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by Ethan Rothstein — November 17, 2014 at 2:30 pm 1,778 0

Fatal S. Emerson Street fire (photo via Fox  5)The online fundraiser set up to help Bill and Sarah Barkes — the survivors of the fatal house fire from earlier this month — has reached more than $70,000 in donations, but at least one scam artist appears to be trying to profit from the family’s pain.

According to an update on the Barkes family’s GoFundMe page, a Craigslist post was made by someone posing as a relative of the family under the guise of “collecting money through Paypal.”

The GoFundMe page is maintained by Joy Chadwick, the sister of the mother who died in the blaze trying to save one of her daughters, Emily, who also died. Chadwick has been updating the nearly 1,000 people who have donated to the cause in the two weeks since the fire. Chadwick wrote yesterday that Sarah was released from the hospital after more than a week in intensive care.

“[Bill Barkes] said the doctors were very excited about how fast Sarah was healing and at the this time no surgery is needed,” Chadwick wrote last week. “He said she is working hard on her physical therapy. If she continues with this progress she might be able to leave the hospital by Saturday. She is excited that some of her teachers are coming to visit her today.”

Chadwick wrote the family still has “not decided where they will live.” The cat that was missing after the fire was found and is currently living with Chadwick’s other sister, according to the page.

by Ethan Rothstein — November 13, 2014 at 11:15 am 369 0

UberOffices in RosslynAn Arlington County breast cancer charity is organizing a “B.F.F.” — “Breast Friends Forever” — fundraiser in Rosslyn next week.

The Sharon McGowan Breast Health Fund is holding the happy hour fundraiser at the ÜberOffices coworking space, at 1400 Key Blvd, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 20.

Beer and appetizers will be served, The event is free to register for, but a donation is highly encouraged.

Proceeds from the event help the fund pay for “free mammograms, sonograms, biopsies, medical devices, and [breast cancer] medications” for uninsured men and women in Arlington and Falls Church.

McGowan was an Arlington resident and mother of seven children who succumbed to breast cancer in 1997. Her niece, Jaimie, will be at the happy hour – which doubles as a young professional networking event — encouraging those in attendance to find a “breast friend” to “buddy up with and remind each other to get annual mammographies.”

by Ethan Rothstein — November 6, 2014 at 5:00 pm 3,602 0

Fire victim Mary Barkes and daughter (photo via GoFundMe)(Updated at 5:10 p.m.) An online fundraising drive has raised more than $18,000 to support the Barkes family, the victims of the fatal house fire in South Arlington on Tuesday.

The GoFundMe campaign is up to $18,650 as of 5:00 p.m., with nearly 250 people donating since the campaign launched on Wednesday.

The money raised will help the survivors, Bill and his daughter Sarah, who were both hurt in the fire. Bill’s wife, Mary, and eight-year-old daughter Emily died in the blaze.

“They have lost everything,” the GoFundMe page says. “Their family required two incomes and now they have one. Please make a donation. Anything and everything will help. If you can’t give please say a prayer for Sarah and Billy.”

The page was started by Joy Chadwick, Mary’s sister, who wrote an update to the drive’s blog three hours ago:

“We are at the hospital now with Sarah,” the page says. “She has just had her bandages changed. They have to sedate her in order to change her bandages. Thankfully today she will be moved out of intensive care unit to a regular room. She will still have to stay in the hospital a couple of days. Her arms are wrapped from her shoulders to her fingers. She is being very brave. We are working on their living arrangements. Again thank you so much for everything. Please help us get the word out and share this on your page. God Bless you all.”

The Arlington County Fire Department is still investigating the fire, a process that is expected to take a few weeks. There were no working smoke detectors in the home at the time of the fire, an ACFD spokeswoman said.

Photo via GoFundMe

by Andrea Swalec — October 2, 2014 at 11:00 am 477 0

 

Arlington’s top chefs beat out the county’s best firehouse cooks at a reality TV-style charity competition fought in Clarendon Wednesday night.

Professional cooks won two out of three “Golden Eggplants” awarded at the Arlington Food Assistance Center‘s third annual Chiefs vs. Chefs benefit.

