(Updated at 2:00 a.m.) Academy Award winning actor Jeff Bridges, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack stopped by Barcroft Elementary School today to launch a statewide anti-childhood-hunger campaign.
Kids, teachers, school officials, politicians, photographers and reporters crammed into the school’s auditorium to watch the hour-long event, which was part press conference and part school assembly. Bridges, McDonnell and Vilsack were joined on stage by representatives from the Federation of Virginia Food Banks and the non-profit group Share Our Strength. Also on stage were a pair of wise-cracking vegetable puppets.
“I’m surprised that broccoli is here today,” said Vilsack, gesturing to one of the puppets in front of the youthful crowd. “I just had him for lunch.”
The campaign — dubbed No Kid Hungry — seeks to reduce childhood hunger nationwide by connecting kids and parents with existing (but sometimes hard to find) food assistance programs. Today’s event marked the start of the campaign in Virginia, where fewer than 20 percent of eligible children are enrolled in summer nutrition programs, according to a new report.
“It’s not acceptable and we need to do much, much better,” McDonnell said of childhood hunger in the state. “There’s plenty of money that’s in these programs at the federal government level… we just need your help, you young people, to tell your parents, tell your friends about the fact that these programs are available.”
Bridges says he became the national spokesperson for the No Kid Hungry campaign to help promote a “big picture” solution to childhood hunger.
Asked about President Obama’s pledge to end childhood hunger by 2015, Bridges conceded that it would be tough to accomplish.
“It is kind of unlikely in a way, but it’s certainly not impossible,” he said. “But goals, the purpose of a goal, is to bring attention to something. So you might fail in achieving that goal, but if you don’t even set that goal, then you’re going to have to settle for the status quo.”
More photos after the jump.
In this week’s Arlington County crime report, a young woman was allegedly attacked by a man near Shirlington.
ABDUCTION-ARREST, 05/31/11, 2600 block of S. Arlington Mill Dr. On May 31 at 11 pm, a man grabbed a young woman walking and pulled her to the ground. The suspect covered her mouth with his hand, but she fought back and was able to run from the area. Police located the suspect. Marvin Mejia, 40, of no fixed address, was charged with Abduction and Assault and battery. He was held without bond.
In another incident, a teen girl was walking home when a man exposed himself to her.
EXPOSURE, 06/02/11, 1400 block of N. Jackson Street. On June 2 at 3:15, a 16 year-old girl was walking home when an unknown man sitting on the steps to a residence called out to her. When she turned to look at him, he exposed himself. The girl walked on and called her father to meet her.
Affordable housing developer AHC Inc. hosts “educational and fun” summer camps for low-income youngsters “to help ensure they don’t drop behind over the summer months.” The camps — held at six community centers throughout Arlington — start on July 11 and run from noon to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Thursday, until Aug. 18.
AHC is seeking chaperones for its off-site swimming trips on Mondays and its field trips on Thursdays. They’re also looking for volunteers who can help with the art activities, literary activities and outdoor games that are held on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
“Enthusiastic volunteers are critical to the program and mean so much to the young people we serve,” said AHC spokeswoman Celia Slater.
Anyone interested in volunteering should contact Jennifer Cavaliere at firstname.lastname@example.org or 703-486-0626 x154.
Police say 28-year-old Juanita Maxwell ignored orders to stay in her vehicle, then refused to comply with other police commands. According to the police report, she called 911 and then fought officers as they attempted to place her under arrest.
Maxwell was charged with resisting arrest and false summoning of law enforcement. She also received summons for an HOV violation and a window tint violation. She was released on a $1,250 bond.
Interested in leasing space in Ballston Common Mall? Thanks to an item on the upcoming County Board agenda, we now know about how much it costs.
Arlington County leases a 3,119 square foot store, on the second floor near the entrance to Macy’s Furniture Gallery, to house the Woodmont Weavers program. The privately-run but publicly-funded program allows adults with cognitive disabilities to learn how to weave, to sell their creations (placemats, pillows, totes, scarves, hats, etc.) and to earn a wage in the process. The county subleases the space to St. Coletta of Greater Washington, which runs the program on behalf of the Department of Human Services, for a nominal $1 rent.
On Saturday the board is expected to approve a lease and sublease renewal for the mall storefront. According to the staff report, the base rent for the store from Nov. 1, 2011 to Oct. 31, 2012 will be $67,528.80 per year. Add in taxes and utilities, and the expected annual cost rises to $93,911.40.
In addition to the Woodmont Weavers program, the space is also subleased to Ellipse Handmade Crafts, which sells handmade items from local artists and utilizes some of the production space for classes and workshops when not in use by Woodmont. Ellipse pays the county $5,415.00 per year in rent.
We reported last year that the 25-year-old mall is in the early planning stages of a major renovation.
Photo via stcoletta.org
While the camera hasn’t been functional in years, its housing is still keeping a constant vigil at the busy intersection. Police tell us, however, that they’re planning on taking the camera down in about a month.
Arlington currently has four working red light cameras: NB N. Lynn Street at EB Lee Highway, SB Ft. Myer Drive at WB Lee Highway, NB N. Glebe Road at Fairfax Drive and NB Washington Blvd at Lee Highway. In Virginia, the fines from red light cameras are limited to $50.
HOT Lanes Firm May Walk – One of the two companies that was tapped to built High Occupancy Toll lanes on I-95/395 may walk away from the project if the federal environmental review lasts more than 12 months. The CEO of Melbourne-based Transurban told a newspaper that long delays, including delays caused by Arlington County’s lawsuit challenging the project, has prompted him to think about cutting his losses. [The Australian]
County to Designate ‘Essential’ Historic Properties — Arlington County is scheduled to designate 23 new “essential” historic properties, including garden apartment complexes, old shopping centers and the Arlington Cinema ‘n’ Drafthouse. The designation will do little by itself to protect buildings from development, however. [Sun Gazette]