(Updated at 4:55 p.m.) Bret and Deanne Brock lost their 3-year-old son, Talmage, this May when he drowned in a creek in Shenandoah County. To honor his memory, they have founded the T-for-Tal Foundation to raise money for positive children’s causes and “family safety awareness.”
Bret Brock said he and his wife decided to start the foundation as a way to cope with their loss.
“It helps us with the grieving,” he said. “It’s very raw and fragile still, so we’re still grieving. That’s the obvious reason. Beyond that, we recognize all the support and love around us and so many people wanted to help in ways they didn’t know how. We think the foundation will capture that energy.”
The Brocks, who are real estate agents in Arlington, are raising money on Go Fund Me, and as of this afternoon had raised $13,410 of a set goal of $20,000 in 13 days. Brock said the foundation is working toward 501(c)(3) status, which will make the donations tax deductible. The Brocks are still determining which charities to target and which causes to help, but working to prevent more deaths like Talmage’s is at the top of the list.
“The setting where he drowned was an active family gathering with eight adults and 11 children,” Brock said. “Talmage was the youngest of the children, which ranged in ages up to 13 years old. In that setting as a parent I made the mistake of not watching him close enough, perhaps with a subconscious thought that there was a ‘group watch’ type of supervision taking place in the minutes between the times I checked on him.”
Talmage is a family name, and he was given the name Cedar after the creek he ultimately died in, Brock said. He strayed from the group to fill up his squirt gun, when he slipped fell into the creek. He was found 200 yards downstream from the house at which the family gathered.
“As parents we can’t assume that there is safety in numbers,” Brock said, “when sometimes it’s the opposite. As a parent you can think you are doing a good job, and accidents can still happen.”
In addition to supporting family safety causes, Brock said he also plans on using the foundation to prolong the memory of his son, organizing events for his birthday and other events.
“It was also created for his brother and sister so they would know that he was very loved and important,” Brock said. “They were just six and eight when he died. We wanted the foundation to be positive and happy and a good remembrance of their brother, who they loved. It’s so they know it’s a good thing to remember and talk about him.”
The owner of a cancer-stricken dog in Arlington got thousands of dollars in help this month to pay for the pup’s medical bills.
Kristin Schmeski and her 3-year-old white German Shepherd, Buddy, reached out to The Magic Bullet Fund, a charity that provides funding for canine cancer treatments to owners who cannot pay for it themselves.
According to Schmeski’s Give Forward page, she is a student and works a full-time job, and Buddy’s medical bills — for radiation and the surgery he’s already undergone — are almost $10,000.
Schmeski has already raised $2,065 on her Give Forward page, but after Magic Bullet Fund’s donation, it’s likely the bills will be covered.
Buddy had a tumor on his right hind leg, which after a biopsy and surgery was found to be Spindle Cell Sarcoma, according to Schmelski. With the radiation treatments, Buddy’s doctors estimate that the odds are greater than 75 percent that Buddy will be disease-free in three to five years.
An Arlington couple is selling t-shirts they came up with as a way to raise money for those impacted by last month’s Navy Yard shooting.
Chris and Jennifer K. (they prefer not to reveal their full last name) had been trying to find a way to help those affected by the incident at the Navy Yard, where Jennifer works. Jennifer remembered a “Boston Strong” t-shirt she bought following the Boston Marathon bombings earlier this year. The couple figured something similar might work for the Navy Yard shooting, because Chris was already planning to run next month’s marathon in Athens, Greece. The “Run for the Navy Yard, 26.2-for-20″ theme honors the 20 victims killed or wounded at the Navy Yard.
“We just thought this would be a great way to raise funds and help keep the victims’ memories alive through wearing the shirts,” said Chris.
Jennifer had been working on the third floor of building 197 when the shooting took place. She had been near an emergency exit and managed to escape to safety. Chris explained that his mother-in-law works just down the hall from Jennifer, but luckily had been on vacation that day. His mother-in-law’s office ended up being used as a shelter where employees barricaded themselves inside.
Chris said the family is incredibly thankful for Jennifer’s safety, and now the focus has turned to helping the families of those who weren’t so lucky.
“We just want to promote the t-shirts right now,” Chris said.
The money raised by the t-shirt sales goes to the Navy Yard Relief Fund. The couple already completed one round of fundraising, during which they sold 95 shirts. They recently launched a second round that runs through October 29. Although the fundraising websites Chris used required him to list a specific amount of money as an end goal, he and Jennifer don’t really have a set amount they’re aiming for. They just want to help out as much as they can.
“It’s just to really raise as much money as we can for the families and people who are really affected by it,” he said. “Any support people can give by buying the shirt or spreading the word is greatly appreciated.”
