Early last month, Arlington Public Library rolled out seven STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) kits — one for each branch — to encourage children to get hands-on experience with science in conjunction with its science-themed “Fizz, Boom, Read” summer reading program.
“The kids can come in, they can play with the kits, they can read books that correspond with the themes,” Anne Womack, the library’s youth collections librarian, said. “We saw other libraries doing this, and STEM is really important, so we thought we should do it, too. The kits are something to make kids see that science can be fun and hands on.”
The kits are for engineering (as pictured above), earth science, the human body, insects, plants, a “snap circuit” for basic electronics and weather. Each one is designed so children can play independently.
“The girl who built the bridge in that picture, she did it on her own,” Womack said. “She read the instructions and just did it. It’s just hands-on science activities for the kids, not something that has to be parent or teacher-led.”
Each kit has components for young children and late-elementary schoolers. They were paid for and partly designed by Dan Cross-Cole, a retired engineer. Womack was sitting in her office early this spring when she was told “there is a guy in the lobby looking for you.”
It was Cross-Cole, who told her he “wanted to design some science projects for kids,” Womack said. Library staff had already been discussing building the kits because they had seen them at other library systems, so Womack instantly agreed. Cross-Cole arranged to have the project paid for by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).
“[Cross-Cole] was a miracle,” Womack said. “He just came to us out of the blue… [IEEE] paid for everything, and they’ve been really helpful in this process.”
The kits will rotate throughout the library system for the rest of the summer. After the summer reading program is finished, Womack said they plan to circulate them among the different branches of the library.
Photo (top) courtesy Arlington Public Library. Bottom photo courtesy Anne Womack
It should be a comfortable weather week, with high temperatures in the mid-to-lower 80s through Friday.
With July, usually the hottest month of the year, coming to close this week, it appears that the D.C. region has dodged the usual 100+ degree heat waves of summers past.
In fact, the area seems to have had an inordinate number of relatively mild days this summer.
The Arlington County Fire Department will hold its second free firefighting summer camp this weekend to immerse girls in the demands of fire service.
From Friday to Sunday, 24 campers will stay at Marymount University with six female firefighter “camp mentors” as chaperons. With the guidance of ACFD instructors, the 13 to 17-year-old girls will learn about physical fitness, emergency medical procedures, fire history and fire behavior.
“This is hands on, so it shows them they’re physically capable of doing it,” ACFD spokesperson Sarah Marchegiani said.”Most young girls are not encouraged to join the fire service or any physical career at all.”
Although one of the camp’s goals is to build self-esteem, the camp will encourage girls to consider careers as firefighters by giving them a real taste of the firefighter experience, according to Marchegiani. All campers will complete a CPR training course to become CPR certified, have fire extinguisher training and eat meals in the firehouse with ACFD firefighters. During one of Friday’s activities, ACFD staff will burn a mock bedroom to show campers how a fire acts in such a situation.
Last year, Arlington held its first girls’ firefighting camp. The CPR class is new to the camp this year, and campers will have more opportunities to handle firefighting equipment than they did last year, Marchegiani said.
“We think it’s more important to build confidence in these girls and teach them to not limit themselves,” Marchegiani said. “We anticipate the effects of this are more long term.”
While ACFD is known for hiring the first female firefighter in the U.S. in 1974, it’s comprised of less than 7 percent female, career firefighters on average, which is higher than the national average at 4 percent. The ACFD wants to encourage more young women to see themselves in a fire service career.
The ACFD increased camp registration size from 16 girls to 24 girls this year as a result of more firefighters assisting.The camp’s registration is full, but ACFD plans to hold the camp every summer.
The spraygrounds will be open most days between this weekend and Labor Day. You can see the schedule, which may vary on holidays, for each individual park at the county Parks and Recreation website.
Arlington’s Department of Parks and Recreation has ground rules for using the spraygrounds, including asking users to “interact with the spray ONLY if free of diarrhea for the past two weeks,” and “diaper-age children or incontinent persons must wear a ‘swim diaper.’”
