Board is scheduled to decide its position on the plan for tolling on I-66. At its Saturday meeting the Board made clear that it wants to delay the widening of the highway as long as possible. Meanwhile, responding to questions from county officials, VDOT says it’s not able to fully enforce existing HOV restrictions on I-66 because the enforcement causes significant traffic delays. Nearly half of the clogged rush hour traffic on I-66 is believed to be HOV rule breakers. [WTOP, WTOP]
County May Ask for Paper, Plastic Bag Tax Authority — Despite failing efforts in previous years, Arlington County’s draft legislative agenda seeks to again ask the Virginia General Assembly for the authority to levy a small tax on single-use paper and plastic bags. The proposal may exempt bags for certain items, like newspapers, dry cleaning and prescription drugs. [InsideNova]
Historic House for Sale — A 145-year-old house known as “The Hill” is now for sale in Arlington’s Old Glebe neighborhood. Originally a summer home for a prominent D.C. family, the four-bedroom house is on the market for $1,568,000. [Preservation Arlington]
Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick
Wakefield Wins, Ends Undefeated in Conference — The Wakefield Warriors football team defeated the Lee Lancers 50-18 on Friday to finish the regular season 8-2 and undefeated in the Capitol Conference. Wakefield will play in the first round of the 5A North Region playoffs on Friday. [InsideNova]
W-L Makes Playoffs with Win Against Yorktown — The Washington-Lee Generals secured a playoff spot and a 5-5 season with a win against cross-county rival Yorktown on Friday. It wrapped up Yorktown’s first losing season since 1995. [Washington Post]
I-66 ‘Worst Damn Freeway in America’ — Traffic-clogged I-66 is the worst interstate highway in America, so says the website Thrillist, based on federal highway data. I-10 in New Orleans was ranked the second worst. [Thrillist]
Arlington to Get Development Boost at Alexandria’s Expense? — After years of losing big office tenants to Alexandria, the economic tables may be turning for Arlington County. This month Alexandria elected a new mayor who ran on a mildly anti-development platform, while Arlington elected two new County Board members who spoke in favor of economic development efforts. [Bisnow]
Photo courtesy Buzz McClain
Task Force Recommends TJ Site — Ten months after the Arlington County Board nixed a proposed new elementary school next to Thomas Jefferson Middle School, a working group appointed by the Board has concluded that the site is, in fact, the best one for a new school. The group also recommended that the School Board starts planning for a second new South Arlington elementary school, most likely in the Pentagon City area. [InsideNova]
Election Day Bar Crawl Was a Bust — Organizers of an election day bar crawl in Clarendon say they have learned “that people are not up for celebrating democracy on a Tuesday night of a work week.” Despite giving out 65-70 bracelets for the crawl, which was to encourage younger people to vote, one of the participating bars — Whitlow’s — didn’t see a single customer wearing the bracelets. [Washington Post]
‘Suburban North Arlington Is Going to Develop’ — The urbanist blog Greater Greater Washington says that development is inevitable for Lee Highway. The website is encouraging residents of the car-oriented corridor to participate in a county-led planning process for Lee Highway that’s currently underway, including a “visioning charrette” this weekend. [Greater Greater Washington]
Ray’s Maintains Steak Supremacy — Despite an influx of flashy new steakhouses in the District, Ray’s the Steaks in Courthouse still has the best-tasting steak around, and for a lot less than the newcomers, says food critic Todd Kliman. [Washingtonian]
W-L, Yorktown Rivalry Game Tonight — Yorktown will face Washington-Lee in a cross-county rivalry game with playoff implications. Both football squads could make the playoffs with a win tonight. A win also comes with the unofficial distinction of being this year’s Arlington County champion. [Washington Post]
M.J. Stewart Back at UNC Following Suspension — Former Yorktown standout M.J. Stewart is back leading the University of North Carolina’s secondary, after an off-campus altercation led to an assault and battery charge and a suspension from the team. [Daily Tarheel]
Tuckahoe 5K Road Closures — The annual Tuckahoe 5K race will take place Saturday. Arlington police will close portions of Williamsburg Blvd, Little Falls Road, 26th Street and Underwood Street between 7:30 and 10:30 a.m. to accommodate the race. [Arlington County]
Dems Captured All But One Precinct — The two Democratic County Board members-elect nearly swept every voting precinct in the county during Tuesday’s election. Katie Cristol and Christian Dorsey together captured all but one precinct in Arlington. In the Madison precinct of North Arlington, a “bastion of Republicanism in an otherwise true-blue community,” Republican-endorsed independent Michael McMenamin finished second to Christian Dorsey. [InsideNova]
Jury Duty Questionnaires Due — If you were among the seven percent of Arlington and Falls Church residents who received a juror qualification questionnaire in the mail last month, it’s likely past due by now. Recipients are required by law to return the form within 10 days of receiving it. [Arlington County]
Development Forum Next Week — Registration is closing at noon today for a forum on development in Arlington County. Speakers at the event, scheduled for Nov. 10, include Arlington Economic Development Director Victor Hoskins, Rosslyn BID President Mary-Claire Burick and Shooshan Company COO Kelly Shooshan. [CREW Northern Virginia]
Flickr pool photo by TheBeltWalk
The Virginia governor will be speaking to students at Washington-Lee High School (1301 N. Stafford Street) about career paths in cybersecurity tomorrow, Oct. 28, from 1:15-3 p.m.
