Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The HeraldTrib Has Moved!

I finally started to use the new web site.

I think it's easier to read and I'll be able to do more with it as time goes on. Go check it out and let me know what you think of it. --ST

  • buckinghamheraldtrib.com
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    Saturday, September 19, 2009

    A Night at the “Instrument Petting Zoo”

    Cellist and teacher Jonathan Velsey helps Claire Walker with her fingering. (Click to enlarge the image.)

    A squeaking, blurbing, squawking, hooting, whistling, clarinet, tuba, cello, violin, flute, sax and drum delight of a night, the annual “instrument petting zoo”—as one school staffer phrased it, and he might have placed emphasis on “zoo”—brought parents and school kids from all Arlington to Thomas Jefferson Middle School’s basement Tuesday.

    Students tried out, tried on, tested, stood, stared, bowed, fingered, slid, plucked, blew, and—occasionally—listened through a one-stop-shopping night of orchestral abundance. Since Internet storage is cheap, I’ll add that they laughed, measured, chatted, scratched, bleated and boomed.

    Billed as the “Instrumental Music Information Night,” the Arlington Public Schools event was aimed primarily at 4th and 5th graders who can join the schools’ orchestras and bands this year.

    School orchestra and band leaders with upper-class students, gave the elementary school kids quick lessons on how to hold, blow or strike the instrument in order to fit the student to the right size—a full-, or half-sized violin, for instance.

    Sales and rental information was also available (rentals going first, and at reduced prices, to the families who need financial assistance most). Students handed in forms at the end of the night with their top three preferences. The schools make the choices about who gets which.

    Christopher Wall, a 4th grader at Taylor Elementary School, was new to the school and the opportunity to get these music lessons, his mom, Beth, said. She added, he wanted to come to try the violin and the “kello.”

    It’s a 30 second video of the night, enjoy:

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    Wednesday, September 16, 2009

    Welcome Back and See-ya, Mis Amigos!

    Amigos de las Américas volunteers, staff and hopefuls break the ice by holding hands and then "untying" the knot of people without letting go of each other. That's Sarah King, center. (Click to enlarge the image.)

    A group, about 25 people, gathered under the Lubber Run Park pavilion Sunday afternoon to celebrate the return home of volunteers in the Amigos de las Américas program, and to recruit the next batch for nine-months of training before next summer's trip.

    “We had 23 volunteers go down this summer, and all 23 came back!” said Sarah King, laughing. She is the president of the DC chapter of the national group.

    The volunteers are at least 16 years old and have completed their sophomore year of high school as well as at least two years of Spanish instruction. After nine months of training in development, public health and organizational leadership, students go to countries such as Costa Rica, Mexico, Panama, Honduras, and Nicaragua.

    “They work with partnering organizations [such as CARE or a country’s health administration] in the countries that they’re in,” Ms. King said.

    They live with a person in a specific village and help with community-based initiatives. Arlington Public Schools sent six students this summer:

    From HB Woodlawn:

  • Megan Hauptman
  • Caitlin Levine

  • Washington-Lee:

  • Dylan Warburg

  • Yorktown:

  • Rachel Hargreaves
  • Hayley Tyneson
  • Brooke Huffman

  • “Arlington county schools give us a lot of kids,” Ms. King said. Often half the students are from Arlington.

    Family information sessions: Oct. 4, 3-5p.m.; Oct. 18, 1-3p.m. at Oyster Bilingual School, 2801 Calvert St. NW, Washington, DC, two block west of the Woodley Park Zoo metro station.

    More information:

  • click here.
  • Email here: volunteer *at* amigosdc *dot* org.
  • Call 202-331-4999.

  • This was one of those times when I was caught unawares, as they say. I had no notebook, and only my cell phone to shoot photos. No Arlington students were at the event when I was there, or I'd have shot photos of them. I was watching my kids, though, so I only caught about 10 minutes of the event. --ST

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    For "Local Foods, Local Chefs," Dining Out Starts TONIGHT!

    Dine at participating Arlington restaurants and enjoy a dinner made with locally grown ingredients. Supporting local vendors strengthens our local economy. But supporting local farmers goes even further. You’ll be helping to keep farmland in production and your food is fresher when it was just picked the day before.

