Thursday, May 31, 2007

Traffic and Police Notes

Quick Note:
As I wrote last week, I’m posting through the week now, but I’ve been out of town this week, so the postings are a tad thin. Still, I hope you like what I’ve got here for the week.


Headlines from today’s post:

Headlines from posts since Wednesday May 23:

Traffic Notes (not really in Bham, but you might be interested).
Buckinghamsters who commute through north Arlington, take note: all lanes of Old Dominion Drive between N. George Mason Dr. and N. Dickerson Street will be closed from mid-June to early September, wrote Shannon Whalen McDaniel, the communications manager in DES. The county is replacing an 8-foot steel culvert that directs Little Pimmit Run. This is a part of the county’s Pimmit Run Construction project.

Traffic will be detoured along N. George Mason Dr. and Williamsburg Boulevard, the email reported; click to see the street detour map, pdf.

Police Notes for Buckingham
May 23: Felony Hit and Run, 200 block of N. Glebe Road. At approximately 4:07p.m. on a Geo Prizm southbound on N. Glebe Rd. stopped for traffic and was rear-ended by a red Ford F-150 pickup truck which immediately fled the scene. The driver of the Prizm was transported to a local hospital with unspecified injuries.

Officers located the F-150 in the 1600 block of N. Oak St. with the driver passed out behind the wheel.
Brian Thomas McCabe, 42, of Arlington, was charged with felony Hit and Run, Driving While Intoxicated, and Refusal to Submit to a Breath Test and released on $10,000 bond.

According to the police, a man on the sidewalk watched the truck hit the car and then drive south for one block. The driver then turned around and drove north past the man who got the tag number off the truck. Officers ran the tag number and found the man at home, Det. Steve Gomez with the Arlington County police said. A hit-and-run is a felony when the struck vehicle is attended, or the victim is a pedestrian, and there was an injury or at least $1,000 damage to the victim’s vehicle.

May 28: Indecent Exposure, 400 block of N. Park Dr. At approximately 9:00 p.m., a woman entered a laundry room in the basement of an apartment building. A man in the laundry room greeted the woman, then left. A moment later, the man tapped on the window to get the woman’s attention and she saw that he was exposing himself. The woman ran to an apartment and called 911. The suspect is described as a dark-skinned Hispanic male in his mid to late 30s, 5 feet, 10 inches tall, 180 pounds, last seen wearing a navy blue polo shirt.

Get Connectioned…

It often slips my mind to remind my blog readers to read my column in the Arlington Connection—for one reason or another, my latest wasn’t posted to the web last week. The latest that is up there is about the W&OD trail; enjoy it if you haven’t yet seen it.

Remember: if you live in the 22203 zip code, call the Arlington Connection and get a FREE subscription to the paper: 703-917-6465. Right now we don’t have enough Buckinghamsters subscribing so the bulk mail takes forever—Sign Up Now!

If you just don’t want another piece of mail, grab a copy at Murky Coffee in Clarendon, Bob & Edith’s Diner on Columbia Pike (the original joint near S. Courthouse Road), or the Barcroft Sports Center on Four-Mile-Run Drive (near S. George Mason Drive).

Thursday, May 24, 2007

The BCCA Needs Your Help; Newsweek on Schools

Quick Note:

This is a Thursday post. If you're arriving now from the link on yesterday's email, make sure you read today's post and scroll down to see everything from the past week. Enjoy! --Steve


Drive These Projects Through the Intersections!
Buckingham has money within its reach to improve some of the intersections around here, but Patrick Hope, the Buckingham Community Civic Association president, and the BCCA need help shepherding these projects through the Neighborhood Conservation Program.

The intersections (listed in no particular order) are some of the darkest, fastest, most pedestrian-brutal in the neighborhood:

Contact Pat Hope if you wish to help get these projects done. It's paperwork pushing, deadline hitting kind of work, but the neighborhood (especially the pedestrians) will love you for it. The projects need doing, and the neighborhood could lose the money if we do not take advantage of the budget.

W&L Places in Arlington
Newsweek has placed all of Arlington’s public high schools into the top 1 percent in the nation, with HB Woodlawn (12), Washington and Lee (31), and Yorktown (56) making it into the top 100. I could not help but notice that this press release from the Arlington Public Schools says, “In addition H-B Woodlawn Secondary Program, Yorktown and Washington-Lee High Schools have made the ‘Top High Schools in America’ list.”

Funny how Yorktown was transplaced…the writers can’t even claim alphabetizing. I just feel badly that the students, faculty and staff of W&L look like they showed rather than placed in Arlington.


Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Glebe/Pershing Intersection

A Few Changes Comes with Sabbatical
I’m doing things a little differently here now that I’m on sabbatical and can use my time differently. I’ll always have the Wednesday post, as you’ve come to expect it. However, I’m also updating throughout the week. Check out the site whenever you have a minute, and you just might find something new—I’d like to get it up to a daily post, but we’ll see. Or, on Wednesdays, when I email you, you can remember to scroll on down to all the stories.

A few stories today:
  • Is this the summer of our changing landscape?
  • Do we want more of the Post in our backyard, Scott?
  • Get Connectioned.
  • Reading the Blogs (Green Miles and Drinking Liberally)
  • Police Notes

Since last Wednesday’s post (scroll down past the most recent posts):

  • Barrett School Notes (Find out what’s up with our neighborhood ES).
  • CVS’s New Doo! (The jumbo photos in the windows are there to stay).

Next Wednesday, however, I’ll be out of town, so I’ll post Thursday. I plan to post tomorrow, too.


This Should Be the Summer of a New Glebe and Pershing Intersection

Plans for changes to the corner of N. Glebe Road and N. Pershing Drive are still on target for summer, reported William “Bill” Roberts, in an email to Patrick Hope, the president of the Buckingham Community Civic Association.

In January, Mr. Roberts, the capital projects manager in the Department of environmental Services, said Buckinghamsters could expect changes to the corner this summer, but the project has been at least four years in process, so some of us are a little skeptical that this is finally it.

Now he reports that the utility poles should be ready to be taken down by the end of June. However, in the past Mr. Roberts has said that the law does not stipulate how quickly the companies must take them down once they are ready for removal.

The county is hoping this week to secure easement agreements regarding changes in the sidewalks, from Jenco Corp., the owner of the Buckingham Shopping Center properties. That is the last step needed in the process before the county can send out requests for proposals for the rest of the work, Mr. Roberts said in a voice mail.
In the
Feb. 22 post (click the link and then scroll down to see it), Mr. Roberts is quoted: “The only thing we need now is the easements for the sidewalk” from Marvin Jower of Jenco Corp. In a voice mail, Mr. Roberts said his office sent the easement paperwork over to the owner’s offices and will be getting back in touch with the property owner’s offices later this week in an attempt to get the agreements signed.

The project includes a complete renovation of the corner: new street lights and traffic lights, new bus stops, reconfigured driving lanes, better crosswalks, wider sidewalks and changed entrances and exits to the various parking lots.

The project originally had an art component, but “When we took the streetscape plans to the Historic Affairs Board, we couldn't get them to approve the proposed sculptures (they didn't think it was compatible with the surroundings) and VDOT was also giving us problems about the sculptures being a hazard and the property owner wanted nothing to do with it. In the meantime, the artist had become ill and the county's art curator left for another job. It was becoming so problematic and holding up the rest of the project that we decided to concentrate on getting the streetscape built,” Mr. Roberts wrote.

The Virginia Department of Transportation considers Glebe Road to be an artery controlled by the state. Any changes to it must win county and state approval.

Judy Sutton Moore, a world-reknown sculptor, works often on a grand scale (here’s links: Silver Spring, Anne Arundel, her resume) and was originally commissioned for the Buckingham site in 2002.

Do We Want the Washington Post More in Our Backyard?

In his blog, the Sun Gazette’s Scott McCaffrey said he thought it odd that the Washington Post still focuses most of its attention on the downtown activities of the city council rather than the county boards of the suburbs. (I’d provide the link, but I can’t find it again—yikes; if someone sends it, I’ll post it). He thought the “Posties” were missing the boat by focusing their Metro section on Metro DC.

I got thinking: does Scott really want the Post to suddenly notice Arlington? He’s right when he often says that the Post pays little attention to Arlington. They pay more attention to Fairfax and Alexandria, and there, still, they often miss the mark.

The Washington Post has hundreds of people in their editorial division--hundreds. If they suddenly pointed that small army this way, I can only wonder what would happen.

And I can’t help but think, too, about how The Washington Post companies own the Gazette newspapers in Montgomery, Prince William, Frederick, Anne Arundel and Howard counties in Maryland, and how they print around 100 pages per week (often a lot more) in each of their Montgomery County editions (Rockville, Aspen Hill, etc.). They soak up about 75 percent of those pages with ads. They couldn’t pull off something so grand in Arlington, but their ability to pull away advertising dollars would be formidable. During the legislative season, they send a team to live (or at least work full time—not just a little side trip) in Annapolis. They have the Montgomery Gazette, fully dedicated to business and politics of the county. And of course they have the monetary power of the Post Cos. behind them when it comes time to upgrade printing presses and electronic architecture.

