Over the Fence

News for Neighbors from the Arlington Heights Civic Association

MARCH 1999

New Executive Committee Elected at January Meeting

Despite mild temperatures, there was a relatively low turnout for the annual AHCA meeting and election of officers. The attendance problem was due to a partial evacuation of the neighborhood because of a natural gas leak. Neighbors who were able to attend the meeting agreed to move ahead with the meeting and the election.

Outgoing AHCA President Jim Gill reported on a number of on-going association activities before turning the gavel over to the newly elected President. He provided those in attendance with an update on neighborhood projects under the Neighborhood Conservation Advisory Committee process, a status report on the unresolved issue of the lack of bus service to Drew School for Arlington Heights pre-school children, and information about the planned Barcroft Park and the Columbia Pike initiative. In the absence of Treasurer Bryan Sieling, Jim reported that the response to the 1999 membership drive appeared to be encouraging, and that more neighborhood participation and increased newsletter advertising would mean solid support for Over the Fence and for a number of neighborhood social events in the coming year.

On behalf of the Nominating Committee, John Morrill then presented to the AHCA members the list of candidates for AHCA offices. The proposed slate included Jay Wind for President, Mary Ellen Finn for First Vice President, John Morrill for Secretary, and Bryan Sieling for Treasurer. The four were elected unanimously.

Jim Gill and Jay Wind co-led the remainder of the meeting, with Jay exercising his new role as President where decision-making was necessary.

Jim announced that Ellen Taylor has volunteered to take over the role of Transportation Committee chair, in addition to continuing her other duties as Newsletter Distribution Coordinator. He encouraged all interested residents to attend this committee’s meetings, as important projects such as the potential widening of Arlington Boulevard are likely to affect our neighborhood.

Mary Ellen Finn reported that the County had approved funding for landscape improvements to the park at 9th St. S. and S. Irving. St. In addition, she noted that townhouse construction was beginning on the site of the old DMV lot at 5th St. S. and Glebe Road. AHCA has been very active over the years monitoring plans for development of this site, and will continue to do so. Jay Wind reported that the County Board approved the Eckerd Drug proposal to build a pharmacy with drive-through service at the current site of America’s Best Diner on the southeast corner of Columbia Pike and S. Walter Reed Dr. Eckerd agreed to certain concessions to citizen interests, including open park space, angled parking to help reduce the size of the parking lot, and preservation of space for the weekly Farmer’s Market.

Joan Gill reminded neighbors of the social events sponsored by AHCA throughout the year -- the Block Party, garden tour, Halloween and costume party for Arlington Heights children, and holiday caroling. She volunteered to organize the garden tour and caroling, and to continue her role as editor of Over the Fence. John Morrill agreed to be the organizing liaison for the Block Party and will work to identify the neighborhood volunteers to help out on various Block Party projects.

Before concluding, Jim Gill reviewed with the newly elected Executive Committee AHCA assignments to various County organizations, including the Arlington County Civic Federation. Jim agreed to take over the role of neighborhood representative to the County’s Neighborhood Conservation Advisory Committee. Arlington Heights newcomer, Dan Perch, agreed to serve as alternate to this committee.

The meeting ended with the newly elected officers and neighborhood volunteers discussing an exciting year in Arlington Heights. Immediately after the meeting, the Executive Committee began its investigation into the situation that led to the gas leak and subsequent evacuation.

Property Damage, Inconvenience Accompany Construction Project

Neighbors living in the area of S. Garfield, S. Highland, and 7th St. S. recently had to deal with damaged property, a sewer line break and a gas leak causing a four-square block evacuation. These problems were created by the installation of a fiber optic conduit by E-Spire Communications Company and its subcontractor, Fishel Company. Residents were outraged that they had not been notified of the construction plans and that oversight of the work was lacking. An active response by the neighbors, with the backing and support of the Arlington Heights Civic Association, brought about an immediate work stoppage and a review of the situation by County officials. Following adherence to a number of County requirements imposed after these incidents, the construction project was completed.

Dennis Johnson of the County’s Department of Public Works (DPW) reports that Arlington has had four companies express interest in obtaining permits to lay fiber optic cable. In the future, permits will have many more requirements. DPW is working closely with the permits office and traffic management department before permits are approved, and they are committed to monitoring the work in progress more closely. A company named Fibernet is scheduled to begin work at 8th Street S., going north along Fillmore to Wilson Blvd. Starting time is unknown, but they should post signs and alert the neighbors.

