Va. Sq. Giant Celebrates Changes – The Virginia Square Giant grocery store (3450 Washington Blvd) is celebrating its “grand reopening” following recent renovations. A representative for Giant says new features include a redesigned produce department with a better fruit and vegetable assortment, a new gourmet cheese case, a new bakery and an expanded natural foods section. Customers at that location will have the opportunity to take part in tastings, raffles and prize giveaways over the next four weekends.
Event Examines Seniors’ Transportation Needs — A Mobility Lab regional symposium held at George Mason University yesterday focused on the transportation needs of residents aged 65 and older. Speakers voiced the need for better coordination of senior transportation programs that would keep seniors mobile in their communities. Suggestions for improvement included better marketing and promotion, using volunteers and issuing performance surveys. [Mobility Lab]
Streetcar Debate Focuses on Types of Riders — At the Arlington Committee of 100 streetcar forum on Wednesday, speakers addressed which riders prefer different modes of transit. Speakers debated whether the Columbia Pike streetcar or a bus rapid transit system would better draw in “choice riders” — those who have access to a car but could be persuaded to take transit under the right circumstances. [Sun Gazette]
Flickr pool photo by Jason OX4
Senior Citizens Tour Sewage Plant — A group of three dozen senior citizens toured Arlington’s recently-renovated Water Pollution Control Plant on Friday. The sold-out tour educated the seniors about the sewage treatment process and about the people who work at the plant, whose “informal motto” is “We’re No. 1 with your No. 2.” [Sun Gazette]
Technology and the Homeless — Contrary to a common image of the homeless, most homeless individuals in Arlington have a cell phone and some even have laptops. Such technology is described as a “lifeline” to family, job opportunities and education. [Patch]
Map of the ‘Arlington Loop’ — Arlington County’s Bike Arlington program has published an easy-to-use map of the “Arlington Loop” — the 50 miles of off-street bike trails in the county. The map includes approximate ride times for bicyclists. [Bike Arlington, Greater Greater Washington]
Photo courtesy Chris Armstrong
The disability-accessible, 41 seat bus was purchased by the county for use with DPR’s 55+ travel program, which conducts more than a dozen day trips per month for senior citizens who reside in Arlington. (October and November destinations include a tour of Philadelphia, a trip to the Graves Mountain Apple Harvest Festival in Syria, Va., and an outing to Hokkaido Seafood Buffet in Falls Church.)
The senior travel program has seen an uptick in demand over the past few years, the Sun Gazette reported this summer.
The bus has been in operation since August, but the parks department has planned a ribbon-cutting ceremony for 9:30 a.m. on Oct. 25, at the Thomas Jefferson Community Center (3501 2nd Street S.). The new bus replaced a retrofitted school bus that had been plagued with problems, according a county press release.
Department of Parks and Recreation has upgraded their transportation fleet with the addition of a Glaval coach bus. While the bus has been in operation since August, the County will celebrate its arrival with a short ceremony on October 25 at 9:30am at Thomas Jefferson Community Center, 3501 2nd Street South, Arlington. This new opportunity allows the County to enhance the quality of its programs, attract new clientele and produce a high level of satisfaction for participants.
The ADA-equipped bus features seating for 41 passengers plus one secured wheelchair seat or 37 passenger seats with two wheelchair secured seats. Other amenities include a wheelchair lift, aisle track lighting, DVD/CD with 6 viewing screens, comfortable seating with lap seatbelts, air conditioning with individual overhead controls, PA system, individual reading lights and under carriage luggage compartment.
“We are pleased to provide our program participants with this new transportation option,” said Department of Parks and Recreation Acting Director, Shannon Flanagan-Watson. “The ability to provide reliable and accessible transportation in support of our programs is key; this vehicle will help us greatly with this effort.”
After experiencing numerous problems and complaints related to the previous retro-fitted school bus it was decided to upgrade to a coach style bus. The new bus allows for more comfort, reliability, and accessibility for those with disabilities, as well as an expansion of trip destinations. The Glaval Coach bus, which will be managed by the Department of Parks and Recreation, was purchased by Arlington County and supplemented by the Arlington Senior Recreation and Community Engagement Fund, a part of the Arlington Community Foundation.
