Amazon and the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation are standing up a new STEM center at Randolph Elementary School (1306 S. Quincy Street).
“The center will provide new state-of-the-art STEM equipment and furniture for students to learn and play,” a spokeswoman for the Baltimore-based Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation said. “Giving elementary and middle school kids access to STEM learning is a priority of the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation.”
There will be a ribbon-cutting event today (Tuesday) at noon during which students can try out the educational activities.
“Students [will] take part in a hands-on learning activity with the Sphero BOLTs, led by Amazon robotics experts to explore the STEM equipment the new center has to offer,” the spokeswoman said. (The Sphero BOLT is a spherical robot with programmable sensors that kids can control with an app.)
Amazon’s second headquarters is under construction just a few miles from the elementary school. Since it announced its HQ2 plans, the tech giant has donated money and facilities to Arlington Public Schools, with a focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
Meanwhile, the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation, founded in 2001. has placed a greater emphasis on STEM education in recent years. Since 2016, it has started 261 operational, turnkey STEM programs in 19 states, the spokeswoman said.
The nonprofit, which honors the legacy of the Baltimore Orioles player and manager — and father of baseball legend Cal Ripken, Jr. — provides programs and parks for at-risk youth.
The Arlington County Board voted Saturday to accept a donation of land that will become an addition to the county’s park system.
The parcel that has been offered to the county is 40,024 square feet, subdivided from the lot of a home located near Marymount University and the intersection of 26th Street N. and N. Wakefield Street. The Terborgh parcel, as it is being called, is also located near the 44-acre Zachary Taylor Park and is adjacent to the Donaldson Run Trail.
The parcel was offered to the county by the executor of the estate of Anne Terborgh, who passed away in June 2021. The gift of the parcel to the county was recorded in Terborgh’s last will and testament.
A condition of the transfer of ownership to the county is that the land remain in a natural, undeveloped state, according to a restrictive covenant.
The covenant does allow for upkeep of the land by the county, which would include the control and removal of invasive species. It also allows access to the land by the public and the addition of a park bench or sign that acknowledges the property’s rules and the gift of the land by Terborgh.
The county expects to spend $3,000 on the acquisition of the parcel, including the costs of examination of the title, title insurance, recording fees, and other closing costs. The funds for the closing costs would be allocated from the county’s park land acquisition fund.
It was not immediately clear when or how the parcel will eventually be opened to the public.
Another parcel is slated to be donated to a land trust.
“Because Ms. Terborgh’s will directs one of the other lots in the resubdivision to be conveyed to the Northern Virginia Conservation Trust (NVCT), staff has also communicated with staff from NVCT about the proposed conveyances,” said the staff report to the County Board.
Virginia’s annual back-to-school tax holiday is coming up this weekend and one local shopping center is using the occasion to hold a donation drive.
This year’s statewide sales tax holiday is taking place from Friday through Sunday (Aug. 5-7). Those shopping in Virginia can rack up tax savings on eligible products, including back-to-school clothing and supplies, emergency preparedness items, and certain energy- and water-efficient home appliances and fixtures.
More from the state’s website:
What items are eligible?
- School supplies, clothing, and footwear
- Qualified school supplies – $20 or less per item
- Qualified clothing and footwear – $100 or less per item
- Hurricane and emergency preparedness products
- Portable generators – $1,000 or less per item
- Gas-powered chainsaws – $350 or less per item
- Chainsaw accessories – $60 or less per item
- Other specified hurricane preparedness items – $60 or less per item
- Energy Star™ and WaterSense™ products
- Qualifying Energy Star™ or WaterSense™ products purchased for noncommercial home or personal use – $2,500 or less per item
Detailed lists of qualifying items and more information for retailers can be found in the Sales Tax Holiday Guidelines.
“During a time of high inflation and gas prices, Virginians will receive some needed tax relief this weekend as they support local businesses across the Commonwealth,” Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) said this afternoon in a statement. “Lowering the cost of living remains a top priority for my administration as we work together to make Virginia the best place to live, work, and raise a family.”