Fire Department Battalion Chief George Lyon reviewed the procedures used in evacuating neighbors during the gas leak. The Fire Department evacuated because the leak was underground, and they did not know where it would go.  They do not believe it went into houses, though homeowners reported smelling gas.  The fire chief believed that the gas fumes had come into houses from the windows, not underground; however they took precautions.

When Fire Department evacuated the area, they were not sure how long it would take the gas company to find the source of the leak. However, the leak was found before they got to the end of the block to notify neighbors. The danger, which was never high, was reduced quickly. Meanwhile, the Fire Department is doing a Critical Incident Review and will be listening to the concerns and suggestions of Arlington Heights residents to find "lessons learned."

Neighbors who wish to settle current claims or who discover further damage should contact Mike Krouse of E-Spire Communications Company at 386-2229. Follow up with a letter to Krouse, 12701 Fairlakes Circle Drive, Fairfax, VA 22033. Also, contact your homeowners insurance carrier. While E-Spire states that it is making repairs and is working to settle claims, they have not given us their insurance information to file claims directly.

(Webmaster's note: Some text in the above article was edited after publication)

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Rallying ‘Round our Neighborhood School
by Mary Ellen Finn

What do you think would happen to our neighborhood value if we read a headline in the paper that said, "Patrick Henry School Students One of Two Schools in Arlington to Pass SOL Tests"? Helping these students to achieve is in our interest whether we have children in Patrick Henry or not. So, we will be keeping in touch with the school, and periodically publishing ways that neighbors can help. Please respond as generously as you can to benefit all.

The school is planning its Career Day for March 26 to acquaint students with possibilities for the future and to give them information on what it takes to get there. Please consider talking to students about your career. Your talk would be to a small group and last 1/2 hour or less. Contact Carole Mack at 228-5820 or Carole mack@USA.net for information or to volunteer. Carole, the school’s Counselor, also is looking for money for her student support fund. This money is used to purchase enrichment classes for children who cannot afford them. If you cannot give time, what about giving money?

In addition, the school is looking for volunteers for its "Project Read" program. Tutors will spend one hour a week with elementary school students teaching them to improve their reading skills. The sessions take place on Thursday evenings, 7:00-8:00, in the Patrick Henry Library. Contact Cathy O’Malley, AHCA’s liaison to the Patrick Henry PTA, at 271-8943.

Trees Need TLC, Too!

Properly planted and maintained trees are one of a neighborhood’s biggest assets. The County’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Resources and the Urban Forestry Commission have established a collection of helpful information on trees and tree care in the urban environment. All reference materials are accessible to the public. Topics range from the general to the technical, and include information on tree selection, planting and care, as well as recognizing tree hazards and when to hire a professional. Learn more by attending the Urban Forestry Education Initiative Kick-Off Ceremony on March 18 at the Central Library Auditorium, 1015 N. Quincy St. Call 228-6557 for further information.

Needed: A Few History Buffs

AHCA is compiling a history of our neighborhood, and we need your help! For example, we know that, in 1724, James Robertson purchased 432 acres of land, including what is now the Arlington Heights neighborhood area between Arlington Boulevard and 6th St. S. In 1730, Robertson added 629 acres, including the remainder of our neighborhood. We also know that our neighborhood is the only remaining area which maintains the "Arlington Heights" name, once used to designate a very large tract of land from the Potomac River westward. But what’s happened in the meantime? If you’d like to work with a team of neighbors to help fill in the blanks, (no stress! no deadlines! just fun!), call 685-1760. Also, if you have information you would like to share (seniors and past civic association members, are you listening?), please jot it down and send it to 121 S. Hudson Street.

Message from the President
by Jay Wind

Dear Neighbors,
Thank you for electing me president of the Arlington Heights Civic Association. Thank you also, Jim Gill, for many years of devoted service as president. I know we will continue to rely on your wisdom and guidance in the coming years. I am grateful to you for your offer to serve as "dean" of our delegation to the Arlington County Civic Federation and as our representative to the Neighborhood Conservation Advisory Committee.

