Arlington, VA

By: Clarendon Presbyterian Church

December 17, 2020

Clarendon Presbyterian Church (CPC) recently announced that it will continue holding monthly Drive-thru Food and Toiletry Collections to support our neighbors who are experiencing homelessness. Since the first Collection in June through the most recent one in December, the community donated the equivalent of 756 brown paper bags of groceries – an estimated value of $30,000.

The Drive-thru Collections are held on the second Saturday of every month (weather permitting) from 9:00 AM to Noon, with curbside drop-off outside the church and masks and social distancing required. The next event will be January 9.

Food donations will continue supporting Bridges to Independence in Clarendon. Bridges operates an emergency shelter with ten one- and two-bedroom apartments and can accommodate up to approximately 14 families with children at a time. Bridges also provides support to more than 40 families that recently moved out of the shelter into independent living. Priority food items include: Rice, cooking oil, boxed cereal, applesauce, juice, packaged healthy kids’ snacks, pasta and pasta sauces, ramen, canned beans and vegetables, and other dry food items.

Toiletry donations will continue supporting Residential Program Center (RPC) on Columbia Pike. RPC is a 44-bed shelter for men and women, run in partnership with Arlington County Department of Human Services. RPC also offers a day program providing showers, laundry facilities and meals to drop-in visitors. Priority toiletry items include:  Razors (men’s and women’s), toothbrushes, toothpaste, shower curtains, queen size bed sheets, deodorant (regular and travel size), new men’s underwear (XL, 2XL, 3XL), new women’s underwear, new socks, combs and brushes, flip flops for showers, and bar soaps.

Clarendon Presbyterian Church is located at 1305 North Jackson Street, Arlington, VA 22201. If you have questions about Collection events and donations, or if you’d like to volunteer to help staff the events, please contact Blair Moorehead at [email protected] or (703) 527-9513.

By: Arlington Thrive

December 17, 2020

Arlington Thrive met an unprecedented wave of requests for direct emergency assistance in 2020, as dual pandemic and economic crises threatened both health and home for Arlington County’s most vulnerable residents. The nonprofit organization that has provided direct emergency financial support for more than 45 years answered requests for help with crisis cash that was seven times greater than the amount provided in fiscal 2019.

“The need is greater, but so is our community’s generosity,” said Andrew Schneider, Executive Director of Arlington Thrive. “Even though requests for help have eclipsed anything we’ve seen in the past, we’ve also seen the investment from Arlington County leadership and a spirit of giving rise to meet the unspeakable pain and desperation that too many of our neighbors are experiencing.”

Donations to Arlington Thrive more than tripled to exceed $50,000 on Giving Tuesday alone.

Arlington Thrive’s ability to provide rapid, emergency financial support in a crisis helps neighbors pay back rent, make car repairs, pay for Internet access so children can attend school, or cover a medical visit that protects individuals, families and the community. Since April of this year Thrive has provided more than $5 million is assistance to 1,300 families and individuals, a dramatic increase from the $805,000 Thrive provided to families and individuals during the same period last year. Typical requests to Arlington Thrive used to be for one or two months rent but since the pandemic now extend to six or seven months, with the average amount of a request climbing from $246 last year to $1,029 in the fiscal year that began in July.

“With the eviction moratorium slated to expire at the end of the year, requests for our assistance will grow even more.  We are grateful to our supporters and Arlington County leaders who understand how important the crisis cash that Arlington Thrive is as part of the social safety net.  But we will need even more support to meet the dire needs of our community to help families and even save a life,” said Scott Friedrich, President of the Arlington Thrive Board of Directors.

Crisis cash is a relatively small investment to keep individuals and families out of the cold and safe from disease, protect children who are already challenged by remote learning, and give people who’ve lost a job through no fault of their own a stable address to find new employment.  Without this rapid emergency support, families and individuals often have to turn to predatory lenders who charge exorbitant interest, plunging people into further financial crisis from which it can be almost impossible to recover.

By: Latinas Leading Tomorrow

December 16, 2020

The Arlington-based nonprofit organization, Latinas Leading Tomorrow (LLT) announced their latest financial contribution from the Arlington Women’s Civic Alliance (AWCA) to support LLT’s leadership training and college readiness programs. The $8,000 one-time grant from AWCA will contribute to LLT’s leadership and college-bound initiatives for more than 60 girls in grades 8-11 during the 2020-21 school year. The grant is one of two awards given in 2020 to organizations that align with AWCA’s mission of providing programmatic and financial support, as well as volunteer services to Arlington community projects.