Photo via Parks and Recreation
Library Sets Another Summer Reading Record — Arlington Public Library has set another summer youth reading record. This summer, 8,079 students participated and read more than 32,000 books, up from 7,415 participants and 30,000 books in 2012. [Arlington Public Library]
‘Arlington’s Got Talent’ Seeks Contestants — Leadership Arlington is seeking local acts for its annual “Arlington’s Got Talent” show. The event will take place on Nov. 18. Video submissions from performers are due by Oct. 28. [Leadership Arlington]
Neighbors Peeved With Turf Choice – Some residents around Williamsburg Middle School are upset with the choice of turf on the fields that are being built along with a new elementary school. The fields will have artificial turf instead of Bermuda grass. “Not since Custer, have people been ambushed this badly,” one resident told the County Board, about the choice. [Falls Church News-Press]
Arlington is #3 County to Work In — Arlington has been named the No. 3 county in the U.S. in which to work. The rating is based on Arlington’s low unemployment rate, low commute time and high median income. Loudoun County ranked No. 2 and Williams County, North Dakota, which is in the midst of an oil boom, ranked No. 1. [Nerd Wallet]
Whitlow’s Filled With ‘Old Stuff’ — If you recently sat at a table at Whitlow’s on Wilson (2854 Wilson Blvd), chances are you either sat on a pew from St. Patrick’s Cathedral or in a chair from the old Arlington courthouse. If you sat at the bar, you likely rested your beer on a former bowling lane. Much of the interior is recycled from various places around the D.C. area and beyond. [Preservation Arlington]
The low temperature at Reagan National Airport this morning was a chilly 60 degrees. Despite lots of sunshine, we’ll be lucky to reach 80 degrees this afternoon.
It’s a continuation of yesterday’s fall-like weather, which tied for the 4th-coolest Aug. 14 in recorded D.C. history, according to the Capital Weather Gang.
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
(Updated on 8/1/13)
The Arlington Public Library summer reading program has already broken its all-time participation record with more than three weeks remaining until registration ends.
As of Tuesday afternoon, the library had 7,529 kids from preschool to high school signed up for its summer reading program, breaking last year’s record of 7,415. Registration ends for middle- and high-schoolers Aug. 20 and for elementary- and pre-schoolers Aug. 24.
“Summer reading gets more popular every year,” said library spokesman Peter Golkin. “I think it’s a snowball effect. Every year, the kids tell more friends about the program. Thanks to Harry Potter, I think kids are more interested in reading these days.”
Among the most popular titles young readers are borrowing from the library this summer are the Nancy Clancy: Super Sleuth series among second- to fourth-graders, the Big Nate series with those in grades 4-6, and, among the older students, The 5th Wave and Catching Fire, the second installment of The Hunger Games series that will come out in movie form this fall.
Kids who complete the summer reading program at the library earn prizes based on their age group, including a drawstring library bag for the younger children and a notebook and pen set for the middle- and high-schoolers.
Photo via Arlington Public Library
(Updated at 12:20 p.m.) Two additional performances have been added to the schedule at Lubber Run Amphitheater.
The Lubber Run Amphitheater Foundation (LRAF) credits its cooperation with Arlington Cultural Affairs and donations from supporters for the added shows on August 18 and 25.
LRAF added the shows in response to requests for more children’s programming. The organization hopes to further expand programming next year if this year’s additions are successful.
Below is the schedule for the remaining performances, including the two new shows in August:
- Friday, July 26 — The Traveling Players — Performing William Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing”. Selected as a “Summer School in the Arts” by the NEA, Traveling Players Ensemble is a professional theatre company dedicated to bringing great theatre into the great outdoors through a thriving summer camp and year-round acting classes and workshops.
- Saturday, July 27 — The Tone Rangers — For 25 years, this award-winning D.C.-based vocal group has brought inventive arrangements and keen wit to everything from Gregorian chant to TV theme songs. Nominated for 7 Wammies, they were Best A Cappella Group four consecutive years (2007- 10) and Best A Cappella Recording in 2007. National finalists in the 2002 Harmony Sweepstakes (the Superbowl of a cappella), they are 3-time winners of Mid-Atlantic “Audience Favorite” and “Best Arrangement” awards.
- Friday, August 2 — Hexagon Theatre Company — Hexagon is musical, satirical and theatrical. Every year since 1956, this nonprofit has put on Washington’s only all-original, all volunteer revue of its kind—donating more than $3.5 million to 40-plus organizations.
- Saturday, August 3 — Rico Amero — He makes music. He tells the truth. Join Rico for a night of hiphop jazz.
