This weekend, volunteers are expected to adorn the graves of fallen soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery with thousands of flowers for Memorial Day.
The Memorial Day Flowers Foundation says it is donating 220,000 blooms for the annual event at the cemetery, and expects 1,200 volunteers will be on-site from around 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. to help place the flowers.
“Our primary goal for 2019 is to decorate all 300,000 headstones and niches at Arlington,” the foundation wrote on its website.
The foundation began decorating back in 2012, after part-Ecuadorean founder Ramiro Peñaherrera rustled up donations from Ecuador’s major rose growers for his and other family members buried at the cemetery.
Today, the flowers are donated from growers across the U.S., as well as Ecuador and Colombia, and the event is sponsored by several companies, including FedEx, Cisco, and TD Bank.
A spokeswoman for the foundation told ARLnow that family members interested in a flower for a loved one’s grave at the cemetery can request one by contacting the foundation at [email protected] and a volunteer will send a photo of the flower once it’s placed at the gravestone.
Yesterday, the Arlington National Cemetery also hosted its annual “Flags-In” tradition of placing American flags at the gravestones — despite the storm that felled trees and pelted rain and hail down in the area.
The 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, also known as the The Old Guard, returned later that day to reset the flags after the storm passed.
Soldier from @USArmyOldGuard takes a knee during a thunderstorm while participating in Flags-In at Arlington National Cemetery. For 55+ years, soldiers from The Old Guard have honored our nation’s fallen by placing U.S. flags at gravesites. (U.S. Army photo by Elizabeth Fraser) pic.twitter.com/0NeAAXZF2g
— Arlington National Cemetery (@ArlingtonNatl) May 24, 2019
President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump attended the ceremony yesterday where 250,000 flags were placed at gravestones.
(Updated on 05/17/19) A new bus will arrive tomorrow in Ballston, but the only place it’s going is to the Arlington Food Assistance Center (AFAC).
Arlington Transit (ART) is organizing a “food drive” for AFAC by building a 10’x10′ bus sculpture from canned food to celebrate the transit agency’s 20th anniversary, per a press release. ART will then donate the food to AFAC after disassembling the sculpture.
— Arlington Department of Environmental Services (@ArlingtonDES) May 17, 2019
ART staff and volunteers will start building tomorrow at 1 p.m. inside Ballston Quarter mall, nearly the newly-opened, health food-focused True Food Kitchen.
The construction is part of AFAC’s annual slew of “Canstruction” food drives. In the past, architecture groups have built elaborate sculptures from thousands of dollars worth of canned goods at the Dulles and Reagan National airports as part of a national movement of donation-by-can-sculpture.
In 2016, the American Institute of Architects Northern Virginia Chapter built a lighthouse out of soup and bean cans in the Ballston mall for one of the building competitions.
Image via Twitter
Crystal City Apartment Building Sold — “A Crystal City residential property within blocks of Amazon’s planned HQ2 campus has sold for $228 million, more than double what it last sold for a decade prior, according to Arlington County property records.” [Washington Business Journal]
It’s National Police Week — Law enforcement officers from around the country and the world are in the D.C. area for National Police Week. The annual series of events is held to honor officers who have paid the ultimate sacrifice. As in years past, Arlington County Police motorcycle officers are assisting with the numerous motorcades associated with Police Week. [Twitter]
Free Cone Day Today — Häagen-Dazs is holding its annual Free Cone Day today (Tuesday) from 4-8 p.m. Among other nearby locations, a locally-owned Häagen-Dazs franchise store is located in the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City mall. [Häagen-Dazs]
Crashes During Monday’s Rain — A number of crashes were reported Monday morning, amid persistant rain. Among them were a crash with entrapment at Military Road and Lorcom Lane, and a reported car vs. tree collision at Route 50 and S. Columbus Street. [Twitter]
School Board Member Donating Kidney — “Arlington School Board Vice Chairman Tannia Talento will be out of commission for several weeks, as she is donating a kidney to a sister. Speaking at the May 9 School Board meeting, Talento said preparing for, undergoing and recuperating from surgery will cause her to miss some end-of-school-year events, but ‘I hope it is amazing and wonderful,’ she said of the last weeks of the 2018-19 year.” [InsideNova]
Woman Injured When Scooter’s Brakes Fail — “An Arlington, Virginia, woman says she had to jump off of an electric scooter moving 15 mph to avoid oncoming traffic because the rented scooter’s brakes weren’t working.” [NBC 4]
Could Goody’s Challenge Sign Rules? — Goody’s restaurant in Clarendon painted over its outdoor mural after running afoul of Arlington’s sign ordinance, but one attorney says a 2015 Supreme Court ruling may point to an avenue to challenge the county’s regulations. [Reason]
Refugees Get Car from Arlington Diocese — “A Catholic family fleeing religious persecution in their native Pakistan [received] a car Monday in Arlington.” [WUSA 9]
Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf
Wind Chill Advisory in Effect — A Wind Chill Advisory is in effect this morning due to a combination of gusty winds and bitterly cold temperatures. [Weather.gov]
MLK Day of Service — As of Friday, more than 850 people were signed up to volunteer for Arlington County’s MLK Day of Service today.
