Another busy quarter for the Yorktown Civic Association (YCA). On October 1, the YCA hosted a debate between County Board candidates John Vihstadt and Matt de Ferranti. Over 75 local residents and the local press attended the debate. Many of the residents participated in the spirited question and answer period at the end of the debate. Questions ranged from bicycle and pedestrian safety to tax policy for local small businesses. Photos and candidate quotes were featured in the Arlington Sun Gazette.

On election day, many Yorktown residents worked at polling stations, while others worked outside of the polls and greeted voters. The 2018 election saw the highest percentage of voter participation for a nonpresidential election. In all, 107,406 voters, or 71 percent of those registered, cast ballots in this election.

On Dec. 1, the Lee Highway Alliance (LHA) held its “Winter Festival of Lights” event at various locations along Lee Highway. At the Lee Arts Center, parents and kids participated in art and crafts activities. At the corner of Lee Highway and Harrison Street, local residents were entertained by Steve Kish’s
magic show and a dog show. At the Langston-Brown community center, John Vihstadt unveiled the John M. Langston portrait and kids participated in face painting and learned how to operate a basic printing
press. At the Cherrydale Historic Volunteer Fire Station residents shopped at the Holiday Market and kids got to dress up like firefighters.

The Yorktown Civic Association Executive Committee continues to move toward incorporating the civic association as a 501(C)4 nonprofit corporation. The draft bylaws are almost done and will be posted on the Yorktown Civic Association website soon. If you have any expertise in bylaws for non-profit organizations, please contact me.

At the next YCA meeting on January 9, Noah Simon, the Chair of the 26th and OD Task Force will provide the community with an update on the Task Force activities and discuss what to expect in the next few months.

Please pay your dues. Annual membership dues are $20 and lifetime membership dues are $100. As of December 24, only 26 residents have paid their annual dues and 47 residents have paid their lifetime dues. The Yorktown Civic Association newsletter reaches ore than 1,000 local households. If you own a local business, please consider purchasing an ad in the YCA newsletter. Contact Dustin Anderson for more info.

Finally, in winter, consider helping your elderly and disabled neighbors. If you need help shoveling, please post your request in Nextdoor.

Mike Cantwell
President, Yorktown Civic Association

Our headliner at our last Yorktown Civic Association meeting was Delegate Rip Sullivan. Rip represents the Yorktown community in the Virginia State House of Delegates. He gave a detailed  narrative of what happened in Richmond during the latest session. Bipartisan support for the funding bill and Medicaid expansion has probably the biggest successes. 70 gun safety bills were introduced and all were defeated without debate. For the 2019 session, Delegate Sullivan would like to see bills passed to end partisan Gerrymandering, reduce gun violence, and address the opioid crisis.

The Lee Highway planning initiative begins early next year. Please engage in the community visioning process and other events. Visit the LHA website for more information.

Campbell Maloney and the Traffic Safety Committee continued their good deeds. After dozens of emails and phone calls to the Arlington County Transportation Engineering & Operations Department, the pedestrian safety bollard at the corner of 26st and Harrison Street were replaced. Members of the Yorktown community also alerted Arlington County Staff and  Dominion Power about the street light outage on N. George Mason Dr. The street lights were repaired after a few weeks.

The Yorktown Civic Association Executive Committee continues to move toward incorporating the civic association as a 501(C)4 nonprofit corporation. The draft By-laws are almost done and will be posted on the Yorktown Civic Association website soon.

For the October YCA meeting, we will be holding an Arlington County Board candidates debate featuring John Vihstadt and the Matt de  Ferranti. Please be prepared to ask lots of questions during the question and answer period. Many thanks to Dave Gelman for making all of the arrangements for the debate.

Finally, please pay your dues. Annual membership dues are $20 and lifetime membership dues are $100. Also, the Yorktown Civic Association newsletter reaches more than 1,000 local households. If you own a local business, consider purchasing an ad in the YCA newsletter. Contact Dustin Anderson for more information.

I look forward to seeing everyone at Marymount Farmers Market Oktoberfest on Saturday, October 13th. Don’t forget to post your Halloween pictures on Nextdoor and Facebook.

Have a great fall. No more rain!!!

Mike Cantwell
President, Yorktown Civic Association

From Winter Storms to Spring Flowers …

March came in like a lion with Winter Storm Riley. The Cantwell family finally has power, but still no Fios. I am writing the President’s letter on Saturday, March 3rd and hope that Fios will be working by Sunday so I can hit send and avoid missing yet another Yorktown Civic Association newsletter deadline. A big thank you for all of you who helped your neighbors during and
after the storm.