Anyone who wishes to buy one of the $25 shirts may do so online. The shirts will ship around two weeks after the fundraiser ends on October 29.
Arlington’s Feuding Bike Donation Charities – “Arlington, surprisingly, is home to not one but two nonprofits that donate bicycles to the underprivileged in Africa and elsewhere,” writes Our Man in Arlington columnist Charlie Clark. “Our 26-square-mile county, however, may not be big enough for both – the two groups do not ride alongside each other smoothly.” [Falls Church News-Press]
Pike Apartment Ad from the ’60s – The Columbia Pike apartment complex now known as the Wellington is seen in a 1960s-era advertisement uncovered by Ghosts of DC. The then-new “Executive Apartments” were “designed to meet the requirements of successful executives who can command the finest in luxury air-conditioned apartment living,” the ad says. Rent for a one bedroom was $135 per month. [Ghosts of DC]
Library Reminds Feds to Return Books — Furloughed federal employees might not have access to their government email accounts, and thus might miss reminder emails from the library about overdue items. Arlington Public Library is reminding feds that they can keep track of their account through the library website. [Arlington Public Library]
New Nauck Civic Association Website — The Nauck Civic Association recently unveiled a new website, which includes a history of the neighborhood. Also known as Green Valley, the neighborhood was settled by a freed slave in 1844. [Nauck Civic Association]
Arlington Sheriff’s Deputy Indicted — A grand jury has indicted Arlington County Sheriff’s deputy Craig Patterson in the shooting death of 22-year-old Julian Dawkins. Patterson is charged with murder and a firearms charge. A trial date has yet to be set. [WJLA]
Near Record Humidity Mid-Summer — The mid-summer period from June 30 through July 23 was the second most humid in recorded history. The dew point averaged a steamy 71.2 degrees fahrenheit during that time. [Capital Weather Gang]
Shirlington Bar Crawl Set for Saturday — A bar crawl to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society will take place in Shirlington on Saturday afternoon and evening. There will be food and drink specials at each of the four restaurants/bars on the crawl. [Shirlington Village Blog Spot]
Flickr pool photo by Wolfkann
The drive, launched this week, is targeting at the low- to very low-income elementary school students who live in AHC’s affordable housing units in the county. AHC accepts cash donations starting at $18, which is how much it costs for a backpack filled with school supplies.
“Our goal is to make sure each and every child shows up to elementary school with the tools they need to succeed,” AHC stated in a press release.
The AHC says 100 percent of donations go to the children who receive the backpacks. Donors can donate for one backpack or up to 20 at once, and can set up monthly donations.
Photo via AHC
County Mulls Streetlight Changes — Arlington County is considering changing the type of LED streetlights it uses after complaints from residents. One possible change is using lights with a color temperature that more closely matches traditional sodium-vapor lighting. [Sun Gazette]
Cyclist Sets Up Stolen Bike Sting — A cyclist whose bikes were stolen from a Fairfax County parking garage managed to set up a sting operation in Arlington to try to catch the thief. The cyclist found one of the bikes for sale on Craigslist, arranged for the seller to come to an Arlington parking lot, and flagged down a police officer to lend assistance. After agreeing to a sale, listened to by police via a cell phone in the cyclist’s pocket, the seller was arrested. [Gripped Racing]
Transgender Fashion Show to Benefit Arlington Org — A transgender fashion show will be held this Saturday in Falls Church to benefit NovaSalud, a Courthouse-based HIV/AIDS nonprofit. The show’s Honorary Mistress of Ceremonies is Kristen Beck, a retired Navy SEAL who was formerly known as Chris Beck. [Falls Church News-Press]
This Day in Arlington History — On this day in Arlington history, 1937, it was reported that the County Board was debating whether movie theaters should be allowed to open on Sundays. Also, it was reported that a majority of the $176 million the IRS collected in Virginia in 1936 came from taxes on tobacco. [Sun Gazette]
Photo courtesy James Mahony
School Board Candidate Skips S. Arlington — Arlington School Board challenger Barbara Kanninen has held all of her published campaign events in north Arlington, skipping south Arlington entirely, says political blogger Ben Tribbett. Although she’s a challenger, Kanninen is thought by some to be the favorite in the race, thanks to high expected voter turnout in north Arlington. Kanninen will face incumbent James Lander in a debate at tonight’s Arlington County Democratic Committee meeting. The Democratic School Board caucus will be held May 9 and 11. [Not Larry Sabato]
John Paul Stevens to Speak at Cmte. of 100 — Former U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens will be the featured speaker at the May 8 Arlington Committee of 100 meeting. Stevens is an Arlington resident. [Sun Gazette]
AMEN Becomes ‘Arlington Thrive’ — Arlingtonians Meeting Emergency Needs (AMEN) has been rebranded as “Arlington Thrive.” The nonprofit still provides “same-day, emergency financial assistance to County residents who experience sudden financial crisis such as temporary unemployment or illness,” with priority given to families. [Arlington Thrive]
Annual Marymount Fashion Show — Marymount University will hold its annual fashion show this weekend. “Portfolio in Motion 2013″ will showcase the work of Marymount fashion design students. It’s being held on campus in the Rose Bente Lee Center at 8:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 4. [Facebook]
(Updated at 11:05 a.m.) When it comes to online activity, apparently local residents aren’t just shopping and checking Facebook all day. Arlington has been ranked as one of the top cities in America for online donations.