Locals taking advantage of tax-free shopping at the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City, meanwhile, are being asked to bring their used denim with them. Denim clothing can be donated at the mall between Aug. 5-14.
“Fashion Centre at Pentagon City encourages shoppers to bring any type of denim apparel items to the Do Good With Denim drive,” mall operator Simon said in a press release. “Shoppers can recycle their used denim at various bins throughout the center. Stations will be located throughout the center for shoppers to custom embroider their denim. Donations will be given to the Salvation Army.”
Arlington Rents Continue to Rise — “Apartment rents in Arlington keep on moving upward, maintaining their position as most expensive in the D.C. area and are now well above pre-pandemic rates, according to new data. With a median rental of $2,063 for a one-bedroom unit and $2,469 for two bedrooms, Arlington’s rental rate grew a whopping 2.8 percent from May to June, the sixth highest increase among the nation’s 100 largest urban areas.” [Sun Gazette]
Local Group Donating Thousands of Socks — “The Nursing Professional Development Council at VHC Health decided to have a ‘Sock Hop’ – not a dance party but a sock collection benefiting ‘Doorways,’ an Arlington non-profit helping people out of homelessness, domestic violence and sexual assault. The goal was set at 1,940 pairs – 1940 was the year the Sock Hop started but the generous nurses and staff at VHC Health tripled that number. It’s the biggest sock donation the group has ever received.” [WJLA]
Dems Resuming Breakfasts — “In another sign that life is getting back to normal(ish) – or at least adopting a ‘live with COVID’ practicality – the Arlington County Democratic Committee is resurrecting its monthly in-person breakfasts. The return engagement – the first since early 2020 – will be held on Saturday, July 9 at 8:30 a.m. at Busboys & Poets in Shirlington. Del. Patrick Hope (D-Arlington) and others will discuss gun issues.” [Sun Gazette]
Cleanup Event Saturday Morning — “WalkArlington & BikeArlington partner to clean up a part of the W&OD Trail on Saturday, July 9. We will make our way down the W&OD, starting near the Barcroft Community Center, setting up our tent on the W&OD Trail at the intersection of a small road named ‘Barcroft Center’ and Four Mile Run Drive. We will pick up trash that accumulates alongside the trail. We will provide trash bags, gloves, trash pickers, drinks and some snacks. We will also have Bike and Walk giveaways.” [WalkArlington]
Metro Seeking Feedback on EFC Project — “Metro is seeking public input on the proposed bus loop expansion and pedestrian improvements at East Falls Church Station. The station currently has four bus bays that are operating at maximum capacity. In coordination with Metro, Arlington County seeks to expand the footprint of the existing bus loop, upgrade the existing bus shelters, and add three bus bays with shelters at the station.” [WMATA]
Flood Watch This Afternoon — “Multiple rounds of scattered to numerous showers and thunderstorms are likely this afternoon and tonight. The most likely time period for thunderstorms producing heavy rain and potential flash flooding is this evening, but thunderstorms could develop as early as this afternoon, and may linger well into the night. Several inches of rain is possible in a short period of time, which would cause rapid rises of water.” [National Weather Service]
It’s Wednesday — Heavy rain starting in the afternoon. High of 86 and low of 78. Sunrise at 5:51 am and sunset at 8:38 pm. [Weather.gov]
A new business launched by Pacers Running has donated more than 100 pairs of sneakers to Arlington students from low-income families.
Relay, which sells second-hand and refurbished running shoes, donated 104 pairs of sneakers in April to The Clothesline for Arlington Kids, said Chris Farley, owner of Clarendon-based Pacers Running. Farley also promised to donate around 100 more over the summer and 200 in the fall.
The initial batch of shoes was given to Arlington Public Schools students who received outfits from the Clothesline, which donates clothing to children in need, the nonprofit’s co-founder Ben Sessions told ARLnow.
“I think if I can get some kids that might not be able to afford some of these shoes on their feet, that is pretty cool, I feel really good about that,” Farley said. “I think it’s really important to support the communities that you live in.”
Relay has previously donated shoes to track teams across the country, as well as to other nonprofits in Arlington like the Jennifer Bush-Lawson Foundation, he said.