A gorilla the size of the Washington Post suddenly taking up residence in the Arlington’s living rooms would make one long for the days of anonymity.

Reading the Blogs
The Green Miles on My Favorite Subject: Beer.

I’ve got to put a plug into the rather long rant the Green Miles gave to wasteful and egads!) warm beer vending at the National’s game the other day. And I’m sorry the poor guy couldn’t have his fill.

Drinking Liberally

Speaking of beer, I just found Drinking Liberally, which purports to promote democracy "one pint at a time." That's my kind of group!


Get Connectioned…

It often slips my mind to remind my blog readers to read my column in the Arlington Connection—the most recent two: Floating Down the W&OD, and Romance at the Farmer's Market (which, for one reason or another isn't uploaded on the Connection site yet).

Remember: if you live in the 22203 zip code, call the Arlington Connection and get a FREE subscription to the paper: 703-917-6465. Right now we don’t have enough Buckinghamsters subscribing so the bulk mail takes forever—Sign Up Now!

If you just don’t want another piece of mail, grab a copy at Murky Coffee in Clarendon, Bob & Edith’s Diner on Columbia Pike (the original joint near S. Courthouse Road), or the Barcroft Sports Center on Four-Mile-Run Drive (near S. George Mason Drive).

Police Notes for Buckingham

May 19: Commercial Burglary, 100 block of N. Glebe Road. Between 6 p.m. on May 19 and 7 a.m. on May 20, someone broke into a business and took a safe containing cash.

May 22: Burglary, unit block (an address below 100) of S. Glebe Rd. (It’s not technically Buckingham, but it’s too close to ignore.) Between 6:15 p.m. on May 21 and a little after midnight on May 22, someone entered a business by smashing the plate glass front door and took hair cutting equipment.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Barrett School Notes

More and More Kindergarteners, Summer Assessments, and the SOL.
K.W. Barrett Elementary School has a lot on its plate in the coming weeks and months: Principal Theresa “Terry” Bratt expects at least four and “maybe five” Kindergarten classes for the coming school year; over the summer, the staff will be trying to get all the incoming Kindergartners in for an assessment of their pre-reading skills; and students are taking the Standards of Learning exams over the next couple of weeks, with English as a second language speakers taking the same exam as native speakers.

As many as 80 parents crowded into the school’s library last Thursday for a powerpoint presentation that covered the essentials of Kindergarten life—the curriculum, the homework (yes, homework), the readin’, writin’ and ‘rithmetic of the kids’ daily lives.

Mrs. Bratt said in a later interview that she has been told to expect 71 new faces, but she said she thinks that number is too low, and instead is anticipating, “80-plus.” If the number reaches 89, there will be five Kindergarten classes. Mrs. Bratt called the number a “wild card” that she won’t see until much later.

She said she knows Barrett will get more than 71 based on the number of parents who showed up on Thursday, estimated at over 80, which would work out to 65 to 70 families. Last year, the prediction was for the “high 60s,” and the school had 85 Kindergartners on its first day, she said.

The school reached an enrollment low of about 400 students a few years ago, while other nearby schools were packed. A boundary committee was formed, but rather than shifting the boundaries of the school—a “NASA School” with a strong science focus—it opened its doors to the community and marketed heavily.

Barrett now serves a bundle of six other elementary schools. Parents of students from Ashlawn, Barcroft, Glebe, Long Branch, McKinley, Nottingham and Tuckahoe may apply in a lottery and choose to send their kids to Barrett. As well, students at Barcroft, which has a year-round schedule, can be admitted to Barrett if their parents want the traditional summers-off schedule.

In the first year of the wider enrollment, 30 students came, last year she had to turn students away. The school board predicted enrollment to be about 340 at the start of this year, yet current enrollment is 388, Mrs. Bratt said. Capacity for the school is 525 students (though she said that would fill “every nook and cranny”), and the school is projected to have over 400 students next year.

Barrett will continue with a summertime “assessment” for in-coming kids (this will be the second summer); it measures skills such as basic recognition of letters and words and number recognition for rising Kindergartners. Mrs. Bratt was quick to say in the meeting Thursday that it’s not a test, and there is no way to fail this.

They use the assessment to place students into classrooms in a way that will make a good experience for teachers and students, Mrs. Bratt said.

This is not designed to put all the brightest kids or the best readers together in one class. “All the classes are heterogeneously grouped,” Mrs. Bratt said. The assessment allows the school to put students together in “reading groups” inside each classroom, about four groups to a class. In previous years students had to be shuffled from one class to another to get them with similarly-skilled students. This year, that didn’t happen, Mrs. Bratt said.

