Arlington, VA

This weekend, Calvary United Methodist Church in Aurora Highlands is holding a “Stuff the Truck” donation event to collect food for the Chirilagua neighborhood in Alexandria.

The community — also known as Arlandria — has faced disproportionately high numbers of COVID-19 positive patients, as have Latino and Hispanic communities in Arlington and throughout the region.

Local nonprofits have worked to get food and other emergency supplies to hard-hit Chirilagua.

“Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many in the Chirilagua neighborhood are experiencing hardship from job loss, sickness, and food insecurity,” Calvary UMC said in a media advisory. “Recent data revealed that over 40% of Chirilagua residents are unemployed and, in mid-May, over 55% of COVID tests taken by community members living in Chirilagua were positive.”

This Saturday, June 6, Calvalry UMC is hosting a donation event at the church (2315 S. Grant Street) from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. to fill a 20-foot truck with items most needed by Chirilagua residents and families.

“To participate, donors can come to Calvary UMC and bring donated food and supplies to place in the truck,” the church said. “Items needed most are shelf-stable foods such as rice, beans, canned food and cornflour.”

The event is the latest in a series of fundraisers and food drives for the church to support the Chirilagua community. So far, the church says it has raised $24,000 of its $25,000 goal. The church plans to make an additional $15,000 pledge to bring the total to at least $40,000, the church said.

“Donors wishing to make a financial contribution to MISSION:COVID can donate at the event or through the Calmeth.org website,” the church said, “or text GIVE to 703-936-2684 and select MISSION:COVID from the menu.”

Staff photo by James Cullum

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Morning Notes

Dorsey on Death of George Floyd — Arlington County Board member Christian Dorsey posted the following on Facebook Sunday afternoon: “Why is it when we are bird watching, retrieving mail, swimming in a pool, walking down the street, or living in our own homes that you view us as a threat? Why do these routine activities see us being reported to police and losing our lives? It is a question my daughters ask, as do the children of every black person in America. Yet that question needs to be seriously be pondered non-Blacks. We then need you to transform episodic outrage into all-the-time anti-racism.” [Facebook, Blue Virginia]

Apple Store Boarded Up in Clarendon — Workers placed plywood over the entrance to the Apple Store in Clarendon Sunday, as a precaution, after the weekend’s clashes in D.C. [Twitter]

House Fire in Hall’s Hill — “1800 block of N. Cameron St — crews encountered fire in attic. Fire was quickly controlled, 6 occupants escaped without injury and one dog was rescued in good condition. @RedCross called in to assist occupants.” [Twitter]

County Creates Badges for Mask-Requiring Businesses — “In response to Gov. Ralph Northam’s Executive Order that face coverings must be worn inside public places, the County created the ‘We Are Covered’ program. This gives Arlington businesses, multi-family residences, and houses of worship a way to show they have pledged to protect the people who come through their doors.” [Arlington County]

Tables, Tents in CC Sports Pub Parking Lot — “With outdoor seating now permitted as part of Phase One, Finlay and his staff worked to turn the restaurant’s parking lot into a patio. Outdoor tables are all set up six feet apart. ‘We’re lucky and blessed to have a parking lot that’s big enough to accommodate that type of spacing and still have the social distancing and be able to abide by all the rules and regulations we have to go by,’ he said.” [WJLA]

ACPD Releases Photo of Car That Struck Girl, Dog — On Sunday, Arlington County Police released photos of the dark-colored sedan that struck a girl and killed her dog Friday in the Donaldson Run neighborhood. ARLnow also obtained video of the car. [ARLnow]

Bayou Bakery Donates Thousands of Meals — “Back in 2005, [Bayou Bakery owner David] Guas saw first hand how Hurricane Katrina impacted his hometown and the importance of rapid response in rebuilding the community. In March 2020, when COVID-19 closed school doors, he knew he needed to provide the same fast-acting relief to area children and families left underserved.” [Washington Life]

Discussion with AED’s Telly Tucker — “We talked with Telly Tucker, the new head of Arlington Economic Development, about Friday’s reopening, what’s going on with the local economy, the plight of small businesses during the pandemic, and the growth of tech companies in Northern Virginia.” [Facebook, Apple Podcasts]

