Dressed in a vest and jeans, Arlington native Struan Shields, 18, steps out to join his four-man backup band while an enthusiastic audience jumps up and down. Singing to an crowd of primarily teenage girls, Struan repeatedly thanks his fans and holds out the microphone to allow them a turn to sing along. They already know all the words, even though this concert is meant to to celebrate the release of his debut EP.
Shields, who will graduate from H-B Woodlawn on Wednesday, isn’t your typical high school singer-songwriter. While others may have their popularity peak with a win at the school talent show, Shields has seen his debut EP hit the top singer/songwriter spot on iTunes. He recently claimed the number one song download on PureVolume, a website for rising artists. And he has already amassed more than 3,000 Facebook fans.
“I would never consider myself famous… Fame is such a difficult thing to measure. I have enjoyed the fact that more people are hearing about my music. It is a very cool feeling when people take the time to learn to play my songs, or when an audience knows all the lyrics. That in and of itself is something I still haven’t gotten used to,” Shields said.
Shields writes and records his own music at home, without the help of a record label. In an ambitious attempt at grassroots marketing, he even offered a personal phone call to anyone who pre-ordered his EP.
Last week we asked you to submit entries for our inaugural Arlington’s Cutest Dog contest. Thanks to a tremendous response, we’re happy to announce that we’ve picked up another great sponsor. And both of our sponsors have pitched in additional prizes for the winners.
Siena Park, a new pet-friendly luxury apartment community on Columbia Pike (see photos of the apartments, the pool and the lobby here), has upped the ante by supplying an Apple iPad as our new grand prize.
Wylie Wagg, Clarendon’s new hometown pet store, will now supply a $100 gift certificate as our second prize, a $50 gift certificate for third prize, and soccer ball fetch toys for all three top finishers, in honor of the World Cup. Plus, Wagg will be holding a patio party for all contestants at the end of the contest (well-wishers will also be welcome to attend).
The deadline for submissions has passed and a field of 48 is now set. Taking some inspiration from the World Cup, we’ll divide the field into four groups of 12. Voting for Group A will begin on Tuesday, Group B on Wednesday and so on. Voting for each group will last a week. We’ll advance a final group of five — the four top vote-getters from each group, and the second place finisher with the most votes. After a week of final round voting, we’ll announce the winners on July 12, a day after the championship game of the World Cup.
Arlington, I hope you’re ready for three weeks of canine cuteness and cutthroat competition.
Save yourself some time and help support ARLnow.com by outsourcing your home cleaning, laundry and dry cleaning to the professionals.
A new local company called CityCentric is your one-stop shop for services that will make your life easier. CityCentric offers on-demand laundry and dry cleaning service, picked up and delivered directly from your home. Plus, the company is offering low-cost home cleaning that you can manage online. All employees are fully bonded and insured and licensed to work in the U.S. Satisfaction is guaranteed.
For a limited time, get $10 off when you use the code ARLnow.
Learn more about CityCentric’s services here, or call 202-905-2489 (CITY).
An Arlington man drowned outside a riverside restaurant in Dumfries, Va. early Saturday morning.
Police were called to Tim’s Rivershore Restaurant at 1:32 a.m., after the man walked away from a group he was with and had not returned for at least half an hour, Prince William County police spokesman Jonathan Perok said.
Members of the department’s marine unit and dive team found the man’s body floating in the Potomac River near the restaurant, Perok said.
Police identified the victim as 74-year-old Shelton Carl Burstrom of Arlington.
An autopsy is scheduled to be performed this afternoon to determine the cause of death. Police do not suspect foul play.
It’s been a busy first 25 days for the Friends of Arlington’s David M. Brown Planetarium. The group, established to help save the planetarium from a slated closure by the school system, has applied for status as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, launched a website, joined Twitter, and has raised $2,500 from 40 donors.
Not bad for a grassroots community organization. But in order to meet the first fundraising goal set by superintendent Dr. Pat Murphy, the group will have to raise another $158,620 over the next 100 days. In order to meet the final goal, the group will need to raise another $400,000 over the next year.
