Arlington, VA

Arlington residents spoke out for and against proposed traffic control, parking and development plans for East Falls Church on Tuesday at a county-sponsored forum at Tuckahoe Elementary School.

A presentation outlined the current plan, which calls for developing four to six story mixed-use commercial and residential buildings by removing all 422 spaces at the Metro park-and-ride lot. The presentation also mapped out changes to pedestrian and bike paths as well as a plan to narrow Washington Boulevard to slow down traffic.

After the presentation, ever-polite residents thanked the East Falls Church task force before launching into their complaints.

Concerns about the removal of parking were at the forefront of the discussions.  Residents reminded officials about the county’s 1970s era promise that Arlington would not attempt to further develop East Falls Church after the Metro system was installed.

Some residents expressed concern about the potential for overpopulation at local schools as a result of the increased population density. Others were worried about the potential for increased crime.

For more information, see the county’s East Falls Church planning website or articles from Greater Greater Washington and People-Powered Arlington.

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A new technology that generates electricity using bacteria will be unveiled at the Pentagon on Thursday. The Earth Day event will showcase a microbe-powered fuel cell developed by the the Office of Naval Research.

“Microbial fuel cell research is a great example of naval needs propelling advanced technology that also has potential benefit to the public,” said Chief of Naval Research, Rear Adm. Nevin Carr.

This new green energy innovation utilizes decaying marine organisms to generate power, offering a clean and robust alternative to environmentally-destructive batteries and other sources of electricity.

“Think of it as a battery that runs on mud,” ONR Program Manager Dr. Linda Chrisey said. “They are sustainable, environmentally-friendly and don’t involve hazardous reactants like a regular battery might because they use the natural carbon in the marine environment.”

The fuel cells can be used to power underwater autonomous vehicles such as surveillance equipment, oceanic monitoring probes and other devices. In addition, they promise a long, productive life span, unlike current battery technology.

“Essentially, they could go on for years without any kind of battery replacement,” Chrisey said.

The technology is currently in use at the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center (SPAWAR) Pacific, where researchers are using fuel cell-powered equipment to monitor endangered sea turtles.

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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 [email protected].

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If you want evidence that eating vegan is becoming more mainstream, just look at the 29 Arlington restaurants listed as vegetarian-friendly on VegDC.com.

“There’s no doubt that the popularity of meatless cuisine is on this rise,” said Erica Meier, Executive Director of  Compassion Over Killing, a D.C.-based animal advocacy group. “A growing number of restaurants in Arlington and throughout the D.C. area are dishing out more delicious and nutritious animal-friendly fare to meet the increase in consumer demand.”

One local restaurant is going all-out in its effort to meet that demand.

Toscana Grill, an eco-friendly restaurant in Courthouse, together with Compassion Over Killing, recently launched “Vegan Weekends in April.” Each weekend features a menu of exclusively plant-based dishes.

Timed to coincide with Earth Day, Toscana is also holding some special vegan weekend events. On Saturday, the restaurant is hosting a “dancing and drinks night,” featuring wine and all-you-can-eat vegan appetizers. Then on April 25, it’s Bring Your Dog to Brunch Day.

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Geek Gluttony For A Good Cause

Update on 4/2/10 — Paul and Storm say the event was a “huge success.” Storm successfully ate the entire 12-serving cake, and the duo raised more than $2,750 for the Arlington Food Assistance Center.

Want to see a geek have his cake and eat it, too?

A self-proclaimed “geek musician” who goes by the name of “Storm” will be attempting to eat an entire Carvel “Fudgie the Whale” cake, live on the internet, at 8:00 tonight.

The stunt was originally meant to mark Storm and bandmate Paul reaching 10,000 Twitter followers. Now it has been transformed into a fundraiser.

Paul and Storm are asking their fans for donations, all of which will go to the Arlington Food Assistance Center.

The “Fudgiethon” is being held at online retailer Think Geek’s headquarters in Fairfax. Those who donate will also be enrolled in a chance to win a $100 Think Geek gift certificate.

It may be April Fool’s Day, but this is no joke! Wired has more details.

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Is your garden or yard losing its luster?  No need to worry, help is on the way.  Coming up on Saturday, April 10, at the Arlington Home Show and Expo, two garden-specific classes will be presented by the Virginia Cooperative Extension and Master Gardeners of Northern Virginia.

Starting at 10:15 a.m. there will be a class called “Garden Soil Testing! How and Why” that will include a free test kit for all participants. Later in the day, at 3:00 p.m., a class titled “How to Catch a Squirrel:  Solutions to Common Garden Problems” promises valuable tips for beginners and experienced gardeners alike.

There’s a ton to learn about gardening — proper mulching, watering, fertilizing, etc. — but these free classes should be a good start for any green thumb looking to keep their yard pristine and make their garden yield better results.

Other classes offered at the home show will pay special attention to eco-friendly home building and remodeling. Among the classes being offered are “No Cost and Low Cost Ways to Reduce Energy Usage”  and “Green Your Home From Soup to Nuts.”

Arlington County representatives will also be attending the Expo to answer questions about permits, zoning and inspections.

The Expo is being held at the Walter Reed Community Center at 2909 16th Street South.

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The Washington Capitals and Inova partnered for a very successful blood drive, with 609 units of blood donated by 642 fans.  The event, held at the Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Ballston on Saturday, was the highest yielding blood drive hosted by a D.C. sports team to date.

Donors received various gifts including a limited edition Alexander Semin T-shirt, a bobblehead doll, and the possibility of winning a 22″ Sharp TV with built-in DVD player.

The Caps and Inova will be hosting another blood drive on Saturday, July 24, in Sterling, Va.

A single donation of blood can potentially save up to three lives.  There’s hope that the 609 units will help over 1,800 patients.

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