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What’s Next: The Street Forward

What’s Next with Nicole is a biweekly opinion column. The views expressed are solely the author’s.

It has been a strange few weeks. While life seems to stand still, so much is happening in our community.

Close Street Lanes

Maintaining your mental health during these odd times cannot be understated. Getting in regular exercise to kickstart your endorphins is important and recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Whether you are running, pushing a stroller, or walking with a loved one, sometimes our sidewalks are just not wide enough to keep a distance of 6 feet. A majority of people are trying to make enough space but it is oftentimes near impossible.

I would propose closing one lane of traffic in each direction where there are two lanes available in major corridors.

These connective roads could include: Wilson Boulevard, Walter Reed Drive, Glebe Road, George Mason Drive, Lee Highway, and more.

Traffic has decreased significantly and this would not be an undue burden on travelers.

Provide Unemployment Filing Hotline Help

It would be helpful if the Arlington Employment Center or another relevant entity could help residents with phone assistance while the state phone lines are being overwhelmed. While this is not normally a service that Arlington would provide, it would be of great public benefit.

The online filing form for unemployment in Virginia and Washington, D.C. is not set up for shift or gig workers. I add D.C. to this because many Arlington residents’ last job was in D.C. and would thus file for unemployment there. There are case-specific questions that don’t make sense and if answered incorrectly can delay vitally important payments.

About 150,000 filed for uninsurance in Virginia last week, and Governor Northam has stated that the helplines are overwhelmed. If localities can provide their own hotline help this might alleviate some stress on the system and get more people properly filed.

Businesses Surviving the Pandemic

Hats off to Arlington Economic Development’s BizLaunch and the Arlington Chamber of Commerce for hosting the upcoming webinar “Business Tools to Survive a Pandemic” with the Small Business Administration’s Washington Office.

The CARES Act is providing $2 trillion in economic relief. This series will help businesses of all types and sizes figure out the resources that will become available to them as a result.

Other business resources are available online here.

Two Thumbs Way Way Up For Erik Gutshall

I am so incredibly sad to hear about Erik Gutshall’s resignation from the County Board. After announcing his diagnosis just weeks ago, his request for the community to lift his spirits was to encourage everyone to attend community events. In flooded pictures of active community members at meetings who were #hereforerik.

As a Board member he is someone that really knows the details. Because of his background as a former Planning Commission chair he doesn’t just talk about “Missing Middle Housing” in the conceptual ether — he brings good, tangible, policy solutions to the table. Just recently, we talked about solar metering, purchasing agreements, and how to implement the new SOLAR FREEDOM bill for thirty minutes at a Lee Highway Planning open house.

Erik is an Arlington policy nerd in the best way possible. The community will have big shoes to fill as he steps away.

Cancer sucks.

Nicole Merlene is an Arlington native and former candidate for Virginia State Senate. She has served as a leader in the community on the boards of the Arlington County Civic Federation and North Rosslyn Civic Association, as an Arlington Economic Development commissioner, in neighborhood transportation planning groups, and as a civic liaison to the Rosslyn Business Improvement District.

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Synetic Theater Camps are a wildly fun, highly accessible choice for young people who love moving, playing games, and making memories. Registration is open now for Summer Camps (sessions June 20-August 25) and there are even a few spots left for Spring Break camp, April 3­-7.

Located in National Landing, these performance-based camps are designed for students of all ages – no theater or performance experience required.

Led by professional teaching artists, campers learn acting, movement, and technical theater skills through the lens of Physical Theater. Physical Theater incorporates acting, movement, dance, mime, and acrobatics. If you’ve seen a Cirque du Soleil performance, you’ll find many similarities.

Most first-time campers are new to the performing arts, and teaching artists are well-versed in engaging students at all levels. Parents and campers report that one of the best parts of Synetic is the community, with many families returning year after year because they feel a strong sense of belonging.

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EDBS Dental Billing Solutions is pleased to announce that it has achieved compliance with the federally mandated standards of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) through the use of Compliancy Group’s proprietary HIPAA methodology, The Guard® compliance tracking software, and HIPAA Seal of Compliance®.

The HIPAA Seal of Compliance is issued to organizations that have implemented an effective HIPAA compliance program through the use of The Guard, Compliancy Group’s proprietary compliance tracking solution.

Clients and patients are becoming more aware of the requirements of HIPAA compliance and how the regulation protects their personal information. Forward-thinking providers like EDBS Dental Billing Solutions choose the HIPAA Seal of Compliance to differentiate their services.

“Since the nature of our business being exclusively remote, we take HIPAA compliance very seriously. With the help of Compliancy Group, we are able to take steps to fortify our systems to protect PHI information and familiarize each employee about HIPAA and how we can further safeguard PHI data.” said EDBS Dental Billing Solutions founder Goldie De Leon.

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Submit your own Announcement here.

WHS Spring Festival

Join us at the WHS Spring Festival on April 22, 2023, from 10am- 3pm at Wakefield High School(main parking lot). Come out to shop, play, and eat!

Shop local vendors, arts & crafts, new and used items, food vendors/trucks, and

District 27 Toastmasters 2023 Virtual Conference

District 27 Toastmasters invites you to its annual conference where you can hear phenomenal speakers, attend professional development and personal growth seminars about leadership, negotiation, communication, teamwork, and mentorship. Learn how to develop your personal story and how to improve


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