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Morning Notes

Special Election Voting Starts Today — “Arlington election officials have announced plans for two Saturday dates for in-person absentee voting in advance of the July 7 County Board special election. Saturday voting will be available on June 20 and July 4, augmenting the usual Monday-to-Friday early voting that will begin May 22.” [InsideNova]

Big Food Donation to Green Valley Church — “3,300 lasagna and vegetable meals donated by chef Jose Andres’ @WCKitchen were given to those in need at Our Lady, Queen of Peace Church in Arlington [on] May 21.” [@ZoeyMaraistACH/Twitter]

Flags In at Ceremony Despite Pandemic — “The 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment has continued their tradition of placing American flags at every grave marker at Arlington National Cemetery for Memorial Day.” [NBC 4]

Arlingtonian Aims to Run Every Street — “Before the pandemic hit, I hadn’t taken a big vacation in years. Since I’m at a dramatically reduced salary from not working full-time and, like so many Arlingtonians, dealing with underlying stress and anxiety while still feeling incredibly thankful, I’ve decided to use this time to discover my own city by walking or running every street.” [Arlington Magazine]

Local Wages Were Rising at the End of 2019 — “The average weekly wage for those working in Arlington (wherever they may live) stood at $1,963 in the fourth quarter of 2019, according to data reported May 20 by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s an increase of 4.7 percent from the same period a year before, well above the national growth rate of 3.5 percent (to $1,185).” [InsideNova]

Local Artist Creates Virus Sculptures — “The sculptures seem to be inspired by the latest breaking news headlines. A figure in a stark white face mask. A giant virus cell mutating into a tentacled sea creature that morphs back into a virus… The centerpiece was a spiky model of “a virus, with seven figures running away,” said [Hadrian] Mendoza, 46, a ceramic artist, sculptor and full-time art director at St. Thomas More Cathedral School in Arlington since 2017.” [Arlington Catholic Herald]

Rain and Storms Today — “Waves of showers or storms are a good bet as the slow-moving upper level low pressure system finally decides to wander by. Round one will end in the morning to midday, but skies remain mostly cloudy. If we do see enough sunshine and heating, it’s not impossible some severe storms will develop nearby.” [Capital Weather Gang]

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Morning Notes

Masks Required on Metro Starting Today — “Face coverings or masks be required when traveling on Metro effective Monday, May 18. The move strengthens Metro’s position on the matter, which has ‘strongly recommended’ the use of face coverings since early April.” [WMATA]

ACPD Officer Lends a Hand — Despite the challenges facing emergency responders during the pandemic, an Arlington County police officer helped a pair of residents with some heavy lifting for a DIY project in their yard over the weekend. [@dmvbbacademy/Twitter]

Little League Still Hoping to Play — “Arlington Little League has not yet given up on some kind of spring and summer baseball season… Until now, the 2020 season has not started in a league that consists of nearly 1,500 players because of the COVID-19 pandemic.” [InsideNova]

VHC Gets Gear Donation from Ford — “Many thanks to @Ford for their donation of 10k face shields! We are grateful for this show of support for those on the front lines.” [@VHC_Hospital/Twitter]

Local GOP Planning Drive-Thru Convention — “The 8th District Republican Committee is still finalizing the details, but expects to hold an unassembled caucus – dubbed a ‘drive-through convention’ – on May 30 in Springfield… delegates will be able to drive up, pick up a ballot, complete it and hand it back without leaving their vehicles. The results of voting will determine whether Mark Ellmore or Jeff Jordan will be the Republican nominee facing U.S. Rep. Don Beyer (D-8th) on Nov. 3.” [InsideNova]

Celtic House Looking Forward to Dine-In — “At Celtic House in Arlington, the business owners say they’re down at least 80 percent due to the coronavirus closures. They hope leaders will soon allow dining inside as their space is very limited on the patio… ‘It has really affected us a lot,’ said co-owner Michael McMahon about the coronavirus crisis…  So far, he says they’ve been able to keep on all of their 19 workers.” [Gray DC Bureau]

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(Updated 6:30 p.m.) Amazon has purchased 1,753 meals from Crystal City restaurant Freddie’s Beach Bar and Restaurant (555 23rd Street S.) and donated the meals to Virginia Hospital Center.

