Arlington Homeless Population Increases — Despite a decline of 2.4 percent across most of the region, Arlington’s homeless population rose by six percent between 2012 and 2013. The figures were gathered during the annual homeless census on January 30. The county’s new homeless count stands at 479 people, up from 451 the previous year. [Sun Gazette]
Streetcar Cost/Benefit Test — An article criticizing Libby Garvey’s op-ed in the Washington Post contends streetcars do indeed pass the cost/benefit test, contrary to Garvey’s thoughts. The author favors a streetcar to buses based on points such as the streetcar having a greater passenger capacity, faster rate of travel and bringing more development to the area. [Greater Greater Washington]
Raise the Roof Service Project — The Arlington Teen Network Board has teamed up with Rebuilding Together Arlington/Fairfax/Falls Church for a service project called “Raise the Roof.” Tomorrow (April 27), volunteers will begin repairing the Borromeo Housing, Inc. group house, which is a transitional home for teen moms and their children. Volunteers are collecting money to continue with the next phase of the service project, which involves a facelift of the interior and exterior of the home. Those interested in contributing can do so through the project website.
Police Seek Tips in Two Theft Incidents — The Arlington County Police Department is seeking the public’s assistance in finding suspects involved in two separate theft incidents. The first incident involved shoplifting at South Moon Under (2700 Clarendon Blvd) on March 1. Suspect descriptions are available online, along with contact information for reporting tips. The second case involves tracking down persons of interest in the theft of a victim’s wallet. The victim’s credit cards have since been used around the area. Suspect information and contact information for reporting tips for that crime can also be found on the police department website.
National Volunteer Week Begins Sunday — The week to honor the thousands of volunteers who serve their communities begins this Sunday, April 21, and runs through Saturday, April 27. County Board Chair Walter Tejada is scheduled to speak at an event on Sunday to thank Arlington volunteers. Opportunities to help out around the county can be found on the Volunteer Arlington website.
Teen Summer Job Expo — On Saturday, April 20, teens and their families can attend an expo to learn about jobs, internships and community service opportunities that are available during the summer. The free event takes place at Washington-Lee High School (1301 N. Stafford Street) from 11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. More info can be found online.
Arlington Celebrates Earth Day — Earth Day is on Monday (April 22) and there are a number of green events going on around the county to celebrate. Tomorrow, April 20, is the E-CARE recycling event at Thomas Jefferson Middle School (125 S. Old Glebe Road) and Sunday is the Green Living Expo and Community Earth Week Fair at George Mason Founders Hall (3351 Fairfax Drive). Information about these events and others throughout next week can be found online.
Vote Expected on Homeless Shelter — The Arlington County Board is expected to vote this weekend on a use permit for the planned year-round homeless shelter at 2020 14th Street N. in Courthouse. A group of neighbors has vehemently opposed the shelter, which is located two blocks from the existing emergency winter shelter. [Sun Gazette]
Opposition to Environmental Cuts — One local environmental advocate is sounding the alarm about proposed cuts in the County Manager’s proposed budget. The budget would cut a Natural Resources Specialist at the Long Branch Nature Center, would eliminate an “urban forestry” position,” and would shrink the budget for tree plantings, tree supplies and invasive species control. [Arlington Mercury]
Proposed 2013-14 School Calendar – The 2013-14 school year for Arlington Public Schools would begin on Tuesday, Sept. 3 under a proposed calendar that administrators presented to the School Board. [Arlington Public Schools]
Volunteers Pack 60,000+ Meals — A group of volunteers packed more than 60,000 meals for the hungry on Saturday. The meals — a lentil casserole consisting of “lentils, dehydrated vegetables, rice, vitamins and Himalayan sea salt” — were packed in baggies that will be distributed through the Arlington Food Assistance Center and the Capital Area Food Bank. [Sun Gazette]
The Dec. 15 wreath laying, an annual holiday tradition in its 21st year, involved some 20,000 volunteers. The cemetery is hoping to get another good volunteer turnout from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. tomorrow (Saturday).
From a military press release:
On Sat., Jan. 26, volunteers are picking up Remembrance Wreaths that were placed on approximately 112,000 gravesites at Arlington National Cemetery, as part of Wreaths Across America.
The event will occur regardless of the weather. Metro use is strongly encouraged due to limited parking. Information on the Metro system is available at: http://www.wmata.com.