“It really made really nice groups of kids working together,” she said.

If your child will be a Kindergartener this fall, stop by school’s main office or call to set up an appointment for an assessment.

Third, fourth and fifth graders at Barrett and all over the county are taking the Standards of Learning Exams, which assess students in Reading, Math, Science and History. The tests are written and administered by the state, but they apply toward meeting federal No Child Left Behind guidelines.

Mrs. Bratt is concerned about the outcomes of this year’s test, as it will not allow students to take the Stanford English Language Proficiency Test, which ESL students had taken over the past two years.

Mrs. Bratt said that the test measures English proficiency, but not content, which the federal government determined was too different from the standard SOL that other students took.
“I’m expecting that we’re going to have difficulty again because we’re not going to have the test,” Mrs. Bratt said. Mrs. Bratt was a language arts teacher before entering school administration, and she said it takes four to seven years for a student to go from being able to listen well in English to being able to read at the level the SOL tests require. Teachers are not allowed to read the exam aloud to the students.

“If [students have] been here only a couple years, they won’t have the skills to read that [SOL] test,” she said. (For a related post on this, see the Sept. 27, 2006 post.)

Thursday, May 17, 2007

CVS's New Doo!

Just when you think you’ve seen it all, CVS has gotten nostalgic at the corner of North Pershing Drive and North Glebe Road. Hanging in the display windows where the cheap swim gear and small hibachis should be, are classic photos of Arlington and our very own Buckingham neighborhood.

The photos will hang for the "foreseeable future," said Mike DeAngelis, a spokesman for corporate CVS. No more removing Santas for Easter Bunnies for diving fins.

Copies from the holdings of the Library of Congress and the Arlington Public Library’s Virginia Room, these black and white prints, about two feet by two feet, cover photos from the 1860s to the 1970s.

"I think it looks great," said Norma Garcia, the manager of the store.

One photo is of a rather bleak-looking Buckingham Garden Apartment, taken circa 1970 after the leaves had fallen. Foreground bushes hide the front doorways of the building, so the metal railing leading to the basement takes center stage a bit. Not the best photo of our historic buildings.

You'll notice in this photo (maybe, you can't see it--it's the best that I can do with a cell phone), how little has changed between the 1970 photo of the Buckingham Shopping "Strip" in the middle of the photo, and the same Buckingham Shopping "Center", reflected in the window on the upper left the other day.

However other photos include the Buckingham Theatre in what is now the Buckingham Station Post Office, and the Buckingham Shopping Strip, which has not really changed all that much since 1970.

"This basically is the décor that we’ve chosen for these windows," Mr. DeAngelis said.
Most CVS stores do not have the display space like the store in Buckingham, and it is a “bit of a hassle” to change out the different displays for different seasons. The windows allowed the company to think of permanent display apropos for the neighborhood, he said.

"We thought it would be a nice touch," he said.

A store in Old Town Alexandria has a similar display, Mr. DeAngelis said.


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

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Sewage Lines

Very short post today
My computer's busted, and I'm buried in portfolios to grade, and may wife is out of town. Plus, there's T-ball tonight. This should be the last of the very short posts. I've got a couple stories in the pipe that I'm aching to let see the light of day. More soon. I'll do police notes later, too. The last I checked, there were only a couple smallish ones. Plus, there's some rather bad looking graffiti on the side of Harris Teeter--photos later.

Work on Sewer Lines and Plumbing Continued.
Traffic has been slow at the corner of N. George Mason Drive and N. Henderson Road as crews work on the main sewer line and other plumging to the Buckingham Village 2 site, members of the crews have told me. The BV2 site is the large patch of dirt at that corner. The upscale townhome development is now called the "Buckingham Commons."

A source has told me that one of the units has sold and a couple others are being considered. I haven't had a chance to confirm that, however.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Websites; Drinks; Donaldson Run

Exclusive: “Soft Launch” of Fit Arlington Web Site.
Fit Arlington, a web site operated by the county to promote “a culture of fitness,” was launched softly, yesterday. The BuckinghamHeraldTrib is the first news outlet to be told of this.

The county hasn’t told other news outlets yet in order to work any bugs out of the system before an official launch in the near future, said Susan Kalish, in the department of parks, recreation and cultural resources.

The site is not intended to be a destination in itself, but “we’re trying to find ways to promote everybody else’s event…We’re helping you find out all the neat stuff that’s already happening,” Ms. Kalish said.
She said she isn’t as worried about promoting the larger events that have marketing budgets (such as the inaugural run of the
Battle of the Boulevard).