The daunting goal is more than the group thinks it needs to raise to upgrade the 40-year-old planetarium. School officials have included a $162,000 dome replacement in the cost — an expense the group disagrees with. Instead of squabbling over the dome, however, organizer Raphael Perrino says the group has decided to focus on raising money.
It’s not clear what will happen if the group doesn’t meet its fundraising goals. School board chairman Sally Baird told the Sun Gazette last month that “no board action has been taken in regard to the specific fund-raising targets, nor whether those targets are absolute.”
Both parties are expected to formulate a Memorandum of Understanding, which would address the the dome issue and other specifics, at an unspecified later date.
The Friends of the Planetarium will be meeting Wednesday night to discuss the group’s progress and to formulate a fundraising strategy. The meeting will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in room 108 of the Langston-Brown Community Center (2121 N. Culpepper Street). Pizza will be served.
While the Friends wait for their 501(c)(3) status to be approved, supporters are being asked to donate to the cause through the Arlington Community Foundation, which has set up a “planetarium fund.” All donations to the fund are tax deductible.
Arlington’s new red light cameras went live this morning.
The cameras, perched at four busy intersections, will issue warnings for the next 30 days as part of an “awareness period.” Then, starting in mid-to-late July, violators will start receiving $50 fines.
If the red light camera program is deemed a success by the police department and the county board, expect to see up to 16 additional cameras — the maximum allowed by Virginia law — popping up around Arlington.
Within the next two weeks, the Arlington County Police Department is expected to announce that it is joining the Project Lifesaver program, which helps more than 1,000 public safety agencies locate adults and children who wander due to various disorders.
The program provides police departments with LoJack-like tracking equipment and training courses that allow them to find wander-prone people who have been outfitted with specialized wrist or ankle transmitters.
The program is especially geared toward those with Alzheimer’s, autism, Down syndrome, dementia, and similar cognitive conditions.
Project Lifesaver International, the organization behind the program, says its technology helps ensure that missing people are found quickly and safely, without the need to organize large, expensive searches. The organization says it’s responsible for 2,142 rescues in the past 10 years, with a 100 percent success rate.
It’s not clear how quickly Arlington County would be able to implement the system after the announcement.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness is looking for a few good barristers. Here’s the listing from Volunteer Arlington:
NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness), the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to improving the lives of individuals and families affected by mental illness, seeks volunteer attorneys and law students to provide general legal information and referrals (not legal advice) to people affected by mental illness issues.
NAMI’s 1,100+ affiliates engage in advocacy, research, support and education. Its members are families, friends and people living with major depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and borderline personality disorder.
Volunteers must have law degree or be in law school, have good oral and written communication skills, sensitivity to people affected by mental illness issues, and conscientious work habits. Must be available at least 4 hours a week between 10 am and 6 pm weekdays for, ideally, at least 6 months.
NAMI is located at 3803 N. Fairfax Drive, in Courthouse. Anyone interested in this opportunity should contact Maggie Scheie-Lurie at 703-516-0689.
Aftermath of Fight Outside Clarendon Grill Caught on Video – A late night fight outside Clarendon Grill left a man battered and unconscious in the middle of North Highland Street early Sunday morning. The aftermath of the fight was captured on video. Metro Transit Police, who were the first on scene, could be seen handcuffing two men as a crowd gathered around the victim. The victim eventually regained consciousness and was loaded into an ambulance.
Arlington Tops Parenting Magazine “Best Cities” List — Arlington County was named the country’s “Best City for Families” by Parenting Magazine last week. The methodology of the rankings seems dubious, but hey, we’ll take all the praise Parenting wants to send our way, right? Among the qualities the magazine found appealing: “Fabulous schools, great home values, and an attractive unemployment rate.” Plus “very few registered sex offenders.”
Delegates Ebbin and Hope to Hold Prison Reform Town Hall — Two members of Arlington’s delegation to the Virginia General Assembly will be holding a town hall meeting on prison reform Thursday night. Delegates Adam Ebbin and Patrick Hope, along with Alexandria Delegate Charniele Herring, will discuss the “state of incarceration” with a panel that includes representatives from two non-profit groups and from the offices of Gov. Bob McDonnell and Sen. Jim Webb. The two-hour event will start at 7:00 p.m. at the Walter Reed Community Center (2909 16th Street South).