Arlington National Cemetery’s Welcome Center will open at 7 a.m. for volunteers. Wreaths Across America leaders will brief volunteers on the cleanup plan at 8:45 a.m. at the Memorial Amphitheater. Visitors, including those with permanent passes, will not be permitted to drive to specific gravesites to visit loved ones until after the wreath cleanup at approximately 1 p.m. Volunteers should expect to stay until 1 p.m. to ensure the wreath cleanup is complete.
The ANC Welcome Center will open at 7 a.m. for volunteers but there will be no access to other locations within the cemetery until 8 a.m. There will be no vehicular access to the cemetery except through the gate to the parking garage until after the wreath cleanup at approximately 1 p.m.
Shuttle service will be available for a fee via ANC Tours by Martz.
Arlington will be accessible to pedestrians only from the following gates:
- Ord-Weitzel: south of the Netherlands Carillon and the Iwo Jima Memorial
- Main: Memorial Drive by the Women’s Memorial and Welcome Center entrance
- Service Complex: (south side) off Columbia Pike between the Air Force and Pentagon Memorials. This gate will close at 1 p.m.
- Fort Myer (northwest side, Fort Myer’s Old Post Chapel Gate) adjacent to the Old Post Chapel
- South Gate: Henderson Hall, Marine Corps Exchange/Service entrance. This gate will close at 1 p.m.
All vehicular access to the cemetery will be through the Welcome Center parking garage. Vehicular access into the cemetery will begin at 8 a.m. Family members with valid entry passes will enter the cemetery through the Welcome Center parking lot. Parking will be in designated areas only. Handicapped parking will be available in the Administrative Building parking lot.
Metro use is strongly encouraged due to limited parking. There are four Metro stops within a mile of a cemetery gate.
- Rosslyn: Orange & Blue lines (.7 mi) from Ord-Weitzel gate, via Iwo Jima Memorial
- Arlington Cemetery: Blue line – cemetery’s primary Metro stop
- Pentagon: Yellow & Blue lines – (.7 mi) access through south Service Complex gate
- Pentagon City: Yellow & Blue lines – (.9 mi) access through south Service Complex gate
TIPS FOR THE CLEANUP:
* Wear gloves
* Bring a device to collect/hold multiple wreaths (such as a broom handle, rake, rope with a board tied to one end) * Wear comfortable walking shoes * Wear weather appropriate clothing
Volunteers are needed for a number of opportunities around Arlington, from helping with Spanish immersion classes to participating in a dance performance. More information about these opportunities and others can be found online.
- Edu-Futuro seeks teaching assistants for spring semester (January-May) Spanish immersion classes. The classes take place on Saturdays, and immerse children in Kindergarten through eighth grade in the Spanish language through games, songs, and art projects. Volunteers will assist teachers with projects, maintain a safe classroom environment and communicate with students and parents. Volunteers should have experience with children and must be fluent or advanced in speaking and writing Spanish. Call 703-228-2560 for more information or to sign up.
- Arlington Public Library needs assistance at a couple of its branches. Circulation support is needed at the Columbia Pike Branch, and includes duties such as checking in materials, sorting materials by call number, shelving items and preparing items to be shipped to another branch. Volunteers must be able to use a computer, should be detailed oriented and must be able to bend, stretch and stand for long periods of time. The Cherrydale branch needs someone who can take care of materials that must be sent back to other branches. Call Barbara Dean at 703-228-7688 to inquire about either opportunity.
- Jane Franklin Dance is looking for teenagers interested in being part of a children’s production. Interested performers will learn two dances for the production, which takes place on January 27, February 2 and April 13. Anyone age 12 or older may volunteer and will be asked to attend a few rehearsals. Participation in all three performances is not required, but is preferred. Contact Jane Franklin at 703-933-1111.
Members of the non-profit group Wreaths Across America coordinated efforts not just here, but at cemeteries across the country. The organization’s website states: “Fresh evergreens are a symbol used for centuries to recognize honor, and a living tribute renewed annually. To use plastic wreaths that are put in storage each year is exactly the kind of tradition we want to avoid – it makes for great photos but misses the point… We want people to see the tradition as a living memorial to veterans and their families, whom we remember amid the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. We believe that the sacrifices they made are more than worth the effort.”
