November 2020 Newsletter

Uncategorized

Our November newsletter is linked below. If you have any comments or questions, send them to editor@ashtonheights.org.

Building Consensus 2020 – Ashton Heights Civic Association by Scott Sklar, President, AHCA

What makes me so proud of this Association and Community is how we slowly come to consensus on issues.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the State of Virginia Department of Health issued guidelines on Halloween. We had a resident, Emmilu Olson, step up to help coordinate a dialogue on how our community will celebrate Halloween and conform to the new guidance. Cory Capps on Jackson Street and over 30 other AHCA residents dialogued on this issue. We built a consensus to de-emphasize Jackson Street as a magnet for Halloween revelers this one year, have a parade and candy hand-out a day before Halloween to maintain the festive feeling for our children. We had some frank discussions and I am proud we were able to build a consensus, and Celia Slater helped us draft a press release which was picked up by ArlingtonNow.

Arlington County contacted us on the process to review neighborhood parking rules, and we have many views on on street parking, the role of apartment/condo residents, sharing expenses and access, and the comfort of easy access to park near where we live. Again, we have had wide ranging dialogues on the AHCA listserv and we will work to build a consensus. While there are many divergent views and priorities, I am so proud of the tenor of the discussions, respectful dialogue, and frankly, some very good points by all. I have no doubt we will forge a stance that embodies the best of Arlington & Ashton Heights.

And we are carrying all this out along with activities by the Development Committee, Transportation Committee, Housing Committee, Open Spaces and Tree Canopy Subcommittees, Safety & Security Committee, and Schools Committee – during a COVID-19 environment through limited personal meetings, zoom meetings, and listserv dialogues. Some hard work, good thinking, and in all cases moving towards building shared outlooks on all the various issues AHCA Committees and Subcommittees are dealing with every month.

And finally our AHCA 100th Anniversary planning committee led by AHCA Historian Jim Terpstra, but robustly supported by over 10 other AHCA residents, has had several dialogues and meetings to brainstorm, collect historical information. Again, please send any documents, pictures, and other memorabilia (or information on any) to Jim at terpstrajames2@gmail.com.

So as we enter this Fall 2020, probably facing another notchup of COVID cases, but always seeking ways to work with each other and help keep Ashton Heights one of the best places ever to live.

And I want to thank each and every one of you for contributing what you can, when you can. I know we are all busy, with families, work, and other obligations. But all of us within AHCA deserve some solid pats on the back – and I wanted to thank you all, and wish you a most Happy Halloween, and wonderful beginning of Autumn.

October 2020 Newsletter

Uncategorized

Our October newsletter is linked below. If you have any comments or questions, send them to editor@ashtonheights.org.

COVID, Halloween, and Aircraft Noise by Scott Sklar, President, AHCA

As we limp along through this pandemic, except for a few issues, we seem to be in good shape. Arlington County tried to institute some sidewalk behavior modifications in the evening on the area bar/restaurant strips in Clarendon & Pentagon City, but withdrew them. And the Beer Lot at the corner of 10th Street North and Wilson Blvd is packed at half strength (350 people) — many without masks or social distancing. I have talked with the Arlington County Board members and County staff on this issue – it is well known. Our only goal here is not to become a “hot spot” in the future.

A related issue was brought up on how we handle Halloween, raised by AHCA member Emmilu Olson – and we both have contacted the County who is also seeking guidance from the CDC and the State of Virginia. That said, Ashton Heights and some of our high volume streets such as North Jackson St, should not wait. We obviously want to celebrate safely without putting our children, their grandparents, and all of us in the community at risk. I am sure we can come up with some viable approaches. See more on page 10 to get involved in the planning.

Arlington County has initiated, due in part, to our urging, legislative language through the efforts of Representative Don Beyer, to get the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to look at flight patterns to ease noise over our communities. It sadly does not cover government airplanes or any helicopters. We experienced a recent ceremonial very low flyover of a fighter plane tied to the Eisenhower Memorial ceremony on the Mall. We may need to apply some other tactics to ensure low flying, except for public safety, is the last resort and flight patterns be routed over The Potomac River or major highways including Route 66 and 395.

I have no doubt we can come together on these issues and influence outcomes – that is what any good civic association should do. And that leads me to the final point of AHCA celebrating our 100th birthday next year (2021). Jim Terpstra (terpstrajames2@gmail.com), our AHCA Historian is the lead for this effort. We need to collect older documents – AHCA newsletters, flyers, pictures that we can digitize and create a compendium to memorabilia tied to our AHCA history – so any of you that have been in Ashton Heights awhile, please search your files and send on to Jim. Also the newer pictures of AHCA under COVID, with ride by parties, street dancing etc., should be sent along to Jim as well.

AHCA has a great legacy and I am excited about how we can come together on our challenges and our celebrations – which makes this community so vital. In January 2021, I will have lived in Ashton Heights for 36 years and served as your AHCA president for the 10th year. It has been an honor and a wonderful experience being part of this amazing community. Be well, be safe.

SEPTEMBER 2020 NEWSLETTER

Newsletter

Our September newsletter is linked below. If you have any comments or questions, send them to editor@ashtonheights.org.

Back on Track – Still by Scott Sklar, President, AHCA

I wanted to send my warmest regards to everyone within Ashton Heights and our surrounding community, and hope you had a good summer and are safe and secure during this pandemic.

