Arlington, VA

It seems like summer break just started, but some local organizations are already pitching in to help at-risk students prepare for the upcoming school year.

Arlington-based Offender and Aid Restoration and Verizon Wireless retailer TCC are two of the organizations that are setting up drives for backpacks and other classroom necessities in Arlington.

TCC’s program, School Rocks Backpack Giveaway, first started in 2013. The program has donated 950,000 backpacks stocked with school supplies since its founding. TCC asks that on July 24 from 1 p.m-4 p.m. community members drop off backpacks and supplies at participating stores, including a store at 3141 Lee Highway

Offender Aid and Restoration, which works to improve the lives of the incarcerated population through educational programs, community service opportunities and reentry services into society, is also organizing a backpack drive.

Until August 12, Project Backpack, sponsored by OAR, will collect school supplies for children and deliver them with a note of encouragement from their incarcerated parent.

“It is so crucial to maintain strong family bonds while a parent is incarcerated for both the child and the parent,” said OAR’s executive director. “Incarceration not only affects the person going through the system, but everyone closest to them as well.” 

Anyone interested can also donate to the Project Backpack cause online. Community members may also drop off items physically or mail them to OAR’s Arlington office at 400 N. Uhle Street, Suite 704, Arlington, VA 22201. 

File photo

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(Updated 10:35 a.m.) The Arlington County Board is acquiring a pair of properties in the Arlington Ridge neighborhood to expand Fort Scott Park.

The Board approved the purchase of the properties — including a home at 705 31st Street S. and an adjacent vacant lot — for just over $1.4 million at its Saturday meeting. The county plans to tear down the house, which is being sold by a trustee after its owner recently passed away.

“Recently, County Real Estate Bureau staff was contacted by the owner of the properties, who inquired whether the County would be interested in purchasing the properties because they abut Fort Scott Park,” wrote county staff in a report to the Board.

The lots are a combined 14,305 square feet and are just south of the park, which officials are planning to expand while updating pedestrian and bicycle paths, per the staff report.

Arlington’s Department of Community Planning, Housing and Development determined that the house, which was built in 1948, has no historical or architectural merit.

The expansion is considered part of the county’s Public Spaces Master Plan, which was updated in April and includes a goal to add a minimum of 30 acres of land to the county’s public spaces over the next 10 years.

Fort Scott Park was once a Civil War-era fort named after Winfield Scott, the General-in-Chief of the Union Army General, according to a county press release.

The full press release is after the jump.

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A new outdoor concert series will kick off in Ballston later today.

Starting today (July 10) through the end of August, “Ballston Quarter Beats” will bring in a new band every Wednesday for a free concert at the outdoor Plaza at Ballston Quarter (4238 Wilson Blvd). 

The events are being held from 5:30-8:30 p.m and attendees can expect happy-hour drink specials and food from Ballston Quarter eateries, including the Local Oyster, Ballston Service Station, and Copa Kitchen and Bar.

The series will kick off with Marvillous Beats, a Bronx-born artist who combines a mixture of jazz, classical, pop and hip-hop for a unique musical experience. Marvill Martin is an Arlington local but began his career in New York as a violinist.

This event is open to the public. No tickets are necessary. 

The summer artist lineup is listed below: 

  • July 10: Marvillous Beats
  • July 17: The Reflex
  • July 24: Pressing Strings
  • July 31: Jeremiah Miles
  • August 7: David Andrew Smith
  • August 14: Lucia Valentine 
  • August 21: Jonny Grave
  • August 28: Blue Dot Jazz Troupe
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A new LensCrafters store is now open in Ballston.

Last week marked the grand opening of LensCrafters in Ballston Quarter (4238 Wilson Blvd). It replaces a former LensCrafters store at the mall that closed prior to its renovations. 

Located on the ground floor of an outdoor portion of the mall, LensCrafters offers eye exams and sells prescription glasses, sunglasses, and contact lenses. 

“Customers can expect to find innovative technology, the newest styles, and unparalleled personalized service,” at the store, a mall PR rep said in an email. “They offer a wide range of prescription lenses for eyeglasses and sunglasses, perfectly tailored to your lifestyle.”

The location is open Monday-Saturday, from 10 a.m.-9 p.m. and on Sunday, from 12-6 p.m.

The store is running a 50% discount on complete pair of glasses though Friday, Aug. 2. 

Photo (3) courtesy Ballston Quarter

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Cucina Al Volo opened for business this past weekend in the Quarter Market food hall at Ballston Quarter mall (4238 Wilson Blvd). 

The restaurant is known locally for serving up authentic Italian cuisine and prides its on using ingredients from local farmers markets whenever possible. An employee of the new location told ARLnow that business has been good so far and they’re expecting new customers to continue discovering it in the mall’s food hall, near Copa Kitchen and Bar.

Since this is a smaller Cucina Al Volo than the company’s other stand-alone restaurants, it’s not able to serve an expanded menu. The location’s offerings include pasta dishes, with a range of pasta and sauce options, plus appetizers and sandwiches.