The wreaths are currently on a solemn week-long journey from Maine to Arlington in what is sometimes referred to as “the world’s largest veterans’ parade.” The convoy stops at schools, monuments and veterans’ homes along the way as a reminder of the importance of remembering, honoring and teaching. Other trucks will head to participating cemeteries in all 50 states.
Donations can be made online through Thursday (December 13) for sponsoring wreaths to be laid on Saturday. A representative for the organization said “anyone and everyone is welcome” to show up on Saturday to assist with placing the wreaths. The convoy should arrive around 8:30 a.m. and volunteers are asked to arrive prior to the 9:30 a.m. opening ceremony and briefing. More information, a map and a schedule can be found online.
Last year, more than 15,000 volunteers spent nearly two hours placing around 90,000 wreaths. This year’s total of wreaths and volunteers is expected to exceed last year’s. The organization hopes to reach the 100,000 mark with wreaths this year.
From gift wrapping to assisting Santa, volunteers are needed to help with a number of upcoming holiday events. More information about the items listed below, as well as other volunteer opportunities, can be found online.
- The Holiday Project of the National Capital Area seeks volunteers for one-on-one visits with local nursing home residents on Christmas Day. Many of the residents will not have any other visitors during the holidays, so they consider this time a special treat. Children are welcome and pets are welcome with advance notice. For information or to sign up, contact Robin Wiley at 703-370-0370.
- Deliver gifts to local children with incarcerated parents as part of Offender Aid Restoration‘s annual Project Christmas Angel program. Volunteers pick up the gifts on Thursday, December 13 from 8:00-10:00 p.m. and deliver them from December 14 through December 23. Each child receives a gift with a personalized note from their parent. Volunteers must have a car and a valid driver’s license. A partner is suggested (though not required) because parking in some neighborhoods can be a challenge. Contact Emily Freeman at 703-228-7031.
- The Civitan Club of Arlington needs help at the Photos with Santa booth at the Ballston Mall. Volunteers are needed from now through December 24 and must be at least 15-years-old. Helpers will perform various tasks including processing orders, taking photos, printing photos and directing people through the process. Contact Leandra Finder at 703-473-7245.
- The Reading Connection (TRC) seeks “Gift Wrap for Reading” volunteers for various shifts from December 8-24. Volunteers will gift wrap purchases at the Clarendon Barnes & Noble in return for donations to TRC. Contact Stephanie Berman at 703-528-8317 x10 or sign up online.
The Reevesland Learning Center is a group of Bluemont, Boulevard Manor and Dominion Hills residents who want to convert the Reevesland property (at 400 N. Manchester Street, near Bluemont Park) to a center for learning about “the science and practice of growing and eating healthy foods and building relationships.”
The group has been trying for more than a year to convince Arlington County to embrace its vision for the farmhouse, which has remained mostly dormant since it was purchased by the county following the death of owner Nelson Reeves — Arlington’s last dairy farmer — in 2000.
Arlington County, however, has been seeking other ideas for the farmhouse, which it estimates is in need of more than $1 million worth of repairs and rehabilitation. Last month the county issued a Request for Proposals from any entity that wanted to use the property in exchange for paying for the rehab work.
In a new letter to members of the Arlington County Board, however, leaders of the Reevesland Learning Center group said that it has gotten more than 230 people to pledge more than 3,000 volunteer hours for a “Habitat for Humanity-style” rehabilitation of the farmhouse.
“This is an unprecedented demonstration of grassroots community support and civic engagement for the highest and best adaptive reuse of the farmhouse as the Reevesland Learning Center,” the group wrote.
No word yet on what other proposals the county might be considering at this point. See the full Reevesland Learning Center letter, after the jump.
Remembering 9/11 at the Pentagon — President Obama is expected to speak at a private ceremony at the Pentagon today commemorating the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. A moment of silence will be observed at 9:37 a.m., the exact moment that five hijackers flew American Airlines Flight 77 into the Pentagon, killing 59 crew members and passengers and 125 people in the building. The “modest” ceremony, for survivors and family members of the victims, will include a wreath-laying and additional remarks by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. [USA Today]
Pentagon Memorial to Reopen After Ceremony — Public access to the Pentagon Memorial will be restricted during this morning’s ceremony, but the memorial (pictured above) is expected to reopen at noon.