Rosslyn Building Sold — “Rosslyn’s Oakwood Arlington extended-stay apartments has changed hands for $70 million. Mapletree Investments, a Singapore real estate investment firm, has acquired the 184-unit property at 1550 Clarendon Blvd. from AvalonBay Communities Inc.” [Washington Business Journal]
Local Nonprofit Gets TV Donation — “Patricia Funegra founded La Cocina VA in Arlington as a way to create change through feeding, educating and empowering the community… FOX 5 and Easterns Automotive Group teamed up to help Funegra… with a $1,000 donation and all her students received new cast-ironed pots, recipe books and $50 gift cards.” [Fox 5]
Local Nonprofit Helping Puerto Rico — Wheels to Africa, which was founded by a 10-year-old Arlington boy in 2005 to send used bikes to Africa, is now sending used bikes to Puerto Rico to help residents still recovering from Hurricane Maria. The nonprofit’s founder has since gone to graduate from college and is now working in Arlington. [Washington Post]
County: Get a Flu Shot — “Flu season is officially underway. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that flu activity is ‘elevated’ as flu viruses circulate nationwide. Arlington healthcare officials are urging residents to take precautions and get vaccinated to help prevent the spread of flu.” [Arlington County]
Nearby: Kitten Lounge Coming to Georgetown — “What’s being called the first-in-America kitten-only place to rest, relax and interact with kittens between the ages of three-to-six months will open in early March, at 3109 M(eow) Street NW.” [WTOP]
Reduced Publishing Schedule Today — Due to the Martin Luther King Jr. Day federal holiday, ARLnow will be publishing on a limited schedule today. We’ll return with a full slate of local coverage tomorrow.
Photo courtesy Tom Mockler
Local retailers will set up shop for a holiday market pop-up tomorrow (Saturday) in The View at Liberty Center at 4000 Wilson Blvd.
Shoppers can also munch on holiday cookies with a cup of hot chocolate.
The first 300 people outside The View on the corner of N. Quincy Street and Wilson Blvd will get to take home a wreath from Merrifield Garden Center, which is located in Falls Church.
The View is encouraging visitors to bring new, unwrapped toys to support local Toys for Tots efforts by the U.S. Marine Corps. The apartment building also plans to raffle off holiday pies from D.C.-based bakery Whisked! to benefit Toys for Tots.
(Updated at 9:40 a.m.) Good Sweat, an indoor cycling studio, is set to open in Rosslyn’s Colonial Village Shopping Center in early 2019.
Alessandra Hashemi, the founder of Good Sweat, told ARLnow that she is aiming for a March opening.
More than 180 people helped Good Sweat raise roughly $26,000 in 21 days, surpassing the studio’s goal of $25,000 in 25 days, the company posted on Facebook on Oct. 21. The money will fund the opening next year at 1711 Wilson Blvd.
The studio plans to have metered bike and offer classes in the mornings throughout the week and in the evenings on weekdays, according to a brochure sent to ARLnow.