Yorktown Civic Association held a general membership meeting on Wednesday, December 13, in the Yorktown High School Cafeteria. At the meeting, those in attendance elected the slate of candidates including myself (President), David Friedman (Vice President), James Churbuck (Secretary), Dustin Anderson (Treasurer), and the At-Large members of the Executive Committee: Terry Costello, David Gelman, David Haring, Elizabeth Kiker, Craig Mastangelo, Brian O’Flaherty, and Frank White. I appreciate the hard work and dedication of the Executive Committee. Thank You! We also announced the launching of our new website at A big shout out to Campbell Maloney of blueunderground for designing and developing our new website. Nice work Campbell! The Executive Committee also provided updates on the Chestnut Hill Park expansion, information on elementary and middle school boundary changes, and the progress of the Lee Highway Alliance (LHA). Finally, we shared our vision for incorporating the Yorktown Civic Association as a 501(c)(4). By incorporating YCA, we will be able to provide greater transparency and record-keeping and limited liability protection for the officers of the Yorktown Civic Association.

The Yorktown Community was busy again between December and March. The LHA continues to make progress towards making Lee Highway a better place. The LHA Board of Directors held their annual meeting on January 11, 2018 at their new home at 4620 Lee Highway, Suite 208. During the meeting we reviewed and approved the budget. For more information about LHA, please visit the LHA website. Dustin Anderson (YCA Treasurer) attended a meeting to discuss a proposal to replace the Alpine with a new three or four story (43’) building. The building would house the new Children’s School with approximately 230 students. The YCA EC supports schools and child care facilities, but has some concerns about traffic.

On March 2nd, I joined more than 20 civic association Presidents at a round table discussion with Mark Schwarz, the Arlington County Manager. It was a productive discussion with many good ideas shared between the Presidents, County Staff, and the County Manager.

Unfortunately, we also had a series of car break-ins in our community. I spoke with CAPT Giroux and he encouraged everyone to lock their car doors, remain vigilant, and call the police if you see something out of the ordinary. Video surveillance systems were also discussed and I proposed inviting a few vendors to a future YCA meeting. I also expressed my concerns regarding school safety and drug use in our community.

The YCA EC invited Arlington County Board Member Libby Garvey to our next meeting. Please attend!
Have a safe and happy spring.

Mike Cantwell
President, Yorktown Civic Association

YCA Sets Attendance Record; Meets Alliance

Join us at our next YCA meeting: December 13 at 7:30 p.m. Each member of the YCA board is bringing cookies to share; extras will be given to residents who attend! It’s also our annual election.

In September, more than 60 residents (a record!) attended the YCA meeting. Our main topic was teen drug use. Speakers included Captain David Giroux (ACPD First District Commander), Captain Tom Trumble (ACPD Drug Enforcement), Corporal Andrew Nucelli (Yorktown Schoool Resource Officer), and Ms. Mila Vascones-Gatski (Yorktown’s Substance Abuse Coordinator).

An informative and eye-opening presentation was followed by a spirited Q&A. Captain Giroux asked the residents to help reduce teen drug use in Arlington. Residents should look out for drug paraphilia and suspicious activities. If you see something, say something.

The Lee Highway Alliance (LHA) held a Board Meeting in September at their new office space at 4620 Lee Highway (Suite 208).

The Arlington County Planning Department has interviewed candidates for County Planner who will lead the upcoming re-planning of the Lee corridor. The process will include a Community Forum (task force) with 40 members, and a working group of 8 participants, who will meet with staff and consultants to re-plan the corridor. The County has agreed that LHA, civic associations, and advisory groups will be represented on the task force. The process is likely to begin in early 2018.

The County is also in the early stages of planning the design of Fire Station #8. Many LHA board members feel that some space in the station should be made available for community
needs. I encouraged the Board to focus on core emergency management functions of the Fire Station.

I continue to engage with the business and property owners at Garden City Shopping Center to try to improve site conditions and better engage them. One idea being discussed is creating a Merchants’ Alliance. There are a number of issues common to both the businesses and the neighborhood, including trash removal, code enforcement, snow removal, and parking.

The YCA Executive Committee is deciding if we should incorporate the Yorktown Civic Association as a 503c4. Incorporating will reduce personal liability for Executive Committee members and add clarity to the annual elections, finances, and record keeping. We plan to engage in a transparent process as we move forward, and bring information to the December meeting. Please join us!