“Cucina Al Volo has opened its fifth outpost at Quarter Market, serving up scratch-made pasta and sauces to dine in or take home,” said a spokeswoman for the mall. “Specials change daily, from Lamb Ragu to Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli to Lobster and Shrimp to Chicken Marsala. They also sell packages of pasta and sauce that can be prepared at home.”

Sandwiches are priced at $10 while pastas range from $11-15 depending on the sauce selection. As of lunchtime Friday, however, employees said the sandwiches were not yet available.

The restaurant was founded by Matteo Catalani and his business partner and uncle, Daniele Catalani. Other Cucina Al Volo locations can be found near Adams Morgan, Cleveland Park and Union Market in D.C., and in downtown Baltimore.

This is the first location to open in Arlington.

Cucina Al Volo is open Monday through Sunday, from 11 a.m.- 9 p.m.

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Madison Manor Park (6225 12th Road N.) will close starting next week for renovations.

Arlington County Board members began considering updates to the park back in 2017 and finally voted in May to begin construction.  

Planned updates include “a new nature-themed playground with loose play elements for kids to create their own spaces,” plus added greenery, sheltered picnic areas, a new basketball and volleyball court, news sidewalks, a change in fencing and upgraded irrigation system and an update to the multi-purpose sports field at the park.

More from Arlington’s Dept. of Parks and Recreation:

The existing combo-field (i.e. a field where both diamond and rectangular sports can be played) will be renovated with a new relocated backstop to improve water runoff. The combo-field will also have new dugouts, spectator seating, irrigation and sod. The Resource Protection Area, a space that helps filter water into our streams, will be planted with new trees and shrubs to help protect our natural resources. The project also features new native plants with pollinators in the park, as well as minimal fencing, new ADA-accessible walkways, a new picnic shelter and new site furnishings.

Over the last year, the county hosted public forums for residents to share input or raise concerns about the project. Capital maintenance funds are paying for the project.

Completion of the Madison Manor Park project is slated for spring 2020, according to the county website. 

Photos via Arlington County

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The Disney musical “Newsies” is set to debut at the Kenmore Middle School Theatre (202 S. Carlin Springs Road) in mid-July. 

In association with Encore Stage & Studio, the performance brings together children in order to foster a passion for the performing arts and culture. Students in the program participate in workshops taught by professional artists. 

The storyline of “Newsies” takes place in New York, where young journalist Jack Kelly leads other journalists in a rally against unfair working conditions. 

The musical originated as a film in 1992, but the first live performance took place at the Paper Mill Playhouse in 2011.

“There are many exciting dance numbers including ‘Seize the Day’ and ‘King of New York,'” Sara Duke, the executive director of Encore Stage & Studio, said. “The audience will be impressed.” 

Tickets can be purchased online or by calling 703-548-1154. Prices are $15 for adults and $12 for children, students, seniors or members of the military. Opening night takes place on Friday, July 19, at 7:30 p.m. Other show times run through Sunday, July 28.

Photos via Encore Stage & Studio

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Homeward Trails Animal Rescue and Market Common Clarendon are pairing up to help people meet their next feline friend.

Starting this Saturday (June 29), Market Common Clarendon (2800 Clarendon Blvd) will host “Kitten Parties” every Saturday and Sunday from noon until 2:00 p.m. until the end of July. The events aim to adopt kittens from the Homeward Trails shelter to loving families.

Summer is a difficult season for cat adoptions since many families travel and aren’t in a position to take care of an animal. Summer also happens to be “kitten season.” Executive Director of Homeward Trails Sue Bell said many newborns are stuck in overflowing shelters.

Bell encourages any cat lover to come and check out the event since there will be free giveaways, scavenger hunts, raffles and just a chance to play with some kittens. No adoption is necessary. 

Market Common Clarendon donated unleased space in the shopping center to the effort, and businesses like Sephora and Origins decided to also join the effort and will have adoptable kittens in their stores. 

The shelter currently houses roughly 150 kittens that are up for adoption this season. Adoption fees for cats are $125 for one animal or $200 for a pair. These fees go toward the first three vaccines, a complimentary visit to a number of D.C.-area VCA Veterinary Hospitals and a free 30-day pet insurance promotion. 

More information can be found on the Homeward Trails website.

Photo courtesy Homeward Trails

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BASH Boxing and the Hyatt hotel in Rosslyn are teaming this weekend to sponsor a brunch and boxing charity event to benefit the Aga Khan Foundation and Save the Children.

Boxing fans can enjoy a 35-minute BASH training session followed by a tapas-style brunch this Sunday (June 29), from 10 a.m.-12 p.m., at the Hyatt Centric Arlington (1325 Wilson Blvd).

Bloody marys and mimosas are available for participants over the age of 21. Event guests will be automatically entered into a raffle for a two-night stay at the Hyatt Centric Arlington. An additional raffle will offer up a two-night stay at Central Park Hotel in New York City. 

The Aga Khan Foundation and Save the Children both work to improve the lives of impoverished people by increasing access to education and healthcare. All of the proceeds will go toward the foundations. 

Tickets are $40 and are available for purchase online or at 703-908-4692.

Photo via BASH Boxing 

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