Some of the meals were dropped off this morning, a spokesperson said, noting that while all of the meals were ordered from Freddie’s, future orders are planned for other restaurants in the tech giant’s new neighborhood.

“The whole thing has been going very smoothly,” said Freddie Lutz, the eponymous owner of Freddie’s Beach Bar. “We put together 247 lunches and 105 dinners tonight [for the first round]. We had a caravan of cars.”

Lutz said the partnership with Amazon has allowed Lutz to bring nine of his staff back to work and prepare to open the bar and restaurant for takeout and delivery, which he said he’s planning to start tomorrow (Friday).

“I have another restaurant down the street, Federico Ristorante Italiano, [which has] been open for a week,” Lutz said. “It’s not like being open [during normal times], but it’s some income. This gives us a chance to get ready for carryout and delivery. Everybody is worried about ‘can we survive, can we stay open’ but this helps.”

Nearby restaurants Young Chow and Enjera also supplied meals for the drive.

Amazon said in the press release that the goal was to both support local restaurants through the pandemic and support the hospital staff.

“Meal drop-offs like the one Amazon is making at Virginia Hospital Center allow these local restaurants to continue paying their employees and bring additional employees back to work to safely cook and deliver the meals,” the company said in a press release. “Amazon has committed to purchasing 10,000 meals in May from Arlington restaurants including Freddie’s Beach Bar and Restaurant, [Crystal City] Sports Pub, Enjera, and Urban Thai.”

Lutz said that with Amazon continuing to grow its HQ2 presence, the partnership supplying food to VHC is good practice for potentially making more food deliveries to Amazon events and employees down the road.

The press release noted that Amazon is also making food deliveries to the Arlington County Police Department and Sheriff’s Office, as well as to Arlington and Alexandria firefighters.

“During this unprecedented time, Amazon is working to not only support our frontline healthcare workers and first responders across the Arlington area, but also our most vulnerable neighbors in immediate need,” said Brian Huseman, Vice President of Public Policy at Amazon. “We are proud to work alongside Freddie’s Beach Bar and Restaurant, a beloved local restaurant in our new neighborhood, to ensure that we’re thanking our neighbors who are keeping us safe and caring for our neighbors who need extra support right now with hearty meals throughout May.”

Other individuals, nonprofits and companies have donated everything from gowns to meals to Virginia Hospital Center during the pandemic.

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Two local running stores and a Swiss shoe company have come together to donate shoes to local frontline workers and regional organizations.

Regional running retailer Pacers announced today (Wednesday) that it is partnering with competitor Potomac River Running Store and Switzerland-based ON Shoes to donate 5,000 shoes to those working during the pandemic, including dozens donated to the Virginia Hospital Center (VHC).

Pacers and Potomac River Running Store will be in charge of identifying and distributing the shoes to individuals or groups impacted by the pandemic. Each store will receive 2,500 shoes of various sizes and types.

Pacers delivered a batch to VHC earlier today.

“This morning, we delivered 150 pairs of shoes to health care workers at Virginia Hospital Center,” said Kathy Dalby, CEO of Pacers. “We will be delivering another 100+ pairs to Arlington Police and Sheriff’s offices tomorrow. We also delivered 100 pairs to our friends at Neighborhood Restaurant Group to distribute to their staff and several dozen pairs are headed to youth clubs we work with in Kenilworth Park.”

Potomac River Running is making similar donations.

“Once the stores assessed their inventory lots, Pacers and Potomac River Running collectively worked together to identify a list of organizations who would benefit from the footwear donation that have either been greatly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and/or need to continue to stay active during this crisis and need resources to do so,” noted a press release. “Organizations and individuals range from fire and rescue, nurses, restaurant workers, local delivery personnel, grocery store workers, veterinary hospitals, and community centers.”

Dalby said Pacers, which has been adapting to the pandemic by shifting its focus to online ordering and virtual fittings conducted online via video chat, could use some public help in finding more people on the front lines in need of new shoes.

“We know there is great need beyond our networks,” Dalby said. “We are asking for help in identifying people or organizations who could use a pair of shoes to help get them moving or simply make their feet hurt a little less. Please follow and tag us on Instagram and tag groups or people who could help us spread the word or benefit from this program… or [contact] [email protected].”

