Arlington, VA

In two weeks, Arlington County Police Department will hold its second-ever Fill the Cruiser Food Drive to support the Arlington Food Assistance Center.

The first Fill the Cruiser food drive kicked off last summer in response to the growing number of people struggling to put food on the table during the pandemic. That effort yielded 6,509 pounds of donated food. The next is now planned for Tuesday, May 18.

“We saw firsthand the growing need for food assistance and recognize this need remains high due to the ongoing economic impacts of the pandemic,” ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage said. “Through generous community donations, we can assist the Arlington Food Assistance Center as they continue their mission of feeding our neighbors in need by providing dignified access to nutritious supplemental groceries.” 

Outside of the food drive, officers have also assisted community organizations with bagging and distributing grocery items, Savage said.

AFAC has seen a significant increase in the number of families it serves — a 33% increase in the first few months of the pandemic, according to the organization’s website. Amid the surge in need, however, the nonprofit has reported fewer donations from grocery stores and leaner volunteer ranks.

More on the Fill the Cruiser food drive from ACPD:

The Community Resources Section will be collecting items at drive-thru donation stations on Tuesday, May 18 from 6 to 8 p.m. at three locations:

  • Giant Food – 2901 S. Glebe Road
  • Safeway – 3713 Lee Highway
  • Westover Baptist Church – 1125 Patrick Henry Drive

Upon arrival, donors should stay in their car until they reach the unloading areas, where officers will be on hand to remove donations from their vehicle. A separate area will be available for those arriving by bike or foot. All donors are expected to observe proper social distancing guidelines and wear a face covering while dropping off donations.

Suggested Items for Donation

AFAC accepts most unopened, unexpired, and unprepared foods, including perishable items. AFAC is most in need of the following low sodium, low fat and low sugar items:

  • Low sodium canned tomatoes
  • Low sodium canned tuna
  • Low sodium canned soups
  • Canned vegetables
  • Peanut butter (in plastic jars)
  • Low sugar cereal

Those wishing to donate, but unable to attend the Fill the Cruiser events should visit AFAC’s website to find a donation drop-off site near them.

Photo via Arlington County Police Department

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Many Arlington residents seem to be in the market for new furniture, according to Google Trends.

Perhaps after more than a year of sitting at home during the pandemic, your chairs are getting squeaky or your table is getting scratched. Whatever the reason, ARLnow averaged online rankings of every furniture store in Arlington and within two miles of the county on this side of the Potomac.

Our rankings are below.

1..Casa Furniture (5013 Columbia Pike) — 4.9 out of 5 stars

2. Gala Futons and Furniture (2622 N. Pershing Drive) — 4.65 out of 5 stars

3. Oriental Rosewood Imports Furniture (4050 Lee Highway) — 4.5 out of 5 stars

4. Hardwood Artisans (2800 S. Randolph Street) — 4.45 out of 5 stars

5. Lovesac (1100 S. Hayes Street) — 4.4 out of 5 stars

T-6. Furniture Max (6250 Seven Corners Center) – 4.05 out of 5 stars

T-6. Ethan Allen (2900 Wilson Blvd, Suite 102) – 4.05 out of 5 stars

8. Crate & Barrel Outlet (1700 Prince Way) — 3.8 out of 5 stars

9. Sweet Home Furniture (3501 S. Jefferson Street) — 3.6 out of 5 stars

10. Crate & Barrel (2800 Clarendon Blvd) — 3.5 out of 5 stars

11. Macy’s (1000 S. Hayes Street) — 3.4 out of 5 stars

12. Bob’s Discount Furniture (5845 Leesburg Pike) — 3.3 out of 5 stars

13. Value City Furniture (5516 Leesburg Pike) — 3.2 out of 5 stars

14. Pottery Barn (2700 Clarendon Blvd) — 3.15 out of 5 stars

T-15. Macy’s (685 N. Glebe Road) — 3 out of 5 stars

T-15. West Elm (925 N. Saint Asaph Street) — 3 out of 5 stars

17. Ashley HomeStore (5871 Crossroads Way) — 2.95 out of 5 stars

Photo via Furniture Max/Facebook

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What’s better than celebrating a birthday? Celebrating a dog’s birthday, of course.

Walter the Bernese Mountain Dog is turning 4 and his parents are inviting all dogs and their humans (and pet-less people) to celebrate with them.

Walter has lived in Arlington since the fall of 2019 with his dog parents, Nick and Kayti Goebel. Now “135 pounds of pure muscle” as Nick likes to say, Walter has become a local celebrity. While walking around Clarendon and going to local restaurants with his parents, Walter attracts lots of attention.

“It’s amazing how people stop us to meet and pet Walter,” said Nick. “He gets a lot of attention and love.”