By Mike Cantwell

President, Yorktown Civic Association

It has been a busy summer! We are continuing to track issues related to school capacity, high water bills, traffic and pedestrian safety, the Lee Highway Alliance, and the Garden City Shopping Center.

I recently attended a meet-and greet session with the new Yorktown High School Principal Bridget Loft. YHS parents expressed their concerns about teen drug use and their perception that the Yorktown High School staff was not doing enough to address it. I met with Ms. Loft privately and expressed the community’s concerns about overcrowding at Yorktown High School, traffic and parking. We discussed how the common areas in Yorktown High School (gym, cafeteria, sports field, etc.) are significantly smaller than similar areas at Washington & Lee and Wakefield.

Throughout the summer months, local homeowners continued to post replies on Nextdoor and Facebook related to unusually high water bills. Several homeowners wrote letters to Sun-Gazette editors, Arlington County Staff, and Board members. The Department of Environmental Services is refusing to conduct a thorough investigation into the unusually high water bills. Homeowners experiencing this should continue to contact DES and County Board Members and call for an independent audit of the water meters and water billing process.

The Lee Highway Alliance (LHA) continues to make steady progress. LHA has a budget, leased office space, and an updated website. Google “Lee Highway Alliance” for more information. We have some improvements at the Garden City Shopping Center (GCSC), but we continue to see issues. The LHA, YCA Executive Committee, and the County Staff are working together to encourage property owners and tenants to form a Merchants Association. Ideally, the merchants will work together to improve trash/garbage removal, paving, sidewalks, landscaping, parking, and snow removal.

The guest speaker for our next YCA general membership meeting will be Captain David Giroux. Captain Giroux was recently selected to be First District Police Captain. He will address teen drug use, traffic safety, and violence in our community.

We need your help! We can match your passions, skills, and time constraints to the right “job.” Email me with “I want to help the YCA” in the subject line. Please get involved with the political process. You can’t move the ball forward if you are sitting on the sidelines. Stay engaged Arlington!

By Mike Cantwell
President, Yorktown Civic Association
[email protected]

The Yorktown Civic Association Executive Board (YCA EC) has been busy tracking local issues and communicating with key stakeholders. Issues related to high school boundary changes, unusually high water bills, dangerous intersections, street lights, Lee Highway revitalization, Garden City Shopping Center, and graffiti have filled my inbox the last full months.

On October 27th, I sent a letter to the School Board stating the Yorktown Civic Association position on the high school boundary refinement proposal. In the letter, I stated that we were opposed increasing enrollment at Yorktown High School. I mentioned that the Yorktown High School building, common areas, gymnasium, athletic fields, parking lots, and the overall footprint were significantly smaller than Washington & Lee and Wakefield High Schools. We also felt that increasing the enrollment at Yorktown would have negative effects on parking and traffic in our neighborhood. Please go to the Yorktown Civic Association website ( to view the letter. On December 1st, the School Board decided to refine the high school boundaries which will result in more students at Yorktown High School. For more information about the boundary changes, please go to the School Board website.

Over the last few months, hundreds of local homeowners have complained on Nextdoor and Facebook about their unusually high water bills. Some water bills were three times higher than a similar period a year ago. Several residents contacted the Utility Service Office to complain about their high water bills. After receiving unsatisfactory responses from the head of the office, the residents contacted the county ombudsman (Robert Sharpe), and County Board members. The highest levels of the county government are now aware of this issue but, unfortunately, utility bills have yet to be adjusted.

The Lee Highway Alliance (LHA) is now incorporated in Virginia as a non-profit 501(c)(4). The purpose of the Alliance is to [promote] revitalization and community development through civic engagement of the residential and business communities and interests along Lee Highway. I was selected as a board member and participated in the first official board meeting on January 7th.

Several residents expressed their concerns about dangerous intersections in our neighborhood. Harrison Street and 26th Street and North George Mason Drive and Yorktown Blvd are the
two intersections at the top of most resident’s list. I contacted Arlington County Transportation and Engineering and Operations Division and received an e-mail stating that neither intersection
meets the threshold for a traffic light. I will continue to work with the county to try to improve traffic and pedestrian safety in and around these intersections. Finally, please prepare for
the next snow event and do your best to clear your sidewalks. If you, or someone you know, needs help shoveling snow, please post a request for help on Nextdoor Yorktown or on Facebook.

Mike Cantwell
President, Yorktown Civic Association
[email protected]