Photos courtesy Pacers

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Ballston Quarter (4238 Wilson Blvd) has launched a pair of initiatives to try to help restaurants hold on through the pandemic.

First, the mall is offering anyone who orders $50 worth of takeout or delivery from a Ballston Quarter restaurant and submits an itemized receipt a $20 prepaid Visa card as a reward.

Participating restaurants include Chick-Fil-A, Compass Coffee, Hot Lola’s, Mezeh, Sidekick Bakery, South Block, Ted’s Bulletin, True Food Kitchen, Turu’s By Timber Pizza. Ballston Quarter owner Brookfield Properties is conducting the same “Dine and Delight” offer at its Tysons Galleria property.

The receipts must include the restaurant address, the date of the purchase, and a list of items ordered. The Dine & Delight program is run through Sunday, May 31.

The second initiative is in support of Feeding America, a hunger-relief nonprofit, which has set up a special fund to support overburdened food banks during the pandemic.

“Share a photo of a meal from one of our restaurants on Instagram using #DineDelightDonate and we’ll donate $10 for every post between April 24-June 30 up to $100,000,” Ballston Quarter said on its website.

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Morning Notes

VHC Staff Honored by NYSE — Two radiation therapists at Virginia Hospital Center, Melinda Mack and Amanda Sprecher, were honored during the opening bell ringing at the New York Stock Exchange yesterday. [Twitter]

Tomorrow is Arlington’s ‘Community Day’ — “A beloved Arlington tradition, Neighborhood Day brings communities together to enjoy the great outdoors and strengthens ties between neighbors.  In our currently socially-distant world, Neighborhood Day 2020 (May 2) is swapping out the traditional outdoor get-togethers and focusing on how Arlingtonians can build community while staying apart.” [Arlington County]

Fundraiser for Shelter Employee Bonuses — “I’m raising money to benefit four emergency shelters in Arlington County. The front line staff at these organizations are heroes who risk their personal health and wellness for those most vulnerable. I want to offer each front line staff member a $5/ hour bonus for their selfless work for at least two weeks.” [GoFundMe, Facebook]

Courtland Towers Store to Become Apartments — “It’ll soon be ‘bye, bye, bodega,’ as Arlington County Board members are allowing the owner of the Courtland Towers apartments in the Courthouse area to replace its longstanding ground-floor convenience store with four additional residential units and other amenities for residents. The proposal had generated pushback from nearby residents and garnered formal opposition from the Clarendon-Courthouse Civic Federation.” [InsideNova]

Roots Closing at Pentagon City Mall — “Toronto clothing retailer Roots Corp. said Wednesday it will close both its stores in Greater Washington. The closure of outposts in Georgetown and at the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City come as part of the liquidation of the apparel company’s U.S. subsidiary through a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing — a measure being taken to close the stores quickly and in a cost-effective manner, the company said.” [Washington Business Journal]

Fund Created for Local Immigrants in Need — “The Dream Project, a nonprofit organization offering educational assistance to immigrants in Northern Virginia through scholarships and mentoring, has established an emergency relief fund to help immigrant students and families who are struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic.” [Press Release]

Hotel Donates Rooms to County — An unnamed hotel in Arlington has donated rooms to the county to serve as Permanent Supportive Housing for up to 16 people, reducing their risk of COVID-19 exposure. [Arlington County]

Electric Bills Going Down This Month — “Dominion Energy says Virginia customers will see a $6 discount on their billing each month starting on May 1. ‘The cost of fuel has gone down and we’re passing the savings directly on to customers,’ Dominion Energy said.” [NBC 12 Richmond]

New County Initiative Tackling Hunger — “Arlington County announced a new initiative for the coronavirus era: the Cooperative for a Hunger Free Arlington. We talked to those heading the group — Abby Raphael, Diane Kresh and Amy Maclosky — about what it is and how they plan to help during these tough times.” [Facebook, Apple Podcasts]

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In addition to reporting the local news, ARLnow is also providing a boost to local businesses and nonprofits during these trying times.

Many of ARLnow’s advertisers are sticking with us and our readers have also stepped up to support the site, with nearly 300 joining our Patreon campaign. Our business has taken a big hit, but on balance we have been very fortunate to receive this level of community support — and we’re working to pay it forward.