One day while they were sitting at one of their favorite local restaurants, the staff persuaded Nick and Kayti to make Walter an Instagram account. After leaving the restaurant, they met a writer from The Dogist, a website and social media account dedicated to pictures and stories of dogs around the world. The writer asked to take some photos of Walter and posted them to their 3.9 million followers on Instagram, tagging Walter’s new account.

In the first 24 hours of Walter’s account, he had 2,000 followers.

Now his account is up to nearly 4,800 followers. Nick and Kayti asked his Instagram followers if anyone in Arlington would want to celebrate Walter’s 4th birthday with them and they got lots of interest.

This Sunday, April 25, from 3-5 p.m. at The The Pinemoor in Clarendon (1101 N. Highland Street), the couple will be celebrating on the back deck and welcoming any humans and dogs to come party with them.

There will be Walter-inspired cocktails and a raffle items, the proceeds of which will go to the Lost Dog and Cat Rescue Foundation.

“With so many people wanting to attend, we saw an opportunity to do some good,” said Kayti. “So we reached out to the Lost Dog and Cat Rescue Foundation to see if they would like us to turn the party into a fundraiser.”

There is a sizable crowd expected, but the back patio is limited to 50 people so the couple encourages people to come early in order to celebrate and see Walter on his big day.

Photos via @this.is.walters.world/Instagram

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A pop-up outdoor office is returning to Gateway Park this spring.

The Rosslyn Business Improvement District is bringing back its Outdoor Office, or O2, which the BID set up for the first time last October as a pandemic-era neighborhood amenity.

O2 is scheduled to open next Tuesday, April 13 and will remain active through June 11.

More than 20 socially-distanced workstations are being set up in the outdoor office this season as a part of “Rosslyn Refresh,” a campaign by the BID to get people outdoors and enjoying spring safely. The space is equipped with power outlets, free Wi-Fi, easels, whiteboards and other office essentials.

“The free office space offers an inspiring atmosphere for employees looking to come back to the neighborhood or anyone in the DMV area needing a break from their home office routine,” the BID said in a press release. “O2 has everything you need to work safely outdoors and get back to blue-sky thinking.”

Closer to the outdoor office’s opening day, users will be able to reserve 90-minute blocks in advance online and can reserve consecutive time blocks if they would like to stay longer. O2 will also accept walk-ins if space is available and will provide blankets for people to sit on the grass if no slots are available.

Rosslyn Ambassadors, who keep Rosslyn’s streets clean and provide information, will sanitize the used stations between guests, according to a video (below).

O2 will initially be open Tuesday through Thursday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Beginning on May 1, it will also be open on Fridays.

Photo courtesy Rosslyn BID

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(Updated 4/5/21) The Arlington Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) will be teaching people how to respond to life-threatening situations until help arrives.

Over the course of a free, 2.5-hour class, anyone who lives, works or volunteers in Arlington can learn skills such as how to stop severe bleeding and provide psychological first aid. The class, “Until Help Arrives,” is part of a national campaign to teach the public how to help during emergencies from car accidents to active shooter situations.

The next hands-on training course is Saturday, April 10 from 10 a.m.-noon at 1429 N. Quincy Street, a site the county had used for drive-thru and mobile COVID-19 testing. The next virtual training will be on Apr. 29 from 6:30-9 p.m.

There has been an uptick in interest during the pandemic, said Lucía Cortés, Engagement Liaison for the Arlington County Department of Public Safety Communications and Emergency Management. That’s not to mention the recent spate of mass shootings in the United States.

“We’ve actually seen a significant increase in class interest over the past seven months, with enrollment increasing by 100% while increasing our class frequency to at least once per month,” Cortés said. “Over 160 people have attended our virtual trainings.”

Attendees will learn how to recognize violent activities, respond safely, provide immediate rescue tactics to the injured, and report them to 9-1-1, according to the county.

According to Until Help Arrives, the program emphasizes five steps for civilians to take during an emergency while waiting for medical assistance:

  1. Call 9-1-1
  2. Protect the injured from harm
  3. Stop any bleeding
  4. Position the victim so they can breathe
  5. Provide comfort

“The County’s CERT program was created in the wake of 9/11 by concerned residents wanting to assist their communities during emergencies,” Cortés said. “Since 2004, nearly 1,000 community members have completed ArlCERT training.”

CERT asks that interested people register to receive a link to the virtual event. Once registered, class attendees are asked to download the training materials and watch a prerequisite video.

Photo via Arlington County

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For the second year in a row, the pandemic is preventing the annual Easter sunrise service at Arlington National Cemetery from being an in-person event.

This year’s service, hosted by Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, will be live-streamed on Facebook starting at 6:30 a.m. on Sunday, Apr. 4.

The event will be a Protestant service celebrated by Chaplain (Col.) Michael T. Shellman, Command Chaplain for the Joint Force Headquarters and Chaplain (Brig. Gen.) Andrew R. Harewood, Deputy Chief of Chaplains for the Army Reserve.