The election meeting took place in the midst of an evacuation of 30 homes and Patrick Henry School due to a gas leak, caused by drilling for fiber optic cable tubes on 7th St. S. I am grateful to a number of our neighbors, and especially Meade Hanna, for meeting with County officials to make sure nothing like that ever happens again.

As a way of introduction, I come from Chicago, with a BA from the University of Wisconsin and an MBA from the University of Georgia. My wife Estelle and I moved to Arlington in 1978 and to Arlington Heights in 1979. There, we hatched 3 kids: Paul (13), Julianna (12), and Rosalie (9). We moved to our current home at 611 S. Ivy Street in 1991. My activism got me appointed in 1991 to Arlington’s Parks and Recreation Commission, which I chaired in 1996 and 1997. My term on the Commission ended in 1998, and just as I was starting to enjoy having Tuesday nights free, y’all elected me president of AHCA! I’m an active runner -- wave to me as I run by! Recently, I directed the track meets on Sunday mornings at TJ, and I will direct a 5K footrace on May 16 starting at the Arlington-Fairfax Jewish Congregation and circling twice through our neighborhood.

My agenda for the coming year concurs with the themes that have always been important in our neighborhood: safety and security; good relations with County government so that we can take full advantage of County resources; promotion of our schools, Patrick Henry Elementary and Thomas Jefferson Middle, as well as the Career Center and Library; improving the park at 9th and S. Irving and keeping a strong neighborhood interest in the park around TJ.

During my term of office, I want to increase membership and member participation in AHCA. I also want to expand our relationships with the institutions and businesses in our neighborhood. I recently set up a website for AHCA at http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Hollow/7939. I’ve also set up an e-mail list, AHCA@ONELIST.COM. You can join our e-mail list at http://www.onelist.com/subscribe.cgi/ahca. You can reach me by phone at 703-920-5193 or by e-mail at SOCKSTHECAT@WORLDNET.ATT.NET. I hope you will consider participating in one of AHCA’s programs this year, and I look forward to seeing you at our meetings.


... and Our Other AHCA Officers

MARY ELLEN FINN, First Vice President, has lived in Arlington Heights for over 4 years and in Arlington, over 20. She is an Arlington School Social Worker. Mary Ellen served as President of, and held other offices in, the Lyon Park Citizens Association. She also served on Arlington’s Tenant Landlord Commission, the Fiscal Affairs Advisory Commission, and on the Committee to develop the Commercial/Townhouse zoning category. Mary Ellen would like to increase neighborhood support for the Patrick Henry PTA -- "The quality of our neighborhood school is very important to keeping value in our neighborhood" -- and on providing education and encouragement for proper tree maintenance and replacement. Mary Ellen adds that this is the year we will see the park at 9th and S. Irving developed as a result of our success in receiving a Small Parks Grant.

JOHN MORRILL, Secretary, has lived on S. Irving St. since 1994 and in the DC area since 1983. He is on the staff of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, and he writes occasional freelance articles. John says, "A great bunch of people live here. AHCA meetings and activities are wonderful, stress-free ways to get to know your extended neighbors." He urges all to attend quarterly meetings, join AHCA, and participate in neighborhood activities.

BRYAN SIELING, Treasurer, and his wife Nanci moved to Arlington Heights in 1993. Originally from southern Ohio, Bryan moved to DC in 1987 to attend graduate school at George Washington University. Since 1991, Bryan has been an exhibit designer and design manager at the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum of Natural History. Bryan’s interests include art, antique automobiles, and woodworking. Bryan says he looks forward to serving again as Treasurer for AHCA.

Keep ‘em Coming!

Membership in AHCA is approaching an all-time high! Obviously, this is a reflection of the great amount of pride in our neighborhood as well as a commitment to keeping our little corner of the world safe, beautiful and friendly. Don’t be left out -- you can join AHCA for only $10 per year. Send checks, payable to the Arlington Heights Civic Association, to 121 S. Hudson St., Arlington VA 22204.

Taking Steps for Neighborhood Improvement
by Jim Gill

The Neighborhood Conservation Advisory Committee (NCAC) is one of the tools we can use to improve the physical structure of Arlington Heights. It lets us tap County funds for improvements to our neighborhood. Some improvement projects, such as street lighting, neighborhood signs, and traffic calming, are fully funded by the County. Other projects, such as curbs, sidewalks, and gutters, require County and property owner cost sharing. In most cases, the property owner pays less for NCAC cost share projects than if they were funded under other programs.