McAuliffe will be joined by a panel of cyber security professionals who will talk about the different jobs in cybersecurity as well as the resources students need to pursue a career.
“The nation is in need of a strong cybersecurity workforce. The demand for skilled cyber professionals is at an all-time high, and will only increase as our country and world grow more dependent on cyber and information technology,” Arlington Public Schools said in a statement.
The panelists will talk about the average day of a cybersecurity specialist, what interested them in a cyber career and how they got their start. They will also perform a Wi-Fi Watering Hole attack demonstration.
The event is co-sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security as part of National Cyber Security Awareness Month 2015.
The Sunoco gas station at the corner of N. Glebe Road and Washington Blvd was robbed earlier this afternoon by two suspects, one of whom has a gun, according to police.
While police try to track down the suspects, nearby Washington-Lee High School has been placed in “secure the school” mode, which usually means that exterior doors are locked and students are not allowed outside.
Around 2 p.m., police released a surveillance image of a robbery suspect, taken inside the Sunoco’s convenience store.
Sandra Bullock Remembers W-L Cheerleader Days — Oscar-winning actress and Arlington native Sandra Bullock says her Washington-Lee High School cheerleading uniform still fits like a glove. “That might come in handy some sexy night. I don’t know who I’m saving it for,” she told Glamour magazine. [Daily Mail]
ICE Detainer for Sexual Assault Suspect — U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has placed a detainer on Melvin Bonilla, the suspect in a string of sexual assaults in Arlington. Bonilla was arrested by Arlington County Police yesterday morning. [Fox 5]
Opposition to Homeless Shelter Winds Down — With Arlington’s new Homeless Services Center now open across from police headquarters in Courthouse, nearby residents are apparently starting to acquiesce to their new neighbor. Reports “Our Man in Arlington” columnist Charlie Clark: “Many neighbors in condos alongside the Courthouse building at 2020 N. 14th St. have rethought their opposition.” [Falls Church News-Press]
Lockdown Drills for Pre-K Students — An Arlington Pre-K teacher reflects on having her students participate in lockdown drills, which would be used in the event of an active shooting situation. The drills are now routine in Arlington elementary schools, the teacher says. [Washington Post]
Library Launches Sci-Fi Book Club — Arlington Public Library has launched “Strange Lands,” a science fiction book club that will meet monthly at Java Shack in Courthouse, starting Oct. 21. [Arlington Public Library]
VOICE Launches Voter Outreach Effort — The pro-affordable housing group Virginians Organized for Interfaith Community Engagement, or VOICE, is launching a voter outreach effort this fall. VOICE plans to concentrate turnout efforts on two low-turnout precincts: Arlington Mill and Glebe. [InsideNova]
W-L Student Dies — The Washington-Lee High School community is mourning the death of Juliana Clarkson, 14, who died on Friday after a battle with leukemia. Fellow W-L students and crew teammates have filled the N. Stafford Street bridge with chalk tributes to Clarkson. [Legacy, Vimeo, Team in Training]
Man Wins Lottery, Decks Out Rosslyn Condo — Brian McCarthy, 29, won $68.4 million in the Virginia Mega Millions lottery four years ago, and has spent part of his winnings turning his Rosslyn condo into the ultimate bachelor pad. Among the accoutrements are a custom LED chandelier in his 20-foot-tall living room, a 300 gallon fish tank that simulates ocean waves, a TV in his bathroom mirror and a private roof deck with a grill and a glare-free outdoor TV. [Washingtonian]
What’s Next for Arlington’s Millennials — As the oldest of the millennial generation start having kids and raising families, many may end up moving out of Arlington to locales with lower housing costs. Arlington, however, is studying the reasons why people move out and is contemplating new housing options to help others to stay. [Washington Post]
Finalists for Elementary School Site — A working group has narrowed down the list of potential sites to build a new elementary school in South Arlington to 11 options. Those options include existing school campuses, parks, community centers and two privately-owned sites. [InsideNova]