The Ashton Heights Civic Association (AHCA) has still been very active addressing a wide range of issues. I am happy to say that we will continue to email our AHCA Newsletter but we will also return to delivering it after we polling our coordinators Bea Camp and Julie Mangis as well as the volunteers that deliver the newsletters.

As you can see on the cover page, we will hold our first new AHCA Monthly Meeting (the third Wednesday of every month) using ZOOM coordinated by Emmilu Olson and Chris Armstrong. I hope you will participate and hear the short reports by our Chairs & Co Chairs of our eight AHCA Committees & Subcommittees and our two speakers.

AHCA is in the process of sending another letter to the County Board on “safety” approaches on North Kenmore Street since a child was hit a few months after a bicyclist was hit – emphasizing the need to speed up differentiate between ‘traffic calming’ and move to “pedestrian & property’ safety. We plan to keep up the pressure.

AHCA has been active on a range of COVID-19 issues, starting with the family help service established by AHCA Safety and Security Committee chair Christina Schultz, and interfacing with the County on crowding at the Beer Lot and other issues.

Development issues are always before us, as are tree canopy, affordable housing, schools, transportation & traffic, and open spaces/playgrounds. And I expect the challenges of COVID, smaller Arlington County budget resources — are all going to make our efforts harder. That said, why we have a civic association is to pool our human resources to track these issues, build community consensus, and interact effectively with the County, businesses, and community organizations.

Two issues we are preparing for, is how we interface and react to the Arlington County Water & Wastewater Utility Rate Study. We want to make sure rates are fair and that service and billing are also fair and responsive. The County has two proactive activities maximizing: 1) mail-in voting, and 2) insuring maximum participation in Census 2020. Right now we are just forwarding information, but we are very interested in ideas and approaches from anyone within the Ashton Heights community.

So welcome to Fall. Join us this month as we start-up our monthly meetings via ZOOM. And all, be safe!

April 2020 Newsletter

Newsletter

Our April newsletter is linked below. If you have any comments, send them to editor@ashtonheights.org.

COVID-19: Our AHCA Community by Scott Sklar, President, AHCA

Well you can imagine we have lots of COVID-19 related challenges, but we are moving through them. As your AHCA President, I have had lots of communication with the County on issues, services, etc. As they are officially announced, I send them on the listserv. Some important info for you:

Arlington County Announces New COVID-19 Call Line – Community members who cannot find the information they need on the County’s website or through other resources, should call 703-228-7999 for assistance.

Arlington County & Virginia Hospital Center Open A New COVID-19 Drive Through Test Center – A temporary drive-through COVID-19 sample collection site at 1429 N. Quincy Street. Physicians with symptomatic patients can send orders to the Virginia Hospital Center outpatient lab electronically in EPIC or via fax to 703-558-2448. Once they have received a physician’s order, patients should call the VHC COVID-19 Scheduling Line at 703-558-5766 between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. Patients must schedule an appointment before visiting the collection site. Please keep your physician’s phone number on the wall near your telephone and in your pocket as well.

This brings me to REQUEST #1 – if you know a neighbor who is new to the area or not usually using the internet, please cajole them to join the AHCA listserv. Communications are extremely important at this time. Requests should be e-mailed to the AHCA listserv moderator, Betsey Lyon at etlyon410@gmail.com.

The AHCA April monthly meeting has been canceled (see box). We have to see how the coming months are as to whether we can reschedule future meetings.

Our AHCA Safety & Security Committee Chair Christina Schultz has an important column in this newsletter (page 3) on our AHCA Community Help and Service approach for helping those in Ashton Heights who are unable to leave and need food, medicines, and sustained periodic checking upon. We already have some volunteer names but more will be collected along with use of a formal request form (forms.gle/U8FjEmoDpWgD5ySo6). If you want to volunteer by being paired with a family/person, fill out the appropriate form: high risk (https://forms.gle/PbvhhiYUsT92xawv8) and low risk (https://forms.gle/Xpw2kR7wuAMWiDWp9).

AHCA has a very high ratio of 65-and-older age group, and we have many with immune system deficiencies that make them more susceptible (such as diabetes, heart & lung disease, cancers, etc), handicapped/special needs, single parents, etc.

REQUEST #2 – if you have neighbors in these categories, call them or e-mail them – check how they are, let them know of this effort — as a community we do not want ANYONE left out of this safety net, not one.

And finally, REQUEST #3 – if you have any other ideas, concerns, etc, please email me directly at solarsklar@aol.com, or call me at home 703-522-3049. I have already received quite a number of emails/calls and I appreciate them. I have seen some wonderful suggestions on the listserv, but wanted to highlight three:

1. Order in from local vendors routinely – please lets keep our special businesses viable during this ordeal,

2. Short, socially distanced activities like dancing and bike riding for kids (and adults) is important .. safe social interaction is needed, and

3. Leaving books and other activities for pick up is wonderful to share – reduce clutter and provide an activity for another.

From what I see, most people are social distancing, friendly when walking by, my own neighbors are amazing (since I am way over 65) to make sure I am OK and have food – just the attributes that make this such a great community. The more we help each other, the better our community will make it through this unprecedented event.

I am certain we will as a community meet these new challenges. And again, I want to deeply thank so many of you that have already volunteered, offered to volunteer, keep our Civic Association functioning, and those for reaching our to your neighbors in your community.

Be well, Be safe. Many thanks.