“Latinas Leading Tomorrow is honored to receive this grant from the Arlington Women’s Civic Alliance to support our ELITE leadership program which encourages young Latinas to excel in high school and go on to earn a college degree,” said Madeline LaSalle, founder and Board of Directors Chair. “The impact of our ELITE program is gaining momentum as many of our LLT alumni are returning as college graduates and young professionals eager to share their stories and serve as role models and mentors to our young students. It means a great deal for our program to have the support from AWCA and women leaders who are invested in our community’s future.”

The ELITE leadership program addresses the growing needs of first-generation, college-bound, high-achieving Latina high school students through leadership development programs that connect students with Latina role models from a broad range of professions to guide students through the introduction of career options, self-discovery, cultural awareness, and help with the college application process. Overall, LLT has served approximately 1,300 students since its inception in 2004, and more than 150 students participate in LLT programs each year. Graduates from our areas high schools’ class of 2020 now attend George Mason University, Marymount University, Northern Virginia Community College, Old Dominion University, and Virginia Tech, among other universities.

The AWCA grant will specifically be used for:

  • The E.L.I.T.E. Academy (Exemplifying Leadership in a Team Environment): A 10-session program held at Georgetown University that offers workshops and mentoring activities for 22 Latina students on topics such as leadership, business and social etiquette, personal branding, communication techniques, resume development, interview skills, public speaking, and financial literacy. The academy participants also take part in the College Connections Initiative.
  • The College Connections Initiative: This program includes visits to selective four-year universities and Ivy League institutions for 40 high-achieving Latina students and their parents to encourage them to consider these as viable options during the college application process.

Candy Fowler, AWCA President said “The AWCA is delighted to support the efforts of Latinas Leading Tomorrow to expand the educational and career horizons of young Latinas in Arlington. Latinas Leading Tomorrow has  an excellent track record of providing the support and experiences these young woman can build on to pursue their goals.”

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Established in 2012 as a 501(c)3 organization at Wakefield High School and since then, has expanded to serve Latina students through its C.O.R.E. (Creating Opportunities to Reach Excellence) program at additional schools in Arlington (Thomas Jefferson Middle School and Yorktown High School) and Alexandria (George Washington Middle School and T.C. Williams High School). In addition, LLT offers a STEM mentoring program for middle school students also known as “Latina Labs,” that provides hands-on activities centered on STEM careers with opportunities to meet and learn from Latina professionals in STEM fields.

For more information about LLT, visit www.latinasleadingtomorrow.org/ or contact Madeline LaSalle at [email protected].

By: Marymount University

December 16, 2020

In what has been perhaps the most challenging semester for U.S. higher educational institutions in recent memory, Marymount University has successfully navigated the Fall 2020 academic semester as planned without any disruptions to its hybrid learning format or in-person living.

From mid-August, when residential students first started to move back to campus, to today, only 86 positive cases of COVID-19 have been identified among Marymount community members. The combined population of students, faculty and staff is approximately 4,000, meaning that the infection rate University-wide over a four-month period is approximately just two percent.

Following reopening decisions made in June, in-person class activities were finished by Thanksgiving break, with all remaining course requirements and final exams completed online. With COVID-19 cases rising once again at a high rate across the country, this plan was designed to prevent increased spread of the virus on campus due to holiday travel.

“In my view, especially for a university located in the populous Washington, D.C., metro area, this is a success story worth sharing – and it’s thanks to all of our community members for understanding their roles in keeping each other safe,” said Dr. Irma Becerra, President of Marymount University. “Our low rate of infection and continuous operations throughout the fall speak volumes in support of our preparation and determination to fulfill our mission – to provide a high-quality academic experience that opens doors for students and helps them grow personally and professionally. With the current health, economic and political challenges we are facing nationally and worldwide, our mission has never been more important.”

Ordinary campus life at colleges and universities everywhere has been significantly impacted by COVID-19, which has redefined so many aspects of how these institutions operate – from academics to admissions, athletics, student life and more. In light of this unprecedented challenge, schools have taken unique approaches to continuing the education of our nation’s future leaders while still maintaining their safety amidst a pandemic – some opening fully for the fall, some operating completely virtual and others staking out a middle ground.

To prepare for the “new normal” brought about by COVID-19, Marymount’s curriculum was adapted to a “hy-flex” format, in which both in-person and remote course delivery options were utilized to achieve a safe and optimum learning environment.