Bar Owner Makes Brief ‘Bachelor’ Appearance — Chris Bukowski, co-owner of the Bracket Room sports bar in Clarendon, made a brief and ignominious appearance on ABC’s “Bachelor in Paradise” last night. Bukowski, who has appeared on four other seasons of The Bachelor and its spin-off shows, proceeded to get drunk after arriving in paradise, failed to find a suitable date, and then walked off the set, dejected. [People]
Flickr pool photo by Joseph Gruber
Bailey’s Crossroads Project Canceled — A project that would have redeveloped a vacant office building into an apartment building in Bailey’s Crossroads has been canceled. The project was to take place just over the Arlington County line, on the Fairfax County side of the intersection of Columbia Pike and Carlin Springs Road. [Washington Business Journal]
W-L Turf Project On Track — A joint Arlington County-Arlington Public Schools project to replace the artificial turf at Washington-Lee High School’s stadium remains on track to wrap up early next month, despite the rainy weather that the area has been experiencing. [Arlington County]
Flickr pool photo by Airamangel
“At this time, the air conditioning at Key Elementary School cannot be maintained at a comfortable temperature for students to return on Tuesday,” the school said in an email to parents. “If APS needs to close Key School on Wednesday, an additional notification will be sent. Otherwise, school will be open on time on Wednesday, June 17.”
“Fifth grade promotion will take place in the Washington-Lee High School auditorium (1301 N. Stafford St.) at 6:30 p.m. Fifth grade students should arrive at Washington-Lee by 4 p.m. for promotion practice.”
Earlier: Key Elementary students were bussed to Washington-Lee High School today due to a lack of air conditioning in the school.
A power outage on Sunday caused Key’s air conditioning system to fail, prompting the evacuation this morning, according to an email sent to parents.
Students will be bussed back to Key in time for normal dismissal.
From Key Elementary principal Dr. Marjorie Myers:
Dear Key Families:
I wanted to let you know that a power outage occurred yesterday that led to an air conditioning failure today at Key. With temperatures expected to be in 90s, for the health and safety of students APS will transport students by bus to Washington-Lee High School (1301 N. Stafford St.) for the remainder of the day. Instruction and meals will be provided at Washington-Lee; however, families who wish to pick up their children early may do so at Washington-Lee at any time today.
All students will be transported back to Key Elementary before normal dismissal so they can walk or ride the bus home at the regular time. Students who attend Extended Day will still be able to do so at Key, but families are encouraged to pick up their children as early as possible today.
The Generals (5-4) built a commanding lead deep into the first half, going up 13-6, behind the skill and goal-scoring of junior Meghan Fox. Fox had five of her game high eight goals in the first half, with senior Colleen Salazar adding three.
The Patriots (7-2), however, were able to cut the lead to three, 13-10, going into halftime.
W-L added four goals in the first five minutes of play of the second half. The two teams then traded goals, but Yorktown was able to mount a strong comeback, tallying seven unanswered goals, tying the game at 18. After the teams traded goals again, and with under two minutes to go, W-L sophomore Emma Vogel scored what would be the winning goal.
Generals freshman Caroline Laybourn won the next draw control — women’s lacrosse version of a faceoff — giving W-L possession as time was running out. However, the Patriots caused a turnover with under 30 seconds remaining, bringing the ball down to their offensive zone, but Salazar was able to pick up a ground ball and hold possession as the game ended.
The Generals’ superior defensive play held Yorktown’s Metro region standout sophomore Laura Crawford to just three goals. W-L also dominated the draw control, taking 28 of 39 in the circle.
In addition to scoring by W-L’s Fox (8), Salazar (3) and Vogel (4), other goal scorers included Laybourn (1), senior Julia Fyffe (3) and sophomore Brooke Tannehill (1). Senior Kristen Somers led the Patriots scoring with 6 goals. Other Yorktown goals came from junior Kate Grattan (4), junior Emma Thurman (2), freshman Claire Kuwana (2) and senior Margaret Doyle (1).
