(Updated at 10:55 a.m. on 11/10/12) For nearly two weeks, stories of devastation have continued pouring out of New York and New Jersey, where Hurricane Sandy struck the worst. Today, members of the Arlington County Police Department did their best to ease the pain of some of the hardest hit victims.
Sgt. Steve Meincke and Det. Colin Dorrity (who is with Metro Transit Police) are both from Toms River, NJ, an area that experienced widespread devastation. Hearing about the hardships their family members and friends are enduring in the surrounding areas prompted Det. Dorrity to ask Sgt. Meincke about sending out an email to the entire department, asking for donations of supplies. The response was overwhelming and in just one week, the effort exceeded Det. Dorrity’s anticipated goal of one carload of supplies. Instead, the haul required a moving truck.
The donations will go to the Keansburg, NJ police department to be distributed to those in need. The department headquarters was demolished in the storm, so officers there are working out of an old building. Det. Dorrity has a friend on that force, who sent a request for help.
“He said, ‘Can you help us out? We have nothing. We’ve been working for the last 10 days, we’re running out of equipment, we’re running out of underwear, we’re running out of socks. We can’t even wash our clothes because we’re never off duty,’” said Det. Dorrity. “If you think about the first responders, in particular, their houses got destroyed but those guys now have been working for 10 days straight without any relief. They can’t even get back to their houses to check on them.”
On top of the existing devastation from Sandy, this week’s Nor’easter left homeless victims facing freezing temperatures and up to a foot of snow while trying to clean up their towns.
“Now that the second storm hit, they’re dealing with the snow issue, and no power,” said ACPD spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. “We’re just trying to provide some items for these families who are going through a tough time. Items for infants and babies, food, and basically anything that can keep people warm up there.”
There was a big push to get not just warm clothing and food, but also games and toys to keep displaced children occupied while they stay in shelters. Animal food is another item that’s often forgotten but is in high demand. Many people brought their pets to the shelters, but shelters don’t have a supply of foods for pets.
On Wednesday (November 7), Det. Dorrity helped take two trucks of supplies to New Jersey. Those items were donated by members of various law enforcement agencies throughout the D.C. metro area, along with a couple of schools. He said seeing his hometown in such a state was painful.
“It’s really bad up there, it’s really terrible. It’s hard, you know, when I went up the past few days,” he said. “Seeing your home and a National Guard checkpoint in your neighborhood, it’s a little bit surreal.”
More, including photos, after the jump.
Streetcar Video Came at a Cost — An Arlington County-produced video that makes the case for the planned Columbia Pike and Crystal City streetcar lines cost the county $3,400. Arlington officials greenlit the video because they “felt there was a general ‘lack of public awareness and education’” about the streetcar. [Washington Examiner]
Beef ‘O’ Brady Eyes Arlington — The Florida-based Beef ‘O’ Brady chain of sports bars/restaurants is apparently looking to open in Arlington. Arlington is a “key component to the company’s growth strategy in Virginia,” according to a press release. “While there’s definitely a market for Beef ‘O’ Brady’s in the Arlington market, we’re taking a careful approach to finding a franchise partner with business savvy, tenacity and a readiness to reinvest in the communities they serve,” said James Walker, Chief Development Officer of Beef ‘O’ Brady’s, in a statement. “ [Restaurant News Release]
Donations Sought for USS Arlington Commissioning — The commissioning of the USS Arlington, a new Navy transport ship, is six months away. The USS Arlington Commissioning Committee is now seeking donations to help support the commissioning ceremony and to build a “tribute room” within the new ship. [Sun Gazette]
Flickr pool photo by Wolfkann
Homeless children from a shelter in Arlington will be donating more than $500 to the Special Olympics this afternoon.
The children live in Sullivan House, a shelter for homeless families in Clarendon run by the Arlington-Alexandria Coalition for the Homeless. Together with parents, volunteers, and AACH staff, thirteen children between the ages of five and 13 ran a lemonade stand outside the shelter throughout the summer. They raised just over $1,000, according to AACH Lauren Marigot Barth.
“They learned about customer service, managing money, and marketing,” Barth said. “They also did a really good job!”
The children voted to donate half of the money raised to the Special Olympics. A representative from the organization – which organizes athletic competitions for children and adults with intellectual disabilities — will be on hand at Sullivan House this afternoon to officially receive the donation.
The rest of the money will help to fund a trip to Busch Gardens.