    Each of the restaurants below will feature a dinner on their designated night that was make with locally grown ingredients.
    Sept. 16--Liberty Tavern, 3195 Wilson Blvd.
    Sept. 17--Santa Fe Café, 1500 Wilson Blvd.
    Sept. 22--Willow Restaurant, 4301 N Fairfax Dr.
    Sept. 23--Tallulah Restaurant and EatBar, 2761 Washington Blvd.
    Sept. 29--Eventide Restaurant, 3165 Wilson Blvd.
    Oct. 6--Restaurant Vero, 5723 Lee Hwy.
    Oct. 13--Restaurant 3, 2950 Clarendon Blvd.

    To keep your brain as full as your belly, come to our series of film viewings and discussions at Fairlington Community Center (3308 S Stafford St.)
    Sept. 30--"The True Cost of Food"
    Oct. 7--"The Garden"
    Oct. 14--"FRESH"

    Local Foods, Local Chefs is sponsored by Arlington County, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Clarendon Alliance, Ballston-Virginia Square Partnership, Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization, Crystal City Business Improvement District, Rosslyn Business Improvement District and Slow Food DC.

    Support local farms! Support local chefs! Enjoy delicious food! Doing the right thing never tasted so good. For more information call 703-228-6400 or click here.

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    Virginia's Grand Military Band Schedule Starts Saturday

    All performances will be at the Kenmore Middle School Concert Hall, 200 S. Carlin Springs Road, Arlington.

    Saturday Sept. 19, 8:00 p.m.
    Old-Fashioned Concert in the Park
    Family Favorites and Toe-Tappers.

    Saturday Nov. 7, 8:00 p.m.
    U. S. Army Night
    Special Guests: The Herald Trumpets of "Pershing's Own,"
    The United States Army Band, and the West Point Alumni Glee Club

    Saturday Jan. 16, 8:00 p.m.
    Col. Gabriel Conducts His Favorites
    Colonel Arnald D. Gabriel, USAF ret, joins Maestro Schissel on the podium.

    March/April Concert date to be announced.

    Saturday May 29, 8:00 p.m.
    Memorial Day - March Past
    The VGMB's traditional Memorial Day tribute to our Armed Forces.

    Tickets for individual concerts are $20 for adults, $10 for those under 18. Season tickets are $75 each. For information, call Ken Stegeman at (703) 281-3331 or click here.

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    Letter: Thanks!


    Thanks for the update on Buckingham!

    Jane Scruggs

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    Sunday, September 13, 2009

    HeraldTrib Today, Sept. 13, 2009

    "APS Snapshots" debuts for new schools head honcho...

    I watched the new superintendent of Arlington Public Schools on his “APS Snapshots” video. (I missed it on TV, so I had to turn to the APS website, find it here; I had to download it in order to see it).

    "APS Snapshots" first episode. (Click to enlarge the image.)

    The press release for the video says that it was to be a view inside the school system, and this one wasn’t that really, more a welcome back speech.

    “I’ve really emphasized the importance adults play in students’ lives, in building positive relationships,” Dr. Pat Murphy said in the two minute, 24 second address.

    He started his run as the schools’ chief in July after long-time superintendent Robert Smith retired.

    This is Mr. Murphy’s first video for the weekly series.

    One little irony: After saying that any achievement requires a plan somewhere behind it, he added, “One is: get organized.” It is important for children to collect their materials and find a quite space to complete homework and to stay on top of assignments. Parents can help with daily reminders or nudging children to organize their academic lives and establish a routine.

    There was no “Two.”

    (I mean, if you’re going draw up a plan about planning and you say, “One,” shouldn’t you say, “Two”? If not, you sound disorganized!)

    I’m looking forward to next week’s episode and am even hoping for a little more meat. It’s a great bully-pulpit, the superintendent should use it. I’d love to get some behind-the-scenes footage, or a clearer understanding of decisions.

    According to the APS Web site, “APS Snapshots” is filmed and produced by the Arlington Educational Television Department (AETV) in cooperation with the Arlington Public Schools Department of School and Community Relations.

    You can see “APS Snapshots” on Comcast Cable Channel 70 and Verizon FiOS Channel 41. Snapshots aired: 10:51 a.m.; 11:25 a.m.; 12:56 p.m.; 6:24 p.m.; 6:55 p.m.; and 10:27 p.m., and Frank Bellavia, a spokesperson for the schools, said the times it may run in the near future “is fluid.” I’ll try to keep you posted.

    B'ham high schoolers to present at Housing Commission, County Board...

    Buckingham Youth Brigade members at a June meeting. (Click to enlarge the image.)

    The Buckingham Youth Brigade will present its report on immigration and affordable housing to the Arlington County Housing Commission next Thursday and then to the County Board on Saturday Sept. 26.