ARLnow has donated $14,000 worth of advertising so far to small local businesses, in the form of free Community Posts, and to local nonprofits — including Arlington Community Foundation, Arlington Thrive and Arlington Free Clinic — in the form of free advertising packages.

We hope this helps connect local businesses to customers and local nonprofits to donors.

Thank you to the Arlington community for supporting ARLnow. We look forward to finding more ways to give back throughout the rest of the year.

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Morning Notes

More Arlingtonians Getting Out of the House — “The District and its suburbs all saw an increase in travel and a 1 percent to 5 percent drop in people staying home by April 17. The biggest drop occurred in Arlington County, where 50 percent of residents stayed home, down from 55 percent the previous Friday.” [Washington Post, @Matt4Arlington/Twitter]

County Launches Homeless Outreach Effort — “Last week, Arlington launched a homeless outreach coalition to help identify unsheltered individuals at high risk for COVID-19 and connect them with available resources and services. The coalition is comprised of stakeholders from the Police Department, Department of Human Services, and Arlington Street People’s Assistance Network (A-SPAN).” [Arlington County]

YHS Senior Photos on CBS Evening News — “For America’s nearly four million high school seniors, the end of this school year is not what they imagined would be. But as Chip Reid reports, one photographer is making sure some members of the class of 2020 are not forgotten.” [CBS News]

Dem Primary May Be Called Off — “Chanda Choun, who was slated to face off against incumbent Libby Garvey in the June 23 Democratic County Board primary, anticipates pulling out of that race to seek the Democratic nomination for the July 7 special election to fill the seat left open by the death of Erik Gutshall… if Choun does drop out, the Democratic primary will be nixed.” [InsideNova]

Video: School Board Candidates Forum — “The questions covered a wide range of topics – whether/how much new curriculum should be taught during the COVID-19 crisis; how best to feed families during the pandemic; distance learning access during and after the pandemic; equity initiatives; equality in the classroom; encouraging integrated classrooms; AP and IB classes; community engagement; boundaries; sex education; and the superintendent’s contract.” [Blue Virginia]

School Board Rejects Furlough Day Proposal — “Arlington School Board members on April 23 rejected a budget-cutting proposal from Superintendent Cintia Johnson that would have had every school-system employee take an unpaid ‘furlough’ day in the coming school year. Instead, the school system will use about $3 million in reserve funds to pay staff that day and fund several other initiatives that Johnson had recommended reducing or eliminating.” [InsideNova]

Amazon Donates to Va. Comp Sci Education — ” Amazon will donate $3.9 million to CodeVA through 2022 to support their long-term plan to offer computer science education and training to every high needs school across Virginia – more than 700 schools… The donation will support more than 500,000 students and more than 12,000 teachers.” [BusinessWire]

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People singing and playing music from their balconies has been something of a trend during the quarantine, and the Crystal City Business Improvement District (BID) wants to get it started in Arlington.

The Crystal City BID is starting Front Porch Fridays tomorrow (Friday) afternoon.

“We may not all have a front porch — we may not all even have a balcony — but what we do have is our community,” the Crystal City BID said on the event page. “Music has always brought people together and now is no different. We can still gather together to listen (virtually)!”

The BID is encouraging residents to open their windows or bring a radio to their porch or balcony, tune to the same station and crank up the volume.

This week, the station is Hot 99.5 at 4:20 p.m. Next week it’s DC 101.1 at noon.

“The station will change each week, but the party atmosphere stays the same,” the BID said. “And best of all — we want you to select the playlist! Visit our Facebook page each week Monday-Wednesday to vote on the songs you want to hear. Then listen in on Friday to see if your pick made the cut!”

The music will be commercial-free, courtesy of the BID.

Videos of people singing in the streets went viral early on in the pandemic, though results to replicate that have sometimes been mixed.

Separately, the BID announced Thursday that it would be donating $100,000 to Arlington’s small business grant fund.

“Small businesses throughout National Landing have adjusted their operations to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Just as they have supported us, we are focusing our efforts on ways to assist and enhance the long-term viability of these businesses,” Crystal City BID President Tracy Sayegh Gabriel said in a statement. “We are pleased to contribute to Arlington County’s GRANT Program, which will enable countless small businesses to stay afloat, retain their staff and continue to serve the community.”

File photo

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