Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Pollen, Blacktop, Graffiti, oh my!

New Posting Times
I am on sabbatical now, so I’ll be adding to the blog more than I have recently. My time is more my own, so I hope to blog more when activities occur, or when I get the details of a story together. I’ll probably wait until I have a couple pieces to post so as not to overwhelm your email boxes. With luck, the stuff will be interesting and worth your wile.

Pollen: WMD.
If President Bush really wants to go to war again (and you know he does), I’ve got a target: Mother Nature. What other than a biological weapon of mass destruction would you call the pollen counts this year?

I had it in mind to write a poem about being on sabbatical and the happiness that brings, but my head just wants to explode.
But what stinks is that The Weather Channel isn’t helping me out a bit (this fits with a Bush plan of attack—attack the ol’ lady on bad intel). Pollen estimates today are only in the “moderate” range for trees in Zip Code 22203, and grass is “low.” However, click on the “trees almanac” on that page, and you’ll see that trees today are already being reported in the “high” range, and the day ain’t over; plus all week the numbers have been high.
They also don’t have a flower pollen count, and my wife’s roses, those killers, are in full bloom. Oh, my head.
The National Weather Service has issued a severe thunderstorm warning for this afternoon, so lock up the pooch, get the bikes inside.

An Ocean of Blacktop in Buckingham
If you’re a developer in Arlington looking for space, the sea of blacktop outside the Cathedral of St. Thomas More at first glance would have to look appealing. It must be half an acre of blacktop and yellow striping. There’s already a tall building just to the north and commercial property along Glebe Road to the east.

A ten-minute walk from the metro, on the corner of the Glebe Road and Arlington Boulevard arteries, I’d think it’s a developer’s dream, especially one that would be willing to put up affordable units to fit with Catholic’s charitable side.

I, apparently, was not the first to think of this.
“The Diocese of Arlington is not opposed to such development, and in fact has been approached with plans to develop the property, but the proposals we have received have not been entirely satisfactory,” wrote Joelle Santolla, a communications associate for the Diocese, in a recent email. “The diocese has no immediate plans to pursue development at this time.” As well, she added in a voice mail, “There is currently not an offer on the table.”
The offers have been coming in over at least the last couple of years, she said.
Still, I might be wrong about its value.
Micheline Castan-Smith, of the Paradigm Companies said that her company was not one to have looked into buying the property. Without seeing the particulars such as the zoning and the type of construction that might be possible on the property, Ms. Castan-Smith did not want to guess at the value. She is the project manager overseeing the Buckingham Villages redevelopment.
What got me thinking of all this was the remark at the County Board meeting back in February (see my post) that the Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington was thinking of developing their property in a similar fashion to the First Baptist Church of Clarendon and their “Views at Clarendon.” The Unitarian church lies just south of Arlington Boulevard on George Mason Drive.
It makes more sense to me that the Catholic Church should do this, I thought, and so started to poke into it. I’m all for more affordable housing in the county (and in Buckingham), but the Unitarian church is much too residential already, and the buildings are low. A high rise similar to “The Views” on the cathedral’s parking lot would make much more sense.

Spray Can Vandals "Tag" Harris Teeter
The graffiti is washed off the side of the Harris Teeter at 600 N. Glebe Rd., but a tagger nailed it before my last post. I wanted to write about it then, but ran out of time.

“It appears to be the work of a ‘tagger’ as opposed to gang-related graffiti,” wrote Det. Steve Gomez in an email after seeing the pictures I forwarded to him. He did not recognize the artist by the work, he said.
Det. Gomez, in the public information office of the Arlington Police Department, wrote that he does not normally add graffiti vandalism to the weekly crime reports unless it seems to be in a series.

Buckingham Classifieds:
AF Yard Sale SATURDAY: It’s big and it’s a bargain! It’s the Arlington Forest Community Yard Sale, Saturday May 19, 2007 from 8 to 5. Shop more than 50 individual yard sales conveniently located throughout the Arlington Forest neighborhood centered at Arlington Boulevard and Park Avenue intersection. Just follow the signs and check the map of all the sales posted at each yard sale site.

(Want to post an announcement? Email:

Police Notes for Buckingham
May 9: Stolen Motorcycle License Tag, 4300 block of N. 2nd Rd.
Tag number: VA 476715

May 7:
Stolen Auto License Tags, 500 Block N. Piedmont Street.
Tag number: VA JYX1984

The graffiti is already washed off the side of the Harris Teeter. I hope they catch whoever's responsible, I wouldn't want this to become a blight on the neighborhood.
I have to admit that I like a good graffiti "artist," but the side of the Harris Teeter seems a silly (and illegal) place to try it. There's no place in Buckingham that I could see that might look better with graffiti. Plus, that work was just silly. A bunch of amateurs!
There does seem to be an uptick in lame graffiti in the area. The dance studio (@Oakland & Wilson) has been getting hit, and someone has taken a liking to tagging the power utility boxes on the ground along Wilson.

C'mon, you little twits, if you're going to be a hoodlum, do it to impress us (with good grafitti) or profit (at least there's a reason for it, then).

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