Photos courtesy Arlington-Alexandria Coalition for the Homeless
Parents Speak Out Against New Bus Policy — Some parents spoke out against Arlington Public Schools’ new voucher-based school bus policy at last night’s School Board meeting. The policy will result in some students no longer being able to ride the bus to school. School Board member Abby Raphael said the changes are necessary: “Our school system is growing,” she said. “We have to adapt and make changes. It’s very expensive to add a bus and a bus driver.” [Sun Gazette]
APAH Asks For School Supply Donations — The Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing is seeking donations of school supplies. APAH will fill backbacks with the supplies and give them to about 250 disadvantaged students ahead of the first day of school. [Arlington Mercury]
W-L Softball Field Approved — The Arlington School Board formally approved a new softball field at Washington-Lee High School at its meeting last night. The softball field will cost about $1.3 million. [Sun Gazette]
Flickr pool photo by Jeff Gamble
AWLA Wins ‘Best in Shelter’ Contest — The Animal Welfare League of Arlington will receive $50,000 in prize money after one of its dogs won the “Best in Shelter” contest. Gaston, a four-year-old American Bulldog mix, received the most votes in the contest, which was sponsored by author Martha Grimes. ”The prize money will help us do even more for all the homeless animals that come into our shelter, including vaccines, medications, surgeries, and enrichment,” said AWLA Executive Director Neil Trent. Gaston was propelled to victory, at least in part, thanks to a music video produced by AWLA supporters.
Leonsis to Address Ballston BID — Capitals and Wizards owner Ted Leonsis will be the keynote speaker at the first annual meeting of the new Ballston Business Improvement District this evening. Leonsis is expected to talk about “entrepreneurship and the future of Ballston” at the meeting, which is being held from 5:00 to 7:30 p.m. at the Westin Arlington Gateway (801 N. Glebe Road). The meeting is open to local residents but attendees are asked to RSVP in advance. [Ballston BID]
Officer’s Donation Noted at Shirlington Library — When Lt. Col. James R. Mailler died in 2011, he left a donation to one of his favorite places — the Shirlington Branch Library. Now Lt. Col. Mailler’s donation is being recognized with a plaque near the newspapers, where he used to spend much of his time. [Library Blog]
Flickr pool photo by Alex
Bloomers in Shirlington is encouraging women to take off their bras for a good cause. This Saturday, May 19, the store will host its 2nd Annual Bra Drive.
The drive started last year at the Old Town store, and this year the newer Shirlington location (4150 Campbell Avenue) will participate as well. Donations of new or gently used bras are accepted, and will be given to BraRecyclers. The organization distributes bras around the world to women and girls who have been stricken by disaster, or are in a state of transitioning back into self-sufficiency.
Megan Monticone, who is in charge of social media for Bloomers, explained that although all styles and sizes are needed, there is a particular need for donations of maternity bras, nursing bras and bras for larger breasted women, such as sizes DD and higher. Those tend to be harder to come by and more expensive than other types of bras.
“For women who are in positions of trying to transition, it’s hard to get the right size and be able to afford it,” Monticone said.
Customers can bring in bras to the Shirlington location from 10:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m. Anyone who donates will receive a 20% discount off the cost of one new bra at Bloomers. Customers who donate will also receive a tank top, while supplies last. Those who can’t make it on Saturday are encouraged to drop off a donation any time this week, but the discount will only apply on Saturday.
Bloomers will also donate $1 to BraRecyclers for every new “Like” on its Facebook page during the month of May.
There’s a lighthouse inside the Ballston mall right now, but it’s probably not what you think. It’s one of the many structures on display made entirely of canned food, all for a good cause.
The American Institute of Architects Northern Virginia Chapter and the Arlington Food Assistance Center have teamed up for the ninth year to present the Canstruction competition. Teams of architects build structures made entirely out of canned food. All the food donations, which typically add up to tens of thousands of pounds, are then donated to AFAC.
Tonight, the winner will be announced at an awards ceremony at Rock Bottom Brewery, starting at 6:00 p.m. The displays will remain intact throughout the mall until 8:00 a.m. on Saturday.
(Updated at 5:45 p.m.) On March 15, a year to the day after the all-Democrat Arlington County Board rejected a controversial plan to add lights to its football and baseball fields, Bishop O’Connell High School made a $350 contribution to the campaign of Republican County Board candidate Mark Kelly, according to public campaign contribution records.
In a statement issued late this afternoon, Michael J. Donohue, Director of Communications for the Catholic Diocese of Arlington, said the donation was made by a school employee using school funds. The check was intended to be a donation from an individual, however, and not a donation on behalf of the school itself, according to Donohue.
The Diocese learned today that a member of the staff of Bishop O’Connell High School in Arlington County recently used a school check for the sake of convenience to purchase a set of tickets to a political fundraiser for a candidate for local office. This was a significant error in judgment on the part of the school employee as well as a clear violation of diocesan policy. Though all of the $350 in school funds were reimbursed by the employee, Chancery and school officials are presently reviewing the matter, and appropriate disciplinary action will be taken.