All NCAC projects require neighborhood initiative.

Arlington Heights has a well-written Neighborhood Conservation Plan that is the foundation for our NCAC projects. We also have active NCAC representatives. Last month, the County turned on attractive new street lights on S. Hudson St. These lights were fully funded by the NCAC process. The NCAC sponsored neighborhood signs that we ordered have been shipped from the manufacturer, and we expect the County to install them soon. We have another lighting project funded and expected to be installed later this year, and two more are in initial staffing.

We can do more, and we can do it on your street. To do so, we need your initiative. The work is not hard. Our NCAC representatives will explain the details of the process to you, and they will staff the requests for improvements through the NCAC system. You must provide the ideas and help get your neighbors to sign the petition asking for the improvement.

Come by Hudson St., see what your street could look like, and contact me at 685-1760. You do your part, the NCAC does its part, and Arlington Heights gets better.

Update on Park Beautification

In January, the County Board approved AHCA’s application for a Small Parks Grant in the maximum amount of $10,000 for the park at S. Irving and 9th St. S. The County will assign a project manager to the project in early March. After that, the final details of the plan will be worked out between the County and AHCA, and the new design should be in place by early summer. Neighbors interested in working on the final design with Mary Ellen Finn and County staff should contact Mary Ellen at 521-3217.

Extension Offers Water-wise Gardener Program

In an effort to make citizens more aware of how improper fertilization and pesticide use can negatively impact local water quality and that of the Chesapeake Bay, the Arlington Office of the Virginia Cooperative Extension is offering a free hands-on lawn care program to Arlington residents for improvement of their lawns.

The program is part of a statewide Water-wise Gardener Program which teaches residents how to care for their lawns and landscapes in a manner that produces a healthy and attractive lawn while protecting water quality. By following proven university turf care recommendations, any resident can achieve an attractive and sustainable lawn.

The program consists of three spring seminars, two fall seminars, and a visit and advice from a local Master Gardener. As an incentive, each participant will receive one free soil test. The spring program dates are March 20, April 10, and May 8 from 9:00 am to noon each day. If you would like to participate in this program, contact Rebecca Mead at 228-7633.

Residential Program Center Continues to Serve Community
by Patricia A. Zimmerman, Volunteer Coordinator, RPC

The Residential Program Center at 1554 Columbia Pike was established in 1994 to meet the needs of Arlington’s homeless adults and substance abuse population. Operated by Volunteers of America Chesapeake, RPC’s goal is to provide a safe and supportive environment in which to assist individual clients to lead self sufficient and independent lives within the community.

The Homeless Services Unit accommodates 44 adult men and women, providing temporary housing, meals, and in-house case management, working toward self-sufficiency through the client’s commitment to RPC’s programs. The average length of stay is from 30 to 45 days, with self-sufficiency follow-up continued after discharge.

RPC also provides substance abuse treatment. The Detoxification Unit offers non-medical detoxification services based on the social model, allowing safe withdrawal from drugs and/or alcohol in a safe environment. It also offers short-term education-based treatment for up to fourteen days. The Early Recovery Program is an eight-week intermediate care program for twelve individuals who have demonstrated motivation for recovery.

RPC has received the active support of many faith communities and civic organizations since its inception. For the past two years, Thanksgiving dinner has been prepared and brought to the shelter by The Moose Lodge at Baileys Crossroads, and served on Thanksgiving day by volunteers from St. Charles of Borremeo, the Arlington Unitarian Universalist Church, Trinity Episcopal, as well as individuals from different walks of life who have decided to help the homeless on a holiday. For the past three years, Christmas dinner has been prepared and served to more than 60 residents on Christmas day by the Rodef Shalom Congregation.

RPC always welcomes the generous participation of volunteers who wish to contribute their diverse talents to fill the many needs of the Center.

For further information about RPC, including volunteer opportunities and donations for the shelter, contact the AHCA representatives to the RPC Neighborhood Advisory Committee: Wayne Cofer at 979-1029 or Eileen Janas at 521-9171.

