Arlington, VA

The Animal Welfare League of Arlington is opening its shelter up to virtual adoptions.

“Although we are closed to the public, we still want to give the animals in our care the opportunity to find their new families while still adhering to social distancing,” the shelter said on its website. “To do that, we’ll be setting our shelter pets up on virtual ‘dates’ with potential adopters!”

To sign up, applicants should submit their paperwork to [email protected] with the name of the pet in the subject line and an attached photo of a driver’s license or valid ID.

Adoptions counselors will contact applicants to discuss the animal’s medical history, personality, etc. to make sure it’s a good match, then set up a virtual meet and greet via Zoom between the applicant, the counselor, and the pet of choice.

If the applicant decides to move forward, the counselor can set up a time to pick up the pet at the shelter with all paperwork and payment handled via email or phone.

The shelter has pages set up for full lists of dogs, cats and other small animals, though at the time of writing only the cats page seems operational.

Adoption fees range from $275 for puppies to $175 for older dogs. Fees for cats range from $300 for a pair of kittens to $100 for a senior cat.

Adoptions include:

  • A certificate for a free exam with a participating veterinarian. Fees for other services performed will be paid by the adopter to the veterinary hospital.
  • Spay/neuter surgery
  • A heartworm test for dogs older than four months
  • Age-appropriate vaccinations
  • A personalized I.D. tag
  • A microchip
  • A free phone consultation or $30 off any training service from Fur-Get-Me-Not
  • An information packet

The website notes that the spay and neuter surgery may not be available during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the Fur-Get-Me-Not page notes that the company has suspended animal training services.

Photo via Animal Welfare League of Arlington

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In today’s digital environment, organizations must collect vast volumes of data, analyze that data to retain high-value customers, predict trends, identify emerging markets, mitigate risk, drive innovation and more.

This means IT leaders must know how to gather and store information, combine data into meaningful clusters, mine it for compelling insights, and present it in a way that can help the business.

“Nowadays every company needs data-literate IT leaders who understand how to manipulate data, hear the voice of data, and translate insights into a competitive advantage for the business,” says Barbara Hoopes, Associate Professor of Business Information Technology at Virginia Tech.

For those companies or individuals looking to deepen their data analytics skill set, Virginia Tech’s online Master of Information Technology (VT-MIT) program provides an excellent foundation.

Not everyone has the time or financial resources to commit to a full master’s degree program, however. Some may already have a master’s and are just looking for a narrow update on a current skillset. For these reasons, the VT-MIT program also offers IT professionals the option to earn a graduate certificate in six specialized IT subject areas, including Business Analytics and Data Mining.

“IT leaders can find a certificate that speaks exactly to their professional needs without having to commit several years to pursuing a master’s degree,” says Hoopes. In fact, students can earn a certificate in as little as 12 months.

Whether looking to enhance existing skills or prepare for a major career transition, VT-MIT students can expect:

  • Enhanced marketability as they develop skills where a current dearth of talent is driving competitive salaries and prime opportunities for career advancement.
  • Greater convenience through exclusively online courses and a flexible schedule that allow for VT-MIT students to stay in the workforce while they earn a credential, shift their course loads at busier times for their business, and benefit from the experience of peers from across the globe.
  • Rapid upskilling in high-demand areas through focused graduate certificate options. Employers often provide tuition reimbursement “to contribute to the skill sets and the knowledge base of employees without having to release them to earn a degree as a full-time student,” says Hoopes.

Data analytics can provide organizations with invaluable insights — but only if IT leaders know how to parlay data into insights that drive informed business decisions.

Learn more about Virginia Tech’s 100% online Master of Information Technology and graduate certificate options at vtmit.vt.edu.

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It’s been one month since Arlington’s first coronavirus case was announced, and part of adjusting to stay-at-home life for many has eating a lot more meals from the grocery store.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. Arlington’s restaurants are open and ready to serve you delicious food in the comfort of your home.

That is why ARLnow, in partnership with our friends at Arlington Community Federal Credit Union, has compiled the ultimate Arlington takeout and delivery guide.

The list includes one-tap links to menus, delivery apps and the phone number for more than 150 locally-owned Arlington restaurants.

So go ahead — indulge a bit while supporting a small local business and its employees. You’ll also be helping to reduce food waste in the process.

See anything that needs to be updated? Email ARLnow’s Turquoise Jackson at [email protected]. Happy dining!

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Peter’s Take is a biweekly opinion column. The views expressed are solely the author’s.

APS teachers, parents, students, and staff have responded heroically to the shock to their routines presented by the Governor’s decision to end classroom learning for the current academic year. Our community is very fortunate to have educational leaders who have created these full-time distance learning options until in-school instruction can resume.

However, for a variety of reasons — all of which were apparent prior to the coronavirus crisis — APS must transition to revised ways of delivering its educational services. APS’s existing instruction and construction models cannot be sustained long-term.

The Arlington County government also must step up right now and play a proactive role in helping APS plan this essential long-term transition.

Current instruction (operating budget)

On April 6, the County Manager released his revised FY 2021 operating budget, estimating that the revenue available to APS under its revenue-sharing agreement with the County will be $21.6 million lower than estimated in February. This leaves APS with a current $48.6 million operating budget deficit.

But, the balanced operating budget the County Board finally approved last year illustrates why APS’s current instructional model is fiscally unsustainable. In that pre-coronavirus budget year, APS received 75% of the revenue from a 2-cent tax rate increase even though APS currently is only entitled to 47% of locally generated tax revenues.