Photo courtesy Celia Slater
The Arlington School Board approved the design and construction schedule of the school’s capacity expansion at its meeting last night, paving the way for the $5 million project to begin work this summer.
The exterior of the building will, for the most part, remain unchanged. Much of the work will go to re-outfitting classrooms to expand their capacity, adding lockers, shifting around offices and ensuring each room is being used to accommodate the greatest capacity possible. When completed, the school’s capacity will grow to 2,200 from its current 1,900-seat capacity.
“I think it’s a great use of our resources, and I know we’re looking forward to doing the same thing at the high schools as well as the other secondary schools, and to the extent possible, all of the schools in Arlington so we could maximize every space,” School Board member Nancy Van Doren said. “And I know there are a lot of people very excited about this design and this renovation.”
So far, there is no timeline in the Capital Improvements Plan for the capacity measures to begin at the other high schools.
The modification will add a science lab on the second floor of the building, install room dividers to create more flexible space, add teacher workrooms and expand lunchtime capacity in the school’s concourse and courtyard.
In addition to the measures to increase capacity, the school’s technological capability is getting a boost. The project aims to strengthen the school’s WiFi signal, install charging stations for devices, and install electronic pads outside rooms that will display each room’s schedule.
Arlington Public Schools will put the project out to bid at the beginning of May. June 22, when the school year ends, is when construction is expected to start. While the interior of the schools is getting its multimillion facelift, the artificial turf on the outside will be getting one of its own.
Photo via Google Maps
The Arlington County Board approved measures to reduce the late fee for real estate tax payments, replace the turf field at Washington-Lee High School and grant a $6 million loan for affordable housing at its meeting on Saturday.
The County Board approved the proposal by Treasurer Carla de la Pava to reduce the late fee taxpayers are forced to pay from 10 percent to 5 percent, if taxes are paid within 30 days after the due date. Those who are more than 30 days late paying real estate taxes will continue to pay a 10 percent fee. The county estimates more than 1,000 residents will benefit from the fee reduction.
“Sometimes, people accidentally miss a real estate tax due date but make their payment a few days later — of their own accord and without collection action by the Treasurer. In these cases, I believe a 5 percent penalty is much more appropriate,” de la Pava said in a press release.
The County Board also approved a contract to replace the 10-year-old turf at Washington-Lee High School, spending $670,000 of the $1.6 million contract to install a new synthetic surface at high school. The turf had reached them end of its lifespan, according to county staff, after heavy use from students and the community. Construction on the turf — which will have an extra layer of padding to help prevent concussions — will start in June and is expected to wrap up in August, in time for fall sports.
Additionally on Saturday, the County Board approved a loan from its Affordable Housing Investment Fund to McCormack Baron Salazar, which owns and manages the Clarendon Court Apartments (3814 7th Street N.) near Virginia Square. The loan, for $5.7 million, helps pay MBS for renovating the apartment community and keeping rents at 60 percent of Area Median Income or lower until 2075.
“Ensuring that every transit corridor has a range of housing affordability is a key to Arlington’s long-term sustainability. A first step in achieving this goal is preserving our existing stock of affordable homes,” County Board Chair Mary Hynes said in a release. “The investment in Clarendon Court Apartments, located in the busy R-B corridor, will not only secure the affordability of these homes for 60 years, but make them better places for our neighbors to live.”
(Updated at 4:00 p.m.) The 10-year-old synthetic turf field at Washington-Lee High School is worn beyond repair and needs to be replaced, according to Arlington’s Department of Parks and Recreation.
The field has been subject to heavy, year-round use by students, recreational sports leagues and in pickup games for a decade, according to a staff report. This Saturday, the Arlington County Board will vote on a contract to replace the field for $609,000, the final piece of the $1.6 million project.
If the contract is approved, the current synthetic turf field will be torn up starting the week of June 7, and construction would wrap up by the first week of August, just in time for the Generals’ sports teams to begin preseason practice.
The project will consist of tearing up the existing turf, but preserving the drainage system underneath. Staff said the existing turf surface and rubber layer will be recycled “to the greatest extent possible.”
A senior at Washington-Lee High School will have to retake the SATs after the College Board — the company that administers the college entrance exam — reportedly canceled his score under circumstances his mother is describing as “deeply frustrating.”
Gabriel Crittenden-Toth took the test last month, had finished it and given it to the proctor at W-L when he “instinctively reached for his phone in his pocket,” which was turned off, Melissa Crittenden, Gabriel’s mother, wrote in an email. Despite the fact that the phone was off and his test was over, the proctor reported the incident to the College Board, she said.