“We’re committed to donating 1,000 pairs this year,” Farley said. He added that he hoped one day the business could donate 10,000 pairs of shoes.
Relay receives from vendors shoes that had been returned by customers, then cleans the shoes and gets them ready for resale. In the case of the Clothesline donations, Farley said he donated pairs with a long remaining shelf life.
Shoe donations of this size are rare for the nonprofit, co-founder Ellen Moy said. She said her organization usually receives “one pair of new shoes once a month.”
“It’s very uncommon to get new shoes donated to us, so when kids get a new pair of shoes, they are so happy,” she said. “I just feel like it really makes a difference in their lives.”
Shoes from Pacers would normally be out of the price range of the families going to The Clothesline, Moy said. Each pair sells for between $80 and $150 in retail, Farley said.
“Most low-income families do not have the opportunity to get high-quality [shoes],” she said.
One of the nonprofit’s volunteers, who is also Farley’s former neighbor, introduced him to The Clothesline earlier this year, Sessions said.
“He was looking for an opportunity to help support local nonprofits in the community,” Sessions said. “So we started a conversation and that culminated in him donating about 104 pairs of shoes in April to us.”
The Clothesline has given away around 100,000 pieces of clothing since it was founded in 2018, Moy said.
“People are happy to have us in the community, so we’re a great place to donate clothes that are still in excellent condition and we’re a great place to distribute clothes,” she said.
Arlington resident Carmen Lopez has heard stories about panicked moms scrambling to find baby formula.
Lopez, owner of local fashion chain Current Boutique, said one mom couldn’t find the formula she needed and ordered it online. But she was afraid it wouldn’t come in time.
“She’s called family members in Florida, in California, in New York, just to send her formula because it’s a specific formula that she needs for her baby,” Lopez said.
Many mothers in the D.C. area face similar situations as there’s a shortage of formula across the country. The out-of-stock rate for baby formula in Virginia was 64.3% as of May 28, which was lower than the national average of 74%, according to Bloomberg.
As a mom, Lopez wanted to help other moms.
So, she partnered with The Napkin Network, a D.C. nonprofit focused on giving moms in need baby formula, diapers and wipes. She and The Napkin Network founder Lindsay Gill organized a donation drive at Current Boutique stores.
“A friend actually told me about what [The Napkin Network was] doing and I thought, ‘How could I help?’ Because I have heard from moms, from people that I know that are struggling to get formula,” Lopez said.
Through Tuesday, July 19, there will be drop boxes at each of the three Current Boutique locations in Clarendon (2601 Wilson Blvd.), Old Town Alexandria (1009 King Street) and Logan Circle (1318 14th Street NW, D.C.).
Those who donate receive a 20% discount when shopping at the boutique, and can also receive tax donations receipts at the drop-off locations. The baby formula donated needs to be unopened and unexpired.
Around 100 mothers a week receive a new can of baby formula from the donation drives organized by Gill, who is a mother using baby formula in Rockville, Md.
“The formula that’s not picked up on site, we’ve given out to partner organizations in the Washington D.C. area,” she said.
One such organization is Feed the Fridge, which places refrigerators around the D.C. area and pays local restaurants to fill them with fresh meals. The organization is now distributing baby formula at 10 locations in Maryland and D.C.
“Hopefully it’ll be an ongoing initiative,” Gill said.
Although The Napkin Network was founded to collect and distribute diapers and wipes, the nonprofit has put a pause to collecting those to focus on formula.
“The Napkin Network has sort of paused all other efforts in terms of collecting diapers, wipes, and we’re still doing it but it’s on the back burner because we really have to focus on formula,” Gill said.
Since the drive began, there have been a couple of donations at each of the Current Boutique stores, most of which were the Similac formula, Lopez said.
“I think what we’ve been doing since Tuesday is just spreading the word,” she said.
Several baby formulas are more in demand than others. Enfamil Gentlease, which advertises itself as “easing fussiness, gas and crying,” is a popular request. It is currently listed as out of stock on its manufacturer’s website. Another popular one is Similac, which is covered by the Virginia Women, Infants and Children assistance program, Gill said.