“Despite the pandemic and its challenges, the semester has been successful largely because of our faculty and staff and their hard work,” said Dr. Hesham El-Rewini, Provost of Marymount University. “Their dedication and commitment to our students has been unmatched, and has allowed our students to learn and continue towards graduation in the mode of learning they are most comfortable with during these times.”

Strict social distancing and face covering rules were implemented, and physical spaces such as residential living spaces and classrooms were restructured to accommodate for physical distancing guidelines. For example, the University’s largest classroom space – the Ballston Auditorium – previously had 206 available seats. To maintain social distancing, however, that number was trimmed to 18, and it now seats 8.7 percent of what it used to seat.

Following the end of in-person classes this semester, it has been confirmed that no positive COVID-19 cases at Marymount were transmitted in classroom settings.

Marymount’s COVID-19 mitigation efforts also emphasized rapid testing and proactive contact tracing in order to stem the spread and isolate any clusters of cases that could appear. When one such cluster formed in October, the University partnered with the Arlington County Public Health Department (ACPHD) to assess the number of students on campus who may have been asymptomatic for COVID-19 through targeted testing. After nearly 220 tests of mostly residential students were taken, only six returned as positive.

The lack of positive cases among faculty and staff at Marymount has been heartening, as well. Since mid-August, only six who have been on campus have tested positive, with no hospitalizations to date.

“Keeping both our students and our workforce safe and healthy has always been our top priority, and these results are a testament to our proactive efforts to isolate the virus and keep it contained,” explained Dr. William Bisset, Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs at Marymount University. “It is still crucial for all of us to remain vigilant in the form of mask wearing, social distancing and exercising good hand hygiene.”

Marymount’s spring classes are scheduled to begin on January 19, with the hybrid class format continuing for the foreseeable future. In order to begin the semester in a safe and secure manner, the University intends to test all student residents, student athletes, commuters registered for in-person classes, faculty who teach in-person classes and identified staff members for COVID-19 prior to the start of classes. In addition, Marymount is working on a campus plan for vaccination whenever it becomes available to higher educational institutions.

About Marymount University

Marymount University is a Catholic university with its main campus in Arlington, Va. Marymount offers students a unique mix of liberal arts, technology and specialized educational opportunities through a variety of bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in a wide range of disciplines. Marymount has about 3,300 students enrolled, representing approximately 45 states and 78 countries. The University has been recognized by U.S. News & World Report as having one of the most internationally diverse student bodies in the nation.

By: Rep. Don Beyer

December 15, 2020

Rep. Don Beyer today introduced federal legislation to remove the designation of Arlington House as a memorial to Confederate General Robert E. Lee. The legislation, which was partially inspired by the request of descendants of people who were enslaved at Arlington House, was cosponsored by Virginia Representatives Gerry Connolly and Jennifer Wexton, and by D.C. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton.

“We are presently engaged in a long-overdue reckoning with the history of racism and slavery in America and in our own community, which has appropriately included a reexamination of public symbols. I absolutely support that process, including actions that make it clear we do not revere Confederate leaders or condone the enslavement of human beings,” said Beyer. “Robert E. Lee himself opposed erecting Confederate monuments, and the site was chosen to punish his insurrection against the lawful government of the United States. Arlington House has a larger history which deserves memorialization and reflection, and it is therefore fitting and just that Congress remove the designation of Arlington House as a Memorial to Robert E. Lee.”

Beyer consulted with local officials and interested parties while working on the legislation, including the Arlington Historical Society, which wrote:

“The Arlington Historical Society recognizes the historical significance of this estate and the recent efforts to share a history of the estate that encompasses all the eras [through which it has been a distinctive landmark]. We are especially interested in the residents of the Freedman’s Village as many of those residents resettled in communities throughout our county and became some of our early leaders. We support any future efforts to share a more complete and inclusive history of the estate.”

The mansion, which sits on federal land within Arlington National Cemetery and is administered by the National Park Service, overlooks the Potomac River and the nation’s capital. The house was built by Martha Custis Washington’s son, George Washington Parke Custis, as the nation’s first memorial to George Washington. Later, his daughter married Robert E. Lee and lived in the home until the Civil War, during which the site was chosen to serve as a national military cemetery in part to prevent Lee from returning. Congress passed legislation in 1955 designating the house the “Custis-Lee Mansion” to memorialize Lee, and subsequently amended the official title to “Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial.”