One local Democratic official raised a red flag about the donation, which seemed like an unprecedented, symbolic gesture from the school, until the Diocese clarified the record.
“I’ve never seen this, a school giving a donation to a political candidate,” the official told ARLnow.com.
Donohue said Diocese policy specifically prohibits political donations, which would be a violation of the church’s 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status.
“Diocesan policy absolutely prohibits church entities to contributing to any political campaigns, either on behalf of or opposition to any candidate,” Donohue said. “That’s reflective of the IRS code.”
A Bishop O’Connell spokeswoman was reached via phone before this article was published, but declined to comment.
Kelly ended up losing the March 27 special election to Democrat Libby Garvey.
Image via Wikipedia
(Updated at 3:25 p.m.) If you attended high school in Arlington, you have something in common with Warren Beatty, Shirley MacLaine, Katie Couric and Sandra Bullock. All are immortalized in yearbooks at Arlington Central Library (1015 N. Quincy St), but the collection isn’t complete. That’s where you can step in to help.
The Virginia Room at the Central Library is asking for donations of Arlington high school yearbooks in good condition. That way, your accomplishments can be put on display for all to see, along with Sandra Bullock’s time as a cheerleader at Washington-Lee or Katie Couric’s work (quite foreshadowing) in the Yorktown Quill and Scroll Club. Hopefully, there’s no issue over the spelling of your last name like Shirley MacLaine and her brother, Warren (Beaty vs. Beatty).
In addition to the yearbooks, visitors to the Virginia Room can browse through the reference collection of the state’s historical items including maps, photos of the County from decades past and a local newspaper archive.
Judith Knudsen and John Stanton work in the Virginia Room and help visitors hunt down resources. The process will become a little easier on February 1, when the collection, including around 600 photos, will begin to be digitized and put online for public viewing.
“We’re Arlington, Virginia history, but we’re also a community archives,” Knudsen said. “We collect papers and information on individuals and also organizations.”
The high school yearbooks the library would like can be from any year between 1951 and 2010. It’s fine if the books have writing in them, but they must be without mold and mildew. Duplicates are welcome, but the Virginia Room is specifically missing the following yearbooks:
Wakefield – 1954, 1975, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1983, 1986, 2001, 2004, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010
Washington-Lee – 1930, 1958, 1959, 1963, 1964, 1969, 1972, 1989, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2004, 2005, 2009, 2010
Yorktown – 1982, 1984, 1985, 1993, 1997, 2010
Hoffman-Boston – Missing All Except 1951, 1952, 1953, 1954
Bishop Denis J. O’Connell – Missing All Except 1977, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1998
H.B. Woodlawn – They don’t have ANY yearbooks
Donations can be made in person. For more information, call 703-228-5966 or email the Virginia Room.
Arlington Transit teamed up with the Arlington Food Assistance Center for a food drive that allows riders to leave donations directly on buses. Each ART bus has a box for collecting non-perishable food items. Boxes have also been put in place at Commuter Stores.
All food collected will be sent to the Arlington Food Assistance Center to be distributed to local residents in need. During an average week, AFAC serves about 2,000 adults and 1,000 children.
As of November 29, Arlington Transit reported 160 items had been donated. The food drive runs through Friday, December 16. If you’d like to donate but aren’t sure what to give, there’s a list of suggested items on the Arlington Transit website.
If it can’t be thrown out with the trash or picked up for normal recycling, chances are you’ll be able to get rid of it next month at Arlington’s “E-CARE” Environmental Collection and Recycling Event.
The biannual event is being held at Thomas Jefferson Middle School (125 S. Old Glebe Road) from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 15.
Residents will be able to drop off various types of large or hazardous items, including small metal items, computers, televisions, cell phones, other electronics, fluorescent bulbs and tubes, paint products, fuels and petroleum products, lawn and garden chemicals, poisons, pesticides, automotive fluids, car care products, propane gas cylinders, photographic chemicals, swimming pool chemicals, household cleaners, mercury, flammable solvents, fire extinguishers and corrosive materials.
There will also be a collection of gently used clothes, shoes, microwaves, mattresses, bed frames, eyeglasses and old bicycles. Most items will be donated to poor residents of Honduras, while the bikes and eyeglasses will be sent to unspecified overseas destinations.
The only items that are specifically banned are explosives, ammunition, freon, radioactive materials, prescription drugs, medical waste and asbestos. Also, smoking is prohibited while on-site.
See more information on the Arlington County E-CARE web site.