Blackbaud, a company that provides software and services to nonprofits, put together the list after examining 265 cities’ online donations. Arlington came in fourth, just behind third place Washington, D.C. and second place Alexandria. Seattle took the number one spot. The top ten list is:
- Seattle, WA
- Alexandria, VA
- Washington, D.C.
- Arlington, VA
- Ann Arbor, MI
- Cambridge, MA
- Berkeley, CA
- San Francisco, CA
- St. Louis, MO
- Minneapolis, MN
The analysis ranked 265 cities with a population of 100,000 or greater based on per capita online giving. The rankings cover the time period from January 1-December 31, 2012. The full list of cities and where they stand can be found online.
“Online giving continues to be an important part of a nonprofit’s overall fundraising strategy,” Steve MacLaughlin, director of Blacbkbaud’s Idea Lab, said in a press release. “While overall giving remains relatively flat, we continue to see double-digit growth in online giving and expect the trend to continue throughout the year.”
In total, the cities included in the analysis donated more than $509 million online, which is a 15 percent increase from 2011.
It’s a season for giving, but apparently some scam artists are instead using the opportunity for taking. The Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s office is warning residents to watch out for holiday scams, particularly those involving false charities and phishing.
Some groups use names that sound similar to legitimate charities and pressure consumers for donations. They might also offer particularly touching stories in an attempt to garner sympathy and contributions. The AG’s office said many consumers who would typically notice the sketchy “charities” may be too busy or distracted by the holidays to pick up on the normal cues.
Phishing involves using deceptive emails or text messages to obtain usernames, passwords and financial information from a victim. Consumers might receive an email or text message from someone posing as a representative from a bank or retail establishment, saying the customer’s account has been restricted due to unusual activity or too many unsuccessful online login attempts. The scammer then requests bank account numbers, passwords and/or a social security number to reactivate the account.
Some consumers have received fraudulent text messages, emails or phone calls stating they won a gift card from reputable companies such as Target or Best Buy. Scammers might also say the consumer entered a contest at a store. Both of these tactics are used to bait consumers into providing personal information.
In all cases, consumers should avoid handing over sensitive personal information, and should never feel obligated to donate to a charity under pressure. Ask charity representatives who approach you for more information, and do your own research, the attorney general’s office advises. Check the charity’s website, along with resources such as the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance or the National Association of State Charity Officials.
If a charity is legitimate, it will accept your donation at any time and will not need to pressure for donations. Never give cash, and if using a check, make it out directly to the charity instead of an individual person. Do not use money transfer companies to send money to a person you haven’t met.
“My office is committed to helping consumers protect themselves from falling victim to fraud. When it comes to charity scams, especially around the holidays, it is best that people do lots of research and only give money to charities and businesses they can really trust,” said AG Cuccinelli in a statement. “It is our hope that all Virginians can enjoy a joyful and safe holiday season without being taken advantage of by scammers.”
You can file complaints regarding scams on the consumer protection section of the attorney general’s website.
County Proposes Tax Cuts to Lure Advertising Firms — Arlington is proposing to eliminate its tax on media buy receipts in the hopes of luring a new advertising firm, and keeping the existing ones. Trying to reduce the tax in 2004 didn’t have the desired effect, and there are now fewer advertising agencies in Arlington than there were in 2004. The suggestion is to eliminate the tax by early 2013. [WTOP]
Gifts that Give Hope Fair — Fifteen locally based non-profit organizations will participate in the second annual Arlington Gifts that Give Hope Fair tomorrow (December 8) at Calvary United Methodist Church (2315 S. Grant Street). During the alternative gift fair, shoppers can choose to donate for a specific gift, such as an “apartment application fee for one family as they leave a shelter” or “a prescription for a sick child.” The fair runs from 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. and features holiday music, face painting, crafts, refreshments, special $5 items for children to contribute and a visit from Santa from 11:00 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
Professional Racquetball Tournament — Some of the world’s top professional women’s racquetball players will participate in the 2012 Christmas Classic this weekend, including #11 ranked T.J. Baumbaugh of Reston and #39 ranked Paola Nunez of Falls Church. The event will take place throughout the weekend (today through Sunday) at the Crystal Gateway Sport and Health Club (1235 S. Clark Street). A list of start times for each player is available online.