Given ingredients found in AFAC pantries that serve a growing number of hungry Arlington residents, Arlington County Fire Department Lt. Richard Slusher and Firefighter Anthony Westfall of Station 4 in Clarendon took the first award of the night. They whipped up potato and zucchini latkes with a Mediterranean salsa and lemon-basil sour cream. The firehouse cooks bested chef Tim Ma of the Virginia Square eatery Water & Wall. Ma made a hot dog salad with avocado, corn, fish sauce and palm sugar.

“[The latkes] were elegant, well-seasoned and artful,” judge David Guas of Bayou Bakery said after he announced his vote by hoisting a red sign with a fire hat. “Do you have any more?”

Making a vegetarian chili with crispy chicken confit, chefs Kate Jansen and Tracy O’Grady of the Ballston restaurant Willow won the soup round of the food fight. They beat out Capt. Bosephus “Bo” Bennett of ACFD headquarters and Firefighter David Harrison of Station 5, who made a fall harvest root vegetable soup topped with curry whipped cream.

“It’s creamy and delicious, and the texture is lovely,” ruled judge Shannon Overmiller of Alexandria’s Majestic Cafe.

Bennett, a 14-year veteran of the department, said county firefighters were honored to help AFAC fundraise for needy people.

“It’s for the cause. That’s what we’re here for,” he said, noting that firefighters on calls regularly refer people with empty refrigerators to AFAC’s 18 food distribution sites across the county.

The nonprofit has seen a 40 percent uptick in the number of families it serves, executive director Charles Meng said. AFAC gave food to 1,452 families on average every week from Sept. 2012 to Sept. 2013. At the end of last month, that average had risen to 2,036 families every week.

“The number of families we’re seeing is just going up,” Meng said, explaining that Arlington residents say they’re struggling after sequestration cuts and reductions to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits.

The competition showed that simple foods can be turned into delicious dishes, Capt. Claude Conde of Station 9 said.

“If you use some imagination, you can get some good, healthy meals out of basic ingredients.”

Conde and Firefighter Joaquin Ibarra of Station 1 competed in the competition’s last round, making an entree of creamy risotto with chicken thighs and eggplant. They faced off against chefs William Morris and Peter Smith of Vermilion in Alexandria, who made a rolled chicken ballotine with chicken mousse, tomato ragu with corn and sweet potato, and charred onion.

The Vermilion chefs won the final Golden Eggplant of the night, after the judges ruled the ACFD dish to be under-seasoned.

AFAC, which is primarily run through donations, raised more than $45,00 from the event, Meng said. He said he was happy to highlight the firehouse-cooking tradition.

ACFD Chief James Schwartz explained why firefighters are such good cooks.

“The secret of firehouse cooking is you either cook or clean up. Either you’re a cook when you get here, or you learn fast,” he said.

by ARLnow.com — September 26, 2014 at 9:00 am 1,377 0

A woman and her dog at last week's Pups and Pilsners event in Crystal City (Flickr pool photo by Rob Cannon)

Cherry Trees Planted at Library — As part of its Neighborhood Tree Planting Program, the National Cherry Blossom Festival and the Japan-America Society of Washington planted three cherry trees in front of Arlington Central Library yesterday. The program “is an effort to celebrate and share the gift of cherry blossom trees throughout the DC-metro region… and helps create new National Cherry Blossom Festival traditions beyond the Tidal Basin,” festival organizers said in a statement. [Facebook]

Whole Foods Deli, Chicken Counter Stay Closed — The main grocery store and much of the prepared foods sections at the Clarendon Whole Foods (2700 Wilson Blvd) are open following Tuesday’s fire, but county officials say the market deli and chicken counter will stay closed until the health inspector approves its reopening.