Clarendon Crash Suspect Has Long Record — The suspected DUI driver in a critical pedestrian accident in Clarendon over the weekend has a long history of driving violations, including speeding, unsafe lane changes and reckless driving. [Washington Post]
N. Va. Senior Olympics Wrap Up — The Northern Virginia Senior Olympics has wrapped up after distributing 94 Gold medals, 68 Silver medals and 41 Bronze medals over the course of two weeks. Some of the Senior Olympics events were held at Thomas Jefferson Community Center in Arlington. [Arlington Mercury]
Arlington Wages Rising Slower than Average — Wage growth in Arlington for the first quarter of 2012 was 4.3 percent year-over-year. That’s below the national average of 5.4 percent wage growth. The average gross yearly salary for those who work in Arlington, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, is $84,084. [Sun Gazette]
Flickr pool photo by Damiec
Northern Va. Senior Olympics Come to Arlington — The Northern Virginia Senior Olympics will kick off tomorrow (Saturday) with a day-long track-and-field competition at Thomas Jefferson Community Center (3501 2nd Street S.). The Senior Olympics, which utilize several venues from around Northern Virginia, run from Sept. 15-26. Other events planned at the community center include basketball next Saturday, Sept. 22.
District Taco Not Launching a Food Truck — District Taco owner Osiris Hoil says he plans to continue using food carts, as opposed to larger food trucks, since Arlington is now enforcing a stringent one hour street parking rule for mobile food vendors. In addition to a food cart, District Taco also operates two successful brick and mortar restaurants. [Washington Examiner]
Apology for Network Issues — ARLnow.com has experienced network problems that made our site unreachable for many readers on two separate days this week. We would like to apologize to all readers affected by the problems. Also, we would like to thank our advertisers, who make this site possible, for sticking with us during that time. New infrastructure is now in place to make sure these problems (hopefully) never happen again.
County Fair Ends — The Arlington County Fair ended Sunday night. The weekend’s highlights included free concerts, cloggers, choruses, the racing piglets, the Harlem Wizards basketball show, a lacrosse speed and skills contest, and a really big pumpkin.
Arlington Senior Wins Spelling Bee — Arlington resident Michael Petrina, 67, has won the annual AARP spelling bee. The bee, which is open to adults 50+, was held in Cheyenne, Wyoming this year. [Washington Post]
Office Vacancies Could Mean Higher Taxes — Office vacancies are on the rise in Arlington, and that’s raising questions about the county’s tax revenues. If the trend continues, taxes may need to be raised in Arlington County and the tax burden may increasingly fall on homeowners. [Sun Gazette]
Photo courtesy John Annand
A large group of senior citizens, organized by the Arlington Department of Parks and Recreation’s Office of Senior Adult Programs, participated in a “flash mob” at the Arlington County Fair this afternoon.
The seniors — who were later joined by fair-goers during a reprise — performed a choreographed dance to the Black Eyed Peas song “I Gotta Feeling.”
A video of the performance, and an interview with dance leader, choreographer and Ms. Senior Virginia 2012 Kathy Fanelli, is below.
Civic association leaders, with an assist from the county’s Wisdom Works group, are hoping to establish a county-wide “Senior Village” to help Arlington’s sizeable population of seniors remain independent and in their own homes.
The project is based on a concept that has taken root in a number of communities across the country. A network of volunteers band together to provide services to older residents who wish to remain in their neighborhoods and out of retirement homes or senior living communities.
Services can include daily check-ins, home maintenance, social events or tasks as minor as help opening email or a ride to the supermarket.
“As people get older, there are some things they just can’t do,” said Pete Olivere, a longtime Glencarlyn Citizens Association member who last October started talking to other neighborhood groups about forming an Arlington village. “We wanted to build on the very active civic association type bases that Arlington has and use those as building blocks toward delivering volunteers.”
There are about 25,000 over-60 residents in Arlington, reflective of the expected nationwide surge in the senior population as members of the “baby boomer” generation age into retirement.
Wisdom Works, organized by the county’s community engagement program, came up with much of the design of the village, which Olivere said is likely a year or two away from launching. The group will be promoting the concept and looking for volunteers today (Friday) through Sunday at the Arlington County Fair.
A Wisdom Works “project team” of mostly retired residents came up with a hub-and-spoke model for the village, with volunteers assigned to senior residents in, or close to, their own neighborhoods.
The team also deals with non-senior issues. Program Manager Barbara Karro said they’ll likely take on childhood obesity soon.
“We were able to go county-wide, and that enabled Pete to have a group outside of a civic organization to work with,” Karro said. “Particularly in Arlington, we have just an amazing resource in terms of their skills and lifetime experience. As this group of seniors gets larger, that would be a shame to waste.”
The hub would provide record-keeping and liability insurance (a major hurdle to some village set-ups) for volunteers. Villages come in a variety of forms. Some are funded by private donations. Others require monthly membership fees.
The Arlington senior village, which will be set up as a nonprofit agency independent of the county, will require “a modest membership fee.”
Olivere, 64, said the group has about 30 willing volunteers after a couple of presentations to civic and senior groups. He hopes the fair will open up the concept to more.
“A lot of these things foster a neighbor helping neighbor type environment, just to make sure an older person isn’t struggling” Olivere said. “These are things that can make a difference.”