Library’s Holiday Tunes Released — The Arlington Public Library has released its fifth annual “Too Cool for Yule Blog,” which includes about an hour of holiday tunes. While some of the songs are standard holiday favorites, the blog offers versions by some non-traditional artists (such as Cee Lo Green singing “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch). Purists, fear not. The list also features classics from Louis Armstrong, Andy Williams and the late Dave Brubek, who passed away on Wednesday. [Arlington Public Library]
More on the Arlington Goat Prank – The Navy has confirmed that Bill the Goat, the U.S. Naval Academy mascot, was the goat that was found tied up in a median at the intersection of Army Navy Drive and S. Eads Street, near the Pentagon, this past weekend. The goat was “recovered Saturday morning in good condition.” The Army-Navy football game is Dec. 8 and a Navy spokeswoman noted: “Bill the Goat has been a part of our 10-game winning streak against Army, so we are glad to have him back before the big game next week.” [Navy Times]
Arlington GOP Counts Accomplishments — Even though Republican candidates did not win a single race in Arlington, members of the Arlington County Republican Committee are tallying some small victories. “We kept Arlington moving toward more common-sense policies,” said Matt Wavro, this year’s GOP County Board candidate. [Sun Gazette]
‘Shark Tank’ Charity Pitch Event — Twenty entrepreneurs from around Virginia will have a chance to pitch their business startup ideas to panel of business leaders and investors in Arlington this morning. The Shark Tank-like pitch competition will help raise money for charity. The event is taking place at the Ballston offices of Arlington Economic Development, but tickets are no longer available. [Eventbrite]
IAFF Local 2800, the local firefighters union, says members will be wearing the shirt while on duty this week. The shirts can be purchased online or at an Arlington fire station.
From a union spokesman:
“During the week of October 13-19, ACFD/L-2800 members will wear their member designed t-shirts on-duty as a way to raise awareness of breast cancer. The t-shirts will also be sold with the goal of raising as much money as possible to benefit breast cancer treatment and/or research. This year all proceeds will benefit the Sharon McGowan Breast Health Fund, a local non-profit right here in Arlington, that provides breast cancer screenings and other related services free of charge. The Sharon McGowan Breast Health Fund is developed and managed by the Arlington County Medical Society (ACMS). More information can be found at http://www.arlcoms.org/found.shtml. Shirts are available in Pink or Blue. Shirts are $15, and anyone wishing to purchase one can contact any fire station or any member of the ACFD or go to http://www.iaff2800.com/ to purchase from the online store.”
Gun Confiscated at DCA — TSA agents confiscated a 9mm handgun from a 59-year-old Fairfax man who tried to bring it with him on his trip to Dallas. The TSA said the man, who was charged with a misdemeanor weapons offense, was “just a forgetful passenger” and not a terrorist. [Washington Post]
WAMU Offers Voter Guide — WAMU has built an interactive voter guide for D.C. area elections. Among the races where voters can compare and contrast positions are the Virginia Eighth District congressional race, the Arlington County Board race, and the non-competitive Arlington School Board race.
W-L Students Collect “Cleats for Bare Feets” — Three brothers, all students at Washington-Lee High School, have been collecting hundreds of pairs of old athletic cleats for shipment and donation to disadvantaged individuals in countries like India, Mozambique, Haiti, Macedonia and Nigeria. [Arlington Mercury]
The 5K race is being held to benefit Travis Mills, an Army staff sergeant who lost all four limbs to an IED in Afghanistan earlier this year. Registration for the race — $35 for individuals — is still open.
The race will start at 8:30 a.m. at the corner of S. Randolph and S. Quincy Streets in Shirlington Village.
In order to facilitate the race, the Arlington County Police Department will be shutting down a number of streets from about 8:00 to 9:00 a.m. Among them:
- Westbound Four Mile Run Drive between Walter Reed Drive and George Mason Drive
- Northbound Walter Reed Drive between Arlington Mill Drive and Four Mile Run Drive
- Arlington Mill Drive between Walter Reed Drive and S. Quincy Street
- All of the roads immediately surrounding Shirlington Village
Street parking will also be restricted in the area. Cars parked in areas marked as temporary ‘no parking’ will be ticketed or towed.