RPC Open House

The Residential Program Center at 1554 Columbia Pike will host an Open House on Thursday, March 4 from 3:00 to 7:00 pm. Guests will have an opportunity to tour the homeless shelter and meet the staff. Refreshments will be served, special Arlington guests will attend, and a choir from Mt. Olive Baptist Church will perform in the early evening.

TJ Play Pays Tribute to Retiring Principal Larry Grove

Play: "Get Smart"
March 18, 7:30 pm
$5.00 admission

Pizza Sales at 6:00 pm, Green Commons, lower level
Theater Doors Open at 7:00 pm
"Get Smart" theme performed by the Advanced Band at 7:15 pm

Get Smart is a short comedy based on the popular 1960’s television show. The March 18 performance pays tribute to retiring Thomas Jefferson Middle School principal Larry Grove. Proceeds of the evening’s ticket, pizza, and candy sales will be donated in Larry Grove’s name to the Arlington Free Clinic.

Additional performances: March 19 and 20, 7:30 pm

For more information, visit the website at: http://tjms2.jefferson.arlington.k12.va.us/play.html

Community Calendar

Mar 2 - Arlington County Civic Federation, 7:30 pm, Hazel Conference Center, Arlington Hospital

Mar 11 - Neighborhood Conservation Advisory Committee, 7:30 pm, #1 Courthouse Plaza, C&D

Mar 17 - Adult New-Readers Book Group: Read and Discuss "Make Way for August," by Mamie Moore. Talk about this book with other adults learning to read and speak English. Call Susan at 703-228-6545 for a book you may keep and for more details. Columbia Pike Branch Library, 7:00 pm.

Mar 18 - "Get Smart," TJ Middle School Play, Tribute to Retiring Principal Larry Grove, 7:30 pm, TJ Theater, $5.00 admission. Additional performances March 19 and 20 at 7:30 pm.

Apr 6 - Arlington County Civic Federation, 7:30 pm, Hazel Conference Center, Arlington Hospital

Apr 8 - Neighborhood Conservation Advisory Committee, 7:30 pm, #1 Courthouse Plaza, C&D

Apr 13 - Arlington County SPECIAL ELECTION- to fill vacant County Board seat

Apr 20 - AHCA Quarterly Meeting, 7:30 pm, Career Center

Apr 29 - Columbia Pike Town Meeting, 7:30 pm, Career Center. Stakeholders in the Columbia Pike Community will share their opinions with Arlington County Board members.

May 4 - Arlington County Civic Federation, 7:30 pm, Hazel Conference Center, Arlington Hospital

May 8 - Columbia Pike Blues Festival, noon-6:00 pm, Patrick Henry School Field, 701 S. Highland St., FREE ADMISSION, sponsored by the Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization

May 13 - Neighborhood Conservation Advisory Committee, 7:30 pm, #1 Courthouse Plaza, C&D

May 16 - 5K run (2.5K walk), hosted by the Arlington-Fairfax Jewish Congregation Men’s Club. Call Jay Wind at 920-5193 for further details.

Mondays at 11:00 am - Monday’s Child, for children ages 3-6. This is a drop-in program; no registration required. (Note: there will be no program on March 29.), Columbia Pike Branch Library

Mondays at 6:30 pm - For children ages 2-4 with an adult. The spring session begins Monday, April 12. To register, call the children’s librarian at 703-228-5713 between March 29 and April 9, Columbia Pike Branch Library

Looking Ahead: June 26 - Arlington Heights Garden Tour


A Holiday Message from the President
by Jim Gill

As I write this, my final holiday message as the president of the Arlington Heights Civic Association, my thoughts go back to the many friends I have made during the past two and one-half years. I wish all of you a wonderful holiday season.

We can be proud of the things we have done together during the past year. Our volunteer newsletter production and distribution network is running smoothly, and the newsletter itself is well received. The block party, puppet show, caroling and garden tour provided wonderful opportunities for us to get to know each other better. We have done our part to get neighborhood signs and new street lights. We should see them before spring.

We should keep the momentum. We are looking for candidates for civic association office and for representatives to other organizations and committees. Volunteer. We need help with our social events. Offer yours. We need membership. Renew or join. We need your thoughts at our meetings. You are welcome there. Please come.