County to Consider Privatizing Volunteer Agency — Changes may be coming to Volunteer Arlington, the county’s volunteer agency. Arlington County Manager Barbara Donnellan is establishing a new advisory task force “to look into whether Arlington’s volunteer office is the right business model to meet community needs.” The task force will consider whether outsourcing Volunteer Arlington “would enhance volunteer activity in the community.” [Arlington County]

Restaurant Exceeds Kickstarter Goal — SER, the winner of Ballston’s Restaurant Challenge, has exceeded its $15,000 Kickstarter goal. The Spanish comfort food restaurant, coming to 1110 N. Glebe Road in Ballston, has so far raised $17,145. It also received a $245,000 interest-free loan as the prize for winning the Restaurant Challenge. [Kickstarter]

Arlington GOP Blasts Olympic Bid — Arlington Republicans do not share Democratic officials’ enthusiasm for the regional bid to host the 2024 Summer Olympics. “It’s not a great idea,” said local GOP chairman Matt Wavro, citing costs and security concerns. [InsideNova]

Flickr pool photo by Rob Cannon

by ARLnow.com — September 18, 2014 at 9:20 am 1,202 0

Helicopter over the Key Bridge

Metro Work This Weekend — Arlington’s Metro lines will be impacted by significant maintenance work this weekend. Riders on the Orange Line should expect trains to run every 24 minutes, while trains on the Blue Line will run every 20 minutes. The Yellow Line, meanwhile, will only run between Huntington and Mt. Vernon Square. [WMATA]

Bracket Room Expanding to DCA — Bracket Room, the upscale sports bar in Clarendon that opened last summer, is expanding with locations in Reagan National Airport and Dulles International Airport. “The two new restaurants will mirror the Arlington location’s upscale, stylish environment complete with infinity-edge televisions making it the ideal spot to grab a meal and watch a game while waiting for a flight,” according to a press release. No word on an opening date. [PRWeb]

Library Lit Ball Will Have 007 Theme — Library boosters Friends of the Arlington Public Library are planning a James Bond theme for the group’s second annual “Lit Up Ball” fundraiser. The event will take place Saturday, Oct. 18 at Artisphere and will benefit the library’s early literacy initiatives. Tickets are $30. [Friends of the Arlington Public Library]

Clarendon Apple Store Camper — Someone is already camping in front of the Clarendon Apple Store, in anticipation of tomorrow morning’s launch of the iPhone 6. [Twitter]

by ARLnow.com — September 17, 2014 at 11:40 am 931 0

Diners at Ruth’s Chris Steak House in Crystal City (2231 Crystal Drive) Monday night had some especially muscular, familiar-looking waiters.

Washington Redskins running back Alfred Morris and other team stars donned aprons and name tags for the second annual Blitz For The Better Celebrity Waiter Night fundraiser.

Raising funds “to provide opportunities, support and resources to children and families in need in the Washington, D.C. area,” according to the team blog, the event was organized by Blitz for the Better founder and Redskins outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan.

Morris, caught on camera (above) by TMZ Sports outside the event, participated along with tight end Niles Paul, safety Ryan Clark, and fullback Darrel Young, and a number of linebackers and linemen: Jackson Jeffcoat, Gabe Miller, Adam Hayward, Shawn Lauvao and Braxston Cave.

by ARLnow.com — August 25, 2014 at 9:05 am 3,364 0

Rosslyn (Flickr pool photo by erkiletian)

One Found Dead in Submerged Car — A person was found dead in a submerged car near the GW Parkway’s Humpback Bridge Sunday afternoon. D.C. and Arlington firefighters were called to the scene after a Duck Tours boat operator saw the submerged car. The car reportedly plunged into the Potomac while traveling northbound on the Parkway. [WTOP, WJLA]

BRT Debuts in Arlington — Metroway, Metro’s first bus rapid transit system, made its debut over the weekend. The service runs from Crystal City to the Braddock Road Metro station in Alexandria, utilizing dedicated lanes along Route 1. [Washington Post]

CAIR Banquet Coming to Arlington — The Council on American-Islamic Relations will hold its 20th annual fundraising banquet in Crystal City next month. The event will take place Sept. 27 at the Crystal Gateway Marriott. Announced participants include retiring Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) and the Rev. Al Sharpton, who’s scheduled to be the keynote speaker. [CAIR]

Fewer than Half of Area Residents are Native-Born — Fewer than half of the residents of D.C., Maryland and Virginia were born there. The number of native-born residents of the District, Maryland and Virginia has been falling since at least 1970. [WJLA]

Flickr pool photo by erkiletian

by Ethan Rothstein — August 22, 2014 at 1:30 pm 1,077 0

Ball-Sellers House (photo courtesy Arlington Historical Society)Anyone with an old family heirloom, antique piece of furniture or other item of potential value can have it appraised for value and authenticity next month.