County to Label Building Energy Use — In October, Arlington will start installing signs on county-owned building that will reveal the building’s energy use and carbon footprint. “We’d like people to think of energy use in buildings like they think of gasoline use in cars,” Joan Kelsch, Arlington’s green building program manager, told reporter Michael Lee Pope. [WAMU]
Planetarium Donors and Dedications — Among the whimsical new seat dedications in the soon-to-be-renovated David M. Brown Planetarium: “Pick any star — make a wish!” “Gaze upward & dream!” and “4 Who Is Yet To Come.” [savetheplanetarium.org]
Fairfax Supervisor Candidate’s 2010 Arlington Assault — An independent candidate for the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors was charged with assault in Arlington after a heated argument over a Crystal City parking space on March 25, 2010. “It was an altercation between two adults,” explained Will Radle, who has been endorsed by the Independent Green party. [Kingstowne Patch]
Quarterly finance reports are out for Arlington’s state Senate races.
In the heated 31st District contest between County Board member Barbara Favola and Army National Guard JAG officer Jaime Areizaga-Soto, Favola won the fundraising battle and conserved her cash.
Favola received $130,414.68 in contributions during the second quarter of 2011, compared to Areizaga-Soto’s $73,816.00. Areizaga-Soto also took out $145,000 in net debt during the period, but only ended up with $41,137.84 cash in hand thanks to a whopping $177,678.16 in spending. Favola spent $74,764.67 and ended with $112,909.01 cash in hand.
Favola may face renewed criticism of her willingness to accept money from developers and other interests with business before the County Board. All told, Favola accepted nearly $35,000 in donations from real estate, development and hotel companies.
Among the donations were $5,000 from JBG Companies executive Walter Coker, $2,500 from Monday Properties executive Timothy Helmig, $2,500 from IDI Group CEO Giuseppe Cecchi, $1,000 from The Bozzuto Group’s Thomas Bozzuto, and $1,000 from MRP Realty executive Robert Murphy. She also accepted donations from representatives of Vornado/Charles E. Smith, the B.F. Saul Company, McCaffrey Interests, and Cushman & Wakefield.
Additionally, Favola accepted a $2,500 donation from Advanced Towing owner John O’Neill, $1,000 from Red Top Cab and $500 from Enviro-Cab partner April Hess. All three firms are subject to special county regulations. Political supporters Sen. Mary Margaret Whipple, Sen. Janet Howell, and Sen. Dick Saslaw collectively contributed
$32,000 $42,000 to Favola.
Areizaga-Soto, meanwhile, raised a significant portion of his money from friends and family in his native Puerto Rico. He raised more than $21,000 from donors in the American territory. Areizaga-Soto’s fellow attorneys were also generous. He raised $18,700 from donors identified as attorneys.
Areizaga-Soto’s largest individual donor was Carlos Del Toro, the CEO of a service disabled veteran-owned engineering and consulting firm in Stafford, Va. Del Toro donated a total of $5,250 to Areizaga-Soto.
The winner of the primary race between Favola and Areizaga-Soto will face Republican Caren Merrick in the fall. Merrick raised $136,031.25 during the quarter and has $153,499.90 cash on hand.
In the three-way Democratic primary race for the 30th District state Senate seat, Arlington County School Board member Libby Garvey captured the fundraising crown.
Arlington residents are nothing if not generous. The county is home to one of the highest-performing Goodwill donation centers in the country.
The nonprofit’s Glebe Road donation center at 10 S. Glebe Road was ranked 6th out of 2,657 donation centers nationwide in 2010.
The center, which often has a line of cars waiting to donate snaking through its parking lot, racked up 121,254 donations in 2010, according to Goodwill spokesman Brendan Hurley. The location’s retail store, meanwhile, recorded 119,946 transactions.
All told, donations at the Glebe Road center kept 4,850,160 pounds of materials — including 370,000 pounds of computer equipment — out of landfills.
A flood of last minute donations has helped to save Arlington’s David M. Brown Planetarium. A large donation from an anonymous donor pushed the campaign past its goal as the fundraiser came to a close on Thursday.
The anonymous donation of $50,000 bumped the total to $435,000. That surpassed the goal of $402,800 set in April 2010 by Dr. Patrick Murphy, Superintendent of Arlington Public Schools.
More than 3,500 businesses, individuals and foundations contributed to the cause, 200 of them taking part during the 10-day online fundraising challenge. The money will go toward purchasing a state-of-the-art planetarium projector, replacing the seats, updating the lighting system and repairing the inside of the dome. Had the goal not been met, the 40 year old facility would have been closed and used for classroom space.
Friends of the Arlington Planetarium, the non-profit group formed to raise money for the project, says it will continue to make sure the planetarium stays up to date and will provide support as necessary.