Beyer’s legislation would remove the latter part of that designation and return the house to its original name “Arlington House.” He introduced the bill a week after both chambers of Congress voted with overwhelming support for the National Defense Authorization Act, which included measures renaming military bases previously named after Confederate Generals.

By: Rep. Don Beyer

December 15, 2020

Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA) today issued the following statement on President-elect Joe Biden’s reported decision to nominate Pete Buttigieg, former Mayor of South Bend, IN, to serve as Secretary of Transportation:

“Choosing Pete Buttigieg to serve as Secretary of Transportation is a brilliant and historic appointment. President-elect Joe Biden has again shown his commitment to diversity and made history with the first-ever nomination of an openly gay American to lead a Cabinet department.

“As Secretary Foxx and others have demonstrated previously, local elected leaders understand transportation from the most important perspective: that last mile to your home or business. Pete Buttigieg’s leadership and work to spark investment helped bring about a renaissance in South Bend.

“Pete has shown tremendous ingenuity and management ability throughout a career devoted to public service to his country, and will be the perfect person to lead the nation’s long overdue infrastructure renewal. His background gives confidence that he understands the needs of urban, suburban, and rural communities across the country, and he will be a champion for creating jobs and empowering workers. Pete Buttigieg is an inspiring and creative person who embodies a new generation of leader, and I am thrilled to see this nomination.”

By: Street Guys Hospitality

December 7, 2020

Street Guys Hospitality’s Clarendon landmark restaurant, TTT, located at 2900 Wilson Boulevard, 22201, is celebrating the December holiday season with a newly enhanced third floor TTT Rooftop, which is enclosed completely with glass.  Snowy nights will be spectacular this winter, as this lofty heated space also has fresh air ventilation from the louvered blue roof, which can be opened during good weather.  This provides diners with a safer gathering oasis to enjoy spirited cocktails and casual Mexican-inspired fare.  One will find decorative lights, Christmas-inspired accents of evergreen trees, and suspended ornaments.  Prancing reindeer and silver balls highlight the bar and surrounding seating in the expansive space.  This new four-season glass room will serve dinner and weekend bottomless brunch with reservations recommended during the Christmas pop-up.

At TTT Rooftop, one will find winter cocktails and hot toddies with festive names such as the Holiday Spirit of Baileys, whiskey, coffee, white hot chocolate and nutmeg for $12; the Jolly Toddy of honey-lemon tea, cloves, whiskey and cinnamon for $11; the Candy Cane Margarita, Reposoda, tequila, fresh lime juice, cranberry juice, peppermint syrup and crushed candy cane for $10; the Winter Mojito, light rum, fresh lime juice, Licor 43 and cacao-mint cream for $12, and a mocktail of Cranberry Apple Cider Punch, apple cider, cranberry juice and ginger syrup for $7.  During TTT’s happy hour, Monday-Friday from 12 Noon to 5 p.m., guests can partake in special pricing with $6 margaritas, $5 red and white sangrias, wines, and draft beers.

Directly across the street at popular Ambar Clarendon, 2901 Wilson Boulevard, 22201, guests can now reserve one of the 10 fully enclosed new glass tiny houses, that can seat up to six people for dining in warmth, safety, and privacy.  They are totally self-contained, with heat, lighting elements and music selections for each host’s personal preference while dining at Ambar.  Only the server enters to deliver food and libations.  All of Street Guy Hospitality’s employees are tested for temperature daily and follow strict safety protocol.  These new glass tiny houses are part of Ambar Clarendon’s new installation of its Winter Garden, located behind the restaurant.  The new Ambar Garden will give guests enhanced outdoor dining options.  An expansive retractable awning, with versatile siding that can be opened, will cover the new terrace, which can seat up to 60 guests.  This enclosure is ideal for warding off winter’s chill while having good ventilation.  The Ambar Garden will be completed by January 1, 2021.

Those dining in the District will want to visit Ambar Capitol Hill, located at 523 8th Street, SE, 20003, to take advantage of the holiday décor and rooftop dining under the stars.  A new retractable rooftop was part of the restaurant’s recent comprehensive upgrade renovation.  Heaters and blankets here ward off the winter chill for enjoying cocktails and Ambar’s award-winning fare.  Ambar continues to be a driving force for modern Balkan cuisine and exceptional service.  The restaurant’s legendary bottomless dining, the Balkan Experience, has no rival in the region for value and quality fare and has earned recognition with a “Bib Gourmand” from the Michelin Guide. Executive Chef Ivan Zivkovic hails from Belgrade, Serbia, and helm’s Ambar’s creative culinary team.