9/11 Day of Service Events in Arlington — There are several 9/11 Day of Service events planned in Arlington this week. Today, Capitals Hall-of-Famer Rod Langway and Bullets alumnus Bob Dandridge will join Arlington first responders and employees from Monumental Sports & Entertainment in helping to prepare the Arlington County Emergency Winter Shelter for its scheduled opening on Nov. 1. On Friday, AmeriCorps and Arlington County will host an invasive plant pull at James W. Haley Park (2400 S. Meade Street) “in honor of 9/11.”
Arlington Businesses Give Back — Several Arlington businesses have announced ways they’re remembering 9/11 today. The Bada Bing food truck is offering free sandwiches to all uniform firefighters and police officers, despite its recent run-ins with ordinance enforcement. Red Top Cab, meanwhile, announced that it will be donating $1 to a 9/11 memorial fund for each cab dispatched today.
Flickr pool photo by BrianMKA
The main event is being called the “Hunger Challenge,” during which residents are asked to try feeding themselves on $4.03 per day. That’s the amount of assistance the average Arlington resident would receive from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Participants are asked to try the challenge all month, for a week or even just a day, in an effort to understand the difficulty some of their neighbors have with feeding themselves and their families.
“If you struggle to eat well on $28.21 per week, you’ll understand how glad AFAC clients are to be able to fill the gap in their food budget with the milk, eggs, produce, meat and other items distributed by AFAC,” said Charles Meng, AFAC’s Executive Director.
AFAC currently helps about 1,600 families per week, which continues its recent trend of serving an all-time high number of people. Mona Bormet, AFAC Outreach and Research Manager, noted that it’s difficult and often embarrassing for people to receive assistance, but they may not have other options.
“They don’t really want to come here for help, they come here because they need to,” Bormet said. “Most people would rather be able to take care of themselves and their families on their own.”
AFAC is also offering the following volunteer opportunities to help fight hunger throughout September:
- Help collect food donations at local Safeway stores from September 8-11.
- Help pick fresh produce from area farms and gardens that will be used for food donations, on September 8, 15, 22 and 29.
- Eat at Pete’s Apizza (3017 Clarendon Blvd) on Monday, September 17, from 11:00 a.m.-10:00 p.m. and 25 percent of the proceeds will be donated to AFAC.
- Attend movie night at Arlington Central Library (1015 N. Quincy Street) on Wednesday, September 19th, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Join AFAC and filmmaker Cintia Cabib in the main auditorium for a screening of “A Community of Gardeners.” The film highlights D.C. community gardens and their vital role.
- Join AFAC’s Young Professionals on Thursday, September 20, from 6:00-9:00 p.m. at Whitlow’s on Wilson (2854 Wilson Blvd) for Mug Night.
- Try the California Dreaming Wine Tasting at Screwtop Wine Bar & Cheese Shop (1025 N. Fillmore Street) on Monday, September 24, from 6:00-8:00 p.m. All of the proceeds will be donated to AFAC. The event is limited to 45 people, and costs $15.99 to sample 10 wines and cheeses.
Anyone interested can get involved with these and other AFAC volunteer opportunities by signing up online.
Treasurer’s Charity Mailing a ‘Win-Win’ — Arlington County Treasurer Frank O’Leary says fliers for the Animal Welfare League of Arlington and the Arlington Food Assistance Center that went out in the mail with county vehicle decals this year represent a win-win for the community. The nonprofits paid the cost of printing and the extra cost of mailing the decals with the fliers. [Sun Gazette]
Fight at RiRa Irish Pub — A fight broke out at RiRa Irish Pub (2915 Wilson Boulevard) in Clarendon around 8:15 last night. Witnesses tell ARLnow.com that two drunk patrons got in a fight inside the bar. As the fight spilled outside onto the sidewalk some passersby might have gotten involved. Numerous police officers responded to the scene and at least one of the of the fight participants was transported to the hospital. An Arlington Falls Church Young Republicans meeting was taking place inside RiRa at the time of the fight, but the group and its members were not involved, we’re told.
AHC Seeks Volunteer Tutors — AHC Inc., an Arlington-based affordable housing nonprofit, is looking for more than 100 enthusiastic, responsible volunteers to help tutor teens in the evening or to work with elementary students in the afternoon. AHC’s tutoring programs for its residents start on Monday, Sept. 17. More information about volunteering is available on the organization’s web site.
Flickr pool photo by Ddimick
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.”
Individual residents or groups can sign up to adopt and perform light maintenance at one of the ART bus stops. At first, the program will focus on stops along the ART 51, 52, 53 and 61 routes. Additional routes and stops will be added soon.