The Arlington Historical Society is hosting its first-ever antique appraisal at Carlin Hall (5711 4th Street S.) on Saturday, Sept. 13 from 10:00 a.m. to noon. Interested visitors can pay $10 to have Todd Peenstra, of Annapolis, Md.-based Peenstra Antiques Appraisals, and Steve Gouterman, a jewelry appraiser from NovaGold in Fairfax.

The first hour of appraisals will be conducted in a public, Antiques Roadshow-style setting, and the second hour is reserved for private appraisals. Each appraisal costs $10, while those without antiques can see the show for $5.

All proceeds will go to fund the Arlington Historical Society’s maintenance of Arlington’s oldest building, the Ball-Sellers house at 5620 3rd Street S. Built by John Ball — after whom Ballston is named — around 1750, the house is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It will be open for free tours from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on the 13th, so those attending the appraisal can see what their admission is funding.

To reserve a spot to have an item appraised, send the Historical Society an email describing the item. The $10 fee is to be paid in advance, according to the organization.

Photo courtesy Arlington Historical Society

by ARLnow.com — August 19, 2014 at 9:15 am 1,797 0

Shadowy jogger in Banneker Park (Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick)

One Candidate for Treasurer Race — Democrat Carla de la Pava, who has served as Arlington County treasurer since July 7, following the retirement of Frank O’Leary, is running unopposed in November. No other candidate filed to run in the special election by the Aug. 15 filing deadline. [InsideNova]

Bracket Room to Host Pregame Shows — The Bracket Room, 1210 N. Garfield Street in Clarendon, will host both the Fox 5 and the 106.7 The Fan Redskins pregame broadcasts this fall, according to a press release. The on-location broadcasts will take place at the sports bar for all 16 regular season games. [PRNewswire]

Cyclists Stopped on I-66 — A pair of bicyclists “dressed like Lance Armstrong” were stopped by Arlington County police on I-66 this morning, according to scanner traffic. It’s unclear why the cyclists were on the interstate. Police directed them to nearby Glebe Road.

Arlington: Great for Soccer Moms? — Arlington is the No. 3 locality in the country for “soccer moms,” according to an analysis that factored in things like the number of soccer clubs and food and transportation affordability. [Nerd Wallet]

Ohio Town Raises Money for Arlington Family — Residents of Chagrin Falls, Ohio are trying to raise $10,000 for the Sachar family of Arlington. Their son, 8-year-old Ashlawn Elementary student Eli Sachar, was struck and killed by a car on July 12 during a visit to Chagrin Falls. [Cleveland.com]

Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick

by Morgan Fecto — July 28, 2014 at 2:35 pm 1,791 0

Kennan GarveyThe inaugural “Kennan Garvey Memorial Ride,” a fundraiser for Phoenix Bikes, will be held this Saturday, from 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on the W&OD Trail.

Kennan Garvey was a cycling enthusiast, taught children about bikes when he was in the Peace Corps and wanted to volunteer for Phoenix Bikes after he retired, his widow, Arlington County Board member Libby Garvey said.

Since she created the fund, Garvey has aimed to raise $56,000 for Phoenix Bikes, a thousand dollars for each year her husband lived.

“When people first pass away, people want to give money, and people don’t forget,” Garvey said, “but they don’t remember so much [as time goes by]. I thought a ride would be a great way to keep the fund going and organized.”

When her husband died unexpectedly from a heart attack on Jan. 19, 2008, Garvey said she knew she wanted to set up a memorial for him to benefit Phoenix Bikes.

“Probably at about 2:00 a.m. that night it came to me that this would be the perfect memorial for him,” Garvey said.

The charity bicycle ride will start and end at Phoenix Bikes at 4200 S. Four Mile Run Drive, and will span the entire trail. There will be turn-around points at 15, 30 and 45 miles into the trail, allowing riders to bike 30, 60, or 90 miles. Riders can also do an extra 10 miles on the Custis Trail to complete a full 100-mile-ride, according to Phoenix Bikes Executive Director Henry Dunbar.