Holiday gift certificates are also available at all of Street Guys Hospitality’s locations. Those who purchase a $100 gift card will receive a complimentary $25 gift card, as a thank you for supporting the restaurants, when purchased before January 1, 2021.

By: Rep. Don Beyer

December 1, 2020

Rep. Don Beyer, who represents the Northern Virginia suburbs of the nation’s capital, issued the following statement today on the proposed FY 2022 WMATA budget:

“The proposed WMATA budget cuts would be apocalyptic for Metro service and devastate its workforce. This catastrophe must not be allowed to happen, and Congress can prevent it by passing a new aid package. WMATA is not alone in its massive funding shortfall, which is a direct result of the pandemic. Cuts like this will hit across the country without robust aid for state and local governments and specific targeted funding for transit.

“On the Joint Economic Committee we predicted massive, urgent need for state and local government funding at the beginning of April. The House passed a legislative package that addressed that problem and included $32 billion in transit funding in May, but Mitch McConnell has blocked additional aid. Senate Republicans’ obstruction is itself a crisis, and if it continues vast numbers of public sector workers will lose their jobs and Americans will see unimaginable and unnecessary cuts to services they depend on.”

The FY2022 budget would compensate for WMATA’s estimated $500 million shortfall by eliminating 2,400 jobs, bringing total job WMATA job losses to over a quarter of its entire workforce, closing a quarter of all Metro stations (19 stations), eliminating weekend service and evening service after 9 pm, and eliminating a third of bus routes.

By: Virginia State Police

November 22, 2020

For many Virginians, Thanksgiving is going to look different than in previous years, with social distancing and outdoor meals. But, the rules of the road have not changed – slow down, wear a seatbelt and don’t drive distracted. Whether traveling to the grocery store or to grandma’s house, the same rings true, put your safety and the safety of others first.

“With lighter traffic on the roads, there may be a temptation to speed and a false sense of security that leads to drivers and passengers not wearing their seatbelts,” said Colonel Gary T. Settle, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “This year overall, state police have seen fewer crashes on Virginia highways but those crashes have been more deadly. Making sure you are driving the posted speed limit, driving for conditions and wearing your seatbelt are the best ways to stay safe on the road. Whatever your holiday celebrations look like this year, Virginia State Police want to make sure you arrive at your destination safely.”

To further prevent traffic deaths and injuries during the Thanksgiving holiday, the Virginia State Police will once again be participating in Operation C.A.R.E. – Crash Awareness and Reduction Effort. As part of the state-sponsored, national program, state police will be increasing its visibility and traffic enforcement efforts during the five-day statistical counting period that begins at 12:01 a.m., Nov. 25, 2020 and concludes at midnight on Nov. 29, 2020.

The 2019 Thanksgiving holiday C.A.R.E. initiative resulted in troopers citing 490 individuals who failed to buckle up on Virginia’s highways. State police also cited 5,221 speeders and 1,798 reckless drivers. A total of 83 drivers were taken off Virginia’s roadways and arrested by state troopers for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

There were eight traffic fatalities during the 2019 five-day Thanksgiving statistical counting period and 12 traffic fatalities during the same period in 2018.

With increased patrols, Virginia State Police also reminds drivers of Virginia’s “Move Over” law, which requires motorists to move over when approaching an emergency vehicle stopped alongside the road. If unable to move over, drivers are required to cautiously pass the emergency vehicle. The law also applies to workers in vehicles equipped with amber lights.

By: Arlington Branch NAACP

November 19, 2020

On November 18, 2020, leadership of Arlington NAACP was made aware of a disturbing incident involving an Arlington Public School (APS) teacher at H-B Woodlawn who mocked the murder of George Floyd in a chemistry class exercise online.  We are deeply disturbed by the racist and callous nature in which the murder of George Floyd was devalued by a public-school teacher to students.  We are pleased that the principal took swift action to notify families and meet with affected students and that the Superintendent followed up with a letter to APS families with an honest depiction that did not minimize the significance or harm it caused.

This act of racial violence is the latest and most egregious in a progressive pattern of racist incidents occurring within our schools.  We are monitoring these cases and expect that the Superintendent and his leadership team will follow through with appropriate and decisive action involving the teacher, as well as a plan to cultivate an anti-racist culture within APS that will allow students of color to thrive in an emotionally safe learning environment.

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