Gabriel was allowed to leave and was informed by the counselor that this was just a formality and that his test scores wouldn’t be affected […] Today we discovered that because the report was filed and it involved a cell phone, his scores were invalidated. I called the College Board to appeal the decision. The fact that my son may potentially be denied the opportunity to apply for early decision college applications, because he instinctively reached for his phone at the wrong time and is being penalized for that by the College Board, is deeply frustrating. They didn’t investigate the circumstances of the ‘irregularity’ and instead choose to simply cancel his scores and jeopardize his college application process.
In subsequent emails, Crittenden said the College Board employee handling her son’s case told her to “get over it,” said “it’s really not that big of a deal,” and “We aren’t interested in talking to anyone. We made our decision. What makes him think he can bring a phone in when it says right on the ticket for him to leave his phone home!”
Retaking the exam costs $52.50, but more important is the $2,500 test prep course Gabriel took, which will be months in the past by the time he can retake the exam. Crittenden said the counselor at W-L was “deeply upset” by the College Board’s decision, but since the test had already been completed and collected, “it would have been sufficient to ask the boys to put their phones away.”
“In many ways I do feel like that was an an abuse of authority while I do understand they thought they were simply doing their jobs,” she said. “Please alert other parents and teens so that they can avoid this unnecessary situation. ”
Requests for comment from College Board have not been returned.
Image via College Board
Arlington’s public high school football teams couldn’t have hoped for better regular seasons last year, with Washington-Lee and Yorktown meeting in the season finale with both undefeated in National District play.
Washington-Lee won that game, 10-0, capturing its first district football title in 38 years. Yorktown went farther in the playoffs — losing to Lake Braddock in the quarterfinals — and Wakefield improved from 0-10 in 2012 to 3-7 under new coach Wayne Hogwood.
All will have to put last year behind them tonight when the open their season. Washington-Lee opens at home tonight against McLean, Yorktown will host Langley and Wakefield will go on the road to face Marshall. All games are scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m.
Gone from the Generals and Patriots are many of the stars of last year’s big game, including Yorktown running back M.J. Stewart who is now at the University of North Carolina, set to play in his first game tomorrow after being suspended for last week’s opener. The Patriots will also miss defensive lineman Logan Robinson, who is playing for The Citadel. Head coach Bruce Hanson says quarterback Joe McBride, lineman Quinn Cox and linebacker/fullbacks Jack Storrs and Sean Coleman will be called upon to lead the revamped squad.
“You can’t replace M.J.,” Hanson said. “M.J. scored 79 touchdowns and rushed for 4,800 yards in three years, plus who knows how many balls he caught. It’s certainly going to be hard to replace him offensively, but we feel like we have a competitive team. I don’t know how our record is going to be, we’re not going to be a pushover.”
The Generals will sorely miss three-year quarterback start Sam Appel and top wide receiver/defensive backs Trevor McManus and Noah Harrington. They return just three starters on both offense and defense, but one of those starters is running back Daquay Harris, who was a huge factor for last season’s district champs. He’ll team with senior quarterback Ronnie Fesco to lead the Generals’ offense behind an experienced offensive line.
“We graduated 25 players and 12 starters, so we’re looking for guys to fill in,” Washington-Lee head coach Josh Shapiro said. “Unfortunately, that leaves a lot of holes, so we’ll start to learn a lot about our team tonight. It’s hard, because you just don’t know what you have yet.”
Hogwood and the Wakefield Warriors are having a different training camp. Other than losing the team’s all-conference guard in David Benford and top receiver in Marcus Boyd, the Warriors bring back everyone from last year’s 3-7 unit. Hogwood said quarterback Riley Wilson, who transferred into the school last year, has become one of the team’s leaders, as has guard Ryan Jones.
“I feel really good at this point in the year,” Hogwood said. “I think we’ve got some guys that have been committed and in our program for a year now. We’re a little bit smarter, stronger and older from last year. I fully expect us to build on the three wins we got last year.”
Each coach is cautiously optimistic about his team, but the Arlington schools aren’t gaining much recognition from the region. There is not one mention of Yorktown, Wakefield or Washington-Lee in the Washington Post’s several-thousand word 2014 football season preview. Amazingly, not a single player from the three schools even garnered an honorable mention in the Post’s preseason all-star teams, which feature well over 100 players from around the region. (more…)