    The group of high schoolers took on the task of interviewing immigrants, their families and random people in Buckingham as part of a larger research project answering the question, “Who are Arlington’s Immigrants?”

    The idea for the 12 page report started at the end of last year during the county’s “Diversity Dialogues.” The group’s findings boil down to three major recommendations: improving access to services for immigrants; improving affordability in housing; and preventing racism and promoting understanding.

    I’ll have a larger story on this the week after next.

    The BYB is funded by and supported through the BU-GATA Tenants Association. The report was funded by BU-GATA and the Arlington Community Foundation Education Trust.

    Champagne, pizza and missed names...

    This story was edited to include the names I missed. --ST

    There’s nothing quite like a wine-and-cheese function at an arts space to just make you feel creative and energized. The third Creative Arlington meeting in the Tiffany Gallery of Arlington Arts Center on Thursday did just that. Didn’t hurt that the cheese was on pizza provided by Liberty Tavern and the wine was a sparkling Italian champagne.

    I like Creative Arlington, started by Ashton Heights civic association former president Ted Bilich.

    Ted Bilich in the Tiffany Gallery. (Click to enlarge the image.)

    The group aims to bring the different “creative classes” in Arlington together to create a stronger economy. The idea is to have a community online (find it here—it’s open to everyone, even people without arts degrees) that meets regularly in person to mingle, exchange ideas, and to see if some synergy can be created.

    County board member Mary Hynes, Arlington Independent Media President Maurice Martin, planning commission member Terry Serie and about 25 others were there.

    I was not planning on covering this, just went for the fun, but at the last minute, I tried. Cell phone photos, notes called into voice mail, and I missed a name: that of the Doorways representative. It was Kerri (Kerry? Carrie?) Something. Coming back off a hiatus is always way harder than I think it will be. (If Kerri Something wants to let me know her real name, I would love to post it.) Took a few hours, but she is: Kerry Goldstein, Donor Relations Manager for Doorways.

    Stephen Fedorchak of Liberty Tavern was there, and he and Ms. Goldstein talked about just the sort of relationship Creative Arlington is trying to make.

    Doorways is a shelter for abused women and children; Liberty Tavern is upscale food at moderate prices. They share a building in Clarendon.

    The two have worked very closely, and Doorways has changed its philosophy of how it works with companies after its experience with Liberty Tavern.

    “We want to work with you…It’s not just about writing a check,” Ms. Goldstein said. She said they now ask, “How can we help you, to get your name out, to get your word out?”

    Returning that sentiment, Mr. Fedorchak said, “A restaurant is uniquely positioned to feed those children in a nourishing ways.”

    Mr. Fedorchak’s business will be expanding into the former Murky Coffee building at the corner of Wilson Blvd. and N. Fairfax Drive in Clarendon. He said they plan to keep it a coffee shop, with expanded hours and menu.

    He said they plan to “Tri-brand” a coffee—Counter Culture, Doorways, and whatever his coffee company will be called (he’s taking suggestions)—and $1 per bag of that coffee will go to Doorways.

    Doorways recently started the PAWS animal rescue shelter with Caring Hands Animal Hospital for the pets of abused women—women often won’t leave without their pets, for fear that the pet will take the abuse.

    “We’ve had one animal in our animal shelter so far, and unfortunately, he tore the thing to shreds, so we had to start over again!” she said, laughing.

    My two cents: the new coffee shop should be called "Gitcher Coffee."

    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: heraldtrib@gmail.com --Steve Thurston).

    Headlines since the last HeraldTrib Today:

  • Buckingham Villages Update, A Summary
  • Police Notes Sept. 3 to Sept. 11
  • Police Notes Aug. 27 to Sept. 2
  • Labels: , ,

    Police Notes Sept. 3 to Sept. 11.

    These notes are compiled from Arlington County Police Department crime reports. They cover the reports in and around the Buckingham, Arlington Forest and Ashton Heights neighborhoods. --ST

    Sept. 2: Destruction of Property (Series), 4100 and 4200 blocks of N. Henderson Road. Between 2a.m. and 7a.m. an unknown subject vandalized at least two vehicles by damaging the windows. There is no suspect description.

    Sept. 2: Assault and Battery, 500 block of N. Oxford St. At 4p.m. a man was assaulted by a known subject.

    Sept. 3: Assault and Battery (Arrest), 3900 block of N. Pershing Dr. At 6p.m., one man punched another during an argument. Milburn Burton, 48, of Arlington, was charged with Assault and Battery and held on a $2,500 bond.