The County Board unsuccessfully tried to rationalize last year’s decision by pointing to those APS expenses attributable to opening new schools, implying that 2019 was a one-time thing. However, because of very large projected increases in APS enrollment throughout the next decade, APS will have to provide new seats for new students throughout that decade.

Based on last year’s APS enrollment projections, budget, tax rate, and real estate assessments, I explained why Arlington would have to raise its real estate tax rate by about 17 cents over 10 years simply to pay to educate the new students (6,000+) arriving solely due to enrollment growth.

Because APS enrollment is growing even more rapidly than Arlington’s overall population, that means more students per taxpayer, which means higher taxes if there are no significant changes in the ways in which APS operates its schools.

Read More

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The Arlington Triathlon

Calling all kids for The 7th Arlington Triathlon, a youth-only swim-bike-run event for ages 7-15.

This column is written and sponsored by Arlington Arts/Arlington Cultural Affairs, a division of Arlington Economic Development.

Utilizing existing resources and equipment from another program, for the last week Arlington Arts has been sewing masks to be distributed through Arlington County Department of Human Services and the Arlington County Police.

The basic, non-medical grade cloth masks resulting from this effort are being supplied to high-risk populations ranging from homeless shelters and the County jail.

The initiative was conceived and coordinated by the Director of Arts Enterprise, Joan M. Lynch. A professional costumer who formerly ran the Arlington CostumeLab, Joan has many stage and film credits to her name. Working at a safe distance from one another, she and sewing partners Andrea Blackmon and Sharon McDaniel of Arlington Weaves, and Tessa Luque of the Washington Opera started turning out about 50 masks per day. In the week since first posted to social media, the program now has over 100 volunteers.

More volunteers are welcome, and they will be supplied with instructions, fabric, elastic and thread for pick-up, and arrange to drop them off for weekly distribution.

Interested volunteers or those with elastic or fabric to donate toward the effort may email: [email protected].

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Meet Arlington’s newest Pet of the Week, Ernie, an 18 year old Beagle mutt who has never let his age dampen his spirits.

Here is what Ernie’s owner had to say about his long and full life here in Arlington:

Ernie is an 18 year old beagle mutt that we adopted from Lost Dog Animal Rescue in September of 2003.  Despite his age and a few minor deficits, Ernie is the same as he’s always been: snuggly, goofy, and special. He has survived many ailments and has never let them stop him. He loves his walks, he loves to greet the mailman barking, he loves playing with big dogs despite his small size, and most of all he loves curling up in our arms on the couch to snuggle. We love him more than anything. Ernie is the definition of man’s best friend.

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Before you ask: no, Bill’s True Value Hardware (2213 N. Buchanan Street) does not have any face masks.

Every day, Mark Ploskina — son of owner William Ploskina — says he gets around 100 to 200 calls with people asking whether or not he has masks. He gets one of those calls in the middle of an interview about the number of calls.

Mark said as the pandemic was getting started, the store was buzzing with activity as people rushed to get supplies.

“Before the mandatory shutdown, it was insanely busy in here,” Mark said. “People were looking for everything. Emergency related stuff — toilet paper, paper towels, masks. Since the shutdown it’s been about normal.”

While many food, retail and service locations across Arlington are struggling, Mark said the store — considered an essential business under Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s emergency orders — has had a steady stream of customers. Occasionally on weekends it gets too busy and Mark said they have to limit the number of people in the store, but so far they’ve been able to manage.

At first, the main items were coronavirus-related, but as spring has started to bloom Mark said that’s beginning to change.

“Everybody wants to congregate in the same area: plants, seeds and gardening,” Mark said. “[People go for] everything garden related. People are so bored.”

Mark said he’s happy people are coming in, but feels slightly guilty when he sees customers going out and buying non-essentials during the stay-at-home order.

“It’s a double-edged sword,” he said. “I want to serve the community, but there’s a lot of people coming in and these are not emergency supplies.”

As the pandemic set in, Mark said the store got a box full of masks — about $150 worth — but they sent the box straight to the hospital for use by healthcare workers.

“It was the right thing to do,” Mark said. “I want customers to be safe, but the hospitals need it.”

Photo via Bill’s True Value Hardware/Facebook

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There are more than 250 known coronavirus cases in Arlington.

The county has 254 reported cases, according to Wednesday’s data from the Virginia Dept. of Health. That gives Arlington the second-highest per-capita rate of infections in the state (107.24 per 100,000 people), and the highest per-capita rate in Northern Virginia, according to the Virginia Public Access Project.

It has been a month since the first confirmed coronavirus case in Arlington.

Statewide, there are now 3,645 reported COVID-19 cases, 615 hospitalizations, 75 deaths, and 30,645 people tested. Of the fatalities, 23 have been in Northern Virginia.

Local, state and federal officials are continuing to urge people to wear masks to slow the spread of the disease. The virus spreads primarily through respiratory droplets, which masks help to mitigate. Even those without symptoms may have and be spreading the disease, making it more important for everyone to wear masks while out.

In just the past couple of weeks there has been a notable uptick in mask wearing among customers in local grocery stores, ARLnow has observed.

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Now more than ever good looking photos of us and our family are important. I find the best images are produced when limitations are in place, and judging by the limitations of today I think we can create some great images together!

Submit your own community post here.

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