“It’s the little guys. That’s the ones I’m hoping we can help,” she said.

The site not only lists activities and allows groups to post their events, it has links to county-run sports leagues, recreation centers, and other low-impact activities such as birding, hiking and gardening.

New Drink at Java Shack
It’s a shot of summer in the arm—this new drink I’m having. I’m writing the blog today from the Java Shack on N. Franklin Road in Clarendon, and the in-house chef, Kylen McCarthy, who has worked at area establishments such as Tallula on Washington Boulevard, dreamed up this blended concoction of lemonade concentrate and mint with a whipped-milk-and-mint topping. The mint is fresh, says Dale Roberts, the Java Shack owner. A mint leaf garnishes the glass.

I just had one of the first batch ever made, gratis. Mr. Roberts said he hasn’t priced it yet, so I’d suggest you get in while he’s still feeling generous! It won’t go too cheap; the ingredients are high quality and the process—whip the bottom then the top before putting them together—is a bit labor intensive.

It’s as yet unnamed (I went with “Spring Fling”), but “green stuff” seems to be taking hold, unfortunately. Given the big race this weekend something with “Derby” in it might work better.

They’re serving it in an oversized shot glass on a saucer with a small spoon for scooping out the end of the milk. Delish!

Donaldson Re-renovated, nice.
Took the boy for a bike ride through north Arlington where all the rich people live, swung into the Gulf Branch Nature Center for a look-see. Then, on the way back we swung through the newly re-renovated Zachary Taylor Park (2900 Military Rd.). The sign now says it’s a “Nature Preserve,” which is why we rode through it—that’s a new moniker to me, but I might not have been as observant as I thought. The park went through major changes starting as far back as 2001, with major rebuilding starting in 2003. I have not heard back from the county yet as to when it changed from “park” to “preserve.” And in fact, the latest telephone calls have me wondering if I misread the sign. I’ll double check on the next bike ride.

Ironically, it looks as “natural” as a Zen garden, which is to say it’s very pretty but the plantings haven’t grown in to make the place look like it was created by the Great Landscape Designer in the Sky, but by the Great Landscape Designer in the County.

Still, the landscaping is nice. The trails were good for walking or riding bikes. Donaldson Run, which flows through the park, is pretty and has a couple nice waterfalls. Pretty.

Much of this has been an ongoing project over a number of years. However, last June’s storms (remember them?) blasted area rivers, the
county says on its web site, and the park needed post-renovation renovations in the past year. Now the county’s Department of Environmental Services has taken over riverbed restoration, said Susan Kalish of the Department of Parks Recreation and Community Resources.

All bike rides eventually end up at—wait for it—Sparrow Pond on Four Mile Run (near the Long Branch Nature Center), where we saw the usual turtles, bull frogs (in full, throat-busting croak), red-wing black birds, and ducks. The other day we saw a garter snake (I’m always surprised by the number of snakes we see).
The real fun was we got a good peek at some birders from the Northern Virginia Bird Club, bedecked with oversized hats, sunglasses and binoculars. Birders are a unique breed.

I suggested that they could leave the viewing deck and walk onto the peninsula which juts into the pond to see some of the wildlife up close, rather than using their binoculars. They pooh-poohed that as illegal, which I don’t believe it is. Still, they were fun to talk to and we traded stories of what we’d seen, most of which I’ve reported here in the past—we were all very excited about the wood ducks. One of the birders had seen an oriole.

Police Notes for Buckingham
April 30: Burglary, 4300 block of N. Henderson Rd.
Between 1:30 and 1:40 a.m., a 28-year-old woman awoke to find a man climbing in her bedroom window. The victim screamed and the suspect fled, the police reported. Officers responded and stopped a suspect matching the description provided by the victim. Edilberto Perez, 27, of Arlington, was arrested and charged with Burglary.

April 28:
Missile into Occupied Dwelling, 300 block of N. George Mason Dr.
At approximately 11:00 p.m., a man was standing in his kitchen when someone threw two bottles through the front window of the apartment. The victim had to jump out of the way to avoid flying glass but he was not injured, police reported. Two neighbors, Mario Sical-Jeronimo, 38, and Carolos Sical-Jeronimo, 20, were arrested and charged with throwing a missile into an occupied dwelling.

April 24: Attempted Breaking and Entering, 4500 block of N. Pershing Dr.
Between 7:00 p.m. on April 26 and 9:30 a.m. the next day, someone tampered with a window and basement door to a church. It does not appear anything was taken, police said.

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