    Sept. 6: Commercial Burglary, 200 block of N. Glebe Road. Between 9p.m. on Sept. 6 and 8:45a.m. on Sept. 7, an unknown subject entered a check cashing store and stole a safe. There are no known suspects.

    Sept. 6: Destruction of Property (Series), 500 block of N. Glebe Road. Between 10p.m. on Sept. 6, and 2p.m. on Sept. 7, an unknown subject scratched three vehicles inside a dealership showroom.

    Sept. 8: Stolen Auto. 800 block of N. Taylor St. License tag number: DC CC9856. The auto is a 2003, silver, Lexus K300.

    Sept. 10: Stolen Auto Tag, unit block (less than 100) of S. Glebe Road. License tag number: DC C68780.

    Sept. 11: Stolen Auto. 700 block of N. Glebe Road. License tag number: VA XTZ7939. The SUV is a 1992, maroon, Isuzu Rodeo.

    Click the icons and lines for more information. Red=Person-to-person crime; Yellow=person-to-structure or vehicle crime; Blue=stolen vehicle or vehicle tag; Purple=vehicle-to-vehicle crime; Aqua=miscellaneous. A dot in the icon indicates more than one suspect or victim. All place marks are approximate. Click here to view larger map.

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    Wednesday, September 02, 2009

    Police Notes Sept. 3, 2009

    These notes are compiled from Arlington County Police Department crime reports. They cover the reports in and around the Buckingham, Arlington Forest and Ashton Heights neighborhoods. --ST

    Aug. 27: Resisting Arrest (Arrest), 3900 block of N. 4th St. At 12:30a.m., a man was combative during a traffic stop. James Petwat, 44, of Arlington, was charged with Resisting Arrest. He was held on a $2,500 bond.

    Aug. 29: Robbery, 3800 block of N. 9th St. At 12:45a.m., an unknown male approached a woman from behind and stole her purse. The suspect fled into a waiting silver Volkswagen Jetta. The suspect was a white Hispanic male wearing jeans and a grey sweatshirt.

    Aug. 30: Possession with Intent (Arrest), 5500 block of Arlington Blvd. At 12:30a.m. when an officer attempted to stop a vehicle for a traffic infraction, the occupants threw narcotics from the window. The three suspects were arrested. Tuan Huang, 28, of Annandale, Dat Nguyen, 26, of Woodbridge, and Nguyen Nguyen, 25, of Gainesville, were all charged with Possession with the Intent to Distribute Cocaine. They were each held on a $3,000 bond.

    Aug. 31: Peeping Tom, 4100 block of N. 3rd Road. At 12:45a.m. a woman saw a man looking in her bedroom window. The suspect is described as an African-American male wearing dark clothing.

    Sept. 1: Assault and Battery (Arrest), 4000 block of N. 4th St. At 11a.m., a man spit in another man’s face. George Howard, 32, of Arlington, was charged with Assault and Battery and released on a summons.

    Click the icons and lines for more information. Red=Person-to-person crime; Yellow=person-to-structure or vehicle crime; Blue=stolen vehicle; Purple=vehicle-to-vehicle crime; Aqua=miscellaneous. A dot in the icon indicates more than one suspect or victim. Click here to view larger map.

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    Monday, August 31, 2009

    Buckingham Villages Update, an Overview

    Paradigm Construction Corp. prepares the property on N. Henderson Road for demolition. Culpepper Garden Assisted Living Center rises in the background. (Click to enlarge the image.)

    As crews rip out trees and prepare to knock down buildings along Henderson Road, the time is right for a recap of the plans for Buckingham Village 1. (Plus, inquiries have made it to me, and I realized I do not have a post that ties it all up in the way I hope this one will. –ST)

    First, a layout of the land is in order. Take a look at this map:

    Village 1 is the home of current tree removal across from Barrett Elementary School. It’s the largest of the three villages, and when completed will have over 500 rental units in two large buildings, about 70 townhouses along N. George Mason Drive, and a small county park.

    Village 2 is the only divided village. The road down the middle of the village along with the red rectangle showing the approximate placement of the George Mason Apartment complex (which is not part of the original Village 2), separate the other two thirds of the block. The blue dot shows where the townhouses have been built and are under construction. The green dot locates the fenced-in field along Thomas Street. Dozens more townhouses are planned for both sides of Village 2. This village is developed “by right” meaning that Paradigm Construction need not seek county approval for changes, so long they stay within current zoning rules.