“I have been indoor cycling for over 10 years, and I have seen it all (the good, the bad, the underwhelming),” Hashemi, said in the brochure. “Indoor cycling classes can be cathartic if you have amazing coaches, music and motivation.”
The brochure says that a percentage of every purchase will get invested in the community by hosting subsidized rides for low-income individuals and donating to a different local nonprofit every month, including Urban Alliance, A-SPAN Doorways for Women and Families and Arlington Food Assistance Center.
Good Sweat held two pop-up events earlier this year — a yin yoga class in February and a body weight boot camp in August.
The studio is currently selling discounted packages, some of which include pre-opening access, ranging from one drop-in class to unlimited access for three months.
“The Clothesline for Arlington Kids” has already given away 3,500 pieces of clothing to 140 school-aged children of low-income families since it opened in August.
The nonprofit’s co-founders, Ellen Moy and Ben Sessions, said they decided to start the nonprofit after Moy got frustrated about the lack of options to recycle the clothes outgrown or barely worn by her two boys, who attend Arlington Public Schools, within the community.
At the Clothesline (2704 N. Pershing Drive), parents and children can find high-quality clothing including brands like Ralph Lauren and Northface.
The clothes hang on the racks, sorted by item type, gender and age range. Moy and Sessions said they invested in racks and hangers to mimic a retail store and to save people from picking through bags of unsorted clothing — what Moy calls ” a big bin of ‘good luck.'”
Students living and attending school in Arlington from kindergarten to 12th grade are eligible if they either receive benefits from the free or reduced lunch program or have a referral from a school social worker, place of worship, the county’s Department of Human Services or a local social services organization. One out of three students in Arlington schools qualifies for the lunch program.
The Clothesline lets children acquire a new wardrobe twice a year. The switch to colder weather clothing happened in mid-October, so families picking out wardrobes now can come back in March, April and May for spring and summer attire.
The full package includes:
- five tops, shirts or blouses
- four pants, shorts or skirts
- five pairs of new underwear
- five pairs of new socks
Additionally, students can pick out one coat or jacket, a pair of shoes, formal wear and a dress, along with accessories as available. If they need more shirts than pants, they can swap within the allotted number.
“They have really fun clothes they get to choose from,” Moy said. “It’s really a thrill when a little girl comes in and she says, ‘Mom, can I have this dress?’ and the mom can say, ‘Yes, you can have that dress.’ Money is not a hindrance.”
Parents can call ahead if they need to pick out formal clothes or are looking for specific items in certain sizes.
“Parents don’t have the time to shop and go all over town, so this is a nice one-stop shopping for their kids,” Moy said, adding that she and the volunteers keep tabs on who needs what and will let families know when requested clothing becomes available.
All of the shopping happens by appointment only, which gives Sessions and Moy a chance to prepare inventory based off of children’s ages and sizes. The store is open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Volunteers help inspect the clothing multiple times, Moy said. No ripped, stained, torn or overly worn clothes are allowed. Clothing that doesn’t make the cut gets donated to places like H&M and Goodwill.
Once approved, the clothes get washed and steamed before they go on the rack. “We don’t want them wearing something that looks weird or has a huge stain on it,” Sessions said. “We want to get them into clothes that look exactly like their peers and help them focus on their classwork.”
Sessions, who has a background in finance, takes care of the business side. Moy used her 15 years of clothing retail experience to create simple and inexpensive store decor, which features green painted walls based on the color scheme of their logo, which she said a friend designed.
“People like to shop here,” Sessions said. “The idea is not only to provide a place for kids to get clothing but also to provide a place that really values the families that are coming in by providing a really nice place for them to shop.”
The Clothesline accepts items year-round and stores off-season clothing in boxes for the next switch. People can drop off new and gently used clothing in the donation bins in the front of the store on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Moy and Sessions said the support from the Arlington community has been a “heartwarming experience” — from Girl Scout Troops and churches helping them collect clothes to the bevy of volunteers who have helped staff the program.