At a roundtable with Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Gill saw mothers crying because they could not get specific formulas for their infants with allergies, which cannot be substituted.
“The moms there were literally in tears, asking Sen. Kaine, ‘What are you doing? My baby is starving,'” Gill said.
Other nonprofits in the area collecting diapers and baby formula include the Greater DC Diaper Bank. It has over 160 donation drop locations in the Metro area, according to the group’s website, including six in Arlington. Its Baby Pantry also accepts donations of baby formula and food at the same drop locations as the diapers.
This feature story was funded by members of the ARLnow Press Club and originally ran in the club’s weekend newsletter.
‘Conservation’ Nixed in New Name — “The Neighborhood Conservation Program has a new name: Arlington Neighborhoods Program. [Three county departments] announced the new name for the interdepartmental program after almost a yearlong renaming process… The Neighborhood Conservation Program Review (NCPR) Final Report recommended changing the program name because the word ‘conservation’ often evokes a negative connotation and suggests exclusivity.” [Arlington County]
Big Scholarship Match for WHS Grads — “A newly announced dollar-for-dollar match could net the Wakefield High School Educational Foundation’s scholarship fund as much as $2 million over the coming year. It was announced June 2 that Henry ‘Ric’ Duques, a 1961 graduate of the high school, and his wife Dawn had made an up-to-$1 million pledge to the foundation, which will match funds raised by the organization for the year ending June 30, 2023.” [Sun Gazette]
Remembering Local Desegregation Efforts — “Our racial history commemorators have thoroughly marked the 1959 integration of Stratford Junior High School, a first for long-segregated Virginia. But those four African American student pioneers stood on the shoulders of a select group of older peers, whose legal efforts have gone relatively unsung.” [Falls Church News-Press]
New Monument at Arlington Nat’l Cemetery — “A monument now stands in memory of the first astronauts to die in their spacecraft, 55 years after a fire on the launchpad claimed their lives. Family members of the fallen Apollo 1 crew came together with NASA officials, space industry leaders and members of the space community to dedicate the new monument during a ceremony(opens in new tab) held Thursday (June 2) at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia. The memorial is located… in Section 3 of the cemetery.” [Space.com]
ARLnow Cartoonist’s Work Highlighted — “But the father of two has long been a fan of the art form and in the past year, he has become a community cartoonist. [Mike Mount] creates weekly cartoons for an online news outlet in his Northern Virginia county, capturing within those scribbled squares the weird, comical and relatable parts of living in one of Washington’s suburbs.” [Washington Post]
Nature Center Advocate Keeps Advocating — “Look up ‘indefatigable’ in an online dictionary, and a photo of Duke Banks might pop up. Recently given the brushoff – politely but for the second time – by the County Board, Banks is not stopping in his efforts to restore hours that were cut at Arlington’s two local nature centers during the pandemic. Banks pressed his case at the May 24 meeting of the Arlington Park and Recreation Commission.” [Sun Gazette]
It’s Monday — Clear throughout the day. High of 80 and low of 61. Sunrise at 5:45 am and sunset at 8:32 pm. [Weather.gov]
The Arlington County Police Department is holding its third annual “Fill the Cruiser” drive later this week.
On Friday (May 20) from 4-6 p.m., police cruisers will be stationed at the Giant store on 2901 S. Glebe Road in Long Branch Creek and at the Lee Harrison Shopping Center on 5335 Langston Blvd to collect non-perishable food items and diapers of all sizes.
FRIDAY: Join ACPD during the 3rd Annual Fill the Cruiser drive in support of @AFACfeeds and @DoorwaysVA. This year, in addition to non-perishable food items, officers will also be collecting diapers of all sizes.
Event details: https://t.co/4Ug9KCvgvN pic.twitter.com/QnulmEgz3g
— ArlingtonCountyPD (@ArlingtonVaPD) May 17, 2022
While the cruisers and AFAC will accept most unopened, unexpired, and unprepared foods, including some perishable items, the organization is most in need of food that’s low in sodium, fat, and sugar.