Happy Holidays,
Jim Gill

Neighborhood Projects, Voters’ Issues Dominate October Meeting

Neighbors attending the AHCA quarterly meeting on October 20 received first-hand briefings on several neighborhood projects and issues coming before voters at the November elections. They learned about a new proposed street light improvement project for S. Irving St. between 2nd and 6th Sts. and extending to a portion of 5th and 6th Sts. After receiving unanimous support from those attending the meeting, the project now goes before the County’s Neighborhood Conservation Advisory Committee for recommendation to the County Board. Neighbors also were briefed on a separate proposal to make improvements to the park at 9th St. S. and S. Irving St. This proposal, drafted by an Arlington Heights neighborhood committee and including plans to move the benches, remove diseased trees, and re-landscape, also received unanimous approval. The proposal now goes before the County’s Park and Recreation Commission.

Several guest speakers then briefed the group on four bond issues presented to voters at the November elections. Following each briefing, neighbors voted to endorse all four issues -- Parks and Recreation; School Bond; Westover and Shirlington Branch Libraries; and the Streets, Highways and Neighborhood Conservation. (Editor’s note: all four were approved by Arlington County voters on November 3.)

Next, Arlington County staff members Javier Corredor and Janette Purnell explained the recently established Neighborhood Initiative Area G, which includes Arlington Heights. The Neighborhood Initiative Area G is a group of County employees whose mission is to enhance service delivery to the neighborhood.

In other actions, a Nominating Committee was established to identify candidates for the AHCA offices of President, first Vice President, second Vice President, Treasurer and Secretary. John Morrill, Wayne Cofer and Jim Gill are members of the committee and will present a slate of candidates to AHCA members prior to the January 19 quarterly meeting and elections. Neighbors then discussed issues surrounding the proposed building of an Eckerd Drug Store, including a drive-through pharmacy, at the current site of America’s Best Diner. Concern was expressed that our civic association had not had enough time to study the proposal. President Jim Gill and Vice President Mary Ellen Finn agreed to work with Eckerd Drug representatives and other area civic association leaders to determine any proposed impact on our neighborhood. Attendees also discussed neighborhood social events, including the Puppet Show and Halloween Party sponsored this year by Judi Finney of RE/MAX HORIZONS, Christmas caroling which will be take place in December, and next year’s Block Party. It was suggested that a Block Party chair and committee be selected soon after the January election of officers.

Jim Gill reported that Tracie Cook is moving out of the neighborhood. Jim noted the many contributions of Tracie to the civic association, particularly her leadership as chair of the Traffic/Transportation Committee. Jim noted that the renovation of Arlington Boulevard is something AHCA needs to keep an eye on. Ellen Taylor volunteered to be the new chair of the committee. Finally, Jim Gill showed those in attendance a certificate and plaque which he planned to present to Monique O’Grady in appreciation for her dedication in promoting community spirit through numerous activities throughout the year.

Here We Come a’Caroling

Don’t miss this wonderful chance to enjoy old fashioned fun with your family and friends! Join your neighbors on Saturday, December 19 (note new date!) for an annual tradition in Arlington Heights -- Christmas caroling through our neighborhood. We’ll meet at 7:00 pm at the TJ parking lot next to the tennis courts, at the intersection of 2nd St. S. and S. Ivy St. (Rain date is December 20, same time, same place.) All you need to do is dress warmly and bring a flashlight or candle. Musical accompaniment and song sheets will be provided. Carolers wishing to continue the merriment will assemble after the singing at a local restaurant.

If you have an elderly, sick or disabled individual living with you and you would like the carolers to make a special stop at your home, call 685-1760 and leave a message along with your address.

Call for Nominations

Election of AHCA officers will take place during the January 19, 1999 meeting. Wayne Cofer, John Morrill and Jim Gill have agreed to serve on this year’s Nominating Committee. If you have an interest in becoming involved in our civic association, in serving as an officer, or in simply learning more about our activities, call 685-1760. A member of the committee will get back to you as soon as possible.

Block Party
by Helen Bard-Sobola

The sun prevailed on the third annual Arlington Heights Block Party, held on September 12. For the first two years, the weather did not cooperate, with rain each time. Fortunately, this year there was plenty of sunshine, blue skies and lots of happy faces.