- Sunday, August 18 — The Great Zucchini — He will delight the youngest members of the community with his popular, comical, magic show. Bring the kids, grandkids, and young neighbors to Lubber Run to this engaging show for children.
- Sunday, August 25 — Cantor the Miraculous — The magic continues with Cantor the Miraculous who dazzles audiences through wizardly interaction and artistry to bring “quality prestidigitation from a master crafts person.” The whole family is welcome. This show is at 5:00 p.m.
The amphitheater, which was refurbished in 2011, is located at N. Columbus Street and N. 2nd Street, two blocks north of Route 50. All shows are free and open to the public. Performances on Fridays and Saturdays begin at 8:00 p.m., and Sunday shows begin at 6:00 p.m. unless otherwise noted.
Information about last minute weather cancellations can be obtained by calling 703-228-1850 the day of each show. Picnics are allowed but alcohol is prohibited.
The library recently began lending American Girl dolls and the toys are getting a lot of play time. Volunteers are needed for upkeep of the dolls, including combing their hair, washing their clothes and replacing worn out parts. The position posting reads: “We need someone who enjoys working with dolls and their belongings and who is dependable.”
There would be a weekly commitment, but hours are flexible. Ideal candidates are teens or a parent/child team. Those 18 years and older must consent to a background check.
Interested volunteers should contact Barbara Dean at 703-228-7688 or put in a request online.
Below are a few other new volunteer opportunities around Arlington:
- Community Picnic Volunteers — The Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing is looking for helpers at a picnic it is hosting for residents at Columbia Grove on July 15. Volunteers would help with setup and cleanup, leading games for children, face painting, cooking and distributing food and drinks. The picnic is designed to help residents meet their neighbors and build a sense of community. The event runs from 3:30-7:30 p.m., but arrangements may be made for those who can’t stay the entire time. Anyone interested in helping should contact Liz McElwee at 703-851-3635 or send an online request.
- Angel Tree Family Registration — Although it’s summertime, the Salvation Army is already looking for people to help with its Angel Tree holiday gift program. The program identifies needy children and matches each one with a sponsor who will provide holiday gifts for the child. Volunteers will register needy families for the program and help make holiday wish lists. Helpers must be available on weekdays from September 16-October 11, but the schedule is flexible. Although volunteers who are available on a recurring basis are preferred, those who are only available on a one-time basis will also be considered. To sign up, call Brittney Drakeford at 202-756-2615 or send an online request.
- Spanish Academy Teacher Assistant — Volunteer teacher assistants are needed for Edu-Futuro’s Spanish Academy — a two week (August 12-23) summer immersion camp that provides cultural and academic enrichment and Spanish language skills to rising kindergarteners through fifth graders. Volunteers will perform tasks such as assisting with student registration, helping with classroom activities and watching over students during activities and recess breaks. Applicants should have Spanish language skills (verbal and written), experience working with children and must go through a background check. To sign up, contact Eneida Alcade at 703-228-2560 or send an online request.
Photo via Facebook
Instagram Has Video Filter Called ‘Clarendon’ — Updated at 2:25 p.m. –Yesterday, Facebook-owned photo app Instagram rolled out a feature that allows users to record video. As with photos, users can apply filters to the video. One of those filters is called “Clarendon,” but it turns out it was named after a street in San Francisco, not the Arlington neighborhood. [Instagram, All Things D]
Abingdon Book Bus Returns — After a successful summer of book distribution last year, the Abingdon Elementary book bus will return on July 9. The book bus is one of several summer reading initiatives for Arlington students this year. [Arlington Public Schools]
Road Closure For Art Festival — A road closure is planned for the inaugural Arlington Festival of the Arts in Clarendon. N. Highland Street will be closed between Washington Blvd and N. Hartford Street. Wilson and Clarendon Blvds will remain open during the festival, which runs from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. [ArtFestival.com]
Pike Sculpture Honored – Echo, the sculpture on display at Penrose Square on Columbia Pike, has been honored as a “top 50″ public art project for 2013. The sculpture “provides a modern interpretation of Arlington’s significant contribution to the history of communication.” [Arlington County]
Disclosure: Art festival promoter Howard Alan Events is an ARLnow.com advertiser. Hat tips (Instagram item) to @reddusfoximus and @jeffchin21.
An early release is planned for Arlington’s high schools today, the start of students’ summer breaks. An early release will be held tomorrow (Thursday) for middle school students and on Friday for elementary school students, the end of their respective school years.