- Low sodium canned tomatoes
- Low sodium canned tuna
- Low sodium canned soups
- Canned vegetables
- Peanut butter (in plastic jars)
- Low sugar cereal
- Cooking oils
The hope is still to collect “a couple thousand pounds of food,’ says AFAC’s Associate Director of Communications Jeremiah Huston, with Arlington residents still very much in need.
When a “Fill the Cruiser” food drive took place earlier in the pandemic in 2020, the number of Arlington families in need of food assistance was record-breakingly high. That year, AFAC was serving upwards of 3,400 families a month.
AFAC is still serving more than 3,000 families every month, 80% of whom rely on free grocery every week, notes Huston.
“We’re not far from the record high numbers we saw in 2020 and we expect the number of families served will continue to rise steadily as it has since the start of the new year,” Huston tells ARLnow. “With the increase in gas and food prices, we have seen many of our families accessing AFAC services more frequently. Those already struggling to pay their bills are the ones hit hardest by inflation and supply chain shortages.”
Huston also said that inflation and high food prices are impacting AFAC’s ability to purchase fresh foods, so donations are needed now as much or more than prior years.
Poll: D.C. Residents Prefer Alexandria — A poll on Twitter with more than 1,000 respondents shows D.C. residents saying they’re prefer to live in Alexandria over Arlington, if they had to choose, by a ratio of nearly 2:1. [Twitter]
ACPD Lays Wreaths at Memorial — “Following the Observance of Peace Officers Memorial Day, ACPD’s Honor Guard laid wreaths at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in recognition of Arlington’s seven heroic officers who have died in the line of duty. The memorial features the names of more than 22,000 federal, tribal, state and local law enforcement officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice for the safety and protection of our nation. We are committed to never forgetting their sacrifices in service to their communities.” [Facebook]
Roads in Rosslyn Closing for Police 5K — “The 2022 National Police Week 5k will take place on Saturday, May 14, 2022. The Arlington County Police Department will conduct the following road closures to accommodate the event.” [ACPD]
Reminder: Expect Police Motorcades — “Police Week is scheduled from Wednesday, May 11 through Tuesday, May 17. Most of the scheduled activities will take place Thursday through Sunday, though the arrival of families of fallen officers on Wednesday and Thursday will prompt many of the motorcades and rolling road closures.” [ARLnow]
Dems Honor Longtime Volunteer — “The recipient of the Arlington County Democratic Committee’s highest accolade for longtime service says she is pleased that the party continues to expand in both size and scope. ‘With more people doing more things, our organization is more complex than ever,’ Inta Malis said during a May 10 online event sponsored by Arlington Senior Democrats.” [Sun Gazette]
TV Station Honors Arlington Nurses — “As 7News celebrates the third day of Nurses Week, we salute the men and women of VHC Health in Northern Virginia. The community hospital in Arlington is a member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network and is a designated Magnet hospital, one of the highest group honors for a hospital.” [WJLA]
Startup Founder Helping Refugees — “As the clock struck 11 p.m. on March 19, Yulia Yaani gathered a group of Ukrainian refugees at the Polish border. She stepped onto the bus that night, alongside roughly 50 women and children, and they traveled to Denmark for the next 17 hours — to escape the war with Russia… Yaani is co-founder and CEO of Arlington fintech [company] RealAtom, a 5-year-old startup.” [Washington Business Journal]
Kiwanis Donate to Ukraine Efforts — “The Kiwanis Club of Arlington has donated $5,000 to the World Central Kitchen (WCK) to assist with relief efforts in Ukraine. Proceeds from the club’s fund-raising activities, including its annual blueberry sale, are being used to support the WCK with their meals programs on the ground in Ukraine and in surrounding countries.” [Sun Gazette]
It’s Thursday — Mostly cloudy and cool throughout the day, with a slight chance of rain. High of 68 and low of 58. Sunrise at 6:00 am and sunset at 8:12 pm. [Weather.gov]