So far, they have relied on more than 200 volunteers since they started collecting clothing last year, with usually one to eight volunteers helping out on any given day, they said.
“Arlington is a very generous community, so we’ve been very fortunate,” Moy said.
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During this crucial time for Arlington as a community, with Amazon on the way and plenty of challenges ahead, it is more important than ever for local journalism to thrive here. With the support of our community, we could uncover more truths, hold more people and institutions accountable, and tell additional local stories.
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Arlington Holds Disaster Drill for Cyclists — “On Saturday BikeArlington and the Office of Emergency Management held the county’s first Disaster Relief Trial, modeled after such events in Oregon, Washington, and California… 70 registered families, teams, and individual bikers traveled throughout Arlington, stopping at four checkpoints and completing eight challenges.” [Local DVM]
Marymount Launches Internship Fund — “Marymount University has announced plans to financially support students who intern at non-profit organizations that do not have the resources to pay them. The new ‘Sister Majella Berg Internship Fund’ is a way to solidify partnerships between the university and local safety-net organizations, new Marymount University president Irma Becerra said.” [InsideNova]
AT&T Donates $30K to Local Nonprofit — “Bridges to Independence announced today a new contribution from AT&T. A private, nonprofit organization, Bridges is dedicated to serving families experiencing homelessness in the City of Alexandria and Arlington County, VA. AT&T’s support will directly benefit Bridges’ mission by expanding the organization’s Youth Development Program which serves children experiencing homelessness.” [Press Release]
Ballston Apartment Building Sold — “The Chevy Chase Land Company… announced today the $90 million acquisition of 672 Flats, a 173-Unit Class A apartment building in the heart of Ballston.” [Press Release]
Flickr pool photo by Brian Irwin
Everyday Heroes in Our Midst — On Wednesday morning, a grounds crew working outside the Clarendon Metro took some time out to help a disabled man to the bus stop. “Hey @ArlingtonDES @ArlingtonVA, a little late here but please forgive your grounds crew working near the #Clarendon metro this morning if they were running a little late,” said the Twitter user who witnessed the encounter and snapped a photo. [Twitter]
Body Found in Water Near Memorial Bridge — “D.C. police have recovered a body found Thursday morning in the Potomac River near Arlington Memorial Bridge, near the Lincoln Memorial, according to a department spokeswoman.” [Washington Post]
Glass to Be Removed from Recycling List? — “The county government appears on the verge of eliminating collection of glass as recyclable material and directing residents to instead dump it in their regular trash bins… currently, there is a ‘negative market value’ for glass, County Manager Mark Schwartz told board members, and because it’s difficult for processors to recycle glass products, most of it ends up being destroyed like regular trash anyway – either to a landfill or to be incinerated.” [InsideNova]
County May Reopen Exit for DCA Rideshare Drivers — “Arlington County officials have offered a solution to the gridlock caused by rideshare drivers moved to a parking lot between Jefferson Davis Highway and South Eads Street: Reopening an exit at 27th Street, which would allow rideshare drivers accepting passengers to quickly leave the lot and turn onto the nearby airport access road.” [WTOP]
Cosplay Event at Library — “Join Maker and cosplayer Dylan Smith as he discusses how he’s incorporated 3D printing into cosplay, what materials he’s used, and how you can get started. This event is designed for adults and teens in grades 6+.” [Arlington County]
Mobile Posse Launches New Product Line — Arlington-based Mobile Posse has “announced the release of Firstly Mobile… the company’s latest next-gen content discovery platform, [which] creates a smarter smartphone experience for consumers, a safer brand experience for advertisers and a bigger revenue opportunity for carriers and OEMs.” [Globe Newswire]
Hungry Donates Thousands of Meals — HUNGRY, an Arlington-based food startup, “has donated funds equivalent to more than 70,000 meals to Washington, D.C.-area and Philadelphia-area food assistance centers, including Feeding America and the Arlington Food Assistance Center (AFAC). HUNGRY donates funds equivalent to one meal for every two purchased to those in need via its ‘Fight Against Hunger’ program.” [PRWeb]
Photo via @USArmyOldGuard