This Week in Arlington

This Week in Arlington

<sh>Memorial Service for Michelle Gardner Quinn

<bt>A memorial service for Michelle Gardner Quinn, 21, an H-B Woodlawn graduate and University of Vermont senior slain earlier this month near the Burlington campus, will be held at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 28 at H-B Woodlawn School.

The pastor of Michelle's home church, Rev. William E. Hoffman, of the Church of the Covenant of Arlington will participate in the service and Michelle's church community is working with the H.B. Woodlawn community as arrangements are being made for this remembrance of Michelle and the many lives she touched in her short life.

A reception will be held at the school following the service. H-B Woodlawn is located at 4100 Vacation Lane. Parking at the school is limited, and those planning to attend are asked to park on neighboring streets or in the parking lot at neighboring Cherrydale Baptist Church or St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, less than three blocks walk from the school.

Michelle is the daughter of Diane and John-Charles Quinn of Arlington and a 2003 graduate of H-B Woodlawn.

<sh>Emergency Radio Station Up and Running

<bt>Last week Arlington launched its much-awaited radio station on the 1700 AM frequency, which will provide residents with vital information during emergencies.

In case of a natural disaster or terrorist attack Arlington officials will supply up-to-the-minute information and key instructions. During non-emergencies the station will broadcast weather and traffic reports.

"1700AM Arlington is a terrific new tool in our emergency management toolbox," said Robert P. Griffin, Arlington's director of the Office of Emergency Management. "We'll be able to share the latest Arlington-specific information with anyone who has an AM radio. During power outages, we can still send information to residents who have battery-powered radios in their emergency preparedness kits."

With a single antenna and transmitter — located at the corner of George Mason Drive and Wilson Boulevard — 1700AM Arlington produces a signal capable of being received anywhere in the county.

The county possesses several other tools to notify residents of an emergency. The Arlington Alert System sends messages via e-mail, cell phone, pager and PDA in English and Spanish to 17,000 subscribers.

To reach homes across Arlington, the county upgraded its reverse 9-1-1 system. The new system now can call more than 90,000 homes in less than an hour, dispensing vital information in emergency situations.

<sh>Arlington Man Sentenced to Death

<bt>A judge in Richmond on Monday sentenced a convicted Arlington murderer to death for the killing of four people on New Year’s Day, according to court officials

Ricky Jovan Gray was convicted in August of murdering Bryan Harvey, his wife and two young daughters, according to Richmond Circuit Court Deputy Clerk Dee Bradby.

Gray, 29, and his nephew, Ray Joseph Dandridge, also from Arlington, participated in a crime spree last winter. Gray pleaded guilty to killing his wife in November, and both men confessed to murdering Richmond-resident Ashley Baskerville and her mother and stepfather, court officials said.

The duo also pleaded guilty to slitting the throat of a 25-year-old Arlington resident in the Yorktown neighborhood on New Year’s Eve. The victim was stabbed multiple times with kitchen knives in front of his parent’s house, but survived the attack, according to Arlington police.

<sh>Human Rights Awards Winners Announced

<bt>Arlington's Human Rights Commission has announced the recipients of the 2006 James B. Hunter Human Rights Awards, which recognizes individuals and organizations with a sustained commitment to human rights in Arlington.

This year’s winners are the Arlington Street People's Assistance Network (A-SPAN), Susan Prokop, Rhonda Buckner and the Washington Shakespeare Company.

The awards will be presented at a ceremony and reception on Nov. 9, 7-9 p.m., at the Rosslyn Spectrum Theatre, 1611 N. Kent Street in Arlington. Naomi Churchill Earp, Chair, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission will be the keynote speaker. Rena Comisac, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General, U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division also will speak.

Founded in 1989, A-SPAN fights homelessness by providing food and shelter; conducting outreach and providing case management and employment assistance; and advocating for new programs to fill gaps in preventive, emergency, and rehabilitative services;

Susan Prokop is the associate advocacy director for the Paralyzed Veterans of American and chair of the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities.

Rhonda Buckner has served as co-director for the Joint Advocacy Coalition for the mentally disabled, and director of the Personal Support Network — a non-profit program that serves as a legal guardian, power of attorney, and case manager for people with disabilities.

The Washington Shakespeare Company continues to be a model for diversity in the D.C. metro region arts community through its casting practices and audience outreach. WSC's productions make clear their commitment to hiring cast members who mirror the diversity of the community.

<sh>More Taking AP tests, Scores Slightly Lower

<bt>The number of Arlington students taking at least one Advanced Placement test last year rose by 10 percent, but the amount of students receiving a satisfactory score dropped by one percentage point.

During the 2004-05 school year, 1,580 students took one or more AP test, up from 1,432 the previous year and 687 in 1998-99. The total number of AP exams students completed grew from 2,642, in 2004-05, to 2,960.

The percentage of students who received a score of three of higher, the minimum needed to attain college credit, dropped from 59 percent in 2004-05 to 58 percent last year, the lowest score on record. AP tests are scored on a scale from one to five.

The school board has made student participation in AP classes one of its top priorities in recent years and has strongly encouraged younger students to begin taking more challenging courses.

"These results represent a great compliment to the expectations and the hard work of our students, their families and the school staff who have helped them," Superintendent Robert Smith said.

Thirteen percent of the total tests taken resulted in a grade of 5, the same number as last year.

During the 2000-01 school year, the School Board passed a directive that required all students who enroll in an AP class take the ensuing test at the end of the year. The ruling also mandated the school system pay for every AP test, which can run up to $80 a piece.

<sh>School Enrollment Rises

<bt>To the surprise of school officials, the student population in Arlington rose this year, Superintendent Robert Smith announced last week.

Although officials had projected the total number of students enrolled in the school system would drop for the fifth straight year, enrollment as of Sept. 30 had actually increased.

There are 18,451 students attending pre-school through 12th grade this year, a jump of 40 students from last year.