Amazon Hiring Update — “Amazon.com Inc. is one-fifth of the way to the minimum number jobs the company committed to fill at its second headquarters in Arlington, one of the tech giant’s top hiring locations. As of Wednesday, Amazon had hired 5,000 employees who are assigned to HQ2… It is a 1,500-employee uptick since the last announcement in November.” [Washington Business Journal, Amazon]
HQ2 Phase 2 Vote This Weekend — “Amazon’s proposal for the next phase of HQ2 construction, including the spiral-shaped Helix structure, is set to go before the Arlington County Board for a final vote on Saturday, April 23. The company wants to build three more HQ2 office buildings alongside a 350-foot tall, futuristic building it calls the ‘Helix’. The development would be built on a piece of property known as ‘PenPlace’, just off Army Navy Drive.” [WJLA]
Injured Crow Dies — From the Animal Welfare League of Arlington: “UPDATE: this morning the crow passed away peacefully at @BRWildlifeCtr. We are very grateful to them for doing everything they could to care for him. We are still looking for information regarding this active investigation.” [Twitter]
Fire Station 8 Demolition Nears — “Arlington County will begin demolishing the Fire Station 8 structure during the week of May 2 and expects to complete demolition by the week of June 20. The demolition of the fire station, at 4845 Langston Blvd., will be in preparation for construction of the long-awaited new fire station at the same site. Demolition work will take place from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.” [Patch]
Arlington Company’s Ukraine Donation — “Arlington defense contractor AeroVironment Inc. is donating more than 100 unmanned aircraft systems and training services to defense officials in Ukraine… the donation of the company’s Quantix Recon systems will provide Ukraine’s military with unmanned vehicles that can fly by enemy forces undetected and unaffected by radio frequency jammers to relay reconnaissance intel.” [Washington Business Journal]
It’s Thursday — Mostly cloudy throughout the day, with a slight chance of rain in the afternoon. High of 67 and low of 45. Sunrise at 6:24 am and sunset at 7:52 pm. [Weather.gov]
Va. Hospital Center Changing Name — “Arlington’s Virginia Hospital Center is charging forward with its regional expansion under new leadership — and a new moniker to match. The nearly 80-year-old independent hospital, which had the same CEO for nearly half of that time, is now going forward as VHC Health. The change aims to better reflect its role in the region, said Christopher Lane, the hospital’s new leader since March 28.” [Washington Business Journal]
Auditor Eyes Site Plans — “Auditor Chris Horton has proposed spending about 300 of his 2,000 work hours during fiscal 2023 evaluating past site plans to determine if the benefits that were promised to the public actually materialized. His work plan, which will have to be ratified by the County Board, won a receptive audience at the April 7 meeting of the government’s Audit Committee. ‘I really love this idea,’ said John Vihstadt, a former County Board member.” [Sun Gazette]
Holiday Weekend Changes — “Whether you celebrate the Christian holiday of Easter, the Jewish holiday of Passover, the two holidays will overlap during the weekend of April 16-17. As the Easter holiday falls on a Sunday, closures may be limited.
Arlington County government does not typically close for Good Friday before Easter. However, there are a few service changes for services that do operate on Sundays.” [Patch]
W-L Student Competing in History Bee — “Aaron Lopez, a ninth-grade student at Washington-Liberty High School, will compete in the History Bee national championships after scoring success at the state level.” [Sun Gazette]
Disobedient Dog Infuriates Pentagon City Resident — From Reddit, as highlighted by Monkeyrotica: “I hear you every damn day, twice a day from my apartment window. Your dog acts up around other dogs every [expletive] day. You keep shouting ‘ROBERT’ at your dog every time he acts up. Your dog keeps [expletive] misbehaving. See how your tactic just doesn’t work?” [Reddit]
Newspaper Opposes Ukraine Donation — “Everybody should feel bad for what the Ukrainian people are going through and appalled by the actions of the Russian government. And if people want to donate funds or humanitarian supplies, amen to that. But ballistic-vest donations? That may be a one step too far over the line.” [Sun Gazette]
Good Luck, Jo! — ARLnow’s Jo DeVoe is now on maternity leave. We expect her to return in the fall.
It’s Good Friday — Clear throughout the day. High of 68 and low of 49. Sunrise at 6:33 am and sunset at 7:46 pm. [Weather.gov]