    Bought by Telesis Corporation just months ago, Village 3 will change little on the outside, preserving the two-storey buildings and the garden-style setting. Some additions will be added to the backs of buildings, and a building of some sort will cover the entrance to an underground community center. This village is protected as a county historic area and falls under the oversight of the Historical Affairs and Landmark Review Board, which will regulate any external changes to the property. All of the units (about 140) will be affordable to people of various levels of income. Some of the units along N. Pershing Drive will be part of a condominium.

    Village 1 will undergo the most changes, and for more details on that, peruse the illustration:

    (Click to enlarge the image.)

    Although future plans can change, Paradigm is locked into the current arrangement of buildings in Village 1, given contracts signed with the county. Here are a few details:

    (Click to enlarge the image.)

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    Friday, August 28, 2009

    HeraldTrib Today, Aug. 28, 2009

    No names at the fair?...

    Doug Galbi at the Ode Street Tribune, a blog in Rosslyn, noticed an odd fact at the Arlington County Fair: all the names on the competitive exhibits—e.g. the vegetables and photos—were nameless. Numbers only from August 19-23.

    Photo courtesy of the Ode Street Trib. (Click to enlarge the image.)

    Turns out the Arlington County Fair Board of Directors voted this year to take the names off tags for security reasons.

    “Last year, a number of people expressed concern about seeing people’s names and addresses,” Denise Roller told me. She is the only paid staff person in the Arlington County Fair organization; the fair is run by the non-profit Arlington County Fair, Inc.

    Given that 30,000 people perennially partake of this rite of summer, those concerned about the people's privacy were most concerned about children’s. Removing only the names of the littlest competitors proved too much, she said. “The fair is a lot of work” for the all-volunteer staff.

    She reminded me a number of times that they are a volunteer organization, and as such, things can go wrong, especially when trying to communicate an idea from a board decision down to the person writing the name on the tag. They were nervous of inadvertently printing a child's name.

    Plus, the tags are pre-ordered from a company that provides these sorts of items for fairs. They come with pre-printed numbers and spaces to write in names and addresses—part of the fear was it would take a lot of communication to make sure only the allowable information was put on the tags.

    Oddly, even the winners did not get their names on anything official from the fair. Again, numbers only.

    Ms. Roller said she hoped they would change that idea next year and give the winner a certificate, not just the nameless ribbon.

    My take: put the names back on. I know it’s a lot of work (at least, I can imagine that it must be), but names with neighborhoods, it would seem to me, would be less intrusive while still letting us see who won. Figure out a way to do that.

    When kids at the schools win something or other we get their names, and I always like seeing if I know the children. I have two elementary-aged children of my own, and I just do not understand the fears. I just don't see child abusers making the leap from viewing a pumpkin to stalking a child.

    I wonder if it would be possible for people to fill in their own tag.

    I was very happy to see Lebanese Taverna at the fair—I’d love to see more of the tastes of Arlington (while retaining at least a couple funnel cake and corn dog joints) at the fair.

    Roof in Lubber Run…

    Arlington County roofers John Koloszar and Jim Richards construct scaffolding on the rest room building in Lubber Run park last week. (Click to enlarge the image.)

    Desperate joggers, dog-walkers, and stroller-pushing parents will have their rest room back soon. A tree had severely damaged the roof of the Lubber Run Park rest room about a month ago, making the building unusable. The roof is getting repaired and reshingled.

    Time, time, time…

    Well, I’m back. This was a much longer hiatus than planned, and for that I’m sorry. One of the reasons for the delay was that I’m trying to reconfigure this blog. I would like to make some money, and to write some different stories. Finding time for all of that is always the concern. In the summer there are kids (and I love getting away on vacation), but then during the school year, I have students, students, students. Finding time is the sticky wicket.

    Still, I have some ideas for changes: 1, I am in the process of moving the blog from Blogger to a company called “neighborlogs.” They are out of Seattle, and their business plan aims to bring local advertising to local blogs. It’s a plan that is a long shot, but its heart is in the right place. 2, I’ve finally gotten a tag line: “News Worth Reading.” I’m thinking of it as part fact and part aspiration. The object will be to improve the stories I’m writing, maybe writing fewer but more complete stories.

    That’s a couple smallish changes, and time only allows for smallish changes at one time. Many more stories coming down the line. Keep in touch.

    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: heraldtrib@gmail.com --Steve Thurston).

    Headlines from Earlier in the Week:

  • Police Notes, Aug. 18 to 24.
  • Police Notes, July 1 to Aug. 17

  • Labels: ,

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