“The Easter Sunrise Service supports military families and service members by providing spiritual enrichment and supports the joint base command’s mission to provide for the free exercise of religion in the military,” said Chaplain (Maj.) Scott Kennaugh, Deputy Chaplain at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, in a statement.

To comply with COVID-19 guidelines and keep the number of people at the service as low as possible, a brass quartet and four vocalists from the U.S. Army Band will be on-site along with a sign language interpreter.

In case of inclement weather, the service will be live-streamed from the joint base’s Memorial Chapel, also in Arlington. 

A Facebook account is not required to view the event.

Photo by Tim1965

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(Updated 4:30 p.m.) For National Walking Day on Wednesday, April 7, locals are being encouraged to explore Arlington on foot.

Among the new options for doing so: a virtual scavenger hunt.

“Join us on a virtual hunt for hidden gems in your own neighborhood that you may not have known existed,” the county-run WalkArlington program said on its website.

The initiative from WalkArlington and Arlington Transportation Partners is virtual this year due to the coronavirus. Instead, the organizers have assembled resources for local residents, workers and visitors to take self-guided walking tours through any of the county’s 10 urban villages on National Walking Day — or any day, for that matter

“Walking in Arlington is inspiring, full of surprises, peaceful — like finding a gem,” WalkArlington said in a video, below.

Walkers can use an interactive map to find these gems, which include nature escapes, historical sites, local businesses and public art.

Participants will need to register to access the map. Those who register by Friday (March 26) will receive a free item in the mail, according to the registration page.

Photos via WalkArlington/YouTube

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A new fitness studio called SPENGA is set to open in Ballston in late April.

The studio at 4040 Fairfax Drive will teach a proprietary blend of spin, strength training and yoga — which are also blended together in the name “SPENGA.” The fitness brand has more than 300 franchise locations in operation or opening across the U.S.

“We are so excited to bring this amazing workout to my hometown of Arlington and to be a part of the incredible Ballston community,” said Sherry Ruffing, the owner of the forthcoming Ballston location.

The workout combines cardio, strength and flexibility to give clients 60 minutes of efficient, full-body workouts, according to the website.

“[SPENGA has] all of the burn with none of the burnout,” Ruffing said. “Not only will you transform your body, but you will join a network of like-minded, supportive friends. And no matter your fitness level, it’s you versus you.”

Ruffing is leaving her career in the aerospace industry and government relations after 30 years to introduce the boutique brand to the D.C. area.

She said she plans to open several studios across Northern Virginia, including two more in Arlington County, likely in Rosslyn and Pentagon City.

The studio, located on the ground floor of an office building two blocks away from the Ballston Metro station, will be open Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. and on weekends from 7 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Ruffing is offering a $50 discount to members who purchase unlimited monthly class plans before the gym opens.

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Camp Heat, which gives teens an inside look at the fire service, is back after a year off due to the coronavirus.

And this year, for the first time, the free camp — founded to encourage women to become firefighters — is open to all teens regardless of gender.

Twenty-four girls and boys ages 15 to 18 will have the chance to experience five days of what it takes to be an Arlington firefighter and Emergency Medical Technician.

To participate, teens must apply by May 1 and be accepted. The camp runs 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. from June 21-25.

According to the county, Camp Heat introduces teens to fire and EMT simulations and career opportunities as first responders, while teaching them life skills such as physical fitness, nutrition and CPR.

“The goal of the camp is to increase the participants’ confidence and empower them to consider entering physically challenging careers, such as the fire service, later in life,” the county website said.

As of 2018, at least three campers had applied or joined their local fire department.

Camp Heat was founded is to “empower young females through an introduction to the Fire and Emergency Medical Services.”

Nationwide, women are underrepresented in firefighting, comprising less than 10% of firefighters, according to the National Fire Protection Association. But it was an Arlington County firefighter named Judith “Judy” Brewer who blazed a trail for them when she was hired as the nation’s first female career firefighter in 1974.

This is the first year that the department has opened the program to all teens, ACFD spokesman Taylor Blunt confirmed.

With only 24 spots available, the application asks applicants to “take care in completing the application and provide thoughtful answers to the essay.”

“Applicants are expected to be responsible and demonstrate a self-starting attitude,” the application said. “Applicants must be… in good physical health in order to participate in the rigorous activities planned.”

Due to COVID-19, the campers will not be able to go inside the firehouse. Other safety precautions such as temperature checks and masks will be required as well.

Campers are required to provide their own blue pants, black belt, and safety boots/shoes.

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(Updated at 3:50 p.m.) A new exhibit at Arlington National Cemetery honors the contributions of servicewomen of color to the United States.

The exhibit, called “The Color of Freedom: Honoring the Diversity of America’s Servicewomen,” opened over the weekend at the Military Women’s Memorial, located at the end of Memorial Avenue near the cemetery’s main entrance.