“It’s a great ride, really suitable for kids,” Garvey said. “You don’t have to cross roads much and there aren’t any huge hills.”

Garvey and Phoenix Bikes partnered to raise money in her husband’s name for the nonprofit in 2008, and have wanted to organize a ride to feed the fund for the past five years, Dunbar said.

“Kennan was an avid cyclist and obviously a very connected member of the community,” Dunbar said. “Having an annual event that would continue to memorialize him and build on this fund is part of our plan to grow.”

Phoenix Bikes plans to use the fund, which has a goal of $10,000 for Saturday’s ride, to help its effort to build a new education center that will have room for more of the young bicyclists it mentors, Dunbar said. The current location accommodates eight to 10 middle school-aged children, who are taught bike repair and business skills, but Phoenix Bikes wants to double that with the new building.

Registration is still open for the ride, and those interested in donating but not riding can sponsor a rider, like Garvey’s grandson, who learned about bicycling from his late grandfather. Garvey said that the goal is for every rider to pledge $500 via either donation or sponsorship. The fund has has raised $4,120 so far.

“We’re getting there,” Garvey said. “I’m not sure if we’ll make it to $10,000, but we’re getting there.”

Although Garvey broke her collarbone in May while training for the ride and will not participate this year, she said she will be there to cheer on her family members and the other riders.

“For whatever reason I wasn’t meant to ride this one,” Garvey said.

Garvey and Dunbar said they plan to hold the ride annually to keep the Kennan Garvey Memorial Fund growing, and to make sure that he is remembered.

“It’s hard, but it is what it is,” Garvey said of the loss of her late husband. “We had a great life together.”

Photo courtesy Libby Garvey

by Ethan Rothstein — May 22, 2014 at 3:30 pm 728 0

Shepherd's Men (photo via Facebook)(Updated at 4:00 p.m.) Seven U.S. Marines, one member of the U.S. Navy and one civilian are in the middle of running the 684 miles from Atlanta to Arlington to raise awareness for traumatic brain injuries among veterans.

The crew left Atlanta Monday morning, according to organizer and the lone civilian runner, Travis Ellis. They plan to conclude their journey at the U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial near Rosslyn Sunday at noon.

The group calls themselves “Shepherd’s Men,” after the Shepherd Center in Atlanta, Ga., which houses the SHARE Military Initiative, a privately owned facility that treats veterans for traumatic brain injuries, including post-traumatic stress disorder. Ellis said it’s the only private facility in the country focused on veterans’ brain injuries, a status quo he hopes to change.

“It’s estimated that approximately 300,000 of those deployed in the last 13 years have been diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury,” Ellis told ARLnow.com while taking a break from running to Lynchburg, Va., this afternoon. “Every 65 minutes, a veteran or active duty member takes his or her own life. More needs to be done to help serve them and lift them up when they return home.”

While the Shepherd’s Men are running, they hope to raise $100,000, which would fund the SHARE program for a full month, he said. His hope is that more private programs serving veterans will arise as a result of increased awaress; the SHARE program only has capacity to serve 40 patients a year.

Each of the nine runners is covering about 13 miles per day, Ellis said, with each runner covering four miles on Sunday for their final leg from Manassas to the Iwo Jima memorial.

The seven-day endurance challenge has been in planning since January, Ellis said, with all the runners undergoing rigorous training programs to prepare them (although that didn’t prevent some nasty blisters).  That their cause aligns with the growing scandal surrounding patient care at VA hospitals is coincidental.

“It’s purely coincidence,” Ellis said. “Everything related to that just serves as example for the need for private institutions with the ability and capacity for these services.”

Photo via Facebook

by Ethan Rothstein — May 7, 2014 at 1:30 pm 464 0

Walk-for-the-Animals-ImageThe Animal Welfare League of Arlington’s biggest fundraiser of the year, its annual Walk for the Animals, will be held this Saturday at Bluemont Park (329 N. Manchester Street).

The event begins with registration at 9:30 a.m. and there will be a 3-mile walk or a 1-mile stroll for participants, who can bring their dog along with them (for their safety, other animals are not permitted at the walk). Registration is $30 for adults, $25 for participants between age 12 and 17 — who must be accompanied by an adult — and $5 for children between 6 and 11 years old. On-site registration is $40.