Chairing the event for the third year in a row was Monique O’Grady. She did a fabulous job bringing all the details together -- lots of hard work, creativity and boundless energy. Along with her husband, Mike, an AHCA Vice President, Monique had a slew of enthusiastic volunteers helping here with the festivities. Some of the fun activities for the kids were the moon bounce; face-painting (which I was proud to volunteer for); cotton candy made on the spot; fresh popped popcorn; "Go-Go" the clown, who put on a terrific magic show; and Virginia Keeping, a storyteller. Virginia could also be seen performing for everyone with the singing group "Sentimental Journey." They sang songs from the 40’s and 50’s and will be joining other Arlington Heights neighbors for Christmas caroling this year. Arlington Heights neighbor Jay Wind chimed in: "I’m really enjoying today’s block party and I sure do look forward to going caroling in December." Other events for all were the delicious treats participants provided. In addition, door prizes from local businesses were handed out to lucky ticket holders.

But the best part of the whole day was getting to meet and know people in the neighborhood. I, for one, was delighted to meet "Moms" and their kids, since I am expecting my first in February. George and Cantel Cook attended, along with their four children and their dog, Tipper. George said: "It’s a great day and I’m having a great time seeing people I haven’t seen for a while."

A number of kids signed up for the AHCA newsletter’s Rent*A*Kid column at the block party. For those unaware, this column is a valuable resource for parents, as well as pet owners, who may need a reliable sitter or a bit of extra help around the house. Cami Roa, one of the column’s first advertisers, has been very successful and has turned here success into other entrepreneurial skills. Cami commented: "I am really glad to see more kids sign up for Rent*A*Kid. They can help out around the neighborhood and earn some money, too!"

To sum up the entire day, our best quote came from the Block Party Chair, Monique: "Great people; great fun; and no rain! It was a success!" Next year, we hope to see more of you out there joining in on the fun and getting to know your neighbors!

AHCA wishes to thank the following Arlington businesses for supporting our Block Party.

America’s Best Diner
2820 Columbia Pike

Brenner’s Bakery
3241 Columbia Pike

Cinema ‘n Drafthouse
2903 Columbia Pike

Costco Wholesale
1200 S. Fern Street

Pines of Naples
3205 Columbia Pike

Restaurant Abi
3005 Columbia Pike

That Hair Place in Arlington
38 S. Glebe Road

Uncommon Market
1041 S. Edgewood Street

Now, let’s show our appreciation by supporting them!

Memory Lane
by Lillian Clohosey

(Editor’s Note: Arlington Heights resident Mrs. Lillian Clohosey has graciously agreed to share with us her memories of growing up in Arlington and surrounding areas. Here, again, just in time for the holidays, are some of her recollections.)

I continue to recall all my memories fondly, and I am just as proud today as I was then to be an American, an Arlingtonian, and to have lived in the 1900’s and seen, heard, and done all the different things.

Letter to: Arlington Heights Neighbors
by Monique O’Grady

Thank you so much for the beautiful and touching plaque. I have enjoyed serving the community so much and I look forward to doing so in the future. I hope others will join me.

Since my husband and I moved into the Arlington Heights neighborhood back in 1993, we’ve always felt right at home. Our neighbors are so often like family. That is why just two years after moving here we all put on a block party. We took it past Highland Street to get to know other neighbors. While walking with my one-year-old daughter Caitlin, I ran across people who offered to be "block captains" for several streets in the neighborhood. By the time it call came together, more than 200 people participated and an annual event was born. Since that time, block captains have become friends and, at each block party or event, I treasure the new friendships made by me, Mike, and now two daughters.

I tell you this story to encourage you to get involved in the community we live in. I know we’re all so busy raising families, working and just getting through the daily routines, but this is our community. If we don’t work hard at claiming it, in these crazy times, we might lose the sense of community that attracted us here. Please get involved. Join the civic association -- the dues are just $10 a year. The money helps us host events like the block parties, puppet shows, and garden tours. Help distribute the newsletter. It’s our link to each other -- a way to solve problems and improve our neighborhood. Come to the meetings. There are only four a year -- even coming to one might make a tangible difference in our community.

People who have lived here for years recognize this need. They have invested so much in the community enabling some of the newer residents to benefit. I hope we newcomers will live up to the challenge of helping to build on the foundation they have established. It is our turn and our responsibility.