Arlington resident Rita Paul, who joined the military as a single mother and spent nine years in the U.S. Army, welcomed the news of the exhibit.

“Right now, it is hard to see what is going on in our country surrounding people of color, specifically women,” Paul said. “As a servicewoman, there has always been a sense of honor and pride, and I think now, more than ever, if we can highlight the importance of positive representation, it will help make a difference.”

After retiring from the military, she started working for Comcast, which is sponsoring the exhibit.

“Women veterans of color have and will continue to play an integral role in our nation’s military and service institutions,” said Brig. Gen. (Ret.) Carol Eggert, Senior Vice President of Military & Veteran Affairs at Comcast NBCUniversal, in a statement. “We’re proud to elevate their voices and stories of service to our nation’s defense.”

Visitors to The Color of Freedom will also have access to an educational program for students, a speaker forum and a digital exhibit.

“This exhibit is a perfect example of the extraordinary, yet untold story of the thousands of women of color who for decades upon decades have made remarkable contributions to our military and to America,” said Phyllis Wilson, President at the Women In Military Service For America Memorial Foundation.

The Military Women’s Memorial recently announced the National Registration campaign to preserve the stories of the three million women who have served in the military.

Those planning a visit can reserve timed tickets for free.

Photo via Military Women’s Memorial/Facebook

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(Updated 4:30 p.m. 3/11/21) Although it might not be a normal St. Patrick’s Day, local restaurants and bars are finding a way to celebrate.

The pandemic was not kind to Arlington restaurants. At least 26 places have closed since last March, including the Pentagon City Irish pub Siné (though a replacement is trying to open soon).

The lockdown started right before St. Patrick’s Day last year, canceling the festivities at Ireland’s Four Courts in Courthouse and other popular mid-March gathering spots.

This year, local restaurants are finding ways to safely celebrate. Rather than packing in shoulder-to-shoulder crowds, as might happen during the before times, most places are requiring or highly recommending reservations due to limited capacity. Some have expanded their outdoor seating and some are spreading out their celebration over a few days to avoid crowding.

Below is a list of some local restaurants that are celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in Arlington this year.

Celtic House (2500 Columbia Pike) The Celtic House will be celebrating its Irish roots with an extended St. Patrick’s Day celebration. The festivities will kick off on Friday, March 12 and conclude on Wednesday, March 17. A full Irish menu and specials will be available. Reservations are highly advised due to limited capacity. For information call (703) 746-9644.

Ireland’s Four Courts (2051 Wilson Blvd) Celebrating its 26th St. Patrick’s Day, Four Courts is ready to pick up where it left off last year. The pub will be celebrating March 13-15 and on March 17. There will be Irish dancers on the patio in the afternoon. Due to the pandemic, bar seating will be closed and there will be no live music inside. Making reservations is highly encouraged due to limited seating. For information call (703) 525-3600.

McNamara’s Pub & Restaurant (567 23rd Street S.) — The festivities start early at McNamara’s this year with doors opening at 9 a.m. on March 17. Because of the pandemic, there is a two-hour limit at tables, and reservations are highly recommended. The patio will be open, weather permitting. For information call (703) 302-3760.

O’Sullivan’s Irish Pub (3207 Washington Blvd) O’Sullivan’s has three days of live music and Irish celebrations lined up. On Friday, March 12, Britton James will be performing at 8 p.m. On Saturday, March 13, Uncle Jesse will be performing at 8 p.m. On March 17, Irish dancers will perform at 2 p.m, Pete Baker will perform at 3 p.m. and Willem Dicke will perform at 6 p.m. Their traditional Irish menu will feature dishes such as their homemade Irish bread topped with smoked salmon, corned beef, beef and Guinness stew, and fish & chips. First come, first serve. For information call (703) 812-0939.

Samuel Beckett’s Irish Gastro Pub (2800 S. Randolph Street) – Samuel Beckett’s will open its doors from 10 a.m. to midnight on March 17. There will be Irish dancers at 5 p.m., as well as live music from Eddie Pasa at 5:30 p.m. If you are not comfortable eating in the pub, Samuel Beckett’s is offering “Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day at Home” kits. Family-style meals (serving six people) will be offered as well as a limited supply of Jameson cocktail kits. Orders must be placed at least 24 hours in advance. For information or to order the at-home St. Patrick’s Day kit call (703) 379-0122.

Whitlow’s On Wilson (2854 Wilson Blvd) — Whitlow’s will kick off the St. Patrick’s Day festivities with a live music performance from DjKillabeats24 on Saturday, March 13. On March 17, Irish food will be available along with live music from Timmie Metz featuring Tambo starting at 6 p.m. The rooftop will also be open for patrons, weather permitting. For information call (703) 276-9693.

File photo

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