Participants are also encouraged to solicit sponsors to raise more money to reach AWLA’s goal of $120,000 for the event. As of 1:20 p.m. today, AWLA had raised $68,075. Individuals who raise more than $250 will be entered into a raffle to win a prize, which in previous years has been a hotel giveaway or restaurant gift cards. The walk will be held rain or shine.

“The Walk will unify the community in a celebration of the human-animal bond, while raising awareness and funds to directly benefit the hundreds of adoptable animals and community programs supported by the Animal Welfare League of Arlington — the County’s only humane society,” AWLA said on its event page. “Many of AWLA’s adoptable dogs will be onsite to meet potential new families.”

Photo via AWLA

by Ethan Rothstein — May 7, 2014 at 11:00 am 2,823 0

Kristin Beck (photo via Facebook)(Updated at 6:35 p.m.) A former U.S. Navy SEAL is hosting an art fundraiser in Crystal City next month to raise money for veterans returning home with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other combat-induced disabilities.

Alexandria-based nonprofit The 296 Project will host a gallery show and silent auction at Gallery Underground (2100 Crystal Drive) of U.S. Navy Senior Chief Kristin Beck, a transgender, 20-year veteran of the Navy whose art “kept her from suicide on more than one occasion,” according to a press release for the event.

Beck, who took part in seven combat deployments with the SEALS and was awarded a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart, was diagnosed with PTSD and a 90 percent disability rating.

The first ever transgender Navy SEAL, Beck “will be addressing the crowd personally,” and discussing the therapeutic effect creating artwork had on her recovery, according to the press release. She will also be advocating for The 296 Project, which “promotes, funds, supports and advocates for art and expressive therapies” for veterans when they return to the States, according to Executive Director Scott Gordon.

Beck’s work will be on display at the gallery from June 2-28. The show will be on June 6 from 6:30 to 9:00 p.m. and tickets are $15.

Photo via Facebook

by ARLnow.com — April 7, 2014 at 1:35 pm 1,151 0

Ophrah Winfrey and congressional candidate Lavern Chatman (photo credit: Allison O'Brien/aobphoto)Entertainment icon Oprah Winfrey spoke at a fundraiser for congressional candidate Lavern Chatman (D) Saturday evening.

The event was held at the Crystal Gateway Marriott at 1700 Jefferson Davis Highway in Crystal City. Tickets for the fundraiser started at $150. At the high end, a $2,600 donation to the campaign came with reserved seating, admission to a VIP reception and a photo with Winfrey.

The fundraiser was closed to the press. The Chatman campaign issued a photo (above) and the following press release following the event.

Democratic congressional candidate (VA-CD8) Lavern Chatman hosted a campaign event Saturday night in Arlington, Virginia.

Chatman has run effective nonprofit programs and organizations. She is the former CEO of the Northern Virginia Urban League, she founded the Grandfathers Group mentoring program for at-risk young boys, and co-founded the Nova Coalition an organization focused on increasing voter participation, voter restoration, and civic engagement. Personally, Chatman has a group of 15 young women she mentors called the “Fab 15,” and all 15 women attended.

“I will continue to be a champion for Virginia women,” Chatman said. “I am pro pay equity, pro-choice and pro women’s health. I have been in the trenches working with and mentoring young women and girls and I want to keep making a difference for my community in Congress.”

Chatman serves as a “host parent” for one of the graduates of the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls – South Africa while the student is studying in the United States. Philanthropist and global media leader Oprah Winfrey appeared at a campaign in support of her friend.

“Stedman and I came here tonight to support Lavern Chatman,” said Oprah Winfrey. “I’ve seen how Lavern embraced with her whole heart being a host mom to one of my girls, who recently graduated from the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy in South Africa. Lavern makes people feel like they matter, and I see that Lavern is happiest when she is serving others.”

“This was a great event for our campaign and to advance the conversation about what we can do to champion issues that impact women and girls in Virginia,” Chatman said. “Oprah and I share a strong commitment to making a difference for future generations.”

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