Wednesday, June 04, 2008

HeraldTrib Today: June 4, 2008

Summer hiatus…

I’m not sure how I feel as I go on hiatus after I post a story about the Design Review Committee meeting tonight.

Part of the mixed emotion is that I know I go back to teaching at Montgomery College in Rockville in the fall, and I have yet to do all I want to do with this website. I had a full school year to get stuff done, how much time did I need? However much I wanted, it wasn't enough.

Despite wanting to continue for another month or more, I still must write a final report on the year-long project around which this web site was based, and I must get my syllabi ready. I’m still reading one of my adopted texts. I just don’t have the time for it all, especially since the kids are loosed on the world in just a couple more weeks—then look out!

On top of that, I have notes and ideas for stories that are only half done—to those people who are wondering where the stories about them are, I will get to them late summer or early fall.

On top of the on top of all that, the walls of my house look terrible. I really must paint. I will be paying attention to the doings of Buckingham, but I don’t know how much I’ll be reporting until the fall draws me back. Enough complaining of lost time, already. I'll see you in the fall.

A couple summer stories…

I took a wheelchair ride last month, and I have yet to put all the notes and recordings together into a decent story. That will come either over the summer, or early in the fall. Sorry, Deb, for the delay (stupid flooded basement).

Another is about the new Buckingham Community Center, the building on the Gates of Ballston property near N. Glebe at N. Henderson Road. I do not know if the discussions about it would rise to “conflict,” but some of the people who use the current space—a pair of connected two-bedroom apartments on N. Henderson Road—are bothered by the fact that the space they will have in the new building is 1,500 square feet less than what they currently have.

The fireplace in the main room under construction in February. (Click to enlarge the image.)

Also, the space has fewer offices for private discussions. Connie Sherman, the director of the center, worries about what might happen to people who need to have personal conversations such as those involving AIDS or spousal abuse.

AHC Inc., which owns and is building the center, has made a space they feel is large enough. It has a huge room for community events, a computer classroom, a day care center, offices for the tenants association and for the leasing and management office.

County Board Chair Walter Tejada said there are limited resources to go around, and people will have to make due with what is available.

“Once you get used to something, it’s hard to let go,” he said in a recent interview.

I had planned on putting out a story about this before the center’s opening in July, but it looks like now, I’ll be asking people how it’s going.

Design Review Committee meeting tonight…

I will be a little late to the DRC meeting tonight, but that should be OK as the Buckingham Shopping Center (the intersection of N. Glebe at N. Pershing Drive) is the fourth item on the group’s agenda.

Tonight Georgetown Strategic Capital will move a little closer to razing the Glebe Market and CVS buildings and replacing them with two huge, mixed-use buildings, retail on the ground floor, and three floors of market-rate apartments above.

This redevelopment of the corner does not go before the Site Plan Review Committee Rebeccah Ballo in the county’s historic preservation office told me because Georgetown Strategic is not asking for a zoning or density changes. It will go before the Planning Commission and, as the DRC is part of the Historical Affairs and Landmark Review Board, that board has been and will be involved, too.

Barrett’s new field is coming…

County staff confirmed that the budget OKed last month has money in it to repair Barrett Elementary School's playing field. Although staffers originally said the project might get under way in the spring, it’s looking more like summer, but none I spoke with could give me a date. When we spoke last week, the project had not yet been bid.

Say Hello to Bucky…or Lubby!

The erstwhile beaver of Lubber Run still has no clear name, as based upon the survey a handful of you took last week. “Bucky” and “Lubby” tied, with three (!), votes each. “Big Tooth” received no votes.

Unlike Hilary Clinton, I can make THE decision, and say, “enough’s enough,” especially since I’ve seen neither hide nor hair Bucky Lubby since Mother’s Day. Call the beaver what you will, it's over.

Fuzzy’s Robin…

My next-door neighbor, Scott Zoeller, called me to the mat last week when I didn’t run his picture and that of the baby robin nesting in the Norwegian blue spruce outside his townhouse. It was a cute little bugger, and has since flown the coop.

Now, Fuzzy, you can say that you are, as my son Harry says, “just a little bit famous.” Are we cool?

The Week’s Headlines…
As always, you can scroll down to see all the recent stories, or simply click the links below (if the link doesn't work, scroll down to find the story, and email to tell me what's busted: --Steve Thurston).

Today's Headlines:

  • Minigolf It Is
  • Letter: Redevelopment Means Retail Upscales
  • Police Notes for Buckingham June 4, 2008

  • Headlines from Earlier in the Week:

  • Plaintiffs in School Board Lawsuit Will "Wait and See." (This is a continuation of what has become the saga of the elementary schools overcrowding.)
  • Letter: "Fantastic" Video Reminds Writer of Visits
  • Letter: Why Not My Organic Market?
  • Letter: Nice Picture Show
  • Yearling Buck Stops in Arlington Oaks
  • Labels: , , ,

    Re: Mini-golf Course. County staff is doing its usual thing. It is ignoring the affected neighborhood and telling everyone that it has receive positive input from neighborhoods about its project. Nothing really ever changes in Arlington. Somebody on the County staff decides what he or she wants, gains support of staff supervisory personnel, ignores neighborhood input, states that neighborhood supports project, goes to advisory commissions without informing neighborhood, obtains advisory commission support, and recommends approval to the County Manager. The County Manager then recommends approval to the County Board and states that neighborhoods and advisory commissions support the proposal. The County Board pays lip service to any public comments opposing the project and then votes to approve it.

    This is the Arlington Way. It does not matter what County Board members say when they meet with the public or who wins County-wide elections. The outcome is nearly always the same, especially on local issues such as this one.

    The Buckingham Community Civic Association needs to immediately inform the County Board that County staff is proceeding with its plans for the Mini-Golf course while refusing to consider neighborhood objections to the project and the planning process and alternative uses for the property. This needs to be done now.

    Bernie Berne

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