Krupicka Wins Dem Caucus — Alexandria City Councilman Rob Krupicka has won the Democratic caucus for the 45th District House of Delegrates seat, which represents some parts of South Arlington. Krupicka defeated opponent Karen Gautney by a caucus vote of 1,540 to 891. He will now face Republican Tim McGhee in the Nov. 6 general election. [Patch]
County Gets New Coach Bus for Seniors — The Arlington County Department of Parks and Recreation has invested in a new 41-seat coach-style bus. The bus will be used for the department’s travel programs for adults 55 and over. [Sun Gazette]
History of the Twilight Tattoo — There are just 4 Twilight Tattoo performances left this summer at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall. An article about the history of the military tradition notes that its origins date back more than 300 years. The next Twilight Tattoo will take place Wednesday at 6:45 p.m. [U.S. Army]
Photo via @Rosy1280
The Mary Marshall Assisted Living Residence first opened in November after $8.2 million in renovations. Officials held an open house this morning to show off the facility. Located at 2000 5th Street S. near Fort Myer, the residence boasts 52 apartments for adults 55 or older who meet low income criteria and who have a mental illness, or an intellectual or developmental disability.
The facility’s open house is coming at a time when Virginia is planning to close four of its five large state facilities for the mentally disabled, in favor of smaller, community-based residences (like Mary Marshall).
“We know smaller, community-based settings are the best places for people with intellectual disabilities and people with mental illness to receive the care they need,” said Mike King, president of Volunteers of America, a national faith-based nonprofit that’s helping Arlington County run the residence. “Mary Marshall is one of the first facilities of its kind in the United States, and we hope it will become a model of care for the growing number of seniors living with these kinds of disabilities.”
“Improved care has helped [intellectually disabled seniors] live longer, healthier lives than they could in the past,” noted Volunteers of America spokesman David Burch. “Today, as they’ve reached old age, these people now face their existing disabilities plus new issues, like limited mobility and vision, resulting from aging.”
Potential residents will be referred to Mary Marshall by the Arlington County Department of Human Services.
Older Arlington Residents Give County High Marks — Arlington scored well above the state average in a recent survey of older Virginians. “People over 50 years of age in Arlington say they have a high quality of life, feel safe and secure, and are happy with their access to healthcare services, educational opportunities and recreational activities,” according to a county press release. [Arlington County]
‘Hairspray’ Actor Is Local TV/Radio Personality — Local WETA on-air personality Robery Aubry Davis is playing the role of Edna Turnblad in the Signature Theatre production of ‘Hairspray,’ which opened in Shirlington last week. [Sun Gazette]
Fighting Deer Cause Ruckus — According to an Arlington animal control blotter item, a pair of fighting bucks crashed through a glass patio window in the 3600 block of N. Monroe Street earlier this month. [Washington Post]
Flickr pool photo by Philliefan99
Mixed Signals During Fire Alarms at Senior Facility — During fire alarms at The Jefferson senior living facility in Ballston, a recorded voice tells residents to evacuate the 21-story building via the stairwell. Except, for safety reasons, most residents are supposed to remain in their condo with the door shut. This has confused some elderly residents, who risked injury by attempting to walk down long flights of stairs during fire alarms. While acknowledging the inconsistency, both building management and the fire department say they can’t change the recorded message due to “liability” reasons. [Washington Post]
Politico Reporters to Speak at Rosslyn Lecture Series — Politico White House reporter Julie Mason and congressional reporter Jonathan Allen will be the speakers at Rosslyn’s “Rooms with a View” lecture series next week. Mason and Allen will discuss “Washington’s divided political landscape” and take questions from the audience. The event is free (RSVP required). It will be held on Thursday, May 19, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the Boeing conference center at 1200 Wilson Boulevard. [Rosslyn BID]
Papery Closing Rumors — There’s more evidence that Clarendon stationery store The Papery may be closing, despite employees’ insistence that they’re preparing to add new stock to the largely empty shelves. The Papery’s space is listed as “for lease” on a commercial real estate firm’s web site. And The Papery’s own web site no longer exists. [Clarendon Culture]
Sign Needed at Rosslyn Safeway? — Is a one-way sign needed across from the Rosslyn Safeway to prevent confused drivers from heading the wrong way on Wilson Boulevard? [Ode Street Tribune]
The Arlington Commission on Aging and the Commission on Long-Term Residences need volunteers of all ages to help speak out for the needs of Arlington’s older residents. It’s an opportunity to exercise your communication skills while representing those who live in nursing homes, assisted living, independent senior residences and seniors living at home. Volunteers must be Arlington residents.
If you’re interested in helping out, call Carolyn Ferguson at 703-228-1700 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.