Commencement ceremonies will be held for APS high schools on Thursday, at DAR Constitution Hall in the District. The graduation for Washington-Lee will be held at 10:00 a.m., Yorktown at 3:00 p.m. and Wakefield at 8:00 p.m. Each ceremony will be broadcast live on the APS website, on Comcast channel 70 and Verizon FiOS channel 41.
Bishop O’Connell, a private Catholic high school in Arlington, has already held its 2013 graduation ceremony.
A listing of other APS graduation events, including middle school graduations, is available here.
An otherwise cool May has given way to the usual D.C. summer combination of temperatures in the 90s and uncomfortable humidity.
With a “soupy and sultry” weekend in store, how do you plan to beat the heat?
The 11th annual “Rock the Row” summer concert series at Pentagon Row will start June 6, but in a different location than years past.
Thanks to major renovations at the shopping center’s plaza, this year the concerts will be held in the alley between Pentagon Row and the Pentagon City mall parking garage. The alley will be closed to traffic during the concerts. As before, the concerts will take place on Thursday evenings from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
This year’s Rock the Row schedule is as follows:
- June 6: Slippery When Wet (Bon Jovi tribute)
- June 13: Hyjinx (90s cover)
- June 20: Uncle Jack Band (70s tribute)
- June 27: Gonzo’s Nose (80s tribute)
- July 11: Unity Reggae Band (Reggae)
- July 18: All Mighty Senators (Rock and Soul)
- July 25: The Crawdaddies (Roots Rock and Zydeco)
- August 1: Beach Bumz (Jimmy Buffett tribute)
- August 8: Higher Hands (Funk)
- August 15: Matt Hutchison Band (Pop Rock)
- August 22: Real Geniuses (80s tribute)
- August 29: Crowded Streets (Dave Matthews tribute)
The concerts are free and open to the public.
The renovations at the Pentagon Row plaza include an expanded ice rink during the winter, a turf lawn during the summer, revamped outdoor dining areas, 1,500 square feet of new retail and dining space, lighted water fountains and a stone fire pit. Construction on the project is expected to wrap up this fall.
Arlington County has released the performance schedule for the upcoming summer season at the Lubber Run Amphitheater.
Opening night at the amphitheater is scheduled for Friday, June 14, with soul and R&B artist Marry Ann Redmond performing. The season will close on Saturday, Aug. 3 with hip hop and jazz artist Rico Amero.
The amphitheater, which underwent a round of critical repairs in 2011, is located at N. Columbus Street and 2nd Street N., two blocks north of Route 50.
The full schedule can be found below. All shows are free and open to the public, and start at 8:00 p.m. unless otherwise noted.
- Friday, June 14 — Mary Ann Redmond (soul/R&B)
- Saturday, June 15 — Halau O’Aulani and the Aloha Boys (Hawaiian dance)
- Monday, June 17 — Metropolitan Chorus (choral)
- Wednesday, June 19 — Potomac Harmony Chorus (a cappella)
- Friday, June 21 – The U.S. Army Blues (jazz)
- Saturday, June 22 — King Teddy (big band/swing)
- Sunday, June 23 at 6:00 p.m. — The Constituents (acoustic/Caribbean)
- Friday, June 28 — Margot MacDonald (singer-songwriter)
- Saturday, June 29 — Eric Scott (pop/neo-soul)
- Sunday, June 30 at 6:00 p.m. — Black Muddy River Band (acoustic)
- Friday, July 5 — Colleen Shanley and Grand Junction (bluegrass/folk rock)
- Saturday, July 6 — Mystic Warriors (New Age/jazz)
- Sunday, July 7 at 6:00 p.m. — Bob Gibson Big Band (big band/swing)
- Friday, July 12 — Juniper Lane (pop/rock)
- Saturday, July 13 — Andrew Acosta and the New Old Time String Band (acoustic/traditional)
- Friday, July 19 – Ted Garber (blues/rocsc
- Saturday, July 20 — The Grandsons (rock)
- Sunday, July 21 at 6:00 p.m. – Russkie Musikanti (Russian folk)
- Friday, July 26 — “Much Ado About Nothing” (Shakespeare play)
- Saturday, July 27 — The Tone Rangers (a cappella/comedy)
- Friday, August 2 — Hexagon (political satire)
- August 3 — Rico Amero (hip hop/jazz)