Participants enter into a one year agreement, during which time they will maintain the stop at least once a week. They’ll perform duties such as picking up trash, reporting vandalism or safety hazards, clearing the area of snow and reporting items left at the stop.
The county will perform necessary heavier maintenance once it’s requested by the participant. Those tasks include removing graffiti, cutting tall grass and repairing bus stops. Should the participant request it, the county will also install a trash receptacle at the bus stop.
Transit Bureau Chief Stephen Del Giudice said although Arlington fared well in the recent recession, there was a reduction in the ability to commit resources to these types of maintenance projects. The county’s efforts mainly have focused on heavily used commercial corridors.
“We’re not always able to get to some of the residential areas. We see this as filling a need as far as our ability to commit resources to residential areas,” said Del Giudice. “We thought it would be a good idea to get community involvement in our transit program.”
Since the program began on May 16, three individuals each adopted a stop, and one group adopted two stops. Those who take part will get a certificate of participation, a mention on Arlington Transit’s website and a sign of recognition at the designated stop.
Sign up can be done online. Participants must be at least 18 years old, unless they are part of a group led by a person at least 18 years old.
This Monday, May 28, more than 100 volunteers from Memorial Day Flowers will hand out more than 50,000 roses at the cemetery. Visitors are given two roses, one to place on a grave, and one to take home in remembrance.
All of the flowers are donated by farmers throughout Ecuador. The idea was initiated by Ramiro Peñaherrera of Flowers for Kids. He’s part Ecuadorean and has family members buried at Arlington National Cemetery. Being that Ecuador is one of the largest rose producers in the world, he set out to get farmers there to donate roses for the cause.
“Hopefully in the future we will cover every grave site in Arlington, which I think is about 250,000,” said Nicholas Richwine, who does marketing for Memorial Day Flowers.
In addition to the roses, more than 1,000 bouquets from California will be given to American Gold Star Mothers, Inc., an organization of mothers who lost sons or daughters who were serving their country. Once volunteers place the bouquets on the individual graves, a photo is sent to each mother.
This year, the flower program expanded to other areas of the country, although Arlington is still considered the cornerstone location. More than 90 florists in 26 states have asked to participate in the commemorative program. They receive 400 roses to distribute, along with information about the program, at their local cemeteries or Memorial Day events.
Volunteers will hand out roses at Arlington National Cemetery from 8:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. on Monday. The two main stations are in front of the visitors center and in section 60, which is the burial ground for those killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Richwine adds that although the rose stations will be obvious, visitors will not see banners or other sources identifying Memorial Day Flowers. He said the goal of being at the ceremony is not to draw attention to the organization itself.
“These roses have been donated just to remember those who have fallen,” said Richwine.
Anyone interested in donating or volunteering should contact Memorial Day Flowers through its website.
A variety of volunteer opportunities exist throughout the county, but a few might be considered plain fun instead of work. One of them involves being an actor and another involves gardening. Check out the details below. More information about these opportunities and others can be found on the Volunteer Arlington website.
- Arlington’s Medical Reserve Corps seeks volunteers to be actors in an emergency response drill on Saturday, April 28. The drill will test the current point of dispensing plans for oral antibiotics given to the public in case of an aerosolized anthrax attack. No experience is necessary. Volunteers will receive an hour of training, then participate in the drill as actors for one hour. Contact Grelia Soliz at (703) 228-0711.
- Clarendon Presbyterian Church is looking for volunteers to be gardeners for its Plot Against Hunger program. Two plant beds are being built along the Jackson St side of the building to grow vegetables, which will be donated to the Arlington Food Assistance Center (AFAC). Help is needed for a variety of responsibilities that include set up, gardening and delivery of the food to AFAC. Volunteers will complete a short training session. Contact Gillian Burgess at (646) 284-8894.
- The USO of Metropolitan Washington seeks helpers at Ft. Myer. Volunteers will assist military service members, military dependents, military reservists, National Guard and military retirees who use the USO Lounge at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall. Volunteers will provide courteous service to guests while answering questions, managing DVD and video game check out, keeping the lounge neat, brewing coffee and replenishing snacks. Occasionally, volunteers will help with USO events in the Lounge. Volunteers must be at least 18 years old and have a valid U.S. identification. Access to a computer is preferred. Volunteers are required to attend an orientation. Contact Emily Urban at (703) 696-0958.